Is NATO Still Worth It?

 

YAVORIV, Ukraine--Soldiers from thirteen different countries form-up for the opening ceremony of Rapid Trident 16 here June 27th. Exercise Rapid Trident is an annual multinational training exercise series held in Ukraine. It is designed to enhance joint combined interoperability between Ukraine, the United States, NATO allies, and other Partnership for Peace nations. (Photo by U.S. Army Capt. Scott Kuhn)
YAVORIV, Ukraine–Soldiers from thirteen different countries form-up for the opening ceremony of Rapid Trident 16 here June 27th. Exercise Rapid Trident is an annual multinational training exercise series held in Ukraine. It is designed to enhance joint combined interoperability between Ukraine, the United States, NATO allies, and other Partnership for Peace nations. (Photo by U.S. Army Capt. Scott Kuhn)

As the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) heads into its summit in Warsaw, Poland, next week, questions continue to arise about the role of NATO in today’s threat environment. Everyone from Secretaries of Defense to Donald Trump have criticized NATO in the past few years, much of which has been focused about roles, cost-sharing, and purpose.

NATO History

First, why was NATO founded, and what was its original purpose? According to NATO’s website, NATO originally existed for three primary reasons:

– Deterring Soviet expansionism
 – Forbidding the revival of nationalist militarism in Europe through a strong North American presence on the continent
 – Encouraging European political integration

NATO originally had only twelve members, but today it has expanded to include twenty-nine. At the time of the original signing, Europe was in both political and economic shambles after World War II and the Soviet Union was tightening its grip on its newly controlled satellites while stirring up conflict elsewhere. Three articles of the NATO charter (out of fourteen) were especially relevant:

 – Article 5 allowed for a collective defense in case of an attack against alliance members (although Article 6 limited the scope of how an attack against an alliance member was defined)
 – Article 2 allowed for cooperation on non-military projects
 – Article 3 set the groudwork for military cooperation and required minimum levels of member military funding (set at 2% of gross domestic product)

In the entirety of NATO’s history, Article 5 has only been invoked once – in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, leading to the eventual NATO takeover of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. However, NATO has been involved in military operations throughout the world, including patrols against Somali pirates, intervention in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Libya, and refugee operations in the Aegean Sea.

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Criticism of NATO

Criticism of NATO typically centers around two core arguments:

 – NATO is no longer relevant since the end of the Cold War and the rise of the European Union (EU), particularly as it relates to America’s security
 – NATO partners are not shouldering their part of the burden

The first criticism recognizes the fact that the world is a fundamentally different place than the world into which NATO was born. No longer is there a defined, fixed enemy that threatens to roll over or nuke Europe, per say (more on modern Russia later). Now we live in a world of asymmetric threats: terrorism (not just state-sponsored, but international fundamentalist organizations and home-grown extremists), cyber criminals, and many more. The European Union is now the primary vehicle for non-military cooperation amongst European nations, despite its occasional fragility.

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Europe has rebounded in economy, infrastructure, and unity, yet the United States still insists on being NATO’s leading member. NATO has also expanded to include states that are significantly less capable of defending themselves than the older members, and by doing so has essentially bound itself to being the “big brother” looking out for the little guys (http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-skeptics/it-time-america-quit-nato-15615). NATO’s unnecessary expansion, critics argue, actually causes greater harm in terms of damaged diplomatic relations than it reaps in the benefits of additional allies.

A British soldier, left, of 3rd Battalion, Parachute Regiment gives a brief prior to conducting an attack during Swift Response 16 training exercise at the Hohenfels Training Area, a part of the Joint Multinational Readiness Center, in Hohenfels, Germany, Jun. 22, 2016. Exercise Swift Response is one of the premier military crisis response training events for multi-national airborne forces in the world. The exercise is designed to enhance the readiness of the combat core of the U.S. Global Response Force – currently the 82nd Airborne Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team – to conduct rapid-response, joint-forcible entry and follow-on operations alongside Allied high-readiness forces in Europe. Swift Response 16 includes more than 5,000 Soldiers and Airmen from Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain and the United States and takes place in Poland and Germany, May 27-June 26, 2016. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Seth Plagenza/Released)
A British soldier, left, of 3rd Battalion, Parachute Regiment gives a brief prior to conducting an attack during Swift Response 16 training exercise at the Hohenfels Training Area, a part of the Joint Multinational Readiness Center, in Hohenfels, Germany, Jun. 22, 2016. Exercise Swift Response is one of the premier military crisis response training events for multi-national airborne forces in the world. The exercise is designed to enhance the readiness of the combat core of the U.S. Global Response Force – currently the 82nd Airborne Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team – to conduct rapid-response, joint-forcible entry and follow-on operations alongside Allied high-readiness forces in Europe. Swift Response 16 includes more than 5,000 Soldiers and Airmen from Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain and the United States and takes place in Poland and Germany, May 27-June 26, 2016. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Seth Plagenza/Released)

The second criticism has been leveled at NATO members by a wide-ranging group that includes Donald Trump and Secretaries of Defense Gates, Panetta, and Hagel. It’s not all political grandstanding – historically, of the twenty-nine countries in NATO, very few actually rise to the levels of funding required by Article 3. In fact, only five members actually made the 2% mark in 2015. The United States accounted for over 72% of the NATO defense expenditures last year. Critics question why the United States is willing to spend so much on NATO when the members most directly threatened aren’t. Recent world economic downturns have further reduced already low military spending.

