Tuesday, June 30, 2009

LCS-I: Dead

The one chance to try to get some type of viable Corvette out of the dog's breakfast that is LCS, was the Israeli FMS version, LCS-I.

Well, looks like the Israeli Navy saw the elephant ... and IMAO made the correct decision.
The Israeli navy has dropped plans to purchase U.S. made warships and instead is exploring the possibility of a home-grown military shipbuilding industry, according to the website of Defense News.

The Ministry of Defense had originally planned on purchasing either the small Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) from Lockheed Martin or similar corvettes built by Northrop Grumman. However, costs for the LCS ships skyrocketed to $637 million, and costs for the corvettes were estimated at $450 million, both deemed prohibitive to the navy.

“As much as we sought commonality with the U.S. Navy, it became much, much more expensive than planned,” a naval source said. “At the end of the day, we had no choice but to face that fact that, for us, it was unaffordable."

Instead, the ministry is now considering building two ships based on the German Meko A-100 corvette at the Israel Shipyards in Haifa, where the project would give a much-needed shot in the arm to the economy.
The Meko A-100 is a fine ship that should fit well the Israeli requirement.

You're only an O5, Skipper - and aircraft don't care

The JAGMAN results are out from the OCT 08 P-3 crash at Bagram, Afghanistan - and there is a lot here to learn from.

One of the great dangers of Command is that you are it. Unless you have a very good, secure, and well grounded CMDCM, XO, and WOs - there is a very real danger that the fact that you are "The Skipper" can warp the perspective of even the very best officer. You can quickly lose the perspective of who and what you are - and what you are there to do. Especially at the CDR Command level - sometimes you are looking at the next set of orders or future prospects that you forget to take care of what is right in front of you. You can forget that for now are are a Tactical level Commander - CAPT, DC, and Major Staff stuff will follow, but first thing first.

Our point man on the topic, Andrew Tilghman from NavyTimes has all you need to know, but here are the pull quotes for all to ponder relative to the second paragraph above.
The commanding officer of a P-3 Orion squadron who overshot a runway and crashed a specialized $93 million plane in Afghanistan last year was not current on his flight-hour requirements and was violating Navy rules prohibiting jet-lagged pilots from flying, investigators found.
Spies also tell me that his total pilot hours for a career were minimal for a Commander to begin with - which make the what follows even more of a "... should have seen that coming ..."
(The CO) brought the plane in too fast, hit the brakes and skidded off the runway. The starboard landing gear was sheared off, two starboard side propellers broke off and the right wing caught fire as the plane came to a stop, an investigation found. One crew member suffered a twisted ankle and all five walked away from the aircraft.

(He) had failed to meet the pilot proficiency requirements — at least 10 flight hours per month — for five of the six months preceding the crash, according to the Judge Advocate General Manual report, or JAGMan.

(He) assigned himself as pilot of the plane after he had traveled across 9½ time zones during the previous 46 hours. Despite regulations requiring several days of rest after such a trip, he took the controls 14 hours after arriving at a forward operating base, ...
Note the attitude. Physics and physical requirements do not care who you are. You can just see the rest.
(he) was unable to sign for the aircraft because his name was not in the maintenance database. But, the report said, he told the crew: “No question here. I am the CO and this is my aircraft.”

A crew member told investigators that (he) “had to be coached on nearly all aspects of the combat arrival.”

When asked why he failed to maintain pilot proficiency, (he) “
said that CO duties, his desire to spread flight time with junior pilots and aircraft availability” were factors.
How many times have we seen this in the last half-decade? Surface CO's with poor seamanship and Aviation CO's who do not have enough hours. At the Tactical level - what are we doing that prevents our Commanding Officers from maintaining their basic warfare qualifications?

As I have mentioned before, part of it is a mentality we have that pre-CDR Command people MUST go to War College --- MUST do this or that --- much of which is busy work ticket punching. But let's move on.
Under Navy rules, pilots should allow an additional day for each hour exceeding a three-hour time change. When asked why he didn’t follow those guidelines, (he) told investigators, “That’s never been our culture.”

Just before the crash, (he) failed to run through the landing checklist at 500 feet. He told investigators that the checklist is “just a technique.”
"Culture?" Interesting. P-3 folks out there - your accident rate this decade has spiked. What is your senior leadership doing about this. Like Gen. Mattis said last week, you get what you reward. Are you are not getting a focus on basic flight safety and primary warfare experience at your CDR Command level --- therefor you are not rewarding it? If not, what are you rewarding?
Lewis tried to blame the crash in part on the cockpit arrangement, saying he “did not have airspeed in my scan as much as I would” in other versions of the P-3.
Not familiar with your own squadron's aircraft? That is a pathetic excuse.
After the crash, when he climbed out of the burning plane, (he) laid down on the wing and put his hands over his head. He said he “stopped there for a second, when the enormity of the whole thing hit him.”

Two flight engineers grabbed his boot and yanked him off the wing as a crash crew responded to extinguish the flames.
Notice where the focus was. Shipmate or self?

I don't think we should beat up too much on the pilot. He has been beat up enough, and the fault is 100% his. Sure we lost an aircraft, but no one was killed. What should be done though is to look close at the culture and the process that got that crew to that point on that day.

Where were the checks and balances? What is the culture that allows an already relatively inexperienced pilot (I will not release it here, but the total career flight hours of the CO is significantly lower than what a CO should have and have had in the past) who wasn't even current to do what he did?

Sure, the CO failed himself and his Sailors --- but are their lessons here for Big Navy? From the emails I have received on this, yes. Once again, it is a leadership issue - one that Skippy reminded us of last year has roots to those Flag Officers who have already retired. That does not excuse the present leadership from not looking closely at the decisions of the last decade and the results and not taking action.

I hope they are. Next time we may not get so lucky. Even if P-3 senior leadership can't fix it - at the Tactical level there is everyting that the CO, XO, CMDCM, WOs and other leaders can do to simply say, "No."
UPDATE: In the same latest issue of the NavyTimes, there is an article that discusses the aircraft availability issue. Though not available online, in summary the P-3 community has: 154 aircraft. 62 mission ready; 58 waiting for depot work; 29 non-mission "bounce birds"; 5 special mission aircraft.

When the latest Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Group, Rear Admiral Mike Moran took over last year,
...he found that around 40% of the Navy's Orion pilots were not current on monthly flight hour requirements.
He has since brought that number down to 15% by establishing that as his top priority.

OK, I'll bite. Who has been held accountable for the 40% before he showed up?

I'll do it for half and for twice a long ..

Skippy, MTH, and LGB - I might need some EA's and field research assistants on this if I pick up the grant.
A CHEEKY artist has been given a £20,000 National Lottery grant - to look at girls' bums.

