White House Announces Six Names for Top Pentagon Positions

AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, File

Breitbart, by Kristina Wong, March 16, 2017:

The White House announced Thursday six new names for top political appointments at the Pentagon, including Deputy Defense Secretary.

The bunch has vast experience in the defense world: Three have congressional staff experience on defense-related committees, two have prior military experience, and four have prior government experience under the Bush administration.

The nominee for deputy defense secretary, Patrick M. Shanahan, boasts long-time business experience at Boeing, one of the largest defense contractors in the country.

Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said the nominees were personally recommended by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. He said:

These are all highly qualified individuals who were personally recommended by Secretary Mattis to the President for nomination. Secretary Mattis is grateful to Deputy Secretary Bob Work for agreeing to continue serving until his successor is confirmed. His steady leadership is critical during this time of transition, and Secretary Mattis continues to have full confidence in him as he carries out crucial work in managing in the Department.

They are as announced:

Robert Daigle of Virginia will serve as Director of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation (CAPE), Department of Defense. Mr. Daigle previously served in CAPE during the Bush Administration as Director of Program Resources and Information Systems Management Division. Mr. Daigle earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Mathematics from the University of Vermont. He was granted an MBA in Finance from Columbia Business School and a Master of Science in International Security Studies from Georgetown University. Mr. Daigle is a Professional Staff Member on the House Armed Services Committee and was the Executive Director of the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission. He previously served in the United States Army.

Elaine McCusker of Virginia will serve as Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense, Comptroller. Ms. McCusker is the Director, Resources and Analysis, Headquarters U.S. Central Command, MacDill Air Force Base, FL.  Previous to this position, she served as a professional staff member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, with the Department of Navy Headquarters, and with the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller). Ms. McCusker previously worked in the private sector and academic community, including with Argonne National Laboratory/Department of Energy and the University of Washington.

David L. Norquist of Virginia will serve as Under Secretary of Defense, Comptroller. Mr. Norquist is a Partner with Kearney and Company, a Certified Public Accounting firm.  He has 27 years of experience in Federal financial management beginning as a Federal employee in 1989 with the Department of the Army.  He has also served on the professional staff of the House Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Defense and as Deputy Under Secretary of Defense in the office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller).  He was the first Senate confirmed Chief Financial Officer for the Department of Homeland Security where he established a formal process to eliminate pervasive weaknesses in DHS’s financial statement and put the Department on its path to a clean audit opinion.  Mr. Norquist attended the University of Michigan where he received both a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a Master of Public Policy in 1989.  He also received a Master of Arts in National Security Studies from Georgetown University in 1995.  He is a Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM).

Kenneth P. Rapuano of Virginia will serve as an Assistant Secretary of Defense, Homeland Defense and Global Security. Mr. Rapuano has a long career in national security and homeland security affairs in the private, public and academic sectors.  He currently serves as Senior Vice President and Director of the Studies and Analysis Group at the ANSER Corporation, and previously led the Homeland Security Studies and Analysis Institute. Mr. Rapuano served as White House Deputy Homeland Security Advisor from 2004-2006, has served in numerous roles with the departments of Energy and Defense, and has deployed numerous times on Active Duty, Reserves Duty with the United States Marine Corps and as a civilian with the U.S. Department of Defense.

Patrick M. Shanahan of Washington will serve as Deputy Secretary of Defense. Mr. Shanahan is senior vice president, Supply Chain & Operations at the Boeing Company, where he is responsible for oversight of the company’s manufacturing operations and supplier management functions. Mr. Shanahan came to this position from Boeing Commercial Airplanes, where he served as senior vice president of Airplane Programs and oversaw the management of profit and loss for the 737, 747, 767, 777 and 787 programs. Previously, Mr. Shanahan was vice president and general manager of Boeing Missile Defense Systems and vice president and general manager for Rotorcraft Systems in Philadelphia, where he was responsible for all U.S. Army Aviation, including the Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey tiltrotor, the CH-47 Chinook and the AH-64D Apache attack helicopter. Mr. Shanahan is a Royal Aeronautical Society Fellow, Society of Manufacturing Engineers Fellow, and American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Associate Fellow. He serves as a Regent at the University of Washington and participates in numerous professional and charitable organizations, including the Washington Roundtable. Mr. Shanahan holds a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from the University of Washington and two advanced degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology: a Master of Science in mechanical engineering, and an MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

