“Howard Bailey came to the United States from Jamaica when he was 17. He served nearly four years in the Navy right out of high school, completing two tours in Operation Desert Storm and earning a National Defense Service Medal. But when it came time for Bailey—a lawful permanent resident—to apply for citizenship, his application was denied over a one-time marijuana offense.
What was already a devastating blow then turned into almost a decade in exile, with Bailey deported to a country he hadn’t seen in 24 years. Last Wednesday, he finally won the fight to come home.”
“From 2003 to August 2018, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University, over 45,000 people were deported for marijuana possession. And according to immigration lawyers and advocates, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has denied citizenship applications from immigrants who admit to using marijuana in states where it’s legal. The agency requires that applicants have “good moral character.” Even legally sanctioned behavior can come into conflict with such a subjective criterion.
Around 5,000 noncitizens enlist in the military every year, and an estimated 94,000 veterans do not have U.S. citizenship. Biden administration officials announced steps to support noncitizen veterans and service members in July, including allowing those who have been unjustly deported to return to the U.S. There are likely around 1,000 military deportees in 40 countries, and recourse for those wrongfully removed is difficult to come by.”
“a future conflict is unlikely to go as smoothly for the US as Operation Praying Mantis did, mainly due to Iran’s military modernization and expansion.
Iran’s Navy has gotten larger and more capable, with more vessels able to launch anti-ship missiles and at least three Russian-built Kilo-class attack submarines in service.
Last year, an Iranian Navy exercise included an attack on a barge designed to look like a US aircraft carrier. In January, Iran unveiled the Makran, a “forward base ship” capable of carrying drones and helicopters.
The IRGCN has also been expanding its numbers and capabilities, including recent reports that it is building large missile-laden catamarans.
Iran’s sea mines remain potent, but the biggest threat comes from Iran’s missile arsenal, which is considerably larger and more advanced than it was in the 1980s.
In recent years, Iranian missiles have been used to attack Saudi oil facilities and civilian sites, as well as ships. In January 2020, Iranian cruise missiles hit US bases in Iraq, injuring over 100 service members.
Iran’s missiles failed to hit their targets during Operation Praying Mantis, but things could be very different in the future.”
“The Russian military operations in August inside the U.S. economic zone off the coast of Alaska were the latest in a series of escalated encounters across the North Pacific and the Arctic, where the retreat of polar ice continues to draw new commercial and military traffic. This year, the Russian military has driven a new nuclear-powered icebreaker straight to the North Pole, dropped paratroopers into a high-Arctic archipelago to perform a mock battle and repeatedly flown bombers to the edge of U.S. airspace.
As seas warmed by climate change open new opportunities for oil exploration and trade routes, the U.S. Coast Guard now finds itself monitoring a range of new activity: cruise ships promising a voyage through waters few have ever seen, research vessels trying to understand the changing landscape, tankers carrying new gas riches, and shipping vessels testing new passageways that sailors of centuries past could only dream of.
Russia’s operations in the Arctic have meant a growing military presence at America’s northern door. Rear Adm. Matthew T. Bell Jr., the commander of the Coast Guard district that oversees Alaska, said it was not a surprise to see Russian forces operating in the Bering Sea over the summer, but “the surprise was how aggressive they got on our side of the maritime boundary line.”
In the air, U.S. jets in Alaska typically scramble to intercept about a half-dozen approaching Russian aircraft a year, outliers on the long-range nuclear bomber patrols that Russia resumed in 2007. But this year that number has risen to 14 — on pace to set a record since the Cold War era. In the most recent case, last month, the United States responded to the approach of two Russian bombers and two Russian fighters that came within 30 nautical miles of Alaskan shores.”
“The Navy wants to double its number of submarines as part of a modernization plan to build more than 500 ships by 2045 to maintain a competitive edge against other naval powers such as China and Russia, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said”
“Esper said the need to modernize the Navy is in part due to China’s own naval modernization and shipbuilding efforts. The Pentagon’s China report released Sept. 1 determined the country aims to have a “world-class” military on par with the United States by 2049. It already has the largest navy in the world at 350 ships. The United States now has 296 deployable battle force ships, according to the Navy.”
“The first priority of that plan is to have a large number of attack submarines, with a target of 70 to 80 submarines overall. This will require the Navy to build at least three next generation Virginia-class submarines every year “as soon as possible,” Esper said. The Navy now has more than 40 operational attack submarines, according to Pentagon documents.”
“Large nuclear-powered aircraft carriers also will be part of the future Navy, still considered the force’s “most visible deterrent,” he said. The Navy is also looking at “light carriers,” such as the USS America amphibious assault ship that can go to sea with vertical takeoff and landing aircraft including the F-35B fighters and the MV-22 Osprey. These light carriers would free up the bigger carriers for more of the “critical high-end fight,” Esper said.”
“Unmanned naval vessels have been discussed in a number of congressional hearings about the future of the Navy and they are included in the Battle Force 2045 plan. Esper said the future force will have between 140 to 240 unmanned and “optionally manned” surface and subsurface vessels that can perform a variety of missions including surveillance, mine-laying and missile strikes.”
“Congressional help will also be necessary to make the plan work. Esper said he wants lawmakers to stop using continuing resolutions to fund the defense budget and allow the military to divest from legacy systems so that the funds can be put towards “higher priorities.” He also said he will request that the Navy have the authority to put any end-of-year budget savings towards shipbuilding instead of the losing money when it is not spent.”