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August 8, 2014 at 10:55am

JBLM cuts on the horizon: South Sound leaders mobilize to soften blow

Congressman Denny Heck, D-Olympia, spoke about how pending cuts to the number of soldiers and civilians at JBLM will affect the South Sound economy. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

The worst-case scenario is that Joint Base Lewis-McChord - the nation's premier West Coast power projection platform - may lose up to 16,000 soldiers and civilian workers as the Army works its way through a reduction in force process.

"We are living and operating under a real threat," said Rep. Denny Heck, D-Olympia, during a forum held yesterday afternoon at Lakewood City Hall.

"It is very, very real," he emphasized to the audience of about 75 community, state and business leaders.

This past June, the Army released its Supplemental Programmatic Environmental Assessment, or SPEA.  The document indicated that JBLM is being considered for a potential reduction of 16,000 soldiers and civilian workers between 2015 and 2020.

The assessment found that the reduction in personnel would result in a "significant impact to socioeconomic resources."

But the Army's assessment of what a "significant impact" is and what area leaders and businesspersons perceive as a "significant impact" vary greatly.

For example, the SPEA stated that Washington state would lose $3.5 million in retail taxes in fiscal year 2016.  On the other hand, the Washington State Office of Financial Management analyzed the same data and determined that the state would lose $20.47 million in retail taxes.

The reason for the large difference in numbers is that the state used a model that factored in data specific to Washington state rather than the broad-brush approach the Army took, pointed out Kristine Reeves, director of military and defense sector for the State Department of Commerce.

"The Army basically used a ‘cookie-cutter' approach," quipped Heck. "It's brain dead."

In eliminating a significant portion of JBLM's workforce - which is the state's second-largest employer - a significant portion of the South Sound's economy will be adversely impacted.

"Based on some initial calculations, the reduction could result in almost $1.3 billion annually in income losses to our region," wrote Lakewood City Manager John Caulfield in a recent article.

"Local government would lose billions of dollars in revenue from sales, property and other taxes."

The SPEA is silent on how Madigan Army Medical Center will be affected; the report does not address how businesses that have invested in the South Sound to help support JBLM during the last decade would lose money; and the findings do not acknowledge how service industry workers on JBLM would find new employment.

"The Army found that a reduction of up to 16,000 personnel from JBLM would have no significant impact on the surrounding community," Heck said.

"Let me be clear: They are wrong, and we disagree, and it's our job to make sure they understand. Our future is in our hands."

Public input matters.

Last year, when the first assessment on potential base reductions was released, the South Sound region submitted only one public comment. The result was that JBLM lost 4,200 soldiers.

On the other hand, the Fort Polk, Louisiana community mobilized and submitted more than 4,000 public comments and lost only 250 personnel.

Connect the dots - public input matters.

"The best way to make an impact is to write letters about how the base is tied to the local community," said Mary Huff, program coordinator of the South Sound Military and Communities Partnership.

"I don't think it's hard once you think ‘What do I need from JBLM?  How does my community benefit from JBLM?'"

Huff also stressed that letters that specifically show how the drawdown will affect businesses and jobs are vital.

"You must make your voice heard," Huff stressed.

Considering public comment is more than just a formality that the Army must follow.  The Army is required to address all submitted public comments, as long as they fall within the scope of the SPEA.

"We are on solid ground," Heck concluded.  "We're right; they're wrong."

To submit a comment via letter or email, visit the South Sound Communities and Military Partnership website and click the links under "Public Involvement." 

Written comments should be sent to: U.S. Army Environmental Command, ATTN: SPEA Public Comments, 2450 Connell Road, Building 2264, Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, TX 78234-7664, or emailed to usarmy.jbsa.aec.nepa@mail.mil.

The comment period closes Aug. 25.

August 7, 2014 at 7:36am

Thursday Morning Joe: ISIS captures, Khmer Rouge in prison, Al Qaeda's how-to manual, new Terminator movie ...

1st Platoon Delta Company with The Basic School throw coffee pots during the Squad Weapons Munitions Field Firing Exercise. Original photo by Lance Cpl. Emmanuel Ramos


The deadly insider attack that killed an Army major general and wounded more than a dozen other troops has led to questions about the way ahead in Afghanistan and the strength of the partnership between coalition and Afghan troops.

