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BIG! Senate Passes NDAA

The U.S. Senate passed its version of the National Defense Authorization Act. And after the Islamic jihadist attack in Orlando, there should be no malingering about the final passage of a strong NDAA. The veto threat from the Obama administration is bad policy and incomprehensible at this critical time.

The FY 2017 NDAA must lay the ground for the restoration of our military, in a fiscally responsible manner. We must end the absurd and dangerous gutting of our force. We must streamline our procurement and acquisitions systems in order to get the best weapons systems into the hands of our warriors. And we must better compensate and care for those willing to make the last full measure of devotion and their families.

See how each Senator voted here.

Fighter Aircraft and 21st Century Threats

Chris Wiley is a Veteran and Contributing Fellow for the NCPA:

“Simply put:  the A-10 Warthog’s lethality and simplicity have ensured its longevity.

I will get to the specific merits of the A-10 Warthog in a bit, but we must first revisit history to reinforce my premise.  When I entered the Air Force Academy in 1993, the post-Cold War era was in full swing.  And the ensuing “peace dividend” defense budgets ushered in a period of downsizing for the U.S. Air Force.

The prospect for a “near peer” or force-on-force air war had greatly diminished with the collapse of the Soviet Union, resulting in Fighter Wing de-activations, aircraft retirements, mandatory Reductions in Force (RIF) and drastic contractions in forward deployed assets.  These factors compelled the Air Force to embrace an “Expeditionary” model; a smaller, modular concept used by the Marine Corps for decades.  The Marines’ dependent relationship on their Navy “big brother” had molded them into a lean, nimble Combined Arms weapon, at the ready for our nation.

Initially, the Air Force invented the Composite Wing, which clustered Air Mobility, Tactical Aviation and the requisite logistical support together organizationally, and stationed the Wing at a common base to provide Major Command leadership “chess pieces” for rapid deployment.  The Composite Wing then evolved into the Air Expeditionary Force (AEF) which packaged existing, but often geographically separated, units into packages available for deployment.  As flare-ups emerged in the Middle East, the Air Force supported U.S. Central Command by developing a rotation schedule that balanced deployments across combat units and offered the ability to tailor capabilities to mission requirements.  This model continues to the present.

Under this strategy, my A-10 unit, the 355th Fighter Squadron then stationed near Fairbanks, Alaska, and with a primary mission to defend South Korea from North Korea, still held a spot in the Central Command’s expeditionary rotation.  Our unit deployed in support of Operations NORTHERN and SOUTHERN WATCH in Iraq.  We also deployed several times to Kuwait and Afghanistan.  And the post-9/11 world has not permitted a slowing of this “Ops Tempo,” or the frequency at which units deploy.  The Air Force has essentially maintained this robust expeditionary posture for over 20 years.

Why then is the A-10 often considered for “mothballing” when it remains the best fit for this intense and longstanding expeditionary model?  After all, ongoing engagements make the current system incredibly expensive.  As I mentioned, ops tempo remains high and, therefore, transit costs or those monies used to pay for units to rotate in and out of theaters 3 to 4 times annually remain incredibly high.  Until planners use basing arrangements like those used for the Korean Peninsula –‒ a model in which personnel serve one or two year “remote” tours, but the airframes and the logistical support stay in country ‒‒ the A-10 will remain the most appropriate aircraft for this model.

Indeed, we have Warthogs presently headlining the Air Force’s new expeditionary package in reaction to Russian aggression in Eastern Europe.  The A-10 is adaptable and has proven capable of immediately allying with host-nation air forces to demonstrate NATO’s cooperative power.  Additionally, more than one stateside A-10 squadron has deployed to Europe and showcased its unique ability to land at bare-base situations.  The risk of damage to the A-10 from foreign objects is far lower than other Air Force fighters, which allows Warthogs, for instance, to operate from un-maintained runways and even dry lake beds.

Moreover, the United States’ engagements at the center of this expeditionary model remains ill-suited to the new 5th Generation weapons platforms currently being pursued by the Pentagon.  The Air Force has focused its acquisitions process on replacing 4th Generation tactical aircraft, like the A-10, with technologically advanced and exorbitantly expensive aircraft designed primarily for massive, full-spectrum wars –‒ the types of conflict that waned with the Cold War’s conclusion.

