Thursday, September 30, 2010

The high cost of low-intensity conflict

It isn't just the PC fleet ....
After the 2003 invasion of Iraq, a new Fleet Response Plan (FRP) put fighting forces at an ever-increasing operations tempo. Six-month deployments have turned into seven or even eight, and ships and units head quickly back to sea, sometimes just weeks after returning. It is not unusual for more than half the fleet's 289 ships to be underway on any given day.

But answering those bells is taking a toll on ships, budget and people. Navy leaders have concluded that something's got to change.

"We may have to dial down here," said Adm. John Harvey, commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command. "We can't do everything all the time and still sustain the fleet. There's a balance you have to reach. And I think it's up to us to articulate what that balance is and what it takes to sustain that balance over time."

The Navy's leaders are looking at nearly all aspects of how the fleet is being used: Preparation and training, cost and maintenance, operating cycles and capabilities. There is serious talk about returning to pre-FRP six-month deployments, putting the fleet on a more predictable cycle that is friendlier to shipyard periods, maintenance budgets and the personal lives of sailors.
The Navy and its Congressional overseers are increasingly worried that the fleet is working its ships so hard that they'll wear out years before they're supposed to. This summer, Harvey, along with a number of lawmakers, expressed such concerns when he testified in Washington before the House Armed Services Committee about the readiness of the fleet's ships.

Keeping ships in shape to make their 25-, or 30- or even 40-year planned operational life spans is fundamental to the Navy's three-decade fleet plan. And that plan is already aggressive: it will push many ships, including cruisers, destroyers and amphibious ships, as much as 10 or 15 years beyond their original design life.
This has been known at the deckplate level for a years. It is a simple understanding of the facts of maintaining a Fleet of ships. Fundamentals; something that we thought we were smarter than during the Lost Decade.

Happy talk only lasts so long - then the facts of chemistry and engineering finally trump, as they always do, PPT.
"For the Navy to talk about cutting back its commitment is really an organizational change of major proportions," said one former officer familiar with the discussions. "The big picture is that there is a general retrenchment."

The topic doesn't even have a particular name, sources said, and the discussion is only beginning. But it's of fundamental importance to how the entire Navy will operate.

"Controlling that demand signal is not so much saying it's invalid, it's saying here's what we can give you over the long haul," Harvey declared. "Let's make priorities. Let's make choices about what we do."
It is called reality. It is called honest leadership. It is called doing the right thing. BZ Admiral Harvey; again.

Wait ... I want to see that again.
"Let's make priorities. Let's make choices about what we do."
Someone translate that into Latin and put it on a patch.

Diversity Thursday

Admiral Adama goes Salamander - and oh what a sweet sound it is.
“It’s sad that we have to have a Hispanic Heritage Month or an African-American Heritage Month or an Asian-American Heritage Month or an Indigenous Day,” said the 63-year-old actor, who in his talk hearkened back to his breakout role as “El Pachuco” in the 1978 play and movie “Zoot Suit.” “That hurts because we should be to a point now that we’re celebrating the true diversity of who and what we are.”

... Olmos challenged those listening to rethink who they are.

“I told you it was going to be original,” Olmos said at one point, smiling over toward base commander Capt. James McHugh.
Olmos took his own heritage as an example. The son of a Mexican immigrant and a Mexican-American, Olmos said he didn’t understand what that meant until he was into his 30s.

“I do know who I am,” he said. “I come from the corner of First and Indiana, in Boyle Heights. Orale! Born and raised in East L.A. Orale!”

But “a Mexican is someone who is split right down the middle. And I mean right down the middle. Half indigenous and half European.”

In the early 1980s, while working on a film in New York, he met a man in a cafe who told him that his family name, Olmos, was actually Hungarian and meant “he who works with lead.”

Olmos learned that his ancestors hundreds of years ago fled from what is now Hungary to Spain before coming to the New World almost 400 years ago.

His heritage is both European and indigenous, but Olmos went further. He said the indigenous people of Central America originally came across the land bridge from Asia and that those people came from Africa.

“We’ve been taught for 600 years that there is a Caucasian race, an African race, an Asian race and Latino race, and we wonder why we’re in such a mess,” he said. “There is only one race.”
We've got Morgan Freeman and Edward James Olmos on our team. Patience - and eventually we will win.

Here is the kicker - picks up where the previous quote stopped;
Yes, I LOL'd.
Then he turned to the crowd.

“And what is it?”

Their response was muted at first but came on loud and clear the second time he asked.

“The human race.”
You know what that response was tepid? I'll tell you - because if you voice that opinion to the Diversity Bullies or the CNO, they will label you as part of the problem and not the solution.

That is an opinion - equality to all in front of God and man - that will get you in trouble in today's Navy diktat on race.

That is sad - but that is what it is. Good news? In time, those who believe in equality will win and history will look back at today's policy as the sad, retrograde backwash from the fetid swamp of grievance-fed academia that it is.

Hat tip "That Guy."

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Andrew, I think you let him murder your Division ...

Over at Tom Rick's place, an interesting action going on WRT when and why an officer should not obey an order.

It started with Lt. Col. Andrew Milburn, USMC over at NDU's JFQ.
There are circumstances under which a military officer is not only justified but also obligated to disobey a legal order.
But when and on what grounds should the officer dissent? And how should he do so? I offer three propositions:

1. The military officer belongs to a profession upon whose members are conferred great responsibility, a code of ethics, and an oath of office. These grant him moral autonomy and obligate him to disobey an order he deems immoral; that is, an order that is likely to harm the institution writ large—the Nation, military, and subordinates—in a manner not clearly outweighed by its likely benefits.

2. This obligation is not confined to effects purely military against those related to policy: the complex nature of contemporary operations no longer permits a clear distinction between the two. Indeed, the military professional's obligation to disobey is an important check and balance in the execution of policy.

