Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Playing the India Card in AFG

Regardless of the topic at hand, within 5-minutes of any conversation with a Pakistani military type, India will come up.

Paranoia does not quite describe it.

If you really want to get them a bit off their stride, just toss out the idea of Indian troops in Afghanistan.

In this light, as the Afghan government starts to look for someone to help then against what they know is coming ... this is an epic troll.
Early this month, Afghanistan’s National Security Advisor, Hamdullah Mohib, used a visit to New Delhi to privately press a request for at least a Brigade — perhaps even a Division —of Indian troops to be deployed in a peacekeeping role, ahead of a peace deal with the Taliban which is expected to lead to the final withdrawal of United States forces. Kabul, diplomatic sources said, hopes to put together a multinational framework, perhaps United Nations-led, for this troop deployment.
To understand why Afghanistan’s calls for Indian troops are becoming louder, one has to turn to the agreement now being hammered out between Taliban negotiators and United States diplomats in Doha. The deal is expected to include guarantees the Islamist insurgents will scale down violence — but bitter experience has taught Afghans to suspect the Taliban will resile on their word the minute the United States vacates its military bases.

New Delhi’s long-standing allies in Afghanistan’s north — who India, along with Iran and Russia funded and armed through their long, bitter battle against the Taliban until 9/11 — see an Indian Army as insurance against their cities being overrun by proxies for the Pakistan Army.
Does this upset Pakistan?

Fine. It's their neighborhood. They'll figure it out.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Vietnam's Sound Foreign Policy Stance

There is an echo of our republic's founding foreign policy to be found in Vietnam's "Four No's" national defense policy.

There is a lot of wisdom here to ponder for a nation who wants to focus on the well being of her people.
The publication of the 2019 National Defense White Paper ... enunciates “Four No’s” principle for the development of the Viet Nam People’s Army (VPA).

Accordingly, Viet Nam consistently advocates neither joining any military alliances, siding with one country against another, giving any other countries permission to set up military bases or use its territory to carry out military activities against other countries, nor using force or threatening to use force in international relations, Lich affirmed.
I'm not sure I'm counting the four correctly, but I think they are:

1. Avoid foreign entanglements.
2. Strict neutrality.
3. No foreign military bases on sovereign soil.
4. Will not conduct military activity against other nations.

You can read the white paper here.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Watching the Surface Force with David Larter - on Midrats

Put on your black leather jacket, get your SM-6 plush toy, pour a glass of your finest Chianti in honor of the epic Fincantieri after party, and join us this Sunday from 5-6pm Eastern to discuss the latest news about the USN surface force.

Using his reporting earlier this month from the Surface Navy Association Symposium as a starting off point, our guest for the full hour will be David Larter, Naval Warfare Reporter for Defense News. He's a graduate of the University of Richmond and a former Operations Specialist Second Class, still DNQ in his ESWS qual.

From new uniform items to future unmanned system, we will be talking about.

You can listen to the show at this link or below, but remember, if you don't already, subscribe to the podcast at Spreaker or any of the other podcast aggregators.

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, January 24, 2020

Fullbore Friday

In some cohorts, heroic men are so many in number, you simply miss a few.

A giant passed in 2013 - and I feel like a lessor man for not knowing his story earlier.

James Robinson "Robbie" Risner, Colonel, USAF (Ret.)

Read it all, but this should get you started;
“Robbie” Risner was a rising star in the Air Force when he was shot down and captured Sept. 16, 1965. In the previous decade’s war, he had been a hero, downing eight enemy planes over Korea. In Vietnam, he was such a standout that his tanned, chiseled face made the cover of Time magazine with a fighter jet streaking into the sky behind him.

Unfortunately, the April 23, 1965 piece, which profiled a dozen U.S. military members in Vietnam, made its way to Risner’s captors.

It “made him their ‘prized prisoner,’ which meant more abuse,” Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, the Air Force chief of staff, wrote in a remembrance last week. Risner also came in for harsher treatment because, as a lieutenant colonel and then a full colonel, he was the top-ranking officer for most of his imprisonment, including the three years he spent in solitary confinement.

He showed up a lot in his career ... in war and peace.

