Tales of a dirtbag Airman. Jack Teixeira, Security Clearances, Opinions

I’m sure the military will figure this out.

When I saw dirtbag, it’s a term that it’s out of playful endearment or out of actual…disdain for being a true dirtbag that betrayed the trust of others.

When I heard about Jack Teixeira, his beliefs reminded me of Timothy McVigh, yet, since he’s a Zoomer, and likely a dork, luckily not radicalized like McVigh, he was caught up playing video games like Call of Duty. Another Zoomer raised on 8chan in the post-BLM USA where the pre-existing (predominately white) “patriot” culture has morphed into cerebral bleh that threads upon Joe Rogan/Johnny Bravo conspiracy, pro-cop and military YouTubers like Popo Medic, etc. Also, the Republican Party is more pro-Russia and anti-Ukraine. Not saying that Jack was political, yet, ironically most of the “stop the war” rhetoric is coming a mix of traditional Vietnam era inspired liberal pacifists like Democracy Now! but also some Republicans who lowkey admire Putin or his conservative Russia. The Far Right which has a large impact on 8chan culture, “coldwave”, memes, etc., is pro-Russia, despite the early obfuscation in the Ukraine War about Ukraine only having Neo Nazis, etc.  

Jack represents younger men and women who grew up in a postmodern landscape of conspiracy theory, MAGA, the Far Right, the Far Left, irony, Rick and Morty, memes, Twitch, Discord, OnlyFans, porn hubs, etc. Everything that Baudrillard, Philip K Dick, etc., talked about is…here. Zoomers are the true generation of the “future” because Millennials at least remember a world before full integration with computers, i.e., DVDS, VHS, newspapers, hell, even the Dewey Decimal System.

We live in a world where a Neo Nazi in France or Russia can divert funds using Bitcoin where he made such money to mine crypto was made pimping Eastern European cam models, and then give money to content creators in the US to spit out videos about Hitler, Indo Aryans, etc., while also having an army of loyal follower speaking with code and memes on social media as to not violate terms of service.  

Also, no offense to the National Guard, but being state based, i.e., more local based, there is likely higher likely hood of nepotism, and there is no testing for rank in the National Guard unlike Active Duty, but rather promotions are based on a mix of time in grade, openings, etc. Joining the National Guard is more like applying to a job, and once a unit wants you, they ship you off to basic training mixed in with active-duty troops. In times of war or on federal orders, the Guard becomes Active Duty.  

In other words, Jack could have had a great career. All he had to do was work, make ranks, stay on good terms with commanders, self study, and move up. Not as rigid of a career path as Active Duty. And, he was serving near Cape Cod…not a bad place to serve. I wish I did he ANG rather than Active Duty to be honest. They also deploy a lot so there is the chance of adventure.

It’s no surprise that Jack’s stepdad was a career member of the same unit he was in. So, Jack to some extent had inside clout going into his Guard Unit.  

The military is ultimately about manpower and readiness. As a result, the culture for such as large department with its various sister-services/branches, etc., there’s not much time to “wait on people”. In other words, a commander’s main responsibility is to get a troop trained and ready to go to war, so because of this important need, it seems our security clearance culture for troops often ends up being rushed out of necessity. When I reported to my first duty station, it took only a few weeks to get my clearance, because you need it to do the job, yet, do you really? Anyways, it takes an act of God to get anything done in the military as far as cultural changes. Change is often reactionary in such large organizations rather than pre-emptive, e.g., look at the various changes in recruitment and physical appearance standards as a means of alleviating the recruiting “crisis”. From the President, Congress with its various hearings on security/military affairs, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but also other agencies like the Office of Personnel Management who may help with conducting background checks.

This culture of quick readiness of raw recruits into battle ready troops is delicate game. No squadron level Commander wants to report up the chain that the so-and-so didn’t pass their Career Development Courses or can’t pass a background check, etc.

Manpower, manpower, readiness, readiness, readiness, etc. You are a number in a formula that’s a part of larger calculus only the big wigs at the Pentagon, White House, Armed Services Committee, and Intel agencies understand.

Regardless, it is my feeling having served in the Air Force (only 4 years, though I was honorably discharged) and having grown up in the United States Army thus exposed to military life from a young age.

