At this time, travel for all intercollegiate athletics is cancelled - this includes the Air Force-Navy game on Saturday, 5 Oct.
The Air Force Academy Falcons will attempt to play all home intercollegiate athletic contests but those may be cancelled, as well. Academy officials are working with Mountain West Conference officials, those teams the Falcons were scheduled to play and officials at The Department of the Air Force to make up as many games as possible.
U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. - Air Force Academy Cadet 3rd Class (C3C) Jaleel Awini is no longer a cadet in good standing and is not allowed to represent the Academy in any outside activities, effective immediately.
Cadets must meet Academy standards — honor, physical fitness, academics and military aptitude in order to be a cadet in good standing. Holding each cadet to these high standards promotes good order and discipline throughout the institution.
Due to the Privacy Act of 1974, no Personally Identifiable Information can be disclosed.
DENVER – The Macalan Group, Inc., formerly known as NEK Advanced Securities Inc. (NEK), a security contractor headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado, has agreed to resolve allegations that it submitted false claims in connection with a contract with the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO), U.S. Attorney John Walsh announced on behalf of the Justice Department and its investigative partners.
NEK’s contract with JIEDDO required it to develop and deploy teams of specialized personnel to Iraq and Afghanistan to combat improvised explosive devices. The government alleged that NEK submitted false invoices for payment in connection with this contract that claimed excessive or unallowable costs. To resolve these allegations, NEK has paid the United States $2.08 million, and will also relinquish an outstanding invoice for $744,969, and turn over numerous weapons and accessories acquired under the contract.
“No government contract is more important than one that supports the security efforts of our nation overseas,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh. “When a contractor fails to bill by the contract rules set up to protect American taxpayers, our office will diligently and aggressively seek to recover any losses, as this case demonstrates.”
“This settlement demonstrates our commitment to pursue contractors who fail to accurately bill the government,” said Stuart F. Delery, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division. “The Justice Department will continue to ensure that those who do business with the government do so honestly and fairly and uphold the integrity of our public contracting process.”
“We are very pleased with today’s settlement with over two million dollars back to the U.S. Government,” said Frank Robey, Director of the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command’s Major Procurement Fraud Unit. “Our special agents have worked tirelessly on this case, along with our partners in Federal law enforcement and the Department of Justice, and will continue to do so as we continue to scrutinize and monitor contracts affecting the U.S. Army.”
“The settlement in this investigation is the result of a highly successful joint effort by the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) and our law enforcement partners from the U.S. Army Criminal Investigations Command and the Department of Justice, to include support provided by the Defense Contract Audit Agency,” said Janice M. Flores, Special Agent in Charge of the DCIS Southwest Field Office. “This settlement highlights the Federal Government's continuing resolve to recover losses to the American taxpayer when a contractor has claimed money to which it was not entitled. The United States must be able to count upon Government contractors to seek payment only for services performed or material provided, in conformance with their contractual obligations.”
The United States Attorney’s Office is grateful for the hard work of the investigative partners that produced today’s result, including the Civil Division, Commercial Litigation Branch; the Army Criminal Investigation Command Major Procurement Fraud Unit; the Defense Criminal Investigative Service; the Defense Contract Audit Agency; and, the Contract Integrity Center, Office of General Counsel, Defense Contract Management Agency.
The claims resolved by this settlement are allegations only and there has been no determination of liability.
Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Chris Larson and Department of Justice Trial Attorney Benjamin Wei handled this matter on behalf of the United States.
Three officers and three non-commissioned officers received administrative disciplinary action today for a human relations incident that occurred at the Preparatory School involving cadet-candidates during basic training on July 31, 2013.
The incident involved mishandling of supervisory responsibility but did not involve sexual assaults, sexual harassment or use or possession of illegal substances.
The incident occurred after an individual identified as a dark-skinned male cadet-candidate allegedly "flashed" a group of cadet-candidates from another squadron. Reacting to this alleged incident after hearing about it, the group of officers and NCOs brought together a group of male cadet-candidates and separated them by race in an attempt to discover the identity of the alleged perpetrator. In doing so, the officers and NCOs in question used other inappropriate disciplinary tactics to try to identify the alleged perpetrator.
