This week, the START project published its report covering 2018, a year when the Islamic State was steadily Online Cigarettes Store USA losing its territorial caliphate in Syria (the group lost most of its territory across the border in Iraq the previous year) and Al-Qaeda-affiliated groups were asserting their presence in Africa. While the product is quite detailed, full of numbers and trends across a wide constellation of countries on multiple continents, several findings stand out immediately. Deep in the dark North Carolina woods, a small white light flickers in the heavy underbrush. It's after midnight and a soldier is taking a risk by turning on his headlamp to find his way.
The overnight land navigation test is just one hurdle in the grueling, monthslong course to join the Army's elite Special Forces, and using the light violates the rules. Just the night before, at least 20 commando hopefuls had either committed a disqualifying failure or given up in the drenching rain.
"We got a light!" barks an Army instructor from the front seat of his truck as he patrols the woods. Almost instantly the Newport Cigarettes Shop tiny white beacon goes out as the soldier spots the truck headlights and tries to escape detection.
For the nearly 200 candidates scrambling through Hoffman Forest at Camp Mackall, the struggle to become a Green Beret is real. But Army commanders are making sweeping changes to shorten and revamp the course. The aim is to meet evolving national security threats and to shift from a culture that weeds out struggling soldiers at every point to one that trains them to do better.
The changes that are beginning now have led to resentment among some Special Forces that the brass wants to make it easier to pass the Newport 100s Box qualification course as a way to boost lagging recruiting numbers and ensure that women will eventually qualify. The fear, such critics say, is that Green Berets will become weaker and "dangerously less capable than ever before."