In the October issue of SOF, the local authority in Phoenix was misidentified as the Arizona Board of Supervisors, which supposedly had no Republicans. It is actually the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, which has four Republicans and one Democrat.
ANOTHER OBAMA ANTI-GUN OFFICIAL
Cass Sunstein was confirmed as the Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs by a 57–40 vote. Sunstein is known for a strong advocacy of animal rights, including a stated desire to end hunting, and for allowing animals to sue humans in court. In 2005, Sunstein also wrote that “Almost all gun control legislation is constitutionally fine.”
Sadly, a number of normally progun Senators voted to confirm Sunstein, including Arlen Specter (D-PA), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Olympia Snowe (R-ME).
DEALING WITH SMALL THREATS
Going to Iraq, you’d think that the threats are insurgents and IEDs. Well, you’d be surprised. There are a lot of smaller threats, usually with more than two legs, such as scorpions. Several types of scorpions are in the Middle East region, and some can carry a very nasty sting – and a soldier who gets stung by one of those can be in as much trouble from that as if he had been shot or blown up by an IED. One of the common scorpions in Iraq has venom that has killed half of the lab mice injected with its venom. Snakes can cause problems, too.
Thankfully, the military is already on top of this problem – as a U.S. Army unit, the 180th Medical Detachment Preventive Medicine Support Team, has been dealing with these threats so that our troops can deal with terrorists. Way to go, Army medics!
SPEC OPS DO GOOD WORK IN SOMALIA
At TheLongWarJournal.org, details about the latest commando raid against al-Qaeda have emerged. In this operation, Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, who was involved in 1998 embassy bombings in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi, and who also was the mastermind of a 2002 suicide attack against Israelis in Kenya, became a good terrorist when Navy SEALs and Army AH-6 helicopters caught him in transit. Similar raids in Madagascar, Syria, and Pakistan have also taken out other al-Qaeda bigwigs.
The Obama Administration has not just been cutting combat assets. In the 2010 defense appropriations bill, the Senate proceeded to kill the CSAR-X program. The disputed program had selected a variant of the MH-47 Chinook special operations helicopter, which offered a significant improvement in performance over the present HH-60. Most notable in this increased performance was a range that was over twice that of the HH-60.
While Congress discusses health care plans that will cost hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade, one has to wonder why the money is not there to give the troops a better combat search-and-rescue helicopter.
A RASH OF UAV CRASHES
Over one five-day span (11–15 September), two MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicles and one MQ-9 Reaper were lost in non-combat-related incidents. One Predator crashed in the United States, while another went down in
Iraq. The Reaper was lost in Afghanistan, and had to be taken down by a manned aircraft over a remote location. Adding to this rash of crashes was a 4 September crash of a Predator in Afghanistan. This is out of a force of 110 MQ-1s and 10 MQ-9s (based on Air Force fact sheets retrieved online as we went to press).
If this loss rate continues, one has to wonder if the present UAV force can be sustained without the procurement of additional airframes.
The MQ-1 force could almost be doubled for $762.5 million – and 40 more MQ-9s could be had for $535 million. So, for less than $1.3 billion, more UAVs could be procured to provide more attrition reserves.
MARINE KC-130 PACKS A PUNCH NOW
Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352 has been testing out a system designed to give its KC-130 Hercules tanker–transports a punch. The Harvest Hawk program is intended to not only enable the KC-130 to carry four AGM-114 Hellfire missiles but to also give the KC-130 an AN/AAQ-30 Targeting Sight System.
There is one drawback: This new system requires the KC-130 to give up one of the two refueling pods. Hopefully, this means the Marines will get more KC-130s. You can never have too much airlift. Airlift that packs a punch… could be the best of both worlds.