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Pentagon

Ukraine: RAND Study Sees Risks In Prolonged War

RAND Corp is a government and industry financed large research institute. Founded shortly after the end of the second world war it mostly works for the Pentagon by developing policies and strategies. In April 2019 RAND published a report about Extending Russia. The report summary explained its purpose: As the 2018 National Defense Strategy recognized, the United States is currently locked in a great-power competition with Russia. This report seeks to define areas where the United States can compete to its own advantage. Drawing on quantitative and qualitative data from Western and Russian sources, this report examines Russia's economic, political, and military vulnerabilities and anxieties. It then analyzes potential policy options to exploit them — ideologically, economically, geopolitically, and militarily (including air and space, maritime, land, and multidomain options). RAND developed policy options in those four fields. It then evaluated their benefit, cost and risks as well as their likelihood of success.

State Department Approves $180 Million Arms Sale For Taiwan

The State Department on Wednesday approved a potential $180 million arms sale for Taiwan amid heightened tensions with China over US support for the island. The Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said the deal was for vehicle-launched Volcano anti-tank munition-laying systems and related equipment. The primary contractors for the deal are Northrop Grumman and Oshkosh Corporation. The State Department’s approval notifies Congress of the potential deal and begins a period during which lawmakers could attempt to block the sale. But the sale shouldn’t have any issues as there is virtually no opposition to arming Taiwan in Congress. The potential sale comes after President Biden signed the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act, which includes $10 billion in loans for Taiwan to buy US-made arms that will be disbursed over five years.

Pentagon Admits They Can’t Account For Half Their Assets

The Pentagon – the U.S. “Defense” Department – was just audited for the fifth time. And they just announced they failed for the fifth time. If that’s not accountability, I don’t know what is! When I say they “failed” their audit, I don’t mean they put a 9 instead of a 7 on one of the balance sheets, causing two soldiers to get accidentally left in Antarctica freezing their asses off. I mean, they really failed their audit. As The Hill put it, “The Defense Department has failed its fifth-ever audit, unable to account for more than half of its assets, but the—” Hold up. Hold up. Did ya catch that? They can’t account for over half their assets! This is the largest murder machine on the planet – nearly a trillion dollars spent every year – and they don’t know where half their shit is?! How is this not criminal?

The Pentagon Fails Its Fifth Audit In A Row

Last week, the Department of Defense revealed that it had failed its fifth consecutive audit. “I would not say that we flunked,” said DoD Comptroller Mike McCord, although his office did note that the Pentagon only managed to account for 39 percent of its $3.5 trillion in assets. “The process is important for us to do, and it is making us get better. It is not making us get better as fast as we want.” The news came as no surprise to Pentagon watchers. After all, the U.S. military has the distinction of being the only U.S. government agency to have never passed a comprehensive audit. But what did raise some eyebrows was the fact that DoD made almost no progress in this year’s bookkeeping: Of the 27 areas investigated, only seven earned a clean bill of financial health, which McCord described as “basically the same picture as last year.”

Pentagon Releases National Defense Strategy, Names China As Top Threat

The Pentagon on Thursday released its 2022 National Defense Strategy (NDS), which names China as the “most comprehensive and serious challenge to US national security strategy” even as the US is spending tens of billions on a proxy war with Russia. The NDS was first briefed to Congress back in March, and a short summary was released that said China was the top “threat” facing the US. The strategy names Russia as an “acute threat” but not as serious in the long term as China. “Unlike China, Russia can’t systemically challenge the United States over the long term. But Russian aggression does pose an immediate and sharp threat to our interests and values,” Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin told reporters. The strategy said China and Russia pose a greater threat to the US homeland than any terrorist groups.

Whistleblower Objects To Pentagon Purchases Of Browsing Data

A United States military whistleblower filed a series of complaints alleging the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) is engaged in the warrantless purchase and use of Americans’ internet browsing data, which it obtained from a broker. “According to the whistleblower, NCIS is purchasing access to data, which includes netflow records and some communications content from Team Cymru,” Senator Ron Wyden shared in a letter to the offices of the inspector general for the Pentagon, Justice Department, and Homeland Security Department. The warrantless purchase of Americans’ data is not limited to the NCIS. Wyden’s office examined public contracting records and found Team Cymru was awarded data brokering contracts with US Cyber Command, the US Army, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the US Secret Service.

Pentagon Opens Review Of Its Clandestine Psychological Operations

The Pentagon has ordered a sweeping review of how it conducts clandestine information warfare after social media sites removed fake accounts that were suspected of being linked to the US military, *The Washington Post* reported on Monday. A report published last month by research groups Graphika and the Stanford Internet Observatory detailed the activity of fake accounts on Facebook and Twitter that were promoting pro-Western narratives in posts targeting audiences overseas. The social media companies removed around 150 accounts over the past few years, with some removed recently as they were promoting anti-Russia narratives about the war in Ukraine.

