Senators Press Pentagon To Give Ukraine Advanced Drones

A group of bipartisan senators is urging the Biden administration to provide Ukraine with advanced MQ-1C Gray Eagle drones that would give Kyiv longer-range capability.

The Biden administration has been hesitant to send the drones due to the risk of escalation with Russia and concerns that the sensitive technology in the drones could end up in the wrong hands.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that the Biden administration has decided not to provide the drones, although other reporting disputed that claim and said a final decision hadn’t been made.

In a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, 16 senators expressed “concern” over the reports that said the administration has declined to send the MQ-1C. The senators asked the administration to give “careful reconsideration” to the Ukrainian request.

The letter was led by Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and was signed by many members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, including ranking member James Inhofe (R-OK).

The senators said the MQ-1C and other long-range capabilities would provide “Ukraine additional lethality needed to eject Russian forces and regain occupied territory.”

Providing MQ-1Cs would be a major escalation in US military aid to Kyiv as the drones can be armed with powerful hellfire missiles and can fly for up to 30 hours. The drones would give Ukraine the capability to strike targets inside Russian territory.

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Pentagon fails to pass new financial audit, unable to account for over $2 trillion in assets

The US Department of Defense has, for the fifth straight year, failed to pass a financial audit, with only seven out of the Pentagon’s 27 military agencies receiving a passing grade.

“We failed to get an ‘A’,” Mike McCord, the Pentagon’s comptroller and chief financial officer, told reporters last week, announcing the results of the Pentagon’s fifth-ever financial audit.

“I would not say that we flunked,” he added, despite his office acknowledging that the Pentagon only managed to account for 39 percent of its $3.5 trillion in assets.

With this failure, the Pentagon has kept its spot as the only US government agency to have never passed a comprehensive audit. It also highlights the US war department’s persistent lack of internal financial control, its poor budget estimations and rampant overspending.

A clear example of this is the F-35 program, which has gone over its original budget by $165 billion to build a plane tasked to perform many different tasks, none of which it does well.

The Pentagon is slated to buy more than 2,400 F-35s for the Air Force, Marines, and Navy. The estimated lifetime cost for procuring and operating these planes – $1.7 trillion – would make it the Pentagon’s most expensive weapons project ever.

A 2021 Pentagon assessment of the F-35 found 800 unresolved defects in the plane.

There is also the current plan to expand Washington’s ship production, as part of the Pentagon’s obsession with preparing for a potential war with China.

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The US military is operating in more countries than we think

U.S. military forces have been engaged in unauthorized hostilities in many more countries than the Pentagon has disclosed to Congress, let alone the public, according to a major new report released late last week by New York University School of Law’s Brennan Center for Justice.

“Afghanistan, Iraq, maybe Libya. If you asked the average American where the United States has been at war in the past two decades, you would likely get this short list,” according to the report, Secret War: How the U.S. Uses Partnerships and Proxy Forces to Wage War Under the Radar. “But this list is wrong – off by at least 17 countries in which the United States has engaged in armed conflict through ground forces, proxy forces, or air strikes.”

“This proliferation of secret war is a relatively recent phenomenon, and it is undemocratic and dangerous,” the report’s author, Katherine Yon Ebright, wrote in the introduction. “The conduct of undisclosed hostilities in unreported countries contravenes our constitutional design. It invites military escalation that is unforeseeable to the public, to Congress, and even to the diplomats charged with managing U.S. foreign relations.” 

The 39-page report focuses on so-called “security cooperation” programs authorized by Congress pursuant to the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, or AUMF, against certain terrorist groups. One such program, known as Section 127e, authorized the Defense Department to “provide support to foreign forces, irregular forces, groups or individuals engaged in supporting or facilitating authorized ongoing military operations by United States special operations forces to combat terrorism.”

According to the report, that “support” has been broadly — or, more accurately, too broadly — interpreted by the Pentagon. In practice, it has enabled the U.S. military to “develop and control proxy forces that fight on behalf of and sometimes alongside U.S. forces” and to use armed force to defend its local partners against adversaries (in what the Pentagon calls “collective self-defense”) regardless of whether those adversaries pose any threat to U.S. territory or persons, and, in some cases, whether or not the adversaries have been officially designated as legitimate targets under the 2001 AUMF. 

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Pentagon says it will fund tanks for Ukraine

The Pentagon on Friday announced it will be funding tanks sent to Ukraine for the first time, part of a $400 million military assistance package that will also provide armored vehicles, drones and a budget to refurbish air defense missiles. 

The additional military, ground and air capabilities come as Ukrainian forces are pushing forward on an offensive to retake the southern city of Kherson, even as they come under increased aerial attacks from Russia, including from Iranian-supplied drones.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had called for NATO to supply tanks within the first weeks of Russia’s invasion, which began on Feb. 24.

