Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Bye, Bye Bastion

Though this is old news and the video is a year old, this is was still something to see.

Camp Bastion. The place I had the full English b-fast that I burped up for a week.

The place I had one of my more interesting, "Watch Sal as he sticks his thumb out as he tries to get back to Kabul" stories of my time in AFG.

Camp Bastion, the symbol of our closest ally doing what she could to back our play.

Give it a watch and take away from it what you can.

Monday, July 16, 2018

PEO Ships Goes Quasi-Salamander

Now and then you read something that makes you pause, take a deep breath, and realize that the long intellectual battle you and other like-minded people fought is close to being considered a victory.

In the face of the self-righteousness, professional bullying, preening self-importance, and entitled arrogance that characterized many in the Transformationalist movement of the end of the last century and first decade of this century, the Anti-transformationalists continued forward knowing that our history was sound. We were bolstered by a confidence that our understanding of compound risk was sound, our realistic understanding of manpower and engineering truths were sound, and more importantly - we knew that a system designed by people whose power was defined by self-rightousness, professional bullying, preening self-importance, and entitled arrogance was sure to fail.

The last few years, more and more standards are crossing the field. All are welcome.

Over to Sydney Freedberg at BreakingDefense;
“It’s going to be more of an evolutionary approach as we migrate from the DDG-51 Flight IIIs to the Large Surface Combatant,” said Galinis, the Navy’s Program Executive Officer for Ships. (LSC evolved from the Future Surface Combatant concept and will serve along a new frigate and unmanned surface vessels). “(We) start with a DDG-51 flight III combat system and we build off of that, probably bringing in a new HME (Hull, Mechanical, & Engineering) infrastructure, a new power architecture, to support that system as it then evolves going forward.”
Evolution, Not Revolution

This evolutionary approach is similar to how the current Aegis combat system entered service on the CG-47 Ticonderoga cruisers in 1983 but came into its own on the DDG-51 Arleigh Burke destroyers.
On the Flight III, even with the hull modifications, “you kind of get to the naval architectural limits of the DDG-51 hullform,” Galinis told a Navy League breakfast this morning. “That’s going to bring a lot of incredible capabilities to the fleet but there’s also a fair amount of technical risk.”
The Navy is laboring mightily to reduce that risk on Flight III with simulations and land-based testing, including a full prototype of the new power plant being built in Philadelphia.
As they note, they have a ship-in-a-gibbet as motivation;
...DDG-1000 is a dead end, too large and expensive for the Navy to afford in quantity. The Navy truncated the class to just three ships and restarted Arleigh Burke production, which it had halted on the assumption the Zumwalts would be built in bulk.

Today, the Zumwalt‘s very mission is in doubt. The ship was designed around a 155 mm gun with revolutionary rocket-boosted shells, but ammunition technology hasn’t reached the ranges the Navy wanted for the original mission of bombarding targets ashore. With the resurgence of the Russian fleet and the rise of China’s, the Navy now wants to turn the DDG-1000s into ship-killers, which requires even longer ranges because modern naval battle is a duel of missiles.
In this article, there is a note of caution. The Anti-transformationalist victory is not fully complete. Our Big Navy still suffers from a bit of a problem of believing its own vignettes and PPT-thick futurism. Case in point here;
The gun’s place in ship-to-ship combat is “probably not a significant role, at least not at the ranges we’re interested in,” Galinis told reporters. While the Navy could invest in long-range cannon ammunition, he said, it’s paused work on several potential shells it test-fired last summer, awaiting the final mission review. If the Zumwalts do move to the anti-ship mission, which Galinis said they would be well suited for with minor modifications, their guns will be less relevant than their 80 Advanced VLS missile tubes or future weapons such as railguns drawing on their prodigious electric power.
What missiles that you have right now? Not that you'd like to have - but what you can get underway in 2018-20 in any quantity to make a difference in a fleet engagement in WESTPAC?

What happens when you quickly go Winchester w/those few you have? What if, like we're working on, an enemy finds a highly effective counter to ASCM that causes us to shoot 10 to get 1 hit? Then what weapon do you use?

Also, in every real-world conflict in our history and that of our most similar allies, warships have been called in to conduct NSFS. Look at just the last few decades, from The Falkland Islands War, to the invasion of Iraq, to the Libyan operations - the naval gun has been used much more than anyone thought at the start. In The Falkland Islands War, they shot the liners off some of their 4.5" guns.

Railguns might ... might ... be a weapon of the 2040/50s, but what will we have to fight in 2025? 2030? We lost an entire generation of shipbuilding because the Transformationalist were looking so far ahead, they tripped over the reality in front of them. As a result, our Navy and the nation it serves is flat-footed in 2018.

No, we have not purged all the Transformationalist foolishness yet.


Sunday, July 15, 2018

How Small Ships Can Make a Big Navy Better, on Midrats

Building off our discussions from last week's Midrats, our guest this Sunday from 5-6pm Eastern will be Lieutenant Joshua M. Roaf, USN to discuss part of the solution to improving the professional performance of our Surface Warfare Officers in what should be the core of their skillset; seamanship.

