Tagged: great

0

Giving troops a pay raise might be hurting the military

The 2019 budget proposal, if enacted, would give service members their biggest pay raise in eight years, a 2.4 percent increase in pay. But despite how good it sounds in the headlines, an across-the-board pay raise may not be what the military needs right now.

The military already saw a 2.1 percent pay increase request for 2018, and as military personnel costs are rising, some experts in military personnel are asking if across-the-board pay raises are the right approach to better the force.

Jim Perkins, former executive director of the Defense Entrepreneurs Forum and an Army reservist, says military pay is outpacing the inflation rate and civilians doing the same job, education and experience as troops are only paid 83 percent to 90 percent what service members are paid.

A 2013 Center for New American Security (CNAS) study[1] suggests the same thing.

“One of the largest contributors to the trend of rising military personnel costs is the growth in cash compensation. Military personnel cash compensation increased by 52 percent between 2002 and 2010, adjusted for inflation. Over the past 12 years, pay increases for military personnel have grown much faster than both inflation and private sector compensation,” the study stated.

Service members are at an even bigger financial advantage because of housing and food subsidies through basic allowance for housing (BAH) and commissaries.

The study stated the Defense Department could save $25 billion over 10 years if Congress issued more reasonable pay increases.

A Feb. 5 Congressional Budget Office report[2] stated personnel costs have increased 46 percent since 2000. A total of 42 percent of that growth is from BAH and basic pay.

The study stated that personnel costs were $142.3 billion in 2014.

Perkins thinks the across-the-board raises are harmful to the military’s search for talented individuals, while keeping less motivated individuals in the service.

“As much as I want to say paying the military more is great. It’s not necessarily,” Perkins said. “Throwing money at this problem is not going to solve it or not in the way that we want it to be solved.”

Perkins used a personal example to explain. An officer he knew was laid off from the Army after being passed over for promotion from captain to major. He left the military and couldn’t find equivalent compensation in the civilian sector based on his experience. He ended up joining the reserves and became an activated reservist for a year. He was promoted to major in the reserves.

“Now he is doing the same job as an active-duty captain, but getting paid more to do it as a major. A role for which he was previously deemed not qualified and the whole reason he was doing this was the fact that he couldn’t be paid as well if he wasn’t in the military,” Perkins said. “This epitomizes the fact that for the low performers in the military, if they stay in the military they may be staying because they’re afraid of losing this wonderful paycheck and benefits package.”

On the other hand, high-performing service members feel their effort is not being compensated; instead they are getting the same treatment as a low-performer for doing more work.

High performers “are seeing their hard work and talent is not being rewarded and differently than the lazy shirker who is sitting next to them,” Perkins said.

Those high performers can easily find jobs in the private sector that will pay them the equivalent compensation and benefits or much higher.

Perkins added that in the few exit surveys the military conducts, troops say pay is not the reason they are leaving, but rather the rigidity of military life.

Perkins suggested more flexibility in how Congress pays people in the military.

“We need to be able to compensate and reward people for taking on different roles that are more highly demanded or places that are bigger hardships. We need to have more flexibility in how we retain very specific skill sets,” Perkins said. “Raising pay across the board doesn’t necessarily do anything to solve the specific problems of a pilot shortage.”

The military is catching on to this as it watches some of the most needed employees like pilots, cyber experts and people trained in nuclear skills.

The military is offering modest bonuses to pilots and other occupations and creating some programs to make the work-life balance more flexible.

But, not many have caught on or are still in the pilot phase.

Meanwhile, the military is missing out on talented individuals it needs.

“Propensity to serve is declining, and each of the services, as well as the civilian sector, are vying for the same limited talent pool. We are clearly in a war for talent. Current forecasts based on leading economic indicators suggest difficult times ahead,” Vice Adm. Robert Burke, the deputy chief of Naval Operations of Manpower, Personnel, Training and Education, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Feb. 14.

Military pay may be one of the issues hurting the effort.

Paying the military more across the board “is reflective of the divide and the guilt that exists between the civilians and the military. They don’t need to be paid more for what they’re doing and throwing money at this problem is not the way to solve it. Don’t say ‘Thank you for your service’ and then not realize we are sending troops to Niger. Don’t throw more money at the problem, get involved in the process,” Perkins said.

References

  1. ^ study (www.files.ethz.ch)
  2. ^ report (www.cbo.gov)
0

Talk of military intervention in Venezuela is absurd

In early February, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson embarked on a Latin America tour aimed at[1] promoting “democratic security”. But just before he set off on his trip, he speculated[2] on the possibility of a military coup in Venezuela. 

“In the history of Venezuela and South American countries, it is often times that the military is the agent of change when things are so bad and the leadership can no longer serve the people,” he said at an event at the University of Texas at Austin.

Tillerson’s comments came six months after US President Donald Trump threatened[3] military action in Venezuela. 

The Trump administration’s warmongering and threats have been accompanied by sustained bias in media reporting on the Venezuelan crisis[4]. While there have been deep prejudice and selective reporting on other countries that have been designated as official US enemies (Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Russia), exaggeration, monolithic and hegemonic narratives and an indifference to complexity, nuance or opposing views in the reporting on Venezuela in prestigious publications have seen new heights. 

Project Syndicate, for example, recently published a typical example of this overwhelming bias. In the article titled “D-Day Venezuela”, the country’s former planning minister, Ricardo Hausmann, called on Latin American countries to intervene militarily in Venezuela.[5]

Even the casual observer of Latin American[6] affairs would know how absurd this idea is and not surprisingly, it met shock and indignation throughout the region.

Why military intervention is a horrible idea

National sovereignty is a sacrosanct political value in Latin America, for reasons obvious to anyone familiar with the history of foreign intervention in the region. 

{articleGUID}

Not only is advocating for military intervention morally reprehensible, but it is also illegal; the Charter of the United Nations prohibits the unilateral use of force that threatens the independence of any state. Undoubtedly, the price of military intervention would be a high death toll, both among civilians and soldiers. Hausmann might see interventions such as the US one in Panama in 1989 as “successful”, but the relatives of the hundreds of Panama citizens who died that winter and the tens of thousands whose homes were destroyed, might think otherwise.[7]

Hausmann and others like him are making the case for military intervention on exaggerated portrayals of reality. Undeniably, there is hyperinflation and food and medicine shortages that are creating significant hardship for many Venezuelans, but Hausmann’s comparison of Venezuela’s current situation to that of Ukraine’s Great Famine of the 1930s in which millions of Ukrainians were starved to death by the Soviet government, is seriously off-base.

Hausmann uses these and other hyperbolic misrepresentations (like his comparison of Venezuela to Nazi-occupied France, Belgium and the Netherlands) to persuade readers that Venezuela needs a military intervention.

Hausmann also cites a New York Times article[8] and a similar Wall Street Journal piece[9] which use pictures of emaciated babies, combined with true reports of food shortages, to create the impression that there is a widespread famine. However, a careful reading of both articles uncovers that some of the victims are actually babies who cannot breastfeed, and therefore are reliant on infant formula for which there is a major shortage in the country. 

No doubt, this is a terrible tragedy, and the government should be denounced for allowing poor children (and adults) to die from lack of access to nutrition sources and medicine. Yet, what is happening in Venezuela isn’t comparable to the famine in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition has cut off food supplies to “starve Yemen into submission,” as the New York Times editorial board recently wrote[10]. 

Note that the causes of the economic crisis are complex and while the Chavista government is very much responsible for it, this is hardly a new problem or simply associated to the heterodox policies, as Hausmann had alleged previously.[11]

Hausmann’s portrayal of Venezuela is an illustration of how influential people are pouring fuel into an already-raging fire, even though their historical analyses of Venezuela have been completely off-point. When Hugo Chavez won a referendum on whether or not he was to be dismissed in 2004, the opposition refused to accept his victory and Hausmann challenged the results in a co-authored econometric analysis.[12]

However, the referendum was held according to one of the most[13] reliable voting systems in the world and certified by Organization of the American States (OAS) and Carter Center (CC) observation teams. Hausmann challenged the results by using unreliable US polling data from Penn, Schoen & Berland (PSB), which claimed Chavez actually lost by a margin of 59 to 41 rather than won by a margin of 59 to 41 and its pre-referendum polls differed majorly from the majority of other polls.[14][15]

The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) debunked[16] Hausmann’s claims, as did a panel of US statisticians who conducted an investigation for the CC and who found no evidence of fraud.[17]

This example is still crucially relevant today. The opposition went on to boycott the 2005 National Assembly elections, citing Hausmann’s paper as evidence that the referendum had been “stolen”.

Hausmann has continued this strategy, alleging in his Project Syndicate article that Venezuela is a “military dictatorship” and that the government “has stolen three elections in 2017 alone”.

In the October regional elections, there were indeed violations in one province[18], and despite allegations of rigging, the opposition failed to submit[19] any evidence of it. The opposition boycotted the July vote for National Constituent Assembly and part of it decided not to run in the December mayoral elections. It is impossible to know the extent of any possible tampering, as no opposition representatives[20] were present to audit the process, as in previous elections.

