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The latest news on Defense from Business Insider

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    New Commander of Resolute Support forces and United States forces in Afghanistan, U.S. Army General John Nicholson, salutes during a change of command ceremony in Resolute Support headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan, March 2, 2016. REUTERS/Rahmat Gul/Pool

    Now that Donald Trump is set to become the 45th President of the United States, everyone is wondering what his potential cabinet will look like.

    Perhaps most consequential is who he picks for Secretary of Defense — a civilian leadership position at the Pentagon in charge of roughly 3 million military and civilian personnel.

    Here's who it could be, according to reporting from Politico and The Hill:

    Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn (Ret.)

    A reliable Trump surrogate on the campaign trail, Flynn is seen as a likely choice for the top spot at the Pentagon. He previously served as the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, retiring in 2014 after 33 years in uniform. Flynn was a career military intelligence officer who served during the Cold War, Operations Desert Storm, Enduring Freedom, and Iraqi Freedom, and others.

    “He’s about leading from the front. He’s about taking the hard jobs. He’s about driving change," Adm. Michael Rogers, the head of the National Security Agency, said of him in 2014. "He’s always about the men and women around him."

    There's just one problem for Flynn, however. Since he's only been out of uniform for two years, he'd require a waiver from Congress to serve as Defense Secretary, since the law requires a seven year gap for military officers who want to serve as the Pentagon's civilian leader. He could still serve in some other spot, such as national security advisor.

    Former Secretary of State and retired four-star Gen. Colin Powell is not a fan, however. In leaked personal emails reported by BuzzFeed News, Powell described Flynn as "abusive with staff, didn't listen, worked against policy" and called him "right-wing nutty."

    Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.)

    Jeff Sessions and Donald TrumpAnother name being floated is Jeff Sessions, a Republican senator who has been in office since 1996. He supported the 2003 Iraq War and opposed the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell and the lifting of the ban on women serving in combat roles, foreshadowing major policy reversals he could potentially implement as Defense Secretary.

    Sessions has personal military experience, having served as a Captain in the US Army Reserve for 13 years. He currently sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee and has been advising Trump on national security since March. "He would obviously be a very strong fit" for Defense Secretary, said Joe Kasper, the chief of staff for Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.).

    Stephen Hadley

    President George W. Bush's former national security advisor may reprise that role in a Trump administration, or be tapped to lead the Pentagon as Defense Secretary.

    Right now he chairs the United States Institute of Peace, a federally-funded think tank that promotes conflict resolution around the world. He's also a principal of RiceHadleyGates LLC, a consulting firm he founded with former national security advisor Condoleeza Rice, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and Anja Manuel, a former State Department official.

    Hadley is a controversial figure. The false allegation that Iraq tried to buy uranium from Niger prior to the invasion made its way into President Bush's State of the Union speech in 2003, which Hadley later apologized for.

    He also sits on the board of defense contractor Raytheon, a potential conflict-of-interest he'd have to remedy should he be tapped by Trump. 

    He's been hawkish on Iraq and Iran. He's also been skeptical of Russian military moves and was critical of the Obama administration's "Russian reset." He has also acknowledged the national security implications of climate change.

    Sen. Jim Talent (R-Mo.)

    Last but not least is former Sen. Jim Talent. Talent served in the Senate for much of the Bush administration, finally losing to Sen. Claire McCaskill in 2006. He currently serves on the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, a group created by Congress that examines the US-China relationship and prepares an annual report on its national security implications.

    Like Hadley, Talent is also an Iraq War hawk. Though he wasn't in Congress for the 2002 vote to go to war, he said in 2006 that he still would have invaded Iraq even with the knowledge there were no weapons of mass destruction.

    He wants to enlarge the size of the Army, and opposes the release of detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He has been critical of Trump's approach to NATO — setting conditions to automatic defense of NATO countries — writing that such a move could isolate America from its allies.

    What they face

    US Marines flag (DC)

    Whoever gets picked, the next Defense Secretary will face myriad challenges, from the ongoing fight against ISIS and China's moves in the South China Sea to the ongoing stress on the military imposed by sequestration.

    A number of defense secretaries who served under Obama have criticized him for "micromanagement." Trump, it appears, seems to be more of a delegator who will let the Pentagon chief take the reins of the military.

    "He will empower his SecDef to lead the way," Kasper said.

    The next Defense Secretary may also end up dealing with a nuclear-armed North Korea, and Russia is very likely to test the limits of the next President in eastern Europe. He or she also needs to reinvigorate a military plagued by low morale.

    Trump will also make appointments for many other positions in the Pentagon and the military services, such as service secretaries, policy undersecretaries, and advisors. Those spots may be filled from his list of retired military officers or outsiders. The current leadership at the Pentagon is already preparing for that transition.

    SEE ALSO: The US lost 6 elite Green Berets in a 72-hour-span last week

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The 'Zulu Cobra' helicopter is one of the Marines' most powerful weapons


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    Iran nuclear

    Iran has exceeded a soft limit on sensitive material set under its nuclear deal with major powers, the UN atomic watchdog said on Wednesday, hours after Donald Trump - who has strongly criticized the agreement - won the US presidential election.

    It is the second time Tehran has surpassed the 130 metric tonne threshold for heavy water, a material used as a moderator in reactors like Iran's unfinished one at Arak, since the deal was put in place in January. It had 130.1 tonnes of the material on Tuesday, the watchdog said.

    The last time it overstepped that mark was brief and passed without major criticism from other countries that signed the deal. But Trump's comments raise questions about whether his administration will react to such incidents the same way.

    "On 2 November 2016, the director general expressed concerns related to Iran's stock of heavy water to the vice president of Iran and president of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, ... Ali Akbar Salehi," the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in a confidential report seen by Reuters.

    The IAEA is policing the restrictions placed on Iran's nuclear activities under the deal it signed last year with the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany. The agreement also lifted international sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

    Iran told the agency it would prepare to transfer 5 tonnes of heavy water out of the country, as provided for in the deal, and a senior diplomat said Iran planned to carry out the shipment in the coming days.

