How To Keep The Navy Balanced In 2017 And Beyond

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The Navy saw decisive cuts within the fiscal year 2017 defense budget, but is expected to be more capable, according to an event page from American Enterprise Institute.


The think tank, which hosted Chief Naval Officer Adm. John Richardson, showcased how the U.S. Navy is posturing itself to compete against nations like China, Russia, and Iran in coming years.

“There are these forces at play in the environment that if we don’t respond to those forces, we’re just going to be left behind,” Richardson told former Sen. Jim Talent — a senior fellow with AEI.

“We need both presence and posture,” Talent said.

He added that in the current climate, it’s hard to gauge where the focus should be, and asked Richardson if it was possible for the Navy to achieve that.

Richardson said, “You really need both ... you can’t go all in one direction or all in the other.”

This year, the Navy’s proposed budget was guided by “A Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority,” Richardson's strategy for outlining the maritime environment, which “reflects the character of the security environment and accounts for the forces at play in the maritime system, the force of the information system and the force of technology entering the environment,” according to the Navy’s Chief of Information Office.

The Navy now has to try to anticipate new technologies and look forward to what the competitive maritime warfighting environment will be in the future, so that it can posture itself adequately, Richardson said.

He added, “We’re in a time of a great power competition.”

Coming in at $165 billion, 2.5% less than what was requested for 2016, the Navy is hoping to become a leaner, more competitive, balanced force.

Personnel numbers are expected to drop from 329,200 billets to 322,900 billets in 2017.

Moreover, after continued failure within the littoral combat ship program, the Navy announced it will no longer seek to purchase a third version of the ship in 2017.

As far as fleet modernization goes, the chief information office press release reports that next year’s budget plans to buy seven new ships including two Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, two Virginia-class submarines, two littoral combat ships, and one America-class amphibious assault ship. The plan is to grow the fleet to 308 ships during fiscal year 2021.

Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Rosalie Garcia
(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Moments before Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia went back into the house, journalist Michael Ware said he was "pacing like a caged tiger ... almost like he was talking to himself."

"I distinctly remember while everybody else had taken cover temporarily, there out in the open on the street — still exposed to the fire from the roof — was David Bellavia," Ware told Task & Purpose on Monday. "David stopped pacing, he looked up and sees that the only person still there on the street is me. And I'm just standing there with my arms folded.

"He looked up from the pacing, stared straight into my eyes, and said 'Fuck it.' And I stared straight back at him and said 'Fuck it,'" Ware said. "And that's when I knew, we were both going back in that house."

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(Photo courtesy of Philip Stackhouse)

Former Army Special Forces Maj. Matthew Golsteyn will plead not guilty to a charge of murder for allegedly shooting an unarmed Afghan man whom a tribal leader had identified as a Taliban bomb maker, his attorney said.

Golsteyn will be arraigned on Thursday morning at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Phillip Stackhouse told Task & Purpose.

No date has been set for his trial yet, said Lt. Col. Loren Bymer, a spokesman for U.S. Army Special Operations Command.

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Taran Tactical Innovations

John Wick is back, and he's here to stay. It doesn't matter how many bad guys show up to try to collect on that bounty.

With John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum, the titular hitman, played by 54-year-old Keanu Reeves, continues on a blood-soaked hyper-stylized odyssey of revenge: first for his slain dog, then his wrecked car, then his destroyed house, then ... well, honestly it's hard to keep track of exactly what Wick is avenging by this point, or the body count he's racked up in the process.

Though we do know that the franchise has raked in plenty of success at the box office: just a week after it's May 17 release, the third installment in director Chad Stahleski's series took in roughly $181 million, making it even more successful than its two wildly popular prequels 2014's John Wick, and 2017's John Wick: Chapter 2.

And, more importantly, Reeves' hitman is well on his way to becoming one of the greatest action movie heroes in recent memory. Few (if any) other action flicks have succeeded in creating a mind-blowing avant garde ballet out of a dozen well-dressed gunmen who get shot, choked, or stabbed with a pencil by a pissed off hitman who just wants to return to retirement.

But for all the over-the-top acrobatics, fight sequences, and gun-porn (see: the sommelier), what makes the series so enthralling, especially for the service members and vets in the audience, is that there are some refreshing moments of realism nestled under all of that gun fu. Wrack your brain and try to remember the last time you saw an action hero do a press check during a shootout, clear a jam, or actually, you know, reload, instead of just hip-firing 300 rounds from an M16 nonstop. It's cool, we'll wait.

As it turns out, there's a good reason for the caliber of gun-play in John Wick. One of the franchise's secret weapons is a professional three-gun shooter named Taran Butler, who told Task & Purpose he can draw and hit three targets in 0.67 seconds from 10 yards. And if you've watched any of the scores of videos he's uploaded to social media over the years, it's pretty clear that this isn't idle boasting.

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The Navy's electromagnetic railgun is undergoing what officials described as "essentially a shakedown" of critical systems before finally installing a tactical demonstrator aboard a surface warship, the latest sign that the once-beleaguered supergun may actually end up seeing combat.

That pretty much means this is could be the last set of tests before actually slapping this bad boy onto a warship, for once.

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(AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

The Justice Department has accused Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) of illegally using campaign funds to pay for extramarital affairs with five women.

Hunter, who fought in the Iraq War as a Marine artillery officer, and his wife Margaret were indicated by a federal jury on Aug. 21, 2018 for allegedly using up to $250,000 in campaign funds for personal use.

In a recent court filing, federal prosecutors accused Hunter of using campaign money to pay for a variety of expenses involved with his affairs, ranging from a $1,008 hotel bill to $7 for a Sam Adams beer.

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