News of the Force: Monday, January 22, 2018 - Page 2

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                                                News of the Force: Monday, January 22, 2018 - Page 2


US Army
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Recent conflicts in Armenia, Iraq, Syria and Ukraine have demonstrated the widespread adoption of drones by state actors - as well as rebel and terrorist groups - for reconnaissance purposes and as improvised attack platforms carrying grenades or explosive charges.
    
US troops need fast-reacting short-range air defense systems, or SHORADS - and better yet, they need them in a package that can move with frontline units on the battlefield, which the Army dubs "Maneuver SHORADS."
    
Okinawa-based US Marines and North Carolina-based US Army soldiers rehearsed a simulated fire support exercise at the III Marine Expeditionary Force Combined Arms Staff Trainer building on Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Japan, Jan. 8th-19th. "It's important for the Army and the Marine Corps to be working together because we are the solution for the ground-combat problem," said Army Sgt. Michael Davis, a fire support sergeant with the 82nd Airborne Division. "You're not going to see the other branches maneuvering on the ground the same way."
     The commander of the Emiri Land Force, Major Gen. Mohammed bin Ali Al Ghanim, met yesterday with the deputy commander of US Army Central Command, Major Gen. Terrence McKenrick. The meeting reviewed bilateral relations and prospects of cooperation in the field of joint military exercises.
     The US Army is readying plans that could increase the total force in Afghanistan by as many as 1,000 US troops this spring beyond the 14,000 already in the country, senior military officials have said. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has not yet signed off on the proposals for the new forces.
     And Chelsea Manning officially announced her candidacy last week for the US Senate. Military lawyers say the decision has made Manning vulnerable to new prosecution. In the days after Manning announced her candidacy, many questioned whether she fulfilled the constitutional requirements to become a senator, given that she has multiple felony convictions. Manning silenced critics on Thursday when she obtained her certificate of candidacy from the Maryland State Board of Elections. However, Manning’s decision has made her susceptible to future prosecution, military law experts say. That’s because Manning is still considered an active duty military member who is non-paid and on excess-leave while she appeals her convictions - and active duty military members are prohibited from participating in partisan political activities, such as running for Congress as a Democrat. Dru Brenner-Beck, a retired Army judge advocate. Defense Department regulations prohibit Manning from participating in political activities, let alone run for Congress, while she still holds an active duty ID card. Specifically, participating in political activities while an active-duty solider violates DOD Directive 1344.10. According to the regulations, running for Senate would require Manning to violate many of the regulations, including most of paragraph 4.1.2, in addition to 4.2.2. The latter reads: "A regular member, or a retired regular or reserve component member on active duty under a call or order to active duty for more than 270 days, may not be a nominee or candidate for a civil office in a state; the District of Columbia; a territory, possession, or commonwealth of the United States, or any political subdivision thereof except when the Secretary concerned grants permission." Brenner-Beck went on to explain that violating the regulations would open Manning up to another court-martial. "That paragraph is punitive and violation of it subjects her to courts-martial for violation of a lawful order or regulation under Article 92 [of the UCMJ]," he said. "Her activities campaigning for herself and fundraising for herself may also violate other provisions of the DOD Directive, themselves separately punishable under the UCMJ, Art. 92." Whether or not Manning will be prosecuted is up to the chain-of-command, Brenner-Beck said. However, he said he believes the Trump administration may pursue additional prosecution against Manning because of the hard-line position it took against Bowe Bergdahl, who last year plead guilty to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. Meanwhile, another former military lawyer, Victor Hansen, said that prosecution is unlikely because the military likely wants to separate themselves as far from Manning as possible. Still, Hansen warned that senior military leaders could be pressured to act against Manning. "There’s always the risk that somebody could put pressure on that commander or take it to a higher level and prosecute at that level, so there is a risk of unlawful command influence," he said. "If someone were to decide that we want to bring charges for Manning on this, that would be the very thing I would look into - who made the decision, why, and was there any outside pressures from above."Manning, who is is running for the seat currently held by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), is a transgender Army private who was convicted of crimes in 2013 under the Espionage Act for leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks.

