Congress creates a new special operations and intelligence subcommittee - We Are The Mighty
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Congress creates a new special operations and intelligence subcommittee

Congress has created a new subcommittee on military intelligence and special operations.

Part of the House Committee on Armed Services, the Subcommittee on Intelligence and Special Operations will have jurisdiction over the policy, programs, and accounts that are related to military intelligence, national intelligence, weapons of mass destruction, and conventional weapons counter-proliferation, counterterrorism, sensitive operations, and special operations.

Representative Ruben Gallego (Democrat, Arizona) was chosen to head the subcommittee. Gallego served six years in the Marine Corps (2000-2006), reaching the rank of corporal and deploying once to Iraq for a 12-month deployment. Gallego holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Harvard University.

Congress creates a new special operations and intelligence subcommittee
Representative Ruben Gallego (in the middle) during his combat deployment in Iraq between January 2005 and January 2006. Gallego is the head of the newly established Subcommittee on Intelligence and Special Operations (Ruben Gallego via Twitter).

Representative Gallego said in a statement on Twitter that “When I walk to the committee room for the House Armed Services Committee, I walk by a wall with names of all service members that have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. 24 of those names are men I served with. As the new Chairman of the Subcommittee on Intelligence and Special Operations, I serve in their name and honor. I remember being a young man in war hoping someone was looking out for me. If you are out there, know that I am.”

Representative Stephanie Murphy (Democrat, Florida) will serve as the vice-chair of the subcommittee. Murphy has experience in the field from her stint at the Pentagon office that oversees the Special Operations/Low-Intensity Conflict (SO/LIC) office.

It will be interesting to see if the new subcommittee will have any real jurisdiction—and thus power—given the plethora of lawmaking bodies with similar duties already in existence. There are, for example, the Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, the House Select Committee on Intelligence, the Senate Committee on Armed Services, the House Committee on Armed Services

Congress creates a new special operations and intelligence subcommittee
Army Special Forces operators plot their next point during a land navigation exercise (DVIDS).

Representative Adam Smith (Democrat, Washington), the chair of the Armed Services Committee stated that the new subcommittee will allow Congress to exert more scrutiny and oversight were needed.

“As the country faces unprecedented threats from our adversaries and competitors, especially the disruptive impact of disinformation attacks, we will ensure that special operations forces and the Defense Intelligence Enterprise are postured to address those threats,” Walsh said.

“It is critical that these highly sensitive areas of the Committee’s jurisdiction receive the time and attention they deserve, and this new subcommittee structure will facilitate exactly that.”

Gallego has indicated that the subcommittee will be reviewing the deployment of special operations forces across the world to ensure that they are utilized for the US’ best national interest.

This article originally appeared on Sandboxx. Follow Sandboxx on Facebook.

Intel

Could we really build a B-1B gunship?

In 2018, Boeing filed patents for a number of potential cannon mounting solutions for the supersonic heavy payload bomber, the B-1B Lancer, with the intent of creating a B-1B gunship similar in capability to the famed Spooky AC-130 and its most recent successor, the AC-130J Ghostrider. While the patents indicate Boeing’s interest in prolonging the life of the venerable Lancer, there’s been little progress toward pursuing this unusual design.

Recently, the U.S. Air Force announced plans to begin retiring its fleet of B-1Bs in favor of the forthcoming B-21 Raider, prompting us to ask ourselves: could we actually build a B-1B gunship to keep this legendary aircraft in service?

Could we really build a B-1B Gunship?

Congress creates a new special operations and intelligence subcommittee

Boeing’s patents indicate a number of cannon-mounting methods and even types and sizes of weapons, giving this concept a broad utilitarian appeal. America currently relies on C-130-based gunships that, while able to deliver a massive amount of firepower to a target, max out at less than half the speed that would be achievable in a B-1B gunship. The Lancer’s heavy payload capabilities and large fuel stores would also allow it to both cover a great deal of ground in a hurry, but also loiter over a battlespace, delivering precision munitions and cannon fire managed by a modular weapon control system.

