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Back in December 2018, the incoming chairman of the House Armed Services Committee confidently assured reporters that Congress would prevent President Donald Trump from raiding the Defense Department's budget to pay for his border wall.
"It's a question that isn't really worth asking because the president will send up his budget and we'll see – and if there is wall funding in it, we'll all flip out and say, 'You can't do that,'" Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) said at a Defense Writers Group breakfast.
As you beloved readers know by now, not only has the president successfully diverted funding for military construction and counter-narcotics operations to pay for the border wall, but the Defense Department is now sacrificing F-35s – once the ultimate golden calf – to help extend the wall another 177 miles.
The Navy and Marine Corps intend to purchase an additional 203 Tactical Tomahawk Cruise Missiles for roughly $402 million in 2021, according to the Navy's budget request for that fiscal year, with 155 of the long-range munitions going to the Navy and 48 going to the Marine Corps.
The Navy's decision to get more Tomahawks isn't all that shocking — after all, the missiles made national news as recently as 2017 after President Donald Trump approved launching dozens at targets in Syria.
However, the fact that the Corps wants to get their hands on the cruise missile is surprising.
"The Marine Corps is procuring the Tomahawk missile as part of an overall strategy to build a more lethal Fleet Marine Force," said Capt Christopher Harrison, a Marine Corps spokesman, who also confirmed to Task & Purpose that the Marine Corps' intent to procure Tomahawks is "a new development."
"This capability is in support of the Marine Corps Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations (EABO) and the National Defense Strategy (NDS) approach to build a more lethal Joint Force," Harrison said. "Further details on the capability and or employment are classified."
Ever since the Pentagon changed its mission statement from "provid[ing] the military forces needed to deter war" to "provid[ing] a lethal Joint Force to defend the security of our country," the entire U.S. military seems to have fallen in love with "lethality" — and not in a good way.
Every generation gets the overblown euphemism for geopolitical adversaries it deserves. In the aftermath of the September 11th attacks, it was President George W. Bush's "Axis of Evil" in reference to North Korea, Iran and Iraq; in the last few years, the Defense Department has fretted over "Great Power Competition" with Russia and China.
Now, the head of U.S. Southern Command is looking to introduce a delicious new catchphrase to the Pentagon's lexicon: "vicious circle of threats."
The number of major aviation mishaps and associated fatalities among U.S. service members across all four main branches fell dramatically in fiscal year 2019, according to data reviewed by Task & Purpose, a sign of progress amid growing worries of a crisis in U.S. military aviation.
The U.S. military saw 43 Class A mishaps and just 13 related fatalities in fiscal year 2019 across the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force, well below the U.S. military's six-year high of 52 incidents and 39 deaths in fiscal year 2018.
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on The Conversation.
In a series of bloody campaigns from 2014 to 2019, a multinational military coalition drove the Islamic State group, often known as ISIS, out of much of the Iraqi and Syrian territory that the strict militant theocracy had brutally governed.
But the Pentagon and the United Nations both estimate that the group still has as many as 30,000 active insurgents in the region. Thousands more IS-aligned fighters are spread across Africa and Asia, from the scrublands of Mali and Niger to the deserts of Iraq and mountains of Afghanistan, to the island jungles of the Philippines.
I keep track of the loose alliance of various global affiliates and insurgent groups collectively known as the Islamic State. It's part of my research chronicling America's wars in remote lands where I have worked for the CIA and the U.S. Army. I also monitor Islamic State activities around the world for a University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth project I lead called MappingISIS.com
In recent months, the Islamic State group has reconstituted itself in the Syria-Iraq region and continues to inspire mayhem across the globe.