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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Marc and Debra Tice, the parents of Austin Tice, who is missing in Syria for nearly six years, speak during a press conference, at the Press Club, in Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018. The parents of an American journalist Austin Tice who has been missing in Syria since 2012 say they are hopeful the Trump administration will work on releasing their son the way they did with Americans who had been held for long time in North Korea. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

Thirty-eight years ago Sunday, after nine months of waiting, we finally had the great delight of meeting our firstborn, Austin Bennett Tice.

Today, we wish we could remind him of how glad we are he was born, how blessed we are to be his parents, how truly we believe the world is a better place for having him in it.

But we can't do that; Austin is detained in Syria. We are not allowed any contact with him.

Sunday is his 2,554th day of detention.

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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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Photo: Dostie's website.

Editor's note: "Formation: A Woman's Memoir of Stepping Out of Line" is a fierce and jarring telling of one woman's experience of war, military sexual trauma and her ensuing PTSD, and working to prove herself in the male-dominated world of the U.S. Army.

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