17 October, 2018 07:13

Good morning Legionnaires and veterans advocates, today is Wednesday, October 17, 2018 which is Hagfish Day, Mulligan Day, National Pasta Day and National Take Your Parents to Lunch Day.
This Day in Legion History:

  • Oct. 17, 1923: The American Legion National Convention in San Francisco passes a resolution (still in effect) that expresses its firm support of equal rights and opportunities “without distinction as to race, color, creed or class.” The resolution, which also condemns any individual, group or organization that “creates or fosters racial, religious or class strife among our people, or which takes into their own hands the enforcement of law, determination of guilt, or infliction of punishment, to be un-American, a menace to our liberties and destructive to our fundamental law.”
  • Oct. 17, 2012: Theodore Roosevelt IV, grandson of American Legion founding member Theodore Roosevelt Jr., is named chairman of the organization’s 100th Anniversary Honorary Committee.

This Day in History:

  • On this day in 1931, gangster Al Capone is sentenced to 11 years in prison for tax evasion and fined $80,000, signaling the downfall of one of the most notorious criminals of the 1920s and 1930s.
  • 1989: The deadliest earthquake to hit the San Francisco area since 1906 strikes at 5:04 p.m.and lasts for 15 seconds. The quake measured 7.1 on the Richter scale, and its aftermath was witnessed on live television by millions of people watching the third game of the World Series of baseball between the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics, held at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. The tremor hit moments before the start of the game, and sportscasters were soon performing the duties of news anchors as they reported on the resulting pandemonium in the stadium. The earthquake killed a total of 63 people, while more than 3,000 others were injured and more than 100,000 buildings were damaged.
  • 1777: During the American Revolution, British General John Burgoyne surrenders 5,000 British and Hessian troops to Patriot General Horatio Gates at Saratoga, New York.


Military.com: Mattis Speaks Out: He’s Staying SecDef, and He’s Not a Democrat
Military Times: Mattis: Trump gave him ’100 percent’ support despite president saying defense chief may go
Stripes: Dunford warns against complacency in fight against terrorism as ISIS’ caliphate disintegrates
Military.com: A Year After the Fall of Raqqa, ISIS Remnants Fight on in Syria

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Military.com: Mattis Speaks Out: He’s Staying SecDef, and He’s Not a Democrat

Military.com 16 Oct 2018 By Richard Sisk
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis brushed off President Donald Trump’s suggestion that he’s "sort of a Democrat" and said he has no intention of resigning his Cabinet post.
‘I’m on his team," Mattis said of Trump. "We have never talked about me leaving. We just continue doing our job."
When asked what he made of Trump’s remarks on his status, Mattis said, "Nothing at all."
He also said that, as a career Marine, he has shunned politics and is neither a Democrat nor a Republican.
"I’ve never registered for any political party," he added.
Mattis was speaking to defense reporters traveling with him en route to Vietnam on Monday. A transcript of his remarks was made available by the Pentagon.
The first question put to him was on the president’s interview, broadcast Sunday night on CBS’ "60 Minutes" program, in which Trump speculated on the possibility of Mattis resigning.
"It could be that he is," Trump said. "I think he’s sort of a Democrat, if you want to know the truth. But General Mattis is a good guy. We get along very well. He may leave. I mean, at some point, everybody leaves. Everybody. People leave. That’s Washington."
Trump did not spell out what he meant by the "Democrat" suggestion, but Mattis has not always been in line with the direction of Trump’s policies on a range of issues.
Mattis has stressed the value of alliances such as NATO while Trump questions them. He also presides over a Pentagon that has been unenthusiastic about the president’s plans for a Space Force, a big military parade on Veterans Day, the deployment of National Guard troops to the southern border, and a ban on transgender troops in the military.
On the plane to Vietnam, Mattis indicated that Trump’s musings on his status were his privilege as commander-in-chief. "We continue in the Department of Defense to do our job. It’s no problem," he said. "I have seen Republicans and Democrats come and go," and his own views on avoiding politics have not changed.
"When I was 18, I joined the Marine Corps and, in the U.S. military, we are proudly apolitical," Mattis said. "By that, I mean that in our duties we were brought up to obey the elected commander-in-chief, whoever that is."
As defense secretary, "my portfolio is bipartisan by its very basis, and that is the protection of the United States," he said. "That’s what President Trump has told me to do, and I eagerly carry that out. So that’s where I stand. That defines me."
Military Times: Mattis: Trump gave him ’100 percent’ support despite president saying defense chief may go
By: Robert Burns, The Associated Press   19 hours ago
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HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam — Amid speculation that he may soon be replaced, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said President Donald Trump told him he supports the retired Marine general “100 percent.”
The assertion comes just days after Trump mused on national television about Mattis leaving his post.
Mattis said Trump gave him this assurance during a phone call while Mattis was flying from Washington to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, on Tuesday. A few hours earlier, Mattis told reporters traveling with him that he and Trump had never discussed the possibility of Mattis leaving the Pentagon job.
Mattis initially was responding to reporters’ questions about Trump’s comments on CBS’ "60 Minutes" Sunday that Mattis "may leave" his administration and that he thinks the retired Marine Corps general is "sort of a Democrat."
Asked what he made of Trump’s comments, in which the president also said he likes Mattis and that eventually all appointees move on, Mattis said, "Nothing at all," adding, "We have never talked about me leaving."
Later, Mattis approached reporters traveling with him to say he’d just spoken to Trump. He said he called the president aboard Air Force One to discuss damage to military bases caused by Hurricane Michael.
During that conversation, Trump asked Mattis whether he had seen the “60 Minutes” interview broadcast on Sunday. Mattis said he had not. Trump then expressed his full support for Mattis and suggested Mattis let the press know this.
By telling "60 Minutes" that he suspected Mattis is "sort of a Democrat," Trump seemed to suggest that he thinks Mattis is too moderate in his politics, although he did not say so directly or cite any area of disagreement with Mattis.
Whereas Trump has made a hard-line policy on immigration a centerpiece of his agenda, Mattis has publicly cited the valuable contributions that non-citizen members of the military have made over the years. Mattis also is a staunch supporter of NATO, whereas Trump has questioned its value to America.
Mattis, who had never previously held a civilian position in government before he became defense secretary in January 2017, told reporters he has sought to carry out and reinforce Trump’s military and national security policies without regard to partisanship. Those policies, he said, are now "reaping significant bipartisan support."
Asked directly whether he is a Democrat, Mattis said, "We’re all built on our formative experiences. When I was 18 I joined the Marine Corps, and in the U.S. military we are proudly apolitical."
Asked if that meant he was not a registered member of either major political party, he replied, "I’ve never registered for any political party."
Presidents in recent decades have sometimes picked a member of the opposite party to head the Pentagon. President Bill Clinton’s second-term defense secretary was William Cohen, a prominent Republican member of the Senate. And President Barack Obama’s first Pentagon chief was Robert Gates, a Republican who had served as CIA director and defense secretary in Republican administrations.
The post of defense secretary is typically the least political in a president’s Cabinet. That is because of the non-political tradition of the military and long-standing bipartisan support for U.S. military alliances such as NATO.
Mattis flew to Vietnam for his second visit this year to the country with which the U.S. fought a 10-year war. He told reporters the violent history between the two countries is a thing of the past.
"The legacy of the war has turned into actually a basis for defense cooperation," he said.
An example of this is a U.S.-funded $390 million project to clean up war-era chemical contamination of the ground at an air base near Ho Chi Minh City.
Mattis planned to visit the base at Bien Hoa on Wednesday to see firsthand the area that is to be decontaminated in a 10-year project funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development. Barrels of Agent Orange had been staged at Bien Hoa for U.S. use as a defoliant elsewhere in Vietnam, and when the U.S. decided to stop spraying Agent Orange, the remaining barrels of toxic liquid were collected and stored at Bien Hoa before being flown out of the country.
Mattis also plans to attend a regional meeting of defense ministers in Singapore later this week. He said he may meet there with his Chinese counterpart, even though Beijing had recently told Mattis that if he came to China his counterpart would not be available to meet.

