One Soldier, One Year: $850,000 and Rising

February 29, 2012

By Larry Shaughnessy   Source: CNN   Feb 29, 2012

Keeping one American service member in Afghanistan costs between $850,000 and $1.4 million a year, depending on who you ask. But one matter is clear, that cost is going up.

During a budget hearing today on Capitol Hill, Sen. Kent Conrad, D-North Dakota, asked Department of Defense leaders, “What is the cost per soldier, to maintain a soldier for a year in Afghanistan?” Under Secretary Robert Hale, the Pentagon comptroller, responded “Right now about $850,000 per soldier.”

Conrad seemed shocked at the number.
“That kind of takes my breath away, when you tell me it’s $850,000,” Conrad said

If that’s the case he’d really be shocked by the estimate that the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments reached about the same issue.

“The cost per troop in Afghanistan has averaged $1.2 million per troop per year,” the center’s Todd Harrison wrote in an analysis of last year’s Department of Defense budget.

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The Growing 9/11 Drone Army

February 20, 2012

Army Sees 11,000% Increase in US Army Drone Arsenal Over Last 10 Years Since: New Legislation Paves Way for 30,000 More Above the USA

Brian Romanoff       Nor Cal Truth     Feb 20, 2012

Never let it be said that the military industrial complex does not heavily rely on 9/11 to continue and thrive.

In October of 2001 the US Army had about 54 drones in its arsenal, however that would change soon after the attacks of 9/11. Some numbers are noted by the Scientific American:

The U.S. Army’s drone armada alone has expanded from 54 drones in October 2001, when U.S. combat operations began in Afghanistan, to more than 4,000 drones performing surveillance, reconnaissance and attack missions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan (pdf).

There are more than 6,000 of them throughout the U.S. military as a whole, and continued developments promise to make these controversial aircraft—blamed for the deaths of militants as well as citizens—far more intelligent and nimble.

From 54 drones in 2001 to the current 6,000 in-stock, within 10 years of 9/11 the US Army saw a net increase of their drone arsenal by 11,000%.

That was then. This is now:

new law signed by Obama last week, HR 658,  is set to increase the amount of drones in the skies over the USA.  The Washington Times has this:

The legislation would order the FAA, before the end of the year, to expedite the process through which it authorizes the use of drones by federal, state and local police and other agencies.

Section 332 of the new FAA legislation also orders the agency to develop a system for licensing commercial drone flights as part of the nation’s air traffic control system by 2015.

The provision in the legislation is the fruit of “a huge push by lawmakers and the defense sector to expand the use of drones” in American airspace, she added.

The agency projects that 30,000 drones could be in the nation’s skies by 2020.

Business Insider points out important facts to remember:

This new bill follows up the Army’s January directive to use  drone fleets in the U.S. for training missions and “domestic  operations.”

And both of these initiatives are mandated in the NDAA  (section 1097) that calls for six drone test ranges to be operational within six  months of that bills signing December 31.

The commercial drone market would be worth hundreds of millions more  if the bill passes.

Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and many other ‘Corporate Partners‘ are poised to profit heavily from the legislation. They are the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International or AUVSI, a conglomerate of ‘defense’ companies that essentially lobbied for and drafted HR 658.

Republic Report highlights the fact that AUVSI doubled its lobbying expenses last year:

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Veterans say Afghanistan & Iraq Wars not Worth it

October 7, 2011

As of today, the war in Afghanistan is 10 years old. It pains me that I have that reality to write about – we have so much work ahead of ourselves. If we don’t do anything it will soon be 20 years in Afghanistan, let’s not go there. Brian @ Nor Cal Truth

source: CNN  Oct 7, 2011

America’s veterans are proud of their military service, but in a new report published Wednesday, they expressed ambivalence about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In a new Pew Research Center report on war and sacrifice, half of post-9/11 veterans said the Afghanistan war has been worth fighting. Only 44% felt that way about Iraq, and one-third said both wars were worth the costs.

Some of those costs were outlined in the Pew study, which comes out as the United States marks the 10th anniversary Friday of the Afghanistan conflict, the longest-running war in the nation’s history.

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Rise of the Drones – UAVs After 9/11

October 4, 2011

by Randy Roughton    source: Armed with Science    Oct 4, 2011

Hummingbird drones fly at 11 mph and can perch on windowsills. The 3-foot-long Raven can be tossed into the air like a model airplane to spy over the next hill in Afghanistan. The Air Force’s new Gorgon Stare aerial drone sensor technology can capture live video of an entire city. From the RQ-4 Global Hawk and MQ-1 Predator to considerably smaller aerial drones in recent years, the Air Force has experienced an unmanned aircraft revolution in the decade since Sept. 11, 2001.

