Fifty-eight percent (58%) of U.S. voters say waterboarding and other aggressive interrogation techniques should be used to gain information from the terrorist who attempted to bomb an airliner on Christmas Day.
Seventy-one percent (71%) of all voters think the attempt by the Nigerian Muslim to blow up the airliner as it landed in Detroit should be investigated by military authorities as a terrorist act. Only 22% say it should be handled by civilian authorities as a criminal act, as is currently the case.
Seventy-nine percent (79%) now think it is likely there will be another terrorist attack in the United States in the next year. That’s a 30-point jump from the end of August when just 49% of Americans felt that way.
In August, 65% said it is at least somewhat likely that waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques helped secure valuable intelligence information from suspected terrorists.
Fifty-eight percent (58%) of voters said in April that the Obama administration’s release of CIA memos about the harsh interrogation methods used on terrorism suspects during the Bush years endangered the national security of the United States.
Most voters also said the massacre at Fort Hood, Texas by a Muslim Army officer should be investigated by military authorities as a terrorist act rather than by civilian authorities as a criminal act.
Sixty-three percent (63%) say political correctness prevented the military from responding to warning signs from Major Nidal Malik Hasan that could have prevented the Fort Hood shootings from taking place.
Thursday, December 31, 2009
Read closely. From the House version of the Health Deform Bill, HR3200. Just go here and search for "diversity."
A multi-front approach - another example of the government institutionalizing its own destruction by Roger Clegg.
Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood sent a letter this month to all fifty governors, telling them “it is vital that we work together to provide small disadvantaged businesses and female and minority workers a fair chance to engage in transportation projects.” They must use not only existing programs but also, it is emphasized throughout the letter, “innovative strategies to provide opportunities for the underrepresented.” “Underrepresented” is invariably defined in terms of race, ethnicity, and sex, of course; so is “disadvantaged” in the DOT context.... and again.
The governors and their “local partners” are urged to “establish” and “meet” “goals, to reach a greater number” of “disadvantaged” businesses. Goals as in quotas. The secretary also touts a new “training program for women and girls interested in transportation careers.” And he warns that DOT is not alone in wanting the governors to get their numbers right, citing the notorious Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs at the Department of Labor, with its focus on “underrepresented groups, such as women and minority workers, in recruitment and hiring on construction projects” funded by stimulus money.
All that’s just on page one of the letter, and there’s more of the same on page 2. I’m not the only one who reads the letter this way; see this wire story.
The president, to his credit, has rebuffed suggestions that economic recovery efforts be race-focused; Secretary LaHood, not so much.
The SEC approved a rule that would require disclosure of whether, and if so how, a nominating committee considers diversity in identifying nominees for director.I like this response.
If the nominating committee or the board has a policy with regard to the consideration of diversity in identifying director nominees, the final rules require disclosure of how this policy is implemented and how the nominating committee or the board assesses the effectiveness of its policy.
To: Securities & Exchange Commission
From: Roger Clegg, President and General Counsel, Center for Equal Opportunity
Re: July 13, 2009 proposed rule / “diversity”
We are commenting in particular about this part of the above-referenced matter (footnote omitted) :
Currently, Item 407(c)(2)(v) of Regulation S-K requires disclosure of any specific minimum qualifications that a nominating committee believes must be met by a nominee for a position on the board. We are interested in understanding whether investors and other market participants believe that diversity in the boardroom is a significant issue. As indicated below, we are requesting comment on whether additional disclosure in this area should be required. * * *
Should we amend Item 407(c)(2)(v) to require disclosure of any additional factors that a nominating committee considers when selecting someone for a position on the board, such as diversity? Should we amend our rules to require additional or different disclosure related to board diversity?
Usually “diversity” is understood to include racial and ethnic diversity. We strongly oppose any consideration of race or ethnicity in selecting individuals for a position on a corporate board. Such discrimination is wrong. It is also illegal. For a company to engage in racial or ethnic discrimination would violate 42 U.S.C. section 1981, which forbids such discrimination in any contractual relationship, which would include the relationship between a board member and a corporation. If board members are considered company employees, then it would also violate Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. section 2000e et seq.
In addition, for the United States government to use—or to require, encourage, or facilitate the use of—such classification would violate the Constitution. In Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Pena, 515 U.S. 200, 227 (1995), the Supreme Court ruled, in a case involving another federal agency’s rules and regulations, that “all racial classifications … must be analyzed by a reviewing court under strict scrutiny.” Accordingly, such classifications are “presumptively invalid.” See Personnel Administrator v. Feeney, 442 U.S. 256 (1979). There is no compelling interest in considering race or ethnicity in the business context. See generally our February 2007/May 2006 testimony before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: ( http://www.ceousa.org/content/blogcategory/56/85/ )
To the extent that Commissioner Aguilar—as suggested in his July 1 remarks regarding the proposal and in an interview with BoardIQ (“SEC Seeks Comment on Disclosing Board Diversity,” by Julie Goodman, August 18, 2009)—believes that “demographic background, including race,” ought to be considered, we respectfully but strongly disagree.There are things in there, ahem, that have all sorts of uses.
Accordingly, we respectfully request that, if the SEC decides to require disclosure related to “diversity,” it makes clear that the Commission is not requiring or encouraging corporations to consider race or ethnicity in the selection of board members, and that, to the contrary, such consideration is illegal—or, at least, raises serious legal issues.