3. In deciding how to dissent, the military officer must understand that this dilemma demands either acceptance of responsibility or wholehearted disobedience.
Professor Richard Kohn from UNC-CH, is not pleased.
How would an officer know all the considerations involved, and by what authority or tradition is it legitimate to violate the will of the people's elected or appointed officials? Against what standard would even the most senior officer judge? Whose morality, whose definition of what's good for the country, a service, or subordinates? Would every top officer weigh the lives of soldiers against every mission, on their own individual calculation of cost and benefit? If so, the military would be paralyzed by inaction or disagreement. Officers who together refused an order would be in revolt. Think of a Pentagon riven by the kind of pressures reproduced in the movie Crimson Tide. Think Vietnam in the 1960s: the Chiefs and the CINCs (today's COCOMs), and probably officers and enlisted down the line, joining the demonstrators (to the delight of the Left) in some "professional" version of "Hell no, we won't go!" Think George C. Marshall in 1942 refusing the presidential order to round up Japanese Americans on the West Coast because the order might be immoral or illegal (before the Supreme Court rules), or refusing to invade North Africa because American soldiers might be unnecessarily sacrificed at the wrong time and place to defeat Germany (Marshall opposed that invasion).
That is close to an airtight argument.

Is there an American tradition of rare and specific "selective hearing?" Sure, but that is at the Tactical level. At the Operational and Strategic level though - there is very little wiggle room; as it should be.

In my career, I was involved in things I did/do not think were "moral" or in the best interests of my nation. My participation in the Haiti embargo in the 1990s is one; some of the targets I "serviced" in DESERT FOX is another that comes to mind. But; I did them - and I did them well, as I knew that history would decide and I did not know all the facts. A bad taste? Yes. Would I do it again? Yes. Why? It was/is my duty, and yes - I was just following orders.

I have always been more of a Picket and Longstreet guy than a Lee guy; but they were right in their ideas and their ability to follow orders. As it should be.

In the end - when in doubt, call the JAG if needed. Better - mention your concerns privately with your boss; then execute the order - and execute it with the full force at your disposal. Anything else smells more like South America - to me at least.

URR - we need to start our lecture series ....

Strategery is hard. One of the more common mistakes people make is to confuse the Strategic and Operational in war. Heck - over beers, URR even tripped me up to the point that I am still kicking myself - and I profess to be .... well ... what I was at least.

One of the greater challenge is to talk with those who don't understand that the Strategic is a response to the Political - as in civilians in control - and the direction and guidance they give.

Well - the folks at
6GW are pondering. I have some issue with them conceptually - but they have a good point - one that comes directly from the inadequacy of the latest Maritime Strategy.
... with the US as the sole superpower for the last 20 some-odd years it has been damn tempting to ignore the need to have a deep and cogent strategy, as we’ve had the one military able to project force into where ever we chose and win in terms never before paralleled in history.
Global Maritime Partnerships, Global Commons, and Global Force for Good ain't cutting it. As I mentioned when it came our - 1/3 of The Maritime Strategy is good - but the balance is a muddled bucket of FOD. As a result, the confusion over what our Navy is for and what it should do. If we had what we needed - posts like 6GW just did wouldn't be out there.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What if you gave a war ...

... and no one could come even if they wanted to.
Britain has warned the United States that the military will not be able to fight another war like Afghanistan.

Liam Fox, the Defence Secretary, told his counterparts in the US that the Armed Forces would only be able to provide the manpower for medium-scale conflicts or for support in large conflicts where others took a greater part.
Dr Fox told said that the military could only deploy 6,000 troops to any one war zone, The Times reported. Around 10,000 are currently committed to Afghanistan. He reassured them that Britain's nuclear deterrent would remain.
There you go. When even the British can supply only a token force - it is America Alone.

Alone, indeed. Especially with the inescapable short and medium term decline in USA real and relative military power as we try to recover some sense of fiscal sanity - unless they an figure a way to tell everyone in the USA to tighten their belt BUT the military - smart people need to get to work fast to begin to decouple our nation from its many imperial obligations so we do not find our nation at Strategic Risk because our mouth was speaking more than the rest could back up. We don't have a choice as our defense budget will have to decrease.

Here - I'll help (again). All maneuver forces home from Europe, Korea, and Japan. Keep only Combined-Joint logistics and training bases. Re-baseline manpower accounts with a focus on lean manning all non-deployable forces beginning with Staffs and GOFO billets. Eliminate 80% of SES positions and 90% of associated support staff positions. Downgrade 75% of remaining Field Grade and Flag/General Officer positions one paygrade (i.e. CAPT to CDR; VADM to RADM; RDML to CAPT, etc). Scrub all personnel deployment histories and retire or deploy within 24 months all who have not deployed or served overseas in the last eight years. Eliminate 50% of GS-12+ positions and convert to Shore Duty billets (we'll need them after elimination of Staff bloat and busy-work billets ashore). There's a rough-hewn start to discuss and refine.

Brave new world Shipmate. How did we in the West get here? Simple - the USA allowed the rest of the West to get used to spending almost nothing on defense. They built unsustainable welfare states for feel-good professional politicians to buy votes with.

As they try to avoid the inevitable - they squeeze the last bit of blood out of the military budget turnip long enough so that someone better will have to deal with the consequences. In the end, they have a military good enough for border defense, parades, airshows, and to fill up Staff billets at NATO busy-work commands.

Some in the USA thought that model was so sexy - they decided to join the party just as the original folks were starting to vomit and get a hang-over.

Thing is - who will be the sober nation to supply the USA a defense umbrella while we start our economic policy bender? Right - no one.

Sober up soon USA - or someone stronger and more confident will do it for you in a way you won't like. History provides legion of examples. Ask the Imperial Russian Navy a century ago.

American Maritime Officers' Piracy petition

Sad they have to even do this.

Piracy petition presented to IMO with more than 900,000 signatures

Representatives from seafarers' unions, ship operators and others Sept. 23 presented the "End Piracy Now" petition with 930,406 signatures to International Maritime Organization Secretary General Efthimios Mitropoulos in London, UK.

The event, which took place on the United Nations designated World Maritime Day, coincided with the presentation of the petition to governments worldwide.

