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Author: TriSec    Date: 07/02/2024 10:17:51

Good Morning.

There's still an awful lot to process after yesterday. Strange to think of "Ask a Vet" as a distraction, but nonetheless - let's dive right in.

Starting today with nothing to do with veterans - but it is on the Military News website that I frequent, so I'm going with it. Did you know that we have a pair of astronauts trapped aboard the ISS right now? Oh, Putin isn't doing anything. It's Boeing. Boeing can't build a flying thing to save their lives right now.

Two NASA astronauts will stay longer at the International Space Station as engineers troubleshoot problems on Boeing’s new space capsule that cropped up on the trip there.

NASA on Friday did not set a return date until testing on the ground was complete and said the astronauts were safe.

“We’re not in any rush to come home,” said NASA’s commercial crew program manager Steve Stich.

Veteran NASA test pilots Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams blasted off aboard Boeing's Starliner capsule for the orbiting laboratory on June 5. It was the first astronaut launch for Boeing after years of delays and setbacks.

The test flight was expected to last a week or so, enough time for Wilmore and Williams to check out the capsule while docked at the station. But problems with the capsule's propulsion system, used to maneuver the spacecraft, prompted NASA and Boeing to delay the flight home several times while they analyzed the trouble.

They also wanted to avoid conflicting with spacewalks by station astronauts. But a spacewalk this week was canceled after water leaked from an astronaut’s spacesuit. The issue hasn't been resolved and the planned spacewalk next week was postponed.

As Starliner closed in on the space station a day after launch, last-minute thruster failures almost derailed the docking. Five of the capsule’s 28 thrusters went down during docking; all but one thruster was restarted.

Starliner already had one small helium leak when it rocketed into orbit and several more leaks sprung up during the flight. Helium is used to pressurize fuel for the thrusters. Boeing said this week that the two problems aren’t a concern for the return trip.

Heading to Europe, we've got the Olympics coming up in Paris, and a soccer tournament called the Euro Cup as well. These are big, juicy, targets for terrorists of course, and maybe even Putin, too. Naturally, we'll be on high alert for the summer.

U.S. military bases across Europe were put on heightened alert over the weekend due to concerns that terrorist activity or attacks on personnel or installations are "likely," according to an Army explanation of the threat level.

However, Pentagon officials said Monday that the move to put all Europe bases on the second-highest alert status was not done out of any specific threat but rather an abundance of caution, given several major public events happening over the summer on the continent, including the Euro Cup soccer tournament and the Olympics.

"It was due to a combination of factors potentially impacting the safety and security of service members stationed in the European theater," Sabrina Singh, Pentagon spokeswoman, told reporters Monday. "I'm not going to get into more specifics on the intelligence itself, but it's not a single threat -- it's a combination of different factors."

Stars and Stripes was the first outlet to report that over the weekend U.S. European Command ordered bases on the continent to force protection condition "Charlie" -- the second-highest state out of five.

Army websites say that that condition is imposed when there is intelligence that suggests "some form of terrorist action or targeting against personnel or facilities is likely."

"You might see increased security measures at the gates, or even gate closures and the presence of additional security forces," according to a 2022 Army article. The condition also "sets into motion curtailment plans for nonessential personnel."

However, both Singh and defense officials said that the unusual increase in defensive posture is less about a specific terrorist threat and more about an overabundance of caution amid a busy summer packed with major events on the continent.

And we will look at some veterans today, as well. With abortion being on the forefront of civilian political issues, one might wonder how the military handles the debate. For right now at least, cooler heads have prevailed in uniform. But like everything else, you can expect that all to come crashing down under a new American dictatorship.

The Army has set new policies making it more difficult for units to deny soldiers' requests to take leave to receive reproductive care including abortions, according to a force-wide memo.

The strict new policies strip company-level commanders, usually a captain, of any authority to deny a soldier's request to take leave and travel for care, and move that authority to the brigade level, typically a colonel much higher up in the soldier's chain of command. That brigade commander is also required to receive legal counsel if they deny the soldier's request, according to the policies set earlier this month.

The move follows new Pentagon rules last year for all the service branches allowing up to three weeks of administrative leave and transportation expenses for troops who seek abortion care when the life of the mother is at risk and for other fertility treatments, for themselves or when traveling with a spouse seeking that care. That earlier policy came after a Supreme Court decision that allowed states to ban or curtail abortion services.

In the new Army policy, the service also included a provision for commanders who morally object to the treatment a soldier is seeking. In that scenario, the approval will move on to the next level in the chain of command -- but the policy stipulates that the request "will not be delayed."

Making decisions on approvals or disapprovals will not take more than a week, the policy states.

That denial authority goes far beyond the Pentagon's initial guidance, which left the responsibility to low-level, and often young, commanders. Moving the denial authority higher in the chain of command presumably makes it much less likely a soldier's request would be denied, adding burdensome bureaucratic layers if commanders say no.

So we'll see what catastrophe awaits us today.

1 comments (Latest Comment: 07/02/2024 15:57:56 by Will_in_Ca)
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Comment by Will_in_Ca on 07/02/2024 15:57:56
Good morning, bloggers!!!!

I am not sure how we move forward from a ruling that puts a president above the law. Somewhere in Hell, Nixon is jealous. Putin probably popped some champagne or opened up his best vodka.

Democracy is on the line. If it fails, it will be years of rebuilding. (TFG may learn that many Americans disagree with his policies and people will not follow blindly. TFG, being who he is, will resort to violence.) Heaven help us all.