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Military Connection: Islamic State Threatens Service Members

ISIS Threats

By Debbie Gregory.

The Islamic State (IS) terrorist group has reportedly posted the names, photos and home addresses of 100 U.S. service members, most of them pilots. The IS has urged its sympathizers to carry out attacks against the service members and their families.

A group that is calling itself the “Islamic State Hacking Division” claims to have hacked into Department of Defense (DOD) websites, posting the information and the threat on a Jihadist website on March 20th. The terrorist group claimed on the site that the service members listed carried out bombings on IS targets in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Afghanistan. The IS posting called for its sympathizers to kill the service members “in their own lands” where they “walk their own streets thinking they’re safe.”

After checking the validity of the threat and information about the 100 service members, it has been determined that while the threat and call to kill Americans is real, the claim that IS hackers found their way into a DOD website is unfounded. Most of the information posted could be found in public records and on unrestricted websites. More than sixty of the service members on the list have been reportedly featured on the Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System (DVIDS), a public website run by the Department of the Army. In the DVIDS segments and other publicly viewed materials, service members were pictured with their names, ranks, Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) and often their home town and where they are stationed. This information could have easily led IS hackers to conduct simple research of public records to find additional personal information.

Other information that leads the Pentagon to believe that the IS hackers were not able to breach DOD records was that their list included personnel who have not been deployed, and whose occupational specialties would have nothing to do with direct U.S. efforts against the IS, in Iraq or in Syria.

Despite the validity of how the IS managed to retrieve the information, the threat and the danger are real. Service members need to be vigilant in their communities, especially in and around military installations. And those in uniform need to be careful about what they are putting on the internet. No one is suggesting that we allow terrorists to force service members to hide their pride in their service or their country, but taking extra security measures online is prudent to prevent identity theft as well as any terrorist threats.

The DOD has posted a wealth of resources and information for using the internet and social media, which can be found here.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Islamic State Threatens Service Members: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: US Troops to Return to Anbar? By Debbie Gregory

Anbar ProvinceDepartment of Defense officials are devising a plan to send U.S. personnel to Iraq’s Anbar Province. The mission of American service members has not changed. If sent into the region, they would act as advisors for Iraq’s forces against the Islamic State.

Advisors from the U.S. military are currently operating in areas near Baghdad and Irbil in the northern part of Iraq. This new plan would put U.S. troops in the middle of some of the heaviest fighting in the country.

The majority of Iraq’s Anbar Province is currently under the control of the Islamic State. Officials, including Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, believe that providing training and support for Iraq’s Sunni tribes to go on the offensive against the Islamic State is crucial to defeating the terrorist group.

In a news conference last week, Gen. Dempsey hinted at the possibility of the new role after discussing a report on a Sunni tribe that has suffered mass executions at the hands of the Islamic State.

“That”s why we need to expand the train-advise-and-assist mission into the Al- Anbar Province,” Dempsey told reporters. “But the precondition for that is that the government of Iraq is willing to arm the tribes.”

Dempsey reported that the United States had “positive indications” from the Iraqi government that they were prepared to do that, but had not yet done so.

Pentagon officials believe that such a mission could open the door to the formation of an Iraqi National Guard, while at the same time aid Iraq in regaining control of the province from the Islamic State.

As of yet, there is no timeline when U.S. troops would be staged as advisors in the Anbar Province.

During the U.S.-led war in Iraq, Anbar was the setting of a violent insurgency. It was only with the help of Sunni tribes that al Qaeda was driven from the region. During this conflict against the Islamic State, thousands of Sunni have died, including 400 members of the Abu Nimer, who were recently killed after standing up to the Islamic State.

Many believe that without aid and training from the U.S., any Iraqis who want to remove the Islamic State from their land will be hard-pressed to do so.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: US Troops to Return to Anbar? By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: US/Turkey Not Done Talking: By Debbie Gregory

US and TurkeyThis week, there have been more than a few media misfires concerning the United States’ relationship with its ally, Turkey, and the agreement to allow the U.S. military to carry out missions over Syria from Turkish air bases.

On Sunday, October 12, 2014, it was reported by several major media outlets that Turkey had agreed to allow the U.S. to use their air bases to stage air strikes over Syria against the Islamic State (IS), also referred to as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Early the next day, Turkish officials were adamant that no deal had been struck, and that talks were still in progress. This announcement prompted several news sources to release stories that hinted of hostilities between the U.S. and Turkey. These stories told of bickering and confusion between the two allies, and even a possible rupture in the alliance. But perhaps it was the news sources that may have been confused.

