Saturday, October 31, 2009

Keeping an eye on the Long Game: Part XXVIII

You know 'ole Salamander has an eye on the long game .... and now you know that RDML Kevin Donegan has one too.
A U.S. Navy admiral expressed new concern Friday over China's military buildup and urged Beijing to be clearer about its intentions.
With China's military growing at an "unprecedented rate," the U.S. wants to ensure that expansion doesn't destabilize the region, Rear Adm. Kevin Donegan told reporters on a visit to the Chinese territory of Hong Kong.
Donegan referred to China's expanded weaponry. His remarks echoed the concerns of other U.S. military leaders who have said the growth in China's military spending — up almost 15 percent in the 2009 budget — raises questions about how Beijing plans on deploying its new power.
"When we see a military growing at that rate, we're interested in transparency and the understanding of the uses of that military," said Donegan, commander of the USS George Washington aircraft carrier strike group, a key part of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.
I first read it in IBD FRI - then Drudge SAT night. Good.

This will scare you ....

... and your children out of guv'munt skools.
... a (MASS.) mother testifies about 11-year-old children given a homework assignment to draw an erect penis ejaculating.

See Anne - you are way ahead of the crowd. This also explains why if you exclude poor immigrants, Massachusetts has a decreasing population .... and an exodus of two-parent, native-born families.

Hat tip No Pasaran!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Blogger's block

Sometimes even your humble blogg'r gets blogger's block. Some things bother me so much I can only think one word I don't use at all anywhere;
Please visit Chuck, Matt and Greyhawk for the details.

I can't think of anything more to say.
UPDATE: GatewayPundit is worth your time a well.

Rubio on Cavuto on fiscal conservatism

More evidence that Marco Rubio is needed in the Senate.

Hat tip HotAir.

Fullbore Friday

A little something different today. While we cover the bold face items for FbF - it is rare that we get the opporunity to get a more personal view of what happens every day in the middle of huge events.

Here is CDR Bob Woodside, USN (Ret) as he narrates some 8mm color video he took during what sure looks like WWII flying float planes off the
USS PROVIDENCE (CL-82). It looks like a OS2U-3 Kingfisher.

In addition, Bob was founder of the Naval Air Station Jacksonville Yacht Club in 1956 and passed away, recently. He was 89.

He was an avid sailor and Coach of the Naval Academy Sailing Team. The people we walk by at the NEX ..... and don't even know.

Sorry I missed you CDR Woodside.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Diversity Thursday II: Electric Boogaloo

Unintentionally for CNN methinks - this is a partially good report from CNN.

You can see the PC knee-jerk reaction and formula in action --- but I want you to listen to the Cadets West Point sent up. I am not sure the CNN reporter got it -- but what I hear is, "I am an individual and will not be run up as a token to satisfy your guilt."

Well, that is what Cadet Williams sounded like to me. Then again, she has the classic new immigrant ideal of, "I am me. Let me succeed on my own - I don't need your help or advice, get out of my way." I like her, a lot. Clone her too.

The two males gave off a, "I hate being treated like the pony in a dog and pony show - let me get back to class please."

Those are the young men and women that I am talking about. Unlike the belly-button picking Boomers and the Diversity/Grievance Industry - these men and women act like there is no institutional discrimination against minorities and would like to get on with gett'n on. That is good - because there isn't institutional discrimination against minorities.

Also of note is our buddy Professor Fleming at the end. Shame CNN wouldn't engage on what is going on at Annapolis. That is where the story is. I guess USNA gave them no access to MIDN.

That should tell you a fair bit. So should the fact that only CNN seems to think the numbers matter.

A little note to CNN. Non-Hispanic Whites make up 68% of the US population. Why is it shocking that 70% of the military is? That is well within the margin of error. When you add it racial self-identification "issues" and the fact that the artificial grouping of "Hispanic" includes a plurality of people who are more "White" than I am ---- the whole video is in a way funny to watch. OK, sad and pathetic to watch. Talk about something that is a a just world.

At the end of the video, I am a little concerned with the comment made by LTG Williams, USMC. He states, "I don't necessarily look at the body counts ... it's not something that we in leadership look at ..." I am sorry sir, but you need to talk to the CNO, the Diversity Directorate, BUPERS, Recruiters, and every person who has been forced to sit through a Diversity briefing.

Good googly moogly - all we do is go over the "body count." You loose a point in credibility when you say things like that. Just some friendly advice.

As for the Cadets - keep it up young men and women. You get the America I know, even if they are trying to force their racialist habits on you. Keep the Boomers, their outmoded racialist theories, and their fellow traveling race-hustlers from polluting your brain and rotting our culture.

Diversity Thursday

Everyone here should be familiar with my feelings about Diversity, the Diversity Industry, Diversity Bullies and their ilk. In summary; the great and wonderful diversity of America in all its forms is what makes this nation what it is and is something that, after over two centuries of hard work, we should be proud of and should continue to nurture.

On the other hand, what in the 21st Century is put out as Diversity by those who draw their emotional and financial sustenance from it is a cancer in the heart and soul of this nation. It is a retrograde, oppressive, biased, closed minded socio-political theory that is sectarian, divisive, and ultimately schematic at its core.

In the Navy we should all be "Navy Blue." Nothing more, nothing less - we should adopt the
Freeman Doctrine in all matters related to race, creed, color and national origin. That is the only way we can foster a race-neutral work environment. You don't do that by rubbing selective ethnic and racial groups in other people's faces based on the phases of the moon.

In an environment such as the Navy, one of the most essential "atmospherics" that a leader must drive to create is one of impartiality and a merit based evaluation of performance. There is a reason we have fraternization rules. Simply the appearance of partiality on the part of a leader will destroy unit cohesion and trust in the Chain of Command. It doesn't matter if the bias is personal, community, or designator bias. It is all, rightfully, discouraged and when found - actionable.

I will stop there, as all you need to do to hear the rest of my thoughts is to click the "Diversity" tab below, but in summary: this is all patronizing, biased, and specifically exclusionary. By pushing this policy, we are making good officers patronizing, biased, and specifically exclusionary. That is sad.

For your review, is the latest Diversity project. This time from Commander, Naval Surface Forces,
Vice Admiral D.C. Curtis, USN.