Sue Williams was given the cash to "explore cultural attitudes towards female buttocks".

She will create plaster cast moulds of women's behinds to try to understand their place in contemporary culture.

Sid, Byron and AW1, sorry - I don't think your tickers could handle all the, ahem, strain.

All artists, of course, have their biases .....

Monday, June 29, 2009

Sounds like "The Hurt Locker" got it right

Ed has some encouraging words about The Hurt Locker.
The Hurt Locker opened in New York and Los Angeles on Friday, and will go into wider release over this upcoming holiday weekend (I saw the film from a screener copy). This is a must-see film, not for any particular message but for anyone interested in an honest presentation of the kind of warfare fought in Iraq. On Thursday, I’ll interview Marc Boal on The Ed Morrissey Show in greater depth just as it opens on more screens.
Our hopes from April were not in vain it seems.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Where is Hugo standing?

Oh, he is with the deposed President of Honduras.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Sunday put troops on alert after a coup in Honduras and said he would respond militarily if his envoy to the Central American country was kidnapped or killed.

Chavez said Honduran soldiers took away the Cuban ambassador and left the Venezuelan ambassador on the side of a road after beating him during the army's coup against his leftist ally, Honduran President Manuel Zelaya.

The Honduran army ousted Zelaya and exiled him in Central America's first military coup since the Cold War, after he upset the army by trying to win re-election.
In that case, I'll stand with the Honduran military. I like my bastard better. Lefty wanted to remain in power unconstitutionally - and the military said, "No."

I'm ok with that. Hold the elections on time in 2010 an in the meantime put the next in line in the seat --- and all will be forgiven. If the military tries to stay in power, then to h311 with them.
UPDATE:I don't like this initial reaction by out SECSTATE. Why are we on the same side as Hugo and Fidel?
Yesterday the Central American country was being pressured to restore the authoritarian Mr. Zelaya by the likes of Fidel Castro, Daniel Ortega, Hillary Clinton and, of course, Hugo himself. The Organization of American States, having ignored Mr. Zelaya's abuses, also wants him back in power.
It's not surprising that chavistas throughout the region are claiming that he was victim of a military coup. They want to hide the fact that the military was acting on a court order to defend the rule of law and the constitution, and that the Congress asserted itself for that purpose, too.

Mrs. Clinton has piled on as well. Yesterday she accused Honduras of violating "the precepts of the Interamerican Democratic Charter" and said it "should be condemned by all." Fidel Castro did just that. Mr. Chávez pledged to overthrow the new government.
What did Zelaya do?
That Mr. Zelaya acted as if he were above the law, there is no doubt. While Honduran law allows for a constitutional rewrite, the power to open that door does not lie with the president. A constituent assembly can only be called through a national referendum approved by its Congress.

But Mr. Zelaya declared the vote on his own and had Mr. Chávez ship him the necessary ballots from Venezuela. The Supreme Court ruled his referendum unconstitutional, and it instructed the military not to carry out the logistics of the vote as it normally would do.

The top military commander, Gen. Romeo Vásquez Velásquez, told the president that he would have to comply. Mr. Zelaya promptly fired him. The Supreme Court ordered him reinstated. Mr. Zelaya refused.

Calculating that some critical mass of Hondurans would take his side, the president decided he would run the referendum himself. So on Thursday he led a mob that broke into the military installation where the ballots from Venezuela were being stored and then had his supporters distribute them in defiance of the Supreme Court's order.

The attorney general had already made clear that the referendum was illegal, and he further announced that he would prosecute anyone involved in carrying it out.
...and the Hondurans?
Honduras is fighting back by strictly following the constitution. The Honduran Congress met in emergency session yesterday and designated its president as the interim executive as stipulated in Honduran law. It also said that presidential elections set for November will go forward. The Supreme Court later said that the military acted on its orders. It also said that when Mr. Zelaya realized that he was going to be prosecuted for his illegal behavior, he agreed to an offer to resign in exchange for safe passage out of the country. Mr. Zelaya denies it.

Many Hondurans are going to be celebrating Mr. Zelaya's foreign excursion. Street protests against his heavy-handed tactics had already begun last week. On Friday a large number of military reservists took their turn. "We won't go backwards," one sign said. "We want to live in peace, freedom and development."

Besides opposition from the Congress, the Supreme Court, the electoral tribunal and the attorney general, the president had also become persona non grata with the Catholic Church and numerous evangelical church leaders. On Thursday evening his own party in Congress sponsored a resolution to investigate whether he is mentally unfit to remain in office.
I think Mary O'Grady in the WSJ is right, the Hondurans that threw Zelaya out of the country are patriots. Our government is close to being on the wrong side of history.

If we stick to the vaporish words of the CINC,
"I call on all political and social actors in Honduras to respect democratic norms, the rule of law and the tenets of the Inter-American Democratic Charter. Any existing tensions and disputes must be resolved peacefully through dialogue free from any outside interference," Obama said.
... is about right. Unlike the first quote above, this is better from the SECSTATE,
"We call on all parties in Honduras to respect the constitutional order and the rule of law, to reaffirm their democratic vocation, and to commit themselves to resolve political disputes peacefully and through dialogue," Clinton said in a statement.
Maybe we can stay on the right side of history and not join Hugo. In the end though, the Hondurans seem to have things under control.

Sunday Funnies

Saturday, June 27, 2009

More vulnerable and less trained ....

OK, I think I know Congress's new moto for the Navy.
Efforts by local congressmen to block moving a Norfolk-based aircraft carrier to Florida and to give more clout to opponents of the Navy's proposed outlying landing field won approval in the U.S. House in Washington on Thursday.

The measures were included in the House legislation that would authorize $680 billion for defense spending in 2010, including a 3.4 percent pay raise for all service members.

The House kept intact an amendment that would cancel spending $46.3 million to dredge the harbor at Mayport Naval Station near Jacksonville, Fla., in preparation for a new carrier. The amendment was written by U.S. Rep. Glenn Nye, D-2nd District, and co-sponsored by U.S. Reps. Randy Forbes, R-4th District, and Rob Wittman, R-1st District.

Nye said Thursday that the amendment was not a hard sell in the House.

"I think we had the power of logic on our side," he said.

The three legislators have said it doesn't make sense to authorize spending money for the dredging when the Navy has agreed to wait another year to make a decision on carrier homeports.

"The Department of Defense needs to first determine whether or not moving a carrier away from Norfolk is a good idea before they start spending money on the transfer," Wittman said in a written statement after the vote.

The money for the dredging would be redirected to construction and repairs at Navy and Marine Corps Reserve facilities.

