Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Looking towards the "Terrible 20's"


I would like you to join me in a little game of looking sideways (to the UK today) and looking forward (2020s) at what I see as not chickens coming home to roost, but vultures.

Just to have a sound foundation; for source documentation we are going to use the best magazine your money can buy,
The Economist, and some comments by VADM David Dorsett, USN, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Dominance (N2/N6) and Director of Naval Intelligence (DNI) from last week. We'll get to him later.

First let's look at the fundamental underpinnings of our defense budget - not not strategy - MONEY.

From the latest issue of
The Economist,
Mr Obama’s budget reveals a road-map to fiscal catastrophe. At no point over the coming decade will the deficit be below 3.6% of GDP; and after 2018, it starts rising again. The cuts the president has proposed are comically insufficient: a budget freeze on non-security discretionary spending, which amounts to only about 17% of the entire $3.8 trillion budget; and a toothless deficit commission (a better version has already been killed by obstructive Republicans in Congress) whose recommendations will doubtless be ignored.
Note the right side of that graph. 2020. Keep that in mind.

One thing that kept coming to mind last week in San Diego, was the goings-on in the mother country. Some of the challenges the United Kingdom is experiencing now are about a decade ahead of us, methinks - if not closer.

First is the fact that they have been under a left-of-center government for over a decade, their budget woes are roughly parallel to ours, they are starting the battle to find money to replace their SSBN fleet now, and their defense budget - starved for years as a % of GDP vs. OPTEMPO - is shredding. Hard choices, many already made in the Royal Navy, are being demanded more and more as past neglect needs to be repaired out of hide. Financially they just cannot get the money they need in competition with other programs their government has obligated itself to spend money on.

Let's look at what is happening in the United Kingdom. From The Economist;
This will cost about £1.2 billion ($1.9 billion) over the next three years. Some £280m of it will come from the Treasury, which has already provided £14 billion from its reserves to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The lion’s share, however, will be found by raiding other parts of the overstretched defence budget, with planned cuts that would realise around £1.5 billion over three years.

This amounts to more than trimming fat (by, for example, slashing the number of civil servants at the Ministry of Defence); solid muscle is to be sliced into as well. The Nimrod surveillance aircraft, one of which exploded over Afghanistan in 2006 because of a fuel leak, will be retired by March. The introduction of the new model, the Nimrod MRA4, will be delayed. This means that, at a time of greater Russian underwater activity, there will be a gap in anti-submarine surveillance to protect Britain’s own nuclear-armed subs. One of four Harrier squadrons is being lost and the rest are to be moved out of RAF Cottesmore, which will be closed. This could reduce still further training on Britain’s aircraft carriers. The loss of a minesweeper, at a time of rising tension in the Persian Gulf over Iran’s nuclear programme, was questioned by opposition MPs. Army training “not required for operations”, such as tank manoeuvres, will be reduced.

This is an unusually brave move by a defence secretary who was widely derided as second-rate when he was appointed in June, the fourth man in the job in four years. But whoever takes charge after next year’s general election will need to be braver still. Britain’s plans to buy new military equipment have long been unaffordable. Successive ministers have tried to balance the books by short-term savings (such as delaying or scaling back new equipment) that incur long-term costs. This has created a growing “bow-wave” of unfunded commitments that may finally break when an overdue Strategic Defence Review is held after the election.
Read that again. Look at those dollars you P-3/P-8 Bubbas .... because it parallels something said last week in San Diego about "..if you had to, where would you find a couple of $ billion."

VADM Dorsett responded to that question in an interesting way. As N2/N6/DNI - Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) is a critical capability for him. It is a growth industry, but he has to look at how he meets COCOM demands within a limited, and possibly stagnant-to-decreasing budget.

He started a couple of times and then backed off. He paused, thought about his words carefully, and then stated (paraphrase),
"Legacy ISR systems ..."
When you fold that into the previous discussions about unmanned ISR in the panel discussion - there can be only one area he is talking about in a USN context - P-3/EP-3 and the upcoming P-8/EP-8 program.