Stripes: Dunford warns against complacency in fight against terrorism as ISIS’ caliphate disintegrates

By COREY DICKSTEIN | STARS AND STRIPES Published: October 16, 2018
JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Maryland — The U.S. military’s top general warned Tuesday that the international community must maintain its focus on the terrorism threat even as the Islamic State nears defeat on the battlefields of Syria and other security challenges rise around the world.
Despite the loss of land in recent years, ISIS and al-Qaida still have the ability and the desire to conduct and inspire terrorist attacks globally, said Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The threat of transnational terrorism is a generational problem that the United States and its allies remain years away from solving, he added.

“When the enemy holds ground like [ISIS] did in Iraq and Syria in 2014, they are a much more lethal threat than they are when they are running on a constant basis,” he told reporters Tuesday during a yearly meeting of top uniformed leaders from some 80 nations, dubbed the Countering Violent Extremist Organizations Chiefs of Defense Conference. “In that regard their lethality has been reduced, that doesn’t mean they are not dangerous.”

American leaders must work hand-in-hand with their allies to share intelligence, best practices and conduct counterterrorism operations to root out extremist groups throughout the world even as the number of headline-grabbing terrorist attacks has dropped in recent years, Dunford said.

“Perhaps the greatest challenge facing us today is the danger of complacency,” he said in opening remarks to the conference held outside Washington. “A misreading of our progress today and a misunderstanding of the character of the threat may cause political leaders to lose focus on violent extremism while they turn to other pressing challenges.”

Dunford issued the warning as U.S. political leaders, including President Donald Trump, wrestle with the nation’s future posture in Syria, where ISIS holds only 2 percent of the territory that it once held in its so-called caliphate across Syria and Iraq. The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces have surrounded the remnants of ISIS in eastern Syria’s Middle Euphrates River Valley, where officials believe it retains about 2,000 fighters. Officials also believe the remaining land held by ISIS will be recaptured within several months.

Army Col. Sean Ryan, the Baghdad-based spokesman for the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition, said Tuesday that the terrorist group had essentially already been “territorially defeated,” but he added the remaining ISIS fighters were the “diehard fighters” who would continue to fight until the very end.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon has turned much of its focus to preparing for war against a major military power, such as Russia or China, as those nations seek to challenge the long-held U.S. dominance of international power.

Trump at times has mulled publicly about removing the roughly 2,000 American troops operating in Syria as soon as ISIS has been defeated, though Pentagon officials — including Dunford and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis — have expressed the need for those troops to remain there until the local forces they are training can hold the land and keep the terrorist group from re-establishing itself.

“I believe those of us gathered here today have a good appreciation for the consequences of prematurely relieving pressure on the enemy and allowing them the space to reconstitute,” Dunford said. “There’s many examples over the last few years where we’ve relieved pressure and they’ve reconstituted only to grow more virulent [with] their second strain of violent extremism.”

None of those examples is more notable than ISIS, itself. The group, once part of al-Qaida, rose to prominence as it swept across Syria and northern Iraq in 2014, defeating American-trained Iraqi security forces just more than two years after the United States withdrew from Iraq in December 2011.

Dunford said repeatedly Tuesday that he would not lose focus on counterterrorism operations, cautioning that ISIS and al-Qaida were actively working to grow their global networks, often by engaging with established local extremist groups in places such as West Africa and Southeast Asia.

Al-Qaida affiliates, for example, have shown greater cooperation among their cells throughout the world as the group attempts to increase its following and influence that had been curtailed in recent years through military operations and, inadvertently, through ISIS’ rise, he said.

“What we’ve seen is increased communications between al-Qaida and their affiliates in an attempt to broaden their network of individuals who can plan and conduct attacks elsewhere,” the general said. “In my judgement, they are trying to regain relevance … and conduct attacks.”

The United States and its allies must continue to stay ahead of al-Qaida and ISIS in order for the recent trend in global terrorism to continue dropping, Dunford said, attributing at least some of the success to the dismantling of ISIS’ caliphate.

For example, he said, ISIS conducted 23 percent fewer terrorist attacks in 2017 than in 2016. And, in 2018, each ISIS attack has killed an average of three people, down from an average of 25 deaths in ISIS attacks in 2015, which include the Paris attack that left more than 130 dead.
ISIS has also lost some of its ability to spread its message.

