Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The White House and the Pentagon:Why Hagel Was Let Go

President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel,the first man to rise from the enlisted ranks of the US Army to the top job at the Pentagon,held several private meetings over the past month,but still couldn't see eye to eye.So the President and Hagel agreed to part ways,and the President started searching for his fourth Pentagon chief in six years.Hagel had been preceded by Bob Gates and Leon Panetta.*
Some observers described Hagel as seeming disengaged at national security meetings.
Perhaps the President needed a fall guy after the Democrats' dismal mid-term election results,losing control of the US Senate,others speculated,and the soft spoken Hagel fit the bill.Believe me,he was up to the job,Hagel's former Senate colleague and fellow Vietnam veteran Senator John McCain,R-Arizona,remarked upon hearing the news.It was the job he was given,where he was never brought into that tight circle inside the White House that makes all the decisions,which has put us into the incredible debacle that we're in today throughout the world,McCain continued.*
For instance,Hagel wrote a letter to National Security Adviser Susan Rice in which he was critical of the administration's Syria policy,according to The New York Times.Hagel was also said to differ with the President over Mr.Obama's plan to close the terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo Bay,Cuba.And the White House was consternated when Hagel contradicted the President's view that the ISIL militants were a junior varsity squad,when Hagel described ISIL as an imminent threat to everything America stands for.We must prepare for everything,Hagel said.The only way is to take a steely-eyed look at it.*
The resignation really doesn't affect the way the Pentagon views the world,said Rear Admiral John Kirby,US Navy,spokesman for the Department of Defense.We're going to keep going after ISIL.We're going to move to a train,advise and assist mission in Afghanistan,and will continue to reassure our European allies in the face of Russian agression.Winning is a daily thing that we look at.We are definitely succeeding.We are taking back ground.We constantly assess that,every single day.We're not making any big muscle moves.We think we've got it about right here,RADM Kirby insisted.*
Several service members expressed surprise about the resignation,however,and felt Mr.Hagel wasn't to blame for troop cutbacks and efforts to trim military benefits.That problem rested squarely with Congress.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Orion Spacecraft Moves to Space Launch Complex 37


Inside the battle to save Baghdad from ISIS


Hagel and Dempsey on US Strategy in Iraq

There are limited signs of progress in Iraq three months after the air campaign began,US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told the House Armed Services Committee last week.The advance by ISIL in parts of Iraq has stalled,and in some cases been reversed,by Iraqi,Kurdish and tribal forces supported by US-led coalition air strikes.More than 130 of the more than 800 strikes since 8 August have been by coalition partners,including Canada,which made its first sorties last week.The coalition consists of 12 nations.*
Some 1500 new US troops supplementing the 1400 already in Iraq will work out of Joint Operations Centers in Baghdad and Irbil,as well as four new training centers in North,West and Central Iraq.*
The US is certainly considering putting boots on the ground to advise and call in airstrikes on the frontlines,Joint Chiefs Chairman General Martin Dempsey added.The Iraqi trops are doing a better job,but there are places that will be beyond them,such as Mosul and the Syrian border.We're considering US forces accompanying Iraqi troops.In Syria,our actions against ISIL are focused on shaping the dynamic in Iraq,which remains the priority of our counter-ISIL strategy.*
We are sober about the challenges we face as ISIL exploits the complicated,long-running Syrian conflict,Secretary Hagel explained to the Members of Congress.