From a manpower and hardware requirements/budget POV, he is right, that is a large bucket of money.

That community's vulnerability to a money grab is largely their fault. As we have reviewed here over the years, the community leadership tried to hide the possibility - and then the fact - of their exceptional fatigue life problems. They created bad blood through defending a Cold War staff structure while the actual personnel and platforms at the pointy end shrunk by almost 50%.

In spite of the "transformational" press they got right after 9/11 with their overhead ISR - starting with pressure from CNO Clark to shut up about it - they avoided toot'n their horn in this area to stress ASW ---- while operationally they continued to provide overhead ISR as their major contribution. The public face vs. COCOM requirements delta was huge.

If you don't tell your story, no one will hear it. If you don't make yourself a lean operation while others are fighting and dying, you create distrust and envy among your peers. Neither buys you friends in budget fights.

In these two areas, the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance (MPR) community (as the P-3/EP-3-P-8/EP-8 folks are easier to describe) spent most of the decade setting the conditions for the same thing that happened to their British counterpart.

Is the "legacy" MPR fleet about to be decimated like the Nimrod? No, I don't think so. Is the P-8 buy going to shrink? Perhaps. Could P-3 squadrons be decommissioned early? Perhaps. Is that the right answer? Perhaps. Priorities - and in the 13XX world - the F-35 isn't getting any cheaper.

Let's look at 2020 again. What else is happening in the 20s? Well, for one, we will have to find money to re-capitalized the SSBN fleet. I offer to you that the 20 JAN HASC SEF Subcommittee meeting has an outstanding money discussion about that challenge. Deputy SECNAV Work has also discussed this challenge in other venues, and I think he has a very firm grasp of the problem, as do most in positions to know.

You have to look at it in the broader context of the budget as well. The hangover in the 20s from this decade's drunken frenzy of spending will couple with another cohort of Baby Boomers retiring and putting stress on the budget in ways we still do not have a firm grasp on.

In 2020 - that ship built in 1990 will be at 30 years. That LCS built in 2009 will only have 9 years or so of service life (LCS is expected to only last 20-25 years) - so by the end of the 2020s, LCS will be dropping like flies.

When you consider that we will be limited this decade to LCS and DDG-51 for our non-amphib surface ship program (don't throw JHSV at me, that is just a truck - full stop - all else is spin and hope) - you have about a perfect story for the 20s of limited shipbuilding funds and a stunted fleet.

Stunted? If you continue to assume that CG(X) is dead, then you might get funding for the much needed DDG(X) follow-on for the DDG-51 class - might. That will be requested in light of the SSBN money sponge - and I don't see how with all the other needs in the 20's, we will be able to afford both a DDG(X) and a CG(X) - and there is a good chance that we will simply have to live with DDG-51 Flight III as our "new" platform through the beginning of the mid-21st Century.

I know that looking into the future is a fuzzy hobby. Heck, if you outlined in 2000 where we were in 2010 people would have said you were a nutty pessimist - so we can only see 2020 in very large, fuzzy pixels. The beginning of the mid-century (2030) is just a silly exercise in many ways - but one that needs to be done. There are known-knowns (DDG-1000 will be a rump, expensive class of ships, Ticos history, DDG-51 backbone, LCS decomm'n like flies), known-unknowns (will LCS even meet some of its promised ability and numbers, will DDG(X) be moving forward), and unknown-unknowns (Black Swan events), but still - 2020 is closer than we think, and there are economic facts that need to be looked at.

Huge challenge, one whose source is the lost decade we just came out of. You know, that "transformational" decade. The one that was to build the Fleet of the future. Well, it sure did, didn't it?

Look at what the Royal Navy is dealing with today, and it isn't a stretch to see similar challenges for ourselves. Look and learn - and perhaps we can mitigate the pain.

We'll be blogg'n about the 20's a lot down the road; let's call this an introduction to the Terrible 20's.

42 comments:

AW1 Tim said...

