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Air Base Attacks and Defensive Counters: Historical Lessons and Future Challenges

July 16, 2015 Comments off

Air Base Attacks and Defensive Counters: Historical Lessons and Future Challenges
Source: RAND Corporation

Since the end of the Cold War, U.S. dominance in conventional power projection has allowed American airpower to operate from sanctuary, largely free from enemy attack. This led to a reduced emphasis on air-base defense measures and the misperception that sanctuary was the normal state of affairs rather than an aberration. The emergence of the long-range, highly accurate, conventional missile (both ballistic and cruise) as a threat to air bases is now widely recognized in the U.S. defense community, and, with that recognition, there is a growing appreciation that this era of sanctuary is coming to an end. Consequently, there is renewed interest in neglected topics, such as base hardening, aircraft dispersal, camouflage, deception, and air-base recovery and repair.

This report is intended to provide a reference on air-base attack and defense to inform public debate, as well as government deliberations, on what has become known as the anti-access problem, specifically as it applies to air-base operations. The report explores the history of air-base attacks in the past century and describes the American way of war that emerged after the fall of the Soviet Union. It then argues that emerging threat systems are disruptive to this way of war and will require new concepts of power projection. Finally, the report identifies five classes of defensive options that have proven valuable in past conflicts and offers recommendations on how best to win the battle of the airfields.

Pentagon acquisition policy: Three-quarters right, one-quarter broken

July 14, 2015 Comments off

Pentagon acquisition policy: Three-quarters right, one-quarter broken
Source: Brookings Institution

The American defense debate is afflicted by a certain schizophrenia about how the Pentagon buys its weapons and other equipment, and about the state of America’s defense industrial base. On the one hand, the media narrative often fixates on horror stories concerning $600 toilet seats, billion-dollar aircraft and ships, fighter jets costing three times what was originally expected, and programs canceled for poor performance. The Department of Defense went into the Iraq and Afghanistan wars only moderately well prepared, in terms of equipment and training, for the kind of fighting that ensued, and took several years to find its stride. Eisenhower’s warnings of a military-industrial complex bilking the taxpayer and putting the nation’s economy at risk still echo today—but now it is the military-industrial-congressional complex that adds parochial politics and log-rolling appropriators to the witches’ brew as well.

Exploring the Economic & Employment Challenges Facing U.S. Veterans

July 10, 2015 Comments off

Exploring the Economic & Employment Challenges Facing U.S. Veterans
Source: Volunteers of America

One of the biggest challenges that Volunteers of America’s programs grapple with every day is helping homeless and vulnerable veterans find and keep good jobs. In an effort to more effectively address this challenge, and continually improve our programs and services, we sponsored this original study exploring the economic and employment challenges facing America’s most vulnerable veterans.

Working with our partners University of Southern California’s Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans and Military Families, we have identified several important themes in this research that will guide our programs for vulnerable veterans in the future:

  • The need for “civilian basic training” that helps veterans transition to post-military life and workplaces
  • Benefits of veteran peer programs
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) remains a leading predictor of veteran unemployment.
  • Employment programs should help all veterans, including those with other than honorable discharges and involvement in the justice system

CRS — Military Retirement: Background and Recent Developments (April 30, 2015)

July 8, 2015 Comments off

Military Retirement: Background and Recent Developments (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The military retirement system is a government-funded noncontributory, defined benefit system that has historically been viewed as a significant incentive in retaining a career military force. The system currently includes monthly compensation for qualified active and reserve retirees, disability benefits for those deemed medically unfit to serve, and a survivor annuity program for the eligible survivors of deceased retirees. The amount of compensation is dependent on time served, basic pay at retirement, and is adjusted annually through a Cost-of-Living-Adjustment (COLA). Military retirees are also entitled to nonmonetary benefits including exchange and commissary privileges, medical care through TRICARE, and access to Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) facilities and programs.

CRS — Health Care for Veterans: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (April 30, 2015)

July 8, 2015 Comments off

Health Care for Veterans: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The Veterans Health Administration (VHA), within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), operates the nation’s largest integrated health care delivery system, provides care to approximately 5.75 million unique veteran patients, and employs more than 270,000 full-time equivalent employees.

Then and Now: Right-Wing Extremism in 1995 and 2015

July 6, 2015 Comments off

Then and Now: Right-Wing Extremism in 1995 and 2015 (PDF)
Source: Anti-Defamation League

In April 1995, the Oklahoma City bombing delivered unprecedented death and destruction to America’s heartland – and focused the country’s attention on the problem of right‐wing extremism. Just six years later, however, the 9/11 terror attacks understandably diverted America’s consciousness away from the extreme right. In the intervening years, extreme right‐wing movements have managed to fly largely under the radar of public awareness.

The 20th anniversary of the bombing is an opportunity for Americans to take stock: How has the extreme right changed in the past two decades? Is it more dangerous? Less dangerous? Could something like the Oklahoma City bombing happen today?

Extreme political or social movements, when based on fundamental rather than passing concerns, often tend to be cyclical. They wax and wane depending on the viability of the political and social environment, the occurrence of spurring or triggering events, and the presence of energetic leadership. Extreme right‐ wing movements in the United States have largely followed such cycles, with surges occurring during the Great Depression, during the era of desegregation and the early Cold War, and in the early 1980s.

When extremist movements surge, their adherents become agitated and angry, and are more likely to take action, including violent action. Often, though not always, their membership will see a marked increase. In some cases, extremist movements can even temporarily penetrate into the mainstream and get some degree of support or sympathy there.

Homegrown Islamic Extremism in 2014

July 6, 2015 Comments off

Homegrown Islamic Extremism in 2014
Source: Anti-Defamation League

Read what ADL has discovered about homegrown Islamic extremism and the influence of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS or ISIL). This new report from ADL’s Center on Extremism provides information on:

  • Americans implicated in terror-related activity
  • How terrorist groups such as ISIS and Al Qaeda leverage social media to recruit Americans
  • The role of anti-Semitism in terrorist narratives
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