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B-2-MOP

Rare image of a B-2 stealth bomber and its Massive Ordnance Penetrator bunker buster bomb

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https://data.healthcare.gov/dataset/QHP-Individual-Medical-Landscape/ba45-xusy

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Instructions and Notes:
1)      Overview of QHP Landscape files
This website contains plan information for states in Federally-Facilitated and State-Partnership Marketplaces.
·         Medical plans in the individual market;
·         Medical plans in the small group (SHOP) market;
·         Dental plans in the individual market; and
·         Dental plans in the small group (SHOP) market.
2)      Identifying plans based on geography and plan criteria
To browse for a plan by specific data fields, click on the icon at the top of the column for a specific field of interest such as state, county, or metal level.  For example, to select a specific county of interest, select the county name from the drop-down menu in the second column and click “OK” when done. The file will filter the data and show plan information only for the selected county.   Multiple data fields may also be selected for browsing at one time.
3)      Premium Information
Premium amounts do not include tax credits that will lower premiums for the majority of those applying, specifically those with income up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level.
The document shows premiums for the following example rating scenarios below:
·         Adult Individual Age 27 (column H) = one adult age 27
·         Adult Individual Age 50 (column I) = one adult age 50
·         Family  (column J) = two adults age 30, two children
·         Single Parent Family (column K) = one adult age 30, two children
·         Couple (column L) = two adults age 40, no children
·         Child (column M) = one child any age
Note that child-only plans will only show premiums for the Premium Child column and plans that prohibit child-only coverage will not show premiums for the Premium Child column.
Premium table specific notation:
*     For catastrophic plans only, individuals over age 30 generally may not enroll. However, individuals over the age of 30 with a hardship exemption in effect that was granted by the Marketplace are eligible to enroll.
++   Premiums forthcoming
Note:  This document includes data from plans in the Federally-facilitated and State-Partnership Marketplaces. Those data were pulled from the Health Insurance Oversight System (HIOS) for Federally-facilitated states, and from the System for Electronic and Rate Form Filing (SERFF) for the partnership states.  They are current as of September 27, 2013, and are subject to change. For counties in Alaska and Nebraska, the premium rates shown are for the rating area within that county with the highest population.  For counties in all other states, the premiums shown are for all persons residing in that county. The premium amounts do not include tax credits that will lower premiums for the majority of those applying, specifically those with income up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level.

Memorial Day

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“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.” — George S. Patton

The Tomb of the Unknowns is a monument dedicated to American service members who have died without their remains being identified. It is also known as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier; it has never been officially named. It is located in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, United States of America. The World War I “Unknown” is a recipient of the Medal of Honor, the Victoria Cross, and several other foreign nations’ highest service awards. The U.S. Unknowns who were interred are also recipients of the Medal of Honor, presented by the U.S. presidents who presided over their funerals.

On March 4, 1921, the United States Congress approved the burial of an unidentified American serviceman from World War I in the plaza of the new Memorial Amphitheater. On November 11, 1921, the unknown soldier brought back from France was interred inside a three-level marble tomb. The marble came from a Yule Marble Quarry located near Marble, Colorado. The marble for the Lincoln Memorial and other famous monuments was quarried there.The bottom two levels are six marble sections each and the top at least nine blocks with a rectangular opening in the center of each level through which the unknown remains were placed through the tomb and into the ground below. A stone other than marble covers the rectangular opening.

Since 1921 the intent was to place a superstructure on top of the Tomb, but it was not until July 3, 1926, that Congress authorized the completion of the Tomb and the expenditure of $50,000 (with a completed cost of $48,000). A design competition was held and won by architect Lorimer Rich and sculptor Thomas Hudson Jones. An appropriation from Congress for the work was secured and on December 21, 1929, a contract for completion of the Tomb itself was entered into. The Tomb would consist of seven pieces of marble in four levels (cap, die, base and sub-base) of which the die is the largest block with the sculpting on all four sides.