My humble recommendation for any person with actual power reading this is that Security Clearances should not simply be based on job, but should factor in age, rank, and completion of CDCs. Or, we may need to reassess what levels of clearance are required for specific jobs. For example, Top Security or TS/Secure Compartmentalized information (SCI) may only need eligible for E5s or E-5 selects. A Secret Clearance could be for E4s and below, though with high rank supervision, a lower enlisted person can handle certain aspects of TS information after a commander makes a certain determination if they truly need access to that information.

Also, the military I feel needs to change recruiting culture and its security clearance process in general. For example, as I wrote in a prior post, younger generations are not being comprised by marijuana, which is a disqualifier needing a waiver for entry into the force, but it’s how much time they spend online. There have been at least 4 major leaks including this one with the others being Reality Winner, Edward Snowden, and Chelsea Manning. In no way was “marijuana” (not legal in most US states and some NATO allies), but it was being politicized and being sucked up in the conspiracy theory-based internet. If it were me, I would stop asking about marijuana use for entry, re-entry, or for security clearances (unless a person was arrested for an actual criminal offense such as distribution or intent to distribute), but instead ask recruits for all their social media so it can be assessed by threat-specialists, psychologists, etc.

See Rand Corporation article stating marijuana doesn’t affect performance (https://www.rand.org/blog/rand-review/2021/10/army-enlistment-waivers-in-the-age-of-legal-marijuana.html)

According to the New York Times, by authors Dave Philipps, Jenna Russell, Jacey Fortin and Haley Willis (2023) Airman Jack Teixeira grew up in a family with strong military ties in Dighton, Mass., a town of about 8,000 people near the Massachusetts-Rhode Island border that retains a distinctly rural character, with tractors in backyards, fresh eggs for sale in roadside honor boxes and old stone walls rambling through woods. It is also reliably conservative.” Further, His stepfather retired as a master sergeant from the same Air Force intelligence unit where Airman Teixeira worked, headquartered on a base on nearby Cape Cod. He also has a stepbrother in the Air Force, according to a profile for the brother on LinkedIn (2023). He was a low-level computer tech at Otis Air National Guard Base in Sandwich, Mass., where his mother said he worked nights, helping maintain secure networks, which the New York Times pointed out as being the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System. (Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2023/04/15/us/jack-teixeira-pentagon-leak.html)

I assume he was working with the 102nd Intelligence Wing, which when activated by federal orders falls under the Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency.

For those not familiar with the military, there is the Total Force Structure comprising Active Duty (full time troops), the Reserves (the part time component of federal Active Duty, though you have full time Reservists), and the National Guards which are descendants in theory of the old state militias. The National Guards have Army and Air Force components. These are not to be confused with purely state ran State Defense Forces who get no federal benefits, retirement, etc. National Guardsmen can be DGR Drill Guard Reservists, i.e., weekend warriors like part timers in the Reserve components, or one can be an AGR Active Guard Reserve.

He was assigned as a Cyber Transportation System Specialist (which falls under the Intelligence career field) under Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC) 3D1X2 and was a Journeyman.

You are assigned an AFSC in the Air Force, which is Air Force Specialty Code, like the Army’s concept of a MOS (Military Occupational Specialty). Within our AFSC you get a number embedded into the number detailing your job competency level, e.g., 0 (technically you’re a grunt in BMT), 1 (Helper – while you attend Tech School), 3 (Apprentice – on the job training while you complete your Career Development Courses and OJTs which on the job tasks), 5 (Journeyman – once you pass your CDC Exams, you can in theory “do the basics of the job yourself), 7 (Craftsman – is for Staff Level and above fields), 9 (Superintendent – for E8s which are Master Sergeants who can often serve as “First Shirts”, i.e., Senior Enlisted advisors to Officers and notably Squadron Level Commanders and above).

According to the United States Air Force’s public recruitment website, this occupation is more like a glamorized IT server and communications job. “Whether it’s repairing a network hub at a stateside base or installing fiber-optic cable at a forward installation overseas, these experts keep our communications systems up and running and play an integral role in our continuing success”.

The job requires you to complete the 7.5 weeks Basic Military Training at Lackland AFB, pass a background check, not be color blind, and have some lose principles of video networking and electronics. If anything, it seems right up the alley of most tech savvy Millennials and Zoomers who grew up splicing together streaming videos, building their own gaming computers, etc.  After BMT, airmen got to Keesler AFB in Mississippi not far from Biloxi for 136 days, so about 4 months and a week. Successful completion of BMT, Tech School, and any other civilian accredited college credits one has will go towards their Associates form the Community College of the Air Force, where in the case of the Cyber Transportation Systems AFSC would be an Associates in Electronics Systems Technology.

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