Who fears a peaceful solution?

Now more than ever, such domineering and flimsy analyses are dangerous as it can derail a possible peaceful solution in Venezuela. There is a possibility that ongoing negotiations will result in presidential elections acceptable to both sides.

Maduro is not popular and Venezuela remains a deeply polarised country. Yet, as economist Francisco Rodriguez, one of the world’s leading experts on Venezuela’s economy, noted recently, the governing coalition has still been able to mobilise nearly one-third of the country’s adult population to support its candidates and win.[21]

While there is at least some public debate over the sanctions against Iran, there is almost no discussion about Washington increasing the suffering of Venezuelans in order to overthrow its government.

 

In other words, in spite of inflation of more than 1,000 percent in 2017, medicine and food shortages, and the country’s worst depression in history, Venezuelans still voted for the current government. This is because they fear that the opposition, whose most prominent leaders pulled off a short-lived military coup in 2002 and immediately resorted to violence, might be worse. The Chavistas also fear political persecution if the opposition were to take power.

It is important to note that despite Hausmann’s constant challenges to Venezuela’s election processes, he, along with Trump[22] and US Senator Marco Rubio (another staunch supporter of an anti-Maduro coup) fears that a democratically-driven negotiated settlement could actually work. And if such is indeed concluded, the fallacy of their warmongering would be exposed.

Currently, there is more talk and more pressure for the US to impose further sanctions on Venezuela. 

But the current US financial embargo is already causing great economic hardship and human suffering. The government cannot restructure or even roll over its debt so it has been forced to cut imports drastically. This is worsening the shortages of medicine and food, as well as deepening the economic depression.[23]

But while there is at least some public debate over the sanctions against Iran, there is almost no discussion about Washington increasing the suffering of Venezuelans in order to overthrow its government.

This is what happens when one group of people achieves such unprecedented hegemony in the representation of a country and their narrative is unchallenged in mainstream media.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance. 

References

  1. ^ aimed at (py.usembassy.gov)
  2. ^ speculated (thehill.com)
  3. ^ threatened (www.aljazeera.com)
  4. ^ Venezuelan crisis (www.aljazeera.com)
  5. ^ typical example (www.project-syndicate.org)
  6. ^ Latin American (www.aljazeera.com)
  7. ^ Charter of the United Nations (www.un.org)
  8. ^ article (www.nytimes.com)
  9. ^ piece (www.wsj.com)
  10. ^ wrote (www.nytimes.com)
  11. ^ had alleged (nakedkeynesianism.blogspot.com)
  12. ^ a co-authored econometric analysis (ksghome.harvard.edu)
  13. ^ most (www.smartmatic.com)
  14. ^ certified (www.cartercenter.org)
  15. ^ unreliable US polling data (web.archive.org)
  16. ^ debunked (cepr.net)
  17. ^ who found no evidence of fraud (www.cartercenter.org)
  18. ^ one province (www.foxnews.com)
  19. ^ failed to submit (www.nytimes.com)
  20. ^ as no opposition representatives (www.smartmatic.com)
  21. ^ noted (foreignpolicy.com)
  22. ^ Trump (www.aljazeera.com)
  23. ^ cannot restructure (www.aljazeera.com)
0

Talk of military intervention in Venezuela is absurd

In early February, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson embarked on a Latin America tour aimed at[1] promoting “democratic security”. But just before he set off on his trip, he speculated[2] on the possibility of a military coup in Venezuela. 

“In the history of Venezuela and South American countries, it is often times that the military is the agent of change when things are so bad and the leadership can no longer serve the people,” he said at an event at the University of Texas at Austin.

Tillerson’s comments came six months after US President Donald Trump threatened[3] military action in Venezuela. 

The Trump administration’s warmongering and threats have been accompanied by sustained bias in media reporting on the Venezuelan crisis[4]. While there have been deep prejudice and selective reporting on other countries that have been designated as official US enemies (Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Russia), exaggeration, monolithic and hegemonic narratives and an indifference to complexity, nuance or opposing views in the reporting on Venezuela in prestigious publications have seen new heights. 

Project Syndicate, for example, recently published a typical example of this overwhelming bias. In the article titled “D-Day Venezuela”, the country’s former planning minister, Ricardo Hausmann, called on Latin American countries to intervene militarily in Venezuela.[5]

Even the casual observer of Latin American[6] affairs would know how absurd this idea is and not surprisingly, it met shock and indignation throughout the region.

Why military intervention is a horrible idea

National sovereignty is a sacrosanct political value in Latin America, for reasons obvious to anyone familiar with the history of foreign intervention in the region. 

{articleGUID}

Not only is advocating for military intervention morally reprehensible, but it is also illegal; the Charter of the United Nations prohibits the unilateral use of force that threatens the independence of any state. Undoubtedly, the price of military intervention would be a high death toll, both among civilians and soldiers. Hausmann might see interventions such as the US one in Panama in 1989 as “successful”, but the relatives of the hundreds of Panama citizens who died that winter and the tens of thousands whose homes were destroyed, might think otherwise.[7]

Hausmann and others like him are making the case for military intervention on exaggerated portrayals of reality. Undeniably, there is hyperinflation and food and medicine shortages that are creating significant hardship for many Venezuelans, but Hausmann’s comparison of Venezuela’s current situation to that of Ukraine’s Great Famine of the 1930s in which millions of Ukrainians were starved to death by the Soviet government, is seriously off-base.

Hausmann uses these and other hyperbolic misrepresentations (like his comparison of Venezuela to Nazi-occupied France, Belgium and the Netherlands) to persuade readers that Venezuela needs a military intervention.

Hausmann also cites a New York Times article[8] and a similar Wall Street Journal piece[9] which use pictures of emaciated babies, combined with true reports of food shortages, to create the impression that there is a widespread famine. However, a careful reading of both articles uncovers that some of the victims are actually babies who cannot breastfeed, and therefore are reliant on infant formula for which there is a major shortage in the country. 

No doubt, this is a terrible tragedy, and the government should be denounced for allowing poor children (and adults) to die from lack of access to nutrition sources and medicine. Yet, what is happening in Venezuela isn’t comparable to the famine in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition has cut off food supplies to “starve Yemen into submission,” as the New York Times editorial board recently wrote[10]. 

Note that the causes of the economic crisis are complex and while the Chavista government is very much responsible for it, this is hardly a new problem or simply associated to the heterodox policies, as Hausmann had alleged previously.[11]

Hausmann’s portrayal of Venezuela is an illustration of how influential people are pouring fuel into an already-raging fire, even though their historical analyses of Venezuela have been completely off-point. When Hugo Chavez won a referendum on whether or not he was to be dismissed in 2004, the opposition refused to accept his victory and Hausmann challenged the results in a co-authored econometric analysis.[12]

However, the referendum was held according to one of the most[13] reliable voting systems in the world and certified by Organization of the American States (OAS) and Carter Center (CC) observation teams. Hausmann challenged the results by using unreliable US polling data from Penn, Schoen & Berland (PSB), which claimed Chavez actually lost by a margin of 59 to 41 rather than won by a margin of 59 to 41 and its pre-referendum polls differed majorly from the majority of other polls.[14][15]

The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) debunked[16] Hausmann’s claims, as did a panel of US statisticians who conducted an investigation for the CC and who found no evidence of fraud.[17]

This example is still crucially relevant today. The opposition went on to boycott the 2005 National Assembly elections, citing Hausmann’s paper as evidence that the referendum had been “stolen”.

Hausmann has continued this strategy, alleging in his Project Syndicate article that Venezuela is a “military dictatorship” and that the government “has stolen three elections in 2017 alone”.

In the October regional elections, there were indeed violations in one province[18], and despite allegations of rigging, the opposition failed to submit[19] any evidence of it. The opposition boycotted the July vote for National Constituent Assembly and part of it decided not to run in the December mayoral elections. It is impossible to know the extent of any possible tampering, as no opposition representatives[20] were present to audit the process, as in previous elections.

Who fears a peaceful solution?

Now more than ever, such domineering and flimsy analyses are dangerous as it can derail a possible peaceful solution in Venezuela. There is a possibility that ongoing negotiations will result in presidential elections acceptable to both sides.

Maduro is not popular and Venezuela remains a deeply polarised country. Yet, as economist Francisco Rodriguez, one of the world’s leading experts on Venezuela’s economy, noted recently, the governing coalition has still been able to mobilise nearly one-third of the country’s adult population to support its candidates and win.[21]

While there is at least some public debate over the sanctions against Iran, there is almost no discussion about Washington increasing the suffering of Venezuelans in order to overthrow its government.

 

In other words, in spite of inflation of more than 1,000 percent in 2017, medicine and food shortages, and the country’s worst depression in history, Venezuelans still voted for the current government. This is because they fear that the opposition, whose most prominent leaders pulled off a short-lived military coup in 2002 and immediately resorted to violence, might be worse. The Chavistas also fear political persecution if the opposition were to take power.

It is important to note that despite Hausmann’s constant challenges to Venezuela’s election processes, he, along with Trump[22] and US Senator Marco Rubio (another staunch supporter of an anti-Maduro coup) fears that a democratically-driven negotiated settlement could actually work. And if such is indeed concluded, the fallacy of their warmongering would be exposed.

