Friday, June 30, 2006

GoogleNews: Fair and Balanced?

Ninme nails GoogleNews. Picture speaks for itself.

Skippy's first production video

....and Skippy thought all those years in the Navy would never give him ideas for a new career field. I think the ones by sea are his favorite.

Oh, and I got a mention at RealClearPolitics. Ahhh, zen.

Hat tip The Corner.

Ready for the NHA dinner?

It's a fun time. Well, she is.

Fullbore Friday

Yes, there was once a Austrian Navy. Austro-Hungarian to be precise. Where else do you think this guy came from?

This ship is the SMS SZENT ISTVAN; background here. A little trivia; she was actually a "Hungarian" Battleship. So, all those jokes about the Hungarian Navy aren't all that out in the weeds.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Dutch gov't falls

See what happens when you mess with my girlfriend?
The second government of Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende has fallen. The parliamentary party of junior coalition party - the D66 progessive liberals - withdrew its support for the cabinet after the prime minister made it known that a - failed - motion of censure against Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk would not have any affect on the minister's postion or that of the cabinet. The withdrawal of support means the three-party government of the Christian Democrat CDA, Conservative VVD and D66 has lost its parliamentary majority.
The crisis was sparked by the affair surrounding former Conservative MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Ms Verdonk first announced that she Ms Hirsi Ali had technically never become a naturlised Dutch citizien. Later, and under considerable pressure from parliament, the minister came back on that statement, saying Ms Hirsi Ali had remained a Dutch national after all. The subsequent conclusion of many in parliament was that the immigration minister's had handled the entire matter extremely badly.
I would be interested in Mike's take on this being next door, but from what my Dutch spies tell me - the next gov't will most likely be of the Left. You know where that is going to get you.

I see a lot of stroopwafel sales in New Zealand, Canada, and Australia over the next few years.

Hat tip CAPT Ed.

Now THATS a Sailor's uniform!

You won't mistake him for a paint splotch, that is for sure. Oh, we missed their birthday in April. Not so happy 57th - Commie stooge!

Hat tip MaoPost.


The return of the Jawa....

After nearly two weeks of fighting a cyberterrorist attack launched by
Turkish Islamists, and then wrestling with a new server, The Jawa Report is back!

We promise to continue the reporting the news the only way we know how--with mediocre analysis & plenty of offense. If that's just a little bit more than Islam can allow, then to quote Kos, screw them.

For free thinking Muslims of the world we say: join us on our quest of exposing the danger of the bearded ones. While they may attack our website, we know you are exposed daily to much greater dangers which may result from offending their religous sensibilities.

Our website may have been beheaded for the last two weeks, but it is nothing compared to the barbarity, torture, and murder done in the name of Allah on a daily basis. You have our sympathy and our solidarity.
Stop by and give Dr. Rusty Shackleford some love....

CBO: Fleet plan has fatal flaws

Solid story from NavyTimes by Christopher P. Cavas (subscription required). The Congressional Budget Office has crunched the numbers - no shock to my regular readers - the rest of you have been reading too many "happy Sailor" stories:
The Navy’s plan for a 313-ship fleet is unaffordable and unrealistic, a new report issued May 31 by the Congressional Budget Office says.

The report shows that “the Navy’s plan based on recent historical spending programs and costs is not affordable,” said a congressional naval analyst familiar with the report.
The fat created by others that lesser men have been living off of hoping to get through the next set of orders is coming to an end. This is what happens when people go with the "happy Sailor" option on briefing the boss - or are ordered to.
The Navy has acknowledged problems in the 30-year, 313-ship plan, which was presented to Congress in February after being ordered last summer by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Mullen.

The service, which already receives about $10 billion annually for new ships, says it needs about $14.4 billion per year to buy the new fleet.

But Eric Labs, the CBO analyst who wrote the report, has testified to Congress that the average annual shipbuilding budget required by the Navy’s plan is more likely to be $19.5 billion — or even $21.6 billion annually if other costs associated with ship construction, such as the purchase of mission modules for new Littoral Combat Ships, refueling of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and submarines, and the modernization of cruisers and destroyers, are factored in.
A decade of low-balled costs, adding pet projects to ship programs, and wishing for others to fix in the "out years" is blowing up in our face.
The 30-year Navy plan would see the fleet grow from today’s 282 ships to 330 ships in 2019. But the CBO report notes that even if the service gets the money to buy its new fleet, the number will decline to 294 ships in 2035.

“The fleet would not be close to 313 ships at any point after 2025,” the report says.