Sunni militants from the Islamic State group today seized Iraq's largest dam, placing them in control of enormous power and water resources and access to the river that runs through the heart of Baghdad.

Militants from the so-called Islamic State have taken over the largest Christian town in Iraq, Qaraqosh, and sent tens of thousands fleeing as a result.

Russia's "provocative actions" in neighboring Ukraine are prompting NATO to re-examine its relevance.

Decades after terrorizing Cambodia in the 1970s, the two most senior surviving leaders of the Khmer Rouge were found guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced to life in prison today.

U.S. lawmakers continue reacting skeptically to the Obama administration's quiet U.S. military and intelligence pivot to Africa, this time holding up millions to counter violent extremists there.

Veterans are expected to have an easier time getting government-paid health care from local doctors under a bill that President Obama is set to sign into law today. The $16.3 billion measure also allows the Veterans Affairs Department to hire thousands of doctors, nurses and other health professionals at the VA's nearly 1,000 hospitals and outpatient clinics nationwide.

Deputy Veterans Affairs Secretary Sloan Gibson: Wait times can be fixed in two years.

A primer on why the U.S. military puts Israel and the Palestinian territories in European Command.

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl this morning again faced more questioning, which so far has not been confrontational. Maj. Gen. Kenneth Dahl began interviewing Bergdahl at Fort Sam Houston in Texas yesterday. That session lasted from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Dahl has been tasked with looking into the nature of Bergdahl's 2009 disappearance from his Army base in Afghanistan. 

Captured letters reveal Al Qaeda's how-to manual.

The White House proposed a plan two months ago for the Pentagon to train and equip vetted Syrian rebel forces in that nation's civil war. But, since then, there's been lots of talk and not much action

The U.S. Army is seeking "one-way" tracers that can only be seen from the vantage point of a shooter.

The Navy's latest 30-year shipbuilding plan calling for a fleet size of more than 300 ships and submarines is at risk because of budget cuts.

The Navy and NASA wrapped up the second round of practice recoveries of the Orion spacecraft, which is designed to bring humans to the moon, asteroids and, eventually, to Mars.

The Air Force Civil Engineer Center recently rolled out the first comprehensive two-year integrated priorities list to strategically order funding of sustainment, restoration, modernization, environmental and demolition projects across the Air Force portfolio.

Marine vet paddles away two tours in Afghanistan on the Mississippi River.

The Army National Guard is ending its sponsorship of NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Indy Racing League driver Graham Rahal.

This animation video explains everything you need to know about Earth.

What?: Rick Springfield and Meryl Streep? There's a pairing we never expected to see.

There's no need to freak out about an Annie Hall sequel.

Time has a fascinating graphic that illustrates Hollywood's movie calendar.

This cool feature compares cartoon characters in the first and last episodes of their series.

Really? A fifth Terminator movie?

Yes please: R2-D2 kitchen timer.

Finally: All the sounds in the Matrix replaced with 8-bit sounds.

How to stop a baby from crying

LINK: Original photo by Lance Cpl. Emmanuel Ramos

August 2, 2014 at 7:24am

Saturday Morning Joe: Gaza ambush fallout, DoD vs Ebola, major pink slip, hitchhiking robot ...

Company C, Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, assume a good throwing position during live-fire coffee pot familiarization training at McGregor range near Fort Bliss, Texas. Original photo by Sgt. Vincent Byrd, 2nd BCT


Israel bombarded the southern Gaza town of Rafah today as troops searched for an officer they believe was captured by Hamas in an ambush that shattered a humanitarian cease-fire and set the stage for a major escalation of the 26-day-old war.

Hamas acknowledged responsibility for a deadly Gaza Strip ambush in which an Israeli army officer may have been captured, but said the incident likely preceded and therefore had not violated a U.S.- and U.N.-sponsored truce.

Defense Department personnel are on the ground in West Africa and in U.S. laboratories fighting to control the worst outbreak in the African history of the Ebola virus, which a senior Army infectious disease doctor called a "scourge of mankind."

The Army will send notices to 500 majors next week that they must leave the service, the outgoing Army vice chief of staff said.