This is so good and the NYT has its pants all around its ankles - so I am copying it in full.
Your new book, “Crisis and Command,” is an eloquent, fact-laden history of audacious power grabs by American presidents going back to George Washington. Which president would you say most violated laws enacted by Congress?Wow.
I would say Lincoln. He sent the Army into offensive operations to try to stop the South from seceding. He didn’t call Congress into special session until July 4, 1861, well after this had all happened. He basically acted on his own for three months.
Are you implicitly comparing the Civil War with the war in Iraq, in order to justify President Bush’s expansion of executive power?
The idea is that the president’s power grows and changes based on circumstances, and that’s what the framers of the Constitution wanted. They wanted it to exist so the president could react to crises immediately.
Do you regret writing the so-called torture memos, which claimed that President Bush was legally entitled to ignore laws prohibiting torture?
No, I had to write them. It was my job. As a lawyer, I had a client. The client needed a legal question answered.
When you say you had “a client,” do you mean President Bush?
Yes, I mean the president, but also the U.S. government as a whole.
But isn’t a lawyer in the Department of Justice there to serve the people of this country?
Yes, I think you are quite right, when the government is executing the laws, but if there’s a conflict between the president and the Congress, then you have to pick one or the other.
Were you close to George Bush?
No, I’ve never met him. I don’t know Cheney either. I have not gone hunting with him, which is probably a good thing for me.
Weren’t you invited to the White House Christmas party during your two years at the Department of Justice?
I don’t think so. That’s the way the government works. There’s the attorney general, then the deputy attorney general and then an associate attorney general. Then there’s the assistant attorney general, who was the head of my office.
So you’re saying you were just one notch above an intern, you and Monica Lewinsky?
She was much closer to the president than I ever was.
What led you to take a job as a professor of constitutional law at Berkeley, of all places, where you’ve taught since 1993?
It was the best school that I was able to get a job at. It’s not easy for a conservative to get a job in the academy in any field.
I see various groups are protesting a decision by a California government lawyer to teach a course with you that starts on Jan. 12, claiming he is legitimizing your unethical behavior.
At Berkeley, protesting is an everyday activity. I am used to it. I remind myself of West Berlin — West Berlin surrounded by East Germany during the Cold War.
Are you saying the citizens of Berkeley are Communists, reminiscent of those on the dark side of the Iron Curtain?
There are probably more Communists in Berkeley than any other town in America, but I think of them more as lovers of Birkenstocks than Marx.
When, exactly, did you become a conservative?
I’ve been one since I was a kid. I was 9 when Jimmy Carter took office. I can remember him giving a speech in a funny sweater and asking people to turn down thermostats. And then there was the malaise speech. I thought they meant mayonnaise.
You were born in South Korea and grew up in and around Philadelphia, the son of two doctors. What sort of doctors?
What effect did that have on you?
I hope none.
Are they psychoanalysts?
I couldn’t tell you. I don’t actually know that much about their work. I’ve never really been interested.
A psychiatrist might say you are in denial.
I deny that I am in denial.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
The latest in a series of articles on the subject from USAToday, let's review.
In a marketplace awash in consulting firms that help defense companies sell to the Pentagon, the Durango Group has a unique advantage.
The Colorado-based firm has become a base of operations for retired officers who also are handsomely paid by the military for their advice. No other defense consulting firm employs more "senior mentors" than Durango. Of the 59 former officers who work for Durango, 15 also serve as mentors, a USA TODAY investigation found.Craig needs to take a powder - or at least talk to some Senior Mentors - he really doesn't know what he is talking about. Then again, Public Citizen it he left-wing squaking organization founded by Ralph Nader, no don't expect educated nuance WRT military matters from them. Bad on USAToday for even interviewing them. At first, I almost stopped reading the article .... but I smelt something and kept going.
As Durango associates, the retired officers are paid to help private companies win and administer Pentagon contracts. As mentors, the retirees are paid by the military to help run war games, which also gives them access to classified strategies and weapons systems. Durango cites these mentoring assignments on its website as signs of its associates' unique connections.
Along with their work for Durango and the military, these retired officers, mostly from the Air Force, are paid advisers, consultants and corporate directors on the boards of at least 20 companies, according to public records. Three of them work for private equity firms to help them identify, buy and then run defense contractors.
Durango's ability to mix mentoring and consulting work illustrates how closely the private interests of some mentors overlap with their military advisory jobs. The firms' mentors move seamlessly between roles as paid advisers to the services and paid consultants to defense companies in the same subject areas, USA TODAY found.
As a result, Durango and the mentors it employs draw income from multiple sources. Both get paid by the military for advice and by defense contractors who want consulting help. The firm also benefits from having its mentors serve as corporate directors or advisers for other companies.
That kind of overlap is not illegal. But some analysts say it should be.
"That is an amazing conflict of interest," said Craig Holman of the non-partisan watchdog group Public Citizen. "They are working for two masters. Are they pursuing the public interest, or are they pursuing the contractors' interests? ... The conflict of interest law ought to be expanded to cover this."
We really have two issues here; first Senior Mentors and second retired GOFO working for defense companies. Let's start with the second, and then move back to the first.