Arguments for NATO

While proponents of a continued NATO will rarely argue with the need for members to contribute more to their own security, they take issue with the idea that NATO is outdated and irrelevant. First, not all NATO members are members of the EU. Norway, Albania, Iceland, and Turkey (and maybe soon the United Kingdom) are all NATO members that are not included in the EU framework. Therefore, NATO still provides an avenue for economic and military cooperation between the United States, the EU NATO members, and the non-EU NATO members. Second, while the USSR is gone, Vladimir Putin’s Russia behaves an awful lot like Putin misses his KGB days. Russia’s actions in Georgia and Ukraine scare many of the USSR’s former satellite countries, and their actions in Syria and provocative air and sea intercepts and probing of NATO member countries’ patrols and territory are disconcerting to say the least. While critics rightly point out the dangers of accepting more and more countries under the Article 5 umbrella, they miss the training opportunity that this threat provides. New NATO members are frequently more willing to train and procure interoperably than older NATO members with an established, modern military and procurement chain.

Is NATO outdated as a purely military force? Quite possibly, but it’s worth as a relationship building tool remains. Poland recently agreed to deploy special operations trainers and surveillance aircraft in support of the fight against Daesh. The talks that led up to that agreement came during NATO discussions (http://www.dodbuzz.com/2016/06/22/kiwis-and-poles-bolster-non-combat-roles-against-isis-in-iraq/). Membership in NATO creates something of a quid pro quo situation, especially for newer, smaller members. The alliance agrees to protect the member, but in return there is an expectation that the member will provide resources to NATO missions, and new members are far more eager to meet that expectation than older ones, as they receive more perceived benefits.

As stresses on the EU grow, NATO may very well remain the more constant and stable of the two organizations, as well as the only one in which the United States has any official say. The EU has no military component, and member states

Ireland marks its end of mission at a flag-lowering ceremony on Sunday at Camp Resolute Support Headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Ireland marks its end of mission at a flag-lowering ceremony on Sunday at Camp Resolute Support Headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan.

have resisted the idea of creating one, as they prefer the cooperative model of NATO to the idea of a centrally managed European Army. The United States could still manage its many European alliances individually, but losing the NATO framework would certainly make it more complicated.

Conclusion

While there are solid arguments to be made both for and against NATO in its current state, realistically there is very little chance of NATO dissolution. However, the world of 2016 is very different from the world of 1949, and NATO must remain open to evolution to confront the threats of today while preparing for the threats of tomorrow.

Can you answer 20 questions required to become a US citizen?

About the author

Joel is an 12 year veteran of the US Coast Guard, where he has served at various units including the International Training Division and Maritime Security Response Team. He has held qualifications including Deployable Team Leader/Instructor, Direct Action Section Team Leader, and Precision Marksman – Observer. He has deployed/instructed on five continents and served in quick reaction force roles for multiple National Special Security Events in the US. He is the owner of Hybrid Defensive Strategies, LLC in Chesapeake, VA, and can be contacted on Facebook and Instagram. Any opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the US Coast Guard or the US Government.

When You Hear the Word “Courier,” What Comes to Mind?

3-0The guy on the bike or Segway running mail and memos between city offices, most likely.  But there’s another kind of Courier running around out there, and their job is a lot cooler than moving mail.

Since the development of the atomic bomb, the nation has needed a way to securely move special nuclear materials throughout the country.  This tasking falls to the Department of Energy, and since 1975 has been handled by the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Office of Secure Transportation (NNSA OST).  Federal agents working for OST, referred to as Federal Agent (Nuclear Materials Courier), are the boots on the ground for this extremely delicate undertaking.  So what do these couriers do?  Well, according to USA Jobs and the OST’s recruiting site:

 “As a Nuclear Materials Courier, you:

 – Serve as a member of a highly specialized armed protective force that is responsible for the safe and secure transportation of classified and/or hazardous materials including nuclear weapons, components, test assemblies, and strategic quantities of weapons-grade special nuclear materials. This involves the operation of Government-owned motor vehicles, including tractor-trailers.
 – Integrate many processes and methods in the fields of security; health and safety; emergency management; and law enforcement, including tactical operations to respond to a multitude of possible natural and/or man-made threats to the safety and security of sensitive, dangerous, and extremely valuable cargo.
 – Participate in security planning prior to trip departures; assess multiple issues and factors related to shipment security during convoy operations; coordinate with other Federal, state or local law enforcement agencies and first responders concerning the investigation of potential criminal or terrorist acts or activities that could be considered a threat to the mission.
 – Will be armed to provide the force necessary, up to and including the use of deadly force, to prevent theft, sabotage or takeover by unauthorized persons or groups. Respond quickly and effectively to environmental, resource, and safety and security issues that may arise unexpectedly in the course of mission operations.”range training (00000002)

So, to sum it up, they are responsible for making sure that the materials no one wants to see in a terrorist’s hands stay out of said terrorist’s hands.

