Monday, August 31, 2015

LCS and MIW ... You Knew This Was Coming ...

The Navy had an opportunity last decade to regain its credibility and to save us all this waste by killing LCS when it had the chance, but no ... too many people had too much of their ego tied up with it. 

Better or worse, we are stuck with it and its wedontneedfrigatessowewillcallitafrigate spawn FF.

Too many people had no concept of sunk cost - both financial and political capital wise; they had to splite their eights and double down.

Too many people believed their own FITREPS, their own press releases ... or decided to hunker down until their PCS cycle was complete and it became someone else's problem.

So many cared not that we were building a huge percentage of our future fleet in the form of a platform that couldn't even defeat a WWII era destroyer ...  or even clear a WWI era minefield.

Still, with enough money, time, and a willingness to unnecessarily put Sailors in a sub-optimal ship to go in harm's way ... we'll have something to get underway in. 

Let us hope for a long peace.

Via our friend Chris, whose spies are better than mine;
“Recent developmental testing provides no statistical evidence that the system is demonstrating improved reliability, and instead indicates that reliability plateaued nearly a decade ago,” Michael Gilmore, director of the Office of Test and Evaluation (DOT&E), wrote in an Aug. 3 memo to Pentagon acquisition chief Frank Kendall.

A copy of the memo was obtained by Defense News.
This is Transformationalism made flesh;
“The reliability of existing systems is so poor that it poses a significant risk to both the upcoming operational test of the LCS Independence-variant equipped with the first increment of the Mine Countermeasures (MCM) mission package, and to the Navy’s plan to field and sustain a viable LCS-based minehunting and mine clearance capability prior to fiscal year 2020,”
The RMS system has been in development since the 1990s, and 11 RMMV vehicles have been produced. The Navy plans to restart production next year, and in February hopes to choose a producer for the next round of low-rate initial production RMMVs.
The problem-plagued program has routinely failed or delayed test and evaluation programs and encountered a Nunn-McCurdy breech in 2010. Gilmore noted that reliability has improved since then, but continues to fall far short of the threshold of 75 hours’ mean time between operational mission failure (MTBOMF).

But despite all the efforts to improve reliability, Gilmore assessed the RMS system’s current overall reliability at 18.8 hours between failure, and the RMMV vehicle at 25.0 hours.
In many cases and for a variety of reasons, the LCS was unable to recover the RMMV and it was towed back to base by support craft — an option, Gilmore pointed out, unlikely to be available to an operational LCS using the system in a real minefield. On several occasions, the ship requested support personnel to come aboard to fix an RMS problem.
As everyone knows here, I left active duty at the end of the last decade as a Commander. Well,
The RMS system has been in development since the 1990s, and 11 RMMV vehicles have been produced.
Yes ... RMMV has been in development since I was LT Salamander ... and still can't do squat.

That is way past, "first in class problems" or "normal part of the technology cycle" and other excuses.

I want to finish up this post with an example of the entire LCS program and its greatest fault; accountability.

Who is going to be held accountable for even this little bit? Who directed the fudge - who benefits?
He took consistent issue with Navy reliability data, pointing out that in some instances, “the Navy inflated operating time estimates for the MTBOMF calculations by assuming that post-mission analysis time (when the vehicle is not in the water and not operating) could be counted.”
Gilmore, in his memo to Kendall, urged against relying on Navy reliability data.

“I continue to recommend strongly that the Navy’s estimates of RMMV/RMS reliability not be reported to the Congress or used for any other purpose,” Gilmore wrote. “To do otherwise could lead many observers to incorrectly conclude that all significant RMS development and fielding challenges have been conquered.”
What is also not used for any purpose once discovered?

A lie. Is that what we have here, simple lies? It is either that or gross professional malpractice. One or the other - but both require someone to be held accountable.

H/T Jim.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

NATO Goes Back to Fundamentals - With Jorge Benitez, on Midrats

From the Balitic to the Black Sea, the last year has seen the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) return to its roots - the defense of Europe from Russian aggression.

The names and players have changes significantly since a quarter century ago - but in many ways things look very familar.

To discuss NATO's challenge in the East in the second decade of the 21st Century this Sunday from 5-6pm Eastern for the full hour will be Dr. Jorge Benitez.

