Department of Defense

Trump grants clemency to 2 Army officers accused of war crimes, restores rank to Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher

President Trump has granted clemency to two Army officers accused or convicted of war crimes and restored Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher to the rank of chief petty officer after he was docked a pay grade after being convicted of posing for a photo with a dead Islamic State (ISIS) fighter, the White House announced Friday. Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance could be released from the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, as soon as Friday evening, six years after being found guilty of second-degree murder. Maj. Matt Golsteyn, a former Green Beret, will have the murder charge against him dropped. “Today, President Donald J. Trump signed an Executive Grant of Clemency (Full Pardon) for Army First Lieutenant Clint Lorance, an Executive Grant of Clemency (Full Pardon) for Army Major Mathew Golsteyn, and an order directing the promotion of Special Warfare Operator First Class Edward R. Gallagher to the grade of E-7, the rank he held before he was tried and found not guilty of nearly all of the charges against him,” the White House said in a statement Friday night. Lorance was six years into serving a 19-year sentence at Fort Leavenworth for ordering his soldiers to open fire and kill three men in Afghanistan. Lorence’s supporters say he killed Taliban fighters. Nine members of his unit testified against him, saying the men were innocent. Gallagher, a 15-year SEAL whose case garnered national attention, was found not guilty of murdering an ISIS fighter in Iraq in 2017 but was convicted in July of a lesser charge of posing for a photo with the dead ISIS prisoner’s corpse. His punishment included a reduction in rank from chief petty officer to 1st class petty officer, which would have cost him about $200,000 in retirement funds. His family and defense team were fighting to have his rank restored. “There are no words to adequately express how grateful my family and I are to our president, Donald J. Trump, for his intervention and decision,” Eddie Gallagher said in a public statement Friday night. “We would also like to thank the American people for their unwavering support during this very difficult time for my family and I — we can never thank you enough.” “I truly believe that we are blessed as a nation to have a commander in chief that stands up for our war fighters, and cares about how they and their families are treated,” he said. “Our military is the best in the world, and with steadfast and supportive leadership — like we have in this president, our fighting force will only get stronger,” Eddie Gallagher added. Golsteyn was charged with premeditated murder in the 2010 death of a suspected Taliban bomb maker. His trial was expected to begin next month. It was the second time the Army investigated the 2010 case after an initial probe didn’t find sufficient evidence to bring charges. A second investigation was opened in 2016 and Golsteyn was charged in December 2018. He faced life in prison if convicted and was stripped of his Special Forces tab and Silver Star award for valor. Golsteyn was charged with murder after telling Fox News’ Bret Baier in 2016 that he was concerned that if he released the suspected Taliban bomber, he would strike again. At one point, Baier asked Golsteyn if he’d killed the Taliban bomber. “Yes,” Golsteyn replied. His family had called the case a “complete set-up,” a “farce” and a “kangaroo court.” Trump had tweeted on Oct. 12 that he was reviewing Golsteyn’s case. “Matthew is a highly decorated Green Beret who is being tried for killing a Taliban bomb maker,” the president wrote. “We train our boys to be killing machines, then prosecute them when they kill! Matt’s wife, Julie Golsteyn, had said at the time that the president’s tweet had given their family hope. “I don’t know how much more ridiculous it can get,” she added. “Matt was cleared and then their story changed. It is so rigged.” Fox News’ Pete Hegseth first reported earlier this month Trump was expected to take “imminent” action in the cases. Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said Friday night, “The Department of Defense has confidence in the military justice system. The president is part of the military justice system as the commander in chief and has the authority to weigh in on matters of this nature.” Earlier this month, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said he had met with the president and discussed the cases. “I offered — as I do in all matters — the facts, the options, my advice, the recommendations and we’ll see how things play out,” he told reporters at the Pentagon at the time.

MAJ Matt Golsteyn definitely was given the shaft by his leadership.  And, as a former Army Major myself, who also served in Afghanistan, I’m glad to see President Trump intervene on his behalf, and grant him a full pardon/clemency.  Excellent!    🙂

Federal appeals court gives Trump a win on transgender military service

A federal appeals court gave President Trump a win Friday in a case defending the administration’s policy limiting certain transgender people from serving in the military. The federal circuit court in D.C. ruled the lower court erred in issuing an injunction against the president’s policy, saying the plan wasn’t a “blanket transgender ban.” The court said former Security of Defense James Mattis’ plan had been developed with the help from military officials and medical professionals. It focused on limiting the service of transgender people who suffer from gender dysphoria and refuse to serve under their biological sex. “Although today’s decision is not a final determination on the merits, we must recognize that the Mattis Plan plausibly relies upon the ‘considered professional judgment’ of ‘appropriate military officials,’” the court ruled in an unsigned opinion. There are still other injunctions in place that had been issued by lower courts against the administration’s policy, so the Justice Department has asked the Supreme Court to step in. Former Defense Secretary Ash Carter formally lifted the ban on transgendered citizens serving openly in the U.S. military last year. Under that policy initiated by Mr. Carter, transgendered individuals would have been able to enlist into the services by July. Those plans came to a halt when Mr. Trump announced plans to ban all transgender citizens from enlisting and separating all transgender troops currently in uniform. The announcement came as Mr. Mattis was in the midst of a six-month review of the Obama-era policy. Since the August announcement, federal courts have ruled the White House’s ban as unconstitutional while the transgender ban policy continues to face other challenges in the judiciary. Transgendered recruits were allowed to enlist beginning Jan. 1 after being subjected to a slew of physical, psychological and medical requirements before being considered for military service, pending the release of the military’s recommendations to the White House. The new standards for transgendered enlistment include certification that a recruit has been deemed “clinically stable” in their preferred sex for 18 months, and do not suffer from marked stress or impairment tied to their selected gender during certain scenarios tied to military service. The first transgender recruit officially signed up for the U.S. military last February, little over a month since the White House’s call for a ban on service for those citizens. The issue has become a cultural touchstone between proponents of the ban who argue the military has been repeatedly subjected to progressive social engineering efforts.

