Tuesday, February 09, 2016

As LCS Failure is Evergreen, so the Senate goes Salamander

When Sen. McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Reed (D-RI) turn even more Salamander on you ... well ... the front porch just shakes its head;
In the letter to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and Adm. John Richardson, chief of naval operations, McCain and Reed also said they were "concerned that Navy leaders are overstating the current state of the program and the challenging path to achieving the promised capability."

"We expect Navy leaders to acknowledge and close the chasm between aspirations and reality for the LCS," they wrote.

The senators contrasted comments made by Mabus in January about the ship and its "robust" capabilities -- "now that's a success story," he said in a speech -- with a more critical assessment this month from the Pentagon's chief weapons tester that disclosed new questions about the LCS's combat effectiveness and reliability.

"We seldom hear from Navy leaders about these challenges," wrote McCain of Arizona and Reed of Rhode Island.
Bingo. All this self inflicted woe, so avoidable, so predictable, so unnecessary - but like a stubborn drunk, perhaps we just need to hit rock bottom first.

What have we warned our Navy about for a decade here? In all the ongoing happy-talk about LCS, our Navy is still betting what little professional capital it has on The Hill for a sub-optimal platform we have forced on ourselves. Even in the face of clear programmatic implosion, while some acknowledge shortcomings, we still have high profile personnel speak and act as if the PPT has been made flesh.

When even career politicians hold your word in contempt and cynical scorn - perhaps it is time to re-evaluate our well worn habits of not acting like customers of the military-industrial complex, but their Baghdad Bobs.

Then again, as Congress continues to avoid the Salamander Bill on post-retirement employment of General Officers and Flag Officers. One has little reason to wonder why. It has been well over a decade, let me review for you;
GOFO shall not work for a publicly or privately held company that has business with the Department of Defense for a period not less than five years following their effective date of retirement.
Well I digress. Back to beating the Little Crappy Ship about the scuppers.

Here is what it is making us do. None of these statements are even remotely supported by an objective review of facts;
Asked about the letter, Rear Adm. Dawn Cutler, the Navy's chief spokeswoman, said, "We will continue to refine how we maintain, operate and deploy LCS based on what we learn in operational tests, maintenance and deployments."

"The first two deployments of LCS have been successful, but we still have work to do in order to better execute the mission for which this platform was designed," she said in an email.
In his Jan. 14 speech to the Surface Navy Association, a Navy industry support group, Mabus said that "a group of small surface ships like the LCS is still capable of putting the enemy fleet at the bottom of the ocean."
In the name of all that his holy SECNAV, with what? What fleet? With what weapon? Sure, we can take out the Icelandic cod fishing fleet, maybe ... but good googly moogly. And RDML Cutler, I know you're uber-PAO CHINFO and all, but please in the name of sweet Neptune, define "successful deployment?"

I would really like to go a week without beating up this sad and pathetic smear on the honor of our Navy, but it just won't let me. Just won't.

What could be this year's Pink Flamingo? Just as I hope that LCS will with enough money, luck, and Sailor's sweat be made something useful - what if it is actually even worse than I have thought all these years? What if by the election it is found so bad that we put in a "stop work" order on it?

Ponder that.

Please, prove us wrong ... but alas, alas, that great surface force, that mighty navy! For in one hour is thy judgment come.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Football and Leadership Under Crisis

In defeat, one can find lessons on how leaders comport themselves. True character is demonstrated under crisis.

This is how you do it;

This is how you don't;

Which One is the Climate Change OPLAN Annex Again?

Yes, you will have to ask that question fellow Staff Weenies.

Here is how you turn an E.O. in to a clown show.

We used to make fun of the Soviets for forcing on their military a bunch of political showmanship that had nothing to do with fighting and winning wars. We used to pride ourselves on a rigorous and disciplined approach to military planning from trying to define Centers of Gravity to making sure our Assumptions were sound and that our analysis of Critical Vulnerabilities etc was as close to accurate as could be.  Poor thinking or unrelated issues were quickly and without mercy cut. When a clean OPLAN was long enough you had to.

Well, you can forget that. We are moving to full Soviet clown show where political cargo cults are being forced on military planning - not because military professionals see it as important, but because The Party demands it.