The House late Friday sent a measure to the president that would provide Israel with funding for its Iron Dome missile defense system.

President Obama said in blunt terms the United States "tortured some folks" - describing a forthcoming report on now-defunct U.S. interrogation techniques he called "contrary to our values."

The Pentagon announced the U.S. wants to send troops to train Ukrainian forces next year as the country faces continued aggression from pro-Russia separatists. 

North Korea has asked for an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council to protest upcoming U.S.-South Korean military exercises.

Former President Bill Clinton told an audience in Australia just hours before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks that he passed on the chance to kill Osama bin Laden with a military strike, according to an audio tape just released.

U.S. Army Gen. John Campbell will preside over the precipitous drawdown of U.S. forces and material from Afghanistan, falling from about 22,000 US troops to 9,800 by December.

Units of the 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions deploying to Afghanistan in the fall will stay on into 2015.

The initial down-select for the technology demonstrator phase of the U.S. Army's ambitious Joint Multi-Role helicopter program has missed its original July deadline, and Army officials are now saying they'll inform industry teams about who is moving forward sometime this month.

A new Defense Health Agency policy allows Tricare patients to get therapy from certain mental health specialists who otherwise would have been dropped from the military's list of approved providers this year.

Army officials released a statement on its long-waited camouflage decision, and it left a lot of questions unanswered.

Witness the power of water, carrying boulders of all sizes in this impressive video filmed at the Illgraben-Bhutan Bridge, in Switzerland.

The week in music: J Mascis, Tori Amos, Vaselines and others ...

Tiny - a little movie about a couple that builds a tiny house in Colorado.

Did you know there's a robot hitchhiking across Canada?

Following a six-day-old kitten through 12 weeks of growing up. Seriously.

LINK: Original photo by Sgt. Vincent Byrd, 2nd BCT, 1st AD, Public Affairs

August 1, 2014 at 7:28am

Friday Morning Joe: Senate approves VA bill, CIA spied on Senate, Air Force promotion changes, New York City latte ...

Bravo Battery, 1st Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment throw a simulated coffee pot during Exercise Spartan Fury at Pohakuloa Training Area on the Island of Hawaii. Original photo by Lance Cpl. Nathan Knapke


The Senate overwhelmingly gave final approval to a $16.3 billion Veterans Affairs reform bill last night, sending the measure to the White House and giving Congress a legislative victory before the start of its summer break.

A wake up call to Washington on defense: Panel concludes U.S. military superiority not a given.

CIA did spy on Senate staffers: CIA Director John Brennan stood firm for months in his insistence that the CIA had little to be ashamed of after searching the computers of the Senate Intelligence Committee. His defiant posture quickly collapsed after a devastating report by his own inspector general sided against agency on each key point of the dispute with the Senate.

Pressure is building on CIA Director John Brennan to resign following the agency's admission Thursday that it spied on the computers of Senate staffers.

A Gaza cease-fire quickly unraveled today as violence erupted in and around the southern town of Rafah, with 35 Palestinians killed by Israeli shelling and the military saying one of its soldiers has been abducted.

The European Union's embargo on the import and export of arms and related material with Russia, which covers all items on the EU's common military list, will come into force today.

A German army general has for the first time been appointed chief of staff to work with the commander of U.S. ground forces in Europe, both countries' militaries.

Downsizing the war: Layoffs and yard sales in Afghanistan.

Spy satellites: House Intelligence Committee unanimously approved a new report suggesting ways the government could save billions of dollars in its purchases of intelligence satellites.  

Congress presses DoD for allotment system reform.

The U.S. Congress will leave town for five weeks without providing hundreds of millions of dollars requested by Israel to replenish its Iron Dome interceptor missiles.

The Rim of the Pacific, or RIMPAC, biennial maritime security exercise is a multinational training opportunity taking place in and around the Hawaiian Islands.

Air Force officials announced a series of sweeping changes to the Enlisted Evaluation System and Weighted Airman Promotion System July 31.

The navigator on the famous B-29 Superfortress that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, during World War II, died July 28 in Stone Mountain, Georgia.

Terry and Jan Blumberg used benefits and insurance money from their son Army Sgt. Trevor Blumberg's 2003 death in Iraq to help build the two-story home. Now in its third year, Blum's Landing serves as a retreat for veterans.

