Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Smashing Demographic Assumptions

We haven't played around with demographics lately, and last week USAToday had a very interesting bit that should have everyone reconsidering their models.

You know that magic 2.1 number demographic wonks like and snoot about American exceptionalism? Well ...
Twenty-somethings who postponed having babies because of the poor economy are still hesitant to jump in to parenthood — an unexpected consequence that has dropped the USA's birthrate to its lowest point in 25 years.
...
As the economy tanked, the average number of births per woman fell 12% from a peak of 2.12 in 2007. Demographic Intelligence projects the rate to hit 1.87 this year and 1.86 next year — the lowest since 1987.

The less-educated and Hispanics have experienced the biggest birthrate decline while the share of U.S. births to college-educated, non-Hispanic whites and Asian Americans has grown.
That last bit is very interesting in that it ties in a couple of things the demographics wonks have been whispering.

The old template was the poor and their litters of children - but there is a shift in many places towards more than two kids is seen as a luxury - something for those who have the money to afford it. Are we seeing a shift?

There is also the trend towards the more religious having more children. I think a few years ago I made the little remark that when you combine demographics and culture - stand by for the Mormon, and Southern Baptist military of 2150.

Anyway, good article. Read it all and compare it to some of the plans others are making based on old data.
The U.S. fertility rate has been the envy of the developed world because it has remained close to the replacement rate of 2.1 (the number of children each woman must have to maintain current population) for more than 20 years.

Asian and European countries, where fertility rates are as low as 1.1 (Taiwan) and 1.3 (Portugal), are worried about their populations aging and not having enough young workers to support them.

Immigration has helped the USA maintain higher birthrates, but that segment has been hard hit by this downturn. The birthrate for Hispanics tumbled from 3 in 2007 to less than 2.4 in 2010, the latest official government statistics.

Hispanic immigration has slowed, and studies show some immigrants have returned home.

"That's going to have an effect," says Carl Haub, demographer at the Population Reference Bureau. "Their overall proportions of births are enormous — roughly 25% of the U.S. total."
Of course, fold in to that to first and second generation inner marriage .... always question your and others assumptions.

Sailors belong on ships; ships belong at sea ...

Hmmm ... we kicked out 2,900 ERB non-retainees.

We say we are focused on our Sailors. We just announced longer deployments being the new normal.

How has that impacted the Fleet? As predicted:
R 261738Z JUL 12 LIMITED DIRECTED DETAILING FOR ENLISTED SAILORS CNO WASHINGTON DC
TO NAVADMIN

INFO CNO WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS

QQQQ
SUBJ: LIMITED DIRECTED DETAILING FOR ENLISTED SAILORS
UNCLASSIFIED/
FM CNO WASHINGTON DC//N1//
TO NAVADMIN
INFO CNO WASHINGTON DC//N1//
UNCLAS//N01306//
NAVADMIN 227/12
MSGID/GENADMIN/CNO WASHINGTON DC/N1/JUL//
SUBJ/LIMITED DIRECTED DETAILING FOR ENLISTED SAILORS//
REF/A/MSG/CNO WASHINGTON DC/261710ZJUL12//
AMPN/REF A IS NAVADMIN 226/12, CHANGES IN ENLISTED DISTRIBUTION TO
IMPROVE SEA DUTY MANNING.//
RMKS/1. THIS NAVADMIN, IN CONJUNCTION WITH REF A AND EFFORTS TO ADDRESS SHORT-TERM MANNING ISSUES IN OUR DEPLOYING FORCES, ANNOUNCES THE LIMITED DIRECTED DETAILING PROGRAM WHICH WILL ALLOW THE REASSIGNMENT OF SAILORS ON SHORE DUTY WHO HAVE CRITICAL SKILLS REQUIRED BY OUR IMMINENT DEPLOYERS TO SEA DUTY. THIS ACTION IS EXPECTED TO IMPACT BETWEEN 200 AND 400 SAILORS NAVY WIDE.
2. SAILORS WHO HAVE COMPLETED A MINIMUM OF 24 MONTHS ON SHORE DUTY AT THE TIME OF ORDER EXECUTION MAY BE CONTACTED BY THEIR DETAILER AND DIRECTED TO A SEA DUTY ASSIGNMENT PRIOR TO THEIR PROJECTED ROTATION DATE (PRD). DIRECT DETAILED SAILORS WILL BE FINANCIALLY COMPENSATED IN A LUMP SUM, CALCULATED ACCORDING TO MONTHS OF SHORE DUTY CURTAILED.
3. LIMITED DIRECTED DETAILING WILL BE ACCOMPLISHED AS FOLLOWS:
A. TO MINIMIZE THE NUMBER OF DIRECT DETAILED SAILORS, DETAILERS WILL FILL AS MANY OF THE CRITICAL JOBS AS POSSIBLE BY FULLY UTILIZING THE AUTHORIZED TRANSFER WINDOW THAT INCLUDES MOVING SAILORS THREE MONTHS PRIOR TO, OR FOUR MONTHS BEYOND, THEIR PRD MONTH. THIS IS THE NORMAL AUTHORIZED DETAILING WINDOW, IT IS NOT CONSIDERED DIRECTED DETAILING AND WILL NOT RESULT IN ADDITIONAL FINANCIAL COMPENSATION.
B. DETAILERS WILL COMPILE A LIST OF SHORE DUTY SAILORS BASED ON SHORE DUTY COMMENCEMENT DATE, SAILORS THAT HAVE BEEN ON SHORE DUTY THE LONGEST WILL GENERALLY BE UTILIZED FIRST AND GEOGRAPHIC STABILITY WILL BE MAINTAINED WHENEVER POSSIBLE. SAILORS THAT ALREADY POSSESS A REQUIRED NEC WILL BE CHOSEN UNLESS TRAINING IS AVAILABLE AND CAN BE COMPLETED PRIOR TO THE REQUIRED REPORTING DATE.
C. NO SHORE COMMANDS OR SPECIFIC JOBS ARE EXEMPT FROM LIMITED DIRECTED DETAILING. HOWEVER, SAILORS CURRENTLY FILLING THE FOLLOWING BILLETS OR AT THE FOLLOWING COMMANDS WILL ONLY BE CONSIDERED AFTER ALL OTHERS: RECRUIT DIVISION COMMANDER; ATTACH, RECRUITERS AND INSTRUCTORS, CAMP DAVID, STATE DEPARTMENT, SPECWAR AND SPECOPS SHORE COMMANDS, AND AFLOAT TRAINING GROUPS. SAILORS WITH A NUCLEAR NEC (33XX) WILL CONTINUE TO BE DETAILED PER NAVAL NUCLEAR PROPULSION PROGRAM PRIORITIES.
D. ONCE A SAILOR IS IDENTIFIED TO FILL A CRITICAL JOB THAT REQUIRES SHORE DUTY CURTAILMENT, BOTH THE LOSING COMMAND AND THE SAILOR WILL BE CONTACTED BY PERS-40. PERS-4 WILL BE THE FLAG REVIEW AUTHORITY FOR ANY COMMAND REQUESTING FLAG REVIEW.
E. HIGH YEAR TENURE (HYT) WAIVERS FOR PURPOSES OF COMPLETING
DEPLOYMENTS WILL BE APPROVED AND PRD WILL BE SET TO THE PRESCRIBED SEA TOUR (PST) BASED ON THE SAILOR'S SEA SHORE FLOW REQUIREMENT.
F. UPON RECEIPT OF ORDERS, FINANCIAL COMPENSATION WILL BE PAID IN THE FORM OF A LUMP SUM PAYMENT. SAILORS WHO ARE UNABLE TO EXECUTE THEIR ORDERS WILL HAVE THEIR FINANCIAL COMPENSATION RECOUPED.
4. DECISIONS AFFECTING THE CAREERS AND LIVES OF OUR SAILORS AND THEIR FAMILIES ARE NOT TAKEN LIGHTLY. OUR AIM IS TO CAUSE THE LEAST AMOUNT OF DISRUPTION TO THE CAREERS OF OUR SAILORS AND THEIR FAMILIES, WHILE SUSTAINING FLEET MANNING AND ENSURING OUR NAVY REMAINS MISSION READY ACROSS THE BROAD SPECTRUM OF MARITIME OPERATIONS. LIMITED DIRECTED DETAILING IS MEANT TO BE AN INTERIM POLICY TO IMPROVE FLEET MANNING AND READINESS BY FILLING THE CRITICAL GAPS WE ARE EXPERIENCING AT SEA WITH THE RIGHT SAILORS. WE WILL CONTINUE TO EVALUATE THIS POLICY, ADJUST AS NECESSARY, AND REFINE LONGER TERM SOLUTIONS THAT WILL HELP PROPERLY MAN THE NAVY AT SEA AND ON SHORE.
5. RELEASED BY VICE ADMIRAL S. R. VAN BUSKIRK, N1.//
How many of those billets would have been filled by ERB Sailors?