In late January 1931, the 56 ton die of Yule marble (quarried 3.9 miles south of Marble, Colorado by the Vermont Marble Company) was lifted out of the quarry. (Only the die block is addressed for no data is available as to the other three levels). The quarrying involved 75 men working one year. When the block was separated from the mountain inside the quarry it weighed 124 tons. A wire saw was then brought into the quarry to cut the block down to 56 tons. On February 3, the block reached the marble mill site (in the town of Marble) where it was crated, then shipped to Vermont on February 8. The block was sawn to final size in West Rutland, Vermont and fabricated by craftsmen in Proctor, Vermont before it was shipped by train to Arlington National Cemetery, Virginiawhere it was carved by the Piccirilli Brothers under the direction of the sculptor Thomas Jones.  (The brothers also carved the Lincoln statue for the Lincoln Memorial). The Tomb was dedicated in April 1932.

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The Tomb was placed at the head of the grave of the World War I Unknown. West of this grave are the crypts of Unknowns from World War II (south) and Korea (north). Between the two lies a crypt that once contained an Unknown from Vietnam (middle). His remains were positively identified in 1998 through DNA testing as First Lieutenant Michael Blassie, United States Air Force and were removed. Those three graves are marked with white marble slabs flush with the plaza.

The Tomb has a flat-faced form and is relieved at the corners and along the sides by neo-classical pilasters set into the surface with objects and inscription carved into the sides. The 1931 symbolism of the objects on the north, south and east sides changed over time.

North and South panel with 3 wreaths on each side represent (in 1931) “a world of memories” but later the six major battles engaged in by American forces in France; Ardennes, Belleau Wood, Chateau-Thierry, Meusse-Argonne, Oisiu-Eiseu, and Somme. Each wreath has 38 leaves and 12 berries.
East panel that faces Washington, D.C., are three Greek figures representing Peace, Victory, and “American Manhood” but later “Valor” instead of “American Manhood”
Western panel is inscribed the words (centered on the panel):
HERE RESTS IN
HONORED GLORY
AN AMERICAN
SOLDIER
KNOWN BUT TO GOD

In 1994, Ted Sampley, a POW/MIA activist, determined that the remains of the Vietnam Unknown were likely those of Air Force 1st Lt. Michael Joseph Blassie, who was shot down near An Loc, Vietnam, in 1972. Sampley published an article in his newsletter and contacted Blassie’s family, who attempted to pursue the case with the Air Force’s casualty office without result. In January 1998 CBS News broadcast a report based on Sampley’s investigation which brought political pressure to support the identification of the remains. The body was exhumed on May 14, 1998. Based on mitochondrial DNA testing, Department of Defense scientists confirmed the remains were those of Blassie. The identification was announced on June 30, 1998, and on July 10, Blassie’s remains arrived home to his family in St. Louis, Missouri; he was reinterred at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery on July 11.

The crypt that once held the remains of the Vietnam Unknown has been replaced. The original inscription of “Vietnam” and the dates of the conflict has been changed to “Honoring and Keeping Faith with America’s Missing Servicemen.” as a reminder of the commitment of the Armed Forces to fullest possible accounting of missing service members.

The tomb guards are soldiers of the United States Army’s 3rd Infantry Regiment. It is considered one of the highest honors to serve as a Sentinel at the Tomb of the Unknowns. Fewer than 20 percent of all volunteers are accepted for training and of those only a fraction pass training to become full-fledged Tomb Guards. This attrition rate has made the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Guard Identification Badge the second least-awarded decoration of the United States military (the first being the Astronaut Badge).

The soldier “walking the mat” does not wear rank insignia, so as not to outrank the Unknowns, whatever their ranks may have been. Non-commissioned officers (usually the Relief Commander and Assistant Relief Commanders), do wear insignia of their rank when changing the guard only. They have a separate uniform (without rank) that is worn when they actually guard the Unknowns or are “Posted”. The duties of the sentinels are not purely ceremonial. The sentinels will confront people who cross the barriers at the tomb or who are disrespectful or loud.

Memorial Day Flags In cermeony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

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“Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings.”

“Surrealism is destructive, but it destroys only what it considers to be shackles limiting our vision.”

“Mistakes are almost always of a sacred nature. Never try to correct them. On the contrary: rationalize them, understand them thoroughly.”

