Former Navy SEAL commander says Putin has outplayed the US and Russia is the greatest external security threat - We Are The Mighty
Intel

Former Navy SEAL commander says Putin has outplayed the US and Russia is the greatest external security threat

  • Retired US Navy Adm. William McRaven said Tuesday that Russia was the greatest external security threat to the US.
  • McRaven, a former Navy SEAL and special-operations commander, said Putin has outplayed the US.
  • He praised Biden for efforts early in his presidency to press Putin on US national interests.

During a recent discussion of the challenges the new Biden administration faces, retired Adm. William McRaven said Russian President Vladimir Putin has outplayed the US and that Russia is the greatest external security threat.

“I am often asked where do I think the greatest external security threat is, and I always point to Russia,” McRaven, a former Navy SEAL and special-operations commander, said at a Chatham House event on Tuesday. “A lot of people think about China, but Russia jumps to mind first.”

While he acknowledged that Russia is not the superpower it once was, he stressed that “Putin has outplayed us.”

“He has played the great game better than anyone on the world stage,” McRaven said of the Russian president. Pointing to Russian actions in Crimea, Ukraine, Syria, and even the US that were detrimental to American interests, he said: “Putin is a very dangerous person.”

China is often regarded as the pacing threat for the US, and during the Trump administration, tremendous emphasis was put on countering China with less attention paid to Russia.

Nonetheless, Russia is a great power rival, listed as a leading threat alongside China in the 2018 National Defense Strategy.

“We do need to find areas where we can partner with the Russians,” McRaven said, “but make no mistake about it, I think we need to take a hard line with respect to Russia … We need to let Putin know that there are lines you just shouldn’t cross.”

Former Navy SEAL commander says Putin has outplayed the US and Russia is the greatest external security threat
Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

McRaven praised President Joe Biden’s first phone call with Putin, in which the president, according to a White House readout, “made clear that the United States will act firmly in defense of its national interests in response to actions by Russia that harm us or our allies.”

Biden is said to have discussed arms-control concerns, asserted US support for Ukraine, and pressed Putin on the massive SolarWinds cyberattack that affected a number of federal government agencies and bureaus, election interference, and the poisoning of the Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

“I was pleased to see the president in his first phone call with President Putin addressed Alexei Navalny issue,” McRaven said. “I don’t think President Trump would have done that.”

As president, Donald Trump did not condemn Russia over the poisoning of Navalny, whom Russia recently put in prison.

Commenting on his discussion with Putin, Biden said Thursday that he “made it clear to President Putin, in a manner very different from my predecessor, that the days of the United States rolling over in the face of Russia’s aggressive actions — interfering with our election, cyberattacks, poisoning its citizens — are over.”

“We will not hesitate to raise the cost on Russia and defend our vital interests and our people,” he added.

McRaven said Tuesday that the US needed to not only make its position clear to Russia but also rebuild and leverage alliances “to make sure that Russia understands how they need to play.”

The Biden administration has made priorities of rebuilding alliances, reengaging in international affairs, and leading with confidence and humility. The president’s foreign-policy approach stands in stark contrast with Trump’s “America First” policies.

During his presidency, Trump was criticized by Democrats and some Republicans for pushing away allies and partners while at times cozying up to adversaries.

In particular, critics expressed concern as Trump struck a conciliatory tone toward Russia, despite warnings from across the intelligence community and other parts of the US government that Russia was engaged in activities that harmed US interests.

McRaven, who voted for Biden despite considering himself a conservative, was an outspoken critic of Trump’s policies.

In an opinion column published in August, McRaven wrote that Trump was “actively working to undermine every major institution in this country” as the US struggled with “rising threats from China and Russia,” among other challenges.

One of his more famous op-eds was a 2019 article titled “Our Republic Is Under Attack From the President,” in which he said: “If this president doesn’t demonstrate the leadership that America needs, both domestically and abroad, then it is time for a new person in the Oval Office.”

He said Trump’s actions threatened the trust of American’s allies and partners.

“If our promises are meaningless, how will our allies ever trust us? If we can’t have faith in our nation’s principles, why would the men and women of this nation join the military,” McRaven wrote. “And if they don’t join, who will protect us? If we are not the champions of the good and the right, then who will follow us? And if no one follows us — where will the world end up?”

