Military News

Saturday, September 19, 2009

'Missing Man' Ceremony Honors Prisoners of War, Missing in Action

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

Sept. 19, 2009 - Dozens of people, ranging in age from teenagers to senior citizens, gathered yesterday in Occoquan, Va., to hold a "Missing Man" table ceremony in honor of the nation's servicemembers who have been prisoners of war or are missing in action. President Barack Obama proclaimed Sept. 18, 2009, as National POW/MIA Recognition Day, which was observed at the Pentagon and at military posts, government agencies and veterans' organizations nationwide. In Occoquan, The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7916 held their table ceremony, as they do each year.

"The POW/MIA ceremony is significant to all of us because we want to account for all of our brothers and sisters," said Wayne Dearie, the VFW post's 60-year-old commander. Dearie is a retired Navy Master Chief Petty Officer who served on-shore and ashore in Vietnam from 1968 to 1972.

The ceremony features a symbolic table setting that represents the sacrifice borne by those servicemembers who have been prisoners-of-war or still are listed as missing. About 88,000 U.S. servicemembers are recorded as missing or unaccounted for since World War II.

A group of Air Force Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps cadets from C.D. Hylton High School in Woodbridge, Va., performed the ceremony in a small wooded park located across the street from Post 7916.

The cadets "did a wonderful job. I have never seen that particular ceremony done that well," Dearie said.

"I was very honored to be able to do this POW/MIA ceremony," said Air Force Junior ROTC Cadet Airman 1st Class Jannel Rapier, a 17-year-old member of C.D. Hylton's senior class.

"Every day I learn something new in Junior ROTC," said Rapier, who plans to become an Air Force officer when she graduates from college.

Retired Air Force Maj. Sheila Allen, the senior aerospace science instructor for C.D. Hylton's Air Force Junior ROTC program, accompanied her cadets to Occoquan to watch them perform the "Missing Man" ceremony.

Having her cadets participate in the POW/MIA ceremony "lets the young people know that we'll never forget" America's former prisoners-of-war and missing servicemembers, Allen said.

VFW Post 7916 makes many contributions to the local community, Allen said, noting the post sponsors annual Air Force Junior ROTC awards and scholarship programs.

Retired Navy Lt. Cmdr. B.J. Richardson, was also impressed by the cadets' performance of the "Missing Man" ceremony. Richardson had, in fact, "recruited" the cadets from C.D. Hylton to perform the POW/MIA ceremony. Richardson had preceded Dearie as commander of VFW Post 7916, having served thrice in that capacity.

The ceremony "brings tears to my eyes," said Richardson, 62, who'd served on river patrol duty in Vietnam from 1968 to 1969.

Vietnam veterans, Richardson said, had helped to bring about POW/MIA Day, starting during the waning days of the conflict.

"We still remember; they're not forgotten, he concluded.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars, with its Ladies Auxiliaries organization, boasts more than 2 million members at more than 8,000 posts worldwide. Applicants for VFW membership are to be U.S. military veterans who have served overseas in a combat zone.

The VFW's origins can be traced back to 1899, when veterans of the Spanish-American War and Philippine Insurrection founded local organizations to secure rights and benefits for their service.

Today, the VFW continues to work on behalf of servicemembers, veterans and their families. The veterans' organization also lends a hand for myriad volunteer projects, it funds college scholarships, and it has helped to establish several national war memorials.

NATIONAL SECURITY STRATEGY REFORM: REBALANCING THE PRESIDENT’S AGENDA

The common wisdom about presidential success in achieving major goals is simple: Focus on only one or at most two major initiatives. Presidents who try to accomplish too much risk accomplishing nothing, and multiple agenda items distract the team from “staying on message” providing ample opportunity for opponents to undermine the efforts. While this may be true as a general rule, there is a risk that this strategy places an unnecessary and even dangerous limitation on presidential power, particularly in the area where that power may be greatest and most important—national security affairs. The current administration, while responding to an agenda that it largely inherited, appears to be charting a “low profile” course in its handling of national security affairs. Although understandable, this approach may have a very high price—failure to effect much-needed change.