Salvador Dalí

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Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech, 1st Marqués de Dalí de Pubol (May 11, 1904 – January 23, 1989), known as Salvador Dalí, was a prominent Spanish surrealist painter born in Figueres, in the Catalonia region of Spain.

Dalí was a skilled draftsman, best known for the striking and bizarre images in his surrealist work. His painterly skills are often attributed to the influence of Renaissance masters. His best-known work, The Persistence of Memory, was completed in 1931. Dalí’s expansive artistic repertoire included film, sculpture, and photography, in collaboration with a range of artists in a variety of media.

Dalí attributed his “love of everything that is gilded and excessive, my passion for luxury and my love of oriental clothes” to an “Arab lineage”, claiming that his ancestors were descended from the Moors.

Dalí was highly imaginative, and also enjoyed indulging in unusual and grandiose behavior. His eccentric manner and attention-grabbing public actions sometimes drew more attention than his artwork, to the dismay of those who held his work in high esteem, and to the irritation of his critics.

Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech was born on May 11, 1904, at 8:45 am GMT in the town of Figueres, in the Empordà region, close to the French border in Catalonia, Spain. Dalí’s older brother, also named Salvador (born October 12, 1901), had died of gastroenteritis nine months earlier, on August 1, 1903. His father, Salvador Dalí i Cusí, was a middle-class lawyer and notary whose strict disciplinary approach was tempered by his wife, Felipa Domenech Ferrés, who encouraged her son’s artistic endeavors. When he was five, Dalí was taken to his brother’s grave and told by his parents that he was his brother’s reincarnation, a concept which he came to believe. Of his brother, Dalí said, “…[we] resembled each other like two drops of water, but we had different reflections.” He “was probably a first version of myself but conceived too much in the absolute.” Images of his long-dead brother would reappear embedded in his later works, including Portrait of My Dead Brother (1963).

Dalí also had a sister, Ana María, who was three years younger.In 1949, she published a book about her brother, Dalí As Seen By His Sister. His childhood friends included future FC Barcelona footballers Sagibarba and Josep Samitier. During holidays at the Catalan resort of Cadaqués, the trio played football together.

Dalí attended drawing school. In 1916, Dalí also discovered modern painting on a summer vacation trip to Cadaqués with the family of Ramon Pichot, a local artist who made regular trips to Paris. The next year, Dalí’s father organized an exhibition of his charcoal drawings in their family home. He had his first public exhibition at the Municipal Theater in Figueres in 1919.

In February 1921, Dalí’s mother died of breast cancer. Dalí was 16 years old; he later said his mother’s death “was the greatest blow I had experienced in my life. I worshiped her… I could not resign myself to the loss of a being on whom I counted to make invisible the unavoidable blemishes of my soul.” After her death, Dalí’s father married his deceased wife’s sister. Dalí did not resent this marriage, because he had a great love and respect for his aunt.

In 1922, Dalí moved into the Residencia de Estudiantes (Students’ Residence) in Madrid and studied at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando. A lean 1.72 m (5 ft. 7¾ in.) tall, Dalí already drew attention as an eccentric and dandy. He had long hair and sideburns, coat, stockings, and knee-breeches in the style of English aesthetes of the late 19th century.

At the Residencia, he became close friends with (among others) Pepín Bello, Luis Buñuel, and Federico García Lorca. The friendship with Lorca had a strong element of mutual passion, but Dalí rejected the poet’s sexual advances.

However it was his paintings, in which he experimented with Cubism, that earned him the most attention from his fellow students. At the time of these early works, Dalí probably did not completely understand the Cubist movement. His only information on Cubist art came from magazine articles and a catalog given to him by Pichot, since there were no Cubist artists in Madrid at the time. In 1924, the still-unknown Salvador Dalí illustrated a book for the first time. It was a publication of the Catalan poem Les bruixes de Llers (“The Witches of Llers”) by his friend and schoolmate, poet Carles Fages de Climent. Dalí also experimented with Dada, which influenced his work throughout his life.