The defense bill also includes an amendment by Forbes that would give communities more control over whether the Navy could construct an outlying landing field, or OLF, in their jurisdiction.

Forbes' amendment would allow a county being considered for an OLF to have a final say on whether to accept it. The Navy would be unable to build a landing field if the local government formally opposed it within 90 days of final site selection.

U.S. Rep. Walter Jones, a North Carolina Republican, also successfully included an amendment to the House bill that would prohibit building an outlying landing field at Sandbanks or Hale's Lake in the northeastern part of his state. The Navy has considered those locations and three others in Virginia's Southampton, Sussex and Surry counties.
Joy. Myopic localism at its worst.

I think in Latin it is, Magis expositus quod minor instructus.

I need to read Brideshead Revisited

I am serious. No kidding --- I just found a strange new respect for Evelyn Waugh --- no kidding.

This guy sounds exactly like the guy Skippy and I would want to go to war with ... here's why.

I enjoy driving off the Interstate. Likewise, I like to troll around old used book stores and the book sections of flee markets. Combine that with and interest in the under told stories of warfare - I bumbled into and interesting little book about an interesting and, at least to me, unknown corner of WWII. For example, Ken Ford's Assault on Germany : The Battle for Geilenkirchen.

If you crack it open to page 26 and started reading the following, I ask you; how could you not spit out a few bucks for this book .... and then not want to get hold of Waugh's
Brideshead Revisited?
Waugh had applied to the War Office for leave to complete his late3st novel - Brideshead Revisited (Everyman's Library Classics) - but was told that he had been found employment with Major-General Thomas as an ADC. At a meeting arranged over lunch a the Aperitif Restaurant in London, Waugh tried to warn Thomas that he was not the ideal man to be an aide-de-camp, but nonetheless the general was rather taken with the thought of having a literary celebrity on his staff and accepted the novelist for a week's trail.

It was a disaster. Waugh arrived at the Divisional HQ on Tuesday, 29 February, and was gone by the Thursday of the same week. The reason for his short stay and his relations with the general, were recorded in Waugh's diary:
The primary lack of sympathy seemed to come from my being slightly drunk in his mess on the first evening. I told him I could not change the habits of a lifetime for a whim of his. The HQ was architecturally deplorable and the staff glum and drab.
One of the staff officers at the HQ, Lieutenant-Colonel Williams Thomas, remembers Waugh's short stay and a quite different reason for his departure:
Evelyn Waugh was always pretty well 'oiled' and got sacked shortly after his arrival when he came gangling down the stairs in 'A' Mess singing, "His father was a harpist, his father was a harpist." Waugh had been checking in Who's Who and discovered that Thomas's father had been a harpist to Queen Victoria. We all thought it was hilarious. I do not thing Waught was ever forgiven for letting the cat out of the bag!
That is a character to go to war with ... for a couple of days only, perhaps.

He can room with Skippy.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Fullbore Friday

What a great name for a great man. Fair winds and following seas Lieutenant Commander Max Shean, RN.
Lieutenant-Commander Max Shean, who has died aged 90, was one of the small band of young men who, in the face of extraordinary peril, carried the sea war into enemy harbours; in the process they won a total of 68 awards for bravery, including four VCs; for his own exploits, Shean received a DSO and Bar.

His first mission was Operation Source, the attack by a flotilla of X-craft on the German battleship Tirpitz in north Norway in September 1943. The X-craft were manned by passage crews and towed there by parent submarines, while attack crews, including Shean's, prepared themselves in the towing vessels.

Disaster struck, however, when Shean's X-9, behind Syrtis, broke her tow and the passage crew was lost. The towrope became tangled round Syrtis's port propeller, and Shean, whose diving suit was in X-9, plunged over the side into the freezing waters. Wearing overalls weighted with steel bars in the pockets, Shean repeatedly duck-dived until he could free the tangled rope. Knowing that, if attacked from the air, Syrtis would dive and abandon him on the surface, Shean was more frightened than he had ever been; and when he was hauled on board, the submarine's commanding officer rewarded him with a brusque "Well done!"

One of the lessons of Operation Source was the potential for confusion during multiple attacks; so on Operation Guidance, in April 1944, Shean, now in command of X-24, was towed by Sceptre to Bergen, Norway, to make a solo attack on a large floating dock.

Shean successfully penetrated the fjords to reach the harbour, but faulty intelligence caused him to lay X-24's explosive charges under a 7,800-ton German merchant ship, Barenfels, instead of the floating dock. Otherwise it was a model attack, and 24 hours later, sick and suffering from headaches caused by the stale air in the boat, Shean and his crew rendezvoused at sea with Sceptre. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for his great courage, skill and determination in a most hazardous enterprise.

Following D-Day, Shean's flotilla was deployed to the Far East in command of an improved craft, XE-4. When Admiral Chester Nimitz, Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Ocean Areas, and an experienced submariner, saw his first XE-craft he declared it was a "suicide craft" which had no place in the Allies' order of battle. But when orders came from Washington to cut two underwater telegraph cables off Japanese-occupied Saigon, he found that the British midget submarines were the only force capable of achieving this.
Read it all.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Hannan Republicanism

Our Tory buddy, Daniel Hannan, MEP, has a nice prescription for the American right that is worth pondering.
Hannan: Yes, Europe has swung away from socialism. But it’s important for Americans to realize where Europe is starting from — it is quite normal on this side of the Atlantic for governments to take 45 or 50 percent of GDP in tax. So Europe’s swing to the Right and the U.S. swing to the Left still leave America less socialist than Europe.

None the less, the swing is significant for this reason. Voters are now way ahead of their politicians on the issue of tax and spend. While the political parties dance about trying not to use the word “cuts,” the electorate has clocked that reductions are urgent. The recession is forcing everyone to make economies: every business, every household. Do we really need two cars? Is there a cheaper mobile phone package? Can we get a better deal on insurance? They can see that it is possible — necessary indeed — to cut spending, but that such cuts need not have too deleterious an impact on our quality of life. And they simply can’t understand why the same logic doesn’t apply to the government. It is outrageous to exempt the public sector from the shrinkage of the economy — i.e., to tax the wealth creators even more in order to cushion the rest.

One of the reasons we Tories are leaving the EPP, and forming a new alliance of Euro-skeptic parties, is to make these arguments. We will put together a coalition of Atlanticist, free-market conservative parties that believe in national independence and parliamentary democracy. In doing so, we will break the monopoly in Brussels. Because, I stress this again, the “swing to the Right” was, in many cases, a swing to pantywaist Christian Democrat parties whose politicians, in the U.S., would be bang in the middle of the Democratic Party.