First, Ref. A., Executive Order 13653 - Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change. Here are the juicy bits. Read all of Sections 4, 5, and 6. In part;
Sec. 4. Providing Information, Data, and Tools for Climate Change Preparedness and Resilience. (a) In support of Federal, regional, State, local, tribal, private-sector and nonprofit-sector efforts to prepare for the impacts of climate change, the Departments of Defense, the Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Energy, and Homeland Security, the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and any other agencies as recommended by the Council established in section 6 of this order, shall, supported by USGCRP, work together to develop and provide authoritative, easily accessible, usable, and timely data, information, and decision-support tools on climate preparedness and resilience.
... each agency shall develop or continue to develop, implement, and update comprehensive plans that integrate consideration of climate change into agency operations and overall mission objectives ...
How did this get translated in to action by The Pentagon?
To four-star generals and admirals, among them the regional combatant commanders who plan and fight the nation’s wars, the directive tells them: “Incorporate climate change impacts into plans and operations and integrate DoD guidance and analysis in Combatant Command planning to address climate change-related risks and opportunities across the full range of military operations, including steady-state campaign planning and operations and contingency planning.”

The directive, “Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience,” is in line with President Obama’s view that global warming is the country’s foremost national security threat, or close to it. Mr. Obama says there is no debate on the existence of man-made global warming and its ensuing climate change. Supporters of this viewpoint label as “deniers” any scientists who disagree.
The Pentagon is ordering the top brass to incorporate climate change into virtually everything they do, from testing weapons to training troops to war planning to joint exercises with allies.

A new directive’s theme: The U.S. Armed Forces must show “resilience” and beat back the threat based on “actionable science.”

It says the military will not be able to maintain effectiveness unless the directive is followed. It orders the establishment of a new layer of bureaucracy — a wide array of “climate change boards, councils and working groups” to infuse climate change into “programs, plans and policies.”
One interesting side-bar; I'll let you google it, but the phrase "Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience" is exactly copied from the standard issue bits from the Global Warming Climate Change industry papers. Not even trying to hide what they are doing. Funny, if not pathetic.

I'm not here to argue "climate change" any more than I will argue the daily cycle of light following darkness; darkness following light. That is not the issue. The issue is the forcing, the excessive translation of a lawful order from an E.O. to this shameless saddling of inefficiency.

Trust me, as a former planner who wrote no kidding OPLANS, if Climate Change needed to be part of one, we would have included it. If I suggested that we include it, I would have been laughed at by my peers, and reassigned to the exercise branch by my superiors.

Rightfully so.

This is, again, an own goal. This signals a the complete lack of seriousness and a leadership decoupled from reality. As Russia proves the value of hard power to force national will on others, we are creating huge bureaucratic processes that have nothing to do at all with serious tactical, operational, or strategic professional practice. 

As for the professional planners, sure, they will follow this directive, but it will only be pro-forma. Just like the self-criticisms that the Soviet Political Officers would force people to do, they will go through the motions. If we are lucky, all that will be expended to check the box for this hobby horse will be a tasker to the METOC officer to produce a 1 to 2 page Annex to the OPLAN stuck in the back and ignored.

If you are disappointed or angry, feel free. They didn't have to go full potato in response to the E.O., but they did.

Until an election allows serious adults to be appointed to leadership positions, and a CINC that will CANX that E.O. we just have to live with it.  That doesn't mean we can't slap it around a bit. It is worthy of scorn, satire, and general spite.

Is this driving procurement strategy? Is this driving CONOPS development? Or, as it appears, this is simply driving a political agenda using DOD time, personnel and resources?

There is a way to answer the mail without going the full Heaven's Gate - Hale-Bopp comet, but no - we are going to all in.

Here is who to blame.
The directive originated in the office of Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics. Final approval came from Deputy Defense Secretary Robert O. Work.

The directive is loaded with orders to civilian leaders and officers on specifically how counter-climate change strategy is to permeate planning.

“This involves deliberate preparation, close cooperation, and coordinated planing by DoD to provide for the continuity of DoD operations, services and programs,” it states.

“The DoD must be able to adapt current and future operations to address the impacts of climate change in order to maintain an effective and efficient U.S. military,” it adds. “Mission planning and execution must include anticipating and managing any risks that develop as a result of climate change to build resilience.”

Climate change must be integrated in:

• Weapons buying and testing “across the life cycle of weapons systems, platforms and equipment.”

• Training ranges and capabilities.

• Defense intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance.

• Defense education and training.

• Combatant commander joint training with allies to “assess the risks to U.S. security interests posed by climate change.”

• Joint Chiefs of Staff collaboration “with allies and partners to optimize joint exercises and war games including factors contributing to geopolitical and socioeconomic instability.”
You have a choice here. You can answer the mail without forcing yourself to become an advocate of a political agenda, or you can be a full-throated tool of The Party. You can just follow the minimum requirements of the lawful order with a shrug, or you can force yourself to be an advocate and signal to the Commissar what a good Party member you are.

Some people have chosen the later. Let them come forward so we can at least identify them. It will help the sorting later.