The petition ( was launched just four months ago by the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) as the center piece of a campaign to persuade all governments to commit the resources needed to end the increasing problem of Somalia-based piracy. The original goal was to achieve half a million signatures.

The campaign calls on governments to:
  • Dedicate significant resources and work to find real solutions to the growing piracy problem
  • Take immediate steps to secure the release and safe return of kidnapped seafarers to their families
  • Work within the international community to secure a stable and peaceful future for Somalia and its people
The ITF Seafarers' Section reported Sept. 23 that some 354 seafarers and 16 ships are currently being held hostage in Somalia. Meanwhile, pirates are being released unprosecuted, free to re-offend.

ITF General Secretary David Cockroft commented: "At a time when some countries are actively escorting merchant ships and pursuing pirates and a few - too few - are prosecuting them when caught, the majority, including many of those who make the most from shipping, are doing little or nothing. For us, this campaign is about making everyone step up and shoulder their responsibilities."

A video posted by the ITF is available online.

I hope they realize that if they wait for the UN to do something, they will have to be content to get the same treatment as the people of Darfur.

If the US and UK will not lead - few will follow.

Nice effort though.

Hat tip Gramps.

Monday, September 27, 2010

LCS Tiffany Engine performs as expected

One of our original critiques of the design compromises that brought us LCS was its unnecessarily complicated, delicate, and touchy engineering plant. We have hit on it many times - some of the best hits coming from Sid.

Well Big Navy - you owe us another beer. Via
Gary Robbins,
The San Diego-based USS Freedom -- the first of the Navy's new Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) -- has experienced a propulsion problem for the second time in less than six months and will have to undergo an engine replacement.

"High vibration indications were discovered in the starboard-side gas turbine engine while the ship was operating off Southern California," said Commander Jason Salata, a spokesman for Naval Surface Forces, San Diego.

"A borescope was done and damage was found to the engine's blading. The engine will be replaced during a scheduled (servicing) visit to Naval Surface Warfare Center in Port Hueneme," which starts on Sept. 27.

Freedom has a second gas turbine. But the ship switched to its two diesel engines when the problem arose offshore on Sept. 12. In early May, the vessel had to pull into General Dynamics-NASSCO shipyard in San Diego for repairs when issues developed with a waterjet, which is part of the ship's propulsion system.
Don't blame the builder. The did the best they could to meet the speed fetish requirement - here is the result.

The original sin of LCS was the speed requirement. Math is hard - engineering is more harder, so to speak.

Another data point of many that we are well past the point that we need to stand athwart the LCS program and yell, "Halt!"

War in the littoral. How many hits from a 23mm from the back of a pickup truck can this ship take and still limp away? Ponder.

It is a bad ship. We can do better. If we want to win at sea, we must.

Hat tip Steve.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

From the budget to Tet ... on Midrats

When the budget crunch comes - what gets the squeeze? Do you really understand the Tet Offensive?

Our guests this Sunday, 26 SEP from 5-6pm to discuss will be Dan Darling, and James S. Robbins.

Dan Darling is a military markets analyst for Forecast International, an aerospace and defense market research and consulting company based in Newtown, Connecticut. He covers the Europe and Middle East defense markets for Forecast, which involves analyzing everything from national defense budgets and military force structures to geopolitical and economic trends. He also writes a column in the World section of The Faster Times online newspaper. His work has been cited by Defense Industry Daily, the NATO parliamentary assembly, Small Wars Journal and has been quoted in such publications as The Financial Times, Flight Global, National Defense Magazine, Arabian Business and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. He's also contributed commentary to Defense News regarding the frozen conflicts in Moldova and Georgia and attempts by the European Union to create its own defense body.

Our second guest will be returning friend to the show, James S. Robbins, Senior Editorial Writer for Foreign Affairs at the Washington Times. Jim has a new book out, "This Time We Win: Revisiting the Tet Offensive." and that will be the focus of our discussion. He is also the author of "Last in Their Class: Custer, Pickett and the Goats of West Point," and is a political commentator and contributing editor for National Review Online.

Join us live if you can, and pile in with the usual suspects in the chat room during the show where you can offer your own questions and observations to our guests. If you miss the show or want to catch up on the shows you missed - you can always reach the archives at blogtalkradio - or set yourself to get the podcast on iTunes.

Listen to Midrats on Blog Talk Rad

Archetypes don't change much ....

No, I won't be quoting Xenophon again, at least not today .... but I would direct you to the 1:14 mark of the 1937 movie Navy Blue & Gold .

Hat tip AT1.

Friday, September 24, 2010

USCG needs more guns ...

If the name CDR E. A. Westfall, CDR, USCG sounds familiar, then you are a regular listener to Midrats. He joined us back on Episode 26 of Midrats to discuss the nature of Command, and is the Commanding Officer of the USCGC ESCANABA (WMEC 907).

Well, our good Skipper has had an interesting day mid-month.

From CNN:
A U.S. Coast Guard cutter was fired upon by suspected drug traffickers during a pursuit off the coast of Nicaragua, a Coast Guard spokesman told CNN.

No Coast Guard personnel were injured in the gunfight, said Lt. Cmdr. Chris O'Neil.

The incident took place in the early morning of September 14, but information about the attack was not released until CNN inquired Friday about the incident.

"While it is rare to have Coast Guard personnel fired upon, this incident serves to remind us of the ruthless nature of smugglers, the disregard they have for human life and the dangers our men and women face when enforcing laws and treaties on the high seas," said O'Neil, chief of media relations for the Coast Guard said.

No shots hit the Coast Guard boat and there was no damage, O'Neil added.

The shooting happened after a boarding team from the Cutter Escanaba pursued a go-fast vessel suspected of smuggling drugs in international waters. The suspects managed to escape after entering Nicaraguan waters, said O'Neil.

The Coast Guard is still reviewing the event, he said.
No time to second guess the CO - but boy howdy, a lot of questions come to mind.

1. ROE.
2. ROE.
3. ROE.

Once you get the answer to the first three - then you can ask more questions. Shame the SOBs got away, but the important thing is that all our Coast Guardsmen are fine.
UPDATE: Exchanged a few emails with the CO, and he wants to make sure everyone knows that, yes, the USCG did return fire.