Congress creates a new special operations and intelligence subcommittee

In theory, it all sounds well and good, but there are also a number of significant limitations. The B-1B Lancer’s swing-wing design does allow it to fly more manageable at lower speeds, but it would almost certainly struggle to fly as slowly as an AC-130J can while engaging targets below. Likewise, a B-1B gunship would be just as expensive to operate as it currently is as a bomber–making it a much more expensive solution to a problem one could argue the U.S. has already solved.

But that doesn’t mean we’ll never see this concept, or even these patents, leveraged in some way. If you’d like to learn more about the concept of turning a B-1B into a gunship, you can read our full breakdown (that the video above is based on) here.

This article originally appeared on Sandboxx. Follow Sandboxx on Facebook.

Intel

The guy who made the handgun-firing drone is now under Federal investigation

The Connecticut man who rigged up a handgun with a drone for a now-viral video has attracted even more attention — from the feds.


The drone is illegal under FAA regulations, and 18-year-old Austin Haughwot is now under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration, according to Gizmodo.

The video, which was released July 10 and has over two million views so far, is allegedly what tipped off the FAA to the crime.

Watch the video again here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-5XFYIkz-w

For the full story, check out Gizmodo

NOW:These new mini-drones could revolutionize ground warfare

OR: There’s going to be a ‘Top Gun 2′ — with drones

Intel

How 5 Lithuanian soldiers showed how serious living next to Russia really is

If the ongoing conflict in Ukraine has taught Russia’s neighbors anything, it’s that you never really know if Russia is going to make good on a threat. And if it does, you need to be seriously prepared for what comes next. 

While Lithuania doesn’t exactly share a border with Russia, it’s still in a tough neighborhood. It does share a border with Moscow’s closest Eastern European ally, Belarus. And as a former member of the Soviet Union, they know Russia could be back at any time. 

The soldiers of Lithuania’s armed forces know this fact better than anyone else. Forced conscription of Lithuanian citizens ended in 2008 but after Russia invaded the Crimean Peninsula and began to support Russian separatists in Ukraine, the country revived the practice. 

Ever since, Lithuanian special forces have been training Ukrainian troops to resist Russia and the separatist movements it backs. Despite the small size of its armed forces, the Lithuanians punch well above their weight class, seeing action everywhere from Mali to Iraq to Afghanistan.

The skill and training of Lithuania’s military was demonstrated in 2020 when the Žemaitija Motorised Infantry Brigade, a reconnaissance unit attached to Lithuania’s land forces, conducted a military escape and evasion exercise. Five soldiers, including a draftee, were assigned to evade the rest of their unit. They did it a little too well. 

After the soldiers failed to reach their predetermined meeting point, the Lithuanian military believed something bad happened to them and launched an all-out rescue effort that included helicopters and search dogs. 

The only problem was that no one told the soldiers the exercise had ended. 

According to Lithuanian military spokesman Laimis Bratikas, the event is a kind of graduation exam for military scouts, training in the heart of Lithuania’s deep forests. These soldiers were about to get the highest marks on this exam.

For a full 24 hours, the five men didn’t just avoid a military exercise, they successfully evaded a real-world rescue operation.

russian soldiers
Russian soldiers with the 13th Tactical Group and American soldiers with the 1st Battalion, 41st Field Artillery (1-41), take a short break at checkpoint 75 in the east sector of Kosovo, during Operation JOINT GUARDIAN II.

The next time you hear someone try to downplay the skills of America’s NATO allies, remember that some of them, even those drafted into their armed forces, might have more skills than you think. They’ve been preparing to fight Russia for most of their lives.

Intel

VSOs share hopes for the new Secretary of Veterans Affairs

A change in leadership often brings a fresh perspective and set of priorities, and several veterans service organizations are optimistic that a new VA secretary will mean an opportunity to push agendas that best serve veterans.

Shortly after the Senate voted to confirm Denis McDonough as Secretary of Veterans Affairs, we reached out to several VSOs to gather opinions on what should top his list of goals. 