This year, the group is producing about 15 percent of the amount of media it once produced and has not published its monthly online magazine, Rumiyah, in more than year, Dunford said.
Nonetheless, Dunford said he worried ISIS and al-Qaida remained deadly as prolonged military operations against them in locations spanning from West Africa across the Middle East and Afghanistan and into Southeast Asia have driven many of their operatives underground.

“We are a long way from defeating the generational threat of violent extremism,” he said. “In many ways, the threat we face today is more lethal and it has become more difficult to disrupt and destroy their plots.”

Dunford said he believes one key to curtailing the global terrorism threat will be an international effort to improve education, economies and governance in regions where extremism is common.
That is not something the military can do by itself, he said, but military leaders can encourage their nations to remain involved even after the fight concludes.

“It’s not about winning the war, it’s about winning the peace,” Dunford said. “That is most important to ensure that the [military] success we’ve had is enduring.”

Military.com: A Year After the Fall of Raqqa, ISIS Remnants Fight on in Syria

Military.com 16 Oct 2018 By Richard Sisk
A year after the fall of Raqqa, once the seat of the Islamic State’s "caliphate," U.S.-backed forces are still struggling to eliminate the determined and elusive last threads of the terror group in Syria’s eastern deserts, near the Iraqi border, a coalition military spokesman said Tuesday.
In addition, ISIS fighters are still active in Iraq, as evidenced by recent clashes in Kirkuk and Ramadi, despite the Baghdad government’s declaration in December 2017 that Iraq had been "completely liberated" from the Islamic State, said Army Col. Sean Ryan, a spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve.
In a recent clearing operation against ISIS in Ramadi, Iraqi Security Forces found about 1,000 improvised explosive devices that would have targeted the ISF and civilians, Ryan said.
In north-central Kirkuk, small pockets of ISIS still pose a threat, he added.
In Raqqa, residents who have returned are preparing to mark the one-year anniversary of the Oct. 17, 2017, liberation of the town that still-at large ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared as his caliphate’s capital.
International donors recently delivered 140 metric tons of wheat seed to Raqqa, something Ryan described as a "first beginning to a more peaceful Syria."
"Overall, ISIS is territorially defeated," he said, but the U.S.-backed and mostly Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces have yet to eliminate ISIS fighters in the Middle Euphrates River Valley. "They’re a very resilient enemy, no doubt about that," Ryan said.
Earlier Tuesday, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford told a security conference that foreign fighters are still entering Syria daily to bolster ISIS ranks. Ryan said ISIS fighters have access to enough food and water and sustain themselves indefinitely.
In defending the lengthy effort to inflict a final defeat on ISIS, Ryan said, "We’re degrading them every day," but the SDF "has been methodical in their approach" to moving against the remaining fighters. The advance has been slowed by ISIS’ use of a labyrinthine tunnel system and periodic counter-attacks, he said.
Civilians continue to escape from ISIS-held areas. "Make no mistake, ISIS is using these people as human shields," he said.

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15 October, 2018 07:30

Good morning Legionnaires and veterans advocates, today is Monday, October 15, 2018 which is I Love Lucy Day, National Cheese Curd Day, National Pug Day and International Day of Rural Women.
This Day/Weekend in Legion History:

  • Oct. 15, 1926: The team from American Legion Cook Post 321 of Yonkers, NY, defeats Pocatello, Idaho, by a score of 23-6 in the first American Legion Baseball World Series in Philadelphia. More than 1,100 spectators attend. The cost of running the world series, however, leads to a two-year hiatus until adequate funding can be obtained.
  • Oct. 15, 1926: At the 8th American Legion National Convention in Philadelphia, Gen. John “Black Jack” Pershing and Marshal Ferdinand Foch of France receive an honor bestowed upon no one else – election as honorary commander of The American Legion. “Legionnaires, it is a great pleasure to be here, and I want you all to know you can always count on me as one of you, as standing shoulder to shoulder, as we did together during the war," Pershing tells the crowd after receiving the recognition.
  • Oct. 15, 1953: An American Legion committee is approved to study the feasibility of a special fund for children’s programs after former American Legion Department of Arkansas Commander Dr. Garland Murphy, Jr., offers to the national organization fractional rights to 10,000 acres of oil-rich land he owns in the Williston Basin of Montana and North Dakota. In return, Murphy asks that proceeds from the contribution be used solely to serve children. Out of this contribution is born the American Legion’s Child Welfare Foundation.

This Day in History:

  • 1917: Mata Hari, the archetype of the seductive female spy, is executed for espionage by a French firing squad at Vincennes outside of Paris. She first came to Paris in 1905 and found fame as a performer of exotic Asian-inspired dances. She soon began touring all over Europe, telling the story of how she was born in a sacred Indian temple and taught ancient dances by a priestess who gave her the name Mata Hari, meaning “eye of the day” in Malay. In reality, Mata Hari was born in a small town in northern Holland in 1876, and her real name was Margaretha Geertruida Zelle. She acquired her superficial knowledge of Indian and Javanese dances when she lived for several years in Malaysia with her former husband, who was a Scot in the Dutch colonial army. Regardless of her authenticity, she packed dance halls and opera houses from Russia to France, mostly because her show consisted of her slowly stripping nude.
  • On this day in 1863, the C.S.S. Hunley, the world’s first successful combat submarine, sinks during a test run, killing its inventor and seven crewmembers.