Dalí was expelled from the Academia in 1926, shortly before his final exams when he was accused of starting an unrest.His mastery of painting skills was evidenced by his realistic The Basket of Bread, painted in 1926. That same year, he made his first visit to Paris, where he met Pablo Picasso, whom the young Dalí revered. Picasso had already heard favorable reports about Dalí from Joan Miró.  As he developed his own style over the next few years, Dalí made a number of works heavily influenced by Picasso and Miró.

Some trends in Dalí’s work that would continue throughout his life were already evident in the 1920s. Dalí devoured influences from many styles of art, ranging from the most academically classic, to the most cutting-edge avant garde.  His classical influences included Raphael, Bronzino, Francisco de Zurbarán, Vermeer, and Velázquez. He used both classical and modernist techniques, sometimes in separate works, and sometimes combined. Exhibitions of his works in Barcelona attracted much attention along with mixtures of praise and puzzled debate from critics. Dalí grew a flamboyant moustache, influenced by 17th-century Spanish master painter Diego Velázquez. The moustache became an iconic trademark of his appearance for the rest of his life.

In 1929, Dalí collaborated with surrealist film director Luis Buñuel on the short film Un Chien Andalou (An Andalusian Dog). His main contribution was to help Buñuel write the script for the film. Dalí later claimed to have also played a significant role in the filming of the project, but this is not substantiated by contemporary accounts. Also, in August 1929, Dalí met his lifelong and primary muse, inspiration, and future wife Gala,born Elena Ivanovna Diakonova. She was a Russian immigrant ten years his senior, who at that time was married to surrealist poet Paul Éluard. In the same year, Dalí had important professional exhibitions and officially joined the Surrealist group in the Montparnasse quarter of Paris. His work had already been heavily influenced by surrealism for two years. The Surrealists hailed what Dalí called his paranoiac-critical method of accessing the subconscious for greater artistic creativity.

Meanwhile, Dalí’s relationship with his father was close to rupture. Don Salvador Dalí y Cusi strongly disapproved of his son’s romance with Gala, and saw his connection to the Surrealists as a bad influence on his morals. The final straw was when Don Salvador read in a Barcelona newspaper that his son had recently exhibited in Paris a drawing of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, with a provocative inscription: “Sometimes, I spit for fun on my mother’s portrait”.

Outraged, Don Salvador demanded that his son recant publicly. Dalí refused, perhaps out of fear of expulsion from the Surrealist group, and was violently thrown out of his paternal home on December 28, 1929. His father told him that he would be disinherited, and that he should never set foot in Cadaqués again. The following summer, Dalí and Gala rented a small fisherman’s cabin in a nearby bay at Port Lligat. He bought the place, and over the years enlarged it, gradually building his much beloved villa by the sea. Dalí’s father would eventually relent and come to accept his son’s companion.

Galarina

In 1980, Dalí’s health took a catastrophic turn. His near-senile wife, Gala Dalí, allegedly had been dosing him with a dangerous cocktail of unprescribed medicine that damaged his nervous system, thus causing an untimely end to his artistic capacity. At 76 years old, Dalí was a wreck, and his right hand trembled terribly, with Parkinson-like symptoms.

In 1982, King Juan Carlos bestowed on Dalí the title of Marqués de Dalí de Púbol (Marquis of Dalí de Púbol) in the nobility of Spain, hereby referring to Púbol, the place where he lived. The title was in first instance hereditary, but on request of Dalí changed for life only in 1983. To show his gratitude for this, Dalí later gave the king a drawing (Head of Europa, which would turn out to be Dalí’s final drawing) after the king visited him on his deathbed.

Gala died on June 10, 1982, at the age of 87. After Gala’s death, Dalí lost much of his will to live. He deliberately dehydrated himself, possibly as a suicide attempt, or perhaps in an attempt to put himself into a state of suspended animation as he had read that some microorganisms could do. He moved from Figueres to the castle in Púbol, which he had bought for Gala and was the site of her death.

In 1984, a fire broke out in his bedroom under unclear circumstances. It was possibly a suicide attempt by Dalí, or possibly simple negligence by his staff. In any case, Dalí was rescued and returned to Figueres, where a group of his friends, patrons, and fellow artists saw to it that he was comfortable living in his Theater-Museum in his final years.