The new .45s are made by Colt, the first 1911 models they've provided to the U.S. since the end of World War II.

Skydivers land on lake and skid all the way to shore.

Lollapalooza live stream starts this afternoon.

IFC has posted a full episode of its new show Garfunkel and Oates before it premieres.

Katy Perry's new video employs Pee-wee Herman lookalikes.

Watch the trailer for the new SpongeBob SquarePants live-action movie.

List: "hidden celebrity cameos" in movies.

Finally: What New York City would look like submerged in a gigantic latte.

One day drones will cast the skies and we'll need this guy to fix it.

LINK: Original photo by Lance Cpl. Nathan Knapke

July 31, 2014 at 8:24am

Thursday Morning Joe: AF 2015 budget request, EU sanctions, Russian troops rising, best albums of the century ...

173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) throw coffee pots at a Drawsko-Pomorskie training area. Original photo by Spc. Lisa Vines, 382nd Public Affairs Detachment


The House overwhelmingly approved a landmark bill to help veterans avoid long waits for health care that have plagued the Veterans Affairs Department for years.

The European Union formally adopted sanctions today curbing arms sales to Russia and cutting off financing for targeted banks over Moscow's support for rebels in Ukraine.

Report: Colin Powell, others kept in dark about CIA techniques after 9/11.

To balance readiness today and modernization tomorrow, the Air Force's fiscal 2015 budget request is shrinking like today's defense budget thanks to Congress's own priorities and the approaching threat of sequestration in 2016.

The Secretary of the Air Force stood by her department's proposal to retire the A-10 fleet, arguing the United States has plenty of replacements available should the nation land in an armed conflict.

NATO: Number of Russian troops on Ukraine border rising.

Democratic senators joined their Republican colleagues in calling for some U.S. military aid to Ukraine after receiving a closed-door briefing from senior Obama administration officials.

Ukraine said it had suspended offensive operations in its military campaign in east Ukraine to help international experts reach the downed Malaysian airliner's crash site but separatists were continuing to attack its positions.

Iron Dome: The White House said it "strongly opposes" a Republican-crafted emergency spending bill, in part because it contains no funds for an Israeli missile defense system.

The United Nations in Gaza is struggling to withstand a flood of almost a quarter of a million refugees into shelters that have repeatedly come under Israeli fire. 

Two advocacy groups are suing the Veterans Affairs Department for what they say are the department's discriminatory practices regarding compensation claims related to service-connected sexual assault.

Despite ongoing restrictions on the fleet of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, the U.S. Air Force's top general warned against being "alarmist" when discussing the fifth-generation jet's engine.

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was released in a prisoner swap with the Taliban two months ago, will meet next week with Army Maj. Gen. Kenneth Dahl who is investigating the circumstances of his capture in Afghanistan.

Air Force: Stowaway triggers security review.

LCS alternative: For those of you with July 31 marked on your calendars as a red-letter day in the U.S. Navy's Small Surface Combatant program - hold that thought.

Servicemembers can soon expect faster forwarding times on mail sent through the U.S. Postal Service to APO addresses after moving.

11 of the most beautiful drone videos shot by you.

Sometimes you want a room with a view. Sometimes you want a bunker that's walled-off to the world. Why not have both?

Here's a funny compilation of terrible special effects in big-budget movies.

GQ ranks the best albums of this century.

This list from i09 rounds up the greatest sci-fi comedies.

Don't expect a Led Zeppelin reunion anytime soon.

Must watch: Cocoa farmers trying chocolate for the first time.

Oh, great. Who's going to clean up this mess?

LINK: Original photo by Spc. Lisa Vines, 382nd Public Affairs Detachment

July 30, 2014 at 7:16am

Wednesday Morning Joe: Cold War-ish, Fortune Guard, Al Qaeda kidnap biz, Army maritime aviation, London Batman ...

The 124th Fighter Wing throw practice coffee pots during Operation Kriegshammer, a joint training mission at Grafenwoehr Training Area, Bavaria, Germany. Original photo by Tech. Sgt. Matt Hecht


Protective Edge vs. Cast Lead at Day 22: Fourfold hike in Israelis fatalities, slight drop in Palestinians killed, huge surge in Gaza-launched rockets, IDF artillery fire. ...