    Rather than setting a strict limit on heavy water as it does for enriched uranium, the deal estimates Iran's needs to be 130 tonnes and says any amount beyond its needs "will be made available for export to the international market".

    Trump has called the agreement, one of President Barack Obama's top achievements, "the worst deal ever negotiated" and said he would "police that contract so tough they (the Iranians) don't have a chance".

    Iran also exceeded the heavy-water limit in February, with 130.9 tonnes.

    SEE ALSO: Putin is 'skillfully exploiting' the antiestablishment mood sweeping the US and Europe

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The richest village in China is one of the most mysterious places on earth


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    Donald Trump

    (Reuters) - U.S. defense shares jumped on Wednesday, with companies including Northrop Grumman hitting lifetime highs, as the presidential victory by Republican Donald Trump lifted expectations of increased military spending here and overseas.

    Shares of Northrop, Raytheon and General Dynamics hit intraday lifetime highs after gapping higher at the opening.

    Shares of Raytheon were last up 7.5 percent at $146.70, while General Dynamics was up 5.8 percent at $162.6,2 and Northrop was up 5.7 percent at $242.95.

    Shares of Lockheed Martin rose 6.5 percent to $254.75 and hit their highest intraday level since about mid-August. Other defense names rose more modestly: Boeing was up 2 percent at $145.05.

    Defense shares had already been higher this year, underpinned in part by signs of increased global conflict.

    While Trump's rival in the race for the White House, Democrat Hillary Clinton, also had advocated tough defense and foreign policies, Trump has been a big supporter of increased defense spending, saying he would expand the Army and add to the number of ships.

    "It's basically he believes in stronger preparation. It's strength equals preparedness," said Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial in Newark, New Jersey.

    Trump has called on NATO alliance partners to do more to pay for their own security.

    Elsewhere, shares of the U.K.'s BAE Systems gained 6.8 percent.

     

    (Reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch; Editing by Leslie Adler)

    SEE ALSO: Private prison stocks are soaring after Donald Trump's election

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The richest village in China is one of the most mysterious places on earth


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    Donald Trump military gun

    The Obama administration notoriously micromanaged the Pentagon, but experts and insiders told the Military Times that they fear a President Trump could treat them even worse.

    “He’s micromanaged everything. He disregards the advice of the people working for him, and he makes the final decision himself. So it's hard to think that he would change that style,” Larry Korb, a defense expert with the Center for American Progress, told the Military Times. 

    The Guardian interviewed 12 former Trump employees and arrived at a consensus that Trump is "a businessman obsessed with minute detail, prone to micromanagement, who takes little interest in the diversity of his executives or the welfare of lower-level employees."

    But Obama had his own style of micromanagement that Pentagon officials often bemoaned. 

    “You know, the president is quoted as having said at one point to his staff, ‘I can do every one of your jobs better than you can,’” said former secretary of defense Robert Gates, who served under eight presidents.

    “He has centralized power and operational activities of the government in the White House to a degree that I think is unparalleled. An NSC [National Security Council] staff of 450 people at this point,” Gates said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" in January

    For context, the NSC, a group of civilians responsible for coordinating national security policy, stood at around 100 members during George W. Bush's term.

    obama military

    But a military advisor to Trump, Randy Forbes, gave reason to hope that Trump may return to a military-led security stance.  "We are going to have an international defense strategy driven by the Pentagon and not by the political National Security Council,"Forbes told Defense News.

    But due to the sweeping nature of the changes Trump wants to make, he may be unable to even get a team in place to manage.

    “I suspect we're looking at perhaps 18 to 24 months before he has his whole team in place. That means he'll have to rely on a bureaucracy which is overwhelmingly hostile to him, and that could mean more gridlock,” Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon official and current scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, told the Military Times.

    SEE ALSO: Mexico's worst nightmare is suddenly in play, and it's trying to prepare

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Anti-Trump protesters are starting fires and blocking freeways all around the country


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    me and dad

    WASHINGTON, DC — Children who grow up with one or both parents in the military and spend time on or around bases — otherwise known as military brats — get used to things that seem weird to everyone else.

    Since I was born at William Beaumont Army Hospital on Fort Bliss, Texas, with years spent there and subsequent deployments to Kaiserslautern, Germany and Osan, South Korea, I've become very familiar with this lifestyle.

    In honor of Military Family month, here's 13 tell-tale signs you grew up in the military:

    1. You learned the phonetic alphabet along with your ABCs

    The phonetic alphabet is a list of specified words used to identify letters in a message transmitted by phone or radio.

    For example, the word "Army" would be "Alpha Romeo Mike Yankee" when spelled using the phonetic alphabet.

    Just like the military, you also refer to countless things with acronyms. Military slang and acronyms are tossed around in conversations with ease and as a child you learn to pick them up quickly.

    For instance, no one ever explained the meaning of "Hooah" (pronounced WhoAh) to you but you knew that it was short for "Heard, Understood, and Acknowledged."

    2. Your pantry was always stocked with rations.

    amanda dad and iThe self-contained, individual ration called Meal Ready-to-Eat (MRE) is a typical military family household commodity.

    MREs contain a main course, side dish, bread, dessert, and a flameless ration heater.

    These instant dishes, like "beef ravioli in meat sauce" and "pork chop formed in Jamaican style sauce with noodles," are designed to give service members in the field well-balanced meals.

    Sometimes a packed lunch was an MRE shoved into your backpack.

    3. Along with a school ID, you had a military ID.

    Military ID cards are golden tickets and misplacing one meant perpetually waiting with a sponsor in a small ID card office.

    The khaki-colored "identification and privilege card" is the key to a military base and all of its goodies — gym, commissary (grocery store), swimming pool, etc. 

    4. People ask you where you grew up and it takes you five minutes to answer.

    amanda italy

    Not having one permanent home for more than five years can make for a lengthy response to the question, "Where are you from?" Living in different states and sometimes foreign countries makes, "I'm from all over" the simplest answer. 

    That is because military families don't have much of a say as to where they go. 

    Some families luck out and get amazing placements to installations like the Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe Bay, with sailing and surfing classes at the on-base marina and ample views of paradise.