“It’s really not hard to maintain the fleet until 2020,” the congressional naval analyst said. “The problems come after that, when the submarines and destroyers in particular need replacing. Hence lies the fundamental flaw of the Navy’s plan.”
... and how is our leadership going to try to save money? Admit failure and build some license built European ships until we get our house in order? Oh, no....
The Navy has said it will reduce costs by shrinking the number of sailors needed to operate its ships, then plow the savings back into shipbuilding. The CBO report acknowledges that crew sizes are going down and that the 55 planned new Littoral Combat Ships will be cheaper to operate than submarines and amphibious ships that would be cut under the Navy’s plan. But the report notes that the $14 billion per year the Navy now spends for direct fleet operation and support costs would shrink to $13.1 billion by 2035.
Put your slide-rule away you old fart... that is only $900 million in savings, or 6.5%. Less Damage Control, .....
The 30-year Navy plan would see the fleet grow from today’s 282 ships to 330 ships in 2019. But the CBO report notes that even if the service gets the money to buy its new fleet, the number will decline to 294 ships in 2035.

“The fleet would not be close to 313 ships at any point after 2025,” the report says.

“It’s really not hard to maintain the fleet until 2020,” the congressional naval analyst said. “The problems come after that, when the submarines and destroyers in particular need replacing. Hence lies the fundamental flaw of the Navy’s plan.”
Hmmmm, and what happens around 2020?
Moreover, China plans to improve and expand its capabilities for assault landing and joint logistical support, both of which used to be weak points. This will provide China with necessary capabilities to invade, should China’s rulers wish, Japan’s most remote islands, including the disputed Senkaku Islands, as well as Taiwan. If China’s naval growth continues at its current pace, it may have the world’s largest naval force by 2020.
...and here we are, in a bed we made.
“Saving money on the battle force required buying fewer ships and thus having less capability,” the report says. “Unless the Navy can provide the level of resources necessary to implement the 2006 shipbuilding plan, it will have to make different choices about how to structure its forces in the future.”

The report shows that “there just are no easy answers,” said Bob Work, a naval analyst with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary analysis who reviewed the CBO report before it was published.

“Eric Labs is one of the best in the business as far as trying to ascertain if the Navy’s plan is fiscally executable,” Work said.

The new report “helps people understand the enormous fiscal pressures and the problems facing the Navy in terms of its choices,” he added.
And those plans are below. Pick your flavor - and next time ask harder questions. Higher res here.

If you are a primary source type of guy, you can get the Executive Summary from the CBO here, or I recommend the whole CBO report here. And yes, you see a "7" for DDG-1000. Seven ships. Max. All that....and we have a new "DDG(x)" out there. Another chance to get it right. I hope they do.

Oh, the answer. Build less expensive ships. Stop doing stuff like this:
The Zumwalt program has had a troubled history. Its first incarnation was as the DD-21 land attack destroyer during the Clinton Administration. At that time, the Navy’s goal was to buy the first ship in 2004 and to bring the cost of the destroyer down to $1.1 billion apiece (in 2007 dollars) by the fifth ship. In 2001, the Bush Administration canceled the DD-21 and immediately reconstituted it as the DD(X) program. For several years, the Navy anticipated that the first DD(X) would be purchased in 2004 and that the ships would cost $1.2 billion to $1.4 billion each. Under the 2006 shipbuilding plan, the Navy now envisions buying a total of seven Zumwalt destroyers, at an average cost of $2.8 billion. In contrast, CBO estimates that the average cost of the seven ships will be $3.8 billion each (see Table 2-2). The Navy plans to order the first two Zumwalts in 2007.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Shipbuilding: money nice – reform better

The senators’ request would increase the Navy’s budget from $8.9 billion to $14.1 billion.
All the money in the world will not give us the fleet we need. When we have hulking 16,000 ton “Destroyers” and $500 million Corvettes; an extra $5.2 billion will only get you 1 SSN and 1 DDG-1000 extra a year….max.
Sixteen lawmakers wrote a letter to Rumsfeld on Friday asking him to increase the Navy’s top-line budget to provide $14 billion for ship procurement.

“Admiral Mullen, Chief of Naval Operations, has submitted a 313-ship plan to Congress, and the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review endorsed building a larger fleet,” the lawmakers wrote. “According to the CNO, approximately $14 billion is needed annually to finance the ship construction outlined in the Navy’s long-term plan.”
We need to look at Danish, Dutch, German, and Spanish ships now to get us the numbers we need – and the capability gaps we lack.
“Some experts have projected that China’s Navy will outnumber the U.S. fleet by 2015, less than one decade from now,” the Senators wrote.

