Thursday, December 18, 2014

Diversity Thursday

Nothing happens by accident, but we'll get to that in a minute.

First, let's talk about what USNA thinks is most important about their incoming class.

Interesting things that we signal on what we consider our priorities.

What are the Top-6 things that we most value in our new USNA Midshipmen?



- Good AP exams.
- Good PT.
- Leadership record.
- Better chance for the guys to find a wife at school.
- Playing by AKC rules still (we'll get to that in a moment).
- Nationwide.

Hey ... we got 4 out of 6 criteria actually that matter; we'll call that a partial victory. Now the pathetic bits.

We've had fun with pictures in the past, it is time to do so again. This is just so easy. So comical. So patronizing. So hamfisted. So, predictable. No matter how you do it, it is funny.

As you look at the pictures, remember that there are only a few reasons to do this; you are trying to curry favor with people who are only focused on socio-political race and gender issues; you are trying to hide reality; you really don't like white people, specifically white males. None of these reasons are honorable or belong in a serious institution. One way or another, it is kind of embarrassing - but mostly I'm embarrassed for the MIDN in these pictures. They don't want to be defined by their DNA, just their performance. They don't want to be anyones pet to be brought out to entertain guests - they just want to be part of a larger organization.

Its not their fault.

BEHOLD!




The easiest way to see what the PAOs want you to see is to just count who is the center of each picture. ~+/- we have four black females, two white females, three asian females, two black males, and two asian males.

So, if you are just looking at pictures and assume, correctly, that they put what is important right at the center - and therefore message what they desire, then the ideal USNA is 69% female, 46% black, 38% asian, and not a while male of any importance anywhere. Sounds about right. Of course, you really cannot tell hispanic by a picture so who knows that wedge, and who cares.

Actually, let's do the numbers on the second page. First, strip out the international category and the hispanic category. One is a joke to be on the list, and hispanic is an artificial construct that can be any race. That gives us 1,036 as a population. As such, white are 75%, multiple race (BZ) 9%, black 7% and asian at 8%. American Indian and Pacific Islanders at less than 1%.

Do you notice that they break out multiracial by blacks and asians, but not white? Why? Can't whites be multiracial too ... or is the Navy following the KKK one drop rule, or the Nazi grandparent rule?

Nothing to do with DivThu either - but and interesting metric; look at the SAT scores - that is an easily benchmarked data point. I got news for everyone, intellectually, USNA is not an elite academic institution. Good to very good, but not all that - puts them somewhere in the 30s. Not Ivy League smart, but closer to UNC-Chapel Hill, GWU or William and Mary. On balance, that is a good thing. 

Check it out if you wish. http://www.satscores.us/

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

We can bury and walk away from "The Global Force for Good" now

This will do. This will do nicely.

Tori Johnson and Katrina Dawson

I'm not going to mention the name of the Islamic terrorist who was killed in Australia yesterday. Like Marino Faliero, let's not honor him with public display.

Instead, let us honor true heroism in the Anglo-Saxon tradition;
Tori Johnson, 34, was wrestling a gun from hostage-taker Man Haron Monis when he was killed.

It is understood the cafe manager decided to take action when the gunman began to doze off after the siege had been ongoing for 17 hours.

He lunged at the hostage-taker’s weapon, allowing others to flee.

He was one of two hostages killed in the siege, with 38-year-old lawyer Katrina Dawson also fatally shot.

The second hostage killed has been identified as barrister Katrina Dawson. The 38-year-old mother-of-three is the sister of well-known Sydney lawyer Sandy Dawson.

Ms Dawson was tragically killed trying to defend her pregnant colleague, Julie Taylor.
Tori was the manager. That business was his responsibility. It was his place to take action when it was time. BZ.

Katrina, a mother three times over, knew that the innocent life unborn was of more importance than one who already had a full life. BZ.

All of this, of course, was avoidable. If you have not already, google search the record of the killer. A murderer and rapist who should have been deported a long time ago.

Some parts of our West are doing their best to commit suicide just so bullies won't call them names for doing the right thing. This is the result of a twisted desire by the pampered to push self-destructive immigration and crime enforcement policies just so they can be called nice things by the self-loathing pushers of a debunked but still powerful political mindset that is a lower form of our modern Anglo-Saxon culture.