Contractors Cash In As Congress Adds Billions To Pentagon Budget

Congress has spoken when it comes to next year’s Pentagon budget and the results, if they weren’t so in line with past practices, should astonish us all. The House of Representatives voted to add $37 billion and the Senate $45 billion to the administration’s already humongous request for “national defense,” a staggering figure that includes both the Pentagon budget and work on nuclear weapons at the Department of Energy. If enacted, the Senate’s sum would push spending on the military to at least $850 billion annually, far more — adjusted for inflation — than at the height of the Korean or Vietnam wars or the peak years of the Cold War. U.S. military spending is, of course, astronomically high — more than that of the next nine countries combined. Here’s the kicker, though: the Pentagon (an institution that has never passed a comprehensive financial audit) doesn’t even ask for all those yearly spending increases in its budget requests to Congress.

Bases, Bases, Everywhere…

The U.S. military is finally withdrawing (or not) from its base at al-Tanf. You know, the place that the Syrian government long claimed was a training ground for Islamic State (ISIS) fighters; the land corridor just inside Syria, near both the Iraqi and Jordanian borders, that Russia has called a terrorist hotbed (while floating the idea of jointly administering it with the United States); the location of a camp where hundreds of U.S. Marines joined Special Operations forces last year; an outpost that U.S. officials claimed was the key not only to defeating ISIS, but also, according to General Joseph Votel, the commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, to countering “the malign activities that Iran and their various proxies and surrogates would like to pursue.” You know, that al-Tanf.

US War Lobby Fuels Conflict In Russia, Ukraine, And Syria

Douglas Macgregor, a retired US Army Colonel and former Pentagon senior advisor, analyzes the US-Russia standoff in Ukraine; the aftermath of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan; Trump’s failure to act on 2016 campaign anti-interventionist rhetoric, only to surround himself with neocons; and the ongoing, overlooked US military occupation of Syria after the decade-long CIA dirty war. “The Military Industrial Congressional Complex,” Macgregor says, “seems to be more powerful than anyone who occupies the office of the presidency.”ffice of the presidency.”

Peace And Justice Organizations Call For Freedom For Julian Assange

Imprisoned Wikileaks founder, journalist and free speech champion Julian Assange today faces life imprisonment for telling the truth about U.S. war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan and at the U.S. torture base in Guantanamo Bay. Assange faces charges under the 1917 U.S. Espionage Act. Prosecution under that WWI anti-democratic law placed thousands of antiwar activists in prison for exercising their free speech right to protest WWI. Ironically, the Dec 19, 2021 New York Times front-page two-part series entitled, Hidden Pentagon Records Reveal Patterns of Failure in Deadly Airstrikes, follows in Assange’s footsteps in reporting U.S. war crimes, yet The Times staff writers remain free. Some 100 Times reporters evaluated Pentagon confidential document obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

Pentagon Fails Audit (Again!)

That’s what should have been the biggest news of 2021. Instead, the story, which broke on November 17, was largely ignored or buried. The nation’s two main newspapers, the Washington Post and the New York Times, have simply ignored it. Other news organizations stenographically quoted Pentagon officials as admitting that they “failed again” but saw “progress,” and as promising that they would achieve a “clean” audit by… get this … 2027. The Pentagon, with some $3 trillion (give or take a trillion but who’s counting?) in assets and a record current 2021 budget of $738 billion, has for the third year in a row failed its audit. An army of 1400 auditors hired by us taxpayers for $230 million and borrowed from some of the biggest auditing firms in the country, spent the past year poring through the books and visiting hundreds of operations of the government’s largest and geographically vastest single agency, and came back with word that they couldn’t give it a pass.

How Awesome Is ‘Awesome’? America’s Underperforming Military

Of course, war is not a game. The stakes on the battlefield are infinitely higher than on the playing field. When wars go wrong, “We’ll show ’em next year — just you wait!” is seldom a satisfactory response. At least, it shouldn’t be. Yet somehow, the American people, our political establishment, and our military have all fallen into the habit of shrugging off or simply ignoring disappointing outcomes. A few years ago, a serving army officer of unusual courage published an essay — in Armed Forces Journal no less — in which he charged that “a private who loses a rifle suffers far greater consequences than a general who loses a war.”

How Congress Loots The Treasury For The Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex

Despite a disagreement over some amendments in the Senate, the United States Congress is poised to pass a $778 billion military budget bill for 2022. As they have been doing year after year, our elected officials are preparing to hand the lion’s share - over 65% - of federal discretionary spending to the U.S. war machine, even as they wring their hands over spending a mere quarter of that amount on the Build Back Better Act. The U.S. military’s incredible record of systematic failure—most recently its final trouncing by the Taliban after twenty years of death, destruction and lies in Afghanistan—cries out for a top-to-bottom review of its dominant role in U.S. foreign policy and a radical reassessment of its proper place in Congress’s budget priorities.

Reining In The Pentagon

Even as Congress moves to increase the Pentagon budget well beyond the astronomical levels proposed by the Biden administration, a new report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has outlined three different ways to cut $1 trillion in Department of Defense spending over the next decade.  A rational defense policy could yield far more in the way of reductions, but resistance from the Pentagon, weapons contractors, and their many allies in Congress would be fierce. After all, in its consideration of the bill that authorizes such budget levels for next year, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives recently voted to add $25 billion to the already staggering $750 billion the Biden administration requested for the Pentagon and related work on nuclear weapons at the Department of Energy.
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