Page 1

SPECIAL EDITION

YEAR IN DEFENSE

FREE

ARMY | NAVY | AIR FORCE | MARINES

2019 EDITION

AT THE READY

NEXT-GEN TECHNOLOGY Robots, sensors, wheels rolling out

WOMEN WARRIORS Filling combat roles slow-going

HEALTH CAREERS Prove good fit for retirees

HIRING OUR HEROES Wisconsin works to draw veterans


2

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

3

CONTENTS

2019 S PECI A L E D ITI O N

YEAR IN DEFENSE

NEWS

6

Q&A Defense Secretary James Mattis discusses military priorities and challenges

10 MANDEL NGAN/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

10

HEROIC FEATS

17

MONEY MATTERS

18

MARGINALIZED MILITARY

War veterans receive Medal of Honor for extraordinary acts

National Defense Authorization Act sets 2019 military budget

Transgender and immigrant troops are on the political front lines

20

OPEN DOORS

24

MISSING THE MARK

Commissaries and exchanges welcome designated veterans and caregivers

U.S. Army addresses historically low recruitment numbers

INTELLIGENCE

28

THE DIA

30

UNITED NATIONS

Director Robert Ashley explains agency’s mission and priorities

U.S. vows to share cyber capabilities with NATO allies

FEATURES

38

FEMALE INFLUENCE Three years after women-in-combat ruling, progress is slow

#METOO MOVEMENT Pentagon survey examines sexual assault reports on bases and ships

GETTY IMAGES


4

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

CONTENTS BRANCHES

42

DOD OVERVIEW Departments tasked with protecting the country

44

ARMY

46

MARINES

This is a product of

Ranger Amanda Kelley achieves first for enlisted women

EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Jeanette Barrett-Stokes

Corps uses robotic targets for more effective training

50

jbstokes@usatoday.com

MANAGING EDITOR Michelle Washington

NAVY

mjwashington@usatoday.com

Climate change affects Guam base, other military facilities

CREATIVE DIRECTOR Jerald Council jcouncil@usatoday.com

ISSUE EDITOR Tracy Scott Forson EDITORS Amy Sinatra Ayres Sara Schwartz Debbie Williams ISSUE DESIGNER Gina Toole Saunders DESIGNERS Hayleigh Corkey Amira Martin Lisa M. Zilka CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Matt Alderton, Ron Barnett, Brian Barth, Scott Berman, Patricia Kime, Tom Philpott, Erik Schechter, Kristen A. Schmitt, Adam Stone

54 SENIOR AIRMAN MALCOLM MAYFIELD

54

46

ADVERTISING

AIR FORCE Leaders seek to add more squadrons to maintain readiness

CPL. JOHN BAKER

VP, ADVERTISING Patrick Burke | (703) 854-5914 pburke@usatoday.com

ACCOUNT DIRECTOR Justine Madden | (703) 854-5444

WEAPONS & TECHNOLOGY

jmadden@usatoday.com

58 60

TO TRACK AND BACK

FINANCE

Shape-shifting wheels transform while vehicles are in motion

SENSING SYSTEMS

Billing Coordinator Julie Marco ISSN#0734-7456

58

Wearable devices monitor soldiers’ conditions

CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY

USA TODAY, its logo and associated graphics are the trademarks of Gannett Co. Inc. or its affiliates. All rights reserved. Copyright 2018, USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc. Editorial and publication headquarters are at 7950 Jones Branch Dr., McLean, VA 22108, and at (703) 854-3400.

JOBS & EDUCATION

64 ON THE COVER Soldiers execute a military mission at dusk. GETTY IMAGES

68

WORKING STATE Wisconsin partners with Hiring Our Heroes

NOW HIRING Retired service members find health care field a good fit

A USA TODAY Network publication, Gannett Co. Inc

For accuracy questions, call or send an email to accuracy@usatoday.com.

PRINTED IN THE USA

68 PROVIDED BY MARK RUTHER


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

5


6

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

NEWS

Threat Assessment Defense Secretary Mattis readies military for wide range of challenges

T

HE FIRST OFFICIAL CONFIRMED to President

Donald Trump’s Cabinet, Defense Secretary James Mattis has served in the position for nearly two years. With threats from North Korea, Russia and China increasing, the Department of Defense is preparing for more peer or near-peer confrontations, which means renewed attention on preventing nuclear war and improving U.S. cybersecurity. In September, Mattis addressed cadets at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Va., to encourage and inspire future members of the armed forces. His Q&A with students covered issues including the role of women in combat, troops’ overall physical fitness and how the military is adapting to emerging threats. Read highlights from the speech:

Defense Secretary James Mattis MONICA KING/U.S. ARMY

I was doing some research on the Marine Corps’ experiment to see whether females in combat arms makes us more combateffective. And I would just like to hear your thoughts on that. MATTIS: Yeah. It’s a very, very tough issue because it goes from some people’s perspective of what kind of society do we want, you know? In the event of trouble, you’re sleeping at night in your family home, and you’re the dad, mom, whatever, and you hear glass break downstairs. Who grabs a baseball bat and gets between the kids’ door and whoever broke in, and who reaches for the phone to call 911? In other words, it goes to the most almost primitive needs of a society to look out for its most vulnerable.

Q

This is an issue right now that we have — Army, Navy, Marine — all looking at as we speak, and that is the close-quarters fight being what it is. You know, is it a strength or a weakness to have women in that circumstance? Today, because so few women have signed up along these lines, we don’t even have data at this time that I can answer your question, OK? This is an area we’re going to have to resolve as a nation. And the military has got to have officers who look at this with a great deal of objectivity and at the same time remember our natural inclination to have this open to all. But we cannot do something that militarily doesn’t make sense, and I’ve got this being looked at right now by the chief of staff of the Army, commandant of the Marine Corps and all.

There are a few stalwart young ladies who are charging into this, but they are too few. Right now it’s not even dozens; it’s that few. So when we get a little more data, I’ll give you a much more objective answer. Clearly the jury is out on it, but what we’re trying to do is give it every opportunity to succeed if it can. Many people live very sedentary lifestyles, and kids today are coming into the military very out of shape — it’s causing a lot of problems. Do you believe that’s a problem? And how do you think we can go about fixing that? It’s a sad state of affairs when 71 percent of the 18- to 24-year-old males in this country cannot qualify to enter the United States Army as a private. The Army knows they’ve got to be the ones who train and bring the young

lads and gals up to standard, but they’ve got to start with something. Today, we don’t need as large (a) military, but we need one big enough. And when you are drawing from only 29 percent at the beginning — only 29 percent is your total recruiting population — it creates a real problem for us. It reminds us why we need allies, frankly, and it reminds us even when we get people in the military, in an increasingly overweight country, an increasingly drug-prone country, we need some of you who are going to be the Spartans of the gate, because we’re not going to hang onto these freedoms because our grandfathers fought on the beaches of Normandy or because our fathers fought in Vietnam. CONTI NUED


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

7


8

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

NEWS

ANDREW HARNIK/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Secretary Mattis spoke to reporters at the Pentagon in October. President Donald Trump said he has a “very good relationship” with Mattis, his first official Cabinet member.

Every generation, as President (Ronald) Reagan put it, is going to have to fight to keep this experiment alive. It’s a big concern to me. I don’t know what we can do about it. There are retired officers and NCOs (noncommissioned officers), senior NCOs, who are working across the country, in the schools, to try to restore physical education where it’s been taken out, to try to get school lunches to be things that fuel the body, instead of just giving them crummy food. Most of America’s problems are solved at the local level. And that’s going to have to be where this one gets solved. Start working with the kids when they’re young, because once they’ve gone over the edge, it’s very hard to bring them back. What (are) America’s first and second most external (threats), whether that be physical or just psychological warfare, and how do you adapt the DOD whether that be conventional or

unconventional warfare? I think when you look at external threats, the first one I have to look at is the nuclear threat out of Russia and to a lesser degree China and certainly North Korea, but North Korea’s an urgent threat. So the nuclear threat is one that doesn’t get talked about a lot, but believe me standing right over here about no more than 100 feet away is a communicator with a backpack with certain communications equipment and codes in it that accompany me everywhere I go. And it is a very real threat, and (one) we’re going to have to address — keep that one as a deterrent because a nuclear war cannot be won, so it must never be fought. And the way we do that in this imperfect world is through a deterrent that basically threatens the worst possible calamity on anyone who would try it. The cyberthreat is one that is actually linked to the growing threat in space. And I won’t spend time connecting the two,

but I will tell you that how we protect our country was brought into stark relief on 9/11 when for all of our ships at sea, all of our soldiers in uniform, everything else we had, every one of us who was wearing a uniform and the intelligence agencies knew we had let down America on 9/11. So as we look at these unconventional threats, we cannot think because they don’t want to fight our way that we can simply opt out. We’re going to have to learn how to protect our country, and I think that in the long run (that’s) going to happen on cyber, because the Department of Defense has about 95 percent or more of the capability to protect the country on cyber. We’re probably going to have to offer to banks, to public utilities, electrical generation plants, that sort of thing the opportunity to be inside a governmentprotected domain. Now, it’s not going to be forced and there are constitutional issues, but I think we should also offer it to small businesses and individuals.

It would be completely up to them whether or not they came inside, but I think eventually we’re going to have to change the technology, and there’s (a) way we can do it. I’m talking to real smart people about what they do on cyber defense so that we’re more resistant and more resilient at the same time. As the threats change, we cannot be dominant and irrelevant at the same time, able to fight ground battles, unable to fight in cyberspace or outer space, so we’re working on it. There’s also other challenges out there as well, but in terms of urgency, I’d say North Korea. In terms of power right now, it is probably Russia and the nuclear threat. And in terms of long-term political will, it’s China. But China does not have to be a threat. We can find a way to work together with China. We’re two nuclear-armed superpowers, and we’re going to have to learn how to manage our relationship, and I do believe we can do that.


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

9


10

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

NEWS

Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. John Canley CHIP SOMODEVILLA/GETTY IMAGES

‘Unmatched Bravery’ 50 Years after Tet Offensive, Marine receives Medal of Honor

O

N OCT. 17, RETIRED Marine

Corps Sgt. Maj. John Canley, 80, became the seventh U.S. service member to be awarded the Medal of Honor by President Donald Trump. As a gunnery sergeant in the Vietnam War 51 years ago, Canley led his company through more than three days of fierce fighting during the Battle of Huê. Under heavy enemy fire, and with many members of Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines — including the company commander — a wounded Canley encouraged 147 Marines to fight against an enemy numbering roughly 10,000. “Despite fierce enemy resistance, (Canley) succeeded in gaining a position immediately above the enemy strong-

point and dropped a large satchel charge into position, personally accounting for numerous enemy killed,” according to the citation for the Navy Cross he initially received. Over the course of days, Canley braved enemy fire numerous times to save wounded troops and fought despite being struck by shrapnel himself, the citation noted. “He was moving from area to area, setting up fields of fire for the guys,” said Mike “Doc” Kerr, a Navy corpsman who was attached to the unit. “Whenever he came across someone who was wounded, he’d tuck him under his arm and bring him to us.” Canley enlisted in 1953 at age 15 using his eldest brother’s birth certificate. He

was shipped to Japan and Korea and eventually deployed to Vietnam several times. After a roadside battle, Canley brought his battered company into Huê, staying in command for several days until officers arrived. He led attacks and repeatedly went out in enemy fire to retrieve injured Marines. For his actions, Canley was awarded the Navy Cross. “With deadly accuracy, he did everything he had to do … in one harrowing engagement after another, John risked his own life to save the lives of others under his command,” Trump said during the ceremony, praising Canley’s “unmatched bravery.” Canley, the 300th Marine to receive the medal, retired from the Corps in 1981 after 28 years of service. The Medal of