    5. At "colors" you drop everything and look for an American flag.

    salute amandaThe flag is raised briskly and lowered slowly on American military bases every morning and evening while a patriotic song is played through a loudspeaker, usually "To the Color" or the National Anthem, depending on the base. 

    This time is referred to as "Colors." Military personnel are required to stop, face the direction of the base flagpole, stand at attention, and render a salute until the music stops.

    Moreover, you're used to singing the national anthem everywhere, even in movie theaters after the previews finish.

    6. Your church had an American flag inside it.

    No different from an American flag hanging inside of a school classroom, America's Stars and Stripes are also recognized inside military installation chapels. 

    These chapels are designed to be convertible in order to accommodate various religious beliefs of service members.

    For example, the chapel may offer a Catholic Mass at 8 a.m. and then a Protestant service at 11 a.m. 

    Service ended with singing "God Bless America" or "America the Beautiful."

    Also, the priest was referred to as chaplain.

    7. Calling everyone by last names seems normal.

    avenger amandaIt is almost as if this behavior is innate, because remarkably, military brats quickly begin to refer to anyone by their last name.

    That is because troops refer to each other by their last name, a practice originating from their training in boot camp. 

    Calling an adult "ma'am" or "sir" is another natural mannerism.

    8. Your doctor wears combat boots.

    Service members and their families largely use the hospitals and clinics on base as their primary care providers, and those clinics are staffed with military doctors and medics.

    A far cry though from the white lab coat with the cold stethoscope, many of these health care providers have seen the worst of the worst. 

    9. Your chores were mandatory.

    Mom never had to come in and make your bed because every morning before school it was your responsibility. 

    Failing a parent-conducted room inspection resulted in more chores or pushups.

    So you learned how to do things the "right way" quickly.

    10. If you aren't 15 minutes early, you're late.

    Being "tardy" doesn't exist in the military world. You were early to school, doctor's appointments, ceremonies, and parties — no exceptions.  

    11. You are a bit of a perfectionist, especially in your appearance.

    retirement ceremonyAppearance represents a form of self-discipline, and in the armed forces, it is a requirement that a soldier is neat and well-groomed when in uniform.

    Leaders ensure that personnel under their command present a conservative military image.

    Similarly, this practice was echoed into your childhood and that meant you didn't get to sport a trendy haircut, loud fingernail polish, and especially an unsightly untucked shirt.  

    12. You had holiday dinners in a chow hall.

    one more dadInstead of heading over to grandma's house, military families often go to a dining facility for a cafeteria-style Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. 

    This is either because travel is too difficult or expensive, or because the family lives on an installation in a foreign country. 

    13. You have immediate respect for anyone in uniform.

    Respect for individuals serving in the armed forces is strongly encouraged in military family upbringings.

    Possibly because you catch a glimpse of your personal experiences as a military brat, and that kind of relation isn't possible with civilians.

    I always look twice when a young troop is in an airport terminal — not because of the enormous rucksack, but to figure out if they're heading home, to an overseas deployment, or to a combat zone.

    SEE ALSO: 31 phrases that only people in the military will understand

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    kuznetsov su 33

    The US Naval Institute News' Sam LaGrone reports that armed fighters have flown from Russia's Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean.

    As of yet, no strikes have been carried out. Only scouting missions involving the Su-33s and MiG-29Ks have gone forward, according to Lagrone.

    While the Kuznetsov and attack planes on board add little to Russia's capabilities in the region, the US has nonetheless condemned Russia escalating a conflict where humanitarian catastrophes and possibly war crimes go on with some regularity.

    “We are aware of reports that the Russian Federation is preparing to escalate their military campaign in Syria. The United States, time and again, has worked to try and de-escalate the violence in Syria and provide humanitarian aid to civilians suffering under siege,” a Pentagon statement provided to USNI News on Wednesday read.

    Russia's deployment of the troubled, Soveit-era Kuznetsov to Syria serves little military purpose, and likely deployed for propaganda purposes.

    Read the full article at USNI News here»

    SEE ALSO: Russia has a 'pipe dream' of replacing the US as the world's dominant naval power

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The 'Zulu Cobra' helicopter is one of the Marines' most powerful weapons


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    us marine corps

    Most Marines, even in their sleep, can recite the historical significance behind each part of the Dress Blue Alpha uniform — the attire they’ll be wearing at the Marine Corps Birthday Ball.

    Each decorative piece tells a story profoundly stitched into the heritage of the Corps just as it is stitched into the fabric of the “blues.” But the legends that live on, draped over the shoulders of these “soldiers of the sea,” often have very little or no basis in fact.

    “Marines really love their history, and they should want to know it as accurately as possible,” Owen Conner, the uniforms curator at the National Museum of the Marine Corps, told Task & Purpose in an interview.

    “Some of the romantic stories we hear about the history of Marine uniforms are true, some are half true, and some of them are very easy to debunk altogether,” said Conner, of Fredericksburg, Virginia.

    One of the half-true legends, he said, is the origin of the “blood stripe.” As the story goes, the red stripe worn on the trousers of officers and noncommissioned officers commemorates the blood Marines shed storming the castle of Chapultepec in 1847.

    “The legend would have you believe there was no stripe on the trousers until after the Mexican War, but that clearly isn’t true,” Conner said. “The stripes definitely vary over the years and take on different significance, but they do predate the Mexican War.”                                                 

    In fact, Marine Corps trousers from as far back as the 1790s had red welts and piping down the outer seams.

    The trouser stripe has gone through many changes over the years. It likely traces its most direct origins to the Civil War-era regulations of 1859. But, over time, it grew from a decorative red welt to a broad scarlet stripe. The stripe Marines wear today originated in the 1890s — some 40 plus years after the Battle of Chapultepec.

    Marines can at least say it’s kind of true that the blood stripe honors the noncommissioned officers of Chapultepec because decades of repeating the legend have firmly embedded that battle into the legacy of the Corps.

    But the history of the leather stock collars worn by Marines is straight nonsense.

