"Be selective about whom you take on as friends, colleagues, and neighbors. The world is full of agreeable and talented folk. The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best. But remember that our moral influence is a two-way street, and we should thus make sure by our own thoughts, words, and deeds to be a positive influence on those we deal with. The real test of personal excellence lies in the attention we give to the often neglected small details of our conduct. Make it your business to draw out the best in others by being an exemplar yourself."
- Epictetus 



1. Robert C. O'Brien: Here's how I will streamline Trump's National Security Council
2. Army special operators look to counter disinformation, cyberwarfare in new strategy
3.  The Navy Wants to Push Out Problem SEALs. But Trump May Get in the Way.
4.  OSS Society 2019 Pete Ortiz Award Presented to Special Forces Warrant Officer One Nicholas C. Lavery, USA.
5.  Turkey fired on U.S. special forces in Syria. It's absurd that it still has U.S. nukes.
6.  Army looks for alternatives to GPS as enemies threaten to jam signals
7.  Trump to Asian allies: You may be abandoned next


1. Robert C. O'Brien: Here's how I will streamline Trump's National Security Council

Opinion | Robert C. O'Brien: Here's how I will streamline Trump's National Security Council

The Washington Post · by Robert C. O'Brien
Robert C. O'Brien is national security adviser.
In the three years since President Trump's election, the United States has seized the initiative from its adversaries all over the world. We decimated the Islamic State as a military force. The president fulfilled a campaign promise to walk away from the nuclear deal with Iran, which was funding terrorism. He restored America's partnerships with Israel and with Arab governments both to constrain Iran and to protect U.S. interests in the Middle East without drawing the country into another ground war.
The president used a firm hand with Moscow, expelling Russian spies, increasing sanctions,  closing Russian consulates and providing arms to Ukraine. With North Korea, he combined maximum economic pressure and military deterrence with a willingness to engage in personal diplomacy to advance peace.
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Most important, as outlined in his  2017 National Security Strategy, the president has begun aligning our foreign and national security policies with the principal challenge facing the United States: prolonged peacetime competition with great powers such as China.
Put simply, the president has executed a fundamental shift in U.S. foreign policy to ensure that it recognizes and protects the concrete interests of the American people. As his  new national security adviser, I have commenced changes to the National Security Council staff designed to assist the president as he continues to execute his foreign policy vision for the country.
For most of the United States' history, presidents ran national security and foreign policy by overseeing the State Department, the Navy Department and the War Department. After World War II, defending America in the modern world required new intelligence agencies, the unification of the armed services under a massive new Defense Department, and later the creation of new civilian organizations with some defense functions, such as NASA and the Energy Department.
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Congress created the National Security Council to assist presidents in managing the complexities of this expansion of the federal government. The 1947  law establishing the NSC, which originally consisted of the president, vice president, and the secretaries of state and defense,  stated: "The function of the Council shall be to advise the president with respect to the integration of domestic, foreign, and military policies relating to the national security."
The word "advise" is fundamentally important. While the statutory members of the NSC, in some cases, run departments that execute foreign policy, the NSC staff at the White House was intended to coordinate policy rather than run it. My job as the national security adviser is to distill and present to the president the views and options that come from the various departments and agencies. The NSC then ensures that those agencies actually execute the president's decisions. This is the "honest broker" model of the national security adviser, best personified by Brent Scowcroft, who held the post during both the Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush administrations.
During the Obama administration, the NSC ballooned to well  over 200 policy staffers. By comparison, a mere  12 NSC policy staffers helped President John F. Kennedy deal with the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. As President Jimmy Carter handled multiple crises in the late 1970s, the NSC staff totaled just 35 professionals. During the first term of the George W. Bush administration, with two major wars in Iraq and Afghanistan underway, the policy staff was about 100 people.
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After consulting several of my predecessors and analyzing the NSC's current configuration, I have determined that the agency can and should be streamlined, and in the process restoring the NSC to its historical mission.
With the president's approval, we will reduce the NSC staff, making it more effective by reaffirming its mission to coordinate policy and ensure policy implementation. The NSC staff should not, as it has in the past, duplicate the work of military officers, diplomats or intelligence officers. With that in mind, we will be able to reduce 174 policy positions to under 120 by early 2020.
We will further combine some functional directorates that duplicate other White House offices, while refocusing our emphasis on the directorates that cover geographic regions, which have traditionally been the heart of the NSC. The international economics team, for example, will now rightly be managed by Larry Kudlow, director of the president's National Economic Council.
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To achieve these policy staffing goals, we will eliminate existing vacancies and consolidate duplicative positions. The great majority of the men and women who serve on the NSC staff, most of whom are detailed from other departments and agencies, will complete their standard tour of duty.
Rightsizing the NSC staff reflects the president's vision for a lean, efficient government that is focused on the core national interests of the United States.
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2. Army special operators look to counter disinformation, cyberwarfare in new strategy