... federal ethics law prohibits newly retired senior employees from representing a company before their former agency for one year.As long-time readers know, I think that is lame. The Salamander Bill has yet to find a single sponsor in either the House or the Senate (of either party). Sad, as for years it has remained roughly unchanged:
"No General or Flag Officer, or SES, shall for a period of five years following retirement, serve in any capacity with a publicly or privately held company which does business with the Department of Defense - or receive any remuneration of cash, cash equivalents, or services from any officer, consultant, or employee of same."...or something like that. That's my initial guidance; I'll let the lawyers make sense of it.
So, if you have an issue with GOFO influencing DOD decisions - start there and leave the Senior Mentors alone - though you may want to look at how you source them; more on that in a bit - but let's spend some time on what Senior Mentors are.
Senior Mentors are retired GOFO who, in theory, are no longer part of the Byzantine intrigue of the uniformed GOFO herd and as a result can provided clear, direct, and unbiased advice. The Executive Summary of what they do is that they shadow a GOFO and/or Command Group during an exercise, work-up, or development program to provide advice and perspective --- and more often than not --- tell that GOFO what those in his Staff either cannot or will not tell them.
Senior Mentors bring broad experience and provide leavening to many GOFO as they build needed depth and experience at their new level of command responsibility. It doesn't matter if you are a One-Star or a Four-Star: a wise word from a respected elder is worth its weight in gold when you are alone in your decisions, especially for a junior GOFO who has perhaps spent too much time in DC as of late, and too little time Operationally.
The use of Senior Mentors by itself is a non-issue. So, why is this coming up so often as of late? Ungh. The fallen nature of man - best understood by the Jesuit trained - comes in to play.
... the service's program is run by a defense contractor, Northrop Grumman..... and it seems that this is what creates the problem - and everyone is trying to work around it.
The Army used a loophole in federal ethics law to award lucrative contracts to two recently retired generals, departing from its standard practice for hiring senior advisers, according to public records and interviews.
During the past two years, the Army wanted to bring back two former generals, John Vines and Dan McNeill, to advise commanders as part of its "senior mentor" program.Well - if it went off that way - then "you" just lost my support. There is being "in DC," and being "of DC."
The Army found a way around the rule. Instead of hiring them as defense company subcontractors, as it does for roughly two dozen other Army mentors, the service contracted directly with McNeill and Vines. McNeill received his contract after the Army wrote specific bid solicitations that applied to him and perhaps a few other retired generals. Vines received contracts without competition, records show.
That is "of DC" - and it is a classic case of quasi-benign corruption. If as reported, some people need to be fired and if needed - charged - and the way we run the system changed. For goodness sakes - get some retired old-goat USMC Col. with broad Major Staff experience to run the thing and be done with it.
Back to the fallen nature of man. Review what a retired GOFO makes from the taxpayer. Now soak in what we are talking about.
All told, the Army paid McNeill $281,625 from December 2008 through August 2009, federal records show. McNeill told USA TODAY he also consults for defense firms but declined to name them. He isn't required to tell the Army about them, either.Over a quarter-million dollars for nine-months work. That whole thing stinks - which is why you have this.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates has ordered a high-level review of the military's senior mentor programs, including whether retired officers hired as advisers are overpaid and whether their private work for contractors poses a conflict of interest, his spokesman said Wednesday.
Gates "has real concerns about the levels of compensation, and the potential for conflict of interest" in the mentor programs, Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell told reporters.So far, it looks like USAToday is the only one really tracking on this story. This is a story. BZ to SECDEF for looking in to this. It makes all retired officers look bad.
The problem isn't the Senior Mentor Program - it looks like the problem is who is running it and the rules it is being run under.
Money can be a cancer - the first thing it can consume is your good name. Let the investigation go forward ... and someone sponsor the Salamander Bill.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
While wandering around NRO, I came across an interview with one of our greatest living scholars, Rodney Stark.
Starks's works are many, but his latest is God's Battalions: The Case for the Crusades. You really owe it to yourself to listen to John J. Miller interview him here.
Someone is getting antsy.
New Delhi: India announced plans Thursday to shift control of a major shipyard to the military to boost naval warship production amid complaints of delays in existing projects.... as we get weaker, others will get stronger. On a not unrelated note,
The announcement came two days after the military expressed concern about India's depleted underwater combat capabilities due to delays in constructing tactical submarines for the 134-ship navy.
Information Minister Ambika Soni said the cabinet would transfer control of the country's second largest shipyard, Hindustan Shipbuilding Yard, to the military from the shipping industry.
"It is going to be transferred to the ministry of defence for meeting national security requirements of building strategic vessels for the Indian navy," Soni told a news conference after a cabinet meeting.
Russia's Nerpa nuclear attack submarine, damaged in a fatal accident during tests in November last year, has successfully passed final trials, a Pacific Fleet spokesman said on Monday.
On November 8, 2008, while the Nerpa was undergoing sea trials, its onboard fire suppression system activated, releasing a deadly gas into the sleeping quarters. Three crewmembers and 17 shipyard workers were killed. There were 208 people, 81 of them submariners, onboard the vessel at the time.
Following the repairs, which cost an estimated 1.9 billion rubles ($65 million), the submarine had been cleared for final sea trials.
"A state commission has concluded that judging by the results of all trials the Nerpa nuclear submarine is ready to enter service with the Russian Navy," the source said.
The submarine will be officially commissioned with the Russian Navy later on Monday in the in the town of Bolshoy Kamen in Primorye Territory, home to Amur shipyard's Vostok repair facility which carried out the repairs.