Read On
http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pdffiles/PUB944.pdf

Mind-Sets and Missiles: a First Hand Account of the Cuban Missile Crisis

This chronology provides details and analysis of the intelligence failures and successes of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and suggests the applicability of lessons learned to the collection, analysis, and use of intelligence in strategic decisionmaking. The author describes how the crisis unfolded using the author’s personal recollection, declassified documents, and many memoirs written by senior CIA officers and others who were participants. Lessons learned include the need to avoid having our political, analytical and intelligence collection mind-sets prevent us from acquiring and accurately analyzing intelligence about our adversaries true plans and intentions. When our national security is at stake, we should not hesitate to undertake risky intelligence collection operations including espionage, to penetrate our adversary’s deceptions. We must also understand that our adversaries may not believe the gravity of our policy warnings or allow their own agendas to be influenced by diplomatic pressure.

Download
http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pubs/display.cfm?pubID=935

Russian Elite Image of Iran: From the Late Soviet Era to the Present

Since the late Soviet era, the presence of Iran has loomed large in the minds of the Russian elite. Soon after the end of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR)—and even before—increasing numbers of Russian intellectuals became disenchanted with the West, especially the United States, and looked for alternative geopolitical alliances. The Muslim world became one of the possible alternatives. Iran became especially important in the geopolitical construction of Eurasianists or neo-Eurasianists who believed that Russia’s alliance with Iran is essential for Russia’s rise to power. Yet, by the middle of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s tenure, increasing tension with the Muslim community and the rise of Russian nationalism had led to more complicated views of the Russian elite on Iran. At present, the Russian elite does not mind using Iran as a bargaining chip in its dealings with the West, especially the United States, and as a market for Russian weapons and other goods and services. However, the dream of a Russian-Iran axis is apparently abandoned for good.

Download
http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pubs/display.cfm?PubID=936

Alien: How Operational Art Devoured Strategy

The publication of the 1982 version of Army Field Manual (FM) 100-5, Operations, introduced to the English-speaking world the idea of an operational level of war encompassing the planning and conduct of campaigns and major operations. It was followed 3 years later by the introduction of the term “operational art” which was, in practice, the skillful management of the operational level of war. This conception of an identifiably separate level of war that defined the jurisdiction of the profession of arms was, for a number of historical and cultural reasons, attractive to U.S. practitioners and plausible to its English-speaking allies. As a result, it and its associated doctrine spread rapidly around the world. The authors argue that as warfare continues to diffuse across definitional and conceptual boundaries and as the close orchestration of all of the instruments of national power becomes even more important, the current conception of campaigns and operations becomes crippling. To cope with these demands by formulating and prosecuting “national campaigns,” the authors propose that the responsibility for campaign design should “actually” return to the political-strategic leadership of nations supported by the entirety of the state bureaucracy. This would mark the return of the campaign to its historical sources. If the United States and its allies fail to make this change, they risk continuing to have a “way of battle” rather than a “way of war.”

Download
http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pubs/display.cfm?PubID=939

Toward a Risk Management Defense Strategy

This monograph offers key considerations for DoD as it works through the on-going defense review. The author outlines eight principles for a risk management defense strategy. He argues that these principles provide “measures of merit” for evaluating the new administration’s defense choices. This monograph builds on two previous works—Known Unknowns: Unconventional “Strategic Shocks” in Defense Strategy Development and The New Balance: Limited Armed Stabilization and the Future of U.S. Landpower. Combined, these three works offer key insights on the most appropriate DoD responses to increasingly “unconventional” defense and national security conditions. This work in particular provides DoD leaders food for thought, as they balance mounting defense demands and declining defense resources.

Download
http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pubs/display.cfm?PubID=934

Escalation and Intrawar Deterrence During Limited Wars in the Middle East

A central purpose of this monograph is to reexamine two earlier conflicts for insights that may be relevant for ongoing dangers during limited wars involving nations possessing chemical or biological weapons or emerging nuclear arsenals. These conflicts are the 1973 Arab-Israeli War and the 1991 Gulf War. Both of these wars were fought at the conventional level, although the prospect of Israel using nuclear weapons (1973), Egypt using biological weapons (1973), or Iraq using chemical and biological weapons (1991) were of serious concern at various points during the fighting. This monograph will consider why efforts at escalation control and intrawar deterrence were successful in the two case studies and assess the points at which these efforts were under the most intensive stress that might have caused them to fail.

Download
http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pubs/display.cfm?PubID=941