In this March 12, 2016, file photo, Marines of the U.S., left, and South Korea, wearing blue headbands on their helmets, take positions after landing on a beach during the joint military combined amphibious exercise, called Ssangyong, part of the Key Resolve and Foal Eagle military exercises, in Pohang, South Korea. (Associated Press/Yonhap/Kim Jun-bum)
Marines and sailors with Marine Expeditionary Brigade – Afghanistan load onto a KC-130 aircraft on the Camp Bastion flightline, Oct. 27, 2014. U.S. Marine Corps photo
Like Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong, U.S. officials have a five-year plan — for ending America's longest war, that is.
The New York Times reports that a new U.S. government plan would see the withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan in the next three to five years, with half of the 14,000 American service members currently deployed there headed home "in coming months."
The plan would also see the 8,600 European and Australian forces take over the train, advise, and assist mission that's been a cornerstone of the NATO presence there for the last, with U.S. military personnel increasingly focused on "counterterrorism strikes" against militant targets, according to the Times.
The Times' account of the withdrawal plan, described as "offered in peace negotiations with the Taliban," is based on details shared with reported "by more than a half dozen current and former American and European officials."
But Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Koné Faulkner flatly denied the report a statement to Task & Purpose: "As peace talks with the Taliban continue, DoD is considering all options of force numbers and disposition, but no decisions have been made at this time."
Task & Purpose Pentagon correspondent Jeff Schogol contributed reporting
After 46-year-old Marine Corps veteran Everett Evans lost his home to the Erskine wildfire that raged across 50,000 acres in central California last summer, he was devastated. But now, he’s doing everything he can to make sure that doesn’t happen to his small Kern River Valley community again.
Instead of giving each other the mutual respect they’ve earned, far too often, veterans put each other down. It sometimes goes beyond healthy rivalry and into incivility and insults, sometimes in person, sometimes behind others’ backs, and of course, without tact, or for that matter, even decency, on the internet.
In 2001, after more than 20 years of “Be All You Can Be,” the U.S. Army changed its recruiting slogan to “Army Of One.” It didn’t last long. In 2006, the Army changed the slogan again to “Army Strong,” citing slumping recruitment numbers at the height of the Iraq War. But there was another problem. As many critics pointed out, the short-lived slogan seemed to contradict one of the most essential truths about being in the military: No soldier, of any rank or job description, is an army of one.