"The officers and NCOs grossly misjudged the entire situation. They reacted before properly collecting facts and failed to consult the chain of command," said Col. Kabrena Rodda, Preparatory School Commander. "Their collective actions were misguided and inappropriate."
The investigation into the incident is complete, and no further action is anticipated at this time. The Privacy Act of 1974 prohibits disclosure of further information but the ill-advised actions of the six individuals are in direct opposition to Air Force core values.
"The Air Force's Academy stands for respect and dignity for every individual and we take all incidents that happen to our people incredibly seriously," said Lt. Gen. Michelle D. Johnson, Academy Superintendent. "This was a case of immature judgment and knee-jerk reactions that were not in keeping with our core values."
On Oct. 3, 2009, many Soldiers distinguished themselves when more than 400 Anti-Afghan forces, or AAF, attempted to overrun Combat Outpost, or COP, Keating, a company-sized outpost in Nuristan Province, Afghanistan. On that day, of the 53 members of B Troop, 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, who defended the position, eight Soldiers were killed, and more than 25 were injured.
Of these men, one Soldier’s gallantry stood out. Without regard to his own safety, Spc. Ty Michael Carter proved himself time and time again. He resupplied ammunition to fighting positions, provided first aid to a battle buddy, killed enemy troops, and valiantly risked his own life to save a fellow Soldier who was injured and pinned down by overwhelming enemy fire. He did all this while under heavy small arms and indirect fire that lasted more than six hours.
Carter’s actions of risking his life above and beyond the call of duty, while engaged in combat against the enemies of the United States, were heroic, and he would be a most deserving recipient of the Medal of Honor for his fearless and decisive actions that day.
U.S. Naval Academy administrators have denied a request from a recent graduate to hold his planned humanist wedding in the academy's chapel, declaring that the chapel is only to be used for Christian ceremonies.
The American Humanist Association's Appignani Humanist Legal Center sent a letter yesterday to United States Naval Academy Superintendent Vice Adm. Michael H. Miller and Senior Chaplain Commander Michael Gore asking the decision be reversed and confirm that it is not the policy of the Naval Academy "to forbid non Christians from using the Chapel for their wedding ceremonies."
"This discriminatory policy is unconstitutional," the letter states. "The Naval Academy cannot deny use of its publicly owned facilities on the basis of the religious views of those wishing to do so."
"Weddings performed by humanist celebrants are legal everywhere in the country, as are weddings performed by many other non-Christian officiants," said Appignani Humanist Legal Center Coordinator Bill Burgess. "There is no valid reason the U.S. Naval Academy's chapel can't be used by all of them."
Graduates of the USAFA, the United States Military Academy, the United States Naval Academy, the United States Coast Guard Academy and the United States Merchant Marine Academy, active duty personnel currently assigned to the USAFA and active duty Air Force personnel stationed in the local area to include Buckley Air Force Base, codependents of active duty personnel currently assigned to the USAFA who hold a valid military dependent ID card on the day of the wedding, Purple Heart recipients and Silver Star recipients and above, [and] ID card holding dependents of service members killed in action
Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., has been an ardent supporter of forest health and wildland firefighting, and he continues to probe for more information to enhance how fires are managed.
A member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Udall wrote a letter Monday to Northern Command leader Gen. Charles Jacoby and U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell asking for a retrospective for the Black Forest Fire.
Udall, along with Colorado's other Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, instigated a major study following the Waldo Canyon Fire that investigates the ecological, social and operational issues involved in fighting that blaze, which claimed 347 homes in Colorado Springs last year.
In his latest effort, Udall thanks Jacoby and Tidwell for their participation in the Black Forest Fire and what further lessons might be learned. He also asked them to explain procedural changes that made the rapid response possible.
