Friday, July 31, 2009

3 men, 1 picture - all the perspective you need

'Nuff said.

Hat tip Rich.

Well, they do have their own ocean ...

India continues to wake up.
India has plans to add about 100 warships to its navy over the next decade as it seeks to modernise its armed forces, and develop its low-cost shipbuilding capabilities.

Captain Alok Bhatnagar, director of naval plans at India’s ministry of defence, said on Thursday that 32 warships and submarines were under construction in the country’s shipyards. Work on 75 more ships, including aircraft carriers, destroyers, frigates and amphibious vessels, would begin over 10 years.
Notice the missing word/concept.
New Delhi is sensitive to lagging behind Beijing's naval might in the region. China has three times the number of combat vessels as India and five times the personnel. Officials are wary of port developments in neighbouring Pakistan and Sri Lanka that offer Chinese warships anchorages and potentially greater control of the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea.

However, India has one of the fastest growing navies in the world. Its fleet of about 120 vessels is the fifth largest. At the weekend, it launched a locally built nuclear-powered submarine, based on a Russian design, to join only a few countries with the technical prowess to produce such a war machine.

Speaking at a seminar on naval self-reliance in New Delhi, Capt Bhatnagar said it was a “strategic necessity” for India to develop its own naval shipyard capabilities to avoid “being held hostage to foreign countries in a crisis situation”.

Since the end of British rule 62 years ago, India has relied heavily on Russia to supply its fleet. Capt Bhatnagar identified its maritime priorities as energy security, protecting sea lanes, combating Islamic fundamentalism and responding to China’s aggressive modernisation plans.
Clear, precise, and unmuddled understanding of what a navy is for, what they threat is, and a plan to get there. Nice ...

And not a Transformationalist in sight.

Fullbore Friday

Someone still with us this week - and still on active duty - for a few months anyway. I offer to you, LT Mark Donald as reported by Andrew Scutro in NavyTImes.
Had it not been for his team mates, SEAL Lt. Mark Donald believes, he would be dead and there would have been a massacre Oct. 25, 2003, in the mountains near Shkin, Afghanistan.

“None of us would have lived,” he said at a coffee shop in Arling ton, Va., recently. “And you would have heard about it.” And had it not been for the sen sitive mission he was conducting, the public would have known Don ald’s name much sooner than now. In April 2007, the SEAL medical specialist was awarded the Navy Cross, the service’s second-highest award for valor, by then-Navy Sec retary Donald Winter. But unlike the six other Navy recipients of the award since Sept. 11, 2001, his identity was kept secret.

Until now. Donald decided to come forward as he nears retire ment in October. He spoke to Navy Times about that day in 2003.

Two intense battles
Shkin, on the remote edge of Paktika province, shares a border with Pakistan’s notoriously hostile Waziristan.

Refusing to speak in detail, Don ald said the mission was ambushed, resulting in a hammer ing eight-hour firefight. He received a Purple Heart for his wounds from that battle.

“No one knew how big of a bees’ nest there was,” he said.
His citation, which is not classi fied but on which his name had been redacted, tells most of the story.

As part of a mounted convoy on a mission against al-Qaida and Tal iban in a location not specified as either Afghanistan or Pakistan, Donald and his team were ripped “with extremely heavy” small arms, machine gun and rocket-propelled grenade fire. “They were well armed and well-trained,” he said. “They were close enough that you could see them and smell them.” According to the citation, Donald got out of his truck shooting, pulled a wounded Afghan com­mander into cover behind the engine block, then pulled out a trapped, unnamed American.

“He covered the wounded with his own body while returning fire and providing care,” the citation reads. The fire was heavy enough at points to zip through his cloth ing and gear and hit his weapon.

Donald then went to treat wounded Afghans in the two lead trucks and rallied the remaining troops to “break the ambush.” Later the same day, a joint unit sweeping the area was attacked near Donald and his team.
Again, he sprang into action.

“Knowing personnel were grave ly wounded Lieutenant Donald without hesitation and with com plete disregard for his own safety ran 200 meters between opposing forces exposing him to withering and continuous heavy machine gun and small arms fire to render med ical treatment to two wounded per sonnel, one Afghan and one Ameri can,” the citation reads. “Still under intense enemy fire, wounded by shrapnel, ... he organized the surviving Afghan soldiers and led a 200 meter fighting withdrawal.”
Defense Department records do not show American personnel were lost Oct. 25, 2003, in Afghanistan. But CIA records do.
Not only has Donald’s Navy Cross been kept under wraps these years, but so was the Silver Star he was awarded for similar actions days later. “It was just a bad time in that area,” he said.
Navy Cross is nothing to sneeze at, but ...

many of us have asked over the last few years, Galrahn last week repeated again, "Are There No Live People Worthy of the MOH?" I'm not saying LT Donald should have been nom'd - I don't have the details; but since the Chontosh questions, it has been a head-scratcher to me.

Perhaps this doesn't make the cut ... but it seems that no one wants living heroes anymore. Well, if nothing else; BZ LT Donald, I think it is safe to say that even if all you receive is a free beer, you honor those you served with.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Diversity Thursday II: Electric Boogaloo

Someone is not in possession of the correct set of facts. It is the CNO or Professor Fleming. I think we all need to see facts to find out which one it is. From the CNO.
If you look at the Navy in its entirety, it's a representative mix of America's society. But if you look at the leadership, it tends to be very white male. And that is not the direction where the country is going and nor is it from that non-diverse group that you get, in my mind, the best solutions to problems. ... It's from diversity that I think you get many different perspectives, different ideas, you get different experiences and that gives you a richness of solutions that you otherwise wouldn't have. ... We are beginning to see things that are moving in the right direction. For example, at our Naval Academy, we are bringing in the most diverse group that has ever come into the Naval Academy. And that is a function of not offering any type of special programs or compromising on any standards that have existed at the Naval Academy, but rather just getting out and talking to people and making young people aware of the opportunities that exist in the Navy.
That is 180deg out from what Professor Fleming says. "He said-He said" gets old real fast, let's show the cards.

