Military News

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Memoir of a Reluctant World Traveler


The November 20, 2014, episode of American Heroes Radio features a conversation with former United States Air Force officer Don Feeney, the author of Gathering No Moss: Memoir of a Reluctant World Traveler

Program Date:  November 20, 2014
Program Time: 1500 hours, PACIFIC
Topic: Memoir of a Reluctant World Traveler

About the Guest
Don Feeney is "a retired United States Diplomat and United States Air Force officer. He has a Masters of Science degree in Management Information Systems from the University of Southern California, and teaches graduate school part-time. Don lives with his wife Andi, and their cat, Kismet, in Indian Harbor Beach, Fla."  Don Feeney is that author of Gathering No Moss: Memoir of a Reluctant World Traveler.

According to the book description of Gathering No Moss: Memoir of a Reluctant World Traveler, "Don Feeney has seen it all. As a diplomat working for the United States, he served in embassies and consulates around the world. As an air force officer, he had some daring exploits of varying levels of sanity and sophistication. He's lived, worked, and played in more than fifty countries on five continents. In his memoir Gathering No Moss, Feeney recalls his three-decade trip down the wild, weird, and surprising journeys of his life. A somewhat reluctant traveler, he conveys the heavy burden of loneliness on the road while driven by the search for meaning, spirituality, and love. His life has been one of thought-provoking questions, highly charged emotional situations, and brushes with both greatness and tragedy. He's been an airman, an officer, an instructor, a commander, an administrator, a trainer, a consular officer, a manager, and a diplomat. He's sold paintings on a street corner, washed dishes, worked in a paper mill, flipped hamburgers, painted houses, and tended bar. He smoked pot, drank too much, and fell in (and out) of love (including four marriages). He went AWOL, was shot at three times, survived a brain aneurysm, and beat colon cancer. His mantra- "The more you know, the more you don't know sh*t" or TMYKTMYDKS-reminds us all that the human mind will never let you understand the human mind."

About the Watering Hole
The Watering Hole is police slang for a location cops go off-duty to blow off steam and talk about work and life.  Sometimes funny; sometimes serious; but, always interesting.
           
About the Host
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster was a sworn member of the Los Angeles Police Department for 24 years.  He retired in 2003 at the rank of Lieutenant.  He holds a bachelor’s from the Union Institute and University in Criminal Justice Management and a Master’s Degree in Public Financial Management from California State University, Fullerton; and, has completed his doctoral course work. Raymond E. Foster has been a part-time lecturer at California State University, Fullerton and Fresno; and is currently a Criminal Justice Department chair, faculty advisor and lecturer with the Union Institute and University.  He has experience teaching upper division courses in law enforcement, public policy, law enforcement technology and leadership.  Raymond is an experienced author who has published numerous articles in a wide range of venues including magazines such as Government Technology, Mobile Government, Airborne Law Enforcement Magazine, and Police One.  He has appeared on the History Channel and radio programs in the United States and Europe as subject matter expert in technological applications in law enforcement.

Listen from the Archive:

Program Contact Information
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster, LAPD (ret.), MPA
909.599.7530




Greenert Discusses Innovation at Defense Forum



By Lisa Ferdinando
Army News Service

SIMI VALLEY, Calif., Nov. 16, 2014 – Connecting with researchers and getting personnel involved in projects are ways to encourage innovation, the Navy’s top officer said at the Reagan National Defense Forum here yesterday.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert attended a panel discussion about rethinking the industrial base and how the Pentagon can capitalize on and incentivize innovation.

Maintaining good communications with defense researchers is a key factor for innovation, said Greenert, noting it’s not helpful to have a "bunch of lab coats out there doing various things and see what falls out."

Relationships With Industry

Having good relationships with businesses also is important, he said, as well as providing them early input when you have an idea.

"You’ve got to look internationally with business. You’ve got to talk to the industry partners," the admiral said. "In the world I live in, we have sea power because we have an industrial base that is awesome and it brings us good things."

Greenert recommended looking inward and utilizing what equipment and personnel you have.