Honor is important, he said, because it’s recognition for the men he led. “I know there are other Marines in Alpha 1/1 that should have gotten individual heroic awards, and most of them didn’t even get an end of the tour award that says, ‘You did a good job,’” said Canley, who is leading a drive for awards for Kerr and others. He spoke, too, about the emotion he feels for the Marines, not just in Alpha 1/1 but for all the men he led in war. He called it love. “You would have to be in the Marine Corps and be in combat to truly understand,” he said. Four additional service members have been awarded the Medal of Honor since last November. Here is a look at their heroic deeds:


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

11


12

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

NEWS

STAFF SGT. RONALD SHURER II, U.S. ARMY While serving as a Special Forces combat medic a decade ago, Staff Sgt. Ronald Shurer II braved gunfire in the Shok Valley of Afghanistan to save wounded comrades pinned down by Taliban fighters. On April 6, 2008, Shurer and a team of 11 commandos were ambushed by an enemy force of more than 200 militants with sniper rifles, machine guns and rocketpropelled grenades. A senior medical sergeant, Shurer sprinted through enemy fire to treat one downed soldier, then dodged more bullets to catch up with members of his unit closest to the fighting. He fought for more than an hour to reach the group, killing several insurgents along the way, according to his commendation for the Silver Star, which he also received for his actions. Once there, he treated four more critically wounded soldiers and moved through gunfire to treat others. Shurer managed to evacuate the wounded soldiers down a near-vertical 60-foot cliff under fire while shielding them from falling debris. He then loaded the wounded soldiers onto a helicopter, took command of his squad and headed back to the fight. He single-handedly saved all the members of the team. “For more than six hours, Ron bravely faced down the enemy,” Trump said when conferring the honor. “Not a single American died in that brutal battle, thanks in great measure to Ron’s heroic actions.” After Shurer left the Army in 2009, he joined the U.S. Secret Service, where he serves in its Special Operations Division, despite battling lung cancer. “We stand in awe of your father’s courage,” Trump told Shurer’s children during the Oct. 1 ceremony.

CHIP SOMODEVILLA/GETTY IMAGES

TECH SGT. JOHN CHAPMAN, U.S. AIR FORCE For heroism performed on a snowy mountaintop in Afghanistan in 2002, Tech Sgt. John Chapman posthumously became the first airman since the Vietnam War to receive the Medal of Honor. Chapman, an Air Force commando, had received the second-highest honor, the Air Force Cross, for his actions in March 2002, but in 2014, then-Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered a review of citations for valor since the Sept. 11 terror attacks, and that examination resulted in the upgrade of several medals, including Chapman’s. In the early hours of March 4, Chapman’s helicopter was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade on Takur Ghar mountain in Afghanistan. The aircraft crashed after one of the troops was ejected, and Chapman and a joint special operations team returned to rescue him. After landing, Chapman charged into enemy fire, seized a bunker and killed the fighters there, according to the White House. He then burst from cover to quell a machine gun firing on his team from a second bunker. He suffered severe wounds in the second attack, and his teammates believed he was dead. They eventually retreated. But analysis of video from a drone years later showed that Chapman had continued to fight until his death. He is credited with saving the lives of his teammates. During Chapman’s Medal of Honor ceremony on Aug. 22, Trump presented the award to Chapman’s spouse, Valerie Nessel (pictured). “In this final act of supreme courage, John gave his life for his fellow warriors. Through his extraordinary sacrifice, John helped save more than 20 American service members,” Trump said.

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/GETTY IMAGES


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

13


14

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

NEWS

FIRST LT. GARLIN MURL CONNER, U.S. ARMY First Lt. Garlin Murl Conner has been celebrated as one of the most decorated soldiers in U.S. history. On June 26, nearly two decades after his death in November 1998, the late officer received the nation’s highest award for heroism, the Medal of Honor. In 1945, on a cold, snowy January day in Houston, France, American troops were under attack by hundreds of German soldiers. Conner, previously injured during his service, volunteered to direct artillery fire on the opposing forces. He ran out of the safety of the forest, straight into enemy fire, armed with only a telephone and yards of telephone wire. Conner directed fire missions on a force of 600 German infantry troops, six tanks and tank destroyers, adjusting round after round of artillery from his prone position until the enemy was halted. He remained in his position for three hours, enduring the onslaught of German soldiers who, at one point, advanced to within 5 yards of his position. When the Germans mounted an all-out attack to overrun the American lines, Conner ordered his artillery to concentrate on his own position, resolving to die if necessary to halt the enemy. His actions stopped the advance. Trump described him as a “Kentucky farm boy who stared down evil with the strength of a warrior and heart of a hero.” “Murl embodied the pure, patriotic love that builds and sustains a nation,” the president said. Conner’s widow, Pauline (pictured), accepted the medal on his behalf. His son, Paul, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and friends also were present at the White House ceremony.

PABLO MARTINEZ MONSIVAIS/ASSOCIATED PRESS

MASTER CHIEF SPECIAL WARFARE OPERATOR (SEAL) BRITT SLABINSKI, U.S. NAVY Master Chief Britt Slabinski was initially awarded the Navy Cross for his heroics in a fight against al-Qaida terrorists to rescue a colleague, but a review of citations for valor by the Defense Department resulted in the upgrade to the Medal of Honor. About 1 a.m. on March 4, 2002, Slabinski’s team, aboard an Army Chinook helicopter, was attacked by militants as it attempted to land on a mountaintop of Takur Ghar in eastern Afghanistan. Navy SEAL Neil Roberts fell from the aircraft as it pulled back from the gunfire and rocket-propelled grenades, and the helicopter crash-landed about three miles away. Slabinski and others returned in a second helicopter to rescue Roberts, and they were attacked by a more heavily armed force of al-Qaida militants. Slabinski “repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire as he engaged in a pitched, close-quarters firefight against the tenacious and more heavily armed enemy forces,” according to a statement from the White House. The fighting, known as the Battle of Roberts Ridge, raged for hours as Slabinski requested reinforcements, aided fallen members of his team and continued fighting until they could be rescued. It wasn’t until 8:15 p.m. that helicopters whisked the troops from the mountain top. “We are free because warriors like (them) are willing to give their sweat, their blood, and, if (they) have to, their lives for our great nation,” Trump said during Slabinski’s award ceremony, held May 24.

WIN MCNAMEE/GETTY IMAGES


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

15


16

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

17

NEWS

NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT: uIncreases the military’s authorized end strength by 15,600 uRaises service member pay by 2.6 percent — the highest in nine years uRecognizes the importance of modernizing and strengthening the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States to more effectively guard against the risk to national security posed by certain types of foreign investment

GETTY IMAGES

Money Matters Military appropriation boosts pay, focuses on threats from Russia, China

I

ever developed, and hopefully, we’ll be so Trump signed a $717 billion defense strong we’ll never have to use it. But if we policy bill that ever did, nobody has a will onboard chance.” thousands of The bill — formally service members and the John S. McCain PROPOSED replace well-used National Defense equipment with that Authorization Act ACTIVE-DUTY of superior technical (NDAA) — will boost END STRENGTH capabilities. military pay by “We will increase 2.6 percent, giving IN FISCAL 2019: the size and strength service members their uArmy: 487,500 of our military by addlargest increase in ing thousands of new nine years. uNavy: 335,400 recruits to active duty, It also authorizes uMarine Corps: 186,100 Reserve and National billions of dollars for Guard units, including military construction, uAir Force: 329,100 4,000 new activeincluding family SOURCE: Department duty soldiers,” Trump housing, and funds of Defense told members of the an additional 15,600 Army’s 10th Mountain active-duty personDivision in August. nel. “We will replace aging The annual meatanks, aging planes and ships with the sure sets policies and a budget outline for most advanced and lethal technology the Pentagon and will be followed by a N AUGUST, PRESIDENT DONALD

later appropriations bill. The bill did not provide money for Trump’s requested U.S. Space Force, the proposed sixth branch of the military expected to be established by 2020, the usefulness of which has been questioned by those who wonder how it will differ from the Air Force’s Space Command. “Just like the air, the land, the sea, space has become a warfighting domain,” Trump said. “It is not enough to merely have an American presence in space; we must have American dominance in space.” The NDAA also authorized the president’s military parade, an idea met with much criticism and ultimately postponed amid reports of a soaring estimated cost, which reached $92 million, according to a source at the Pentagon. About $50 million would cover Pentagon costs for equipment, personnel and other expenses for the parade, the Pentagon official said. The rest would be handled by other agencies.

uProvides waiver relief to key U.S. partners and allies from certain Russian-related sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act uStrengthens cyber defenses, prioritizes U.S. Cyber Command readiness and affirms the cyber authorities of the secretary of defense SOURCE: Department of Defense

“The Department of Defense and White House have been planning a parade to honor America’s military veterans and commemorate the centennial of World War I,” DOD spokesman Col. Rob Manning said in a statement in August. “We originally targeted Nov. 10, 2018, for this event but have now agreed to explore opportunities in 2019.” Analysts note that the latest bill reflects Defense Secretary James Mattis’ focus on potential threats from China and Russia, redirecting resources from prolonged and inconclusive battles with insurgencies in the Middle East to peer or near-peer regimes. “I am grateful for the strong commitment of members on both sides of the aisle to pass this year’s NDAA in record time,” Mattis said. “It is now our duty to implement these policies responsibly and ensure a culture of performance and accountability.” Compiled by USA TODAY.


18

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

NEWS

Under Fire Immigrant, transgender troops face political fallout

GETTY IMAGES

By Adam Stone

W

HEN MILITARY POLICY COLLIDES with hot-

button topics, there are almost always challenges. Recently, two marginalized groups were caught in the crosshairs as the Pentagon found itself in the middle of some of the nation’s most controversial and polarizing issues.

In August 2017, President Donald Trump announced a ban on transgender troops, which was embraced by the Department of Defense but swiftly overturned by numerous court decisions. Then in the summer of 2018, media outlets began reporting that immigrants who had been recruited for their special skills, including foreign language fluency, were being forced out of uniform.

These highly publicized incidents may have affected recent enrollment. The Army said this fall that it had failed to meet its recruiting goal for the first time in 13 years, falling short of the target of 76,500 by about 6,500 soldiers. The immigrant policy has a direct impact on readiness, said Margaret Stock, an Alaska-based immigration attorney and retired Army Reserve lieutenant colonel who helped create the

immigrant recruitment initiative known as the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest program (MAVNI). MAVNI aimed to give immigrants with crucial skills a path to citizenship via military service. This summer, the media reported that many in the program were being abruptly discharged. The Army’s own list, submitted to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in September, indicated that 502 immi-


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

19

NEWS

SENIOR AIRMAN RACHEL HAMMES

Staff Sgt. Ashleigh Buch, stationed at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the first openly transgender airman to be recommended for a return to flying duties.

grant service members were discharged between July 2017 and July 2018. Coming amidst Trump’s numerous controversial remarks disparaging minority members and reinforcing negative stereotypes, many saw this as a political statement. The Pentagon noted that it had been tightening up on the program since 2016 because of “security concerns with MAVNI applicants.” But it also took measures to slow down the removals with a memo ordering that the separations be suspended. The mixed signals likely took a toll. “It sent a message that the Department of Defense doesn’t keep its promises,” Stock said. That same confusion loomed when the armed forces adopted another policy targeting a different minority group. When the president called for a ban on transgender troops, military leaders immediately said they would establish a panel of experts to work on implementation. When the courts struck down the ban, DOD officials said they would

SGT. MARICRIS MCLANE/U.S. ARMY

Spc. Carl Denis, a native of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and MAVNI enlistee, serves with the Army’s 2nd Assault Helicopter Battalion.

