Submitted by: Veronica Coffin
The Association of the United States Army (AUSA) is a private, non-profit educational organization that represents America’s soldiers and supports the U.S. Army – Active, National Guard, Reserve, civilians, retirees, government civilians, wounded warriors, veterans, and family members.
Stew Magnuson reports for National Defense that on Oct. 15, 2014, the final day of the AUSA’s annual conference in Washington, DC, a panel of officials, industry leaders and academics spelled out all the problems with the U.S. armed service’s research, development and acquisition enterprise.
The panel’s moderator asked at what point will Army readiness be compromised by sharp reductions in research, development and acquisition spending.
Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology Heidi Shyu replied, “We are already at that point” and that the Army-owned manufacturing facilities are in a “death spiral.”
Shyu said R&D and acquisition accounts have dropped twice as fast as the Army top line budget over the past three years, due to overall budget cuts, last year’s government shutdown, and furloughs of the civilian workforce. Parsing out the design and development accounts, the Army now has the smallest budget of all the armed services. All of which ” is very disconcerting for our future.”
Shyu said budget cuts do not equate to less work, but equate to more work as programs are strung out. That means more contracts have to be issued. Meanwhile, the vital contracting workforce is being “slashed and burned.” One-third the budget does not mean the Army needs one-third the number of personnel to carry out the acquisition duties, she added.
With the possible return of sequestration in 2016, the Army might be writing two budgets. “It creates an enormous amount of additional work and churn on all the folks that we have in the acquisition workforce,” she said.
The furloughs had an “incredible impact on the civilian workforce’s morale,” she said. The attrition rate is increasing. “We are starting to lose people we don’t want to lose.”
As acquisition programs are stretched out, it causes more inefficiencies. Purchasing items in smaller quantities equates to higher costs as opposed to buying in bulk. Referring to the Defense Department’s Better Buying Power 3.0 initiative, Shyu said, “It’s not better buying power. It’s much worse.”
The Army acquisition enterprise is being asked to deliver systems the Army needs but can’t currently do so in a timely manner. Because workloads are going down substantially in the organic industrial base — manufacturing carried out by government-owned plants — the rates the Army must pay are going up. That results in fewer items that can be purchased.
“This is a death spiral that we’re in,” she said. Congress won’t allow a Base Realignment and Closure process to reduce capacity, so there are few knobs the Army can turn.
Lt. Gen. Patricia McQuistion, deputy commanding general and chief of staff of the Army Materiel Command (AMC), said the impact of budget cuts on AMC’s personnel “cannot be overstated” and that “It is having a significant impact on our people and their ability to do their work.”
The budget slowdown means AMC is being given tasks to perform incrementally, which actually requires more work on the part of contracting specialists. That creates headaches for industry as well, which “really is the most inefficient way to do our operations,” according to McQuistion.
Submitted by: Veronica Coffin
Technology drives social and political change.
Just as newspapers and magazines are going out of business because of the Internet, and brick-and-mortar store sales increasingly are eclipsed by online shops, the day will soon come when how Americans do politics will also be up-ended.
From time to time in this column, I predict that the United States is entering an era of great political disruption, a bottom-up revolution on the scale of what upended the music, television, movie, media, and retail industries. Fueled by the radical connectivity of the Internet, abrupt new actors in those fields dismantled the status quo, shifted power downward, and created an explosion of options for consumers.
Consider what just one change wrought. You can now choose any musician’s song from any album, download it instantly and from virtually anywhere on earth for less than the price of a candy bar, and store it on a device with thousands of other tracks from just as many different singers. That’s power.
I ask you, how long until Americans recognized they’re no less equipped to disrupt politics and government? How soon before we stop settling for an inferior product in Washington and at statehouses? When do we demand more and better from the Democratic and Republican parties—or create new political organizations that usurp the old?
I don’t know the answers. I do believe it’s a matter of when, not if. Because, while we may be a presidential cycle or two away from the Great Disruption, you can already spot green shoots of populism emerging from an otherwise bleak midterm landscape.
Unsatisfied consumers: Disruption thrives when the status quo is not serving the needs of a changing public. Netflix, Amazon, and Buzzfeed wouldn’t exist if people had been satisfied with the way the entertainment, retail, and media industries were operating. The same American public that forced change on those industries is equally, if not more, annoyed with the political system.