If we are going to do this, fine. Then let's look at those billets where we are pulling people from shore ... and eliminate them.

Sailors don't mind sea duty - this Sailor didn't. What they don't like is being jerked around.

Here is a companion message. Who here remembers "Chiefs to Sea" program from the mid-90s?

Well - here we go.
UNCLASSIFIED//
ROUTINE
R 261930Z JUL 12
FM CNO WASHINGTON DC
TO NAVADMIN
INFO ZEN/CNO WASHINGTON DC
BT
UNCLAS
QQQQ
SUBJ: CHIEF PETTY OFFICER EARLY RETURN TO SEA UNCLASSIFIED/ PASS TO ALL OFFICE
CODES:
FM CNO WASHINGTON DC//N1//
TO NAVADMIN
INFO CNO WASHINGTON DC//N1//
UNCLAS//N04631//
NAVADMIN 230/12
MSGID/GENADMIN/CNO WASHINGTON DC/N1//
SUBJ/CHIEF PETTY OFFICER EARLY RETURN TO SEA//
REF/A/MSG/CNO WASHINGTON DC/261710ZJUL12//
REF/B/MSG/CNO WASHINGTON DC/261738ZJUL12//
REF/C/MSG/CNO WASHINGTON DC/311552ZJAN12//
REF/D/MSG/CNO WASHINGTON DC/061653ZJUL12//
REF/E/MSG/CNO WASHINGTON DC/261838ZJUL12//
REF/F/MSG/CNO WASHINGTON DC/091001ZSEP97//
NARR/REF A IS NAVADMIN 226/12, CHANGES IN ENLISTED DISTRIBUTION TO IMPROVE SEA DUTY MANNING. REF B IS NAVADMIN 227/12, LIMITED DIRECTED DETAILING FOR ENLISTED SAILORS. REF C IS NAVADMIN 043/12, VOLUNTARY SEA DUTY PROGRAM. REF D IS NAVADMIN 205/12, VOLUNTARY SEA DUTY PROGRAM UPDATE. REF E IS NAVADMIN 229/12, VOLUNTARY SEA DUTY PROGRAM UPDATE TWO. REF F IS NAVADMIN 221/97, CHIEF PETTY OFFICER TO SEA POLICY.//
RMKS/1. THIS NAVADMIN, IN CONJUNCTION WITH REF A AND EFFORTS TO ADDRESS CRITICAL SENIOR ENLISTED LEADERSHIP MANNING ISSUES IN OUR DEPLOYING FORCES, ANNOUNCES THE CHIEF PETTY OFFICER (CPO) EARLY RETURN TO SEA DUTY PROGRAM WHICH PUTS NEW DETAILING BUSINESS RULES IN PLACE REGARDING SENIOR ENLISTED LEADERS (E7-E9). THIS PROGRAM, WHICH WAS DESIGNED IN COOPERATION WITH U.S. FLEET FORCES COMMAND AND THE MASTER CHIEF PETTY OFFICER OF THE NAVY TO ENSURE HIGH PRIORITY SENIOR ENLISTED LEADERSHIP POSITIONS AT SEA ARE SUFFICIENTLY MANNED, WILL ENABLE THE EARLY REASSIGNMENT TO SEA OF CPOS ON SHORE DUTY POSSESSING CRITICAL SKILLS REQUIRED BY OUR DEPLOYING UNITS. THIS PROGRAM IS DIFFERENT FROM THE LIMITED DIRECTED DETAILING PROGRAM ANNOUNCED IN REF B WHICH IS FOCUSED ON FILLING NEAR TERM MANNING GAPS. THE CPO EARLY RETURN TO SEA PROGRAM IS FOCUSED ON THE LONG TERM AND IS INTENDED TO REMAIN IN PLACE AS A MEANS OF MAINTAINING THE REQUIRED LEVEL OF CRITICAL SENIOR ENLISTED LEADERSHIP AT SEA.
2. SENIOR ENLISTED DETAILING BUSINESS RULES/GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR CPO EARLY RETURN TO SEA VIA CURTAILMENT OF SHORE DUTY ARE AS FOLLOWS:
A. APPLIES TO SENIOR ENLISTED LEADERS (E7-E9) SAILORS IN ALL RATINGS.
B. TO MINIMIZE THE NUMBER OF CPOS IMPACTED BY EARLY CURTAILMENT OF SHORE DUTY, DETAILERS WILL FILL AS MANY HIGH PRIORITY E7-E9 SEA DUTY BILLETS AS POSSIBLE BY FULLY UTILIZING THE AUTHORIZED TRANSFER WINDOW. CURRENT POLICY ALLOWS DETAILERS TO TRANSFER SAILORS UP TO THREE MONTHS PRIOR TO, OR FOUR MONTHS BEYOND, PROJECTED ROTATION DATE (PRD). INVOLUNTARY CURTAILMENT OF SHORE DUTY WILL ONLY BE USED WHEN THERE ARE NO AVAILABLE CPOS IN THE PRD WINDOW AND THERE ARE NO EXCESS PERSONNEL ON SEA DUTY WITHIN THE GEOGRAPHIC AREA WHO CAN BE REASSIGNED. EXCEPT TO MEET THE MOST CRITICAL OPERATIONAL REQUIREMENTS, ONLY SAILORS WHO HAVE COMPLETED AT LEAST 24 MONTHS OF SHORE DUTY AT THE TIME OF TRANSFER WILL BE CONSIDERED FOR EARLY RETURN TO SEA.
C. CANDIDATES WILL BE SELECTED BASED ON VARIOUS FACTORS, WHICH INCLUDE: LENGTH OF TIME ON SHORE, RECENT ADVANCEMENT, FLEET EXPERIENCE, NEC/SKILLS HELD, TYPE OF PREVIOUS SEA DUTY, AND REMAINING OBLISERV. IMPACT ON THE SHORE DUTY COMMAND'S MISSION WILL ALSO BE EVALUATED. E8/9 SAILORS MAY BE CHOSEN TO FILL VACANT E7/8/9 BILLETS AND E7 SAILORS MAY BE CHOSEN TO FILL VACANT E8 BILLETS.
D. IF EXTENUATING CIRCUMSTANCES OR MISSION REQUIREMENTS PRECLUDE AN ELIGIBLE CPO FROM EXECUTING THE SEA DUTY ASSIGNMENT, THOSE CIRCUMSTANCES MUST BE SUBMITTED TO PERS-40 IN WRITING, WITH COMMAND ENDORSEMENT, WITHIN 30 DAYS OF BEING IDENTIFIED AS A REPLACEMENT UNDER THIS POLICY. PERS-4 IS THE FLAG REVIEW AUTHORITY FOR SUCH CASES.
E. REQUESTS TO TRANSFER TO THE FLEET RESERVE, SUBMITTED SUBSEQUENT TO SELECTION FOR EARLY RETURN TO SEA BY CPOS WITH MORE THAN ONE YEAR OF CONTRACT TIME REMAINING, MAY BE DISAPPROVED.
F. HIGH YEAR TENURE (HYT) WAIVER REQUESTS FOR CPOS CHOSEN FOR EARLY RETURN TO SEA WILL RECEIVE FAVORABLE CONSIDERATION.
G. CPOS WITH A NUCLEAR NEC (33XX) WILL CONTINUE TO BE DETAILED PER NAVAL NUCLEAR PROPULSION PROGRAM PRIORITIES.
3. TO ENCOURAGE CPOS TO VOLUNTARILY RETURN TO SEA DUTY, THE FOLLOWING INCENTIVES ARE CURRENTLY OFFERED VIA THE VOLUNTARY SEA DUTY PROGRAM AS OUTLINED IN REFS C, D AND E.
A. GEOGRAPHIC CHOICE OR STABILITY;
B. HYT WAIVER CONSIDERATION; AND
C. SEA DUTY INCENTIVE PAY FOR ELIGIBLE RATINGS.
4. REF F, NAVADMIN 221/97, CHIEF PETTY OFFICER TO SEA POLICY, IS HEREBY CANCELLED.
5. FOR THE NAVY TO CONTINUE MEETING WORLD-WIDE OPERATIONAL COMMITMENTS, WE MUST MAINTAIN AT-SEA MANNING READINESS. THESE CHANGES WILL HELP US ENSURE CRITICAL SENIOR ENLISTED LEADERSHIP IS WHERE WE NEED IT MOST.
6. RELEASED BY VICE ADMIRAL S. R. VAN BUSKIRK, N1.//
BT
#3720
NNNN
UNCLASSIFIED/