Blood on their hands? Yes, from the press to the politicians who stood in the way of that man being deported. Due to their fundamental failure to protect their citizens, the citizens had to protect themselves - and Tori and Katrina paid with their lives for others' intellectual vanity.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Weaponizing "Big Data" and the Coming Hyper-Personalization of Conflict

Or guest on yesterday's Midrats, Charles Dunlap Jr., USAF (Ret.) has an article out in the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, The Hyper-Personalization of War: Cyber, Big Data, and the Changing Face of Conflict, that everyone should get a cup of coffee and read carefully.

Once the algorithms are there, the economics of duplication & simplification bring about affordability and expendability - the cold logic of progress will take over. 

If you have an opponent who cares little to any for law, your morality, or the legal niceties of civilized conflict (what little there is), then you have a very brave world indeed.

Charlie outlines a capability that everyone should take a moment to ponder.
It is critical to understand that cyberderived data does not sit in isolation from other developing technologies.

One technology that achieved significant prominence in recent years is the use of remotely-piloted aircraft commonly known as “drones” to engage in long-term surveillance of battlefields in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, and to attack enemy fighters wherever found.
...
the U.S. military is developing a generation of small drones capable of operating in networked groups, or “swarms.”

Other reports suggest efforts to develop lethal micro-drones that “resemble winged, multi-legged bugs” which “swarm through alleys, crawl across windowsills, and perch on power lines” as they seek their target.

Parallel to the rapid development of drone technology is the swift advance of facial recognition software.

The linkage of the two in the context of “Big Data” was virtually inevitable. In 2013 the Associated Press, in a story provocatively entitled, “Drones With Facial Recognition Technology Will End Anonymity, Everywhere,”
...
What does this “cocktail” of cyber technologies mean for warfighting? Quite simply, it appears that in the not-too-distant future, the U.S. military - and likely other militaries - will be able to launch swarms of drones equipped with facial recognition software to roam battlefields looking for very specific members of an enemy’s force. These could be officers, but also selected technicians and battle-hardened leaders who possess vital and difficult-to-replace skills.
As he touches on in his article - there is one place this give me the most pause, and it has nothing to do with state-to-state conflict.

We already have small, almost undetectable drones that can sit like insects and wait. They also have the ability to dwell for a long time conserving their power - or with flexible solar cells or other means perhaps even make their own power as they wait in a sunny spot - until the target arrives. Personalized targets via autonomous target recognition software and preloaded courses of action and rules of engagement.

Every place you park your car. Every place you walk your dog. Every store you visit. Every place your kids go to school - any place you show your face could have - attacked to a tree, a wall, a pole, anything - a small drone processing every face, just waiting; waiting for you.

I would argue that you don't even need facial recognition. As any practitioner of the acoustic arts will tell you, every engine has its own specific sound. You can identify ships from another of the same class with the same machinery simply by the different acoustic sounds the small imperfections in each ship's construction give.

Have a nice acoustic signature for your car along with a pattern of your daily life, you don't need a face. Your voice. A decade or more, who knows - your smell.

Your lethal payload? Depends on the precision of your delivery. That is probably the easiest.

Just ponder that ... just ponder.

And in case you think this is a little "out there" ...


Of course, just to save you the trouble of putting it in comments.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

COIN, Cyber, and Lawfare: the continuity of war in to 2015, on Midrats



With the coming of the new year, some things have not changes and the old challenges are still with us; most waxing - only a few waning.

This Sunday from 5-6pm Eastern we have returning guest Charles J. Dunlap, Jr., Major General, USAF (Ret.), Professor of the Practice of Law, and Executive Director, Center on Law, Ethics and National Security at Duke University.

We will cover the board spectrum of the evolution of Counter Insurgency, warfare in the cyber domain, and the ever-present impact of law on the conduct of war.

Join us live if you can with the usual suspects in the chat room and offer up your questions for our guest, but if you miss the show you can always listen to the archive at blogtalkradio

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.


Listen to internet radio with Midrats on Blog Talk Radio

Friday, December 12, 2014

Fullbore Friday

For anyone in the Palm Springs area the first week of this coming February, you'll may see what looks like a gathering of exceptionally old people at the local American Legion hall.

Not an unusual sight in Palm Springs, but you may notice something a bit different about this group. Maybe more baseball hats than usual, or a smattering of brown leather, what look like flight jackets.

