June 6th, 2009 10:11 EST
US Special Forces and Intelligence Agencies Not So Intelligent
Elite special operations forces can`t grow fast enough to meet increasing global demands, so the Pentagon is depending more heavily on support that is not always available from regular forces, according to the military`s top special operations commander.
Adm. Eric T. Olson, head of the U.S. Special Operations Command, says he needs the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines to provide more logistics, intelligence, communications and air transportation support for his troops overseas.
"We are and will be dependent upon our service partners for key force enablers," said Olson in remarks prepared for a congressional hearing and obtained by The Associated Press. "The non-availability of these force enablers has become our most vexing issue in the operational environment."
Olson, who is scheduled to testify today before the House Armed Services terrorism subcommittee, says his force can only grow by 3 percent to 5 percent a year. But, he said, the need for special operations units to deploy in hot spots around the globe is outpacing that growth.
The more mobile, specially trained warriors carry out more secretive anti-terror missions, and in a number of countries they are used to train foreign forces. In most cases, however, they rely on their brethren in larger, conventional military units to fuel their helicopters, fix their trucks, transport their troops and provide surveillance and other information.
Olson said there is still a shortage of manned and unmanned surveillance aircraft and systems, which are critical for his forces on the warfront.
Another challenge, he said, will be to ensure that special operations units serving in dangerous areas of Iraq get the support they need as the larger, conventional units leave the country.
There are 135,000 U.S. forces in Iraq, and they are scheduled to leave the cities by June. President Obama has said that all combat forces will be out of the country by the end of August 2010, and all forces will be out of Iraq by the end of 2011.
Olson said his forces have made progress in one key area - the recruitment of non-U.S. citizens with foreign language and cultural expertise. He said more than 100 of the legal, non-permanent residents have joined the Army under a pilot program and some will be serving in special operations units.
Special operations forces are deployed around the world, including as many as 8,000 in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Pentagon is increasing the number of elite forces from about 45,000 in 2001 to about 62,000 by 2015. The elite warriors include Army Rangers and Green Berets, Navy SEALS, and Air Force and Marine Corps special operations forces.
The U.S. Special Operations Command is headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla.
U.S. judge rejects lawsuits in wiretapping cases
A U.S. federal judge has dismissed dozens of lawsuits against telecom companies that participated in a wiretapping program without court authorization during the presidency of for former President Bush.
Ex-Missouri prosecutor accused of misconduct
A former Missouri congressman and tough-on-crime prosecutor rebuked by a judge earlier this year for convicting an innocent man is being accused by another inmate of courtroom misconduct.
Prosecutors want Army`s officer`s murder conviction tossed out
Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson and four former U.S. attorneys are among those pressing military officials to throw out a U.S. Army officer`s murder conviction in the death of an Iraqi detainee.
Demonstration to show life-saving information technologies
Wildfires in California, hurricanes battering the East Coast and insurgents attacking a U.S. convoy are among simulated real-time events that will put life-saving information-sharing technologies on center stage during the Coalition Warrior Interoperability Demonstration scheduled June 15-25.
New and emerging technologies are positioned for testing as military members, emergency first responders and coalition partners determine which technologies could solve their near-term information-sharing and communications problems, officials said.
The annual event, directed by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, evaluates cutting-edge information technology that focuses on criteria defined by combatant commanders and government agencies, organizers said.
Technologies are approved for participation because they address a new information-sharing capability or might improve an existing capability, officials explained.
The U.S. Joint Forces Command is the host combatant command for the event, and its Joint Systems Integration Center in Suffolk, Va., is among the sites for demonstration events. Other sites include the Naval Surface Warfare Center`s Dahlgren Division at Naval Support Facility Dahlgren, Va., and Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific at San Diego State University in California.
"Coalition participation is the cornerstone of U.S. CWID 2009 and the entire CWID enterprise," said U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Carroll F. Pollett, director of the Defense Information Systems Agency, which manages the demonstration`s daily operations.
The U.S. Joint Forces Command is the primary site, and command officials will work with Coalition partners running their own interoperability trials and assessments, targeting information technologies that can be moved into operational use within 18 months of the execution period, officials said.
At Dahlgren`s execution site, the battle lab will host various simulated military combat operations centers. Visitors to the demonstration will see a cross-section of real-world warfighters collaborating in real time on military activities and national emergency scenarios, officials said.
On the West Coast, Navy Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific will team with the San Diego Office of Disaster Preparedness and San Diego State University to find potential solutions to local emergency response capability gaps, officials said.
The U.S. Northern Command, in Colorado Springs, Colo., also will collaborate with the Pacific center. Northcom is the demonstration`s primary homeland security and homeland defense site.
The air operations center at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., will set the stage for interactive support technology development and interoperability during the demonstration. Hanscom provides warfighting commanders with battlefield situational awareness and information on the global information grid, officials said.