Currently, there is more talk and more pressure for the US to impose further sanctions on Venezuela. 

But the current US financial embargo is already causing great economic hardship and human suffering. The government cannot restructure or even roll over its debt so it has been forced to cut imports drastically. This is worsening the shortages of medicine and food, as well as deepening the economic depression.[23]

But while there is at least some public debate over the sanctions against Iran, there is almost no discussion about Washington increasing the suffering of Venezuelans in order to overthrow its government.

This is what happens when one group of people achieves such unprecedented hegemony in the representation of a country and their narrative is unchallenged in mainstream media.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance. 

References

  1. ^ aimed at (py.usembassy.gov)
  2. ^ speculated (thehill.com)
  3. ^ threatened (www.aljazeera.com)
  4. ^ Venezuelan crisis (www.aljazeera.com)
  5. ^ typical example (www.project-syndicate.org)
  6. ^ Latin American (www.aljazeera.com)
  7. ^ Charter of the United Nations (www.un.org)
  8. ^ article (www.nytimes.com)
  9. ^ piece (www.wsj.com)
  10. ^ wrote (www.nytimes.com)
  11. ^ had alleged (nakedkeynesianism.blogspot.com)
  12. ^ a co-authored econometric analysis (ksghome.harvard.edu)
  13. ^ most (www.smartmatic.com)
  14. ^ certified (www.cartercenter.org)
  15. ^ unreliable US polling data (web.archive.org)
  16. ^ debunked (cepr.net)
  17. ^ who found no evidence of fraud (www.cartercenter.org)
  18. ^ one province (www.foxnews.com)
  19. ^ failed to submit (www.nytimes.com)
  20. ^ as no opposition representatives (www.smartmatic.com)
  21. ^ noted (foreignpolicy.com)
  22. ^ Trump (www.aljazeera.com)
  23. ^ cannot restructure (www.aljazeera.com)
0

Talk of military intervention in Venezuela is absurd

In early February, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson embarked on a Latin America tour aimed at[1] promoting “democratic security”. But just before he set off on his trip, he speculated[2] on the possibility of a military coup in Venezuela. 

“In the history of Venezuela and South American countries, it is often times that the military is the agent of change when things are so bad and the leadership can no longer serve the people,” he said at an event at the University of Texas at Austin.

Tillerson’s comments came six months after US President Donald Trump threatened[3] military action in Venezuela. 

The Trump administration’s warmongering and threats have been accompanied by sustained bias in media reporting on the Venezuelan crisis[4]. While there have been deep prejudice and selective reporting on other countries that have been designated as official US enemies (Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Russia), exaggeration, monolithic and hegemonic narratives and an indifference to complexity, nuance or opposing views in the reporting on Venezuela in prestigious publications have seen new heights. 

Project Syndicate, for example, recently published a typical example of this overwhelming bias. In the article titled “D-Day Venezuela”, the country’s former planning minister, Ricardo Hausmann, called on Latin American countries to intervene militarily in Venezuela.[5]

Even the casual observer of Latin American[6] affairs would know how absurd this idea is and not surprisingly, it met shock and indignation throughout the region.

Why military intervention is a horrible idea

National sovereignty is a sacrosanct political value in Latin America, for reasons obvious to anyone familiar with the history of foreign intervention in the region. 

{articleGUID}

Not only is advocating for military intervention morally reprehensible, but it is also illegal; the Charter of the United Nations prohibits the unilateral use of force that threatens the independence of any state. Undoubtedly, the price of military intervention would be a high death toll, both among civilians and soldiers. Hausmann might see interventions such as the US one in Panama in 1989 as “successful”, but the relatives of the hundreds of Panama citizens who died that winter and the tens of thousands whose homes were destroyed, might think otherwise.[7]

Hausmann and others like him are making the case for military intervention on exaggerated portrayals of reality. Undeniably, there is hyperinflation and food and medicine shortages that are creating significant hardship for many Venezuelans, but Hausmann’s comparison of Venezuela’s current situation to that of Ukraine’s Great Famine of the 1930s in which millions of Ukrainians were starved to death by the Soviet government, is seriously off-base.

Hausmann uses these and other hyperbolic misrepresentations (like his comparison of Venezuela to Nazi-occupied France, Belgium and the Netherlands) to persuade readers that Venezuela needs a military intervention.

Hausmann also cites a New York Times article[8] and a similar Wall Street Journal piece[9] which use pictures of emaciated babies, combined with true reports of food shortages, to create the impression that there is a widespread famine. However, a careful reading of both articles uncovers that some of the victims are actually babies who cannot breastfeed, and therefore are reliant on infant formula for which there is a major shortage in the country. 

No doubt, this is a terrible tragedy, and the government should be denounced for allowing poor children (and adults) to die from lack of access to nutrition sources and medicine. Yet, what is happening in Venezuela isn’t comparable to the famine in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition has cut off food supplies to “starve Yemen into submission,” as the New York Times editorial board recently wrote[10]. 

Note that the causes of the economic crisis are complex and while the Chavista government is very much responsible for it, this is hardly a new problem or simply associated to the heterodox policies, as Hausmann had alleged previously.[11]

Hausmann’s portrayal of Venezuela is an illustration of how influential people are pouring fuel into an already-raging fire, even though their historical analyses of Venezuela have been completely off-point. When Hugo Chavez won a referendum on whether or not he was to be dismissed in 2004, the opposition refused to accept his victory and Hausmann challenged the results in a co-authored econometric analysis.[12]

However, the referendum was held according to one of the most[13] reliable voting systems in the world and certified by Organization of the American States (OAS) and Carter Center (CC) observation teams. Hausmann challenged the results by using unreliable US polling data from Penn, Schoen & Berland (PSB), which claimed Chavez actually lost by a margin of 59 to 41 rather than won by a margin of 59 to 41 and its pre-referendum polls differed majorly from the majority of other polls.[14][15]

The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) debunked[16] Hausmann’s claims, as did a panel of US statisticians who conducted an investigation for the CC and who found no evidence of fraud.[17]

This example is still crucially relevant today. The opposition went on to boycott the 2005 National Assembly elections, citing Hausmann’s paper as evidence that the referendum had been “stolen”.

Hausmann has continued this strategy, alleging in his Project Syndicate article that Venezuela is a “military dictatorship” and that the government “has stolen three elections in 2017 alone”.

In the October regional elections, there were indeed violations in one province[18], and despite allegations of rigging, the opposition failed to submit[19] any evidence of it. The opposition boycotted the July vote for National Constituent Assembly and part of it decided not to run in the December mayoral elections. It is impossible to know the extent of any possible tampering, as no opposition representatives[20] were present to audit the process, as in previous elections.

Who fears a peaceful solution?

Now more than ever, such domineering and flimsy analyses are dangerous as it can derail a possible peaceful solution in Venezuela. There is a possibility that ongoing negotiations will result in presidential elections acceptable to both sides.

Maduro is not popular and Venezuela remains a deeply polarised country. Yet, as economist Francisco Rodriguez, one of the world’s leading experts on Venezuela’s economy, noted recently, the governing coalition has still been able to mobilise nearly one-third of the country’s adult population to support its candidates and win.[21]

While there is at least some public debate over the sanctions against Iran, there is almost no discussion about Washington increasing the suffering of Venezuelans in order to overthrow its government.

 

In other words, in spite of inflation of more than 1,000 percent in 2017, medicine and food shortages, and the country’s worst depression in history, Venezuelans still voted for the current government. This is because they fear that the opposition, whose most prominent leaders pulled off a short-lived military coup in 2002 and immediately resorted to violence, might be worse. The Chavistas also fear political persecution if the opposition were to take power.

It is important to note that despite Hausmann’s constant challenges to Venezuela’s election processes, he, along with Trump[22] and US Senator Marco Rubio (another staunch supporter of an anti-Maduro coup) fears that a democratically-driven negotiated settlement could actually work. And if such is indeed concluded, the fallacy of their warmongering would be exposed.

Currently, there is more talk and more pressure for the US to impose further sanctions on Venezuela. 

But the current US financial embargo is already causing great economic hardship and human suffering. The government cannot restructure or even roll over its debt so it has been forced to cut imports drastically. This is worsening the shortages of medicine and food, as well as deepening the economic depression.[23]

But while there is at least some public debate over the sanctions against Iran, there is almost no discussion about Washington increasing the suffering of Venezuelans in order to overthrow its government.

This is what happens when one group of people achieves such unprecedented hegemony in the representation of a country and their narrative is unchallenged in mainstream media.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance. 

