Building concentration camps on military bases will lead to the moral injury of American soldiers

We've talked about the fact that the Trump administration wants to house thousands of asylum seekers, refugees and other legal migrants within what amount to modern-day concentration camps, inside the secure perimeter of military installations. Doing so will not only ensure that the migrant's chances of finding their way to freedom is significantly hampered, but also keep the detainees far from the prying eyes of protesters and the media. For a nation once renown for fighting to ensure freedom and democracy at home and abroad, this is bullshit. Worse still, it spits in the eye of every solider who join the military with those ideals in mind; those who come from immigrant or migrant families (that'd be most of us) and anyone who wears the uniform whilst carrying a moral compass. As The Daily Beast reports, many veterans and those still serving are very not ok with this:

Active-duty and retired U.S. military officers and enlisted personnel are expressing a sense of moral emergency over the Defense Department setting up detention camps for undocumented immigrants on military bases.

“It smacks of totalitarianism,” said Steve Kleinman, a retired Air Force colonel and military intelligence officer.

Raf Noboa, an Iraq War veteran and former Army sergeant, said he was astounded by the “enormous moral offense” the camps represent and which the military will be ordered to support.

“America’s military once liberated people from concentration camps,” Noboa told The Daily Beast. “It beggars the mind and our morality that it might be used to secure them.”

“I knew something bad was going to happen.

Read the rest

The United States Marine Corps is kicking ass when it comes to equality


The United States Marine Corp’s equality science is tight. This month alone, the number one reason not to screw with America has seen two firsts, from women in their ranks who have had the intelligence, grit and determination to move into leadership positions.

First, let’s talk ground pounders.

According to Task & Purpose, on June 23rd, a female Marine graduated to become the second woman ever to complete the Corps’ 13-week Infantry Officer Course (IOC). It’s a notoriously tough slog of a training program that a good number of candidates wash out due to its grueling physical and psychological demands. Thirty other Marines, including two women, were unable to complete the training that the successful female candidate did.

As an IOC graduate, she’s qualified to lead an infantry platoon into combat. But that’s not what she’ll be doing. Instead of fulfilling a role she worked her ass off to earn, she’s moving on to serve in a different capacity by enrolling in and training to become a Ground Intelligence Officer. Once she’s finished with this, she’ll be the first female Ground Intel Officer in the Marine Corp. As such, she’ll be qualified to command a recon or scout sniper platoon. For the time being, Marine Corps media relations types aren’t releasing her name. I love this: they’re not holding the IOC graduate up as something special: She’s a part of the machine, like any other junior officer, as it should be.

If this isn’t awesome enough, a female lieutenant colonel was just made the first ever female commander of a Marine Corp ground combat unit. Read the rest

Wheel reinvented to allow combat vehicles to easily traverse streets, corpses

Attention, comrades! A newsflash has this moment arrived. Engineers working with the Ground X-Vehicle Technologies program have improved the survivability and mobility of combat vehicles by reinventing the wheel. [via Task and Purpose]

The high-tech Reconfigurable Wheel-Track (RWT) upgrades “transition from a round wheel to a triangular track and back again while the vehicle is on the move” — in short, allowing Humvees to transform into tracked vehicles on the fly.

Read the rest

British army targeted "stressed" 16-year-olds on exam-results day with Facebook recruitment ads

Every August, British 16-year-olds get their marks from the GCSE exams, a high-stakes test that has an enormous impact on their future educational and earnings prospects; on results day 2015, the British Army used Facebook targeting to reach these 16-year-olds with messages like "No matter what your results will be, you can still improve yourself in the army." Read the rest

Google promises no more use of its artificial intelligence tech in weapons

Alphabet, Google's parent company, promises not to allow use of its artificial intelligence technology in weapons and in certain forms of surveillance. Read the rest

Leaks show that Google expected its modest AI-for-drones business to expand exponentially

While leaked memos show that Google execs perceived a real risk of internal backlash from their $9 million Pentagon contract to supply AI for US military drones, they were willing to risk it because they expected the business to quickly grow to $250,000,000. Read the rest

Leaked memos reveal the deep divisions within Google over Pentagon contract

Google's decision to provide AI tools for use with US military drones has been hugely controversial within the company (at least a dozen googlers quit over it) and now the New York Times has obtained internal memos revealing how senior officials at the company anticipated that controversy and attempted (unsuccessfully) to head it off. Read the rest

Trump Administration moving to store migrant kids on military bases

The Washington Post reports that the Trump Administration is laying the necessary groundwork to warehouse the children of migrants who enter the United States illegally on military bases in Texas and Arkansas. The bases will be used to contain anyone under the age of 18 who crosses the border illegally with their parents or on their own.

In a leaked email sent to Pentagon personnel, it was disclosed that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) would be making visits to four military installations in the coming weeks to evaluate whether they contain infrastructure suitable for sheltering children.

From the Washington Post:

An official at HHS confirmed the military site visits. Speaking on condition of anonymity because the plans are not yet public, the official said HHS currently has the bed space to hold 10,571 children in its network of 100 foster-care facilities.

Those facilities are at 91 percent capacity, the HHS official said, and the Trump administration’s crackdown plans could push thousands more children into government care. The official said DHS has not provided projections for how many additional children to expect.

