Is the Pentagon gearing up to send a contingent of U.S. service member to South American in response to the ongoing political crisis in Venezuela? Apparently, according to the world's dumbest OPSEC fail.
Appearing at a press briefing at the White House on Monday, National Security Adviser John Bolton managed to get his handwritten notes, including a line about "5,000 troops to Colombia," captured by every photojournalist present in an embarrassing lapse of operational security — namely by holding his yellow legal pad, notes out.
National security adviser John Bolton holds his notes during a press briefing at the White House, Monday, Jan. 28, 2019, in Washington.
(Associated Press/Evan Vucci)
At the moment, it's unclear what, if anything, that "5,000 troops to Colombia" actually means. The slip came just days after military aviation observers noticed a U.S. Air Force Special Operations C-146A Wolfhound inbound to the capital of Bogota, and the commanding general of U.S. Army South arrived in Colombia on Monday to discuss military ties with the United States.
When questioned by reporters on Tuesday regarding Bolton's notes, acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan demurred. "I haven't discussed that with Secretary Bolton," he said of a potential U.S. military deployment to Colombia. "I'm not commenting on it."
A White House spokesman was more cryptic when reached by Task & Purpose: "All options are on the table."
While both U.S. and Colombian officials threw cold water on the idea of an imminent influx of U.S. service members into the southern hemisphere, the cryptic responses from the Pentagon and White House suggests that maybe, just maybe, those notes were a warning to any Latin American countries planning on starting some shit during Venezuela's current crisis? Is it possible that, rather than a dumb OPSEC slip, Bolton's overtly visible notes are part of some Machiavellian effort to outflank America's foes on the geopolitical stage?
The short answer is, well, no. The longer answer: Fuck no.
This is somehow the third easily-avoidable OPSEC fail to hit senior level Trump officials since the start of the administration. In May 2017, the Washington Post inadvertently published then-Secretary of Defense James Mattis' phone number after Trump's bodyguard, Keith Schiller, was photographed with Mattis' digits on a sticky note in plain sight; the following August, a selfie taken in the West Wing included a full capture of then-Trump adviser Steve Bannon's whiteboard of power.
Let this be a reminder: When it comes to issues of OPSEC, Trump officials are clearly not playing four-dimensional chess. Hell, they're barely even playing checkers; if anything, they're eating the pieces.
(U.S. Air Force/Airman 1st Class Alexandria Crawford)
A new survey of thousands of military families released on Wednesday paints a negative picture of privatized military housing, to say the least.
The Military Family Advisory Network surveyed 15,901 adults at 160 locations around the country who are either currently living in privatized military housing, or had lived in privatized housing within the last three years. One of the report's primary takeaways can be summarized in two lines: "Most responses, 93 percent, came from residents living in housing managed by six companies. None of them had average satisfaction rates at or above neutral."
Those six companies are Lincoln Military Housing, Balfour Beatty, Hunt, Lendlease/Winn, Corvias, and Michaels.
What's behind these responses? MFAN points to the "culture of resilience" found in the military community for why military families may be downplaying the severity of their situations, or putting up with subpar conditions.
"[Military] families will try to manage grim living conditions without complaint," MFAN says in its report. "The norm of managing through challenges, no matter their severity, is deeply established in military family life."
Hailed as a hero for knocking a shooter off his feet in a UNC Charlotte classroom, Riley Howell was posthumously awarded two of the military's highest honors in his hometown of Waynesville, North Carolina this week.
Howell, 21, and classmate Ellis "Reed" Parlier, 19, died when a gunman opened fire in their classroom in the Kennedy building on April 30.
(Islamic State Group/Al Furqan Media Network/Reuters)
CAIRO (Reuters) - After losing territory, ISIS fighters are turning to guerrilla war — and the group's newspaper is telling them exactly how to do it.
In recent weeks, IS's al-Naba online newspaper has encouraged followers to adopt guerrilla tactics and published detailed instructions on how to carry out hit-and-run operations.
The group is using such tactics in places where it aims to expand beyond Iraq and Syria. While IS has tried this approach before, the guidelines make clear the group is adopting it as standard operating procedure.