Advice for American conservatives? Only this. The Republican Party’s success depended on its becoming a popular party — that is, a party that was for the people against the governing elites. Half a century ago, it was a party of big business and old money, and it kept losing: it was in permanent opposition in both houses, and tended to win the presidency only when it fielded a non-partisan Ike-type candidate. Then it changed: it embraced localism, small government and states’ rights. It went from being a New England, preppy, country club party to being a Sun Belt, anti-Washington mass movement. And you know what? It started winning.

My worry is that, in recent years, the party has gone into reverse. It has become, as in pre-Goldwater days, the party of federal spending, budget deficits, external protectionism (the steel tariffs), overseas garrisons, the denial of states’ rights (the gay marriage amendment) and, latterly, bailouts and nationalizations.

I speak as someone who has a more uncomplicated loyalty to the GOP than to my own party, and I desperately want it to start winning again. But that means getting back to basics: to the basic idea that informed the U.S. Constitution, namely that decisions should be taken as closely as possible to the people they affect.
Hat Tip Andrew Ian Dodge.

Blimp, airships --- bring 'em on

Via The Economist, lighter than air; now more than ever
SPYING is a sophisticated and expensive business—and gathering military intelligence using unmanned aircraft can be prohibitively so. Predator and Global Hawk, two types of American drone frequently flown in Afghanistan and Iraq, cost around $5,000 and $26,500 an hour respectively to operate. The aircraft themselves cost between $4.5m and $35m each, and the remote-sensing equipment they carry can more than double the price. Which is why less elegant but far cheaper balloons are now being used instead.

Such blimps can keep surveillance and ordnance-guiding equipment aloft for a few hundred dollars an hour. They cost hundreds of thousands, not millions, of dollars. And they can stay in the air for more than a week, whereas most drones fly for no more than 30 hours at a time. They are also easy to deploy, because no airfield is needed. A blimp can be stored in the back of a jeep, driven to a suitable location, launched in a couple of hours and winched down again even faster.
Makes you wonder if anyone ever thought about putting a "ISR Blimp Kit" next to the FireScout on the back end of a LCS?

Persistent ISR; you've got it.

Remember the SECDEF quote from yesterday?
At least 20 countries use blimps—both global military powers, such as America, Britain and France, and smaller regional ones, including Ireland, Pakistan, Poland and the United Arab Emirates. Many are employed in Iraq. In November 2008 Aerostar International of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, began filling a $1.8m order for 36 blimps to be deployed by the American armed forces in Iraq. But Afghanistan may prove a bigger market. That is because it is difficult to pick up satellite signals in the valleys of that mountainous country. As a result blimps, adjusted to hover at appropriate heights, are often used to relay data to and from satellites.

As politicians around the world seek to cut public spending, the attractions of blimps are growing. In January America’s defence secretary, Robert Gates, told the Senate’s armed-services committee that the Department of Defence would pursue greater quantities of “75% solutions” that could be realised in weeks or months instead of “99% exquisite systems” that take more than a decade to develop. Barry Watts, an analyst at the Centre for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a think-tank in Washington, DC, says America’s air force has been criticised for not providing enough aerial data to “insatiable” ground forces. Blimps, Mr Watts reckons, will help them sate that appetite.

Wouldn't mind a larger version for BAMS either .... but AeroStar can't fight the lobby efforts of Northrop-Grumman I bet.

Diversity Thursday

Why don't I get these ..... advice and comments. Yes, we have them .... and no, I don't have to make this racist stuff up.

Your tax dollars make it happen.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Good thing they don't run fast ...

The age of LawFare -- but still good w@r pr0n.

Hat tip Allah.

SECDEF Gates: Salamander follower?

Yea, I wish.

Anyway - I can't believe I missed this from JAN. Right from the "Revolutionary vs. Evolutionary" file - SECDEF has learned the lessons of PPT and vaporware methinks.

A real fancy way of saying, "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good."
"I will pursue greater quantities of systems that represent the 75 percent solution instead of smaller quantities of 99 percent, exquisite systems,"
Of course, that could mean deploying a "slick" LCS - but LCS is not his baby. It isn't his fault we have a Frigate sized, Tiffany priced gun boat to deliver SOF teams, but hey; if you need to ploy a field and don't have a tractor, then you might as well use the BMW in the driveway.

The attitude of 75% vs. 99% though is one that if taken forward towards shipbuilding may help the future.

Now, if we could just get him to tour a few Continental shipyards ....

Retro Wednesday

Not sure of the ceremony. FADM Nimitz on the podium and N2S flyby.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

This is a Salamander crew type book

I am a long time fan of John Derbyshire. Just the title tells you his next book is worth pre-ordering.


Monday, June 22, 2009

Name the veggie!

....that she uses to cover the lower half!
In a PETA campaign scheduled to launch in October, Che Guevara’s 24 year-old granddaughter, Lydia, poses half naked with the tag line ‘join the vegetarian revolution.’
Oh, how cute. Maybe Pol Pot's grandchildren will one day help sell blue zip-loc baggies by wearing them as hats or sump'n.

MOH - Rep. Hunter (R-CA) is taking point

At last ... it is about time. I just hope he can find a Democrat with seniority to back him.
A California congressman who served two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan convinced the House Armed Services Committee to order a full review of the criteria used for giving awards for gallantry and valor after a senior defense official said technological advancements and new combat tactics might be the reason fewer of the highest medals are being issued.

At the urging of Rep. Duncan D. Hunter, R-Calif., a Marine combat veteran elected to Congress in November, the armed services committee has asked for a review of trends in awarding the Medal of Honor to determine if the low number of awards in the current wars is the result of “inadvertent subjective bias amongst commanders.”

The committee also wants the Defense Department to survey officers and noncommissioned officers in leadership positions to look at attitudes about acts of valor. Hunter is looking for the reasons behind not just fewer nominations, but also a trend since the Vietnam War in which the only Medal of Honor awards have been for people who died during an act of valor.
While we are discussing today the evils of Transformationalism - will somebody please hit Gail McGinn with a ClueBat?
In a June 2 letter to Hunter that was released Wednesday, Gail McGinn, acting undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, said defense officials see nothing amiss in the Peralta decision.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who made the final call, “was advised by five independent reviewers who all individually concluded that the evidence included in the [Medal of Honor] recommendation did not support the award,” McGinn wrote.

The reviewers included a former commanding general of Marine forces in Iraq, a neurosurgeon, two pathologists and a Medal of Honor recipient, McGinn said.

Her letter also responds to Hunter’s larger question about whether the criteria have changed over time. A 2008 review of guidance used in making the awards “found no evidence of a posthumous requirement, either written or unwritten,” she said.