What does it take to be a courier?  Heading back to USA Jobs:

“A qualified candidate’s online application and resume must demonstrate at least one year of specialized experience equivalent to the next lower grade level (GS-7 or equivalent) in the Federal service. Specialized experience for this position is defined as:

Experience in performing high-risk armed tactical security work while serving as a member of a tactical team responsible for employing small arms and maneuvering against a hostile adversary to protect property against the hazards of fire, theft, accident, or trespass; maintaining law and order; protecting lives; or similar duties; AND using effective communication skills in person-to-person contacts in order to successfully execute the described work.

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Examples of such experience may have been gained in the armed forces, Coast Guard, or other Federal, state, local government or private security organizations, performing such work as: Armed security patrols; Armed convoy operations; rapid response force operations; or other work involving high risk, teamwork, weapons proficiency and tactical maneuvers such as SWAT/SRT.”

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If you can demonstrate that your expertise is what OST is looking for, you may get a chance to attend their 21-week Agent Candidate Training conducted at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, and Glynco, Georgia.  During this time, agent candidates will spend countless hours learning to shoot, move, and communicate, drive tractor trailers, and “other required field and classroom instruction.”  Upon graduation, couriers are assigned to Albuquerque, NM; Amarillo, TX,;or Oak Ridge, TN.  As many as 3 weeks out of every month are spent on the road.  Once on the job, couriers are required to complete annual training, pass a PT test, and pass Human Reliability Program requirements every year.

ARES EVLC (00000003)Couriers travel in civilian clothes in specially designed government vehicles, including tractor trailers.  Very few details are available about their vehicles given their specialized mission, but OST will say that the tractor trailers are so advanced that even if the drivers are disabled, the truck will continue to defend itself.

If this interests you, OST is hiring.  Read up on the requirements here, and then head over to USA Jobs and apply!

About the author

Joel is an 12 year veteran of the US Coast Guard, where he has served at various units including the International Training Division and Maritime Security Response Team. He has held qualifications including Deployable Team Leader/Instructor, Direct Action Section Team Leader, and Precision Marksman – Observer. He has deployed/instructed on five continents and served in quick reaction force roles for multiple National Special Security Events in the US. He is the owner of Hybrid Defensive Strategies, LLC in Chesapeake, VA, and can be contacted on Facebook and Instagram. Any opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the US Coast Guard or the US Government.

Get Your Money Right with Our Guide to Financial Readiness

Ballin

 

For a large portion of our military force, the idea of financial readiness plays second-fiddle to tactical, physical and mental readiness. While this is not necessarily a bad thing it is something that we need to work on as an organization. This is due to the fact that being financially unready can create secondary and tertiary effects that can delude the mission at hand. When someone spends most of their day worrying about the next paycheck they are less likely to be mission ready. Over the course of this article, I will attempt to give some ideas of how to be financially prepared and set yourself up for life both in and out of uniform. These practices range from creating a budget to preparing for retirement.

In order to create your personal roadmap to financial freedom, you must know where you are and where you want to be. At its core is the first idea of creating a budget. For many, this is the hardest part because it forces you to take a serious look at where you currently stand financially. In some cases, you may find that you are doing things right and in others, you may be confronted with some hard truths. There are many tools on the internet to assist in creating a budget or you can ask a financial advisor who can work with you. Some advisors will build a budget for free while others will require payment for the service so make sure you ask before they start.

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As a part of your budget, you will want to ensure a 6-month minimum nest egg for emergencies. That nest egg should be your priority if you don’t have one. Another extremely important portion of your budget is ensuring that you give a portion of your paycheck to a “personal fund.” This fund will allow you to take vacations, buy niceties and pay for hobbies. If you don’t do this then you will have a harder time keeping to the budget over the long term.

Once you have created a budget that will give you an idea of where you currently stand. So the next step is determining where you want to be. The easiest place to start is to look at what your dream for retirement looks like. However, when it comes to this stage create at least three retirement plans. One for the dream, one for the acceptable and one for the absolute requirements. It is important that you do this so that when you get to the next step you have the flexibility and a realistic outlook. As a part of this, you will need to figure out exactly how much each of those plans will cost based on estimated retirement age, expected length of retirement, where you plan on retiring and what you plan on doing.

Veterans United Lighthouse Program

Now that we have established the two anchors to our finances we can create the vessel to get us there. If you did your budget correctly then you will have a much easier time during this phase. At the start of this phase, you will set goals for the years between your current age and expected retirement age. I typically suggest using 1, 3, 5 and then every 5 years afterword. The idea is to create a savings and investment plan that will get you to your dream retirement. I highly recommend working with a financial advisor for this even if you consider yourself financially savvy. That advisor will help keep emotion out of it and ground your expectations in reality. They will also provide a profile of your financial personality that will guide your investments into the future.

By doing all of these steps you will have a complete picture of your financial world. For some of you this picture may be less than impressive. Do not let this get you down because now that you have an accurate picture you can begin to “right the ship” so to speak. By following the plan that you create you will not only improve the quality of your life but you will actively be working towards the life that you want.