There are facts out there to back up one or the other - let's see them. FOIA be damned - it can be presented in a manner well outside the requirements of The Privacy Act. Leadership shouldn't need a lawyer in a case like this.

It is unacceptable that we might have a Professor at Annapolis that would raise such a stink that had no basis on fact. It would also be a tragedy if the CNO was making statements based on incorrect information. Which one is it?

If we want to be honest about Diversity at Annapolis, it would also be helpful if we mentioned that for the first time we are counting Americans with DNA of Asian origin as "minority," that we are letting some Americans with DNA of European Origin self-identify as a minority while other Americans with DNA of European origin self-identify as majority, and we assume that, like the Jim Crow laws of old, that the "one drop" rule applies for those of mixed DNA source - but that would make everyone uncomfortable, wouldn't it?

Darn, the truth is like that. Why we have lost the ability to speak clearly to each other is beyond me. However, if you see the thugocracy in action during the Professor Gates controversy, you can get the idea. The Diversity Bullies play hardball - and if given a chance they will destroy and smear anyone who does not agree with their diktat. Big Navy knows that, and you can tell.

The self appointed guardians of tolerance and open mindedness enforce their rule through hate, lies, and intimidation. Whodathunk.

Diversity Thursday

Via USNA itself; tell me how this is not paternalistic racism. Note the one group they do not track.

Makes it kind of hard to benchmark, no?

I wonder if anyone in Annapolis had a chance to read Shelby Steele's latest?
Racial preferences only extend the misguided logic of disparate impact. They, too, presume discrimination without evidence. All blacks, even President Obama's children, are eligible for the redress of a racial preference. We must presume that, even in the Sidwell Friends School by day and the White House by night, the president's daughters -- as blacks -- encounter a racial animus that so predictably disadvantages them that the automatic redress of a racial preference is required. Obama himself has pointed out the absurdity of this, and yet privileged blacks such as his daughters remain the most sought-after minorities by admissions officers seeking "diversity."
Whites are embarrassed to speak forthrightly about black underdevelopment, and blacks are too proud to openly explore it for all to see. So, by unspoken agreement, we discuss black underdevelopment in a language of discrimination and injustice. We rejoin the exhausted affirmative action debate as if it really mattered, and we do not acknowledge that this underdevelopment is primarily a black responsibility. And yet it is -- as historically unfair as it may be, as much as it seems to blame the victim. In human affairs we are responsible not just for our "just" fate, but also for our existential fate.

But continuing black underdevelopment will flush both races out of their postures and make most discussions of race in America, outside a context of development, irrelevant.
Now THAT is a 21st century discussion of the challenges we face if we wonder why the makeup of the officer corps does not have enough DNA variety.

Most of the other stuff that comes out of the Diversity Industry and its Navy counterpart is just recycled 1970s racial theory. They might as well use the below as their "Hip Up to Date" theme music on their podcasts.

Hat tip "She."

Byron & MTH mentor a new commenter on a THU

It goes something like this most of the time, methinks.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

USS ENTERPRISE (CVN-80), make it so

By great Neptune's Trident - I have had enough of naming our capital ships after politicians!
1st Session
H. CON. RES. 83
Expressing the sense of Congress that a nuclear-powered aircraft
carrier of the Navy, either the aircraft carrier designated as CVN-79
or the aircraft carrier designated as CVN-80, should be named the
U.S.S. Barry M. Goldwater.
Bill information and status here

SteelJawScribe is leading from the front. I'm falling in formation.
Whereas the namesake ENTERPRISE has been proudly borne by two combat aircraft carriers of the United States Navy;

Whereas the first USS ENTERPRISE (CV-6) (seventh ship to bear this name) and her embarked airwing and crew gallantly fought in every major battle in the Pacific during World War Two, including the signatory battle at Midway when vastly outnumbered by the ships and planes of the Imperial Japanese Navy’s Combined Fleet, ENTERPRISE, with YORKTOWN and HORNET struck a mortal blow, sinking four enemy aircraft carriers and turning the tide of the war in the Pacific;

Whereas the same ENTERPRISE concluded that war as the most decorated warship in the United States Navy with 20 battle stars, a Presidential Unit Citation, a British Admiralty Pennant, Navy Unit Commendation, Philippine Presidential Unit Citation, and Task Force 16 Citation among many other accolades;

Whereas the second United States Navy aircraft carrier to be named ENTERPRISE (CVAN/CVN-65) was the first such ship of her class in the world to be nuclear powered;

Whereas that ENTERPRISE, the eighth ship to bear that name in the United States Navy is concluding a half-century of service to this nation and has honorably served in every theater of operations from leading the naval quarantine off Cuba in 1962 to conducting the first strikes following the terrorist attack on the United States on September 11th, 2001;

Be It Resolved
That the next nuclear aircraft carrier to be constructed (CVN-79) should bear the name USS ENTERPRISE in recognition and honor of the fighting men and women of the United States navy who have sailed in her namesakes through the centuries.

We The Undersigned:
Call upon the Congress of the United States to remand H. CON. RES. 83 and replace it with a resolution supporting the naming of CVN-79 or the next nuclear aircraft carrier to be constructed, the USS ENTERPRISE.

Call upon the Secretary of the Navy to support this petition of the tax-paying people of these United States and name the next nuclear aircraft carrier to be constructed the USS ENTERPRISE
Here is the petition. Sign it before you go to be tonight.

In Skippy's military ....

The dude would ensure everyone had an E-5 like Lance Corporal Hodges.

.....but HA! Got'cha. In Phibian's military, we would have her for this,
Katrina was awarded a commendation from her unit, the 1st Batallion, Royal Anglian Regiment for her actions during a posting in 2005 in Basra.

'We arrested an Iraqi suspect we wanted to question and were taking him back to the prison when we were involved in a road accident,' she says.

'Our vehicle rolled over and when I came round the Iraqi had escaped and had our weapons. I knew I had to do something or he would have shot us all dead. It was a real do or die moment.'

'My training just kicked in and I managed to disarm him, get the weapons back and restrain him."

That is the ticket - I bet he loves the jokes from his cellmate, "You were disarmed by a beauty queen?".