In defense of VADM Curtis (who
I have praised before) - the CNO's #1 priority is Diversity. That is a strong push from on top. Has to do something. Too bad the CNO's priorities are not in alignment with the SECNAV's. Ahem.

Again, perhaps a generational issue, as the general feedback I get from Gen X and younger officers of all DNA sub-types who have to go through this junk is, "What a waste of time." Perhaps it is a personal issue with VADM Curtis, as
we saw with Admiral Mullen. Don't know. What I do know is that this constant selective promotion of one self-identified ethnic group over others is feeding a sectarian cancer that will eat at the foundation of every wardroom.

Oh, and don't tell me Diversity is in order to enhance recruitment and support of the Navy throughout the Navy. That has been debunked from the NBA to our own research.

If the Diversity Mandate were true, then (as we will discover next Thursday), we must have Americans of Philippine extraction flooding the senior ranks; as Philippinos by far have the highest reenlistment rates of any ethnic group. No, the story here is deeper and harder to fix.

First; I want you to review Surface Force's new publicantion - Surface Warfare Update; Vol. 1 Issue 1.

Page 1, page 2, page 3, page 4, page 5, and page 6.


One of my spies sent this to me last week, pre-publication. Before I blogged about it though, I wanted to make sure I got some feedback from VADM Curtis's Diversity Office. They were very helpful and professional, specifically LCDR Mark Haney. I want to give them equal time.

As a final note before I turn it over to LCDR Haney, I would like to make a simple observation about LCDR Haney and his two office mates, LCDR Sonya Brown-Conner and LCDR Dave Pavlik.

Three SWO LCDR filling up the Diversity Office. I think of our friends at SUPSHIPS, NAVSEA, and SPAWAR who can not do all they want to do in order to ensure the future of our Fleet because they have been bled white though loss of BA/NMP. Imagine what these talented mid-career line officers could be doing for the future of the Fleet if they worked in any of those places. I think of the Joint Staff jobs where their talents are needed from Kabul to the Horn of Africa. I think of the PhD programs that are available.

I see the Navy expending three very talented officers at ... well ... the well intentioned promotion of divisive sectarianism, and that is sad - again, sad.

Anyway, enough of me. Now that you have read the six pages of Surface Warfare Update, on to LCDR Haney.

From an exchange of emails between us over the last week (BZ to him for taking the time and effort in an exceptionally professional manner), below are his comments explaining the e-zine and answering some of my questions. Some minor editing on my part for clarity and brevity - but here he is.

LCDR Haney will be in
Georgia font, I will be in Courier New Bold - of course. "Interesting" comments are in red bold.

As stated in Admiral Curtis' email to all SWO Flags, Commodores and Commanding Officers it is ". . .a newsletter we have developed to focus on mentorship and role-modeling for minority Surface Warfare Officers in particular and for the entire Surface Force in general." Mentorship and role-modeling is extremely important to the development of all Officers and we are excited about the potential of this newsletter, created to help highlight information and resources, to facilitate that development.

This first edition focuses on minority Officers in the Surface Community, a recurring theme and one of many themes the Surface Warrior's Update will cover as I think it is important for Junior Officers (especially first tour) to see representation and success in the fleet that might not be apparent in their own wardrooms. We then provide information and tools on ways for Officers to connect if desired (SWO E-Mentor, Affinity Groups, Fleet concentration information), perhaps seeking out a mentor or a discussion they previously would not have pursued.

Future editions will expand on this theme, highlighting additional areas of what we see as a very diverse community to include home of record, gender, commissioning sources, prior Enlisted service, alternate career paths, family situation, milestone accomplishment, AMPHIB/CRUDES etc. For example, the next edition plans on using the CO call out portion to highlight what parts of the country many CO's are from, relating people to each other based on similar geographic areas. We see this as another way to connect Officer's to the community and to its leadership, facilitating retention, professional exchange and mentorship.

1. Was this newletter the result of an idea VADM Curtis came up with, or is it part of a larger effort that will be replicated in the Pacific Surfaces as well?
-This is a CNSF Diversity Office initiative with the expected audience being all Surface Warfare Officers.

2. How many people, military and civilian, are involved in the production of the magazine?
-The CNSF Diversity Office is responsible for the publication. The Office consists of the 3 Officers listed in the publication and this is one of the many duties we perform in our Office. Primarily 1 Officer worked on this publication.

3. Will this be a monthly publication, and if not, how often will it be published?

4. What is the budget per year for publication of this newletter?
-Publication was created by SWO's for SWO's - no budget no paid overtime.

5. In an email, VADM Curtis mentioned, "This newsletter is being sent to SWO Flags and CO's regularly and to all Minority SWO's once with a sign up subscription option". Will it be sent out hard copy or just email?
-Email only.

6. Where does your office get its list of Minority SWO's?
-PERS 41 which draws from the Navy's database of an Officer's self-selected race/ethnicity.

7. Why are non-minority officers being excluded from this information and career enhancing venue?
-No Officers are being excluding and in fact the reason it is sent to all SWO Flags and CO's is because the information is relevant to all leadership and expected to be passed on to their areas of influence. VADM Curtis also solicited feedback in his email to CO's to what we can do better to address the mentorship and developmental needs of SWO wardrooms.

WRT forwarding to all minority SWO's once, since the major focus of this edition was role-modeling of successful minority Surface Warfare Officers we wanted to ensure those Officers received this particular edition directly. Future editions will follow a similar targeted distro based on theme.

8. Is VADM Curtis concerned that dedicating special effort and time to only a select group of officers based simply on self-identified race and/or ethnic group might create an appearance of bias on his part towards those racial and ethnic groups who do not receive that special treatment?
-As addressed above, this publication is directed to all Surface Warfare Officers and is not exclusive of any group. It is also one of many publications and outlets that the Surface Enterprise has recently produced that focuses on networking, information dissemination and professional development repeating a consistent message through numerous forums to include:

-Increased SWO professional/camaraderie gatherings in Fleet concentrations (SWO Socials, PERS-41 Road shows, Spouse Briefs, Surface Line Week).

-SWO-Intro course: Professional development early in a JO's career as well as networking those JO's with local peers and leadership.

-Network News: A networking and role modeling newsletter focused on Surface Warfare Women - great success.