From a news release:
Udall has been a leading voice for ensuring that Colorado and the West have adequate resources to prepare for the threat of wildfire, including pressing the U.S. Air Force to quickly transfer and repurpose excess aircraft to the U.S. Forest Service to fight wildfires. He also led the fight to ensure the U.S. Forest Service was able to cut through red tape and secure seven next-generation air tankers. One of the next-generation air tankers Udall fought to acquire helped fight the Black Forest Fire.
Udall also pushed to pass a bipartisan amendment to the U.S. Senate's 2014 budget to allocate $100 million more for wildland firefighting and he successfully secured federal funds to repair drinking-water supplies damaged by 2012's Waldo Canyon and High Park fires.
Here's his letter to Jacoby and Tidwell:
Fort Carsonlikely will see a reduction in troops of roughly 800 soldiers under an end-strength reduction announced by the Army today.
The cuts could have been worse, however. Although Carson will lose a brigade, shuffling of soldiers into other units will largely offset the loss, media outlets reported.
Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado Springs, issued a statement bemoaning the cut but also noting that the new Combat Aviation Brigade is untouched by the cuts. It's bringing some 2,700 soldiers and more than 100 aircraft here.
"I am very disappointed that Fort Carson is one of ten bases around the country that will lose a brigade combat team by the year 2017. However the blow is considerably softened by the fact that all but 750 of those soldiers will remain at Fort Carson and be reassigned to other missions. Including other restructuring changes, the Army anticipates Fort Carson will actually increase in size by 1,800 active duty Army personnel.
“Ft. Carson is the finest Army post in the country and has access to unique mountain training ranges that enable our soldiers to be fully prepared to fight at altitude. Downsizing at Ft. Carson simply does not make sense.
“It is important to note these cuts are part of Army-wide restructuring, impacting bases in Europe and throughout the United States.
“The good news is that Ft. Carson has other missions that the Army continues to grow such as aviation and special forces. Next week the 4thCombat Aviation Brigade will officially be activated. The 4th CAB will bring dozens of helicopters and thousands of soldiers to Ft. Carson and this year alone is injecting over $260 million in construction into our local economy. The 10th Special Forces Group is also at Ft. Carson and continues to serve our country quietly but heroically.”
Read the Army's announcement here:
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is coming to Colorado Springs later this week, his first visit here since he was sworn in to office Feb. 27.
Which is surprising, considering we have five military installations in El Paso County and community leaders publicly fantasize about growing the military presence here even more.
Hagel plans stops at Peterson Air Force Base, home to the North American Aerospace Defense Command and Northern Command, and the Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station. He'll also drop in at Fort Carson, but apparently will forgo stops at Schriever Air Force Base, the super-secret satellite ops base out east, and the Air Force Academy.
At Peterson, Hagel will meet with NorthCom commander Gen. Chuck Jacoby to discuss homeland defense, integrated air and missile defense, US-Mexico military-to-military relations, and defense support of civil authorities, according to a news release.
Media have been invited to a news conference on Friday morning at Cheyenne Mountain, the underground Cold War-era bunker that used to be the headquarters for NORAD, where Hagel and Jacoby will make "brief statements."
Later that day, Hagel will hold a town hall meeting with soldiers at Fort Carson.
Neither of those events are open to the public, however.
It took our sister paper, the Colorado Springs Business Journal, about one week to debunk claims made by retired generals in front of City Council that recreational marijuana would be the end of life as we know it. Here are reporters Amy Gillentine and John Hazlehurst quoting a Pentagon spokesman on the possibility of Amendment 64 hurting local military possibilities:
“I wouldn’t think so,” said Department of Defense spokesman Lt. Col. Tom Crosson. “Military personnel are still subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which clearly prohibits marijuana use. They can’t use it, and we all get drug tested.
“But we won’t move assets out of states where it is legal now.”
Of course, as the story notes, this little bit of reality did very little to assuage the manufactured fears of people like Mike Jorgensen, the president of the Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance.
“The Pentagon could say, ‘We don’t have this problem in Texas, let’s move the soldiers there,’” he told the Business Journal. “It’s so controversial still, outside the area. And while no one said this will happen, the concern is there.”