“We are looking forward to working with him,” said Mario Marquez, national legislative director for the American Legion. “Our number one priority is taking care of veterans and their families.” 

Marquez said that in the short term, that looks like addressing issues brought on by COVID-19, including reducing the significant CMP (comprehensive medical panel) backlog that is preventing veterans from being able to adjudicate health claims as well as eliminating financial boundaries that stop the elderly, particularly World War II vets, from receiving care. 

He noted that mental health is a “perennial issue,” but particularly crucial in this time of increased isolation. 

“We have these veterans who go from being in a highly-connected social environment, and they go back into a society where people are much more individualistic, where the idea of being part of a community is more than about just being co-located geographically.” 

Marquez said the Legion works on connecting secluded vets through its Buddy Checks program, and he would like the VA, under McDonough’s tutelage, to join the organization in implementing a Buddy Check week that encourages peer support and engagement through vets reaching out and checking in with one another.

AMVETS’ National Communications Manager Miles Migliara agrees mental health should be at the forefront of McDonough’s plans for reform — the number one priority, in fact. 

“It’s no longer sufficient for the Department of Veterans Affairs to congratulate themselves on 1-2% gains when 6,000-plus veterans lose their lives every year,” he said. “We need a paradigm shift with regards to mental health and suicide. We can continue with the status quo, or we can create meaningful change.”

He suggested that the VA becomes more receptive to alternative mental healthcare treatments and programs, such as acupuncture, equestrian therapy, and more.

Congress creates a new special operations and intelligence subcommittee
Replace cutline: Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis R. McDonough at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall. Photo by Lisa Ferdinando.

“The President’s Roadmap to Empo​wer Veterans and End a National Tragedy of Suicide (PREVENTS) executive order, signed into law in 2019, allows for funding and resources to be provided to certain non-traditional methods programs in an effort to curb veteran suicide,” Migliara said. “It is crucial that the VA provides whatever support possible to see that these programs succeed.”

Another pertinent piece of legislation, he said, is the MISSION Act, also signed into law in 2019, that allows rural vets to more easily receive healthcare close to home. Also on the AMVETS wish list? Formulating and executing a better plan of action and culture of tackling and preventing sexual assault on VA campuses and creating a more welcoming environment for women and minority veterans. 

Marquez echoed the same sentiments, especially since women are the fastest-growing veteran demographic, he said. 

“They are more engaged at the VA as a result of their service,” he said. “And they are not traditionally set up to address the needs of women veterans. The VA needs to make adjustments to make sure they receive the gender-specific care they need.”

Hannah Sinoway, executive vice present, organization, strategy, and engagement, of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), said they are focused on oversight of the implementation of both the Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe, M.D. Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act and the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act. Both of these bills would decrease gaps in care for women veterans, as well as make much-needed updates to mental health care and outreach to veterans that are not connected to VA services, she noted. 

She said IAVA believes that McDonough brings senior leadership, policy, and Congressional expertise to the VA, as well as a beneficial and strong personal connection to the President. 

“Running VA is a massive job that few are fully prepared for on day one,” she said. “He has an incredibly steep learning curve in front of him. But he also has the ear and respect of President Biden as well as the ability to bring about policy reforms and attention by the White House and senior leaders that are needed for the improvement of VA. In his first few weeks, IAVA has been encouraged by his outreach and communication to the VSO community and we look forward to continuing our work with him.”

This article originally appeared on Military Families Magazine. Follow @MilFamiliesMag on Twitter.

Intel

Tankers absolutely hate this missile

The TOW missile has been the go-to weapon for blowing up tanks since the Vietnam War.


The Tube-launched, Optically-tracked, Wire-guided (TOW) missile was made by Hughes Aircraft and was initially deployed in Vietnam on Huey helicopters.