Jorge is the Director of NATOSource and a Senior Fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security.

He specializes in NATO, European politics, and US national security.,and previously served as Assistant for Alliance Issues to the Director of NATO Affairs in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He has also served as a specialist in international security for the Department of State and the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis.

Dr. Benitez received his BA from the University of Florida, his MPP from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and his PhD from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

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, August 28, 2015

Fullbore Friday

Time for the best of the Hairy Navy ... again.

More Vietnam War Navy! This time, USS Higbee (DD-806).

She is a great ship with a great history, but let's focus on one of her battles. In Vietnam she did a lot of what you see in the upper right corner, she pounded the hell out of the Communists. One day, they decided for some payback during the '72 Spring Offensive when we supported the South Vietnamese in their defeat of the Communist North Vietnamese invasion.
DA NANG, Vietnam (AP) - "MIG coming! MIG coming!" yelled the lookout and seconds later the after deck of the destroyer Higbee was aflame. The North Vietnamese jet dropped a 250 pound bomb onto the deck of the destroyer, wounding four seamen and destroying a gun mount that housed two 5 inch guns.
The U.S. Command said at least three enemy jets attacked an American task force in the Tonkin Gulf off the coast of North Vietnam late Wednesday afternoon. The command said one of the planes was shot down, two enemy torpedo boats were believed sunk and shrapnel from shore battery fire caused minor damage on the cruiser Oklahoma City, the flagship of the 7th Fleet.
Capt. Ronald Zuilkoski, skipper of the Higbee, said the MIG attacked his ship at least twice before the bomb hit the deck. "In the first two passes, bombs fell left and right of the ship," he said, "but on the third try one hit the deck and exploded under the mount. She flew so low over the deck that you could see everything."
Luckily the gun mount was empty, the 12 man gun crew having been ordered out while a round stuck in one of the barrels (hang fire) was being hosed down to keep it from exploding. But three men in the ammunition storage compartment under the mount were wounded. Other men pulled them out as the ammunition began to explode. The exploding ammunition ripped open a large section in the Higbee's left side. Flames and clouds of black smoke from leaking oil engulfed the deck as the crew fought the fire.
Another warning sounded: "Missile! Missile homing in!" "We heard the missile warning, but we had to stay with the fire or we would have lost the ship," said Hull Tender 2nd Class John J O'Brien, 40 of Camden, NJ "It was fantastic - everyone worked together. They did what they were trained to do even though too much happened at one time - flames were every where."
John T. Allardyce, 26, another Hull Tender 2nd Class, from Allentown, Pa., was up forward." I felt the bomb hit," he said. "It shook the boat forward and then I heard the call for help from O'Brien's section in the rear." Allardyce said the bomb explosion damaged the water (fire main) system, "but we managed some how to get the thing under control." "The guys really worked together," said Allardyce. "You'd call for one man to come and help and two would show up."
The Higbee entered DA Nang harbor early today. It's after deck looked like a junkyard floating in a pool of dirty oil. It tied up alongside the repair ship Hector and near the destroyer USS Buchanan DDG 14 which the U.S. Command said was damaged by shore fire Monday.
To see a map of the Battle Area click here.


A MIG 17 came out of the mountains, went "feet wet" and passed directly over the USS Sterett It then made a turn up the track of the strike force that included the USS Oklahoma City and Lloyd Thomas DD 764 and dropped two 250 pound iron bombs on the next ship in line the USS Higbee DD 806. Moments before this, the USS Higbee experienced a hot round in her after gun mount. This hang-fire condition forced evacuation of the mount as a precautionary measure. One of the MIG's bombs dropped on the vacated after mount and the other one dropped into the water along side her fantail. Just as the MIG pulled up from her bomb run and banked to starboard toward the safety of the mountains, The USS Sterett achieved a missile "lock-on" and fired two Terrier missiles, one of which downed the MIG. Higbee's steering gear had been damaged by the attack. She encountered no fatalities and damage control teams had the fires quickly under control. USS Sterett stood by, as Higbee fought her fires, completed her turn and proceeded out of the area, still with her rudder inoperative. USS Sterett continued to stand by Higbee. On her own power Higbee headed for DaNang, South Viet Nam, since DaNang was the closest friendly port.

