Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Reserves Make the Call: Armed Sailors to the Watchbill

This is, in a fashion, better than nothing - an adequate fast-reaction, low-risk option for the burearcracy ... perhaps a little high-risk slow-as-Christmas for everyone else; but we'll take it. Right people for the job as well if done correctly with other measures;
----Original Message-----
From: Commander, Navy Reserve Forces Command [mailto:[redacted]@public.govdelivery.com]
Sent: Tuesday, July 28, 2015 [redacted]
To: [redacted]

CNRFC is soliciting MA volunteers (E5/6) to provide 45 days (ADT) of armed sentry watchstander duty at 53 [redacted] commencing [redacted]. CNRFC is seeking MA volunteers (E5/6) for 1 year (ADSW) of armed sentry watchstander duty, commencing [redacted], at 70 [redacted]. CNRFC is seeking MA volunteers (E6/7) for 1 year (ADSW) of armed security oversight duty at the [redacted] and CNRFC HQ. There is a strong likelihood that your duty can be performed at your local NOSC if your NOSC is not located on a base/installation. Volunteers must be either MA "A" school graduates or have completed the Security Reaction Force - Basic (SRFB) course, have a current 9mm semi-annual weapons qualification, and have a current OC spray qualification.

CNRFC is also seeking volunteers (any rate) who hold the 0812 NEC and can perform the function of armorers for the same time periods above.

To volunteer, send an email to LCDR Steve [redacted] (CNRFC N33) at steven.[redacted]@navy.mil, indicating whether you are volunteering for 45 days of ADT commencing [redacted], or 1 year of ADSW commencing [redacted], or both. Due date is [redacted]. LCDR [redacted] phone number is 757-322-[redacted] if you have questions.

We need volunteers!
This is a slow, peace time reaction. For those USNR who can read the unredacted portions, you will see what I mean.

"Sense of urgency" is not what I read here - but it is such that it is - but I am sure there are bridging operations in place to cover the gap.

A few other practical notes; force protections support that MAs have been providing elsewhere will suffer, from Central America to the SFRC FP component protecting youknowwhat unless personnel and money is found elsewhere. I am sure smart money is running that down.

You also have the issue that that there is not unlimited ADT/ADSW monies. ADT was significantly cut the last two FYs, and unless there is some moving around of dollars, I doubt that will chance in the near future.

If you could actually get 2 MAs per what was outlined in the email, that would require ADT funding for 106 personnel for 45 days. That rounds out to 4,770 potential man-days of ADT for the remainder of the FY. ADSW is easier money to come by, however, we don't know how big the bucket of money will be for FY16. I've been told there were issues already this year with money ... so ... N1/4 dudes; make it happen.

Hat tip; my many USNR friends ... who all seemed to want to send this to me. Consider it a post by popular acclaim.

Behold, the wages of a speech

It is like watching a yard you once cared for slowly fade to weeds, dead spots, and brambles.

As we have discussed for over 5 1/2 years, this was all foreseen. When you retreat under fire, this is what happens.

Sudarsan Raghavan at WaPo has a heartbreaking story about the fruit of this administration's shift in December 2009, now that it is starting to ripen.
Across Afghanistan, tens of thousands of people are once again on the move. It’s a grim deja vu of the years of civil war and Taliban rule, when masses of Afghans flocked to refugee camps. What’s different now is that much of this desperate migration from rural areas to cities is unfolding in Afghanistan’s northeast, reflecting the conflict’s shift from conventional fighting zones in the south and east.
The new refugees are also a bleak symbol of how the shape of the fight has changed since the U.S.-led NATO mission formally ended combat operations last year. Afghan security forces, now backed by less American air support, are engaged in more fierce ground battles with insurgents, trapping civilians in the paths of mortars, rockets and bullets. With the Taliban fragmented and new militant groups surfacing, including the Islamic State, the number of front lines has surged around the country. Civilian casualties are at record levels.
The exodus has now reached levels unprecedented since the Taliban regime’s demise in late 2001. Nearly a million Afghans — about 3 percent of the population — have been driven by conflict to other parts of the nation.
And after nearly 14 years of conflict — and with crises in Syria, Iraq and South Sudan competing for the world’s attention and dollars — “donor fatigue” has set in, aid workers say. Halfway into the year, the United Nations has received less than one-third of the $405 million it has requested from the international community to respond to Afghanistan’s various humanitarian problems.
In the first five months of this year, doctors treated three times as many patients for conflict-related injuries as in the same period last year. On this day, every bed was full. Last month, over a four-day period, doctors treated 77 patients injured by clashes, one-third of whom were women and children.
This is the future our leaders chose. This is what we warned would happen if we did not have the strategic patience to play the long game.