Promote Innovative Thinking

The admiral reported positive results in getting junior officers and enlisted personnel involved in innovative thinking, such as in finding a way to determine cyber vulnerabilities for ships.

"It's an astounding thing that we're using for our standard," he said.

Looking at what you have and seeing what you can do with it can produce good results, Greenert said.

When the Navy needed a way to transport items off a ship, it employed innovative thinking and saved billions of taxpayer dollars, he said.

Saving Taxpayer Dollars

"We sat down and said, 'We need more expeditionary capability but we don't want to spend billions of dollars on a gray hull [ship] when really I need just a means to move things from ship-to-shore," Greenert said.

Rather than paying $4.5 billion for a brand-new vessel, the Navy instead went to a shipbuilder and obtained a modified Alaskan tanker for $500 million.

It’s important to "retire the risk as much as feasible" or even put a project aside, Greenert said, instead of spending "millions and maybe billions on a program that's just never going to come to fruition."

Fiscal Crisis, Threats Test DoD Strategy, Readiness



By Cheryl Pellerin
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Nov. 16, 2014 – The threat of sequestration and an era that has produced simultaneous global crises is challenging future military readiness and may prompt Defense Department leaders to rethink core strategies going forward, senior DoD civilian and military officials said yesterday.

Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael G. Vickers and Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. participated in a panel discussion at the 2014 Reagan National Defense Forum in Simi Valley, California.

The audience included defense community leaders and key stakeholders, including members of Congress, DoD officials and military leaders, and defense industry representatives.

Vickers, who first entered public service as a special forces soldier in 1973, said he and some of his senior colleagues have agreed that they’ve never seen such a number of diverse defense and intelligence challenges facing the country.

Multiple Challenges

“A lot of [the challenges] are likely to be enduring,” he noted, citing “the rise of China, a resurgent Russia, North Korea and Iran, widening instability across the Middle East and North Africa, and the Syrian civil war and centered on that the expansion of the global jihad, and then of course cyber.”

Vickers added, “It is very important that we not just adapt but really rethink some of our core strategies going forward.”

The national security challenges are not only numerous but many are unconventional, he said.

Russia is using unconventional and indirect approaches to achieve its aims, Vickers said. Some, like cyber, also are novel, and there are unconventional global strategies as well.

Dunford said the number of crises around the world makes it difficult to resource the current defense strategy.

But, he said, “It’s all the more important in times like this to have a strategy, otherwise you end up, figuratively speaking, reacting to bright flashing objects.”

What should be clear to everyone, he added, is that the U.S. military can't address simultaneous crises all over the world by itself.

Partners with Common Interests

It’s important to find partners that have common interests and for partners to craft collective responses to some of the current challenges, Dunford said, adding that multiple crises “make it imperative for us to grow our alliances and ensure that we can approach [challenges] regionally with very strong partners.”

Partners are especially important, he added, as troops draw down in nearly every service.

The Marine Corps had 200,000 Marines a couple of years ago, the general said, as a result of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. After a thorough analysis by the Force Structure Review Group of potential future security environments and requirements that the combatant commanders would likely have for Marines, it was determined that 186,000 Marines would be able to do what the nation needed them to do.

In the current fiscal environment, the general said, “we'll … be about 184,000 [Marines] by the end of this year and the budget calls for us to be at 182,000. So there's a little bit of a difference between what we thought was the optimal force and the force that we're headed for.”

Meeting the Requirements

“We can manage that risk and today we are meeting the combatant commanders' requirements, and we can meet the requirements of the [defense] strategy with the force that we're currently on a path to have in 2016,” Dunford said.

The general said the Marine Corps and probably every other military service branch is paying for today’s readiness by assuming some risk in modernization and infrastructure, eating away at future readiness.

“I'm comfortable with the risk we have with today's readiness,” he said. “I'm not comfortable with the path we're on for tomorrow's readiness, and quite frankly if sequestration were to occur that would make it difficult not only to meet the requirements for tomorrow's readiness, it would make it difficult to meet today's requirements.”

