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“Semper Fi?” – Marines Convicted of Selling Weapons to Gangs & China May 15, 2012

Posted by Chris Mark in News, terrorism, weapons and tactics.
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As a former Marine, this is a difficult story for me to write. It does however highlight the importance of the concept of “trust but verify” within security.  As reported in the Jacksonville Daily News, a 2 year investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigation Service (NCIS) has uncovered an operation where 49 Marines and 21 civilians stole and then sold almost $2 million worth of weapons and equipment.  Many of the Marines were stationed at Camp Lejeune, NC and much of the gear was sold on eBay, Craigslist or in face to face meetings.    One of the Marines was a member of the elite Marines Special Operations Command and served with the 3rd Special Operations Battalion.  As stated in the article: “Sgt. Daniel Adam Reich, a former member of 3rd Marine Special Operations Battalion, was convicted of selling and attempting to sell military property and conspiracy. He was sentenced to 40 months in prison and a dishonorable discharge, MarSOC spokesman Maj. Jeff Landis said.” The investigation has since extended into the Air Force and Army. 

The point of this blog post is to show that even our military folks who take an oath of honor and are subject to very stiff penalties for violation of that oath are vulnerable to the same temptations as everyone.  It is not enough to blindly trust people to do the right thing.  While 99% may be honest and have integrity, there is always a small percentage that will give in to temptation.  This is why it is so critical to “trust but verify” in security.

“Pot…Meet Kettle”…Syria Urges UN to Stop Terrorism in Damascus (cough, cough) May 10, 2012

Posted by Chris Mark in News, terrorism, weapons and tactics.
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I had to comment on an article I just read on MSNBC.com titled: “Syria Urges UN to Stop ‘Terrorism’ Following Damascus Blasts”.  The basis of the article is that Assad’ government is claiming that the two bombs that went off in Damascus yesterday (35 killed and over 300 wounded) is evidence of “foreign terrorism”.  According to the article: “Syria’s foreign ministry said the bombing was a sign the country is facing foreign-backed terrorism and called on the United Nations Security Council to take measures against countries or groups supporting violence in the revolt against President Bashar Assad.”  While I try to keep this blog professional and on the up and up, I do have to say that Syria sure has some…(ahem)…cajones to make a plea like that. “Syria stresses the importance of the UNSC taking measures against countries, groups and news agencies that are practicing and encouraging terrorism,” the state news agency SANA quoted the ministry as saying in a letter addressed to the Security Council.  Lets take a spin over to the Council on Foreign Relations website to investigate our friends in Syria. (not the citizens but the government). 

Does Syria support terrorism? (from the CFR website) (more…)

“US Snipers Changing Warfare” – USAToday May 9, 2012

Posted by Chris Mark in Industry News, terrorism, weapons and tactics.
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UPDATE: I forgot to hyperlink to the story 😉 There goes my Pulitzer.  You can find the story here.

USAToday published a very interesting and enlightening piece on how US Snipers are being used with great effect in Iraq and Afghanistan.  While I think their assertion that snipers are “changing warfare” is a bit of a stretch, I do agree that the use of snipers is, and always has been, very effective.  I am somewhat disappointed that they didn’t talk about how smart, handsome, dashing, incredibly brave, selfless, and (did I say handsome already?) Marine Scout/Snipers are. (yes…I was a USMC SS but I am NOT biased ;).  The story does give some insight into the training and how snipers are used in warfare.  Overall, a very good read on the subject.

Nexus Security Calls for Investigation into Maritime Pirate Shooting April 20, 2012

Posted by Chris Mark in Piracy & Maritime Security, Uncategorized, weapons and tactics.
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In a recent press release, Nexus Consulting Group’s Founder and President calls for the recently released video of armed security firing on pirates to be investigated.   You can view the video here.  It appears to be an American company firing on a Somali boat.  As stated by Mr. Doherty:  “As president of Nexus Consulting, a leading provider of armed security teams in the defense of mariners against Somali pirates, I would like to personally note that though we are operating quite regularly conducting anti-piracy missions, the team in this video is not a Nexus team,”  Nexus also provides some valuable vetting questions for those considering maritime security. (more…)

Risk 102- Lose “A” Match but Win “THE” Game March 23, 2012

Posted by Chris Mark in Risk & Risk Management, weapons and tactics.
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Risk management is about decisions.  Given certain information, people then make decisions that they hope will minimize the risk of a particular outcome.  This post is about risk and decisions.

Years ago I was a young Marine attending the USMC’s Amphibious Reconnaissance School (ARS).  Upon successfully passing the school I would be conferred with the coveted Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) of 0321- Reconnaissance Marine.  Recon Marines operate in very small teams conducting various reconnaissance missions to provide intelligence to the commander. The last phase of ARS training is known as “patrolling phase”.  This is where all the students put their skills to use and run back to back patrols for a week while begin graded by the instructors.

During one of the final patrols we came upon a road known in military speak as a “linear danger area” and were considering a “two man bump” and other techniques to safely cross the danger area.  After having not slept for the better part of a week my mind was a bit foggy.  I asked the instructor: “SSGT, if we apply these techniques can we be confident that we will cross safely?”  He looked at me and said: “Mark, you can do everything by the book and exactly right and still get your entire team killed.  All you can do is make tactically sound decisions and hope for some luck.”  Certainly without meaning to do so, this Marine Staff Sergeant articulated the idea of risk and risk management as well as any academic. (more…)

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