Monday, July 30, 2012

... but did you get any readiness points for it?

I think we know who the junior guy is.

American Educational Dissonance on Display


If you want to get a firm understanding on the challenge we have in our education system - then all you have to do is read Andrew Hacker, emeritus professor of political science at Queens College, City University of New York, article in the NYT. He means well - but he is 180deg off from the right course.

In a highly competitive world, we need a population with a sound foundation in the basics. Algebra is a floor for a high school graduate from my perspective. It is not difficult if the math you take before algebra is well taught.

Students not getting through the algebra hoop is a teaching issue; not a student issue.

At the school my children go to (same one Mrs. Salamander and I went to BTW), there are three different levels of Algebra depending on the student's ability, and that is just algebra I. Algebra II has four levels.

Most of my kids' peers get though by 9th Grade, some by 8th - a select earlier.

Easy school? No. All Geek school? No - it is actually one of the best athletic schools in the country.

What it is, is a school that first and foremost focuses on quality teachers. Teachers who know that even a child who is not naturally gifted in math can not only master algebra, but go past it.

They don't blame the kids. Don't let the teachers and the education system off the hook.

Behold.
This debate matters. Making mathematics mandatory prevents us from discovering and developing young talent. In the interest of maintaining rigor, we’re actually depleting our pool of brainpower. I say this as a writer and social scientist whose work relies heavily on the use of numbers. My aim is not to spare students from a difficult subject, but to call attention to the real problems we are causing by misdirecting precious resources.
...
It would be far better to reduce, not expand, the mathematics we ask young people to imbibe. (That said, I do not advocate vocational tracks for students considered, almost always unfairly, as less studious.)
No. A basic understanding of math is a requirement - and algebra is the foundation.
I hope that mathematics departments can also create courses in the history and philosophy of their discipline, as well as its applications in early cultures. Why not mathematics in art and music — even poetry — along with its role in assorted sciences? The aim would be to treat mathematics as a liberal art, making it as accessible and welcoming as sculpture or ballet. If we rethink how the discipline is conceived, word will get around and math enrollments are bound to rise. It can only help. Of the 1.7 million bachelor’s degrees awarded in 2010, only 15,396 — less than 1 percent — were in mathematics.
Nothing is stopping that from happening right now - as a matter of fact good teachers already do. Mine did. Again - this is not a student problem, this is an educator problem.
Algebra is an onerous stumbling block for all kinds of students: disadvantaged and affluent, black and white. In New Mexico, 43 percent of white students fell below “proficient,” along with 39 percent in Tennessee. Even well-endowed schools have otherwise talented students who are impeded by algebra, to say nothing of calculus and trigonometry.
...
It’s true that students in Finland, South Korea and Canada score better on mathematics tests. But it’s their perseverance, not their classroom algebra, that fits them for demanding jobs.
Ahhh ... there we go. Finland, South Korea and Canada are not the USA. Different demographics and different education systems.

Ahhh yes - the brave emeritus professor. Notice that something in missing in his discussion? He hints at it in a dog-whistle way. Me? I'm not afraid to put it out there. What is it? Well - this is it;
The percentage proficient in the United States varies considerably among students from different racial and ethnic backgrounds. While 42 percent of white students were identified as proficient in math, only 11 percent of African American students, 15 percent of Hispanic students, and 16 percent of Native Americans were so identified. Fifty percent of students with an ethnic background from Asia and the Pacific Islands, however, were proficient in math, placing them at a level comparable to students in Belgium, Canada, and Japan.

In reading, 40 percent of white students and 41 percent of those from Asia and the Pacific Islands were identified as proficient. Only 13 percent of African American students, 5 percent of Hispanic students, and 18 percent of Native American students were so identified.

Given the disparate performances among students from various cultural backgrounds, it may be worth inquiring as to whether differences between the United States and other countries are due to the presence of a substantial minority population within the United States. To examine that question, we compare U.S. white students to all students in other countries. We do this not because we think this is the right comparison, but simply to consider the oft-expressed claim that education problems in the United States are confined to certain segments within the minority community.

While the 42 percent math efficiency rate for U.S. white students is considerably higher than that of African American and Hispanic students, they are still surpassed by all students in 16 other countries. White students in the United States trail well behind all students in Korea, Japan, Finland, Germany, Belgium, and Canada.

White students in Massachusetts outperform their peers in other states; 58 percent are at or above the math proficiency level. Maryland, New Jersey, and Texas are the other states in which a majority of white students is proficient in math. Given recent school-related political conflicts in Wisconsin, it is of interest that only 42 percent of that state’s white students are proficient in math, a rate no better than the nation as a whole. (Results for all states are presented in the unabridged version of the paper.)
Political correctness is stopping us from aggressively going after this problem - but as the data tells us, this isn't a genetic thing. It is sub-cultural and also systemic.

What are some states doing well that others are not? A plus of a federal system - we get to experiment. Raise up those behind - don't drop those at the top down to lower expectations.

The future belongs to the intelligent countries. To not bring everyone up to a basic knowledge level is professional malpractice.

On average - in fits in starts depending on how you slice it - things are getting better. Now is the time to push harder, not fall back.

I am a liberal arts guy - but I know this - we need to be at the top of our intellectual game to stay on top as a nation. We will not maintain our standard of living by having a bunch of Art History and Sociology majors hanging around with trial lawyers.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

ROKN Parting Gifts for RIMPAC 2012 ... I guess

Skippy-san, call your office.

Good Ship, Bad Ship; on Midrats

What makes a class of warship a success, a failure, or a missed opportunity? What fundamentals consistently result in a success, and what common threads need to be avoided in order to not repeat the mistakes of the past?

What decision and results we have seen in previous classes of warships are we seeing repeated now, and what are some options for the Navy going forward?

For warship classes from right before WWII to the present, to discuss this and more this Sunday from 5-6pm EST will be returning guest, Dr. Norman Friedman.

In addition to numeral articles through the years, Dr. Friedman writes a monthly column, "World Naval Developments" in the US Naval Institute's magazine, Proceedings and is the author of many books including U.S. Destroyers: An Illustrated Design History; Unmanned Combat Air Systems; and Naval Weapons of World War One.

As a starting point for our discussion we will be using Dr. Friedman's article in the latest edition of the US Naval Institute's magazine, Naval History, Judging the Good from the Bad.


Join us live if you can, but if you miss the show you can always listen to the archive at blogtalkradio - the best way to get the show and download the archive to your audio player is to get a free account and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Dr. Holmes, I assume

The Navy blogosphere has just accrued a great new addition; regular guest to Midrats Dr. James R. Holmes is now blogg'n over at TheDiplomat.

Go pay him a visit and welcome him to the blogosphere.