And isn't that what's important, that this thing no one is saying will happen — that those in the know are confirming won't happen — might happen?
So put it on your calendar: City Council will hear public input at 1 p.m., Tuesday, June 27, at City Hall, and decide later if it's as afraid of the known as everybody else seems to be.
This morning, Brandon Bougades was cited by the Colorado Springs Police Department for reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct. The problem? Bougades was shooting his new handgun and shotgun inside Garden of the Gods at around 3 a.m. when residents called the police.
Combine guns with a beloved landmark, and you've got the makings of a genuine shitstorm.
"To me, the destruction and mindless danger caused by idiots like this is the single biggest problem caused by (some) gun owners today," reads one comment on the Gazette's piece. "Shooting at a public park is criminal," reads another.
And they're right, there. Colorado Springs code 9.7.104 reads, "It is unlawful for any person to wrongfully fire or discharge any cannon, gun, pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, air gun, BB gun, gas operated gun, spring gun, or firearm within the City."
However, Bougades, a resident of Colorado Springs for all of two weeks now, tells the Independent it really was just a misunderstanding.
"I'm prior-service military, getting out on medical retirement, highly trained with firearms," the 31-year-old says in a phone interview. "I've done range-safety courses and classes, and ran ranges, making sure everybody stays safe, and I applied the same training out there. I made sure all my rounds were pointed in a safe direction; I know which direction all my rounds were landing. I was shooting towards a rock face. I was between 150 to 200 meters away with a nine [millimeter] and a 12-gauge shotgun that had buckshot in it, so I wasn't hitting anything, and I wasn't doing any damage or anything like that, which I knew."
Sounding exasperated, Bougades adds, "I didn't even hit the rocks. A nine millimeter at 150 to 200 meters, it's probably not even gonna make it that far."
The (almost) former Army man says he thought "as long as you're safe and you're not dumb, or whatever," it was fine to shoot in any open area. As far as CSPD's statement that "officers reported nearly being struck by several of the rounds that appeared to be ricocheting off of the park’s rock formations," Bougades says that would have been impossible based on how far away any rocks were.
"Honestly, I just thought it was OK once you got out into the open areas, and apparently it's not," he says.
Outside of all that, though, the man on terminal-leave from the military, set to formally move on any day now, plans to study web development at Colorado Technical University. This is after he did 15 months in Iraq, and another four in Afghanistan before being wounded by an IED on his birthday.
And though a small blip in the news universe, this latest development has grabbed locals' attention, with the Gazette's recap being shared more than 340 times and attracting 40-plus comments on Facebook.
"But I mean, like I said: This thing has gotten just blown way out of proportion," Bougades says. "Like, I have no history of violence or anything like that. I've never had any felonies whatsoever. I honestly just didn't know — just ignorance on my behalf."
Arguments against allowing retail sales of recreational marijuana are just popping up everywhere these days.
Yesterday, during a Fort Carson Town Hall meeting at the DoubleTree Hotel, Terrance McWilliams, El Pomar Foundation's director of military and veterans affairs, told the crowd of roughly 150 people that recreational retail sales made possible by the voter-approved Amendment 64 would place the military in "serious jeopardy of being moved out of this area."
"If we really care about maintaining a strong military presence, you need to be standing before City Council against recreational marijuana," he said. "It's a serious issue that we all need to be taking a hard look at."
Mayor Steve Bach has previously stated the community could see its military presence go down the toilet if retail sales are approved. He's also said at a community meeting that the plant can wipe out young people's memories forever.
On Tuesday, several retired generals showed up at the Council meeting to deliver the same message — that recreational marijuana undermines the military's stalwart value of good order and discipline. (Council will hold a public hearing June 27, a work session July 8, and make a decision on July 28, according to Council President Keith King.)
McWilliams made his statements as part of the panel discussion about Fort Carson's future.
After the panel discussion ended and as people headed for a social-hour gathering, we asked another panel member, Maj. Gen. Paul LaCamera, commander of the 4th Infantry Division at Carson, to elaborate on how retail sales would lead to the loss of the military's presence here.