-Surface Navy Women's Symposiums: Fleet concentration networking events focused on role-modeling successful SWO females.

-SWO eMentor: Connecting the SWO Community through the internet, allowing Officers to find and engage mentors "outside of the lifelines."

-Social Media: SWONet, CNSF Facebook and Twitter site.

9. If he does recognize that appearance of bias, what will he do to mitigate it?
-Topics in this publication are relevant to all SWO's and we will continue to develop this as a leadership resource.

10. If he does not think there is an appearance of bias, why? Has he talked to those officers from racial and ethnic groups that are not being given special treatment? If so, what feedback has he received during those discussions?
-This newsletter was vetted through Senior and Junior Officers representing the spectrum of diversity in the Surface Force and feedback incorporated. Feedback was positive and appreciative of the mentorship resource for themselves or their wardrooms. Resources offered in these newsletters are available to all Surface Warfare Officers with no special treatment to any one group.
I suggest you now read Surface Warfare Update again and judge for yourself. The linked above can be a tad difficult for old eyes to read, so if you want the PDF, email me and I will send it your way.

As for comments on what I highlighted in red - I will leave that up to you.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Richard Cohen reads CDR Salamander?

No, I don't think so. However, he is getting close. He is reading Sorley.
As it turned out, South Vietnam was ultimately defeated because Congress turned its back on it - not pretty or necessarily honorable but effective.
Yes, yes, great Caesar's ghost --- yes.

For years I felt like I was just one little cricket in the cow field about this basic truth. Some called me a clueless wingnut - deluded about the unwinable war.

Well --- when someone like Richard Cohen of the Washington-frick'n-Post starts putting that truth out - well - as always, the truth will show itself.

I do note that he does not mention which political party was in charge of Congress - but that is OK; I will. Democrats.

Credit for this though goes mostly in this case to Sorley and his book,
A Better War: The Unexamined Victories and Final Tragedy of America's Last Years in Vietnam. It is sitting on my desk right now on top of Lessons in Disaster: McGeorge Bundy and the Path to War in Vietnam [National Security Advisor under Kennedy & Johnson]. I have nibbled at both - but still need to finish the books I am already reading.

I think Richard Cohen also read Sorley's Op-Ed in the
NYT last week. It is a very good article discussing those parallels between Vietnam and Afghanistan. He ends with this.
Maintain political support at home: All that was accomplished on the battlefield in the latter years of Vietnam was lost when Congress, having tired of the whole endeavor, drastically cut support for South Vietnam. Neither Lyndon Johnson nor Richard Nixon was able to rally public and press support for the war.

President Obama has said that Afghanistan is a war of necessity. If so, he must put his political capital behind it. As he and his advisers plan the new course for the war, he must also come up with a new approach for selling it to Congress and the American people.
Yes, yes, yes. Bring them all to the light.

Maybe one day this nation and specifically those who smeared them through the '60's, '70s, and '80s will apologize to those who served in Vietnam. Again, they did not lose that war - the Democrat Congress did. Full stop.

When buzzwords become alive ..

I have a great idea. We should get rid of all VF (wait ... we did that ... make that VFA) squadrons. No, not the people and aircraft - but the name.

You see, in 21st Century, does the name "Fighter Attack Squadron" really capture what they do?

Of course not. You see, they must achieve air supremacy so, let's call them "Air Supremacy Squadrons." They should now be called "ASS." Get rid of "VAQ" and call them "Electromagnetic Effects Cohorts" or "EEC." VP can become "Maritime Awareness Associates" or "MAA."

We should get rid of Commander Naval Air Forces, and collect all those things involving aircraft the "Naval Air Corps."

New patches, t-shirts, nametags, stationary, and MSMs for everyone!

Why not - it makes as much sense as this "Bu11sh1t B1ngo" phrase being codified in OPNAVINST 5300.12 into another bubble of bureaucratic bramble and bloat.

What is the half-life of that pick from the phrase-of-the-month anyway? Yes, I understand the idea .... but so did Eisenhower.

I'm sorry - welding together the Spooks, weathermen, and computer/comm geeks together just dilutes each area.

I know, again, that I am in the minority here. But ..... it smells the same as welding together MIW and ASW. False economy.

Rahm Emanuel: ignorance or malice

You need to remember that this man is the Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief.

OCT 18th on the Sunday shows, he demonstrated one of two things: ignorance on a colosal scale that should call for his resignation - or a deliberate malice towards the American and allied military and civilians who have been working hard on the Afghanistan conflict for most all this decade ---- and his willingness to use anything to avoid taking responsibility for national security. If that, then he should receive nothing but our contempt. Personally - I will go for ignorance - as maliciousness on that level is something I just don't want to believe is there. So, here is President Obama's Chief of Staff;
The president is asking the questions that have never been asked on the civilian side, the political side, the military side, and the strategic side. What is the impact on the region? What can the Afghan government do or not do? Where are we on the police training? Who would be better doing the police training? Could that be something the Europeans do? Should we take the military side? Those are the questions that have not been asked. And before you commit troops  .  .  .  before you make that decision, there's a set of questions that have to have answers that have never been asked. And it's clear after eight years of war, that's basically starting from the beginning, and those questions never got asked.
Looking at his questions; let me review for you.

1. Impact on region. We have done nothing but this as a rolling assessment since 2001. There are teams at (for starters) DOS, DOD civilian and the Pentagon Joint Staff and of course USCENTCOM that have been doing this full time for over eight years. That doesn't even cover the US military's work on AFG starting with SHAPE (Rahm, talk to your National Security Advisor there, natch) - the lead NATO guy is a US 4-star. In gory detail at the Strategic, Operational and in-theater Operational level since NATO took over responsibility for AFG in late 2005 through 2006 - countless hours on the USA and NATO side that has been constantly going on.

2. Afghan Capability Assessment. See #1. Wallow in the volumes of date created by CSTC-A and its NATO sister. That is all they do. On the larger side that covers Development and Governance - start with the 2001 Bonn Agreement, nibble a bit on the Afghan National Development Strategy and then sit down for a few minutes with Gen. McNeill, McKiernan, McChrystal and/or any other General Officer whose name starts with "Mc" and they will fill up your nogg'n in no time flat.