Speaking of real women, from Chap again; don't you miss the time when women actually had a female body - and were proud of it? Sigh,
this is a woman's figure to aspire to and desire towards - depending on who you are.

Hat tip Chap.

Retro Wednesday

Your grandkids will ask why you looked goofy too

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Keeping an Eye on the Long Game: Part XXXV

Over at the WashExam, Peter W. Singer provides a little calming discussion about the CHICOM's desire for aircraft carriers.
Don’t get me wrong: Just as the overhyping of the Soviet menace didn’t mean there was no threat at all from the Red Army, the emptiness of any Chinese aircraft carrier threat in the near term doesn’t mean there is nothing to worry about in the current Chinese military buildup.

Rather, as we wrestle with defense planning, we should focus less on fictional capabilities that will likely never match our strengths and more on the real, near-term capabilities the Chinese are building to defeat these strengths from other angles. Their computer hackers have reportedly obtained access to vital military and civil communications networks, as well as the designs of our latest jet fighters. Their submarines have snuck past the defenses of our aircraft carriers and surfaced, a little showoff of how they could have sunk them at will. Their army is presently obtaining anti-ship ballistic missiles able to target a warship 1,500 miles away, far past the range of the planes from our aircraft carriers.

In short, the military dynamic in the Pacific is changing. But it is not because the Chinese may one day gain a small number of their own, far-worse aircraft carriers. It is what they are planning to do to overcome our own aircraft carriers and other traditional strengths.

The Soviet military menace I read about as a youth turned out not to be all that strong. Indeed, it was a good thing they invested so much in exactly what the report warned; it proved to be wasted energy that eventually ran their very economy into the ground. One hopes that we will think the same way eventually about a wasted Chinese investment in military capabilities like our own, rather our own investments to stop it, by looking in the wrong direction.
Never underestimate the Chinese --- and make sure you are prepared for the enemy you actually have.

Me? I would look at realistic evaluation of our Light Weight Torpedoes in both function and quantity, and what it takes to realistically sustain long dwell ASW in depth in the littoral ..... and the ability to defend against a persistant ASUW attacks from both ASCM and ASBM. Carrier vs. Carrier ... not so much.

Sid with a Gaelic accent

Hat tip Jonah.

Need to clear the mind

I wish I could get straight answers like this all the time.

This cleanses.

Hat tip LBG.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The America I know ....

Professionals see each other as professionals. Perhaps it is a generational thing (note these officers are Gen X like) - and we will have to deal with the Lefty-Boomers and their younger echoheads to just fade away along with their 1960/70s prism they see things through.

....and no, this couldn't wait for THU. We could all learn from this. Stand up when you are right. Call others on their retrograde, kneejerk attitudes. Be proud.

Hat tip Allah.
UPDATE: Ouch, the truth hurts. The Gates 911 call.

...and the dispatch.

Oh good grief - Navy astroturfing?

So, LBG leaves us a little linky-poo to check out, the rather cute and helpful sounding site. So, being the curious boy that I am, I head over there to see what is going on.

With entries like, "Brand new to this and terrified," "Navy weight requirements," "In college and thinking about the Navy," and "Daughter having second thoughts .... HELP!", I thought, feh, and Navy Mom starting a self-help Oprahesque online community. Cool. I wish her well ....

Then .... the little dude with horns, a tail, and an arrest-me-red singlet that hangs out on my left shoulder started poking me with his frog-gig behind my ear and telling me, "She sure is a talented html coder, that sure is a nice fancy page, isn't it Phib?" The little dude on the right shoulder dressed up like an extra from Angels in America just shrugged his shoulders and said, "I'm not getting involved." So, time to dig.

I go to see who Admin for the site is and I get this;

So, ok. Elle is someone's wife who is stationed in Millington at CNP. Nice. Probably gets some good info from hubby after work - tied in and concerned with the Navy community. Very nice. Maybe the wife of a senior officer or enlisted whose children have joined the family business -- even better. Thing is, little red-dude has that shi'ite eating grin on his face and my buddy with the uncomfortably hairless chest is looking away like he just doesn't want to see what comes next. Hmmmm.

So, I wondered, what is this Welcome Page all about? Ohhh, connected. There is RDML Braun, cool.

Find more videos like this on Navy For Moms

.... and ... wait ... did I read this right?
Hi moms, here's a new video from Rear Admiral Robin Braun. Who is she you ask? RDML Braun is our spokesperson. This site is very near and dear to her heart. She's a mom and currently serves the Navy as Deputy Commander at Navy Recruiting Command in Millington, TN.
Uh, oh.

This is starting to smell bad .... this site looks too good .... the prose is too ... too ....

Yes, singlet boy is cackling and the gender-identity poster child is crying .... and I go straight to whois ... and
what do I find?

Who is Campbell-Ewald?
Campbell-Ewald is an American advertising agency. Founded in 1911 by Frank Campbell and Henry Ewald, Campbell-Ewald is one of the top 25 agencies in the U.S., with almost $2 billion in annual billings. They currently have over 30 clients. Campbell-Ewald has offices in Los Angeles, Washington D.C., and San Antonio and are headquartered in Warren, Michigan, just north of Detroit. The agency currently has over 1,100 employees.
Who is one of their clients?
The U.S. Navy has awarded its estimated $800 million, five-year recruiting advertising and marketing contract to Warren-based agency Campbell-Ewald after a nearly yearlong mandatory review.

The contract is the second largest for the agency after General Motors Corp.’s Chevrolet account, which C-E has had since 1922, but could become its biggest if the automaker continues to trim its advertising budget.
...and from their client slideshow, they claim ownership of Two sources ... I have a story ... that and their lawyers give it all away in the terms of service part.

Yes, the Campbell-Ewald that is getting over $.8 billion for 5 years of PR work for your Navy, advertises for the Navy in gay publications (not that there is anything wrong with that), and that creates too-clever-by-half astroturfing efforts to increase females in the Navy.

NavyForMoms is, my friends, pure
astroturfing. Shame on the Navy. Shame. There are fewer things more reviled in new-media than astroturfing.