The submarine will be subsequently leased to the Indian Navy under the name INS Chakra. India reportedly paid $650 million for a 10-year lease of the 12,000-ton K-152 Nerpa, an Akula II class nuclear-powered attack submarine.
Monday, December 28, 2009
See how far ahead of the curve you are if you read CDRSalamander every day?
British and American soldiers soon could be hard to tell apart if the U.S. Army adopts a camouflage pattern similar to one that the British have already picked out to conceal their troops in Afghanistan.... and I hope everyone gets on board with this - something any deer hunter could have told the staff weenies who thought velcro was a good idea.
U.S. soldiers with 2nd Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment in eastern Afghanistan are wearing new uniforms featuring the "MultiCam" camouflage pattern as part of a trial conducted by the Army to determine the best way to help troops blend in with their environment.
Last week the British Ministry of Defence announced that its troops would soon start wearing a new uniform with a version of MultiCam dubbed the "Multi-Terrain Pattern."
He added that any new uniform should do away with the fabric fastener pockets and attachments that are on his ACUs.Good news - and potentially GREAT news for the Navy if they do one smart thing here. The CNO should walk down the hall to the Army Chief of Staff and tell him that the Navy wants in. We will adopt what the Army goes for if it is multi-cam. Out with BDU/DCU - in with multi-cam = a smaller and easier to support Seabag.
"[The fabric fastener] gets dusty or dirty and it doesn’t work anymore. You can’t keep your sleeves or collar down and it’s not tactical. If you have to adjust something during a mission it makes a loud noise," he said.
Then again, something we called for here almost two years ago.
Well, when you look at what Sailors ate a few decades ago, heck in this case over a century ago, wonder - why they didn't need one.
On a serious side - these are fairly economic dishes - and what you need if you do a lot of physical work - that is why they didn't need a PT program. In 1902, every day was PT.
Creamed Sliced Dried Beef
YIELD: 6 1/4 Gallons or 100 portions, each portion: 1 cup
Butter or shortening
2 1/2 lb.
2 1/2 qt.
-- 1. Melt shortening add flour, and blend. Add pepper. Cook 5 minutes. Milk, hot 4 3/4 gal. -- 2. Add hot milk slowly, stirring to prevent lumping. Beef, dried, sliced
1 3/4 gal.
-- 3. Separate beef into slices. Cook in hot shortening until edges curl.
4. Add to white sauce. Blend.
1. If beef is too salty, omit cooking in hot shortening (step 3), soak beef in hot water 15 minutes and drain before adding to white sauce.
2. If desired, freshly sliced dried beef may be added to white sauce without cooking in hot fat.
3. Serve with toast, baked potato, steamed rice, noodles, spaghetti, or cornbread.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
The feel good policy of not wanting to offend has its price. The price is putting everyone who flies in danger.
The plot to blow up an American passenger jet over Detroit was organized and launched by al Qaeda leaders in Yemen who apparently sewed bomb materials into the suspect's underwear before sending him on his mission, federal authorities tell ABC News.Would an Israeli like profile system be perfect, no. However, it works real well for them and it is much better than the happy-talk, feel-good, self delusion we have now. A highly educated upper-middle class Muslim young man from a nation with a significant radical Islamic presence. What does he hit - 8 out of 10 significant indicators?
A passenger aboard the plane set off an explosive device, causing a commotion and some minor injuries, a Delta official said. Northwest is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Delta.
Investigators say the suspect had more than 80 grams of PETN, a compound related to nitro-glycerin used by the military. The so-called shoe bomber, Richard Reid, had only about 50 grams kin his failed attempt in 2001 to blow up a U.S.-bound jet. Yesterday's bomb failed because the detonator may have been too small or was not in "proper contact" with the explosive material, investigators told ABC News.
Investigators say the suspect, Abdul Farouk Umar Abdulmutallab, a 23-year-old Nigerian student whose birthday was last Tuesday, has provided detailed information about his recruitment and training for what was supposed to be a Christmas Day suicide attack.
It goes beyond searching a grandmother in a wheelchair .... it includes the time mid-decade when I was being patted down from head to toe while in my khaki uniform, while three shaved-head, full bearded, man-dress wearing men speaking Arabic walked right through the medal detector, glanced at me and grinned.
Many years ago I remember a security expert with the Israeli airline El Al describe the difference between our systems. We look for weapons - they look for terrorists.
It is a good thing we got lucky - because when it comes to looking for terrorists on airliners, we aren't all that good.
Oh, and to answer my own question: no.
Too much political and intellectual cowardice to do the right thing - it will take the death of hundreds to even have a chance of a logical profiling program ... if then.
Well ..... sometimes that lack of action has a reason.
A recent military policy that added pregnancy to the list of reasons a soldier could be disciplined in a war zone will be rescinded by a new order drafted by the top U.S. commander in Iraq.In this political environment - this shouldn't be a shocker.
Gen. Raymond Odierno drafted a broad new policy for the U.S. forces in Iraq that will take effect Jan. 1, and that order will not include a controversial pregnancy provision that one of his subordinate commanders enacted last month, according to the U.S. military command in Iraq.
Too much cost - too little benefit. Sometimes, leaders are more comfortable living with little lies than dealing with them.
Friday, December 25, 2009
For those who need a Festivus primer - here you go.