What has changed, McGinn said, is warfare. U.S. military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq “are inherently different from previous major conflicts,” she said.
Not only is that not based on fact (perhaps she should talk to Gen. Mattis) that is a huge insult to all those who have taken ground and engaged the enemy the same as others have throughout our history: face to face, hand to hand.

We could spend hours with examples from Iraq and Afghanistan alone that would prove that from the tactical standpoint (Where Medal of Honor are won), there is no difference between the fighting now and the fighting in 1969, 1951, 1944, 1918, 1898, 1863, 1066 .... amazing someone at that level in that position could say something so out of alignment with reality,

BZ Rep. Hunter - go get 'em.

Mattis on C2

Let's set some foundational truths. General Mattis, USMC is one if not the premier military minds of his generation. I count as an honor that I have worked with him.

He is also the most senior antitransformationalists we have. Here is what I ask of you. Look at your calendar today. Find an hour - if you don't have one eat your lunch at your desk. If that doesn't work, wait until you get home and the 'lil ones are in bed and the honey-do list is done. Get a cup of coffee or tumbler of good single malt, and then watch the video below.

Be in awe. I am. If you are running short of time, go to the 35:00 point.

Before we get to that though, get the Executive Summary about what he will speak of. Once again, General Mattis, USMC finds the right point of vulnerability.
US Marine Corps General James Mattis, head of US Joint Forces Command, cautioned against the military becoming too reliant on technology and command-and-control (C2) systems, which he believes could increase vulnerability.

During a 1 June speech in Washington, Gen Mattis, who also serves as NATO's Supreme Allied Commander for Transformation, called for moderating "our idea that technology is going to solve this human problem called war".
I really wish I could find a full transcript of this speech. Here is the meat of the article behind the firewall;
"War, he said, is primarily "a human endeavor [and] a social problem", so the US military should be careful in assuming what solutions technology might provide because its enemies have a history of avoiding their foe's strengths and exploiting weaknesses.

Overly relying on technical C2 systems and centralized decision making woudl cause the US military to become the "single most vulnerable military in the world", Gen. Mattis warned. Data and communications networks represent a 'single point of failure' that could be attacked, resulting in disabled command structures.
Exactly, hitting on a theme we touch on here on a regular basis, over reliance on technology is a false economy when you actually have to go to war. If you rely too much on the electronic spectrum and don't have a back-up ready to go - you will be defeated.

Here is the CSIS speech. In a word, awe.

Gen. Mattis is a national treasure. There, I said it.

We literally put our nation at Strategic and National risk by putting all our eggs in transformationalist ideas. Fact trumps theory. Lead and steel trump PPT. I cannot think of a person who understands this better, or makes a better argument about this subject, than Gen. Mattis.

On a larger scale, if you want to know the worst case scenario, out on the tail end of the bell curve, where our arrogant faith in non-robust technology and blinkered view about our critical vulnerabilities can go, check out what I am listening to now, William R. Forstchen's One Second After.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Going the right way ...

One thing I don't share all that much here is my passion for hunting - bird hunting to be specific. On top of all that, I am a Spaniel guy. Smaller the better.

For most of this decade, my favorite writer of the genre has been Chad S. Mason and his "A Bird Hunter's Diary" at GunDog Magazine.

You can't find it online, yet - but in the June/July edition of the magazine, we find that Chad has decided to stop writing.

It has often said that the wise out there pick their time - that if you listen close enough, you will know ... and the wise follow what they hear.

It isn't online ... I don't think Chad will mind, and I link to and highly encourage everyone to subscribe to GunDog Magazine, so I got the OCR software working right.

Even if you are not a hunter or lover of dogs - I recommend the read, mostly because you will see why I enjoyed reading him so much.
IF MEMORY SERVES, my first "Bird Hunter's Diary" column appeared in 2002. That would mean I've written almost 50 of these for a total of somewhere around 70,000 words. Looking back now, every word has been worth the writing and some of them perhaps have been worth reading. With mixed feelings, I now tum the last leaf in a book that has gone tattered, because it has gone exposed into many a thorny place.

You have been good to me, so I feel that you are owed an explanation for my departure. That may seem like a funny thing to say, since we have not even been formally introduced. But more than a few of you have, over the years, contacted me by phone or letter to express compliments and gratitude. Some of you have invited me to hunt with you, and your invitations I still keep in a special drawer in my desk, even if I have not been able (yet) to take you up on the offers.

A few more have been less charitable, but at least they were honest. Anyway, I suspect that we may in fact have met without knowing it. If you've ever arrived to hunt on public land in Iowa or Minnesota, and got there just in time to see a skinny fellow walking away from a dented old Dodge Neon-parked in your favorite spot-with a little black dog in front of him, well, that was me. Sorry I got there first. If it's any consolation, I never took too mauy.

For several years I have made a little bit less than a living as an outdoor writer. Little bits can accumulate over time, however, eventually amounting to quite a bit. So there is a bare, pragmatic, financial reason for my departure, but that is not finally the deciding factor. (You don't need to worry about me, by the way; I recently landed a "real job.")

John Lennon said, ~~Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." That's one of the few things he said that I agree with, and somewhere in those words is the reason I cannot write any more stories about hunting, at least for a while. About the time you read this, I'll wake up one morning and turn 40-not old, by any means, but older than I've ever been. A week before that, my oldest daughters will become teenagers; the week after, Rascal will turn 77 in dog years. Nobody is quite sure what happened to 'the years between these momentous milestones and the time Rascal and I went dawn-to-dusk in steep, slippery, snowy country on six young legs. Some time has gone missing, and stealthily so.

Other changes too have come upon me unaware, riding as stowaways on the years. At age 12, I bought my first outdoor magazine at the IGA Foods store in Greenville, Kentucky, and read it cover to cover. From then on, an outdoor writer was all I ever wanted to be. It still seems almost incredulous to me that I actually pulled it off, that there have been so many people willing to pay me to hunt, fish, and tell stories about hunting and fishing. Men who were my idols are now just a few pages away, to my left and to my right. They love what they do and I still admire them, but now I am surprised by a burning desire within myself to simply hunt, and not to hunt for a living. I want to walk the fields like you, without having to produce a tale or a picture.

One of my favorite writers is an Oregonian named Ted Leeson. In his wonderful book of fly fishing essays, Jerusalem Creek, Leeson observes that he tends to re-evaluate life every 10 years or so, shaking things up and rearranging. So I was probably overdue last summer when I walked into an antique shop in Des Moines,just tagging along with my parents, and found my grandfather's hunting coat hanging on a peg. Just like the one he had worn, it was made of stiff brown canvas with a soft flannel back liner and a corduroy collar. It had no tags and no logo, a relic from a less brand-conscious era when hunters were not walking billboards. Held shut by only three plastic buttons, it offered proof that there once was a time when hunters did not expect to be as comfortable outdoors as they arc indoors. It was pristine, and a perfect fit. Even for an outdoor writer, it was an easy decision at only $15.