Astroturfing is a kind of online lying. It is a way of showing contempt and a lack of respect for your target audience. It is also a way of demonstrating insecurity in your beliefs and a smug feeling of superiority (just a bit worse than anonbloggers who can't seem to find a way out from under their AFDB).

Shame. What looks like Navy women trying to help each other as they have as long as there have been Navies, we now know it is just a cheap, transparent PR stunt; ham-handed at that.

OK, where is the Navyfordads?
UPDATE: OK, this is getting some of the strangest defenders I have seen for something in awhile. Some, like Anon in comments, don't even seem to have read the post.

Of course it is described in the terms of service; don't I mention that in the post above? Let me help save you the trouble of reading the whole post.
...their lawyers give it all away in the terms of service part.
Come on folks, can't you do better than that? The most lame complaint/defense comes form swodom at SailorBob,
It is pretty obviously Navy sponsored (look at the fonts, style, and language) and standard web marketing fair. And who else would the "We" in "we give them the opportunity" be aside from the Navy?
Huh? Jo Anne Taxpayer will easy recognize what you see in the goat's entrails? Jo Anne Taxpayer is going to do a bunch of background research on a website and know the Navy's PR firms preferred web style - much less read the details in the terms and conditions? Really?

Seriously, no one really thinks that the Navy is being above board on this. "...
obviously Navy sponsored.." Really?

Man, if you think so, I don't want you on my bridge team (cards, not floaty thing).

UPDATE II - Electric Boogaloo:Ok, if I was sitting around the big table and they were asking for ideas where to advertise to make mothers support their daughters entrance into the Navy and I said, "Women care a lot about food and stuff they can do around the house. Let's put an add in Better Homes and Gardens and have a mother talk about how good the food is at Annapolis, just don't mention who used to run the place."

Well, I would be shipped off to re-education camp toot-sweet. Then again, maybe not.

Via a loyal reader, we have a link to an add for the site in
Better Homes & Gardens (in the full add you can see the US Navy claiming ownership of the advertisement (good lawyers) - good, now do the same for the site).


Quality time with the PAO

I know, I know - sends a shiver down any staff weenie's spine, but MIDN Withington at USNIBlog did ..... and it was a Marine.

Marines always do things there way, I thought this was interesting.
While public affairs offices are generally perceived as providing information and assistance to the media, the II MEF PCT prefers a different approach. Understanding that the media is another party in the public domain, the II MEF PCT focuses its attention on getting its message to its “key publics,” members of the community who share an interest in II MEF-related issues. For the II MEF PCT, this means Marines, their families, and the surrounding community. Thus, the main focus of the team is not trying to target or “handle” the media, but establishing dialogue with the key publics.
Give it a read. Maybe PAO's deserve not to be sitting at a table by themselves with a Kick-Me sign on their back.


The Navy Acquisition theme song

A song with the title of what got us to where we are today.

Almost as funny as this exchange.
Mahr and Capt. Brian Antonio, program manager for the Ford carrier program, were joined on the witness panel by Vice Adm. David Architzel, the Navy’s senior officer in its Pentagon acquisition office. The officers first presented a video showing EMALS and then explained a series of charts. That sort of technical detail brought a long series of questions from the panel’s ranking member, Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., a former engineer, who sought to more fully understand the new technology developed for EMALS.

Freshman Rep. Eric Massa, D-N.Y., a retired Navy commander, prompted the most direct questioning of the hearing.

“What happens if it doesn’t work?” he asked.

“The technology now is critical to the ship,” replied Architzel, who detailed the Navy’s steps in reviewing the program but did not mention an EMALS alternative.

“I say again, what happens if it doesn’t work?” asked Massa.

“We have every expectation that it will work,” replied Architzel.

“With all due respect,” Massa asked again, “what happens if it doesn’t work?”

“With all candor, if that new system will not work … we will have to make sure it does work,” Architzel said.

After noting that no similar system is in use by any navy, Massa, a former professional staffer on the House Armed Services Committee, spoke directly to Architzel, sitting only a few feet in front of him.

“I will state for the record that I was against the Navy shifting construction to the Ford class and taking such a large leap of technology,” Massa declared. “I think it is a bridge too far with exceptionally high risk.

“I am exceptionally concerned about the inability to extract an answer to the simple question of what happens if it does not work. … the reality is, we have just bought the world’s largest helicopter carrier.”

Speaking to a reporter after leaving the hearing, Massa noted his concern extended beyond the carrier program.

“This actually goes to a larger subset than just EMALS,” Massa said. “Across the library of the Department of Defense, we have committed ourselves to taking leaps in the second and third generations of the next great technologies without any fallback positions.

“This is bigger than EMALS. This is about maintaining a carrier strike force that can answer the nation’s requirements. We are already accepting an aberration … as to the number of carriers we can maintain on active duty by accepting the early retirement of the USS Enterprise. If [the future USS Gerald R. Ford] is delayed, it has exceptionally significant impacts on our carrier strike force.

“The fulcrum of delay is the electro-magnetic launching system,” Massa continued. “The decision has been made to go to Las Vegas, put the Navy’s life savings on the crap table, and roll the technological dice. We’ve never done this before.

I think the Oregon Army National Guard will be buying beer

Coast Guard Rescue.

See what you get for sending a Soldier to do a Sailor's job?

BZ Coasties. Remember, junior guy is the designated driver.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

If the waiver becomes the standard ....

.....then in effect, you have changed the standard.

I don't think USNA has a choice but to update their standards, as with any case in the future like this, all they will have to do is use this as Ref. A - and if they need to, pull in family money and connections.

Top Defense Department officials allowed a pregnant Naval Academy midshipman to graduate in May, the first known such case in the 33 years women have been admitted to the school.

The woman, whom the Navy would not identify because of privacy concerns, is now an ensign, but she was reassigned from her original sea duty to a shore tour because of the pregnancy, Navy spokesman Cmdr. Cappy Surette said.
“There were unique circumstances surrounding this case, to include the fact that she had completed all academic requirements for graduation,” Cmdr. Brenda Malone, spokeswoman for the chief of naval personnel, wrote in a statement.
The woman’s parents came to Annapolis to meet with her and the administration to discuss her options, the source said. Under academy regulations, she could take a yearlong leave of absence and return to finish her coursework, or resign and be required to pay back the cost of her education, about $150,000. Regulations also state that if a follow-on pregnancy test shows that she is no longer pregnant, she can stay at the academy. The policy does not explicitly spell out abortion as an option.