Congress creates a new special operations and intelligence subcommittee
YouTube: Jaglavak Military

Unlike the Javelin with its fire-and-forget capability, the TOW missile system uses wires to guide its payload to targets. When the missile is launched, the optical sensor on the tube continuously monitors the position of the missile during flight, correcting its trajectory with electrical signals passed through the cables. This means that the target must be kept in the shooter’s line of sight until impact. The weapon quickly evolved into a portable system that could be fired by infantry units in the field and mounted on jeeps and other vehicles.

In 1997, Raytheon purchased Hughes from General Motors and continued to improve the TOW line. Under Raytheon, the TOW missile has evolved into a wireless version that uses a one-way radio link for guidance. It’s currently used by the Army and the Marine Corps.

Of course, tankers on the other side of the missile hate it for how it cuts through their armor. Watch:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCg8aXjJ2SU

ArmedForceUpdate, YouTube

Intel

These are the differences between the FBI and CIA

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Central Intelligence Agency: Many Americans often pair the two high-level security organizations together. While agents of both organizations report directly to the Director of National Intelligence and their work often overlaps, their overall structure and mission differ vastly.


The key differences between the organizations lie in where the security threat comes from, who they are essentially extensions of, and the authorities granted to both. It can basically be summed up by what the ‘I’ in their names stand for. The FBI focuses on investigating crimes while the CIA focuses on gathering intelligence.

Federal Bureau of Investigation

The FBI works under the jurisdiction of the Department of Justice. They are essentially business-suit-wearing police officers, although they function at a much higher level.

The Bureau was founded after merging several other branches of the Department of Justice together. Early work of the FBI was to hunt down known gangsters of the 1930s, such as John Dillinger, “Baby Face” Nelson, and George “Machine Gun” Kelly. Over the years, the FBI has taken on more counter-terrorism roles in the wake of the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, and the apprehension of the Unabomber.

While the work of the FBI is occasionally covert, their presence is much more known than that of the CIA. They have field offices in 56 major cities, 350 smaller offices, and are in many embassies and consulates. Despite how films portray them (especially when the protagonist is a police officer and FBI agents are in their way), they often work hand-in-hand with many police stations.

Congress creates a new special operations and intelligence subcommittee

Central Intelligence Agency

The CIA, on the other hand, is actually a civilian foreign intelligence service of the United States government. Among countless other functions (countless because a lot of internal workings of the CIA are classified), this is where you would find the spies.

Created as a successor to the Office of Strategic Services, the first real mission of the CIA was to gather what information it could during the Korean War and, eventually, against the Soviet Union. The CIA has been known to install pro-American governments around the world.

The CIA doesn’t let information out about the size and scope of their operations, but it’s generally considered that they hide in plain sight in many locations around the world. As mentioned, the CIA employs much more than spies. Translators, cyber-analysts, and negotiators are far more common.

Congress creates a new special operations and intelligence subcommittee
Because of the nature of their work, anyone in this crowd could be a CIA agent.

To learn more about the differences between the two agencies, check out the video below:

 

(The Infographics Show | YouTube)

Intel

Someone tried to analyze one of the weirdest insults said in ‘Full Metal Jacket’

Congress creates a new special operations and intelligence subcommittee


It is perhaps one of the most iconic war movies ever, and certainly one of the best depictions of Marine boot camp, but at least one of the insults to come from Drill Instructor Gunnery Sgt. Hartman’s mouth doesn’t seem to make any sense.

And that’s where the site FilmDrunk comes in, to investigate what in the hell Hartman meant when he would “short-d-ck every cannibal in the Congo.”

I mean, seriously, what the hell is that even supposed to mean? The quote, which comes about halfway into the film, is screamed out by an insanely-annoyed (isn’t he always?) Hartman on top of the obstacle course, as Pvt. Pyle becomes too fearful to get over the top.

“I will motivate you, Private Pyle! If it shortd-cks every cannibal in the Congo!” he says.

You really need to break this one down to root words here. The term “shortd-ck” could mean to short change, and so if Pvt. Pyle becomes motivated he’ll be skinnier, and the cannibals will have less fat to eat. Or another interpretation could be that Hartman is willing to do anything it takes, even so far outside of cultural norms, to motivate the recruit.