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For those of you who created your plan and were able to realistically and honestly say that you are ahead of your requirements do not let up. If you lose sight of your end goal then you may spend money unnecessarily and end up behind. Being behind is not where you want to be. The closer you get to retirement the harder it will be to adjust your investments without taking risks that should be avoidable. You may also want to set a stretch goal to ensure that you keep on track.

As each one of you follows these simple steps at some point you will see how much can be accomplished that you may have pushed off years ago. The idea is that with a budget and roadmap to the future you will no longer have to wonder if you are doing the right thing. You will know that you are pursuing your aspirations in life and that in itself will provide the freedom each of you desires. I will leave you with this last piece of advice; financial advisors are not the enemy and working with one will make life a lot easier on the financial side.

Military One Source

If you want to talk specifics for any of these things RE Factor Tactical can provide my contact information.

About the Author

Collin is a 13 year veteran of the US Army, where he has served in various units and holds MOS’s in Armor and Logistics. He has deployed to the Horn of Africa as a Mil-2-Mil trainer in Djibouti and Rwanda as well as a deployment to Afghanistan working directly with the Mongolian Expeditionary Task Force. Collin has also trained with nearly a dozen other nationalities both stateside and deployed. Stateside he works as a Budget Analyst and was a Financial Advisor for several years. Any opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the US Army or the US Government.

For more information on financial services visit our friend Julia Bourlakov

How Pulling Troops Out of Iraq Led to the UK Pulling Out of the EU

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“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” ~Isaac Newton

This is not a political rant or a suggestive post on what we as the United States need to do moving forward in foreign policy but rather a look at how one event in international politics can lead to great changes in world diplomacy.

Yesterday the United Kingdom voted for to leave the European Union.  This existential move now threatens the entire stability of the EU and its quest as a unified economic powerhouse that began following WWII.

In 2011 the United States pulled troops out of Iraq, leaving a de facto Shiite government in place at a time where the nation’s stability lingered in the hands of an unfit military and militia groups.  The Shiite government soon emplaced century old tactics between Shiite and Sunni and gave power to Shiite politicians and families while oppressing Sunni groups.  This led to distention and eventually the rise of ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) led by the Sunni radical Al-Baghdadi.  The void of the US and allied troops left the Iraqi military weak and unable to suppress the ISIS uprising.  The terrorist group quickly took over large portions of western Iraq and soon spread into Syria.  Because Syria was engulfed in a civil war the Al Assad Government of Syria was unable to protect its Eastern front which eventually led to an almost autocratic ISIS nation spreading across Western Iraq and Eastern Syria.

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The war-torn nation eventually led to large groups of Syrian refugees spreading from Iraq and Syria to the European Union as men, women and children attempted to flee the conflict zone.  Destabilization of the region leaked into neighboring countries, causing larger swaths of refugees trying to escape to the EU who welcomed the refugees in the millions.

The massive influx of refugees into the EU created an acidic political climate among European leaders who argued over the decision as to whether they could and or should support the fleeing refugees.  One of the major opponents of the refugee sanctuary was Britain, a nation that offers its high residence levels of public services at the expense of the taxpayers.  UK leaders argued that their economy was unable to support the large amounts of refugees who migrated within the EU and were not paying taxes.  The burden of taking care of the refugees began to destabilize the economy and eventually led to the UK leaving the European Union.

The exit of the UK from the EU now threatens the world economy and will undoubtedly create a period of economic turmoil.  While the EU, UK, and world economies may stabilize quickly, we will most likely see a period of panic and political discontent among allied nations.

While this isn’t the only reason, the UK left the EU it is certainly a catalyst.  One could argue that the UK set itself on a course to leave the EU years ago however the reason geopolitical events play a vital part in could be blamed as the missing piece.  Also, refugees are also fleeing from war-torn regions of Africa, so we can’t say the influx of refugees originates solely from Syria.  However, they do hold the lion’s share.  In the end, it is important for world leaders to look at how short-term political actions can create a large negative impact on international affairs.

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What else can happen from here?

A weaker EU arguably strengthens the Russian might that threatens surrounding nations, Europe, and the United States.  An exit creates a destabilized region in which any number of powerhouses will step up to fill the power vacuum.  While it’s difficult to see how this will effect the EU economy, it could lead to some nations such as Spain and Greece who struggle to keep themselves out of economic turmoil to tank.  Also, this departure may push other countries within the EU to leave in fear or going down with an already sinking ship.  In the end, Britain’s departure could lead to the complete separation of the EU and a completely destabilized region.

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How The US Army Manual On Rifle and Carbine Was Developed According To The Guy Who Wrote It

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TC 3-22.9

Greetings to the readers of RE Factor Tactical’s Blog. I am SFC Ash Hess and the Senior Writer for the recently released TC 3-22.9 Rifle and Carbine.

Last week RE Factor asked if I would like to do a write-up on the book, its development and what’s next. I jumped at the chance as this will be my biggest opportunity to thank the group that indeed made it possible and let many people know what is coming next. It is best to give a little back story on the project that will allow you to see the scale of what was accomplished.