I think this satisfies the "Airing of Grievances." Woe be to "Coexist" dude should he be the subject of Feats of Strength.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
In one of my articles for the good CDR, I ended a consideration of the racialized and hence un-Constitutional policies used for admission at the US Naval Academy, and according to report increasingly in the military as a whole, with the phrase “trow de bums out.” It’s a phrase widely used in journalism to evoke the sharp-elbow politics of the 1930s—it encourages voters to vote out of office public servants who betray the public trust. The good CDR cleaned it up to “throw the bums out,” so it lost some of its period and ethnic flavor. And it seemed to suggest that I think the admirals who tell us that “diversity is our number one priority” and the Naval Academy administration apparently bent on putting racial politics first are bums. Of course they’re not. Besides, they can’t be voted out. But they can be removed by the Secretary of Defense or the Commander in Chief.
I’m in fact sure that, far from being bums, they’re trying to do what they see as the right thing and please their own superior officers, who apparently think they’re doing the right thing too. The problem comes in the fact that all of them have raised their right hand to defend the Constitution: having one short path over a lower bar for non-white applicants to the Naval Academy (with a taxpayer-supported remedial school, that incidentally doesn’t even remediate, available in all but a few cases only to them and to recruited athletes) and another longer one over a higher bar for white applicants not also members of another preferred group (such as athletic recruits) is un-Constitutional. You tell me your skin color and I’ll tell you the track you’re on for admission (assuming we’re not recruiting you already to be on a team and so on). That’s the way they do it.
But no, they’re not bums. I’ve mused on why men and women I have to believe are honorable (and I’ve always said they have to be, which is why the whole thing puzzles me so much) act in this fashion. My best shot was to call them “dinosaurs”—which isn’t very nice either. (For what it’s worth, I didn’t start this name-calling: a former Superintendent of the Naval Academy informed me in an official letter that I had acted “unprofessionally” by publishing an article in the Proceedings of the US Naval Institute that contained information he didn’t want shared with the public, failed to show “good judgment” by informing taxpayers about our illegal admissions policies, and “needlessly criticized all midshipman [sic] past, present and future” by pointing out that many of our students had been recruited for their team membership or skin color rather than for the high predictors most people think of as necessary for admission. More recently I was informed by a newly-arrived official at the Naval Academy that I was having my raise denied because I am not a good “role model”: I wasn’t supposed to say that what his administration is up to is illegal. And so on.)
So yeah. “Bums” is a rhetorical flourish, and “dinosaurs” isn’t very nice. What “dinosaurs” means here is, they’re (sure: honorable) people are out of step with events, stuck in a time warp. It may seem a good thing to admit and retain midshipmen because they’re black or brown if you’re still in a l968 mind-set (the “amicus” briefs to the Supreme Court on behalf of the University of Michigan’s racialized admissions process in 2003 filed by the military repeatedly cited Vietnam-era problems with white officers and non-white enlisted, apparently oblivious to the fact that none of this matters in the age of Obama when the military is all volunteer). It apparently seems to them like forward-looking, rather than backward-looking, politics, to directly set out to enroll and promote to skin color. And you don’t want anybody, especially not a pesky civilian professor, pointing out that this is un-Constitutional. I’m even willing to believe that the people at the top truly have no idea how hugely demoralizing these policies are to the rank and file of officers and enlisted who believe firmly that individual merit should determine advancement. That’s the nature of keeping the CO happy. The XO isn’t going to pass on unwelcome information, and the higher you are, the less contact you have with the people actually affected by your policies. The result is, you stay in your happy place and get to be indignant when someone like a professor suggests that something is rotten in Denmark—or in the US military.
So what they’re doing is hugely destructive of military morale, not to mention illegal. But no, it’s not nice to call them “dinosaurs,” and I won’t do it anymore. Especially in that an op-ed by Mark Moyar in the New York Times of December 20 gives me better and more sophisticated vocabulary to make the same point.
Moyar teaches at the Marine Corps University in Quantico, VA, and so his piece, unsurprisingly, is an “oohrah” to the Marine Corps—more specifically, to their culture of “inducing its officers to operate independently.” 58% of Marines surveyed said that USMC “encouraged risk-taking,” “more than twice as many” as Army respondents. This poses problems, Moyar suggests, for the “leadership ranks” of the Army—and of course, I’m suggesting, the Navy as well. As Moyar puts it, speaking here of both Army and Marine Corps, “a significant portion are not demonstrating the vital leadership attributes of creativity, flexibility, and initiative.” But it’s worse, far worse, outside the Marine Corps. For example, in the Navy.
He then explains. “Researchers have found that the leadership ranks of big organization are dominated” by two “personality types.” People of the first type “prefer structure and standardization, doing things by the book and maintaining tight control.” He goes on: “In the late 20th century, the Army [and I’m adding: Navy] gravitated toward standardization, as peacetime militaries often do, and consequently rewarded the . . . officers who are now the Army’s generals and colonels.” There’s a problem with this: “This personality type functions less well in activities that change frequently or demand regular risk-taking.” The other personality type, that functions better in these challenging circumstances, is more flexible and creative, what Moyar calls the “intuitive-thinking” type. These are necessary to “save lives and win wars.” The problem is, they’re not calling the shots in today’s military. “Today the Army [or, as I add, the Navy] has more intuitive-thinking people among its lieutenants and captains than at the upper levels. Too many of these junior officers continue to leave the service out of disillusionment with its rigidity.”