Hopefully, BigUSCG will put our more details as I think it is important for the taxpayer to know what the USCG is putting it all on the line to try to mitigate the poison coming across our borders.

This is a story that needs to be told more

Fullbore Friday

Eventually the truth always comes out.
Chief Master Sgt. Richard L. Etchberger, who was killed in action in 1968 in Laos, will posthumously be awarded the Medal of Honor on Sept. 21, the White House announced Friday.

Etchberger will be honored with the nation’s highest award for valor for his actions on March 11, 1968.

According to the announcement, Etchberger displayed “immeasurable courage and uncommon valor” when he deliberately exposed himself to enemy fire in order to place three surviving wounded comrades into rescue slings so they could be airlifted to safety. When it was his turn to be rescued, Etchberger was fatally wounded by enemy ground fire.
This all took place during the Battle of Lima Site 85.
An estimated 6-7 Battalions of PAVN/PL troops were assembled at the base of Site 85. General Vang Pao's troops were ineffective against this large enemy force, they were responsible for a 12 mile perimeter defense. During the enemy's advance on Phou Pha Thi, General Vang Pao's 700 troops could do nothing but harass the enemy. Site 85 even called in air support in its own defense, but it was not effective enough to deter the enemy's progress. To paraphrase Dr. Timothy Castle's outstanding book on this disaster, "One Day Too Long",... they waited "Two Days Too Long" to evacuate the personnel on Site 85.
This was the largest North Vietnamese offensive ever conducted in Laos. After seeing the radar image above, how could there have been any doubt that it was time to destroy the equipment and evacuate. The decision makers evidently did not have the whole story or 1) still considered Site 85 impregnable or 2) wanted to squeeze one more day of operations out of the Site. Considering the sizable enemy force assembled, helicopters should have been assigned and sitting on the ground at Site 85 for possible evacuation.
On March 11, 1968, the inevitable happened... three teams of PAVN commandos... under cover of darkness, scaled the cliffs of Phou Pha Thi. (There is also the theory that they came in through the South defensive gate because the CIA trained locals had abandoned it.) Against previously agreed upon terms, Major Richard Secord (now retired Major General Richard Secord and author of "Honored and Betrayed", Chapter 6 concerns Lima Site 85) provided M-16's, Grenades and a few hand weapons to the Site 85 personnel. The non-combat technicians were no match for the trained PAVN commandos.
More on the battle here and here.

Hat tip Mike.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Race, sex, and the single Sailor (Female)

This is the kind of female leader that is the example - the type that gets it. The kind that gets things done regardless of her DNA. She knows she is in the military and not working for HP.

From a female reader's email, used with permission. The rest of the post is hers. You should see the whole questionnaire she sent me. It is nothing but birth control, STDs and Mommy-track questions. I'll show you a couple just for fun.
I was recently asked to participate in a Navy survey on parenting. It is possible that once I gender identified, the questions shifted to female questions, so I will slightly forgive the fact that this "parenting" survey appeared to assume only mommies are impacted by naval service.

However, of course the first question asked after gender is race.

For my write in response to the last question:

"As a single woman, I feel the Navy has, in its efforts to be more family friendly, frequently saddled me with more TADs, more IAs, more holiday duty, more last minute TAD deployments, etc. while those with families are not expected to share the load. I see this even more rampant in the junior enlisted ranks. I do not mind the additional duties, so long as come FITREP/EVAL time, it's recognized, but all too often it isn't. It is very frustrating to have to shoulder a heavier load, only to have the Navy step in and give an unfair advantage via special billets, precept language and other perks to people who have been allowed to coast. Regarding career intermissions and programs of that ilk, yes. It is more difficult to be a mother and a military leader. However, we have a number of strong women who have struck that balance. THESE are the women we should seek to promote. Women who can prioritize, multi-task, and take responsibility for their lives without special treatment or programs. They do exist. In numbers. I do not want to work for someone, male or female, who couldn't balance their own life and work without the Navy showing them the way. If they can't sort out their own life, how can they sort out mine? And part of being a leader is being able to sort out the needs and issues of your sailors, many of whom will not get the magic tap for career intermissions and other such programs. Finally, what the heck does my race have to do with the topic of this survey? Last I checked, skin color does not change how babies are made."

Diversity Thursday

Who is running the USNR and when can someone buy him a subscription to a newspaper.

We are a Navy at war, right?

We are short of money to have the Reserves support the warfighter, right?

ADSW money is hard to come by .... especially for, say, 334 days - right?

We wouldn't want to spend that much money on a LCDR whose job will be to actively discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color or national origin - would we?

From: ADSW, ADT, MOB officer opportunities on behalf of [redacted], Kedrick
Sent: Mon 9/20/2010 [redacted] AM
Subject: Navy City Outreach Coordinator

1. Supported Command Point of Contact: CAPT Ken [redacted], ken.[redacted], (703) 695-[redacted]; Ms. Stephanie [redacted], stephanie.p.[redacted], (703) 695-[redacted]