McRaven served nearly four decades in the military. As the commander of Joint Special Operations Command, he oversaw Operation Neptune Spear, the successful military raid that killed the al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in 2011.

After retiring from the Navy in 2014, he went into academia and has written best-selling books on leadership, including “Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life … and Maybe the World” and “Sea Stories: My Life in Special Operations.”

Intel

Video: The incredible story of the SR-71 Blackbird in 3 minutes

No military aircraft – past or present – can beat the altitude and airspeed performance of the SR-71 Blackbird.


It’s design and performance evolved out of necessity: “We had a need to know what was going on in other countries,” Jeff Duford, a historian at the National Museum of the US Air Force, said. “And the way that we were going to do that was having a photographic aircraft that could fly very high and very fast. And much faster than the U2, which proceeded it. The SR-71 was that answer for the US Air Force and for the United States.”

Here’s the remarkable story of the SR-71 in a 3 minute mini-doc:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9hSGGEOd9Y
Intel

New annual rifle qualification to make Marines more lethal

Marine Corps-wide implementation will take place no later than the beginning of fiscal year 2022, with active-duty forces transitioning by October 1, and Marine Forces Reserve transition in FY22. During the second and third quarters of fiscal year 2021, Weapons Training Battalion at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, will provide training and assistance on the conduct of ARQ to formal marksmanship training units in order to facilitate the transition to service-wide ARQ implementation.

The ARQ includes a three-day course of fire. Day one includes a “holds day,” with the drill portion conducted first. Days two and three are pre-qualification and qualification, respectively, where the destroy portion is conducted first with engagements starting far to near in order to foster an offensive combat mindset.

The more operational training requires Marines to conduct the course of fire in helmet and body armor but allows the opportunity to use bipods, rest the weapon on their magazine, or rest their weapon on their assault pack as long as time constraints are met. Scoring is measured by lethal effects with destroying targets in the allotted time.

Former Navy SEAL commander says Putin has outplayed the US and Russia is the greatest external security threat

“This enables the individual Marine the opportunity to engage their weapon system from multiple firing positions and find the most efficient way to utilize alternate shooting positions throughout the course of fire,” said Viggiani. “Our operating environment has changed over the years, so we had to make changes to our qualifications on marksmanship.”

Other significant updates include the incorporation of a singular target throughout the course of fire, with exception of a moving target at the 100-yard line, with a requirement to score by hitting “lethality zones” and the introduction of support barricades at the 100 and 200 yards, allowing Marines to shoot from the standing, kneeling, or supported position with stationary and moving targets. This transition from a competition-style course of fire to assessing lethal effects on a target is a significant change for the ARQ.

Similar to the Physical Fitness and Combat Fitness Tests, Marines must achieve a minimum standard in each portion of the course of fire to qualify in the overall assessment.

The implementation of the ARQ directly impacts the mission statement, “We must adapt our training in a manner consistent with the threat and anticipated operational challenges,” as stated in the Commandant’s Planning Guidance.

This article originally appeared on Marines. Follow @USMC on Twitter.

Articles

The reason the British military formed the Special Air Service

In World War II, the British needed a special group of men to tip the scales in North Africa and they came up with the Special Air Service.


The SAS, originally put together as L Detachment of the Special Air Services Brigade in an effort to mislead the Germans and Italians as to the size of the unit, was tasked with conducting desert raids behind enemy lines.

Former Navy SEAL commander says Putin has outplayed the US and Russia is the greatest external security threat
An SAS jeep manned by Sgt. Schofield and Trooper Jeavons of 1st SAS near Geilenkirchen, Germany, on November 18, 1944. (Photo: British Army Sgt. Hewitt)

The paratroopers of the SAS failed in their first mission but were stunningly successful in their second when they destroyed 60 enemy aircraft on the ground with no casualties.

As the unit continued to rack up victories, they were given more daring missions and better equipment. One team was even tasked with assassinating German Field Marshall Erwin Rommel in France but was unable to reach him before he was injured and evacuated in an unrelated incident.

The SAS history is clearly and quickly laid out in this video from Simple History. Check it out below:

Articles

9 seriously strange designs showcased at drone conference

It’s no secret the military is committed to drones, and manufacturers from around the world are coming up with crazy designs to capture defense dollars. To wit, at this year’s Atlanta Unmanned Systems conference, drones that resembled everything from miniature death stars to flying saucers were showcased. Check out this video to see some of them in action:


And see the designs and full story at Defense One.