Instead, the Air Force’s lowest technology tactical airframe, the A-10 Warthog, has proven itself the optimal Close Air Support (CAS) platform for current engagements, namely global terrorism.  Rugged, simple, survivable – the physical attributes of the A-10 Warthog are not “Expeditionary” by chance.  During conceptual development, the Air Force envisioned the A-10 deploying to Forward Air Refueling Points (FARP) in West Germany to support NATO ground forces against a Warsaw Pact invasion.

The takeaway for our citizens, Congress, and the Air Force is to embrace the Warthog for a few more years.  No plane flies forever, but the Air Force cannot retire a capability so appropriate for the current expeditionary engagements without a viable successor.  The proposed successor may be a quantum technological leap beyond the A-10, but is it expeditionary and ready to supply close air support today, or ever?  The Air Force needs to be honest with their sister services, Congress and the taxpayers.”

SHOCK: Congress is finally doing something RIGHT, except…

This post originally appeared at

One of the responsibilities I take very seriously as a result of having this platform is to keep y’all informed, especially my brother and sister veterans.

Right now the House and Senate Armed Services Committees are developing the defense authorization documents for our military. If there’s one thing I enjoyed about my time on the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) it was the job of agency oversight and authorization. The Fiscal Year 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) sets the mission and program priorities for our defense appropriations. At the National Center for Policy Analysis, where I’m Executive Director, we’ve developed a five-point petition with a policy focus for lawmakers regarding the NDAA. It’s called “Provide for the Common Defense Now!” and you can view it at

We’ve reported here before regarding the use of food stamps in military commissaries. Say what you wish, but I find it abhorrent and unconscionable that we have young enlisted service members on food subsistence programs, while folks are demanding a $15 minimum wage.

So, in keeping with my responsibility to keep y’all up to speed, here’s an issue you need to be aware of — and maybe you can contact your Representative or Senator, and certainly those who sit on the HASC or SASC.

As reported by, “Many Tricare users would face annual enrollment fees in a newly named plan under a draft proposal released Monday by the House Armed Services Committee. Under the plan, current users of Tricare Standard and Tricare Extra would fall into the newly minted Tricare Preferred plan. Users would continue to be permitted to self-refer to providers, but doing so would come with an annual enrollment fee of $100 for individuals and $200 for families starting in 2020.

New Tricare users would pay even greater fees. Active-duty family members would pay $300 for an individual or $600 for families to enroll each year, while future retirees who joined the service after 2020 would pay $425 for an individual or $850 for families. New beneficiaries who want to use Prime can do so, but also at a cost. Active-duty families would pay $180 for an individual or $360 for a family, while retirees would pay $325 for an individual or $650 for a family. Current users would not pay to use Prime.

Under the new Preferred option, users would have no annual deductible, but would pay set fees out of pocket. For example, emergency room visits would cost $40 in network for active-duty families, and $60 for retirees. The catastrophic yearly cap would be at $1,000 for active-duty families and $3,000 for retirees.” Military Times notes: This story was corrected on April 26 to reflect that only currently serving beneficiaries and retirees who opt to use the Preferred plan after 2020 would face annual enrollment fees.”

Recently here at NCPA, we published a piece about Tricare and some issues facing our service men and women. I recall when I served on the HASC Subcommittee on Military Personnel that the cost of healthcare for our uniformed members and retirees was a concern. And it appears the HASC Subcommittee is attempting to try and rectify the situation. One of the issues with the current Tricare system is the low rate of reimbursement to medical professionals, in some cases lower than Medicaid. And, for those retirees and some men and women in uniform who aren’t on duty near a military installation, it may be difficult to find medical professionals who are listed as Tricare providers. The new Tricare Preferred Plan looks to open up more choices for those who “opt” in — but be aware of the increased cost.

What I want y’all to do is follow the NDAA progress which began this week in the HASC with what’s called the “mark-up” process. This means the proposed legislation has gone through the subcommittees and been “marked-up,” meaning reviewed, voted upon, corrected (amended), and submitted to the full HASC.

Now, the HASC Chairman, Texas Congressman Mac Thornberry, has conducted his “mark” of all the subcommittee submissions and the full HASC will undergo their “mark-up.” Once this NDAA package has gone through the mark-up in chambers, it will go to the full House of Representatives floor for debate, potential amendments and final votes. The same procedures are occurring over on the Senate side.

Now is the time for everyone to get plugged in and be aware of the policy decisions being made. As you can see, they also affect our military healthcare system. I hope y’all will indeed learn more about the newly created Tricare Preferred Plan and learn how it can impact you and your family.