2. Advertised Position Title: Navy City Outreach Coordinator - Los Angeles

3. Supported Command/Location: CHNAVPERS, Washington, D.C.

4. Rank/Rate: Lieutenant Commander (O-4), any designator.

5. Number of Positions: 1

6. Start Date: 01 NOV 10

7. Number of days:
334 days

8. Clearance Required: None

9. Type of Orders: ADSW

10. MPN-09-22-2592-0021

11. Description of the Requirements or Tasks to be performed: The Navy City Outreach Officer is responsible for all Navy outreach efforts for Chief of Navy Personnel (CNP) Diversity Directorate. The officer will build positive awareness of the organization and its scholarship programs within local communities, especially within the education community and among community and business leaders. Responsibilities will include:
* Manage CNP Diversity Directorate, education community partnerships.
* Build enduring and lasting relationships with local high schools, community colleges, community-based organizations, and other groups that work with potential Navy accessions candidates.
* Identify and attend college and career fairs, visit community and business leaders, and school districts in
designated diversity market.
* Plan, coordinate, and conduct offsite information sessions for prospective NROTC candidates at various venues (self initiated and
by invitation).
* Assist the Diversity Directorate to plan, coordinate, and organize the Navy's participation in local professional and affinity group events such as conferences, seminars, festivals and national holy days. Coordinate senior officer visits to these events.
* Provide general information about Naval Service Training Command, scholarship programs, and admission requirements and distribute marketing and application materials to prospective students or referral sources.
* Set up and staff information tables at high schools, community colleges, businesses and other select venues.
* Build and maintain a strong pool of qualified prospective NROTC candidates.
* Build and maintain a Navy Network team (consisting of local Naval Academy representatives, Blue Gold Officers, Recruiting Districts, NROTC units, Navy Operational Support Centers, and various
Navy Enterprise Diversity Officers) to develop and implement targeted recruitment strategies to increase diversity candidates for scholarship program.
* Contribute to the overall success of CNP's Diversity Directorate by participating in the
development of the accessions plan, actively participating in Diversity Directorate meetings and by representing Chief of Naval Personnel in the local community.
* Collect and analyze statistical data in order to enhance outreach activities and yield strategies and provide weekly, monthly, and quarterly reports of actual performance versus targets.
* Position involves heavy Flag and SES-level interaction.

12. Special Travel Considerations or Conditions:
Member must be a resident of the Los Angeles area and have an established network of business, community and academic leaders.

13. Additional Remarks: Member should contact POC immediately as this requirement needs to be filled ASAP.
Did you catch that?

Read para 12 again.

If there was ever a case of narrow-casting and ADSW job discription for a single individual, this has to be one. What is the fraud, waste and abuse hotline again?

Oh, there it is.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

That will leave a mark

Europeans advance, we return to Abbaland ...

As I watch the debt burden being thrown on my children's back - I think back to the time when we harumphed the Europeans' Socialist ways ... well ... we can't do that any more.

I have seen the Socialist, and he's in the White House.

First, let's visit
German Chancellor Angela Merkel Wednesday painted a rosy picture of the economy, pointing to higher growth and lower unemployment.

"Germany is back on a growth track," Merkel said, pointing to the European Commission's forecast for growth of 3.4% for this year. Two years after the collapse of U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers, a big part of the catch-up process has been done, Merkel told lawmakers in the lower house of parliament during the debate on the 2011 budget.

She added that the biggest success is the decline in unemployment and that a jobless figure of below 3 million people is possible. She said Germany is the European Union's growth engine and is therefore living up to its responsibility for the bloc.

The German economy posted quarterly growth of 2.2% in the second quarter.

The government is due to revise its 2010 growth forecast Oct. 21 and an upward revision from the 1.4% projection given in April is expected.

Still, she cautioned that "some work still has to be done to ensure a sustainable, global upswing."

The lower house's budget debate is traditionally used as a general verbal sparring between the center-right coalition and the center-left opposition parties.

The center-right coalition's budget targets EUR57.5 billion of new borrowing next year and a 3.8% reduction in spending, with overall spending pencilled in at EUR307.4 billion compared with EUR319.5 billion this year.
Now my favorite European country - Nederland.
The Netherlands' queen and the outgoing prime minister presented an austere annual budget on Tuesday that cuts spending on health care, immigrants, and government workers -- a foretaste of more far-reaching cuts likely to come under the conservative Cabinet now being formed.

At the start of an afternoon full of ceremonies, rituals and conspicuous hats, Queen Beatrix rode through the streets of The Hague in her gold-trimmed horse-drawn carriage, waving to thousands of fans who lined the route leading to the 13th-century Hall of Knights.

In her speech to both houses of Parliament, she outlined the government's plans for the year ahead -- despite the lack of a new Cabinet 104 days after national elections.

"A far-reaching package of cuts is necessary now to improve the position of our country in the long term," she said, reading a text written by outgoing Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende.

Balkenende's budget targets euro1.8 billion ($2.4 billion) in spending cuts in 2011, reducing the deficit to euro19.7 billion or 4.0 percent of economic output next year.

The major savings in the budget presented Tuesday include increasing patient health care payments, slowing pay raises for government employees to below the inflation rate, and reducing a tax break for child care.

In a nod to the anti-immigrant sentiment prevalent among many Dutch, it also reduces the amount of funding for language and citizenship classes that were made mandatory for immigrants by the outgoing administration. Immigrants will have to cover the gap.
... and at last - that Icon of EuroSocialism - Sverige,
To an extent, Sweden's elections affirmed twin political trends that have spread throughout Europe in recent years: Fiscally conservative center-right parties have gained ground on social-democratic parties owing to budget crises that were exacerbated by the global economic downturn.
"If you look across Europe, the political center of gravity has clearly moved to the right," said Charles Kupchan, senior fellow for Europe Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. "There were deep and broad structural problems on the economy that Europeans had to tackle, and the British began to tackle them under [Prime Minister Margaret] Thatcher. And then the Labor Party moved to the center and continued to tackle them. Now, that process of undoing large state-centered economies is moving to the Continent."

There is one fly in the European Stampot. The Center-Right parties in Euro are more along the lines of New England Republicans with a bit of Blue Dog Democrats thrown in. They are completely ignoring large segments of voters with Libertarian and Nationalist tendencies that exist in these countries. By keeping them out of traditional parties, they drive them more and more in to the Far-Right parties who will give them voice.

The USA does not have an equivalent of the Euro Far-Right. Not even close. You can find those elements diluted in Republican, Democrat, and Libertarian parties. We also do not have a Fascist or Communist tradition of any significant flavor - not so in Europe.

Talk to a gaggle of Europeans over a few beers about the threats they see from the "other." They are prepared to vote for and do things that just won't even be discussed in USA circles. Hard to describe ... but it is there. Ask them about their tax burden as well.

