President Trump Hosts Medal of Honor Recipients at White House

March 26, 2017


By Terri Moon Cronk

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, March 24, 2017 — A third of the nation’s living Medal of Honor recipients gathered at the White House today to commemorate Medal of Honor Day with President Donald J. Trump.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis also attended the ceremony, conducted in the Oval Office, which the president called a great tribute to everyone and a great tribute to the nation.

“Each of you has risen above and beyond the call of duty in defense of our country, our people, and our flag,” Trump told them. “You have poured out your hearts, your sweat and your tears like few others, and your blood — most importantly your blood — for the United States of America. We thank you, very much thank you.”

Soul of the Nation

Trump said the Medal of Honor recipients are “the soul of our nation, and a grateful republic salutes you. Constantly we’re saluting you. We have great admiration and respect, believe me, I know what you’ve been through.”

America writes the recipients’ names and deeds in its national memory, and will forever remember those who did not come home, but who died for the cause of freedom, he said.

The Land of Heroes

“In this room hangs the portrait of our 26th president, Theodore Roosevelt. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his courage alongside his band of Rough Riders at the Battle of San Juan Hill. … His medal, which is also displayed here, is a reminder of how blessed we truly are to live in the land of heroes. And you are our greatest heroes,” Trump told the Medal of Honor recipients.

“To all of those gathered here today, and to all of those warriors who could not be with us, we thank you. Your acts of valor inspire us — and they show us that there is always someone on the night watch to ensure a bright sun rises on America each and every morning,” he said.

Hero’s March!

March 23, 2017


Retired U.S. Army Col. Ben Skardon, 99, a survivor of the Bataan Death March, walks in the annual Bataan Memorial Death March with two Army medics at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., March 19, 2017. This was the 10th time Skardon walked in the event.

U.S. Army Reserve photo by Staff Sgt. Ken Scar

Dunford: Now is the Time to Address Military Readiness Shortfalls

March 22, 2017

2 CR conducts FTX/community engagement event

By Jim Garamone

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, March 22, 2017 — Military readiness must be bolstered, Defense Department leaders told the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee today.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the senators that sequestration gutted military readiness and asked the committee to approve a $30 billion amendment to the fiscal year 2017 defense budget request to help the department recover.

Dunford was quick to point out that service members are sacrificing and that because of those sacrifices, “the joint forces can defend the homeland and our way of life, we can meet our alliance commitments and we maintain an overall competitive advantage over any potential adversary.”

The general does not want any potential adversary to think the United States cannot defend itself. Still, if the current budget climate is allowed to continue, the U.S. competitive advantage will continue to erode, he said.

Military actions around the globe add their own special erosion. “Fifteen years of war have also taken a toll on our people and our equipment,” Dunford said. “Many of our men and women continue to deploy as much as they are home. Similarly, our platforms, weapons and equipment are showing signs of wear. In many cases, we have far exceeded the planned service life for our vehicles, our aircraft and our ships.”

Delayed Modernization

Budget battles also impose readiness blockages. “Eight years of continuing resolutions and the absence of predictable funding has forced the department to prioritize near-term readiness at the expense of modernization and advance capability development,” the general said. “We now face what has been described as a bow wave of modernization requirements for both our nuclear and our conventional forces.”

Potential foes see this, he said, and invest money into capabilities in space, cyber, electronic warfare and missile defense, again closing the gap between themselves and the United States.

“It’s important that we reverse that trend,” Dunford added.

The fiscal 2017 defense budget request is a much-needed first step and it will address the most urgent near-term readiness concerns, the chairman said. It will fund current operations, address personnel shortfalls, resource training and improve maintenance across the joint force. “The additional request for resources also allows us to procure limited quantities of needed equipment to fill holes in our deploying units,” he said.

The budget amendment also contains $5.8 billion for overseas contingency operations. This will allow the military to further accelerate the campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, Dunford said. “From my perspective, not having the OCO money will restrict our ability actually to accelerate the campaign and seize opportunities,” the general said. “We’ll lose some flexibility.”

