Thursday, May 24, 2018

Diversity Thursday

Always keep in your mind that the Navy's branch of the Diversity Industry, indeed almost all of the Diversity Industry, is stuck in the early 1970s in both their ideology and worldview. The only "new" idea in their fetid wheelhouse is the late-1980s concept of Intersectionality that only took them a quarter century to bring to the front.

Here's the 21st Century - get off the treadmill.

Columbia undergrad Coleman Hughes has an exceptional fact-filled article you should take time to read. It is a modern, forward looking perspective of what should be part of our national conversation. It is hard, as we have outlined here over the years, as too many people are invested personally, psychologically, and financially in keeping division and strife at the front.

Read it all.

Staying on the Racism Treadmill means denying progress and stoking ethnic tensions. It means, as Thomas Sowell once warned, moving towards a society in which “a new born baby enters the world supplied with prepackaged grievances against other babies born the same day.”[15] Worse still, it means shutting down the one conversation that stands the greatest chance of improving outcomes for blacks: the conversation about culture.

By contrast, getting off the Treadmill means recognizing that group outcomes will differ even in the absence of systemic bias; it means treating people as individuals rather than as members of a collective; it means restoring the naive conception of equal treatment over the skin-color morality of the far Left; and it means rejecting calls to burn this or that system to the ground in order to combat forms of racial oppression that grow ever more abstract by the day. At bottom, it means acknowledging the fact that racism has declined precipitously, and perhaps even being grateful that it has.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Syrian Civil War: the Difference a Year Makes

Last week, the Assad government finally took control of their capital with the removal of the ISIS pocket around the Palestinian camp.

Amazing what can happen in a year. From Syria Civil War Map, two graphics that tell the story better and 5,000 words.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Sure boss, I can generate a letter ...

What does it look like when the military is told to "make it happen" for political ends, knows it isn't possible, but with a squinted eye and a bit of creative painting makes it look like they're following orders?

^^^ That is my optimistic view of the satire-proof letter from NAVSEA.

This is ... ambitious.

First thing I thought of was what we did to the SPRUANCE class when they were in their early 20s.

Second thing is ... how are we going to do this with the present operational tempo and expect funding for the next decade or so?

We can't, something will have to change.

Some of these ships are already not in the best shape - especially the cruisers. 

Something will have to change.

Is this realistic, or simply aspirational signaling to meet a tasker now, knowing that a few PCS cycles down the road other people will have to deal with it?

^^^ That is my pessimistic view of the letter.

Para 2 is the emergency hatch that pretty much negates the rest. See my opening to this post; that is where I'm putting my bet.

I don't know about you, but I feel slimy just reading this - but sometimes you have to do slimy things.

It is not an impressive document by any stretch of the imagination for anyone involved in it.

Not one of our Navy's best moments.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Fighting the Great War at Sea with Norman Friedman, on Midrats

As we approach the 100th Anniversary of the end of the First World War, it is good to reflect back on the impact of WWI on the growth of our modern navy, and the echoes it has to the present day.

For the full hour this Sunday from 5-6pm Eastern to discuss this and related issues will be Dr. Norman Friedman. As a starting point of our discussion will be some of the perspective brought out in his 2014 book from Naval Institute Press, Fighting the Great War at Sea: Strategy, Tactics and Technology.

As described in the review at Amazon;
“While the overriding image of the First World War is of the bloody stalemate on the Western Front, the overall shape of the war arose out of its maritime character. It was essentially a struggle about access to worldwide resources, most clearly seen in Germany's desperate attempts to counter the American industrial threat, which ultimately drew the United States into the war.”
Dr. Friedman has had a long career in weapon and system analysis for the U.S. Navy, DOD, and industry. He has authored numerous histories of naval weapons and platforms with a concentration on the connection between policy, strategy, and technology. With over 40 published books, he also has lectured extensively and served as an adviser at the highest levels of government and think tanks.

His Fighting the Great War at Sea won the Lyman prize awarded by the North American Society of Oceanic Historians. He recently published a history of fleet air defense, Fighters Over The Fleet, and is about to publish a history of the British battle fleet during the Victorian era.

He received a Ph.D. in solid-state theoretical physics from Columbia University.

Join us live if you can, but if you miss the show you can always listen to the archive at blogtalkradio or Stitcher

If you use iTunes, you can add Midrats to your podcast list simply by clicking the iTunes button at the main showpage - or you can just click here.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Fullbore Friday

Every day, in places almost no one knows about and fewer could place on a map, American servicemembers are partnered with allies and host nations trying to keep the spread of Islamic fundamentalism at bay.

A bit over six months ago, an event took place that broke above the background noise. It was a mission that, as things happen now and then, even with all our advantages, the enemy had a vote and won.

BZ to DOD and AFRICOM for putting out this official, unclassified briefing on the circumstances leading up to and during the ambush of US and Nigerien military personnel near the village of Tongo Tongo in October 2017.

The Long War will see more of this.

A lot has already been written about this mission and some are trying to use it to make this point and that. Not here. 

Almost everyone who served has been in tactical situations where if things when one way or another, in hindsight others in safe places could pick apart why you did or did not do this or that.

This had me thinking of a few things I was involved in.

Take a moment and ponder. You don't have to be a ground forces guy to learn from this.

Hat tip TheWarZone.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Are we watching the free previews in Ukraine

There is a steady drip of articles from the Army about what we are learning from the conflict in Ukraine?

Where is our Navy and Marine Corps?

I'm pondering over at USNIBlog.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Prepper Math

Don't worry, this isn't about to turn in to one of "those blogs" ... but this is too good to pass up as it folds together math, statistics, and an interesting take on a natsec issue that gets too little attention.