I think the major Center-Right parties are starting to see that and will try to cleave off the "respectful" parts of the Euro Far-Right's party platforms over a few election cycles - just to keep the Far-right small if nothing else. The Libertarian and anti-tax voters are the easiest to get to as they are most likely to be turned off the the statist and violent tendencies of some of the Far-Right. Remember - Fascism is an Socialist offshoot.

There is another problem that you have seen in spades in Belgium and Scandinavia especially. As the bloom has come of the Socialist rose - the Center-Left is making accommodations with its urban Islamist voters. Not a good set-up for stability with that continent's history.

This story will continue to unfold - let's hope the Europeans manage this well.

As for America - let's move on to that wonderful modern future we are a hope'n and change'n for.

Obama's national security kindergarten ...

Oh good googly moogly. My kids behave better ...
A variety of administration officials expressed scorn for James L. Jones, the retired Marine general who is national security adviser, while he referred to some of the president’s other aides as “the water bugs” or “the Politburo.”

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, thought his deputy, Gen. James E. Cartwright, went behind his back, while General Cartwright dismissed Admiral Mullen because he “wasn’t a war fighter.” Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates worried that General Jones would be succeeded by his deputy, Thomas E. Donilon, who would be a “disaster.”

Gen. David H. Petraeus, who was overall commander for the Middle East until becoming the Afghanistan commander this summer, told a senior aide that he disliked talking with David M. Axelrod, the president’s senior adviser, because he was “a complete spin doctor.” General Petraeus was effectively banned by the administration from the Sunday talk shows but worked private channels with Congress and the news media.

And the book recounts incidents in which Adm. Dennis C. Blair, then the national intelligence director, fought with Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff, and John O. Brennan, the counterterrorism adviser.

During a daily intelligence briefing in May 2009, Mr. Blair warned the president that radicals with American and European passports were being trained in Pakistan to attack their homelands. Mr. Emanuel afterward chastised him, saying, “You’re just trying to put this on us so it’s not your fault.” Mr. Blair also skirmished with Mr. Brennan about a report on the failed airliner terrorist attack on Dec. 25. Mr. Obama later forced Mr. Blair out.


As for Mr. Obama himself, the book describes a professorial president who assigned “homework” to advisers but bristled at what he saw as military commanders’ attempts to force him into a decision he was not yet comfortable with. Even after he agreed to send another 30,000 troops last winter, the Pentagon asked for another 4,500 “enablers” to support them.

The president lost his poise, according to the book. “I’m done doing this!” he erupted.

To ensure that the Pentagon did not reinterpret his decision, Mr. Obama dictated a six-page, single-space “terms sheet” explicitly laying out his troop order and its objectives, a document included in the book’s appendix.

Mr. Obama’s struggle with the decision comes through in a conversation with Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who asked if his deadline to begin withdrawal in July 2011 was firm. “I have to say that,” Mr. Obama replied. “I can’t let this be a war without end, and I can’t lose the whole Democratic Party.”
You need to take Woodward's work with a chunk of salt ... but ... does that sound all that unplausible?

Hat tip MTH.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

... because we're run by small minded bureaucrats and not warfighters?

Over at the ScoopDeck, our buddy Phil asks a good question,
Why does the Navy hate small ships? It says it needs them — in glossy report after glossy report, the top leaders of the fleet say the Navy needs to operate in shallow water, close to shore, yadda yadda yadda. But what does it do? Decommissions an entire class of coastal minehunters; marginalizes the surviving mine countermeasures ships; and, most recently, discovers that it must sideline its coastal patrol ships because, all of a sudden, they’re old and worn out.
Via email, one of my spies has an idea ... and I think he is real close to the answer.
I think it's because Big Surface Navy does not get excited about at-sea commands for O-3s and O-4s. It messes with the conveyor belt promotion path mentality. If a guy gets a command as an O-3 should he even be considered for one as a junior O-5? Is it fair to the O-5s who didn't get an O-3 command? Personally I don’t think those questions are worthy of "professional black shoes". Maybe a few minor screw-ups as an O-3 skipper will inoculate against big screw-ups as and O-5 skipper.
Yep. After all, earlier the last decade as LCS started taking shape I blurted out, "Sub-100 Sailor ship? Wow, what a great opportunity for more LT and LCDR commands!"

With a tilted head and furrowed brow - the Millington-DC Mafia harumphed back to me, "Are you nuts? We need those to be CDR commands so we can make more CAPT."

And so it goes. LCS: the gift that keeps on giving. Wait until 2030 when this "worn out" problem hits what LCS we do have in the fleet ... if not sooner.

.... and yes, I know. LCS isn't a small ship. It is the size of a WWII destroyer (with 1/3 the crew and 1/10 the firepower) ... but the language has changed.

A drug addict is a psycho is a vet‏

The path to make all who served "damaged goods" that I warned you about in 2004 continues apace - this time in court.

Via Kevin Graman in NavyTimes,
There are other therapeutic courts — most notably Spokane County Superior Court’s Adult Therapeutic Drug Court and Spokane County District Court’s Mental Health Court — designed to divert defendants from the traditional criminal justice system into rehabilitative services. But Veterans Court is the first in Spokane County designed specifically for military veterans or active-duty soldiers. Thurston County began a veterans court last July, and Clark County is also starting one.

Veterans courts are part of a growing movement that began in Buffalo, N.Y., to divert offenders into treatment for psychological problems resulting from military service.
Fight it or accept that we are all being painted as damaged goods. I've encountered that attitude since I've joined the civilian world where good people who don't have a clue are convinced that we all need "special help" to deal with our PTSD. This only will make the smear job worse.

The VA doesn't help where it lets anyone claim PTSD - and as a result, those of us who actually need re-adjustment assistance will be lost in the crowd; killed by others selfish need to prove to the world their "compassion."

More on leading the younger generations

One of the primary reasons DivThu exists is that the best cure for discrimination based on race, creed, color, or national origin is fresh air and light. That is why I mostly use the Navy's Diversity Bullies, the Diversity Industry, and their bigoted fellow travellers' own documentation against them. It is fun, no? But this isn't THU, and this post isn't totally about that hobby horse. No, something else more important; leadership.

