Tuesday, July 07, 2015

LCS and the Copybook Headings

Our friend James Holmes is helping keep up the thumping of LCS.

Like we did here last week - he fold in the new and the tired-and-true issues that have been with LCS from the start. Again, this ongoing critique is essential in order to push back against the spin, excuses and apologia that will not stop as this snake-bit ship program takes up more and more space pierside - diluting the per-unit tactical and operational utility of our fleet.

As you should with all of Jim's work - read it all;
Has the U.S. Navy become the Haight-Ashbury of sea power? In a way. Service leaders, it appears, sometimes succumb to the urge to start from zero—dispensing with long-accepted verities. Exhibit A: the newfangled littoral combat ship, or LCS. Ever notice how often you hear about “new” innovations relating to these fledgling surface combatants? This week over at DOD Buzz, for instance, Kris Osborn reports on how USS Fort Worth is “launching a new expeditionary maintenance capability designed to improve the ship’s ability to conduct repairs in transit while on deployment in the Pacific theater.” The world is made new.

Except no. It turns out that Fort Worth is innovating by … carrying spare parts for its machinery. And tools to install those parts! Who’d’ve thought the crew of a 3,400-ton ship—bigger than a World War II destroyer—could make routine repairs and conduct maintenance without putting into port?

The answer: every generation of American sailors until this one.
—the guardians of fixed truths about human competition and war—should turn out in force when radicals maintain that the nature of war has changed, that high-tech wizardry can dispel the fog of war, or what have you. Devil’s advocates should do their damnedest when proponents of gee-whiz technology claim to have been liberated from fundamental principles that rule naval warfare. Naval warfare has not been made anew. No one can start out from zero. That’s the lesson from the littoral combat ship.
Next up - let's discuss the fact that the PSYOPS and national prestige utility of a warship is significantly handicapped when, brand new, it looks like a 53-yr old tramp steamer.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Do Not Welcome Your New Overlords

The Naval War College's Tom Nichols has a powerhouse of an article over at The Federalist that you need to take time to read in full.

... and yes, this is exactly the kind of subject a professor at a war college in a representative republic of free people should be writing about.

If there is no liberty, free conscience, or obnoxiously open dialog without a threat to one's life, liberty, or property - then what is the ultimate purpose of the military? What is it defending?

If the Constitution that we all swore an oath to no longer functions, what use is it all? Who are you serving? Why? To what end?

The Unites States is not a nation of a people, of an ethnicity, or even geography - it is a republic of ideas; and experiment in self-governance.

Those driven by power, ideology, or ego are always going to push back the border of individual liberty. If we are not always on guard against the creeping forces of oppression, they will advance. In our nation, when they advance far enough, the experiment fails. Something else is born - but not something this nation as constituted "is."

So yes - more important than SLOCs and pivots. Liberty is neither of the left nor right - it is not political in that sense. It is worth defending and is, to use a phrase, a hill worth dying on.

We need to not just understand who are the enemies - yes I use that work intentionally - of liberty, but to know their different flavors and as a result, be able to call them what they are when we see them.
Totalitarians are a different breed. These are the people who have a plan, who think they see the future more clearly than you or who are convinced they grasp reality in a way that you do not. They don’t serve themselves—or, they don’t serve themselves exclusively—they serve History, or The People, or The Idea, or some other ideological totem that justifies their actions.

They want obedience, of course. But even more, they want their rule, and their belief system, to be accepted and self-sustaining. And the only way to achieve that is to create a new society of people who share those beliefs, even if it means bludgeoning every last citizen into enlightenment.
It is not enough for these Americans to say: “I have had my day in court and prevailed.” In effect, they now add: “You do not have the right to hold a different opinion, even if you lose in the public arena. You may not hold on to your belief as a minority view, or even as a private thought. And if you persist and still disagree, I will attack you without quarter and set others on you to deprive you of your status in your profession, of your standing in your community, and even of your livelihood.”

This attitude promises social warfare without end, because there is no peace to be had until the opposing side offers a sincere and unconditional surrender. It means that the people on the Left taking bakers to court, de-Africanizing Justice Thomas, and making Young an accomplice to rape will not be satisfied with winning. For the new totalitarians, prevailing in the courts or at the ballot boxes isn’t enough if there’s still a suspicion that anyone, anywhere, might still be committing thoughtcrime.