You can catch his two episodes on Midrats below:


Listen to internet radio with Midrats on Blog Talk Radio


Listen to internet radio with Midrats on Blog Talk Radio

Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA); make mine a double

I want to go bowling with him and Rep. West (R-FL).

CBO on 2013 Shipbuilding Plan: Snort, Giggle, Harumph


Our friends at the Congressional Budget Office have done it again.

Their analysis of the Navy's shipbuilding plan came out this week. You can get your copy here, or read at the bottom of the post.

You need to read it all, there is a lot here - but here is what I found the most interesting at second reading.

They lay it all out in the summary; we have garbage in and garbage out. Once you read the cold, hard, facts given by the CBO and then look at DoN's numbers, it almost seems like the two organizations are living in parallel universes.

We'll get to the numbers in a bit - but one thing that kept coming to mind as CBO sliced off each of its thousand cuts was that the Navy continues to be undermined by the intellectual cancer of happy-talk and best-case COAs/CONOPS, leavened by the intellectual terrarium that is the Beltway.

As a result, we prevent ourselves from even starting an informed discussion by intentionally injecting inaccurate, ahistorical, and deeply flawed assumptions in to our entering arguments. We do this over and over, yet wonder why we have so little credibility. Over promise and under deliver is no way to run a business.

Anyway .... let's go!
The latest plan—submitted to the Congress in late March 2012 and covering fiscal years 2013 to 2042—contains some significant changes in the Navy’s long-term goals for shipbuilding. In particular, the Navy’s latest plan would:
- Reduce the goal for the inventory of ships,
- Reduce the number of ships to be purchased, and
- Alter the composition of ships to be purchased, buying fewer less-expensive support ships and more high-end combat ships.

The total costs of carrying out the 2013 plan—an average of about $22 billion per
year in 2012 dollars over the next 30 years—would be much higher than the funding
amounts that the Navy has received in recent years and higher than the costs for the
2012 plan, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates.
Out of the block, CBO puts USN on report; "Your numbers are bogus."

Remember since the end of last decade the discussions we've had about the funky numbers? Well it hasn't gotten any better and in may ways if drifting further from reality.
The Navy assumes that most of its destroyers will serve for 40 years. In the past, the Navy’s large surface combatants have typically served for 30 years or less. If the destroyers serve for only 35 or 30 years, the shortfall in large surface combatants could be more than twice as large as projected under the Navy’s plan, unless more ships were purchased.
...
The assumptions about the service life of large surface combatants remain the same
under the 2013 plan. The 2012 plan assumed that all Arleigh Burke class destroyers
commissioned after 2000 would have a service life of 40 years; earlier versions of the
ship would remain in the fleet for 35 years.
...
The Navy assumed it would keep its LHD class amphibious assault ships for 43 to 45 years (up from 40 years under the 2012 plan).
Have we shown any success in either INSURV or OPTEMPO that leads us to believe that we will be able to make these ships last that long in an economic manner? No. So ...

Speaking of ignoring present facts and creating your own,
CBO accounted for the fact that costs of labor and materials have traditionally grown faster in the shipbuilding industry than in the economy as a whole, whereas the Navy does not appear to have done so; that factor produces a widening gap between the estimates over time.
...
If the Navy receives the same amount of funding for new-ship construction in each of
the next 30 years as it has on average over the past three decades—$14.3 billion
annually—it will not be able to afford all of the purchases in the 2013 plan.
Given the budgetary crisis that is only starting, does anyone here think that the USN will be able to keep shipbuilding at steady-state? Ask the Royal Navy.

Looking for Fords out in the parking lot?
The number of support ships was lowered from 45 to approximately 33. Specifically,

the planned number of joint high-speed vessels (JHSVs)—small, fast ferries for transporting small numbers of personnel or equipment within a theater of operations was reduced from 21 to 10 ships.
...
Altogether, the Navy would buy almost the same number of ships over 30 years
under the 2013 plan as it would have bought under the previous plan.11 However, the
composition of ship purchases—particularly the mix of combat ships and logistics and support vessels—is quite different under the 2012 and 2013 plans.
No. Ferraris it will be then.

Wait ... there is a little goodness here we should smile about. I wish it were earlier, but take what you can get.
Unlike the Navy’s 2012 plan, the 2013 plan also included the purchase of replacements for its 2 command ships in the early 2030s. Those ships are scheduled to retire in 2039.
Whoever made that happen, send me an email - I owe you a beer.

Back to the green eye-shade:
The full annual cost of the 2013 shipbuilding plan, in CBO’s estimation, would average $21.9 billion over the 2013–2042 period—about 17 percent more than the Navy’s estimate of $18.8 billion and about 37 percent more than the average funding the Navy has received in the past three decades.
With this budgetary head wind, really?

Like your humble blogg'r, CBO likes to repeat the very important items. NB:
In addition to the ship purchases, a critical element of the Navy’s plan to achieve its projected inventory levels is the assumption that all DDG-51 Flight IIA and subsequent destroyers would serve in the fleet for 40 years. The class was originally designed to serve for 30 years, but the Navy has subsequently increased the planned service life first to 35 years and then, for Flight IIA ships and beyond, to 40 years in the 2009 shipbuilding plan. Historically, 12 of the last 13 classes of destroyers and cruisers were retired after having served 30 years or less, and many ships (including, in recent years, Spruance class destroyers and some Ticonderoga class cruisers) have been retired after 25 years of service or less (the only exception was the CGN-9 Long Beach, a class of one). The Navy retired those ships because they reached the end of their service life, because they became too expensive to maintain in the waning years of their service life, or because improving their combat capabilities to meet existing threats was not cost- effective.20 If the DDG-51 class met the same fate, the shortfall in meeting the Navy’s inventory goal for destroyers and cruisers would grow substantially (see Figure 7, which illustrates the effect on the force level for large surface combatants if the service life of those ships is only 35 or 30 years and the Navy does not increase the number of such ships it plans to purchase).
I'm sorry - but all this does is set up future leaders for failure in order to make your own PCS cycle easier. Ungh. Is that what you worked so hard to be promoted for? Really?

Of course - no post like this would be complete with out the required Salamander swipe at the Little Crappy Ship.
CBO estimates the average per-ship cost of the 43 LCSs in the plan at about $500 million.
Of course, that does not count all the Mission Module and logistic/enabling etc in order to make it actually anything more than a helo pad with a 57mm and smaller caliber weapons.
The Navy would also buy 27 next-generation littoral combat ships—called LCS(X)s—
beginning in 2030.
Hey - I have an idea; let's call them "frigates."

Oh, we don't need frigates, right? Really ... then why is LCS defined on page 29 as,
More routinely, they will also patrol sea lanes, provide an overseas presence, and conduct exercises with allies.
Ummm .... that's a frigate.

Words are nice, but I really like the graphs and numbers starting on page 31. As I like to toot my own horn more than anything else and to beat home my cute little catch phrases - you know our "Terrible 20s" that I keep bringing up? Well- here it is in a picture. No further discussion needed on my part.


Somethings got to give - and will have to give. Pick your poison.

At the beginning of the post I made a comment about over-promising and under-performing. This is how CBO puts it.
An important factor affecting the Navy’s and the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO’s) estimates is assumptions about future increases in the cost of building naval ships. The Department of Defense (DoD) has an overall estimate of future inflation (known as an inflator) that it uses to project increases in the costs of its procurement programs. However, according to the Navy, DoD’s inflator is lower than the actual inflation that occurred in the naval shipbuilding industry in the past decade.
Again - you need a picture.

I, ahem, know the Navy sends officers off to get their PhD in Economics - aren't we getting their input on our planning? On the team? I hope? Maybe they were told to shut up and color or their slides went in to backup? Harumph.

Well - on the official Navy blog at least we are firing back at the CBO. About as accurate as Admiral Nebogatov's 3rd Division at the Battle of Tsushima - but firing we are;

Based on a report issued by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), there has been media reporting and discussion about the cost estimating methodology used by the Navy to forecast over the 30-year shipbuilding plan.