“Your support of the budget requirements outlined by our Navy leadership is critical if the decline of our fleet is to be reversed,” they stressed.
Oh, the $14.1 billion ain’t gonna happen. Right now, the Navy doesn’t deserve it and we are in a ground war. So, what do we do. Like the chiche goes, a sign of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over hoping for a different result. We need change right now. We are building the wrong ships.

The irony for the Senators is that if we had more affordable hulls, we could build more ships and therefore employ more workers to build them and keep the industrial base going. All this does is send more money down the same gilded rat-hole.

The irony for the Navy is that a decade+ of PPT slides, pet projects, and non-critical adoption of buzzword soaked theories has brought us to the point that we just about have one Flag Officer per ship. Reform yourself first, then ask for more. That is what we tell our Sailors.

More darkcloud coming tomorrow on shipbuilding. Yea, it gets worse.

Cadet Smith: Not guilty … but guilty

The first verdict in the Sea Services’ Summer Carnival of Courts Martial is in.
A panel of Coast Guard officers convicted cadet Webster Smith on five charges Tuesday, including coercing a female classmate into oral sex and sexually assaulting her. He faces up to 13½ years in a military brig.

He was acquitted of the more serious charge that he raped his former girlfriend, one of four women who testified against him over the past week and a half in the first court-martial of a cadet in the Coast Guard Academy's 130-year history.
After about eight hours of deliberation, the panel found Smith guilty of indecent assault, extortion in exchange for sexual favors and sodomy, which in military parlance includes oral sex. All those charges involved one of the four accusers.

He was acquitted of several charges that stemmed from alleged sexual encounters with the other three female cadets. The defense had argued that the sex was consensual and that the women had colluded against Smith.

With no physical evidence outside of e-mails and phone records, the trial pitted Smith's version of events against those of his accusers.
The guilty verdicts for indecent assault, sodomy and extortion all were tied to Smith's conduct with a female cadet, now an ensign, who alleged that Smith had come to her room on three occasions the night of Oct. 19, 2005.

The visits progressed from taking nude photographs to massages to oral sex. She said she had confided in Smith about something she had done during the summer that could hurt her military career.

Smith offered to help her squelch rumors about the incident but, the prosecution argued, also used the secret to coerce her into the sexual encounters.

Smith was acquitted of all charges involving his conduct with the remaining three women. One of those women, his former girlfriend, testified that he raped her after she became intoxicated during a party in Annapolis, Md., last June.
Not guilty of the charge that started it all, but guilty of offenses found in the course of the investigation of the one he is not guilty of. Read both above links - I'm not going to quote all the FOD there.

Here is the question: other Cadets and Midshipmen from Annapolis have committed offenses as well – all found out in the course of the investigation. Some are already Commissioned Officers. Will they be held to the same standard as Cadet Smith? If not, why? As a reader pointed out, one who is now a Midshipman admits that she was blackmailed as a result of her willful and deliberate posing for nude photographs. How does she expect to hold a security clearance? In the digital age, how many copies of those photos are out there? What will she do next time? A leader needs to take charge, because right now, there is gear adrift all over the Sea Service Academies.
UPDATE: Sentence is in:
A military jury has sentenced a Coast Guard cadet to six months incarceration and dismissed him from military service for sexually assaulting a female cadet last year and four other violations of the military code of conduct.
Also, this NavyTimes bit adds some more background:
Smith’s accuser testified that she blacked out early in the night and learned the next morning that she and Smith had had sex. Smith told her the condom had broken and recommended she seek emergency contraception, but she did not know whether to believe him, she said.

She also said she couldn’t remember details about that morning, including what she was wearing or whether she looked for physical evidence indicating they’d had sex.

Weeks later, she took a home pregnancy test.

“When did you realize that the accused had actually had sex with you?” asked Cmdr. Ronald Bald, the military prosecutor.

“When I saw the positive result on the pregnancy test,” she said.

“What did you think had happened?” Bald asked.

“I thought that I had been date-raped,” she replied.

Yet their relationship continued. The night after the rape allegedly occurred, the woman acknowledged, she and Smith attended a concert with friends and then spent the night together in a hotel.

Testimony during pretrial hearings suggested that the woman had an abortion, but the military judge refused to allow any medical records into evidence June 20, saying it would prejudice the jury. Jurors were told only that the woman did not carry the child to term.