The extra money is needed to buy spare parts, ammunition and for more soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines. “We really do have many of our people that are home about an equal amount of time to the time they deployed,” the chairman told the subcommittee. “I visited one U.S. Navy ship last September. They were under way in a previous 12 months 70 percent of the time. They were at sea because of an important ballistic missile defense capability.”

Equipment Shortages

The budget asks for some extra equipment. “We see that particularly in the case of the aviation enterprise, where units have fewer aircraft than they rate,” he said, which creates two problems.

The first is the unit doesn’t have the system needed to go to war. “The other is they don’t have sufficient aircraft to train,” Dunford said. “And so, our pilots also have degraded readiness as a result of not have sufficient aircraft.”

The chairman used a Navy squadron in Oceana Naval Air Base, Virginia, as an example. The squadron rates 10 aircraft, but actually has only five mission-ready aircraft. “You can’t get pilots to the right level of training proficiency on those five aircraft, which has two effects: one, is a readiness effect,” he said. “The other is, over time, is a morale issue. We see the same thing with helicopters in the Army.”

The chairman’s experiences over the past decade give him a much broader definition of readiness. “To me, it’s about what actions are necessary to make units whole, to allow them to be combat effective and deployable,” he said. “Today, it’s a combination not only of maintaining equipment that we have; not only addressing the spare parts shortfall, but actually … now replacing shadows [on] the ramp where equipment doesn’t physically exist in the unit at a material condition that would allow us to deploy it.”

Now is the time to address this situation, he said. Any delay just pushes the readiness problem down the road. The military will ensure that units deploying in harm’s way have the training, personnel, spare parts and equipment they need. But the units at home station will be stripped and the cost to bring readiness to acceptable levels will be much more farther down the budgetary road.

“So admittedly, some of these initiatives won’t realize a readiness benefit until 2019 or ’20, but if we don’t take the action in ’17, that will simply become 2021 or ’22,” he said.

St. Patrick’s Day

March 17, 2017

St. Patrick Day Parade

St. Patrick’s Day  –

For many, St. Patrick’s Day is all about going green. Green hair, green flags, green clothes, green jewelry, green cookies and most importantly, green beer. Every year since 1962, Chicago dyes the Chicago River green. However, the truth and meaning of the holiday remains hidden within the green shamrock.


As with St. Nicholas and St. Valentine, the holiday began as a celebration of St. Patrick.

Patrick was born to a British Roman Catholic family towards the end of the 4th century. When he was 16, Irish raiders attacked his town and kidnapped him. Patrick was taken as a slave to Ireland where he was forced into being a shepherd.

During this time, Patrick stated, “the Lord opened my mind to an awareness of my unbelief, in order that, even so late, I might remember my transgressions and turn with all my heart to the Lord my God.”

After six years in Ireland, Patrick claimed the voice of God told him to leave. Without hesitation, he escaped, walking 200 miles to a port where a ship took him to Britain.   However, Patrick’s journey was just beginning.

Soon after, Patrick claimed an angel visited him in a dream, this time telling him to return to Ireland as a missionary. He spent the next 15 years studying the priesthood. His extensive schooling partially resulted from Patrick trying to avoid his call from God, much like Jonah had done before him. His apprehension was understandable, due to his prior enslavement. Regardless, he finally put his faith in God and left for Ireland upon his ordination.

A nature-based pagan religion dominated the region where Patrick ministered. Paul instructed the Corinthians to “put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited.” (2 Corinthians 6:3) Patrick realized forcing them to throw away everything they knew and starting from scratch would be a “stumbling block” for most. Instead, following Paul, Patrick redefined familiar symbols with the Gospel.

The sun represented an important emblem to the people. Patrick combined a sun with a cross, creating the well-known Celtic Cross. He preached whatever life-giving powers they believed came from the sun are actually found in the cross.  Thus redirecting their worship of creation back to the Creator.

However, Patrick’s most famous analogy relates to the Trinity, or Triune God.