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Long War Journal: Taliban confirms meeting with US delegation in Doha
BY tjoscelyn | @thomasjoscelyn
In a statement released today, the Taliban confirms that its representatives met with a team of American negotiators in Doha on Oct 12.
The Americans’ stated goal for the nascent talks is to have the Taliban reach a political settlement with the Afghan government. However, the Taliban recently rejected Afghanistan’s elections, calling for attacks to disrupt them. And the Taliban has consistently rejected President Ashraf Ghani’s government as illegitimate.
The group does not mention the current Afghan government in its message today. Nor does it say that Ghani had any representatives at the talks.
Instead, the jihadists again refer to themselves as representatives of the Taliban’s “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan” — the regime they seek to resurrect across Afghanistan.
The Taliban lists members of its “negotiation team” from “the Political Office of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan” as “the respected” Al Haj Sher Muhammad Abbas Stanikzai (the “head” of the office), Mawlawi Abdul Salam Hanafi (the “deputy” of the political office) and other members, including Shahabuddin Delawar, Qari Deen Muhammad Hanif, Al Haj Muhammad Zahid Ahmadzai and Muhammad Sohail Shaheen.
These men met with a US delegation led by Dr. Zalmay Khalilzad, who was recently appointed as the US special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation. According to the State Department, Khalilzad is visiting Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia as part of an effort “to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table.”
In August, Taliban leader Hibatullah Akhundzada blasted President Ashraf Ghani and his government.
Akhundzada did bless “direct dialogue” with the Americans, so long as the US accepts the “ground realities of Afghanistan” and deals with the “core issue,” meaning the inevitability of Taliban rule. He stressed that the talks would be focused on bringing an “end” to the “occupation of Afghanistan and nothing more.” [See FDD’s Long War Journal report, Taliban
leader demands US withdraw from Afghanistan, blasts government as ‘corrupt regime’
The Taliban employs similar themes in its message today, focusing on the presence of American and “foreign forces” in Afghanistan.
The organization says that the Oct. 12 meeting in Doha was “a discussion about ending occupation and working towards finding a peaceful resolution to the Afghan conflict.”
“The representatives of the Islamic Emirate identified [the] presence of foreign forces as the greatest obstacle obstructing true peace and solving problems, adding that Afghanistan is an Islamic country and has its own Islamic values and culture,” the Taliban’s statement continues. “Keeping that in mind, efforts must be made towards a true and intra-Afghan solution. At the end both sides agreed to continue holding meetings in the future.”
The Political Office of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan
The Doha office was opened in June 2013, after the Obama administration signed off on the move as part of a gambit to jumpstart previous attempts at negotiations. The opening of the Taliban’s political office added to tensions with the Afghan government at the time. The jihadists were not supposed to advertise themselves as the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan” in Doha, but they did just that.
The IEA is the name of the Taliban’s authoritarian regime, which ruled over Afghanistan prior to the US-led invasion in Oct. 2001. The Taliban has consistently referred to itself as the IEA in the years since, as the group hopes to resurrect its regime throughout much, if not all, of the country.
On opening day in June 2013, the Taliban unfurled a sign that read the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.” This offended the Afghan government under President Hamid Karzai, as it seemingly legitimized the Taliban’s government. The US had promised that the Taliban wouldn’t refer to itself in such a manner at the Doha office. The Americans also wanted the Taliban to read a statement renouncing al Qaeda and international terrorism at the time. No such statement was read in June 2013, or in the years since then.
In its new statement confirming the talks in Doha, the Taliban again referred to its presence as the “Political Office of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan” — the same name it wasn’t supposed to use more than five years ago. There is nothing in the Taliban’s message today, or in any other statement by the group, implying a separation from al Qaeda.
Al Qaeda continues to back the Taliban-led insurgency. Al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri argues that the Taliban’s Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan will be the “nucleus” of a new, global Islamic caliphate. Zawahiri has pledged his fealty to Akhundzada.
Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), which was established in Sept. 2014, continues to embed its fighters within the Taliban-led insurgency. AQIS says that one of its principal missions is to resurrect the IEA. [For more, see FDD’s Long War Journalreport: Al
Qaeda’s alliance with the Taliban ‘remains firm,’ UN says

Wash Examiner: Paul Ryan: Give Trump’s Afghanistan strategy a chance to succeed
by Travis J. Tritten
| October 12, 2018 11:35 AM

House Speaker Paul Ryan on Friday said he was “heartened” by progress and urged patience on President Trump’s strategy in Afghanistan following a two-day fact-finding tour of the country.
Afghan special forces and their commando troops have suffered significant casualties, but they are persevering against the Taliban following a decision by Trump last year to send an additional 4,000 troops to assist, Ryan said.
The speaker made the trip with Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, the House Armed Services chairman, to assess the new strategy as the war enters its 18th year. The two lawmakers traveled to three military camps in the country and met with senior leaders including Gen. Scott Miller, the new commander of U.S. forces there, and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
“After this visit, it is clear to me that the president’s South Asia strategy must be given an opportunity to succeed,” Ryan said. “Fighting terrorism in this region remains in our nation’s vital interest and it is clear the current momentum of our military campaign is underpinning our diplomatic efforts to set the conditions for reconciliation.”
Trump announced in August 2017 he would send additional troops after months of internal debate within the administration. The extra forces, as well as a regional approach applying pressure on Pakistan, is aimed at forcing the Taliban into a peace agreement.
Over the past year, the country has seen an uptick in violence and Taliban forces have staged major attacks on provincial centers. The group waged a dayslong siege in August on the city of Ghazni that resulted in tough fighting with Afghan forces backed by U.S. troops.
Afghan officials have estimated about 30-40 members of the Afghan security forces are killed per day on average, according to a recent New York Times report.
When confronted with a report that 500 were killed in August, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the figures sounded about right but denied that the losses are unsustainable and that the U.S. might be on the verge of losing a war of attrition.
“The Afghan Army has taken severe casualties over the last year and a half. They’ve stayed in the field fighting,” Mattis said during a rare press gaggle late last month.
The U.S. invaded Afghanistan in 2001 following the al Qaeda terror attacks of 9/11. As the war has continued, the U.S. has also worked for more than a decade to secure the country by building up army and national police forces controlled by the government in Kabul.
10 News: Filipino World War II veterans receive Congressional Gold Medals
Amber Bjorstrom
7:53 PM, Oct 14, 2018
7:53 PM, Oct 14, 2018
LINCOLN PARK (KGTV) – Filipino World War II veterans who fought under the American flag were honored at a luncheon in Lincoln Park on Sunday.
The event took place at the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation on Euclid Avenue.
More than 260,000 Filipino and Filipino American soldiers served the United States during the war, but their service was unrecognized for decades.Thatchanged when the Filipino Veterans of World War II Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2015 was passed and then signed into law by President Obama in 2016.
The veterans were honored with a bronze replica of the Congressional Gold Medal (CGM) for their service and sacrifice during World War II. A CGM is the highest civilian honor that Congress can bestow.
A total of 61 veterans were honored, with many family members accepting the honor for vets who have passed away. Ten living veterans were present to receive their medals.

