Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Are our Intellectual Actions Aligned with our Security Challenges?

That is, of course, a subject question. However, there are objective facts that stand independent of that subjectivity.

Where you are in time and place is important. In the area of national security, disconnects and discontinuities in time and place caused by a desire for reality to be what we want it to be consume the finite resources of time, money, and focus from actions to address what reality actual is. 

Denial fed by delusional distractions, as it were.

Take a moment to back up a bit and think about the top national security concerns of 2021. What do they signal to you as the most important parts of the United States’ national security infrastructure needs to invest their time, money and reputation on?

Well meaning people can differ in how they rack and stack things, but let me grab the Top-3 from my seat the provinces:

1. Strategic impact of the national humiliation following our defeat and negotiated surrender in Afghanistan.

2. Expanded Chinese aggression in the Western Pacific and expanded global influence.

3. Growing Russian hostility in Eastern Europe and her near abroad.

Honorable mentions could include sectarian and religious based conflicts in Africa, domestic logistics and manufacturing short comings, and other actionable national security adjacent challenges could be put in the top-3.

So, let’s say you find yourself just inside a month after the national humiliation in Afghanistan in late August and you have an opportunity for the US Navy’s top four institutions of higher learning; Naval War College, Naval Post Graduate School, Marine Corps University, and the Naval Academy to come together – not a common occurrence - to have a “Combined Naval Address” on a topic of great concern. What would you want them to invest their professional capital in?


By all means, I invite you to watch it – you paid for it. 

Just fair warning – this isn’t what it is billed to be. You have an intro by a PMP CDR followed by the reading of a prepared statement by the President of the U.S. Naval War College, then they hand it over to serial Australian TED entrepreneur Saul Griffith whose major skill seems to be able to sell hyped companies that get people excited enough to buy them, only to realize once the ayahuasca trip wears off that … well … perhaps big-ass kites as wind turbines might actually not be all that great of an idea.

That’s it. Funded by the Naval War College - I assume the speaker is paid for. I do wonder how much. 

Even better we find that the Barrows Fellows from the Marine Corps University will spend all year studying <checks notes, this is the year we were defeated in Afghanistan by the Taliban> ... climate change. 

For the record, by their own definition

The General Robert H. Barrow Fellowship seeks to explore and understand different aspects of security and strategy as it relates to great power competition. 

Great. Wonderful. Timely. 

For those who don’t have the time to watch the whole thing, Griffith, looking like he just got off a ayahuasca trip himself, spends a few minutes telling everyone - shocking - that DOD's largest energy use is jet fuel.

We know.

He then spends most of the next 3/4 of an hour reading repackaged slides my kids were shown after the Al Gore movie in middle school weaved in with a recant of standard issue neo-pagan climate grift that has nothing to do with anything impacting any maritime service - much less "great power competition."  No, this is mostly about turning residential civilian America electric - not a military concern.

As sure as the sun and moon rises and sets, the climate changes. It always has and always will. I own property 2-hrs drive inland from here half of which is beach sand - as it used to be a beach.

My state used to be twice the size it is today during the ice age when the shore was far to the east of where it is now.

The question that is unknown is the extent of human cause. Without knowing that, can't do a cost benefit analysis of what needs to be done on what timeline that really make a difference - and the models are simply garbage. The ones from 20-yrs ago are no better than the ones we have now.

All the above paragraph can be argued, sure, but what you cannot argue is that this - in the fall of 2021 - is this something that is deserving of this kind of effort by the US Navy. Somewhere? Sure. All four of our major higher education institutions?

Do you even know what a military is?

It would be comical if not so farcical. 

We are a nation with serious challenges this decade. We and our Navy needs to act as serious as they are.

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