A soldier checks a compass while completing a land navigation course during Special Forces Assessment and Selection near Hoffman, N.C., May 7, 2019. Troops must be able to operate when technology no longer works, which means being better at battlefield maneuvers and land navigation, according to a new Army special operations strategy document.
KEN KASSENS/U.S. ARMY
By JOHN VANDIVER | STARS AND STRIPES  Published: October 18, 2019
Army Green Berets and Rangers will "get brilliant at the basics" to prepare for future battlefields where adversaries like Russia and China could knock out the secured combat outposts relied upon in more recent conflicts, according to a new U.S. Army Special Operations Command Strategy.
"We will shift from a mindset of inhabiting secure forward operating bases to one of surviving and thriving in large-scale combat operations," the strategy says.
The plan, which was rolled out by USASOC leaders earlier this week at the Association of the U.S. Army's annual conference in Washington, also says trends like climate change, urbanization and rapid technological advances will test Special Forces soldiers in new ways.
"Drastic changes to global social patterns, the climate, and economies will drive political instability and resource competition," the strategy states.
But the Army's main focus is Russia and China and the concerns also go beyond their military modernization programs. Such adversaries avoid provoking a conventional military fight by "weaponizing information at scale" to "fracture our alliances and win without fighting."
"Great power competition means we are in conflict right now," the strategy states.
To deal with threats short of armed conflict, Army special operators want to get more out of combat training centers by using cyber and information warfare in all aspects of training.
In 2018, the Pentagon put out a new national defense strategy that placed greater focus on countering Russia and China. In the year since, the military has grappled with how to manage ongoing threats in the Middle East with the new focus.
The national defense strategy was "clear in its call to shake off strategic atrophy and restore America's competitive edge," Lt. Gen. Francis M. Beaudette said in a statement.
To that end, Army Special Forces must be able to operate when technology no longer works, which means getting better at battlefield maneuver and land navigation, the strategy states. In a fight against Russia or China, GPS and communications systems would likely come under attack.
At the same time, ARSOF said it will integrate rapidly changing technology such as "hardened communications" and information-gathering platforms, as well as weapons that can "reach out and kill the enemy undetected."
"Our culture will be grounded in a shift on two fronts: brilliant at the basics and revolutionary. Everything we do will emphasize survivability, lethality, and agility," the strategy says.
Some changes in training have already taken root. The course to qualify for the Green Berets was recently revamped and shortened so that soldiers can get to units faster and receive additional training tailored to their specific mission.
"We need to re-establish our forte, which is our ability to work with partner forces, developing their capabilities to provide an advantage for them and the United States against our adversaries - North Korea, Iran, and China and Russia," the Army's Maj. Gen. Kurt Sonntag told The Associated Press earlier this month.


