Trump Is Taking Down The Military–Industrial Complex One Tweet At A Time

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On Dec. 12, President-elect Donald Trump attacked the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter on Twitter, saying the cost of the next-generation stealth plane is “out of control.”


A presidential tweet can have some serious corporate repercussions: In subsequent trading, shares in Lockheed Martin, the company that produces the aircraft, dipped more than 4%, and its market value plunged by $4 billion, according to CNBC. To put that in perspective, it’s 1/100th the estimated cost of the weapons program itself, which some believe could reach $400 billion.

Lockheed isn’t the only one. Last week, Trump called out Boeing as well.

Boeing secured a contract in January 2016 to start work on the 747 jets meant to replace the 25-year-old Air Force One planes, which will be phased in early next decade. And although its stock price dipped by 1% after the tweet, it has since recovered.

But companies across the country are feeling the sting of Trump’s Twitter attacks. Northrop Grumman is only a component producer on the F-35, and its stocks hit a one-month low as a result of the tweet. While these companies have more than enough financial capital to withstand such attacks, other smaller contractors may not be so resilient.

Trump calls interventions in iraq and afghanistan an absolute failure »

Hopefully these companies fare better than the F-35 in a thunderstorm. Around the same time the president-elect was firing off his tweet, a pair of the stealth aircraft that were scheduled for delivery to Israel — the first installment of 50 planes that have been promised — were grounded for several hours in Italy due to bad weather.

Thirteen Marines have been formally charged for their alleged roles in a human smuggling ring, according to a press release from 1st Marine Division released on Friday.

The Marines face military court proceedings on various charges, from "alleged transporting and/or conspiring to transport undocumented immigrants" to larceny, perjury, distribution of drugs, and failure to obey an order. "They remain innocent until proven guilty," said spokeswoman Maj. Kendra Motz.

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Arizona Army National Guard soldiers with the 160th and 159th Financial Management Support Detachments qualify with the M249 squad automatic weapon at the Florence Military Reservation firing range on March 8, 2019. (U.S. Army/Spc. Laura Bauer)

The recruiting commercials for the Army Reserve proclaim "one weekend each month," but the real-life Army Reserve might as well say "hold my beer."

That's because the weekend "recruiting hook" — as it's called in a leaked document compiled by Army personnel for the new chief of staff — reveal that it's, well, kinda bullshit.

When they're not activated or deployed, most reservists and guardsmen spend one weekend a month on duty and two weeks a year training, according to the Army recruiting website. But that claim doesn't seem to square with reality.

"The Army Reserve is cashing in on uncompensated sacrifices of its Soldiers on a scale that must be in the tens of millions of dollars, and that is a violation of trust, stewardship, and the Army Values," one Army Reserve lieutenant colonel, who also complained that his battalion commander "demanded" that he be available at all times, told members of an Army Transition Team earlier this year.

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According to an internal Army document, soldiers feel that the service's overwhelming focus on readiness is wearing down the force, and leading some unit leaders to fudge the truth on their unit's readiness.

"Soldiers in all three Army Components assess themselves and their unit as less ready to perform their wartime mission, despite an increased focus on readiness," reads the document, which was put together by the Army Transition Team for new Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville and obtained by Task & Purpose. "The drive to attain the highest levels of readiness has led some unit leaders to inaccurately report readiness."

Lt. Gen. Eric J. Wesley, who served as the director of the transition team, said in the document's opening that though the surveys conducted are not scientific, the feedback "is honest and emblematic of the force as a whole taken from seven installations and over 400 respondents."

Those surveyed were asked to weigh in on four questions — one of which being what the Army isn't doing right. One of the themes that emerged from the answers is that "[r]eadiness demands are breaking the force."

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If you've paid even the slightest bit of attention in the last few years, you know that the Pentagon has been zeroing in on the threat that China and Russia pose, and the future battles it anticipates.

The Army has followed suit, pushing to modernize its force to be ready for whatever comes its way. As part of its modernization, the Army adopted the Multi-Domain Operations (MDO) concept, which serves as the Army's main war-fighting doctrine and lays the groundwork for how the force will fight near-peer threats like Russia and China across land, air, sea, cyber, and space.

But in an internal document obtained by Task & Purpose, the Army Transition Team for the new Chief of Staff, Gen. James McConville, argues that China poses a more immediate threat than Russia, so the Army needs make the Asia-Pacific region its priority while deploying "minimal current conventional forces" in Europe to deter Russia.

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As the saying goes, you recruit the soldier, but you retain the family.

And according to internal documents obtained by Task & Purpose, the Army still has substantial work to do in addressing families' concerns.

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