This next pull quote is a nice vignette of what Shape-Clear-Hold-Build, district by district, was designed to avoid - and what became inevitable following President Obama's speech at West Point in December 2009.
“I am worried about getting shot again,” said Ghafoor, his eyes downcast as he lay on a bed in the hospital ward. “I don’t care if the Taliban or the government rules. All I want is security.”
“My whole life was a few hens and a cow,” said Jamillah. “I have lost all of them, as well as my son and my home. How can I go back?”
This too is Obama's legacy.

If you thought the Islamic State found fertile ground in Syria and Sunni Iraq - wait until they build partnerships with the Taliban. Wait until the Iranians move in to Herat and the Shi-ite Hazara heartland of the country to fight against the Islamic State aligned Sunni tribes.

Yes, a legacy of a feckless, shortsighted, and self-referential foreign and defense policy.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Article 4, NATO, and Turkey

Turkey is turning the ratchet one more time - maybe;
NATO said Sunday that it would meet this week after Turkey called for special talks amid heightened concerns over its security.

Turkey made the request under Article 4 of NATO's founding treaty, which allows countries to ask for consultations when they believe their territorial integrity, political independence or security is threatened.

It's only the fifth time in NATO history that members will meet under Article 4, NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu told CNN.
The other times?
Since the Alliance’s creation in 1949, Article 4 has been invoked several times. Once by Poland on 3 March 2014 following increasing tensions in neighbouring Ukraine. On two occasions in 2012, Turkey requested that the North Atlantic Council (NAC) convene under Article 4: once on 22 June after one of its fighter jets was shot down by Syrian air defence forces and the second time on 3 October when five Turkish civilians were killed by Syrian shells. Following these incidents, on 21 November, Turkey requested the deployment of Patriot missiles. NATO agreed to this defensive measure so as to help Turkey defend its population and territory, and help de-escalate the crisis along the border.

Previously, on 10 February 2003, Turkey formally invoked Article 4 of the North Atlantic Treaty, asking for consultations in the NAC on defensive assistance from NATO in the event of a threat to its population or territory resulting from armed conflict in neighbouring Iraq. NATO agreed a package of defensive measures and conducted Operation Display Deterrence from end February to early May 2003.
Let's review:

- Turkey; 2003
- Turkey: 2012
- Turkey: 2012
- Poland: 2014
- Turkey: 2015


Besides seeming that your country has to have five letters, Turkey is producing more Article 4 issues than can be consumed locally.

What does Turkey want from NATO, now that she has decided that the medieval nightmare that is ISIS could rage on her doorstep for years, but only when the Kurds were getting strong, they needed to act?

There are a few things to keep in mind concerning this latest chain of events that hopefully will help the excessively optimistic to calm down.

We have always walked on eggshells when it came to the Turks – and they play that to best effect. Let me be a bit blunt having worked with and around the Turks a few times.

- First of all, the Turkish contributions to the alliance always look better on paper than they are useful in the field. From the Crimean War on, the then Ottomans and now Turks, relied on their Western allies to do the heavy lifting, or leaned on them to provide the edge to succeed in the field that they lack – NATO is just another iteration of this habit.

- They have a very large military, but it is more of an inwardly focused. Though they fought well in the Korean War, besides fighting their fellow NATO ally Greece and their Cypriot cohorts in the 70s, Turkey has at best a military built to … have a military. Look at what little they have done as an alliance member from the Balkans to their duck-n-cover participation in Afghanistan. The only alliance member that did less with less was the Greeks.

Even in the use of their bases – as we learned in 2003 of spotty reliability – it is for their interest, either because others are are doing their dirty work, or it is the minimum they can do in exchange for something else.

