Lazy Nazis: Uncle Same Wants You

Also the VA has a parking lot problem.

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1. Neo-Nazi Group Membership May Not Get You Booted from Military, Officials Say

"I am flummoxed by what I've heard today," Rep. Jackie Speier, D-California, chair of the Subcommittee, said after questioning Robert Grabosky, deputy director of Law Enforcement at the Air Force Office of Special Investigations.

Grabosky said that membership in a white nationalist group "is not prohibited," but "active participation" in the group could lead to an administrative discharge, at a commander's discretion.

"I find that astonishing," Speier said. "If you're a member, that's an activity. I think we need to take a look at that."

Are you Nazi-ish? Kind of Nazi-adjacent? Like you probably won’t eat a bagel but you’re not gonna go full tiki torch for your beliefs? Then Uncle Sam wants you.

2. VA Ramps Up Mental Health Funding After Rash of Parking Lot Suicides

A series of highly public veteran suicides in VA parking lots over the last five years has left the VA scrambling for better prevention measures. In a recent report on one such death in 2018, the Inspector General found institutional failures led to mental health clinicians not being alerted to the patient's condition before his death.

If you can count the number of days since the las time someone killed themselves in your parking lot, you might be getting mental healthcare wrong. Not a great metric, VA.

3. For decades, the CIA read the encrypted communications of allies and adversaries

For more than half a century, governments all over the world trusted a single company to keep the communications of their spies, soldiers and diplomats secret.

The company, Crypto AG, got its first break with a contract to build code-making machines for U.S. troops during World War II. Flush with cash, it became a dominant maker of encryption devices for decades, navigating waves of technology from mechanical gears to electronic circuits and, finally, silicon chips and software.

The Swiss firm made millions of dollars selling equipment to more than 120 countries well into the 21st century. Its clients included Iran, military juntas in Latin America, nuclear rivals India and Pakistan, and even the Vatican.

But what none of its customers ever knew was that Crypto AG was secretly owned by the CIA in a highly classified partnership with West German intelligence. These spy agencies rigged the company's devices so they could easily break the codes that countries used to send encrypted messages.

This was happening until 2018. And is just wild, really, because not everyone at Crypto knew they worked for CIA and BND. WhIch led to some issues in Iran in the early 90s. So. Oops. Perhaps unsurprising that Moscow and Beijing opted out of this early on because they were concerned it was owned by the CIA.

4. Top Armed Services Republican: Vindman's 'career needs to proceed based on his talents and abilities'

“His career needs to proceed based on his talents and abilities,” Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) told reporters about Vindman.

Pressed by The Hill if that means he thinks it would be inappropriate for the military to take disciplinary action against Vindman, Thornberry said, “based on his testimony before, yeah.”

“My point is, treat him just like anybody else,” Thornberry added.

Thornberry was responding to comments President Trump made Tuesday.

Asked if the Pentagon should pursue further action against Vindman, Trump said it would be "up to the military."

I will never not chuckle whenever I hear Mac Thornberry’s name. Because it sounds like a dessert at a fast casual restaurant where Yosemite Sam takes your order. Petty mocking of a man’s given name aside, this is sad that he has to make this point at all, right?

5. Sen. McSally ad blasts Navy vet running against her

Vulnerable Republican Sen. Martha McSally attacks her Democratic opponent, Mark Kelly, for supporting the impeachment and removal of President Donald Trump in an ad that began airing on Wednesday.

McSally’s first television ad of the 2020 election cycle attempts to tie Kelly to liberal members of Congress and the leaders of the Democratic efforts to impeach Trump and remove him from office, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Jerry Nadler and Adam Schiff.

"The Washington liberals are obsessed with President Trump," a narrator says in the ad. "They wasted three years and millions of dollars trying to overturn the last election and steal the next one. Liberal Mark Kelly supported their impeachment scam."

It’s vet on vet in Arizona where a space cadet is taking on an astronaut and the punching is starting early.

6. An adult website is offering deployed troops free ‘live chats’ with porn stars on Valentine’s Day

On Tuesday, the webcam site CamSoda launched a special Valentine's Day promotion aimed at service members deployed overseas. Called Camo Cards — top marks on branding, by the way — it's an "online video greeting service" which lets users book and send service members personalized "video greetings" and "shout outs" from select adult film stars and other cam models.

Yes, that's the promo: Ask a pornstar to send your deployed soldier a sexy video. And, if you really want to jazz up your loved-ones session at the crowded MWR on post you can "even make requests for outfit choice, amount of clothing worn and desired level of naughtiness."

Because nothing says I love you like the gift of a pornstar, so you get that warm fuzzy feeling only a professional sex worker can give you on the one day a year we all pretend we love each other more than words. Kudos on the “Camo Cards,” because I feel like this is what America deserves in 2020 anyway.

7. Pentagon realignment will send 1st SFAB to Africa

The Army is deploying the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade to Africa to replace elements of an infantry brigade from the 101st Airborne Division in the coming weeks.

The 1st SFAB was selected as part of the Defense Department’s comprehensive review of each combatant command to align their activities with the U.S. military’s broader focus on competing against Russia and China, Pentagon spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said in a statement Wednesday.

The SFAB has previously deployed to Afghanistan. Now that peace is about to break out like GWOT herpes, looks like the Afghan security forces don’t need that advisory capacity anymore. Also a look at how the US is totes not leaving Africa and slinking off to deal with China like a spring break walk of shame.

8. After decades focused on terrorism, special operations is broadening its horizons

With clear marching orders from the Defense Department to turn focus to competitors like China and Russia, the U.S. special operations community is at an inflection point. Kicking down doors in Afghanistan and Iraq will give way to more missions like training partners in Europe and Asia, and U.S. Special Operations Command could see a shift in its funding and oversight.

But that re-focus should not mean that special operations forces will take a back seat to traditional air, land and sea power, according to a report released Wednesday, as competitors are already using proxy forces and misinformation campaigns, both of which are right in the SOF wheelhouse.

Ah yes, the vaunted misinformation campaign capability of the SOF, in the form of the crayon-devouring PsyOps kids. Fact is, SOF is going to have a hard time in the new world order, where the combat beard does not, in fact, reign supreme.

9. The Military Is Growing, but Some Services Are Getting Smaller

The Marine Corps will shrink by more than 2,000 troops this year, according to its budget request, while the Air Force is taking the biggest hit, as more than 6,000 of its personnel are moving over to the Space Force this year.

Looking for a few less good men, and moving whatever the hell the Space Force folks are going to be called away from the Air Force. Overall end strength is increasing, however, as the other services pick up the slack.

10. The Air Force is massively scaling back a major upgrade for the B-2 stealth bomber

After years of delays and technical issues, the Air Force is restructuring a key B-2 modernization program, transforming it from suite of technologies meant to help to help the bomber evade Russia and China into a less ambitious cockpit display upgrade.

In the Air Force’s fiscal year 2021 budget request, the service zeroes out the Defensive Management System Modernization program, or DMS-M, over the next five years. Instead, it intends to put about $155 million toward a cockpit upgrade that will include a more advanced graphics processor and modernized displays.

So when they’re reading their Camo Card just before the missile they can’t detect blows them out of the sky, they’ll be able to enjoy their pornstar greeting in 4K HD. That should be comforting in their final moments on this mortal coil.