Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.

A recent RAND study on military compensation has recently garnered some attention, with the main takeaway of many being that "US Troops May Be Overpaid, New Study Finds." As even a cursory look at the comments section of this and other coverage of the study reveals, most veterans don't like hearing that.

Of course, RAND didn't actually say, "Get off your ass, you lazy bums! We're paying you way too much to sit around!" Those who bothered to actually read the study found it a rather well-argued and nuanced report that doesn't focus on the idea that the military is "overpaid." It proposes that if the goal of a compensation plan is to recruit and retain the right people, the military is not using its total compensation budget in the most effective manner.

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A demonstrator stands outside a security zone before a pro-gun rally, Monday, Jan. 20, 2020, in Richmond, Va. Thousands of pro-gun supporters are expected at the rally to oppose gun control legislation like universal background checks that are being pushed by the newly elected Democratic legislature. (Associated Press/Julio Cortez)

Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.

Editor's Note: A version of this article originally appeared on the blog of Angry Staff Officer

This morning, the Virginia state capitol in Richmond saw dozens of armed men gathering to demonstrate their support for the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution – the right to bear arms. These men were not merely bearing arms, however; they were fully accoutered in the trappings of what one would call a paramilitary group: helmets, vests, ammunition pouches, camouflage clothing, and other "tactical" necessities, the majority of which are neither tactical nor necessary. Their weapons, too, are bedecked with all sorts of accessories, and are also in the paramilitary lane. Rather than carry rifles or shotguns that one would use for hunting, they instead carry semi-automatic "military grade" weapons, to merely prove that they can.

This is not an uncommon sight in America. Nor has it ever been. Armed groups of angry men have a long and uncomfortable history in the United States. On very rare occasions, these irregulars have done some good against corrupt, power-hungry, and abusive county governments. For the most part, however, they bode no good.

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A U.S. service member jumps out of a CH-53E Super Stallion during parachute training operations over Marine Corps Training Area Bellows, Hawaii, August 14, 2019. (U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Jacob Wilson)

Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.

In the wake of the U.S. airstrike against Iranian commander Maj. Gen Qasem Soleimani, some left-leaning veterans groups have suggested on social media that if you don't want to go to war with Iran, you should go UA (unauthorized absence).

This is terrible advice. I know, because at the height of the war in Iraq, I helped kick out more than 100 Marines who did just that.

Although some surrendered to authorities, most were apprehended. The government doesn't consider desertion a serious enough crime to make it a high priority for law enforcement, but that's because they don't have to.

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The U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) returns to Fleet Activities Yokosuka following a collision with a merchant vessel while operating southwest of Yokosuka, Japan, June 17, 2017 (U.S. Navy photo)

Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.

Shortly after seven sailors died aboard USS Fitzgerald when she collided with a merchant ship off Japan in 2017, I wrote that the Fitzgerald's watch team could have been mine. My ship had once had a close call with me on watch, and I had attempted to explain how such a thing could happen. "Operating ships at sea is hard, and dangerous. Stand enough watches, and you'll have close calls," I wrote at the time. "When the Fitzgerald's investigation comes out, I, for one, will likely be forgiving."

The investigations, both public and private, are out, and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently released a report assessing the changes to training implemented since the collisions.

So, am I forgiving? Yes — for some.

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On March 22nd 2017, then-DHS Secretary John F. Kelly visited ICE HQ to meet with ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan and ICE Senior Leadership. After those two meetings he held a Town Hall with ICE Employees, he also took questions when he was done talking. (DHS)

Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed. The opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Task & Purpose.

Is it just me or does this statement from the White House rebuking retired Marine Gen. John Kelly sound like a piece of North Korean propaganda?

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Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on The Conversation.

Between Aug. 7, 1942, and Feb. 9, 1943, U.S. forces sought to capture – and then defend – the Pacific island of Guadalcanal from the Japanese military. What started as an amphibious landing quickly turned into a series of massive air and naval battles. The campaign marked a major turning point in the Pacific theater of World War II.

It also revealed important lessons about the nature of warfare itself – ones that are particularly relevant when planning for conflict in the 21st century.

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