The Beginning

In 2012 I was given the guidance to build a course for the 10th Mountain Lightfighters School that matched the FM 3-22.9, was able to be duplicated by the graduates, and created highly skilled marksmen. This required me to truly dig into the FM and find ways to make the course teach the things I had learned at TigerSwan, from Kyle Defoor, the vast knowledge of Kyle Lamb, and many others. Therein the problem rested. FM 3-22.9 was a maze of training strategy, marksmanship techniques, positions and advanced skills. That manual had five different prone posts in it that were not based on combat, they were based on where in the training cycle you were. The pictures did not match the words, and the standing position had two variants based on range. This led me to make an attempt to get in contact with whoever at Fort Benning was writing the manual and ask some questions.

If you have been around the Army in any way, you know what happened next. I found the people who had more questions than I did despite them being tasked to work on the manual. These individuals were attempting to turn an aircraft carrier with a paddle, and the process was still in early stages. I maintained contact with them and met some of them in person two years later when I attended the newly formed Master Marksmanship Trainer Course. I also came down on orders for Fort Benning at nearly that same time. As fate would have it, I landed in the very office that was writing the new manual.

A short time later, I became the 27th NCO and 28th person to work on the 3-22.9. Imagine if you will a document that had been recycled since the late 1980’s that had 28 people press their version of what was important and the most recent technique into that document. As you can imagine, it was not pretty. It was long, drab, and bounced from one subject to the next based on two years of meetings with various units, groups, and individuals.

I was determined to start completely fresh with some specific guidelines in place that were unavailable to the previous owners. This allowed me to gather a group of friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and ultimately some people who had been calling out my office about what we were doing. All of these people helped in some form or fashion craft and steered what would be published.

The most credit goes to the 10th Mountain, 82nd and 101st Master Gunners and marksmanship gurus. They have been involved since the 2nd day of the project. They steered, tested, calmed, and guided me on the path of building a book that best suited their needs. These guys spent hours poring over ideas and pages of things that I created. They took those things refined them and sent them back to me. More times than not they wondered if I had had a urinalysis recently but patiently made things smooth.

About the time we had a working product, a member of a state-level marksmanship unit was publicly saying that he had heard the new book was being written and since they were not involved it was going to be subpar. So I invited him and his people to be part of the group. Their input allowed us to see things from a state level and ensure that everyone would be able to apply the stuff we published.

Now firearms use in the Army is much like fitness on the outside. Everyone is an expert. Everyone has their favorite way of doing things, or favorite person to listen to. We had over 500,000 people on active duty and that many in the Reserves and Guard at the time. This makes a project like this harder in that everyone wants their way to be THE way.

These guys, which totaled about 20 total, provided great insight into training in the units. We combined this with most of the things that the US Army Marksmanship Unit wanted from the book. I will let you all know now that not one single person, let alone group, got everything they wanted from this book. Even the people who only wanted buy in from one group didn’t get that. What everyone got was a highly valuable book.

That leads me to the scale of this book. This book outlines the “how” we want over 1 million people to use the Rifle or carbine. That’s 1 million people today. That number doesn’t account for change over or the long term change over. When you have highly skilled, opinionated, and passionate people debating the proper way to say how to pull a trigger and you have to make it simple for millions of individuals to understand, it gets fascinating.

So there is the baseline for what I have been doing since March of 2015. Many people think that the published book has been in progress for eight years. In reality a year ago it was a name and a table of contents. With the collected knowledge of the group mentioned above combined with much typing and talking on my part resulted in a leap forward book which has been praised in may reviews since its release. It is easy to shoot. It is harder to teach shooting. It is harder to type about shooting, and hardest to get everyone to agree on what is typed. Despite many days of anger, meetings, passion fueled lively debates EVERYONE had the best product in mind, and the Army is better for it.

The Book

Now, a thousand words into this, I can start to get into what the TC 3-22.9 is. It is designed from inception to be a Soldiers book. It does not cover how to run a range, qualification, or training strategy in it. We focused on what a Solider needs to know while shooting their rifle. .” any Soldier of any rank. A shooting manual if you will. It is cargo pocket sized and as mentioned in RE Factors’ review has some things that are missing. The goal was to have the important things laid out, so the individual has access to them in a building block format. The book discusses the rifle, the optics, the accessories, then once all that is taught, how to use all those things. We looked at the truth and how we taught those things. We settled on the Shot Process as our baseline. We pulled the shot process directly from the AMU and built upon that. We needed separation and decided to use Stability, Aim, Control, and finally Movement as the places to put all the information. This in itself is a simplified shot process that without tying importance on to things as is the habit, allows it to be taught in a sequence. First, you build a position and things like grip and Stockweld based on the weapon. Then you aim which is sight alignment and sight picture. Then you control the trigger and the multitude of other things that can have effects on the shot like focus. Movement describes how to take all this stuff and move. Moving has effects on stability, aiming, and control. It is critical to learn because offensive operations will require movement.

Shot process

There are new things such as a different way to deal with malfunctions that we made as simple as possible in real language. We hoped that the NO BANG on the chart was self-explanatory to all that use the book, but as we found out recently, it wasn’t. We didn’t add pages of pictures and words to the book on malfunctions and reloaded.