Congressional Republicans want to force Democrats into voting on a stand-alone measure to send $225 million in emergency funds to Israel for its Iron Dome missile defense system.

President Barack Obama escalated U.S. sanctions against Russia but dismissed suggestions the growing chill marked the start of a new Cold War

The PentagonRussia was supplying Ukraine air defense systems similar to the one that brought down Malaysian Airlines Flight 17

Veterans bill: A $17 billion bill to revamp the Veterans Affairs Department appears likely to clear both the House and Senate this week.

U.S. Pacific Command is hosting personnel from 31 nations as part of the proliferation security initiative Exercise Fortune Guard.

PACOM chief: U.S. not worried about Chinese intel ship off Hawaiian coast.

Aloha: Japan is practicing storming beaches with the U.S. at the world's largest maritime exercises.

A bitterly divided House panel voted to condemn Obama for the swap of five Taliban leaders for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

Next Week: Investigators will look into if Bergdahl deserted his Army post in 2009.

Paying Ransom: Kidnapping Europeans for ransom has become a global business for Al Qaeda, bankrolling its operations across the globe.

In Iraq's Mosul, resistance rises from the rubble of destroyed shrines.

A longtime defense analyst and critic of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program says taxpayers next year will pay between $148 million and $337 million per jet, depending on the model.

Army Maritime Aviation: It's real.

Jesse Ventura vs. Chris Kyle: The former WWE wrestler got $1.8 million after he convinced a jury that Navy SEAL Kyle defamed him in American Sniper.

Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc. just unveiled its new LC9s pistol, a striker-fired version of its compact, LC9 9mm pistol.

How Game of Thrones will predict the next bin Laden.

Don't watch this if you're going to freak out about your life choices.

How a desert cat uses its super ears to hunt birds in mid-flight.

Watch Beck's new music video.

Larry King interviewed "Weird Al" Yankovic.

London Batman is pretty entertaining.

Hmmmm, will this last?

LINK: Original photo by Tech. Sgt. Matt Hecht

July 29, 2014 at 7:24am

Tuesday Morning Joe: Israel's tunnel robots, Boeing KC-46A troubles, soldiers vs services, Shark Week donut ...

Battery C, 2nd Battalion, 44th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, 101st Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), throw a practice coffee pot during a grenade qualification range at Fort Campbell, Ky. Original photo by 1st Lt. Joseph Riedel


Israel's military pounded targets in the Gaza Strip after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country should prepare for a long conflict in the Palestinian enclave. 

Israel debuted a locally developed micro robot in its ongoing onslaught against the labyrinth of tunnels and concealed shafts supporting subterranean arms depots, command posts and cross-border attacks from Gaza.

Obama administration accused Russia of conducting tests in violation of a 1987 nuclear missile treaty, calling the breach "a very serious matter" and going public with allegations that have simmered for some time.

Interviews with American officials, diplomats in Kiev, and Russian military analysts paint a picture of a steady and ongoing flow of weapons from Russia into Ukraine.

Afghanistandstill: A specially trained and equipped Afghan Army quick reaction force is in danger of having its vehicles fall into disrepair, and its soldiers miss out on training due to an inability to supply much-need spare parts and training.

Caliphate in Iraq and Syria: It's richer, better armed, more durable - and dangerous - than ever before.

Dreaded national-security threat scenarios: A panel of experts discussed the specter of terrorists armed with nuclear, biological, chemical or other weapons of mass destruction during a panel discussion at the Aspen Security Forum.

House, Senate committee reaches compromise to reform the VA - a $17 billion deal sewn together from bills passed by both chambers.

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said a new Government Accountability Office report shows that thousands of Department of Defense employees and contractors owe the government more than $700 million in taxes.

In addition to running mobilization sites, First U.S. Army has been given the mission of focusing on pre-mobilization training of the National Guard and Army Reserve.

Gen. Daniel B. Allyn has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the next vice chief of staff of the Army.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced the Senate would vote on the confirmation of Robert McDonald to be Veterans Affairs Secretary at 2:45 p.m. today.