My grandfather never got paid to go hunting, but he did have a few hunting magazines around in his later years. He mined coal for almost 35 years. He hunted on his days off, or whenever he was laid off. He hunted rabbits, squirrels and quail, and he ate them. Generally he fried them. If he was feeling fancy, he made gravy to go with them. As long as I. knew him, he shot everything with the same gun, a Remington Model 1100 Light 20. After an aneurysm had taken my grandmother, he remarried to a widowed schoolteacher w~o had done well saving her money. She bought him the 1100 on their first anniversary. She died in 1993 and he followed several months later.

Late last fall, I sold all my shotguns except his. At some point he had carved his initials (L.M.) into the plastic butt plate with his pocketknife. My father bought a new stock for the gun two years ago, because Granddad beat hell out of the old one, taking it exposed through many a thorny place. But we kept the butt plate. Granddad's initials remain visible, and seem to us like the signature on a cheap card that comes with an expensive gift, but for some reason never gets thrown away.

All of that is to say that the old canvas coat has provoked some re-evaluation of life, and some rearranging. This year I'll be hunting less, and enjoying it more.

My belief in the importance of this column has made it hard to quit even when I knew that I should. Besides practical information on bird hunting and the dogs that make it worth doing, this column offers at least occasional opportunities for celebration, questioning, lament, laughter and protest. I've attempted to explore all of the above at one time or another, while trying to avoid self-righteousness. If I have failed, the fault is entirely mine. If I have succeeded, I cannot accept all the credit; I had good role models.

Hopefully the editor can find someone to take up this concept and continue writing about the things that occur to people when they are out hunting. As for me, I'll probably still jot a few things down and save them up.

Thank you, and good night.
Another of his bits that had me nodd'n my head awhile back is here.

Well done Chad - it was a good run, and I think you are going out in this venue on top. I hope to read you again somewhere soon. If not, thanks.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Fullbore Friday

BZ to Berlin --- a proper tribute to a simple man, who in a simple act symbolized a reality of Communism and offered hope to some and inspiration to most.

A sad ending though for a man, who through a simple act, helped so much the cause of freedom.
On 15 August 1961 he found himself, aged 19, guarding the Berlin Wall, then in its third day of construction, at the corner of Ruppinerstraße and Bernauerstraße. At that stage of construction, the Berlin Wall was only a low barbed wire fence. As the people on the Western side shouted Komm rüber! ("come over"), Schumann jumped the barbed wire and was driven away at high speeds by a waiting West Berlin police car. Photographer Peter Leibing captured a photograph of his escape on film and it became a well-known image of the Cold War.

Schumann was later permitted to travel from West Berlin to the main territory of West Germany, where he settled in Bavaria. He met his wife Kunigunde in the town of Günzburg.[1]

After the fall of the Berlin Wall he said, "Only since 9 November 1989 [the date of the fall] have I felt truly free". Even so, he continued to feel more at home in Bavaria than in his birthplace, citing old frictions with his former colleagues, and he even hesitated about visiting his parents and brothers and sisters in Saxony. On 20 June 1998, suffering from depression, he hanged himself in his orchard near the town of Kipfenberg in Oberbayern.
One act in time though, Fullbore.

As a side note - how many of you catch the meaning of Jude's alblum Cuba cover?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Unknown Salamander discovered!

And who are you calling ugly?
... a salamander resembling E.T. and dubbed the ugly salamander. salamanders of this particular genus are rare, nocturnal forest dwellers that, in Ecuador arent generally found in forests above 3200 feet.
I actually prefer swamps and saltwater marshes.

Trust no one with your children ...

People often look at me funny when I tell them something along the lines, "There is nothing wrong with the kids now days. The problems all have to do with their parents, teachers, and the people we mistakenly outsource our parenting decisions to."

Mrs. Salamander found a perfect example of what I mean.

I am blessed; my children are voracious readers of books. They just devour them. Personally, I should open an American Girl library, I have them all. My preteen already reads at a college level and my youngest wants to catch up yesterday.

As a result, Mrs. Salamander is always on the lookout for good books, especially those with a historical bent, as the eldest takes after her father with her interest in all thing historical. Well, Mrs. Salamander spies Adèle Geras's (the accent over the "e" should have been a warning) book Troy. What does she read on the back?
A Publisher's Weekly Best Children's Book of the Year.
A Smithsonian Magazine Notable Book for Children.
... and so on. It is a thick book - which is good too as it will last.

What wonderful seeds are waiting in this book to sprout roots in your child's brain from this book?

Here are just a few samples.
"Come and lie down beside me," he said, taking the cup out of her hands and putting it on the flor next to the bed. "I'm sad. I haven't been as sad as this since my father died, when I was a small boy. Lord Hector - he spoke to me last night. Comfort me, Marpessa. Hold me, so that I can weep with no one to see me."

Marpessa looked at him and a dizziness came over her, so that she almost swooned. Without a word, she lay down beside him and put her arms around him. his head was on her breast. She stared over his shoulder at the wall. Oh, Lady Aphrodite, she said to herself, help me. What is happening to me? She was trembling all over.

"Look at me, " Alastor said, lifting his head level with her face. "And open your mouth."

Marpessa did what he said, and her heart...something...everything...melted like a honeycomb held near the fire, and she felt her whole body grow limp and heavy, and her mouth was filled with sweetness. She closed her eyes, and a wave of darkness washed over her as she fell back against the pillows with Alastor's weight and heat upon her. - (page 128)
...and so on.

I know, don't hate the player - hate the game. BTW, what did that take - 30 seconds - from "Hold me, so that I can weep ... " to "Open your mouth."? Impressive. I don't think even
Skippy can move that fast.

I don't know about you, but I don't know anyone who says "Open your mouth" before they kiss them. That must be ... ummmmm .... Kristen, for you I will not go further.

Back to the serious things.
That's Alastor's bastard, people would say ... unthinkable. A torture. And of her, a part that she didn't want ot listen to but that insisted on being heard, said in the wicked whisper of a snake, It will be a dind of punishment for him ... for the way he as treated you. Kill his child. It's what he deserves. Kill it. Soon. Rid your womb of every particle of his being. Cleanse yourself
"...I want to kill my child"

"How old? You don't look more than a child yourself."

"Here," Marpessa held her hand to her stomach. "It's not yet born.."

Mother poison made a sucking noise through her teeth.