As NCO’s, we believe the NCO is the primary trainer in units. Rather than dilute the book with 30 techniques that a Soldier may or may not use, we saved some things for the next book.

What’s Next

At this moment, we are in the early stages of building what is referred to as the “trainer book”. This book will be “How to train all the things in the TC3-22.9”. It is going to cover each phase and lay out the best techniques to teach soldiers about the rifle or carbine, how to operate and zero their optics, what accessories do what, the shot process and how to make the best use of the things in the elements. Without having to explain all that in text, it frees us up to lay out the ways to see sight alignment with all sights, how to know a good position, when to use that position, and pros and cons of all.

It also allows us to allow leaders to select which reload matches their SOPs and teach the one they chose most important. An example is most units teach magazine retention on reloads. Some units do not teach that technique. This book will allow us to show both techniques without bias toward either. As for malfunctions, we now have space to lay out the entire process of reducing each type and allow the leader to show Soldiers via hands on.

One of the coolest things about this book is the same group who developed the 3-22.9 will be testing and validating every word in the book. The group teaches courses on a daily basis, and we can test each line on Soldiers as we write it.

The final validation of that book will come from the Master Marksmanship Trainer Course. This course is the TRADOC built course that was spearheaded by the US Army Marksmanship Unit and is in the final stages of validation itself. This course will serve as the baseline for marksmanship instruction in the future much as the Master Gunner School does for Armor and the MACP does for combative.

This book should be finished by September of this year and will go through the publishing process with a hopeful publish of late 2016 or 2017. The time it will take is in the testing of every word and the fact that MMTC is five weeks long.

Overmatch

In Closing  

The Army has taken a keen interest how we use weapons over the past few years. Improving it is interesting and was littered with institutional inbreeding, ego, passion, haste, laziness, and moments of epic frustration. This is exactly what you want a book to go through that million of Americans could take to the battlefields of the future. We owed the American people, her sons and daughters, and all those that came before us the best product we could make. All the people I mentioned in this process made that happen. Their skill and professionalism made it possible. Hopefully, this has given some insight into the process and the future.

SFC Ash Hess

Weapons and Gunnery Branch

Directorate of Training and.Doctrine

Maneuver Center of Excellence

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About SFC Ash Hess
I am a 20+ year Cavalry Scout with four tours overseas. I am a graduate of the Master Marksmanship Trainer course, The 75th Ranger Regiment’s Small Arms Leaders Course, and Ranger Marksmanship Instructor Course; I was the primary developer of the 10th Mountain Divisions Rifle Marksmanship Instructor course, Urban Operations Course, and Machine Gun Leaders Course.
I have been to multiple civilian courses from Defoor Proformance and TigerSwan.
I am currently the Senior Small Arms Writer for the MCoE and primary writer of the TC 3-22.9 Rifle and Carbine, TC 3-22.35 Pistol and overseeing the revamp of TC 3-23.10 Sniper Operations.

The Challenges With Partner National Building

 

071011-N-1810F-224 MOSUL, Iraq (Oct. 11, 2007) - Army ISOF attached to Battalion 64 train Commandos from 7-1Iraq Special Operations Force (ISOF) on proper weapons handling techniques. Coalition Forces conducts Foreign Internal Defense in the Ninewah Province of Iraq to develop select Iraqi Security Forces' capability to independently conduct the security aspects of counter insurgency in order to contribute to the establishment of a stable environment. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Todd Frantom
071011-N-1810F-224 MOSUL, Iraq (Oct. 11, 2007) – Army ISOF attached to Battalion 64 train Commandos from 7-1Iraq Special Operations Force (ISOF) on proper weapons handling techniques. Coalition Forces conduct Foreign Internal Defense in the Ninewah Province of Iraq to develop select Iraqi Security Forces’ capability to independently perform the security aspects of counter-insurgency to contribute to the establishment of a stable environment. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Todd Frantom

 

“The challenges we face collectively today are both traditional dilemmas and unconventional threats that transcend national borders. We must be prepared with a collective solution. We must train together and develop a unified response. We must train together to strengthen our trust. And we must train together to increase our understanding – of each other and our shared interests.” MG Gregory Bilton

How to Identify Terrorist Profiles and Radicalization paths

In today’s multinational environment we are confronted with an ever-changing international landscape. This environment is complex and takes years of painstaking work to understand, prepare for and execute the missions that are required. When working with our non-US counterparts, we are tasked with building a lasting relationship that intertwines our unique skillsets into one cohesive fighting force. If we do not foster these relationships, we can find ourselves alone on the battlefield. I will attempt to give guidance on some of the proven methods I have used to build upon both existing partnerships and those that are newly created. One note before I get started is that these techniques will need to be flexible as each nation has different values and cultural norms that must be accounted for, as well as the mission you are conducting, will vary.

The first thing to note is that patience is the single greatest attribute that can be displayed. These partnerships will not develop overnight. Even well-established partnerships will go through growing pains whenever there is a change in personnel. The amount of time it takes will vary and in some cases, due to an operational requirement, not be enough to be anything more than a bandage until ample time is available. A point worth making is that none of the relationships I have built over the years have taken more than a week to make operational and I still have friends to this day in each of these partnerships.