And in closing, I am officially a Life Member of the 1st and 4th Infantry Division Associations. I will be attending and speaking at the Big Red One annual meeting in June in my hometown of Atlanta. These are my two combat divisions and I am honored and proud to be part of the legacy of two historic Army combat divisions both commanded by two former colleagues, MG Wayne W. Grigsby Jr. and MG Ryan F. Gonsalves, with whom I was a fellow Battalion Commander in the 4ID.

Duty First! Steadfast and Loyal!

The Hidden Enemy

This post originally appeared in my townhall column: “There is a Chinese proverb that states, “May you live in interesting times,” which has become a defining character of these times in which we are living. This new 21st century battlefield has brought a seemingly innumerable level of conflict and conflagrations that expands across the globe. It is a battlefield that has no boundaries or borders, and finds attacks occurring against civilian populations near and far.

It is not just the threat from traditional nation-state actors, but also the proliferation of non-state, non-uniformed, unlawful enemy combatants that makes this a rather complex battlespace. The latter enemy blends in with civilian populations as a means of cover. There are nations that provide support and sanctuary for these unlawful actors, enabling their sustainment. What has been a new frontier in this battle has been the use of new information technology, which gives a new and broad platform for the enemy and adversaries to promulgate their violent ideology.

But, there is also another means by which technology is enabling our enemies to be successful on the battlefield.

Tuesday the 26th of April is recognized as World Intellectual Property (IP) Day. According to the Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC) at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, here are the major impacts of IP for America:

  • Incentivizes innovation and creativity,
  • Creates 40 million jobs, drives 2/3 of our GDP, and ¾ of all US annual exports, and
  • Protects consumer safety by allowing consumers to make informed decisions about the safety, reliability, and quality of the products they purchase.


But there is a very vital aspect of our IP that relates to the most critical function of our federal government — national security.

These are times when we are decimating our current military force structure. We have an Army that is being cut down to pre-World War II levels. Our U.S. Marine Corps is at World War I levels. Our venerable U.S. Navy, “a global force for good,” is now the smallest Navy we have fielded when analyzing surface warships since 1917 — and it appears Russia enjoys “buzzing” our Destroyers. Our U.S. Air Force is the smallest and oldest fleet since we created the modern Air Force as a separate service branch. There are those who would say this is all good. Easy for them to say such, when they are not on those frontlines for freedom as guardians.

Our defense discretionary budget is approximately 18% of our overall budget. Nearly 64% of our federal budget is spent on the mandatory spending side encompassing Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and the net interest on our ever growing debt. As a percentage of our GDP, defense takes up about 3.2%. Sure, we can find savings in our defense budget. One of the most obvious is to reform our weapons systems acquisition and procurement process – where protection of our IP is paramount. Many believe that we can “afford” to cut back on our manpower requirements because we have a technological edge, advantage. But on this new battlefield, that may just no longer be the case.

If you have not paid requisite attention, there has been a marked increase of cyber-attacks against the United States. This has not just occurred against our military facilities and forces, but has rather been targeted towards our private sector industry, research and development, and institutions of higher learning. In a recent speech delivered to the National Center for Policy Analysis, retired Army Lieutenant General Michael Flynn stated that the Chinese have a Cyber Unit with a manning level of some 800,000. In contrast, our US CYBERCOM has between 10-15,000 manpower, and we all know that cyber is another area of this new battlefield.

What are the dangers?

If you have not noticed, China’s new fighter aircraft has a very marked resemblance to our F-35 fighter. And there is another very dangerous aspect of this new hidden enemy: parts counterfeiting. Several years ago, the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) looked into this very problem. In a year-long investigation the SASC examined some 1,800 cases of counterfeit parts, involving a total of more than 1 million individual counterfeit parts found in the military supply chain — totally unconscionable.

Some of the critical weapon systems where these counterfeit parts were found include helicopter forward-looking infrared, F-16 hostile tracking radar, portable nuclear identification tools, and aircraft pilot displays. There appears to be a very targeted method for these counterfeit parts. In the report from the SASC, former Chairman Senator Carl Levin stated, “Our report outlines how this flood of counterfeit parts, overwhelmingly from China, threatens our national security, the safety of our troops, and American jobs. It underscores China’s failure to police the blatant market in counterfeit parts — a failure China should rectify.” Senator John McCain chimed in on the subject, stating, “Our committee’s report makes it abundantly clear that vulnerabilities throughout the defense supply chain allow counterfeit electronic parts to infiltrate critical US military systems, risking our security and the lives of the men and women who protect it.”

