The Intersect
Dec. 21, 2010

'Don't Ask' remains in effect as Gates, Mullen tackle plan
American Forces Press Service
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, welcomed the Senate's vote to repeal the so-called "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law, while emphasizing that the current law and policy will remain in effect until they and President Barack Obama certify the plan to implement it. "Once this legislation is signed into law by the president, the Department of Defense will immediately proceed with the planning necessary to carry out this change carefully and methodically, but purposefully," Gates said in a statement. The legislation specifies that the repeal will take effect only after Gates, Mullen and Obama certify that new policies and regulations to implement it are "consistent with the standards of military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion and retention of the armed forces," the secretary noted.More

Obama says Afghan withdrawal is on track
USA Today
The White House said it will stay the course for now in Afghanistan, shifting the debate to next spring when the U.S. military will get a fuller measure of Taliban strength and the effect of U.S. reinforcements. President Obama said last week that his Afghan strategy is on track and U.S. forces can begin a scheduled drawdown in July. Obama made the remarks as he released a summary of the first major review of the strategy, which was launched last December when the president ordered an additional 30,000 U.S. service members into Afghanistan.More

Biden says US to be out of Afghanistan by 2014
Associated Press
Despite uneven progress in Afghanistan, Vice President Joe Biden said next summer's planned withdrawal would be more than a token reduction and that the U.S. would be out of the country by 2014 "come hell or high water." Biden's prediction appeared to go further than statements by his boss, President Barack Obama, who just last month said there would be a reduced U.S. footprint in Afghanistan by 2014 but that the number of troops that would remain was still in question.More

House Armed Services Committee reorganizes
Military Times
Changes are coming to the House Armed Services Committee, with Democrats choosing an eight-term congressman to lead their depleted ranks and Republicans naming 11 new members to the panel, including several military veterans. Rep. Adam Smith of Washington, whose congressional district includes Joint Base Lewis-McChord, was selected to become ranking Democrat on the panel and his party’s chief voice on defense and national security issues.More

Pentagon plan won't cover brain-damage therapy
NPR
Scientists have become increasingly persuaded that people who suffer brain injuries benefit from cognitive rehabilitation therapy — a lengthy, painstaking process in which patients relearn basic life tasks. Many neurologists, several major insurance companies and even some medical facilities run by the Pentagon agree that the therapy can help people whose functioning has been diminished by blows to the head. But despite pressure from Congress and the recommendations of military and civilian experts, the Pentagon's health plan for troops and many veterans refuses to cover the treatment — a decision that could affect the tens of thousands of service members who have suffered brain damage.More

National Guard 'hugely beneficial' to Southwest border mission
National Guard Bureau
National Guard troops deployed to the U.S. border with Mexico are boosting Border Patrol agents' efforts here, a senior Customs and Border Protection agent has said. Among other missions on this section of the Southwest border, California National Guardmembers are supporting civilian authorities by manning 17 entry identification team sites — observation posts where Guardmembers report suspicious activity for Border Patrol action.More

ANG director discusses future with Colorado Guardsmen
Colorado National Guard
The director of the Air National Guard told members of the 140th Wing that the future may include more associate units with its active duty and reserve counterparts. "I think what you're going to see, as far as associations go, is a continued interest in standing up more associate units," Air Force Lt. Gen. Harry M. "Bud" Wyatt III said during a visit on Dec. 14. He also addressed other topics of interest to Airmen, including the future of F-16 Fighting Falcon and F-35 Lightning II aircraft in the Colorado Air Guard, decreasing force structure, the Air Sovereignty Alert mission and ancillary training requirements.More

National Guard helicopters upgraded for homeland security missions
National Defense Magazine
First responders and law enforcement authorities have long complained of the difficulty in communicating and sharing information with their military counterparts during homeland missions. To help overcome those challenges, the Army is equipping the UH-72A Lakota light utility helicopter with a new mission package to enable pilots and operators to talk and share data with civil authorities and state agencies, said Col. L. Neil Thurgood, project manager for utility helicopters.More

National Guard (In Federal Status) and Reserve Activated as of December 14, 2010
U.S. Department of Defense
This week the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard announced a decrease in activated reservists, while the Army and Air Force announced an increase. The net collective result is 29 fewer reservists activated than last week. The total number currently on active duty from the Army National Guard and Army Reserve is 73,100; Navy Reserve, 6,062; Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve, 9,014; Marine Corps Reserve, 5,085; and the Coast Guard Reserve, 780.More