This is the disillusionment I report on from midshipmen and the officers who write to me. Moyar has some suggestions about how to get more of these flexible and creative types into slots currently filled with those who are focused on “standardization” and “maintaining tight control.” We should, he says, incorporate personality tests into promotion boards. And “generals should repeatedly visit the colonels . . . to see if they are encouraging subordinates to innovate and take risks. Commanders who refuse to stop micromanaging should be relieved.” Micromanagement of midshipmen capable of creative thinking is precisely what’s wrong with the Naval Academy, and why its effect on the students (at a cost in producing officers that averages four times what ROTC costs) is so intensely negative.
Apparently what the brass is doing by racializing to achieve narrow skin-color goals is a result of their personality type. They are who they are, and just can’t do anything about it. So no more “trow de bums out.” Instead, I’ll maintain with Moyar that they “should be relieved”—precisely because they are clearly not going to change.
Darn Diversity Directorate - they ran out of months and didn't send the memo..
YMBFK. One of my N1 spies told me this was seriously discussed.
When you actually have a "DiversityStore.com" you can no longer tell me there isn't a Diversity Industry. (Blogger's Note: Darn it, why didn't I think of that!)
What is first a tragedy is now a farce. EAHM. Diversity jumps the shark.
BTW, I can almost hear the Turks now,
"Where is the Turkish flag!"
Police said as many as 11 students beat up an eighth-grader honor student in an apparent case of revenge. The victim, who is Hispanic, suffered severe injuries, and it was possible he may lose sight in one eye. It is not believed, however, that he was the victim of a hate crime. Police said the student who threw the first punch was also Hispanic, and the other students all come from diverse backgrounds.So, is his pain any less because everyone was "diverse?"
Is the crime any less because everyone was "diverse."
Hate Crime laws have become what everyone warned they would be - a nose in the tent of Common Law. Even worse - they are warping the way we look at all crime - to the shame of us all.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
I asked him to share now and then what is going on from his perspective, and here is the first report.
I suppose I need to dedicate the time to tell everyone how I am doing and how things are out here in Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. The short answer is, everything is alright. No worries. The long answer is as follows:
What was once simple and basic things is now a longer and more laborious process. To shower I must walk from my room, in what is called a "b-hut" to the conex boxes which they've converted over to house the head. The water used for bathing and brushing one's teeth is not fit to drink. The water is disinfected, but so heavily so that it can mess with your skin and make you sick. But, like I said you can brush your teeth with it. It dries out my skin a little, which has caused me to have to use lotion for the first time in my life.
To eat is not a simple matter either. I live probably half a mile to three-quarters of a mile from what the Army calls a DFAC. Which I believe stands for dining facility. I call it a galley, much to many Soldiers chagrin. The food is really good and plentiful here, however. The local nationals must look in utter amazement at the amount of food we have, I bet that many of our coalition partners as well are shocked, as if they walked into a supermarket back in the States.
The weather is, of course, cold. But, no unbearably so. It is just cold enough to de-motivate me to walk to eat a lot of times, and to PT in the mornings. I've attempted to shave and brush my teeth in my b-hut, but that does not work so well (the reason why I could use an electric shaver). The climate thus far, is very similar to that of the mountains of NC. Which, in a small sense, makes me feel at home. It also leads me to the impression that all mountains, and thus people from the mountains, share a common thread. The weather changes, in a manner that does not make sense to most. However, like I said it is not to different from what we have at home in the mountains. I've seen snow, but none of it stuck, and it was warm the next day, probably in the high 50s. The mountains here are majestic. I am at close to 4000 feet in Bagram. Not unlike Dad's home in Sherwood. The peaks that surround us here, literally surround us, must have their highest peaks over 10,000 feet. They are bare rock which, at this time, are covered in snow. Every time I happen to look up at them I cannot help but feel awe.
There are many, many mine fields on base. They are clearly marked and we're told if you're on the less traveled parts of the base do not walk off the pavement. I do not have any real need to go to those parts of the base and so am not really threatened by this fact. The Russians left close to three million mines in this country back in the early 80s.
The US as well once used cluster munitions that were bright colored--the same color as UN aid packages, of all things--so this is a nation littered with what the military calls UXO--UneXploded
Ordinance. I've been told that the Afghans say that their Nation, Afghanistan, is where the world comes to fight their wars. Many of the tribes, while as I understand it, are not a people who long for combat, but they have never really known peace. Even from the times of Alexander have they been at war.
There is a tribe called the Nuristani (if my memory serves correct) you can walk into their village and be face-to-face with someone who is blond hair with green eyes. They are decedents of the Macedonian Army of Alexander. Just the same you can walk into another village and talk with the decedents of Genghis Khan's Army. Both are very private people who just want to be left to their own affairs high in the mountains.
Bagram, just as anywhere you find Americans, is a polyglot of a place. We have Coalition Partners all over. Egyptians, Polish, French, Brits, Aussies, Chez, Jordanian and the list goes on. Those who are not direct members of our coalition have their citizens working here for KBR. Walking the streets of Bagram--more like street, Disney, named for a Soldier who died here, not for the theme park. You see just as many civilians--or, their more properly called non-combatants--as you do uniformed service members. This creates a surreal atmosphere. You will hear Korean, Ukrainian and most Russian analogs, Hindi, all the Afghan dialects (it is said that each valley has its own very specific vernacular, if not distinct language) Arabic and Farsi, even Spanish.