- Turkey is not going to move to eliminate the horror at their doorstep, ISIS. In some ways, the Turks have been playing both sides against the middle looking for their own needy advantage – for you Game of Thrones fans; consider the Turks the House Frey of NATO. They will make their token efforts, and will do what needs to be done to preserve their enclave around the tomb of Suleyman Shah. Taking care of eliminating medieval radical Sunni terrorists on their border is not the job of the Islamists Turkish government, dontchaknow. If it must be done, it should be done by their NATO Janissaries and various Arab fodder, though if pressed, they will be willing to provide staff elements or liaison officers..

- This is mostly about the Kurds. They are slowly gaining more territory and recognition. From the collapsing states of Syria and Iraq, they at last have a chance for forming a nation of their own. That example, from the Turkish government points in one direction; somewhere in the neighborhood of 18% of the Turkish population is Kurdish.

See that map at the top? That is where most of them are … and the percentages are a little more drastic. 79.1% Red (Southeastern Anatolia), 64.1% Light Red (Northeast Anatolia), 32.0% Pink: 14.8 - 4.9%.

The Kurds are many, and Istanbul is far away.

If you were a Turk – would you want an active, progressive, secular and newly energetic – flush with victory – Kurdish republic next to your majority Kurdish provinces?

Friday, July 24, 2015

Fullbore Friday

Most of your people slaughtered. In front of you is the land of your ancestors, a land you do not know, mostly desert and waste. You are surrounded by large numbers of a well armed enemy on the march. You have the option of going home, or to ride off to war in a cheap copy of an outdated weapon.

Of course, you gather around you fast friends, and head to the sound of rolling tanks.
WWhen Lou Lenart was growing up in a Pennsylvania mining town, he endured beating after beating because he was Jewish.

After he took a Charles Atlas bodybuilding course, he joined the Marines and fought in the Pacific. A few years later, he smuggled warplanes into Israel, helped found the new state’s tiny air force and led an attack on more than 10,000 Egyptian troops who had advanced to a bridge within 16 miles of Israel’s biggest city.

“It was the most important moment of my life, and I was born to be there at that precise moment in history,” he told the Jerusalem Post in 2012. “I was the luckiest man in the world that my destiny brought me to that precise moment to be able to contribute to Israel’s survival.”

Lenart, hailed in Israeli headlines as “the man who saved Tel Aviv,” died Monday at his home in Ra’anana, Israel. He was 94.
Lenart kept a home in Los Angeles as well as one in Israel. One of the planes he flew as a Marine fighter pilot is on permanent display at the Proud Bird restaurant complex near Los Angeles International airport.

But he is most closely associated with a 40-minute strafing and bombing raid on Egyptian columns that had marched up the Israeli coast from Gaza on May 29, 1948. With tanks and trucks, the troops were stalled at a bridge that had been blown up by Israeli commandos. In another day, they would have rolled into Tel Aviv.

With only a few hours’ notice, Lenart and three other pilots hopped into Czech Avia S-199s — small, rickety planes that had been pieced together with parts from German Messerschmitts, dismantled before being covertly shipped to Israel and reassembled on a makeshift airstrip.

“We had never flown the planes before,” he said. “We didn’t know if they would fly or if the guns would work.”

In fact, Lenart’s guns jammed. One of the planes, piloted by a South African named Eddie Cohen, went down in flames.

“We lost one-fourth of our air force that day,” Lenart later said. “It was like a piece of your heart being broken off.”

But, surprised by the attack, the advancing forces ultimately withdrew. The bridge where they had bogged down is still known as Ad Halom — or “Up to Here.”

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Diversity Thursday

Yes, some DivThu writes themselves. This really shouldn't be a DivThu, but that mindset of tokenism and the patronizing socio-political posturing of the narrative is out in force. The diversity bullies are doing all they can to grow their empire. 

Awards mean things. Who you nominate for awards often say more about you and your command's mindset than they do about the nominee itself.

What do we have here?
Five everyday heroes were recognized Tuesday night for their accomplishments both on and off duty as the Military Times 2015 Service Members of the Year.
What is the Army offering?
Army Staff Sgt. Joseph Fontenot ... has deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, served as a drill sergeant and later at the Drill Sergeant Academy, and has volunteered at a veterans hospital, a homeless children's shelter and Camp Kemo, for kids fighting cancer
Marine Corps?
Staff Sgt. Zachary Rubart ... three combat deployments under his belt and a Purple Heart on his chest, isn't one to shy away from potential danger.

On Sept. 16, 2013, while Rubart was training on the Marine Barracks Washington parade deck, reports of an active shooter at nearby Washington Navy Yard brought his infantry experience to the fore.