Registration information is accessible on the CWID Web site.
Joint operation nets four suspected militants in Afghanistan
Afghan and coalition forces detained four suspected militants in Khost Province overnight during an operation to capture a key Haqqani terrorist network leader in eastern Afghanistan. In the province`s Sabari district, a combined force searched a rural compound after credible intelligence sources indicated the wanted man was located near the Zambar village. After entering the targeted compound, Afghan forces called for all occupants to come out, and without incident, forces detained the targeted man and three of his suspected associates.
A search of the compound revealed an AK-47 assault rifle and a magazine.
On June 2, while patrolling a bazaar in Paktika Province`s Bermel district, Afghan forces identified a suicide bomber moving toward a crowd of Afghan civilians. The security forces immediately moved to stop and detain the bomber, who jumped into a taxi and detonated his vest, killing himself and injuring the vehicle`s driver and two of the pursuing Afghan security forces members. Coalition forces in the area responded to a call for assistance, helping the Afghan forces treat and evacuate injured people to a nearby Coalition medical facility. One Afghan security forces member later died.
One year after CAP cadet injured, no action taken
At the end of this month, it will be one year since the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) Florida Wing`s Summer Encampment at Camp Blanding, the location of the near-fatal motor vehicle accident that almost took the life of Cadet Andrea Batista, of Miami, Fla.
Although nearly eleven months have lapsed since the crash, Ms. Batista still has no recollection of the accident that nearly took her young life. In fact, she has no memory of the entire encampment.
It seems that the leadership of the Florida Wing expects that the rest of the membership, particularly the cadet membership and their parents, should also have no memory of this event. As of this writing, not a single CAP officer has been officially or publicly reprimanded for what sources call a totally avoidable accident.
Numerous CAP officers warned Lt. Col. Margarita Mesones-Mori, the Florida Wing`s director of cadet programs, on the dangers of having underage cadets operating motors vehicles like the one the one that injured Ms. Batista, but she dismissed those many warnings as being "overcautious." sources have told News of the Force.
Also, during the encampment itself, sources say, several "doolies" complained that the cadet or cadets operating this all-terrain vehicles were turning "doughnuts" near them, splashing then with mud, gravel and rocks. Those complaints, the sources say, were also ignored.
The near-fatal accident happened on the last night of the encampment, after the graduation banquet, and was witnessed by nearly the entire encampment command staff, as well as CAP Lt. Col. Valerie Brown, who was then serving as the wing`s chief of staff - the third highest Civil Air Patrol officer in the state of Florida. This fact put a damper on any real investigation of this serious breach of safety at the largest cadet activity run by the Civil Air Patrol in Florida, the sources say.
Any honest and real investigation would have led to the suspension or removal of "too many high ranking people" according to one officer at the scene - which would have included the chief of staff, the state director of cadet programs, at least one of the Florida Wing`s seven group commanders, and no less than two squadron commanders. It was more politically expedient to call this an "IG investigation" and to keep the whole issue under wraps until the membership forgets. If anyone asks, the simple answer of "it`s still under investigation" produces a safe non-answer and buys time, the sources have stated.
Several of these very same people form key members of the command staff of this year`s encampment, including CAP Major Nicolas Sacco, who will serve as the encampment commander, and CAP Capt. Robin Sheaks, was has been named as the executive officer of the upcoming activity. Both of these officers, sources say, were eyewitnesses to the event which caused the cadet`s injuries.
Mesones pulled a full court press to make sure the Batista family did not get a lawyer involved in the mess, sources said. She was there nearly every day, first at the hospital and later at the cadet`s home, showing "the concern that all of the Florida Wing had for one of their own," a source told NOTF.
In reality, however, they said, Moersch, Brown and Mesones were knee-deep in a panic, as they saw the handwriting on the wall, and words read "lawsuit."
In reality, the Batista family has a very full plate on their hands right now. Andrea`s father, retired Major Felix Batista, was kidnapped by Mexican narco-traffickers while negotiating for the release of another kidnapping victim.
U.S. Army announces decision to delay inactivation of V Corps headquarters
The Department of the Army announced today that Secretary of the Army Pete Geren has delayed the inactivation of the V Corps` headquarters and the conversion of U.S. Army Europe`s headquarters into a deployable field army headquarters.
A corps headquarters is the primary organization that synchronizes the operations of Army, joint, and Coalition forces within its designated area of responsibility.
This decision will allow time for the Army to assess its overall command and control requirements, the Army said.
The decision is not tied to any other force structure or stationing issues, the Army says. The one-year retention of V Corps`s headquarters in Germany does not fall under the 2005 Base Closure and Realignment Commission, nor will it have any impact on the two heavy brigade combat teams currently stationed in Europe, it said.