IN 2018, THE ARMY FAILED TO MEET ITS RECRUITING GOAL FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 13 YEARS, FALLING SHORT OF THE TARGET OF 76,500 BY ABOUT

6,500 SOLDIERS reverse course and comply. Here again, experts say, the shifting messaging had the potential to undermine the department’s mission. “There are issues in terms of consistency,” said Ariella Rotramel, a gender studies professor at Connecticut College. “When people serve our country, it’s problematic when the conditions under which they believe they are serving suddenly change,” she said. “We are still a

volunteer military, and so it becomes an issue in terms of how we recruit people. It undermines morale when there isn’t a coherent message for the people who are serving.” DOD officials said that social agendas don’t dictate military policy. The MAVNI issues, for example, “are not about immigration; they are about national security,” said Air Force Maj. Carla Gleason, a Pentagon spokeswoman.

When it comes to recruiting and morale, however, perception matters, and these incidents may have left some observers feeling that the military might end up in the problematic position of having to place politics over readiness. The Cornell International Law Journal warned of “dire consequences” if MAVNI is terminated. The RAND Corporation’s National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, found that gender orientation matters less than “unit members’ ability to contribute effectively to the efforts of the group.” Going forward, advocates for diversity say that the military is best served when it pursues individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds, with a broad mix of talents and abilities. “You don’t want a military that’s made up of one ethnic group or is all male or is made up of people from just one state,” Stock said. “In order to perform the mission, you need a wide variety of talented people.”


20

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

NEWS

Added Benefit New legislation will allow more veterans to shop at military stores By Tom Philpott

M

KEVIN ROBINSON

Commissaries, such as this one at Naval Submarine Base New London in Connecticut, allow active military and some veterans to shop at discounted prices.

ILITARY COMMISSARIES AND EXCHANGES will

soon open their doors to some disabled veterans, Purple Heart and Medal of Honor recipients, former prisoners of war and designated caregivers of veterans. The bipartisan Purple Heart and Disabled Veterans Equal Access Act of 2018 was introduced by Reps. Daniel Lipinski and Walter Jones, with support from Sens. Brian Schatz and John Boozman. Found in the fiscal 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, the law will allow at least a few hundred “It is our duty thousand additional as a nation to people to shop at commissaries not only say and exchanges we appreciate nationwide. The initiative their service to increase access to but also to military stores, which is gaining enact policies steam, demonstrating political would benefit more veterans that who live near gratitude.” military bases and strengthen — DANIEL LIPINSKI, a beleaguered U.S. Rep., D.-Ill. military resale system. “With my legislation set to become law, we will finally open up our commissaries to war heroes,” Schatz, D-Hawaii, said in July. “My legislation will also make sure we build stronger and smarter military bases so that our armed forces can continue to protect American interests at home and around the world.” The need to maintain military commissaries has been questioned after four years of declining sales and mounting pressure to reduce the $1.3 billion annual appropriation needed to sustain current CONTI NUED


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

21


22

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

NEWS

NATI HARNIK/ASSOCIATED PRESS

152 YEARS Soon to grant access to some former prisoners of war, veteran caregivers and Medal of Honor recipients, in 1825, commissaries were only a benefit for officers. On July 1, 1867, enlisted men were granted the right to buy food at cost from their post’s department warehouses, providing value and convenience. 2019 will mark 152 years of commissary access for enlisted service members. “Commissaries are the oldest military resale benefit,” said Tracie Russ, Defense Commissary Agency sales deputy director, in a press release. “The benefit still exists to help our service members and their families improve their quality of life by delivering significant savings on groceries.” SOURCE: Defense Commissary Agency

grocery discounts on installations. Many purchases at military commissaries and exchanges are tax-free, and the items are typically less expensive than at mainstream stores. At the direction of Congress, the department completed a study last December on the feasibility of expanding limited access to base shopping — excluding purchases of alcohol, tobacco

products and military uniform items — to veterans with Department of Veterans Affairs disability ratings of 30 percent or higher and to Purple Heart recipients. The study concluded it is feasible to open base stores to these veterans if Congress also granted authority to assess these “secondary” patrons an additional 5 percent user fee at commissaries to offset higher operating costs tied to the move.

The study also found no need to apply, as Congress suggested, a 30 percent rating threshold on shopping privileges. Base stores could be open to any veteran with a disability rating from 0 percent to 90 percent, the department concluded. Veterans rated 100 percent disabled can already shop on base. To gain access to bases, these secondary groups of shoppers would be required to use their VA-issued Veterans Health Identification Card (VHIC), which designates them as having a serviceconnected disability, the report said. Since November 2017, any veteran has been able to shop online only at military exchanges. The option of opening bases to all honorably discharged veterans will be considered if access to disabled vets shows further expansion would help the department; if planned consolidation of exchanges and commissaries would create capacity to handle more shoppers; if secure, cost-effective credentialing is doable for all veterans; and if base security and stores can handle an even greater influx of shoppers.

Staff Sgt. Alex Frank shops at the Military Uniform store within the exchange at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska.

The initiative was backed by veterans groups including the American Legion, AMVETS, Association of the U.S. Navy, Disabled American Veterans, Military Order of the Purple Heart, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Wounded Warrior Project. Despite overwhelming support, some have raised concerns about allowing more people into base stores, Lipinski, D-Ill., said. “But my view is … there has been such drop-off” in commissary sales that to keep them open “they have to have more patrons.” For Lipinski, the benefits eclipse any negative outcomes. “It is our duty as a nation to not only say we appreciate their service but also to enact policies demonstrating that gratitude. We should all agree that these veterans have done more than enough to earn access to these facilities,” Lipinski wrote in a letter to colleagues. “Not only would this provision make the lives of our veterans easier, it would also strengthen the commissary and exchange system by improving operational efficiency as well.”


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

23


24

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

NEWS

GETTY IMAGES

Realistic Goals Army regroups to attract new recruits The Associated Press

I

T WILL TAKE TIME to overcome the

recruiting challenges that caused the U.S. Army to miss its enlistment goal this year, but plans to beef up recruiting and other changes will enable the service to get the recruits it needs in 2019, top Army leaders said in October. The Army’s 2018 recruitment fell short by about 6,500 soldiers, despite pouring an extra $200 million into bonuses and approving some additional waivers for bad

conduct or health issues. It’s the first time since 2005 that the military branch missed its goal. Gen. Mark Milley, Army chief of staff, said the recruiting shortfall was “certainly a warning light” as the Pentagon works to increase the size of the soldier service to 500,000 by 2024. The Army signed up about 70,000 new active-duty recruits in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, below the 76,500 they needed. The Army National Guard and Army Reserve also fell far short of their

goals, by more than 12,000 and 5,000 respectively. “We recognize and acknowledge we did not meet (the goal) for ’18,” Milley told reporters during an Army convention. “We are making some adjustments going forward in our recruiting strategy, our marketing strategy. We’re also increasing recruiters.” According to the Army, there are about 9,600 recruiters now, and the plan is to inCONTI NUED


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

25


26

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

NEWS

FILLING THE RANKS

STAFF SGT. AUSTIN L. THOMAS/U.S. ARMY

In June 2017, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley administers the oath of enlistment to 35 young men and women who will join the ranks of the Army, the Army Reserve and the Army National Guard.

crease that to about 10,250 by next summer. Army Secretary Mark Esper said the service is moving recruiters into 20 more cities and upgrading storefront enlistment stations to entice recruits. “I think we can and we will do a lot better,” he said. “It’s going to take some time to reposition ourselves.” Milley said the Army could have reached the recruiting goal this year but instead focused on taking higher-quality recruits, rather than enlisting young people just to make the numbers. The Army faced questions from Congress over its expanded use of waivers for recruits with previous marijuana use, bad conduct and certain health problems. The debate prompted the Army to cut back on some waivers and require higher-level officers to approve ones involving drug use and some health and conduct issues. Only about 30 percent of 17- to

24-year-olds meet the physical, mental and moral requirements for the military, and only one in eight are interested in serving. Milley laid out an ambitious plan to recruit enough soldiers in the coming years to ensure that key operational units are staffed above full strength. That way, he noted, the military will still have the soldiers they need when some become injured or ill and can’t deploy or are out of their jobs for several months. And he said efforts to improve the Army’s readiness to go to war are slowly taking hold, as the service recovers from 17 years of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Efforts to upgrade equipment, reorganize the force and focus spending on key new programs is helping to make the Army more lethal, Milley said. For years, modernization and other programs were sacrificed in order to get the most critical troops and equipment

on the battlefields. “We stopped the bleeding, and we’re on an upward swing,” Milley said. “We have, I think, turned the corner. We’re not out of the woods yet. We have a ways to go.” The Army’s shortfall was fueled by the strong American economy and increased competition from private-sector employers who can pay more, according to Maj. Gen. Joe Calloway, director of military personnel management for the Army. He said there were several thousand permanent legal residents seeking to enlist, but they did not get through the screening process in time. And, he said that in the past three years, Army recruiters have brought in 3,000 to 5,000 more enlistees than planned during the last three months of the fiscal year. “There was hope that they would be able to do the same thing this year,” he said. “That did not pan out.”

The Army issued waivers over 13 months to more than 1,000 recruits who had been diagnosed and treated for mood disorders and 95 more for self-mutilation, according to data obtained by USA TODAY. The acceptance of new soldiers with a history of serious behavioral health issues, some of which can be lifelong challenges, came as the Army struggled to meet its recruiting goals. In April, Army Secretary Mark Esper indicated that the Army issued waivers only for mental health issues that have been resolved or on further review were misdiagnosed. There were no waivers issued for a history of drug overdoses or suicide attempts. “The waiver is only for a historical condition that we look at and assess. We do not allow anybody in who is undergoing therapy, who is a cutter (self-mutilator) or was a cutter, identified clearly as a cutter or is using drugs,” Esper said. “They are not allowed into the service, and I will not accept them. Quality trumps quantity every single day of the week.” Figures obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request show that from Oct. 1, 2016, to Oct. 31, 2017, the active-duty Army issued waivers to 738 recruits with a history of mood disorders — including conditions such as bipolar disorder and severe depression — and 49 more with a history of self-mutilation. The Army Reserve and National Guard accepted the rest of the recruits with behavioral health issues. Soldiers with bipolar disorder often require medication such as lithium, said Elspeth Cameron Ritchie, a psychiatrist who retired from the Army as a colonel in 2010 and is an expert on waivers for military service. That medication must be monitored carefully, a task that may be impossible in austere combat environments far from laboratories. Manic episodes of bipolar disorder can be triggered by sleep deprivation, a common occurrence in the military, she said. She recalled treating an Army major who scrawled graffiti on walls during a “classic bipolar episode” while deployed to South Korea. “When you’re manic, your judgment isn’t good,” Ritchie said. “You shouldn’t be driving a tank when you’re manic. You shouldn’t have a rifle if you’re manic.” Accepting recruits with a history of behavioral health issues is risky — for the Army and the soldier, Ritchie said. “It is concerning,” she said. “It can be very problematic, and we may be setting them up to fail.” — Tom Vanden Brook


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

27


28

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

INTELLIGENCE the translation of national policy into executable military action. We are the expert intelligence providers on foreign militaries and their operating environments. We answer the questions of how many, how fast, how high, how capable and how organized. This helps characterize the military environment for customers from the secretary of defense and Joint Chiefs of Staff all the way down to the warfighter on the ground. DIA works closely with the other agencies in the intelligence community to fulfill our shared mission to defend the United States. Each intelligence agency has a different focus and a different area of expertise. Our collective strength comes from routine sharing of critical information to help prevent strategic surprise. We train together and work to deconflict our operations.

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

Strategic Advantage DIA reprioritizes to ensure U.S. military’s edge By Amy Sinatra Ayres

T

HREATS TO NATIONAL SECURITY from China and

Russia and advances in artificial intelligence are the most important challenges facing the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). Director Robert Ashley discussed the agency’s vital role in understanding our adversaries.

