Sunday, September 8, 2019

Navy SEALs Need Reforming

Source: Task & Purpose

Top Navy SEAL admiral fires entire leadership team of SEAL Team 7

By Paul Szoldra | September 06, 2019


The top admiral in charge of Naval Special Warfare has fired the entire leadership team of SEAL Team 7 over a "breakdown of good order and discipline," a Navy official told Task & Purpose on Friday.

Cmdr. Edward Mason, the commanding officer of ST7; Lt. Cmdr. Luke Im, the executive officer; and Command Master Chief Hugh Spangler were all relieved of their leadership posts on Friday, said Capt. Tamara Lawrence, a spokeswoman for Naval Special Warfare Command.

The relief was carried out by Rear Adm. Collin Green, the commanding officer of NSW. Lawrence said their relief was "due to a loss of confidence that resulted from leadership failures that caused a breakdown of good order and discipline within two subordinate units while deployed to combat zones."

The spokeswoman declined to name who would take their place, citing operational security concerns for those SEALs and their families.

The "two subordinate units" may be references to ST7 Alpha and Foxtrot Platoon, though Lawrence declined to name them when asked by Task & Purpose.

SEAL Team 7 Alpha Platoon made national news after SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher was accused of war crimes during a 2017 deployment to Mosul, Iraq. While Gallagher was acquitted on murder charges in early July, testimony at his court-martial revealed that members of the platoon had constructed their own rooftop bar in Iraq and engaged in other alleged misconduct on deployment.

More recently, the entirety of SEAL Team 7 Foxtrot Platoon was pulled out of Iraq last month amid allegations of a boozy Fourth of July party and an allegation of sexual assault. On Friday, Navy Times reported that a master chief in another detachment from Team 7 had been relieved over alleged misconduct.

Please go to Task & Purpose to read the entire article.
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Source: AntiWar.com

Profiles in Absurdity: Remembering the 'Terror' Wars

'Lower Caters to Higher'

by Maj. Danny Sjursen, USA (ret.) | September 03, 2019

It has taken me years to tell these stories. The emotional and moral wounds of the Afghan War have just felt too recent, too raw. After all, I could hardly write a thing down about my Iraq War experience for nearly ten years, when, by accident, I churned out a book on the subject. Now, as the American war in Afghanistan – hopefully – winds to something approaching a close, it's finally time to impart some tales of the madness. In this new, recurring, semi-regular series, the reader won’t find many worn out sagas of heroism, brotherhood, and love of country. Not that this author doesn’t have such stories, of course. But one can find those sorts of tales in countless books and numerous trite, platitudinal Hollywood yarns.

With that in mind, I propose to tell a number of very different sorts of stories – profiles, so to speak, in absurdity. That's what war is, at root, an exercise in absurdity, and America’s hopeless post-9/11 wars are stranger than most. My own 18-year long quest to find some meaning in all the combat, to protect my troops from danger, push back against the madness, and dissent from within the army proved Kafkaesque in the extreme. Consider what follows just a survey of that hopeless journey…

The man was remarkable at one specific thing: pleasing his bosses and single-minded self-promotion. Sure he lacked anything resembling empathy, saw his troops as little more than tools for personal advancement, and his overall personality disturbingly matched the clinical definition of sociopathy. Details, details…

Still, you (almost) had to admire his drive, devotion, and dedication to the cause of promotion, of rising through the military ranks. Had he managed to channel that astonishing energy, obsession even, to the pursuit of some good, the world might markedly have improved. Which is, actually, a dirty little secret about the military, especially ground combat units; that it tends to attract (and mold) a disturbing number of proud owners of such personality disorders. The army then positively reinforces such toxic behavior by promoting these sorts of individuals – who excel at mind-melding (brown-nosing, that is) with superiors – at disproportionate rates. Such is life. Only there are real consequences, real soldiers, (to say nothing of local civilians) who suffer under their commanders’ tyranny.

Back in 2011-12, the man served as my commander, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army. As such, he led – and partly controlled the destinies of – some 500 odd soldiers. Then a lowly captain, I commanded about one-fifth of those men and answered directly to the colonel. I didn't much like the guy; hardly any of his officers did. And he didn't trust my aspirational intellectualism, proclivity to ask "why," or, well, me in general. Still, he mostly found this author an effective middle manager. As such, I was a means to an end for him – that being self-advancement and some positive measurable statistics for his annual officer evaluation report (OER) from his own boss. Nonetheless, it was the army and you sure don't choose your bosses.

So it was, early in my yearlong tour in the scrublands of rural Kandahar province, that the colonel treated me to one his dog-and-pony-show visits. Only this time he had some unhappy news for me. The next day he, and the baker's dozen tag-alongs in his ubiquitous entourage, wanted to walk the few treacherous miles to the most dangerous strongpoint in the entire sub-district. It was occupied, needlessly, by one of my platoons in perpetuity and suffered under constant siege by the local Taliban, too small to contest the area and too big to fly under the radar, this – at one point the most attacked outpost in Afghanistan – base just provided an American flag-toting target. I'd communicated as much to command early on, but to no avail. Can-do US colonels with aspirations for general officer rank hardly ever give up territory to the enemy – even if that's the strategically sound course.

Walking to the platoon strongpoint was dicey on even the best of days. The route between our main outpost and the Alamo-like strongpoint was flooded with Taliban insurgents and provided precious little cover or concealment for out patrols. On my first jaunt to the outpost, I (foolishly, it must be said) walked my unit into an ambush and was thrown over a small rock wall by the blast of a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) with my apparent name on it. Since then, it was standard for our patrols to the strongpoint to suffer multiple ambushes during the roundtrip rotation. Sometimes our kids got wounded or killed; sometimes they were lucky. Mercifully, at least, my intelligence section – led by my friend and rebranded artillery lieutenant – did their homework and figured out that the chronically lazy local Taliban didn’t like to fight at night or wake up early, so patrols to the strongpoint that stepped off before dawn had a fighting chance of avoiding the worst of ambush alley.

I hadn't wanted to take my colonel on a patrol to the outpost. His entourage was needlessly large and, when added to my rotational platoon, presented an unwieldy and inviting target for Taliban ambush. Still I knew better than to argue the point with my disturbingly confident and single-minded colonel. So I hedged. Yes, sir, we can take you along, with one caveat: we have to leave before dawn! I proceeded to explain why, replete with historical stats and examples, we could only (somewhat) safely avoid ambush if we did so.

Please go to AntiWar.com to read the entire article.
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Related:

Navy SEALs In Trouble: What Has Happened to America's Top Fighting Force?

Pentagon Report Finds One in Five US Navy Service Members Are Obese

THE CRIMES OF SEAL TEAM 6


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