We asked him if he was offended when people said recreational marijuana stores would threaten Carson soldiers, the insinuation being that soldiers are so undisciplined that they wouldn't be able to resist marijuana when available in retail stores.
"Am I worried about their ability to resist?" he replied. "I never really looked at it that way. I look at it as, well, it's against federal law. I'm a federal institution. It's a concern that family members who can smoke it off post and then make the mistake of bringing it on post on federal property. They can't bring it on Fort Carson."
Although Carson's gates provide security, LaCamera said he doesn't want to "shake everybody down" as they enter.
"I think it just goes against good order and discipline," he says. "It's against federal law."
The Military Times did a story about how installations will deal with the laws in Washington and Colorado. A McClatchy article also discusses what President Obama's administration will do in response to the Colorado and Washington voter-approved recreational pot laws.
There's no mention in either article of Washington officials fearing the loss of military installations because of the pot laws there.
But it's worth noting that six of nine Springs City Council members are ex-military: Val Snider, Joel Miller, Don Knight, Jill Gaebler, Andy Pico and Helen Collins.
Miller, Knight and Pico have said they oppose allowing retail sales.
Gaebler and Collins have said they won't reverse the will of voters, who approved Amendment 64 by a decisive margin in the city. And Snider and Jan Martin have said they're supportive of regulating recreational marijuana.
Council President Keith King and President Pro Tem Merv Bennett haven't publicly declared their intentions, but King embraced an endorsement from Tom Gallagher, who dropped out of the race and backed King before the April election. Gallagher's support came almost exclusively from the medical marijuana industry.
El Paso County imposed its own ban on shops in unincorporated areas months ago.
Memorial Day always makes me wonder what it is about U.S. culture that makes it anathema to consider people working in the military as anything but selfless sacrificers protecting my freedom. Is it just pure, run-of-the-mill nationalism?
And it's not that I want to make the argument against honoring military service — or think of the people in the military as anything but just people in the military — but the extreme way that our society views the institution is a sure sign that a middle ground is being missed. Or is volunteering to be hired for a potentially dangerous, if paid, position such an act that emotional prostration is the only appropriate response?
It's a little like Louis C.K.'s bit "Of Course, But Maybe."
"Of course if you're fighting for your country, and you get shot or hurt, it's a terrible tragedy. Of course — of course!" he says. "But maybe, maybe if you pick up a gun and go to another country and you get shot, it's not that weird. Maybe if you get shot by the dude you were just shooting at, it's a tiny bit your fault."
I know the entire conversation is almost impossible to have, for a variety of reasons. There's the personal aspect, where you either know somebody who has served, or you've served yourself, so you not only know better, but feel much stronger about the issue. Then there's the knee-jerk politics, with right-wing hawks, and left-wing doves. (Or, among the more benighted, under-appreciated heroes and undeserving traitors.)
The Los Angeles Times took a stab at the question in 2011: "The military is an institution where accountability matters, and this may also account for its popularity," wrote Karlyn Bowman and Andrew Rugg. "Very few institutions, including the military, have perfect records. Scandals have touched many of the key institutions in American life in recent years. But scandals involving the military tend to be short-lived, and they don't leave permanent scars on the institution."
It's just a complicated question without a simple answer: For every person who sees the U.S. military as the business end of American freedom, there's the guy who can't imagine following uniformed orders. Then, of course, some people in the past really have served, fought and died in ways that have made my life possible. And on top of all that, despite all the stories of Vietnam veterans feeling abandoned, or worse, upon their return home, I've personally never met somebody in the military who actually cared what they were being called by the public. Thus, to me, the argument almost seems to skip the very people around whom it revolves.
But there's still that feeling. As Daily Kos wrote last year: "Every other branch of the government is free to be criticized. The White House, Supreme Court, Congress, Department of Education, Department of Health, The Peace Core, Child Protective Services, you name it. The people will agree with you full-heartedly. The second you scratch the branch of government that intimidates foreigners with lethal force though, then they will stare at you with death in their eyes."