References

  1. ^ aimed at (py.usembassy.gov)
  2. ^ speculated (thehill.com)
  3. ^ threatened (www.aljazeera.com)
  4. ^ Venezuelan crisis (www.aljazeera.com)
  5. ^ typical example (www.project-syndicate.org)
  6. ^ Latin American (www.aljazeera.com)
  7. ^ Charter of the United Nations (www.un.org)
  8. ^ article (www.nytimes.com)
  9. ^ piece (www.wsj.com)
  10. ^ wrote (www.nytimes.com)
  11. ^ had alleged (nakedkeynesianism.blogspot.com)
  12. ^ a co-authored econometric analysis (ksghome.harvard.edu)
  13. ^ most (www.smartmatic.com)
  14. ^ certified (www.cartercenter.org)
  15. ^ unreliable US polling data (web.archive.org)
  16. ^ debunked (cepr.net)
  17. ^ who found no evidence of fraud (www.cartercenter.org)
  18. ^ one province (www.foxnews.com)
  19. ^ failed to submit (www.nytimes.com)
  20. ^ as no opposition representatives (www.smartmatic.com)
  21. ^ noted (foreignpolicy.com)
  22. ^ Trump (www.aljazeera.com)
  23. ^ cannot restructure (www.aljazeera.com)
0

79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team trains for Kosovo mission with Task Force Warhawg

Two UH-60 Black Hawks from A Company, 2nd Battalion, 501st Aviation Regiment, flew Soldiers from the 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team over Camp McGregor, New Mexico, on Feb. 9 as part of training for a stabilization and security mission in Kosovo.
1 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Two UH-60 Black Hawks from A Company, 2nd Battalion, 501st Aviation Regiment, flew Soldiers from the 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team over Camp McGregor, New Mexico, on Feb. 9 as part of training for a stabilization and security mission in Kosovo. (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL[1]
Soldiers from the Cal Guard's 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team painted a mural on a Jersey barrier at Camp McGregor, New Mexico, during their stay on the camp in February for a training exercise in preparation for a deployment to Kosovo. From left, Col. Nick Ducich, Staff Sgt. John Tucker, Maj. Michael Kappelmann, Command Sgt. Maj. Andrew McKindley, Staff Sgt. Jorge Baca and Sgt. Sarann Chum. Tucker, Baca and Chum painted the mural.
2 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Soldiers from the Cal Guard’s 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team painted a mural on a Jersey barrier at Camp McGregor, New Mexico, during their stay on the camp in February for a training exercise in preparation for a deployment to Kosovo. From left, Col. Nick Ducich, Staff Sgt. John Tucker, Maj. Michael Kappelmann, Command Sgt. Maj. Andrew McKindley, Staff Sgt. Jorge Baca and Sgt. Sarann Chum. Tucker, Baca and Chum painted the mural. (Photo Credit: Capt. Jason Sweeney) VIEW ORIGINAL[2]
Col. Nick Ducich, center, commander of the Cal Guard 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, is briefed by his staff at Camp McGregor, New Mexico, on Jan. 31 during a Mission Rehearsal Exercise (MRX) in preparation for a deployment to Kosovo.
3 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Col. Nick Ducich, center, commander of the Cal Guard 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, is briefed by his staff at Camp McGregor, New Mexico, on Jan. 31 during a Mission Rehearsal Exercise (MRX) in preparation for a deployment to Kosovo. (Photo Credit: Capt. Jason Sweeney) VIEW ORIGINAL[3]
79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team Commander Col. Nick Ducich instructs his staff during a Combined-arms Rehearsal Feb. 12 at Camp McGregor, New Mexico.
4 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team Commander Col. Nick Ducich instructs his staff during a Combined-arms Rehearsal Feb. 12 at Camp McGregor, New Mexico. (Photo Credit: Capt. Jason Sweeney) VIEW ORIGINAL[4]
Task Force Warhawg commander Lt. Col. Rob Paolucci evaluates and gives guidance at the conclusion of the Combined-arms Rehearsal on Feb. 12. The 79th brigade staff now heads to Camp Hohenfels for a final validation exercise before deploying to Kosovo.
5 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Task Force Warhawg commander Lt. Col. Rob Paolucci evaluates and gives guidance at the conclusion of the Combined-arms Rehearsal on Feb. 12. The 79th brigade staff now heads to Camp Hohenfels for a final validation exercise before deploying to Kosovo. (Photo Credit: Capt. Jason Sweeney) VIEW ORIGINAL[5]
Capt. Greg Schulman, the 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team medical officer, briefs the command during a Combined-arms Rehearsal Feb. 12 at Camp McGregor, New Mexico.
6 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Capt. Greg Schulman, the 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team medical officer, briefs the command during a Combined-arms Rehearsal Feb. 12 at Camp McGregor, New Mexico. (Photo Credit: Capt. Jason Sweeney) VIEW ORIGINAL[6]

CAMP MCGREGOR, N.M. – Soldiers from the California Army National Guard 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) successfully completed a Mission Rehearsal Exercise (MRX) on Feb. 12 at Camp McGregor, New Mexico, in preparation for an upcoming nine-month security and stabilization mission in Kosovo.

On Jan. 23, the Soldiers from Headquarter and Headquarters Company (HHC), 79th IBCT, arrived at Fort Bliss, Texas, where they completed finance, medical, and dental processing. They then headed 30 miles north to Camp McGregor, where they conducted Military Decision-Making Process (MDMP) training, a staff exercise (STAFFEX), and the MRX, which simulated the duties and roles they would perform as a brigade staff once in Kosovo.

“This is a great training opportunity for the Brigade to prepare and train for peace support operations in Kosovo,” said Maj. Edwin Rodriguez, the Brigade Operations Officer. “The training at Camp McGregor enables the Brigade staff to shape and establish common operating procedures typically found among multinational staffs in Kosovo.”

The 5th Armored Brigade 1st Battalion, 360th Infantry Regiment, also known as Task Force Warhawg, commanded by Lt. Col. Rob Paolucci, conducted the training at Camp McGregor.

“Task Force Warhawg trains and validates post-mobilized National Guard and Reserve units across the armed forces in preparation for worldwide deployment,” Paolucci said. “The purpose of the MRX was to train and prepare the 79th for a final validation exercise at JMRC (Joint Multinational Readiness Center) at Hohenfels, Germany.”

Paolucci said the 79th came together as a brigade staff during the MRX and is well positioned to successfully complete the validation exercise at JMRC and then take on the role of the command element for Multinational Battle Group — East (MNBG-E) in Kosovo.

MNBG-E is a composite brigade, consisting of U.S. Army active duty, National Guard, and Reserve elements, as well as units from several NATO-member nations.

“This is a peacekeeping operation,” Paolucci said of the mission in Kosovo. “We are there at the request of the government of Kosovo to assist in providing a safe and secure environment and freedom of movement throughout their country.”

Now that the 79th has completed training at Camp McGregor, they head to Hohenfels for the final validation exercise.

“The brigade validation at JMRC affords the staff the ability to bridge multinational interoperability functions with our European partners,” Rodriguez said.

Once the validation exercise is completed, the 79th will arrive in Kosovo in March and relieve the 39th IBCT of the Arkansas National Guard.

“This mission is important in ensuring that peace is maintained in the Balkans,” said Col. Nick Ducich, Commander of 79th IBCT. “Our Soldiers are well trained professionals and are looking forward to assisting the institutions of Kosovo toward stability and sustainability while strengthening our enduring relationships with allies and partners.”

Kosovo was a province of Serbia until 1999, when it became a protectorate of the United Nations following the Kosovo War. Kosovo Force (KFOR), a multinational NATO peacekeeping force, was formed to bring safety and stability to the province, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008. Kosovo’s independence is not recognized by a number of states, including China, Russia, and India.

The U.S. Army National Guard has been a major contributor of troops to the KFOR mission, which is the longest peacekeeping mission in NATO history. California Army National Guard Soldiers have participated in several KFOR rotations. The 79th IBCT will be part of the 24th rotation of U.S. troops into Kosovo.

Sgt. Marc Brakefield, the Brigade’s Civil Affairs Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge, is no stranger to deploying. He deployed to Afghanistan in 2012-13 and to Kosovo in 2009-10.

“I love it,” Brakefield said of deploying. “I love the camaraderie, the learning aspect of working with Soldiers from different backgrounds and roles. I’m very excited to see how Kosovo has changed since I was last there.”

