By Alan W. Dowd
DefenseNews reports that the military is using so many of its UAVs in the Middle East that “other operating theaters are going without.”
Most of the military’s 6,500 UAVs are being tasked to the skies over Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Yemen. Forces in Afghanistan, understandably, have the lion’s share of the drone fleet.
But while Central Command holds the UAV reins, Pacific Command, Africa Command and Southern Command all need more drones. The plan is to have a fleet of 8,000 UAVs by 2012—an impressive number given that the DoD’s UAV fleet was just 200 in 2001—but for now, the other commands will have to wait.
Congress by the Numbers
With midterm elections fast approaching, there’s no better time to take a look at what Congress looks like. A Congressional Research Service report paints the portrait:
• Average age of members of both Houses of Congress: 58.2 years
• Average length of service: 11 years for representatives, 12.9 years for senators
• Number of women in Congress: 93 (76 in the House, 17 in the Senate)
• 16 physicians, two dentists, three nurses and two veterinarians
• Four ministers
• 13 former governors, 38 former mayors and 268 former state legislators
• 115 former congressional staffers and 12 former White House staffers/White House fellows
• Four former sheriffs, four former police officers and two former state troopers
• Three physicists, one chemist and six engineers
• One former Major League Baseball player and one former NFL football player
• One former pilot of Marine One, one former astronaut, one former naval aviator, one former commander of an aircraft carrier battle group
All told, 122 members of the current Congress have served in the military, including in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as during peacetime. Some have served in the Reserves and the National Guard. Several members are still serving as Reservists. Three representatives and one senator in the 111th Congress are graduates of the U.S. Military Academy, and two senators and two representatives are graduates of the U.S. Naval Academy.
Congress, like the country at large, represents the full spectrum of academic attainment: 27 reps and one senator have no degree beyond a high school diploma; 83 reps and 17 senators hold a master’s degree as their highest educational degree; 168 representatives and 57 senators hold law degrees; 24 representatives hold PhDs; and three senators and two representatives were Rhodes Scholars.
Finally, Congress also reflects the immigrant makeup of America: 12 reps and one senator were born outside the United States. Their places of birth include Cuba, Mexico, Taiwan, India, Japan, Pakistan, Peru, Canada, Vietnam and the Netherlands.
A bust of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin has been included at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va. The Lynchburg News & Advance reports public protest in response to the addition of Stalin, including opposition from Legion Post 54. But William McIntosh, outgoing president of the memorial’s foundation, has argued that Stalin is “a necessary addition.”
That might be true if it were a World War II memorial, but since it’s a D-Day memorial, leaving Stalin out would make more sense than including him. After all, Stalin and his armies had nothing to do with D-Day.
If there is a silver lining, the plaque adjacent to Stalin’s bust reads: “In memory of the tens of millions who died under Stalin’s rule and in tribute to all whose valor, fidelity and sacrifice denied him and his successors victory in the Cold War.”
As a contributing editor to The American Legion Magazine, Dowd writes columns and news briefs on national security, foreign affairs and U.S. politics each month for the magazine's "Rapid Fire" section.