I'll let the author, BJ Campbell, set it up for you. For those who recall my still VERY valid "drums on the Rhine" post from a few years ago, you'll see why I like this.
I’m not a writer by trade. I’m a stormwater hydrologist, and in my opinion, a pretty good one. Hydrology is the science of tracking water as it moves through the water cycle, from ocean evaporation through cloud formation, precipitation, groundwater infiltration, runoff, evapotranspiration, riverine hydraulics, and the time series behavior of reservoirs. It is a deep and fascinating field, but one of its most relevant applications to our lives is delineating floodplain boundaries.

To determine a floodplain boundary, we first identify a “storm event” that concerns us. We use historical rainfall data and some statistical magic to calculate the worst storm event a place is likely to experience in a 100-year time span, probabilistically speaking, and we call that the “100-year storm.” There’s a push in the field to quit calling it that, because it confuses the muggles, so now we often say something like “the storm which has a 1% chance of happening in any given year.” Then we take that rainfall data, judiciously apply more math, and turn it into a flow rate in a river. Then we do hydraulics (more math) to determine how deep the river will have to be to carry that much water, and we draw a line on a map.

You should have seen this line, if you’ve ever bought a house near a floodplain. If you bought a house near a floodplain and were not shown this line, contact me professionally to ensure you didn’t make a terrible mistake.

We don’t buy houses in the floodplain if we can help it, because we are risk averse, even though the chance of it flooding in any given year is only 1%. Why? We will live in the house longer than one year. Over the 30-year life of a mortgage, the chance of the house flooding at least once vastly exceeds 1%, because every year is another roll of the dice. It’s not cumulative, though. The mathematics for back-calculating the odds is called a Bernoulli Process. Here’s what it looks like:
If you have trouble with the math, read the whole article and then come back, he covers it in words as well.

This is where it gets interesting.
Now let’s talk about a bigger, nastier disaster than a flood.
...we ... have good sources of data on when the group of people on the piece of dirt we currently call the USA attempt to overthrow the ruling government. It’s happened twice since colonization. The first one, the American Revolution, succeeded. The second one, the Civil War, failed. But they are both qualifying events. Now we can do math.
Have your attention?
Stepping through this, the average year for colony establishment is 1678, which is 340 years ago. Two qualifying events in 340 years is a 0.5882% annual chance of nationwide violent revolution against the ruling government. Do the same math as we did above with the floodplains, in precisely the same way, and we see a 37% chance that any American of average life expectancy will experience at least one nationwide violent revolution.

This is a bigger chance than your floodplain-bound home flooding during your mortgage.
But wait ... there's more;
Or we could look at a broader historical brush. Since the fall of Constantinople in 1453, there have been 465 sovereign nations which no longer exist, and that doesn’t even count colonies, secessionist states, or annexed countries. Even if we presume that half of these nation-state transitions were peaceful, which is probably a vast over-estimation, that’s still an average of one violent state transition every 2.43 years.

If we look at raw dialectic alone, we reach dismal conclusions. “Do you think the United States will exist forever and until the end of time?” Clearly any reasonable answer must be “no.” So at that point, we’re not talking “if,” but “when.” If you don’t believe my presumed probability, cook up your own, based on whatever givens and data pool you’d like, and plug it in. The equations are right up there. Steelman my argument in whatever way you like, and the answer will still probably scare you.
Thing is, in very recent memory we have an example of a relatively modern nation imploding.
In 2010, 8.5 million tourists visited Syria, accounting for 14% of their entire GDP. Eight years later, they have almost half a million dead citizens, and ten million more displaced into Europe. They didn’t see this coming, because if they did, they would have fled sooner. Nobody notices the signs of impending doom unless they’re looking carefully.
At least we don't have any warning signs, eh?
Pretend you’re someone with your eyes on the horizon. What would you be looking for, exactly? Increasing partisanship. Civil disorder. Coup rhetoric. A widening wealth gap. A further entrenching oligarchy. Dysfunctional governance. The rise of violent extremist ideologies such as Nazism and Communism. Violent street protests. People marching with masks and dressing like the Italian Blackshirts. Attempts at large scale political assassination. Any one of those might not necessarily be the canary in the coal mine, but all of them in aggregate might be alarming to someone with their eyes on the horizon. Someone with disproportionate faith in the state is naturally inclined to disregard these sorts of events as a cognitive bias, while someone with little faith in the state might take these signs to mean they should buy a few more boxes of ammunition.
I don't know about you, but I already have my bolt-hole ... I mean "hunting property" ... a couple of hours from the nearest big city and 30-min from the nearest interstate.

Sleep well!

Monday, May 14, 2018

The Simple, Right Thing is Often the Most Difficult Thing

It's a simple fundamental.

Everything a military does - every branch - is for one thing; to create conditions for a young person to stand on a street corner and state; this is ours. It is not yours.

So many billions of dollars are spent for the sexy and sparkly support equipment for others to enable that man there, and yet over and over again we nickle and dime the kit he is issued.

The fact we do this with his primary weapon is a crime.

As I may have mentioned here before, the real "1st appearance" of "CDR Salamander" was circa 1982 when in a high school ethics class (yes, I went to such a high school). I wrote my term paper about the horrible decisions that brought the M-16/5.56mm in to service roughly the year I was born.

Even though much has been done in the last half-century to correct some of the problems - its inadequacies are well known and still show up on the battlefield, unnecessarily resulting in the death of those who carry it.

The green-eyeshade argument has only become more callous with age and is another datapoint showing that - regardless of what their self-esteem workshops may tell them - those resisting change are blinkered and close-minded in understanding their jobs compared to those who came before.

Let's look at how other generations responded to better technology and calibers to give their soldiers. With the exception of the 30-06, each change in caliber corresponded with a new weapon.

1866 - 50-70 Sharps; 7-yrs
1873 - 45-70 Govt; 19-yrs
1892 - 30-40 Krag; 14-yrs
1906 - 30-06 Springfield; 48-yrs
1954 - 7.62x51mm NATO; 8-yrs (NB: still a "NATO caliber" and in use, but largely replaced by 5.56mm in front-line use).
1962 - 5.56×45mm NATO; 56-yrs and counting.