VOA: Venezuelan Doctors on US Navy Mission to Help Compatriots
October 12, 2018 6:32 PM

A dozen Venezuelan doctors volunteered to join the USNS Comfort as the Navy hospital ship visits three South American countries that are struggling to cope with a flood of migrants from crisis-wracked Venezuela.
The doctors all live in the United States, but they wanted to help fellow Venezuelans who have fled widespread shortages of food and medicine amid an economic collapse that has pushed millions of people into poverty.
"This is like a Band-Aid" that will provide only temporary relief, said Dr. Marco Bologna, a cardiologist who now lives in Florida, where he is a member of the Venezuelan American Medical Association. "But it is the right thing to do and it helps us to do something for our country."
The Comfort has been described as a threat by Venezuela’s socialist government and it will not visit that country during its 11-week tour of Latin America. The ship sailed from Norfolk, Virginia, on Thursday.
It will spend several days at two Colombian ports, one of which is just a one-hour drive from the border with Venezuela. The ship will also dock at ports in Ecuador and Peru, two other nations that are now home to hundreds of thousands of struggling Venezuelans. It will wrap up its tour in the Central American country of Honduras.
U.S. officials said the itinerary was designed with several local needs in mind, including the plight of Venezuelan migrants who are desperately seeking health care. A report published this month by a group of Venezuelan civil society groups estimated 20,000 doctors have left Venezuela since 2012.
"Each of the countries that we will spot was closely consulted. We have worked closely with them to ensure that we are providing the right care, at the right time, and at the right locations," said Coast Guard Rear Adm. Steven Poullin, director of operations at the U.S. Southern Command. "Obviously one of the factors that we considered was the Venezuelan crisis and the opportunity to treat Venezuelan migrants."
750 patients a day
According to the United Nations, 1.9 million Venezuelans have left their country since 2015. The most recent migrants have little money for transport and many have been trying to reach their destinations on foot, in perilous journeys that can take several weeks.
The Venezuelan American Medical Association said it has been working with the Southern Command for several months to prepare the mission. It said more than 1,000 civilian doctors applied to serve on the ship, but there were spots for only a dozen volunteers on board the vessel, whose crew of 300 is made up mostly of Navy personnel.
One of the applicants who got left out was Gabriel Pinedo, a Venezuelan doctor who now delivers mail in Orlando, Florida, because he hasn’t been able to have his degree validated in the United States.
Pinedo said he is currently applying for asylum in the U.S. and his lawyer told him that it would not be wise to leave the country. "It is frustrating not to be able to go," he said. "I already saw myself there."
The Comfort is equipped to attend to 750 patients a day during its South American journey and doctors on the ship will be able to perform 20 surgeries a day.
Sanctions on Venezuela
The ship’s visit to South America comes just weeks after the U.S. put financial sanctions on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s wife. President Donald Trump has described Maduro as a dictator and said that "all options" are on the table when it comes to restoring democracy in Venezuela, including military intervention.
Venezuela’s government allowed a Chinese hospital ship to visit the country in September, but it has refused humanitarian aid from Western countries, arguing that such offers are just ploys for meddling in the country’s affairs.
The Venezuelan doctors on the Comfort said they would like to see officials open a "humanitarian channel" that would allow medicine and food to be delivered into the country regularly.
"What we are doing here has a limited scope," said Dr. Rafael Gottenger, a plastic surgeon on the mission. "But it is good to be able to help your people."
Military Times: Pentagon reveals cyber breach of travel records
By:Lolita C. Baldor, The Associated Press 2 days ago
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WASHINGTON — The Pentagon on Friday said there has been a cyber breach of Defense Department travel records that compromised the personal information and credit card data of U.S. military and civilian personnel.
According to a U.S. official familiar with the matter, the breach could have affected as many as 30,000 workers, but that number may grow as the investigation continues. The breach could have happened some months ago but was only recently discovered.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the breach is under investigation, said that no classified information was compromised.
According to a Pentagon statement, a department cyber team informed leaders about the breach on Oct. 4.
Lt. Col. Joseph Buccino, a Pentagon spokesman, said the department is still gathering information on the size and scope of the hack and who did it.
"It’s important to understand that this was a breach of a single commercial vendor that provided service to a very small percentage of the total population" of Defense Department personnel, said Buccino.
The vendor was not identified and additional details about the breach were not available.
“The department is continuing to assess the risk of harm and will ensure notifications are made to affected personnel,” said the statement, adding that affected individuals will be informed in the coming days and fraud protection services will be provided to them.
Buccino said that due to security reasons, the department is not identifying the vendor. He said the vendor is still under contract, but the department "has taken steps to have the vendor cease performance under its contracts."
Disclosure of the breach comes on the heels of a federal report released Tuesday that concluded that military weapons programs are vulnerable to cyberattacks and the Pentagon has been slow to protect the systems. And it mirrors a number of other breaches that have hit federal government agencies in recent years, exposing health data, personal information, and social security numbers.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office in its Tuesday report said the Pentagon has worked to ensure its networks are secure, but only recently began to focus more on its weapons systems security. The audit, conducted between September 2017 and October 2018, found that there are “mounting challenges in protecting its weapons systems from increasingly sophisticated cyber threats.”
In 2015, a massive hack of the federal Office of Personnel Management, widely blamed on China’s government, compromised personal information of more than 21 million current, former and prospective federal employees, including those in the Pentagon. It also likely occurred months before it was discovered and made public, and it eventually led to the resignation of the OPM director.
Also that year, hackers breached into the email system used by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, affecting several thousand military and civilian workers.
The Defense Department has consistently said that its networks and systems are probed and attacked thousands of times a day.

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12 October, 2018 07:03

Our Webpage is back to life!


Thanks for patience All!



12 October, 2018 06:25

Good morning Legionnaires and veterans advocates, today is Friday, October 12, 2018 which is Freethought Day, National Gumbo Day, Old Farmers Day and International Moment of Frustration Scream Day.

This Day/Weekend in Legion History:

· Oct. 12, 1950: Erle Cocke, Jr., of Dawson, Ga., who was wounded three times and escaped German captivity three times during World War II – once having been shot multiple times and left for dead among the corpses of his fellow soldiers – becomes the youngest American Legion national commander. He is 29 years old when elected at the 32nd National Convention, in Los Angeles. His father, Egbert Erle Cocke, Sr., was an American Legion national vice commander in 1922 and 1923.