RELATED LINKS

References

  1. ^ View Original (www.army.mil)
  2. ^ View Original (www.army.mil)
  3. ^ View Original (www.army.mil)
  4. ^ View Original (www.army.mil)
  5. ^ View Original (www.army.mil)
  6. ^ View Original (www.army.mil)
0

79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team trains for Kosovo mission with Task Force Warhawg

Two UH-60 Black Hawks from A Company, 2nd Battalion, 501st Aviation Regiment, flew Soldiers from the 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team over Camp McGregor, New Mexico, on Feb. 9 as part of training for a stabilization and security mission in Kosovo.
1 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Two UH-60 Black Hawks from A Company, 2nd Battalion, 501st Aviation Regiment, flew Soldiers from the 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team over Camp McGregor, New Mexico, on Feb. 9 as part of training for a stabilization and security mission in Kosovo. (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL[1]
Soldiers from the Cal Guard's 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team painted a mural on a Jersey barrier at Camp McGregor, New Mexico, during their stay on the camp in February for a training exercise in preparation for a deployment to Kosovo. From left, Col. Nick Ducich, Staff Sgt. John Tucker, Maj. Michael Kappelmann, Command Sgt. Maj. Andrew McKindley, Staff Sgt. Jorge Baca and Sgt. Sarann Chum. Tucker, Baca and Chum painted the mural.
2 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Soldiers from the Cal Guard’s 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team painted a mural on a Jersey barrier at Camp McGregor, New Mexico, during their stay on the camp in February for a training exercise in preparation for a deployment to Kosovo. From left, Col. Nick Ducich, Staff Sgt. John Tucker, Maj. Michael Kappelmann, Command Sgt. Maj. Andrew McKindley, Staff Sgt. Jorge Baca and Sgt. Sarann Chum. Tucker, Baca and Chum painted the mural. (Photo Credit: Capt. Jason Sweeney) VIEW ORIGINAL[2]
Col. Nick Ducich, center, commander of the Cal Guard 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, is briefed by his staff at Camp McGregor, New Mexico, on Jan. 31 during a Mission Rehearsal Exercise (MRX) in preparation for a deployment to Kosovo.
3 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Col. Nick Ducich, center, commander of the Cal Guard 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, is briefed by his staff at Camp McGregor, New Mexico, on Jan. 31 during a Mission Rehearsal Exercise (MRX) in preparation for a deployment to Kosovo. (Photo Credit: Capt. Jason Sweeney) VIEW ORIGINAL[3]
79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team Commander Col. Nick Ducich instructs his staff during a Combined-arms Rehearsal Feb. 12 at Camp McGregor, New Mexico.
4 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team Commander Col. Nick Ducich instructs his staff during a Combined-arms Rehearsal Feb. 12 at Camp McGregor, New Mexico. (Photo Credit: Capt. Jason Sweeney) VIEW ORIGINAL[4]
Task Force Warhawg commander Lt. Col. Rob Paolucci evaluates and gives guidance at the conclusion of the Combined-arms Rehearsal on Feb. 12. The 79th brigade staff now heads to Camp Hohenfels for a final validation exercise before deploying to Kosovo.
5 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Task Force Warhawg commander Lt. Col. Rob Paolucci evaluates and gives guidance at the conclusion of the Combined-arms Rehearsal on Feb. 12. The 79th brigade staff now heads to Camp Hohenfels for a final validation exercise before deploying to Kosovo. (Photo Credit: Capt. Jason Sweeney) VIEW ORIGINAL[5]
Capt. Greg Schulman, the 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team medical officer, briefs the command during a Combined-arms Rehearsal Feb. 12 at Camp McGregor, New Mexico.
6 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Capt. Greg Schulman, the 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team medical officer, briefs the command during a Combined-arms Rehearsal Feb. 12 at Camp McGregor, New Mexico. (Photo Credit: Capt. Jason Sweeney) VIEW ORIGINAL[6]

CAMP MCGREGOR, N.M. – Soldiers from the California Army National Guard 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) successfully completed a Mission Rehearsal Exercise (MRX) on Feb. 12 at Camp McGregor, New Mexico, in preparation for an upcoming nine-month security and stabilization mission in Kosovo.

On Jan. 23, the Soldiers from Headquarter and Headquarters Company (HHC), 79th IBCT, arrived at Fort Bliss, Texas, where they completed finance, medical, and dental processing. They then headed 30 miles north to Camp McGregor, where they conducted Military Decision-Making Process (MDMP) training, a staff exercise (STAFFEX), and the MRX, which simulated the duties and roles they would perform as a brigade staff once in Kosovo.

“This is a great training opportunity for the Brigade to prepare and train for peace support operations in Kosovo,” said Maj. Edwin Rodriguez, the Brigade Operations Officer. “The training at Camp McGregor enables the Brigade staff to shape and establish common operating procedures typically found among multinational staffs in Kosovo.”

The 5th Armored Brigade 1st Battalion, 360th Infantry Regiment, also known as Task Force Warhawg, commanded by Lt. Col. Rob Paolucci, conducted the training at Camp McGregor.

“Task Force Warhawg trains and validates post-mobilized National Guard and Reserve units across the armed forces in preparation for worldwide deployment,” Paolucci said. “The purpose of the MRX was to train and prepare the 79th for a final validation exercise at JMRC (Joint Multinational Readiness Center) at Hohenfels, Germany.”

Paolucci said the 79th came together as a brigade staff during the MRX and is well positioned to successfully complete the validation exercise at JMRC and then take on the role of the command element for Multinational Battle Group — East (MNBG-E) in Kosovo.

MNBG-E is a composite brigade, consisting of U.S. Army active duty, National Guard, and Reserve elements, as well as units from several NATO-member nations.

“This is a peacekeeping operation,” Paolucci said of the mission in Kosovo. “We are there at the request of the government of Kosovo to assist in providing a safe and secure environment and freedom of movement throughout their country.”

Now that the 79th has completed training at Camp McGregor, they head to Hohenfels for the final validation exercise.

“The brigade validation at JMRC affords the staff the ability to bridge multinational interoperability functions with our European partners,” Rodriguez said.

Once the validation exercise is completed, the 79th will arrive in Kosovo in March and relieve the 39th IBCT of the Arkansas National Guard.

“This mission is important in ensuring that peace is maintained in the Balkans,” said Col. Nick Ducich, Commander of 79th IBCT. “Our Soldiers are well trained professionals and are looking forward to assisting the institutions of Kosovo toward stability and sustainability while strengthening our enduring relationships with allies and partners.”

Kosovo was a province of Serbia until 1999, when it became a protectorate of the United Nations following the Kosovo War. Kosovo Force (KFOR), a multinational NATO peacekeeping force, was formed to bring safety and stability to the province, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008. Kosovo’s independence is not recognized by a number of states, including China, Russia, and India.

The U.S. Army National Guard has been a major contributor of troops to the KFOR mission, which is the longest peacekeeping mission in NATO history. California Army National Guard Soldiers have participated in several KFOR rotations. The 79th IBCT will be part of the 24th rotation of U.S. troops into Kosovo.

Sgt. Marc Brakefield, the Brigade’s Civil Affairs Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge, is no stranger to deploying. He deployed to Afghanistan in 2012-13 and to Kosovo in 2009-10.

“I love it,” Brakefield said of deploying. “I love the camaraderie, the learning aspect of working with Soldiers from different backgrounds and roles. I’m very excited to see how Kosovo has changed since I was last there.”

RELATED LINKS

References

  1. ^ View Original (www.army.mil)
  2. ^ View Original (www.army.mil)
  3. ^ View Original (www.army.mil)
  4. ^ View Original (www.army.mil)
  5. ^ View Original (www.army.mil)
  6. ^ View Original (www.army.mil)
0

79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team trains for Kosovo mission with Task Force Warhawg

Two UH-60 Black Hawks from A Company, 2nd Battalion, 501st Aviation Regiment, flew Soldiers from the 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team over Camp McGregor, New Mexico, on Feb. 9 as part of training for a stabilization and security mission in Kosovo.
1 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Two UH-60 Black Hawks from A Company, 2nd Battalion, 501st Aviation Regiment, flew Soldiers from the 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team over Camp McGregor, New Mexico, on Feb. 9 as part of training for a stabilization and security mission in Kosovo. (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL[1]
Soldiers from the Cal Guard's 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team painted a mural on a Jersey barrier at Camp McGregor, New Mexico, during their stay on the camp in February for a training exercise in preparation for a deployment to Kosovo. From left, Col. Nick Ducich, Staff Sgt. John Tucker, Maj. Michael Kappelmann, Command Sgt. Maj. Andrew McKindley, Staff Sgt. Jorge Baca and Sgt. Sarann Chum. Tucker, Baca and Chum painted the mural.
2 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Soldiers from the Cal Guard’s 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team painted a mural on a Jersey barrier at Camp McGregor, New Mexico, during their stay on the camp in February for a training exercise in preparation for a deployment to Kosovo. From left, Col. Nick Ducich, Staff Sgt. John Tucker, Maj. Michael Kappelmann, Command Sgt. Maj. Andrew McKindley, Staff Sgt. Jorge Baca and Sgt. Sarann Chum. Tucker, Baca and Chum painted the mural. (Photo Credit: Capt. Jason Sweeney) VIEW ORIGINAL[2]
Col. Nick Ducich, center, commander of the Cal Guard 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, is briefed by his staff at Camp McGregor, New Mexico, on Jan. 31 during a Mission Rehearsal Exercise (MRX) in preparation for a deployment to Kosovo.
3 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Col. Nick Ducich, center, commander of the Cal Guard 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, is briefed by his staff at Camp McGregor, New Mexico, on Jan. 31 during a Mission Rehearsal Exercise (MRX) in preparation for a deployment to Kosovo. (Photo Credit: Capt. Jason Sweeney) VIEW ORIGINAL[3]
79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team Commander Col. Nick Ducich instructs his staff during a Combined-arms Rehearsal Feb. 12 at Camp McGregor, New Mexico.
4 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team Commander Col. Nick Ducich instructs his staff during a Combined-arms Rehearsal Feb. 12 at Camp McGregor, New Mexico. (Photo Credit: Capt. Jason Sweeney) VIEW ORIGINAL[4]
Task Force Warhawg commander Lt. Col. Rob Paolucci evaluates and gives guidance at the conclusion of the Combined-arms Rehearsal on Feb. 12. The 79th brigade staff now heads to Camp Hohenfels for a final validation exercise before deploying to Kosovo.
5 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Task Force Warhawg commander Lt. Col. Rob Paolucci evaluates and gives guidance at the conclusion of the Combined-arms Rehearsal on Feb. 12. The 79th brigade staff now heads to Camp Hohenfels for a final validation exercise before deploying to Kosovo. (Photo Credit: Capt. Jason Sweeney) VIEW ORIGINAL[5]
Capt. Greg Schulman, the 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team medical officer, briefs the command during a Combined-arms Rehearsal Feb. 12 at Camp McGregor, New Mexico.
6 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Capt. Greg Schulman, the 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team medical officer, briefs the command during a Combined-arms Rehearsal Feb. 12 at Camp McGregor, New Mexico. (Photo Credit: Capt. Jason Sweeney) VIEW ORIGINAL[6]

