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Army and Air Force Botched Adoptions of Military Working Dogs, Report Finds

Staff Sgt. Shawn Martinez and Bono, a tactical explosive detection dog, inspect an Afghan truck for explosives near Forward Operating Base Sharana, Afghanistan. (U.S. Army photo by 2nd Lt. Jacob Giardini)

By Debbie Gregory.

The Inspector General’s office has determined that the Army failed their canine soldiers once their work in Afghanistan ended.

The tactical explosive detection dogs (TEDDs) were also let down by the Air Force, as the agent for the Defense Department’s Military Working Dog Program.

Lacking proper oversight of the placements and adoptions of the dogs “occurred without complete adoption suitability records and some families adopted TEDDs with possible aggressive or unsuitable tendencies,” according to the IG’s report.

The IG found cases where a dog that was trained to bite or was aggressive was given to a family with small children. Many of the dogs weren’t neutered or tracked properly.

Army data show that of 232 dogs, only 40 were adopted by their handlers.

An important thing to remember is that not all Military Working Dogs (MWDs) are TEDDs.

In 2010, the Army began developing the TEDD program to support Brigade Combat Teams deployed to Afghanistan to mitigate Improvised Explosive Device attacks and to reduce casualties resulting from Improved Explosive Devices.

The TEDD capability was developed as a nontraditional Military Working Dog program. The Army procured and trained the dogs through an Army contract rather than procuring them through the Air Force’s 341st Training Squadron, the agency authorized by regulation to procure Military Working Dogs for use by DoD components. The Army selected and trained soldiers attached to deploying units as temporary TEDD handlers only for the duration of deployment. The Army ended the TEDD Program in 2014.

Some of the TEDDs were sent to law enforcement agencies, but were never used n a security role. Additionally, an unidentified private company adopted 13 TEDDs, but ended up surrendering them to a kennel, according to the report.

In a 2016 report to Congress, the Air Force noted shortcomings in its policy allowing the dogs’ military handlers to adopt them. Breakdowns in the system for notifying handlers when their former working dogs became available for adoption resulted in missed adoption opportunities.

Congress has recommended “former handlers of MWDs as first priority for MWD adoption,” the report said.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Army National Guard Training Changes

guard class

By Debbie Gregory.

Army National Guard Lt. Gen. Timothy Kadavy is looking at flexibility and specialized training to create more career opportunities and shorter deployments for National Guard soldiers.

Guard members will continue to serve 39 days a year — one weekend each month and a 15-day training exercise.

Guard Soldiers respond when disaster strikes at home and also answer the call when the country needs them, all over the globe. Theirs is a unique dual mission–serving both community and country.

Beginning in 2018, brigade combat teams will have four rotations to the combat training centers at Fort Irwin and Fort Polk annually.

The 2018 budget request seeks to add 7,000 new Guardsmen to the force.  The focus will now shift to more specialized deployments, that is, sending units with mission-specific skills to carry out operations. As a result, he believes soldiers will benefit in the form of more flexibility.

With that said, the new system and increased training commitment could end up costing Guardsmen more time away from their day-to-day lives, as well as their families. But the hope is that increased flexibility will make up for it.

Kadavy is proud of the men and women under his command and what they have accomplished after more than a decade of war. And with this new plan, which Kadavy calls “Army National Guard 4.0,” he believes he will be shaping the National Guard for the 21st century, the one that will meet the future requirements and demands of the nation.

“We had to take some good hard looks at what we would have to do if we received a demand to mobilize units quickly to a contingency anywhere around the world, say in 15, 20, 30, or 60 days and what type of readiness would we use if we had to achieve that,” Kadavy said. “That’s different than what we were doing over the last 15 years of war.”

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.