What Is The Fourth Estate?

I know you have heard the term “Fourth Estate”, right?

In case you are ignorant of the term…..let me assist you…..

The term “fourth estate” is used to describe the press. Describing journalists and the news outlets for which they work as members of the fourth estate is an acknowledgment of their influence and status among the greatest powers of a nation, the author William Safire once wrote.

The term goes back centuries when it applied to any unofficial group that wielded public influence, including a mob.

https://www.thoughtco.com/what-is-the-fourth-estate-3368058

Now that you have the background on the term “Fourth Estate”….that is NOT what this post is about.

The Fourth Estate is a term used within the Pentagon to mean any thing other than military ……..

The term “Fourth Estate” — first popularized as a way to describe the press as a non-governmental actor in society — has in recent decades been appropriated as shorthand for the Defense Department’s agencies and activities that are not part of the military branches: the Departments of the Army, Navy, and Air Force.

The distinction between these “DOD Components” and the “military components” is laid out in DoD Instruction 7730.64. As a 2018 GAO report put it, the “DOD has defined Fourth Estate organizations as DOD organizations, other than the
military services, that have DOD manpower resources.”

These organizations include the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, DOD field activities, and the combatant commands. The list also includes more than two dozen defense agencies, including the: Defense Logistics Agency, Defense Finance and Accounting Service, Defense Contract Management Agency, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Missile Defense Agency, and more.

https://www.defenseone.com/news/2020/02/what-pentagons-fourth-estate/162939/

Now you know something that does not mean a damn thing to you….but at least you can say you learned something thanx to the old professor….

Learn Stuff!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Afghanistan–2020

If you care just a little about what the US is doing in Afghanistan then I have a report for you……DoD 1225 Report On Afghanistan….

On January 23, 2020, The Department of Defense provided to Congress the DOD 1225 report on Afghanistan. The semiannual report, Enhancing Security and Stability in Afghanistan, covers events during the period of June 1 to November 30, 2019.

The principle goal of the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan has not changed during this reporting period. It remains to achieve a “durable and inclusive political settlement to the war that protects the United States homeland from terrorist attacks.” The U.S. is currently engaged in efforts to find a political settlement with the Taliban and the U.S. military mission is in support of diplomatic efforts to achieve a political settlement as well as to conduct counterterrorism operations.

This 93-page 1225 report states that there are still challenges within the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF). Chief among these challenges are corruption, attrition of the force, and the inability to conduct logistical planning. These challenges remain a focus of the Resolute Support Mission.

The report is divided into several sections:

  • Section 1 – Strategy and Objectives
  • Section 2 – Threat Assessment
  • Section 3 – Overview of ANDSF
  • Section 4 – MOD and ANA
  • Section 5 – MOI and ANP
  • Section 6 – Financing the ANDSF
  • Annex A – Acronyms

Enhancing Security and Stability in Afghanistan
DOD 1225 Report, December 2019
U.S. Department of Defense
https://media.defense.gov/2020/Jan/23/2002238296/-1/-1/1/1225-REPORT-DECEMBER-2019.PDF

I think all Americans should read this report and check to see where your money is being spent….then take a look if it is being spent wisely (hint:  It is NOT)

https://media.defense.gov/2020/Jan/23/2002238296/-1/-1/1/1225-REPORT-DECEMBER-2019.PDF

But how is this conflict going?

Glad you asked for I can present you with an answer…..

A sampling of curated news, commentary, and analysis about America’s longest war – or the Afghanistan quagmire . Topics include security, governance, Resolute Support, ANDSF, elections, peace negotiations, and more from the past month.

Afghanistan Conflict Update – January 2020

If you want the best information available on our many wars then I suggest that you…..

Watch This Blog!

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Closing Thought–28Jan20

A Serious Lack Of Imagination!

By now most will be aware that we have a new a separate military branch, the Space Force…..and just last week the new “logo” was released…..

Notice anything?

The Pentagon’s new US Space Force is not Star Trek’s Starfleet Command, but their logos bear a striking similarity, the AP reports. President Trump unveiled the Space Force logo Friday, writing on Twitter that he had consulted with military leaders and designers before presenting the blue-and-white symbol, which features an arrowhead shape centered on a planetary background and encircled by the words, “United States Space Force” and “Department of the Air Force.” The logo, which bears the date 2019 in Roman numerals, also is similar in design to that of Air Force Space Command, from which Space Force was created by legislation that Trump signed in last month. (See a comparison of the Space Force logo and the Starfleet Command logo here.)

Space Force explained the logo in a statement late Friday: “The delta symbol, the central design element in the seal, was first used as early as 1942 by the US Army Air Forces; and was used in early Air Force space organization emblems dating back to 1961. Since then, the delta symbol has been a prominent feature in military space community emblems.” Space Force is the first new military service since the Air Force was created in 1947. It is meant mainly to improve protection of US satellites and other space assets, rather than to put warriors in orbit to conduct combat in outer space. “After consultation with our Great Military Leaders, designers, and others, I am pleased to present the new logo for the United States Space Force, the Sixth Branch of our Magnificent Military!” Trump wrote. George Takei, who played Mr. Sulu in the original Star Trek TV series and films, tweeted in response, “Ahem. We are expecting some royalties from this.”