CAMP MCGREGOR, N.M. – Soldiers from the California Army National Guard 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) successfully completed a Mission Rehearsal Exercise (MRX) on Feb. 12 at Camp McGregor, New Mexico, in preparation for an upcoming nine-month security and stabilization mission in Kosovo.

On Jan. 23, the Soldiers from Headquarter and Headquarters Company (HHC), 79th IBCT, arrived at Fort Bliss, Texas, where they completed finance, medical, and dental processing. They then headed 30 miles north to Camp McGregor, where they conducted Military Decision-Making Process (MDMP) training, a staff exercise (STAFFEX), and the MRX, which simulated the duties and roles they would perform as a brigade staff once in Kosovo.

“This is a great training opportunity for the Brigade to prepare and train for peace support operations in Kosovo,” said Maj. Edwin Rodriguez, the Brigade Operations Officer. “The training at Camp McGregor enables the Brigade staff to shape and establish common operating procedures typically found among multinational staffs in Kosovo.”

The 5th Armored Brigade 1st Battalion, 360th Infantry Regiment, also known as Task Force Warhawg, commanded by Lt. Col. Rob Paolucci, conducted the training at Camp McGregor.

“Task Force Warhawg trains and validates post-mobilized National Guard and Reserve units across the armed forces in preparation for worldwide deployment,” Paolucci said. “The purpose of the MRX was to train and prepare the 79th for a final validation exercise at JMRC (Joint Multinational Readiness Center) at Hohenfels, Germany.”

Paolucci said the 79th came together as a brigade staff during the MRX and is well positioned to successfully complete the validation exercise at JMRC and then take on the role of the command element for Multinational Battle Group — East (MNBG-E) in Kosovo.

MNBG-E is a composite brigade, consisting of U.S. Army active duty, National Guard, and Reserve elements, as well as units from several NATO-member nations.

“This is a peacekeeping operation,” Paolucci said of the mission in Kosovo. “We are there at the request of the government of Kosovo to assist in providing a safe and secure environment and freedom of movement throughout their country.”

Now that the 79th has completed training at Camp McGregor, they head to Hohenfels for the final validation exercise.

“The brigade validation at JMRC affords the staff the ability to bridge multinational interoperability functions with our European partners,” Rodriguez said.

Once the validation exercise is completed, the 79th will arrive in Kosovo in March and relieve the 39th IBCT of the Arkansas National Guard.

“This mission is important in ensuring that peace is maintained in the Balkans,” said Col. Nick Ducich, Commander of 79th IBCT. “Our Soldiers are well trained professionals and are looking forward to assisting the institutions of Kosovo toward stability and sustainability while strengthening our enduring relationships with allies and partners.”

Kosovo was a province of Serbia until 1999, when it became a protectorate of the United Nations following the Kosovo War. Kosovo Force (KFOR), a multinational NATO peacekeeping force, was formed to bring safety and stability to the province, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008. Kosovo’s independence is not recognized by a number of states, including China, Russia, and India.

The U.S. Army National Guard has been a major contributor of troops to the KFOR mission, which is the longest peacekeeping mission in NATO history. California Army National Guard Soldiers have participated in several KFOR rotations. The 79th IBCT will be part of the 24th rotation of U.S. troops into Kosovo.

Sgt. Marc Brakefield, the Brigade’s Civil Affairs Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge, is no stranger to deploying. He deployed to Afghanistan in 2012-13 and to Kosovo in 2009-10.

“I love it,” Brakefield said of deploying. “I love the camaraderie, the learning aspect of working with Soldiers from different backgrounds and roles. I’m very excited to see how Kosovo has changed since I was last there.”

RELATED LINKS

References

  1. ^ View Original (www.army.mil)
  2. ^ View Original (www.army.mil)
  3. ^ View Original (www.army.mil)
  4. ^ View Original (www.army.mil)
  5. ^ View Original (www.army.mil)
  6. ^ View Original (www.army.mil)
0

79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team trains for Kosovo mission with Task Force Warhawg

Two UH-60 Black Hawks from A Company, 2nd Battalion, 501st Aviation Regiment, flew Soldiers from the 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team over Camp McGregor, New Mexico, on Feb. 9 as part of training for a stabilization and security mission in Kosovo.
1 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Two UH-60 Black Hawks from A Company, 2nd Battalion, 501st Aviation Regiment, flew Soldiers from the 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team over Camp McGregor, New Mexico, on Feb. 9 as part of training for a stabilization and security mission in Kosovo. (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL[1]
Soldiers from the Cal Guard's 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team painted a mural on a Jersey barrier at Camp McGregor, New Mexico, during their stay on the camp in February for a training exercise in preparation for a deployment to Kosovo. From left, Col. Nick Ducich, Staff Sgt. John Tucker, Maj. Michael Kappelmann, Command Sgt. Maj. Andrew McKindley, Staff Sgt. Jorge Baca and Sgt. Sarann Chum. Tucker, Baca and Chum painted the mural.
2 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Soldiers from the Cal Guard’s 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team painted a mural on a Jersey barrier at Camp McGregor, New Mexico, during their stay on the camp in February for a training exercise in preparation for a deployment to Kosovo. From left, Col. Nick Ducich, Staff Sgt. John Tucker, Maj. Michael Kappelmann, Command Sgt. Maj. Andrew McKindley, Staff Sgt. Jorge Baca and Sgt. Sarann Chum. Tucker, Baca and Chum painted the mural. (Photo Credit: Capt. Jason Sweeney) VIEW ORIGINAL[2]
Col. Nick Ducich, center, commander of the Cal Guard 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, is briefed by his staff at Camp McGregor, New Mexico, on Jan. 31 during a Mission Rehearsal Exercise (MRX) in preparation for a deployment to Kosovo.
3 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Col. Nick Ducich, center, commander of the Cal Guard 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, is briefed by his staff at Camp McGregor, New Mexico, on Jan. 31 during a Mission Rehearsal Exercise (MRX) in preparation for a deployment to Kosovo. (Photo Credit: Capt. Jason Sweeney) VIEW ORIGINAL[3]
79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team Commander Col. Nick Ducich instructs his staff during a Combined-arms Rehearsal Feb. 12 at Camp McGregor, New Mexico.
4 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team Commander Col. Nick Ducich instructs his staff during a Combined-arms Rehearsal Feb. 12 at Camp McGregor, New Mexico. (Photo Credit: Capt. Jason Sweeney) VIEW ORIGINAL[4]
Task Force Warhawg commander Lt. Col. Rob Paolucci evaluates and gives guidance at the conclusion of the Combined-arms Rehearsal on Feb. 12. The 79th brigade staff now heads to Camp Hohenfels for a final validation exercise before deploying to Kosovo.
5 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Task Force Warhawg commander Lt. Col. Rob Paolucci evaluates and gives guidance at the conclusion of the Combined-arms Rehearsal on Feb. 12. The 79th brigade staff now heads to Camp Hohenfels for a final validation exercise before deploying to Kosovo. (Photo Credit: Capt. Jason Sweeney) VIEW ORIGINAL[5]
Capt. Greg Schulman, the 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team medical officer, briefs the command during a Combined-arms Rehearsal Feb. 12 at Camp McGregor, New Mexico.
6 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Capt. Greg Schulman, the 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team medical officer, briefs the command during a Combined-arms Rehearsal Feb. 12 at Camp McGregor, New Mexico. (Photo Credit: Capt. Jason Sweeney) VIEW ORIGINAL[6]

CAMP MCGREGOR, N.M. – Soldiers from the California Army National Guard 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) successfully completed a Mission Rehearsal Exercise (MRX) on Feb. 12 at Camp McGregor, New Mexico, in preparation for an upcoming nine-month security and stabilization mission in Kosovo.

On Jan. 23, the Soldiers from Headquarter and Headquarters Company (HHC), 79th IBCT, arrived at Fort Bliss, Texas, where they completed finance, medical, and dental processing. They then headed 30 miles north to Camp McGregor, where they conducted Military Decision-Making Process (MDMP) training, a staff exercise (STAFFEX), and the MRX, which simulated the duties and roles they would perform as a brigade staff once in Kosovo.