A majority of Americans hold a negative view of the GOP, according to an NBC/Wall Street Journal survey. The Democratic Party’s image is underwater, meaning that more people disapprove than approve of the party. The percentage of Americans identifying themselves as independents is rising steadily, from 31 percent in 2004 to 44 percent in September, according to a Gallup study cited by Democratic consultant Doug Sosnik.
“Americans’ long-brewing discontent shows clear signs of reaching a boiling point,” Sosnik wrote a year ago. “And when it happens, the country will judge its politicians through a new filter—one that asks, ‘Which side of the barricade are you on?’ “
While many independents will vote Democratic or Republican, they’re doing so out of a lack of choice. Last year, NBC/Esquire commissioned a nonpartisan analysis of the electorate and determined that a full majority, 51 percent, make up a “New American Center,” voters whose attitudes and ideologies leave them without a natural home inside either the GOP or the Democratic Party. These voters share common values that run counter to the polarized, zero-sum ways of the two major parties.
Exacerbating this disconnect between the parties and the people is the public’s sour mood. Huge majorities of Americans say the country is on the wrong track. They see a grim future for themselves, their children, and their country. They believe their political leaders are selfish, greedy, and short-sighted—unable and/or unwilling to shield most people from wrenching economic and social change.
Ambitious disruptors: A handful of politicians are looking over the horizon and offering themselves as an alternative to the GOP and the Democratic Party. Independent candidate Greg Orman threatens to unseat GOP Sen. Pat Roberts in heavily Republican Kansas. Republican-turned-independent Larry Pressler has put the South Dakota race into play. A libertarian pizza delivery man may gobble up enough voters to determine the Senate race in North Carolina. In Alaska, Democrats are backing an independent Republican for governor.
In governor’s races, nearly a dozen incumbents are in various levels of danger; their challengers seizing the mantle of change.
Still, this year’s elections won’t result in a wave of newly elected independents, nor will a record number of incumbents lose their jobs. The Old Guard will conclude that the status quo is safe. But the Old Guard is a ship of fools, living on borrowed time. They remind me of smug newspaper publishers, music moguls, and bookstore-chain operators who were abruptly disrupted out of business.
“Look beneath the surface, and you’ll see this is more of an anti-incumbent, anti-establishment year than people realize,” said Joe Trippi, who helped bring modern technology to the political system while running a 2004 Democratic presidential campaign for Howard Dean. “Change is coming. Big change.”
Young disruptors: The ranks of the congressional candidates include a dozen or so millennials, people who came of age after 9/11. They include Elise Stefanik, 30, a Republican who helped me research a 2006 book about leadership when she was a Harvard undergraduate. Nick Troiano, 25, is running as an independent in Pennsylvania. “If I win, it will send a signal to Washington that you’d better watch out, that there’s a huge generation of millennials poised to disrupt politics as usual,” Troiano told me in April.
Even if the Old Guard defeats Stefanik, Troiano, and every other young candidate in November, they can’t stop the changes millennials would make to the system. This generation of Americans is relatively civic-minded, pragmatic, tolerant, diverse, and less interested in ideology than results. The only thing that can stop millennials from disrupting the system is the generation itself; young Americans are deeply disillusioned with politics and government, and their inclination to solve problems outside of traditional institutions could create a severe brain drain in Washington.
Conventional wisdom argues against even the remote possibility of an independent presidential bid; against the dismantling of old party structures and the creation of new ones; and against any structural reform to government. I get it. There are thousands of reasons why you might place your bets on the status quo.
I’ll put my money on the people. Trippi is right. Change is coming.
~End of Fournier article
The question, of course, is how this political revolution will come about. We haven’t yet figured out the way.
I propose that we begin by each of us going independent, i.e., registering as Independents unaffiliated with either of the two main parties. I did that 10 years ago.
For conservatives, the Democrats are demon rats. Voting for any Democrat is completely out of the question.
But if you think the Republican Party is the answer, think again. Please acquaint yourself with a curious legal agreement that the GOP entered into with the Dems — the 1982 Consent Decree — in which the Republican Party agreed to neither contest nor combat voter fraud. See my post, “Why the GOP won’t challenge vote fraud.”
