Tag Archives: Gen. Ray Odierno

Obama names open homosexual to be Secretary of U.S. Army

If the Senate approves, the U. S. military will soon have its first openly homosexual Secretary of the Army.

Eric FanningGreg Jaffe reports for The Washington Post, Sept. 18, 2015, that in a historic first for the Pentagon, Obama has chosen to nominate Eric Fanning, 47, to lead the Army. “Eric brings many years of proven experience and exceptional leadership to this new role,” Obama said in a statement.

Fanning has been a trusted ally of Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter who tapped Fanning last year to oversee his transition team as he moved into the Pentagon’s top job. He also served briefly as acting Air Force secretary, a deputy undersecretary of the Navy and has been acting undersecretary of the Army since June 2015. Defense officials said that he might be the only person in the Pentagon’s history to serve at senior levels in all three of the services. “He understands how the Pentagon works and how to get things done in the Pentagon,” said Rudy de Leon, who was deputy defense secretary in the Clinton administration. “He knows what works and what doesn’t work.”

Fanning has been a specialist on national security issues for more than two decades and has played a key role overseeing some of the Pentagon’s biggest shipbuilding and fighter jet weapons programs. Now he will oversee an Army that has been battered by the longest stretch of continuous combat in American history and is facing potentially severe budget cuts.

As Army secretary, Fanning will be teamed with Gen. Mark Milley, who took over as the Army’s top general in August. Together the two men will assume responsibility for the Pentagon’s largest and most troubled service.

The Army, which swelled to about 570,000 active duty troops during the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, has shed about 80,000 soldiers from its ranks in recent years and plans to cut 40,000 more over the next few years. Those planned cuts would shrink the service to its smallest size of the post-World War II era.

Battered by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army has had to deal with a spike in suicides as the wars drew to an end and. Recently, the Army’s outgoing top officer, Gen. Ray Odierno, said that tight budgets and the ongoing strain of 14 years of war had badly degraded the Army’s readiness to fight and that only one-third of its brigades were prepared to deploy to a war zone, the lowest readiness rate in decades.

Fanning’s sexual orientation seemed a non-issue among Republicans and Democrats in Congress who were far more worried about the state of the Army. Joe Kasper, the chief of staff to Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), said, “There is a real crisis in morale and retention that has developed for the Army over the last several years. The Army needs a leader who will stand up for soldiers, who recognizes war can get ugly and who won’t shy away from the tough issues. If Fanning is that type of person he’ll be embraced.”

Fanning’s historic appointment didn’t seem to cause a stir in the Army, either.

Phil Carter, an Iraq veteran and senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, said, “My sense is that the Army is over this and has been over it for some time. The Army Cares whether you can shoot straight, not whether you are straight. The biggest problem the Army faces is finding its mission, relevance and purpose after the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. All of the services face it but the Army faces it most acutely.”

Fanning’s role as Army secretary would give him influence over the selection over the next generation of generals who will rebuild the service after the wars.

One big question for the Army is whether, in an era of tight budgets, it will return primarily to preparing for heavy combat missions against a big conventional military, like the Russians, or experiment with new formations that are better suited to training and working alongside indigenous partners. Since 2000, the Army has been forced to cancel virtually all of its major new weapons programs because they ran over budget or didn’t perform as expected. New battlefield equipment for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, like special armored vehicles designed to resist blasts from roadside bombs, had to be developed outside of the Army’s traditional procurement channels. The net result is that many of the Army’s most sophisticated helicopters, tanks and artillery cannons were developed more than 30 years ago.

“The Army is still living off equipment from the Reagan years” deLeon said. With budgets tight, Fanning’s challenge will be to upgrade and modernize the aging fleet using modern information technology.

See also:

~StMA

Dir. of U.S. Navy Intelligence sacked for warning about China’s aggressive designs in East China Sea

Capt. James FanellCapt. James Fanell

In February of this year, at the U.S. Naval Institute’s WEST 2014 conference, Capt. James Fanell, 52, the director of intelligence and information operations at U.S. Pacific Fleet, said that the Chinese Navy was practicing for a “short sharp war” against Japan.