There have been allegations that Dalí was forced by his guardians to sign blank canvases that would later, even after his death, be used in forgeries and sold as originals. As a result, art dealers tend to be wary of late works attributed to Dalí.

In November 1988, Dalí entered the hospital with heart failure; a pacemaker had already been implanted previously. On December 5, 1988, he was visited by King Juan Carlos, who confessed that he had always been a serious devotee of Dalí.

On January 23, 1989, while his favorite record of Tristan and Isolde played, he died of heart failure at Figueres at the age of 84. Coming full circle, he is buried in the crypt of his Teatro Museo in Figueres. The location is across the street from the church of Sant Pere, where he had his baptism, first communion, and funeral, and is three blocks from the house where he was born.

The Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation currently serves as his official estate. The US copyright representative for the Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation is the Artists Rights Society. In 2002, the Society made the news when they asked Google to remove a customized version of its logo put up to commemorate Dalí, alleging that portions of specific artworks under their protection had been used without permission. Google complied with the request, but denied that there was any copyright violation.

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An X-47B unmanned combat air system (UCAS) demonstrator prepares to execute a touch and go landing on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), marking the first time any unmanned aircraft has attempted a touch and go landing at sea. George H.W. Bush is conducting training operations in the Atlantic Ocean.

An X-47B unmanned combat air system (UCAS) demonstrator prepares to execute a touch and go landing on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), marking the first time any unmanned aircraft has attempted a touch and go landing at sea. George H.W. Bush is conducting training operations in the Atlantic Ocean.

Pentagon requests $79.4 billion for combat operations

The Pentagon on Friday sent two budget items to Congress – one to provide funding for combat operations next year, and another to limit the sting of sequestration this year.

The Defense Department is asking for $79.4 billion for its overseas contingency operations, or OCO, budget in 2014. The department did not include the OCO request with the $526.6 billion Pentagon base budget request submitted in April, saying that continuing deliberations over troop levels in Afghanistan made the spending picture unclear.

Troop numbers in Afghanistan will decline markedly during fiscal 2014, which starts Oct. 1. The Obama administration has said it would remove just over half the current number of troops before stabilizing the level at about 34,000 by February. The drawdown is expected to continue after Afghan elections are held in April, during which U.S. troops will assist with security.

The new OCO request is the smallest since 2005. Congress approved $86.5 billion for war spending in the current fiscal year.

Though troop numbers will be far lower, the OCO request only fell marginally in part because DOD needs to withdraw equipment and remove facilities that have been built up in Afghanistan over 12 years of fighting, Pentagon press secretary George Little told reporters Monday.

“It’s not all about cost-per-troop in the OCO budget,” he said.  The department also sent a $9.6 billion reprogramming request to Congress to shift funds from military personnel and investment accounts into those with pressing shortfalls as a result of nearly $40 billion in sequestration cuts in the current fiscal year.

“We’re trying to scrape for every penny, dime and nickel to achieve an additional $37 billion in cuts between now and the end of September,” Little said. If Congress approves the measure, the money would support training and military operations, as well as higher-than-expected fuel costs this year.

“The main goal that we’re trying to deal with right now… is to limit the impact of sequestration on military readiness, particularly operations, training and maintenance accounts,” he said. Pentagon officials hope the reprogramming request is approved by Congress by early June, Little said.

George H.W. Bush is conducting training operations in the Atlantic Ocean.

X-47B Accomplishes First Ever Carrier Touch and Go aboard CVN 77

” …USS GEORGE H.W. BUSH, At Sea (NNS) — The Navy’s X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System Demonstrator (UCAS-D) has begun touch and go landing operations aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) May 17. For UCAS-D, this represents the most significant technology maturation of the program. Ship relative navigation and precision touchdown of the X-47B are critical technology elements for all future Unmanned Carrier Aviation (UCA) aircraft.

Don Blottenberger, UCAS-D Deputy Program manager, commented, “This landing, rubber hitting deck, is extremely fulfilling for the team and is the culmination of years of relative navigation development. Now, we are set to demonstrate the final pieces of the demonstration.”