“This is a great training opportunity for the Brigade to prepare and train for peace support operations in Kosovo,” said Maj. Edwin Rodriguez, the Brigade Operations Officer. “The training at Camp McGregor enables the Brigade staff to shape and establish common operating procedures typically found among multinational staffs in Kosovo.”

The 5th Armored Brigade 1st Battalion, 360th Infantry Regiment, also known as Task Force Warhawg, commanded by Lt. Col. Rob Paolucci, conducted the training at Camp McGregor.

“Task Force Warhawg trains and validates post-mobilized National Guard and Reserve units across the armed forces in preparation for worldwide deployment,” Paolucci said. “The purpose of the MRX was to train and prepare the 79th for a final validation exercise at JMRC (Joint Multinational Readiness Center) at Hohenfels, Germany.”

Paolucci said the 79th came together as a brigade staff during the MRX and is well positioned to successfully complete the validation exercise at JMRC and then take on the role of the command element for Multinational Battle Group — East (MNBG-E) in Kosovo.

MNBG-E is a composite brigade, consisting of U.S. Army active duty, National Guard, and Reserve elements, as well as units from several NATO-member nations.

“This is a peacekeeping operation,” Paolucci said of the mission in Kosovo. “We are there at the request of the government of Kosovo to assist in providing a safe and secure environment and freedom of movement throughout their country.”

Now that the 79th has completed training at Camp McGregor, they head to Hohenfels for the final validation exercise.

“The brigade validation at JMRC affords the staff the ability to bridge multinational interoperability functions with our European partners,” Rodriguez said.

Once the validation exercise is completed, the 79th will arrive in Kosovo in March and relieve the 39th IBCT of the Arkansas National Guard.

“This mission is important in ensuring that peace is maintained in the Balkans,” said Col. Nick Ducich, Commander of 79th IBCT. “Our Soldiers are well trained professionals and are looking forward to assisting the institutions of Kosovo toward stability and sustainability while strengthening our enduring relationships with allies and partners.”

Kosovo was a province of Serbia until 1999, when it became a protectorate of the United Nations following the Kosovo War. Kosovo Force (KFOR), a multinational NATO peacekeeping force, was formed to bring safety and stability to the province, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008. Kosovo’s independence is not recognized by a number of states, including China, Russia, and India.

The U.S. Army National Guard has been a major contributor of troops to the KFOR mission, which is the longest peacekeeping mission in NATO history. California Army National Guard Soldiers have participated in several KFOR rotations. The 79th IBCT will be part of the 24th rotation of U.S. troops into Kosovo.

Sgt. Marc Brakefield, the Brigade’s Civil Affairs Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge, is no stranger to deploying. He deployed to Afghanistan in 2012-13 and to Kosovo in 2009-10.

“I love it,” Brakefield said of deploying. “I love the camaraderie, the learning aspect of working with Soldiers from different backgrounds and roles. I’m very excited to see how Kosovo has changed since I was last there.”

RELATED LINKS

References

  1. ^ View Original (www.army.mil)
  2. ^ View Original (www.army.mil)
  3. ^ View Original (www.army.mil)
  4. ^ View Original (www.army.mil)
  5. ^ View Original (www.army.mil)
  6. ^ View Original (www.army.mil)
0

79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team trains for Kosovo mission with Task Force Warhawg

Two UH-60 Black Hawks from A Company, 2nd Battalion, 501st Aviation Regiment, flew Soldiers from the 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team over Camp McGregor, New Mexico, on Feb. 9 as part of training for a stabilization and security mission in Kosovo.
1 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Two UH-60 Black Hawks from A Company, 2nd Battalion, 501st Aviation Regiment, flew Soldiers from the 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team over Camp McGregor, New Mexico, on Feb. 9 as part of training for a stabilization and security mission in Kosovo. (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL[1]
Soldiers from the Cal Guard's 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team painted a mural on a Jersey barrier at Camp McGregor, New Mexico, during their stay on the camp in February for a training exercise in preparation for a deployment to Kosovo. From left, Col. Nick Ducich, Staff Sgt. John Tucker, Maj. Michael Kappelmann, Command Sgt. Maj. Andrew McKindley, Staff Sgt. Jorge Baca and Sgt. Sarann Chum. Tucker, Baca and Chum painted the mural.
2 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Soldiers from the Cal Guard’s 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team painted a mural on a Jersey barrier at Camp McGregor, New Mexico, during their stay on the camp in February for a training exercise in preparation for a deployment to Kosovo. From left, Col. Nick Ducich, Staff Sgt. John Tucker, Maj. Michael Kappelmann, Command Sgt. Maj. Andrew McKindley, Staff Sgt. Jorge Baca and Sgt. Sarann Chum. Tucker, Baca and Chum painted the mural. (Photo Credit: Capt. Jason Sweeney) VIEW ORIGINAL[2]
Col. Nick Ducich, center, commander of the Cal Guard 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, is briefed by his staff at Camp McGregor, New Mexico, on Jan. 31 during a Mission Rehearsal Exercise (MRX) in preparation for a deployment to Kosovo.
3 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Col. Nick Ducich, center, commander of the Cal Guard 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, is briefed by his staff at Camp McGregor, New Mexico, on Jan. 31 during a Mission Rehearsal Exercise (MRX) in preparation for a deployment to Kosovo. (Photo Credit: Capt. Jason Sweeney) VIEW ORIGINAL[3]
79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team Commander Col. Nick Ducich instructs his staff during a Combined-arms Rehearsal Feb. 12 at Camp McGregor, New Mexico.
4 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team Commander Col. Nick Ducich instructs his staff during a Combined-arms Rehearsal Feb. 12 at Camp McGregor, New Mexico. (Photo Credit: Capt. Jason Sweeney) VIEW ORIGINAL[4]
Task Force Warhawg commander Lt. Col. Rob Paolucci evaluates and gives guidance at the conclusion of the Combined-arms Rehearsal on Feb. 12. The 79th brigade staff now heads to Camp Hohenfels for a final validation exercise before deploying to Kosovo.
5 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Task Force Warhawg commander Lt. Col. Rob Paolucci evaluates and gives guidance at the conclusion of the Combined-arms Rehearsal on Feb. 12. The 79th brigade staff now heads to Camp Hohenfels for a final validation exercise before deploying to Kosovo. (Photo Credit: Capt. Jason Sweeney) VIEW ORIGINAL[5]
Capt. Greg Schulman, the 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team medical officer, briefs the command during a Combined-arms Rehearsal Feb. 12 at Camp McGregor, New Mexico.
6 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Capt. Greg Schulman, the 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team medical officer, briefs the command during a Combined-arms Rehearsal Feb. 12 at Camp McGregor, New Mexico. (Photo Credit: Capt. Jason Sweeney) VIEW ORIGINAL[6]

CAMP MCGREGOR, N.M. – Soldiers from the California Army National Guard 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) successfully completed a Mission Rehearsal Exercise (MRX) on Feb. 12 at Camp McGregor, New Mexico, in preparation for an upcoming nine-month security and stabilization mission in Kosovo.

On Jan. 23, the Soldiers from Headquarter and Headquarters Company (HHC), 79th IBCT, arrived at Fort Bliss, Texas, where they completed finance, medical, and dental processing. They then headed 30 miles north to Camp McGregor, where they conducted Military Decision-Making Process (MDMP) training, a staff exercise (STAFFEX), and the MRX, which simulated the duties and roles they would perform as a brigade staff once in Kosovo.

“This is a great training opportunity for the Brigade to prepare and train for peace support operations in Kosovo,” said Maj. Edwin Rodriguez, the Brigade Operations Officer. “The training at Camp McGregor enables the Brigade staff to shape and establish common operating procedures typically found among multinational staffs in Kosovo.”

The 5th Armored Brigade 1st Battalion, 360th Infantry Regiment, also known as Task Force Warhawg, commanded by Lt. Col. Rob Paolucci, conducted the training at Camp McGregor.

“Task Force Warhawg trains and validates post-mobilized National Guard and Reserve units across the armed forces in preparation for worldwide deployment,” Paolucci said. “The purpose of the MRX was to train and prepare the 79th for a final validation exercise at JMRC (Joint Multinational Readiness Center) at Hohenfels, Germany.”

Paolucci said the 79th came together as a brigade staff during the MRX and is well positioned to successfully complete the validation exercise at JMRC and then take on the role of the command element for Multinational Battle Group — East (MNBG-E) in Kosovo.

MNBG-E is a composite brigade, consisting of U.S. Army active duty, National Guard, and Reserve elements, as well as units from several NATO-member nations.

“This is a peacekeeping operation,” Paolucci said of the mission in Kosovo. “We are there at the request of the government of Kosovo to assist in providing a safe and secure environment and freedom of movement throughout their country.”

Now that the 79th has completed training at Camp McGregor, they head to Hohenfels for the final validation exercise.

“The brigade validation at JMRC affords the staff the ability to bridge multinational interoperability functions with our European partners,” Rodriguez said.

