The military was front and center this week as we tracked several stories from the front lines to the White House. The National Defense Authorization Act — the bill that will fund the military in the next fiscal year — passed the House and the Senate. But, it carried with it a proposal to rename 10 military bases dotted across the Southern United States including the famous Forts Bragg, Benning, and Hood. President Trump, who has threatened to veto the bill if it included such language, has not changed his position; the bill remains unsigned.
The possibility of a name change comes at a hard time for Fort Hood which has been beleaguered by a raft of soldier deaths. Though the Army has handed down punishments for officers at the base, there remains confusion about who is really to blame.
The Navy announced this week that it will be investing in a new training program for warrant officers which will focus on unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs. The move is part of a wide effort by the DoD to modernize the branches. While new tech becomes more important, old machinery is being decommissioned. The Marine Corps announced its plan to release Tank Crewmen from their specialties in preparation for retiring a large number of Marine tank units.
Nowhere is the military’s modernization effort more visible than with the Space Force. As America’s newest branch, the Space Force is working rapidly to establish itself. This week, the Pentagon announced that Space Force General John Raymond will be added to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, bringing the military advisory group to eight members. And, with one year under their belt, Space Force leadership has selected a striking (and already embattled) moniker for the branch’s far-flung service members. (Here’s a tip, they won’t be called Spacemen…)
A growing scandal at the Veterans Affairs (VA) has drawn fresh attention to the administration responsible for overseeing the care and welfare of our veterans. Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie has been accused of demeaning and disparaging a White House aid and veteran, causing Veteran advocacy groups to call for his immediate removal.
News shot out of Nigeria this week when a group of roughly 100 armed men believed to be affiliated with localized extremist group Boko Haram kidnapped three hundred young boys. After several tense days, the Nigerian military commenced an operation to rescue the kidnapped children. The kidnapping, and the raid, underscore the dangerous situation emerging in sub-Saharan Africa.
Elsewhere, Russia and elements of the U.S.-backed Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces teamed up to secure key strategic cities in Syria. The odd collaboration points to a growing Russian influence in the region as the country works rapidly to match U.S. military capabilities.
We were honored to share the tales of two inspiring veterans this week. At the top of the week, Delta Force veteran Command Sergeant Major Satterly talked to SOFREP about Mogadishu — the battle made famous by the blockbuster film Blackhawk Down — and shared his struggle with depression and PTSD. We also welcomed Navy SEAL veteran and Delta Force Command Surgeon Colonel Robert Adams, who regaled us with his tale of Navy SEAL Hell Week and how he nearly washed out.
This week on SOFREP Radio we were joined by Bing West, Marine Force Recon veteran, former Assistant Secretary of Defense to the Reagan administration, and prolific author. West’s newest book, The Last Platoon, examines the war in Afghanistan from a whole new perspective. Read our full review of the book and check out the podcast. You’ll be glad you did.
What’s in store for next week? None of us knows. But, as always, we’ll be here to bring you the stories you won’t find anywhere else with insights and analysis from people who have actually been there.
In the meantime,
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