Complicating this situation, the source said, was that the midshipman was engaged to the baby’s father and they planned to marry within a month of her graduating. If she took the leave of absence, she would spend the interim still a midshipman, forbidden from marrying, meaning the wedding would have to be canceled and her child born out of wedlock. Also, when the issue came to light, the woman had two exams left, meaning she would spend a year away from Annapolis, then return to take just two tests.

Rather than take one of the options, the midshipman and her family lobbied for an exemption so she could graduate, be commissioned, and be married, the source said.
May’s pregnant midshipman became the fourth since 2005 to require a waiver to graduate because of parental responsibilities; the three earlier cases were men who fathered children.

Four women since 2005 have taken yearlong leaves of absence to have babies, and two have resigned. There was no information immediately available on how many times the administration has learned a woman was pregnant, been shown proof she ended her pregnancy, and permitted her to continue at Annapolis.

The Naval Academy Midshipman Regulation Manual's policy on pregnancy and parenthood states: “Parenthood is defined as having legal, financial or custodial obligations for a child or children, as determined by court adjudication, self-admission, or other evidence. Any Midshipman who becomes pregnant, causes the pregnancy of another, or incurs the obligations of parenthood, must report the condition to their Chain of Command.”

“Midshipmen who become pregnant and choose not to resign will be allowed to go on a leave of absence of no more than one year. Midshipmen who are pregnant or have incurred the obligations of parenthood and who fail to resign or request a leave of absence will be separated,” according to the manual.
There is more of a story here, but it is what it is - let's wish the best for the mother and child to be.

Going back to the front of the post - actions have consequences. The Navy needs to update its regulations now if this is the direction we want to go in. It should also be clear-eyed about what this means. Everyone can feel good about the decision right now - but think about the second and third order effects on a Navy at war. As long as you understand that - then keep smiling; but in order to maintain integrity and credibility, change the standard.

Just remember, we are not IBM, we are not Lockheed Martin, we are not the University of South Carolina.

Sunday Funnies

More Bacon here.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


Ah yes, Billy Joe Shaver.

From Corporate Country Sucks, a great story.

Rick Sanchez: CNN's house bigot

It isn't that fact that he does not like FoxNews - honest people are allowed to like and dislike anything really --- it is the fact that he has the same political attitude as a sectarian Serb, Hutu, or Kurd.

From his tweets,
if i didn’t believe in doing right thing, i’d be rich anchoring at fox news
do u know how much money i’d make if i’d sold out as hispanic and worked at fox news, r u kidding, one problem, looking in mirror
Yea, I'll call that attitude un-American. It sure isn't in alignment with the American concept.

You would think that someone that works for such an international organization as CNN would know that having such an outlook on life, yourself, and your neighbors leads to most of the misery and bloodshed throughout the world - and outside a few rabble rousers like The Black Panthers, KKK, and their ilk, we have managed to keep that cancer from the higher levels of our society for the last 40 years.

Rick, two things. (1) You may be overestimating your earning potential. (2) You are just another dude of European extraction. You should travel a little more outside the Western Hemisphere.

Very nice snag by ICN. And one more thing Rick. What you see in the mirror is yourself, what I see when I look at you isn't a Hispanic per se but a Belgian, a Spaniard, a Portuguese, a northern Italian, a Black Irish, a Frenchman, maybe a Turk, and even an American. Ponder, as we all should.

The Congressional from h311

I feel sorry for the Staff working on this. We're picking a scab again - this time with a spatula.
A member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and an Army historian are raising serious questions about the performance of Army commanders prior to an assault that killed nine U.S. soldiers at a remote outpost in eastern Afghanistan last July.

Sen. James Webb (D-Va.) said he has asked the Pentagon's inspector general to conduct a formal examination of the Taliban assault and suggested that the Army may have mishandled an investigation of the incident. He also cited the flawed investigation into the death of Army Cpl. Pat Tillman, a well-known football player who was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan in April 2004.

CDR of the month

Did ya'll catch this yesterday? Via FishbowlIDC; CDR Jeffrey D. Gordon calls sexual harassment on ... the media! In this case the dreamy Miami Herald's Carol Rosenberg.
To me, in front of another journalist with reference to why 9/11 co-defendant Mustafa Al Hawsawi was seated on a pillow in court:
"Have you ever had a red hot poker shoved up your a**? Have you ever had a broomstick shoved up your a**? Have you ever had anything in your a**? How would you know how it feels if it never happened to you? Admit it, you liked it? No wonder why you like to stay in South Beach on your Miami visits."

Rosenberg, to CNN's Jamie McIntyre in front of roughly 15 journalists in the Guantanamo Commission's press center:

To Jamie -
"Aren't you in the BOQ (Bachelor Officers Quarters)? I didn't think you were in tent city because these people (military public affairs escorts) are so far up your ass that I figured you must be in the BOQ."

To Me [Gordon] -
"Why isn't he in the BOQ? You're kissing his ass so much that I can't believe that you're letting him stay with the rest of us. Do you love him?"
Read the whole complaint here. I think she used to be Skippy's first wife.

Come on spies .... that is the type of tips we need!

Friday, July 24, 2009

We know who the most senior active Navy blogger is ..

Now that ADM Stavridis is off playing with the Europeans, it is ADM J.C. Harvey, Jr., the new Commander Fleet Forces Command.

Head on
over to his blog and offer him a good welcome.

I know in the past I have had some policy issues with him, but he is a solid officer, leader, and he "gets it."

One can disagree with policies that come from being in a tough job with a tough mandate and still respect and support the man. That is fine, and is part of the discussion that blogs bring to the table.

All that being said, I am glad ADM Harvey continues his path, and I wish him the best success.

Oh, one last note - once then
VADM Harvey once asked for "solutions" when we were on a rant - and on that note I would offer a helpful suggestion.