Once the validation exercise is completed, the 79th will arrive in Kosovo in March and relieve the 39th IBCT of the Arkansas National Guard.

“This mission is important in ensuring that peace is maintained in the Balkans,” said Col. Nick Ducich, Commander of 79th IBCT. “Our Soldiers are well trained professionals and are looking forward to assisting the institutions of Kosovo toward stability and sustainability while strengthening our enduring relationships with allies and partners.”

Kosovo was a province of Serbia until 1999, when it became a protectorate of the United Nations following the Kosovo War. Kosovo Force (KFOR), a multinational NATO peacekeeping force, was formed to bring safety and stability to the province, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008. Kosovo’s independence is not recognized by a number of states, including China, Russia, and India.

The U.S. Army National Guard has been a major contributor of troops to the KFOR mission, which is the longest peacekeeping mission in NATO history. California Army National Guard Soldiers have participated in several KFOR rotations. The 79th IBCT will be part of the 24th rotation of U.S. troops into Kosovo.

Sgt. Marc Brakefield, the Brigade’s Civil Affairs Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge, is no stranger to deploying. He deployed to Afghanistan in 2012-13 and to Kosovo in 2009-10.

“I love it,” Brakefield said of deploying. “I love the camaraderie, the learning aspect of working with Soldiers from different backgrounds and roles. I’m very excited to see how Kosovo has changed since I was last there.”

RELATED LINKS

References

  1. ^ View Original (www.army.mil)
  2. ^ View Original (www.army.mil)
  3. ^ View Original (www.army.mil)
  4. ^ View Original (www.army.mil)
  5. ^ View Original (www.army.mil)
  6. ^ View Original (www.army.mil)
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79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team trains for Kosovo mission with Task Force Warhawg

Two UH-60 Black Hawks from A Company, 2nd Battalion, 501st Aviation Regiment, flew Soldiers from the 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team over Camp McGregor, New Mexico, on Feb. 9 as part of training for a stabilization and security mission in Kosovo.
1 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Two UH-60 Black Hawks from A Company, 2nd Battalion, 501st Aviation Regiment, flew Soldiers from the 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team over Camp McGregor, New Mexico, on Feb. 9 as part of training for a stabilization and security mission in Kosovo. (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL[1]
Soldiers from the Cal Guard's 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team painted a mural on a Jersey barrier at Camp McGregor, New Mexico, during their stay on the camp in February for a training exercise in preparation for a deployment to Kosovo. From left, Col. Nick Ducich, Staff Sgt. John Tucker, Maj. Michael Kappelmann, Command Sgt. Maj. Andrew McKindley, Staff Sgt. Jorge Baca and Sgt. Sarann Chum. Tucker, Baca and Chum painted the mural.
2 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Soldiers from the Cal Guard’s 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team painted a mural on a Jersey barrier at Camp McGregor, New Mexico, during their stay on the camp in February for a training exercise in preparation for a deployment to Kosovo. From left, Col. Nick Ducich, Staff Sgt. John Tucker, Maj. Michael Kappelmann, Command Sgt. Maj. Andrew McKindley, Staff Sgt. Jorge Baca and Sgt. Sarann Chum. Tucker, Baca and Chum painted the mural. (Photo Credit: Capt. Jason Sweeney) VIEW ORIGINAL[2]
Col. Nick Ducich, center, commander of the Cal Guard 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, is briefed by his staff at Camp McGregor, New Mexico, on Jan. 31 during a Mission Rehearsal Exercise (MRX) in preparation for a deployment to Kosovo.
3 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Col. Nick Ducich, center, commander of the Cal Guard 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, is briefed by his staff at Camp McGregor, New Mexico, on Jan. 31 during a Mission Rehearsal Exercise (MRX) in preparation for a deployment to Kosovo. (Photo Credit: Capt. Jason Sweeney) VIEW ORIGINAL[3]
79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team Commander Col. Nick Ducich instructs his staff during a Combined-arms Rehearsal Feb. 12 at Camp McGregor, New Mexico.
4 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team Commander Col. Nick Ducich instructs his staff during a Combined-arms Rehearsal Feb. 12 at Camp McGregor, New Mexico. (Photo Credit: Capt. Jason Sweeney) VIEW ORIGINAL[4]
Task Force Warhawg commander Lt. Col. Rob Paolucci evaluates and gives guidance at the conclusion of the Combined-arms Rehearsal on Feb. 12. The 79th brigade staff now heads to Camp Hohenfels for a final validation exercise before deploying to Kosovo.
5 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Task Force Warhawg commander Lt. Col. Rob Paolucci evaluates and gives guidance at the conclusion of the Combined-arms Rehearsal on Feb. 12. The 79th brigade staff now heads to Camp Hohenfels for a final validation exercise before deploying to Kosovo. (Photo Credit: Capt. Jason Sweeney) VIEW ORIGINAL[5]
Capt. Greg Schulman, the 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team medical officer, briefs the command during a Combined-arms Rehearsal Feb. 12 at Camp McGregor, New Mexico.
6 / 6 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Capt. Greg Schulman, the 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team medical officer, briefs the command during a Combined-arms Rehearsal Feb. 12 at Camp McGregor, New Mexico. (Photo Credit: Capt. Jason Sweeney) VIEW ORIGINAL[6]

CAMP MCGREGOR, N.M. – Soldiers from the California Army National Guard 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) successfully completed a Mission Rehearsal Exercise (MRX) on Feb. 12 at Camp McGregor, New Mexico, in preparation for an upcoming nine-month security and stabilization mission in Kosovo.

On Jan. 23, the Soldiers from Headquarter and Headquarters Company (HHC), 79th IBCT, arrived at Fort Bliss, Texas, where they completed finance, medical, and dental processing. They then headed 30 miles north to Camp McGregor, where they conducted Military Decision-Making Process (MDMP) training, a staff exercise (STAFFEX), and the MRX, which simulated the duties and roles they would perform as a brigade staff once in Kosovo.

“This is a great training opportunity for the Brigade to prepare and train for peace support operations in Kosovo,” said Maj. Edwin Rodriguez, the Brigade Operations Officer. “The training at Camp McGregor enables the Brigade staff to shape and establish common operating procedures typically found among multinational staffs in Kosovo.”

The 5th Armored Brigade 1st Battalion, 360th Infantry Regiment, also known as Task Force Warhawg, commanded by Lt. Col. Rob Paolucci, conducted the training at Camp McGregor.

“Task Force Warhawg trains and validates post-mobilized National Guard and Reserve units across the armed forces in preparation for worldwide deployment,” Paolucci said. “The purpose of the MRX was to train and prepare the 79th for a final validation exercise at JMRC (Joint Multinational Readiness Center) at Hohenfels, Germany.”

Paolucci said the 79th came together as a brigade staff during the MRX and is well positioned to successfully complete the validation exercise at JMRC and then take on the role of the command element for Multinational Battle Group — East (MNBG-E) in Kosovo.

MNBG-E is a composite brigade, consisting of U.S. Army active duty, National Guard, and Reserve elements, as well as units from several NATO-member nations.

“This is a peacekeeping operation,” Paolucci said of the mission in Kosovo. “We are there at the request of the government of Kosovo to assist in providing a safe and secure environment and freedom of movement throughout their country.”

Now that the 79th has completed training at Camp McGregor, they head to Hohenfels for the final validation exercise.

“The brigade validation at JMRC affords the staff the ability to bridge multinational interoperability functions with our European partners,” Rodriguez said.

Once the validation exercise is completed, the 79th will arrive in Kosovo in March and relieve the 39th IBCT of the Arkansas National Guard.

“This mission is important in ensuring that peace is maintained in the Balkans,” said Col. Nick Ducich, Commander of 79th IBCT. “Our Soldiers are well trained professionals and are looking forward to assisting the institutions of Kosovo toward stability and sustainability while strengthening our enduring relationships with allies and partners.”

Kosovo was a province of Serbia until 1999, when it became a protectorate of the United Nations following the Kosovo War. Kosovo Force (KFOR), a multinational NATO peacekeeping force, was formed to bring safety and stability to the province, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008. Kosovo’s independence is not recognized by a number of states, including China, Russia, and India.

The U.S. Army National Guard has been a major contributor of troops to the KFOR mission, which is the longest peacekeeping mission in NATO history. California Army National Guard Soldiers have participated in several KFOR rotations. The 79th IBCT will be part of the 24th rotation of U.S. troops into Kosovo.

Sgt. Marc Brakefield, the Brigade’s Civil Affairs Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge, is no stranger to deploying. He deployed to Afghanistan in 2012-13 and to Kosovo in 2009-10.

“I love it,” Brakefield said of deploying. “I love the camaraderie, the learning aspect of working with Soldiers from different backgrounds and roles. I’m very excited to see how Kosovo has changed since I was last there.”

RELATED LINKS

References

  1. ^ View Original (www.army.mil)
  2. ^ View Original (www.army.mil)
  3. ^ View Original (www.army.mil)
  4. ^ View Original (www.army.mil)
  5. ^ View Original (www.army.mil)
  6. ^ View Original (www.army.mil)