Daesh’s Global Presence and Homeland Threats

One of the easiest parts of any relationship, new or old, is finding common ground to which both parties can relate. Since most of the readers here are service members, this is a solid common ground to start with. Due to the stature that military service holds in almost all cultures, it is easy to see how this would work. Start with basic infantry tactics and see where it leads. In Rwanda, I took the first few days just to watch how they operated and tried to see how the U.S. system could be incorporated. It turns out that despite our differences we had quite a bit in common.

Another relatively easy way to incorporate yourself is to learn a few key phrases in your partner’s language. I spend quite a bit of time learning basic phrases both before and during my time with each group. The amount of respect you earn from this is immeasurable because it shows mutual respect for one another. They are going to attempt English for us so we must attempt to repay this kindness.

The last thing I will discuss and arguably one of the hardest hurdles to overcome will be the desire to correct them. This tends to be especially hard for NCO’s due to the U.S. system that emboldens our NCO’s to mentor and train. It is important to remember that these Soldiers that we are working with were trained before your arrival and the majority of the things they do are because of that training. Never go into a partnership assuming that our way is the only way to fight. If you do this, I guarantee you will have a much harder time working with them, and in some cultures, the damage may be nearly unrepairable.

What should you do when there is an active shooter?

When building or establishing a partner nation relationship understand that there will be hiccups and there will be tension. Do not let this interfere with the mission at hand and work together to overcome and adapt to each other’s personal differences. I have successfully built partnerships with nearly a dozen nations from five continents, and I have used these techniques in each one. If you are unwilling to at least attempt to create partners in today’s operational environment, then you will inevitably have a tougher time as you move upwards in your career. We are just too global of an organization to accept anything other than international cooperation. One more thing, these are not the only methods that can be used, but they are a foundation to success and can be scaled for unit operations.

About the Author

Collin is a 13 year veteran of the US Army, where he has served in various units and held MOS’s in Armor and Logistics. He has deployed to the Horn of Africa as a Mil-2-Mil trainer in Djibouti and Rwanda as well as a deployment to Afghanistan working directly with the Mongolian Expeditionary Task Force. Collin has also trained with nearly a dozen other nationalities both stateside and deployed. Any opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the US Army or the US Government.

How to Fly with Checked Firearms

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I recently had my first experience flying with checked firearms, and I thought I’d share what I learned for those who may be starting to travel with their guns for business or pleasure.  First, let’s start with what the TSA says:

“You may transport unloaded firearms in a locked hard-sided container as checked baggage only. Declare the firearm and ammunition to the airline when checking your bag at the ticket counter. The container must completely secure the firearm from being accessed. Locked cases that can be easily opened are not permitted. Be aware that the container the firearm was in when purchased may not adequately secure the firearm when it is transported in checked baggage.”  (TSA website)

Now, each airline has slightly different methods of how they execute the TSA policy, so definitely check up on the individual airlines.  Here is Delta, Southwest, American, and United.  Firearms are usually lumped into “Sports Equipment,” so you may have to scroll down to find it.  I flew American Airlines out of Norfolk, which is a huge military town that probably sees guns constantly flying, so my experience was quite comfortable.

10 Reasons to get Travel Insurance

Photo Jun 13, 19 53 57I packed my pistols inside a Stack-On metal gun safe.  Technically it was probably a lot of overkill, but I also wanted a safe to keep the weapons in my hotel room once I arrive in New Hampshire.  The standard is simply a locked, hard-sided case.  I would recommend using a case that can accept a massive lock, not just a TSA lock, mostly because TSA locks are flimsy and specifically designed to be opened by a readily available master key.  Upon arriving at the ticket counter, I declared my firearms to the ticket agent, who asked me a few questions regarding whether the guns were unloaded, whether I had any ammunition, and whether the ammunition was packed or loose.  In this case, I wasn’t flying with ammunition, as the course was providing it, but if you are, please keep in mind that ammunition cannot be loose in your luggage (they prefer original packaging), and there may be limits on how much ammunition you can carry.

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Photo Jun 13, 19 39 04I had to sign a statement that my firearms were unloaded, then take my bags to the TSA screening point.  I declared my firearms to the screener and waited while they ran my bags through the scanner.  Once they gave me the thumbs up, I headed to my plane.  Honestly, the process itself was pretty simple.  The most stressful part of checking in was the insane overweight baggage fees (note to self, bring two bags next time).  I’ve heard stories of people having their tickets marked with codes denoting firearms, but after examining my tickets, the only unique code I see is the TSA Pre-Check (sign up for it if you haven’t), so I can’t find any evidence of that.  What I did get, however, was a big red “Special Handling” tag.  According to American, that tag denotes an item of value or particular fragility.  The intention is to keep baggage handlers from putting the bag on the carousel, requiring you to go to the baggage office to show identification for pick-up.  So while it doesn’t expressly identify a gun, it does tell everyone in the bPhoto Jun 13, 19 39 20ack room there’s good stuff in there.  There was a theft ring in Norfolk International Airport a few years back that specifically targeted red-tagged items, so to me, it is a bit of a concern.  They also didn’t tell me that I would have to pick it up at the baggage office, so I wasted time at the carousel before heading to the office after the carousel stopped.

