Category Archives: Uncategorized

Larry King Gives Sen. Edwards a Pass

Is anyone shocked by this?  I’m not, but in this case its just the enormity of the issue that is astounding.

Here’s the quote:

KING: Senator, is terrorism a fair campaign issue?

 

J. EDWARDS: Of course it is. I mean, the American people need to know that their president will keep them safe. I think it’s — I think that there should be — from my perspective, what I’d like to see is a serious debate about the differences — and you and I just talked about some of them — but the differences between what President Bush has done and not done, and the things that John Kerry and I would do, and how that relates to terrorism. Just one example. You know, we believe — John and I believe very strongly that we — while America needs to lead in the world, that strong alliances matter, so that we’re not doing things alone.

Edwards thinks that the Bush Administration has no strong alliances and that we are “doing things alone.”

Imagine my surprise each morning to passing the nine flags out in front of our HQ here on Camp Phoenix.  And those are only the nine nations that are part of Task Force Phoenix.  Drive up the road a couple of klicks and check out the flags in front of the ISAF (Interanational Security Assistance Force) HQ.  Or into Kabul and look at the ones represented at Combined Forces Command HQ. 

Is Edwards not aware that the GCTF (Global Counter Terrorism Force) is the largest coalition in history?

Here on Camp Phoenix I ran into a Lithuanian the other day.  That was a surprise.  There are only something like 20 of them in Afghanistan.

Every day I work with Romanians, Bulgarians, Mongolians, Brits and (gasp) French troops.  There are Germans, Canadians and Australians in other parts of the Task Force, but I don’t see them often.  I think they’d be surprised to learn that this is a unilateral US action.  I know I would.

Travel the roads around here and you can’t help but notice the Sweedes, Danes, Norwegians, Croatians, Greeks and Italians (in addition to the nationalities already mentioned) driving up and down the road.  These people are all allied with us in this fight and in rebuilding this country. 

Let’s go back to King’s question:  Is terrorism a fair campaign issue?  My answer:  Damn straight.  But minimizing the involvement, effectiveness, support and contributions of our allies is a far greater snub to them than any go-it-alone approach that President Bush is wrongly characterized as having taken.

How I’d Fix the Intelligence Community

Here’s my fix after cogitating on it for a while:

We want a cabinet post–so be it–we’ll call it the Department of National Intelligence (DepNatInt).

Then we’ll promote the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) to Secretary of National Intelligence (SecNatInt).

We’ll divest the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of expressly Counter-Intelligence assets and responsibilities. As it is their mandate is too broad and they can’t perform any of it well. Create within the DeptNatInt a Domestic Counter-Intelligence Agency (DCA)–they will not do collection. They will act upon collected information which will be reported through liaisons with the existing Law Enforcement agencies (including Department of Energy (DoE) agencies and labs, Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FINCEN), and State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR))–and initiate appropriate investigations which if fruitful will be referred back to appropriate law enforcement agencies for arrest and prosecution.

Then we combine Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), National Geo-Spatial Agency (NGA) and National Security Agency (NSA).  Service Intelligence agencies (Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marines and Navy) will no longer be in the business of National level intelligence. Their mandate will be reduced to providing warfighter intelligence to the Regional Commanders-in-Chief (CinCs) and the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS). They will also be subject matter experts called upon by this new Joint Intelligence Service (JIS). DIA and NSA will no longer be part of the Department of Defense (DoD). DoD will continue to staff the agency, but they report to the SecNatInt. DIA’s PsyOps and Operations will roll to US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM).

The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) should remain pretty much as it is. It’ll pick up some capabilities.

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) should remain as the central repository and clearinghouse for collected material and its dissemination, after some renovation. CIA’s Operations Directorate should go to the JIS. JIS will need to make a distinction between Operations and Collections, they need not be so closely related, though the separation is not hard and fast. The Science and Technology Directorate should go to appropriate DoE specialites and NRO or JIS as appropriate. CIA’s mandate should include side-by-side analysis products, but it wouldn’t hurt to have an independent analysis source and INR could be a good one so INR remains at the State Department (DepState) to ensure independence.

So: DepNatInt is run by SecNatInt. SecNatInt is head of and oversees CIA, DCA, JIS and NRO. And that’s it. These four agencies are separated to maintain military/law enforcement and domestic/foreign separations, and to enhance separation between analysis, collection, and operations.

Home Depot Supports Deployed Troops

Home Depot has a program called Project Homefront.  Sgt. Stryker at http://www.sgtstryker.com brought it to my attention in an e-mail comments section on his blog.

 

Lou writes:

Wandering through a small corner of blogland today, I came upon some old news that hasn’t been well-publicized, particularly among the mil-blogs and their friends. Or maybe it’s all a sham?

Home Depot apparently has a program through which they are helping deployed military personnel and their families by putting money and volunteer time into maintaining and repairing their homes. I’ve seen signs about this at the entrance to my local Home Depot … but that’s all.

Home Depot also recently announced a donation of $1 million in tools & supplies for the rebuilding of Iraq.

If this is all true, it’s a reason to consider Home Depot instead of Lowes or OSH or (ugh!) Sears.

Is it true? Is it a scam? I don’t know, I haven’t seen anything about it at my local Home Depot.

 

So I e-mailed Home Depot.  I got this:

 

Dear Mr. White,

 

Thank you for your interest in Project Homefront.  For information regarding the Project Homefront program, please refer to the following website:www.projecthomefront.org

We appreciate you taking the time to forward your thoughts regarding Home Depot’s donation to the war effort in Iraq and support of our troops.