PETER SEIDLER/U.S. ARMY

3. The Navy Wants to Push Out Problem SEALs. But Trump May Get in the Way.

The New York Times · by Dave Philipps · October 18, 2019
A push to strengthen discipline in the SEAL teams has been stymied by one member's support in the White House.
Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher with his wife, Andrea, at Naval Base San Diego after he was acquitted in July of war crimes charges including shooting civilians, murdering a captive ISIS fighter, and threatening to kill witnesses. CreditJohn Gastaldo/Reuters
Spiking drinks with cocaine, shooting Iraqi civilians, strangling a Green Beret: The Navy SEAL teams have been rocked by one high-profile scandal after another in recent months, and the leader of the elite commando force, Rear Adm. Collin P. Green, has vowed to clean house.
Admiral Green has come down hard on misconduct, fired two key leaders and made an unusually public admission that the Navy's secretive warrior caste has an "ethics problem." At the same time, though, he has steered wide of the SEAL at the center of one of the grimmest episodes, Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher, who was charged with shooting civilians, murdering a captive Islamic State fighter with a knife, and threatening to kill witnesses.
Chief Gallagher was  acquitted of murder charges this summer, but evidence that he had engaged in a range of other misconduct, including theft and drug use, had come to light during the investigation. Admiral Green and other Navy leaders were planning to demote him and force him out of the SEALs - sending a message that such conduct had no place in one of the country's premier fighting forces.
None of that has happened, though, because one of Chief Gallagher's most vocal supporters happens to be the commander in chief. President Trump has repeatedly intervened, and has posted so many expressions of support for the SEAL on Twitter that the Navy now sees Chief Gallagher as untouchable, according to three Navy officials familiar with the case. Any talk of punishment has been shelved, not only for the chief, but for two other SEALs who had been facing possible discipline in the case, these officials said.
Mr. Trump helped Chief Gallagher get released from confinement before his trial, and personally congratulated him on Twitter when he was acquitted.
"People want to hold these guys accountable," said one Navy officer who was involved in the punishment deliberations. "But they are afraid that if you do anything, minutes later there will be a tweet from the White House, and the officer in charge will get axed."
The officer, like others interviewed for this article, asked that his name not be used because he feared retaliation.
The president has previously made it clear that he believes the country should tread carefully when calling American troops to account for acts of war. Only last week, he  announced on Twitter that the White House was reviewing the  case of Maj. Mathew L. Golsteyn, a former Army Special Forces soldier charged with murder in the death of a Taliban bomb maker in Afghanistan. "We train our boys to be killing machines, then prosecute them when they kill!" Mr. Trump wrote.
The issue in Chief Gallagher's case became apparent to Admiral Green's team in August, when the chief's lawyers - including one of Mr. Trump's personal lawyers, Marc Mukasey, who joined the defense team two months before the June court-martial - had tried and failed to persuade Navy commanders to suspend any punishment. Soon after that, the president brought up the Gallagher case at a meeting with the Secretary of the Navy and the Chief of Naval Operations, according to a senior Navy official.
White House officials strongly denied that the Gallagher case was discussed. But hours after the meeting, the Chief of Naval Operations announced that he would personally take over the Gallagher case from another admiral, who had indicated that she planned to punish the chief.
The Navy had also planned to discipline two other SEALs who had come under investigation in the Gallagher case: Lt. Jacob Portier, who was charged with not reporting Chief Gallagher's actions in Iraq; and Special Operator First Class Corey Scott, a platoon medic whose testimony at the chief's trial prompted the Navy to  open a perjury investigation. But on the same day as the White House meeting, the charges against Lieutenant Portier were dropped and the investigation of Special Operator Scott was ended.
The intervention from Washington left Navy leaders with a dilemma: Not punishing Chief Gallagher and the others would undermine efforts to restore discipline in the ranks, but punishing them only to be publicly reversed might make things even worse.
"All that's off the table now," said a Navy Special Warfare officer who was briefed on the most recent deliberations of Admiral Green's team about the matter. Navy commanders grew concerned that if they took away from Chief Gallagher the Trident pin that signifies membership in the SEALs, only to see the president give it back again, the officer said, "it sends a message that the commanders aren't in control."
While taking no action against Chief Gallagher, the Navy recently fired two senior leaders of the team on which Chief Gallagher serves, SEAL Team 7, which has had other recent incidents of misconduct. The command cited a "loss of confidence that resulted from leadership failures."
The two leaders, Cmdr. Edward Mason and Master Chief Hugh Spangler - both decorated career SEALs with unblemished records who took command of the team after Chief Gallagher had been arrested - filed a complaint with the Navy's inspector general over their firing. They said that they had become "expendable scapegoats" in the admiral's fight against an anti-authoritarian "Gallagher effect" that was threatening to spread through the force.
With his new, protected status, Chief Gallagher appears to be trolling Navy leadership.
A few days after the demoted leaders filed their complaint, an Instagram account belonging to Chief Gallagher and his wife started  selling T-shirts emblazoned with the phrase "The Gallagher Effect."
Another recent Instagram post from the account referred to Admiral Green and another top Navy leader as " a bunch of morons."