· Oct. 12, 2011: The redesigned American Legion office, printing and distribution center at 5745 Lee Road at Fort Harrison in Indianapolis is dedicated in memory of American Legion Past National Commander John H. Geiger of Illinois. Geiger, who led the organization in 1971 and 1972, was instrumental in the siting, architecture and construction of the 64,000-square-foot facility, which would house Emblem Sales and Information Technology divisions of the organization, as well as mass-mailing operations, membership and fundraising services. Geiger passed away Jan. 10, 2011.

· Oct. 13, 2009: The Department of Veterans Affairs announces that it will recognize three additional health conditions – ischemic heart disease, Parkinson’s Disease and hairy cell leukemia – as presumptive service-connected illnesses caused by exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. More than 200,000 veterans are expected to receive benefits and treatment from VA as a result of the decision, which is based on an Institute of Medicine report. The American Legion, although pleased with the decision, continues to fight for acceptance of conditions suffered by veterans who served at sea, in the air and stateside who were exposed to Agent Orange, not only those who came into contact with it on the ground in the Vietnam War. More than a year will pass before VA’s published addition of the diseases is reviewed and approved by Congress, in late 2011.

This Day in History:

· 1492: After sailing across the Atlantic Ocean, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus sights a Bahamian island, believing he has reached East Asia. His expedition went ashore the same day and claimed the land for Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain, who sponsored his attempt to find a western ocean route to China, India, and the fabled gold and spice islands of Asia.

· 2000: At 12:15 p.m. local time, a motorized rubber dinghy loaded with explosives blows a 40-by-40-foot hole in the port side of the USS Cole, a U.S. Navy destroyer that was refueling at Aden, Yemen. Seventeen sailors were killed and 38 wounded in the attack, which was carried out by two suicide terrorists alleged to be members of Saudi exile Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda terrorist network.


· Military Times: Veterans, military retirees will see a 2.8 percent COLA boost for 2019

· Army Times: More doctor visits, more money: Obese soldiers may be too expensive to keep, Army study suggests

· Marine Corps Times: Broken feet and hurt shoulders: Male Marines have far more injuries than women at Infantry Officer Course

· FoxNews: Veterans are sleeping in their cars at VA medical centers

· Business Insider: Trump just met with a classic-rock legend and a missile-defense expert — and it was the same guy

If you wish to be removed from this email list, kindly email me at mseavey with “Remove from Daily Clips” in the subject line. If you have received this from someone who forwarded it and would like to be added, email me at mseavey and I will promptly add you to the list, that you might get the daily American Legion News.

Military Times: Veterans, military retirees will see a 2.8 percent COLA boost for 2019

By: Leo Shane III   20 hours ago

WASHINGTON — Veterans receiving disability pay and military retirees will see a 2.8 percent cost-of-living boost starting in December, their largest increase in six years.

On Thursday, Social Security Administration officials announced that the cost-of-living adjustment for 2019 for their beneficiaries will be 2.8 percent, the biggest increase since 2012. Last year the increase was 2 percent, and the previous three years were only 2 percent combined.

Under current law, annual cost-of-living increases are automatic for Social Security benefits, meaning the executive branch can enact them without intervention from Congress. Certain other federal benefits, such as military retiree payouts, are also automatically boosted by that decision.

But the Social Security announcement also serves as the baseline for a host of other federal benefits calculations that do require yearly reauthorization, including Department of Veterans Affairs payouts.

Congress finalized work on the veterans benefits cost-of-living issue late last month. On Tuesday, President Donald Trump signed the measure into law.

The end result is a boost in disability pay, dependents compensation, clothing allowances and a handful of other veterans benefits, set to start at the beginning of January.

Earlier this week, House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Phil Roe, R-Tenn., praised his colleagues and the White House for ensuring that veterans would not be left without the extra assistance.

“So many veterans rely on disability compensation payments to make ends meet, and this cost-of-living adjustment means that they will be able to continue to do so,” he said in a statement.

Veterans advocates have pushed for years to make the veterans COLA adjustments automatic like the military retiree payouts, but have found little legislative success.

Social Security Administration officials said more than 67 million Americans are affected by the change. The cost-of-living increases are based on current and anticipated rates of inflation.

For a veteran or military retiree receiving $1,500 a month in benefits payouts, the COLA increase equates to more than $500 extra over the course of a year.

Army Times: More doctor visits, more money: Obese soldiers may be too expensive to keep, Army study suggests

By: Tara Copp   13 hours ago

Almost one in five active duty male soldiers in 2015 was obese, and one-half were overweight.

Now, for the first time, the Army is calculating the costs of those added pounds to better understand: At what point is a soldier too expensive to keep?

Army doctor Maj. Brian Shiozawa has led this effort, analyzing the height and weight data of 429,793 active male soldiers in fiscal year 2015, then cross-referencing those records with the soldiers’ visits to military treatment facilities, TRICARE data, and inpatient and outpatient medical claims during the same time frame.

What Shiozawa found is that obese soldiers used almost double the medical resources than their normal-weight counterparts did in almost every medical category except multiple trauma — which he thinks may be an indicator that obese soldiers are not deploying to combat, where that type of medical emergency would be more likely.

Obese male soldiers went to the doctor on average 13 times that year; normal-weight soldiers went seven times a year. More time at the doctor can mean less time training, less time being deployable, and a greater financial cost to DoD resources, Shiozawa said, which increases risk to readiness, he said.

Shiozawa first presented his research last week at the Obesity Medicine Association’s fall summit in Washington, D.C.

“Are we employing them to go to the doctor, or are they fit to fight the nation’s wars?" Shiozawa said. “At what point do we say to service members, ‘You may be costing us more [than you provide to the military?]’ Maybe we need a BMI ceiling. We are spending three to four times as much to maintain you than what we get from you.”

Shiozawa, a resident at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, conducted the research on his own initiative. He was inspired to do it after serving as a battalion surgeon.

“My goal, professionally, is to become an expert on Army obesity," he said, "It’s an epidemic that is facing us.”

The risk obesity has placed on military readiness has been front and center over the last year as each service has begun to target service members who are unfit to deploy.