We know from scripture there is only one God:

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.” (Deuteronomy 6:4)

“I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God.” (Isaiah 45:5)

Yet in Genesis 1:26, God says “Let US make mankind in our image, in our likeness,” denoting the plurality of God. (emphasis mine in all verses)

That plurality is found in three separate persons:

  1. God the Father (Galatians 1:1)
  2. The Word (Jesus) was God…The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. (John 1:1, 14)
  3. Why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit . . . ? You have not lied to men but to God.” (Acts 5:3–4)
  1. At Jesus’ baptism, we see all three persons at once, confirming their distinctness.
  2. After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” (Matt 3:16-17)
  3. Jesus includes all three entities while instituting the Great Commission.
  4. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matt 28:19)
  5. Paul also emphasizes the Trinity in his Final Greeting in 2 Corinthians 13:14:
  6. “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”
  7. God tells us: “And there is no God apart from me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but me.” (Isaiah 45:21)
  8. But, “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” (Luke 2:11)
  9. So either God and Jesus are both Saviors, or together they are our only God and Savior.  As Jesus clearly proclaims, “I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30), he is telling us it is the latter.
  10. Many today still struggle with the concept of three entities in one God. As legend has it, so did the Irish Patrick ministered to.
  11. “You tell us that there are three gods and yet one,” the puzzled Irish said when St. Patrick was preaching the gospel to them in the 5th century AD. “How can that be?” The saint bent down and plucked a shamrock. “Do you not see,” he said, “how in this wildflower three leaves are united on one stalk, and will you not then believe that there are indeed three persons and yet one God?”
  12. Patrick used the 3-leaf clover to demonstrate the awesomeness of God to unbelievers. In one simple object, he revealed the beauty of our Heavenly Father, His only Son, and the Holy Ghost as separate entities yet one God. Patrick illustrated how the three leaves are at the same time, one leaf.
  13. If they were not all God, then we would be worshiping three gods. To accept this would go against all other scripture professing “one true God.”
  14. As stated in Patrick’s Confession:
  15. “For there is no other God, nor ever was before, nor shall be hereafter, but God the Father, unbegotten and without beginning, in whom all things began, whose are all things, as we have been taught; and his son Jesus Christ, who manifestly always existed with the Father, before the beginning of time in the spirit with the Father, indescribably begotten before all things, and all things visible and invisible were made by him. He was made man, conquered death and was received into Heaven, to the Father who gave him all power over every name in Heaven and on Earth and in Hell, so that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and God, in whom we believe. And we look to his imminent coming again, the judge of the living and the dead, who will render to each according to his deeds. And he poured out his Holy Spirit on us in abundance, the gift and pledge of immortality, which makes the believers and the obedient into sons of God and co-heirs of Christ who is revealed, and we worship one God in the Trinity of holy name.”
  16. Patrick is credited for taking Christianity to Ireland. Yet his mission described ministering to both believers and nonbelievers. Nevertheless, Patrick converted and baptized thousands. He spread the Gospel, producing over 300 churches. As a result, even as an Englishman, St. Patrick’s imprint forever remains in Ireland and its culture.
  17. Patrick, the Patron Saint of Ireland, is believed to have died on March 17th, which is his Feast Day. Once again, the world has distorted a traditional Church holiday, removing and denying its Christian roots and replacing them with secular festivities.
  18. Even for non-Catholics, every such holiday is an opportunity for Christians to put aside differences for a higher purpose; sharing the Gospel with those who may have never heard it. Many symbols and emblems displayed often come from traditions started in the church. They are given to us by God to start the conversation. The question is, how many of us will?

Mini Marine

March 17, 2017
 A Marine paints a child’s face during Mini Marines, an event to show military children what their parents do, at U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, S.C., March 11, 2017.
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Ashley Phillips

President Announces Picks for Senior Pentagon Posts

March 16, 2017


DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, March 16, 2017 — Patrick M. Shanahan of Boeing Co. is President Donald J. Trump’s choice to succeed Bob Work as deputy defense secretary, White House officials announced today.

The announcement also lists the president’s intention to nominate five other people for senior civilian positions at the Pentagon.

Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said in a statement that all are “highly qualified individuals” who were personally recommended by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

Mattis is grateful to Work for agreeing to continue serving until Shanahan is confirmed by the Senate, Davis said. Work’s steady leadership, he added, “is critical during this time of transition, and Secretary Mattis continues to have full confidence in him as he carries out crucial work in managing in the department.”