Here he is as a Major in 1957;

Hat tip SAP.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Losing Sleep Over Hypersonics

You are worrying about the wrong thing ... at least for now and the next decade.

Thoughts over at USNIBlog.

Come on by and tell me why I'm all wet.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Japan on Tanker Patrol

It is always interesting to watch as Japan continues a growing habit of re-establishing her military on the world stage;
Japan will send a destroyer that can carry one or two patrol helicopters in early February, with hopes that the vessel can start operations by the end of the same month in the Gulf of Oman, the northern part of the Arabian Sea and the eastern side of the Bab el-Mande Strait.

The Defense Ministry is preparing to send Takanami, a 4,650-ton destroyer that can carry one anti-submarine patrol helicopter.

Tokyo also plans to mobilize two P-3C anti-submarine patrol airplanes that are currently engaging in anti-piracy patrol missions off Somalia for the planned intelligence activities.

About 200 crew members will be aboard the destroyer and about 60 staffers will be mobilized for the P-3C unit. The government plans to spend ¥4.68 billion on the dispatch in fiscal 2020, government officials said.
Exceptionally professional and capable ... but still hesitant for all the reasons we would expect, by habit.

We should encourage the Japanese as much as possible to keep stretching and gaining institutional experience. It is good for Japanese defense capabilities, American alliance heft, and the international effort to keep the seas safe for commerce.
Under the plan, the SDF unit won’t be authorized to use any weapons to defend other ships.

But in the event of an emergency, Tokyo could invoke an SDF law and put the unit on maritime policing operations, which would allow the destroyer and aircraft to use weapons to defend Japanese-flagged ships, officials said.

However, under international law, the SDF unit engaging in maritime policing activities would not be allowed to use weapons to defend foreign-flag ships. Most oil tankers operated by Japanese firms are registered in foreign countries due to low operating costs there.

During a news conference later the day, Defense Minister Taro Kono did not elaborate when asked whether and how the SDF unit could defend such a foreign-flagged ship operated by a Japanese firm.

Kono just said the SDF will “make a decision based on individual situations” and possible defense tactics would include giving a verbal warning to a party assaulting a foreign-flagged ship and deploying a destroyer close to the situation.
More of this. Much more.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Words Mean Things: Fleet Marine Force Edition

Words mean things.

Though not universal, before structural changes can be made, words have to change.

Before mindsets can change, words have to change.

Earlier this month, did you have a chance to catch MARADMIN 004/20?

Subtle ... but talk to your local Marine what this means;
2. Background. As stated in ref (a), “The 1986 Goldwater-Nichols Act removed the preponderance of the FMF from fleet operational control and disrupted the long-standing Navy-Marine Corps relationship by creating separate Navy and Marine Corps Components.”
A. The rising global threat necessitates the need to re-establish our long standing Navy-Marine Corps tradition of an integrated approach to operations across maritime and other domains as depicted in ref (b), within the constraints of Goldwater-Nichols.
B. Throughout our history, subordinate commands and units have traditionally reflected the names of higher level commands and headquarters as part of their colloquial names in commanders’ signature blocks, stationery, awards citations, and other certain ceremonial items (e.g., guidons, unit colors, etc.). While these inclusions are not always part of subordinate commands and units’ official names, the practice is well established and steeped in Marine Corps customs and courtesies.
3. Conclusion. All previous references to operating forces as they relate to commands and units at or below the Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) level will be replaced with the term “FMF”.

I checked in with one of my go-to Marines and he provided a good summary;
...he’s trying to change everyone’s paradigm...to set the conditions for the changes he wants to see implemented. Despite his desires to immediately return to the FMF construct, componency is not dead yet; I’m sure CDRUSCENTCOM was very happy with componency when he ordered up the SPMAGTF Marines to reinforce the Baghdad embassy. Also, as much as he - and most of us - want to return to the FMF construct, we (and the Navy) still don’t really know how we’ll reintegrate after all these years. I for one am glad to be able to say “the Fleet” again with impunity... I remember as a JO getting brow-beaten for saying that instead of ‘Operating Forces.’
So, changing names first, then mindsets, then structures.

I like it.