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.

Trump's recent decisions in northern Syria were ill-advised, strategically unsound, and morally shameful. In rapidly withdrawing U.S. presence and allowing a Turk offensive into Syria, we have left the Syrian Kurds behind, created a power vacuum for our adversaries to fill, and set the stage for the resurgence of ISIS.

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(U.S. Army 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.

Last week Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) shared with the country the findings of our two year investigation into foreign trolls who target troops and veterans online, which includes new evidence of foreign-born election interference related to the 2020 presidential campaign.

Macedonians took over and promoted a "Vets for Trump" Facebook page — spreading misinformation about voting along with racist and Islamaphobic propaganda, and engaging in Russian-style election interference, attacking democratic 2020 candidates.

Online entities from Russia, Bulgaria, Ukraine and Vietnam are persistently pretending to be our congressionally chartered veterans service organization — pushing hateful and divisive content alongside VVA-branded material that they're selling on websites which both scrape financial information from troops and veterans, and infect victims' computers with malware.

Trolls from Nigeria have a blossoming criminal empire that involves the identity theft of service members — names and photos of people who serve our country are then used as bait to lure elderly Americans into romance scams, costing some of them their life-savings, which has led several victims to suicide already.

This week, two more disturbing reports were released documenting the increasing dangers of predatory foreign entities online. Oxford University's Computational Propaganda Research Project showed us that at least 70 countries have experienced disinformation campaigns, and that the problem is growing.

Cisco's Talos Intelligence revealed that an imposter website made to look like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's "Hire Our Heroes" was infecting job-seeking troops and veterans' computers with a host of dangerous malware.

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President Donald Trump (DoD 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.

The U.S. military, and particularly the Marine Corps — in which I served both as an enlisted Marine and officer — puts a strong emphasis on leadership. Marines are taught leadership traits and qualities and are expected to exhibit them at nearly every level.

During my three decades of service, I saw good and great leadership, poor leadership, and toxic leadership. Nearly everyone in the military knows what toxic leadership looks like, even if they haven't experienced it directly.

Unfortunately, our commander-in-chief, President Donald Trump, exhibits the qualities of a toxic leader.

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

"Lat[eral] moves for [all aviators] to become a MARSOC [Special Operations Officer] are not being approved" at this time, the email from the Monitor said, adding that "[Inter-Service Transfers] for [any aviator] to any branch, to include the USCG, are not being approved [at this time]."

The email was just the latest restriction on aviators, and the next round of Headquarters Marine Corps' (HQMC) ineffective strategy for dealing with a critical shortage of company grade aviators in the Marine Corps.

The Air Force has garnered most of the attention regarding pilot shortages over the past few years, but it's hardly unique to their service, as the entire military is struggling to keep its aviators in the midst of an airline hiring frenzy and a strong economy. For years, the pilot shortage was attributed to Obama-era sequestration, aging platforms, and a lack of sufficient flight time.

But there is a more significant contributor to this shortage: mismanagement of pilots due to unwritten rules of the aviation promotion system.

Unfortunately for the Corps, company grade aviators catch on to these rules early, and flight school cannot produce enough new pilots to balance the inevitable exodus of captains. If this exodus is not effectively addressed, our ability to fight from the air could be critically compromised in a way that will take decades from which to recover.

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(Associated Press photo)

There are all sorts of reasons why the U.S. military enlisting 16 year olds (which means actually recruiting them at 15, 14, even 13 years old) is a bad idea.

Just to name five:

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(Northwestern University via Wikimedia Commons)

On Friday, I will attend the solemn ceremony at Northwestern University in which Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps students will take the oath to become members of the United States Navy and Marine Corps. As both a faculty member and graduate of Northwestern, I try to attend each year as these outstanding young people commit themselves to a life fraught with potential danger in service to our country. They have earned and deserve our solidarity and support.

Almost 50 years ago, as a Northwestern undergraduate, I was arrested for damaging the NROTC offices during an anti-Vietnam War demonstration. At the time, many of us believed that NROTC contributed to the war effort, and therefore had to be removed from campus.

As a leftist then and now, I have no qualms about admitting to my errors, one of which was a wholesale misunderstanding of the importance of the ROTC program — Army, Navy and Marine Corps and Air Force — on college campuses.

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