Shanahan, from Washington state, is Boeing’s senior vice president for supply chain and operations, responsible for oversight of the company’s manufacturing operations and supplier management functions. He came to that position from Boeing Commercial Airplanes, where he served as senior vice president of airplane programs and oversaw the management of profit and loss for the 737, 747, 767, 777 and 787 programs.

Previously, Shanahan was vice president and general manager of Boeing Missile Defense Systems and vice president and general manager for Rotorcraft Systems in Philadelphia, where he was responsible for all U.S. Army Aviation, including the Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, and the CH-47 Chinook and the AH-64D Apache helicopters.

Shanahan is a Royal Aeronautical Society Fellow, Society of Manufacturing Engineers Fellow, and an American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Associate Fellow. He serves as a Regent at the University of Washington and participates in numerous professional and charitable organizations, including the Washington Roundtable. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Washington and two advanced degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology: a Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering, and an MBA from MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

Other Selections

Selectees for other senior Pentagon posts include:

— Robert Daigle, of Virginia, selected to serve as DoD’s director of cost assessment and program evaluation. Daigle previously served in CAPE during the Bush administration as director of program resources and information systems management. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and mathematics from the University of Vermont. He was granted an MBA in finance from Columbia Business School and a Master of Science degree in international security studies from Georgetown University. Daigle is a professional staff member on the House Armed Services Committee and was the executive director of the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission. He previously served in the Army.

— Elaine McCusker of Virginia, selected to serve as principal deputy undersecretary of defense, comptroller. McCusker is the director of resources and analysis for Headquarters U.S. Central Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. Previously, she served as a professional staff member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, with the Navy Department and with the DoD comptroller’s office. McCusker previously worked in the private sector and the academic community, including with Argonne National Laboratory/Department of Energy and the University of Washington.

— David L. Norquist of Virginia, selected to serve as undersecretary of defense, comptroller. Norquist is a partner with Kearney and Company, a certified public accounting firm. He has 27 years of experience in federal financial management, beginning as a federal employee in 1989 with the Army Department. He also has served on the professional staff of the House Appropriations Committee’s defense subcommittee and as deputy undersecretary of defense in the DoD comptroller’s office. He was the first Senate-confirmed chief financial officer for the Department of Homeland Security, where he established a formal process to eliminate pervasive weaknesses in DHS’s financial statement and put the department on its path to a clean audit opinion. Norquist attended the University of Michigan, where he received both a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and a Master of Public Policy degree in 1989. He also received a Master of Arts degree in national security studies from Georgetown University in 1995. He is a certified government financial manager.

— Kenneth P. Rapuano of Virginia, selected to serve as an assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense and global security. Rapuano has a long career in national security and homeland security affairs in the private, public and academic sectors. He currently serves as senior vice president and director of the Studies and Analysis Group at the ANSER Corp., and previously led the Homeland Security Studies and Analysis Institute. Rapuano served as White House deputy homeland security advisor from 2004 to 2006, has served in numerous roles with the departments of Energy and Defense, and has deployed numerous times on active and reserve duty with the Marine Corps and as a civilian with the Defense Department.

— David Joel Trachtenberg of Virginia, selected to serve as principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy. Trachtenberg is the president and CEO of Shortwaver Consulting LLC, a national security consultancy. Prior to this role, he was vice president and head of the strategic analysis division at CACI-National Security Research. Trachtenberg previously served in several roles at the Defense Department, most recently as the principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for international security policy, where he was responsible for issues relating to NATO, Europe, Russia and Eurasia; technology security; counterproliferation; missile defense; nuclear forces; and arms control. Trachtenberg also was a professional staff member with the House Armed Services Committee. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in international relations from the University of Southern California and a Master of Science degree in foreign service from Georgetown University.

First American Woman in Space!

