Military News

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Mattis: NATO on ‘Right Trajectory’ to Protect Nations, Values

By Jim Garamone DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Feb. 15, 2018 — NATO defense ministers agreed to continue projecting stability beyond its borders and will continue to build capabilities within the alliance, Defense Secretary James N. Mattis said in Brussels today.

“In a world awash in change, NATO stands firm as an island of stability in a turbulent sea,” Mattis said during a news conference at the conclusion of the meeting.

Projecting stability requires the alliance’s political stance to be backed by military forces that are fit to fight, the secretary said. This will reduce the chance of miscalculation by any adversary.

Adapting to Changing Times

NATO, he added, must continue to adapt to the changing times and changing capabilities of any adversaries.

During the ministerial, the defense leaders discussed the recently published U.S. Nuclear Posture Review. Mattis said that many allies had been consulted on the study.

“The review was very well received across the alliance, the secretary said. “The U.S. approach to nuclear deterrence embraces two co-equal principles: First, ensuring a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent, and second, working wherever possible for nuclear non-proliferation and arms control.”

Mattis was pleased on discussions about burden-sharing in the alliance. He noted that alliance nations have increased defense spending and are working on improving “the culture of readiness.” This will provide ready forces that will be responsive to NATO’s political direction.

The alliance must make political decisions faster, adapt the command structure and accelerate military mobility in conjunction with the European Union, the secretary said.

NATO Spending Increases

A total of eight NATO nations will meet the target of spending 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense and 15 nations will hit that mark by 2024. Mattis noted that France is forecasting hitting that level in 2025.

“Year-on-year across the alliance, 2017 saw the largest growth … as a percentage of GDP, and the largest real growth in a quarter century,” he said. This has added $46 billion to defense across the alliance.

NATO is a member of the global coalition to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, and defense ministers agreed to remain committed to the immediate and longer-term missions in Iraq.

“NATO will sustain its investment in Iraq to project stability into the geopolitical heart of the Middle East,” Mattis said. “America supports NATO’s initiative for a NATO training mission in Iraq.”

NATO is also a stalwart part of the mission to Afghanistan and the ministers committed to filling critical shortfalls in the staffs.

“It is the collective dedication of the 29 nations, and working together creates the collective strength as we fight the threats from the east and the south to defend our values,” he said. “There is much that needs to be done, but NATO is on the right trajectory.”

Face of Defense: Reservist Trains Fellow Marines in Martial Arts

By Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Christopher Hubenthal Joint Base Charleston

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C., Feb. 15, 2018 — The Marine Corps Martial Arts Program is designed to increase a Marine’s warfighting capability and self-confidence and is based on the principle that every Marine is a rifleman.

At the Marine Corps Reserve Training Center here, Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Jake Benson, Detachment 3 Supply Company, Combat Logistics Battalion 451, is responsible for teaching martial arts to approximately 150 Marine reservists.

Every drill weekend, Benson trains the reservists in combat techniques and sustainment conditioning.

“We get some hours in,” he said. “We log it in the log books, and when they complete the required hours I let them test for the next [martial arts] belt.”

Levels of Expertise

The belt system consists of five levels, Benson said, with the black belt being the highest. After Benson earned his black belt, he continued to advance, earning an instructor’s tab. A qualified Marine Corps martial arts instructor can teach the program up to their own belt certification.

“I belted up in five to six years,” Benson said. “I started in 2009, and earned my instructor training tab in 2016. The physical part is challenging, from the combat conditioning to sparring and learning techniques, but I underestimated the mental and character disciplines of the program.”

Benson said that he doesn’t qualify a Marine to advance to the next belt on physical prowess alone. Being mentally strong and having good character is just as important.

“It’s easy to do what’s right when no one is looking,” Benson said. “Not every situation will have someone looking over your shoulder telling you, ‘Don’t do it, don’t do it, don’t do it.’ The program will help you assess a situation and say, ‘I’m not going to execute this technique because it may hurt the person more than necessary.’ It gets you thinking about how to deal with all situations, not just fighting situations.”

Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Justin Golden, Detachment 3 Supply Company, Combat Logistics Battalion 451, trained with Benson. Golden said Benson’s knowledge, skills and attitude enhance the MCMAP here.

‘An Outstanding Marine’

“Staff Sgt. Benson is an outstanding Marine,” Golden said. “Everything I’ve seen from any Marine who’s attended the Martial Arts Instructor Training Course at the Martial Arts Center of Excellence is at the highest caliber. They’re physically fit and physically demanding. Staff Sgt. Benson is fair and direct, but he’s tough, not afraid to put anybody in their place when it comes to the day-to-day activities, especially when we’re doing MCMAP.”

Benson said the MCMAP motto, “One mind, any weapon,” effectively describes the program, what it is to be a Marine, and a mindset.

“It’s not just about martial arts, it’s about building character in an individual and making them a better human being … not just physically but mentally,” Benson said. “Whether you’re in a combat situation or you’re out with a Marine, you feel comfortable knowing if you’re put into a situation you can take care of a Marine to your left or right and they can take care of you.”

Face of Defense: Navy Nurse Serves to Make a Difference

By Task Force 51/5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade

MANAMA, Bahrain, Feb. 14, 2018 — Navy Lt. Logan Moore joined the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps four years ago with the sole purpose of making a difference in others’ lives. As a trauma and en route care nurse assigned to Expeditionary Resuscitative Surgical System 18, a subordinate unit of Naval Amphibious Forces, Task Force 51, 5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, he provides critical care to patients during crisis response missions.

Challenged with employing medical support to missions in remote areas where a fixed medical facility is not available, Moore’s skills were put to the test when he deployed aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan last summer. His team helped save the lives of six service members following a mass casualty situation during what he described as the hallmark of his TF 51/5 experience.

“It was truly a sight to see,” Moore said. “We were able to transport all six patients we received to the next level of care with their lives intact. Providing this additional capability allows the warfighters to do their job knowing there is a medical asset in close proximity ready to provide support. Our team has been tested and we have proven we can and will take care of casualties no matter the circumstances.”

In addition to serving as a trauma and en route care nurse, Moore said he enjoys serving in a collateral role as the team’s logistics officer, ensuring the safe and efficient transport of the team’s members and medical gear.

Logistical support to operations is remarkably important for TF 51/5’s diverse mission, he said, which spans across a broad swath of the U.S. Central Command area of operations and includes maneuver operations afloat and ashore in support of crisis response, humanitarian assistance and theater security cooperation.

Making a Difference

“We have been a part of multiple operations, in multiple theaters, onboard a wide variety of different sea platforms,” Moore said. “I feel like I am making a difference every time the team goes from one place to another to support a mission and that we arrive there safely with functioning and intact gear.”

With TF 51/5 placing significant importance in maintaining readiness in preparation for crisis response operations, Moore says that this transregional response capable force, spanning three geographic combatant commanders’ boundaries -- Africa, Europe and the Middle East -- provides Centcom with an unmatched crisis response in the world’s most austere environments.

“I chose my path based on wanting to help people in as direct a way as possible,” he said. “Working in the health care field has allowed me to impact so many lives in a positive and meaningful way.”

For the remainder of his deployment with TF 51/5, Moore said he intends to coordinate the team’s final movements, improve expeditionary resuscitative surgical system processes and ensure a favorable turnover for his successor.
Moore, native of Klamath Falls, Oregon, is a 2013 graduate of Seattle University where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. He was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal during his previous assignment at Naval Hospital Jacksonville for being a part of a committee that educated hundreds of personnel about blood culture collection techniques. Moore’s hobbies include hiking, sports, camping and river rafting. Upon completion of his deployment with TF 51/5, Moore will return to his parent command at the Walter Reed National Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.