According to Fanell, the PLA Navy had been carrying out amphibious assault drills to practice taking territory in the East China Sea, specifically the Senkaku or Diaoyu islands that are claimed by both Japan and China. Once the uninhabited islands come under Chinese control, the PLA could then attack Okinawa to remove the facilities of the US Air Force and Marine Corps from the island. (See my post “U.S. Navy intelligence chief: China training for a quick war against Japan”)

Fanell also stated that China is at the center of virtually every maritime territorial dispute in the Asia-Pacific and that the Chinese were engaging in a blatant land-grab of islands that would enhance their exclusive economic rights to fishing and natural resources.

“I do not know how Chinese intentions could be more transparent,” he said, adding that when Beijing described its activities as the “protection of maritime rights,” this was really “a Chinese euphemism for the coerced seizure of coastal rights of China’s neighbors.”

Now comes news that Captain Fanell has been removed from his position as director of Navy Intelligence by Pacific Fleet (PACFLT) boss Adm. Harry Harris and reassigned within the command.

David Larter reports for Navy Times, Nov. 10, 2014, that Capt. Fanell’s remarks about China preparing for a “short sharp war” with Japan ran counter to the Pentagon’s talking points on building ties to the increasingly assertive Chinese navy, which forced top defense officials, including the 4-star head of the Army and the Pentagon spokesman, to respond to his comment in the following days.

PACFLT did not disclose the relief, saying that Fanell was not a commanding officer and therefore was entitled to increased privacy. “It is inappropriate to publicly discuss the internal reassignment of non-command triad personnel,” PACFLT said in an Nov. 7 statement.

The reasons for Fanell’s firing are cloudy, but two sources said the relief stems from alleged mishandling of classified information and fostering a negative command climate. Capt. Darryn James, top spokesman for PACFLT, declined to say whether Fanell’s relief was related to his controversial views, citing privacy concerns.

Fanell’s relief is the latest turmoil in the Navy’s intelligence community, and has raised questions about whether an intel officer was cashiered for publicly voicing a view that contradicted Pentagon public statements.

Fanell’s views have supporters inside naval intelligence, and he has become a high-profile spokesman for a more alarmist view of the rise of China than those espoused by Navy senior leadership, an intelligence source who spoke to Navy Times said. Fanell’s articles on China have been published by Hoover Digest, Naval Intelligence Professionals Quarterly and the U. S. Naval Institute’s Proceedings.

But his public remarks stirred a major controversy and forced both the Pentagon’s top spokesman and members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to repudiate his comments.

John Kirby

John Kirby

Pentagon Press Secretary and Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby told reporters that Fanell’s comments were his to express and that they weren’t reflective of the organization’s stance on China: “What I can tell you about what [Defense] Secretary [Chuck] Hagel believes is that we all continue to believe that the peaceful, prosperous rise of China is a good thing for the region, for the world.”

Ray Odierno

Ray Odierno

Fanell’s comments in early 2014 came at an awkward time, coinciding with Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno‘s trip to Beijing in February, when he was asked by a reporter to respond to Fanell’s analysis. Odierno said, “I’ve seen no indications of that at all,” referring to Fanell’s analysis that China was preparing for war with Japan.

The comments also ran contrary to the messaging from Adm. Jon Greenert, who has made engagement with China one of

Jonathan Greenert

Jonathan Greenert

the hallmarks of his time as chief of naval operations. Later in 2014, Greenert stated that talking openly of war with China — and a Chinese war with Japan would almost certainly trigger a war with the U.S. — was unnecessarily antagonistic. “If you talk about it openly, you cross the line and unnecessarily antagonize,” Greenert said at a forum in Newport, Rhode Island. “You probably have a sense about how much we trade with that country. It’s astounding. ”

Fanell is a California native and nearly 29-year career intelligence officer commissioned in 1986. He was responsible for damage assessments for Pacific Fleet during operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield. He served as a China maritime watch officer at Joint Intelligence Center Pacific in 1991, and served on board the carriers Kitty Hawk, Carl Vinson, as well as the amphibious command ship Blue Ridge.

He has been reassigned as an aid to Rear Adm. Randy Crites, head of the maritime headquarters at PACFLT.

See also:

~StMA

U.S. state National Guards to be stripped of combat Apache helicopters

National Guard

The National Guard of the United States are state militias — part of the reserve components of the U.S. Armed Forces. It is a reserve military force, composed of National Guard military members or units of each state and territory. All members of the National Guard of the United States are also members of the militia of the United States as defined by 10 U.S.C. § 31:

(a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.

(b) The classes of the militia are—

(1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and

(2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.