The National Center for Policy Analysis has developed the “Provide for the Common Defense, Now!” petition, which advocates for reforming the military acquisition and research and development process to eliminate significant cost overruns and guarantee warfighters receive modern weapon systems on time and under budget. If you stand with us, please sign it.

On this World IP Day we can certainly celebrate the incredible innovations and ingenuity resulting from the indomitable American entrepreneurial spirt. But what we must never forget is that exact same innovative capacity and capability is being targeted, and threatens our national security. If we continue decimating our force structure while the hidden enemy unlawfully usurps our technological advantage on the battlefield — then we are not ensuring that seminal responsibility to “provide for the common defense.”

The Decline of American Regard

This post originally appeared in West’s Townhall column: “When I was a Congressional representative from South Florida, one of the major concerns was beach re-nourishment, the process of pumping sand back onto eroded beaches. The district I represented was all coastline, from Ft. Lauderdale up to Jupiter Inlet, and one of the major economic concerns was the erosion of the beaches. As we all can understand, if the beauty of the south Florida beaches declined, so did the attraction of visitors and economic growth.

It is no different when one considers the slow erosion of American strength that has been occurring over the past seven years. This has led to the decline of our regard on the global stage. Recent events tell the tale cracks in our foundation, as well as serious (and we pray not irreparable) damage to American strength.

Take the economic blackmail threat by the Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister’s reference to legislation supporting the declassification of 28 pages from the 9/11 investigative report. There are many who believe that these pages contain information implicating Saudi officials in the financial and resource support of the 9/11 conspirators, many of whom were Saudi nationals. The fact that the Saudi Foreign Minister would threaten the sell-off of U.S. treasury securities is a blatantly disrespectful gesture. It is reprehensible when we consider that this is the Saudi response to what could be a revelation of their complicit actions in an act of war against the United States. However, when there is a decline in American regard, such obtuse and belligerent statements can be made with full arrogance.

China, whose President Xi Jinping received full honors and a State dinner at the White House recently, has defied every sense of international regard in constructing islands in the South China Sea. And, have emplaced military weaponry and airstrips on them, which now receive military aircraft. Those who know a little about history can recall in the 20th century when an Asian nation militarily fortified islands, constructed airstrips, and sought to build its maritime force. This action has sought to evidence a lack of regard for American influence with other nations in the Pacific Rim region such as Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, and the Philippines. China has strategically built these new islands along a major sea lane of commerce with some 30-35 percent of trade transits. Certainly not a coincidence, considering the impending Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), which excludes China.

And, let us not forget the massive “investment” China has made into its offensive cyber capability. Some say its dedicated unit is comprised of some 800K. The continued aggressive nature of Chinese cyber activity, along with their focused intellectual property threats, cannot be debated. Yet, we are dismissing it. This, along with their economic subterfuge, shows a clear decline in American regard that has even inspired China’s attack dog, Kim Jung Un and North Korea, to ramp up its belligerence.

With Iran, there can be no more greater evidence of a decline of American regard. First, let’s be very clear. There is no such thing as a nuclear agreement with Iran — they are not signatories of anything. Yet, the current presidential administration has released billions of dollars to the number one state sponsor of Islamic jihadism and terrorism. And no, there is no such thing as “snapback sanctions.” That horse has long since left the barn.

Who can forget the pictures and videos of our U.S. sailors on their knees at gun point by the terrorist designated Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps – and, then we thanked the Iranians. Israel just uncovered new Hamas tunnels.  Needless to say, we all know who funds Hamas and their exploits. Iran has fired off more ballistic missiles and we have done nothing. Iran’s head of the terrorist designated Quds Force, General Qassem Suleimani, has violated U.N. resolutions and traveled on several occasions to Russia. His latest excursion was to seal the deal on Iran’s acquiring, not just new state of the art T-90 tanks and fighter jets, but the lethal S-300 surface to air missile system — which Iran has stated it will parade upon receipt. The acquisition of the latter, with their new found economic boon, is a game changer for any potential operations against a nuclear facility. They know it, and we know it as well, but we are doing nothing. Iran has become a regional hegemony in the Middle East over these past seven years, now controlling Sanaa Yemen, Beirut Lebanon, Damascus Syria, and Baghdad Iraq. President Obama clearly stated his foreign policy strategy was to pivot from the Middle East and engage in the Pacific, a flawed strategic policy that has resulted in the further decline of American regard.