DOD officials say that Turkey has agreed “in principle” to allowing the U.S. military the use of its air bases, but there are still several details that need to be ironed out before the deal can be finalized. Besides Turkey’s hesitancy to welcome a foreign military into their sovereignty, the Turks have a few other concerns that need to be negotiated.

Turkey has insisted on a no-fly zone over northern Syria, near the Turkey-Syria border, that would facilitate the continued arming and training of moderate rebels to fight against Syria’s Assad regime. The U.S. has resisted this plan despite belief that providing a haven for these rebels could help them fight the IS forces.

Americans reading about the ongoing talks should be aware that Turkey has been a long-time ally to the U.S., as well as a member of NATO. Turkey has been an ongoing partner in the fight against the IS, and has shared intelligence with the U.S. military, as well as participated in a U.S.-led mission to arm and train moderate rebels in Syria. Turkey has granted the U.S. access to a base in Incirlik, to be used as a staging area for surveillance drones.

It is hoped that the tense negotiations will end soon, and the U.S. will be granted a staging area in Turkey to provide better support for our allies that are fighting against the IS on the ground.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: US/Turkey Not Done Talking: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Robert Gates on Obama’s Plan: By Debbie Gregory

robert gatesOn September 10th, President Obama addressed the nation and offered his official stance on the Islamic State, and American involvement in Iraq and in Syriagoing forward. In his address, the president vowed to degrade and ultimately destroy the Islamic State. In order to accomplish this, the president called for the continuation of airstrikes, while at the same time saying that he would not send ground forces back into Iraq.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, stated his belief that the use of American ground forces would be necessary to defeat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates weighed in on the topic, and appeared to agree with Gen. Dempsey. In an interview with CBS News on September 17th, Mr. Gates said that he believed that President Obama will need to send Americans boots on the ground to combat the Islamic State.

“The reality is, they”re not gonna be able to be successful against ISIS strictly from the air, or strictly depending on the Iraqi forces, or the Peshmerga, or the Sunni tribes acting on their own,” Gates said in the interview. “So there will be boots on the ground if there”s to be any hope of success in the strategy. And I think that by continuing to repeat that [the U.S. won”t put boots on the ground], the president, in effect, traps himself.”

While the former defense secretary admitted that he thinks the president’s plan is sound, Mr. Gates says that he feels that the president’s promise to destroy the Islamic State is unrealistic.

“I”m also concerned that the goal has been stated as degrade and destroy, or degrade and defeat ISIS,” Gates told CBS. “We”ve been at war with al Qaeda for 13 years. We have dealt them some terrible blows, including the killing of Osama bin Laden. But I don”t think anybody would say that after 13 years we’ve destroyed or defeated al Qaeda.”

Mr. Gates continued his point by saying:

“And so I think to promise that we”re going to destroy ISIS, or ISIL, sets a goal that may be unattainable, as opposed to devastating it, or whereas the vice president would put it, ”following ”em to the gates of hell”, and dealing them terrible blows that prevent them from holding territory. Those are probably realistic goals.”

For now, Americans watch with growing concern as American pilots continue their airstrikes against I.S. forces. As the conflict continues in Iraq and in Syria, many current service members face the possibility of a third campaign in Iraq since 1990.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Robert Gates on Obama’s Plan: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Obama Says No to 3rd Iraq War: By Debbie Gregory

ISISOn Wednesday, September 10, 2014, President Obama addressed the nation regarding his intent on how to handle the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

ISIS has declared a separate Islamic state in lands that the terrorist organization has seized from the sovereignty of Iraq and Syria. In 2014 alone, ISIS has already taken over nearly one-third of Iraq’s territory.

As of August 7th of this year, the president has authorized airstrikes against ISIS forces that have been carried out by U.S. military manned and unmanned aircraft. The airstrikes have offered much needed support for Iraqi defense and Kurdish forces fighting ISIS on the ground. The support has even helped them take back the captured Mosul Dam from ISIS control.

Members of Congress and the American public have asked what the long-term goals and strategy are, and the president has responded.In a recent press conference, President Obama stated his intention to “degrade and ultimately destroy” ISIS.  The president said that the U.S. will lead a coalition committed to eliminating ISIS by expanding airstrikes into Iraq and Syria.

The speech came one day after the White House asked Congress to approve $500 million to train and equip Syrian rebels in order for them to fight ISIS on the ground. Many lawmakers and many more Veterans are concerned with arming and equipping another group in the region. The U.S. has an unfortunate history of  our own weapons being used against us when either the arms are confiscated by our enemies, or by having a fighting force that we equipped turn against us.