Without hesitation, Rubart assembled a small group of Marines into a quick reaction force and took off for the armory, his ceremonial sword still strapped to his side.

Once armed, Rubart and his Marines helped District of Columbia SWAT personnel clear several rows of buildings and secure the homes of the chief of naval operations and other flag officers on the base.
Air Force?
Air Force Senior Airman Joseph Moreland ... A tactical cyber systems operator, Moreland has deployed three times since joining the Air Force in December 2011. And on his deployment last year, his office wasn't on a base in Afghanistan, it was riding alongside special operations troops to austere locations, setting up crucial communications lines to assist in high-value missions.

Moreland also coordinated a volunteer effort following flooding in the area, leading eight volunteers and saving about $50,000 in goods.
How about our Coast Guard - what message are they putting out about their people via their representative at the awards, Coast Guard Aviation Maintenance Technician 2nd Class Lee Biladeau?
MH-65 Dolphin helicopter mechanic and aircrewman, Biladeau is respected by all, from his maintenance and engineering officers to the pilots and rescue swimmers, to the young aviation maintenance technicians and a contract boat skipper who provides a target for search and rescue practice.

At his first duty station as an AMT, in Port Angeles, Washington, Biladeau got involved with a local lacrosse club called the Mountaineers. He signed up to be head coach of the new, co-ed junior high-age team, taking on seven boys and three girls who'd never played a day in their lives. He spent three seasons with them, practicing every day after school and traveling on Saturdays for games in the Seattle area.
Good, solid, service - and representative of thousands just like him.

Well, I can't wait to hear about our Sailor. What message do we want to give to the nation about what being a Sailor is all about, and what that experience they gain in the Navy helps their community?
Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Sara Freeman ... the carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower's pregnancy coordinator pushed the health readiness of women in that crew to 89 percent.

A survivor of sexual assault prior to joining the Navy, Freeman, 28, uses her experience to help others.

She served as part of the carrier's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response team, and she volunteers to help prevent sexual assault in the Hampton Roads, Virginia, community.
So, that is what our Navy wants to put out front? Priorities for a Navy at war?

Go to sea on the most powerful warship ever to put to sea, get pregnant - perhaps by rape - perhaps not.

An Aircraft Carrier has a pregnancy coordinator. OK, beats what we had on the Big E, which were the folks that scheduled seating on the outgoing COD.

I can hear mothers and fathers everywhere, "Suzie, you must join the Navy!  When you leave here when you are 18, it looks like someone with a lot of experience will help you when you get raped. Even better, when you get pregnant, when they send you back home an expectant single mother at age 19, there will be someone there to help you get home!"

Hat tip JA.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A leader will fight his ship and defend his Sailors, with or without being told to do so

"... our Country will, I believe, sooner forgive an Officer for attacking his Enemy than for letting it alone."
- Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson
It seems that our Navy-Marine Corps team is still full of the leaders its nation expects it to have. They don't need 'ole Sal to say after the fact what needed to be done - they already knew and did it;
A Navy officer and a Marine fired their sidearms hoping to kill or subdue the gunman who murdered five service members last week in Chattanooga, Tennessee, according to multiple military officials familiar with internal reporting on the tragedy.

It remains unclear whether either hit Muhammad Abdulazeez, who was shot and killed Thursday after he gunned down four Marines and a sailor at the Navy Operational Support Center in Chattanooga. It's also unclear why they were armed, as it is against Defense Department policy for anyone other than military police or law enforcement to carry weapons on federal property.

A report was distributed among senior Navy leaders during the shooting's aftermath saying Lt. Cmdr. Timothy White, the support center's commanding officer, used his personal firearm to engage Abdulazeez, Navy Times has confirmed with four separate sources. A Navy official also confirmed Monday's Washington Post report indicating one of the slain Marines may have been carrying a 9mm Glock and possibly returned fire on the gunman.
More details will follow - but for now given what we have, BZ to LCDR White.

If he receives anything less than praise, medals, and promotion - then may the media hammer of Thor come down on all who would do anything against him.

Launch the Ready JAG

We all know that lawyers are in many ways, just well paid trolls.

That's OK though, if they are your trolls.

I'm pondering about trolls under the Chinese bridge over at USNI. Stop by and ponder with me.