Lastly, the continued provocations of Vladimir Putin and Russia are not by mistake. After all, President Obama did tell then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that after his reelection he would have more “flexibility.” That “flexibility” has resulted in our Naval warships, in international waters of the Baltic Sea, being buzzed at dangerously close distances by Russian Su-24 fighter jets. These actions against our maritime forces evidence Russian aggression at a time when the Baltic States have major security concerns. We continually hear the rhetoric of “avoidance of war” but those are sweet and aromatic words to despots and dictators — such as it was to the ears of Hitler, Mussolini, and Tojo in the last century. Even with a failing economy, Vladimir Putin shows strength, and on a grand international stage portrays American weakness.

Sadly, this will continue for the remaining months until our nation can make a decision in November as to whether we want to be liked or respected. In the past two presidential election cycles we chose the former. It has led to this, a decline in American respect and regard. And this missive did not make mention of the expansive growth of the global Islamic Jihad.

As Alexander the Great once stated, “I would not fear an army of lions if led by sheep, but I would fear an army of sheep if led by lions.””

Who Do We Value in America?

The following originally appeared in my townhall column: “In this election cycle, the liberal progressive socialist left is going to the ideological bank to tout the important issue of income inequality. We will hear the incessant calls for a $15 minimum wage, which one has to ask, why not $25? What is so magic about the $15 number? This reflects just another easy issue talking point that can be repeated by the masses but never articulated or defended well in a debate forum.

However, it does beg the question: In these times of the current conflagration against the global Islamic jihad and other defined nation-state adversaries, who is it that we value?

I believe that there are two very important groups of people necessary for the existence of a society. The first are those who teach, and notice I said teach, not indoctrinate. There is a very distinct difference. The second group are the ones who defend — the guardians who stand upon freedom’s rampart. And, when one considers the level of compensation for these two groups, well, it appears they are not exactly the ones who are valued.

I should know, having been both.

What concerns me greatly is the fact that here in America, we have our best — those guardians — having to sustain their quality of life on government food subsistence programs. Now, perhaps there are those of you who truly do not care about this issue — hence the titled question of this missive. How is it that we have devolved to a point in our beloved America, where the SEIU purple-shirted protesting union members, supported by leftist organizations and funding, get more attention than the camouflage-wearing defenders of the republic?

Perhaps it is because the defenders are too busy doing just that. Well, I would like to take the time and lend my voice to their plight.

A report from May 2015 stated that, “In 2014 more than $84 million worth of food stamps were spent at military commissaries.” And, understand that there is a movement on Capitol Hill to end the existence of the military family provision institution known as the Commissary. Why is that service important? It provides a place where young military spouses can have quick access to ensure they can feed their families. That is key when their loved ones are spending so much time on deployments or training, since we are so heavily degrading and decimating our military capability. As well, the article states, “The USDA estimates that in 2012, more than 1.5 million veterans used food stamps, about 7 percent of all veterans.” That just should not be the case.

The qualifications for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps, state that “a single person has to be grossing less than $15,180 per year and a family of four income threshold is $31,008.” Just so you can make the comparison, a young, junior member of the U.S. Armed Forces coming on active duty has a base pay right at or less than $19,000. Now, with BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing) and food allowances, that pay can go up to the high $30K mark. BAH is calculated based upon the zip code where a service member is stationed.

But consider the young troop with a larger-than-normal family. With a non-working spouse, it could be difficult. I remember when, during the Clinton administration, now-deceased Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, General Carl Mundy, suggested a policy of “no first term Marines with families” due to the high stress of deployments and low compensation. Gen. Mundy, whom I knew well, was publicly reprimanded and humiliated by then-Secretary of Defense Les Aspin. Considering the stress on a Marine Corps (that is now the smallest since World War I), perhaps General Mundy was onto something.

In July 2015, Amy Bushatz of’s “Spouse Buzz” wrote, “If he [service member] lives in a privatized on-base housing, all of their BAH disappears with no extra pocket padding left over. But the food stamp program known as SNAP, includes the fluctuating and disappearing BAH pay in the calculation whether or not the service member qualifies. That means even though the troop has the same trouble affording staples at Ft. Polk, Louisiana that they do in Washington D.C., they can only receive SNAP at Ft. Polk, where their BAH pay and cost of living is lower.”

One of the policy changes recommended to rectify this horrible situation for our young men and women serving is to change the law to eliminate BAH from the food stamp calculation. This is a policy proposal we here at the NCPA will look for in the final FY 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This is a serious issue that may not be great in numbers, but it is great in reflecting our value system. Feeding America recently reported that 25 percent of military households receive food aid every month.