Thank you again for taking the time to let us know where we exceeded your expectations.

Regards,Melissa

Customer Care Department

homedepot.com


 

I don’t know about you, but I think this is a pretty cool program http://www.projecthomefront.org

 

Essentially, Home Depot is supplying tools and materials and coordinating volunteers to do repairs and maintenace on the homes of deployed soldiers.  I fully intend to lend a hand after I get home.

Why I Don’t Like the UN and Why We Should NOT Get Out

Saw a WorldNetDaily article: http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=39509 which has induced my comments today.

 

Essentially, Larry Klayman is running for the US Senate seat from Florida being vacated by Bob Graham.  Klayman is a Republican and the foundar of JudicalWatch a watchdog organization that keeps tabs on trial lawyers and jurists with regard to business intereses and tort law.

 

It seems that Mr. Klayman has included in his platform the proposition to get the US out of the UN.  This is a bad idea.

 

Don’t get me wrong.  I have no love of the UN.  My feelings stem primarilly from the squandering of ability, talent, treasure, time and goodwill that is rife within the organization which completely betrays the potential for doing that which is right and good that is so ably masked by its administration.  That this would culminate in trying to quash the Global War on Terror at its inception, a policy for which I have clamored since the Marine Baracks in Beiruit were blown up in 1983 was just confirmation that they don’t know what they are doing and have no appreciation for what they could accomplish.

 

There is one simple and overwhelming reason, however, that the US must remain a member and engaged in the UN.  Its not the veto we have in the Security Council either (though that helps).

 

Its real estate.

 

The UN HQ is in NYC.  All those nations send delegations *here* to have their meetings.  Where else can we find such a potentially rich source of foreign intelligence?

 

Think about it; each delegation has a staff–they go to public places and say things they shouldn’t, perhaps a slip or perhaps induced in some manner, each delegation has communcations withtheir sponsor nation–if it can be transmitted it can be intercepted, if it can be encoded it can be decrypted.

 

Mr. Klayman is right; the UN does do stupid things like letting Syria and Cuba chair Human Rights Commissions, but at least they do it here where we can keep an eye on them. 

In the Future (Military and Civilian Contractors on the Battlefield)

An M1A1 crew will consist of three civilian contractors (loader,

gunner and driver) and an Army TC. The TC will keep being frustrated

by his crews’ need to go to chow, the gym, on a convoy to some other

post or into town shopping, but they are civilians and so not

accountable to the TC.

An Infantry Batallion will consist of 1 platoon of Light Infantry

troops to provide “Force Protection” to the 300 civilian contractors,

who will do everything else when they aren’t going to chow, the gym,

on a convoy to some other post or into town shopping. Coronary

failure in Bn CDRs will rise dramatically, no likely cause will be

found.

Add your own….

So, What’s a "Signaleer" and other questions (pt 1)….

Some things you’ll note about this blog:  The blogger has far more interests in life than are probably really healthy and so things will ramble and topics will change with little notice.

 

So, here’s a little glossary of terms that you’ll see with some frequency here:

 

Signaleer:  A member of the US Army Signal Corps

RTO:  A Radio Telephone Operator–  If you used to have the little green plastic Army men growing up, this is the guy with the radio on his back.

RTO Trainer:  1) The guy who teaches the RTOs their job.  2) Me. 

RETRANS:  Retransmission operations–a military term for using communications equipment to extend range or overcome terrain features.  Simply put, a repeater station.

Sparky:  An annoying nickname my Major has for me, but the General now calls me this too, so I guess I’m stuck with it.

Afghanistan:  A landlocked country in Southwest Asia from where I am currently blogging.

NCO:  Non-Commissioned Officer, an enlisted military member usually E-5 or higher (Sergeant in the Army) though some E-4s (Corporals) are also NCOs.  I’m a Sergeant–an NCO.

Redun:  An annoying (to him, I think)  nickname that I gave Specialist (an E-4 that is not an NCO) Miller–shortened form of “Redundant Backup Unit” which is what he is to me.

 

The alert reader will now have been able to make a certain number of conclusions about me from the above.  Stay tuned, dear readers, to see if you’re right.

 

"Intelligence Czar" a Big Mistake

I just read the New York Times story, 9/11 Panel Is Said to Urge New

Post for Intelligence–

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/07/17/politics/17panel.html . It says the

the most important recommendation of the commission is the

establishement of a national director of intelligence.

They couldn’t be more wrong. In the first place we already have one.

The Director of Central Intelligence, if you read the job description,

already is what they are proposing. He is, unfortunately, a largely

figurative head of an aglomeration of ad hoc relationships, programs,

divisions and agencies over which he has, and can have, little

control. Creating a new post will only accomplish one thing; you will

have tacked on a redundant and largely impotent office to a structure

of tacked on, redundant and largely impotent offices.

If they want to set up a cabinet-level post to oversee National-level

intelligence, that’s fine. I think such things are primarily

posturing and symbolic; offering no real substance, but that’s not the

problem in this instance.

The problem is in what is lead, not in who is doing the leading or

from where. The DCI or a new Director of National Intelligence (DNI),

still can’t tell the Secretary of Defense, Homeland Security

Secretary, or Attorney General how to run their shops. Until you

solve this organizational problem, you will still have the same

problem.

Otherwise this looks like a federal jobs program in disguise–hiring a

new director and all his “support” staff. I thought I’d been told the

era of big government was over.