March 15, 2017


This American Female Space Pioneer inspired millions of women to study #STEM, and she even has a U.S. Navy research vessel named after her. This evening, we salute Sally Ride, the first American woman to fly in space. #WomensHistoryMonth

 DoD News

OC Veterans Annual Report

March 15, 2017


Orange County Veterans Initiative (OCVI) was launched in 2011 and then expanded in 2015 based on new findings from The State of the American Veteran: The Orange County Veterans Study, a report commissioned by OCCF to bring much needed attention to the challenges facing Orange County veterans. The first-ever comprehensive report on the needs of local veterans, it confirmed that many servicemen and women coming home to Orange County are significantly under-prepared for civilian life, – experiencing significant challenges ranging from not knowing where to find services, to lacking secure employment, to unmet physical and mental health needs.

OCVI aligns donors, businesses and community leaders to focus on three critical areas of need:

  • Transitioning to civilian life
  • Employment readiness and job skills
  • Health services, with an emphasis on mental health needs – in October 2015, with support from our generous donors, OCCF delivered $500,000 to seven nonprofits to support programs that provide a focused approach for transitioning veterans and their families.

The initiative’s key goal is to improve critical and fundamental services so that veterans:

  • Know where to go in Orange County to get the services they need
  • Develop trusting relationships with community providers
  • Are connecting early and proactively to services they and their families need
  • Obtain employment in career-oriented opportunities and positions
  • The funding allows high-performing nonprofit veteran service organizations to build their capacity to serve a broader audience.

See the full publication of the Orange County Veterans Study here: OC-Veterans-Study_USC-CIR_Feb-2015.pdf

Newsletter from Supervisor Todd Spitzer, OC District Three, Vol. 5 Issue VI

Iran Poses Threat to Centcom’s Area of Responsibility, Votel Says

March 9, 2017

Iraqi security forces and U.S. Army monitor progress, day one of the battle to liberate West Mosul

By Lisa Ferdinando

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, March 9, 2017 — Iran poses the most significant threat to U.S. Central Command‘s complex area of responsibility, Centcom Commander U. S. Army Gen. Joseph L. Votel told the Senate Armed Services Committee today.

Centcom has dealt with a number of significant challenges over the past 12 months, including in Iraq and Syria, Pakistan, Yemen, Egypt and the Sinai, the Bab-el-Mandeb strait, he said.

“We are also dealing with a range of malign activities perpetrated by Iran and its proxies operating in the region,” the general said at the hearing on the posture of U.S. Central Command and U.S. Africa Command.

“It is my view that Iran poses the greatest long-term threat to stability for this part of the world,” Votel said.

Iranian activities of concern, according to Votel, include “malign influence across Iraq and Syria,” and efforts to prop up the Syrian regime and exploit Shia population centers.

‘Highly Complex Area’

The Centcom area of responsibility, which covers four million square miles from the Arabian Gulf region into Central Asia, remains a “highly complex area, widely characterized by pervasive instability and conflict,” he said.

The region is “increasingly crowded” with external nation-states, including Russia and China, that are pursuing their own interests in attempting to shift alliances, Votel said.

“The central region has come to represent the nexus for many of the security challenges our nation faces,” he said, “and, most importantly, the threats in this region continue to pose the most direct threat to the U.S. homeland and the global economy.”

Violent extremist groups such as al-Qaida and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria are taking advantage of the fragile security environment of heightened ethno-sectarian tensions, economic uncertainty, and weak or corrupt governance, Votel explained.

“These groups have clearly indicated their desire and intent to attack the U.S. homeland, our interests abroad and the interest of our partners and allies,” he said.

Progress in Counter-ISIS Fight

The coalition against ISIS continues to build momentum in defeating the terrorists in Iraq and Syria, and is pressuring the terrorists on multiple fronts and across all domains, according to Votel.

He highlighted the importance of working with coalition members and partners on the ground.

“As you are seeing clearly demonstrated in Iraq and Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen and elsewhere throughout our area of responsibility, we have adopted a ‘by, with and through’ approach that places a heavy reliance on indigenous forces,” Votel said.

The counter-ISIS campaign, now in its third year, is on track with its military plan to defeat the terrorists in Iraq and Syria, according to Votel.

“While we must take the necessary actions to counter immediate threats, such as ISIS in Iraq and Syria,” Votel’s written statement to the committee said, “we also need to find ways to address these and other root causes of instability if we hope to achieve lasting positive effects in that part of the world.”