….

Long before 9/11, former Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John P. Jumper, then U.S. Air Forces in Europe commander, envisioned giving unmanned aerial vehicles offensive capability that would allow immediate action when their surveillance cameras spotted high-value targets. In 1999, RQ-1 Predators flew over Kosovo 24 hours per day in surveillance of hostile forces.

Almost seven months before 9/11, a Predator successfully fired a Hellfire missile in flight near Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. The same Predator was among the first three UAVs to deploy overseas on Sept. 12, 2001. By the height of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005, Jumper told Congress he wanted to buy every Predator the General Atomics Aeronautical Systems in San Diego could build, and the Air Force announced it would buy 144 Predators and increase the squadrons of robotic spy planes from three to 12 in the next five years.

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Yet Another Al Qaeda “Number Two” Killed in Pakistan

August 29, 2011

source: Agence France-Presse   Aug. 29, 2011

Al-Qaeda’s number two Atiyah abd al-Rahman has been killed in Pakistan, the United States said, claiming another “tremendous” blow to the group following the death of Osama bin Laden.

News of Rahman’s demise comes as the US gears up to mark the 10th anniversary of Al-Qaeda’s most spectacular attack, on September 11, 2001 on landmarks in Washington and New York, which killed nearly 3,000 people.

Rahman, a Libyan, was killed in the northwest tribal Waziristan area on August 22 after being heavily involved in directing operations for Al-Qaeda, a senior US official said, without divulging the circumstances of his death.

However, local officials in the region told AFP last week that a US drone strike on August 22 on a vehicle in North Waziristan killed at least four militants. It was not clear if the two incidents were connected.

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Exactly How Big Is This So-Called Al Qaeda?

August 7, 2011

source: Boiling Frogs Post    Aug 8, 2011

For almost 10 years we have been engaged in a massive and many-fronted war advertised as a war on terror-war on Al Qaeda. Recent reports put the total cost to America of this war on terror at around $3 trillion. This is not counting un-countable covert operations with secret budgets, and it does not include the war in Libya or covert wars elsewhere.

For the last 10 years of the Cold War, the period of our heightened expenditures against a war marketed as a war against communism, we reportedly spent slightly under $3 trillion.

For a moment let’s forget about the exaggerated and sometimes dubious Soviet threats that were being sold to our nation during the Cold-War, and assume all of them legitimate and warranted. Okay?

We had the Soviet military with over 5 million men. We were dealing with Long-Range Ballistic Missile capabilities. We had an empire with a declared arsenal of 39,967 tons of chemical weapons. We were faced with massive nuclear arsenals and warheads, sophisticated fighter aircraft, tanks… All that, and of course the added fear propaganda and jazzed up other threats to go with it. My point here is not how scary an adversary the USSR was to the United States. Here is what I want you to do:

Take into perspective and compare the size, budget, militaristic and technological capabilities, and the vast power of our former adversary, the USSR, to the current alleged terrorist adversary, Al Qaeda, whom we have supposedly been fighting for ten years.

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More War (Ships) From 9/11 Events

March 29, 2011

Nor Cal Truth     Mar 29, 2011

Another in a series of warships “honoring” 9/11 is christened into action.

From the Mississippi Sun Herald:

The third in a series of U.S. Navy amphibious assault vessels named in honor of the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks [was] christened Saturday, and a key responder at the Pentagon nearly a decade ago is bringing the heroics of his fellow emergency workers with him.

The future USS Arlington is being built at the Northrop Grumman Corp. shipyard in Pascagoula. It’s named in honor of Arlington County, Va., where American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, killing 184 people, after being hijacked en route from Washington-Dulles International Airport to Los Angeles.

The ship’s sponsor is Joyce Rumsfeld, wife of former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who was in the Pentagon on the day of the attack.

Yes it is the third ship in “honor” of 9/11, not the first, not the second. The USS Arlington used a small amount of steel from the Paentagon crash site.

More details on the ship from Military.com:

The Arlington is the U.S Navy’s eighth and latest San Antonio class amphibious transport ship, and the third to bear the name. The ship’s overall length is 684 feet and can reach speeds in excess of 22 knots. Arlington’s armament includes two Bushmaster II 30 mm close in guns; two rolling airframe missile launchers and 10 .50-caliber machine guns.

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