3. Police training & Europe. Good googly moogly; just read the first 10 pages from my buddy Matilka Krow. Germany had it - EUPOL took it over - neither did squat; and starting back well over a 18 months ago we increased our long running
Police Mentor Teams et al to fill in the gap left by the European belly-button picking. Classic epic fail by the Europeans that started the smart people in the Joint Staff to look at taking back the keys in '07. Have patience - we know police are the key, great success has been made - more is to come. Oh, and Italy is supposed to be the lead nation WRT Judicial Reform, and the UK counter-narcotics. How is that working for you so far?

4. Should we take military side. I you mean "we" so mean USA, then sure, if you want to destroy NATO. Once again, NATO has the security part of a three part plan/campaign design - governance and development being the others. The lead Strategic and in-theater Operational Commanders for the AFG operation in NATO are American - and starting in late '08 we started beefing up the US staff presence in Kabul to what you see now with
LTG Rodriguez, the 2-Star under GEN McChrystal. Again - this decision has been made and is the result of evolved thought through this entire decade.

I am still gobsmacked by Emanuel's statement. Ignorant? if so we should be rightfully concerned about this Administrations understanding of the conflict we are in. Malicious? Well, that just confirms what many of us thought -- and that is sad. There are some good people in this administration. To serve under a Chief of Staff that is that ignorant or malicious is a waste of their talent and efforts in service to their nation.

Funny thing for me to say, but pray for ignorance.

What about @n@l bleaching?

Time to look at it one more time!
An updated Navy cosmetics policy effective Nov. 1 defines requirements for female Sailors who wish to undergo permanent cosmetic procedures.

Female Sailors may get permanent eyebrows, eyeliner, lipstick or lip liner starting Nov. 1, but only after submitting a request to their commanding officer and reviewing the costs and health risks associated with the procedures.

The requirements are spelled out in NAVADMIN 304/09, which updates the Navy policy on cosmetics for female Sailors. The message also includes a link to questions and answers about permanent makeup to help Sailors and their leaders make informed decisions.

A Sailor who elects such a procedure must pay for it herself, be prepared to take leave if necessary to recover and be available for shore-based medical care for two weeks following the procedure.

The updated cosmetic policy applies to new Sailors, including prior-service veterans, officer candidates and midshipmen and was expanded to reflect the changing norms of society.

"Due to the increasing popularity of permanent makeup, the update may increase the size of the recruitable population," said Lt. Cmdr. Heather Kline of Navy's Personnel, Plans and Policy Division. "It could also help with retention by providing an option for female Sailors to always look professional and feel good about themselves while saving money on cosmetic purchases."
This to me just seems like a case of someone being too afraid to say, "no" because they are afraid someone might think they are a mysogynist.

I am sorry - this policy is an insult to all females in the service. Just an insult.

Oh, and in case you don't get the title ref; ask
Skippy or click here - unless you are Kristin.

Hat tip Fleet First Class.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A quote you will live to regret II: Electric Boogaloo

The quote below is from Rocco Landesman, President Obama's handpicked chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts.

This is wrong in so many ways.
This is the first president that actually writes his own books since Teddy Roosevelt and arguably the first to write them really well since Lincoln. If you accept the premise, and I do, that the United States is the most powerful country in the world, then Barack Obama is the most powerful writer since Julius Caesar. That has to be good for American artists.
What an historically ignorant a55smack.

Among the many things that he was and accomplished over decades of not voting "Present," let's see what Caesar was. One of the greatest military leaders in history. The one who destroyed the Republic and started the Empire.

Obama? Well, not one ..... as for the other; I won't make a comment as there might be black helicopters about and my AFDB is in the car.

Hat tip PowerLine.
UPDATE: One of my spies sends an article on the subject you must read; Pardon Me, but Your Sycophancy Is Showing.


A quote you will live to regret

I don't know who this dude is - but someone get him a subscription to USNI's Classics of Naval Literature series and Naval History magazine - please.

Sid, you may want to take a deep breath and sit down before you get to the end of this quote.

Dan Taylor at InsideDefense;
The fiscal year 2010 defense authorization bill allocates $15 million for the Navy to look into a "mobile maritime sensor" that would essentially be a dedicated radar ship for use in sea-based ballistic missile defense, according to Senate Armed Services Committee staff.

An Oct. 7 committee press release following the passage of the conference report on the bill announces that the funding would be added "for a mobile maritime sensor development program to provide options for the Navy in meeting its sea-based missile defense requirements."
Dave Baker, a naval author and analyst, said a dedicated radar ship "is not a bad idea." The option would be "infinitely cheaper" than doing it on a CG(X), and the service could use cruiser hulls or even merchant designs instead of developing a whole new platform.

"There's no sense in going out and building something specialized for that role," he told ITN Oct. 21. "A bulk cargo ship could do it."

Baker said such ships might preclude the need for some CG(X) hulls in the future. It would also be important for the surface warfare community to get a new mission, he said.

hey're not going to be shooting at other ships at sea," he said. "Getting a new mission for the surface community is important to the surface community."
YMBFKM. From the same train of thought that told the Royal Navy in the early 80s that is would never need a gun on their ships again and that there was no use for Aircraft Carriers in the "new navy." Do we ever learn?

"Phibian Salamander, a naval author and analyst, said that Dave Baker must be high."

Hat tip Mike.

BAMS: are we a learning institution?

The Air Force has our jock.

First of all - in case you missed it, in another case of acronym sillyness .... BAMS UAV (Broad Area Maritime Surveillance - Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) is now BAMS UAS, where UAS stands for (
Unmanned Aircraft System). I guess that makes sense to someone .... I hope they at least got a NCM out of that name change - I am sure a lawyer had something to do with it. Like Papa Salamander would say; whatever.

As outlined
well in 05, in summary; BAMS was/is meant to augment what manned Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance aircraft do (enter P-3 mafia joke here).

Before we wander off on the subject at hand, BAMS, let's review what happened with Predator UAV/UAS.

In the pre-Long War world, Predators were the unarmed red-headed, left-handed step child that the USAF kept because it was a nice toy that gave them something to do with their pac(-) F-16 pilots. Those nasty folks at the CIA liked what they saw in early '01 with an armed Predator demonstrator that no one would talk about, and helped move forward the project - though the CIA drones were easy to tell from the USAF ones back then for reasons I think I should keep to myself - but you'se guy'z who know, know. I always thought that was a funny oversight.