    Issued in 1776, the famed “stocks” were the high-leather collars for which Marines earned them the nickname “leathernecks.” Though the Corps did away with them about 100 years later, Marines retained the name Leathernecks and believe the high, stiff cloth collar on the modern dress uniform is meant to serve as a reminder of their heritage.

    It isn’t.

    us marine corps uniform

    The current collar is not even close in height, design or discomfort level to the original collar, according to retired Marine Col. Robert H. Rankin, who wrote the book “Uniforms of the Marines.”

    “[The stock] completely encircled the neck and was high enough to make the wearer keep his chin up at all times,” he writes.

    After wearing this device for a period of time, the Marine could not lower his head even after he removed it, according to Rankin, one of the most established writers on Marine uniform history.

    And it wasn’t just a Marine thing. Uniforms from other branches of service also included the collar, which was more affordable because the fabric didn’t have to be replaced as often as cloth.

    The legend of the collar is so treasured and guarded by the Corps that one Marine historian would only speak critically of it on the condition of anonymity.

    “Swords you came into contact with at that time were meant to break bones, not to cut skin,” the source explained. “The leather stock was less than an eighth of an inch thick – that’s not going to help much if someone is swinging a cutlass at your neck.”

    The leather collar just kept your head up and it was the fashion of the day.

    us marine corps uniform

    Fashion does, in fact, play a large role in the design of military uniforms. Throughout history, nations who succeeded in wars tended to set the fashionable uniform styles for others, which is why the Marine Corps borrowed the quatrefoil from the French sometime shortly before the Civil War (and a long long time after the Revolutionary War).

    Many nations at the time were adopting French military styles as a result of the French army’s success in the Italian War of 1859–1861, Conner said.

    This fact completely dispels the legend of the quatrefoil, which claims the design originated in the Revolutionary War so friendly sharpshooters atop ship riggings could distinguish Marines from the enemy.

    “The lore of the Corps is that officers fastened the ropes to their hats,” Conner added. “The big catch of the legend is that, back then, officers wore Napoleonic style chapeaus. Because of the way those hats were shaped, nothing could have been fixed to them.”

    Rankin supports the same idea as Conner, adding that the British Marines wore bright red coats during the Revolution, and could be easily distinguished from American Marines regardless of their headwear.

    But hey, isn’t it okay to buy into a little legend?

    “The lore is part of the Marine Corps history, whether every story is real or not,” Conner said. “It is a way of embracing the Marine legacy, and inspiring people to want to become Marines.”

    SEE ALSO: 'Crashing waves' of jihadists fray soldiers' nerves in Mosul battle

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The ‘Apple of China’ just unveiled a phone that’s more powerful and better looking than the iPhone


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    Syria's President Bashar al-Assad speaks during an interview with Denmark's TV 2, in this handout picture provided by SANA on October 6, 2016. SANA/Handout via REUTERS

    In an interview with NPR, aides to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad expressed joy and enthusiasm for incoming US President Trump.

    "We are happy that Clinton did not win. This is for sure. She's the one who considered all these terrorist, Islamist, jihadist groups as moderate rebels," a Syrian parliamentarian told NPR.

    The regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad classifies all who oppose them as terrorists; however, the conflict began with pro-democracy protests during the Arab Spring.

    There remains moderate, pro-democratic forces fighting Assad's forces in Aleppo and elsewhere in Western Syria, many of whom the US backs via train and equip missions. However, the regime places treats these forces, some of which support democracy and secularism, in the same category as ISIS or al-Qaeda affiliates.

    When the Syrian regime and their Russian backers talk about eliminating "terrorists" in Syria, they almost exclusively mean the rebel groups. Almost all of the offensives on ISIS have been carried out by Kurds, or a US-led coalition.

    But Donald Trump has echoed the regime's claims saying, during a debate with Hillary Clinton in October, "I don't like Assad at all, but Assad is killing ISIS."

    At one point, Trump even went as far as to say he wished the US and Russia could fight the terrorists together.

    The map below shows Russia isn't really interested in fighting ISIS, and that it is only interested in propping up the Assad regime.

    ISW Syria map

    "They have spent almost all their time trying to eliminate the moderate opposition because they want to boil it down to a choice between the extremists and Assad," Robert Ford, a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute who was the US ambassador to Syria from 2011 to 2014, said of Assad's regime targeting rebels to Business Insider in October.

    The rebels, for their part, seem disheartened by the election results. Syria and Russia have been linked, by numerous and credible sources, to heinous war crimes in Syria having bombed schools, hospitals, civilian areasnothing is safe.

    In fact, the few remaining doctors in Syria's Aleppo have had to hide underground from the constant Russian and Syrian air raids. Syrian and Russian planes, however, have found a way to circumvent this by using bunker-busting bombs to destroy the hospitals anyway.

    Defeated Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton proposed taking measures to protect civilians in Syria, igniting hope in the rebels.

    "The opposition was really looking forward to Secretary Clinton coming forward and implementing some kind of civilian protection ... Now that hope has been completely devastated," a Syrian-American activist with knowledge of the rebels told NPR.

    SEE ALSO: Russia's aircraft carrier has started launching sorties over Syria

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: A global intelligence analyst explains what makes ISIS so strong


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    US navy

    When President-elect Donald Trump spoke about expanding the Navy to 350 ships in his September national security speech, he's most likely taking his cues from Randy Forbes, the Republican Congressman from Virginia poised to take over as Secretary of the Navy in a Trump administration.

    “The 350-ship navy, cruiser modernization – those naval planks [in Donald Trump’s policies] are lifted from Randy Forbes,” a source familiar with the matter told USNI News.

    The president appoints a Secretary of the Navy to "conduct, all affairs of the Department of the Navy," which includes the Marine Corps. Trump, during his speech, said he wants to greatly increase the size of both the Navy and the Marines, and to generally "rebuild our military."

    Additionally, Trump mentioned buying newer destroyers to bulk up the Navy's fleet of 272 ships, most likely with Zumwalt class destroyers, but the Navy has struggled so far to field those.

    Forbes, a military adviser to Trump during his campaign, serves as a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, and makes it plain on his website that he is "one of the nation’s most forceful advocates for a strong national defense."