And in a photo posted on social media by a former member of his platoon, Chief Gallagher is seen gripping a hunting knife similar to the one Navy prosecutors said he used to kill a captive fighter from ISIS, which is also known by its Arabic name, Daesh. The post, which was "liked" by Chief Gallagher's account, included the hashtags #WeDon'tHaveAnEthicsProblem and #NoOneCriesOverSpilledDaesh.
Timothy Parlatore, a lawyer for Chief Gallagher, said the Instagram account is administered by the chief's wife and does not reflect the chief's views.
The original criminal charges against Chief Gallagher, 40, stemmed from his fifth combat deployment with the SEALs, when he led a platoon fighting ISIS in Iraq in 2017. In a text message sent to his supervisor before deploying, he said he did not care where the Navy sent him, as long as there was "sure action," adding, "We just want to kill as many people as possible."
He ended up in an advisory role largely behind front lines. But several men under his command  told Navy authorities that he remained fixated on killing, and said they saw him shoot civilians with a sniper rifle and stab a captive teenage ISIS fighter in the neck. Their reports eventually led to the war crimes charges filed against the chief.
After Chief Gallagher was arrested in 2018, his family appeared repeatedly on Fox News, insisting that he had been wrongly accused. Soon Mr. Trump became a supporter, praising Chief Gallagher's " past service to our country" on Twitter. Mr. Trump directed the Navy to release the chief from pretrial confinement in the spring of 2019 and  ordered paperwork to pardon him before his trial in June.
During the trial, the Navy's case against Chief Gallagher fell into disarray as a key witness, Special Operator Scott, changed his story on the stand and prosecutors canceled the testimony of other witnesses, fearing they would do the same. A jury made up largely of seasoned combat veterans found Chief Gallagher  not guilty of nearly all counts.
After the acquittal, the president  congratulated him on Twitter saying, "Glad I could help!"
But Admiral Green was worried about the message that the Gallagher case was sending to the rest of force. In July, he sent a letter to the SEAL teams warning that the spate of incidents of drug use and violence in the SEAL teams showed " we have a problem," and that leaders "must now take a proactive approach to prevent the next breach of ethical and professional behavior."
In Chief Gallagher's case, though he had been acquitted on the murder charge, Navy officials were considering administrative punishment for other possible misconduct uncovered during the investigation.
The Navy had found unauthorized grenades, stolen equipment and illicit drugs in his house and in his work locker, according to the Navy's criminal investigation report. When investigators seized the chief's phone, they found text exchanges suggesting he was illegally using the narcotic painkiller Tramadol, as well as marijuana and ecstasy.
Chief Gallagher has denied that he did anything unlawful in Iraq, and his lawyer, Mr. Parlatore, said the purported drug and equipment offenses had already been investigated and had been deemed insignificant.
The part of the case taken over by the chief Navy officer in Washington concerns the minor charge on which Chief Gallagher was convicted in the trial - posing for a photo with a corpse. The officer hearing the case had recommended that the chief be demoted by one rank, with the possibility that he could be further reduced to the lowest rank in the military, E-1. The regional commander overseeing the court-martial, Rear Adm. Bette Bolivar, had the authority to adjust or overturn the conviction and sentence.
Chief Gallagher's legal team pressed Admiral Bolivar to suspend his punishment so the chief could retire from the Navy with full rank and a clean record. Admiral Bolivar replied in a letter Aug. 1 that she found the chief's conduct reprehensible and had no intention of suspending his sentence.
That was when the chief's legal team informed the Navy that they would "take their case to Washington," according to a Navy official with knowledge of the exchange. On the same day that Admiral Bolivar's letter was sent, the Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. John M. Richardson, along with the Secretary of the Navy, Richard V. Spencer, went to the White House for a meeting with Mr. Trump.
A senior Navy official said the two men had not expected to discuss the Gallagher case, and were surprised when the president brought it up, expressing his displeasure that prosecutors had  received commendations for what he regarded as a botched handling of the case.
Though White House officials insist the case was not discussed, within hours of the meeting, Admiral Richardson took the Gallagher, Portier and Scott cases from Admiral Bolivar.
Charges against Lieutenant Portier were dismissed that same day, and the investigation of Special Operator Scott was halted. Neither man responded to requests for comment.
Mr. Parlatore said he had not contacted the White House and had no knowledge of any intervention by the president. He said he welcomed the president's involvement if it happened because his client was threatened with punishment for minor misconduct that is often overlooked in the SEAL teams. "If the president has a deterrent effect and can prevent retaliation, we're thankful for that," he said.
A new Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Michael M. Gilday, took command in August, but has not changed course. His final decision in the Gallagher case is expected by the end of October.
Admiral Green was not available to discuss the case, according to Cmdr. Tamara Lawrence, a Navy spokeswoman, who added that "it would be inappropriate to speculate on any administrative actions, as no decisions have been made."
On the night of the leadership demotions in Team 7, Chief Gallagher made an unauthorized appearance at a "Patriot Awards" gala in Nashville, alongside Mr. Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the F.B.I. Both men accepted awards from the country music star Charlie Daniels.
"What an honor,"  a post on Chief Gallagher's Instagram account said.
Maggie Haberman and John Ismay contributed reporting from Washington.
Dave Philipps covers veterans and the military, and is a winner of the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting. Since joining the Times in 2014, he has covered the military community from the ground up.