Using many of the issues he raised in a recent article co-authored with LT Adam Biggs, USN, Bring Back the Patrol Craft, we will explore the various advantages of returning balance to the fleet with an expansion of truly small surface combatants.

A native of Bennington, Vermont, LT Roaf graduated from Ithaca College, Ithaca NY in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and earned his commission from Officer Candidate School in 2010.

Afloat, Lieutenant Roaf completed his division officer tours aboard USS REUBEN JAMES (FFG57) where he served as the Main Propulsion Officer and Electrical Officer and then aboard USS ANZIO (CG-68) as the Navigator and Executive Department Head. During his sea tours, he participated in numerous Multi-National exercises (RIMPAC 2011/12, CANADIAN TGEX, BOLD ALLIGATOR, JOINT WARRIOR) and completed two Western Pacific deployments.

Ashore, Lieutenant Roaf taught navigation, naval operations and leadership development through the North Carolina Piedmont Region Consortium (NCPR) Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill (UNC). Additionally, he earned his Professional Science Master’s (PSM) in Toxicology degree from the UNC. In support of this degree, Lieutenant Roaf completed a joint internship at the Wright Paterson Air Force base in Dayton Ohio working with the Navy Medical Research Unit.

He is currently stationed at Surface Warfare Officer School in Newport RI, training to become a Department Head afloat.

Join us live if you can, but if you miss the show you can always listen to the archive at blogtalkradio or Stitcher

If you use iTunes, you can add Midrats to your podcast list simply by clicking the iTunes button at the main showpage - or you can just click here.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Fullbore Friday

Sometimes Fullbore is a battle, a campaign, a concept. Sometimes it is a moment in time - sometimes it accrues over decades.

Fullbore can be found everywhere - could be just down the table from you at the DFAC.
In 1969, Eugene Krueger left his young wife, Sharon, and headed off to Vietnam, where the 20-year-old's heroism as an Army pilot would be recognized with two Distinguished Flying Crosses and a Bronze Star.

Krueger returned home, raised four daughters and embarked on a civilian career with Northwest Airlines while serving with the Washington National Guard.

But Krueger was not through with war.

As part of a marathon military career that ended this week with his retirement, he returned to the front lines as a pilot in Afghanistan. There he spent four months in 2006 flying missions out of Bagram Air Field.
I served with a few in AFG who retired in the late 80s and were called back from the Army. Mostly Special Forces guys who had a very good Civil Affairs background. A very untold story - I'm glad I've had a chance to share one here.

One little note: notice how the Army can still tap into its pool of talent decades back in the Reserves and National Guard - as a result it can do something the Navy can't - tap in to institutional memory.
He also chafed at inefficiencies he found in an Army that had become much more bureaucratic.

During the Vietnam era, for example, cargo could be quickly loaded into slings and then hauled by Chinooks to and from combat outposts. But during his Afghanistan tour, cargo was loaded inside the helicopter, a more time-consuming task that forced the helicopter to idle on the ground for hours with engines running so that pilots could escape quickly if the aircraft came under attack.

Krueger suggested that the unit consider slings, but to no avail.

"My argument is we could do the mission in half the time, thus saving half the fuel, half the crew time, half the maintenance, half the $$$," Krueger wrote in a journal entry. "This should be a no-brainer."
Chief Krueger; Fullbore.

Hat tip KP. First posted JUL2011.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Hey ... about the German "Navy" ...

What happens when you just don't give a damn about your own defense and your alliance's defense?

Well, let's see what the last few years have done to the German Navy.
Germany's parliamentary commissioner for the armed forces has urged the navy to stop deploying frigates to NATO, EU and UN missions. Hans-Peter Bartels says the military simply doesn't have enough ships.
Didn't Admiral Mullen and others say that if we need extra ships, especially frigates, we can always get our allies to pitch in? About that "1,000 Ship Navy" ... 
In an interview published in the Sunday tabloid Bild am Sonntag, Bartels blamed bureaucracy and mismanagement for a lack of available frigates.

"The navy will soon run out of operational ships," the Social Democrat (SPD) politician told the paper.
Yes, I know, that hits a bit close to home, but ...
"There are too many administrative responsibilities, a lack of staff, and sometimes [ship repair] companies like to cling as long as possible to a given order," he warned.
Maybe they picked up some of our bad habits. I call this the SPRUANCE-PERRY Syndrome.
Bartels said the "retirement" of old German navy frigates was going according to plan, but was being hampered by delays in rolling out their replacements.

"Six out of 15 old frigates have been retired from service, but none of the new F125 frigates has been released to the navy," he said.
Good news is that if Germany does inject money in to its defense as a result of this week's NATO summit, then they hopefully will push much of that in to parts and maintenance to get their availability rates up, then build additional units.

We'll see ... but what a mess.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018