Another policy solution presented in a February 2015 article in the Military Times is “to scrap the DoD’s Family Subsistence Supplemental Allowance (FSSA) program which is designed to keep lower-income military families off the government SNAP.” The article provides an example of the ineffectiveness of FSSA from a report submitted by the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission. “Take an E4 (enlisted service member) with two years of service, a spouse and four children living at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri. Under FSSA, that service member would receive an increase of $77.65/month. Under SNAP, the same E4 would get $178.58/month on their EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) card — the account that is established for SNAP benefits recipients”.

Ending the FSSA program would eliminate approximately $1 million a year from the Department of Defense budget, the commission reported. Now, that may not sound like much, but a million here and a million there would significantly help streamline the DoD budget.

The bottom line is this, do we value the fast food worker more than the one who answers the call to serve our nation? We, at the National Center for Policy Analysis, have developed the “Provide for the Common Defense, Now!” petition and we advocate for better compensation for our men and women in uniform, especially those junior members. If you stand with us, please sign it.

You know, it took me 22 years to qualify for my military retirement at 55 percent of my base pay. It only takes a Member of Congress five years to qualify for a retirement at a percentage of base pay far exceeding that.

Whose service do we value in America?”

Brussels Attacks are, Unfortunately, Not Surprising

Last week Saturday, a young Marine SSgt from Temecula California lost his life due to an ISIS Katyusha rocket attack against their firebase, several other Marines were injured. That same firebase was attacked by ISIS again on Monday. Now, you may ask, what are US Marines doing in a firebase in northern Iraq, very near ISIS held territory? According to the US military spokesperson in Baghdad, Col. Steve Warren, they were there to provide force protection so that Iraqi forces could be trained.

In reading reports, it appears that the ISIS elements were able to close within small arms range of the firebase – meaning our Marines were not granted permission to engage. As we have stated before, an ROE that says you cannot fire until fired upon grants the initiative to the enemy. The results are not advantageous to our deployed troops, who are in combat, not some politically driven definition of the battlespace.

And so it goes for the Islamic jihadist attack in Brussels, where the sense of political correctness has afforded the enemy opportunity to create enclaves within the country. Knowing that the perpetrator of the Paris terrorist attack reentered Europe within the mass migration of individuals – namely single military aged Muslim males – is unconscionable. Our domestic rules of engagement are built around a self-imposed constraint based upon a reticence of being referred to as a racist, xenophobe, islamophobe, or being accused of profiling. Let us drop these monikers of defeatism and realize that we must institute measures of trend analysis that deny the enemy sanctuary within our borders. We can ill afford, unless we accept more jihadist assaults, the mentality of blaming ourselves for the savage barbarism that seems to occur every two to three months in western civilization. We need no more lectures about tolerance and false narratives about history. We need to accept history and how it relates to the present.

Just as it appears we have deployed Marines into a combat zone in a purely defensive posture, we cannot protect our liberties and freedoms in a purely defensive, reactionary, posture. Having served in the military for twenty-two years, and studied military history, I cannot recall any victory that was achieved on defense. Success comes in the counterattack, as the eventual sequel to a good defense, a mentality that seeks to stay on defense means it surrenders the initiative to the adversary. Such as it was at the Battle of Gettysburg, when General Meade decided to not pursue and defeat a retreating Army of Northern Virginia – the Civil War raged on for another two years.

We are in a struggle for civilization against Islamic jihadism. It is historic and can be traced back to 732 AD and the Battle of Tours (France), where the victor was Charles “The Hammer” Martel. This aged old confrontation has now returned, not just to Europe, but all across the globe. And success requires leaders, and the necessary national security vision and policies to secure our way of life, not just for western civilization, but for all.

We here at the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) are addressing this policy issue, but we need your help.  Sign our petition and tell congress to “Provide for the Common Defense, Now!”

Why is Russia pulling out of Syria?

Vladimir Putin is redeploying some forces out of Syria because they achieved their military objectives, strengthened Iran’s position in the region, and kept Assad in power.  Expect the leader of Russia to now turn his attention to Eastern Europe.  Putin has once again completely outmaneuvered President Obama.

I discussed this at length on Fox Business this morning.

We here at the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) are addressing this policy issue, but we need your help.  Sign our petition and tell congress to “Provide for the Common Defense, Now!”

