5 NatSec Things - 05 Feb 2018

Revue
 
Today's things: Keep Gitmo going; Afghan data dump; Qatar wants US to get comfy; Navy makes rules abo
 
February 5 · Issue #27 · View online
5 NatSec Things
Today’s things: Keep Gitmo going; Afghan data dump; Qatar wants US to get comfy; Navy makes rules about FB; Israel may not buy more F-35s.

Partial to orange, Trump wants to keep Gitmo open
There’s been…a LOT…of Trump in last week’s news cycles. More than usual. A plethora of Trumpness. Lots of people smarter than me have covered the memo in all its glory. There even ended up being a Twitter hashtag, #YoMemoJokes. I’m partial to this one.
Steve Marmel
Hey, Devin. Yo memo so bankrupt, it used to be a Trump casino. #YoMemoJokes https://t.co/rOlXowGMO1
11:19 PM - 2 Feb 2018
After all that, feels like the State of the Union was years ago. And even then, I’m not hearing many pundits decrying keeping Gitmo open. (If you know of anyone that did any credible op-ed work on that, send it my way.) Which is a genuine national security issue.
Because while we’d all like to think that after A Few Good Men we could close the book on the US installation in Cuba, since then we’ve had 9/11. Waterboarding. Force feeding. Oh, and ISIS.
Which has adopted the orange jumpsuits worn in detention as part of their Burn ‘Em Alive fall execution collection. So while everyone’s going fully NIMBY on these detainees, their continued presence there will continue to inspire more terrible things. 
That should worry us more than whatever Nunes had to say.
Pentagon declassifies Afghan data that was already unclassified Pentagon declassifies Afghan data that was already unclassified
I may do something longer about this over at Sunny In Kabul, because whether the insurgency is growing or not is a key metric for the war in Afghanistan. And for a minute there it looked like the Americans were going to classify that data in the latest report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR).
The story now is that it wasn’t meant to be classified and therefore hidden from the public. That someone mis-labeled it. And so now we can see it again.
Plausible.
Probably not true, but plausible.
Where the US is dropping the ball is in trying to hide the data, which shows that the insurgency is healthier than ever. Because that’s the kind of information you need to justify to keep running the war that will not end.
I know, heading into year 17 of this thing security should be better. Agreed. But it’s not. And that makes the case for things like more troops, more airstrikes, and more keeping the war running.
Qatar wants the US to put the "forever" in BFF
I feel like the noise around a nothingburger of a memo keeps real stories like this from getting more airtime. Because this isn’t just about US/Qatar military ties. It’s about US/Qatar ties period.
Doha’s having a hell of a time in the Middle East. What with all the boycotting thanks to rumors it supports terrorism. Which, given that the boycott is led by Saudi Arabia, is a fun little study in painful irony.
The airbase that’s currently in use by the Americans is still an expeditionary one. Which means that whenever DoD posts pictures from the place, the byline is “an undisclosed location.” Hilarious. 
That also means for the most part families don’t live there (with the exception of some officers deployed there for more than a year, who have families on another American compound. 
This plan would change that, and the plan to make room for families there is a signal of Doha’s hope that the US presence there would be a permanent one. That’s going to be tricky now that Mattis and the DoD are thinking more about China and Russia than about terrorism.
Still, while ISIS is down? It’s not out. And having a long-term base in the region is still in American interests. 
If your sailor died, maybe don't post it on Facebook?
In a past life I was one of those in a long line outside the phone trailers in Iraq after someone died. Because I wanted to call home and tell the love of my life that it wasn’t me. Since we weren’t married at the time, there was no guarantee anyone would have let her know if something had happened to me.
This was before the internet on FOBs was a widespread thing, and before social media was so prevalent. Now the military has to contend with people broadcasting tragedy before official notifications have been done. And finding out via Facebook that your life partner’s dead? 
Not great.
So the Navy has put out a guide as to when families can identify that a dead sailor is their sailor. Because it’s the 21st century, and the world moves faster. 
Two things here: it wasn’t that long ago that I was in Iraq, and sometimes the pace of technology both amazes and terrifies me. Second: The pace of that technology has gotten ahead of everyone, from those that made it to those that have to head it off to keep someone from learning about their loss thanks to some well-meaning post on Facebook.
Israel may go Boeing with its next fighter squadron
Trump’s pro-Israel, but it looks like Israel may not be pro-F-35. Which isn’t the biggest blow to Lockheed’s plan for continued sails of the world’s most expensive fighter jet. But losing that market today means loss of all that goes with it in the future. 
The Israelis already ordered 50 F-35s, but they’re looking to replace a rapidly aging fleet of aircraft. Which despite multiple upgrades are just getting too old to fly anymore. And given the F-35s price tag, Israel’s looking at an improved version of the F-15 instead.
This means more to Boeing (which makes the F-15) than it does to Lockheed. An Israeli order would keep the F-15 production lines open, and a buy from Israel could mean orders from other countries. Because if Israel knows anything, it’s how to buy a quality fighter jet.

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