This action is part of a larger effort to relieve the extraordinary demands that are being placed on the Army`s corps headquarters and that have reduced "dwell time" to unacceptably low levels.
Geren`s decision calls for the delay of force structure actions for the V Corps and U.S. Army Europe`s headquarters for a period of one year, from July 2009 to July 2010. Under this directive, both organizations will remain in their current approved designs and at current resourcing levels. V Corps` headquarters will maintain its current military authorization of 411 personnel, and U.S. Army Europe`s headquarters will retain its current military authorization of 377 personnel.
When the inactivation of V Corps was announced last year, certain staff sections were merged to create efficiencies as the inactivation date approached. The inactivation delay does not affect those mergers, the Army said.
At this point, V Corps` headquarters will continue to provide oversight of its subordinate units and will continue to report to the commanding general, U.S. Army Europe. V Corps` priority function will be to ensure units that deploy from Europe for operational missions are trained and ready. Both V Corps` and U.S. Army Europe`s headquarters will continue to operate under their current structures, the Army said.
More than 20 arrested in recent Iraq operations
Coalition and Iraqi forces detained more than 20 suspects during several recent operations in Iraq`s capital city and the country`s Diyala Province.
Early June 1, U.S. soldiers working with Iraqi soldiers and police executed warrants and arrested two wanted men in northwestern Baghdad`s Ghazaliya neighborhood. The forces confiscated assault rifles from the men and moved them to secure locations for further questioning.
On May 31, Multinational Division-Baghdad soldiers and Iraqi police executed an arrest warrant on a Ghazaliya man who is believed to be responsible for an attack on Coalition forces using a bomb specifically designed to pierce armor.
The previous day, Multinational Division-Baghdad soldiers on a combined patrol with Iraqi security forces in the Abu Ghraib district, west of Baghdad, saw two suspicious men who fled to a house as the convoy approached. The soldiers followed them, arresting the men and two women who were with them. Three of the suspects tested positive for handling bomb-making material.
In operations on May 28, an Iraqi emergency response force in Baquba, working with Coalition forces and acting under warrants, arrested 11 suspects believed responsible for violent attacks against local residents and Iraqi security forces in an effort to destabilize the improved security conditions of the Kanaan area. They also are believed to be directly responsible for funding terrorist operations and orchestrating an anti-Iraqi propaganda campaign designed to intimidate the local populace. The response force also confiscated items of interest during the Iraqi-planned and -led operation.
On May 26, the same emergency response force, working with Coalition advisors, arrested a suspected high-level terrorist cell leader on a warrant.
Two other suspects were detained during an operation in the Diyala Province. All three are suspected of leading a terrorist cell responsible for funding anti-Iraqi operations and carrying out attacks against Iraqi security forces. They`re also believed to be directly responsible for an attack that killed an Iraqi doctor and his family, officials said.
The parting shots
A student who fell with a noose around his neck during a mock class hanging that was arranged by teachers has enraged Australian authorities.
A New Zealand man, spurned by the woman of his dreams, has come up with a novel way of disposing of the diamond engagement ring he bought her - a treasure hunt.
An owner of a New York City store thwarted a robbery only to take pity on the perpetrator, who claimed he could not feed his family, and gave the man $40 and a loaf of bread, a video of the incident shows.
Australia`s soldiers fighting Taliban militants in Afghanistan are up in arms - over Dutch food.
Japan`s bureaucrats may have little to laugh about these days, given opposition charges of misspent tax money, but that has not stopped one ministry offering its officials a unique form of training - as stand-up comics.
Guinean citizens should burn any armed robbers they catch to avoid filling the country`s prisons, the military government`s anti-crime chief has said.
He was mad as hell and he wasn`t going to take it any more. So, police say, an entertainer who used to be Israel`s most popular television star hired thugs to beat up two TV network executives and an agent who shot down his pitch for a comeback.
An Arizona man allegedly used a Web cam to broadcast his assault of an unconscious woman live on the Internet, police have charged.
A Tennessee man is facing charges that he used a hidden camera to secretly film a woman after she exited a shower sans clothes. His subject happened to be the 54-year-old mother of his live-in girlfriend.
The Mafia reportedly has entered the crowded energy drink field. So don`t be surprised if the creator of Red Bull winds up garroted in the trunk of a 1985 Buick Regal.
And a trial date of Sept. 14 has been set for a 78-year-old northeast Missouri woman accused of making methamphetamine. Eva Fink, of Silex, Mo., is charged with production of a controlled substance and endangering the welfare of a child. Her trial date was set during a hearing yesterday. Authorities say they found meth, meth-making materials, heroin, a handgun and Fink`s 3-month-old grandchild at her home during a February raid. Fink`s 40- and 44-year-old sons and a family friend also face meth-related charges.