Don't listen to me on this, there are plenty of smarter people on my side;
Retired Army Maj. Gen. Bob Scales was a keynote speaker at the annual National Defense Industry Association Armament Systems forum here, and he didn’t waste any time launching into a takedown of key components that equip the close combat infantryman.

Scales recounted how he’d spoken at the conference three years ago, pushing industry and government procurement officials to create an intermediate caliber rifle with a piston action, polymer ammunition casing, a suppressor and digital fire controls.

“Now, in 2018, does any of that sound familiar?” he asked.
The rifle he described in his opening remarks is handled under the Next Generation Squad Weapon project, headed by the Army.

But there, too, are problems, he noted.

The NGSW program was aimed at making a rifle or carbine to replace the flawed M16/M4 system, which Scales has railed against since his own experience with early versions of the M16 in Vietnam.
You would think we would start there, but ...
But an incredulous Scales told the audience that developers on the NGSW are now prioritizing the light machine gun in a program called the Next Generation Squad Automatic Rifle to replace the Squad Automatic Weapon, with the rifle or carbine to come later.

“It’s the Next Generation rifle or carbine, damn it,” Scales said.
For those who have studied the history, government entities had been a problem and not a solution in getting modern weapons in the hands of those on the frontline for a long time. More often than not, it is an outside force that brings the infantryman what they need;
The change in focus means that under current schedules, the rifle/carbine won’t be ready until 2024.

That is not acceptable, Scales said. To either him or his boss.

“Let me tell you something, folks. It’s not working,” Scales said. “Make the rifle by 2020. My God, folks, it’s a nine-pound piece of steel. The cost isn’t as much as a lug nut on a B-1 bomber.”
He's right. This is already late;
Snipers with Special Operations Command will see a barrel swap on their 7.62 mm rifles as early as next year to a commercially available 6.5 mm caliber.

“The SecDef said before he leaves office in 2020, if [President Donald] Trump is not re-elected, he’s going out to a range somewhere to shoot that rifle,” Scales said. “If you don’t get something in the field by then, you’ve failed.”

He pointed to lives lost due to small arms and other infantry equipment holes from Vietnam to Afghanistan to last year’s deaths of special operations soldiers in Niger.

“If you’d listened to me three years ago, those soldiers in Niger would have had this rifle in their hands,” Scales said. “So, take that to bed tonight.”
Read it all. I'd gladly exchange a F-35C or two for all this to take place on an accelerated timeline.

A century ago, we almost went .270 (6.8mm), but the green-eyeshade of their day killed it. Maybe this century we'll get it right.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Fullbore Friday

Your nation is in captivity, yet you fight - and you fight well.

I give you the Polish Grom-Class destroyer, ORP Błyskawica.
On 1 September, 1939, Germany invaded Poland. Consequently, following the the Polish-British Common Defense Pact, two days later Britain declared war on Germany. Before the war started it was realised that the Polish navy, in its infancy, was vastly outnumbered and no match for the Kriegsmarine. So on 30 August 1939, Operation Peking took place; the destroyers Grom, Błyskawica and Burza (Translated: 'Storm') were escorted out of the vulnerable Baltic to Britain to save them from destruction. Soon after, on 7 September, 1939 the Błyskawica attacked a U-Boat, the first recorded combat between an Allied and German ship in the war.

During the war the two Grom-class vessels fought with distinction, with the Błyskawica, under the command of Captain Wojciech Francki. The ship took part in Dunkirk, operations off Norway and would even later escort the Queen Mary to Britain carrying American troops through the dangerous Atlantic, the hunting-ground of U-Boats. The Błyskawica was one of the few ships capable of keeping up with the record-breaking Blue Riband winning liner.

Blysykawica was armed with four twin 120mm guns as her main offensive armament, triple torpedo tubes, four side depth charge throwers, two stern depth charge tracks and two mines, in addition to her impressive anti-aircraft battery consisting of one twin 40mm Bofors gun, 3 twin 37mm guns and two single 37mm anti-aircraft guns, ten anti-aircraft weapons in total.
During the war, she logged 146,000 nautical miles (270,000 km) and escorted eighty-three convoys. In combat she damaged three U-boats and shot down at least four aircraft before the war's conclusion in May 1945.
Neat thing too - she is still afloat as a museum ship.

First posted JUN12.

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

FITZGERALD's OOD Pleads Guilty

Like I wrote over at USNIBlog today - this story has the potential to be more damaging to the Navy's reputation than Fat Leonard.

Fat Leonard at the end of the day is about personal failure - this reads more and more of institutional failure.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

GLOCs, SLOCs .... ILOCs?

Taking or securing your status as a land power requires robust and well defended Ground Lines of Communication (GLOC). Only a strong and effective navy can secure the Sea Lines of Communication (SLOC) that enable food, fuel, and economic trade to flow unimpeded.

At war, if you want to undermine a land power, you threaten its GLOC. If you want to strangle a maritime nation, disrupt its SLOC.

In an age like so other where simple data, the rapid and reliable exchange of 1s and 0s, are so important for trade, communication, social, and warfighting prowess of advanced nations - what is the status of our Information Lines of Communications (ILOC)?

We all know the Tiffany China Doll fragility of our satellites, but what about the real backbone of the Information Age?

Over at BusinessInsider, a little something to ponder; in peace they are good to spy on ... in war - in a modern age where data bandwidth is as valuable for many economies as oil, coal, and iron were in other ages - are they are target?

Cables are nothing new, but the degree of reliance on them is - as is the ability of technology to find them. We know we fiddle with them at peace, but you don't have to be all that imagitive to see what a target they will be at war.

With everyone thinking about autonomous systems and AI, finding and disrupting cables would seem to be one of the easier things to do in this advance in technology. Even for non-state actors looking to go after the "E" in D.I.M.E., this is attractive.

With each year it will be easier to find and attack these ILOC.

How do you wargame this? Ponder as you watch the below.