Helicopter crashes in Missouri
     Two people were able to climb out of a helicopter after it crashed at the St. Louis Downtown Airport in Cahokia, Mo., this morning. The two people inside were taken to SSM Health St. Louis University Hospital with minor injuries after the crash at about 11:15 a.m. 
     "Minor injuries. Very lucky," said Chief Michael Mavrogeorge of the airport's fire department. "There was no fire after the aircraft crashed."
     On board were an instructor and a student, KTVI reported. Mavrogeorge did not immediately have information about the occupants.
     The airport is about four miles southeast of downtown St. Louis. Mavrogeorge said the control tower dispatched his crew to the crash, and arriving firefighters found the helicopter on its roof with two people climbing out. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will investigate the crash, Mavrogeorge said.

US Navy and Marine Corps
Seal of the United States Department of the Navy.svg Seal of the United States Marine Corps.svg    
     There's only one active duty vessel of the US Navy being held captive by a foreign government: USS Pueblo. It's a North Korean tourist attraction.
     The Philippines said yesterday that it won't get embroiled in a fresh spat between the US and China involving Beijing's protest of an American warship passing near a Chinese-controlled shoal also claimed by the Philippines. One way to cement a claim to a disputed territory - and to anger others who think it's theirs - is to build on it. That's what China's been doing in the South China Sea, where it's constructed vast features including runways and facilities.
     The US Marine Corps has said that a Marine Corps Systems Command-led working group is actively pursuing updates to the Very Small Aperture Terminal Family of Systems, which has been deployed for nearly a decade.
     Top US military officials in Japan's Okinawa Prefecture failed to report offenses, including sexual harassment, committed by a senior officer under their command, according to a recent report from the Inspector General of the Marine Corps.
     The US military has been urged not to fly over private property on Okinawa. The Okinawa Assembly last week unanimously adopted the resolution, following a series of incidents involving US military aircraft in the southwestern Japanese prefecture. Assembly members met with Col. Darin Clarke, in charge of external affairs with Marine Corps command in Okinawa, today.
     And Dan Gillan, the CEO of the Albany Area YMCA, said the values of that organization is comparable to the Marine Corps. Gillan was born in Chicago, graduated high school in Plantation, Fla., and served 33 years in the US Marine Corps before becoming the Albany, Ga., Area YMCA's CEO.

News from the US Marshals Service
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The US Marshals and the Detroit, Mich., police are seeking a man wanted for kidnapping and raping a 10-year-old girl in 2007. Authorities said that Corey Deshawn Gaston, 39, broke into the child's bedroom through her window on June 27, 2007. He put her over his shoulder and ran to an alley, where he raped her.
     And the US Marshals have arrested a fugitive who was profiled on Detroit's Most Wanted, thanks to a tip from a 7 Action News viewer. Robert McKissic was arrested on Saturday on the city's west side. Police say he's linked to a deadly shooting.

The parting shots
     The Supreme Court of Missouri will hear oral arguments in The Satanic Temple (TST)'s case against the state of Missouri tomorrow at 9:30 a.m., the day following the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. In a huge victory for The Satanic Temple (TST) this past October, the Missouri Court of Appeals ruled that the organization’s case, which challenges the requirement that women seeking to terminate their pregnancies must endure a 72 hour waiting period and be given mandatory reading material, raises real and substantial constitutional claims. The suit has the potential to change state regulations for religiously-motivated abortions, and is the first time that religious belief has been used to challenge Informed Consent laws.
     Private investigators believe that a billionaire Toronto couple found dead at their home in December were murdered by multiple killers, a source with direct knowledge of the parallel probe into their mysterious deaths has said.
     The new studio for Dancing on Ice is being haunted by US Air Force members, reports say. The studios sit on land once used by the American Air Force between 1943-1963, with its mile-long runway being named US Air Station 112. It has been claimed that the US Air Force left behind planes in chambers underground, with some saying that they have heard the noise of aircraft flying over.
     And Grand National winning jockey Bob Champion lost a lifetime of photos in a major fire at a Liverpool, England, car park, he has revealed. The 69-year-old said his car was one of 1,400 vehicles destroyed in the blaze at the multi-story next to the Liverpool Echo Arena on Dec. 31st.

                                       Mallard Fillmore 1/22/2018

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