    In September, Forbes asserted before Congress that "more than rhetoric is required to counterbalance China’s growing military power and assertiveness," referring to China's artificial island building and militarization in the South China Sea, as well as China ignoring an international court ruling that said its claims in the region were illegal.

    China has declared "no fly" and "no sail" zones in international waters in the Pacific that have gone unchallenged by the US in the last few years. Increasingly Beijing bullies ships from its neighbors, some of whom are US allies.

    F 35C Zumwalt navy

    In September 2015, Forbes wrote a letter urging Obama to increase the Navy's presence in the region, and has been bullish on the prospect of projecting power in the South China Sea for some time.

    Forbes has advocated an increased US presence in the region, as well as modernizing and increasing the size of the Navy's fleet as China makes spectacular progress in updating its own navy.

    SEE ALSO: Syrian regime: 'We are happy that Clinton did not win'

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: China flexes its military might by unveiling a new stealth fighter jet


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    us army best photos 2012, west point soldiers graduating

    Companies take note: hiring a veteran of the U.S. Military comes with a host of benefits. 

    A number of Quora users responded to the question "What are the advantages of hiring someone who has been in the U.S. Military?" Of the responders, retired Marine sergeant and current hiring manager Jon Davis outlined ten key reasons employers should hire military veterans. 

    We have summarized his response below. 

    1. Veterans come from a previous culture built for mission accomplishment in mind. 

    "Few cultures have been engineered like the one military veterans have been a part of and even fewer ... focuses entirely on mission achievement, cooperation and personal development. The fact is that there is no culture in the world that shapes people in the way the military does," Davis notes. 

    2. Veterans have ingrained leadership talents

    The average age of a Marine, Davis notes, is 19. At 20, most Marines become non-commissioned officers who are placed in leadership positions. As one advances through the military's ranks, the burden of leadership becomes greater and greater. 

    3. Veterans take their responsibilities seriously

    "Military people get responsibility because when they were very young there were serious consequences to the decisions they made," writes Davis. Veterans have passed through trials that most people haven't, ensuring that they are responsible individuals who can successfully carry out their duties. 

    4. Intuition is a skill, and the military teaches it

    "What many people think is that leaders are born. Not in the military. The fact is that many people in military are faced with making life and death decisions in the blink of an eye," Davis writes. Military personnel have been trained to absorb as much information as possible from a variety of sources — so as to always intuit the best choice available to them.

    5. Military people will openly tell you when something is wrong

    Military personnel have a questioning and honest mentality, and will not be afraid of telling bosses when an idea could use a second look. 

    6. Military people will get the job done

    "Military people know what it means to have something that needs to be done. They have a sense of urgency and have seen the world through a big picture type mentality," notes Davis. 

    7. When given the necessary support, veterans are extremely capable

    "When given a proper framework and adequate training [veterans] can amaze you at how hard they can work and what they can get done," Davis writes. 

    8. Veterans are independent 

    Veterans are more likely than other demographic groups to start their own businesses, and possess a resourcefulness can help companies grow quickly from the inside. 

    9. Military personnel know the meaning of hard work

    "When on deployment we also work every day. Every single day. There are no holidays, no weekends, no birthdays. It is the same thing every day," notes Davis. 

    10. The government pays for veteran education

    The government provides veterans with financial assistance for pursuing higher education. By hiring a veteran, companies ensure that they will have employees who can consistently improve while on the job through continuing education initiatives. 

    SEE ALSO: Running a food delivery startup is easy after what this guy did in the Air Force

    SEE ALSO: 5 keys to success that an entrepreneur learned in the Marines

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    Operation Blue Peacock

    The Cold War spawned decades' worth of bizarre weapon ideas as the West and the Soviet Union strove towards gaining the strategic upper hand over their superpower rival.

    The US was responsible for at least seven nuclear weapon designs during the Cold War that now seem outlandish or ill-advised. But the US wasn't alone in its willingness to build seemingly absurd weapons systems to gain some kind of advantage over the Soviets.

    In the 1950s, the UK designed a nuclear landmine that would be placed in West Germany to stop a hypothetical Soviet assault on the rest of Europe, the BBC reports. The landmine, dubbed Operation Blue Peacock, would be operated remotely so that it could be detonated at the moment when it could inflict maximal damage on the invading Red Army. 

    But the weapon had a major hitch. Buried underground, it was possible that the mine would become cold to the point that the detonator would be unable to trigger a nuclear blast. In 1957, British nuclear physicists found a solution: chickens. 

    "The birds would be put inside the casing of the bomb, given seed to keep them alive and stopped from pecking at the wiring," the BBC notes. The chickens' body heat would be enough to maintain the triggering mechanism's working temperature. In all, the chickens would be estimated to survive for a week, after which time the bomb would return to a possibly cooled and inoperable state. 

    In all, the landmines designed in Operation Blue Peacock were thought to yield a 10-kiloton explosion which would produce a crater 375 feet in diameter, according to the American Digest. Such destructive potential ultimately led to the abandonment of the project as the British realized that there would be an unacceptable amount of nuclear fallout from such a blast — never mind the complicated issue of burying nuclear weapons within the territory of an allied nation. 

    By 1958, after the production of only two prototypes, Operation Blue Peacock was abandoned. 

    SEE ALSO: The 12 largest man-made explosions in history

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    NOW WATCH: We went inside a secret basement under Grand Central that was one of the biggest World War II targets


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    mig 29k

    A Russian navy MiG-29K fighter crashed into the Mediterranean while attempting to land on the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier after operating over Syria, Fox News reports.

    A helicopter recovered the pilot, whose status is unknown, US officials told Fox.

    Recent reports and videos suggest that Russia began the Kuznetsov's first combat deployment last week in the Mediterranean to support Syrian President Bashar Assad.

    Experts agree that the Kuznetsov's deployment to Syria doesn't meaningfully increase Russia's capabilities in the area and that the deployment was done more for propaganda purposes and to showcase Moscow's military hardware, like the MiG-29K, which was featured prominently in a flashy video of the operations aboard the Kuznetsov.