"It's much easier to kill the ones that are already here. There are many ways of doing that. Are you quite sure you wouldn't prefer to wait, and hold a pillow over the infant's mouth? That's simplest."
- (page 264)
Friends don't let friend's children read books written by Boomers for children until a responsible adult reads them.

Did you know there is a Teacher's Guide for this book? I only found out while getting links for this post.

The Teacher's Guide states,

Troy and Ithaka are companion novels appropriate for readers in grades nine through twelve, or students ages fourteen to eighteen.
Ok. That is one definition of child - but perhaps on the back of the book they should be more specific ... and to many of us, a strong reading child is 9-12 years old. - the exact type that is attracted to Harry Potter length novels.

I am lucky that Mrs. Salamander has a good Mother's Sense about things. We've been burned before with "recommended children's books" lists. What is it about some adults that they think that children should be fed Penthouse Forum Lite stories and the worst parts of human nature - all packaged in post-modernest prose that is barely readable? I don't know, but they are sick people.

I'll take the sex and violence in the classics - they have stood the time of centuries and are fairly opaque. But this stuff? Plenty of time for such things in life. Can't we let 12 year olds be 12 year olds?

Even going beyond the 12 year olds, aren't there plenty of novels to give 9th graders than ones that have descriptions of head games for oral sex and pondering on if it is best to have an abortion or commit infanticide?

If not - then perhaps "Children's Book" has a very different meaning today. In the end, this only reinforces the fact that outside your house's door, no one is really looking after your child's childhood but you.

As a side note - if you really want to know why her book gets recommended - think about who runs the education schools and populates the education bureaucracy. Then read this review.
With exceptional grace and enormous energy, Geras recreates the saga of the Trojan War from a feminist perspective, ...
- Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Great. Doing for the Trojan war what Dan Brown has done for Catholicism.

Anne - it continues to be a shame you and Mrs. Salamander never met.

Diversity Thursday

Tell me again how you defend this horrid example of bean counting, CYA, discriminatory, patronizing, treatment. How?
Subject: NROTC Scholarship Option/Information

Good morning,

My name is [REDACTED], and I am a [REDACTED] with the Selection and Placement Division of the NROTC Scholarship Program in Pensacola, Florida. I am contacting you because of the outstanding application you submitted for the NROTC Program. Although our Four-Year National Scholarship application process for the fall of 2009 has closed, many scholarship opportunities are still available for you to begin college this fall.

One of the numerous scholarship opportunities that I want to make sure that you know about is our Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Scholarship. HBCU scholarships are available at sixteen colleges and universities and provide the same benefits as our regular Four-Year National Scholarship. The only difference is that the HBCU scholarship may only be used at one of our participating HBCU colleges and universities. You will find all but three listed at the following link:

https://www.nrotc.navy.mil/hist_black.asp. The three that aren't listed are: Allen University, Columbia SC / Texas Southern University, Houston TX / and Tuskegee University, Tuskegee AL.

This e-mail does not indicate that you have, or have not been awarded the 4YR National scholarship that you previously applied for, so continue to check the NROTC Web-Site for those results. This is simply another great scholarship opportunity that you may want to consider if you are not awarded the other one.

If you are interested, and would like to possibly participate in the HBCU scholarship program, all you need to do is reply to me using the contact information provided below. I will be glad to verify your eligibility and guide you through the process. I look forward to helping you begin your college career.

Very respectfully,

Naval Service Training Command/[REDACTED]
COMM:(850) 452-[REDACTED]
FAX: (850) 452-[REDACTED]
WEB: www.nrotc.navy.mil
To start with - I assume that they don't care what race you are, just that you go to a HBU? Huh? Then again, are just interested in what your DNA is and that you go to to a HBU? Do other universities get this special treatment? If I am blond haired and blue eyed and go to Howard University, I get a scholarship? If I am blond haired and blue eyed and go to Yale I don't?

Again, shame on all of us.

BG Walsh, US Army - professional of the month

Make no mistake - DC duty is exceptionally difficult at the higher levels. You have to be a workaholic, a politician, and unquestionably and actor.

Watch him in action here.

Sir, I'll buy you a beer next time you head to The Irish Times.

BTW, wouldn't you love to hear what his "internal dialogue" was?
UPDATE Yea, this works for me.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

He should have gone to West Point

...because he has long range land navigation down pat. See the link for the story and to see what our buddy Chuck says.

Oh, if you are thinking of going to Annapolis - Professor Fleming has a primer for you.

Hat tip Deep Irish.

Battle of Midway - history down the memory hole

When reader The-Other-Jeff (as I know him) emailed me about this, to be honest, I didn't believe it. To quote TOJ;
... the word "Japanese" or "Imperial
Japanese Navy" were never uttered at the Midway Commemoration last Thursday at the Navy Memorial.
Sorry TOJ, you were exactly right; I'll never doubt you again.

This wasn't just any speech for any commemorative event by any schmo; this was the speech by the Chief of Naval Operations at the Navy Memorial in Washington DC to recognize the Battle of Midway. Read the whole speech here and come back. As for The Commandant's speech, I'll let the Marines deal with it - the CNO's speech starts about half way through after the Commandant's.

Not even a hint of anything "Japan" at all. Can we as an institution at least grow up and do honor to our history - and that of our once opponents and now friends? Can we stop patronizingly insulting the intelligence and professionalism of our Japanese allies?

The first four paragraphs are fine, but it went south after this line.
The Battle of Midway is the ultimate statement of our Navy Ethos and character.
It just wanders in a context-free haze it never seems to come out of. If we want to use The Battle of Midway as the USN Trafalgar, then we are not even close to leveraging it as we should.
Is this it?
...the strength of their character and firmness of their resolve- is why this battle is so significant in our history and why we commemorate it today.

... these pages tell the continuing story of extraordinary men and women whose honor, courage, and commitment created a true and proven hybrid force ready to meet any challenge to our nation’s security.
Weak horse. Yes, the earlier Ensign Evans quote is nice - but the Battle of Midway is so much larger than that. In para's 9 through 12 you can see a core of a speech that could be, but it is lost in the muddle that seems to drift in and out of other speeches in other venues - and in the process we lose the focus on The Battle of Midway and what it tells us.

Good googly moogly - give CDR Hendrix the charter to write that speech next year. Eeeekkkk, that vein on my forehead is going again.

For those who have had the pleasure of doing a tour with the Royal Navy or in close proximity to a critical mass of Royal Navy officers, then you know what Trafalgar Night is all about. You also know that there is no problem mentioning France and Spain - and the French and Spanish Navy officers in attendance have no issue with it.

This is not the time to use a pain-by-numbers method to have a speech written for the CNO to be delivered in the same tone and manner all other speeches are.