Friday is a TERRIBLE day to start a blog. It is a low traffic day, and possible echo-links are buried in the weekend news (similar reason in DC all bad news is released on FRI).

Any good posts, or those that you want to get the most attention, should be released on a MON or a TUE in order to get the best 2nd and 3rd order effects out of it.

Just a helpful suggestion from the cheap seats.

Shut the frack up

The way I was raised, there were only two things I should say to a policeman; "Yes, sir." or "No, sir." It was half respect, and half self preservation. Being a cop is hard work, never make it harder for the man.

Before we were married, Mrs. Salamander made sure I added a third, "I would like to speak to my attorney."

This video is a great reason why. Something we should all take onboard.

Hat tip LT I.

#5 is a good start

Former SECNAV speaks out on reform. Read it all then ponder his list here.
What must be done to reform the current mess?

First, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates must establish a culture that restores hierarchical decision-making authority and personal accountability to procurement. The backbone of such management should be the military departments, which have cultures of accountability. Each military department already has a service secretary and service chief who have the essential levers of control. Title 10 of the U.S. Code gives them power over assignments, promotions, retirements and expenditures. And it is they who should be held accountable. The staff of the secretary of defense should perform only those interservice functions that are essential to integrate and reconcile cross-service issues.

Second, the culture of unbridled design and engineering changes that has become entrenched in the Pentagon must be ended. Service secretaries alone should have the power to be the gatekeepers.

Third, the policy of ceding control to contractors should be abandoned and control should be taken back by the military services. That will require rebuilding cadres of procurement engineers, technologists and managers in the civilian and military ranks through special incentives, training programs and lateral recruiting from the private sector. No one should be assigned to any procurement executive job for less than a four-year tour.

Fourth, it should be general policy to maintain two or more providers competing throughout production. Programs such as aircraft carriers, where numbers may be insufficient to support annual competition, should be treated as exceptions, not the rule.

Fifth, there should be at least a 20% overall reduction in civilian and military staff bureaucracies. This can be done through normal attrition and early retirements, as has successfully been done in the past.

Sixth, for the more senior procurement positions, including the chief executives of the Defense agencies, there should be a major initiative to recruit outstanding leaders with proven records of accomplishment in private and public service. Like career procurement officials, they must commit to a minimum of four years in the job. So far the Obama/Gates picks are very promising.
I'll take personal accountability as well.

Fullbore Friday

Tarawa and first person spoken work by Leon Cooper.

See and read it all here. In a word, Fullbore.
Leon Cooper was 22 years old when he commanded a wave of Higgins boats in the shallow waters off of Tarawa. Due to one of the most tragic miscalculations of the war, the tidal information was incorrect and the first waves of boats could not clear the reefs… leaving hundreds of teen-aged Marines 700 yards offshore, wading through waist-deep water wearing 100 pound packs, into the teeth of 8 inch naval guns, mortars, machine guns and small arms fire.

Leon Cooper saw the whole thing. And after surviving his first trip into that bloody nightmare, he had to turn around, head back out to the troop ship, and bring fresh young men into the meatgrinder. Again and again.
Hat tip Steve and Eject3.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Oh, they're just nice Belgian boys ....

Professionally, we can all give them straight 5.0s on this OP.
Two accomplices rented a helicopter, took the pilot hostage, and forced him to land in the courtyard of the jail, located in the northern city of Bruges, a justice ministry spokesperson told Belga news agency.

The escaped convicts and the accomplice were dropped off near a major road and the helicopter was abandoned at Aalter, on the outskirts of Bruges.

The criminals then seized a vehicle from a nearby petrol station, later switching cars and taking a female driver hostage before dropping her off at Melle in Flanders, according to the police.

One of the accomplices stayed behind in the prison yard, possibly because of limited space aboard the helicopter, the spokesman said.
Yes Belgium. And the police were where? ....

Here is the fun part.
The three escapees - bank robber Ashraf Sekkaki, Mohammed Johry and Abdel Had Kahjary Mulloul - are all repeat offenders, prosecutors in Bruges told Belga.

Sekkaki, 26, has been described as one of Belgium's most dangerous criminals, and was jailed for 10 years for a slew of crimes.
As OMC will tell you, Ashraf, Mohammed and Abdel are traditional Flemish names ... or Walloon ... or that little German bit Belgium has.

Anyway, what I want to know is where all that money the subjects of Albert II went to. Hmmmmmmmm.

Iran in summary

Rep. Thaddus McCotter (R-MI) says all there is to say.

Hat tip Michael Ledeen.

Diversity Thursday III: Ironic Schadenfreude

This is too good not to post - though I wanted to avoid the topic of the Kabuki dance going on in Mass. right now.

Why do I call them Diversity Bullies? Well, this should explain a lot.
The white police sergeant criticized by President Barack Obama for arresting black scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. in his Massachusetts home is a police academy expert on understanding racial profiling.
Cambridge Sgt. James Crowley has taught a class about racial profiling for five years at the Lowell Police Academy after being hand-picked for the job by former police Commissioner Ronny Watson, who is black, said Academy Director Thomas Fleming.
"I have nothing but the highest respect for him as a police officer. He is very professional and he is a good role model for the young recruits in the police academy," Fleming told The Associated Press on Thursday.
The course, called "Racial Profiling," teaches about different cultures that officers could encounter in their community "and how you don't want to single people out because of their ethnic background or the culture they come from," Fleming said. The academy trains cadets for cities across the region.
Obama has said the Cambridge officers "acted stupidly" in arresting Gates last week when they responded to his house after a woman reported a suspected break-in.
Crowley, 42, has maintained he did nothing wrong and has refused to apologize, as Gates has demanded.
Fellow officers, black and white, say Crowley is well-liked and respected on the force. Crowley was a campus police officer at Brandeis University in July 1993 when he administered CPR trying to save the life of former Boston Celtics player Reggie Lewis. Lewis, who was black, collapsed and died during an off-season workout.
Gov. Deval Patrick, who is black, said he was troubled and upset over the incident. Cambridge Mayor Denise Simmons, who also is black, has said she spoke with Gates and apologized on behalf of the city, and a statement from the city called the July 16 incident "regrettable and unfortunate."
The sectarianism spawned by an inability of a people to act and speak in a colorblind manner. A sectarianism promoted by the archaic theories of the Diversity Industry, racists, and intellectual cowardice.