NOW: The 9 weirdest projects DARPA is working on

OR: Take the quiz: How well do you know the predator?

Intel

Russia is trolling US troops with fake Facebook profiles of gorgeous women

When Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the studios of state-owned media outlet Russia Today in 2013, he reportedly instructed them to break “the Anglo-Saxon monopoly on global information streams.”


It appears he has not forgotten that goal.

Politico reported on Monday that Russian hackers have been posing as attractive women and friending US troops on Facebook to gather intelligence about the military.

These actions are part of a larger Russian strategy aimed at manipulating and extracting intelligence from the US military.

Former Navy SEAL commander says Putin has outplayed the US and Russia is the greatest external security threat
The U.S. military’s online behavior campaign is used to highlight the importance of appropriate conduct online and social media behavior to help eradicate bullying, exploitation and degradation of fellow service members. (Graphic Illustration by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Kegan E. Kay/Released)

Russia seems to be infiltrating the social media accounts of US troops for at least two reasons, according to Politico.

One, it allows Russia to better glean the activities of the US military through what its troops post online. “Spies understand that a great deal can be discerned about what militaries are up to based on the unclassified behavior of soldiers,” John Bambenek, of Fidelis Cybersecurity, told Politico.

Two, it gives them the chance to make US troops sympathize with Russia by inserting propaganda into their news feeds.

For example, former military contractor Serena Moring told Politico she noticed US service members sharing a link about a Russian soldier who heroically died while fighting ISIS in Syria.

According to the Pravda report, the Russian soldier supposedly called in an airstrike on himself while surrounded by ISIS militants, telling his command, “I don’t want them to take me and parade me, conduct the airstrike, they will make a mockery of me and this uniform. I want to die with dignity and take all these bastards with me.”

While the veracity of the story is unknown, Moring told Politico that US soldiers were sharing it with admiration.

“All of the response from the military guys was like, ‘That is awesome. That’s an epic way to die,'” she told Politico. “It was a very soldier-to-soldier bond that was created through social media.”

Russia is employing these hybrid warfare tactics against many Baltic states as well.

According to the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, hybrid warfare are “activities conducted to enable a resistance movement or insurgency to coerce, disrupt, or overthrow a government or occupying power by operating through or with an underground, auxiliary, or guerrilla force in a denied area.”

In fact, Kyiv recently outlawed Russian social media sites, which Ukrainian officials said were being used to spread propaganda. Human Rights Watch, however, accused Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko of trying to curb freedom of expression.

Intel

This interactive feature shows the Civil War’s legacy like never before

The Civil War began right as practical photography was coming into its own. For the first time in American history, camera operators could go out and capture the devestation of war.


Now, photographer David Levene has gone back to the battlefields with the 150-year-old pictures and taken photos in the same spot.

Former Navy SEAL commander says Putin has outplayed the US and Russia is the greatest external security threat
The interactive archive lets you see the exact same scenes, 150 years apart.

The result is a stark juxtaposition between the horrors of the Civil War and the world modern America became because of those soldiers’ sacrifices.

Rounding out the archive are audio clips from historians who have studied the battlefields.

Se the interactive archive, complete with scenes of Fort Sumter, Antietam, and other famous battles, at The Guardian.

Intel

Here’s why it’s a bad idea to snipe at the US Army

A Taliban sniper team thought it would be a good idea to snipe some American soldiers, little did they know what they’d be facing in retaliation. America’s military doesn’t respond with just a little firepower, it responds with jets and bombs.


In this Hornet’s Nest clip on the American Heroes Channel, a father-son journalism team embedded with the 101st Airborne captured footage of the unit pinned down by Taliban snipers. The snipers come dangerously close to killing some of the soldiers. At first, the soldiers respond with machine gun fire, which managed to injure one of the insurgents but nothing too serious. “They’re reporting that everything is okay,” said the translator listening to the enemy radio chatter. “Good, it’s not going to be okay,” said Lt. Col. Joel Vowell in the video below.

The soldiers were using the shots to lock in the enemy’s position. Air support is called in and BOOM! Game over terrorists.