The Navy’s 30-year plan assesses DoN investments in battle force ships in three 10-year periods, called near, mid, and far-term. The near-term 10-year period (FY13-FY22) comprises the FY13-FY17 Future Years Defense Program (FYDP) and the next FYDP. The mid-term planning period covers the two FYDPs between FY23-FY32, and the far-term planning period covers the two FYDPs between FY33-FY42. Confidence in cost estimates over these time periods inevitably declines over time. Unsurprisingly, then, the difference in Navy and CBO forecasts for new ship construction increases over time. Depending on the costs being considered, CBO’s numbers are 9-11 percent higher in the near-term planning period, 11-13 percent higher in the mid-term planning period, and 30-33 percent in the far-term.

The Navy’s confidence in our cost estimates in the FYDP (i.e, the current budget window) is extremely high.
Yes, as high as our "all children are above average" self-esteem, I am sure. I just wish the response was as fact based as the CBOs. Too much feeling, hoping, believing, and not enough knowing.

Sigh. That is what I got out of it. Over to you!


UPDATE: Undersecretary of the Navy Bob Work offers up a long response in comments that is worth the read.

Fullbore Friday

Fullbore can be an act, a tool of war, a concept ... or just an attitude in the face of adversity. An example to measure yourself and those around you by.

A little something different this week. I'm not sure how to quite put this, but here we go.

You're 17 and you're off being, well, 17. You wake up, things seem fuzzy and then, poof. Everything is upside down.
Frustrated by what she felt was a lenient plea bargain for two teens who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting her and circulating pictures of the incident, a Louisville 17-year-old lashed out on Twitter.

“There you go, lock me up,” Savannah Dietrich tweeted, as she named the boys who she said sexually assaulted her. “I’m not protecting anyone that made my life a living Hell.”

Now, Dietrich is facing a potential jail sentence, as the attorneys for the boys have asked a Jefferson District Court judge to hold her in contempt because they say that in naming her attackers, she violated the confidentiality of a juvenile hearing and the court’s order not to speak of it.
...
Her parents also gave their written permission for her to speak with the newspaper.

“I’m at the point, that if I have to go to jail for my rights, I will do it,” she said. “If they really feel it’s necessary to throw me in jail for talking about what happened to me ... as opposed to throwing these boys in jail for what they did to me, then I don’t understand justice.”
...
Dietrich said she was sexually assaulted by two teen boys she knew in August 2011. She had been drinking at a gathering, she said, and became unconscious. Months later she learned that pictures of the incident had been taken and shared with others.
...
Dietrich said she was sexually assaulted by two teen boys she knew in August 2011. She had been drinking at a gathering, she said, and became unconscious. Months later she learned that pictures of the incident had been taken and shared with others.
Read the whole thing.

This is about a lot more than a sexual assault - this is about an individual seeing wrong and standing up to it. She feels the system is wrong - and she does not accept it. In the face of others who may shame her or worse - she does not care; she leans in to it - and she does it with her parents' approval.

American spirit? Yes; they have it.

I am humbled by this young lady's bravery, spine, attitude, and ... well ... what more can you say? Also, BZ to her parents.

Savannah Dietrich - you are fullbore. Keep going like you are, and you'll be fine. May we all be blessed with daughters such as you.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Power & POLMIL of Language


There was a time - a time I caught the tail end of, that Central America in general, and Panama in particular, were unquestionably considered in our back yard.

We never really treated them very well - and it was kind of nasty.

Of course - it never really was all ours. You had the Caribbean Communist island of Cuba making trouble, and from El Salvador to Nicaragua you had very anti-American elements, and in Panama as well - not America's best friend.

Politically, things have quieted down a bit and on average - especially in Panama - things are trending much better.

When we gave up the Panama Canal, we didn't quite keep our interests in line very well, and as a result the Chinese filled in the gap.

You can read a lot in to this from The Economist, but what does this say about our international economic influence as viewed by others.
Panama is moving to make the teaching of Mandarin compulsory in all schools, in recognition of China's growing importance in the world economy.

The Panamanian National Assembly has given conditional approval to the bill in the first of three debates.

The bill's supporters say boosting the number of Chinese speakers will help increase Panama's competitiveness.

China is the biggest single user of the Panama Canal that connects the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.
We have the world's highest corporate income tax rate and saddle our competitiveness with regulations - this doesn't happen by accident. It is also fixable, if we want to.

China is important to the international economy - but this close to our back yard? Does someone see trendlines we don't want to?
The U.S. is the waterway’s biggest user, comprising 65 percent of trade using the 80-kilometer (50-mile) canal that links the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, followed by China.
Interesting hedge by the Panamanians. They also still have diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

Ponder not what this says about the Chinese, but what it says about us and the Panamanians.

Who has the Central American Desk? Wake him up!

When Do You Become too Political?

Everyone in uniform is entitled to have and to hold political beliefs - the key though is to keep them at home and to yourself.

The higher you go, the more important it is to make sure that your political thoughts are opaque. The fundamentals of sound leadership demand it - common sense should make it, well, common.

Especially with those who have spent perhaps too much time in the beltway, or see themselves as a bit more important than they are - it can seep in. Like all temptations, it is our nature to fall for them if we are not fully aware that it is there and affecting out decisions.

Case in point via CBS;
Four former U.S. military advisors in Afghanistan testified to Congress Tuesday that the Army general in charge of the NATO Training Mission there tried to delay an investigation into alleged human suffering and corruption at Dawood National Military Hospital, funded primarily with U.S. tax dollars.

The military whistleblowers, two of them still on active duty, say they discovered "Auschwitz"-like atrocities in 2010 at the hospital for wounded Afghan soldiers: open vats of blood draining from soldier's wounds, feces on the floor, and Afghan doctors and nurses demanding bribes to provide patients with food and basic care. According to the witnesses, patients routinely starved to death, were operated on without sedatives, and died of simple infections.

Army Colonel Mark Fassl was NATO's Training Mission Afghanistan Command Inspector General in 2010. He says when he requested the inspector general to investigate the hospital, he was admonished by the three-star general in charge, Lt. General William Caldwell.

"His first response to me was 'how could we make that request with elections coming?'" Fassl told a House oversight subcommittee Tuesday.
Some things are in a gray area - that my friends is way over the line.

Hat tip LBG.

Diversity Thursday

As we've discussed before, in 2012 the Diversity Industry is about two things.

1. Grievance mongers who counter their feelings of inadequacy through racial hate.
2. Need for a paycheck.

Here we have a perfect example of #2. This is really pathetic - but you paid for it, so soak it in.

Solicitation Number:
EUD201207240730

Notice Type: Special Notice
Synopsis: Added: Jul 24, 2012 11:30 am


Washington Headquarters Service intends to solicit on a sole source basis under the statutory authority permitting Other than Full and Open Competition as implemented by FAR 13.106-1 (b), Soliciting from One Sources to Society of Mexican American Engineers and Scientists (MAES), 2437 Bay Area BLVD., #100, Houston, Texas, 77058-1519. The Department of Defense (DoD) is energetically pursuing diversity through a magnitude of avenues to address barriers and issues impacting the full participation. The Office of Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity, (ODMEO) requests the support of Society of Mexican American Engineers and Scientists (MAES) to contribute to increasing diversity in the Department of Defense (DoD) workplace through outreach and programs. MAES will provide access to 10 Career/College Recruitment Fair events throughout the United States. The program will consist of 300-500 high school and college students over a one-year period.

MAES will provide the following deliverable(s):

• Recognition as a Co-Sponsor of Events.
• Access to High School/College students.
• Access to influencers in education (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).
• Attendance at Selected VIP Functions to build influencer base.
• Exhibit/booth space.
• Passes to the Sponsored Function to promote contact and communication.
• Advertisements in Convention/Conference Programs.
• Logo prominently displayed at Sponsored Function.

Cost of proposed contract $25,000

This notice of intent is not a request for proposals or quotations. Requests for copies of a solicitation in response to this notice will not be honored or acknowledged. A determination by the Government not to compete this proposed action based upon responses to this notice is solely with in the discretion of the Government. Information received will be considered solely for the purpose of determining whether conducting a competitive procurement is in the best interest of the Government. Interested parties may identify their capabilities by responding to this requirement, no later than 11:00 pm EST, February 15, 2012.
Now follow the link and see if you can find the funny.