The expression "total war" used to mean to me a war in the kind of the World Wars, where every weapon available was being employed. However, it has now taken on a different meaning. In a war where Civilians contribute just as much as someone in the Service like myself (with the exception that they are not allowed to be armed and they can leave when they like), 'total war' means every avenue for victory is taken advantage of, if not every 'true' weapon in our arsenal is employed. There are even more civilian looking vehicles on the roads here than proper military vehicles. Same with the aircraft.
The building I work in looks, as most buildings here do, as a relic of the Soviet invasion. In this building, I crank out the plethora of awards that the Army sees fit to shower their people with. It seems that the Army has two different doctrines in awarding decorations. A peace time and war time standard. Obviously we are at war, and so when you see an Army Achievement award come across your desk it is for the most mundane and basic of affairs. Army Commendation medals are more plentiful than the potable water on base. In the week or so I've been here, I've processed well over 100 of them. Due to this standard an Army Commendation medal is comparable to a Navy Achievement medal. I do not mean to down play the importance of their awards, I get a NAM for doing what I was told to do, and doing it well. The same with the Army Commendation medal, however, I was never under the direct threat of mortars coming in on my position, or of IED littering the roads I must travel.
hate awards. I hate processing them. I hate sitting here thinking that this is my contribution to the War, when there are men just over these mountains working directly to make a difference. I hate Army awards even more so. Being on land you seem to have a lot more material available to you than at Sea. The amount of anything we had aboard ship doesn't even seem to be a tenth of what they have here. Because of this, the Army's culture seems to have much more fat to it than Navy. Orders must accompany all awards that are given. Thus the paperwork for it is two to three times that which I must process for the Navy.
Wearing my IBA and Kevlar helmet in training was something I loved doing. Marching through crap when it was cold as hell at Camp McCrady was fun to me. It psyched me up for really accomplishing a difficult but necessary task I thought was ahead of me. But, starting in Kuwait at NAVCENT-FWD KUWAIT, the Navy started to change their tune. You see the press releases put out by CHINFO state-side and you think that Sailors are transcending their expected roles and fighting alongside the best land warriors the world has ever known (do not get me wrong, there are many Sailors to include SEALS doing some of the hardest fighting in this country). But, As soon as you're BOG (boots on ground) the Navy takes the tone that you are not a Warrior and do not let the Army put you into the position of being a Warrior. Do your job and go home. I was not coming out here looking for a fight. But, I think it is impossible for any able bodied man to walk into a War Zone and not want to see how they fare in the greatest competition man has ever devised. This impulse is why we still have war, it is the same impulse that causes bar fights.
I am looking for whatever avenue I can to help contribute to this war effort with the various units on base that support the guys outside the wire. There is an asymmetric warfare study group that the Army has, I've emailed them and told them that I can offer copious amounts of free time to assist them in whatever capacity they'd need. Again, in Navy culture, if you are not going outside your designated rate aboard Ship, you are not doing enough. I've inquired to see if I could assist down in the J-3 (where-as I work in the J-1) and the first question I was asked, was if they were giving me enough work in J-1. Here I thought I was just doing as all Sailors do.
The War goes well however. A lot of the right things are being done and the right decisions are being made. Everyone from civilians to our Coalition partners and everything in between are doing everything we can to win the war. How do we win? Marginalize the Taliban and their analogs. Separate them from the local population. Support the Afghan Government and their military to be self sufficient. I don't like the time table Obama has put upon us here. His optimism for the time table is politics rather than an actual strategy. But, I digress.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
POLITICO has learned that Rep. Parker Griffith, a freshman Democrat from Alabama, will announce today that he’s switching parties to become a Republican.Those who have played North American football could also say that he heard footsteps - but give him the benefit of the doubt and find him a well defended spot in the trenches with good covering fire.
According to two senior GOP aides familiar with the decision, the announcement will take place this afternoon in Griffith's district in northern Alabama.
Griffith, who captured the seat in a close 2008 open seat contest, will become the first Republican to hold the historically Democratic, Huntsville-based district. A radiation oncologist who founded a cancer treatment center, Griffith plans to blast the Democratic health care bill as a prime reason for his decision to switch parties—and is expected to cite his medical background as his authority on the subject.
2010 will be an interesting year.
Monday, December 21, 2009
The U.S. Navy’s top oceanographer spoke before an international global warming summit in Copenhagen on Wednesday and called climate change a “common enemy” that should bring nations together, according to a Navy news release.Admiral - please go to the 04:45 point - I know you are busy - but if you have the time, please watch it all.
Rear Adm. David Titley, oceanographer of the Navy and director of the Navy Task Force Climate Change, said changing climate is challenging maritime security and that the Navy is making plans to address the issues. His testimony was part of a landmark meeting of leaders from more than 120 countries who met in Denmark last week to discuss how humans are affecting temperatures.
“The U.S. Navy is committed to addressing global climate change using a science-based approach,” Titley told the United Nations Panel on National Security Implications of Climate Change, the release said.
Titley and the Navy Task Force Climate Change staff are examining the effect of melting Arctic ice and the possibility that the area could turn into one of the world’s prime shipping lanes within decades, Stars and Stripes reported in August.
Melting Arctic ice is a near-term impact of global warming that will require the Navy to build new partnerships and to adapt, Titley contended.
“In this context, climate change may be viewed as a ‘common enemy’ that will bring nations together towards a common end,” Titley said.
Farther into the future, changes in temperature and precipitation could require more Navy humanitarian and disaster-relief missions, he said.