David Joel Trachtenberg of Virginia will serve as Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense, Policy. Mr. Trachtenberg is the President and CEO of Shortwaver Consulting, LLC, a national security consultancy.  Prior to this role, Mr. Trachtenberg was the Vice President and head of Strategic Analysis Division at CACI-National Security Research. Mr. Trachtenberg previously served in several roles at the Department of Defense, most recently as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy where he was responsible for issues relating to NATO, Europe, Russia and Eurasia, technology security, counterproliferation, missile defense, nuclear forces, and arms control.  Additionally, Mr. Trachtenberg was a professional staff member with the House Armed Services Committee. Mr. Trachtenberg holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from the University of Southern California and a Master of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.

Mattis: ISIS ‘couldn’t last 2 minutes in fight with our troops’

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SecDef nod calls for ‘battles of annihilation” with “no survivors” against terror group, while beating drums of all-out war with Iran.

CounterJihad, by Paul Sperry, January 12, 2017:

Defense secretary nominee Gen. Jim “Mad Dog” Mattis believes ISIS is “al-Qaida on steroids” and must be defeated in head-to-head “battles of annihilation” that leave “no survivors” on the enemy side, according to a recent discussion he participated in with a conservative think tank.

The career Marine, who faces Senate questioning at a confirmation today, also asserts that the US military “can handle Iran” in a shooting war, but cautioned that the Navy needs more warships to challenge “China’s bullying in the South China Sea.”

Mattis made the eye-opening remarks in a little-noticed interview with Stanford University’s Hoover Institution in Palo Alto, Calif., where he is a visiting fellow.

Before retiring in 2013 after a 43-year-career in the US Marine Corps, Mattis directed military operations of more than 200,000 troops and allied forces across the Middle East as commander of U.S. Central Command.

Mattis doesn’t believe in “managing” the Islamic State threat or just running ISIS out of Middle Eastern towns, but pulverizing the Islamist enemy.

He said the US currently has the forces available to wipe out ISIS, which operates primarily out of Syria and Iraq, but “they’re not in place” due to a lack of “political” will to deploy them, an attitude that is expected to change under a Trump administration.

“They’re a lot like al-Qaida philosophically, but operationally, they’re like al-Qaida on steroids. And when you put that together, they’re a uniquely capable organization,” he added during the revealing 2015 Hoover interview. “But the fact is, they couldn’t last two minutes in a fight with our troops.”

Mattis said America and the West can no longer tolerate “the assassinations, the mass killings, the mass rapes that are going on there,” to say nothing of the ISIS-directed and -inspired terrorist attacks plaguing both European and American cities.

“We should try to shut down its recruiting, shut down its finances, and then work to fight battles of annihilation — not attrition, but annihilation — against them; so that the first time they meet the forces that we put against them, there should basically be no survivors,” he asserted. “They should learn that we can be even tougher than them.”

Added the general: “If they want to fight, they should pay a heck of a price for what they’ve done to innocent people out there.”

Mattis didn’t pull any punches regarding Iran, either, which has aggressively pursued the development of nuclear weapons while threatening both the US and Israel.

Through its proxy Hezbollah, the Islamist regime has carried out terrorism around the globe, including attacks that have killed American citizens. In 1983, for example, an Iran-trained suicide truck bomber killed 220 of Mattis’s fellow Marines while they slept in barracks in Beirut. Iran is also responsible for IED-related deaths of US soldiers in Iraq.

Mattis, who joined the Marine Corps at 18, confidently predicted victory if the US had to go to war against Iran.

“It would take more forces if we had to go with the military option for Iran,” he said. “But we can handle Iran. I have no doubt.”

“It would be bloody awful,” he added. “But could we handle it from a military point of view? Absolutely.”

An invasion of Iran would be tougher than Iraq because Iran is surrounded by mountains, making it hard for tanks and artillery to pass. Behind the towering ranges, the terrain becomes unstable salt flats and dry lake beds oozing with thick black mud that would make it even more difficult to advance on Tehran.