    The news of the crash could hurt Russia's prospects of exporting the plane to nations like India, Thailand, and China, which also operate MiGs and ski-slope-style aircraft carriers.

    SEE ALSO: Russia's aircraft carrier has started launching sorties over Syria

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    NOW WATCH: Russia just introduced a new missile nicknamed 'Satan 2' — here's a look at their other formidable weapon systems


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    Special Forces

    The three members of Army Special Forces who were killed earlier this month outside a Jordanian military base were working for the Central Intelligence Agency, according to a report in The Washington Post.

    The three soldiers with the Fort Campbell, Kentucky-based 5th Special Forces Group were killed while entering a military base in Jordan on November 4. The soldiers, Staff Sgts. Matthew C. Lewellen, 27; Kevin J. McEnroe, 30; and James F. Moriarty, 27, were apparently fired upon by Jordanian security forces at the gate to King Feisal Air Base, where they were deployed in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.

    According to The Post, the soldiers were working on the CIA's program to train moderate Syrian rebels. It's still unclear what the circumstances were surrounding their deaths.

    Jordanian military officials said that shots were fired as the Americans' car tried to enter the base, and a Jordanian military officer was also wounded, according to Army Times. Reporting from the Post seems to suggest that an accidental discharge from the Green Berets inside their vehicle may have led to a shootout, which an official called a "chain of unfortunate events."

    The loss of the three soldiers may be the deadliest incident for the CIA since 2009, when a suicide bomber killed seven members of a CIA team in Khost, Afghanistan.

    The CIA often "details" special operations units to operate within its paramilitary force, called Special Activities Division. Some notable examples include the use of Army's Delta Force in the 2001 US invasion of Afghanistan and the operation to kill Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, which was carried out by Navy SEALs assigned to the CIA.

    It has been particularly rough time for the Army Special Forces community. Besides the three soldiers killed in Jordan, there were two others killed in Afghanistan and another killed during scuba training this month.

    SEE ALSO: Peter Mansoor, right-hand man to Gen. Petraeus, says he would never serve a Trump administration

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    NOW WATCH: Hitler's Nazi military base in the Arctic was just discovered by Russian scientists


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    green berets

    The Army’s 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment – Delta — or “Delta Force” or CAG (for Combat Applications Group) or whatever its latest code name might be — is one of the best door kicking-units in the world.

    From raining hell on al Qaeda in the early days of the war in Afghanistan to going after the “deck of cards” in Iraq, the super-secretive counterterrorism unit knows how to dispatch America’s top targets.

    But during the wars after 9/11, Delta’s brethren in the Army Special Forces were tasked with many similar missions, going after top targets and kicking in a few doors for themselves. And Delta has a lot of former Special Forces soldiers in its ranks, so their cultures became even more closely aligned.

    That’s why it’s not surprising that some might be a bit confused on who does what and how each of the units is separate and distinct from one another.

    In fact, as America’s involvement in Iraq started to wind down, the new commander of the Army Special Warfare Center and School — the place where all SF soldiers are trained — made it a point to draw the distinction between his former teammates in Delta and the warriors of the Green Berets.

    “I hate analogies like the ‘pointy end of the spear,’ ” said then school chief Maj. Gen. Bennett Sacolick.

    “We’re not designed to hunt people down and kill them,” Sacolick said. “We have that capability and we have forces that specialize in that. But ultimately what we do that nobody else does is work with our indigenous partner nations.”

    So, in case you were among the confused, here are four key differences between Delta and Special Forces:

    SEE ALSO: The 3 elite Green Berets killed in Jordan earlier this month were working for the CIA

    Delta, what Delta?

    With the modern media market, blogs, 24-hour news cycles and social media streams where everyone’s an expert, it’s tough to keep a secret these days. And particularly after 9/11 with the insatiable appetite for news and information on the war against al Qaeda, it was going to be hard to keep “Delta Force” from becoming a household name.

    The dam actually broke with Mark Bowden’s seminal work on a night of pitched fighting in Mogadishu, Somalia, in 1993, which later became the book “Black Hawk Down.” Delta figured prominently in that work — and the movie that followed.

    Previously, Delta Force had been deemed secret, it’s members signing legally-binding agreements that subjected them to prison if they spoke about “The Unit.” Known as a “Tier 1” special operations unit, Delta, along with SEAL Team 6, are supposed to remain “black” and unknown to the public.

    Even when they’re killed in battle, the Army refuses to disclose their true unit.

    Special Forces, on the other hand, are considered Tier 2 or “white SOF,” with many missions that are known to the public and even encourage media coverage. Sure, the Green Berets often operate in secret, but unlike Delta, their existence isn’t one.



    Building guerrilla armies

    This is where the Special Forces differs from every other unit in the U.S. military. When the Green Berets were established in the 1950s, Army leaders recognized that the fight against Soviet Communism would involve counter insurgencies and guerrilla warfare fought in the shadows rather than armored divisions rolling across the Fulda Gap.

    So the Army Special Forces, later known as the Green Berets, were created with the primary mission of what would  later be called “unconventional warfare” — the covert assistance of foreign resistance forces and subversion of local governments.

    “Unconventional warfare missions allow U.S. Army soldiers to enter a country covertly and build relationships with local militia,” the Army says. “Operatives train the militia in a variety of tactics, including subversion, sabotage, intelligence collection and unconventional assisted recovery, which can be employed against enemy threats.”

    According to Sean Naylor’s “Relentless Strike” — which chronicles the formation of Joint Special Operations Command that includes Delta, SEAL Team 6 and other covert commando units — Delta’s main mission was to execute “small, high-intensity operations of short duration” like raids and capture missions. While Delta operators surely know how to advise and work with foreign guerrilla groups, like they did during operations in Tora Bora in Afghanistan, that’s not their main function like it is for Green Berets.



    Assessment and selection

    When Col. Charles Beckwith established Delta Force in 1977, he’d spent some time with the British Special Air Service to model much of his new unit’s organization and mission structure. In fact, Delta has units dubbed “squadrons” in homage to that SAS lineage.