Earlier in the week, the UCAS-D test team and CVN 77 worked together to successfully complete the first ever launch of an unmanned aircraft from an aircraft carrier proving the importance of introducing unmanned aviation into the already powerful arsenal of aircraft squadrons. “We are proud to be a part of another historic first for Naval Aviation. The landing was spot-on and it’s impressive to witness the evolution of the Carrier Air Wing,” said Capt. Brian E. Luther, Commanding Officer USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77)

The various launch and landing operations of the X-47B on the flight deck of George H. W. Bush signify historic events for naval aviation history. These demonstrations display the Navy’s readiness to move forward with unmanned carrier aviation operations.  Capt. Jaime Engdahl, program manager for Unmanned Combat Air Systems program office, said, “When we operate in a very dynamic and harsh carrier environment, we need networks and communication links that have high integrity and reliability to ensure mission success and provide precise navigation and placement of an unmanned vehicle.”

“Today, we have demonstrated this with the X-47B, and we will continue to demonstrate, consistent, reliable, repeatable touch-down locations on a moving carrier flight deck,” he continued. “This precision relative navigation technology is key to ensuring future unmanned systems can operate off our aircraft carriers.” The UCAS-D program plans to conduct shore-based arrested landings of the X-47B at NAS Patuxent River in the coming months before final carrier-based arrestments later in 2013.

George H.W. Bush is currently conducting training operations in the Atlantic Ocean, strengthening the Navy’s forward operating and war fighting ability…”

George H.W. Bush is conducting training operations in the Atlantic Ocean.

McRaven Sets Future Course for Special Ops Command

TAMPA, Fla., May 22, 2013 – After 12 years of unprecedented demand for special operations forces capability worldwide, the commander of U.S Special Operations Command is shaping his forces for the future based on his “SOF 2020” vision. Navy Adm. William H. McRaven began an assessment of how to posture special operations forces to meet 21st-century challenges shortly after taking command in August 2011. He formed operational planning teams to focus on four major priorities:

– Win the current fight in Afghanistan;

– Strengthen the global special operations forces network;

– Preserve the force and families; and

– Resource responsibly.

By necessity, McRaven said, winning the current fight remains at the top of the list, a vital step toward accomplishing the other pillars of the vision. “Every commander that is in my position realizes that you have to take care of the 25-meter target first. For us, that is Afghanistan,” the admiral told several hundred participants at the 2013 Special Operations Forces Industry Conference here last week.

“And I think we are making great strides in Afghanistan,” he said, citing the success of a new command structure that aligns various NATO and U.S. special operations forces under a two-star headquarters. “We are achieving in the SOF world probably the best results we have seen in many, many years in terms of synchronizing the effect on the ground, on the battlefield by pulling together all three of the SOF components,” he said.

But shaping for post-2014, McRaven said, the defense strategic guidance released in January 2012 and the Capstone Concept for Joint Operations championed by Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, form the baseline for Socom’s future force and operations.

“Special operations forces are uniquely suited to implement the guidance outlined in these documents,” he told the House and Senate armed services committees earlier this year. With a pivot toward the Asia-Pacific region and continuing focus on the Middle East and Southwest Asia, the guidance includes a solid role for special operators around the globe, McRaven told the Tampa forum. “I am very comfortable that … there will still be a place for a force that is small, light, agile, networked, partnered — the sort of things that are a part of the SOF core competencies,” he said.

But looking to the future of the special operations force, McRaven said, those enamored with “Zero Dark 30” — the blockbuster movie depicting the SEAL mission that took out Osama bin Laden — and the myriad bestsellers about high-profile special operations forces activities are likely to be disappointed.

“The fact of the matter is, that [counterterrorism] piece — that we do better than anybody in the world — … is a small part of our portfolio,” McRaven said. “The broader part of our portfolio is how we build capability, how we link with our allies and our partners overseas so that we can help them take care of their problems so we don’t have to end up doing [counterterrorism].”