See also “America’s Bipartisan Ruling Class vs. the People.“
Submitted by: Veronica Coffin
QATAR AWARENESS CAMPAIGN
Fédération Internationale de Football Association
P.O. Box 8044 Zurich, Switzerland
Dear Mr. Blatter:
This letter is being sent to you on behalf of the Qatar Awareness Campaign Coalition. The purpose is to inform you and the public of the activities of Qatar. FIFA is preparing to host the 2022 World Cup in Qatar’s capital city of Doha and this decision has proved anything but uncontroversial. Not the least, because of bribery charges.
In September 2013, the UK’s The Guardian ran a feature story on Qatar’s “World Cup slaves.” These slaves, foreign workers who are flown in from countries such as Nepal, India and Bangladesh, are deprived of basic human rights, including:
- Access to clean water and food, and lack of decent and sanitary habitations.
- The right to leave Qatar, as their passports are seized upon entry and they are denied exit visas.
- Just and timely compensation, as many of these workers are routinely denied pay for months at a time.
And yet, one aspect of the Qatari-FIFA World Cup scandal has been overlooked. The architectural firm contracted to build the stadiums is Albert Speer & Partner. Mr. Speer is the son of Albert Speer, the infamous Nazi who revolutionized slave labor in the Third Reich for his friend and Führer, Adolf Hitler. Albert Speer was the chief organizer and executive of the Nazi war machine, in charge of munitions and supplies production. He enslaved conquered “racial minorities” across Europe, including Slavs and Jews, in war factories.
Is it not tragically ironic that his son is using slave labor to build FIFA’s soccer stadiums? Consistent with history, the Muslim Brotherhood, which Qatar welcomes with enthusiasm, was an ally of Hitler’s Germany during the war.
Furthermore, Qatar Airways is in a partnership with F.C. Barcelona, one of the world’s most recognizable football clubs. Qatar and soccer have a complicated relationship. In April, it was reported that in 2011, a Qatari, Mr. Mohammed bin Hamman, had deposited £2 million into the bank account of the daughter of a Brazilian FIFA official. The money is believed to have been transferred into the 10 year old’s account by the then-president of F.C. Barcelona, Sandro Rosell. This amounted to a bribe and Qatar was subsequently awarded the 2022 World Cup.
Here are some pertinent additional facts regarding FIFA, Qatar, terrorism and the 2022 World Cup:
- In 2011, Mohamed bin Hamman was banned from FIFA after the Ethics Committee ruled him responsible for cash gifts totaling, $1 million “to officials from associations belonging to the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) at a meeting in Trinidad on May 10.”
- A previous head of the Qatar Football Association, Abdul Rahman al-Nuaimi, was accused of supporting terrorism through al Qaeda in Iraq, Somalia, Yemen and other countries. He was designated by the U.S. Treasury a “global terrorist.”
- Prominent FIFA officials have openly questioned the decision to hold the World Cup 2022 in Doha. Citing scorching temperatures in Doha during the summer, FIFA Executive Committee member Theo Zwanziger stated, “I personally think that in the end the 2022 World Cup will not take place in Qatar. Medics say that they cannot accept responsibility with a World Cup taking place under these conditions.”
Additionally, Qatar it is involved in Taliban narcotics trafficking through a relationship with the Pakistani National Logistics Cell and profits from operating a virtual slave state. A recent press report explained how a Qatari citizen was the money man for an Al Qaeda group in Syria. His alias? Umar al-Qatari.
The QAC Coalition and petitioners ask that you consider the attached sourced report on Qatar’s activities. The links cited are vetted and credible sources. We hope you take the time to verify the truth of the statements for yourself.
After doing so, the Coalition of the Qatar Awareness Campaign calls on you to exert due influence on the Qatari government to cease any type of involvement in all forms of Islamic terrorism, slavery, and drug trafficking!
Lt. Col. Allen B. West (US Army, Ret)
Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.
Center for Security Policy
Paul E Vallely, US Army (Ret)
Chairman, Stand Up America
New Zeal **
& the entire Qatar Awareness Campaign Coalition.
Qatar Research Report: http://www.stopqatarnow.com/p/research-report.html
Sign the Petition! Visit www.stopqatarnow.com
Facebook: Stop Qatar Now
** Select signatures as of 9/27. The Qatar Awareness Campaign Coalition is comprised of more than 25 journalists, national security experts, publishers, and independent researchers. To view all Coalition participants, please visit the Campaign’s website.
CC: FIFA Media Committee.