In another case of bad staff work, his staff did not change the title of the file they uploaded to the CNO's page to something that is even close to industry standards for the head of a serious organization. Here is the title of the speech. From that, I think we know who the author is. If the LT in the title isn't the author, then poor staff work having her name in the file. If the LT in the title is who wrote the speech we have an even larger vision problem than I think. A little time in Google will tell you all you need to know.

The LT is a fine person and officer, but for The Battle of Midway couldn't we get someone from the
Navy Historical and Heritage Command to write the speech at a minimum? Someone with at PhD in history at least? The Navy has spent a lot of money to give warfare qualified officers a PhD in history. We all know who they are and how to get in touch with them. All we needed to do is say, "We are looking for a good Battle of Midway commemoration speech for the CNO. Please submit a proposal by next month and we will let you know if yours is selected." You will have the biggest geek slap-fight since the iPhone came out just to see who would get the honor of having the CNO read that speech. (noth'n but love, my geeky Shipmates)

Those officers would produce a speech that was focused and in context ... and the Navy would utilize a vastly under utilized asset.

The Battle of Midway deserves more. If we continue to fumble this opportunity to reset our cultural mindset, The Battle of Midway might as well be the week everyone hands out the CFC paperwork, and about as relevant.
If you would rather hear it, go to the approx. 26:30 mark.

Next year let's give the CNO something to work with.
Speaking of writing for the CNO - who fed him this?
"To me the biggest challenge is to make the young people of our country aware of the opportunities and the excitement that exists in the United States Navy. The term that I use is that we have to make it possible for young people, diverse young people, to find the Navy. Because once you find the Navy, the future explodes."
Just for the enemy - I hope. The CNO is a serious man in a very serious position. Are we manning his Staff the way we should - so he as the very best support for the most important areas?

Anon gave us some more quotes from Collin's book
How The Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In that we talked about earlier this week. Might be worth a ponder for everyone, me included.
Some of the characteristics of leadership on the way down:
· People shield those in power from grim facts, fearful of penalty and criticism for shining light on the harsh realities.
· People assert strong opinions without providing data, evidence, or a solid argument.
· The team leader has a very low questions-to-statements ratio, avoiding critical input and/or allowing sloppy reasoning and unsupported opinions.
· Team members seek as much credit for themselves.
· Team members argue to look smart.
· Team members seek to blame.
· Team members often fail to deliver exceptional results.

Some of the characteristics of leadership on the way up:
· Bring forth unpleasant facts, no matter how ugly.
· People bring forth data, evidence, and logic.
· Employs high question-to-statement ratio, challenges people.
· Team members will credit others for success.
· Team members argue and debate not to improve personal position, but to find the best answer to support the overall cause.
· Each team member delivers exceptional results.

Sun Tzu of the Day

For those who have been to Bible study with me, you know that I cannot stand one-off Chapter and Verse quotations. I am a firm believer in the 10-up-and-10-down rule; you have to read the 10 Verses before and after the money quote in order to get a handle on the context. It is also helpful to have a copy of a parallel translations book as well ... but I digress.

So, there I am thumbing through Sun Tzu's The Art of War again, when I come across something we are all familiar with.
One who knows the enemy and knows himself will not be endangered in a hundred engagements.
... but that isn't the best part, this is;
One who does not know the enemy but knows himself will sometimes be victorious, sometimes meet with defear. One who knows neither the enemy nor himself will invariably be defeeated in every engagement.
Make sure you are reading this from the Chinese perspective you round-eyed devil - this helps.
If I know out troops can attack, but do not know the enemy cannot be attacked, it is only halfway to victory. If I know the enemy can be attacked, but do not realize our troops cannot attack, it is only halfway to victory.

Knowing that the enemy can be attacked, and knowing that our army can effect the attack, but not knowing the terrain is not suitable for combat, is only halfway to victory. Thus one who truly knows the army will never be deluded when he moves, never be impoverished when initiating an action.

Thus it is said if you know them and know yourself, your victory will not be imperiled. If you know them and know yourself, your victory will not be imperiled. If you know Heaven and you know Earth, your victory can be complete.
This has to do with being honest with yourself and gathering proper intel, good honest intel.

What is the main threat to the US from hostile intel services from the Clinton Administration on? China. They know their Sun Tzu better than we know our Clausewitz.

I want to pick on the last line from above.
If you know them and know yourself, your victory will not be imperiled. If you know Heaven and you know Earth, your victory can be complete.
One can argue how much we really know China I presume, but from the Korean War on I think the 51% of the argument is that we know a lot less than we think.

Now, from a USN perspective, how well do we know ourselves?
  • Do we know our deep strike capabilities? Review the lack of organic real tanking ability and lack of deep strike aircraft on our CVN. Don't even mention USAF quasi-peace time permissive tanking support. If you are going in harm's way from a ASW and AAW perspective, how many MK41 cells do you have left available for TLAM when you risk manage your ASW and AAW problem? SSGNs do look like a nice tool to have ... but for both surface and sub-surface units, how are our WESTPAC reload ability looking for sustained combat?
  • Do we know our ASW capability? ASW readiness for fixed and rotary wing - up to speed for both personnel and equipment? Just relying on SSN? How about your aircraft and ship light weight torpedoes - realistic warshot validation in the appropriate water and bottom profiles where we will fight? Numbers of warshots available allow for sustained combat with the expected number of attacks on false contacts?
  • Do we know our ship's capabilities? Enough LCS mission modules and ability to swap out forward deployed to match the changing MIW-ASW-ASUW-AAW threat as it appears? Oh, never mind ... none are and none are expected for a long time. OK then, DD ... FF (not-so-G)? Oops. Enough DDG-51's ready for ASW? Errr...P-3s?
  • Do we know our ability to escort CVN and Amphibs....
  • Do we know our AAW and ABM capabilities.....
Do we know?

Retro Wednesday

Through 050602AUG09, or longer if my readers find more stuff - I am going to open up a new weekly series, "Retro Wednesday" - 0602 every Wednesday.

Retro Wednesday will focus on the Navy in the immediate post-WWII period prior to The Korean War as seen by those who where there. Just simple pics with little to any commentary.

I have to thank Sid for these; these are from his collection.

For the opening punch, a little something for the ladies and perhaps others.
The frustration of being selected for fighters, but due to war's end, ending up as plowbacks in N2S's at "U.S.N.A.S." Corpus Christi not evident:

Come back next week for another shot at America and her Navy; flush with victory and promise.

Oh, and next time you see the old fella with the oxygen tube in his nose and sitting in a scooter outside the Exchange; give him a nod. That is what his 6-pack looked like when he was in his early 20s - how about yours?