CDR,

   Speaking of the P-8....  The Navy has already stripped a large chunk of money from that program to help fund the Zumwalt build. The borrowing from Peter to pay Paul has already begun.

   Not only that, there is a cute little hedge going on over in the P-8 community. The decision to go with a B-737 frame has meant a loss in low-level performance and sustainability. Mad-trapping will be non-existant. The P-8 crew is now saying that it needs to operate at 20K feet in order to avaoid submarine-based SAMs. Although it is a threat, the real reason is that the 737 isn't designed to fly low and slow. Now comes the unintended-consequences: The torpedoes the P-3 uses are meant to be dropped from below 1000 feet. That means that the P-8 bubbas have had to design a wing sert similar to the JDAM package toallow for dropping from 20,000 feet. That means more weight, less space in the bombay, etc.

   At the going production rate, it's likely that India will field P-8's before the US Navy will.

Andrewdb said...

The problem is now, this is symptoms of it that will become apparent in the future.

See bullet #1 here: http://threatswatch.org/dailybriefings/2010/02/09/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+threatswatch%2Fcombined+%28ThreatsWatch%29&utm_content=Bloglines#005948

That's called a warning shot over the bow re US bonds in China's hands.

Second, if you didn't read Zenpudits's take when it came out, see this post re the end of COIN on the ground side - we don't have the money to do what we want to do in AFG , and so we likely won't do it -

http://zenpundit.com/?p=3315

KPN said...

The USCG is already there.  cutting 378's to pay bills.

sid said...

The P-8 crew is now saying that it needs to operate at 20K feet in order to avaoid submarine-based SAMs.

I am resonably familiar with the P-8 "nextgen" 737 cousins...Going much below Angels 20 in these aircraft and your endurance goes down the tubes...Really below FL250.

Andrewdb said...

Yes, you beat me to bullet # 1 - I need to read this stuff outside the RSS feed.

sid said...

And oh yeah...

Like the LCS, I'm betting that the expected "off the shelf" cost savings so touted when the program was announced are nowhere to be found....

Byron said...

Not to mention those pesky things that are already starting to break...

John said...

This is just too depressing to contemplate.

Hopefully China and India will be able to protect the sea lanes of the world, and provide assistance to the hordes of economic refugees fleeing the United States to other countries where their families might achieve a higher standard of living.

As interest rates soar and the dollar devalues against all other currencies, our national spending will be totally consumed by welfare programs, but even those will be dwarfed by the interest payment needed to keep borrowing from anyone foolish enough to lend on the mere promise of eventual repayment.

That is not a climate in which national defense is even a vaiable spending option, regardless of any technology or hardware which might be essential.

Our only hope to retain our freedom and escape the worst of the inevitable economic disaster is to stop the spending.  The present batch of politicians are incapable of doing that, and are only making things worse, on a daily basis.  Perhaps our children will awaken to the shackles being attached to their future and will seize the reins of power and reverse course.  Perhaps not, having become dulled by the opiate of dependency created by the progressives.

Yeah, the future really does look bad.  Defense and everything else, unless we change.

Chap said...

Phibs: you might want to check the pdf speech linked in this Corner post from 2006.

MR T's Haircut said...

The future of Maritime ISR will be in UAV/UAS.

I was a hold out for a long time, but now I am a convert.  It is cheaper, the footprint is smaller and the manpower accounts can be drained.

Experience will come from former military.

Old Salt said...

"<span>Heck, if you outlined in 2000 where we were in 2010 people would have said you were a nutty pessimist - so we can only see 2020 in very large, fuzzy pixels."</span>
<span></span>
<span>I served in OSD in the late 90's and early naughts, and I can tell you my office spent a fair amount of time thinking about the terrible 20's (wish I'd have thought of such a name back then for that decade). It was clear to many of us what external challenges we would face, but this post outlines the internal challenges in even starker, more alarming terms than we had imagined. Well done - if we see the shallow water ahead of us, we might be able to stay in the channel..."might" being the operative word. This would make a GREAT OP-Ed IMO.    </span> 

Anonymous said...