That group of people would be those going to the mini-reunion of the 100th Bomb Group. Their main reunion will be in New Orleans in SEP15. When you see this group of people, or others like them in shrinking numbers throughout this nation, carefully move from their car to the place where they are going to spend some time with some friends, take a moment to take a deep breath and close your eyes - and remember that these were once young men. Young men given incredible responsibility and thrown in to a level of combat and stress on a day to day basis our generation of combat veterans rarely came close to matching. They did some incredible things;
Following breakfast and briefing at the base, home to members of the 100th Bomb Group from June 1943 to December 1945, Rojohn and Leek learned that their target would be Hamburg, a port city with numerous oil refineries and submarine pens. Second Lieutenant Robert Washington, the ship's navigator, recalled the start of that, his 27th, mission: 'Takeoff on the morning of December 31, 1944, was delayed because of fog, and when we assembled the group and departed the coast of England, we learned that the fighter escort had been delayed due to the weather.'

It took 'almost as much time to rendezvous to go on a mission as it did to complete a mission,' Rojohn recalled, 'because the weather in England was always bad, and we had to circle around and around until we broke out above the overcast. Our squadrons [Rojohn flew in C Squadron] then formed, and we met other groups until we got into a long line of traffic heading toward Germany. This particular day we flew over the North Sea to a point south of Denmark and then turned southwest down the Elbe River to Hamburg. We were somewhere in the neighborhood of 25,000 feet [altitude]. At that time I don't think much was known about the jet stream, but we had a tail wind of about 200 nautical miles an hour. We got into the target pretty quick. Over the target, we had just about everything but the kitchen sink thrown at us.'

Leek's recollections of the Hamburg mission were equally vivid: 'The target and the sky over it were black from miles away. The flak was brutal. We flew through flak clouds and aircraft parts for what seemed like an hour.'

While Rojohn does not like to criticize his commanding officers, he thinks a mistake was made that day. 'Instead of hitting the target and angling out over Germany still on a southwesterly direction and then out over Belgium, they turned us at 180 degrees back toward the North Sea,' Rojohn said. 'So an 80-knot tailwind became an 80-knot headwind. We were probably making about 50 or 60 mph on the ground.'

'When we finally got clear of the coastal flak batteries,' recalled Washington, 'we turned west and skirted the flak area by flying between Heligoland and Wilhelmshaven. The flak was heavy as we crossed the coastline. I'm not certain whether we headed northwest between Bremerhaven and Kuxhaven, or due west over the little town of Aurich and across the coastline near Norden.'

Over the North Sea, Rojohn remembered, they were flying at 22,000 feet when they 'encountered wave after wave of German fighters. We just barely got out over the North Sea, and the sky was rumbling around us with exploding flak and German [Messerschmitt] Me-109 fighter planes so close I could see the faces of the young German pilots as they went by. They were just having a field day with our formation. We lost plane after plane.'

According to an account written by Tech. Sgt. Orville E. Elkin, Rojohn's top turret gunner and engineer: 'The fighters came from every direction, 12 o'clock, 6 o'clock, from the bottom and from the top. Your body becomes cold and numb from fright as you realize that only one-sixteenth of an inch of aluminum stands between you and this battery of firepower.' Ten planes were quickly lost.

Leek had been at the controls when the crew came off the bomb run. He and Rojohn alternated the controls each half hour. 'On this mission,' Leek recalled, 'the lead plane was off Glenn's wing, so he flew the bomb run. I should have kept the controls for at least my half-hour, but once the attack began, our formation tightened up and we started bouncing up and down. Our lead plane kept going out of sight for me. I may have been overcorrecting, but the planes all seemed to bounce at different times. I asked Glenn to take it, and he did.'

Rojohn maneuvered to take a position to fill the void created when a B-17 (No. 43-338436) piloted by 2nd Lt. Charles C. Webster went down in flames and exploded on the ground. 'I was going into that void when we had a tremendous impact,' Rojohn recalled. Feeling the bomber shudder, the men immediately thought their plane had collided with another aircraft. It had, but in a way that may never have happened before or since.

Another B-17 (No. 43-338457), piloted by 1st Lt. William G. MacNab and 2nd Lt. Nelson B. Vaughn, had risen upward. The top turret guns on MacNab's plane had pierced through the aluminum skin on the bottom of Rojohn's plane, binding the two huge planes together, as Leek said, like 'breeding dragonflies.' The two planes had become one.

Whether MacNab and Vaughn lost control of their plane because they were seriously injured or the planes collided because both Rojohn and MacNab were moving in to close the open space in the formation is uncertain. Both MacNab and Vaughn were fatally injured that day and were never able to tell their own story.

