Army is Spending Half a Billion to Train Troops to Fight Underground by Matthew Cox - Military.com
U.S. Army leaders say the next war will be fought in mega-cities, but the service has embarked on an ambitious effort to prepare most of its combat brigades to fight, not inside, but beneath them.
Late last year, the Army launched an accelerated effort that funnels some $572 million into training and equipping 26 of its 31 active combat brigades to fight in large-scale subterranean facilities that exist beneath dense urban areas around the world.
For this new type of warfare, infantry units will need to know how to effectively navigate, communicate, breach heavy obstacles and attack enemy forces in underground mazes ranging from confined corridors to tunnels as wide as residential streets. Soldiers will need new equipment and training to operate in conditions such as complete darkness, bad air and lack of cover from enemy fire in areas that challenge standard Army communications equipment.
Senior leaders have mentioned small parts of the effort in public speeches, but Army officials at Fort Benning, Georgia's Maneuver Center of Excellence -- the organization leading the subterranean effort -- have been reluctant to discuss the scale of the endeavor…
The US has warned Syrian rebels in the south-west of the country they should not expect military support to help them resist a major government offensive.
The message from Washington comes as Russian jets struck an opposition-held town on Sunday in the first air cover provided by Moscow to an expanding Syrian army offensive in the strategic area bordering Jordan and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
The US message sent to heads of the Free Syrian Army said Washington wanted to make clear that “you should not base your decisions on the assumption or expectation of a military intervention by us”.
The Syrian army began ramping up its assault last week in order to recapture the area.
Washington had warned the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, and his Russian allies that violations of a “de-escalation” zone agreed by the US and Russia last year would have “serious repercussions” and pledged “firm and appropriate measures”.
The US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, said on Friday the Syrian military escalation “unambiguously violates” the de-escalation arrangement.
“Russia will ultimately bear responsibility for any further escalations in Syria,” Haley said in a statement…
Brief Ceasefire With Taliban Could Be Watershed Moment In Afghan War by Pamela Constable – Washington Post
KABUL — For three extraordinary days this month, the 17-year Afghan conflict took its first formal break, generating a spontaneous outpouring of emotion on all sides and leaving indelible images of Taliban fighters eating at ice cream stands, hugging tearful Afghan soldiers and praying alongside their longtime enemies.
Now, the insurgents have returned to the fight, launching attacks in several provinces after bluntly refusing President Ashraf Ghani’s offer to extend the truce that ended June 17. Yet the success of the brief but bloodless cease-fire is being widely viewed as a watershed in the war — an unscripted moment that has scrambled the calculus on all sides, opened doors for negotiations once thought shut, won support from key outside actors, and made vague dreams of ending the conflict seem more tangible.
For the Trump administration, which strongly embraced the cease-fire and offered for the first time to discuss Taliban concerns about the long-term presence of foreign troops, the truce underscored a critical distinction that U.S. officials have increasingly made between the domestic Taliban conflict and the foreign-backed terrorist threat to Afghanistan and the United States…