First the logo illustrates a serious lack of imagination then secondly…if it is a separate military force why is it labelled with United States Air Force as well?

Well the Trump administration will never be known for its imagination…..anyway.

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Closing Thought–23Jan20

I have been an opponent of the massive amount of spending that tghe country does on its so-called defense.

We have American citizens starving and dying of inadequate health care but yet we can spend trillions on worthless endless wars.

Those damn defense contractors! (Let me state here that not all contractors for the defense department are crooks….but there are too many as it is now)…….

Shell companies….tjose techniques used by drug dealers and terrorists to hide their money are also employed by some defense contractors…..

Shell companies have come under attack for obscuring illicit money flowing into real estate. But it turns out they’re also a problem for the Pentagon.

Some Defense Department suppliers have used such front companies to fraudulently win manufacturing bids, according to a U.S. Government Accountability Office study of Defense Department contractors.

In some cases, the shell companies helped contractors obscure that they were making U.S. military equipment abroad, the GAO said, posing a risk to national security and quality control. More often, they were used to win contracts meant for companies owned by disabled veterans or minorities, it said.

The government watchdog reviewed 32 cases that made their way to criminal prosecutions or lawsuits between 2012 and 2018. Taken together, they illustrate how the Pentagon’s $350 billion in annual contracting can be gamed using companies that exist largely on paper.

The problem could be far bigger, since the GAO’s study wasn’t intended to gauge its scope. The watchdog said the Pentagon had made only spotty efforts to pierce the secrecy of shell companies.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-01-04/how-the-pentagon-was-duped-by-contractors-using-shell-companies

32 cases and $350 billion…….

Whatever happened to “oversight”?

Apparently that is a thing of the past as long as the Congress gets most of the cash from lobbyists and corporations.

This is a pathetic sytory that plays out every budget and the American people just shrug and allow their money to be pissed away on crap and politicians.

Plus the M-IC can get away with murder…..

According to the Washington Post, General Dynamics is “the fourth-largest corporate recipient of US government contract dollars” and Mattis himself one of at least 50 “high-level government officials” hired by defense contractors since the Trump era began. In fact, on the very board that Mattis rejoined sit six other former military officers and officials, including a former Navy admiral, a former Air Force general, a former deputy secretary of defense, and Novakovic herself who once worked for the CIA and the Pentagon. And while we’re on the subject, don’t forget about all those figures from the world of the weapons makers who have headed the other way like Mark Esper, the current secretary of defense, who was previously a lobbyist for Raytheon.

How The Military-Industrial Complex Gets Away With Murder

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Closing Thought–17Jan20

I think most Americans agree that this Iranian general was a “bad guy”….and it is a matter opinion on whether he deserved assassination….my opinion is that he did not especially since he was carrying some peace offering to the Saudis.

There seems to be a disconnect between the officials and the American people…..a new poll shows the divide…..

A new poll from Politico-Morning Consult shows the American public substantially less on board with escalatory violence against Iran than media coverage of the situation would generally lead one to believe.

The poll showed the decision to assassinate top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani was highly controversial. Despite weeks of vilifying Soleimani, only 44% support his killing, and 38% continue to disapprove.

There was a lot more unity on the response to Iran’s retaliation for the killing, with 71% approving of not responding militarily to that, and only 14% disapproving. It seems further escalating the conflict is something almost nobody wanted.

(antiwar.com)

That said….the president and his boyz have said that the US embassies were in danger is one reason he was taken out…..okay but so far their explanations have been far short of convincing…..and since their story has fallen apart the Pentagon has decided that Congress does not need that briefing they were promised…..

The State Department’s cancellation of two classified congressional briefings to address embassy security and Iran policy sparked lawmakers’ ire in Wednesday, according to Politico.

“This briefing is required by law every month, and today’s was the most important we’ve had scheduled in a long time,” a House aide told the publication. “The State Department has given us no explanation whatsoever.”

Several senior Foggy Bottom officials — including Brian Hook, special envoy for Iran, and David Schenker, assistant secretary of State for the Middle East — were scheduled to brief the Senate Foreign Relations Committee prior to the cancellation, Politico reported, citing a Senate aide.

Initially the embassy security briefing was to address conditions in the East African nation of Burundi, but the topic was broadened to general facility security amid U.S./Iran tensions following the U.S. killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike.

The White House initially claimed the strike was in response to an unspecified imminent threat posed by Soleimani, but President Trump later told Fox News host Laura Ingraham that Soleimani was plotting attacks on four U.S. embassies, which contradicted a briefing that administration officials gave lawmakers in the aftermath of the strike. Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Sunday conceded that he had not seen intelligence showing an imminent embassy attack.

(thehill.com)

Just thought you might like to know the rest of the story……

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Does America Need A Space Force?

Not to worry…today will be a short day since Christmas Eve is all about prep for the Big Day…..

I may be one of the few bloggers that are keeping an eye on the news about a new military service, the Space Force. Many Americans are not paying attention but they will when this new force starts siphoning off funds that should go to our society to help make it strong.