It was the Great Salt Desert where the fateful 1980 military mission to rescue American hostages in Tehran ran into bad weather and had to be aborted.

Asked about Beijing seizing islands in the South China Sea and clandestinely building airstrips and other military installations there, Mattis says the US should no longer turn a blind eye to such territorial expansion in contested international waters. He says the US will need a larger naval presence there to check Beijing’s military aggression.

“In light of China’s bullying in the South China Sea, I don’t think we’re building enough ships,” Mattis noted, adding that China’s military maneuvers will require the Pentagon to adopt “a more naval strategy.”

Right now the Navy has 272 ships, more than 80 ships short of what the Navy Force Structure Assessment calls for to meet the new threat reality in the South China Sea and other global hotspots.

“We may have to give the Navy a bigger slice of the budget,” he added, to help reassure Taiwan and other allies in the region threatened by the communist army’s growing mischief.

“There are a lot of nations out in that region that would like to see more US Navy port calls in their harbors, from Vietnam to the Philippines, from Malaysia to Taiwan and Japan,” Mattis said.

He added that while the first option in the growing conflict ought to be diplomacy, “Sometimes the best ambassador you can have is a man-of-war.”

Mattis, who following 9/11 commanded the First Marine Expeditionary Brigade and Naval Task Force 58 in operations against the Taliban in southern Afghanistan, also revealed in the interview that he does not agree with President Obama that the US combat role in Afghanistan is over.

“We have irreconcilable differences with the Taliban,” he said.

Added Mattis: “They will continue to support al-Qaida, they will continue to do this kind of terrorism that they conduct over there every day. And as they do that, for us to declare arbitrarily that the war is over may not match the reality on the ground.”

Since Obama withdrew troops in 2014, ISIS and other terror groups have joined the Taliban and al-Qaida in Afghanistan, all working to topple the US-backed government in Kabul. All told, there are now 20 terrorist groups operating inside Afghanistan and along the Afghan-Pakistani border region.

Also see:

Contracted: America’s Secret Warriors

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If truth is the first casualty of war, author Kerry Patton has ably attempted to correct that dictum in his highly entertaining novel, Contracted: America’s Secret Warriors, a fictionalized account of the heroic but overlooked work performed by civilian contractors in Afghanistan.

As a military veteran and expert in intelligence, security and counter-terrorism who has worked at the highest levels of government, including the Department of Defense and Homeland Security, Patton initially began Contracted as an autobiography.

However, fear of breaching intelligence secrets led Patton to switch gears, writing a fictionalized story instead, one based on true events, but told through the voice of Declan Collins, a former military man recruited out of civilian life by the CIA for intelligence work in Afghanistan.

There, Declan and his civilian partner, Rex Browhart, himself a former military vet, find themselves assigned as military advisors at a Forward Operating Base in eastern Afghanistan.

At the FOB, Collins and Browhart form a working alliance with a varied group of officers and enlisted men on a plan to arm Afghan warlords eager to fight the Taliban, a plan Collins believes will save American lives.

Most of the men aiding Collins in this task are a mixture of Special Forces, including Delta Force, Navy Seals and Army Rangers and Green Berets. To Collins, these men are modern day warriors, part of a dying breed, driven to sacrifice their lives for God, family and country.

It’s a patriotic theme Patton employs throughout his book, one in which money isn’t the primary motivating factor driving these contractors — most of whom are former military — but rather a deep love of country further fueled by an abiding loyalty to aid their brothers-in-arms.

Unfortunately, the press has helped to paint a picture of civilian contractors as either nothing more than mercenaries in search of a quick paycheck or out-of-control homicidal maniacs, such as those in Blackwater, the private security consulting firm employed by the US government during the Iraq war.

Not surprisingly, that negative portrayal tends to overlook the heroism and sacrifices that many contractors have performed and endured once they have left the comfort and safety of the civilian world for life in a combat zone.

In fact, it is to that point that Patton reportedly wrote Contracted, noting it is “truly meant for those unsung heroes who never get recognized yet often get chastised.”

Patton also doesn’t neglect the hardships faced by the family and loved ones left behind, weaving into his book the struggles and fears faced by Collins’ new young wife, Brannagh. As Patton has noted, “This book is not just for them (the contractors) but for their friends and family as well. They too deserve some recognition.”