The surprise disclosure of a wiring flaw on the Air Force's new KC-46A refueling tanker made by Boeing Co. may not be the end of the program's development challenges.

Thank you for your service: How one company sues soldiers worldwide.

Servicemembers are increasingly reporting delays associated with the shipment of their cars between stateside and overseas.

Schools known for their flexible learning options are by far the most popular among both active-duty servicemembers using tuition assistance and veterans and their dependents using the Post-9/11 GI Bill, government data show.

Veteran Rock City: Kiss hired two military vets to work as roadies for their 2014 tour.

Two new mysterious giant holes found in Siberia, scientists puzzled.

A lot of work went into the incredible title sequence.

Insane boy leaps off a five-story building into a pool several feet away.

Karen O has released the first music video for a song off her solo album.

Watch the trailer for Horns, in which Daniel Radcliffe plays a man who wakes up and finds horns growing from his head.

Here's a great video about the music scene in Athens, Ga.

NPR has launched a new app

Here's a roundup of The Simpsons' best chalkboard gags.

Finally: Dunkin Donuts' Shark Week donut.


LINK: Original photo by 1st Lt. Joseph Riedel, 2nd Battalion, 44th Air Defense Artillery Regiment

July 28, 2014 at 7:08am

Monday Morning Joe: Congress VA deal, drone traffic jam, spy satellite upgrade, Spider-Man punches cop ...

Headquarters Company 34th Combat Aviation Brigade throw practice coffee pots from the standing position at Camp Ripley, Minn. Original photo by Spc. Jess Nemec


House and Senate lawmakers will announce an agreement on veterans' legislation during a press conference today.

North Korea defies U.N. censure to fire missile into sea.

As fighting abates in the Gaza Strip for now, the road forward to a more durable ceasefire will be rocky at best

The Obama administration has quietly moved an additional 62 advisers to Iraq over the past three weeks.

Possibility for another volley exists: U.S., Iranian drones crowd Iraqi air space.

The U.S. Air Force will soon have new spy satellite capability that will provide oversight over other objects in space.

What a war in Europe really looks like: Headless body in the street, bombed summer cottages, gunmen at the morgue ...

U.S.-supplied weapons vulnerable after Afghanistan withdrawal.

The New York Times: It's putting its weight behind a bill that will be introduced in the Senate this week to rein in the National Security Agency.

Republican lawmakers are challenging Obama over a plan to expand the use of bases to house illegal immigrant children.

Rough ride for the F-35: Congress is still pouring money into a program that is intended to produce more than 2,400 F-35s for the Air Force, the Navy and the Marines through 2037.

The Marine Corps needs 38 amphibious assault ships for crisis-response missions, but will likely have to settle for 33.

The U.S. Air Force missileers to work with Navy in morale-improvement effort.

Court: U.S. must explain why it rejects foreign deals.

Defense bill amendment: Effort advances to add names of 74 sailors to Vietnam Memorial.

War and games: Ex-Army helicopter pilot heads Washington Redskins special teams.

This ATM that plays DOOM would make trips to the bank so much better.

Mark Hamill talks about returning to Star Wars.

Princess Leia is getting her own comic-book miniseries.

Watch the trailer for Kevin Smith's new film, Tusk.

Stephen Colbert hosted the Hobbit panel at Comic-Con in Hobbit costume.

The New York Times: Spider-Man punched a police officer in the face in Times Square over the weekend ...

It's been a while since we had a good dominoes toppling ...

LINK: Original photo by Spc. Jess Nemec

July 26, 2014 at 7:53am

Saturday Morning Joe: Libya embassy evacuation, Russia in Ukraine, Gaza truce, Boeing takes a hit ...

322nd Civil Affairs Brigade, U.S. Army Reserves Pacific, throw simulated coffees during a Best Warrior Competition event. Original photo by Staff Sgt. Chris Hubenthal


The United States evacuated its embassy in Libya today, driving its staff under heavy military guard across the border to Tunisia because of escalating clashes between rival militias in Tripoli.

As fires rage in two states in the Pacific Northwest, Defense Department fire-suppression efforts are underway with two Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System-capable C-130s.

Russia has accelerated its intervention, moving more of its own troops to its border with Ukraine.