Monday, May 07, 2018

The Overhead & Support for the Syria Strike

It is one thing to hear about how may missiles may have been used in the recent attacks on Syria, but it is another thing to appreciate what it took to get those rounds on target.

Pictures are perfect for this.

Great post by the folks at CIGeography. A nice, clear graphic. 

We should just accept the assumption that these numbers and representations are not perfect, but darn close enough.

Let's look at the air side first, as it is the most educational.

In a fairly uncontested environment, 11 strike aircraft require 37 escort and 21 support aircraft. I would take those numbers as being on the low-side.

Now the seas side of the house;

Yes, the French helped out, but from the sea, it was mostly a USN operation. No one comes close to our capability, numbers wise, in this area. I hope this builds French confidence and we will see them more in the future.

Sunday, May 06, 2018

STEM and the Education of a Navy Leader - on Midrats

The majority of our officers come from two sources, NROTC and the United States Naval Academy. The Navy has a policy a bias towards STEM majors (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) to the point where 65 percent of USNA Midshipmen major in STEM.

Is this in the best interest of educating future officers of our modern Navy and Marine Corps so they can effectively lead Sailors and Marines at war and peace?

To discuss this and related issues for the full hour this Sunday from 5-6pm Eastern will be USNA Midshipman First Class Kirk Wolff. We will use his recent Proceedings Today article, Rethinking the Naval Academy Curriculum as a starting off point.

Kirk is originally from Morristown, Tennessee. He majored in Political Science at USNA and will serve as a surface warfare officer upon commissioning on May 25, 2018.

Join us live if you can, but if you miss the show you can always listen to the archive at blogtalkradio or Stitcher

If you use iTunes, you can add Midrats to your podcast list simply by clicking the iTunes button at the main showpage - or you can just click here.

Friday, May 04, 2018

Fullbore Friday

"With audacity one can undertake anything, but not do everything."----- Napoleon Bonaparte
At the beginning of a conflict you need to keep the aggressor off balance. You need to learn, grow, refine, and develop your tactics. Things won't be perfect or even good - but they must be done. Almost always, things do not work as you plan.

Most know of Doolittle's raid on Tokyo - close to perfect if only a few hundred pounds of fuel off. Many don't know about Carlson's Raid on Makin Island though.

From the
Marine Corps Gazette's JUL01 edition,
On 8 August 1942, 222 officers and men embarked on the USS Argonaut and USS Nautilus for Makin. The trip was uneventful and also uncomfortable as evidenced by the numerous cases of heat rash and heat prostration that developed during the voyage. The raiders were to disembark at 0300 on 17 August 1942, assemble alongside the submarines until the two companies were organized, and then move onto Butaritari. Withdrawal from the island was scheduled to take place no later than 2100 that same day. If the raiders had not returned by that time, Task Force Commander John Haines would decide whether to wait or return to Pearl Harbor without them. (See Figure 2.) If the raid was successful, Little Makin, a less important part of the atoll, would be raided the following morning.

Unfortunately, almost every one of Carlson's plans went awry from the beginning. On the night of 16 August, the raiders encountered rain squalls, heavy swells, and an onshore wind. The rubber boats from the Argonaut were loaded and launched. Immediately the heavy sea drowned the outboard motors out. Carlson was then advised that the tide was moving the submarines toward the reef and they would have to start backing away. This meant that the two company commanders would not be able to assemble alongside the submarines and would probably lose control of their men. When no alternatives seemed possible, Carlson issued the order to disembark from the Nautilus with instructions for both companies to follow his boat to the beach.

Although the outboard motors were inoperable, the raiders paddled with all their strength to land at 0530 as planned. Fifteen of the 18 boats reached opposite Government Wharf where they were quickly hidden by sand and palm fronds. Lt Oscar Peatross and his 11 men failed to get the change of plans and landed their boat at the original beach about I mile south of the main body. The two other boats landed just north of the main body. The mix-up in the landing required reorganization on shore, but before it was completed, one man accidentally fired his weapon. The element of surprise was now lost.

One company moved across the island to control the coastal road and to seize the Government House and Government Wharf. The other company stayed in reserve and protected the left rear. Alerted by the gunshot, CWO Kamemitsu informed his headquarters and started his small force up the coastal road by truck and bicycle toward the Government House. A firefight developed near the native hospital. The tenacious enemy defense included four machineguns, a flamethrower, two grenade launchers, infantry armed with automatic weapons, and supported by well-- concealed snipers.

About this time in the rising light, the raiders spotted a 3,500-ton troop transport and a small patrol boat entering the lagoon. Carlson radioed the submarines and requested that they surface to fire their 6-inch guns. Although communications eventually broke down, the Nautilus, shooting blindly at the ships with only a compass bearing furnished by Carlson, fired 65 &inch shells into the lagoon. Through a combination of excellent gunnery and amazing luck, both vessels were sunk.

Carlson renewed the attack, but the Japanese snipers proved to be a formidable problem. From 0730 to 1130 the action consisted of a series of small-unit movements. just before noon two Japanese reconnaissance planes circled over the fighting area for 15 minutes, dropped 2 bombs, and then departed. Soon thereafter, a small force of Japanese made a banzai attack down the center of the island. The raiders quickly repulsed the attack, killing most of the Japanese.

At 0120, 12 planes appeared-2 Kawanishi flying boats (about the size of a U.S. PBY-4), 4 fighters, and 6 reconnaissance bombers. They bombed and strafed the island for over an hour without inflicting any real damage on the raiders. One Kawanishi flying boat and one reconnaissance seaplane landed in the lagoon; the Kawanishi brought about 35 to 40 reinforcements. However, both aircraft were shot down during takeoff. Meanwhile, Lt Peatross proceeded to carry

out his initial orders to rendezvous with a platoon from Company A at the church. They found the church empty. Then Peatross and his men moved toward the main body of the raiders, but they were soon brought under intense machinegun and rifle fire. In the process of knocking out the machinegun and killing several Japanese, three men were killed and most of the others wounded. Peatross decided to pull back to the ocean side of the island. He also sent a runner to Carlson to notify him of their circumstances. When no linkup with the main body took place after several hours, Peatross returned to the Nautilus with his men.