As the Long War came out in full bloom and we started to see the usefulness of
greasy spots on desert floors, we quickly moved from armed Predators (MQ-1A/B) to the mo-bett'ah and appropriately named Reaper (MQ-9). Even the Italians and Brits are in on the act.

So, what you have here is a nice, operational, learning, evolutionary institutional response to lessons learned due to real-world combat experience. An unarmed program progresses to an armed experiment to an updated armed version to a further update - and so on. In hindsight, is all has a "why didn't we think of that in the first place" mindset - but that is OK, we learn as things come up.

That is, learning institutions do.

It is easy to understand why, with a pre-conflict mindset, you are focused on spending only a $1 as opposed to $1.10 - even if that $.10 will buy you an additional $1.50 of theoretical conflict utility. There is also the focus on risk mitigation - as things with yellow bands that go boom are dangerous, costly, and "If some E-3 messes up their loading proceedures during my tour, it might impact a promotion to O-6 ...." etc.

BZ to the Boys in Blue though - they responded properly to a nation at war.

So, lets get back to BAMS. Go over to
NAVAIR's site and read a bit.
The BAMS UAS will be an integrated System of Systems and a force multiplier for the Joint Force and Fleet Commander, enhancing situational awareness of the battlespace and shortening the sensor-to-shooter kill chain by providing a multi-sensor, persistent maritime Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) capability. BAMS UAS will provide surveillance when no other naval forces are present, support operations in the littorals to include support for Marine Expeditionary Units conducting operations from Expeditionary Strike Groups, and respond to Theater level operational or National strategic tasking. BAMS UAS will deliver to the warfighter an unprecedented capability to maintain persistent ISR virtually anywhere in the world – 24 hours per day / 7 days per week.
That is a very nice description of the program, but do you hear what I hear? It is as if the program is stuck in a pre-Long War bubble. It is as if the experience with UAS (yes, dear - I will use the new term, though under protest) over the last eight years has not been watched and adjustments made - as if the program has been running on blinkered focus non-stop. Imagine as if the builders of the B-29 did not take the lessons of self-defense armament in the B-17 into account.

I do not see anywhere a description or requirements outline - or in my search a discussion of - the need to find a way to make BAMS have some kink of armed capability - or of an armed UAS with USN on it.

Oh, and let me stop you right now. If you say "Firescout" you will immediately be sent to the 1st LT to work with BM1 Prolapse. We are talking about persistent armed ISR .... Firescout is to BAMS/Reaper what MH-60 is to P-8A. No throwing UCAV-N either. That is just an evolutionary growth of the TLAM concept - except this time it is reusable and can do more things. Doesn't count for what we are talking about here. Kind of like calling a Dauntless Diver Bomber a fighter plane; you get the idea.

If the engineers come back and say that unlike the lower altitude MQ-1A/B-MQ-9, you can't modify the Global Hawk base airframe to make an armed option - then the question must be asked; have we selected the wrong airframe?

I do not think that the a thinking response is that there is no requirement for armed maritime UAS. That might be a bureaucratic answer when one thinks of war in POM cycles and you are focused on the War After Next instead of the War Where Shipmates are Being Killed Today.

Now let's look at the rub.

Where the BAMS Demonstrator (BAMS-D) did just finish its first deployment - another deployment is going on that should have the attention of everyone in the Navy of any designator.
...unmanned U.S. military surveillance planes called MQ-9 Reapers stationed on the island nation of Seychelles are being deployed to patrol the Indian Ocean in search of pirates, Moeller told The Associated Press in an interview at command headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany. The patrols began this week, military officials said.

The 36-foot-long Reapers are the size of a jet fighter, can fly about 16 hours and are capable of carrying a dozen guided bombs and missiles. They are outfitted with infrared, laser and radar targeting.

Military officials said Friday the drones would not immediately be fitted with weaponry, but they did not rule out doing so in the future.
...and yes, I caught this part.
Analysts said they expected the Reapers would also be used to hunt al-Qaida and other Islamist militants in Somalia. While Moeller said the aircraft would "primarily" be used against pirates, he acknowledged they could also be used for other missions.
I can hear, "its just a cover" right now. Nice excuse and dodge - but don't avoid the topic at hand. Let's use this to talk about the subject at hand. Does the USN need an armed UAS besides, sigh, the tactical Firescout - or has the USAF sitting on the other side of the football field waving our collective jock in the air?

They key here is having the armed option. Play Commander from the O5-10 level for a moment.

If you have two options in the littoral for patrol - one that will give you the option to engage a target with weapons - while the other offers "off-site target servicing" - as the Commander, which one is going to go on your Statement of Requirements?

BAMS makes you think: "
No thank you Navy - go out in the Blue Water and count ships or something. Oh, do you guys get Per Diem to do this?"

Reaper makes you think: "
Yea, you guys have an operational mindset, get close. If I need you for more, I'll ask for it, thanks for the option. I like you - let's play golf sometime."

Is that where we will be in the next decade as BAMS fleshes out and deploys? Are we buying a hunting dog born with only one eye and a bad hip - simply because before the litter was born we asked for the first male out the litter?

Someone out there tell me there is an armed option in the future for the Navy UAS force outside of Firescout. If not, then perhaps Big Navy should consider that it is making a significant error in its platform selection.

Almost two years ago, Steve Trimble had a
nice, short discussion about second guessing the BAMS buy. I think he is right.

I believe we may have been too short sighted, myopic in a way, of sticking with one platform with a surveillance mindset only. With the Reaper deployment, that fact becomes an operational reality. Due to what was probably/possibly/partially an internal Navy Air problem (
i.e. TACAIR mafia not wanting UAS to take some of their armed missions, P-3/MPR mafia wanting a platform as soon as possible to bridge the falling numbers of MPR Commands once P-8 comes online - and both telling everyone that other platforms can "service the target") --- we may have opened the door to the USAF taking what should rightfully be a Navy mission.

If someone told you out of the blue that American military aircraft would be flying out of The Seychelles - and they did not have USN on the side, you probably think this was some WWII story. No, this is 2009 - and it looks like the USAF has the drop on us.