The Pentagon said Russia is delivering heavier and more sophisticated missile launcher systems to separatists in Ukraine.

Short Gaza truce: Palestinians in the Gaza Strip poured into the streets to recover their dead and stock up on food supplies

The House passed a resolution requiring authorization from Congress for a sustained presence of combat troops in Iraq.

Predominant battleground for extremists: The number of foreign fighters in Syria now exceeds 12,000 and rising.

China's naval modernization program is moving at a rapid pace, the chief of U.S. naval operations said.

The Air Force's top officer gives his service top marks for personal behavior, saying he is "very happy with the ethical fabric of the United States Air Force," despite problems that include a cheating scandal at its nuclear missile sites and a general's drunken binge on an arms control mission.

Powerful forces in Congress are working to buy the U.S. Navy an extra amphibious ship, and lawmakers in both the House and Senate have added between $650 million and $800 million to the proposed 2015 shipbuilding budget to begin construction.

$1 billion-plus short: Amphibious add isn't enough, so Navy wants to repurpose it.

Boeing is taking a $272 million hit to its KC-46A tanker contract after discovering a wiring issue that will require fixing on a test aircraft.

Force-wide changes to the military's Tuition Assistance program may require troops to pay back their TA money if they perform poorly in class.

The Webb Space Telescope's sunshield is complete and it looks cool.

Here's Colbert's complete interview with multi-industry mad scientist Elon Musk.

The documentary about Tim Burton and Nicolas Cage's failed Superman movie has a trailer.


LINK: Original photo by Staff Sgt. Chris Hubenthal

July 25, 2014 at 7:31am

Friday Morning Joe: Russia arming Iraq and firing on Ukraine, US Army drawdown plan, US best burger ...

Afghan National Army throws coffee during an obstacle course at Kabul Military Training Center. Original photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd class David Kolmel


Report: Russia has begun supplying military helicopters and fighter jets to Iraq.

Iraq Sunni militias pinched by jihadis, corruption.

Iraqi lawmakers elected a veteran Kurdish politician to replace long-serving Jalal Talabani as the country's new president. But a series of attacks killed dozens of people and Islamic militants destroyed a Muslim shrine traditionally said to be the burial place of the Prophet Jonah.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry pressed on for a Gaza ceasefire as the civilian death toll soared, threatening to spread Israeli-Palestinian bloodshed to the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem. 

U.S. says: Russia firing artillery at Ukraine military.

Senior leaders explain Army's drawdown plan.

Sen. Richard Shelby is uncertain if the Senate will pass the Pentagon 2015 defense bill.

The U.S. Army's vice chief of staff, Gen. John Campbell, was confirmed Wednesday as the next commander for NATO's International Security Assistance Force and US Forces in Afghanistan.

Malabar Exercise: The United States, India and Japan are set to kick off week-long war games in the Pacific, beefing up naval ties as they warily eye an increasingly assertive China and its military buildup.

The littoral combat ship USS Coronado will get a chance at an historic LCS first this fall when it launches a surface-to-surface missile in tests off Southern California.

MH-17 shoot down alters Air Force's space equation.

House narrowly defeats motion agreeing to Senate VA bill.

More than half of post-9/11 combat veterans say they have a mental health condition, but three-fourths report they are getting care, according to a new survey of young veterans conducted by Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

Guardsmen, reservists help battle western wildfires.

The U.S. Army has selected a new camouflage pattern, but the service doesn't feel the need to formally announce it.

Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, is now joining several other military bases, including Joint Base Lewis-McChord, as possible locations to house unaccompanied Central American minors, according to the state's governor's office.

The fastest cruise missile in the world launching underwater.

The coolest object disintegration we have ever seen.

What the far future of space mining could look like.

Cyclist films his own road accident, and lives.

Paste names the best Merge Records releases in honor of the label's 25th anniversary.

ThinkGeek has unveiled a Flux Capacitor car charger.

The country's best fast food burger

Supercut: 80s computer hacking.

Finally: Senior citizens recreating classic movie scenes.

We fell out of trees at age 6 ...

LINK: Original photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd class David Kolmel

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News and entertainment from Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s most awesome weekly newspapers - The Ranger, Northwest Airlifter and Weekly Volcano.

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