America faces terrifying new threat

This post previously appeared on

“As reported by Fox News, “Iran is preparing to launch a new long-range rocket into outer space as soon as this weekend, U.S. officials told Fox News…Officials told Fox they have not seen this specific type of rocket launched in the past. Iran has conducted four previous space launches. Any test of a new ballistic missile would be an apparent violation of a UN resolution forbidding Iran from working on its rocket program.

I don’t want to get into another discussion about the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the Iranian nuclear deal; no such document exists.  The “agreement” has been violated continuously by Iran, along with other UN Resolutions so let’s agree to that understanding.

What I really want to discuss with you is my assessment of what Iran may be after in the long run.

A story from a year ago last March in the Washington Examiner lays out my concern: “Suspected for years of plotting to dismantle the U.S. electric grid, American officials have confirmed that Iranian military brass have endorsed a nuclear electromagnetic pulse explosion that would attack the country’s power system. 

American defense experts made the discovery while translating a secret Iranian military handbook, raising new concerns about Tehran’s recent nuclear talks with the administration. Iranian military documents describe such a scenario — including a recently translated Iranian military textbook that endorses nuclear EMP attack against the United States…A knowledgeable source said that the textbook discusses an EMP attack on America in 20 different places.

Arizona Republican Rep. Trent Franks, who is leading an effort to protect the U.S. electric grid from an EMP attack, has recently made similar claims based on the document translated by military authorities. Once sneered at by critics, recent moves by Iran and North Korea have given credibility to the potential EMP threat from an atmospheric nuclear explosion over the U.S.”

During my last visit to Washington D.C. and Capitol Hill I met with Rep. Franks (R-Ariz) and we discussed the EMP threat. In my capacity at the National Center for Policy Analysis, I’ve written on the potential for an EMP attack in America. I am especially concerned that the State of Texas has its own independent electric grid and it needs to be hardened. Consider what would happen if the twelfth largest economy in the world, the Texas economy, was shut down due to an EMP attack.

What if these missile launches into space by Iran were a predecessor for a potential high altitude nuclear detonation that would have as its objective to “fry” the American electric grid? This isn’t some “Star Trek” scenario, as the Iranians addressed this means of attack some twenty times in translated documents.

But here is a greater concern: why in God’s name would the Obama administration go into agreement with a nation that has an objective to attack and destroy your electric grid? Why would the Obama administration at this point in time, not vehemently reject all aspects of the JCPOA and do everything in its power to deter the military goals of the militant Islamic theocracy which is the number one state sponsor of Islamic terrorism in the world? And should the Obama administration be concerned about the raining and pouring of nuclear activity and missile testing by Iran and North Korea — who recently launched a ballistic missile and deployed a satellite that overflew the Super Bowl?

As usual, the progressive socialist acolytes of Obama will say this is much ado about nothing. I think they should ask themselves, do they really believe that, or just saying so not to admit the failure of their chosen one and the so-called “Obama Doctrine?” Regardless, leadership is about understanding the goals and objectives of your adversaries, and seeing their moves even before they do — that is the visionary aspect of principled leadership.

There is a storm a brewing and saying so isn’t fear mongering; it is leadership and leads to preparedness ensuring the safety and security of the American people. We will continue to educate and inform people about electro-magnetic pulse attacks and from whence they could emanate — forewarned is forearmed!

We here at the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) are addressing this policy issue, but we need your help.  Sign our petition and tell congress to “Provide for the Common Defense, Now!”

Rules of Engagement for the 21st Century Battlefield

The following originally appeared in West’s Townhall column: “Rules of Engagement (ROE) is defined as a directive issued by a military authority specifying the circumstances and limitations under which forces will engage in combat with the enemy. In the history of warfare we have seen an incredible metamorphosis of the rules of engagement. Long ago, armies presented themselves upon the battlefield in open areas away from civilian populations. The fact that weapons were limited to that which was carried, sword and spear, meant that fighting the enemy meant close-quarter engagement. The rules then were quite simple: engage the enemy, defeat them, and pursue to bring about their ultimate destruction. Given the fact that the level of communications capability was basically that of your voice, formations were tight and not spread out.

As battlefield technology and communications technology improved, the military battlefield expanded, and that meant a broader scope of what a “battlefield” encompassed. So as time moved forward, the battlefield was not just far away fields where armies came together; it meant involving civilian populations. As armies grew in size and scope, it became more necessary to depend upon local populations for food resourcing.