If you assume that the USN will maintain surface ship and submarine forces of approximately the same size as today, then we clearly are in for a massive bow-wave of spending in the 2020's-2030's, a large part of which is recapitalizing the SSBN force and replacement of legacy CRUDES.

But there is a mitigator:  Naval Aviation spending is at a historical high due it going through a similar bow wave NOW.  That bow wave will pass in the 2020s (assuming JSF shifts to a reasonable production rate in the 2011-2019 time frame), and thus free up some funding for shipbuilding.  One can't look at the SCN and NDSF portions of the budget in a vacuum, i.e. that we have some sort of "fixed" shipbuilding portion that is static (despite what the very narrow "Annual Shipbuilding Report" has done).  The caution is one cannot assume that as aviation procurement funding decreases that it will shift to shipbuilding; it could just as easily go elsewhere within DoD or to the government writ large to mitigate the major budget problems that you highlighted in your article.

It's a bit of a red herring to say that SSBN (X) is going to compromise shipbuilding.  SSBN (X) is the simple recapitalization of the existing force, which arguably is the most important contribution of the USN to the United States as a world power that seeks to maintain stability and prevent major power conflict.  The UK clearly takes this role seriously and is doing exactly what you state-- recapitalizing their SSBN force in effectively the same form to ensure that the UK contributes to a stable world order first (and in their case preserves their world power status).  Nuclear strategic deterrence is a bedrock mission of what the USN (the the RN and French Navy) provide the western world.  That's something that the country should fund (if it's valued) first.  Then the remainder of shipbuilding can be considered.  The remainder to shipbuilding is really a consideration of power projection, which is very different from nuclear strategic deterrence.  It is a fact that the strategic deterrence force requires recapitalization simultaneously with the power projection force.  But the funding of the two need not be locked together, nor should arguments regarding their relative merit or contribution to national security and national prosperity.  The two issues should be de-coupled and argued on their individual merits.  To not do so contributes to internal USN in-fighting.  To do so will help the USN develop the real argument:  what is the relative value of USN strategic deterrence and USN power projection capability compared to that offered by the other services?  They are the groups with which we should be competing.

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Anonymous said...

<p>(Part 2)
</p><p> 
</p><p>Your main point is the most important one: there is a problem coming where the nation's non-discretionary spending is rapidly rising while the nation's infrastructure (to include the Naval forces, the other parts of the national defense establishment as well as bridges, roads, power production/distribution, water, etc..)  Until it is ALL put on the table and discussed simultaneously and with regard to providing the best solution given limited resources, then our country is in trouble.  
</p><p> 
</p><p> 
</p><p>China stands-out as the greatest foil to this challenge.  There, for the past 20 years, they have succeeded in blending the best aspects of command economy with the responsiveness of markets.  They truey do look at everything and fund based on its relative worth to the nation.  Sadly, they have the relative luxury of doing so without the need to be fair to all portions of the population and, despite lip-service to the contrary, with only a scant concern of the effects on the environment and human rights, issues that in our democracy have ham-strung us to the point of inaction.  
</p><p> 
</p><p>The USN's surface and submarine fleets have tremendous capabilities and are able to establish and maintain security in the world to the benefit of our nation and others.  The shipbuilding industry is a significant manufacturing sector that employs Americans in good jobs that support science, technology and the trades.  Properly regulated, the shipbuilding industry, built on the foundation of Naval shipbuilding, could again compete worldwide.  These are the arguments that we, as concerned members of the Naval and sea-going communities, should be formulating and articulating.  The budget fight is not withing DoN-- it's with the rest of DoD and the other executive departments.  And it is about what the Navy can and should provide to the nation.
</p><p> 
</p>

Byron said...

Maintaining the defense of the nation does not fall under "discretionary spending". It's a necessary as the air we breath. Congress does not need to talk to DoD about spending until it cleans it's own house (cough..earmarks...cough).