UPDATE: You can read DOD DIRECTIVE 4715.21 in full here.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Fullbore Friday

This may be a month where we open and close with FbF about the same person.

We will have to wait until the 29th for perhaps a bit more detail, but for now this is enough.

Exceptional Sailors doing exceptional things which they consider a normal part of their job.
A senior enlisted SEAL will be the first sailor in a decade to receive the Medal of Honor, for a mission to rescue an American civilian hostage in Afghanistan in 2012, according to a Tuesday release from the White House.

President Obama will present Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Edward Byers with the nation's highest award for valor in a Feb. 29 ceremony at the White House, the release said.
Much about the mission — and Byers' role in it — remains secret. While the White House usually gives a much more detailed account of what a service member has done to be awarded the Medal of Honor, Byers commendation cites only "his courageous actions while serving as part of a team that rescued an American civilian being held hostage in Afghanistan, December 8-9, 2012."
Sometime after midnight on Dec. 9, Joseph heard shots outside the shack where he was being held, he recounted in a 2014 book, "Kidnapped by the Taliban: A Story of Terror, Hope, and Rescue by SEAL Team Six."

"Is Dilip Joseph here?" shouted one of the heavily armed men, wearing night-vision goggles and speaking English. When Joseph identified himself, one of the SEALs — Joseph doesn't know for sure — immediately laid down on top of him to protect him from the fighting, asking about his welfare. Amid the gunfire, the SEAL calmly asked if he had been fed, if he could walk, and if he had been mistreated.

Five Taliban fighters were killed, according to USA Today. One Navy SEAL — the first one in the door, who the others called Nic — had been shot in the forehead.

As they waited for a helicopter 12 minutes out, the SEALs protected Joseph by "sandwiching" him between two team members.

Gen. Martin Dempsey, then-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, "strongly recommended" Byers for the Medal of Honor in December 2014, according to a memo obtained by USA TODAY under the Freedom of Information Act.

The ceremony was delayed in part by Byers' recent deployment, according to a senior Defense official who was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

A 1905 executive order by President Teddy Roosevelt requires that Medal of Honor recipients come to Washington to receive the medal from the president.

Byers will be the 11th living service member to receive the medal for actions in Afghanistan and the third sailor to earn the distinction since Sept. 11, 2001.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Diversity Thursday

Most DivThu just write themselves. This is one of those cases.

I do not like to get personal, but I make exceptions. Right behind terrorists, murderers, child abusers, wife beaters, and thieves - there are these people, those who inhabit Bolgia 8 and 9 of the 8th Circle.

With the rare exception of the admin support people who just need a paycheck and the very rare well meaning useful idiot, the halls of the entire Diversity Industry are populated with legions of otherwise unemployable people who are soaked in sectarianism, ethnic hate, self-loathing, and rent-seeking who are a burden on every organization who - by their own free will and not under existential threat - have one on their org chart.

Because their whole professional justification is morally corrupt, self-contradictory, and requires their every move to be hidden in word and act, it is only a matter of time until their lack of integrity seeps in to almost everything they do.

Their ideas and methods cannot survive open debate, fresh air, and the light of exposure - but as they have an inquisitor's ability to bully, threaten, and tarnish anyone strictly through groundless accusation, they remain relatively untouched.

The best organizations manage to establish a mildly functioning cordon sanitaire to keep that fetid intellectual sore from infecting the larger body - but it doesn't always work.

Enough of the intro, the regulars here know the rest. For now, via Luke Rosiak let us bask - once again - on the spawn of the Cult of Multiculturalism, the Diversity Industry, and the usual mix of the worst of petty human vices.

The Department of Defense’s (DoD) director of diversity broke rules to funnel more than a million dollars to groups like the NAACP and the office was home to numerous incidents of violence, auditors found.
Clarence A. Johnson is a member of the federal government’s Senior Executive Service and runs DoD’s Office of Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity. “My job is to grow, or focus on growing, the presence of minorities and women in the [GS]-12, 13, 14 pipeline,” Johnson told the IG, referring to the highest-paid federal employees.

The DoD received an allegation that Johnson was wasting “official representation funds” (ORF) which were used for “lunches and banquets” for “affinity groups” like the NAACP.

In 2001, the office spent $5,000 of these funds, but under Johnson by 2009 it had grown to $473,500, making it the “largest spender of ORF dollars” in its DoD division.
the diversity office entered into a new contract where he would pay a company which would serve as a pass-through for giving out the donations. He would still decide who they were given to. The contract was given without competition using racial set-aside provisions and the company, NCMS, kept a cut.

The contract was initially for $498,976–dollars less than the $500,000 threshold that would trigger a manual legal review. Then later, he added $36,000 to the contract.