In the study, 19.7 percent of the almost 430,000 male soldiers reported a body mass index greater than 30, which qualifies as obese, and 51.2 percent of the total population reported a BMI between 25 and 30, qualifying as overweight. The largest percentage of obese soldiers were between the ages of 25 and 34.

“Obesity is the number one reason that disqualifies potential applicants from enlistment,” Shiozawa said. “If we can’t raise and maintain an Army, then we failed to meet our mission.”

Shiozawa found obese soldiers went to physical therapy and mental health sessions more often, and even though they made up one-fifth of the population, obese soldiers used 46 percent of the medical appointments that were billed to address related diseases, such as hypertension or diabetes.

He is still working on estimating the costs to DoD in terms of lost time and resources spent, which vary depending on what type of medical appointment was needed.

Shiozawa’s study aims to give Army leadership the data necessary to better understand the impact obesity has on the force, and give them the information needed to better understand if there’s a point that service members are too expensive to keep.

“Leaders need data to make those decisions,” Shiozawa said.

The model used in the Army study can also be used to crunch the other services’ obesity data and doctor’s visits to determine if the trends he found in the Army ring true in the Navy, Air Force and Marines, Shiozawa said.

Marine Corps Times: Broken feet and hurt shoulders: Male Marines have far more injuries than women at Infantry Officer Course

By: Shawn Snow   11 hours ago

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The Corps’ 13-week Infantry Officer Course, or IOC, has a reputation of being one of the most physically demanding courses in the Marines. Only two women have thus far successfully navigated the school.

But, despite the low graduation rate among female candidates at IOC, their male colleagues have had far more injuries over the past two years.

From June 2016 until June 2018, there were 41 reported injuries at IOC, but only one was a female Marine who sustained a bruised rib, according to data obtained by Marine Corps Times through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The injury rates further question a controversial study pushed by the Marine Corps in 2015 that highlighted that mixed gendered grunt squads underperformed male teams. That study also suggested female Marines might sustain higher injury rates in the infantry.

The results shed some light on the otherwise tight-lipped school that has been spotlighted in recent years over what some activist groups have perceived as unfair standards and practices that have stymied female success at the Marine schoolhouse.

As a matter of perspective, 18 women have graduated from the Army’s elite Ranger School, according to Army Times.

However, the data is less than a perfect representation of injury rates along gender lines at IOC.

Few women have even attempted the IOC course.

As of June 2018, roughly 38 women have attempted IOC, about eight have attended since the job field was open to women, and thus far, only two have graduated.

Marine Corps Times had requested nearly 10 years of data to more than adequately cover the time span women have been allowed to attend IOC.

But Marine officials said IOC only maintains data spanning two years. This means much of the data pertaining to the first group of female Marines to enter IOC is unavailable.

By April 2015, 29 women had already failed IOC as part of the Corps’ initial integration study, putting the data obtained by Marine Corps Times outside this important time period.

The data also doesn’t adequately cover injuries that may have been sustained prior to recent changes to hikes and graduation requirements implemented at IOC. Changes that may have been made to boost graduation rates but also reduce injuries at the school.

The Corps removed the Combat Endurance Test as a strict graduation requirement, lowered the number of evaluated hikes to pass IOC to three, and added a new primer course at The Basic School to better prepare incoming IOC candidates.

Participation in all nine hikes at IOC is still a requirement, the Corps merely changed which hikes are evaluated. And poor performance in any event can still be used to fail a candidate.

Marine officials contend those changes were implemented to reduce attrition rates, which soared as high as 25 percent in 2014, and to properly align the curriculum to actual standards outlined in the infantry training and readiness manual.

But the Corps also found “that the standards that were implemented at IOC were done by a local commander, you know based on his experience, but we’re breaking people … we were putting 150-160 pounds on Marines and breaking them at a very young age,” Lt. Gen. Michael G. Dana, the deputy commandant of Marine Corps Installations and Logistics, said to lawmakers in March at a readiness hearing.

Overall the biggest injury cases at IOC were 15 stress fractures of the feet, five sprains and four shoulder injuries. There were also a couple of broken feet and dislocated knees.

As a testament to the grueling nature of IOC, there were also two reported cases of rhabdomyolysis and a case of hyponatremia.

Rhabdomyolysis is a rare condition where muscle fibers break down into the bloodstream. This can happen from extreme overworking of the muscles either from someone who is out of shape and ill prepared for a physical routine, or from elite athletes who push too hard on their workouts.

The condition can result in kidney failure or death.

Hyponatremia is a result of abnormally low levels of sodium in the bloodstream that can result in muscle spasms, seizure, or coma. There are numerous causes for hyponatremia, but one of them is drinking too much water due to an intense workout.

But out of all these injuries, only one bruised rib was sustained by a female Marine at IOC.

Moreover, the Corps says none of the injuries over the two-year period resulted in a medical or administrative separation.

But, over the past ten years, two Marines were medically separated for IOC-related injuries, one in 2011 and another in 2015, according to data pulled by the Marine Corps Total Force System.

FoxNews: Veterans are sleeping in their cars at VA medical centers

By Caleb Parke | Fox News

U.S. veterans are forgoing treatment at Veterans’ Affairs clinics due to the high cost of lodging in some areas, but one group has a solution.

Billy Bryels, a retired Vietnam Veteran and double Purple Heart awardee, told Fox News he slept in his car several times because of the high hotel costs, much like several of his fellow veterans.

But today he is one of many who goes to the “Lee & Penny Anderson Defenders Lodge” located in Palo Alto, California, where veterans and their caregiver can stay in the state-of-the-art $17 million facility free of charge. He called it a God-send for veterans getting treatment.

“What are other veterans doing if they don’t have a Defender’s Lodge available to them?” Bryels asked. “I hope this kind of facility continues across the country.”

It was an idea former VA Palo Alto Health Care System Director and CEO Lisa Freeman thought of after hearing stories like Bryels’ of the veteran’s plight. Today, a hotel room runs at about $300-400/night in the area.


“We didn’t have anything,” Freeman told Fox News. “We tried several things – beds in the hospital, hotel vouchers – but the biggest thing the Defenders Lodge provided was capacity and consistency.”

The Defenders Lodge was the result of a public-private partnership between the VA and the PenFed Foundation, which raised $11 million in donations to fund the construction of the lodge. The 52 room facility can house up to 104 veterans and has a dining room, library, and private outdoor spaces. Freeman said it is full every night of the year.