On the other hand, the New York Times wrote yesterday how fewer than 20 percent of those in Congress have any military experience, down from 70 percent in 1975.
"In sharp contrast, so many officers have sons and daughters serving that they speak, with pride and anxiety, about war as a 'family business,'" wrote Karl Eikenberry and David Kennedy. "Here are the makings of a self-perpetuating military caste, sharply segregated from the larger society and with its enlisted ranks disproportionately recruited from the disadvantaged. History suggests that such scenarios don’t end well."
So maybe that's what it is: Maybe I've been living next to Fort Carson my entire life, so rah-rah-rah is all I've ever heard. I don't know, but either way, on this Memorial Day, I'm interested in hearing more.
For the sixth year running, a ban on funding to expand the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site is making its way into law.
In a news release, Not 1 More Acre!, an advocacy group fighting to keep the Army from claiming more land in southeast Colorado for maneuvers, announced the military construction budget that was marked up in the Military Construction Subcommittee of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee today will continue the funding ban on "any action that relates to or promotes the expansion of the boundaries or size of the U.S. Army's Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site."
Here's the entire news release from Jean Aguerre, president of Not 1 More Acre!
Keeping the funding ban in the law has been a top priority for N1MA! as it fights to protect fragile prairie lands being ravaged by the Pentagon's armored tanks, high-tech weapons systems and training at the Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site. The funding ban was first passed by Congress in 2007 to stop a massive secretly planned military expansion across 6.9 million acres of fragile native grasslands. For technical reasons related to the U.S. Senate's failure to enable a permanent prohibition on expansion of the site, the funding ban must be renewed every year by expansion opponents and their Representatives in the House.
Aguerre announced the renewal of the funding ban for the sixth consecutive year as Not 1 More Acre! hurled its third challenge against the Army's Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site environmental disclosures in just six weeks. The latest N1MA! rebuke was filed Wednesday (May 15, 2013) by the Denver-based Ewegen Law Firm in response to the "Programmatic Environmental Assessment and Draft Finding of No Significant Impact for the Integrated Natural Resource Management Plan 2013 - 2017 for Fort Carson and the PiÃ±on Canyon Maneuver Site."
[Find that document here: 2013-2017-Integrated-natural-resource-management-plan-and-environmental-assessment.pdf]
N1MA's latest effort to parry the Army's expansion plans followed on the heels of objections filed on Tax Day, April 15 that exposed the Army's shadowy partial disclosure of illegal construction supporting expansion at PCMS. Just three weeks earlier, on March 21, N1MA! protested the Army's claim that ongoing and expanded operations at the remote Southern Great Plains maneuver site pose no significant environmental or economic impacts. N1Ma's reprimand called those findings a "bizarre greenwash of an ongoing assault on fragile prairie grasslands in an area that Fritz L. Knopf, an historical Great Plains ecologist, describes as the 'headwinds' of the 1930s Dust Bowl."
The N1MA! reproach filed Wednesday accused the Army of continuing to "piecemeal its plans for the Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site in an effort to sidestep basic requirements of the funding ban, the National Environmental Policy Act and a 2009 Federal District Court ruling that vacated the PCMS Transformation Record of Decision issued by the Army in its original efforts to expand the site."
Over the last nearly eight years the Army has issued a staggering 10,000 pages of alleged
NEPA documentation - all of which make the absurd claim that the Army's actions have no significant impact to the quality of the environment, economy and culture of the Southern Great Plains.
In one segmented document after the next, the Army's analysis methodology ignores science and even the sound principles of science that establish military damage to the shortgrass prairie are irreparable and irreversible. Even as military training expands - less than 5% of the PCMS is off limits to training - and intensifies, the Army and its tax-supported real estate partners encumbering land in the region to be managed for military needs employ environmental tactics that appear to trick 'neighbors' and the public into believing that impacts will be insignificant.