Carlson's raiders held a poor position in the thick brush. Their fields of fire were limited, and they were subjected to heavy sniper fire, so Carlson ordered his men to pull back a few hundred yards. As the Japanese infantry followed, more Japanese planes arrived at 1630 and bombed the area just evacuated, wounding some of the enemy advance. Time, however, was running out. Though the raid had inflicted heavy damage and casualties on the Japanese, the mission had not been fully accomplished. Carlson's orders were to return to the submarines by 1930. With too little time to complete the mission, he ordered a retreat.

The withdrawal from combat was orderly. Carlson and Roosevelt said goodbye to the natives who had helped them, and arranged to have the dead raiders buried. By 1915 all the boats were lined up on the beach with those on either flank entering the water first. The first was Carlson's. The effort to return to the submarines was an unmitigated disaster. Unfortunately, the rapid succession of the breakers, combined with their great force, proved too formidable for even the highly trained raiders. After nearly an hour of struggling, in which almost all the weapons and equipment were lost, about two-thirds of the raiders gave up, and were washed ashore. With a few salvaged weapons, the men posted a security perimeter. One of the guards spotted an eight-man Japanese patrol and fired, killing three of them. The rest apparently ran away. With the possibility of Japanese reinforcements arriving in the morning, the raiders' prospects seemed dreary.

The feeling of helplessness at this point marked the low ebb of the raid. At midnight Carlson called a meeting of his officers and some of his men. What should they do? Try the surf again? Hide on the north end of the atoll? Surrender? When one raider thought surrender was in order, Carlson suggested, "Look-you take anyone you want and go out and find someone to surrender to-and then you have the right to come back here and tell the men, and the men will have an opportunity to express their views." The raider went out, but came back with the news that he could not find any Japanese. Carlson then asked, "Is there anyone else who thinks we ought to surrender?" No one mentioned it further, and the idea was abandoned.

After daylight, a group of men fought a terrible battle with the surf and made it to the submarines. A little later another group was organized and also succeeded in reaching the submarines. Approximately 70 raiders remained on the beach. During the remainder of the day, however, they completed the rest of their mission with the exception of capturing prisoners. Carlson found his dead and confirmed once again with the native chief that they would be buried.

With his wounded men, Carlson decided not to try the ocean side again, but opted to get out through the lagoon side. The Japanese had no coastal guns covering the lagoon.

When darkness came, Carlson, after much difficulty in identifying himself, made contact with the submarines. He arranged for them to pick him and his men off Flink Point at the west end of the lagoon. His men reported that everyone seen that day was loaded in the remaining rubber boats and an outrigger canoe. The trip took 3 very difficult hours. Forty hours had elapsed since the raiders first left the submarines.

The wardroom on the Nautilus was cleared so that four Marines could be operated on. In addition, the officers turned over the staterooms to the wounded. Under the most austere and difficult conditions, the Navy doctors performed magnificently.

In the chaos of the 2-day operation, 9 men were somehow left behind. Remarkably, they eluded capture for nearly a month after the Japanese returned in force-a relief expedition of more than 1,000 men landed on Makin the day after Carlson and his men departed. Eventually caught, the nine raiders were taken to the 6th Base Force Headquarters on Kwajalein. Early in October Vice Admiral Hirokai Abe was informed that any transfer of the prisoners to Japan would be impractical. Consequently, Abe had the raiders formally executed on 16 October 1942. After the war, the admiral was tried for his war crimes in a court in Guam; he was found guilty and hanged.
For details on what conditions in Kwajalein was like - I highly recommend what I am listening to right now, Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption.

First posted JUL2011.

Thursday, May 03, 2018

Diversity Thursday

For the regular readers of DivThu, over the years you have heard me use the term, "Cultural Marxism." Though I've provided countless examples and linked to multiple articles explaining it, in comments we see those suffering from severe cases of cognitive dissonance refusing to acknowledge not just the Marxist roots to today's Diversity Industry and its rent-seeking cadres, but that is even exists at all.

Well, perhaps a quote direct from the horses ... mouth might be of help. 

Check out the below quote from the disgusting apologia for Karl Marx in - of course - the NYT by the associate philosophy professor at Kyung Hee University in South Korea, Jason Barker.
The key factor in Marx’s intellectual legacy in our present-day society is not “philosophy” but “critique,” or what he described in 1843 as “the ruthless criticism of all that exists: ruthless both in the sense of not being afraid of the results it arrives at and in the sense of being just as little afraid of conflict with the powers that be.” “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it,” he wrote in 1845.

Racial and sexual oppression have been added to the dynamic of class exploitation. Social justice movements like Black Lives Matter and #MeToo, owe something of an unspoken debt to Marx through their unapologetic targeting of the “eternal truths” of our age. Such movements recognize, as did Marx, that the ideas that rule every society are those of its ruling class and that overturning those ideas is fundamental to true revolutionary progress.

We have become used to the go-getting mantra that to effect social change we first have to change ourselves. But enlightened or rational thinking is not enough, since the norms of thinking are already skewed by the structures of male privilege and social hierarchy, even down to the language we use. Changing those norms entails changing the very foundations of society.

To cite Marx, “No social order is ever destroyed before all the productive forces for which it is sufficient have been developed, and new superior relations of production never replace older ones before the material conditions for their existence have matured within the framework of the old society.”

The transition to a new society where relations among people, rather than capital relations, finally determine an individual’s worth is arguably proving to be quite a task. Marx, as I have said, does not offer a one-size-fits-all formula for enacting social change. But he does offer a powerful intellectual acid test for that change. On that basis, we are destined to keep citing him and testing his ideas until the kind of society that he struggled to bring about, and that increasing numbers of us now desire, is finally realized.
Again, those who relish the fruits of Marx - that begat the deaths of over 100 million people in the last century - are no better than those who apologize for Nazis.