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ewok40k said...

defense dividend of 1990s is going back to bite us after 30 years when legacy systems need badly to be replaced... and prolonged wars of 2000s have eaten the transformation of the forces to XXI century much like Vietnam has eaten whole generation of projects in the 1960s. 

cdrsalamander said...

Your quote: "<span>If you assume that the USN will maintain surface ship and submarine forces of approximately the same size as today, ..<span>"</span></span>

No, actually what I have been saying for years is that all this talk about "313" etc has been a complete bluff, hope, desire, fantasy, and perhaps a lie we told ourselves.  Our fleet will continue to shrink as with at static SCN or decreasing one and the products of the lost decade being an unaffordable per ship Tiffany Navy (DDG-1000, LCS, LPD-17) putting us behind the 8-ball  - combined with a maintenance and PMS situation that will not create the conditions for us to get an affordable life-cycle cost for the 30-40 years we are trying to get out of our ships - the reality is that we are getting smaller. 

Until Navy leadership adopts step one (which some have, but not the critical mass needed) of the 12 step program, we cannot start the decade long process of fixing the problem

Thank you for your comments though - please find a nom du blog and comment more.  Good contribution.

YNSN said...

The Bank of England was created because England needed a better financial system to fight France and Spain.  They consolidated the strategic victory of Admiral Rooke at Malaga financially.  France Under Louis the XIV was completely ruined financially from the on-and-off wars with England/United Provinces.  The long term end result being the French Revolution. 

The English won their Empire by sound financial decisions.  The US won the Cold war by sound financial decisions. 

Most likely we will win the Global War on Terror with sound financial decisions.   One can make all the arugments they want about glorious victories in battle.  But, the only way to consolodate those victories into strategic longer term lasting results is via finance. 

Again, France lost it's chance to dominate Europe because it could not finance any more war.  The Soviet Union could not afford to keep up militarily with the US.  Are we going to be able to finance our military for all that is asked of it?  And, I am not even getting into what happened to the infrastructure of France durring the War of Spanish Succession.

You're absolutely right in this post that what is happening to the RN is a forcast of things to come if we do not change in the next few budget cycles.

Mike M. said...

What worries me is that theater commanders and their staffs have an insatiable appetite for information.  BAMS can provide quite a bit...but not without people.  Manning will require some very creative solutions.

Chap said...

The wording is because some entitlements are off the table even before the budget starts (Soc Sec, Medicare).  The structure of the game makes the moves the way they are.

ewok40k said...

hey! but they will have carriers! and SSBNs... and there will be some destroyers, perhaps as much as 6!

claudio said...

<span>I am not so sure that GWOT will be won with sounds financial decisions.  I don't think the intestinal fortitude and integrity exists across the river from the Pentagon to make the hard decisions.  On both sides of the aisle.  We are spending north of 55% on non discretionary items.  Tack on the interest at about another 5% and youre left with precious little to run defense and all the other stuff.  But who will be able to cut the sacred programs, and tell those who feel entitled that the cow is no more?  </span>
<span> </span>
<span>As a percentage of GDP, we are actually spending less that ever on defense.  Up to 4.7% from a nadir of 3% earlier this decade.  <span>http://www.heritage.org/Research/Features/BudgetChartbook/Defense-Spending-on-the-Decline-Despite-War-on-Terror.aspx</span>.  Even so, the budget is huge.  700+ Billion.  Let that number rattle around a bit.  A lot of money, but we're not spending it as smartly as we should.  We tend to spend a lot of time and effort on "transformational" issues, and "better business practices" and other words du jour, which at the end leave us with a lot of money spent and not enough to show for it.  Examples are plentiful, and discussed in this forum for quite some time.  It seems everything costs a billion.  For starters, to think about it, not to actually build anything.  Then add more zeroes.  </span>
<span> </span>
<span>What is to be done.  Well, I'd say is to set some priorities first.   SSBNX.  A must. Period.  BMD, also a must.  Maybe some of the funding for these along with the funding for AF ICBMs should come from a separate from pot, rather than being alocated under DON, USAF budgets because they tend to skew the numbers and then others start crying uncle cause their piece of the pie is not as large.  Know its been tried before without success but maybe another run at it.  Look at basics.  Protection of SLOCs.  A must.  But we're sucking at it in the HOA.  Impotent against degenerates running around in small boats with AKs and RPGs.  Yet our 3 billion dollar destroyers, UAVs from seychelles and CTF 151 with a good number of assets are unable to curtail the number of incidents.  </span>

claudio said...

