Sunday, December 12, 2010

Military Monkey Mind

Well, I decided I was over due checking the military news headlines to see if there was any little bits of interesting news. As it turned out, I found 2 little stories worth talking about.

In the first headline it seems our friends at NCIS (the real life guys) have been busy. A Navy intelligence specialist stationed at Fort Bragg is in custody after an investigation revealed he allegedly sold top-secret documents to an undercover FBI agent posing as a foreign intelligence officer.

Navy Reserve Intelligence Specialist 3rd Class Bryan Minkyu Martin, of Mexico, N.Y., is being held in custody in Norfolk, Va., said a public affairs specialist for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

Martin, 22, was assigned to the Joint Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg but I’ll bet he’s looking at a transfer to Leavenworth in the near future…


The next story involves the Army (sorry, but they count too). Lured by the promise of rapid updates, easily adaptable software and the ubiquity of cell phone technology, the Army is preparing to offer a smart phone to every soldier. In addition to supplying every soldier, the Army is likely to pay for the cell phone service.

This decision comes after almost a year of Army testing of phones to see how they can best be used and best made secure. (Why is it that that last part of the story does not impress me very much?)

“‘To most soldiers, it sounds almost too good to be true, but it’s real,’ said Lt. Gen. Michael Vane, director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center. He said the Army would issue these smart phones just like any other piece of equipment a soldier receives.
“One of the options, potentially, is to make it a piece of equipment in a soldier’s clothing bag,’ Vane said.”

And here’s what they say are the Army’s next steps:

“The Army plans to roll out wireless Common Access Card readers for the iPhone in January and for Android phones in April. This would give soldiers secure access to their e-mail, contacts and calendars. At war, smart phones would let soldiers view real-time intelligence, video from unmanned systems overhead and track friends and enemies on a dynamic map, officials said.”

But one thing struck me while reading the article. All the quotes are from people who write requirements. There are none from people who buy stuff or from people who create budgets. Imagine the rules governing cell phone bills! Imagine the complexities of setting up networks in places like Afghanistan. Will the Army build a specialty like the Civil War’s Military Telegraph service?
Imagine what a bonanza this could be for Apple, Google and some global cell phone companies. Any bets that a Karzai crony suddenly wins the cell phone contracts in Afghanistan?


 Here is one that is not 'military' but is is worth noting.It seems that TSA, in it's zeal to protect us from terrorists, has gone a little too far. "The foreign minister said Thursday that it was unacceptable that the Indian ambassador to the United States was patted down by a security agent at a Mississippi airport, and that he would complain to Washington," the Associated Press reports. "The ambassador, Meera Shankar, was returning from giving a speech at Mississippi State University last week when she was pulled out of line at the airport and given a pat-down by a female Transportation Security Administration agent. Foreign Minister S. M. Krishna said this was the second time the ambassador had been chosen for a pat-down in the past three months." If only Ambassador Krishna were an American politician, she could forego the screening process altogether!

Personal Comment: There is a debate going on in this country regarding extending unemployment benefits. Both sides of the issue have very good points. On the pro side it seems like the moral and Christian thing to do, especially in the Christmas Season. On the con side, the country is in dire financial straits and simply can not go on funding these programs indefinitely. This side also believes that many of the unemployed are not really looking and are instead enjoying living off the public dole. 

Personally, I reject that argument out of hand for two reasons. First, while there are unquestionably some who do exactly that, living and providing for a family on the very small amount in unemployment compensation is almost impossible and does not provide enough for a person to kick back and enjoy life. They are lucky if it is enough to pay the rent. Secondly, everyone seems to forget the simple fact that there are no damned jobs for these people to find! The Administration's mishandling of the economic crisis has cost us millions of jobs these past two years. With luck they may start coming back this coming year, but it will take some time to create jobs for 9.8% of our working population.

Finally, I would ask a simple question. Have you thought what it means to stop unemployment benefits? It means that all of a sudden nearly 10% of our population will have no money to survive on.... Think about the implications of that. Is that really what we want to do?

Live Long and Prosper.....

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