The Palo Alto VA is one of five Level One Polytrauma Centers in the nation and accommodates nearly one million outpatient visits per year. It offers specialized programs such as a Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center, a Spinal Cord Injury Center, a Comprehensive Rehabilitation Center and a Traumatic Brain Injury Center.

“We have been overwhelmed by the generosity from PenFed – and the community – even with people that don’t have veterans in their family – people of whatever political stripe – they set that aside, when you’re talking about doing this for veterans, and they’re just very generous in doing so,” Freeman added.

The Defenders Lodge officially opened in 2014. The organization celebrated and honored the people who helped bring it all together Monday night, including former Secretary of State George Shultz and Condoleezza Rice.

“Our veterans deserve our nation’s support,” James Schenck, PenFed Credit Union President and CEO told Fox News. “Let’s make sure that medical emergencies don’t turn into financial emergencies, and that’s what we’re here to do.”

[Editor’s Note: Today is a somewhat slow news day, so am including this next one to round out 5 stories, largely because I find it fascinating, albeit probably
not vital for Veterans/Military news… but if someone had told me that the guitarist for the Doobie Brothers was an expert on Missiles, I wouldn’t believe it in 10,000 years. Not unlike when I learned that Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson owned the largest Salmon
hatchery in Scotland.]

Business Insider: Trump just met with a classic-rock legend and a missile-defense expert — and it was the same guy

Jeff "Skunk" Baxter has earned eight platinum records in a music career that started in the 1960s, and he has received numerous security clearances and contracting jobs since the 1980s as a self-taught expert on missile-defense and counterterrorism.

Baxter was one of many luminaries at the White House on Thursday to watch President Donald Trump sign the Music Modernization Act, which reforms copyright laws.

Unlike every other musician in the room, including Kid Rock, Baxter has built a successful second career as a defense consultant.

Baxter dropped out of college in Boston in 1969 to join a short-lived psychedelic-rock band. After that, he moved to California and become one of the original six members of Steely Dan, which he left in 1974 to join the Doobie Brothers, which he left in 1979.

Baxter has said he "fell into his second profession almost by accident."

While living in California in the 1970s, Baxter helped a neighbor dig out their house after a mudslide.

"Afterward, he invited me into his study and I saw all these pictures of airplanes and missiles on the wall — it turned out he was one of the guys who had invented the Sidewinder missile," Baxter said in a 2013 interview. "As a gift for helping him clean out his house he gave me a subscription to Aviation Week and to Jane’s Defense. It was amazing."

Baxter found the technical aspects of music and of defense, particularly missile defense, coincided.

"Technology is really neutral. It’s just a question of application," he told MTV in 2001. "For instance, if TRW came up with a new data compression algorithms for their spy satellites, I could use that same information and apply it for a musical instrument or a hard disc recording unit. So it was just a natural progression."

He immersed himself in technical journals and defense publications during the 1980s.

"The good news is that I live in America and am something of a, I guess the term is an "autodidact," he said in 2013, when asked about his formal education. "There’s so much information available. The opportunity for self-education in this country is enormous."

The big shift came in 1994.

Inspired by a friend’s work on an op-ed about NATO, Baxter sat down and punched out a five-page paper on the Aegis ship-based antiaircraft missile system, arguing it could be converted to a missile-defense system.

"One day, I don’t know what happened. I sat down at my Tandy 200 and wrote this paper about how to convert the Aegis weapon system," he said in a 2016 speech. "I have no idea. I just did it."

Baxter, who had recently retired as a reserve police officer in Los Angeles, was already in touch with California Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher as an adviser. Baxter gave his paper to Rohrabacher.

"Skunk really blew my mind with that report," Rohrabacher told The Wall Street Journal in 2005. "He was talking over my head half the time, and the fact that he was a rock star who had basically learned it all on his own was mind-boggling."

Rohrabacher gave the paper to Pennsylvania Rep. Curt Weldon, a Republican and member of the House Armed Services Committee, who asked, "Is this guy from Raytheon or Boeing?" according to Baxter.

Rohrabacher replied, "No, he’s a guitar player for the Doobie Brothers."

Like Rohrabacher, Weldon was struck by Baxter’s prowess. In 1995, he nominated Baxter to chair the Civilian Advisory Board for Ballistic Missile Defense, a congressional panel.

"The next thing I knew, I was up to my teeth in national security, mostly in missile defense, but because the pointy end of the missile sometimes is not just nuclear, but chemical, biological or volumetric, I got involved in the terrorism side of things," Baxter told MTV in 2001.

The appointment to the panel "sort of opened up a door for me to end up working in the Strategic Defense Initiative Organization (SDIO), which then morphed into the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO), which then morphed into the Missile Defense Agency (MDA)," Baxter said in 2013.

He’s also worked with the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency and contractors like Northrup Grumman.

"We did some pretty cool stuff," Baxter said in 2016 of his work on SDI, which President Ronald Reagan first proposed in 1983. "Reagan’s plan was a bit much. It was a plan to drive the Russians nuts, and it worked. They believed what we were doing was real and spent lots of money trying to counter it."

He was also a hit at the Pentagon.

"Some of these people who are generals now were listening to my music when they were lieutenant colonels or lieutenant commanders, so there was a bond there," Baxter said in 2001. "But what they realized is that they’re looking for people who think out of the box, who approach a problem with a very different point of view because we’re talking about asymmetrical warfare here."

Military leaders brought him in to consult, regularly asking him to play the role of the enemy during war games.

"I’m told I make a very good bad guy," Baxter said in 2005. People who worked with him also told The Journal he could be a self-promoter.

Baxter has kept up his musical work. He became a sought-after session guitarist, working with acts like Dolly Parton, Rod Stewart, and Eric Clapton.

In 2004 he flew 230,000 miles to reach all his gigs. That year he also made more money from his defense work than from music.

For his part, Baxter has pointed to his creativity as his biggest asset.

"We thought turntables were for playing records until rappers began to use them as instruments, and we thought airplanes were for carrying passengers until terrorists realized they could be used as missiles," he said in 2005.

"My big thing is to look at existing technologies and try to see other ways they can be used, which happens in music all the time and happens to be what terrorists are incredibly good at."


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