In case you miss it and until or if they fix it, let me help you out below. Enjoy the schadenfreude.




For more fun - read the link again or just the pull quote. How do you like the disturbance in the time-space continuum?

How any of these people expect anyone to take their job seriously, I have no idea - but - being that they are using tax-payer money to actively discriminate on the basis of national origin; I guess we have to take them seriously.


Hat tip GM

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Cranberries Defend the SECNAV

Well - we've all more or less had our say about the eye-rolling naming decisions the SECNAV made from Navy hating CHAVEZ to the feel good public service narcissism of GIFFORDS - and as a result Congress wanted a report.

Of course, naming has never been pure - but that wasn't the point.

You can get a copy here or read it below. A good review and worth the read. Still no excuse.

"Everyone else is doing it, why can't we?" isn't a good enough reason for our kids, it shouldn't be for our Navy.

That being said, I agree with the report that a rigid system isn't the right path to take. We need some flexibility - but what we are really talking about here is specific judgement, not general policy.



Here is the audio version:

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

LCS: It Never Fails to Fail


For the Little Crappy Ship and its sub-optimal construct; it's the easiest thing to do.

We've been discussing Chris Cavas's articles on LCS for well over a half decade - and his latest work outlines in painful detail what critics have been warning about from the start.

More from the Perez report is so Salamanderesque that I swear their team has been hanging out on the front porch.

As we said in the middle of last decade, once hulls displace water in number; our reality will trump your PPT
.
The limited ability of the LCS crew to perform onboard maintenance, and the need to return to port for even basic repairs, “negatively impacts” the ships’ availability to operational commanders, according to sources familiar with the classified report.

Further, the contractor teams handling maintenance duties are not performing up to snuff or being held accountable for their work. Many contractors are doing the work twice — the second time to correct problems with their initial work — avoiding penalties and billing the Navy twice for the jobs.

According to some LCS crews, the reliance on contractors actually results in more work for the crew, which is too small to supervise the contractors. Navy sailors often have to fix the problems after the contractors have left.

Extensive contractor services also are required to maintain spare parts inventories for the ships, since each of the two ship designs features a number of non-standard systems and the vessels are too small to carry many spares. Ships will be based on either the Lockheed Martin Freedom-class design or Austal USA’s Independence class.
...
while LCS crews are functioning at the current 40-sailor level, safety and readiness are being harmed as a result. Crews tend to be exhausted after only three days of normal operations and soon begin to perform poorly. Navy studies show that the effects of several days of low-tempo LCS operations equate to high-tempo operations for a cruiser crew.

Even when in port, LCS duty sections are limited to three sections, meaning fewer days off and less time off the ship, and underway watches rarely exceed two or three sections — at a time when increased automation on ships with larger crews is seeing increases in many cases to five or six sections.

The manning margins are so thin on an LCS that crew members who need to be off the ship for training, briefings or any other reason may find the request denied if they can’t be even temporarily replaced. If a sailor holding one of 21 critical positions on the ship isn’t available, the ship might not be able to get underway, since there might not be another crew member with the required qualifications.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Pyro made me a liar

Good googly moogly.

Just yesterday I was just telling someone something to the effect: "Shipyard fires are usually started when some ignorant jerk leaves a bunch of oil soaked rags in a pile because he never paid attention to the safety brief and never reads reports. The nuclear community is too squared away to ever let something like that happen on one of their boats.
He went to a state room for a cigarette break, saw a bag of rags on the bunk and set them on fire.
A $400-million bag of rags? Really?

To make it worse - he was under medication for anxiety attacks.

Really? We have people who suffer from anxiety attacks - on medication nonetheless - who are working in the cramped confines of a submarine.

Great .... now I owe that person more beer - after I check my supply of iodine pills because I think our standards are slipping.

To h311 with the PC police - if you have a diagnosed psychological condition such as anxiety for Pete's sake, I don't care if you are medicated or not, you ain't working on a nuclear submarine.

When did that start?
UPDATE: Well ... the accused has a MySpace page it seems ... we think; how many Casey Fury types are in the area? If this ain't him, someone let me know; otherwise, bask in it. Here is it.


Update II - Electric Boogaloo: USNI has the Federal charging documents.
Hat tip Bubblehead.

Just do What the Marines do


In most cases - that is very good advice. When it comes to personal firearms .... doubly so.

Not a fan of the color they are going with ... but otherwise - drinks around the house.
For the first time in several decades, the U.S. militaryis buying new batches of the Colt .45 sidearm that it used during both World Wars and for much of the 20th century.

Colt Defense LLC said Friday it has been awarded a $22.5 million, five-year contract to provide theU.S. Marine Corpswith the latest .45 caliber pistols that were originally provided to the military in 1911.
...
The contract is to provide as many as 12,000 tan-colored, M45 Close Quarter Battle Pistols (CQBP), plus spare parts and logistical support for the pistols. The new version of the semi-automatic .45-caliber pistol, CQBP, is a descendant of the Colt M1911 first used by the military in 1911.

"This is a truly gratifying contract award," said Gerry Dinkel, CEO and president of Colt Defense. "To have the 1911 selected again for U. S. Forces 101 years after its initial introduction is just an incredible testament to the timeless design and effectiveness of the Colt 1911. Colt Defense looks forward to another great partnership with the Marine Corps as we renew industry production of the military 1911."
The USMC never fully embraced the M9, and it is great news that they are backing away further to a better solution.

Now - if we can just move from 5.56mm to a 6.5 or 6.8mm in long arms ...

Hat tip Nic.

INS Hanit Analysis

Christopher Carlson has produced a very good analysis on the ASCM hit on the INS Hanit. You can get the whole thing here.

The Executive Summary:

If missiles have your puzzl'r puzzl'n - then make sure and listen to yesterday's Midrats if you have not already.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Fullbore Friday

Some days - fullbore is just staying alive.

It doesn't happen by accident; it takes you knowing your equipment, your procedures - and most importantly, your ability to think and act without delay. It also takes your Shipmates - known and unknown - who know their business.


One of those days for Crusader pilot Cliff Judkins.
Fuel was pouring out of my aircraft; from the tailpipe; from the intake duct; from under the wings, and igniting behind me in a great awesome trail of fire.

The suddenness of the disaster overwhelmed me, and I thought: “This can’t be happening to me!”

The voices in my ears kept urging me to fire the ejection seat and abandon my aircraft.

I pressed my mike button and told the flight leader, “I’m getting out!”

I took my hands off the flight controls and reached above my head for the canvas curtain that would start the ejection sequence. I pulled it down hard over my face and waited for the tremendous kick in the pants, which would send me rocketing upward, free of the aircraft.

Nothing happened! The canopy, which was designed to jettison in the first part of the ejection sequence did not move. It was still in place and so was I.

My surprise lasted only a second. Then I reached down between my knees for the alternate ejection-firing handle, and gave it a vigorous pull. Again, nothing happened. This was very surprising. Both, the primary, and the secondary ejection procedures had failed and I was trapped in the cockpit of the burning aircraft.

The plane was now in a steep 60-degree dive. For the first time, I felt panic softening the edges of my determination. I knew that I had to do something or I was going to die in this sick airplane. There was no way out of it. With great effort, I pulled my thoughts together and tried to imagine some solution.

A voice in my earphones was shouting: “Ditch the plane! Ditch it in the ocean!”
It must have come from the tanker skipper or one of the destroyer commanders down below, because every jet pilot knows you can’t ditch a jet and survive. The plane would hit the water at a very high a speed, flip over and sink like a stone and they usually explode on impact.

I grabbed the control stick and leveled the aircraft. Then I yanked the alternate handle again in an attempt to fire the canopy and start the ejection sequence, but still nothing happened. That left me with only one imaginable way out, which was to jettison the canopy manually and try to jump from the aircraft without aid of the ejection seat.

