Trump Force One gets new paint job

And the Air Force zooms into the Wild Green Yonder

Welcome!

Already a subscriber? Then you're awesome.

Now tell a friend. If you're not a subscriber, you're missing out on regular doses of natsec+snark from the national security newsletter you never knew you needed. Fix that already.


1. Trump suggested that the military might take disciplinary action against Lt. Col. Alex Vindman after he was kicked off the NSC

President Donald Trump on Tuesday suggested that the US military may could take disciplinary action against Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the former National Security Council and impeachment witness whom Trump ejected from the National Security Council.

"We sent him on his way to a much different location and the military can handle him in any way they want," Trump said about Vindman's dismissal.

"General Milley, he can have him," Trump said, referring to chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, US Army Gen. Mark Milley.

Why would the military discipline Lt. Col. Vindman? Did he confess to sexual assault to a journalist? Because whoever did that should definitely be disciplined.

2. Trump's National Security Advisor Touts New 'Streamlined' NSC

Speaking at the Atlantic Council on February 11, O’Brien argued that this reorganization was consistent with the “Scowcroft model” of the former two-time national security advisor and founder of the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, Brent Scowcroft. This model, O’Brien explained, emphasizes that the national security advisor should not “advocate for one policy or another,” but rather “ensure that the president is well served by the cabinet, departments, and agencies in obtaining counsel and formulating his policies.”

O’Brien stressed that while “the vast majority of National Security Council staff are detailed from other departments and agencies, when they come to the White House, they serve as the president’s personal staff and it is our view that while they are at the National Security Council, they should not represent the views of their parent agencies or departments.”

In the wake of Lt. Col. Vindman being escorted out of the building like it was his last day at Initech, wonder if “parent agencies” includes the “Constitution,” or “the people of the United States,” because that’s where we are now in Trumperica.

3. Pentagon reveals Trump's Air Force One new paint job will be red, white and dark blue

Trump's redesigned Air Force One would feature a red, white and blue color scheme as opposed to the current light blue and white. Some have observed a marked resemblance between the proposed new paint job for Air Force One and the planes used in Trump Shuttle, an airline owned by Trump from 1989 until 1992.

All the other dictators get to paint their planes, why not Trump? New livery looks pretty OK, actually, but since this isn’t about the office anymore and it’s all about the world’s angriest sentient orange, feels tacky.

4. PACAF commander says tankers are ‘key,’ even as the Pentagon trims them from the 2021 budget

The comments provide an interesting contrast to the news that came hours later that the USAF is divesting part of its legacy tanker fleet as part of the Trump administration’s FY21 budget request. The request seeks to retire 29 of the USAF’s legacy tankers, which will comprise of 13 KC-135s and 16 KC-10s. To make up for the numbers, the Air Force will seek an additional 15 Boeing KC-46A tankers, despite its ongoing developmental challenges.

Note this: commanders at his level don’t say things without approval from way on high, and this isn’t as contradictory as it sounds at first. However, the USAF going full F-35 on a new tanker bodes ill for a near-peer fight over the blue waters of the Pacific.

5. Pentagon Slashes Funding for Islamic State Fight

The Pentagon's request would slash funding for the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces to $200 million, down by a third from last year — money that will focus on “helping to provide wide-area security in liberated areas, addressing the ongoing [IS] threat, preventing [IS] re-emergence and setting conditions for long-term stability.”

This is less about the Islamic State, and more about Iraq, with the Pentagon scrambling to find ways for Trump to exit that quagmire gracefully. Because funding for SDF is closely tied to any/all operation in Iraq.

6. US, Taliban close to 'reduction in violence' agreement

The agreement would call for the Taliban and U.S. forces to refrain from conducting attacks or combat operations for seven days, according to a person familiar with the ongoing discussions who was not authorized to discuss the proposed agreement and spoke only on condition of anonymity.

Because “stop fucking shooting at each other” doesn’t look as good on the accords. If I’m the Taliban? I plan the everloving fuck out of some IEDs, just to make a point. Because IEDs? Not technically attacks.

7. Are we winning the Afghanistan war? That’s classified, Sopko says

John Sopko, the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction, told Congress on Tuesday that measuring progress on America’s longest war is virtually impossible with even the most basic facts trapped behind an ever-expanding umbrella of secrecy.

I grow tired of Sopko’s beating the same damn drum and offering nothing in the way of solutions except that his office needs more money to provide oversight.

8. This awesome tech lets US soldiers learn to fire a heavy machine gun before they ever set foot on a range

Soldiers with the New Jersey National Guard's D Company, 1-114th Infantry Regiment recently conducted virtual-reality training on a number heavy weapons at the Observer Coach/Trainer Operations Group Regional Battle Simulation Training Center at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey.

Capt. James Ruane, the company's commander, explained the virtual-reality system to Insider, introducing how it works and how it helps the warfighter.

And someday virtual soldiers will shoot each other and that’s how wars happen.

9. Air Force officially OK’s beards, turbans, hijabs for religious reasons

The update to AFI 36-2903, “Dress and personal appearance of Air Force personnel,” allows airmen to request a waiver to wear religious apparel, as long as they are “neat and conservative” and present a professional and well-groomed appearance.

Conservative’s a cute word.

These guys have pretty conservative beards.

Or am I doing this wrong?

10. The Air Force is investigating ballistic missile defenders for drug use … again

This time, an unknown number of defenders from the 90th Security Forces Group were removed from their duties and are being investigated in response to reports of marijuana use, according to a statement released by Air Force Global Strike Command on Monday.

How long before one of these fine defenders argues that marijuana’s a key part of their religion? And then argues that their beard is, in fact, conservative.