National Defense Briefs

by W. THOMAS SMITH, JR. January 29, 2015

National Defense Briefs

National Defense Briefs is a series aimed at informing readers with timely military and homeland-security news updates, trends, definitions, and short commentaries. FSM highlights the "National Defense Briefs" that matter.

  • U.S. State Department officials met Jan. 28, 2015 with the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on Benghazi a day after the committee's chairman, Congressman Trey Gowdy (R-SC), "complained about resistance [from the White House] and vowed to 'ratchet up' his schedule interviews with up to 22 potential witnesses who work for the State Department or have knowledge of the attacks," according to reports. Frustrated that the investigation has stalled, Gowdy said, "Letters haven't worked. Southern politeness hasn't worked. We're going to ratchet it up." See and]

  • Established May 8, 2014, the Select Committee on Benghazi is tasked with investigating the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attacks against U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya. The attacks resulted in the deaths of U.S. Ambassador John Christopher Stevens, U.S. Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith, and two CIA operatives Tyrone S. Woods and Glen Doherty, both former U.S. Navy SEALs.

  • U.S. Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Daniel Allyn, said in an interview for Army Times, the Army will bear "unacceptable risk" if sequestration returns. According to the interview, "The Army is already cutting its end-strength to 490,000 soldiers by the end of fiscal 2015. That will be an 80,000-soldier reduction between 2011 and the end of this fiscal year. It also will have cut 13 brigade combat teams, leaving the active Army with 32 BCTs. Plans call for the Army to shrink to 450,000 soldiers by the end of fiscal 2017; if sequestration returns, the Army is to be cut to 420,000 soldiers."
  • Allyn says, [The world remains a] "very, very dangerous place ... There are just a lot of requirements that are out there that demand a trained and ready force, and that is what we're responsible to deliver. We will maintain our focus on developing our leaders so they can lead our force through whatever decisions are made by Congress, but we clearly are engaged in articulating what we see as absolutely unacceptable risk that will be borne by our soldiers if we are forced to respond to a situation for which we have not been able to train, prepare and resource our soldiers and our units for the missions that could come."

  • FOX News military analyst and National Defense Consultants senior advisor Lt. Col. Bill Cowan, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.) says, the defeat of ISIS at Kobani - a northern Syrian city bordering Turkey - demonstrates that ISIS "was trying to bite off more than it could chew at one time. These victories against ISIS [at Kobani, Diyala Province in Iraq, recent ISIS-related arrests in Belgium, and elsewhere] are going to cause them to pull back a little bit and consolidate ... [ISIS] had so much resounding success in such quick order, they just went too far out there ... reminiscent of Hitler in World War II pushing his forces all the way to Moscow, going much too fast and then finding his supply lines cut off. ISIS had the same problem. They extended themselves and - as they tried to resupply their forces - we had our airpower on top of them. ... But there is one thing for certain, ISIS is not about to go away anytime in the short term." [See entire FOX News interview here]

  • The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (also ISIS), the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and the Islamic State (IS). Many Arab-speaking people refer to ISIS as Daesh, an acronym for Al Dawla al-Islamiya al-Iraq al-Sham (the Arabic translation of the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham).

W. Thomas Smith Jr. - a former U.S. Marine rifleman - is a military analyst and partner with NATIONAL DEFENSE CONSULTANTS, LLC. Visit him at

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