Learning SWAT Concepts #ORadio

MoserOstrolenk speaks with Charles Moser from SWAT Concepts, an assembly of specialists that facilitates camps and courses to train and prepare individuals for SWAT-like missions. Moser, a former Navy SEAL himself, details the numerous courses SWAT Concepts offers and the skills a participant learns. Among the many events is the “Sniper versus Sniper” course, held in October, which facilitates a real-life combat situation. SWAT Concepts offers programs for both beginners and experienced individuals.

Great Powers, Great Armies #ORadio


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Ostrolenk speaks with Colonel Doug MacGregor on military structures, namely Russia’s and America’s. In addressing the critical questions of military strategy, Colonel MacGregor speaks from the standpoint of Russia on who, where, and when they should fight. Profoundly shaped by WWII, Russia’s military is a unified command that brings to bear all power under Putin’s control. The United States, in contrast, lacks any coherent military structure, intervening on ideology rather than concrete interests, and failing to consider unintended consequences. Great powers retain great armed forces, but not excessive forces, and the current US military mocks a 1940’s structure and Cold War policies. Colonel MacGregor argues it is imperative the United States military be reduced in size, reformed, restructured, and then expanded from a modern foundation.

#FeinWisdom: What Qualifies as Cyber Warfare?

cyber_securityOstrolenk speaks with Constitutional Scholar Bruce Fein on the debate over what qualifies as cyber warfare, versus what qualifies as a cyber criminal attack. Bruce suggests a definition of his own, and further advocates that congress, rather than the president, should have the authority to create the criteria of, and response to, both categories.

Further information on Bruce Fein, and his publications, can be found at: www.brucefeinlaw.com

American Empire Before the Fall (http://www.amazon.com/American-Empire-Before-Fall-Bruce/dp/1452829535)

Constitutional Peril: The Life and Death Struggle for Our Constitution and Democracy (http://www.amazon.com/Constitutional-Peril-Struggle-Constitution-Democracy/dp/0230617611/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1424925282&sr=1-1&keywords=bruce+fein+constitutional)

#FeinWisdom: Creating Greater Insecurity

predator-firing-missile4Ostrolenk speaks with Constitutional Scholar Bruce Fein on why predator drone strikes must be eliminated to increase America’s safety. Predator drone strikes, Fein argues, are often carried out on faulty intelligence, leading to more civilian deaths, and becoming a symbol of American’s indifference to the killing of Muslims. This, in turn, fosters resentment and ultimately breeds more anti-American terrorists. In continuing predator drone strikes, America is hurting itself more than its enemies.

Readiness Unmeasured, and a Time for Reform

Ostrolenk speaks with Matt Fay, Foreign and Defense Policy Analyst for the Niskanen Center on Defense Reform. Fey comments on the Pentagon’s claim that a readiness issue resulted from sequestration. However, Fey argues that such an assertion is difficult to prove, given that the Pentagon does not utilize adequate metrics to measure readiness, relying on input, rather than output, indicators. Further elaborating on various structural issues, Fey speculates on if we are at a time of Pentagon reform.

For more on Matt Fay, his writings, and the work of the Niskanen Center: www.niskanencenter.org and www.dollarsanddefense.com

#FeinWisdom: The U.S.’s Quagmire in the Middle East, a Product of an Empire-Mentality

Quagmire in the Middle East (1)Ostrolenk speaks with Constitutional Scholar Bruce Fein concerning the United State’s complex entanglement in the Middle East, which currently includes fighting with the Iranians in Iraq against ISIS, against the Iranians and Hezbollah in Syria, and protecting Hezbollah against ISIS in Lebanon. The intricacy of our current entanglement, Bruce comments, is proof that we need to return to the fundamental principles of our country’s founding: our influence abroad should be that of example, and not one that risks liberty at home to transform foreign societies. We have built an empire, and to return to America’s fundamental principles we must eradicate the desire to expand and control.

Further information on Bruce Fein, and his publications, can be found at: www.brucefeinlaw.com

American Empire Before the Fall

Constitutional Peril: The Life and Death Struggle for Our Constitution and Democracy

#FeinWisdom: Impeaching Senator Lindsey Graham

LindsayOstrolenk talks with Constitutional Scholar Bruce Fein who is currently writing up articles of impeachment for South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham. Senator Graham, in his aspirations to become president, stated in a recent speech that he would coerce Congress to increase the military budget by using military force. Fein discusses why this is an impeachable offense, and the process that must take place to ultimately remove Graham from office.

Further information on Bruce Fein, and his publications, can be found at: www.brucefeinlaw.com

American Empire Before the Fall

Constitutional Peril: The Life and Death Struggle for Our Constitution and Democracy

Audit the Pentagon Coalition: interview with Rafael DeGennaro

Michael and Rafael DeGennaro, Director of the Audit the Pentagon Coalition, talk about the need to audit the Department of Defense.

DeGennaro has lead the Green Scissors Coalition to cut wasteful spending and subsidies, co-founded and served as President of Taxpayers for Common Sense, and was a leader in the Read the Bill movement.