    But most significantly, Beckwith adopted a so-called “assessment and selection” regime that aligns closely with how the Brits pick their top commandos. Delta operators have to already have some time in the service (the unit primarily picks from soldiers, but other service troops like Marines have been known to try out) and be at least an E4 with more than two years left in their enlistment.

    From what former operators have written, the selection is a brutal, mind-bending hike through (nowadays) the West Virginia mountains where candidates are given vague instructions, miles of ruck humps and psychological examinations to see if they can be trusted to work in the most extreme environments alone or in small teams under great risk of capture or death.

    Special Forces, on the other hand, have fairly standard physical selection (that doesn’t mean it’s easy) and training dubbed the Q Course that culminates in a major guerrilla wargame called “Robin Sage.”

    The point of Robin Sage is to put the wannabe Green Berets through a simulated unconventional warfare scenario to see how they could adapt to a constantly changing environment and still keep their mission on track.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Marine Cpl. Matthew Long

    A Marine corporal may have come up with a brilliant way to treat a gunshot wound the moment a bullet pierces body armor.

    Cpl. Matthew Long, a motor transport mechanic, designed a tear-proof package filled with a cocktail of blood clotting and pain-killing agents that sits behind body armor, which would be released instantly if pierced by a bullet. Though Marine body armor, called "flak" jackets, come with small arms protective insert (SAPI) plates to stop bullets, they can have trouble stopping multiple rounds.

    Long's invention, if fielded, would render first aid immediately, without a Marine having to do anything. The seemingly-simple tweak could save lives when a medic is not immediately available.

    The corporal was selected as a winner for his invention in September during the Corps' Logistics Innovation Challenge.

    "We thought we'd get one, maybe two ideas, but thanks to your support, we got hundreds," Lt. Gen. Mike Dana said in a video announcing the winners. "We're going to send all winners out to DoD labs to prototype their idea. These ideas might end up in the Marine Corps."

    Long and the nearly two dozen other winning projects will be considered for further use by the Marine Corps. As part of this, challenge winners are being partnered with government-affiliated labs to prototype, experiment, and implement their idea.

    Other winners include a team of enlisted Marines who came up with a way to make affordable 3d-printed drones, an officer with an idea for a wrist computer, and glasses made for medical tele-mentoring.

    SEE ALSO: Here's who Trump may pick to lead the Pentagon's nearly 3 million military and civilian personnel

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    trump putin but it's more about trump

    Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President-elect Donald Trump on Monday agreed to work toward "constructive cooperation", including on fighting terrorism, the Kremlin said.

    In their first phone call since Trump won the Nov. 8 election, they agreed to "channel" relations between Russia and the United States and "combine efforts to tackle international terrorism and extremism".

    "The importance of creating a solid basis for bilateral ties was underscored, in particularly by developing the trade-economic component," the Kremlin said in its statement.

    It added that the countries should "return to pragmatic, mutually beneficial cooperation, which would address the interests of both countries as well as stability and safety the world over."

    Trump's team issued a statement saying Putin called to offer congratulations. The statement said Trump told Putin he was looking forward to a strong and enduring relationship with Russia and its people.

    The two men will maintain contact by phone and seek to meet each other in person, the statement said.

    Trump will succeed President Barack Obama on Jan. 20. Obama's relations with Putin have become tense over issues that include Syria and Ukraine.

    SEE ALSO: A Russian Navy MiG-29K crashed returning to aircraft carrier from Syria

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    NOW WATCH: Watch 2 Ukrainian politicians brawl after one is accused of working with Russia


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    vladimir putin

    Russian police have said they found evidence of fraud at a polling station where Reuters reporters saw irregularities during a Sept. 18 parliamentary election that was won by a party loyal to the Kremlin.

    A police unit in the region of Mordovia wrote in a letter to Reuters that it had investigated and found signs of criminal fraud at polling station No. 591. It said it had handed over the case to the Investigative Committee, the state body which decides whether to bring criminal charges.

    "As a result of a check, it was established that there is an indication of a crime defined by chapter 142.1 of the Russian Criminal Code (falsification of election results)," it said.

    Russia is sensitive to allegations of electoral fraud. While the recent election passed off quietly, the previous parliamentary and presidential votes in 2011 and 2012 led to the biggest and most sustained demonstrations since President Vladimir Putin took office at the turn of the millennium.

    The police letter was the first official acknowledgement fraud may have taken place. Election officials had said last month the Reuters findings were unproven.

    On voting day, Reuters sent reporters to a sample of 11 polling stations across central and western Russia. They witnessed counting discrepancies, multiple voting, ballot stuffing and other irregularities.

    At polling station 591 in the Mordovia regional capital of Saransk, about 650 km (400 miles) south-east of Moscow, reporters counted 1,172 voters but officials recorded a turnout of 1,756.

    At the same polling station, a Reuters reporter obtained a temporary registration to vote, and cast a ballot for a party other than the pro-Putin United Russia. During the count, officials recorded that not a single vote had been cast for that party.

    One man was observed casting two ballots, the second about 20 minutes after the first.

    Russia Election_Mill (1)

    "I don't think there was any fraud," Irina Fedoseyeva, who was the chief election official on duty at the station, told Reuters by telephone on Monday. She said she had been questioned by an investigator and the checks were still under way.

    The Central Election Commission said earlier, in an official reply to Reuters questions about polling station 591, that it was impossible to count voters with complete accuracy and multiple voting allegations could not be investigated without the voter's name.

    The lost ballot, according to election officials, could have been among two ballots which were declared invalid at the polling station, but it was impossible to establish for sure because of voter confidentiality.

    SEE ALSO: Trump and Putin spoke by phone, discussed 'constructive cooperation' and the future of US-Russian relations

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    european union flag brexit

    The European Union has scaled back plans for a military headquarters, as America’s allies scramble to work out what a Donald Trump presidency means for the transatlantic alliance.

    EU foreign and defence ministers meeting in Brussels on Monday signed up to a plan aimed at improving Europe’s response to conflicts and crises on their borders, but downgraded plans for the headquarters.

    Nevertheless, Federica Mogherini, the EU foreign policy chief, who has spent more than two years drawing up a blueprint, described the plans as “a qualitative leap” and promised the EU would start implementation on Tuesday.