Hat tip Ben Shapiro.

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Aucoin Rediscovers His RIO Instincts

They really didn't think an 'ole F-14 RIO was just going to stew silently, did they?

I have a few thoughts on VADM Aucoin's post-retirement shot over at USNIBlog.

Come on by and give it a read.

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

HASC Has Some Ideas ...

Last week the House Armed Services Committee Subcommittee for Readiness released its proposals for the Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

To keep this focused, let's just look at DON related items;
The Readiness Subcommittee's proposal: 

Directing the Navy to provide a clear chain of command for operations, for building readiness, and for shipyard maintenance;

Requiring the Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) Inspections be conducted on a no-notice basis make details of those inspections unclassified and available to the public;

Requiring the Secretary of the Navy to provide a report on ways to optimize surface Navy vessel inspection and crew certifications to reduce redundancies and the burden on inspection visits that ships undergo;

Limiting the amount of time a Navy vessel is forward deployed overseas to no more than 10 years;

Ensuring the Navy retains sufficient ship repair capability and capacity in the Western Pacific by prohibiting the redevelopment of the Former Ship Repair Facility on Guam.

Ensure infrastructure supports military readiness by:

Recommending the Full Committee increase funds for facility sustainment above the fiscal year 2019 request;
This is, by and large, a Salamander endorsed list.

Two items:

1. The return to unclassifed INSURV. It was a huge strategic error to classify INSURV last decade. From day-1, I have been adamant that it had nothing to do with keeping classified information from anyone - it had everything to do with providing cover as we starved our fleet of the readiness support it required. You can, and I will, draw a direct line from that decision and the attitude it encouraged to what happened in WESTPAC in 2017. Keeping INSURV out of the taxpayer's eyes only prevents accountability. It shields the Flag Officers from the results of their inability to make the case to our civilian leaders to give our Navy what it needs to sustain readiness. It is way too easy to just fire CDR/CAPT without having to answer questions why they were never properly resourced to begin with.  BZ for this proposal.

2. No more lost bases. This acknowledges that once we lose a facility, we aren't getting it back. It isn't just Guam. Load a logistics professional up with a few beers and then ask them what BRAC threw away on the West Coast that we will never get back. Stand the line in Guam. Stand the line in CONUS.

Especially on our coasts, we are no longer a thinly populated nation with plenty of room to grow if needed. If you cave to developers and the myopic, you will have huge problems when the next global war comes.

Yes, its coming; we just don't know when.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Keeping an Eye on the Long Game: Part LXXIII

Admiral Davidson has a view on the Long Game, and it should sober you up this Monday.

Via our friend Andrew Erickson, we have a nice summary of China-related comments from incoming PACOM Commander, Admiral Philip Davidson, USN.

This is ... aggressive;
The strategic and operational environment outlined in the NDS clearly identifies the importance of developing and fielding a force posture that is capable of countering Chinese malign influence in the region.With respect to their actions in the South China Sea and more broadly through the Belt and Road Initiative, the Chinese are clearly executing deliberate and thoughtful force posture initiatives. China claims that these reclaimed features and the Belt and Road Initiative will not be used for military means, but their words do not match their actions.Our defense strategy provides the necessary guidance that will drive our actions.

The Dynamic Force Employment and Global Operating Model concepts inform how the Joint Force is employed across the spectrum of military operations from deterrence operations to crisis response. Due to the distances involved in the Indo-Pacific, we cannot rely solely on surge forces from the Continental United States to deter Chinese aggression or prevent a fait accompli. PACOM must maintain a robust blunt layer that effectively deters Chinese aggression in the Indo-Pacific.
What exactly does that require and how does that mesh with the CINC's desire to have fewer American forces doing overseas what local forces should?

...and are we about to dust off the 'ole Pershing (III?) and GLCM, but this time with a conventional warhead ... maybe?
The Conventional Prompt Strike system will help meet military requirements in PACOM, but I think we need to also look at additional systems in order to balance against the large numbers of conventional missiles that China has already fielded. In the Indo-Pacific, the absence of the INF Treaty would provide additional options to counter China’s existing missile capabilities, complicate adversary decision making, and impose costsby forcing adversaries to spend money on expensive missile defense systems.
I believe the INF treaty today unfairly puts the United States at a disadvantage and places our forces at risk because China is not a signatory.
Going back to the first issue - if you get the CINC to OK more US forces in WESTPAC, where are you going to put them?
Current force structure and presence do not sufficiently counter the threats in the Indo-Pacific, particularly a resurgent China that leverages military modernization, influence operations, and predatory economics in pursuit of regional hegemony and displacement of the United States over the long term. Aligned with the concept of blunt forces in the NDS, the size of the Indo-Pacific region and the diversity of threats warrant a stable and sizable forward presence. Additional rotational forces allow for more engagements and help increase the readiness of the forward stationed forces.
Lots of good stuff there, read it all.

It ain't 2010 anymore, that's for sure.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Fullbore Friday

What would Jesus do?

Sadly, this phrase is overused to the point that I don’t think people really ponder this in their own life.


It is something that requires action. What action?

In the carnage of war, what would Jesus do?

This is a woman who knew. No one had to ask her that question.

If only a small percentage of us had the bravery and conviction of Sister Agnès-Marie Valois, the world would be a much better place.

Remember, she was 28 at abattoir of Dieppe.
Sister Agnès-Marie Valois, who earned the nickname “Angel of Dieppe” for her defiance in treating Canadian soldiers on the beach of Dieppe during the disastrous Second World War raid, has died, aged 103.

Valois became an iconic hero to Canada’s veterans for defying Nazi authorities on the bloodstained beach who ordered her to treat wounded German soldiers before aiding the Canadians.