The cadets remained in contact when they returned to campus, she said, exchanging affectionate e-mails and seeing each other for dinner. Months after the rape allegedly occurred, she said, they had sex in his car.
And while prosecutors say Smith was a controlling, emotionally abusive boyfriend, one of Smith’s friends testified that the young woman was equally to blame.

The friend said she was watching a movie with Smith last year when the girlfriend walked in.

“’How could you do that to me? How could you steal him from me,’” Bazinet recalled her classmate yelling. “It was scary.”

Of the four accusers in the case, a woman who testified June 22 was the only one who said she had not been drinking when she was assaulted. She described a night last fall on which she and Smith had a series of sexual encounters in her dorm room — she said all were unwelcome.

But she said she never resisted when they took naked photographs together and gave each other massages or when Smith slipped into bed next to her and performed oral sex on her. She then performed oral sex on him, even after he said she didn’t have to if she didn’t want to, she testified.

The woman, now an officer, said she was afraid to say no because she was relying on Smith to keep a secret, one involving a crime that could have jeopardized her career.
Still, we don't know the "crime."

The Senate did the right thing

OK, I know this puts me with some interesting company, but that is fine with me. This nation is not founded on race, religion, geography, or iconography. This is a nation founded in ideas. The very idea that the fascist fetishism of the secular worship of flags, symbols, or personalities would be inscribed in The Constitution that I swear to "support and defend" makes me sick.

I am an American because those in my bloodline were trying to get away from that sort of crap. You protect someone who you consider an asshat, so you are protected when someone considers you an asshat. Once again - the Senate did the right thing. An amendment against flag desecration is not worthy of this great nation.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A cultural Omdurman

Funny how the mind flows. Watching the below and seeing the date it was made - to my mind came a young reporter on the last cavalry charge....realizing that within two years came Piper at the Gates of Dawn which gave us this.

The mind, well at least mine, is a funky thing.

The New York Times

Hat tip Doug Morris at Michelle's place.

What to do about Rep. John Murtha

Well, this is all rather simple. In a Representative Republic, if you like someone you support their campaign.

If you do not, you support their opponent. Did you know Rep. Murtha has one? Her name is Diana Irey.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Ralph doesn't like EBO

I think he has seen too many PPT abusing the "E" word.
The primary problem we face in preparing for future wars is an intellectually corrupt budgeting and procurement process, a system that forces the services — especially the Navy and Air Force — to make extravagant, impossible-to-fulfill claims for the weapons they wish to buy. It isn't possible to argue that a system will be "useful." To appear competitive, each system has to be "revolutionary."

Compounding the damage, each of the services (except the Marine Corps) has fallen into the trap of designing its strategy to fit the systems it wants, rather than devising an honest long-term strategy, then pursuing the weapons best-fitted to support that strategy.

We have gotten the process exactly wrong.

No sensible person would argue against the potential benefits of new military technologies — but those technologies must be relevant to genuine wartime needs, not merely sexy platforms for air shows. The services become so mesmerized by their in-progress procurement programs that any challenge to a system's utility is treated as an attack on the service itself.

The truth is that we lie.

Precision-guided weapons are marvelous additions to our arsenal. They save lives, spare resources and accomplish crucial missions. The fallacy is to believe they can win wars by themselves. The abysmally failed "Shock and Awe" campaign that was supposed to persuade Saddam Hussein to surrender by demonstrating our techno-prowess should be a lesson to us all: Take the enemy's psychology into account, don't engage in wishful thinking and worst-case what it takes to defeat your opponent.

Nonetheless, at the Joint Forces Command and in the Air Force, proponents of Effects-Based Operations now suggest that, by striking just the right pressure points, we might bring China to its knees. Well, China's already on its knees — a position that gives China greater inherent stability than our own top-heavy military and hyper-developed national infrastructure possess. The crucial question in any war is, "What will it really take to force our enemy to surrender?"

We know what it took in Nazi Germany. And in Imperial Japan. To defeat China, we'd have to inflict at least a comparable level of destruction.

EBO isn't a strategy. It's a sales pitch.

The Siege of Tatoonine

Right now, what I would argue is one of the most important foot soldiers in this war is under siege. For the last couple of weeks, Field Marshall (Dr.) Rusty Shackleford's main site, The Jawa Report, has been under a denial of service attack. He has a back-up site here. Support his siege and visit. In his honor, he along with The Commissar, Allah, John, and the gaggle at The Corner are mostly responsible for the existance of CDR Salamander (blame them), I am going to quote in full the background and story. From the back-up site:
Islamic cyberterrorists have attacked The Jawa Report.