Most of all, they do not want you, Present Reader, to even think about agreeing with people like Thomas or Young. By attacking everyone in the public sphere from judges to writers, they’re sending a clear warning that there’s plenty of room in the bonfire. It is a vow that you will be held to account for your personal thoughts, even if you’ve already been defeated in a democratic or judicial contest.

No, even after losing, you will be forced to admit the error of your ways. You must accept that you’ve sinned. You must discard your own values and accept the ideas of your betters. You must denounce yourself for undermining the construction of a better world.

You, too, must love Big Brother.

Unsettled Europa

Paul Taylor's article from Reuters is dominating my post July 4th pondering as I work to get my head around the different courses of action going forward from Greece's "No" vote;
Four great crises around Europe's fringes threaten to engulf the European Union, potentially setting the ambitious post-war unification project back by decades.
The EU's unity, solidarity and international standing are at risk from Greece's debt, Russia's role in Ukraine, Britain's attempt to change its relationship with the bloc, and Mediterranean migration.
Rem Korteweg of the Centre for European Reform compares the interlocking crises to the four horsemen of the apocalypse in the New Testament Book of Revelation: harbingers of a "day of judgment" representing conquest, war, famine and death.
"The EU's leaders will find it hard to tame these four horsemen," the Dutch thinker wrote in an essay. "If a European answer cannot be found, the horsemen will continue to promote chaos, instability and mutual recrimination within the EU."
The post WWII European experiment with peace has, in fits and starts, been a success. It has been a possibility by two things; a desire of the parliamentary democracies of Europe to work around the table vice the trench line, and the moderating influence of the USA on the continent.

With both of those foundations thinning, one has to worry about regression to the mean.

Friday, July 03, 2015

Fullbore Friday

What are you willing to do for an idea? What do you owe for the gifts provided to you from those who you did not even know?
Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died.

Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured.

Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War.

They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. What kind of men were they?
Read it all and get a flavor for what this is actually about.



Thursday, July 02, 2015

Diversity Thursday

I can't understand why they didn't have people clawing over each other to join.

Now, get your Venn diagrams ready so you know who they don't care about.

EEO? Sure.

-----Original Message-----
From: All Hands Messages
Sent: Wednesday, June 10, 2015 11:42 AM


This is the last week to apply.....

This is a great opportunity to get involved and make a difference. We're looking for individuals interested in learning about each other and discussing and developing new and better ways to address work topics such as recruitment, retention and development and to eliminate barriers that impact all of us at WD and NAVAIR.

Join a team that you know nothing about and expand your horizons or continue on a team where you're making a difference - we all have the ability to make an impact, and we look forward to having you on a team!

If you have any questions, contact WD's Special Emphasis Program Manager (SEPM), Lisa [redacted], at (805) 989-[redacted] or elizabeth.[redacted]@navy.mil.

Thank you,

Dana [redacted]
Deputy EEO Officer
Department of Navy
Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division
(760) 939-[redacted] DSN (437)
Fax (760) 939-[redacted] (DSN 437)

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Thursday, May 28, 2015 12:24 PM
Subject: Apply to join NAVAIR's diversity advisory teams by 12 June

NAVAIR civilian and military employees,

Please consider applying to become a member of one of NAVAIR's diversity advisory teams that support NAVAIR's Executive Diversity Council and are led by flag officer and SES champions:

--African-American Pipelines Advisory Team
--Asian-American Pacific Islander Team
--Hispanic Engagement Action Team
--Individuals with Disabilities Action Team
--Women's Advisory Group

To apply, visit https://survey.navair.navy.mil/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.Survey&key=20652F70-3088-4980-BEB4-8D8324EE5023. Applications are due by Friday, 12 June.

The diversity advisory teams provide an open forum to discuss and work topics such as recruitment, retention and development and eliminate barriers that impact full participation of these groups in the NAVAIR workforce. All teams address the need to develop an inclusive culture within NAVAIR that values diversity to continue to enable all employees to work effectively and enjoy satisfying and rewarding careers.