Our bust. Somewhere on the Eastern Seaboard between Norfolk, Pax River and the Potomac Flotilla, someone is laughing like
Tim with an "I told you so" chorus - because in the early stages of BAMS, I know this question had to have been asked. It was, wasn't it?

UPDATE: Do we learn, or are we just too quite? As pointed out by CDR K in comments, these may well be USN Reapers. Maybe, because even though prior to publication of this post - I asked a couple of people who are very involved in this area, and they didn't know these were Navy.

I am aware that the Navy version of the Reaper, the Mariner, was a rejected part of the BAMS project. As far as I can tell - there was no dual purchase program - so, why does the Navy now have Reapers? From what base? What command? Where is the Navy PAO on this?

I think I may have an answer though. Digging around some more, from FEB 09, I find
The US Navy is preparing to forward-deploy the Reaper UAS. The acknowledgement was made by Rear Admiral Mark Kenny, Director, Navy Irregular Warfare (N3/N5), during a briefing to the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) Program Review 2009.

Referring to the navy’s extensive use of contractors and contractor support for unmanned systems operations in the past, Kenny noted, ‘there is a time and a place for that. We have been very impressed with our responsive contractor partners, whether it’s going through the jungles of Africa with us or going out to sea. They’ve been tremendous. [But] there is also a time and place to transfer some of this to the Navy and Navy pilots.’

‘In UAVs, we are standing up squadrons of those. We have got efforts with Reapers, where the Navy is going to fly Reaper aircraft ‘forward,’ rather than from Nellis Air Force Base,’ he said.

Noting that the forward operating capability would ‘allow us to control these aircraft and sensors from sea,’ he added, ‘It’s a huge change in the paradigm of how UAVs are operated. But unless we can have access to the information and control of the bird, in the places that we go, we aren’t interested in having to worry about operators back in [Continental United States] – both in driving the birds or processing the intelligence. So those are deploying here in a few months. Again that system gets classified very quickly. But it has driven us to train our own Reaper pilots.’

When asked about platform ownership, Kenny confirmed that the Reapers ‘will be Navy-owned,’ characterising the activity as a ‘Navy / SOCOM [Special Operations Command] project.’
Ahhh ha. That is a different kettle of fish. Navy/SOCOM Reapers have a different mission set, and are in that grey area .... let's just say .... not a "Big Navy" platform.

So, post and comments stand. We know Navy SOF is a learning institution .... they always have been .... but is BAMS and our "normal Navy" UAS program?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Why Valour IT?

Will you look over to the right at the Team Navy Valour IT widget? Eeeek! Can we please try to get to four digits today? If you don't - Maggie will not be please. Don't make her angry, you wouldn't like her when she is angry.

Why, well for those who need to brush up on Valour IT, there is an official Valour-IT blog and of course, everything you could ever want to know is on their webpage.

As for me, all I need to do is remember this quote from my bud Chuck.
It was the first time I felt whole since I’d woken up wounded in Landstuhl.
–Major Charles "Chuck" Ziegenfuss, on using a voice-controlled
Nuff said Squids. Find some pocket change. Paper pocket change.

And to steal a line from Maggie;
So you've looked at everything above and you've decided that you are not comfortable with clicking through to donate problem, here's the mailing info:

Soldiers Angels
1792 E. Washington Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91104
I would simply request that you mark your check as being for #TeamNavy.

An agonizing "fix" for an imaginary problem

Professor Bruce Fleming is an English Professor at the United States Naval Academy. No stranger to our regular readers, I have offered Professor Fleming the opportunity to guest post here concerning the latest developments in his almost one-professor struggle for equality and fair treatment at Annapolis (my description). His latest post follows.
---- Phib

Making "diversity our number one priority" in the Navy, as the CNO Admiral Gary Roughead has it, has negative side effects both at the Naval Academy and in the fleet.

Midshipmen at Annapolis tell me that an insistence on accepting and keeping midshipmen primarily because of their race or of other factors irrelevant to future officer capability, such as their role as recruited athletes, has corrupted the honor system. Offenders are retained despite clear honor violations, athletes with repeated offenses are simply not adjudicated (they have to play Ohio State, after all), and everyone is "remediated" nowadays rather than being shown the door at this taxpayer-supported institution whose sole purpose is to produce officers to defend those taxpayers. From my side of the house, I can attest that it has led to a vast academic underworld of remedial pre-college courses, dumbed-down regular courses, and lowered expectations in the classroom where professors can cover less, and that less intensively, to allow all to more or less keep up.

But Annapolis is merely the showcase of the Navy, it's not the fleet. It's only 4,000 midshipmen, after all. The real problem is forcing skin-color-based policies on the men and women in the fleet.

The push to getting people with non-white skins in positions of authority is, as the CNO says, his number one priority. Certainly the "Diversity Policy" of 2008, analyzed below, makes this clear. So it's already trickled down pretty far before it is instituted at Annapolis: though the current Superintendent of the Naval Academy has made this his signature issue (it's certain he'll defend the issue to defend his tenure as Superintendent), he didn't invent it. He's just repeating what the higher-ups say, and the problems at Annapolis are just the more public version of the comparable problems in the fleet.

It all seems to be coming from the top, as if the brass had all gotten together in a smoke-filled room and cooked up an "issue" to push. What'll it be this year, boys?

It goes higher than Annapolis. It goes higher than the CNO.
The emphasis on non-white officers--which means, practically speaking, promoting with a heavy thumb on the scale for non-whites as well as admitting candidates to Annapolis and the other academies along two tracks--is a priority of the current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mullen. His "talking point" is quoted at the beginning of the 2008 Diversity Presentation PowerPoint of the Naval Academy: "I'm telling our leaders that I expect them to figure out a way to make diversity in all your lives, all your organizations. Diversity is a leadership issue, and everyone is a leader."

It's as unclear what this means as is the "Diversity Policy" of the CNO, Admiral Roughhead--to which momentarily.