Was such a thing possible? I was not aware of any Crusader pilot who had ever used this World War II tactic to get out of a fast flying jet. I had been told that this procedure, of bailing out of a jet, was almost impossible. Yes, the pilot may get out of the airplane but the massive 20-foot high tail section is almost certain to strike the pilot’s body and kill him before he falls free of the aircraft. My desperation was growing, and any scheme that offered a shred of success seemed better than riding that aircraft into the sea, which would surely be fatal.

I disconnected the canopy by hand, and with a great whoosh it disappeared from over my head never to be seen again. Before trying to get out of my confined quarters, I trimmed the aircraft to fly in a kind of sidelong skid: nose high and with the tail swung around slightly to the right.

Then I stood up in the seat and put both arms in front of my face. I was sucked out harshly from the airplane. I cringed as I tumbled outside the bird, expecting the tail to cut me in half, but thank goodness, that never happened! In an instant I knew I was out of there and uninjured.

I waited . . . and waited . . . until my body, hurtling through space, with the 225 knots of momentum started to decelerate. I pulled the D-ring on my parachute, which is the manual way to open the chute if the ejection seat does not work automatically. I braced myself for the opening shock. I heard a loud pop above me, but I was still falling very fast. As I looked up I saw that the small pilot chute had deployed. (This small chute is designed to keep the pilot from tumbling until the main chute opens.) But, I also noticed a sight that made me shiver with disbelief and horror! The main, 24-foot parachute was just flapping in the breeze and was tangled in its own shroud lines. It hadn’t opened! I could see the white folds neatly arranged, fluttering feebly in the air.

“This is very serious,” I thought.

Frantically, I shook the risers in an attempt to balloon the chute and help it open. It didn’t work. I pulled the bundle down toward me and wrestled with the shroud lines, trying my best to get the chute to open. The parachute remained closed. All the while I am falling like a rock toward the ocean.

I looked down hurriedly. There was still plenty of altitude remaining. I quickly developed a frustrating and sickening feeling. I wanted everything to halt while I collected my thoughts, but my fall seemed to accelerate. I noticed a ring of turbulence in the ocean. It looked like a big stone had been thrown in the water. It had white froth at its center; I finally realized this is where my plane had crashed in the ocean.
“Would I be next to crash?” were my thoughts!

Again, I shook the parachute risers and shroud lines, but the rushing air was holding my chute tightly in a bundle. I began to realize that I had done all I could reasonably do to open the chute and it was not going to open. I was just along for a brutal ride that may kill or severely injure me.

I descended rapidly through the low clouds. Now there was only clear sky between me and the ocean. This may be my last view of the living. I have no recollection of positioning myself properly or even bracing for the impact. In fact, I don’t remember hitting the water at all. At one instant I was falling very fast toward the ocean. The next thing I remember is hearing a shrill, high-pitched whistle that hurt my ears.
Suddenly, I was very cold.
Don't stop now - read it all.

Hat tip SJS.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Sequestration: by the Numbers


There is a very dangerous game of chicken taking place in the beltway. It is also cynical to a degree related to national defense I am having trouble finding a historical comparison.
When the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction failed to find a savings agreement, the Budget Control Act of 2011 mandated $487 billion in security cuts over the next 10 years and included a small but devastating provision that will trigger $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts, effective January 2013. An estimated $492 billion of those cuts will come from security spending in the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security, the National Nuclear Security Administration and other defense- and intelligence-related programs. The bottom line is, programs related to our nation’s defense will absorb half of the sequestration costs despite being just 19 percent of the national spending budget.

Not only is the sheer size of those cuts — about $54 billion a year, equal to two years’ worth of all Defense Department shipbuilding and maritime systems — a massive problem, but the implementation is leaving budget planners stumped.
...
Cuts will go into effect automatically in January, ...
When does this become an election year issue?

Only one thing will stop this - strong, principled leadership from the very top.


Do you see that right now?

A Boomeresque Gift to the Boomers


"Everyone gets a trophy" we like so snicker at the Baby Boomers and their self-esteem cultish habit they gave us.

Well, we can add to that, "Everyone gets a MUC."

Sigh.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jon Greenert signed the award, which is expected to be presented July 20 at ceremonies in Bangor, Wash., and Kings Bay, Ga., where the boomers are homeported, a spokeswoman said.

Sailors who served aboard one of the 14 ballistic-missile submarines from July 16, 2007, to Jan. 28, 2011, will be eligible to wear the midlevel (sic) unit commendation, a unit award equivalent to the Bronze Star.

During this time frame, these 14 boats "conducted over 119 deterrent patrols," said Submarine Force spokeswoman Cmdr. Monica Rousselow, who estimated 4,500 sailors are in the boomer fleet.

In addition to these boomers, sailors assigned to Submarine Groups 9 and 10, Submarine Squadrons 17 and 20, and Naval Submarine Support Centers Bangor and Kings Bay are also eligible to wear the MUC.

"Task Force 134 and 144 demonstrated high standards in day-to-day operations, in exercises, in training and every time they went to sea," according to the citation ...
You did your job, in other words.

COMSUBFOR has the citation on his blog.
For meritorious service from 16 July 2007 to 28 January 2011. Commander, Task Force 134 and Commander, Task Force 144 (CTF134/144) excelled in support of United States Strategic Command’s flawless execution of its global mission of strategic deterrence. The Task Forces provided an essential leg to our nation’s strategic triad and were a key element of our deterrent mission. The deterrence mission executed by Task Force 134 and 144 during this period underpinned Department of Defense strategy and provided the backbone and foundation for our political leadership in execution of national security policy. Providing credibility to the deterrent force, Commander Task Force 134 and 144 demonstrated high standards in day-to-day operations, in exercises, in training, and every time they went to sea. By their truly distinctive achievements, unrelenting perseverance, and unfailing devotion to duty, the officers, enlisted personnel, and civilian employees of Commander Task Force 134 and Commander, Task Force 144 reflected credit upon themselves and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
Sigh. I really wish we would return to a Commonwealth ideal of awards vice a North Korean ideal.

Diversity Thursday


More on the "good news" front.

Step by step - there is positive progress out there, in the larger culture if not the Navy's.

The present self-serving Diversity Industry diktat that our Navy is rolling around in is not just an archaic, discriminatory, and retrograde socio-political construct, it is just plain inaccurate. A 1970s holdover that is hard to shake - mostly as it produces a lot of income for the Diversity Industry, and is a simply way for simple minds to feel they are "doing something."

The worst part of it is that it ignores the great melting pot (literally) of DNA that we have here - forcing people who if they had their way would prefer not to classify themselves here or there, to all of a sudden become sectarian.

Even worse are those who really don't, Elizabeth Warren like, have a connection to a specific group, but take that designation for personal gain. We have that throughout our Navy, including our Flag Officers. That is really sad, but it is what it is.

Good news though - the illogic that underpins all this retrograde racialist diktat now and then cracks wide enough for even true believers (or pretend true believers) to stop for a moment and go, "Hey!"

The Salamander snickers. Today Motor City, tomorrow the Navy Yard.
Congressman Hansen Clarke, D-13th District, was forced into an unusual position Wednesday, responding to allegations that he’s masquerading as black to get votes.

Clarke is running for the newly redrawn 14th Congressional District, which includes Detroit, against two black women, Mary Waters and Brenda Lawrence, plus white men state Rep. Gary Peters and newcomer Bob Costello. Clarke joined one debate this election, a digital debate for CBSDetroit, then said he would no longer debate because the racial rhetoric was becoming overwhelming.

A robocall allegedly went on in the district this week saying Clarke is “not black.” And Waters told the Detroit Free Press she’s the only black Detroiter in the race.
...
“Who really gives a care right now?,” Clarke told Langton. “My opponents are so desperate they can’t attack me based on what we’re doing, based on my record, so they’re going after my poor deceased parents who have been dead for 30 years.”

Opponents have pointed out that Clarke’s mother’s death certificate lists her race as white, though Clarke describes himself as “multiracial” with a light-skinned black mother and Indian father.

Clarke said about his mother’s death certificate: “That’s the way it is, sometimes people viewed light-skinned black folks as being white.”

Beyond that, he said his mother’s race shouldn’t matter.