Many voices in Washington have expressed that they don’t see airstrikes as being enough to completely stop or eliminate ISIS. This has many Americans, including legislators, divided as to whether our military should get more involved, or stay out of the fight all together.

Americans, in the capital and around the country, were hoping for a more definitive answer in terms of a strategy for dealing with ISIS. But at least the biggest question has been answered, for now. The president has ruled out sending American ground forces to their third war in Iraq in 25 years.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard &amp,amp,amp, Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Obama Says No to 3rd Iraq War: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: House Bill Calls for War: By Debbie Gregory

Bills on ISISTwo separate bills were introduced in Congress that address authorizing military actions against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The House bill was presented by Rep. Frank Wolf (Va.) and calls for authorizing the use of military force against international terrorist organizationswhile encouraging close coordination with NATO and regional allies on any action. These organizations include ISIS, al Qaeda and al Qaeda affiliates al Nusra, Ansar al Sharia, al Shabaab and Boko Haram. This bill, if passed as is, would not forbid the use of American ground forces, and does not include a time limit for actions. In a statement on his website, Wolf says that his bill would “send a clear message to the international community that the United States intends to work with allies to confront and defeat this increasingly dangerous challenge.”

Wolf’s “Authorization for the Use of Military Force” would be the firstapproved by Congress since the 2001 and 2002 legislation that authorized the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Senate bill on the issue was introduced by Sen. Bill Nelson (Fla.). This bill would give the president congressional authority to order further airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, but limits the authority to three years. Nelson’s bill also bars the president from deploying ground forces in the region.

President Obama has authorized more than 140 airstrikes in Iraq against ISIS, beginning on August 7th. The president said that the strikes were intended to protect U.S. personnel and property as ISIS forces were advancing toward the U.S Consulate in Erbil, the Kurdish regional capital in Iraq.

The airstrikes were also utilized to help Iraqi forces recapture and maintain control of the Mosul Dam from ISIS fighters. Officials said that ISIS could use the dam to cut off electricity and water to much of Iraq, or to flood Baghdad.

Over this past weekend, the president also authorized strikes during a humanitarian airdrop of supplies to the Shiite Turkmen in Amerli and to help Iraqi forces hold the Haditha Dam.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: House Bill Calls for War: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Expanding Actions Against ISIL: By Debbie Gregory

Expanding against ISThe White House is contemplating pursuing authorization from Congress to carry out military action against the Islamic State under a variation of a counter­terrorism strategy announced last year.

Permission from Congress could provide domestic legal justification for the unlimited use of force against Islamic State insurgents across Iraq and Syria. The last time that Congress formally mandated such action was against Saddam Hussein and Iraq in 2002.

This would be one of several options currently being discussed as the Obama administration decides how to defeat the Islamic State, which controls a wide swath of territory in both Iraq and Syria.

U.S. military alternatives include temporary authority under the War Powers Resolution, which grants the president constitutional authority for emergency action to protect U.S. citizens. The administration is also in discussion with Congress concerning a more unrestricted authorization to openly combat the Islamic State.

The airstrikes in Iraq ordered by President Obama under the War Powers Resolution are only good for 60 days, and will expire in early October, unless further action is approved by Congress.

It is unclear whether or not Congress will approve further military actions after October, and if they do, to what capacity. It is also not clear if Congress would approve air strikes or other military actions into Syria.

The recent beheading of American journalist James Foley by members of the Islamic State has many Americans, especially Veterans, up in arms. Americans, outraged at Foley’s execution, echo the words of Deputy National Security Adviser Benjamin Rhodes:

“If you come after Americans, we are going to come after you. We’re not going to be restricted by borders,” Rhodes stated on August 22nd.

Foley was kidnapped and held by a guerrilla group that later joined up with the Islamic State in territory that ISIL had seized from Syria.

The killing of Foley might sway some lawmakers to vote in favor of immediate use of airstrikes and other military actions in Syria, if necessary to protect U.S. citizens.

Contingency plans for airstrikes in Syria have been prepared for presidential review, in case the president should ask for them. The intelligence community has also generated a list of high-value targets among individual Islamic State leaders, as it did with al-Qaeda. So far, the president has not formally requested expanded military action.

The president has publicly ruled out sending U.S. ground forces­ into Iraq or Syria, and has resisted any direct U.S. military action in Syria.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Expanding Actions Against ISIL:  By Debbie Gregory