In an age when tax cuts deplete the treasury quicker than in the past it would be smart to make sure this thing does not grow out of control as the DoD has done since WW2.

That said the question is….”Does America Need a Space Force?

My opinion is NO way….but there are others that have an opinion….

How quickly the Space Force develops will depend in part on the outcome of this year’s National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, which in the short term at least is focused on parallel proposals to create a “space corps” in the House or a “space command” in the Senate under the supervision of the Air Force, which may or may not be a stepping stone towards a full-fledged Space Force.

As members of the Center for International Policy’s Sustainable Defense Task Force, we have strongly urged that a Space Force not be created, because it is likely to increase bureaucratic waste, encourage the development of costly and unworkable high-tech weapons systems, and to focus attention on the further militarization of space rather than how best to cooperatively manage the risks to America’s civilian and military space assets. It is also likely to be costly—recent reporting by Bloombergindicates even the limited Space Development Agency would cost nearly $11 billion over the next 5 years.

https://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2019/10/does-america-need-space-force/160475/

Defense One and I are in agreement…maybe not for the same reason but they say we do not need…I agree…..

But there are others that have opinions on this….

The war of words over how to organize the prospective space force is heating up as the likelihood of major change grows. The manner in which a space force is organized will entrench certain visions of the future over others. As I discuss in a recent report, much of the current upheaval stems from the jousting of six different schools of thought capturing different visions of what future wars will look like and the role of space in those wars. While no single person falls entirely within one school, by clarifying the distinctions between these schools, we can better understand the different visions of future war the various organizational schemes and their advocates seek to institutionalize.

So what are they?

Six Competing Visions for a Space Force

For me the venture into space militarily is a violation of the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 of which the US did sign…..http://www.unoosa.org/oosa/en/ourwork/spacelaw/treaties/introouterspacetreaty.html

After I wrote this draft it became official…Trump will get his Space Force…….

President Trump celebrated on Friday the launch of Space Force, the first new military service in more than 70 years, the AP reports. In signing the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act that includes Space Force, Trump claimed a victory for one of his top national security priorities just two days after being impeached by the House. It is part of a $1.4 trillion government spending package—including the Pentagon’s budget—that provides a steady stream of financing for Trump’s US-Mexico border fence and reverses unpopular and unworkable automatic spending cuts to defense and domestic programs. “Space is the world’s new war-fighting domain,” Trump said Friday during a signing ceremony at Joint Base Andrews just outside Washington. “Among grave threats to our national security, American superiority in space is absolutely vital. And we’re leading, but we’re not leading by enough, and very shortly we’ll be leading by a lot.”

Space Force has been a reliable applause line at Trump’s political rallies, but for the military it’s seen more soberly as an affirmation of the need to more effectively organize for the defense of US interests in space—especially satellites used for navigation and communication. Space Force is not designed or intended to put combat troops in space. Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters Friday, “Our reliance on space-based capabilities has grown dramatically, and today outer space has evolved into a warfighting domain of its own.” Maintaining dominance in space, he said, will now be Space Force’s mission. Instead of being its own military department, like the Navy, Army, and Air Force, the Space Force will be administered by the Secretary of the Air Force. Space Force will be the provider of forces to US Space Command, a separate organization established earlier this year as the overseer of the military’s space operations.

https://www.airforcetimes.com/news/your-military/2019/12/21/the-space-force-is-officially-the-sixth-military-branch-heres-what-that-means/

Just more money wasted on more adventurism!

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

M-IC: Make A Killing From Killing

I have been an antiwar supporter for many decades and have tried to bring the control of the Military-Industrial Complex over the foreign policy of the US……

If you would like a refresher…..https://lobotero.com/2019/01/28/what-is-the-military-industrial-complex/

The M-IC has made trillions over the last 70 years…..

Though I encounter students and other young people who have never heard the term I hope most Americans are aware of the “Military Industrial Complex.” In his final speech to the nation President Eisenhower, surprisingly since he oversaw much of its formation, warned citizens of the growing danger of the “permanent armaments industry” controlled by those who owned and profited greatly from this new scientific and technological establishment. Many of the giant arms industries, both industrial and high tech, that dominate the corporate landscape today came into existence as the result of war and would long ago have gone out of business in the absence of the guaranteed government profits flowing from the manufactured wars that sustain them today.

Few citizens have ever heard of Charles Wilson of the General Electric Corporation who served as the “czar” of arms production during World War II. In 1944 as victory loomed the nation awaited the return of 16 million veterans. Would unemployment and bread lines await them again? “What we need,” said Wilson, is a “permanent war economy,” neglecting to add that such a scheme would also require permanent enemies.

Making a Killing From Killing

Too many people do not realize how much power the M-IC has over the process of government….and we were warned by Ike but it was NOT heeded…..

But if my reader is still in the dark about the M-IC then please watch this short video and learn…..

WE all should be aware of this because of the siphon it has on taxpayer money….money that YOU pay for every pay check.

Be Smart!

Learn Stuff!

“Lego Ergo Scribo”