4. OSS Society 2019 Pete Ortiz Award Presented to Special Forces Warrant Officer One Nicholas C. Lavery, USA.
Must watch speeches. This is worth 13 minutes of your time.  NIck Lavery is truly an American hero. We must ask, where do we find such men? What an amazing story of his career, service, and sacrifice and despite the sacrifices he continues to serve.

Presented to Warrant Officer One Nicholas C. Lavery, USA

5.  Turkey fired on U.S. special forces in Syria. It's absurd that it still has U.S. nukes.


It's folly for the U.S. to expose itself to potential nuclear blackmail by keeping these weapons in a country with which it's increasingly in conflict.

NBC News · October 18, 2019
Despite years of spiraling relations with Turkey, the United States has myopically continued to  store an estimated 50 nuclear bombs in the country. Even now, after  Turkey launched a devastating offensive on Oct. 9 against America's Kurdish allies in Syria, disrupting the Pentagon's war against ISIS and  reportedly firing on U.S. troops that hadn't yet withdrawn, they're still there.
Remarkably, according to The New York Times, the State and Energy Departments are merely reviewing contingency plans at this point to  remove the nukes from Turkey.While the recent developments in Syria represent a  new nadir in U.S.-Turkey relations, the risks of storing them there have long been obvious - notably when  their security was put at risk in 2016 during an attempted coup.
They could be seized by a hostile Turkey or attacked by other actors in an increasingly unstable region.
The weapons in question are  B61 tactical nukes, old-school gravity bombs designed to be dropped from short-range fighters jets onto military bases and battlefield troop concentrations. They are stored in underground vaults on Turkey's Incirlik Air Base in the southern Turkish city of Adana. As such, they could be seized by a hostile Turkey or attacked by other actors in an increasingly unstable region. They should be removed ASAP.
The presence of the B61s in Turkey stems from a Cold War policy under which the United States  transferred nuclear weapons to NATO allies Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey. The move showed collective responsibility and solidarity in NATO nuclear deterrence against the Soviet Union. It also conveyed the political message that these countries they didn't need to developed their own nukes. The United States could always give these countries' air forces access to the weapons if necessary.

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Today, the U.S. still maintains between 150 and 200 B61s in Europe, which can be deployed by specially modified Tornado and  F-16 Falcon jet fighters. In the future,  F-35 stealth fighters will carry an upgraded, guided version of the B61 instead.
But Turkey no longer has any F-16s and pilots  certified to deliver nuclear weapons. Nor are any of the U.S. jets based at Incirlik modified for that job. So it's extremely unlikely that the bombs in Incirlik would make any material difference to guaranteeing Turkish or American security. After all, as long as Turkey remains in NATO, nuclear weapons based elsewhere in Europe would still be at hand to deter against attacks on Turkey by other countries.
Turkey would have gotten F-35s, except it was kicked out of the program earlier this year because of its  purchase of Russian air-defense weapons that violated U.S. sanctions on Moscow and  posed a security vulnerability to those same stealth jets. That in itself tells much of the story: An ally once so close it was due to receive and  build parts for F-35s full of sensitive technology loses its access to the advanced jets because it is no longer deemed reliable and trustworthy.
Lacking even aircraft at hand capable of dropping them, the nukes at Incirlik are therefore purely symbolic - a supposed testament to the strength of the U.S.-Turkish relationship. And for years, Washington has been more preoccupied with the symbolic implications of withdrawing the nukes rather than the security risks posed by keeping them in Turkey.

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The Times story refers to a senior official worryingly suggesting that other U.S. officials are cowed by fears of displeasing Turkey's increasingly authoritarian President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, saying the B61 bombs were now essentially Erdogan's hostages because to remove them would be to essentially terminate the Turkish-American alliance.
Recent comments by Erdogan have caused some to fear he may be motivated to  seize the nukes in Incirlik. In September, Erdogan  stated in a speech that Turkey should have its own nukes, making the demonstrably false claim that "there's no developed nation in the world that doesn't have them."
While the 700-pound B61s are considered small "tactical" nuclear weapons, that needs to be put in context; the bombs in Turkey are designed so their explosive "yield" can be adjusted to between one-fifitieth and 11 times the effect of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima in World War II.