Q

How does the role of the Defense Intelligence Agency differ from other U.S. intelligence agencies, and how do you work

together? ASHLEY: The Defense Intelligence

Agency is uniquely positioned at the intersection of the Department of Defense and the intelligence community. We produce intelligence that enables

It’s been reported that people told you, before a recent speech to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, to just say, “Great power competition, artificial intelligence” and exit the stage. Are those the DIA’s priorities, and how are they affecting your agency’s work? Great power competition and artificial intelligence are among our most important challenges. The 2018 National Defense Strategy states the biggest threat to U.S. security is the re-emergence of long-term, strategic competition by peer and near-peer competitors like China and Russia. This competition is challenging U.S. prosperity, security and the greater democratic world order. U.S. warfighters, policymakers and acquisition leaders rely on DIA for information about how these competitors are modernizing their militaries and investing in new technologies. We recognize our competitive military advantage has been eroding, and we are now reprioritizing to improve lethality, build better partnerships with allied nations and improve business practices. Artificial intelligence is a tool that helps us identify the capabilities gap and vulnerabilities between our military and that of a potential adversary, so we can better address them. U.S. intelligence agencies have received a lot of criticism lately and their findings have been called into question. What’s your response? At the top of the DIA seal is a gold flaming torch that represents knowledge. The 16,500 men and women, who work for DIA in over 140 countries throughout the world, are dedicated to the pursuit of

that knowledge and providing decision advantage to the U.S. warfighter and our allies. They do this by speaking truth to power, no matter what. We rigorously review the intelligence we produce before we put forth a product. We are committed to providing accurate, objective assessments to decision-makers and warfighters to help prevent or win wars. DIA officers, both civilian and military, raise their right hand and swear to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and to faithfully discharge their duties. This is an oath … that represents the best of the United States of America. That’s the ideal we strive to uphold each and every day. What do you wish more Americans understood about our intelligence agencies’ work? I’d want them to know that our primary mission is to provide objective and sophisticated intelligence that is not subject to manipulation or influence. As a combat support agency, DIA provides intelligence on foreign militaries to help our national leaders and warfighters make informed decisions. We do not make U.S. policy, and we ensure the policymakers have as much information as possible. (Albert) Einstein said if he had one hour to save the world, he’d spend the first 55 minutes defining the problem and five minutes coming up with the solution. DIA’s mission is to use those 55 minutes to understand the context of the situation, the strengths and weakness of the foreign military and their likely responses. Then our national leaders take that information and use their five minutes to decide how the U.S. government will respond. What’s your most meaningful or significant DIA accomplishment to date? My primary focus is to ensure that the people who work at DIA have the tools they need to accomplish our mission. The volume of information available in the world has grown exponentially, and my predecessor, Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, started the process to take advantage of new and improving technology to make our search efforts more efficient and productive. I’ve also prioritized developing and managing our workforce to meet the needs of the agency. … We hire, train, assign and promote employees to accomplish today’s mission and build the skills and leadership the agency needs for the future.


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

29


30

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

INTELLIGENCE

GETTY IMAGES

United Front U.S. prepared to share cyberwar capabilities with NATO allies The Associated Press

C

ONCLUDING THAT RUSSIA HAS continuously violated

NATO’s Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, the Department of Defense recently announced that it is ready to act

by lending its cyberwarfare capabilities to alliance members. “The current situation with Russia in blatant violation of this treaty is untenable,” said Defense Secretary James Mattis during a press briefing in October. The 1980s treaty requires destruction of “ground-launched ballistic and cruise

missiles with ranges of between 500 and 5,500 kilometers, their launchers and associated support structures and support equipment,” according to the Department of State. “The United States is upholding its arms control obligations. Russia is not, and it is time now for Russia to return

to compliance,” added Mattis. “The United States — like the United Kingdom, Denmark, the Netherlands, Estonia — will provide national cyber contributions to help NATO fight in this important domain.” CONTI NUED


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

31


32

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

INTELLIGENCE

As the U.S. continues to strengthen its cyber capabilities, Defense Secretary James Mattis has pledged to share technology with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, bottom left. TECH. SGT. BRIGITTE BRANTLEY; JOSEPH EDDINS (2); TECH. SGT. VERNON YOUNG

Investigations by U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia is responsible for meddling with the democracy’s 2016 presidential election. Since then, nations have gathered evidence suggesting that Moscow has also attempted to launch a cyberattack against the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in the Netherlands and used chemical agents on sovereign land in the United Kingdom. “Russia displays blatant disregard for human life and international law,” said Mattis. “Despite denials from the Kremlin, the international community clearly sees the reality, and the United States stands shoulder to shoulder with

our Dutch and British and all NATO allies and like-minded countries against this inhumane activity.” Like America’s nuclear capabilities, the formal declaration of cyber support can help serve as a military deterrent to other nations and adversaries. The U.S. has, for some time, considered cyber as a warfighting domain, much like air, sea, space and ground operations. In recent months, the Pentagon released a new cybersecurity strategy that maps out a more aggressive use of military cyber capabilities, and it specifically calls out Russia and China for their cyberattacks. China has been “persistently” stealing data from the public and private sector to

gain an economic advantage, the report found. The nation has also been accused of listening in on President Donald Trump’s private cellphone conversations, a reported national security breach Trump denies. “We will conduct cyberspace operations to collect intelligence and prepare military cyber capabilities to be used in the event of a crisis or conflict,” the new strategy states, adding that the U.S. is prepared to use cyberwarfare along with other military weapons against its enemies when needed, including to counter malicious cyber activities targeting the country. NATO has moved cautiously on of-

fensive cyber capabilities. At the Warsaw Summit in 2016, allies recognized cyberspace as a warfighting domain. It has said that a computer-based attack on an ally would trigger NATO’s commitment to defend its members. And last year, the alliance agreed to create a new cyber operations center, expected to be fully operational in 2023. But the focus has always been on defending NATO networks, not offensive cyberwar. Mattis did not offer details about DOD’s course of action. However, he assured that Russia would “pay the piper.” “We are trying to bring them still back into compliance,” said Mattis. “Now is the time; it’s gone on long enough.”


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

33


34

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

PHASING IN

FEMALE FIGHTERS Servicewomen are filling combat jobs, but it’s slow-going

GETTY IMAGES


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

35

to graduate from the Ranger course. Earlier this year, the Army also opened T’S BEEN NEARLY THREE years since more posts to female combat arms former Department of Defense troops, announcing it had added the 101st Secretary Ash Carter ordered all Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Ky., combat jobs be open to women, but the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, fewer than 1,000 have completed Colo., and 1st Armored Division at Fort some of the services’ most demanding Bliss, Texas, to the list of installations programs — numbers so small that it’s that could accept female infantry and too early in the process to determine armor soldiers. Previously, women could how integration is working, according to only serve at Fort Bragg, N.C., and Fort military leaders. Hood, Texas. In September, current The Marine Corps has Defense Secretary James seen 151 women enter previ“I don’t person- ously restricted military Mattis told cadets at Virginia Military Institute ally see ... why operational specialties since (VMI) that the “jury is out,” they became available, and any of the on integration, mainly 410 women are now asbecause the data is scarce. to previously closed services should signed “There are a few stalwart units. In both, enlisted and young ladies who are officer ranks, women have be shooting charging into this, but they gravitated toward combat for less than are too few … but what we’re engineering and artillery: trying to do is give every 31 officers and 36 enlisted 50 percent of opportunity to succeed if we Marines are serving in those can,” he said. women in their fields, according to the In terms of numbers, the Marine Corps. Just one ranks.” Army, the nation’s largest woman has graduated from military service, has the the Infantry Officer Course — EMMA MOORE, most women serving in and is serving as an infantry research assistant, ground combat jobs — 783 platoon commander; 16 Center for New female soldiers in infantry, enlisted females are infantry American Security armor and fire support riflemen. jobs, as of October. At least “Everything’s tracking 16 women have graduated from Army well, albeit slowly,” said Col. Douglas Ranger school, an effort that began in Mayer, military manpower policy branch 2015 when two female officers made it head at the Marine Corps’ Department of through the grueling program. One of Manpower and Reserve Affairs. “We’ve those graduates, Army Capt. Kristen gone from less than 100 (since March), Geist, became the service’s first female and we are on our way to 200. When we infantry officer. In 2017, a woman was initiated this integration implementation assigned to the 75th Ranger Regiment, plan not quite two years ago, we were the first to join a special operations unit. unsure how much propensity we’d get for And in August, Staff Sgt. Amanda Kelley CO NTINUED became the first female enlisted soldier

By Patricia Kime

I

PATRICK A. ALBRIGHT/U.S. ARMY

Staff Sgt. Amanda Kelley has her Ranger tab pinned on by a family member during her Army Ranger school graduation at Georgia’s Fort Benning in August. Kelley is the first enlisted woman to earn the distinction. Read more about her on page 44.

DRESSING THE PART

Marine recruits wearing dress blues

New looks are coming for some servicewomen, including new dress uniform coats for Marines and new covers (or hats, as civilians call them) for Navy commissioned and chief petty officers, and optional hairstyles. The Marine Corps in August rolled out a new dress blue uniform coat for female Marines, issuing the first ones to a platoon of recruits at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C. The coats bear the same mandarin collar as seen on the iconic Marine Corps dress blue uniform but do not have the breast or lower pockets. Navy officers, including chiefs, started wearing the same combination cover as their male counterparts as of Nov. 1 when the Navy retired the “bucket cover” that has been worn by female commissioned officers and chiefs for 78 years. According to the Naval Institute, an all-female team of officers and chiefs bid adieu to the World War II-era hat during a ceremony at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth on Oct. 30, wearing, what else, bucket covers. Finally, the Navy in July relaxed its hairstyle regulations, following the lead of the Marine Corps and Army, which instituted broader hairstyle policies in 2015 and 2017 respectively. Female sailors can now wear dreadlock hairstyles, buns that span the width of their heads and ponytails. Limits apply where safety reasons prohibit the looks. Hairstyles that hit below the collar also will be allowed with evening dress uniforms.

CPL. VIVIEN ALSTAD/U.S. MARINE CORPS


36

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

female civilians to join the Marine Corps (and pursue these jobs). We thought it would be a couple hundred a year. We’ve had something down around 100 per year.” The Navy and Air Force historically have attracted more female members, and at the time of Carter’s announcement, already had opened most jobs to women. The Navy began assigning women to combat ships in 1993, and in 2010, the submarine force opened up to women after the service addressed issues of space and berthing. The Air Force had allowed women to serve in nearly all roles except special operations. Special operations continues to be a significant challenge to integrate, regardless of service. As of April, no women had successfully completed individual services’ special operations training. According to the Center for a New American Security, none has made it through Navy SEAL, Air Force or Army special operations courses. In October, Marine Sgt. Bailey Weis passed the second phase of her service’s rigorous Marine Raider program, but she was not selected for follow-on training and has decided to leave the Corps, Military.com reported in October. Emma Moore, a research assistant specializing in military, veterans and national security at the Center for a New American Security, said for integration to succeed, the services must examine career retention and progression for female members. Moore said women tend to leave the military after five or nine years of service, when they may be getting married and having families, and should be provided support tailored to their circumstances. “There’s a different kind of support that needs to be there — greater

CPL. MARICELA VELIZ/U.S. MARINE CORPS

Marines navigate through a forest as part of a responsible collection of data on the performance of female Marines.

access and availability for child care, postpartum care, maternity leave. ‘Is the gear they are wearing made for them?’ All these things. … It’s looking at the specifics,” Moore said. She added that some services are embracing the change better than others, giving high marks to the Army for being able to “pivot” and attract women with strong recruiting and variation in jobs. The Marine Corps, she added, is “struggling.” “They’ve projected a confident image

that they are at 8 percent and want 10 percent of the service to be women, but I think that’s a little low for a goal. I don’t personally see a reason why any of the services should be shooting for less than 50 percent of women in their ranks,” Moore said. Entering the fourth year of combat arms integration, each service is studying their processes. The Army has 15 ongoing studies on integration during what Army Deputy Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Thomas Seamands described as a “pilot phase,”

while the Marine Corps continually monitors recruitment efforts and marketing as well as its training programs and standards, Mayer said. Still, Mattis drew sharp criticism this year for his comments at VMI, where he said he “inherited the policy,” and asked if a family’s home is broken into, who “grabs the baseball bat … and who reaches for the phone to call 911?” “It goes to the most almost primitive needs of a society to look out for its most vulnerable,” Mattis said. Monica Medina, a Service Women’s Action Network board member, said in a Washington Post op-ed in October that Mattis’ comments “suggested a paternalistic bias against women in combat roles: ‘How did the infantry get its name. Infant soldier, very young soldier. They’re cocky. They’re rambunctious. They’re necessarily macho.’ That didn’t sound like a man who, at his confirmation hearing, said he had no plan to oppose women in any aspect of the military,” Medina wrote. As debate continues at the highest levels of the administration, the services continue working toward expanding opportunities for women across the board. Mayer said it will take “years to see how things track.” “It’s going to take a long time to generate not just the numbers and (military occupational specialties); it’s going to take careers. The three things we are focused on is, No. 1, combat lethality and readiness. That’s our mission. Secondly, Marines care about Marines, and we want to take care of Marines and are working really hard to make sure we are tracking their health and welfare, and finally, as we open up the aperture and have more opportunity across the board for Marines, (we need to) make sure we effectively manage our talent,” he said.

HEADING TO SPACE Marine Corps Lt. Col. Nicole Mann will make history next year when she joins retired Navy Capt. Chris Ferguson and retired Air Force Col. Eric Boe aboard a privately developed spaceship to travel to the International Space Station. The three-person crew will man a Boeing Starliner spacecraft, marking the first mission for a U.S. spaceship since the NASA shuttle program ended in 2011. Mann graduated in 1999 from the U.S. Naval Academy and is an F/A-18 Hornet pilot. She holds a master’s degree in engineering from Stanford University and was selected for the astronaut program in 2013. “I couldn’t be more excited to join the @BoeingSpace team!” Mann wrote Aug. 3 on Twitter. “I’m looking forward to strapping into the Starliner and launching into space from the Cape!”

Mann training for her mission

Mann, Chris Fe rguson and Eric Boe

SENIOR AIRMAN BOBBY CUMMINGS; BILL INGALLS/NASA/GETTY IMAGES


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

37


38

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

GETTY IMAGES


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

39

Study identifies installations where service members are most at risk for sexual assault

By Kristen A. Schmitt

Y

OUNG WOMEN AT TRAINING bases and female sailors assigned to ships face the highest risk of sexual assault in the U.S. military, according to newly released data from the Department of Defense. The study, conducted by the RAND National Defense Research Institute and commissioned by the Pentagon, used 2014 survey data collected from more than 170,000 active-duty service members. The findings, released in

September, mark the first time the military has ranked the prevalence of sexual assault and sexual harassment based on military installation or ship and service. Andrew Morral, senior behavioral scientist at Rand Corporation and chief author of the study, said that he and his team used the data to determine the 15 lowestrisk and highest-risk installations for men and women in each service branch. Naval ships were among the highest risk for both genders, while the Pentagon or other national capital region headquarters buildings were found to be the lowest risk. Sexual assault risk was also

low for members of the Air Force. However, installations within the Army and Marine Corps had an estimate of “more than 500 sexual assaults of women and men in 2014.” “Being a victim of sexual assault varies by gender, age, marital status, religiosity and all kinds of things,” said Morral. “However, maybe there’s something else going on that causes people in some services to have higher risk than those in other services, which could conceivCONTI NUED


40

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

PETTY OFFICER 2ND CLASS SPENCER FLING

Department of Defense data from more than 170,000 service members found that young men and women stationed on naval ships are at high risk of experiencing a sexual assault.

ably have to do with culture or leadership or training.” Among those who reported a sexual assault, the majority were young, junior ranking and single. Here’s a summary of the findings:

is it about ships: Are there certain ship classes that are more dangerous? Or does it have to do with the command climate of these kinds of places?”

Navy

Within the Army, RAND found that the highest-risk installations are those with “a more prominent combat unit presence.” The five most dangerous installations for Army women included Fort Huachuca (Arizona), Osan Air Base (Korea), Fort Drum (New York), Okinawa (Japan) and Fort Riley (Kansas). Risk of sexual assault at these installations ranged between 5 percent and 10 percent. Fort Drum was also found to be a high-risk installation for men, with Italy, Fort Myer (Virginia), Fort Benning (Georgia) and Rose Barracks (Germany) rounding out the top five. Retired Army Col. Ellen Haring, interim CEO of the Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN), said that while she was shocked to learn about the ships, the Army locations for highest risk didn’t surprise her. “Places like Fort Drum are heavy combat, mostly male installations. So, they’re kind of the most hypermasculine locations that you’ll find,” said Haring. In fact, the study found that “almost half of these highest-risk installations are identical,” which could

Women faced the most risk on ships. According to RAND, out of the 15 highest-risk naval installations for women, 13 were ships or clusters of ships, which included eight of the 10 aircraft carriers. “More than 10 percent of all women experienced a sexual assault at each of these high-risk installations over a one-year period, and more than 15 percent of all women were assaulted at two of them,” according to the study. Men also faced high risk on ships. “More than 2.5 percent of men were assaulted on all the ships in the highest-risk list,” the study found. Naval Support Activity Charleston (South Carolina) and the USS George Washington aircraft carrier each had estimates of more than 15 percent risk of sexual assault. For both men and women, Navy Fort Meade Base (Maryland) and medical centers had the lowest risk. “It was eye-opening for everyone,” said Morral about the ships’ environments. “The Navy has responded by doing a deeper dive into this to try to understand what

Army

mean that the issue goes beyond location and could instead be a deeper cultural concern. “The problem is a misogynistic hypermasculine culture that we cannot seem to change or that we have not been able to address in the military,” said Haring. “Until we acknowledge that we have a culture problem, we’re not going to solve this.”

Air Force While undergraduate pilot training bases were higher-risk locations for men and women, the general climate for sexual assault and harassment at Air Force installations was lower than other services. For women, the top three high-risk locations were pilot training installations in Vance (Oklahoma), Laughlin (Texas) and Altus (Oklahoma). However, the risk, which was estimated at less than 5 percent, was still lower than other services. For men, Altus and Laughlin were also on the list of highest-risk installations, at the relatively low rate of an estimated .5 percent.

Marine Corps Because of a difference in access to major command information, RAND was not able to produce risk estimates that were comparable to those they determined


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

41

GETTY IMAGES

Researchers plan to continue working with Navy leaders to determine factors that lead to sexual assaults on ships, such as the USS George Washington aircraft carrier.

director for the Department of Defense Sexual Assault for the other services. However, the study did rank five Prevention and Response Office. lowest- and highest-risk installations for the Marine “We went from about 1,600 reports in 2004 and Corps, and found that women faced a 10 percent to actually went past 2,000 reports in 2006, which was our 15 percent risk of sexual assault at Air Station Yuma first full year of reporting,” noted Galbreath. “Our latest (Arizona), Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine reporting number is 6,769 reports of sexual Palms (California) and Air Station assault this last year … it was a 10 percent Beaufort (South Carolina). “The problem is increase over what we’d seen in 2016.” Low-risk installations, which The increase in reporting sexual included Combat Development a misogynistic assaults is a direct result of the military’s Command Quantico (Virginia) and the push to openly discuss the issue and Mobile 3rd Marine Expeditionary Unit hypermasculine emphasize the importance of coming (Japan), for women had an estimated culture that we forward to not only make a report, but also 5 percent to 8 percent chance of sexual get the recovery care needed, according to assault. cannot seem Galbreath. Male Marines experienced a 1 percent to change.” However, Haring suggests there should to 2 percent risk of sexual assault in be a bigger push to change the culture Japan, South Korea and Afghanistan. — ELLEN HARING, and add programs that aid in prevention, Their lowest-risk installations included interim CEO, Service Women’s rather than victim assistance. the Pentagon and Camp H. M. Smith Action Network “The military wants to tell you that (Hawaii). people feel more confident in the system Progress for the future and, therefore, reporting is going up, but I don’t buy While the RAND study is important, the data is 4 years that,” said Haring. “I think people are more willing to old and doesn’t reflect the current rate of sexual assault speak out because of #MeToo, but as reporting has gone within the military — or the number of people coming up, prosecutions have gone down. And I’m not sure we forward to report, according to Nathan Galbreath, deputy should be more confident in a system where prosecutions

and convictions are going down.” Haring said that her group, SWAN, has worked in support of Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s Military Justice Improvement Act, which would change how the military prosecutes crimes. The organization also refers those who need pro bono legal support to organizations that provide representation and holds a series of retreat programs that were originally designed for men, but are now also available for servicewomen, so they can work through the trauma of sexual assault. “Unfortunately, these are Band-Aids after an assault has happened,” said Haring. According to Galbreath, programs are in place to ensure service members learn how to be motivated bystanders and immediately report sexual assault and sexual harassment. Additionally, Morral is working with the Navy and Army on follow-up studies to help identify the factors and characteristics that may result in a higher risk of sexual assault at certain installations. “The military as an institution is really focused on trying to understand and beat back sexual assault and sexual harassment,” said Morral. “Looking at the sort of granular level of where the high- and low-risk places are has generated a lot of ideas about how to do prevention better and where to look for the causal factors that are driving risk.”


42

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

BRANCHES

Department of Defense Organizational structure of the U.S. armed forces KEY DOD COMPONENT Senior Leader Military Service

JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

The Joint Chiefs

The Joint Staff

DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY Secretary of the Navy

SECRETARY OF DEFENSE

OFFICE OF THE INSPECTOR GENERAL OF THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY Secretary of the Army

DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE Secretary of the Air Force

COMBATANT COMMANDS (10)

DEFENSE AGENCIES (19)

uAfrica Command uCentral Command uCyber Command uEuropean Command uNorthern Command uIndo-Pacific Command uSouthern Command uSpecial Operations Command uStrategic Command uTransportation Command

uDefense Advanced Research Projects Agency uDefense Commissary Agency uDefense Contract Audit Agency uDefense Contract Management Agency* uDefense Finance and Accounting Service uDefense Health Agency* uDefense Information Systems Agency* uDefense Intelligence Agency* uDefense Legal Services Agency uDefense Logistics Agency* uDefense POW/MIA Accounting Agency uDefense Security Cooperation Agency uDefense Security Service uDefense Threat Reduction Agency* uMissile Defense Agency uNational Geospatial-Intelligence Agency* uNational Reconnaissance Office uNational Security Agency Central Security Service* uPentagon Force Protection Agency

Headquarters Marine Corps Office of the Secretary of the Navy Office of the Chief of Naval Operations

Marine Corps

The Army Staff

Army

Navy

Office of the Secretary of the Army

The Air Staff

Air Force

Office of the Secretary of the Air Force DOD FIELD ACTIVITIES (8)

OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE Deputy Secretary of Defense; Under Secretaries of Defense; Assistant Secretaries of Defense

SOURCE: Department of Defense

uDefense Media Activity uDefense Technical Information Center uDefense Technology Security Administration uDOD Education Activity uDOD Human Resources Activity uDOD Test Resource Management Center uOffice of Economic Adjustment uWashington Headquarters Services *IdentiďŹ ed as a Combat Support Agency


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

43


44

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

BRANCHES: ARMY

One of a Kind Amanda Kelley joins exclusive group of female Army Rangers

YEAR IN REVIEW: A LOOK AT 2018 uIn February, the Army posthumously awarded medals to three Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets who helped fellow students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High when their Parkland, Fla., school came under attack by a former student. Freshmen Peter Wang (pictured), Alaina Petty and Martin Duque were recognized for their “acceptance of danger and extraordinary responsibility.” Wang also was posthumously accepted to the U.S. Military Academy. uSome 5,600 troops were stationed at the U.S.-Mexico border in early November, following President Donald Trump’s order to send active-duty military to the area. Defense Secretary James Mattis mobilized the service members as thousands of migrants headed toward the U.S., seemingly seeking asylum. More than 2,000 Army National Guard soldiers have patrolled the border since April. uThe U.S. Army Women’s Museum in Fort Lee, Va., reopened Nov. 2, after a $3 million expansion and renovation. The project more than doubled the size of the previous exhibit space and added five teaching galleries. The museum was opened in 2001 to honor the contributions of servicewomen.

PROVIDED BY AMANDA KELLEY

By Ron Barnett

S

TAFF SGT. AMANDA KELLEY didn’t set out

to become the first female enlisted soldier to pass the incredibly rigorous Army Ranger course. That feat was just another step toward her bigger goal: to become Sergeant Major of the Army. Not a Sergeant Major in the Army. The Sergeant Major of the Army. There’s only one. And, if it happens, she would be the first woman to attain that office — the highest position enlisted personnel can hold. “I have a lot of people ask me how does it feel as a female going

through Ranger school? I don’t know, because I’m not a male. I can’t compare,” said Kelley, who had to shave her head, just like the guys. “I can tell you what it’s like as a soldier going through.” She got the bug to become a Ranger while she was deployed in Iraq from June 2017 until March of this year. She started training with officers in her outfit who encouraged her. “I like challenges,” she said. “And when I was in (Ranger) school I wasn’t worried about making history. I wasn’t worried about any of that. I was just worried about getting through this training because I didn’t want to fail.”

Women weren’t allowed to attend Ranger school until the Pentagon lifted the ban on women serving in combat three years ago. Kelley’s not the first woman to have completed the program, but she’s the first enlisted woman. She was the 16th, but all the others were officers. “Honestly, I think if this school was afforded to females a long time ago there would have been a lot more females make it through already,” she said. “Every day I think I grasp a little more what it actually means to soldiers and (noncommissioned officers) Corps and females throughout the military what I was able to accomplish.”

uThe service announced in July that its new Futures Command will be based in Austin, Texas, a location selected for its talent pool and proximity to privatesector innovation. The new command will be responsible for future force modernization, including developing warfighting concepts, conducting research and advancing combat systems. uThe Army released a summary of the investigation into the October 2017 incidents that led to the deaths of four soldiers in Niger, finding that the special operations troops, who were on a mission targeting a key Islamic State group member, fought until the bitter end when ambushed by a significantly larger force. According to The New York Times, the deceased soldiers have been nominated for heroism: Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright and Sgt. La David Johnson for the Distinguished Service Cross, and Sgt. 1st Class Jeremiah Johnson and Staff Sgt. Bryan Black for the Silver Star. — Patricia Kime

ALLEN BREED/ASSOCIATED PRESS; ZOE WOCKENFUSS/DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; ALEX WONG/GETTY IMAGES


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

45

If protection matters most, you better be sure. www.teijinaramid.com

Aramids by Teijin


46

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

BRANCHES: MARINES New autonomous targets react to combat in more realistic ways, better preparing troops for battle.

PROVIDED BY MARATHON TARGETS

Target Practice Robots are making marksmanship training more lively By Brian Barth

I

N 2008, AUSTRALIAN COMPANY

Marathon Targets rolled out a revolutionary technology: robotic targets created to improve military marksmanship. The robots are essentially small autonomous vehicles supporting heavy-duty mannequins designed to be hit repeatedly by live ammunition with little to no permanent damage. Using LIDAR (light detection and ranging) sensing technology to navigate effortlessly through varied terrain, they are deployed in groups at live-firing ranges, taking cover here and there just like an enemy platoon might. An indirect hit causes the target to

“flinch” as if wounded, explained Ralph Petroff, Marathon’s president for U.S. operations, while a direct hit causes the target to fall. Depending on the program used, the other targets may then rush to “help” their wounded comrade and retreat, or begin a “counterattack,” moving toward the direction of fire. The technology allows the robots to communicate and coordinate with each other for a more accurate simulation of combat. “The robots solve a fundamental problem for all militaries — the only time their shooters practice live-fire training with realistic moving targets is in actual combat,” said Petroff. “Firefights are a bad place for on-the-job training of a

life-or-death skill.” Military units around the world, including the U.S. Marine Corps, have been testing the new technology. Under the oversight of the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab, troops at a number of Defense Department facilities, including Arkansas’ Fort Chaffee, Fort Pickett in Virginia, Camp Pendleton in California and Fort Benning in Georgia, have trained with the robotic targets. A 2017 DOD report found that marksmanship accuracy more than doubled after a single day of training. “(Both) experienced snipers and infantry soldiers significantly increased their proportions of moving-targets hits” after training with the robots, noted the report’s authors. “All soldiers reported a

change in their confidence after engaging the (robots). This suggests that soldiers were recalibrating their perceptions of their abilities in response to their performance with more realistic moving targets. … The movement of the (robots) was praised along with the realism of the training.” The goal is to not only condition soldiers to the uncertainty of real battle, but also familiarize them with the stress that comes with it. The advantages of these “smart” targets goes beyond preparing soldiers for battle. Petroff asserted there are significant economic benefits, with CONTI NUED


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

47


48

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

BRANCHES: MARINES

GETTY IMAGES

YEAR IN REVIEW: A LOOK AT 2018 uIn March, a Marine F-35B Joint Strike Fighter squadron deployed aboard the amphibious assault ship Wasp to conduct patrols in the Pacific region, and in September, the jet engaged in its first combat mission in Afghanistan. The first crash of a Marine Corps F-35B occurred Sept. 28 in South Carolina, with the pilot — the only person on board — from Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501, ejecting safely. uMarine Commandant Gen. Robert Neller announced in May a restructuring of Marine rifle squads, trimming the 13-person unit by one. The new 12-Marine squad “reflects changes aimed at better equipping the small unit leader with increased lethality and enhanced situational awareness,” according to a Marine Corps release.

PROVIDED BY MARATHON TARGETS; LANCE CPL. ASHLEE CONOVER

Mannequins, some with hair and faces, are mounted on small autonomous vehicles that can react to troops’ rounds by charging at them or tending to a fallen comrade.

savings in both labor costs and military infrastructure. Simulating a complex battle scenario with stationary targets, or even moving remote-controlled targets, requires significant manpower for each soldier trained. Marathon’s targets can continuously create their own spontaneous battle scenarios under the oversight of a single human operator. Plus, training grounds that use stationary targets have to be rebuilt whenever the military wants to update the training regimen. Autonomous targets can be updated with the click of a button, much like installing a software update on a computer. The technology also allows marksmanship trainings to occur in almost any environment. Traditionally, practice

grounds were built in particular types of terrains to simulate specific battle scenarios, such as a forest or desert. The robotic targets, however, can simply be loaded onto a truck and moved where desired, allowing specialized, shortterm trainings in an urban setting, for example, or along a body of water. The bottom line, said Petroff, is that target practice is being upgraded for the 21st century. “Currently, 98 percent of all live rounds are fired at stationary targets,” he said. “The remaining 2 percent are shot at ‘pop-ups’ — 1960s-era targets that move on rails. I’ve heard (from) the military so many times to lament that, ‘We cannot win 21st-century firefights with 18thcentury live-fire training.”

uMarines at Marine Corps Barracks, 8th and I streets, SE, Washington, D.C., proved they make great neighbors Sept. 19 when they rushed toward a raging fire at a nearby seniors residence and carried many of the infirm occupants from the building. Without protection or fire equipment, they went door to door to ensure that 190 residents were safely evacuated. uWildfire and hurricane season threw curveballs at the Marine Corps in 2018: In July, 750 homes at Camp Pendleton in California were evacuated under wildfire threat, and in September, the service’s Mountain Warfare Training Center at Bridgeport, Calif., was evacuated, due to a blaze in the Sierra Mountains. In late September, Hurricane Florence threatened two Marine Corps bases. At Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, Marines hunkered down in the tempest and assisted with community recovery; and at Parris Island in South Carolina, recruits were ordered to evacuate the training base ahead of the same storm. uAs of September, the Marine Corps had completed 101 prosecutions in the “Marines United” social media scandal that involved the exchange of nude photos of female Marines, resulting in 11 court martials and eight administrative separations from the service. — Patricia Kime


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

49


50

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

BRANCHES: NAVY U.S. Naval Base Guam

PETTY OFFICER 1ST CLASS STACY D. LASETER/U.S. NAVY

A Rising Challenge Climate change threatens to take wind out of Navy’s military might By Brian Barth

W

HILE MANY AMERICANS WERE focused

on hurricanes Michael and Florence this fall, multiple typhoons demanded the attention of sailors at Naval Base Guam, where high winds battered Navy aircraft.

Guam is in the midst of typhoon country. No location in the United States, and few places in the world, are as at risk for hurricane-force winds, according to a report by the Water and Environmental Research Institute of the Western Pacific (WERI) at the University of Guam. “We are very vulnerable to typhoons here,” said WERI meteorologist Mark Lander.

It’s a risk exacerbated by global warming, according to experts. Although Typhoon Mangkhut was strong enough to damage B-52 bombers in early September, the island was spared catastrophic damage. In nearby parts of the Northern Mariana Islands (a U.S. commonwealth) that were not as lucky, troops stationed in Guam were called in to assist recovery efforts.

Six weeks later, as military personnel in Florida were cleaning up from the near total devastation wrought by Hurricane Florence at Tyndall Air Force Base, Category 5 Super Typhoon Yutu brought 40-foot waves and 200-mph winds to the Mariana Islands — the strongest storm ever to hit a part of the United CONTI NUED


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

51

Since 1904, making a difference for Sailors, Marines and their Families

www.nmcrs.org


52

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

BRANCHES: NAVY

YEAR IN REVIEW: A LOOK AT 2018 uIn July, the Navy introduced physical training gear that bears the “America’s Navy Forged by the Sea” motto. uThe top enlisted leader, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Steven Giordano, resigned June 21 amid an investigation into abuses of power and creating a toxic work environment. Fleet Master Chief Russell Smith (pictured) was named the service’s new MCPON in August.

PETTY OFFICER 3RD CLASS KRYZENTIA RICHARDS/U.S. NAVY

Sailors with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 1, Detachment Guam remove debris after Typhoon Mangkhut hit Naval Base Guam in September.

States. Once again, Guam troops were called in for assistance. Lander said that unlike many low-lying South Pacific islands, Guam is not highly prone to coastal flooding from sea level rise — the island is hilly, with cliffs rising hundreds of feet above the ocean in some places. But one exception, he added, is the Navy’s harbor infrastructure. “Some of the low-lying areas around the Navy’s loading docks and warehouses are inundated during typhoons. In one typhoon, the wind blew a Navy ship across the harbor and crashed it into some privately owned sailboats. The military had a million-dollar lawsuit on its hands.” Severe weather events are only one way climate change is affecting the area. Changes in water temperature are killing Guam’s coral reefs, which help to buffer coastal areas from waves during typhoons. As a result, the American Security Project listed Guam as one of the top five U.S. military installations vulnerable to climate change in a 2012 report.

However, the challenge is not unique to Guam. According to the Center for Climate and Security (CCS), a nonpartisan Washington, D.C., think tank, more than 200 domestic military installations have already experienced damage from coastal flooding during storms, compared with about 30 in 2008. “Climate change impacts both military readiness and defense spending,” said John Conger, CCS’ director and a former principal deputy undersecretary of defense at the Defense Department. “When Hurricane Michael flattens Tyndall Air Force Base, we have to realize that this is no longer an abstract problem. We have to be thoughtful about how the military can become more resilient going forward.” What can be done? That’s the million-dollar, or perhaps the trillion-dollar, question. “The Department of Defense is only beginning to work through all the dynamics of the problem,” Conger said. He added that we should soon know a bit more about the cur-

rent administration’s approach: The 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) includes a series of directives related to the effects of global warming, such as requiring all military installations to include climate resilience as part of their master plans. Likewise, Congress’ 2018 NDAA directed the Pentagon to study the ways in which climate change will impact installations and personnel during the next 20 years, as well as to identify the top 10 military bases vulnerable to climate change. But Gary Koerber, deputy public works officer at Naval Base Guam, said the concern is already top of mind. “The Navy works to ensure installations and infrastructure are resilient to a wide range of challenges, including climate and other environmental considerations,” he said. “Military installations have extreme weather plans, and commanders are encouraged to work with local communities to address shared issues regarding environmental impacts.”

uThe nation said goodbye to its original maverick in August with the death of Sen. John McCain, a 1958 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, fighter pilot, former prisoner of war and feisty independent Republican. McCain was buried in September at his alma mater alongside friend, retired Adm. Chuck Larson. uSites around the Navy this year hosted film crews for the sequel of the 1986 blockbuster Top Gun. In May, actor Tom Cruise tweeted a photo of himself on the tarmac of Naval Air Station North Island, Calif.; and in August, filmmakers aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln took footage of onboard flight operations. uThe Air Force and the Navy have teamed up to study what has become a major concern among pilots: hypoxia. In recent years, those flying the F/A-18 Super Hornet and F-22 Raptors have experienced oxygen deprivation symptoms such as double vision, headaches and dizziness but a root cause has not been found. — Patricia Kime PETTY OFFICER 1ST CLASS SARAH VILLEGAS/U.S. NAVY; DREW ANGERER/GETTY IMAGES; PETTY OFFICER 1ST CLASS BRIAN M. BROOKS/U.S. NAVY


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

53


54

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

BRANCHES: AIR FORCE

Fleet Increase Air Force prepares to combat large-scale foes By Adam Stone

T

HE AIR FORCE IS look-

ing to dramatically increase the number of operational squadrons — the fighter, bomber, intelligence and attack units — that are the service’s front-line components. Based on a recent analysis of operational need, the Air Force is “too small for what the nation is asking us to do,” Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson recently said. “We have 312 operational squadrons today. The Air Force we need has 386 operational squadrons by 2030.”

In recent conflicts, the U.S. military has fought insufficiently armed insurgents. Future wars involving well-equipped nationsized adversaries would require a much more robust flying force. “We must grow to compete long-term with China and Russia, deter and counter rogue regimes and defeat terrorist threats to the United States,” said Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek. Seventy or more new squadrons would help make that possible, military analysts noted. “We are going to have to be in Asia to watch over China, and we’ll have to be in Europe to keep an eye on Russia. When

you factor in all that, you want to have a full complement of capabilities,” said former Air Force pilot Michael Blades, North American research director for aerospace, defense and security at the California-based research and consulting firm Frost & Sullivan. “It gives you flexibility in how many assets you deploy and how many you keep home.” If the Air Force had more squadrons, it would be better equipped to operate on a global scale, especially when facing multiple conflict zones. “It means you can deal with a major CONTI NUED

YEAR IN REVIEW: A LOOK AT 2018 uThe Air Force announced in March that it had selected the Army’s modular handgun system as the service’s new sidearm, replacing its 9 mm M9 pistols. The Air Force will purchase 130,000 of the Sig Sauer compact variants of the XM18. uIn May, the service announced it was adopting the Army’s operational camouflage pattern for its new utility uniform. According to the Air Force, the new uniform will come in color variants and will “work in all climates — from Minot to Manbij.” uThe Air Force instituted an aviation safety standdown in May following a rash of accidents, including the death of a Thunderbirds pilot in April and the deaths of nine Air National Guardsmen on May 9 in the crash of a WC-130 Hercules. Prior to the stand-down, 18 service members, including the aforementioned 10, died in aviation accidents; senior officials said they had not established a pattern in the mishaps. uIn June, President Donald Trump directed the Defense Department to establish an independent military service branch to address operations in the space domain. The U.S. Space Force is set to be established by 2020. Critics argue that the U.S. already has a space force, the Air Force Space Command. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson estimated that the Space Force would cost roughly $13 billion over five years to staff and support. uTyndall Air Force Base, near Panama City, Fla., lay in ruins after Hurricane Michael made landfall as a Category 4 storm Oct. 10 on the Florida Panhandle. More than 11,000 airmen and their families were evacuated and nearly every structure on the base experienced some type of damage, as did an unknown number of F-22 Raptor aircraft that could not be moved before the storm hit. — Patricia Kime

MASTER SGT. CAYCEE WATSON/U.S. AIR NATIONAL GUARD

Tech. Sgt. Krysta Crooks and Staff Sgt. Travis Gaskins prepare to load GBU-54 bombs onto an F-16 Fighting Falcon jet in Southwest Asia in September.

SIG SAUER; MICHAEL REYNOLDS/EPA-EFE; JOE RAEDLE/GETTY IMAGES


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

55


56

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

BRANCHES: AIR FORCE

SENIOR AIRMAN GREG NASH/U.S. AIR FORCE

In anticipation of Hurricane Michael, a 23rd Maintenance Group A-10C Thunderbolt II crew chief prepares an aircraft for relocation at Moody Air Force Base in Georgia, in October.

problem in one place and still have some strategic depth in reserve,” said Richard Aboulafia, vice president of analysis at Teal Group, an aerospace consulting firm based in Fairfax, Va. “Our final analysis is expected to be complete in March 2019. However, initial estimates indicate by 2030, we’d need about 40,000 more people above the increases we already have planned over the next five years,” Stefanek said.

Such an expansion would not come inexpensively. The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) estimated it would cost $37 billion a year to grow the force to 386 squadrons. “You’d have logistics units and base operations and supply units. The infrastructure would increase, things like boot camp and maintenance depots. If you increase the size of the Air Force, you have to make all these things

a little bigger,” said Mark Cancian, a CSIS senior adviser. Will that much money be available for an Air Force expansion? Service officials said it will be up to Congress. “They, not us, will determine the appropriate force structure and end strength of the services. We understand we live in a fiscally constrained environment and must balance our requirements with our resources,” Stefanek said.

According to analysts, given the vast sums involved, the request for additional squadrons may prove to be more of a conversation starter than an actual goal. “It’s not realistic. We can’t afford it, and there are not enough aircraft available to support all those squadrons — but it is a starting point,” Blades said. “Now they need to go back and look at what they really need and maybe find some kind of balance.”


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

57


58

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

WEAPONS & TECHNOLOGY

Transformative Technology

CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY

Shape-shifting wheel improves troop mobility

Army researchers have developed new technology that allows wheels to change shape while in motion to more easily navigate multiple types of terrain.

that can shift into a track and back again while a vehicle is moving. It’s the wheel’s ability to change its shape while in motion that makes it valuable to troops in the field. Compared with existing ground vehicles, those using the new technology allow more access to rough terrain and faster travel both on- and off-road, according to DARPA. The wheel can shift from a circular to a triangular track at speeds as high as 25 mph, and back again at 12 mph. That increases mobility, safety and survival for troops, explained Army Maj. Amber Walker, program manager for DARPA. The goal was to develop a system that enables vehicles to “traverse 95 percent of the Earth’s terrain,” said Walker.

“Given mobility is not a uniquely military need, I could foresee a number of civilian applications for these types of technologies going forward,” she said. With further development, the wheel system has potential for use in the mining and agriculture industries — as in wheels that move vehicles between roads and fields without stopping — and even on passenger vehicles for off-road and street, said Apostolopoulos, who predicts the technology will arrive in civilian vehicles in the not-too-distant future. Twenty to 25 years from now, such a system, in some form, may be common for cars, possibly in conjunction with tires that could instantly change to snow tires and back, Apostolopoulos said. “It’s fantastic.”

By Scott Berman

O

PTIMUS PRIME, ONE OF the

fictional shape-shifting robots from the blockbuster Transformers films, might come to mind when taking a first look at one of the latest inventions from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). “This is like one of those transformative things you see in the movies,” said Dimi Apostolopoulos, a senior systems scientist at Carnegie Mellon University’s National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC). However, this game-changing technology comes from Pittsburgh, not Hollywood. That is where Apostolopoulos and his colleagues developed a wheel

The reported $4.2 million, three-year effort was part of DARPA’s Ground X-Vehicle Technologies program. The system features a rubberized tread that conforms to a swift-changing framework. In a key development, researchers designed the shape-change mechanism to be passive and use the speed of the wheel itself, not “a complicated system of motors,” to initiate the change, according to Carnegie Mellon. The approach overcame a series of technological challenges. “It’s like shifting gears in your car. Only here, that shifting is not in the engine, but in the wheel,” said Apostolopoulos. Like many of DARPA’s legendary inventions, including the internet, Walker said this technology could serve practical uses beyond DOD implementation.


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

59


60

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

WEAPONS & TECHNOLOGY

Sensing Soldiers Wearable technology promotes healthier, safer, more effective troops By Matt Alderton

J

Wearable sensors can track a soldier’s stress level or heart rate and gather other vital information to ensure peak performance. AIR FORCE RESEARCH LAB

UST AS SOME ATHLETES rely on digital trackers

to record how many miles they’ve run, some soldiers will soon use new military-issue wearable devices to send and receive vital information during their missions. The Army is interested in introducing wearable devices because of their potential to increase soldier readiness and lethality, according to Jeff Pacuska, head of the Soldier Clothing and Configuration Management Team at the U.S. Army’s Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center. Soldier-borne sensors create “greater operational efficiency and effectiveness,” he said. Researchers at Natick and other military innovation centers are currently developing wearable, inward-looking sensors that measure conditions and activities within the human body. “By analogy, I think of the check-engine light on my car. It monitors some really simple stuff — temperature, pressure, fluid levels, voltage across various terminals — and when the light goes on, I know to go see a mechanic,” said Christian Whitchurch, chief scientist in charge of research and development with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. “It tells me (to seek help) before I’m broken down on the side of the road. That’s what I want to do for the warfighter.” The sensors themselves might take many forms. Natick, for instance, is already prototyping sensors that can be embedded in soldiers’ uniforms. “We’ve inserted a connected grid into the combat uniform fabric,” said Carole Winterhalter, a textile technologist in Natick’s Soldier Protection and Survivability Directorate. “It performs the same way as a regular camouflage-printed uniform, but it can identify the location of a medically relevant event. So, the soldier’s uniform in and of itself can be a sensor.” At Fort Benning, Ga., where heat illness is common because of the high temperatures and vigorous training, Army Medical Research and Materiel Command is testing a sensor worn on the chest that detects heart rate, skin CONTI NUED


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

61


62

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

WEAPONS & TECHNOLOGY

AIR FORCE RESEARCH LAB

Many of the new wearable sensors are designed to attach to troops’ clothing, but others can be placed on or under the skin to gather tissue-level information.