Wild-card effects — effects not understood well by scientists — could include the impact of changing ocean acidity on food sources and the effects of glacial ice sheet melting on sea levels.
With the latest revelations about the fraud WRT ClimateGate, and the growing religious nature of "climate change" that is starting to look like pagan sun worship (i.e. worshiping something that is always there) - this is not a good place for the USN to be playing like this. This is a political-religious area. This act by RADM Titley is right on the edge - I suggest he back up a bit.
The total cost of a Navy remotely piloted submarine has grown so much that top service officials notified Congress this week that it could end up more than 85 percent above original estimates, the Navy said Friday.Phil Ewing at Navy Time, once again, showing why he earns his paycheck.
Navy officials say the Remote Mine-hunting System, which includes an unmanned submarine and its AN/AQS-20 sonar, could together cost about $22.4 million per copy, a spike of 85.3 percent over the original estimate,
Funny, fewer people object when I call LCS a uni-mission ship. Looks like that whole "swapy-swapy" mission module thingy looks less an less like a viable CONOPS.
Officials said the increase in cost for the RMS was caused by the Navy’s decision to delete the unmanned sub from the anti-submarine mission packages designed for littoral combat ships. The RMS will remain a part of the mine countermeasure mission modules. The revised goal of buying 54 such mini-subs, instead of 108, caused the unit costs to increase, Chen said.... and now for the second order effect.
The Navy initially experimented with fielding RMS gear aboard its Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, six of which were modified with a door on their starboard sides to launch and recover the mine subs. But destroyers will no longer carry them, so the Navy’s review is to see what changes are needed to adapt the subs exclusively to LCS, Chen said.Good question.
Technicians are also determining what will take the place of the RMS in the LCS anti-submarine mission modules.
A scrimmage in a Border Station –
A canter down some dark defile –
Two thousand pounds of education
Drops to a ten-rupee jezail.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
An Army general in northern Iraq has added pregnancy to the list of reasons a soldier under his command could be court-martialed.Here is the comic relief .... I want to see the chit template.
The new policy, outlined last month by Maj. Gen. Anthony Cucolo and released Friday by the Army, would apply to both female soldiers who become pregnant on the battlefield and the male soldiers who impregnate them.
Civilians reporting to Cucolo also could face criminal prosecution under the new guidelines.
Under Cucolo’s order, troops also are prohibited from “sexual contact of any kind” with Iraqi nationals. And, they cannot spend the night with a member of the opposite sex, unless married or expressly permitted to do so.
UPDATE: As URR points to in comments - the bravest of warriors can cower under the wail of the alternative reality Commissariat.
An Army general in Iraq backed away from his threat today to court martial female soldiers who get pregnant.As someone who supports a fact-based inclusion of women in the military - this saddens me. I saw this as an opportunity to hold the XY accountable as well, but alas. The head returns to the sand.
"I see absolutely no circumstance where I would punish a female soldier by court martial for a violation ... none," Maj. Gen. Anthony Cucolo III wrote to ABC News in an exclusive statement. " I fully intend to handle these cases through lesser disciplinary action."
MG Cucolo though does a very good job of a fighting retreat.
Cucolo, who ran the policy by several of his female commanders, told ABC News that seven soldiers -- four women and three men -- have so far been found in violation of the pregnancy portion of his general order. The four women and two of the men received letters of reprimand that will not be remain in their permanent military files.Exactly right. MG Cucolo tried to do the right thing - but looks like he has no top cover. Sounds familiar.
"One female soldier did not want to reveal the father and I did not pursue it further," Cucolo said.
The third male soldier, he said, was a noncommissioned officer who was committing adultery. He was also charged with fraternization and given a permanent letter of reprimand. In that case, the man was a sergeant and the female a junior soldier.
Cucolo told ABC News Monday that the policy, believed to be the first of its kind, was necessary to avoid losing valuable troops in his 22,000-member command. It was a measure he first considered over the summer when he was preparing to take over command.
"I need every soldier I've got, especially since we are facing a drawdown of forces during our mission. Anyone who leaves this fight earlier than the expected 12-month deployment creates a burden on their teammates," he said in a statement.
"Anyone who leaves this fight early because they made a personal choice that changed their medical status -- or contributes to doing that to another -- is not in keeping with a key element of our ethos, 'I will always place the mission first,' or three of our seven core values: loyalty, duty and selfless service," he continued. "And I believe there should be negative consequences for making that personal choice. "
On the other side of the line - there is someone who just plain does not get it. I support this guy's deployment.
Civilian military lawyer Wayne Kastl, lead counsel with the Military Defender law firm, said this type of policy proves this isn't your grandfather's Army.Pregnancy is a huge problem - and the ones that it angers the most are those female leaders I have worked for that know the impact on the warfighter.
He pointed to stories about drinking, sex and other debauchery that permeated Army life during previous wars.
"I think the policy is to put the fear of God into folks over there," he told ABCNews.com. "I don't like it, but I would say that order over there is probably legal."
"I think the troops over there are fighting hard and getting PTSD and all sorts of horrible stuff," Kastl said. If they need a "little comfort helping through the night," he added, so be it.
...and remember, until I get the (&#$ code fixed, to comment click the time stamp on the post to get to the permalink ... then you can comment. I have also changes some of my comment host's defauts to make commenting easier.
Patience .... I am only one dude in the middle of Duck Season and Christmas....