For the more information about the USS Sterett actions on this April day visit the Sterett Home Page at

John Boyd, a Bureaucrat, and a Roundhead Walk in to a Bar ...

What could those three possibly talk about?

Head on over to USNIBlog and find out.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Diversity Thursday

For those who haven't had someone graduate from college in the last couple of decades, you've missed the increasing politization of everything. It was bad enough in the 80s - and the reports I get from the eldest Wee Salamander, it is even worse now.

When I read Brian Grasso's bit about what he had thrown in his face at Duke this summer, I thought about a few of the pods being shipped to Annapolis over the last year.

Fun. Harmless fun. Good people just trying to be helpful.
Date: Thu, 6 Aug 2015 [redacted]
From: [redacted]@USNA.EDU
Subject: Are You Leaning In?
To: [redacted]@LISTS.USNA.EDU

USNA Officers,

Last spring I sent an email to the Brigade inviting the Midshipmen to participate in a Lean In circle starting this upcoming semester. 165 Midshipmen have signed up, and I anticipate the list growing as the brigade returns.

This past Academic year, we piloted 8 Lean In circles, 4 all-female circles and 4 co-ed circles, to include 80 midshipmen. By all accounts, the circles have been a resounding success.

Please consider moderating a Lean In circle this year. Circles meet a minimum of once every marking period and consist of 8-10 Midshipmen. You will not be required to be at every meeting as the Midshipmen are eager to participate in the moderating process. Meetings can be held at a mutually agreeable time for your circle (over the lunch hour with an excusal, between sports period and study hour, etc.). We will hold an information session and training the week before classes start (date TBD) and circles will commence NLT early September.

I promise this will be a rich experience for you as you motivate midshipmen to start talking about how gender plays a role in the way we lead our young sailors and marines and in the way we live our own lives.

If you are interested, please fill out the google form below, and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call/email me.[redacted]

Thank you for your consideration.


CDR Deborah [redacted]
Sampson [redacted]
[redacted] Department [redacted]
U.S. Naval Academy
(410) [redacted]
OK folks, you know how this goes. Now for the rest of the story.

What is a "Lean In Circle?" Well, you can trace it back to neo-femist icon Sheryl Sandberg's book, Dianetics, errr ... Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead.

Poke around their website for a bit, that is where you can also look at who they partner with;
We offer a growing library of free online lectures on topics including leadership and communication. Produced in partnership with the Clayman Institute for Gender Studies at Stanford University
Ahhh, yes. Indoctronation. Feminist politcal theory. Wonderful. Very Maoist Self-Criticism with Hugish. Just what the world's greatest warfighting navy needs.

Please follow the link to the Clayman Institute. We don't have time for a full Fisking here, so let's just look at their fellowships;
All fellowship and prize recipients will contribute to the Clayman Institutes thematic focus, "Beyond the Stalled Revolution: Reinvigorating Gender Equality in the Twenty-first Century."

Beyond the Stalled Revolution: Description

Twenty years ago, Arlie Hochschild described the gender revolution as stalled, ...
Oh, it gets better. That is just a random taste, but makes the point. All "Lean In" is, well, is repackaged feminist indoctronization packaged as a self-help platform with Education Kits for Moderators and everything.

At least as an organization, they are inclusive - they even have areas for the Beta-Males to hang out.

Another way of looking at "Lean In" et al, is what some of the better critiques have outlined it to be - just another brand of feminism. What is also is - with all the self-help books, checklists, worksheets, and assorted organizational paperwork - is a feminist version of that creature of the 90s, T.Q.L. - Total Quality Leadership.

As Christina Hoff Somers puts over at The Atlantic;
But this otherwise likeable and inspirational self-help book has a serious flaw: It is mired in 1970s-style feminism. Nation magazine columnist Katha Pollitt compares Sandberg to "someone who's just taken Women's Studies 101 and wants to share it with her friends." What Pollitt intends as a compliment goes to the heart of what is wrong with Lean In.
Yes, a trendy new personality based fad - one that combines shop-worn 1970s feminism with 1990s Demingism - with networking sprinkles for that extra visual jazz.