Or it could just be drill instructor gibberish that makes no sense whatsoever.

Regardless, FilmDrunk collected up plenty of possibilities for this phrase, and the investigation of it is actually quite hilarious.

Check it all out here.

OR CHECK OUT: The 16 greatest quotes from ‘Full Metal Jacket’

Intel

The military department you didn’t know Samsung had

Apple’s biggest smartphone competitor also makes tanks, self-propelled howitzers, and jet engines.


Billed as promoting peace and stability, Samsung Techwin is the South Korean manufacturer’s defense branch. It makes surveillance, aeronautics, automation, and weapons technology. Since its launch into the defense industry in 1983, Samsung Techwin has developed and produced artillery systems like the 155mm self-propelled Howitzer M109A2, K9 Thunder, K10 ammunition resupply vehicle, fire directions center vehicles, amphibious assault vehicles and other weapons, according to Samsung.

Samsung Techwin’s flagship K9 is currently used by Poland, Turkey, and South Korea. Watch its impressive agility at 3:40 in the video below. The K9 becomes even more impressive when combined with the K10 ammunition resupply vehicle (5:00). The K10 pulls up behind the K9 and automatically feeds more ammunition into the K9, eliminating the need of resupplying the vehicle by hand, which minimizes the risk of troop exposure. Together they create an automated weapons system for the field.

Samsung Techwin is just one subsidiary of the 80 businesses the tech giant is involved in.

Here’s a video of Samsung Techwin’s defense program:

Kadrun, YouTube

Intel

Listen to a Green Beret tell the story of his Medal Of Honor

We’ve written about Master Sgt. Raul “Roy” P. Benavidez’s before, but hearing him recount the events that earned him the Medal Of Honor before a class of Army officers is incredibly moving.


Also read: This Green Beret’s heroism was so incredible that Ronald Reagan said it was hard to believe

He joined the military to escape a bad situation, and the rest is like something out of a Hollywood script. Benavidez walked into certain death when he volunteered to assist with the emergency extraction of a 12-man special forces team caught under extreme fire behind enemy lines.

Benavidez would serve 13 years before receiving the Medal Of Honor. When asked if he’d do it again, he said, “There would never be enough paper to print the money nor enough gold in Fort Knox for me to have, to keep me from doing what I did.”

Watch: 

Intel

This guy calculated how fast an anti-tank walrus would have to fly

Apparently, America’s future engineers need to learn focusing skills, because they stepped away from their studies to answer forum questions about walrus ballistics. One engineer calculated an approximate speed for a walrus to stop the M1 while another figured out how fast it would need to fly to kill a T-72, in a thread on the website 4chan.


Congress creates a new special operations and intelligence subcommittee
Photo: US Fish and Wildlife Service Joel Garlich Miller

The calculated speeds are essentially the same: 292 meters per second for the M1 and 291 meters per second for the T-72, respectively. To get the walrus to strike the target at those velocities, it would need to be fired at supersonic speeds.

Check out their math below. Engineering students, feel free to fill our Facebook with your own calculations for anti-tank walruses, anti-aircraft bullfrogs, and anti-submarine lemurs.

Congress creates a new special operations and intelligence subcommittee
Photo via Imgur

NOW: Military working bees and other animals you didn’t know serve in the US military

Intel

Donald Trump: ‘I always felt that I was in the military’ by attending a military school

Donald Trump never served a day in the military, but he tells a biographer that he “always felt that I was in the military” with his attendance at a military school in his teenage years, according to excerpts from the forthcoming book obtained by The New York Times.


The book, “Never Enough: Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success” by Michael D’Antonio, will be published on Sep. 22. In interviews with the author, Trump reflects on his five years spent at the New York Military Academy as something akin to actually serving in uniform.

“My [Vietnam draft] number was so incredible and it was a very high draft number,” Trump told D’Antonio. “Anyway so I never had to do that, but I felt that I was in the military in the true sense because I dealt with those people.”