<span>Aviation seems to be working their way out of the bathtub and although maybe loosing a carrier and not having the desired number of F-22s, there is a plan underway to alleviate the issue.  Still not happy about the lack of alternative engine for JSF.  136 seems like a good sidebet to hold on an airframe that by 2035 will make up over 90% of our fighter force.  Cost is 8 Bil upfront, but will be alleviated over the lifetime especially when O&S costs considered.  Doubling down by the Airforce on UAVs and also Navy increasing play in the UAV arena.  Good trends from my perspective. </span>
<span> </span>
<span>Don't see the same positive trend in shipbuilding.  But hey, LCS will solve all our problems it seems at a cost of under a billion each.  I'll leave it at that, it's been discussed at nauseum and I don't want to get Byron spooled up before dinner.</span>
<span> </span>
<span>ASW.  Gee, how many platforms left to do that?  Looking at both SSNs which are coming down in numbers and the VA class may be slowed down, look at P-3s/P-8s, and HS.  I know that VADM Dorsett said legacy ISR, but why would P-3s be in there?  They found something else to offer after the peace divident, and they actually became pretty good at it.  But if you cut P-3/8s for that 2 billion savings, then when you try to get close to Taiwan with your CSGs, who's gonna sweep ahead?  The subs?  where you gonna get those?  Not even going to mention EP-3s/VPU etc which are in a little limbo after the fiasco of CSA, and that whole thing.  Without them, how are we going to obtain the type of information they provide from other sources?  UAVs?  Sure.  How long before BAMS or the other programs can provide same type of flexibility?  Meanwhile, P-3s are being redstriped left and right, P-8 seems to be in the crosshairs for "savings" so there will likely be a gap.  </span>
<span> </span>
<span>Sorry for the long disjointed ramblings, but it is so darn frustrating.  It seems so simple if just everybody, from the politicians to the uniformed leaders would just drop their "stovepipes" and their earmarks and for once, for once, just do the right thing and not worry about diversity, reelection, legacy, place in history etc.  Alas, I'm not holding my breath.  </span>

MR T's Haircut said...

Mike, manning will be outsourced.. contractors can do it cheaper... and without the need for a flag officer

xformed said...

That's an awful lot of words to just say "IT'S THE ECONOMY, STUPID!"

Great discussion.

borhbemo said...

Well, if the US next 20 years to is to follow the UK trajectory, news isn't all bad:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/defence/7137880/Generals-and-admirals-to-be-culled-in-defence-cuts.html

SCOTTtheBADGER said...

I am concerned about all these BURKEs we are buying. I fear for a repeat of the FLETCHERs/ALLEN M SUMNERs/GEARINGs, when we had literaly hundreds of what were, in thier time, at least as advanced as BURKEs are now, being the only things we were allowed in the late 40's, all through the '50's, and being the bulk of the DD fleet through the '60's suddenly going into block obsolescence.  I know that the BURKE actually IS a wonder ship, but they are not going to last forever. 

  In WWII, a Carrier Task Force was 3 four CV Task Groups, of 2 CV/2 CVL each.  We will soon have gone to where we do not even have the ability, even emplying every CVN we own, to put a Task Force to sea. We will have a USAF of 136 fighters. Is that even a full Fighter Wing, much less a Fighter Group?   We are gonna build LCSes, a yacht hull bigger than a FLETCHER, with less armament than USCG patrol boat, with no real AA ability, as the only radar is a commercial surface set. 

We actually ARE doomed, aren't we?  I am a Badger, who gets to watch the weasels win.  

eltjim said...

Accountability doesn't exist with the contractor model of labor...