One of the better critiques of Sandbergism is by Rosa Brooks over at WaPo. It made me laugh because Brooks make it sound like the Sandberg was a SWO;
Because, of course, I was miserable. I never saw my friends, because I was too busy building my network. I was too tired to do any creative, outside-the-box thinking. I was boxed in. I wondered if foreign-policy punditry was just too much for me. I wondered if I should move to Santa Fe and open a small gallery specializing in handicrafts made from recycled tires. I wondered if my husband and kids would want to go with me.

But then — after my I-hate-Sheryl epiphany — I came to a bold new conclusion.

Ladies, if we want to rule the world — or even just gain an equitable share of leadership positions — we need to stop leaning in. It’s killing us.
I leaned in some more. I ate protein bars and made important telephone calls during my morning commute. I stopped reading novels so I could write more articles and memos and make more handicrafts to contribute to the school auction. I put in extra hours at work. When I came home, I did radio interviews over Skype from my living room while supervising the children’s math homework.

And I realized that I hated Sheryl Sandberg.
It’s hard enough managing one 24/7 job. No one can survive two of them. And as long as women are the ones doing more of the housework and childcare, women will be disproportionately hurt when both workplace expectations and parenting expectations require ubiquity. They’ll continue to do what too many talented women already do: Just as they’re on the verge of achieving workplace leadership positions, they’ll start dropping out.
If we truly want gender equality, we need to challenge the assumption that more is always better, and the assumption that men don’t suffer as much as women when they’re exhausted and have no time for family or fun. And we need to challenge those assumptions wherever we find them, both in the workplace and in the family. Whether it’s one more meeting, one more memo, one more conference, one more play date, one more soccer game or one more flute lesson for the kids, sometimes we need to say, “Enough!”
Kate Losse's is good too;
Lean In posits that some women can be players, and its instructions will be valuable to those who perform the endless work and self-monitoring that Sandberg advises. I was one of those women, and after several years of nonstop work, unused vacation time, and shrewd self-positioning, I made it from the back of the rocket ship all the way to the front, where I sat next to Sandberg and Zuckerberg at the privileged center of Facebook’s operations. I was invited to Sandberg’s “Women of Silicon Valley” dinners, where high-powered women ate hors d’oeuvres and networked. These women were “in,” and Lean In suggests that if you work hard enough, you can be too. 
I decided to leave Facebook because I saw ahead of me, by Zuckerberg’s and Sandberg’s own hands, an unending race of pure ambition, where no amount of money or power is enough and work is forever. While I am not unambitious, this wasn’t my ambition. But Sandberg is betting that for some women, as for herself, the pursuit of corporate power is desirable, and that many women will ramp up their labor ever further in hopes that one day they, too, will be “in.” And whether or not those women make it, the companies they work for will profit by their unceasing labor. 
Will the the workplace be fairer as a result of some women being “in”? For all of its sincere encouragement of individual women, Sandberg’s book does not indicate that her leadership has created deep changes at Facebook, or how deep changes might occur at the companies that she hopes women will run. Since, like any boss, she focuses on pushing women to work harder, it’s hard to see why she would use her position to effect systemic change. 
And so, in the end, Lean In may be a book not about a social movement, but about Sandberg’s own movement from Harvard to Google to Facebook, and now into her self-appointed role as leader of Lean In. The book advocates “lean in” circles for women in corporate environments. The circles are now being advocated by the book’s corporate partners like American Express, Amazon, and Bain, with her book as their guide. As memoir, it is instructive regarding Sandberg’s successful career trajectory, and provides some helpful advice for young women in how to follow her. But as a manual for navigating the workplace, it teaches women more about how to serve their companies than it teaches companies about how to be fairer places for women to work.
If a bunch of female MIDN want to gather in little circles to ... well, yammer on about recycled feminist theory flavored with workaholicism, knock yourselves out. If some male MIDN who understands social game theory want to play around on the co-ed groups in order to find some place with a critical mass of females - then why not. That was a very successful ploy by a Reagan-voting TKE I knew in school who joined College Democrats, so maybe it will work here. Just know what you are supporting.

For everyone else, as you read about the political indoctrinization of a captive audiance at universities, don't think that it doesn't happen at Annapolis. And just as college professors use their influence over their charges to push their agenda, don't underestimate the power of a Commander offering, "Please consider ... " to a Lieutenant to support a political movement.