While admitting the "sheer amount of alphabet soup" generated by the Army's disclosures and the legal processes are confusing, Aguerre said the underlying theory of the law isn't complicated. The Sikes Act, passed in 1960, recognizes the importance and value of natural and
cultural resources to military lands. Accordingly, the Sikes Act requires the Department of Defense to develop and implement Integrated Natural and Cultural Resources Management Plans (INRMPs/ICRMPs) for military installations across the United States.
"As a further example of this deceptive piecemealing, N1MA! asks where the Integrated Cultural Resource Management Plan is and why it wasn't issued as part of the Integrated Natural Resource Management Plan? And, why - except to mislead and confuse taxpayers - does the Army continue to ignore science that proves all the past, current and future military damage will devastate the entire region? The Army's 'make-believe NEPA' fails to comply either the spirit or letter of the law while perpetrating real-life catastrophic impacts to our security and health," Aguerre said.
The Army's latest mockery of environmental and economic impact analysis should be withdrawn because it fails to meet the basic requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act. It also fails to heed the mandates of Congress as expressed in the funding ban - renewed for the sixth consecutive year on this very day. This Integrated Natural Resource Management Plan fails to make sense from a policy standpoint and it would both sanction and inflict massive and irreversible damage on America's last major intact grassland, a fragile ecosystem that elsewhere has not yet recovered from the devastation wrought by ill-considered federal government policies that led to plowing of these fragile grasslands in the 1920s in the bone-headed public campaign that "rain follows the plow." In fact, what followed the plow when the inevitable drought cycle reasserted itself was this nation's most catastrophic environmental collapse, the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.
The Army, its contractors and politicians, in defiance of the law, scientific knowledge and common sense, are effectively asking the public to believe that "rain will follow the tank!" and magically reseed and renew these tortured lands. Alas, the best science on this subject shows that the notion that invasive species can somehow revive devastated grasslands that required thousands of years of natural processes to reach their original productive state is a discredited policy as misguided and mischievous as the original "rain follows the plow" folly, Aguerre said.
But that doesn't mean the Army is giving up. It continues to try to win the hearts and minds of people in southern Colorado, including those of tender age.
Here's a shot of a Girl Scout being indoctrinated into the ways of war, sent to us from Doug Holdread of Trinidad:
And here's a report on how the Army is appealing to the young folk in Trinidad.
Update, 11:19 a.m., April 19: Fort Carson has issued a correction to its press release, saying that the Colorado Springs Fire Department was not involved with the base on this training.
I don't know why it's called a Bambi Bucket, but it could come in mighty handy when we get our next forest fire, as long as the Pentagon agrees to allow the buckets to be used in the firefight.
To be prepared, the Army and Colorado Springs Fire Department are working together to understand how the buckets work and how to best deploy them in tandem with city resources.
Here's a news release from Fort Carson:
- Fort Carson
- A Bambi Bucket could prove invaluable during a fire.
The 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 4th Aviation Regiment, 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, and Colorado Springs Fire Department will conduct Bambi Bucket training at noon Thursday near Butts Army Airfield.
A Bambi Bucket is a specialized water carrier designed for aerial firefighting. The bucket, which can hold approximately 2,000 gallons of water, is suspended on a cable carried by a helicopter. When the helicopter is in position over a fire, the crew releases a valve on the bottom of the bucket, dropping the water and helping extinguish the fire.
This is the first training exercise that 2-4 GSAB and CSFD have conducted together for Bambi Bucket training missions.
The 4th Infantry Division, CSFD and 4th CAB are working together on the Bambi Bucket mission in preparation to better serve firefighting needs in the Pikes Peak area.
Just bear in mind that, as Carson spokesperson Meghan Williams notes in a statement:
Fort Carson and the 4th Infantry Division can only deploy military resources (to include Bambi Buckets) to support firefighting when requested by the National Interagency Fire Center and approved by the Secretary of Defense. At that point, Fort Carson and the 4th Inf. Div.’s support would be coordinated through U.S. Northern Command. NIFC can only request DoD support after all other local, state and federal resources have been exhausted.