We regularly hear this from our
And we also have to look ahead to the future. Because I believe that if a Navy that does not look like its nation, it will become disconnected. As I looked at the leadership in the Navy today and unless we do something different with the officers and senior enlisted and our senior government executives, it will not look like the nation they serve. They all tend to look a lot like me and that’s not what we need. If you look at the Navy writ large, we represent America, in regards to racial, gender and experience. But when I ask leadership to step forward, there we fall short. So what I need from you and I know that this community is already doing it, is for you to help us shape that Navy of the future that reflects the face of America.
That may be the advice the CNO gets from his pet-racialists he keeps on his staff, but that has no reflection on the young Sailors I worked with day in and day out, and the civilians I work with now of the younger generation.

What are they looking for? Well, shock - it doesn't take millions of dollars to figure out. As a matter of fact, anyone who understands the basics of leadership knows. Again, from
IBD, - and tell me what is missing -
The future of America’s leadership may be better than you think. The up-and-comers rank integrity high among qualities they desire in leaders. Ways companies can benefit from that:

Appeal to priorities. Dallas based consulting firm Price Group conducted a recent survey of people age 20 to 30. They had to be in college, graduated or working.

The aim was to study future leaders, says CEO Bette Price. It quickly became clear where the priorities of those Generation Yers stand.

Trust and integrity permeated through the entire research,” she told IBD. “Their value profile was almost identical to the ‘true leader’ profile I had done a few years ago.”

Keep the faith. It’s vital for this younger group to feel trusted. The survey showed that three-fourths made a point of not wanting to be micromanaged, which is a sign of distrust, Price says; 88% strongly said they wanted to work for a supervisor they could trust.

Win back their confidence. A study done by the Los Angelesbased nonprofit Josephson Institute of Ethics found that young people feel you have to lie or cheat in order to succeed. Those 17 and under were five times likelier to hold that belief than those over 50, the survey said.

“This generation is the most cynical ever,” said Michael Josephson, president of the institute. That finding backs up the Price Group survey. People tend to be less tolerant of certain behavior when they see themselves as victims, Josephson says.

Watch out. Cynical people who feel that lying or cheating is necessary to get ahead could lie and cheat later, the institute survey found. “It’s one of the best predictors of dishonest behavior,” Josephson said.

Use the facts. There is hope, Josephson says. One way to change those cynical beliefs is to cite examples of companies and people who have succeeded without cheating.

Retain your talent. People turn cynical if they expect leaders to be trustworthy but they turn out not to be. Result? The exit.

“If they feel there isn’t trust, they’ll probably leave,” Price said.

Be honest. One woman told Price that she opted not to interview with a firm when she saw that some information on its Web site contradicted what a recruiter had told her.

“They want to know what reality is and base their decision off that,” Price said. “Integrity is huge.”

Send a message. Make it clear that your company does things the right way and won’t tolerate cheating or stealing. Show that you’ll fire people if they violate those tenets.

If a company truly sets and holds high standards of integrity, even dishonest people will act with integrity ,” Josephson said.

Set an example. You can’t expect your people to operate with integrity if the leaders don’t. Display the behavior you want others to show.

“The best way to fuel cynicism is to be a false prophet,” Josephson said. “Dishonest companies will generate dishonesty.”

Open up. Be upfront with your people. Price says one guy in the survey said his boss called him in to discuss a project. All was fine. But when the guy got back to his desk, the boss had sent him an e-mail criticizing him.

The guy thought, “ ‘How can I trust him when he won’t even say anything to my face?’ ” Price said.
I've said it before, I'll say it again. The problem is not today's youth. The problem is with the older leadership and their misplaced priorities and archaic world view. From USNA to OPNAV, if we had more people listening to Bette Price and fewer to Samuel Betances we would all be better off.

This crop of young men and women are outstanding individuals, and deserve better. We can start by not insulting their intelligence by treating them like the audience from
Room 222.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Lanier, you look good in a tux

Let me make one more push for you to listen to the 12 SEP 10 edition of Midrats.

Now being picked up by other papers, on the
16th WaPo had a nice article about Lanier Phillips along with some pictures with fellow Midrats guest Eddie LaBaron and Sailor Bill Cosby at the U.S. Navy Memorial's Lone Sailor Awards Dinner last week.

There is also a nice video overview. Read the article, listen to Midrats, and watch the wee video. Well worth your time. Perspective.

Ummm .... AW1?

Can you get readiness points for this? Do you get per diem?

That's the Obama I see ...

Starting about April of this year, I started to see an Obama that I had difficulty putting my finger on. I saw something there that I couldn't quite describe. About a month ago, I started to think, along with others, "Does he even like this job?"

Via a bud on FB, I think this article by
Ulsterman just nails it with an interview with an Obama insider now on the outside.
But after Obama was sworn in, things began to change? Almost immediately. Obama loved to campaign. He clearly didn’t like the work of being President though, and that attitude was felt by the entire White House staff within weeks after the inauguration. Obama the tireless, hard working candidate became a very tepid personality to us. And the few news stories that did come out against him were the only things he seemed to care about. He absolutely obsesses over Fox News. For being so successful, Barack Obama is incredibly thin-skinned. He takes everything very personally.
So if Obama doesn’t appear interested in the job of president, what does he do day after day? Well, he takes his meetings just like any other president would, though even then, he seems to lack a certain focus and on a few occasions, actually leaves with the directive that be given a summary of the meeting at a later date. I hear he plays a lot of golf, and watches a lot of television – ESPN mainly. I’ll tell you this – if you want to see President Obama get excited about a conversation, turn it to sports. That gets him interested. You start talking about Congress, or some policy, and he just kinda turns off. It’s really very strange. I mean, we were all led to believe that this guy was some kind of intellectual giant, right? Ivy League and all that. Well, that is not what I saw. Barack Obama doesn’t have a whole lot of intellectual curiosity. When he is off script, he is what I call a real “slow talker”. Lots of ummms, and lots of time in between answers where you can almost see the little wheel in his head turning very slowly. I am not going to say the president is a dumb man, because he is not, but yeah, there was a definite letdown when you actually hear him talking without the script.
Can he win in 2012? Oh – absolutely. Who else campaigns as well as Barack Obama? Nobody. What politician is more loved and supported by the media? Nobody. I don’t see the Republicans offering up a candidate as powerful as Obama. I mean Sarah Palin? Really? Obama would defeat her by a 20 point landslide! Romney? The Republicans will enjoy these midterm elections, but 2012 is Obama’s year if he chooses to run again. As a president, Obama has many flaws, but as a candidate, he is near flawless.