Oh, one last note - simply because I cannot help myself;
Vonetta Young, meanwhile, thinks about her marriage differently since reading Lean In. Young, 29, is an investment associate in New York City who works in private equity. Her husband is an attorney.

"I had this assumption that his career is going to be more important than mine," she says. "Reading the book helped me see that obviously you have to make certain compromises in marriage, but the onus of that doesn't always have to fall to the woman."

Young has talked about her shift in mindset with her husband, who is supportive and plans to read the book himself.
So ... Vonetta ... you're 29 eh? (Usual Kristen warning)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Wages of Populism

When you reach a critical mass of a voting population that falls in love with populism, no nation can prosper.

Combined with the cult of personality, which by nature is based on emotion and feelings, with populism you get poor economic policy, and a civic culture driven by division and corrosive political philosophy.

Populism is a path that leads one of few ways:economic ruin, revolution, or the disappearance of that nation as it falls apart in to its factions, or is absorbed by a stronger nation who picks up the leftovers.

One of the first signs of a culture in collapse is when it mortgages its future, debases its currency to nothing, as eventually loses the ability to even defend itself - the third order effect of the populist's consuming previous generations capital for short term power.

Via UKDefenceJournal and IHS Janes, behold the wages of decades of populism; behold Argentina - and the results of decades of Peronism, dictatorship, and populism;
In August 2015, the Argentine air force retired its Mirage fighters, with only a handful of them even flyable.

Things don’t look any better for the other services, the depleted Argentine Navy rarely puts to sea, has almost no spare parts and for the most part, doesn’t actually have any ammunition. 2012 saw the training ship ARA Libertad seized in Ghana on the orders of a hedge fund seeking reparations from the Argentinian government. Shortly afterward, the corvette ARA Espora was stranded in South Africa for seventy-three days after the German company hired to repair a mechanical fault refused to carry out the work as a result of the Argentine government’s unpaid bills. 2013 saw the sinking of the decommissioned destroyer ARA Santísima Trinidad in port as a consequence of poor maintenance.
Even the submarine crews, despite benefitting from a recent upgrade, need at least 190 days of immersion practice and in 2014 only spent 19 hours submerged. A similar situation is faced by the four destroyers: Almirante Brown, Heroina, La Argentina and Sarandí, with engine problems and they need spares, plus they don’t have any weaponry.

The Argentine Army has deployed on operations without some of even the most basic equipment and rarely has the resources for training.
Good thing its neighbors desire nothing of or from that nation. Chile and Brazil could take it in a walk;
The Argentine Air Force is drastically cutting staff working hours and decommissioning its last fighter aircraft amid continuing budget issues.

A recently published daily agenda indicates that the service’s working hours have been significantly reduced, from 0800 to 1300; rationing of food, energy consumption, and office supplies has been directed headquarters staff and property residents; and only the minimum personnel required to staff headquarters, directorates, and commands are working.

These orders, issued on 11 August, take effect 18 August. A next step will cut Monday and Tuesday as working days. Moreover, air force officials said any aircraft taken out of service will not undergo maintenance for now.
Sad. Argentina should be a rich and prosperous country. Vast natural resources, a good population, and friendly geography. What is it lacking? Good governance.

If you want your nation defended - economic policy matters. Politics matters. The people elected in to power matter.

Monday, August 24, 2015

In that moment ...

One of the best observations I heard over the weekend was this; one nagging question in every man's mind is a simple one - when the moment comes, how will you react?

What is your real nature? Will you act like you hope you will? Will you act like your self-doubt whispers in your ear you will? Or, will do you what you should do?

Men will do many things in life to find the answer to that question - to prove something not so much to others, but to themselves.

Three Americans; Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone, Specialist Alek Skarlatos, Anthony Sadler, Briton Chris Norman, and the Franco-American academic Mark Moogalian will no longer have to search for that answer.

They have it.

Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone sat down with us yesterday for the first time, describing events from his point of view. Check out his incredible story below:United States Air Force U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa U.S. European Command (EUCOM) Lajes Field, Azores AFN Europe
Posted by Ramstein Air Base, Germany on Monday, August 24, 2015