Being part of America’s “reserved military force” means that the National Guard must have combat capabilities.

But the Obama administration is stripping the National Guards of their combat capabilities by removing their Apache attack helicopters (and OH-58 Kiowa Warrior scout helicopters) and replacing them with UH-60 Blackhawk transport helicopters.

AH-64D_Apache

The Apaches will be given to the active duty Army, while the entire fleet of Kiowas, in use for nearly 50 years, will be phased out.

At the same time, three of 13 combat aviation brigades will be eliminated from the Army.

Ben Watson reports for Defense One that this is part of a broader restructuring of Army air assets after more than a decade of combat and steep budget cuts. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee at a hearing on April, 8, 2014 will save some $12 billion through fiscal year 2017.

The replacement of the National Guard’s attack Apaches with transport helicopters is presented as part of a broader question about what the Defense Department sees as the long-term role of the National Guard, after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

National Guard Chief Gen. Frank Grass, who also testified at the hearing, isn’t happy with the plan.

He said: None of us like what we’re having to do. My big concern right now is figuring out how I’m going to move, and how many states I’m going to have an impact on, and what’s the cost of facilities and to retrain pilots. I’ve got to tackle that because the decision’s been made. This is much larger than the Apache discussion. Especially as we look down the road. It’s brigades. It will affect just about every jurisdiction in the United States when we look at this to get down to the 315,000 number someday that we face.”

The “someday number” of 315,000 refers to cuts in National Guard personnel, should sequestration continue into FY2016.

Some argue the helicopter swap is needed because the Blackhawk transport helicopters are better suited for natural disaster recovery operations, which Guard units are tasked to do. Sen. Mark Udall (D-Co) said the Blackhawks were instrumental during recent flooding in his state. “In Colorado, we benefited greatly from having National Guard Blackhawks available to perform search and rescue missions, evacuate flood victims, drop water on wildfires, even deliver hay to cattle stranded by blizzards. Have Apaches ever been used for those purposes, and wouldn’t it make sense to have those utility aircraft available to governors for in-state missions?”

But Gen. Grass points out that “The main mission of those Apaches is to be the combat reserve of the Army.”

There are currently nine states where the National Guard flies Apaches.

Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, has introduced a bill to block the Apache transfer. The bill is provisionally title “National Commission on the Structure of the Army Act of 2014” but does not yet have a number.

In a statement on his website, Congressman Wilson reminds Americans that our National Guards are not just for disaster relief; they also serve an important combat role: “There were times during Operation Iraqi Freedom when the Army National Guard represented 50 percent of the Army’s combat power.” Both Guard and Reserve troops have accounted for nearly a third of the nation’s more than 2.5 million service members who have deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001. Nearly 10,000 Guard or Reserve members have deployed more than five times, according to Defense Department data.

Wilson’s bill, which currently has the support of 41 Democrats and 111 Republicans, also calls for a commission to study the proposed changes—a measure Odierno says he sees no need for.

But there are those who see a more sinister purpose for stripping the National Guards of their Apache attack helicopters.

David Gibson of the economic and market trends site Wealthy Debates points out that the Apache, which began service in 1986, is armed with a 30 mm M230E1 Chain Gun (with 1,200 rounds), Hellfire anti-tank missiles, and 70 general-purpose 70 mm rockets. In short, it is capable of fending-off any enemy, foreign or domestic.

Gibson writes:

Obviously, these helicopters could pose a substantial obstacle to say, a tyrant drunk on his own power, with an army at his disposal.

With the recent, attempted seizure of the Bundy family ranch in Nevada by more than 200 armed federal officers, including many snipers, we know that the Obama administration is not afraid to use force against the American people.

Furthermore, considering the unprovoked attacks and murders of U.S. citizens on their own property by federal agents, such as the Ruby Ridge and Waco massacres, we also know that the federal government has no problem suspending due process and using lethal force on its own citizens. Couple that with the as yet, unexplained, massive arms buildup by the Department of Homeland Security, and the National Defense Authorization Act which allows the feds to arrest and detain any U.S. citizen indefinitely without charges, and even the most establishment-minded American should be able to see what is coming.

There are a few governors around the country who would not stand for martial-law being arbitrarily declared by this or any president, but without any teeth (i.e. Apache attack helicopters) what could they use to stop Obama’s tyranny?

~StMA