There's nothing more agonizing to those in uniform than feeling the latest faddish social experiment with no clear benefit and lots of clear negatives be shoved down their throats, and be unable legally even to moan in agony. That's what we have now. So it's a double whammy: we're promoting people--yes, officers who will have the lives of enlisted personnel to shepherd--based on skin color rather than competence, and we're embittering practically everybody else, which impacts morale. Since the purpose of the military is to be an effective defense of all taxpayers, I'd say those negatives would require a huge positive to offset them, be responding to a life-threatening problem. The problem is, nobody has shown there is a problem that's being addressed.

This obsession with getting non-whites into the officer corps is coming from the very top: the least the brass could do is convince us that there's reason to make this priority number one. The best I've seen are statistics show that the current corps is about 20% non-white, whereas the enlisted corps is about 40% non-white. Yes? And what's the problem? Are you saying that a non-white enlisted person, say a black male, needs an incompetent Asian female officer for his morale? Me, I'd say he'd probably rather have a competent one of any persuasion--and I'd bet he'd rather have male, if it comes to that. But we'd sooner give him the Hispanic female than a white officer of either gender. Has he said he wants this? No. The brass have said he does. From what I hear, this is not the case: enlisted personnel are savvy enough to sniff out fakery and incompetence a mile away. They just want the best officers devoted to the mission and their safety. Skin color does not, from what I hear, play a large role with the enlisted corps in 2009.

Yet it's topic A with the gerontocratic brass who are beating the drum for panic-stricken measures to ensure "diversity," both at Annapolis and in the fleet.

The brass presented amicus briefs in the Supreme COurt Case of 2003 involving the University of Michigan, where the question was, how much preference could U of M give non-white students? The court held they could not run two-track admissions with radically lowered standards for African-Americans--which is precisely what we do at Annapolis. The military wanted them to be able to do this. However it's interesting that these amicus briefs seemed to come from a time warp: repeatedly invoking scenarios from Vietnam and the l960s, they insisted that non-white enlisted personnel needed to have or at least see non-white officers.

But this isn't Vietnam (unless Iraq and Afghanistan are becoming so); it certainly isn't the racially tense l960s; and everybody in the military is there because he or she said he or she wanted to be. So who says we have a problem? Prove to us first that we have one.

Then prove to us that the way this is being addressed is the best way.The ham-fisted way in which "diversity" (which means only skin color) is being rammed down the throats of the men and women of the US Armed Forces by the higher-ups is a major source of lowered morale. It's sometimes possible that "solutions" are worse than the problem they're meant to address: much of l9th century medicine, such as bleeding patients to let out the "humors" in the blood, made the patients worse rather than better. But the problem with this problem is, THERE IS NO CLEAR EVIDENCE IT IS A PROBLEM.

And the response that's being mandated from above is extreme.
Annapolis is the easiest place in the Navy to see just how extreme. Here's case one: a non-white applicant with SAT scores of 400 on each part, Bs and Cs, and no particular leadership, will be given a seat at Annapolis after a year at our remedial school NAPS, a federal institution whose student body is predominantly minority, with the rest made of prior-enlisted and recruited athletes. Here's case two: a white applicant with 580/580, Bs with two Cs after his sophomore year, and some sports, will almost certainly be rejected from Annapolis, and never considered for the remedial school. A non-white applicant to the Naval Academy with the same predictors of officer potential (we count athletics, academics, and leadership positions in arriving at a "Whole Person Multiple") will certainly be offered direct admission to Annapolis, bypassing a byzantine system involving nominations that turns away many more qualified white applicants.

In the fleet, it's harder to quantify the weight of the thumb on the scale that add race to the equation. Still, to judge from the flood of agonized e-mails in my box, it is a major source of anguish among white officers who feel they're working for a corrupt system rather than the merit-based honor-bound one they thought themselves a part of. It's also a source of pain for non-whites who feel the're being promoted for their skin color rather than their merits. (I've had non-white students complain bitterly to me about how they're considered first for their skin color and only later for their capabilities.) Worst of all is the anguish of the enlisted, who (I have heard repeatedly) don't care what color their commanding officer is so long as s/he is good.

Military people cannot legally publicly disagree with the decisions of their superiors. They suck it up. But those in the military typically also have a very intense sense of injustice: many believed the military to be the last real meritocracy. Race-based promotion schemes have produced an embittered officer corps and a rudderless enlisted corps, as they see that their lives depend on someone who was promoted because of his or her skin color and not based on competence. So it has clear negatives, huge ones--which those suffering cannot even legally bring to the attention of the public. What are its benefits? That's what we're still waiting to hear.

The Naval Academy has engaged in this blatant race-tracking for years, but never with any justification. Then in March of 2008 the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) issued a “diversity policy” that has been cited repeatedly when “affirmative action”—what the French call “positive discrimination” (clearly illegal under the U.S. Constitution, as is any kind of discrimination)—is questioned. (Legally of course the CNO can’t reverse the Supreme Court’s decision.) That black and Hispanic officers are promoted just to get them promoted can be disputed; similarly it can be disputed that black and Hispanic midshipmen are handled with kid gloves—though most midshipmen have many examples that appear to show they are. That minority applicants are admitted to the Naval Academy and hence into its officer-training program using far lower criteria than white applicants and displace many other higher qualified (though not minority) applicants, cannot. Yet a vague wave towards the “Diversity Policy” is nowadays all that’s necessary to silence most questions.

The document signed by the CNO is unexceptionable, and raises no eyebrows. Of course not: this is the written form of the intent, which here is being kept purposely bland: this could be easily challenged in court. The question then becomes, how is it understood and put into practice? Similarly, when I was on the Admissions Board, we were told not to write anything down: “everything is “foi”able”—can be demanded under the Freedom of Information Act. To my knowledge there are no written directives that spell out the divisions I’ve outlined here of 600 SAT minimum for white students (some wiggle room if the student was hugely good in something else, or had much higher SAT scores on the other part), ca 540-530 SAT for Annapolis direct for set-asides, and the floor was the limit, down to about 380, for NAPS direct for set-asides. In the military, much is in the lifting of an eyebrow, the tone of voice: you’re supposed to want to please your superior.

