If you're special and you know it, raise your crayons

Wherein I am probably unfair to the PSYOPs kids

This is later than it should be…doing some pretty major revamping of how this thing gets put together every day. None of which will really affect you, but tinkered (again) with formats today. Which should make it easier for me to punch stuff out without it turning into another generic link dump of national security blather.

Oh…and some news.

Yes, there’s a podcast…you can find that here and on Spotify and probably elsewhere once I figure the damn things out.

First episode drops next week, more to follow on that.

Here’s today’s top 5…which may be top 10 from now on because reasons.


1

Surgeon general, speaking on Fort Bragg, says flu is bigger risk than coronavirus

Americans should be more concerned about the flu than the coronavirus, the nation's top doctor said Tuesday.

Adams said 54 people in North Carolina have died from the flu this season.

Adams said military officials are looking at the situation in different areas of the world and will take all measures necessary to protect the troops.

"We are carefully following the spread of this disease globally so we understand which areas of the world are most at risk," he said. "Right now, the United States is at low risk, and our soldiers are getting everything they need to make sure they're safe."

This is exactly what I'd tell everyone just as soon as I realized that the virus I'd engineered to only eat the flesh of Chechen snipers in Iraq suddenly had morphed into something that made Alex Jones seem reasonable by comparison once ingested. What I mean is if I was the Surgeon General I too would lie my ass off about what was really happening with a virus. Here's hoping that's not what's happening here but just in case I will definitely try harder to avoid public restrooms in the near future.


2

Army hopeful food, window blinds, fix suicide problem

“We put investments in getting above and beyond the rate that is allocated per Soldier, so we can get higher-quality foods into those dining facilities,” Maj. Gen. Peter Andrysiak, U.S. Army Alaska

After 11 suicides by Army personnel in Alaska from January 2014 through March 2019, investigators found multiple risk factors, including issues with pain, sleeplessness and relationships.

In addition to the stigma of getting help for mental health issues, soldiers reported trouble sleeping. Because...Alaska. So barracks windows will now be getting blackout blinds.

Need to work off that mental stress? Hit the gym, which will now be open 24 hours at Army posts in Alaska, and almost $1 million in new equipment is due this spring. Which is good, because a 25% increase in the "basic daily food allowance" means soldiers should now be getting better food.

I'm being a flippant asshat with the headline, not gonna deny that. Because suicide among uniformed service members and veterans is a problem. Usually one with fairly simple solutions. One of those, "Always simple, never easy" kind of things. It's simple to get more sleep, eat better food, and work out more. Speaking from my own experience, all of those make a difference. Today was a day I had to skip the gym because my body had enough this week. I've made gymming a habit for a while now. Tomorrow? It's going to be hard as hell to get in there. No, this isn't a navel-gazing cry for help. It's just acknowledging that while those things can seem like easy fixes, they do work. Over time. Lots of it. Oh, and the talking to a mental health professional? Huge.


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3

Great-Grandson of Tuskegee Airman Wants to Join Space Force

Meet Iain Lanphier, the Scottsdale, Arizona 8th-grader who attended the State of the Union Address Tuesday night as one of President Donald Trump's special guests. Lanphier got a standing ovation in the packed House of Representatives as Trump introduced him.

"Iain has always dreamed of going to space. He was first in his class and among the youngest at an aviation academy," Trump said. "He aspires to go to the Air Force Academy, and then, he has his eye on the Space Force. As Iain says, 'most people look up at space, I want to look down on the world.'"

Lanphier has already distinguished himself, last year becoming the top graduate of the Aerospace Career Education program, sponsored by the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals, according to a biography published by the White House. But he also comes from a distinguished line of trailblazers.

Sitting next to Ian was 100-year-old Charles McGee, one of the last survivors of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen -- African-American pilots who fought heroically in World War II.

When I was 13, I was worried about two things: when I could jack off next, and what Jesus would have to say about that. In other words, I did not have aspirations to be an astronaut when I was this kid's age. And this is one of those stories out of a State of the Union that underscored the national divide with a big ol' Sharpie that I have mixed feelings about. Because while I applaud this kid and his great-grandfather? Trump using them and other members of the armed services as props for the Annual Parade of the Orange Emperor was a little stomach-churning. And why do I feel like that "look down on the world" line is a Donald original?


4

SOCOM Announces Plans to Buy 75 ‘Armed Overwatch’ Planes

“There are systems right now that we don’t really think of as being in the [US Special Operations Command] portfolio, like MQ-9s, that we’d like to explore and see, can they do a better job? Experimentation with systems we have now, I think is a great way to try to go after that role.” -- Just in case you're wondering what it looks like when someone's trying to build their own air force.

US Special Operations Command is moving forward with its armed overwatch plan, independent of the Air Force’s light attack experiment, inviting industry for a briefing on a proposal to buy an estimated 75 aircraft.

The Air Force in October 2019 announced plans to purchase small numbers of AT-6 and A-29 aircraft as part of its light attack experiment. While the AT-6s will go to Air Combat Command for tactics development, Air Force Special Operations Command will use the A-29s to create an instructor pilot program for those who advise foreign nations on air warfare.

The slow process of the experiment, which started in 2017 with evaluations of the aircraft, along with Air Tractor and L3 Harris’ AT-802 Longsword at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, to procurement has frustrated some lawmakers. Some called for legislation to give procurement authority to SOCOM if the Air Force doesn’t buy a fleet of the aircraft.

File this one under motherlovin' scope creep because can I GET an AMEN on Special Operations Command finally getting its own freaking air force. Or at least trying to. Because the LAS program the Air Force is trying to run is taking too damn long. Because where SOCOM goes, they sometimes need something a whole lot less complicated than and F-35 orbiting overhead. Just joining us at home, one of the key competitors for the LAS is the A-29 Super Tucano, a US/Brazil joint venture that the Americans are now selling to other air forces. What I mean is THE DAMN THING FLIES. So no clue why they're dragging ass on this thing.


5

Army spec ops training changes for future fights

The “Q Course” has undergone big changes this year, many of which are aimed at shaping the operators needed for what the Pentagon sees as a shift to the “competition phase” of rebuking Russia and China.

Broadly speaking, civil affairs focuses on establishing local governance, PSYOP disseminates influencing campaigns through media and Special Forces raises and trains a guerrilla force. That will all stay the same during training, but the optimization finally brings all three culmination exercises under the same alignment.

“We’re looking at Syria and the Philippines and it’s informing what we’re developing,” a PSYOP officer managing the course said. “My guys were on the ground in Syria and they built out the media capabilities of local tribal councils. A lot of the partners we get with are media savvy, they’re in this younger generation. However, what we’re teaching is how to go after a specific desire or behavior you’d like to change.”

“That’s how you compete,” Roberson added. “We’re going to go to these places and we’re going to be there so our adversaries are not. We’re going to be the partner of choice. We’re going to work our way up that food chain, up their [Ministry of Defense] and [Ministry of Interior], and yeah, they’re going to choose us over our adversaries.”

Just in time for the US Army to continue the unsustainable expansion of its special operations forces, the qualifying course for Special Forces just got a whole lot shorter. You know, for...streamlining. The article's a little long and I'll admit the excerpts I pulled don't really do it justice because it's an interesting look at the self-licking ice cream cone of the special operations community bending over backward to show that they're still super-duper relevant. Particularly the PSYOPs kids. Who I will never, really, understand why they exist. Except to finish eating any crayons the Marines left behind.


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