Dunford said 50 percent of units that are at home station today are at a degraded state of readiness, due to equipment shortfalls or personnel shortfalls, because of the current high operational tempo.

The problem with that, he said, is “the units at home station are exactly the units that will [be called on to] respond to the unexpected. They'll be the units that will respond to a major contingency, and those units are not at the level of readiness that we want them to be today.”

Unexpected Crises

Dunford explained, “We didn't expect to have a special-purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force for crisis response in the Centcom area in addition to a Marine Expeditionary Unit” in response to the threat from the terrorist group the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, “and we didn't expect to have a special Marine Air Ground Task Force crisis response in Africa.”

Those added requirements inhibited the Marine Corps’ ability to address the readiness challenges they have at home, the general said.

For Vickers the scenario is familiar.

The challenges facing the intelligence community are very similar to those facing the Defense Department, he said, “and that is we prioritize current operations. But if these [austere] budget levels are sustained, our future readiness will be impacted principally through modernization.”

Changing Security Environment

In the rapidly changing security environment, Vickers said, “even today some of the decisions we thought we could rationally make a year or two ago about rebalancing our portfolio a little bit have been called into question.”

One such area, particularly because of the ISIL fight in Iraq and Syria, he said, is intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, or ISR.

“There is just not enough of that capacity to go around right now,” he said, adding that primary reconnaissance aircraft in demand include the Predator and Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles.

“We're making due,” he added, “but we're taking more risk in some areas. The demand now in Iraq and Syria is very high and we have challenges in Yemen and Libya and elsewhere, so we're working hard to fix this but it's not something you can get out of right away.”

Without going into specific shortfalls, the intelligence official said, “we're concluding that we will need more [drones] going forward than we might have thought a year ago if we hadn't had Iraq-Syria and this situation.”

Geopolitical, Security Landscape

Another intelligence tool that Vickers finds useful in the changing geopolitical and security landscape is human intelligence, known as HUMINT, being cultivated in DoD as part of the Defense Clandestine Service.

The DCS, announced in 2012 as part of the Defense Intelligence Agency, combined several defense HUMINT, intelligence and counterterrorism activities into a more focused DoD capability.

Vickers said he is a proponent of the DCS because it strengthens the department’s human intelligence capabilities “particularly for this changing landscape.”

A Diverse Set of Issues

He explained, “We’d developed very good HUMINT capabilities from the two wars we've been in, but in terms of the global problems we face now and the very diverse set of problems -- from high-end weapon systems to terrorists -- we needed to reform our capabilities.”

The DCS isn’t something new, he added, it takes what the department had and adapts it to the changing environment in an essentially resource neutral way.

“It’s been underway for a couple of years and it's going to take some years to get it where we want to go. A key principle is integration with our other intelligence capabilities,” Vickers said.

Emphasis on Partnerships

The changing geopolitical and security environment also calls for a modified take on partnerships.

In general, Vickers said, “the challenges we face are as much from nonstate actors as from states. It's a combination if you look across the globe. And in countering some of these challenges, irregular forces or paramilitary forces are often very important.”

A successful program in Afghanistan involved the Afghan local police, who extended a lot of government-of-Afghanistan reach into rural areas, he added, and such engagement also is important elsewhere.

“In Syria we need friends. We need to strengthen the moderate opposition there, he said, adding that procedures are used to carefully vet people the department works with.

More Risk

Paramilitary business involves a little more risk than governments usually do, Vickers said.

“But as you saw in Iraq,” he said, “even spending a lot of money and training government forces, stuff can still fall into the wrong hands.”

None of this is without risk, he added, “but the question is, what's the alternative?”

In Syria the option available to the United States to fight there is the moderate opposition so the United States has to strengthen it, Vickers said.

“The Kurdish Peshmerga, they're a good force, they need some strengthening. In societies like Yemen, or we talked about Afghanistan where tribal dynamics are very important. That's what a lot of the competition is about,” Vickers said. “You win depending on how you do with that fight.”