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“I love Mattis, but I don’t love him as SecDef,” writes Erin Simpson, senior editor of the foreign policy publication War on the Rocks. “You can’t run the Pentagon like the First Marine Division.”
On Dec. 1, President-elect Donald Trump nominated the legendary Marine Corps general, James “Mad Dog” Mattis, to head up the Department of Defense.
Mattis faces one obstacle already in that he would need Congress to pass a bill exempting him from the requisite seven-year, cooling-off period between active military service and assuming the role of Defense secretary. But it’s not only a question of whether he can, but if he should.
“The point is not that Mattis is unqualified. Rather, the point is that he hates this shit,” Simpson writes. “Budgets, white papers, and service rivalries, not to mention the interagency meetings and White House meddling — these tasks are not what you go to Jim Mattis for. Not only does the role of secretary of defense not play to Mattis’ strengths, but success in that role would compromise much that we admire most in him: his bluntness, clarity, and single-minded focus on warfighting.”
She’s not the only one who feels this way.
Army veteran Phillip Carter and former Pentagon and National Security Council official Loren DeJonge Schulman, who both work at the Center for a New American Security, have concerns about Mattis filling this role, too, but for different reasons.
“But we should be wary about an overreliance on military figures. Great generals don’t always make great Cabinet officials. And if appointed in significant numbers, they could undermine another strong American tradition: civilian control of an apolitical military,” the pair writes in The Washington Post.
The greater problem with Trump’s apparent quest to surround himself with military leaders is that “relying on the brass, however individually talented, to run so much of the government could also jeopardize civil-military relations,” according to Carter and Schulman.
While a heavy concentration of military leadership in the cabinet poses a dilemma for the civilian government, it shouldn’t be viewed simply as a matter of quantity. It’s the qualities of the veterans who fill those posts that we should be most concerned with. In the selection process, Trump would do well to consider that some veterans can parlay their military careers into successful political ones, while others cannot.
Mattis, whose reputation precedes him, built his career on candor, clarity, and pure dedication to his missions and his Marines. That is his legacy. But it’s worth wondering if he will sacrifice the legacy that made him a legend to do the job of secretary of Defense the compliant, boring, political way that it needs to get done.
(Update: This article has been updated to reflect that Mattis has been nominated to serve as secretary of defense. Dec. 1, 2016; 4:50 PM)
Army study recommends more sleep for recruits at basic, which drill sergeants will absolutely not disregard or anything
(Reuters Health) - Soldiers who experience sleep problems during basic combat training may be more likely to struggle with psychological distress, attention difficulties, and anger issues during their entry into the military, a recent study suggests.
"These results show that it would probably be useful to check in with new soldiers over time because sleep problems can be a signal that a soldier is encountering difficulties," said Amanda Adrian, lead author of the study and a research psychologist at the Center for Military Psychiatry and Neuroscience at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Spring, Maryland.
"Addressing sleep problems early on should help set soldiers up for success as they transition into their next unit of assignment," she said by email.
Thousands of U.S. service members who've been sent to operate along the Mexico border will receive a military award reserved for troops who "encounter no foreign armed opposition or imminent hostile action."
The Pentagon has authorized troops who have deployed to the border to assist U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) since last April to receive the Armed Forces Service Medal. Details about the decision were included in a Marine Corps administrative message in response to authorization from the Defense Department.
There is no end date for the award since the operation remains ongoing.
A former sailor who was busted buying firearms with his military discount and then reselling some of them to criminals is proving to be a wealth of information for federal investigators.
Julio Pino used his iPhone to record most, if not all, of his sales, court documents said. He even went so far as to review the buyers' driver's license on camera.
It is unclear how many of Pino's customer's now face criminal charges of their own. Federal indictments generally don't provide that level of detail and Assistant U.S. Attorney William B. Jackson declined to comment.
It all began with a medical check.
Carson Thomas, a healthy and fit 20-year-old infantryman who had joined the Army after a brief stint in college, figured he should tell the medics about the pain in his groin he had been feeling. It was Feb. 12, 2012, and the senior medic looked him over and decided to send him to sick call at the base hospital.
It seemed almost routine, something the Army doctors would be able to diagnose and fix so he could get back to being a grunt.
Now looking back on what happened some seven years later, it was anything but routine.
The US military now has to ask the Iraqis for permission before giving close air support to troops in combat
U.S. forces must now ask the Iraqi military for permission to fly in Iraqi airspace before coming to the aid of U.S. troops under fire, a top military spokesman said.
However, the mandatory approval process is not expected to slow down the time it takes the U.S. military to launch close air support and casualty evacuation missions for troops in the middle of a fight, said Army Col. James Rawlinson, a spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve.