Russia Just Did Something Big ‘We Haven’t Seen Before’- US On High Alert

A new NATO report makes it clear that a resurgent and bellicose Russian military is increasing military tensions in Europe to levels not seen since the end of the Cold War.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Russia has conducted at least 18 large-scale exercises over the past three years, “some of which have involved more than 100,000 troops.”

Among them were simulated nuclear attacks against NATO allies and partner nations, such as Sweden in March 2013.

“We haven’t had to worry about this for 25 years, and while I wish it were otherwise, now we do,” said Defense Secretary Ash Carter Tuesday. The administration has proposed spending $3.4 billion on its troops and training in Europe.

British Vice Admiral Clive Johnstone, Commander of NATO’s Maritime Command, said NATO has observed “a level of Russian capability that we haven’t seen before,” and that there is “more activity from Russian submarines than we’ve seen since the days of the Cold War.” This is “very different from the period of quiet submarine activity that perhaps we’ve seen in the past,” he said.

“Russia in the last few months has returned to, I would say, nearly a Cold War level of activity that goes towards our homeland, with long-range attacks, exercises and those types of things,” former U.S. Navy Commander, Admiral Samuel Locklear, told the House Armed Services Committee in April 2015, adding that Russia was reasserting itself politically and militarily.

Russia actions are provoking reactions.

This week, Sweden re-activated a former Cold War base on the island of Gotland to address the potential Russian threat.

Sweden’s Supreme Commander, General Mikael Byden, said, “This is one of the great challenges right now: What are they up to, and why do they do it?”

The responses come as an analysis by the RAND Corporation released this week said Russian tanks could overrun NATO’s existing forces in the Baltic nations. The report warned NATO’s ground forces are no match for Russia’s.

“The … findings are unambiguous: As currently postured, NATO cannot successfully defend the territory of its most exposed members,” the report said.

h/t: Fox News

Exposed: Obama’s Former Defense Secretary Just Made A Sickening Revelation About Barack And The White House

The Obama administration’s lack of a defined, coherent policy on Syria was the result of too many directionless meetings and far too little commitment by the man at the top, former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel insists.

In a wide-ranging interview with Foreign Policy, Hagel paints a dismal picture of ineffectual leadership and a lack of direction from the late summer of 2013, when the Syrian crisis was reaching its first boil, to October 2014, when Hagel sent around a memo that said “we don’t have a policy.”

Hagel cited a telling incident. On Aug. 30, 2013, he had finished arranging for Tomahawk cruise missile strikes against Syria after Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad used gas against his own people, crossing President Obama’s supposed “red line.” Then, Obama called him to cancel the attack.

“There’s no question in my mind that it hurt the credibility of the president’s word when this occurred. A president’s word is a big thing, and when the president says things, that’s a big deal,” he said, noting that Obama’s change of heart shook world leaders’ confidence in the president.

Hagel said that the White House held endless meetings on the Syrian crisis, but that the meetings never accomplished very much.

“I don’t think many times we ever actually got to where we needed to be. We kept kind of deferring the tough decisions. And there were always too many people in the room,” he said. “We seemed to veer away from the big issues. What was our political strategy on Syria?”

Hagel, who opposed “boots on the ground” in Syria, had insisted America needed a diplomatic plan to identify when and how Assad should be removed, if necessary.

Hagel’s comments in June 2014 that ISIS was “beyond anything that we’ve seen” were not well received at the White House, he said.

“I got accused of trying to hype something, overstate something, and make something more than it was,” Hagel said. “I didn’t know all of it, but I knew we were up against something here that we had never seen before. And in many ways, we were not prepared for it.”

Hagel often was on the spot for the failings of the Obama administration. He cited a congressional hearing from September 2014 when he was asked whether the U.S would back rebels fighting Assad if they were in turn attacked.

“We had never come down on an answer or a conclusion in the White House,” Hagel said. “I said what I felt what I had to say. I couldn’t say, ‘No.’ Christ, every ally would have walked away from us in the Middle East.”

Hagel eventually made the commitment. “Any attack on those that we have trained who are supporting us, we will help them,” he told the committee.

One month later, Hagel tried to rally the White House with a two-page memo that said the administration needed a policy in Syria.

“I was saying, ‘We’re not getting to where we need to be,’” he said, “because I’m getting this from all of my colleagues around the world. All of my counterparts are coming up to me at NATO meetings and everywhere, saying, ‘What are you doing? Where is this going?’”

h/t: Foreign Policy

The U.S. Just Announced A Giant Move Against ISIS That Changes Everything

The hunter is about to become the hunted across the war-ravaged landscape of Iraq.

About 200 U.S. special operations troops will be sent to Iraq, with part of their mission being to kill or capture senior ISIS leaders, a U.S. official has told Fox News. The force will also seek better intelligence about the structure and partners of ISIS to help turn around the war against the Islamic terrorist group.

The troops are part of a “specialized expeditionary targeting force” announced by Defense Secretary Ash Carter Tuesday.

“You don’t know at night who’s going to be coming in the window. And that’s the sensation that we want all of (ISIS) leadership and followers to have,” Carter said.

“This is an important capability because it takes advantage of what we’re good at,” Carter added. “We’re good at intelligence, we’re good at mobility, we’re good at surprise. We have the long reach that no one else has. And it puts everybody on notice in Syria ”

Iraq was not enthusiastic about the American plan.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi said Iraq wants more weapons for its troops, and claimed “there is no need for foreign ground combat troops” in Iraq. He warned that any operations against ISIS in Iraq “can only be deployed subject to the approval of the Iraqi Government and in coordination with the Iraqi forces and with full respect to Iraqi sovereignty.”

Carter said Iraq will be a partner in any attacks.

“The raids in Iraq will be done at the invitation of the Iraqi government and focused on defending its borders and building the Iraqi security force’s own capacity,” Carter said Tuesday before the House Armed Services Committee. “This force will also be in a position to conduct unilateral operations into Syria.”

A U.S. official told Fox News that the 200 troops heading for Iraq is a separate group from the 50 special operations forces being sent to Syria.

Also Tuesday, Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, contradicted assurances from President Obama last month that ISIS had been contained.

“We have not contained (ISIS) currently,” Dunford told the House Armed Services Committee.

h/t: Fox News

Watch: Former Obama Admin Director Stuns- White House MUST Be Investigated For This…

The former director of Defense Intelligence Agency says that President Obama has no excuse–no basis to claim that the rise of ISIS caught him by surprise.

Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Michael Flynn, who led the DIA from 2012 to 2014, told Fox News’ Megyn Kelly on Monday night that the intelligence the president was receiving was “very accurate.” He noted that the commander-in-chief get his intelligence from multiple agencies, both inside and outside of the military. 

As to the allegations that Central Command may have manipulated intelligence the president was receiving, Flynn believes the investigation should go from the top down. He told Kelly:

[M]any of [those serving at Central Command] have been deployed for many years in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere…so I think that the focus of really this investigation, they’ll find whoever they’re going to find and some of the tactical issues at central command, but the focus of this investigation ought to start at the top.

Where intelligence starts and stops is at the White House. The president sets the priorities and he’s the number one customer. So if he’s not getting the intelligence he needs and if he’s not paying attention to what else is going on, then something else is wrong there between them and the advisers he has.

The retired general perceived a definite narrative regarding Islam emanating from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. “I think this issue of not meeting a narrative out of the White House, which meant don’t talk about radical Islam; don’t talk about about this being a form of radicalism of the Islamic religion,” said Flynn. “It is a cancer inside of the Islamic religion. The White House and frankly the president have not wanted to say that.” 

Ed Morrissey, writing for Hot Air, pointed out that Flynn, while serving as DIA director, warned Congress about the rise of ISIS in late 2013, which prompted Obama to characterize them as the “jayvee team” in January, 2014. The retired general, in fact, advised the White House about the possible rise of ISIS in a 2012 memo, shortly after he took over at DIA.

According to Morrissey:

What makes this interesting is that Flynn was Obama’s adviser in the 2012-2014 period and got a front-row seat as to how intelligence got handled. He’s been an outspoken critic ever since, and this probe of CENTCOM intelligence (his prior post to Flynn’s DIA command) has made him even more critical of his former boss.That should tell people something about the White House claims of shock, shock of gambling in the casino. Barack Obama gets the Captain Louis Renault award, Special Jayvee Team Edition.

 

Wow: US Military Pilots Make Bombshell Revelation About Obama And ISIS That Looks BAD

U.S. military pilots are reporting that they are being blocked from dropping 75 percent of their ordinance because they could not get clearance, according a leading House Republican.

Rep. Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told the Washington Beacon, “You went 12 full months while ISIS was on the march without the U.S. using that air power and now as the pilots come back to talk to us they say three-quarters of our ordnance we can’t drop, we can’t get clearance even when we have a clear target in front of us,” Royce said. “I don’t understand this strategy at all because this is what has allowed ISIS the advantage and ability to recruit.”

The Pentagon told the Beacon that the reason bombs are not being dropped is mainly because of the goal of minimizing civilian casualties. “The bottom line is that we will not stoop to the level of our enemy and put civilians more in harm’s way than absolutely necessary,” a military official said. 

“The fact that aircraft go on missions and don’t strike anything is not out of the norm,” the official added. “Despite U.S. strikes being the most precise in the history of warfare, conducting strike operations in the heavily populated areas where ISIL hides certainly presents challenges. We are fighting an enemy who goes out of their way to put civilians at risk. However, our pilots understand the need for the tactical patience in this environment. This fight against ISIL is not the kind of fight from previous decades.”

Retired four-star Gen. Jack Keane shares Royce’s assessment that the strategy is flawed, adding it is being driven from the top down.

“When we agreed we were going to do airpower and the military said, this is how it would work, he [Obama] said, ‘No, I do not want any civilian casualties,’” Keane explained. “And the response was, ‘But there’s always some civilian casualties. We have the best capability in the world to protect from civilians casualties.’” Obama reiterated “no casualties,” according to the retired general.  

“Believe me,” Keane added, “the French are in there not using the restrictions we have imposed on our pilots.”

And the same goes for Russians. “They don’t care at all about civilians,” he said. 

The Pentagon stated that the air campaign has been effective, with attacks focused on the Islamic State’s “staging areas, fighting position, and key leaders,” as well as its “oil distribution chain.”

Royce believes that victory must ultimately come on the ground and advocates arming the Kurds, whose forces he says are 180,000 strong.  

“When it is perceived that ISIS is losing territory, that’s when it is harder for them to recruit on the internet and tell people they’re invincible,” Royce said.