Hope this was useful.  Don’t let worries about flying with your guns keep you from attending that course, going on that hunt, or even just taking your carry gun with you when you travel (providing it’s legal where you are going).  As with anything, have a plan, especially for extra check-in time, and know the rules.  Good luck and safe flying!

Some of the best WWII Airplane Nose Art

Flying with Firearms in NY

If you’re planning to fly out of any New York airport, TSA says you should have the firearm unloaded and locked in a hard case. Loose bullets are not authorized, even a single stray round will get you in trouble. Your rounds should be in their original packaging—full or partially filled packaging—and then placed beside your unloaded firearm inside of the hardened case, though they can be in a separate case. Once this is done, ensure you lock the case and declare it at the airport. You cannot place it in a carry-on bag, but checked bags are acceptable if the above steps are taken. Do not under any circumstances take it to your checkpoint because you won’t be able to get on the place with your weapon, even if you have a carry permit.

Flying with Firearms in CA

You might think that flying through places like CA, where gun laws are strict would come with more regulations. However, all airline policies abide by TSA standards. In all cases, your weapon should be locked in a hard case. And you’ll have to provide TSA with a lock code or key if they request it. In regards to ammo, you can’t exceed anything over .a 75 caliber. Shotgun shells of any gauge are authorized for flight travel according to TSA.

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Flying with Firearms in Washington D.C.

If you’re flying from an airport in D.C. the same TSA regulations apply here as in any other state. You can carry your ammo in the same case as your unloaded firearm, but it is not a requirement. According to TSA’s website, “Firearm magazines and ammunition clips, whether loaded or empty, must be securely boxed or included within a hard-sided case containing an unloaded firearm.”

About the author

Joel is a 12 year veteran of the US Coast Guard, where he has served in various units including the International Training Division and Maritime Security Response Team. He has held qualifications including Deployable Team Leader/Instructor, Direct Action Section Team Leader, and Precision Marksman – Observer. He has deployed/instructed on five continents and served in quick reaction force roles for multiple National Special Security Events in the US. He is the owner of Hybrid Defensive Strategies, LLC in Chesapeake, VA, and can be contacted on Facebook and Instagram. Any opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the US Coast Guard or the US Government.

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Here’s A Look at The Tax Stamp, A Key Event to The Revolutionary War

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The Stamp Act tax stamp

As the birthday of our great nation approaches we wanted to take a look back at The Tax Stamp, a key event among many that led up to the Revolutionary war.

Mao’s Phases of Revolution and the War for Independence: Part I

In 1765, Britain imposed the Stamp Act on Colonialists living in the Americas.  The British declared that many printed materials must be produced on stamped paper.  The stamped paper was provided by the British and carried an official stamp much like today’s mail services.  Printed materials requiring the tax stamp included legal documents, newspapers, playing cards and other documents distributed throughout the colonies.  The British needed Colonialists to purchase the tax stamps with official hard British currency, something that was scarce at the time.

stamp

The British used the Stamp Act as a way to raise revenue to help pay for troops stationed in the Americas following the French and Indian War.  The Colonists argued that the troops offered no value since the French threat subsided following the war and local militias were able to keep the Native Americans at bay.  However, the British refused to pull back stationed troops to England, mainly because it would cause thousands of career soldiers to lose their jobs.  Instead, the British felt it necessary to heavily tax Colonialists through some avenues to include the much-disputed tax stamp.  The move led to intense protests by the Colonialists and in many regards represented the first signs of an emerging revolution.  In the end, The Colonialists argued they had no representation for their taxation.  According to the British Constitution, citizens could only be taxed if the tax was approved by their elected official within the British Parliament.  The British imposed the Stamp Act with no representation or approval of the Colonialists.  This, in turn, led to the famous revolutionary cry “no taxation without representation.”

Mao’s Phases of Revolution and the War for Independence: Part II

To combat the Stamp Act the Colonialists took to the streets and several anti-colonial groups, such as the Sons of Liberty, began to push back against colonial rule.  The Colonies established the Stamp Act Congress, with representatives from each colony, designed to oppose the unrepresented tax act formally.  This was the first time the Colonies officially worked together to oppose the British rule and was an essential step towards unification.  The Stamp Act Congress eventually turned into the Continental Congress, the predecessor to our current Congress.  In many ways, the Stamp Act was the first joint act of the now United States of America.

Repeal_of_the_Stamp_Act

During the Stamp Act, many newspapers printed political cartoons to oppose the tax and colonial rule.  One popular image is the one below that is also featured on our t-shirt.

stamp-act

 

REFT16_June_Liberty_v1

We also included the famous quote by Patrick Henry “Give me liberty, or give me death.”  Patrick Henry gave this speech ten years after the Stamp Act in 1775 and is considered to be the speech that led to the approval of Virginian troops being used in the Revolutionary War.

Get yours here. 

Mao’s Phases of Revolution and the War for Independence: Part III