    She described the EU as a superpower that was not using its security and defence potential.

    EU ministers promised to “strengthen the relevance” of the EU’s rapid-reaction forces, known as battlegroups. The EU has been able to send rapid-reaction forces of 1,500 soldiers abroad to stabilise crises since 2007, but has never done so.

    Michael Fallon, Britain’s defence minister – and a long-term sceptic on EU military plans – expressed approval that the EU headquarters would only be used for civilian missions.

    The EU plan “does not extend to the military … or any kind of EU command and control”, he said.

    The document ministers agreed refers to “nonexecutive military missions”, which would limit the role of an EU military HQ to overseeing operations to train soldiers, as well as civilian operations, such as police.

    Elsewhere the document refers to consideration of “developing a concept” on a headquarters, another sign of the incrementalism of the plans.

    The EU currently runs 17 military and civilian missions, including the British-led naval force protecting ships from Somali pirates, run from Northwood in north-west London, to the multinational team of experts training Ukraine’s police force and judiciary.

    EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini holds a joint news conference with Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallstrom (not pictured) at the government headquarters Rosenbad in Stockholm, Sweden, October 10, 2016. TT News Agency/Janerik Henriksson/via REUTERS

    But EU countries have been divided over increasing the ambition of EU defence plans. France and Germany, backed by Italy and Spain, have been pressing the case for an EU headquarters. The UK, backed by the Baltic states, argued for scaling back the ambition, fearing duplication of Nato activities.

    The plans are a long way from an EU army, an idea championed by European commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and denounced by British Eurosceptics.

    Nick Witney, a former British diplomat, who became the first executive of the European Defence Agency (EDA), said it was nonsense to describe the headquarters as tantamount to an EU army.

    “There is an objective need for this small controlling element,” he told the Guardian. “There are plenty of occasions where a joint European force can and should be put together.”

    He accused Juncker, who plays no role in planning EU defence missions, of handing ammunition to Eurosceptics.

    “The real risk to the unity of the west, the real risks to the viability of Nato is not the Europeans trying to do too much,” Witney said. “The real risk is the Europeans not doing enough.”

    Fallon had criticised the focus on “expensive” new headquarters and those “dreaming” of a European army.

    “The easiest and simplest reaction to the Trump presidency is for other European countries, some of them quite wealthy, to step up their own defence spending and to meet the 2% commitment,” Witney said, referring to the Nato defence target.

    A stronger warning was delivered by a key Trump ally, who said Nato countries would face “a consequence” if they failed to contribute more to the alliance.

    Boris Johnson

    Carl Paladino, who ran the president-elect’s campaign in New York state, said there was no reason why the US should “put up with the nonsense of caring for the defence and the security of a country that doesn’t pick up its fair share”.

    Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg, who recently warned the US against going it alone, will take part in a second day of EU defence talks on Tuesday.

    “Even if Hillary Clinton had won, there was always awareness that Europeans would need do more for their own defence,” said Sophia Besch at the Centre for European Reform, but a Trump presidency had created “more urgency”.

    Differences between EU ministers were also on display over how to respond to Trump’s win. Foreign secretary Boris Johnson said a Trump presidency could be an “opportunity” and “a good thing for Britain”, after snubbing talks on Sunday night where fellow EU ministers were discussing the US election results.

    “Donald Trump, as I’ve said before, is a dealmaker and I think that could be a good thing for Britain.”

    Asked if he saw Trump as an opportunity, French foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said he did not know what Johnson meant, adding that he saw a risk of a return to American isolationism.

    Mogherini, who had convened the Sunday dinner meeting, said Europeans were not surprised by the absence of Johnson.

    “I guess it is only normal for a country that has decided to leave the European Union not to be so interested in our discussions on the future of our relations with the United States,” she said.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    isis wooden tank fake decoy

    On Monday, a Reuters report detailed how ISIS constructed fake tanks, Humvees, and even put beards on mannequins in an attempt to stifle the US-led military coalition's bombing campaign against the terror group.

    While the idea seems clever in theory, there's a major reason it won't present too much of a challenge to the US and allies: thermal imaging.

    Wooden tanks and Humvees, no matter how realistically they're built or deployed, don't emit heat as a real vehicle would. The drones that circle the skies above ISIS's havens in Iraq and Syria have no trouble toggling between thermal and other types of imaging.

    Watch the clip:

    Here you see a drone observing a moving vehicle, the target. The video pauses quickly to show a red box around the incoming bomb. By the trajectory of the bomb, we can tell it came from another plane.

    The bomb obliterates the vehicle, and the drone, which observes in part to confirm the kill, toggles for a moment to thermal imaging.

    The blast around the vehicle turns from gray to white as the camera displays heat instead of light. That's the problem ISIS's bearded mannequins can't overcome — they're cold.

    However, decoys have long been used in war, and often to some effect. In World War II, both sides made extensive — and sometimes very effective — use of decoys. But that was before infrared imaging and advanced air forces took to the sky.

    A tank made of wood that was used by Islamic State militants as a diversion tactic is seen in Bawiza, north of Mosul, Iraq November 13, 2016. REUTERS/Ari JalalMore likely, the dummies would confuse the human intelligence of the US-led coalition against ISIS. Allies on the ground, like the Kurds or Iraqi forces, may scout locations, be fooled by the decoys, and report bad information back to the coalition. Additionally, analysts studying satellite and other traditional imaging may be fooled by the fakes.

    It would take some time for the coalition to reconcile the difference between its satellite imagery, human intelligence, and thermal imaging from deployed drones, but it's not an insurmountable task.

    In fact, Baghdad-based US Air Force Col. John Dorrian told Reuters that the coalition has been on to ISIS's decoy game for some time.

    "We call it tactical deception. Daesh (ISIS) has been doing it, and that's certainly a tactic that enemies like to use," he said. "It is actually not as troubling as a lot of the other things we've seen," like the time ISIS burned down a chemical plant to spread a cloud of choking, corrosive gases so large that it was visible from space.

    SEE ALSO: Obama admits his strategy in Syria 'has not worked'

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