Which is exactly what has been happening ever since then-President Bill Clinton issued his “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in the mid-’90s.  I was in the military then, and vividly remember the s_it storm that started…and it went downhill from there, especially under Obama.  What so many liberal Dems (who have never served in the military), and their equally ignorant accomplices in the dominantly liberal mainstream media down want to accept is…that nobody has a right to serve in the military.  There is no constitutional right to serve.  It’s a privilege.  Secondly..  The military discriminates all the time, and has been doing so for generations.  If you’re too tall, you can’t fly fighter jets.  If you’re too fat, you can’t join.  If you’re disabled and/or in a wheelchair, you can’t join.  And, on and on..  The mission of the U.S. military is to WIN wars.  Period!  Anything that undermines that mission, including all of the politically correct social engineering bs imposed on it by Democrat presidents and lawmakers, puts our troops’ lives in jeopardy, and undermines our ability to WIN.

Obama appointees flee Pentagon; Trump left with scores of vacancies to fill

The Pentagon has been stripped of almost all of its political appointees from the Obama administration, but an uncertain Senate future awaits the candidates whom President Trump will nominate to remake the armed forces in his image. Of Mr. Obama’s 163 political appointees at election time, who included Senate-confirmed service secretaries, undersecretaries and assistant secretaries, only 16 remain at the Defense Department, according to a Pentagon statement to The Washington Times. The exodus might be considered normal in the transfer of power: Political appointees are required to turn in their resignations in December. But Washington’s bitter political climate is far different today from the last transfer of power in 2009. Senate Democrats are resisting Mr. Trump and his agenda via the confirmation process. There is a chance that some of the Defense Department’s 53 appointed positions requiring Senate confirmation will be vacant for a long time. The vacancies give Mr. Trump an opportunity to select men and women who will provide the leadership, policies and catalyst for his two main priorities: rebuilding the military and defeating the Islamic State terrorist group. “I imagine DOD cares more about getting people on board than what a nominee’s vote count is,” said James Carafano, who directs foreign policy studies at The Heritage Foundation. “If Congress is just going to partisan split all the votes, it won’t damage the appointees in their relations with Congress because the votes don’t really reflect anything about the nomination. DOD has to get down to the business of rebuilding the military. They don’t have time for political posturing by factions in Congress that are upset about how the American people voted.” Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney said the Trump team has been wise in giving a cold shoulder to the “NeverTrump” advocates in the Republican Party. “Loyalty to the president, especially one who was as courageous as President Trump on his position against radical Islam, is important,” Mr. McInerney said.

Agreed!!  To read the rest of this article, click on the text above.

Nearly two-thirds of Navy planes grounded due to years of budget cuts

Years of budget cuts have taken a toll on the Navy’s fleet of strike fighters. Nearly two-thirds of the Navy’s strike fighters are sitting unused because there is not enough money to repair them, according to DefenseNews.com. The Navy has had to deal with declining budgets in recent years even though the demand for military aircrafts carriers remains the same. Congress was unable to produce a budget before the October 1 start of the 2017 fiscal year. Political leaders say Congress’ inability to pass the military budget on time is hurting the fleet. In addition to the grounded planes, there isn’t enough money to fix the Navy’s ships, either. Maintenance of ships have been canceled or deferred. When military vessels are finally brought in for repair, it often takes more time to complete the work. Some submarines in the fleet have been out of service for long periods of time — in some cases more than four years. One sub, the Boise, even lost its diving certification because it was out of commission for so long. Officials claim that if more money doesn’t become available soon, another five submarines could lose certification, according to the military news agency. The Navy has been unable to obtain the money needed to move around service members and their families to new assignments, and about $440 million is needed to pay sailors. It also claims 15 percent of its shore facilities are in dire shape and in need of repair, replacement or demolition. The Navy is not the only military branch dealing with money woes. The Army, Marine Corps and Coast Guard have also complained they are underfunded and need a financial infusion to stay afloat. The Trump administration is now making an effort to boost military spending. The Pentagon recently delivered a $30 billion spending bill to Congress to help rebuild the armed forces. Also this week, vice chiefs from the Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps will testify before both the House and Senate’s Armed Services Committee. “I think we have a great opportunity to do the right thing for the country,” said Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, according to the Associated Press. “I’m pretty optimistic that it will actually happen.”