The move to assess the suitability of housing on military property comes in the wake of the Trump Administration's escalating war on migrants and asylum seekers hoping for the shelter, protection and opportunity that the United States once stood for. With escalating violence in Mexico, South and Central America, there could be no worse time to exclude vulnerable people from entering the country, illegally or otherwise. Read the rest

A dozen googlers quit over Google's military drone contract

Google's "Project Maven" is supplying machine-learning tools to the Pentagon to support drone strikes; the project has been hugely divisive within Google, with employees pointing out that the company is wildly profitable and doesn't need to compromise on its ethics to keep its doors open; that the drone program is a system of extrajudicial killing far from the battlefield; and that the firm's long-term health depends on its ability to win and retain the trust of users around the world, which will be harder if Google becomes a de facto wing of the US military. Read the rest

Soldier destroys Humvees with the power of gravity

I don't know about you, but back when I was working a nine-to-five gig that forced me to wear pants and show up on time, I had days at work where I wanted nothing more than to knock everything off my desk and set the office on fire. I'm betting it's a feeling that former U.S. Army Sergeant John T. Skipper can relate to.

During a training exercise back in 2016, Sgt. Skipper, now a former member of the 173rd Airborne Brigade, decided that he'd totally be into finding out what happens to a Humvee when its parachute straps are tampered with during a tactical airdrop from a C-130 Hercules.

The answer: As this YouTube video captured by spectators on the ground illustrates, nothing good. However, the premise that a vehicle that reaches terminal velocity during a fall will be destroyed on impact with the ground can't be taken as gospel. An experiment has to be repeated, with the same result, for it to become a fact that you can rely on. So, apparently in the name of Science, Skipper cut the straps on not one, but three Humvees during the course of the exercise.

This past week, Sgt. Skipper was court-martialled for his dabblings with gravity. As a result, he was convicted of three counts of destroying military property with a value of more than $500 and providing a false official statement. "More than $500" is an understatement. While you can buy a well-loved Humvee at auction for a few grand, these days, the ones still in service, or bought new, have an estimated worth of starting at around $70,000. Read the rest

Pentagon sucks up to Trump by censoring mentions of climate change in its global risks assessment

In 2016, the Pentagon released a draft of its comprehensive global risk assessment; this climate change as a driver of global instability and possible conflict. The final draft replaces "climate change" with weak-kneed, cowardly euphemisms like "extreme weather," failing to attribute this weather to anthropogenic climate change, a matter of scientific consensus which Donald Trump has stated is a "Chinese plot." Read the rest

Watch these heart-pounding jet maneuvers from the pilot's POV

A very skilled pilot takes a Saab Gripen fighter jet through its paces, and his audio from the recording indicates just how physically and mentally taxing this kind of flying is. Read the rest

Secret Nazi experimental plane was an epic piece of vaporware

Behold the incredibly weird-looking Horten Ho 229 -- an all-wing "wonder weapon" plane that the Nazis frantically developed even as they were collapsing and losing WWII. Read the rest

Chiefs of U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps & Air Force say that transgender soldiers aren't a problem

Hey, remember few weeks back when The Trump Administration, with its dickery engines revved up to 126%, declared that transgendered personnel would no longer be in welcome in the United States military? One of their bullshit excuses for why this should be the case was that, apparently, transgendered individuals were bad for unit cohesion and terrible for morale. Well, the heads of all four branches of the American military have all gone out of their way, on the record, to say that this simply is not the case.

From the Military Times:

Sen. Kristen Gillibrand, D-N.Y., as she had with the top military leaders of the Army, Navy and Marine Corps when they appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee for their budget hearings, used the opportunity to question Goldfein as to whether he was aware of any “issues of unit cohesion, disciplinary problems or issues of morale resulting from open transgender service.”

“In the last two weeks Gen. [Mark] Milley, Gen. [Robert] Neller, and Adm. [John] Richardson have told me that they have seen zero reports of issues of cohesion, discipline, morale as a result of open transgender service in their respective service branches,” Gillibrand said, referring to the chiefs of staff of the Army, Marine Corps and Navy, respectively.

Bravo Zulu.

The Military Times goes on to say that on Tuesday, the Air Force's top officer, Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein, told Congress that he hadn't heard any reports of issues in the ranks surrounding transgender personnel and, of those he spoke with, he noted a “commitment to serve by each of them.” This is a hell of a thing: four career officers at the pinnacle of their careers all going to bat for the men and women that serve under them. Read the rest

The US gave its client states hundreds of millions for anti-terrorism, then crooked UK military contractors ripped it all off

Defense Secretary James Mattis has announced a criminal investigation into the misuse of $458,000,000 that the US government gave to Iraq and Afghanistan to build out mass-scale domestic surveillance apparatus and other "anti-terrorism" capabilities. Read the rest

Heathens serving in the American military can now sport beards as part of their faith.

Soldiers that consider themselves part of the many religious traditions that make up what we call modern Heathenry have had the option since 2013 to have their military tombstone marked with a Hammer of Thor, instead of the traditional Christian crosses and Stars of David that most often adorn the stone markers. It seems only fitting then, that a soldier who still draws breath should also be able to mark his faith while serving his country. This seems to be the logic that the U.S. Army used when it created a new exception to the Army's uniform and grooming standards.

According to The Army Times, the U.S. Army authorized Sikh soldiers to wear beards – beards are an important tenet of the Sikh faith. As it turns out, the change in military grooming standards now applies to soldiers of all religions: if maintaining facial hair is apart of your God-thing, then you've got a right to rock a beard. That said, in order to do so, you'll have to ask permission to do so.

The latest accommodation granted for a religious group is for those who consider themselves to be heathens – adherents to any number of pagan faiths.

There is, however, some contention over whether or not the wearing of a beard is an important tenet of Heathenry. From The Army Times:

According to the Open Halls Project, an advocacy group for heathens serving in the military, the beard is a beloved tradition, but not a requirement.

Read the rest

Internet of Battle Things: a militarized IoT where "cognitive bandwidth constraints" require "autonomous cyber agents"

Alexander Kott is chief of the Network Science Division at the Army Research Laboratory; in a new paper, he rounds up several years' worth of papers that he wrote or co-authored, along with some essays and articles by others, on what an "Internet of Battle Things" will look like. Read the rest

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