The written document begins as follows: “Diversity has made our Nation and Navy stronger. To derive the most from that diversity, every individual, military or civilian, must be encouraged and enabled to reach his or her full potential.” It gets a bit surprising in the next sentence: “They must be inspired and empowered to attain the most senior levels of leadership.” All of them? What’s a bit unsettling is this notion of “empowering” “every individual” to “attain the most senior levels of leadership.” Everybody gets to be an admiral? Things are bit clearer when we consider that “every individual” is used in the context of speaking of “diversity.” This suggests that the Navy is going to promote “diverse” people, “empower” them to “attain the most senior levels.” Or does this only mean enabling this person “to reach his or her full potential.” Don’t we do that with everyone already? Things get a little clearer toward the end. “As leaders, we must anticipate and embrace the demographic changes of tomorrow, and build a Navy that reflects our Country’s make up (sic).” Someone from Mars reading this document would be forgiven for not understanding what sense of makeup the Admiral is referring to in speaking of “the demographic changes of tomorrow”: getting older sailors as the population ages? More Floridians (say) as population shifts there?

Much clearer is the more informal commentary the CNO provided for the official news article announcing the policy. In his informal comments, the CNO makes clear that he’s talking about skin color. These comments are interesting for other reasons too. They offer a good example of the personal nature of command in the military. In addition, they’re a good example of the way the military works as a monopoly structure: instead of justifying why the precise measures taken fulfill goals better than other means that could be taken, or that others propose, it asserts that what it does is achieving the goals. We produce widgets, or, like the GDR, other manufactured goods. We don’t look at the quality of what we do as compared to other options. The way things are is the only way they can be.

Here’s the personal nature of command, as seen in the CNO’s comments: “The purpose of this policy is to ensure that everyone in the Navy understands how I feel about diversity. I believe that…” and so on. The striking aspect here is the “feel” and the “believe.” Only an intensely personalized institution would think an official statement of policy would contain as its sole justification the feelings and beliefs of the person issuing it: l’etat, c’est moi. His last quote is as follows: “Most importantly, the Navy must reflect the face of the nation. When the nation looks at its Navy, it should see itself reflected back.”
This is personalized in justification, and personalized in intention: “I want our Navy’s leaders to internalize this policy and demonstrate a personal commitment to attract young men and women to the Navy, and compel them to stay Navy.” Compel? Perhaps the Admiral meant “impel.” And it’s clear that he doesn’t mean any young men and women. He means young men and women somehow related to “diversity.”

Or does he in fact mean “compel”? This would jibe with the notion that we can “empower” individuals “to attain the most senior levels of leadership.” Suddenly we have a reason why black and Hispanic students at the Naval Academy are repeatedly “retained,” not flunked out, by Academic Boards that consider their failing and unsatisfactory grades. The decision has been made to compel them to remain: they will be officers, at any price. And, it may be, they will be “empowered” “to attain the most senior levels of leadership.” Will all individuals?

The CNO says he wants the nation to see itself “reflected back” in its Navy—for the Navy to reflect “the face of the nation.” What this means is still a bit unclear, though it’s more substantial than the “diversity policy” itself. That people with one nose and two eyes should see a Navy whose members has a nose and two eyes? That’s fairly easy to achieve. Why the face? For starters, we don’t want the overweight bodies of the nation to see these reflected in overweight bodies of sailors. We don’t want people in wheelchairs to see sailors in wheelchairs, unless they got that way from battle. We don’t want violinists to see violinists, or first-grade teachers to see first-grade teachers—so the reflection won’t be perfect. In fact it’s unclear how those not in the military can see themselves “reflected” in those in the military. So apparently he really means, just the face. Is everyone that young? Does everyone have short hair? (Or is this getting away from the face?)
How about what’s behind the face? Will those in the military have skills or capabilities that those in the outside world don’t? Or is the military just a microcosm of all jobs and capabilities?

But fine. We get it. Clearly the CNO means skin color. So now the horse-trading starts. Is it legal to make only skin color the decider? What do you give up if you do? Are there any side-effects? What about when you “compel” less qualified candidates to become officers while rejecting the ones that according to your own predictors would have been more effective? Do you calculate the price you pay when these officers have to make decisions?

This is the demand for justification and comparison that inevitably happens in a non-monopoly situation. In the military, none of it happens. We decide what we’re going to do, keep it secret if possible and in any case “inside the walls,” as the military says. We assert loudly that what we do is serving the policy, and that’s the end of the story. Demurring or discussing shows that “leaders” have not in fact managed to “internalize this policy,” which presumably will call forth more feelings and beliefs from the top office. (The news story on the USNA internal web site also underlines that “leadership,” whatever this is—apparently expressing feelings you demand others “internalize”—is the currency of the military. The article’s author summarizes the diversity policy as follows: “Leadership is the foundation upon which the Navy is built and has served as the cornerstone of success for the organization since its inception.”)

The Superintendent of the Naval Academy issued from his bully pulpit a “
Letter to Alumni” in October, 2009. In it he waxes lyrical about his commitment to “diversity” and all but chokes up at how wonderful it is to see non-whites stepping up to “serve,” presumably by accepting the seats kept warm for them at the almost $500,000 per person guaranteed-employment education, room, and board elite institution, the U.S. Naval Academy. Many other people eager to “serve” were denied the opportunity in order to make sure that these non-whites, many of whom had never thought of “serving” by accepting all this taxpayer largesse, were given the opportunity.

It all made me wonder how ticket holders to the New York Philharmonic would react if the orchestra suddenly announced its commitment to allowing, say, really short people—clearly under-represented in the orchestra, to be offered the opportunity to play. Thus, instead of auditions taking place, as now, behind a screen—so what counts is how you play the violin or oboe, they’d start with a height measurement. That way we could offer the egregiously short musicians the “opportunity” we are offering people with a certain skin color to “serve” at Annapolis.

If opportunity means guaranteed winning—i.e. a place in the scarce lottery of service academies places—then yes, we only offer opportunity when we direct-admit based on skin color, lower predictors shrugged off, and disregarding the fact that that place was denied to someone of markedly better predictors. Annapolis, and the other service academies, exist to produce officers to defend the taxpayers who finance their preparation. If we simply say, “taxpayers be damned,” in the same way we’d say “audience be damned” by taking violinists based on their height rather than on the way they play the violin, then it all makes sense. That’s what the CNO and the Superintendent of the US Naval Academy are saying: we don’t care about making the best officers to defend you. “Diversity” is our number one priority.

Taxpayers ought to demand that the bums be thrown out.