Recently, DeGennaro has turned his attention to the Department of Defense.  Although Congress has the budget power, and has passed a law requiring audits for all federal agencies, the legislature seems to have ignored the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990 for the past 24 years with respect to the Pentagon.  The Department of Defense is the only major federal agency that hasn’t complied with the law.

The Pentagon has had a five-year plan for the past 15 years to perform an audit.  To date, it has never followed through.

DeGennaro’s coalition advocates two principles:

1)  Immediate financial consequences for any agency unable to pass an audit or is un-auditable.

2)  We should hold each part of the Pentagon accountable on its own merits.  For example, if the USMC passes an audit, but the USAF does not, then the budget for the Marines should remain untouched while the Air Force should suffer a penalty.

The Audit the Pentagon Coalition includes groups like the Independent InstituteAmericans for Tax Reform  the R Street InstituteTaxpayer Protection Alliance  Ralph NaderCode Pink.

While the Coalition is fighting for enforcement of and compliance with an existing law, its director, DeGennaro, applauds the efforts of Representatives Barbara Lee (D), Michael C. Burgess (R), Jan Schakowsky (D), and Dan Benishek (R), who introduced HR 5126.  The Bill, the Audit the Pentagon Act of 2014, would impose a 0.5% budget penalty on any un-auditable agency while protecting certain employee pay and benefits and granting flexibility to agency heads to determine where to trim budgets.

Visit http://auditthepentagon.org/ to learn more and be sure to check out the group on twitter @auditpentagon.

John Cappel on Overseas Contingency Operations

This week, John Cappel joins Michael to discuss the Overseas Contingency Operations budget.  Cappel work on Budgeting for Foreign Affairs and Defense (BFAD) at the Stimson Center.  John and his colleague, Russel Rumbaugh, just put out a report “A Step Backward, or More to Go? FY15 Overseas Contingency Operations Request.
The Stimson Center focusses on global security challenges, and Cappel and his colleagues in BFAD look into where the money is actually going.

Cappel explains how OCO, or Overseas Contingency Operations, contains budget requests that are like supplemental war budgets.  Historically, supplemental budgets often arose in response to some kind of unexpected event, like a natural disaster or some kind of military conflict.  In the past, these supplemental budgets gave way to budgets that took into account the actual conflicts and the supplemental budget requests went away.  The OCO, however, has been around for a long time now.

Supplemental budgets are designed to address things that you can’t plan for.  Cappel contends that because there are caps on the base discretionary budget that apply both to the DoD and non-defense programs.  OCO lives outside the caps imposed by the Budget Control Act to allow the DoD to circumvent the caps.

OCO, which has related to Afghanistan in the past, now is a $58.6 billion request which includes $11 billion for operations and security for the forces in Afghanistan.  There are, of course, support costs, but now there are other things in the OCO request like the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization, which is indirectly tied to our operations in Afghanistan, doesn’t appear to belong in the OCO budget.

Many feel that the OCO budget has become a bit of a slush fund.  DoD, for its part, is beginning to shift some of the OCO-type requests into the general budget.

The OCO Budget also has requests for $5 Billion for the Counterterrisom Partnership Fund (CTPF) with $4 billion for DoD and $1 billion to the Department of State.  There’s also the European Reassurance Initiative with a price tag of $1 billion which mostly goes to DoD.  Cappel refers to both as “head scratchers.”

There’s a lot less Congressional oversight on these kinds of OCO requests than if they were part of the regular budget requests.  However, administration said in 2012 that it would cap total OCO funding over 10 years to $450 billion.  OCO will probably stick around until Congress takes decisive action.

To read more about John Cappel and his work at the the Stimson Center, visit the Budgeting for Foreign Affairs and Defense section of the Stimson Center’s Website.

Robert David Steele on Open Source Intelligence

Robert David Steele, curator of Phi Beta Iota, former CIA clandestine services cases officer and creator of the Marine Corps Intelligence Activity, talks about Open Source Intelligence, a movement that he started in 1988, and his recent book, the Open Source Everything Manifesto.
Steele found that close to 90% of the needed relevant information for government operations and decision-support is available from public sources in 183 languages, but not collected, processed, or analyzed by the structured official intelligence community. He realized that embracing the open source community allows for greater exchange of information and more efficient use of taxpayer funds.
The Open Source provides a platform that is affordable, interoperable, and scalable.  Steele contends that secrets are not the same as knowledge, and that the Open Source Approach will help to curtail government waste relating to the desire to collection for the sake of collection.
In Steele’s contribution to the Routledge Companion to Intelligence Studies, entitled “The Evolving Craft of Intelligence,” he discusses the way to create an effective intelligence and counter intelligence service.  The new paradigm would focus the United States Intelligence Community on catching traitors and providing decisions support as well as holistic analytics centered around the 10 High Level Threats to Humanity.
Through his discussion with Michael Ostrolenk  Steele explains how using common sense and open source techniques, the U.S. Government can adopt proven methods in the field by Steele over 25 years ago to have a leaner, more effective, more efficient, and more transparent intelligence Community.