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VA loans and new construction: When, and how, it can work | Military Times

One often-asked question about the VA home loan process skips over the “home” part entirely: Can veterans use the benefit to buy land? The short answer: No. The long answer is more complicated. VA-backed loans are designed solely to help a veteran purchase a primary residence, so if there’s no residence, there’s no loan. But an eligible veteran can apply for what VA calls a ... Read More »

Syria war: Who are Russia’s shadowy Wagner mercenaries? | BBC News

Russian mercenaries are reported to be in the thick of the fighting in Syria, helping President Bashar al-Assad’s forces. One shadowy group in particular, called Wagner PMC (Private Military Company), hit the headlines because of a clash on 7 February that resulted in dozens of Russian casualties. The toll of dead and wounded is disputed, but it is still not ... Read More »

Step inside the Texas school district that already arms its teachers | CNN

While the nation debates whether teachers should carry guns to protect students from armed intruders, the question’s already settled in one Texas school district, where educators have had firearms on campus for years. And while no teacher in Callisburg, Texas, has been called on yet to fire a weapon in defense of a classroom, students in the Callisburg Independent School ... Read More »

Turkey sends police special forces to Afrin, signaling urban fight | Hurriyet Daily News

Turkey has sent hundreds of special operations teams and volunteer village guards into Syria’s Afrin district, where “Operation Olive Branch” against Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militants has been ongoing since Jan. 20. “God willing, you will perform your duties and return safe and sound,” Police Special Operations Chief Selami TĂŒrker said at a ceremony in Ankara on Feb. ... Read More »

US soldiers set to receive new Special Operations-style night vision goggles | Fox News

American soldiers may soon be issued new, advanced night vision goggles similar to the type used by elite U.S. Special Operations forces. Night vision innovation is essential for the U.S. military to continue to “own the night” in combat. Night vision goggles allow warfighters to see the enemy at night, or in the darkness of a cave, for example, as ... Read More »

GETTING TO KNOW IZZY EZAGUI, THE WORLD’S ONLY ONE ARMED SPECIAL FORCES SHARP SHOOTER | Bella New York

Izzy Ezagui is a 19-year-old American who enlisted in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). During a mortar attack on the border of the Gaza Strip, he lost his arm.  We sat down to get to know Izzy as he prepares to launch his memoir. In it, Ezagui recounts his tortuous trek through rehabilitation and then to re-enlistment as a squad commander ... Read More »

Lithuania to deploy special operations forces to Afghanistan in NATO train and assist role | The Defense Post

Lithuania is to deploy special operations forces to Afghanistan in a train and assist role in support of NATO’s Resolute Support Mission following requests from NATO and allies, the Ministry of National Defence said in a press release. The additional troops are to deploy to Kandahar in April and will train and assist local forces alongside American troops, the Thursday, February ... Read More »

This new blood test can detect traumatic brain injury in troops | Military Times

A new type of blood test is being used to detect mild traumatic brain injury, Army researchers have announced. It is the first blood test for use in evaluating mild TBI to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, according to a Feb. 14 release from the Army Medical Materiel Development Activity. “There are blood tests for many diseases on the market, ... Read More »

Afghanistan Unveils Plans for Controversial Militia Force | VOA

Afghanistan’s ministry of defense has announced the creation of a new militia force comprising about 36,000 men to defend areas that military-led operations have cleared of Taliban insurgents. The move comes despite long-running accusations of rights abuses against the existing Afghan Local Police, which consists of local militias trained and paid by the U.S. military. Defense Ministry spokesman, Dawlat Waziri, ... Read More »

Quantum recurrence: Everything goes back to the way it was | Science Daily

It is one of the most astonishing results of physics: when a complex system is left alone, it will return to its initial state with almost perfect precision. Gas particles, for example, chaotically swirling around in a container, will return almost exactly to their starting positions after some time. This “PoincarĂ© Recurrence Theorem” is the foundation of modern chaos theory. ... Read More »

Missouri Gov. Greitens, a former Navy SEAL, indicted | Navy Times

A St. Louis grand jury has indicted Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens on a felony invasion of privacy charge for allegedly taking a compromising photo of a woman with whom he had an affair in 2015, the city circuit attorney’s office said Thursday. St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner launched an investigation in January after Greitens admitted to an affair with ... Read More »

PLA equips special operations branch with QTS-11 integrated combat system, says report | Jane’s 360

China’s People’s Liberation Army Ground Force (PLAGF) has equipped a branch of its special operations forces with the QTS-11 infantry integrated combat system, according to a 22 February report by the state-owned Global Times newspaper. The Sky Wolf Commandos from the PLA’s Western Theater Command have been armed with the system during training to “adapt to future informatised warfare”, Weihutang, a column ... Read More »

Former US Navy SEAL admiral who planned Bin Laden raid praises Florida students’ courage in wake of school shooting | Business Insider

Bill McRaven, a former US Navy SEAL admiral, praised the courage and drive of students who survived the deadly school shooting in Florida. McRaven said he “learned to respect and admire their personal courage” of students who have become outspoken advocates of gun control after the tragedy. While US politicians have remained deadlocked on gun control for years as gun ... Read More »

AFSOC Commander Calls Reports of AC-130J Problems Overblown | Military.com

Critics should look at recent problems with the Air Force‘s newest AC-130J gunship as routine and not let them dictate how Air Force Special Operations Command intends to innovate and be combat ready in the future, the command’s top general said Thursday. “This is normal stuff that happens in test,” Lt. Gen. Brad Webb, AFSOC commander, told reporters during a roundtable ... Read More »

This is how Grey Ghost Precision wants to sex up your Glock | Military Times

Grey Ghost Precision has announced the availability of the newest addition to its Glock slide lineup. The new slide is dubbed the SPG-43 (v1 and v2), an aftermarket upgrade to the Glock 43 9mm pistol. This is news in a couple of ways, not least of which because they’re engineered and cut in house — that’s different from the majority of slide ... Read More »