“She is known for standing up to the German soldiers; they held a gun up to her to treat the German injured first, but she just looked at everyone as equal — regardless of rank, regardless of nation, regardless of who or what you are she treats those who needed help the most,” said Hardy Wheeler, a retired lieutenant colonel with the Essex and Kent Scottish regiment, one of the first units to hit the beach of Dieppe.
What more can you say?

Read it all. A woman who led a life of purpose. Fullbore.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

LCS: My White Whale

Thar she blows!!!

There's LCS announcing her arrival and/or departure from NS Mayport as seen from a condo balcony in Jacksonville Beach and reported by the Salamander Underground.

We've seen this in San Diego before ... and the folks in Crackerstan will just have to get used to LCS's calling card as the LCS-ODD will be calling Mayport home.

Click the pic and enlarge yourself ... just behold the glory!

Hat tip BB.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Could you fight like its 1990?

Not all that comfortable with the respect we give to the fragility of our access to the electronic spectrum?

Neither am I.

I'm pondering over at USNIBlog. Come on by and give it a read.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

No Balkan Holiday

Only a fool thinks there will be peace in the Balkans forever. Especially with the patchwork of frozen conflicts left by NATO through the 1990s, it is only a matter of time until it heats up again. As always, the concern is who else will get caught up in it?

Over at WOTR, Michael Carpenter and Mieczysław P. Boduszyński are tapping us on the shoulder to remind us that history is a jealous mistress;
With nationalist-populist forces threatening to reverse decades of European integration across the continent — from Brexit in the United Kingdom to Catalan separatism in Spain to Lombard regionalism in Italy — European and American policymakers can no longer take for granted the security and stability of the Balkans, or Europe for that matter. The Balkans are too often ignored in the West on the naïve assumption that the region has permanently transitioned from a net “consumer” of security assistance to a net “provider.” However, history is not linear, and the region’s security troubles are not permanently behind it. The ghosts of the past — ethno-nationalism, admiration for strongmen, a belief in illiberal democracy — are appearing with greater frequency across Europe, and the Balkans are no exception.
Throughout the 1990s and the early 2000s, Russian influence in the Balkans was relatively weak. Moscow may have backed Serbian strongman Slobodan Milošević in the 1990s, but when push came to shove it was unwilling to go to bat for the embattled dictator, who was ousted in popular protests in 2000 and eventually tried in an international criminal court. Russia opposed the 1999 NATO air war over Serbia and Kosovo, but after initially trying to contest the U.S. military presence in Kosovo during the famed standoff at the Pristina airport, the Russians eventually backed down. In 2003, Russia pulled its “blue helmet” peacekeepers from Bosnia and Kosovo, removing a potential source of leverage. Afterward, Moscow seemed content to limit its Balkan engagement to energy diplomacy, such as pushing for the ill-fated South Stream pipeline.

What a difference a decade makes. By 2015, an assertive Russia, led by an increasingly emboldened Vladimir Putin, feeding off resurgent Balkan nationalism, local victimhood narratives, frustration with stalled E.U. enlargement, and historical ties to Orthodox Slavs in the region, was actively undermining democracy in the region. Moscow’s well-honed propaganda and disinformation campaigns have become a staple in Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, and the Serbian regions of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Drawing from a playbook it has tested in Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, and the Baltic states, and bolstered by its successes backing Bashar al-Assad in Syria, Moscow has sought to sow mistrust of Western motives and internal divisions among Balkan publics.
We should ask ourselves this question; what is in the American interest?

We are now in an alliance with Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, and Albania - with other bits begging to get in - so the odds of getting pulled in are larger than some think. On balance though, this is an European issue and they should be in lead, if anyone.

I don't claim to know what direction this will go. I do respect its instability. I've participated in attacks in the Balkans, I've spent a couple of weeks there, and my daughter a couple of months. I've served with a few Croatians and Macedonians. I work with and live around Bosnian refugees. I have no illusions that the story there is not over.

War in the immediate future doesn't have to take place. Plenty of off ramps and the authors do see hope. Sadly, their plea at the end has more hope than promise;
The time to focus on the Western Balkans is now, while the European Union and United States still have the combined resources to incentivize reforms and strengthen rule of law. On the Macedonia name issue and the Serbia-Kosovo dialogue, deft diplomacy and the right incentives can steer these seemingly intractable problems towards lasting resolutions. Containment of separatist threats in Republika Srpska and ultimately reform of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s governing institutions can stem and even reverse a slow slide towards ethnic fragmentation.

As we learned from the Balkan wars of the 1990s and from Russia’s more recent wars against Georgia and Ukraine, it is better for the West to deal with looming issues before they devolve into dangerous security dilemmas and conflicts. Finally, it is important to remember that the overwhelming majority of Western Balkan citizens want to be part of the West. The European Union and United States can harness those aspirations with a credible Euro-Atlantic perspective for the countries of the region, keeping alive the postwar dream of a Europe whole, free, and at peace.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Plague, 30-yrs War ... and Post-Modernism: Meet the Hard Math of Demographics

Depopulation and demographic collapse are not unknown concepts, disease and war have brought both on a regular basis to human civilization. Unless you are Mayan, Khmer, or other star-crossed civilizations, complete collapse is rare. What we are seeing now from Japan to China to Europe - especially former Communist Europe - is different. This is by peaceful choice.

People have simply decided not to have children.

Over at Bloomberg, Leonid Ragozin has a great write-up about what happened to the Baltic Republics since the fall of the Soviet Union. As is my wont, let's start with a graph.

This graph is almost standard throughout the former Soviet Union. The non-Muslim parts especially responded to economic and social chaos by doing two things; 1) Stop having families, 2) Emigration.
Several factors are contributing to the depopulation of Eastern Europe, and Latvia has all of them: low income, compared with more developed EU nations; insufficient growth; and strong anti-immigrant sentiment. The average annual take-home pay among all EU nations was 24,183 euros ($29,834) in 2015, according to Eurostat, while in Latvia it was only 6,814 euros ($8,406).