Of the academy, which notes on its website that most graduates do not pursue a military career, Trump said he received “more training militarily than a lot of the guys that go into the military.”

This isn’t the first time Trump has spoken on military service. In July, he attacked Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and his record in Vietnam, saying “He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”

Check out the full report at the Times

Intel

Why Russia is massing troops on its border with Ukraine

For close to seven years, the Russian military has been supplying separatist forces in Ukraine with weapons and supplies that has only prolonged the conflict in the country. Now, the Russians are ratcheting up tensions in the area by massing a large army along its border with Ukraine. 

With members of the G-7 calling on the Russians to de-escalate the situation by moving some troops, Russia is standing firm telling the world, they’re only responding to NATO provocations, specifically, the movement of American ships into the Black Sea. Russia has warned the U.S. Navy not to enter those waters.

Ukraine is not currently a member of the NATO alliance, so any Russian attack on the country would not provoke a military response from NATO members. The last country to join the alliance was North Macedonia, and its membership took more than 20 years to achieve. 

Congress creates a new special operations and intelligence subcommittee
Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, commander of U.S. Army Europe, discusses training with soldiers from the Ukrainian national guard’s 3029th Regiment May 18, 2015, as part of Fearless Guardian in Yavoriv, Ukraine. Paratroopers from the U.S. Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade are in Ukraine for the first of several planned rotations to train Ukraine’s newly-formed national guard over a period of six months. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Alexander Skripnichuk, 13th Public Affairs Detachment.)

The United States often sends its ship into the Black Sea, but the potential deployment of two more vessels came when the Russians sent 10 of its ships into the area. The American movement was confirmed by Turkish officials, who are notified of all American movement into the Black Sea within 14 days due to the terms of the Montreaux Convention. The two warships are scheduled to stay there for a month.

Russian officials claimed their ships were moving into the area for a training exercise. The ground forces on its border with Ukraine are the most deployed to the area since Russia’s 2014 invasion and annexation of the Crimea Peninsula.

Ukraine has been fighting the separatist movement in the area ever since. In March 2021, four Ukrainian soldiers were killed in the fighting. Shortly after, the United States began to operate reconnaissance patrols in nearby international airspace.

While the Russians aren’t currently posed for any offensive movements, the size and presence of the force so close to the border is causing international alarm. The new warships are a symbol of support for Ukraine from the Biden Administration. Some say the move by the Russians is a challenge to that support. 

Congress creates a new special operations and intelligence subcommittee
A Ukrainian army engineer clears a mock room after his team used explosives to breach the door during training with Canadian and U.S. Army engineers to build their breaching skills, enabling them to teach those skills to Ukrainian army units who will rotate through the combat training center at the International Peacekeeping and Security Center, near Yavoriv, Ukraine, on Feb. 23. (Photo by Sgt. Anthony Jones, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team)

“The escalation of tensions in the southeast of Ukraine justifies the measures Russia is taking,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Bloomberg. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says the Russian troops are there to protect Russian sovereignty and the United States has no reason to be there. 

“Questions are being asked about what Russia is doing on the border with Ukraine,” Lavrov said. “The answer is very simple. We live there, it’s our country. But what is the United States doing thousands of kilometers from its own territory with its warships and troops in Ukraine?”

A large-scale invasion on the level of Crimea or the 2008 Russian invasion of South Ossetia would be out of character for Russia’s recent military movements, which normally include small scale special operations or unconventional operations, like cyber attacks. But it’s not totally unprecedented, as recent events have shown. 

Russia does not easily deploy its troops out of country. Aside from the two previous invasion, Russia’s only current overseas deployment of ground troops is in Syria, which also relies on private contractors.

The presence of any large formation of ground troops along with naval warships conducting exercises is enough for anyone to take notice, especially so close to NATO’s doorstep. The deployments have increased the appeals by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to ramp up efforts to fast-track Ukraine’s progress to full NATO membership. 

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