On Friday he tweeted that Ukraine is “thankful to [President Biden] and the people of [the United States] for another $400 military assistance package.” 

The weapons package includes 90 refurbished T-72 tanks, which will all come from the Czech Republic. The United States will pay for 45 of them to be refurbished, while the Netherlands will pay to refurbish the other 45, according to Pentagon deputy press secretary Sabrina Singh.

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Pentagon Confirms US Boots Are On The Ground In Ukraine

Two bombshell reports by the Associated Press and Washington Post Monday and Tuesday have confirmed that the United States has boots on the ground in the Ukraine conflict. Crucially, these troops are performing tasks separate from mere embassy security. 

The American troops are said to be performing “inspections” of US weapon caches after last week the State Department and Pentagon unveiled a new plan to track US-supplied weapons in efforts to implement accountability for the billions of dollars worth of arms and ammunition transferred to Ukrainian forces since near the start of the war eight months ago.

A small number of U.S. military forces inside Ukraine have recently begun doing onsite inspections to ensure that Ukrainian troops are properly accounting for the Western-provided weapons they receive, a senior U.S. defense official told Pentagon reporters Monday,” the AP/WaPo reporting revealed.

A Pentagon briefing confirmed this “small” contingency of troops has been advised to not do inspections “close” to the front lines of fighting

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to provide a military update, would not say where the inspections are taking place or how close to the battlefronts the U.S. troops are getting. The official said U.S. personnel can’t do inspections “close to the front lines,” but said they are going where security conditions allow.

There have already been “several inspections” overseen by U.S. Defense attache and a US Office of Defense Cooperation team based out of the Ukrainian capital. The report underscores that “U.S. President Joe Biden has ruled out any combat role for U.S. forces inside Ukraine.” 

However, what’s clear is that despite the White House’s ruling out of “combat” troops, this is the start of perhaps inevitable ‘mission creep’ – as has been seen in other conflict zones (such as Syria). If US troops are doing inspections of Ukrainian arms and ammo, and presumably Russia is currently targeting any and all Ukrainian military bases, this puts American troops and assets in Russia’s crosshairs, greatly increasing the possibility that the US and Russia could stumble into a direct shooting war.

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In Stunning Strategy Reversal, Pentagon Will No Longer Rule Out Use Of Nuclear Weapons Against Non-Nuclear Threat

Well, we’re finally there: stocks are officially trading off nuclear war headlines.

Moments ago, as part of his closely-watched speech, Vladimir Putin appeared to talk down the likelihood of a nuclear attack in Ukraine:

  • *PUTIN: NO POLITICAL, MILITARY REASON IN NUKE STRIKE IN UKRAINE

Which, however, is more than can be said about the US.

As Bloomberg just reported, the Pentagon’s new National Defense Strategy rejects limits on using nuclear weapons long championed by arms control advocates (and, in the not too distant past, by Joe Biden) citing burgeoning threats from Russia and China.

“By the 2030s the United States will, for the first time in its history face two major nuclear powers as strategic competitors and potential adversaries,” the Defense Department said in the long-awaited document issued Thursday. In response, the US will “maintain a very high bar for nuclear employment” without ruling out using the weapons in retaliation to a non-nuclear strategic threat to the homeland, US forces abroad or allies.

In yet another stark reversal for the senile occupant of the White House basement, in his 2020 presidential campaign Biden had pledged to declare that the US nuclear arsenal should be used only to deter or retaliate against a nuclear attack, a position blessed by progressive Democrats and reviled by defense hawks. But, like with every other position held by the pathological liar who even trumps Trump in the untruth department, this one has just been reversed as well as “the threat environment has changed dramatically since then” and the Pentagon strategy was forged in cooperation with the flip-flopping White House.

In a stunning move that should – or rather “should” – spark outrage among the so-called progressives but will at best prompt some very sternly retracted letters, the nuclear report that’s part of the broader strategy said the Biden administration reviewed its nuclear policy and concluded that “No First Use” and “Sole Purpose” policies “would result in an unacceptable level of risk in light of the range of non-nuclear capabilities being developed and fielded by competitors that could inflict strategic-level damage” to the US and allies.

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Defense Secretary Agrees to $62.5 Million Renaming of Select Military Bases

The United States will rename nine military bases that honor Confederate officers after Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin signed off on the move, the Department of Defense (DOD) announced on Oct. 6.

In a press release, the DOD said the bases will be renamed by no later than January 2024.

The decision comes after the Naming Commission, established by Congress last year to plan for the removal of Confederate-linked “names, symbols, displays, monuments, or paraphernalia” that honor or commemorate the Confederate States of America, completed its analysis on Sept. 19.

The commission is made up of eight volunteers selected by Congress and the defense secretary.