Membership requirements:
--Commit to spending approximately 3-5 hours per month --Attend a meeting once a month with the team via video teleconference to all sites --Participate on core teams and in NAVAIR's mentoring program --Be a civilian or military employee of any grade or rank and at any site

Participation on these teams is a collateral duty. No chargeable object will be provided to members when working on team assignments. Applicants are encouraged to talk to their supervisor to obtain approval to participate on the team. Applicants will be asked to verify their supervisor supports their participation on the team and understands the requirements for participation.

If you have any questions, contact Colleen [redacted] at 301-342-[redacted] or colleen.m.[redacted]@navy.mil. For more information on the teams, visit https://mynavair.navair.navy.mil/portal/server.pt/community/navair_diversity___equal_employment_opportunity/1485/navair_executive_diversity_council/64486.

Thank you,
Total Force Strategy & Management Department

OK STEM folks, here is your chance for a little math. Take all the salaries and overhead costs for the resident grievance-pimps in the EEO shop. Now, take all their self-licking ice cream cones identified about and multiply by the "3-5 hours per month."

Now stretch that out DOD wide.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Flournoy, Fontaine and the Path Not Followed

There is something to be said for the "go big or go home" school of defense policy. A nation's reputation is a fragile thing, not to be trifled with. Decades and centuries of accrued national capital can be wasted in an amazingly short period of time.

Though sometimes lost through the superior efforts of a stronger external force, most great powers throw away the hard work of their predecessors from internal weakness and bad decisions.

Great nations can impose their will on a global scale without firing a shot, simply based on economic power, superior military force, or just a reputation based on past use of both.

With action there is risk, and every action must be fully evaluated with risk in mind. A firm understanding of history must reinforce that in the field of arms, things are rarely as simple, cheap, or fast as can be briefed by those who are selling their bright, shiny idea. 

Once can bring too much force to a problem, but the only downside to that is the accountants "what if'n" you to death. Bring too little to do the job? People will be "what if'n" you for centuries over graves, changed borders, and strange imperial capitals without empires.

Going big can mean tank divisions, but it doesn't have to. It can just mean going big with a certain concept, and you go to win.

In a very important piece over at WaPo, Michèle Flournoy and Richard Fontaine firmly set a marker back to a very successful and traditional bi-partisan consensus point in the diplomacy and national security arena. 

Set opposite the discredited war-is-new theories of the interventionist right and left; nation building and responsibility-to-protect, they provide a way forward that could garner support from both parties, even with the acknowledged constraints and restraints we have to realistically consider;
The announcement this month that 450 additional U.S. trainers and support troops will deploy to Iraq represents a modest step forward in the fight against the Islamic State. But the move by itself will not turn the tide in a faltering effort. To succeed in the president’s ambition of ultimately destroying the Islamic State — or even to contain its gains or roll them back — a broader and more intensive effort is needed.
Iraq is the locus of the current U.S. military effort against the Islamic State, and the administration’s strategy of working with and through Iraqi forces is the right one to achieve gains that are sustainable over the long term. But the execution of this strategy has lacked the urgency and resources necessary for success. A re-energized and more forward-leaning approach should combine the following elements:
- Establish an integrated political-military plan for Iraq. ...
- Provide arms directly to Sunni tribes and the Kurdish peshmerga. ...
- Embed Special Operations forces at the battalion level and allow them to provide advice during operations. ...
- Intensify the coalition air campaign and deploy forward air controllers to call in close air support during combat. ...
- More meaningfully aid the Syrian opposition. ...
- Intensify the global campaign against the Islamic State. ...
Together, these steps would mark a significant intensification in the campaign against the Islamic State, especially in Iraq. Yes, they would involve putting a small number of U.S. “boots on the ground” and would expose our troops to greater risk. Yet the risks of inaction are greater still. If we have learned anything since 9/11, it should be the need to deny sanctuary to a terrorist group that wreaks unspeakable violence and brutality against all except those who share its tortured worldview.
I have been critical of the steps we have taken from Libya to Afghanistan over the last few years - mostly because we never seemed in it to win it, with half-measures and timidity that only encourages our enemies and frustrates our friends.

F2's plan? In it I see a broad bi-partisan consensus point that a plurality could gel around, but to do that, it would take executive leadership. Leadership that simply is not there to do the above.

So. We wait - but as we wait, the world and the Islamic State will keep moving. Where will it find us in early 2017? Who knows, but whoever is waiting for the 3am call will not have an easy job to do.