Between August and October 2010, NCMS forwarded $226,000 in “sponsorship” payments to affinity groups.

$125,000 went to black groups and only $20,000 to Hispanic ones even though Hispanics outnumber blacks in the U.S.

The payments were called “sponsorships,” and were not permitted since the government is supposed to avoid giving seeming endorsements to outside groups except in certain conditions, which Johnson did not meet.
Great leader too. Congrats USAF; you promoted him up.
Johnson blamed subordinates, which the IG found “did not obviate his responsibility to ensure compliance” with ethics.
For those of us who are familiar with the work ethic of the Diversity Bullies, this will sound familiar;
The IG also found that travel costs in the diversity office were reimbursed without receipts, and a high-level GS-15 employee was known for “not showing up for work for long periods.” Johnson said the employee had a long commute but he was satisfied with his hours, but Johnson’s replacement while the director was on temporary reassignment said he “did not see the employee in the workplace and could not make contact during his first 6 weeks on the job.”
From travel claim problems, to sexual harassment, to just plain being a tool - there is much more.

Read the whole thing.

Oh, in case you think any of this is new over at DEOMI, you're just being silly. This is evergreen. From 2014;
An Army colonel who oversees training for the Defense Department's equal opportunity programs was suspended Tuesday and is under investigation.

Army Col. Morris "Reese" Turner, commandant of the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, was temporarily reassigned to other duties pending an investigation of alleged misconduct, Pentagon spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen said Monday.

Actually, it is sexy ... and important

Are you upset that unmanned carrier air is only going to do tanking in the immediate future?

Grow up.

I'm pondering over at USNIBlog.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Keeping an Eye on the Long Game: Part LXVII

What if the great Sino-American rivalry for world domination failed to launch? 

What if we are near, or at least within sight of Peak-China?

It is worth pondering. Just like generations have died waiting for Brazil to take its place on the world stage - what if China's t contradictions are just too much for it to take the place so many China hands expect it to?

China isn't a Communist nation anymore. She is a totalitarian quasi-socialist state with Chinese characteristics. That shapes everything.

There were two articles out recently that are worth your attention.

First, Robert Hein over at StrategyBridge;
In 2012, China’s workforce decreased by 3.5 million and is forecast to continue its decline. Some estimates indicate that by 2020 Shanghai, a city with almost 15 million people, will have a population in which fully one-third will be over age 60. Additionally, the Wall Street Journal estimates that by mid-century the population of China will consist of 186 single men for every 100 single women, a recipe for increased crime and dissension, (as well as a continued declining birth-rate). China’s ability to maintain a self-sustaining workforce is waning rapidly.
China has been unable to develop its education infrastructure to meet its requirements. The wealthy are able to send their children overseas, and China sends over a quarter million of its students to US colleges and universities. However their inability to meet educational demand domestically will limit their ability to meet professional domestic requirements, thus limiting their ability to make the transition to an advanced economy. Basically, China is great at making “things,” but how much has China actually developed?
China no longer finds comfort in an infinite event horizon; rather they are coming to a recognition that decline is imminent. China’s power is still rising, but the slope of that line is rapidly flattening, and China knows that if it doesn’t reach its objectives soon the opportunity may be lost. This suggests China is likely to become more aggressive in achieving their objectives in the coming decade. The best answer the West has to prevent Chinese ambitions in the near term is to ensure a level of deterrence strong enough to demonstrate that the additional costs to China just isn’t worth it.
Contain, calm, and wait.

Keeping with the closeted optimist bent of today's post - not unrelated, when reading Wyatt Olsen over at MilitaryTimes bit titled, China Reorganizing Military to Close Gap with US, I wasn't so much taken with this view,
China's armed forces are undergoing a sweeping five-year reorganization aimed at creating central control over the military's nearly autonomous branches and creating a more lethal fighting force to close the gap with US capabilities, analysts say.
"Should the proposed reforms be successfully implemented, the PLA will emerge as a much more capable, lethal and externally oriented fighting force," concluded a status report on the US rebalance to the Pacific by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington, D.C.,-based think tank.
... but this one,
The reorganization carries political, institutional and operational mandates for the military. 
Politically, Xi appears to be trying to make the military more "red" by re-concentrating power and authority over the armed forces by the Central Military Commission, which Xi chairs, Finkelstein wrote. The military commission is an organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. 
Unyielding party control of the PLA "is viewed as a prerequisite for pushing through this reorganization and reform because so many institutional and personal interests throughout the military are going to be adversely affected," Finkelstein wrote.
That. That is where my money is going. 

History on occasion throws head fakes, look out for them.