Staff Sergeant Edward L. Woodall, Jr., MacNab's ball-turret gunner, remembered that when a crew check was called just prior to the midair collision, everyone had reported in. 'At the time of the impact,' Woodall said, 'we lost all power and intercom on our aircraft. I knew we were in trouble from the violent shaking of the aircraft, no power to operate the turret, loss of intercom, and seeing falling pieces of metal. My turret was stalled with the guns up at about 9 o'clock. This is where countless time drills covering emergency escape procedures from the turret paid off, as I automatically reached for the hand crank, disengaged the clutch and proceeded to crank the turret and guns to the down position so I could open the door and climb into the waist of the airplane. I could see that another aircraft was locked onto our aircraft and his ball turret jammed down inside our aircraft.'

In the 1946 book The Story of the Century, John R. Nilsson reported that E.A. Porter, a pilot from Payton, Miss., who witnessed the midair collision, had sounded the warning over the radio: "F for Fox, F for Fox, get it down!' — however MacNab, whose radio was dead, did not hear. Not to see the collision which seemed inevitable, Porter turned his head, while two of his gunners, Don Houk of Appleton City, Missouri, and Clarence Griffin of Harrisburg, Illinois, watched aghast, as MacNab and Rojohn settled together 'as if they were lifted in place by a huge crane,' and many of the 100th's anguished fliers saw the two Fortresses cling — Rojohn's, on top, riding pick-a-back on MacNab's, how held together being a mystery. A fire started on MacNab's ship, on which three propellers still whirled, and the two bombers squirmed, wheeled in the air, trying to break the death-lock.'

Washington opened the escape hatch and'saw the B-17 hanging there with three engines churning and one feathered. Rojohn and Leek banked to the left and headed south toward land.'

'Glenn's outboard prop bent into the nacelle of the lower plane's engine,' recalled Leek. 'Glenn gunned our engines two or three times to try to fly us off. It didn't work, but it was a good try. The outboard left engine was burning on the plane below. We feathered our propellers to keep down the fire and rang the bail-out bell.'

'Our engines were still running and so were three on the bottom ship,' Rojohn said. When he realized he could not detach his plane, Rojohn turned his engines off to try to avoid an explosion. He told Elkin and Tech. Sgt. Edward G. Neuhaus, the radio operator, to bail out of the tail, the only escape route left because all other hatches were blocked.

'The two planes would drop into a dive unless we pulled back on the controls all the time,' wrote Leek. 'Glenn pointed left and we turned the mess toward land. I felt Elkin touch my shoulder and waved him back through the bomb bay. We got over land and [bombardier Sergeant James R.] Shirley came up from below. I signalled to him to follow Elkin. Finally Bob Washington came up from the nose. He was just hanging on between our seats. Glenn waved him back with the others. We were dropping fast.'

As he crawled up into the pilot's compartment before bailing out, Washington remembered, 'I saw the two of them [Rojohn and Leek] holding the wheels against their stomachs and their feet propped against the instrument panel. They feathered our engines to avoid fire, I think. [Shirley] and I went on through the bomb bay and out the waist door, careful to drop straight down in order to miss the tail section of the other plane which was a little to the right of our tail.' Because of Rojohn's and Leek's physical effort, Shirley, Elkin, Washington, Staff Sgt. Roy H. Little (the waist gunner), Staff Sgt. Francis R. Chase (the replacement tail gunner), and Neuhaus were able to reach the rear of the plane and bail out. 'I could hear Russo [Staff Sgt. Joseph Russo, Rojohn's ball-turret gunner] saying his Hail Marys over the intercom,' Leek said. 'I could not help him, and I felt that I was somehow invading his right to be alone. I pulled off my helmet and noticed that we were at 15,000 feet. This was the hardest part of the ride for me.'

Before they jumped, Little, Neuhaus and Elkin took the hand crank for the ball turret and tried to crank it up to free Russo. 'It would not move,' Elkin wrote. 'There was no means of escape for this brave man.'

'Awhile later,' recalled Leek, 'we were shot at by guns that made a round white puff like big dandelion seeds ready to be blown away. By now the fire was pouring over our left wing, and I wondered just what those German gunners thought we were up to and where we were going! Before long, .50-caliber shells began to blow at random in the plane below. I don't know if the last flak had started more or if the fire had spread, but it was hot down there!' As senior officer, Rojohn ordered Leek to join the crew members and jump, but his co-pilot refused. Leek knew Rojohn would not be able to maintain physical control of the two planes by himself and was certain the planes would be thrown into a death spiral before Rojohn could make it to the rear of the plane and escape. 'I knew one man left in the wreck could not have survived, so I stayed to go along for the ride,' Leek said.