Following 18 months of work, which included “extensive consultations with experts, historians, and the communities rooted in the bases in question,” it found nine Army bases that were named in commemoration of the Confederacy and its leaders.

“The installations and facilities that our Department operates are more than vital national security assets. They are also powerful public symbols of our military, and of course, they are the places where our Service members and their families work and live,” Austin wrote in a memo on the decision on Thursday.

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“No Evidence” US Involved in Nord Stream Pipeline Attack Because Pentagon Says So

Fox News reporter Jennifer Griffin has confirmed that the U.S. was not responsible for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline explosion, because the Pentagon told her so.

Yes, really.

Despite accusations flying that the United States could have been involved in the blasts that have reportedly could scupper the pipelines permanently, and without any investigation having taken place, Griffin’s crack journalism has solved the case.

“There is no evidence or indication the US was involved in any way with the Nordstream 2 pipeline explosions,” Griffin tweeted. “My question at the Pentagon briefing today: Can you rule out that the U.S. was involved? Senior Military Official: ‘Yeah, we were absolutely not involved.’ ”

Well, that’s that then, case closed.

As Chris Menahan notes, the Fox News reporter has been guilty of brazenly amplifying false regime propaganda before.

“Earlier this year, Griffin put out the debunked hoax story that Russia bombed the Babi Yair holocaust memorial in Ukraine.”

The reporting was later debunked after an Israeli journalist visited the site and found it to be completely unscathed.

Griffin also recycled the lie that Russia was using “mobile crematoriums” to “evaporate” war dead, when the supposed video proving it was taken from a 2013 YouTube video.

“When news came out about US biolabs in Ukraine, Griffin also simply repeated Pentagon talking points to dismiss the story as a nothingburger,” writes Menahan.

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Pentagon’s Information Warfare Review Should Cover the Domestic Side, Too

The US Department of Defense has ordered “a sweeping audit of how it conducts clandestine information warfare,” the Washington Post reports. The apparent reason for the review is an August disclosure, by Graphika and the Stanford Internet Observatory, that Twitter and Facebook, of social media accounts opened under fake identities and used to feed disinformation to “audiences overseas.”

That’s all well and good, but while they’re at it I wish the Pentagon would also review — and cease — its information warfare campaigns against the American public.

Among supposed American constitutional values are separation of the military from politics, and its subservience to civilian government. While those values have always proven more noticeable in the breach than in the observance in wartime, the post-World-War-Two national security state has turned that breach into a well-funded, 24/7/365, campaign of political influence.

Senior military officials routinely attempt to affect policy (and politicians, and voter sentiment) with public statements designating the next Enemy of the Week and begging for more money and more operational authority to fight the wars it chooses rather than the wars Congress declares (the last time Congress was willing to take that kind of responsibility was  in 1942, when it added Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania to its list of World War Two opponents).

The Department of Defense maintains an “Entertainment Media Office” to support filmmakers with military resources. Needless to say, only productions which glorify the US armed forces need apply. The most recent prominent example (involving no fewer than two US Navy aircraft carriers, multiple aircraft and military pilots, etc.) is mega-hit Top Gun: Maverick.

In 2015, the public learned that the National Football League’s apparently heartfelt love of military pageantry —  color guards, tributes to veterans, even aircraft flyovers and parachute jumps — was actually just a bought and paid for (with millions of taxpayer dollars) DOD marketing scheme.

And yes, they’re constantly coming for our children. I was recruited into the US Marine Corps in high school myself in the 1980s, but even I was surprised at the sheer volume of mail my own kids received from armed forces recruiters from about the time they hit the age of 16 a few years ago. They’re all over the public schools, not just to fill their recruitment quotas but to make positive impressions on future voters.

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Pentagon Opens Review Of Its Clandestine Psychological Operations

A report published last month by research groups Graphika and the Stanford Internet Observatory detailed the activity of fake accounts on Facebook and Twitter that were promoting pro-Western narratives in posts targeting audiences overseas. The social media companies removed around 150 accounts over the past few years, with some removed recently as they were promoting anti-Russia narratives about the war in Ukraine.

The report did not attribute blame for the accounts, but two unnamed military officials speaking to the Post hinted that US Central Command (CENTCOM) was involved. Separately, the Post said that Facebook removed fictitious personas created by CENTCOM to counter a Chinese claim that Covid-19 originated from the US Army bio lab in Fort Detrick, Maryland.

In response to the Graphika and Stanford Internet Observatory report, Colin Kahl, the undersecretary of defense for policy, ordered the review, which instructed US military command involved in psychological operations to fill the White House in on their activities by next month. Kahl said he wanted to know what types of operations were being carried out and if they were effective.

The US military has a long history of psychological operations, but its activities online in that area are shrouded in secrecy. While there are military units that specialize in psyops, such as the US Army’s 4th Psychological Operations Group, the Pentagon also employs more covert forces in this area.

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