temperature and gait; predictive algorithms process the data, then give soldiers and squad leaders visual alerts — red, yellow, green — that allow them to mitigate heatrelated injuries before they happen. Army infectious diseases physician Col. Matthew Hepburn envisions a future in which wearables provide similar pre-emptive alerts for contagions. As program manager of the Biological Technologies Office at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), he’s researching wearable technologies that can prevent pandemics through continuous physiological monitoring. One promising technology, for example, is an implantable hydrogel that can be embedded just beneath the skin, providing tissue-level information that’s read by an external wearable device. “The hydrogel, which is about the size of a sliver, doesn’t produce a foreign body response, meaning it doesn’t form scar tissue around it. So, you can imagine one of these things being in place for weeks to years,” Hepburn said. Yet another possibility is field-based neuroimaging. “We can get much better information about a person’s mental activity and cognitive state by directly measuring brainwaves instead of measuring their behavior or other physiological things that are secondary and tertiary,” said Army Research Laboratory neuroscientist W. Dave Hairston, whose team is developing a mobile electroencepha-

“It performs the same way as a regular camouflage-printed uniform, but it can identify the location of a medically relevant event. So, the soldier’s uniform in and of itself can be a sensor.” — CAROLE WINTERHALTER, Natick textile technologist logram that records brain activity absent electrodes and electrolytic gel. “We’re working on flexible, pliable materials that we can use in place of electrodes. … And because they are soft and squishy, they could be easily integrated into things like a patrol cap or at-arms helmet.” Researchers at the Army’s Edgewood Chemical Biological Center are researching wearables that would provide molecular-level monitoring of the stress hormone cortisol and similar indicators. Also in the pipeline are outward-looking sensors to alert troops of environmental threats. Edgewood researchers are developing wearable chemical samplers that clip onto soldiers’ uniforms and collect chemicals from the air around them. Samples are subsequently analyzed to reveal whether soldiers were exposed to

chemical warfare agents or other toxic substances. Natick researchers are pursuing the same goal by developing a chemical array sensor that research chemist Joshua Uzarski describes as an “electronic nose.” “Your nose doesn’t have a detector for every type of thing you smell; it has an array of detectors that create a patterned response. Your brain … analyzes that patterned response and tells you what you smell,” said Uzarski, who works with Winterhalter in Natick’s Soldier Protection and Survivability Directorate. “We want to try to do that with a wearable sensor.” The myriad devices under development across the military will one day be fused together into a single, integrated system, according to Raj Suri, director of the Ground Combat Systems Division at the Night Vision Laboratory, within the Army’s Communications Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center. Therein lies wearables’ real potential, according to Suri. His team is developing augmented reality glasses that will eventually aggregate disparate wearables data and present it to soldiers and commanders in the form of actionable advice. Soldiers may be advised to fall back, for instance, if an explosive substance is detected nearby or if they show physiological signs of stress, the effects of which could jeopardize their mission. “Our vision is a fully digitally connected soldier,” Suri said.


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

63


64

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

JOBS & EDUCATION

Working State Wisconsin partners with Hiring Our Heroes to draw transitioning service members By Matt Alderton

E

VERY DAY, U.S. ARMY intelligence analyst Jeremiah Hill wakes up in paradise. Although he’s originally from South Jersey, the 32-year-old husband and father of two is currently based at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii’s largest Army post. Located on the island of Oahu, about 16 miles north of Honolulu, it’s everything you’d expect — peppered with palm trees, bathed in sunshine and surrounded by volcanic mountains. Soon, however, Hill will say “aloha” to island life when he moves his family 4,000 miles east to what some might consider Hawaii’s polar opposite: Wisconsin. “People say to me all the time, ‘Wisconsin? Man, what’s up with that?” chuckled Hill, who expects to be discharged from the U.S. military by Jan. 1, 2019, at which point he’ll begin the transition to civilian life. “I had a company commander in my past who used to say, ‘There’s only four major days in the Army: the day you sign paperwork, the day you leave for basic, your first day in (a) country on a deployment and the day you decide to transition.’ The day you decide to transition is one of the hardest.” That’s because transition can be fraught with uncertainty. After years in the service, soon-to-be veterans can’t help but wonder whether the skills they honed in the military will translate to the civilian economy.

“When (service members) are in the military, their purpose, their sense of community, their mission — all those things are very clear to them,” said Eric Eversole, vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and president of Hiring Our Heroes, a program through which the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation helps transitioning service members prepare for civilian careers. “We know from dealing with service members that one of the worst things that can happen to them is for them to lose that sense of purpose when they transition.” Hiring Our Heroes helps service members find a new mission by hosting transition summits on U.S. military installations around the world. It’s at one of these events — each of which includes panel discussions, networking receptions, employment workshops and a job fair — that Hill first met representatives from the state of Wisconsin, which in August became Hiring Our Heroes’ first statewide partner. The partnership is consequential because it shifts the transition paradigm. Instead of a competitive process whereby individual companies jockey for talent, recruiting becomes a cooperative process with the public and private sectors collaborating to create mutually beneficial opportunities for service members, employers and economies. “When a state comes together and CO NTINUED

PROVIDED BY JEREMIAH HILL

“I had a company commander in my past who used to say, ‘There’s only four major days in the Army: the day you sign paperwork, the day you leave for basic, your first day in (a) country on a deployment and the day you decide to transition.’ The day you decide to transition is one of the hardest.” — JEREMIAH HILL, U.S. Army intelligence analyst


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

65


66

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

JOBS & EDUCATION

PROVIDED BY U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE FOUNDATION

Retired U.S. Marine Steve Jenke, third from right, participates on a panel at a Transition Summit at Camp Pendleton, Calif.

starts to recruit as a unit, the impact of its efforts is so much more significant because people are not just transitioning to a job; they’re transitioning to a community,” Eversole said. When Hill saw representatives from Wisconsin were attending a Hiring Our Heroes’ transition summit at Schofield Barracks, he realized he didn’t know anything about the state. So, he did what any good intelligence analyst would do: He researched it. “The next thing I knew, it was 3 o’clock in the morning, and I was still stuck on Wisconsin,” said Hill, who met the next day with U.S. Marine Corps veteran Steve Janke, the statewide veterans field representative for the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA). “I sat down with Steve and said, ‘I’m all

hands in on Wisconsin.’ There are a lot of jobs there. They’re doing a lot of things for veterans. They have great schools for my children. And just the personality of the state itself; everyone I’ve spoken to from Wisconsin has this air of geniality about them that’s infectious. It just spoke to me.” That Wisconsin’s message resonated so well is a credit to the state coalition that crafted it, which encompasses not only WDVA, but also the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC), the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development and the Wisconsin Department of Tourism. Together, they’re executing a $1.9 million campaign to attract transitioning service members to Wisconsin, which faces a serious talent gap as its aging baby boomers retire.

“If you look at the pipeline of young professionals coming up behind them, we don’t have enough workers to replace them,” explained Tricia Braun, deputy secretary and chief operating officer of WEDC. “Also, being in the Midwest, we face a migration challenge because a lot of folks want to move to states with bigger cities or warmer weather, where they feel the opportunities are greater. We don’t believe that should be the case, so we knew we needed to change the conversation about what Wisconsin has to offer.” Although its unemployment rate is just 3 percent, jobs are only part of Wisconsin’s message. The state also is touting its educational system, low cost of living, high quality of life, affordable housing market and ample veterans

service offerings. “If you come to Wisconsin, not only will we connect you to employment through our Department of Workforce Development, but we’ll also make sure you’re connected to the local resources you need in order to establish housing and find educational opportunities for your children,” Janke said. “We don’t have to talk much about the state of Wisconsin; it sort of sells itself because we’re that good for veterans.” As for Hill, he hasn’t accepted a position yet, but he’s moving full steam ahead. “I like being part of a community,” he concluded. “I’m looking forward to planting roots. I want to sow some seeds and watch those seeds grow in a way that really makes a difference.”


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

67


68

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

JOBS & EDUCATION

From Military to Medicine Vets transitioning to health care find jobs, fulfillment, challenges By Erik Schechter

E

MPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR VETERANS in the health

care field are booming. Anna Cox, president of VetJobs — the leading military job board, according to the site — estimated that, of the more than 393,000 positions currently posted on vetjobs.com, a third are in health care. “I think the opportunities are very good,” said Sara Appel, program manager for the Multi-State Collaborative on Military Credit at the Minneapolis-based Midwestern Higher Education Compact, which assists military-connected students with completing postsecondary education and transitioning to civilian

employment. “It’s a hot field to be in.” Returning to the civilian workforce poses a variety of challenges for many veterans, but those looking for employment in the medical field may have an advantage because their skill set often translates well from active duty to retirement. For example, surgical incisions are performed the same way whether your patient is enlisted or not. Often, those in the military and medical fields share a common mission, work ethic and sense of purpose. And, it turns out that previous medical training isn’t necessarily a requirement for someone leaving the armed forces and seeking to start a new career. PROVIDED BY MARK RUTHER

CO NTINUED

Retired Air Force Capt. Mark Ruther pursued dentistry after leaving the military.


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

69


70

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

JOBS & EDUCATION

“Military medical service members can readily assimilate into civilian clinical environments as military health care facilities follow the same accreditation and certification requirements.” — LEE BEWLEY, associate professor, University of Louisville

PROVIDED BY LEE BEWLEY

Once an Army Medical Service Corps officer, Lee Bewley’s experience benefits him as an associate professor in the public health care field.

For Mark Ruther, 33, finding a job that leveraged his strengths led him to the health care field. The retired Air Force captain had been a pilot instructor, but soon after being assigned to fly C-130s at Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas, something went wrong with his voice. It got choppy and difficult to understand. “I saw a specialist and was diagnosed with a condition called spasmodic dysphonia,” Ruther said. That condition effectively prevented him from flying in the military and commercially, forcing Ruther to find a new calling. “I’m good at math and science,” he said. “I enjoy working with my hands where you can see the results, and I started looking at medicine.” Dentistry, in particular, he concluded, would allow him to quickly open a private practice without a long residency. So, with financial support from the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment program at the Department of Veterans

Affairs (VA), he enrolled at Ohio State University’s College of Dentistry, where he is completing his final year. Ruther benefited from having studied biology in his U.S. Air Force Academy days, but Kortney Shail, 31, had no such background. Instead, the nursing student had been an aircrew flight equipment technician. It was the death of a volunteer firefighter from her hometown of New Carlisle, Ind., that inspired Shail to leap into the health care industry. “That was really why I wanted to be in the military, to be able to help people,” she said. Shail said she’s determined to become a licensed practical nurse and an advocate for veterans in the VA system. “I think that veterans can provide the best care for other veterans,” she added. In contrast to Ruther and Shail, Summer Arnold, 38, had already been a dental assistant in the military, so there was no dramatic pivot once she left. “The Air

Force was what got me interested in (the) dental career field,” she said. “I knew I wanted to pursue either dental hygiene or dentistry.” In theory, her path to dental school should have been straightforward. According to Lee Bewley, a former Army Medical Service Corps officer and current clinical associate professor of health care leadership at University of Louisville’s School of Public Health and Information Sciences, “Military medical service members can readily assimilate into civilian clinical environments as military health care facilities follow the same accreditation and certification requirements.” But Arnold noted that “none of that training or any of the didactic work I did in the military translated over” because, at the time, the Air Force didn’t offer a specific dental hygienist training track. Challenges with translating military experience into education credits arise

from time to time, said Appel. “We see issues with some institutions not necessarily looking at (a veteran’s) joint services transcript and not realizing that, yes, they’ve already had basic anatomy I and II, and then they make them retake basic anatomy I and II,” she said. Still, Bewley and Appel said steps are being taken to improve the transition, including proposed legislation, as well as schools getting better at reading joint service transcripts and offering career coaching. Groups such as the Student Veterans of America provide resources and support, and the Medical Education and Training Campus located at Joint Base San Antonio on Fort Sam Houston in Texas, offers nearly 50 programs of study for U.S. military enlisted students. “The goal for health care students is to make the most of the available resources,” said Appel. “Really being your own advocate is the best thing you could do.”


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

71


72

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

YEAR IN DEFENSE 2019  
YEAR IN DEFENSE 2019