This capacity-building is vital in confronting the long tentacles of trans-regional and often globally networked adversaries, the admiral told the audience. “There is no such thing as a local problem any more,” McRaven said. “If you have a problem in Mali, it will manifest itself in Europe. And that problem in Europe will manifest itself in the Far East. Then the problem in the Far East will manifest itself in the Middle East. The world is linked, and therefore we need to be linked. We have to build a network to defeat the enemy network.”

McRaven’s SOF 2020 vision calls for a globally networked force of special operations forces, interagency representatives, allies and partners, with aligned structures, processes and authorities to enable its operations. Globally networked forces, he explained, will provide geographic commanders and chiefs of mission with improved special operations capability as they respond rapidly and persistently to address regional contingencies and threats to stability.

McRaven noted his own experience working with the Joint Special Operations Command in Afghanistan. “It has been interesting to work in a network like that, and we do that very, very well on the direct-action side,” he said. Part of the Socom plan, he added, is figuring out how to extend that network out to the theater special operations commands and down to special operations forward elements and forces assigned to them.

But McRaven said his No. 1 mission — one on which every other initiative depends — is the preservation of the force and family. Shortly after assuming command, McRaven received the results of an extensive evaluation of the special operations forces community, directed by Navy Adm. Eric T. Olson, the former commander. The findings were sobering, he said.

“It said the SOF force as a whole was frayed,” McRaven said, a state he said continues with no light at the end of the tunnel in terms of operational demands. “I would say, in the last 20 months, the force is fraying at a rate I am not comfortable with at all,” he added.

McRaven recalled his initial SEAL training, provided by Vietnam veterans who, along with their families, weren’t properly cared for after the war. “We are not going to let that happen to this force,” he said. “So we are putting a fair amount of effort, money, manpower [and] time into preserving the force and families.”

Finally, McRaven underscored the importance of responsive resourcing for the special operations forces community and the “strategic employment” of SOF funding. Socom’s unique acquisition authorities are critical to meeting the demands of the force and its operations, he said. The goal, he added, is to simplify processes and cut through red tape to “move money more quickly to deal with problems from the field and be able to provide that capability as quickly as possible.”

Meanwhile, McRaven acknowledged budgetary constraints during his congressional testimony and affirmed his commitment to “common-sense steps to cost-cutting and cost avoidance.” As he implements the SOF 2020 vision and aligns resources to meet it, the admiral emphasized to Congress the value special operations forces deliver to the United States. “Special operations forces exemplify the ethic of smart power — fast and flexible, constantly adapting, learning new languages and cultures, dedicated to forming partnerships where we can work together,” he said.

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Admiral William H. McRaven

Commander, United States Special Operations Command
United States Navy

Adm. McRaven is the ninth commander of United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. USSOCOM ensures the readiness of joint special operations forces and, as directed, conducts operations worldwide.

McRaven served from June 2008 to June 2011 as the 11th commander of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) headquartered at Fort Bragg, N.C. JSOC is charged to study special operations requirements and techniques, ensure interoperability and equipment standardization, plan and conduct special operations exercises and training, and develop joint special operations tactics.

McRaven served from June 2006 to March 2008 as commander, Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR). In addition to his duties as commander, SOCEUR, he was designated as the first director of the NATO Special Operations Forces Coordination Centre where he was charged with enhancing the capabilities and interoperability of all NATO Special Operations Forces.

McRaven has commanded at every level within the special operations community, including assignments as deputy commanding general for Operations at JSOC; commodore of Naval Special Warfare Group One; commander of SEAL Team Three; task group commander in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility; task unit commander during Desert Storm and Desert Shield; squadron commander at Naval Special Warfare Development Group; and, SEAL platoon commander at Underwater Demolition Team 21/SEAL Team Four.

McRaven’s diverse staff and interagency experience includes assignments as the director for Strategic Planning in the Office of Combating Terrorism on the National Security Council Staff; assessment director at USSOCOM, on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations, and the chief of staff at Naval Special Warfare Group One.

McRaven’s professional education includes assignment to the Naval Postgraduate School, where he helped establish, and was the first graduate from, the Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict curriculum.