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To be fair, one shouldn't exaggerate the risks of a James Bond-style nuclear heist. Though the base's extensive security measures might only delay the Turkish military if it was intent on seizing the nukes, the bombs use  Permissive Action Links, meaning their fuse can only be activated using a code transmitted by the  U.S. president or his designated second-in-command. Furthermore, the B61s are designed so that U.S. technicians at the base can  rapidly sabotage them by overheating their thermal batteries.
This means that even if the B61s were somehow seized or stolen, they would require extensive modification to convert into usable weapons, though the materials inside them could be used in  a dirty bomb - designed to contaminate a large area with radiation.
On the other hand, the danger doesn't end there. The nukes could be attacked by anti-American militants -the  base is only 70 miles away from Turkish-Syrian border - resulting in loss of life even if the bombs aren't captured. Worse, the nukes could effectively be used as bargaining chips to advance Turkish interests at the expense of America's.

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That's not impossible to imagine, because Erdogan has not hesitated to use political prisoners as bargaining chips in efforts to obtain concessions in arms deals. For example, in 2017, Ankara held onto a Turkish-German national journalist, offering to release him to Germany  in exchange for Berlin authorizing upgrades to Turkish Leopard 2 tanks.
And the Incirlik base itself has been at the center of troubling activity. In 2016, Turkish Air Force officers at Incirlik  plotted and deployed aircraft in support of the coup. The Turkish government then cut electricity to the base, impacting the security of the U.S. nuclear facilities there.
Afterward, the Turkish government  investigated conspiracy theories that U.S. personnel at the base were involved in the coup. In 2018, this culminated in  Turkish lawyers with ties Erdogan submitting a 60-page brief seeking criminal charges against senior U.S. officers for supporting the coup, including former base commander Col. John Walker.

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The evidence against Walker? Ostensibly,  email metadata from coup-plotters using the first name "John." (Johns of the world, beware.) As it happens, after the coup failed, the Turkish base commander  sought and was denied asylum by the U.S. commander. While Erdogan himself did not throw his support behind the claim, its existence shows how his government could manufacture trumped up charges on U.S. officers to gain leverage in the future.
This is far from the only example of thuggish behavior by Erdogan. His bodyguards  beat up protesters during a visit to the United States. He effectively  killed a peace process with Turkey's Kurdish minority seemingly to  stymie electoral successes of political opponents. And he is  implicated in a scheme to kidnap cleric Fethullah Gülen, a former political ally turned enemy whom Erdogan has unsuccessfully attempted to extradite from U.S. for allegedly orchestrating the 2016 coup against him.
On the strategic level, Ankara and Washington have increasingly defined their interests in opposition to each other. The U.S.  used Kurdish fighters in Syria to crush ISIS - but Turkey sees the Kurds as arch enemies and have been fighting them for decades. Its recent offensive has resulted in  the escape of thousands of ISIS prisoners and the realignment of the Kurds with Damascus and its allies, Russia and Iran.
In short, Washington owes Ankara no favors after years of destabilizing conduct. America's Stockholm Syndrome mentality around the issue reflects an over-weaning desire to smooth over a relationship that is manifestly unwell.
Certainly, there would be expenses as well as logistical and security challenges to airlifting the nukes out. But the U.S. undoubtedly has the capacity to do it, and indeed has done so before. Back in 2001, for instance, the U.S.  pulled nukes out of Turkey's rival Greece with little drama.
Turkey might retaliate by cutting off access to Incirlik, which is conveniently located for U.S. air operations over Syria and the wider Middle East. But Ankara has already  denied use of Incirlik for past operations, and Washington's precipitous (and arguably  self-sabotaging) withdrawal from Syria undermines the rationale that we need access to the base at any cost given alternative bases elsewhere in the Middle East.
There would be expenses as well as logistical and security challenges to airlifting the nukes out. But the U.S. undoubtedly has the capacity to do it.
Yes, it might be politically difficult to find another partner to host the weapons. So what? The nuclear sharing program is a vestige of the Cold War, and the many other nuclear weapons at the disposal of NATO and especially the United States are more than adequate to insure the deterrence of Iran or Russia. The weapons' irrelevance is manifest by the fact that neither Turkey nor the U.S. has aircraft ready to deploy the nukes anyway.
Turkey will eventually have to decide whether Russia can offer it better economic ties and security guarantees than Europe and the United States, rather than continuously playing its warming ties with Moscow to extract concessions from Washington. Meanwhile, it's folly for the U.S. to expose itself to potential nuclear blackmail by keeping these weapons on the soil of a country it finds itself in increasing conflict with.