Sometimes a cigar is a cigar: sometimes
a person being abusive to a police officer is a person being abusive to a police officer.

In the end though, this is just sad. Sad for Professor Gates, sad for Officer Crowley, and sad for the CINC. Each in their own way, but sad.
UPDATE: You can see the police report here. Pull quote:
...when asked by Crowley to speak with him outside the residence, Gates replied, "ya, I'll speak with your mama outside."
Yes, at Harvard, they will start to talk about yo mama.

Why I boycott Ralph

Well, I am kind-of breaking my Ralph boycott again. In this case though - it is to show why I have one in the first place.

But, if he walked away from his post and his buddies in wartime, I don’t care how hard it sounds, as far as I’m concerned, the Taliban can save us a lot of legal hassles and legal bills.

I don't care what you did or did not do. An American servicemember belongs with his countryman. Everything else will follow from there.

Hat tip Jim Galloway.

Diversity Thursday II: Electric Boogaloo

Via one of my readers from USNA - Professor Walter E. Williams just nails it WRT what is going on at Annapolis.
I suspected that the Naval Academy's diversity agenda would give rise to resentments, so I asked professor Fleming about it. He said there are two levels of resentment. Some black students, who were admitted to the academy meritoriously on the same basis as white students, resent the idea of being seen as having the same academic qualities as blacks who were given preferential treatment, in other words being dumb. Another level of resentment comes from white students who see blacks as being admitted and retained at lower levels of academic performance and being treated with kid gloves. If these whites openly complained about the unequal treatment, they would run the risk of being labeled as racists. This is one of the unappreciated aspects of preferential treatment. It runs the risk of creating racist attitudes, and possibly feelings of racial superiority, among whites and others who were formerly racially neutral.

Colleges and universities with racially preferential admittance policies are doing a great disservice to blacks in another, mostly ignored, way. By admitting poorly prepared blacks, they are helping to conceal the grossly fraudulent education the blacks receive at the K through 12 grades.
The last part is the real crime.

All good things ...

There is justice zen in ALNAV 049/09. Those who know, know.

BZ pal.

Others are seeing it too ....

Then again, I warned everyone back in '08; the American people do not remember the Carter years. I do.

Well, roll out the leisure suits --- others see it too.
So far, he seems to be skipping the chapter on Bill Clinton and his generally free-market economic policies and instead flipping back to the themes and comportment of Jimmy Carter. Like the 39th president, Obama has inherited an awful economy, dizzying budget deficits and a geopolitical situation as promising as Kim Jong Il's health. Like Carter, Obama is smart, moralistic and enamored of alternative energy schemes that were nonstarters back when America's best-known peanut farmer was installing solar panels at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Like Carter, Obama faces as much effective opposition from his own party's left wing as he does from an ardent but diminished GOP.
And perhaps most important, as with Carter, his specific policies are genuinely unpopular.
As taxpayers with children and hence some small, almost certainly unrecoverable stake in this country's future (not to mention that of General Motors, Chrysler and AIG), we write with skin in the game and the fear that our current leader will indeed start busting out the 1970s cardigans.
Thing about Obama though - I think he is both smarter and shrewder than Carter .... that is why unless something completely outside one standard deviation takes place, I am planning for eight years of Obama - but will enjoy the fight anyway.

Diversity Thursday

Phib, why plow this field every Thursday?

Well, for one it is full of weeds. Second, logic and fairness demand it.

Ross Douthat in the NYT nails part of the core that I keep trying to remind the Navy about.
A system designed to ensure the advancement of minorities will tend toward corruption if it persists for generations, even after the minorities have become a majority. If affirmative action exists in the America of 2028, it will be as a spoils system for the already-successful, a patronage machine for politicians — and a source of permanent grievance among America’s shrinking white population.

You can see this landscape taking shape in academia, where the quest for diversity is already as likely to benefit the children of high-achieving recent immigrants as the descendants of slaves. You can see it in the backroom dealing revealed by Ricci v. DeStefano, where the original decision to deny promotions to white firefighters was heavily influenced by a local African-American “kingmaker” with a direct line to New Haven’s mayor. You can hear it in the resentments gathering on the rightward reaches of the talk-radio dial.

And you can see the outlines of a different, better future in the closing passages of Barack Obama’s recent address to the N.A.A.C.P., in which the president presented an insistent vision of black America as the master of its own fate.

Affirmative action has always been understandable, but never ideal. It congratulates its practitioners on their virtue, condescends to its beneficiaries, and corrodes the racial attitudes of its victims.

All of this could be defended as a temporary experiment. But if affirmative action persists far into the American future, that experiment will have failed — and we will all have been corrupted by it.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Five years of the Salamander

Who'd'a'thunk? I've been at this half a decade.

Time to review my first post for those who wonder how this got started. From 22 JUL '04;
I have been thinking about getting this started for awhile after bothering a man greater than myself, CDR Bluebeard, to start a blog. If for no other reason than to post his rantings (if he will let me), err insights, I decided to give this a start and see what happens.

As for me, well I'm a Navy Commander. That is about all you are getting out of me. Going public with your opinions as an active duty officer is in a way just dumb if you want to get recommended for promotion and don't want someone's "pinky finger" spiking you at a selection board. The Naval Institute's Proceedings ( is a great institution, but you publish at your own peril. Sad really. You can publish technical and tactical pieces with them, I have. But opinion? Not so smart. We will cover boards and command influence later, but let’s just say that blogging is a better institution until you get outed. Lets see how long this takes..............if I get edgy. I don't know how edgy I will get. Maybe my random thoughts and postings will just float around in obscurity and be ignored. Hey, if nothing else, it is cheap therapy.
I don't know where to start, but first of all, I think CDRSalamander is still roughly on the same track - though a bit more edgy now than at the start. The first month I covered the media, Iraq, Politics, China, Leftists, rogue General Officers, and the Mil/Civ gap. In some ways, I think I do more Navy specific topics now than before.