William H. McRaven
Birth name William Harry McRaven
Nickname “Bill”
Born November 6, 1955 (age 57)
Pinehurst, North Carolina, U.S.
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service 1977–present
Rank US-O10 insignia.svg Admiral
Commands held U.S. Special Operations Command
Joint Special Operations Command
Special Operations Command Europe
Naval Special Warfare Group 1
SEAL Team 3
Battles/wars Persian Gulf War

Operation Enduring Freedom

Iraq War

Death of Osama bin Laden

AwardsDefense Distinguished Service Medal
Defense Superior Service Medal (2)
Legion of Merit (2)
Bronze Star Medal (2)

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Military suffers wave of ‘gay’ sex assaults

“… A recent military report on sexual assault in the military shocked many in Washington and around the nation, but a leading expert on military personnel revealed the prevalence of men assaulting other men is one of the major headlines in this study. The extended analysis of the report first appeared in Monday’s edition of the the Washington Times.

The Defense Department survey of sexual assault in the military during fiscal 2012 estimated 26,000 assaults took place in the armed forces. Nearly 3,000 of them were formally reported. Just more than 6 percent of women reported being victims of assault and 1.2 percent of men said the same. Given the much larger number of men in the military, those numbers suggest 14,000 of the assaults in the Pentagon study happened to men.

Among the assaults formally reported, 88 percent of reports came from women and 12 percent from men. The numbers are getting dramatically worse. “The number of reports of sexual assaults among military personnel have actually increased by 129 percent since 2004,” said Center for Military Readiness President Elaine Donnelly, who pointed out the number of formal reports of sexual assault jumped from 1,275 to 2,949 in just eight years.

She told WND when factoring in civilians working for or around the military, the increase in that time is 98 percent. Women are identified as the attacker in just two percent of all assaults, meaning most men who suffer assault are targeted by other men.

“So we’ve got a male-on-male problem here. The Department of Defense doesn’t want to comment on this. They know that the numbers are there. They say that they care, but all the attention is usually given to the female members of the military who are subjected to sexual assault,” Donnelly said.

The Washington Times article also includes analysis from Aaron Belkin, who heads The Palm Center. He said the rise in male-on-male sexual assault does not reflect the increase of homosexuals in the military but, rather, those assaults are ”somewhat similar to prison rape.”

“Well, that’s a great slogan to use for recruiting young men into the military, isn’t it? It’s outrageous. And yet, the Department of Defense doesn’t quite know what to do with these figures, and so they just sort of put them in there and hope nobody notices,” said Donnelly, who points out The Palm Center is a homosexual activist organization.

While Donnelly fiercely opposed repealing the ban on homosexuals serving openly in the military, she said it’s important to keep monitoring the numbers to determine how much that policy change specifically contributes to the problem. She said the increase in sexual assaults against female service members should not be diminished, either. Donnelly said a lot of work lies ahead to reverse this trend, but the military and the federal government are kidding themselves if they don’t think some major policy decisions aren’t contributing to the rise in sexual violence.

“I think we have to start with the basics, and that means basic training. Back in 1998, unanimously, the Kassebaum-Baker Commission came out with recommendation to separate basic training for Army, Air Force and Navy trainers, (to) do it like the Marines do. The Marines train basic training separately, male and female at Parris Island. That’s a good thing to do. It’s a good first start,” Donnelly said.

“Second, they should stop pretending that sexuality does not matter. You cannot solve a problem by extending it into the combat arms. The big push is for women in combat, this argument that we have to have women in the infantry so they’ll be respected more and they won’t be assaulted,” said Donnelly, who noted that the strategy for women in combat that started more than a generation ago from then-Rep. Pat Schroeder, D-Colo., has been thoroughly discredited.

“Respect for women in the military today is higher than ever, but the sexual assault numbers keep climbing up,” she said. “I think before we start implementing a theory that’s been discredited.  The members of the Pentagon and the people who make policy in Congress as well, they need to stop.  They need to assess where we are, what has happened in the last two decades and they need to stop pretending that a lot of sensitivity training or highly paid consultants, that that is going to make a difference in the sex problems we’re seeing right now,” said Donnelly…”

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