6. Army looks for alternatives to GPS as enemies threaten to jam signals


spacenews.com · by Sandra Erwin · October 14, 2019
Gen. Murray: "We have to have multiple ways of getting PNT in the future battlefield because of the threat of jamming."
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Army has to become less dependent on GPS-enabled devices as adversaries field increasingly more advanced electronic jammers , a senior Army official said Oct. 14.
"What we are trying to do is develop alternative ways to get PNT [positioning, navigation and timing] other than GPS," Gen. John Murray, commander of Army Futures Command, told reporters at the Association of the U.S. Army annual conference.
"We have to have multiple ways of getting PNT in the future battlefield because of the threat of jamming," said Murray.
The Army Futures Command, based in Austin, Texas, is a new organization created to provide long-term guidance to the Army on how to modernize and prepare for future wars.
Murray cautioned that the Army is not walking away from GPS and will continue to support U.S. Air Force efforts to develop a new generation of GPS satellites that emit stronger signals. But he said the Army intends to invest in technologies to reduce its reliance on GPS, and will train troops in electronic warfare tactics.
The immediate priority is to deploy anti-jam systems to Army forces in Europe and in the Korean Peninsula, Murray said.
Murray announced the Army this month has deployed a new anti-jam GPS device for the Stryker light armored vehicles of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment, based in Germany. Hundreds more vehicles across the U.S. European Command theater of operations will be equipped with these devices over the next several years.
The Stryker infantry carrier, like most Army combat platforms, uses multiple GPS receivers. A device called the Mounted Assured Precision Navigation and Timing System (MAPS) will be installed on Strykers. The MAPS kit replaces multiple GPS receivers with a single device that has a GPS receiver but also a chip-scale atomic clock for timing, Selective Availability and Anti Spoof Module (SAASM) for navigation, and has an anti-jam antenna to distribute PNT information. In tests, MAPS showed that it continues to work even when the GPS signal is weakened or compromised.
The Army said it plans to put MAPS in heavy armored vehicles such as the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, M1 Abrams tank, and the M109 Paladin self-propelled howitzer. Similar devices also will be developed for dismounted soldiers.
The Army Futures Command formed a group called Assured Positioning, Navigation and Timing Cross-Functional Team to focus on this problem.
The team will "provide soldiers access to accurate and trusted PNT even when GPS signals are degraded or denied," according to a Futures Command slide presentation.
Among the alternatives to GPS that will be investigated in the coming years is the use of low Earth orbit communications satellites to provide timing signals.
The Futures Command also will recommend that soldiers receive advanced training in navigation warfare so they're better prepared for a GPS-denied environment. The Army this summer held a PNT Assessment Exercise (PNTAX) at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico to rehearse how troops would fight when PNT signals are disrupted.
7.  Trump to Asian allies: You may be abandoned next