Let’s hope so, Congressman..  This is beyond outrageous, and inexcusable.  But, it’s what 8 years of Obama has done to our  military.  Unreal..

Reasons Russia Should Be at Table on Gas Deal Talks

Pressure on the rouble eased slightly on Tuesday as Russian firms sold foreign currency to pay taxes falling due in roubles.

Definitely something to keep an eye on.. Russia is just now beginning to feel SOME pressure economically. That’s a good thing! But, its imperative that we continue to keep pressure on mother Russia because Vlad’s goals have NOT changed. He’s just trying to put himself, and Russia, in the best possible economic position. So, this is a strategic move on his part. Ukraine, the EU, and the U.S. should NOT be fooled by this. To that end, it is still important that we tackle this problem set from several angles to include: 1) Continue economic sanctions, and increase as appropriate 2) Conduct LARGE scale military exercises with our NATO partners in eastern Europe 3) Re-establish the missile defense shield in Poland that Obama so foolish had dismantled after he became president. 4) Park an entire U.S. Navy Carrier Strike Group (CSG) in the Baltic. 5) Provide military intelligence, weapons and ammo, secured (with LOTS of strings attached) loans to Kiev, and military training to Ukrainian troops. Its imperative that we build a strong relationship with Petro and his government in Kiev. and, finally, 6) that Congress emphatically rejects Obama’s offensively pathetic Dept of Defense (DoD) budget calling for the U.S. Army to be reduced to levels not seen since before WWII!! We all know how much Obama hates the U.S. military. But, if anything, in this time of global unrest in Europe, Iraq, Syria, N. Korea, and so on..we should be doubling the DoD budget, if not tripling it; NOT cutting it in half!! Its breathtakingly irresponsible!! Hopefully the new Senate (after next month’s elections) will be under GOP control, and then both chambers of Congress will be able to scrap Obama’s awful federal budget entirely, and make DoD more of a priority, as well it should. After all adequately funding the military is one of the very few things that the Constitution actually authorizes Congress to fund; not all of these domestic social programs which Obama and the Dems in Congress throw all their energies and monies at.

Colorado Law Enforcement Agencies Obtain Used Military Equipment

Colorado Law Enforcement Agencies Obtain Used Military Equipment

Currently there is a lot of debate about the need for such used/surplus military hardware/equipment that the military (primarily the U.S. Army and the U.S. Marine Corps) no longer wants/needs…and whether the current program of the DoD just donating such equipment to local law enforcement agencies across the country is wise.  That was highlighted this week in Ferguson, Missouri where such equipment was on display and used by the St. Louis County PD…which clearly had a need for it.  Some thoughts…  If the alternative to it being destroyed/melted down is to pass it along to law enforcement agencies, or perhaps Army National Guard units in the various states, then yeah..  I think that’s appropriate, and in some cases even wise.  After all, just melting it down or destroying it seems silly.  BUT, it probably should be sent to those targeted urban areas where there are high population centers, high urban crime, and so on; where the need to have such hardware is more likely, statistically.  Chicago, St. Louis, Washington D.C., Detroit, New York City, Oakland/San Francisco, Houston, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Denver/Aurora, etc. are just some cities that immediately come to mind of such places where equipment like this might come in handy.  Those places are no brainers.  For those who may not remember.. There was a big shootout in Los Angeles with bank robbers in 1997 that had full auto weapons, body armor and so on.  All the LA PD had were their little 9mm handguns (pop guns by comparison) and were NO match for the bank robbers.  It was so bad that the LA PD had to go to local gun stores to purchase rifles, and use armored bank cars for protection.  It was ridiculous, and pathetic.  There are videos of that on the web if you’re curious..  So, yeah..  There ARE appropriate uses for such equipment, and there ARE places where it is, yes, wise to have such equipment.  That said..   sending an MRAP (like the one pictured here) to La Plata County Colorado where they have about 131 officers in the entire county?  C’mon..  That’s a bit much, methinks. La Plata is in the southwest part of Colorado, is about 88% white demographically, and the unemployment is below the national average.  Its relatively calm and crime free compared to other parts of the state.  Now, sending an MRAP to Denver, Aurora or Colorado Springs?  I can see that.  The demographics are more mixed, there are MANY more people by the hundreds of thousands, whereas the entire county of La Plata has only 52,000.  In Aurora, alone, the population is around 400,000.  And, that’s just one of several cities in Arapahoe County!  So, the CO State Patrol, in my estimation, made a poor decision sending a big piece of equipment, however cool and “intimidating” it might be, to La Plata.  They should have sent it maybe to Arapahoe County, Denver City & County, and/or El Paso County which has Colorado Springs, a city of around a half a million, in its jurisdiction along with two Air Force bases, NORAD/Cheyenne Mountain, Ft. Carson Army post, and the U.S. Air Force Academy.  Its also where the Air Force and Army both have their respective Space Commands.  So, probably wise to have such equipment on hand for use by the local law enforcement (i.e. El Paso County Sheriff, Colorado Springs PD, etc.) in case, God-forbid, it should be needed.