Afghanistan Update

The Afghanistan’s security forces are beginning their third year with full responsibility for security, with limited U.S. or coalition support, Votel pointed out.

While the Taliban made gains in 2016, the Afghan forces quickly responded and reversed some Taliban gains, he said. It is essential, according to the general, for the United States to continue to assist the Afghan forces in addressing capability gaps, including in aviation.

Votel said he and Army Gen. John W. Nicholson, the commander of the Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan, are developing advice and recommendations for Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on the way forward in Afghanistan.

“I do believe it will involve additional forces to ensure that we can make the advise and assist mission more effective,” Votel said.

U.S. Army Spc. Matt Schultz, a member of the U.S. Army advise and assist team, and members of the 9th Iraqi Army Division watch a tactical unmanned aerial system while commanding and controlling airstrikes and tracking the progress of brigades clearing the village of Bakhaira, Iraq, on the first day of the battle to liberate western Mosul, Feb. 19, 2017.U. S. Marine Corps photo by Capt. Timothy Irish 

U.S. Army Unit Bolsters Abrams Tanks With ‘Reactive’ Armor

March 7, 2017


By U. S. Army Capt. (Chaplain) Malcolm Rios

4th Infantry Division

GRAFENWOEHR TRAINING AREA, Germany, March 7, 2017 — Tank and maintenance crews from the 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment assigned here are giving their M1A2 Abrams main battle tanks a buffed-up look that improves the tanks’ overall defensive capabilities.

The crews, with the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, which is serving as the initial ABCT rotational force in support of Atlantic Resolve, began installing the Abrams Reactive Armor Tile system Feb. 28 to tank hulls and turrets.

Reactive Armor ‘Adds Extra Layers of Protection’

“The ARAT adds extra layers of protection to the tank and the crew members,” said Army 1st Sgt. Ryan Dilling, senior noncommissioned officer of Bravo Company, the first unit to install the tiles.

The tiles “are placed on both sides of the hull and turret,” Dilling said. “The reactive tiles prevent penetration [by] various weapon systems, such as rocket-propelled grenades.”

Beefing up U.S. armor also serves as a greater deterrent to acts of aggression against NATO nations as the combat team rolls out stronger tanks to conduct training with allies throughout Central and Eastern Europe, Dilling said.

The addition of the angled tiles to the 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment’s tanks has been a cooperative effort with the Army’s Warren, Michigan-based Tank-automotive and Armaments Command Life Cycle Management Command, said Army Maj. David Campbell, battalion operations officer.


“TACOM maintenance workers welded the brackets to hold the tiles on the tanks. After completion of the bracket welding, tank crews are then responsible for installing the reactive tiles,” Campbell said.

Deflecting the Blast

“Depending on what terrain you’re in, whether you’re in rural or urban terrain, the purpose of angled tiles is so that a blast will go down or upwards, which will allow the impact to deflect outward rather than at the tank crew,” Dilling said.

He said the angles of the tiles can be repositioned depending on the situation.

“If you have dismounts on the ground and they’re working in close proximity of the tank, you’d want to angle the tiles down so if there was a blast, it would go out and down to minimize the effect against soldiers nearby,” he said.

Dilling added, “If you were in an urban environment and you had adversaries shooting from second or third stories or even on rooftops and the tiles were activated, the blast would push out and upwards toward the threat.”

U.S. Army Capt. James England, Bravo Company commander, said the ARAT system adds protection while not inhibiting tank speeds.

“The ARAT looks like a good package,” England said. “In our current operating environment, should we have to engage a near-peer threat, we have to retain that mobility.”

Tank and maintenance crews with 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, install reactive armor tiles onto a M1A2 Abrams tank at the 7th Army Training Command’s Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany, Feb. 28, 2017. The installation of the Abrams Reactive Armor Tile system will enhance the tank’s defensive capabilities, providing a greater deterrent against aggression as the 3rd ABCT maintains a persistent presence in Central and Eastern Europe as the rotational ABCT for Atlantic Resolve. U. S. Army photo by Capt. (Chaplain) Malcolm Rios