The young and educated are disappearing in the greatest numbers, shrinking the amount of working adults who can fund benefits for pensioners. Latvian demographer Mihails Hazans said that, as of 2014, one in three ethnic Latvians aged 25 to 34—and a quarter of all Latvians with higher education—lived abroad. In Moldova, that figure is more than 20 percent. In Ukraine—which other Eastern European nations look to for migrant labor—the state employment service said 11 percent of the population lives abroad.
With fewer young Latvians staying and getting married, buying houses or starting families, the school system is slowly shrinking. The population is skewing older. Classrooms give way to day rooms.

But Lakse stayed. He went on to college and is now pursuing a legal degree at the University of Daugavpils, Latvia’s second-largest city, which has a population of 86,000. Even for those who stay, though, the pull of the west remains. When students in his class were asked recently whether they were going to stay in Latvia after graduation, almost half said no.
Economics can take time, and in an international environment where educated and motivated people can easily move about, emigration will be an issue. The key is to build a nation your people don't want to leave.

If simple numbers are the issue, as this is Bloomberg and Leonid is Leonid, there is a paper thin discussion of the joys of an immigration fix.
Nine out of 10 countries with the lowest acceptance rate of immigrants are former members of the Eastern bloc. Of these, the three Baltic nations had been previously forced to accept Russian-speaking migrants. In Latvia, the issue is so controversial that in 2015, when the EU insisted it accept just a few hundred Syrian refugees, nationalists initially threatened to withdraw from the government. That same year, Latvia came in second to last in the Migrant Integration Policy Index, which ranks 38 democracies according to the quality of immigration policies. Only Turkey did worse. Latvia was fourth from the bottom in Gallup’s 2017 Migrant Acceptance Score list, which ranks countries in order of their populations’ attitudes to immigrants.

Anti-immigrant sentiment in Latvia is driven, in part, by the National Alliance party, one of three in Latvia’s governing coalition. Speaking in Parliament earlier this year, party official Janis Dombrava quoted polling agency Eurobarometer as showing that 86 percent of Latvians believe immigrants make no contribution to the state.

“Latvia must either completely abandon or minimize the number of migrants who come from third-world countries,” Dombrava said. In October, Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis rejected an EU plan to accommodate an additional 50,000 refugees from the Middle East and Africa. He also defended Poland, which refused to meet the EU-imposed minimum number of refugees it was obliged to accept.

Hazans, the Latvian demographer, has been researching the nation’s slow-motion implosion. Low wages, poor career prospects and poorer working conditions, he said, are the top reasons. He also warned of a parallel political cycle to match the economic one: Since the young leave and the old stay, the electorate gets more conservative, he said, further exacerbating anti-immigrant leanings.
Where can anyone find an example where mass immigration from the Middle East or Africa has been a net-positive to civil society in Europe? Where have any of these large masses produced a boom of per-capita income? What net positive attribute to a nation in 2040 will a critical mass of unemployable, unassimilable, ethnically, religiously, and linguistically people in an already existing ethno-state (Latvians are a distinct ethnic group as are Estonians, Finns, etc) have? 

Go ahead, I'll wait.

This isn't going to happen.

Let pause a moment and wonder if there might be a positive here. By chance, could the Baltic republics be bumping in to avoiding a rising future problem? Again, over to Bloomberg;
Meanwhile, some in the tech industry believe that as machine learning and other technologies continue to replace human labor, basic income will be the only way to guarantee large portions of the human race a decent standard of living.
No one argues this point; the future economic system in the developed world will need fewer people, not more. Machines will take many jobs that require low skills. There will be a higher standard of living on average, but jobs will be scarce. It will be a challenge to find jobs for the educated, the low-skilled? Nope.

Waves of immigrants from Muslim nations and Sub-Saharan Africa are not of skilled and educated people. In the modern economies of Europe, there is no place for them to prosper.

As populations shrink, they will eventually find their level as moods and norms change, as they do. Will they be 30% lower? 50% lower? Who knows, but it will level in the next few decades. What we do know is that there won't be a need more people to take what few low skill jobs there will be.

The best thing for these nations to do - if they wish to remain in peace this century - is to build a high-tech, highly educated people among those kids they do have.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Reform, Readiness and the Navy's Path Ahead, with Dr. James Holmes on Midrats

How is our Navy making progress in adjusting how we man, train, and operate our forces following the series of lessons identified in the wake of 2017's series of mishaps that left ships damaged, reputations destroyed, and 17 Sailors dead?

Sunday from 5-6pm Eastern for the full hour to discuss where we are and the way forward will be returning guest Dr. James Holmes. We will use his recent comments from Asia Times and The National Interest as starting points for a broad ranging conversation.

Dr. Holmes is a professor of strategy and former visiting professor of national security affairs at the Naval War College, where he is the inaugural holder of the J. C. Wylie Chair of Maritime Strategy. A former U.S. Navy surface-warfare officer and combat veteran of the first Gulf War, he served as a weapons and engineering officer in the battleship Wisconsin, engineering and firefighting instructor at the Surface Warfare Officers School Command, and military professor of strategy at the Naval War College. He was the last gunnery officer to fire a battleship’s big guns in anger.

The book he co-authored with Toshi Yoshihara, Red Star over the Pacific, is out in its second edition this fall.

Join us live if you can, but if you miss the show you can always listen to the archive at blogtalkradio or Stitcher

If you use iTunes, you can add Midrats to your podcast list simply by clicking the iTunes button at the main showpage - or you can just click here.

UPDATE A few recommendations from our guest:
- George Orwell's The Politics of the English Language.
- Edward N. Luttwak's The Political Uses of Sea Power.
This fall, significantly updated 2nd Edition of Red Star Over the Pacific.
You can read two decades of Jim's work at TheNavalDiplomat.

During the course of the show I mentioned Sen. Sasse's discussion with Jonah Goldberg on DoD reform. Go to the 16-min mark here.