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5 NatSec Things - 04 April 2018

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Today's things: Trump likey some DMZ; Top Gun but at a desk; another oopsie in Kunduz; SOF but on sno
 
April 4 · Issue #41 · View online
5 NatSec Things
Today’s things: Trump likey some DMZ; Top Gun but at a desk; another oopsie in Kunduz; SOF but on snowmobiles; vet courts part deux.

Quote of the Day
“Look at Korea. We have a border in Korea. We have a wall of soldiers.“  – Donald Trump on why the border with Mexico should look like the DMZ.
1. A border thing
Someone get the Tweeter-in-Chief a globe
How’d that last bankruptcy go again?
“We don’t get paid very much for this, do we? You look at that, nobody comes through. But our own border, we don’t take care of it.”  – Donald Trump on the ROI of the DMZ
It looks smaller on the map
Because you can’t spell “tangent” or “Trump” without a “T,” the Rambler-in-Chief went off off-topic again in Ohio recently. This time, he’s trying to make the case that what works on the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that separates the two Koreas should work just fine to secure the border with Mexico. 
Which would be fine, if the border with Mexico, like the DMZ, ran for about 160 miles. It does not. 
It’s more like 1,900 miles.
Let’s hear it for Infrastructure Week!
What’s with the border stuff again?
Hey there, Mr. Van Winkle: hope you enjoyed your nap. Say hello to Ted K. and see if you can get the sound of typing out of your ears. Because securing the border against the brown hordes has been a Donald-ism for a couple of minutes now. 
It’s an issue he’s getting more and more frustrated with, since no one but him seems to care about building the wall. Well him and the contractors who hope they get a shot at putting up the most ‘murcan thing possible. 
Unless we build the world’s biggest IHOP.
That’s pretty patriotic.
Bait? Meet switch
The list of things the president’s hoping we forget about keeps getting longer. This is another shot at that. Because so long as we’re all howling about how stupid this idea is, we can forget that he’s started a trade war, is using his office to attack a major American business, and that there’s still some questions about a country that rhymes with Prussia.
2. A Navy thing
Because no one watched Top Gun for the coffee guy Because no one watched Top Gun for the coffee guy
Mo’ money? How about mo’ stick time?
“Money was not the primary driver for most aviators to leave. Pilots want to spend more time in the cockpit, and increased numbers of ready aircraft are now beginning to provide more flight time and improve fleet readiness.“ – Vice Adm. Robert Burke on why Navy pilots leave the Navy
Pilots gotta pilot
The Navy and the Air Force are facing a similar problem: pilots are leaving their respective services for the commercial airline industry. Not because driving a 737 from Tacoma to Texarkana is cooler than getting shot of the deck in an FA-18, but because the 737 driver gets more time in the air. 
Also money. 
But mainly the flying thing. 
Budget cuts in the last few years and the natural progression of an officer’s career has meant those hours have been reduced. And that’s led to an increase in the number of pilots deciding they’d rather drive a bus than a sports car.
We…saw this coming, right?
The pace of combat operations combined with a lack of budget for parts and a reduction in available personnel to keep planes flying over the last few years meant that yeah, this has been looming. What’s interesting those is that the Navy’s admitting that it was always about the Benjamins.
And maybe more time in the air means that those pilots thinking about bluer skies flying for Delta and United might stick around a little longer.
Send in the drones
A take so hot you’ll need gloves: the pilot problem isn’t going away, but the pilots are. Which means we’re going to see autonomous aircraft taking the place of those jet jockeys who’ve gone on to other things. Because the Navy doesn’t need more pilots, it needs more weapons delivery systems. 
Tell Skynet I said hello.
3. A civilian casualty thing
That time an (Afghan) airstrike killed civilians in Kunduz
Anyone who stands still is a well-disciplined Taliban
“The Taliban and other insurgent groups were planning to attack Afghan forces, but their plan was discovered by our forces. During the attack by our helicopters, 21 terrorists, including a Taliban commander, have been killed. It isn’t a residential area, and only terrorists and the Taliban were active in the place. There wasn’t any civilian in the area.” – Brig. Gen. Mohammad Radmanish, Afghan MoD spox
American training at its finest
Locals in Kunduz said that it was a religious graduation ceremony. Afghan government said it was a gathering of insurgents. Either way, some AAF helos lit up killed a whole bunch of people at a mosque. Folks on the ground say a lot of those were civilians. Afghan government says that’s impossible.
Kunduz…Kunduz…that…sounds familiar
You’ve heard of the place before: the Americans turned a Doctors Without Borders hospital into a parking lot there a few years ago. At least this time it wasn’t the US that pulled the trigger. So civilian casualties (CIVCAS) by proxy this time, I guess.
At least it wasn’t a wedding
Possible this was a mistake. Also possible that the Afghan government figured that whoever they were whacking at the mosque was worth the risk of…whacking them at a mosque. Which isn’t so much taking a page form the American playbook as it is Taliban 101: for a bunch of religious zealots they’ve always seemed pretty OK with hitting places of worship.
Still. 
Sucks for the innocents killed in this attack. 
4. A special ops thing
Special operators get their snowmobile on
Any excuse to get on a snowmobile
SOF on a snowmobile. Because...special ops.
“We need to have the ability to employ and project global access, precision strike and personnel recovery across the globe, regardless of environment.” – Unnamed airman on why he needs a snowmobile
Combat beard means you get to play with the cool toys
Special operators from the air force and army trained for six weeks in Sweden in arctic operations. Because they need to be prepared to fight anywhere. On snowmobiles. Or whatever Gucci gear they convince Congress they need to get their SOF on.
So the Swedes do something besides fish
The sheer ridiculousness of them snowmobiling their special asses off, it’s true that everyone in the Armed Forces needs to give some thought to fighting in places that aren’t desert and jungle. Since the next near-peer fight could come from the northern half of the world. And it’s best to be prepared.
How many wars can we fight at once?
Sure, those-who-have-no-name get some fun and games out of it, but it does emphasize that the world is running faster toward a lot of threats at once. And while we’re not quite at a Red Dawn reboot (like we need another one), snowmobiling in Sweden means someone’s thinking about where the next war or proxy war might be.
5. A veterans thing
Veterans are so cool, they get their own court
Wonder how many of ‘em are white?
“You just see what an impact this has on people’s lives, to make them whole again. I can’t think of a better way to repay a service member for what our country has asked us to do.” – Eric Andrews, civil deputy, Benton County prosecutor’s office
You get your own court! And YOU get your own court!
Parts of Washington state have decided to acknowledge that being a veteran might mean that someone’s dealing with issues a non-veteran might not face. So they’re wanting to bring back special veterans-only courts. What’s next? Veterans-only restrooms?
What’s with the special treatment?
Satirical snark aside, it’s something some jurisdictions have tried with other groups, too. Like with drugs. Because a once-upstanding citizen who went to war and came home with the PTSDs might make choices they wouldn’t have made before they went to the wars. 
So some prosecutors and judges are trying to figure out ways to deal with the crime in that context, instead of just slapping sentences on people that could ruin their lives.
Maybe do it for everybody
This needs to be more of a thing. More empathy on the part of prosecutors and judges in sentencing? Yeah, let’s do more of that. And no, I don’t think this is just vet worship. Because they are a unique population that ends up doing dumb shit. And said dumb shit shouldn’t of necessity ruin their lives.
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