MR T's Haircut said...

etljim,

accountability doesn't exist with the service model either... that's what has gotten us into this mess! 

(I understand your point.  Acccountability is still in place, by LNO MOA arrangements, but it
also is a double edge sword, no captured airmen and you have plausable denialbility in touchy geo political missions....  ;) )

Reverb said...

Two thoughts (on another exceptionally well-written piece): A.  The spectre of an ASW campaign without MPRA isn't that daunting, simply because the platform won't add much value.  The systems are terrific - NAVAIR/PMA-290 continues to field great technology  - but the average TACCO and the acoustic operators today would be challenged to find their buttocks with both hands.  Harsh as that sounds, it's not a slam on the operators - they're only as good as their training opportunities and cultural environs (i.e. anyone with any ASW experience is either swallowing viagra by the bottlefull or making grass green in some cemetary); and 2. This gradual descent began in the 1990s, when the ordnanceman was pulled from the flight crew to save $...there are, and have been, lots of ways to find submarines, but the MPRA advantage was the P-3's ability to use speed to break/aerate the threat.  Once ordies left the crew, the expeditionary weapons loading flexibility soon followed.  Realize this will get hooted down by many of my former brethren, but it is what it is.

AW1 Tim said...

 Sadly, I can't argue with anything you said.

  In addition, we are now shutting down the entire Loran-C system. Everything will be GPS-centered. That's great until folks realize that the Chinese, for one, have demonstrated their capability of destroying a sattelite in orbit.

  There are a lot of useful things out there, but the problem is that our military, like much of our society, has started to use technology as a crutch, instead of a tool. The more we depend upon digital and abandon analog, the worse the fall will be when it comes. It WILL come, too.

   Just think, though, how much ASW training and simulator time could be bought for the fleet with the money we spend on the Diversity Diktat.

AW1 Tim said...

Oh, and I ain't using viagra yet. My system may have a few kinks, but the plumbing still works fine, thank you very much...   8-)

And I've had the pleasure of tracking Yankees, Deltas, Typhoons, Alphas, Echo II, and Victors.

Actually, the Alphas were easy to track. In fact, we usually had to turn the volume controls down when they went full-power...  heh.

sid said...

That's great until folks realize that the Chinese, for one, have demonstrated their capability of destroying a sattelite in orbit

Here is a decade-plus old book that apprently gained an audience in other places, and was apparently taken seriously...

Whoever controls space, therefore, will control the world’s oceans. Whoever controls the oceans will control the patterns of global commerce. Whoever controls the patterns of global commerce will be the wealthiest power in the world. Whoever is the wealthiest power in the world will be able to control space.

Meanwhile, back on the home front....

I'm thinking of starting up a home school for Mandarin.  Kinda figure -that given my rapidly advancing age- it'd be best to connive any angle for staying in the houst instead of being sent to the fields.

(and if anyone wants to call me a racist for that last remark...BITE ME!)

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't pick up Mandarin just yet.  Engrish, I mean English, will likely be the lingua franca of any world-order, Chinese led or not.  Too many infrastructure problems with traditional Chinese alphabet. And don't forget: Mandarin is just another dialect of Chinese; one that not everyone in that giant country is particularly wedded to.  They obviously need a common language, but it is not clear that Mandarin Chinese is it.

Statistic:  there are more people studying English in school in mainland China than there are in the UK and USA combined. 

When you consider Indian english-language education numbers, it's clear that English is the language that will carry commerce throughout the 21st Century...

sid said...

See!!!!

I gotta alot to learn!!!!!!

=-O

So...meebbie I will modify my business plan to teaching Mandarins english....

sid said...

Never say never...

AW1 Tim said...

  Or Mandarin Oranges... you know, the ones from Holland..  :)

ewok40k said...

alphas were waving a big sign: catch me if u can... kinda annoying since they could outrun torpedoes...

ewok40k said...

In fact most telling thing is Chinese are expecting to move man to the moon and establish permanent base by 2020s...

Anonymous said...

Excellent

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