That recognition comes at the same time as the use of civilian contractors in combat zones by American corporations, defense contractors, and governmental agencies — including the DOD, State Department and CIA — is growing in both prominence and danger.

Specifically, in 2012 American civilian contractors constituted 62 percent of the US presence in Afghanistan. These contractors are used in many unarmed roles, including transporting supplies, staffing food services, building homes and commercial facilities and serving as interpreters.

However, they are also employed in armed capacities, jobs which include providing security for State Department and Pentagon officials, guarding US installations, gathering intelligence and training the Afghan army and police.

Still, whether operating in armed or unarmed roles, the risks these civilian contractors face are great. In 2011, 430 American contractors were reported killed in Afghanistan — 386 who worked for the Defense Department — and 1,777 injured or wounded.

Read more at Front Page

Frank Crimi is a San Diego-based writer and author of the book Raining Frogs and Heart Attacks. You can read more of Frank’s work at his blog,www.politicallyunbalanced.com.

Justice for Ft. Hood Heroes

Caroline Glick:

November 5, the day before the US Presidential elections will be the third anniversary of the massacre of 13 US soldiers at Ft. Hood by Islamic terrorist, US Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan.

The Obama administration has refused to acknowledged that the attack was a terrorist attack. The Defense Department has insisted on covering up the nature of the attack. The reports it released following the attack failed to mention Hasan’s Islamic motivations. Still today the Defense Department insists on defining the massacre as a case of “workplace violence.”
To advance this fiction, the Defense Department has refused to award Purple Hearts to the families of the soldiers murdered by Hasan, or to those who were wounded in his attack. It has refused to compensate the families of those murdered or the survivors who were incapacitated at the level the US military compensates the families of soldiers killed in the line of duty and soldiers wounded by enemy fire.
This year Congress tried to rectify this obscenity by including Purple Heart citations for Ft. Hood casualties in the Defense Appropriations Act.
Obama said he would veto the bill, (and thus deny the military funding), if they didn’t remove the clause about the medals. That is how far Obama is willing to go to keep up this fiction, cover up the existence of enemy forces within the US military, deny the threat posed to the US by radical Islam, and in the process, punish and dishonor American soldiers who were killed in the line of duty in an act of war against the US by a self-proclaimed “Soldier of Allah.”
There is no precedent in US history for this sort of behavior by an American president. None.
Watch the video below, with testimony from the victims of the attack. It was produced by the Coalition for Ft. Hood Heroes. And think about them, and the commander in chief who refuses for ideological reasons to recognize what happened that day, and so dishonors them every single day.
Think about four more years of this reckless behavior if he is reelected the day after the third anniversary of the massacre, and then share this video with everyone you know.

Attention All Military Personnel: Absentee Ballots Available At Heroesvote.org

A Message from The Gunny:

So you think that you’re squared away…a highly motivated, truly dedicated, lean mean fighting machine? I bet you are ready for anything.

But, are you election ready?

Have you taken the time to make sure that your voice is heard on Election Day? It takes just a few minutes to request an absentee ballot and can be done right now. There are no excuses.

And, here is the deal: you can’t complain about the numbnuts in Washington, D.C. if you don’t vote. This year’s elections will have a significant impact on your life and your family’s lives. Big decisions will be made about your pay and benefits, national security, and the future of America. Failure is not an option.

You have sacrificed much to defend our fundamental right to vote at home and all over the world. It’s your right too.

Make sure that your voice is heard in November. Time to sound off!

Why is this important?…read the following:

Military ballot requests down in key battleground states

Requests from military voters for absentee ballots have dropped significantly  since 2008, according to newly released statistics, prompting claims that the  Department of Defense is dragging its feet in enacting a law meant to boost  military voting.

The drop in the battleground states of Virginia and Ohio is among the most  pronounced. According to statistics released Monday by The Military Voter  Protection Project, the number of absentee ballot requests by both military  members and other overseas voters in the two states has dropped 70 percent since  2008.