I know some of you get a little flustered with me when I drift to other than Navy subjects or ping on higher levels of the Navy's command structure and their policies - but that is this blog's set-up. The Economist does more than Economics - CDRSalamander does more than Navy - and doesn't carry anyone's water.

Winding back through five years though, I do have a failure or two. I never got CDR Bluebeard to blog. After his CDR Command, he left active duty and never looked back. Long story I am not at the liberty to discuss - but a huge loss to the Navy. I also overreached a couple of times my first year and had to delete posts and apologize to people I pinged on wrongly. Blogg'n has a learning curve, especially as an anonoblogger. It is easy to do things out of character if you are aren't careful, and it takes a good self-editor to keep you on centerline and trust in some of your loyal readers' advice as an idiot check. I also got a bit too mean now and then, but that was the exception and I like to think that I only did that to those who deserved it. Never blog angry or tired, remember other people's agenda - and always have more than one source before you blog on a tip. Those were the early lessons of '04 that I hope I hoisted onboard.

I have also tested the envelope on what I should blog about as an active duty officer. I try to avoid the CINC (both this one and the other) as much as I can - though I think policy is fair if done right, and we all need a sense of humor.

I also have pinged fairly hard on some of our Flag Officers - but I only ask of them what they demand of their Sailors ---- and once they put on that star - if not earlier - few if any will tell them what they are really thinking or what Sailors and peers in the Fleet are discussing. I try to remember how isolated and difficult managing different priorities can be the further you go up the chain - but that does not mean that no one can disagree with you. Sure, I agree with and execute the "behind closed door argue - outside, close ranks and execute" doctrine, but that is why I don't blog about issues I am involved with on a day to day basis. Now and then I will sneak one in on you, but only when it is out in open source.

I always open for specific examples of chapter and verse where I crossed through the envelope - but none so far has been sent in. General comments don't count - and no specifics have played out. And yes, that is an open invitation - I have a thick skin and an open mind. Constructive criticism is always welcome at CDRSalamander.

Some could argue that sometime I unfairly criticize, but I don't think so. I don't want to be described as a "Navy Critic" like I have been described in a couple of places in the MSM. I call out the positive when it happens, and I love the Navy - and as with most things I love, when others act towards that object of affection with a lack of candor or for their own selfish purposes - I get a bit flinty.

I also cannot stand when persons or institutions destroy their inheritance and legacy without regard to the sacrifices and lessons of greater men who came before - and do so for personal "inside my PCS cycle" short-term reasons. Call it a personality defect on my part - but that drives me nuts.

Enough of them though; let's talk about me!

I don't think I would have started blogg'n if not for a few specific people. First was Jonah Goldberg and his baby, NRO's The Corner. They posted a few hints I emailed their way over a year or so before I started blogg'n, and that gave me the idea that I might have a thing or two that others might be interested in.

Then there was John at Argghhh!!!! Not only was I a regular reader of his blog early, but once I started my own blog he was nice enough to provide some thoughts, ideas, a few rudder commands, and some links to get things going. Just a good guy to make it simple. As the MilBlog world has grown and changed, we don't link back and forth as much as we used to - but we do bounce in to each other now and then and it always puts a smile on my face.

Shortly after I started, there was also Greyhawk at The Mudville Gazette who put me on the then young MilBlog ring and also provided some timely advice and recommendations along with Matt at BLACKFIVE, drifted left and dropped out of the fight (for now) Commissar, and the sadly departed to more interesting fields, LTSmash.

There were a few other bloggers that were critical in CDRSalamander getting started and going past the first hump, and they remain "blog buddies" to this day. Lex, Eagle1, Anne, Bookie, ninme, Rusty, and Joel were in the first batch. Then came Skippy, SJS, and Chap mostly. Recently Galrahn joined the frequent flyer program as well. These not only linked, but commented, emailed and now and then provided constructive criticism in ways that hopefully improved the blog. The way it should be.

I would be remiss if I did not also say hi to my co-bloggers at MilBlogs and USNIBlog. Here at the homeblog it is a one man show, it is nice to have a couple of group blogs to share with as well.

There are also the regulars in comments most who make CDRSalamander what it is; Byron, Sid, MTH, LBG, C-14, AW1, LT B, T1, AM, E40, GB, FbL, Maggie, Kristin, xformed, bullnav, deltabravo, YNSN, OMC, Scott, Mike, Chris, GOH, LS, BW, MA ... The Professor and Mary Anne ... as well as the less frequent commenters but regular readers .... thanks.

The above is not an exhaustive list - and I know the minute I press "Publish Now" I will remember that I forgot someone - so please accept my apology if you feel forgotten. Give yourself a shout-out in comments and we'll throw some love your way.

Again it is the commenters, spies, and emailers - new and old - that really make CDRSalamander what it is - so blame yourself - you add the flavor and spice to this blog. Though I average ~1,800 pages view a day, 500 of those come from return IP addresses inside the cycle. Those are the regular readers every day - every day or so that stop by to see what my addled mind finds worthy of discussing and what "the usual subjects" have to say about it. Look at those that just stop by every few days and the core weekly readership is, well, a unknown multiple of that well in the four figures - a week. That, and ~1,775,000 page views makes me humble - and makes this "cheap therapy" worth it.

I owe you a big "thanks" for your interest and support. In the end analysis though, we have made some impact. The highlights range from the re-birth of Riverine, the highlighting of the LT Black PC-cowardice railroad (which resulted in one of the most popular subjects - Diversity Thursday - and also - in way - Fullbore Friday), expanding the LCS debate, and bringing to light some topics left on the cutting room floor - and that is just a few. I think we have produced a positive product here in the creative friction that is needed and healthy in an environment that breeds forced conformity and promotes loyalty to personalities instead of the service.

What is coming up? Well, I plan on keeping going, though this year looks like an "interesting" one for me professionally and even more so personally - as the Chinese might say. In both ways, I am at an inflection point, but more on that later.

That's ok though - I'll keep plugg'n along, I hope you stay along for the ride.