The military’s embedded program give journalists and filmmakers access to wars like never before, so it’s no surprise that the latest conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have been some of the best documented in history. Here’s the footage:

Intel

Grab the Popcorn: ISIS and the Taliban declare war on each other [Report]

Not content with fighting against the infidel crusaders from the U.S. and other NATO countries, ISIS and the Taliban have declared jihad against each other, Afghan News Agency Khaama Press is reporting.


Khaama writes:

Nabi Jan Mullahkhil, police chief of southern Helmand province has told Mashaal Radio during an interview that he has received documents in which both the terrorist groups have announced Jihad against each other.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), which holds vast swaths of land in Iraq and Syria, has made moves into Afghanistan in recent months. In March, CNN obtained video of ISIS recruiting in the country, and on Saturday, the group claimed responsibility for a deadly suicide bombing in Jalalabad, according to The Atlantic.

Here’s the full report at Khaama

Intel

This Army veteran and NASCAR fan got the surprise of a lifetime

When Army cavalry veteran Rick Groesbeck was invited to the Hendrick Motorsports race shop, he probably suspected he would get a bit of a thrill. He couldn’t have expected everything that was about to happen.


From USA Today:

Groesbeck, 46, had shown up to the Hendrick shop at the request of Charlotte Bridge Home, which helps area veterans transition back to civilian life after their military service has concluded. Groesbeck was told a camera crew wanted to talk to a veteran who was also a NASCAR fan, but he had no clue what was about to happen.

First, the 11-year Army veteran and his six-year-old son were given a personal tour of the shop and Rick Hendrick’s car collection by Rick Hendrick himself.. Then, he met Xfinity Series Champion Chase Elliott and was able to ride with Elliott in a race car on Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Finally, he learned he would be waving the green flag to start Saturday’s Bank of America 500.

“What they did that day and what I get to do this weekend, you see that happening to other people,” Groesbeck told USA Today. “You never think what I did was anything compared to what other people did, and you think there’s other people out there who deserve it more than you. So to have all that happen, I’m truly humbled by that appreciation and gratitude.”

To learn more, check out the original article at USA Today or watch the video below:

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

Intel

This video is the best Force Recon footage you’ll see this week

U.S. Force Recon Marines move ahead of the rest of the force and plunge into dangerous areas where the Marine ground force commander needs to know what’s going on but can’t otherwise gather intelligence.


They strap on scuba tanks, parachutes, and heavy rucks as the mission requires and carry an arsenal just in case they need to tangle with the enemy while reconnoitering the area. Check out the video above to see what these guys are all about.

Intel

4 phrases your first sergeant constantly mangles

Sometimes a first sergeant or sergeant major will ask his troops “yunnerstand?” and inevitably, the troops only understand that they should respond with “yes.”


We’re not sure what type of water they are putting in their coffee, but some E-8’s and above really mangle certain words or phrases in the English language. If you want to see what troops are usually dealing with, this video compilation of Sgt. Maj. Sixta from “Generation Kill” will certainly help.

Over at Task Purpose, writer Paul Mooney put together a listing of phrases “the diamond” usually screws up. Here are some of those, along with a few of our own:

1. “It would be-who-of-you.”

While “behoove” is actually a real word that means it’s important that you do something, the pronunciation of “be-who-of-you” is totally incorrect, but keeps in line with the language of the first sergeant. Junior troops figure out quickly that it would “be-who-of” them to do a huge number of things.

2. “Yunnerstand that?”

This means “do you understand,” except it’s just a much quicker and terrible way of saying it. This is often tacked onto the end of statements that don’t require any response. But if you’re first sergeant, you want a response to everything you say. Yunnerstand?

3. “Friggin-daggone”

First sergeant will often throw this one around during periods he or she is upset, which is basically all the time. Common usage would be something like, “where’s my friggin-daggone radio?” or “get me the friggin-daggone lieutenant on the phone.” Especially in the Marine Corps with most E-8s having previous experience as drill instructors, they learn to replace the profane words with these monstrosities.

4. “Utilize.”

They may pronounce it correctly, but they certainly aren’t using it right. Instead of going with the much shorter, easier to say, and more normal word of “use,” some first sergeants tend to complicate their language with utilize. Please, please, make it stop.

Now check out Mooney’s listing of first sergeant fails here

OR: The 18 funniest moments from ‘Generation Kill’

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