Asia Times | Trump to Asian allies: You may be abandoned next | Article

asiatimes.com · by Asia Times
Asian military strategists and security risk assessors are re-reading their disaster scenarios after Donald Trump threw the United States' Kurdish allies to the wolves.
Since Trump assumed the presidency early in 2017, Washington's Asian allies have found ways of accommodating, or working around his isolationism, ignorance, whimsy, need to distract attention from his legal problems and fixation with the bottom line of financial deals.
But Trump's throwing of the Syrian Kurds into the maw of Turkish President Recep Tyyip Erdogan, who, convinced they are terrorists, loosed his military on them, is a betrayal of a different order.
The world has come to understand that being seen to be a winner is the only consideration for Trump. Indeed, dumping the Kurds seems to have been the first response that came to Trump's fertile imagination as he confronted the mounting demands in Congress that he be investigated for abuse of power, and perhaps impeached and removed from office.
But Trump's jettisoning of the Kurds, whose militias led the campaign against the Islamic State group and lost 11,000 people in the fighting, goes several steps farther than his past distractions.
It shows he is prepared to send hundreds or even thousands of people to their deaths to feed his hubris.
So the betrayal of the Kurds sparked public anger towards Trump from among his Republican followers on Capital Hill for the first time, thus raising the prospects of impeachment.
In a hurried act of fence-mending, Vice-President Mike Pence was dispatched to Ankara on Thursday to twist Erdogan's arm. The Turkish leader agreed to a five-day cease-fire during which time the Kurdish militias would be allowed to leave the 30-kilometer corridor Erdogan wants to establish and control on the Syrian side of the common border.
But the damage among US allies has been done. In Asia, the betrayal of the Kurds has rung alarm bells in South Korea, in particular, but also in Australia and Japan.
Among the 10 countries of Southeast Asia the crude face of Trump's untrustworthiness has only added another wrinkle to the on-going game of finding a functioning balance in their security relationships with China, the US and, increasingly, India.
For South Korea, however, the evidence from Syria that there is no end to Trump's capacity for betrayal, comes at a particularly sensitive time.
Seoul and Washington are in the middle of rancorous negotiations about how much South Korea must pay for the 28,500 US troops stationed on the peninsular.
Since he came to office Trump has railed against "deadbeat allies," and demanded that Europe, Japan and South Korea pay much more for the upkeep of the US troops stationed in their regions.
At the moment, South Korea is paying about $US1 billion a year for the American troops. But in a recent interview with a local newspaper, the US Ambassador to Seoul, Harry Harris, confirmed rumors that Washington wants a five-fold increase to $US5 billion a year.
This is not going down well with the South Korea public. But the example of Trump's treatment of the Kurds raises the possibility in South Korean minds that if he doesn't get his money he'll order US troops withdrawn, something he's mused about in the past.
That would leave South Korea as exposed to an onslaught from the North as it was at the start of the civil war in 1950.
As well as the money, there are good reasons for South Koreans to question whose side Trump is on in their confrontation with the Marxist monarchy of Kim Jung-un in the North.
Trump has lavished praise and even affection on Kim in the expectation that this deal-making strategy would persuade the young North Korean leader to abandon his nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.
No such luck. Trump's three summit meetings with Kim have produced nothing of substance. And Trump's bromantic overtures have been rejected. Kim has forged ahead with his military development programs, but has been careful to keep away from tests of weapons that directly threaten the US.
On the plus side Trump does seem to have learned from this experience that, in diplomacy, grand gestures usually come at the end of a lot of hard work, not at the beginning. North Korean and US officials are now negotiating in the background and they may produce something of substance in the future.
Japan is in a position similar to South Korea's - with some 54,000 US troops based in its country, for which Washington wants more money, and sitting on the frontline with North Korea and China.
However, Tokyo governments usually manage not to become publicly excited when danger looms. That was the script followed this week, which prompted Kuni Miyake, president of Japan's Foreign Policy Institute, to write:
"People in Tokyo either don't get it or they do not want to know what the withdrawal of US troops from northern Syria really means for the Japan-US security alliance mechanism.
"They may be right in thinking that such a thing might only happen to South Korea. But how sure can Japan be about that? I cannot be so sure. Anything can happen in the era of intuition, coincidence and misjudgement."
National security has always been a ringing issue in Australia, a vast country with a small population that has constantly felt itself vulnerable to invasion from the north. That vulnerability has intensified as China has become an expansionist power reaching down into Southeast Asia.
As insurance, successive Canberra governments have been swift to bolster their defense treaty with Washington by being among the first to sign up for American wars. Australians have fought alongside Americans in every major US military action since the Second World War, including Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, Somalia, East Timor, Afghanistan and Iraq.
The message from the Kurdish region of northern Syria, however, is that generations of dead and wounded Australian comrades may not be enough to secure the loyalty of this US president as Canberra contemplates an increasingly  complex relationship with Beijing.
This has generated a debate in the last few days on the Australian political stage and in the media. The grudging verdict so far is that, as with Japan, the US-Australian alliance is far too deep and broad to be upended by the manias of one shambolic American president.
But a degree of uncertainty remains, and that is intensified by the common view gelling across Asia that any risk assessment must assume Trump will be re-elected in 2020 for another four years.



De Oppresso Liber,

David Maxwell
Senior Fellow
Foundation for Defense of Democracies
Personal Email: david.maxwell161@gmail.com
Phone: 202-573-8647
Web Site:  www.fdd.org
Twitter: @davidmaxwell161
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FDD is a Washington-based nonpartisan research institute focusing on national security and foreign policy.


If you do not read anything else in the 2017 National Security Strategy read this on page 14:

"A democracy is only as resilient as its people. An informed and engaged citizenry is the fundamental requirement for a free and resilient nation. For generations, our society has protected free press, free speech, and free thought. Today, actors such as Russia are using information tools in an attempt to undermine the legitimacy of democracies. Adversaries target media, political processes, financial networks, and personal data. The American public and private sectors must recognize this and work together to defend our way of life. No external threat can be allowed to shake our shared commitment to our values, undermine our system of government, or divide our Nation."