Tuesday, 25 February 2020
Written by Jeff Thompson
Fayetteville Technical Community College has again been ranked among the top five Military Friendly® large community colleges in the nation for 2020-21. The prestigious designation by the national Military Friendly® Schools Program affirms FTCC’s commitment to providing military members, veterans and their families with high-quality educational services that are affordable and convenient.
A wide range of classes and programs are available in a variety of settings on FTCC’s campuses at Fort Bragg and online. The school awards appropriate credits for prior military learning and follows up with comprehensive services to meet the special educational needs of military personnel and their families. FTCC’s All American Veterans Center on the school’s main campus provides educational assistance and support to veterans. A Transition Tech program provides industry-focused training for military members who are preparing for civilian life.
The North Carolina Military Business Center headquartered at Fayetteville Tech works to support the integration of skilled transitioning military personnel and veterans into the civilian workforce.
The mission of the NCMBC is to leverage military and other federal business opportunities to expand the economy, grow jobs and improve quality of life in North Carolina. “FTCC is pleased to be recognized again nationally as one of the best Military Friendly colleges in the large community college ratings,” said Dr. Mark Sorrells, FTCC’s senior vice president for Academic and Student Services.
The Military Friendly® Schools rankings are compiled each year by Viqtory, an independent media firm that promotes economic opportunities for veterans, transitioning service members and military spouses. The 2020-21 Military Friendly® Schools list will be included in the May issue of G.I. Jobs magazine, which is published by Viqtory and is also available at www.militaryfriendly.com. The term “military” refers to all people in the military community, including active duty, reserve and National Guard service members, veterans and military spouses. It’s a trademarked name because there are several copycat military lists and ratings programs that don’t possess the rigor and history of Military Friendly®.
The ratings are based on extensive data from public sources and responses from a proprietary survey. Final ratings are determined by combining the institution’s survey scores with the assessment of the institution’s ability to meet thresholds for student retention, graduation, job placement, loan repayment, persistence and loan default rates for all students and, specifically, for student veterans. More than 1,000 schools participated in the 2020-21 survey, with 695 earning the Military Friendly® designation.
The rankings distinguish the top 10 Military Friendly® schools in several categories, including large community colleges. Top 10 schools, such as FTCC, are awarded gold status, as are those that score within 10% of the 10th-ranked school. Visit https://www.faytechcc.edu/military-veterans to learn more about FTCC’s programs for the military and veterans.
Fayetteville Technical Community College was established in 1961 and serves over 38,000 students annually by providing over 280 occupational, technical, general education, college transfer and continuing education programs to meet the needs of students and the community. It is the fourth-largest community college in the state and boasts one of the largest Continuing Education departments. Visit FTCC’s website at www.faytechcc.edu.
Tuesday, 25 February 2020
Written by Jeff Thompson
The Pentagon is reviewing whether there needs to be a troop withdrawal in Africa. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and a bipartisan group of lawmakers, united against a Trump administration plan to withdraw U.S. troops from part of Africa, pushed back in an exchange with Defense Secretary Mark Esper during a recent meeting. Graham and Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., led the charge telling Esper that Congress would not support a U.S. troop withdrawal from the Sahel region in Africa, laying out the reasons to keep the troop presence there. At one point, Graham allegedly told Esper that he could “make your life hell.” Graham denied making the comment.
Several other lawmakers laid out their case forcefully. “From a broad security standpoint, the Sahel is a tinderbox of terrorist activity and where violent extremist organizations look to use the space to recruit, adapt and evolve,” AFRICOM spokesman Air Force Col. Chris Karns said.
Army Gen. Stephen Townsend, AFRICOM commander, is on record saying that violent extremist group activity in the region has increased 250% since 2018.
The Sahel is the geographic zone in sub-Saharan Africa between the Atlantic ocean and the Red Sea. It includes several nations plagued by international terrorist groups, including Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Nigeria. More than a dozen terrorist groups with links to the Islamic State or al-Qaida, like Boko Haram and al Shabaab, are operating there and other parts of Africa.
The upsurge in violence from extremist groups in West Africa is moving south from Mali into Burkina Faso, a former French colony that suffered more than 2,200 civilian deaths in 2019 — a steep increase from the nearly 300 civilian deaths in 2018. Thousands of people in Burkina Faso have been displaced because of the violence. Most recent estimates from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs indicate that more than 500,000 people were displaced between January 2019 and January 2020 in Burkina Faso.
Graham and Coons argued that the number of American troops there is small, the cost to deploy them is low and withdrawal would abandon a major ally in France, whose army is leading the fight against the terrorists there. The U.S. has approximately 6,000 troops in Africa, including 1,000 special operations troops in the Sahel, the region where four Fort Bragg Green Berets lost their lives two years ago. American forces train local troops, provide aerial refueling to French military planes and collect intelligence.
The senators noted that this is the exact model the Trump administration has been pressing for, where another country leads militarily while the U.S. backs the effort. Graham said it would make no sense to abandon an area where that arrangement is working. Esper explained that he is trying to carry out the National Defense Strategy, which cites Russia and China as the biggest strategic competitors to the U.S., and is attempting to shift American troop priorities accordingly.