And what a ride it was. 'The only control we actually had was to keep [the planes] level,' said Rojohn. 'We were falling like a rock.' The ground seemed to be reaching up to meet them.

Washington recalled that, from his vantage point while parachuting, 'I watched the two planes fly on into the ground, probably two or three miles away, and saw no more chutes. Shirley was coming down behind me. When the planes hit, I saw them burst into flames and the black smoke erupting.'

At one point, Leek said, he tried to beat his way out through the window with a Very pistol: 'Just panic, I guess. The ground came up faster and faster. Praying was allowed. We gave it one last effort and slammed into the ground.' As they crashed in Germany at Tettens, near Wilhelmshaven, shortly before 1 p.m., Rojohn's plane slid off the bottom plane, which immediately exploded. Alternately lifting up and slamming back into the ground, the remaining B-17 careened ahead, finally coming to rest only after the left wing sliced through a wooden headquarters building, as Rojohn recalled, 'blowing that building to smithereens.' Russo is believed to have been killed when the planes landed.

'When my adrenalin began to lower, I looked around,' Leek said. 'Glenn was OK and I was OK, and a convenient hole was available for a fast exit. It was a break just behind the cockpit. I crawled out onto the left wing to wait for Glenn. I pulled out a cigarette and was about to light it when a young German soldier with a rifle came slowly up to the wing, making me keep my hands up. He grabbed the cigarette out of my mouth and pointed down. The wing was covered with gasoline.'

Rojohn and Leek sustained only slight injuries from the crash, which shocked even the two pilots when they took a look at the wreckage of their B-17. 'All that was left of the Flying Fortress was the nose, the cockpit, and the seats we were sitting on,' Rojohn later recalled.
That's a fairly large pull quote, but there is much more there. Read the whole thing.

Hat tip Larry.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Flash of the Obvious on SSC nee LCS-(I)-minus

Everyone I sure noticed that I did not blog at all about the pre-selection announcement about the work being done on the Small Surface Combatant.

The outcome was pre-determined. You have a lame-duck SECDEF who is not known for his maritime expertise whose #2 is Bob Work - the strongest advocate of LCS there is.

For reasons both defendable or not; well meaning or otherwise - if anyone seriously thought we would get anything but a glittered and plastered up LCS, they were fooling themselves.

Of course the result was going to be some modification of LCS. I'll give everyone credit - they managed to finish what they started;
Today’s announcement simply means 32 of those will be the original LCS design and 20 will be the upgraded version. (At least some of the original 32 will eventually receive at least some of the upgrades, but the current design can’t accommodate all the changes).
Yep, 32+20=52. Close enough, I guess.

This is just a Gruberesque attempt to get industry the LCS hulls they wanted. This is also a demonstration of the complete lack of imagination and vision we have when it comes to our surface fleet. Heck, they still can't downselect.
The Navy remains committed to buying both the speedboat-like Freedom hull, built by Lockheed Martin and Marinette Marine in Wisconsin, and the space-age-catamaran Independence, built by General Dynamics and Austal in Alabama.
I love this nugget - again proving the decade long Salamander critique of LCS right. I should never have to buy another beer again;
The one real sacrifice in the new LCS design is the ability to clear mines. That mission will be left to the 32 original-model Littoral Combat Ships — which, Greenert insisted, was enough to handle “the most stressing” possible scenarios.
Yep. And like Chap and others said even before me - when it was all said and done, those missions modules will simply be bolted in place on designated ships and that will be that.

I have to check myself though. Five years ago when industry was out pimping their LCS-International version - I said this;
This has inherent multi-mission capability. Can defend itself adequately and though a lot will have to be shoe-horned in - it is a tough 'lil uber-Corvette. Still a china doll with a glass jaw - but one that might get in a hit or two in a fight.

If you are going to force the LCS hull on me - then give it to me in this package. Sure, it will cost $1 billion+; but it is what it is and gets you more than a LCS + two mission-modules and logistics tail it needs ever could.

At least with this ship - if you send the CO and his Sailors in harm's way they will at least have the tools to be able to put up a fight against whatever comes their way.
As this looks like not the full LCS-(I) version, but a bit more modest, they'll keep it under $1-billion. We'll just have to deal with it until a different set of leaders decide to build a real small surface combatant.

I don't have more to say than that. What a complete baby shambles.

Via Sam over at USNINews, here's the factsheet;