But would another four years of an Obama presidency be the best thing for America? (Long pause) Now that is a much more interesting question right there, and a question I think more and more Democrat Party insiders are asking themselves these days, myself included. I am going to come right out and say it – No. Obama is not up to the job of being president. He simply doesn’t seem to care about the work involved. You want to know what? Obama is lazy. He really is. And it is getting worse and worse. Would another four years of Obama be the best thing for America? No it would not. What this country needs is a president who is focused on the job more than on themselves. Obama is not that individual. I actually hope he doesn’t run again. Looking back, as much fun as the campaign in 2008 was, Hillary Clinton should have been the nominee. Hillary was ready to be president. Obama was not ready. He had never lost a campaign. Everything was handed to him. He doesn’t really understand the idea of work – real, hard, get your heart and soul into it work. And frankly, that is very disappointing to a whole lot of us…

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Midrats Episode 37: The November Election and National Security

Today we will have Part II of a series we started in May of this year with the same guests.

Six-and-a-half weeks from the NOV 2010 election with economic issues dominating the debate, what are the national security implications if the one or both Houses of Congress switch from Dem to Rep? What, if any, national security issues are part of the "Tea Party" movement - and what will possible new-comers such as Rand Paul and Marco Rubio bring to DC?

Live today, Sunday 19 SEP 10 our guests to discuss will be Mackenzie Eaglen, Research Fellow for National Security at the Heritage Foundation, and James S. Robbins is Senior Editorial Writer for Foreign Affairs at the Washington Times.

In addition to her position at Heritage where specializes in subjects such as defense strategy, military readiness and the defense budget - Mackenzie Eagle has extensive experience in Capitol Hill, the Pentagon, and her commentaries have appeared in major newspapers, including The New York Times and The Washington Post, and in military-focused publications such as Armed Forces Journal, Defense News, Army Times and the magazines National Defense and Military Technology. Her paper, "A New Look at Readiness: Solving the Army's Quandary," was taught at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pa.

James S. Robbins is also the author of the books "This Time We Win: Revisiting the Tet Offensive" and "Last in Their Class: Custer, Pickett and the Goats of West Point," and a political commentator and contributing editor for National Review Online.

Join us live if you can, and pile in with the usual suspects in the chat room during the show where you can offer your own questions and observations to our guests. If you miss the show or want to catch up on the shows you missed - you can always reach the archives at blogtalkradio - or set yourself to get the podcast on iTunes.

Listen to Midrats on Blog Talk Rad

Sunday Funnies

Even though they used one incorrect flag due to a weak spine and excessive sensitivity, this is very clever.

Check it out in full.

Hat tip AT1.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fullbore Friday

Sometimes a man is Fullbore in how he deals with what happens every day. For some, it is in response to being visited by their sacrifice on a regular basis.

They are all around you - you probably work with a few. They are modest. They endure. Sometimes, you get a chance to get a glimpse of what their view of things is.

Last month our friend Chuck had an experience worth your time. Thank him for sharing his story so others may know what he and thousands of others deal with because we asked them to.
I have a pinched nerve in my thoracic vertebrae, part of the degenerative disk disease I apparently have (something to do with extreme trauma to the spine, like from landing on your head wearing 70 lbs of gear after sailing through the air.) The nerve cluster in T4,5, and 6 is affected. This nerve cluster sends pain signals that start at the spine just below the shoulder blades and radiate around the chest (the right side in my case) and terminate with a stabbing, sharp pain sensation in the chest cavity. This has been going on for almost a year, and I was being treated for it when I left Fort Leavenworth. Lately, it has been acting up, giving me mild to moderate pain; however when you know the source of the pain it makes it easier to ignore/deal with it. The biggest effect it was having on me was inability to sleep, other than from 12 AM-3AM, plus adding to my usual irritability.
What follows is a 03:50 to ~08:00 the next day timeline.

It will make you wince, it will make you cheer, it will make you scream in anger. It might make you cry, and thats OK.

Read it all.

Chuck; Fullbore.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Nickle and Dime'n in three-quarters time ...

Well, that is one way to save some money and trick-frack the system - but really. Really?
Navy modifies officer promotion phasing plan
From chief of naval personnel public affair

As part of the Navy’s multiple efforts to achieve fiscal balance, the Secretary of the Navy has approved a revised phasing plan for active duty officer promotions beginning in fiscal year 2011.
Under previous plans, five percent of officers selected for captain, commander and lieutenant commander were promoted in each of the first eight months of the year, with 15 percent per month during the remaining four months.
Effective Oct. 1, 2010, active duty officers selected for promotion to the grades of captain, commander and lieutenant commander will be promoted at a three percent per month rate for 11 months, with the remaining officers to be promoted in September 2011.
All officers selected for promotion during fiscal year 2011 will be promoted in that fiscal year. This phasing plan does not affect future selection board promotion rates.
Unrestricted line and human resources officers of the full-time support (FTS) community will continue to promote at the same rate as their active duty counterparts.
Vice Adm. Mark Ferguson, chief of naval personnel, said the plan contributes to keeping the Navy’s manpower account in fiscal balance.
“We will continue to fulfill mission requirements for 2011 while controlling growth in manpower costs,” Ferguson said. “We will revisit this plan each fiscal year.”
For more information on line and staff officer promotion phasing plans, visit
VADM F., if you want to save some real money - start cutting programs. There is one which is a negative force-multiplier, that you own, that is ripe for the axe. Send me an email - I'm here to help.