One thing that remained necessary and important was the states declared war against each other and fielded uniformed militaries that were identifiable on the battlefield. But consider what began here in America with the French and Indian War when there were two adversaries, but each employed non-state entities in support of their uniformed forces. The history of our vaunted US Army Rangers came from a company-sized force from the provincial colony of New Hampshire called into service of the British Army led by Colonel Robert Rogers, Roger’s Rangers. This guerrilla force operated in support of a uniformed state military, the British Army, against its enemies and won fame in the campaign against the Abenanki Indian tribe – who had been waging a frontier war against civilian populations supporting the British.

In our own Revolutionary War, militias such as that of Francis Marion, the “Swamp Fox,” in South Carolina again featured a group supporting a uniformed Army in its prosecution of warfare.

In order to try and police the battlefield and reduce the impact of such non-uniformed belligerents, it was often a practice that those captured on the battlefield as such were summarily tried and executed. The purpose was to try and protect civilian populations.

But with the advent of “total war,” where civilian populations were in support of the war making machine, industry rules of engagement changed. Industry and means by which the materiel support to warfare were deemed part of “centers of gravity” were now targets. We remember the bombing of the Ploesti oilfields in Romania. Such as it was for factories that produced weapons components and the train systems that transported troops and materiel. And yes, there were spies and acts of espionage to gather intelligence and sabotage key infrastructure – and again, those captured not in uniform aiding and abetting efforts were summarily executed. It was brutal, but in essence it was the unfortunate consequence of civilians entering the expanded battlefield.

Fast forward to Vietnam, where a main belligerent on the battlefield was the Viet Cong, who infiltrated the civilian population and used adjoining nation-states as a base of operations to train, equip, provide provisions, and stage their attacks. They were a non-state actor in support of a state actor, the North Vietnamese Army (NVA). The ROE during that war was very convoluted, and in many ways enabled the enemy to find sanctuary due to the desire not to inflict civilian casualties.

And so we find ourselves much in a similar position today in the war against Islamic Jihadism. War on terror is a horrible misnomer. One cannot fight against a tactic, which is what terrorism is. It is a means, a method used by an undefined enemy. On the new battlefield of the 21st century, we must have ROE that is not developed at the highest levels but at the battlefield levels to enable success. When the enemy knows that we have a political concern with “collateral damage,” they will use that reticence to their utmost advantage.

As a Battalion Commander in Iraq, I can recall the insurgent enemy using mosques and burial grounds as assembly points, as well as ammunition and equipment staging points. They knew what our restricted target list was. We insidiously advertised it. The enemy knows that our troops are told to not fire until fired upon, and it has come to the point where Islamic jihadist enemies can simply drop their weapons and walk away, knowing they will not to be engaged by our forces.

We must also employ weapon systems on the battlefield with the proper ROE that enable us to gain and maintain contact with the enemy, and not allow them to reposition into civilian populations, which increases the chances for civilian casualties. Let me provide you with an example from my years in Afghanistan.

When an American element becomes involved in a TIC (troops in contact), it is imperative that they have the support of all resources that can destroy that enemy in place. The ground element must be able to keep the enemy engaged and maintain “eyes on target.” If the enemy is firing upon you from a location, that location is a target. What happens all too often is that far back at some headquarters, any request for additional fire support must go through ROE protocols, where a series of inane questions are asked of the ground element – something the enemy knows very well. Time is of the essence in a firefight.

We need weapon systems platforms that are in support of the ground element; that can deliver close support to them. We need mortars, artillery, and aerial close-air support assets that allow the ground element to keep an enemy pinned down for the ultimate kill, with additional assets. And let me be very clear: an F-15, F-16, and F/A-18 are not exactly fixed wing close air support assets. The best tools for that mission are attack helicopters or A-10 Warthogs. Why? Because the ground element can direct them right in on the enemy while still maintaining their direct fire, and reducing the issue of collateral damage.

What happens on the modern battlefield is that the enemy knows our TTPs (tactics, techniques, and procedures). When our ground element disengages, meaning they stop firing, they are repositioning to not be in the circular error probable of bombs that will be dropped. So the enemy repositions as well, and normally deeper into civilian areas, and we raise the probability of collateral damage.

If we are to be successful on this battlefield, let’s allow the leaders on the ground – not lawyers – to develop common sense ROE. We can ill afford to allow the enemy any advantage and initiative to kill our men and women we have deployed into harm’s way. This is a critical issue that the House and Senate Armed Services Committees should be examining. This is why we at the National Center for Policy Analysis are addressing this policy issue. To learn more, visit our “Provide for the Common Defense, Now!” petition.”