Virginia had nearly 42,000 total requests in 2008, compared with a little  more than 12,000 this year, according to the MVP Project. Ohio had more than  32,000 in 2008, compared with 9,700 this year. The number of military  voters specifically — as opposed to military and overseas voters — was not  broken down in the latest set of statistics, but military-only numbers released  by the MVP Project in August documented a similar drop-off in  applications.

At the time, military ballot requests in Virginia were down 92 percent.  Several other states showed a precipitous drop since 2008, including Alabama,  North Carolina and Florida.

“We need to make military voting the highest priority. … and we need to do  it now,” MVP Project founder Eric Eversole told Fox News.

A spokeswoman with the Defense Department, though, stressed that total  numbers will not be available until after the election. Further, Cmdr. Leslie  Hull-Ryde noted that 2012 is much different than 2008, in that the 2008 cycle  had contested primaries for both Democrats and Republicans. This year, only the  Republicans had a contested primary — and the Defense Department has adamantly  defended its voter outreach to date.

The department claims that compared with 2004, the last time an incumbent  president was running, the number of absentee ballots downloaded from the  central military website is similar.

“We are in complete compliance with the law,” Hull-Ryde said in a statement.  “(The Federal Voting Assistance Program) strives to ensure that every absent  military and overseas citizen voter has the tools and resources to receive, cast  and return an absentee ballot and have it counted — regardless of who they vote  for.”

Absentee ballot voting is critical for members of the military, many of them  stationed overseas or away from their home state. The MVP Project estimates that  roughly two-thirds of servicemembers need to vote absentee — though as of late  August, the group reported “an incredibly small percentage” of them was  requesting the ballots. Across Virginia, North Carolina and Ohio, the group  reported that less than 2 percent of eligible voters had requested ballots as of  August.

“The absentee ballot data for 2012 paints a bleak picture for military  voters,” an earlier MVP Project report said.

The updated figures on military and overseas absentee ballot requests, based  on statistics from the states, were released by the MVP Project on Monday. In  most cases, absentee ballots have already been sent out to military voters, as  required by federal law.

The MVP Project claims the Department of Defense has fallen short, though, in  implementing the 2009 law known as the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment  Act (MOVE). The law required absentee ballots be sent out no later than 45 days  before an election — but also required “voting assistance offices” be set up on  most military installations.

The MVP Project claims that in some cases, these offices were not only set up  after a November 2010 deadline passed, but were also located in areas not  associated with the check-in process — meaning servicemembers could be less  likely to visit them.

“This data should sound an immediate warning bell for military voters,” the  group’s August study said.

Read more at Fox News

Guantanamo detainee who served bin Laden returns to Sudan

By Rebecca Ruiz, msnbc.com

Ibrahim al Qosi, a former driver for Osama bin Laden, has been released from Guantanamo and returned to Sudan, the Department of Defense announced Wednesday.

In July 2010, al Qosi pleaded guilty to providing material support for terrorism and conspiracy. He had been detained at Guantanamo following his capture at the Pakistani border in December 2001 and was released according to a plea agreement with the U.S.

Al Qosi, who was born in Sudan around 1960, left in 1996 to join Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, where he provided services to bin Laden and other al-Qaida members as a driver, bodyguard and cook. In the early 1990s, he trained with jihadists and worked as an accountant for a company affiliated with Osama bin Laden, according to DOD documents released by WikiLeaks.

Al Qosi had been sentenced to a 14-year term for crimes committed between 1996 to 2001, but served two years in exchange for cooperating with prosecutors. The U.S. had agreed to return al Qosi to Sudan upon completing two years of his sentence.

“Although the United States had the legal authority to continue holding al Qosi under the [Authorization for the Use of Military Force], we coordinated with the Government of Sudan on appropriate security measures to mitigate any threat he continues to pose,” said Defense Department spokesman Lt. Col. Todd Breasseale in a statement to msnbc.com.

Paul Reichler, a Washington, D.C.-based lawyer who represented al Qosi pro bono for the past seven years, said his client will participate in a re-entry program designed by the Sudanese government for former detainees.

According to a document published by the government in 2010, nine Sudanese nationals had been returned from Guantanamo and been subject to the re-entry program. At that time, none were known to “have engaged in hostilities against the United States, its interests or its allies since their return to Sudan.”

Read more at MSNBC