And he blamed racial divides for the disastrous state of Detroit.

“Our region has been so divided based on race it’s actually undercut our economic growth,” Clarke said. “The only reason we’re the only metro area in the country without mass transit is these politicians want to play race all the time. The costs have been enormous on us.”

He went on to say racism has stopped business owners and new residents from coming to Detroit, where more than 80 percent of residents are black.

“When people believe they’re going to be hassled because of who they are as a person they don’t want to live in that community,” the congressman said. “It’s overall, it’s part of the whole equation when you look at where to live. Nobody wants to live in a neighborhood where they feel their kids are going to get hassled and threatened and jeered. No employer wants to do that either.”

He said his role as a multiracial candidate is to bring all sides together. He said his mother was Episcopalian, his father a Muslim, and he’s a Roman Catholic.

“You know what that is? Typical American family. We’re all diverse,” Clarke said.

“… Don’t cheapen people like that, ... we’ve appealed based on the worst of people and look what’s happened to our city — look at it … It’s because of this kind of ignorant perspective. We need to be focusing on serving and helping people.”
Welcome to the barricades Congressman!

Sectarianism and a requirement to self-identify your race with each year becomes a more and more useless activity at best - divisive, inaccurate, and racist at worst.

It has no place in our nation - and especially has no place in our Navy.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Who's Running This Thing Anyway?

Here is a great job to have in 2012:
Last month, the Navy held a ceremony to recognize some of its best and brightest acquisition leaders.

One of the winners was the Navy team in charge of managing the fleet's acquisition program for the DDG-51 line of destroyers. Capt. Mark Vandroff is the program manager for the DDG-51 program, a class that's been serving in the Navy fleet since the early 1990s. But the Navy's still building them at two separate shipyards — one of the reasons the program was able to win the Navy award for competition.
Nice guy doing a good job.

Listen to the interview with him two down here.

Roadtrip to Louisiana?


They HAVE to do a static display. What do you think - dog & Tupolev show at Barksdale followed by a Salamanderpaloozaat Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop in Naw'lins that evening?
The head of Russia's Long Range Air Force says two Russian Tu-95MS strategic bombers will fly to an air base in the United States next year under an agreement reached between U.S. and Russian military representatives.

General Anatoly Zhikharev said two Russian bombers would land at Barksdale air base in Louisiana and that later that year two U.S. B-52 strategic bombers would visit Russia's Engels air base in the Saratov region.
I know it is a 5.5hr drive and all, but .....

Hat tip SJS.

About your network ....


Admiral Adama is not pleased with your bandwidth CONOPS.

Via DefenseTech;
F. Michael Maloof, ... cites Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd and ZTE Corporation as the companies the Chinese government and People Liberation Army can use to gain access to this information via commercial networks installed by each Chinese electronic manufacturer.

“The two companies give the Chinese remote electronic “backdoor” access through the equipment they have installed in telecommunications networks in 140 countries. The Chinese companies service 45 of the world’s 50 largest telecom operators,” Maloof writes.

UPDATE: I don't think this makes him less grumpy. Via SpaceNews:
With a primary source of funding for commercial satellite capacity drying up, the U.S. Department of Defense must find an alternative means to feed the tremendous appetite for bandwidth generated by unmanned aircraft, according to a U.S. Air Force official.

For the past decade or so, the Pentagon has relied heavily on Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) accounts funded by wartime supplemental appropriations bills to pay for commercial satellite services. But the Pentagon likely will not be able meet the demand for commercial satellite bandwidth with OCO funding in the months and years ahead, said Air Force Col. Michael Lakos, the service’s military satellite communications lead.

Speaking at the Satellite 2012 conference here organized by Access Intelligence LLC, Lakos pleaded with satellite industry executives to come up with cheaper ways of providing bandwidth that is critical to a growing number of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) applications. “There is not a lot of money to put those into the service budgets because those are being shrunk,” he said.
...
Industry officials have maintained that the military’s demand for commercial bandwidth will not decline as its forces withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan because the draw-downs will increase its reliance on bandwidth-hungry UAVs.
...
Today, most UAVs are equipped to transmit in the heavily used Ku-band. But commercial satellite operators are increasingly expanding into the Ka-band, and the Air Force is deploying a new fleet of Wideband Global Satcom communications satellites that operate in both Ka- and X-band frequencies.

Andy Beegan, chief technology officer for Inmarsat Government Services here, agreed that future UAVs should be designed with an ability to utilize multiple frequency bands. Inmarsat operates a fleet of L-band satellites and is planning in the coming years to deploy a Ka-band system.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Old Dude Don't Play

I don't know what this guy's background is ... but his tactical technique is not too bad ...



Executive summary - in Florida, there are summer wear and winter wear weapons. All are neighborhood approved.

What's sauce for the COB, should be sauce for the MIDN

It isn't just that we are all adults here - we are all professionals.

We are well past "young, dumb, and ...." - we are well past "innocence." Bravo Sierra to all that.

Every day in the Fleet we put our lives in the hands of young men and women who are 18, 19, 20. Previous generations put their lives in the hands of 16, 17, etc. Heck - entire armies were in the hands of 19-yr olds.

When someone is an adult and desires to be an Commissioned Officer - as a matter of fact holds the historically esteemed rank of Midshipman, not only should that person be held to a higher standard than a Senior Non-Commissioned Officer - the Wardroom should demand it.

Our Sailors are watching.

Case in point.

Via Sam Fellman at NavyTimes;
As the ballistic-missile submarine Nebraska’s patrol was extended last summer, an illicit onboard romance was about to boil over.

The lovers at the core of the gold crew scandal were notable in their contrasts: She was a Navy officer in the making, entering her final year at the academy. He was a 41-year-old enlisted sailor, a frocked master chief, with 20 years of service.

New on board and there to learn, she answered seemingly to everyone. He was the chief of the boat, responsible for the crew’s conduct and answered directly to the skipper. She was single, he was married.

As the patrol dragged on, their relationship became an open secret, with Turley leading a cover-up that warped the culture onboard the boat, which contributed to another romance between a crew member and a female mid, official records detail. In this unduly familiar climate, one love-struck sailor went so far as to spy on another mid’s email.
...
The affair didn’t taper off even after the COB and the mid were on different coasts. On the contrary, Turley flew to the East Coast on Sept. 29 to see her. Earlier, he’d told a shipmate that the mid was going to get him a ticket to a Navy football game.

That Saturday, Navy lost in a nail-biter by one point to Air Force; while it isn’t clear whether Turley was in the stands, he had been in Annapolis for at least two days. He spent $20.11 at Chick and Ruth’s Delly, a diner near the academy on Sept. 30 and $9.79 at Potato Valley Cafe the next day, putting both Annapolis purchases on his government credit card. Over the five-day trip, Turley charged $451.15 to his government credit card account, statements show.
You get the idea - more high-school like behavior is in the article. Read it all if you must.

Here is the kicker:
The female mid was booted from the academy in her senior year and will likely have to repay the Navy the cost of her education, said academy spokesman Cmdr. William Marks, adding: “You can take this thorough, yet swift, action as a sign that we hold midshipmen to the highest standards.”

Marks declined to release her name per privacy laws.
Someone call the JAG for me - I need to know the Command options here.

To make this clear; these are two adults. Both have violated special trust and confidence - but the Midshipman more. She is an adult and she is a Midshipman, not a counselor a Baptist Vacation Bible Camp. It was her responsibility to set the tone and proper relationship. As senior, she has the responsibility. What is missing here to set and example so others may think twice? Simple - a tool we do not use enough; shame.

Privacy act by a55. This Midshipman needs to be named. The full unredacted report needs to be made public. The taxpayer subsidized her education and income - just like they did the Master Chief - as a result, they need to be treated the same.

She knew what she was doing as a woman - and more importantly, she knew what she was doing as a Midshipman.

The service should demand the most public and open demonstration that we do not approve of such behavior. Name them and shame them is the phrase.

If you are going to do that to the Master Chief - you have to - no by honor - you must do that to the Midshipman. If you don't, you only deserve the scorn the Sailors will throw your way.