A Distributed Denial of Service attack was directed at our site by Turkish Islamists irritated at a series of posts we ran making fun of the violence that erupted on the heels of a false story claiming that guards at Guantanamo Bay had flushed a Koran down a toilet. Those posts were later discovered by a Turkish Islamist who then posted links about them at an Islamic chat room.

From there the word spread and at least a dozen Turkish language websites began discussing our cavalier attitude toward their holy book. But it was not the Quran that the post was meant to mock, rather it was Muslim reaction to criticisms of it.

With the Jawa Report now effectively shut down, I again return to the main question posed by the tongue-in-cheek Koran desecration post: Can Islamic societies be tolerant of religious criticism?

This attack is evidence that the answer, sadly, is probably no.

There is not a single Islamic country that would allow me, a non-Muslim, to criticize the Quran or Mohammed. There is not a single Islamic country that would allow me, a non-Muslim, to openly try to convert Muslims to another religion. Not. A. Single. One.

Yes, many Muslim lands were more tolerant of religious dissent at one time, but this is not that time. We do not live in the 14th century. Today Islam is the most intolerant religion in the world.

If I cannot criticize your holy book, if I cannot call tell you how I truly feel about your holy men, if I am not allowed to try to convince you to leave your faith, then I am not truly free.

If you cannot tolerate the above, you are my enemy. If you cannot tolerate the above, you are the common enemy of freedom.
Here, here!

Command Mascots

Prior to TailHook, this fella would be in my Top 5.

The New York Times

Yep a new one every AM until I run out of good ones from Michelle's place and others. Email 'em if you got 'em.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Why the West is worth fighting for

Seriously. When else in history could you do this and live with your head intact? Heck, for that matter, outside the West right now; where could you do this? And no, I don't know what it means...but 20 years ago I could dance to it (not in a, well, watch the video).

Eurabia shurabia - be happy!

Hey, I just wanted to post the picture, but though I love The Economist - this is poor thought. The Fwench must love this.
...and don't think someone isn't saying "That is a great idea.."
Is Eurabia really something to worry about? The concept includes a string of myths and a couple of hard truths. Most of the myths have to do with the potency of Islam in Europe. The European Union is home to no more than 20m Muslims, or 4% of the union's inhabitants. That figure would soar closer to 17% if Turkey were to join the EU—but that
Just a note: like how they just brush by a 4% to 17% increase. With a generation of differential childbirth rates, you will have dozens of Kosovos.
, alas, is something that Europeans are far less keen on than Americans are. Even taking into account Christian and agnostic Europe's lousy breeding record, Muslims will account for no more than a tenth of west Europe's population by 2025.

Second, the future of Europe's Muslims, no less than that of America's Latinos, lies with the young. For every depressing statistic about integration—France's prisons hold nine times more young men with North African fathers than ones with French fathers—there are several reassuring ones: a quarter of young Muslim Frenchwomen are married to non-Muslim men; Muslims are flocking to British universities and even popping up in white bastions like the Tory party. In 50 years' time, Americans may be praising this generation of European Muslims for leading the enlightenment that Islam needed.

Europe's Islamic experience will be different from America's: geography and history have seen to that already. Integration will be hard work for all concerned. But for the moment at least, the prospect of Eurabia looks like scaremongering.
Nice try - and there is a fair bit of hyperbole out there...but there is a huge hole here in their argument - you cannot compare American Latino immigrants to Europe's Muslims. Latino immigrants are Catholic and Western. With the exception of some minor pockets, inside 1 generation and you have trouble telling a Gonzalez from an O'Mally or Rhinehardt. Go into a Mexican restaurant in New York, and most of the people in the seats are not of Latin extraction. Go into a Morrocan restaurant in Eindhoven...and well...not a lot of Dutchmen there.

Learn'n words for "Bullsh1t Bingo"

The Federal Executive Fellowship and Corp. Fellowship programs are outstanding concepts - and should be expanded. That being said, the below is nothing of unmitigated, feel-goodism garbage.

A week or two (sounds like 4 days)
learning buzz words in a golf shirt will not fix the problems we have. The missuse and missunderstanding of business terms and terminology is a cancer in our Flag Mess. You cannot learn "Best Business Practices" by spending a week or two in "Upward Bound for those on blood pressure meds."

This is pathetic. Lets mini-Fisk; respectfully.
Professor Neal Thornberry looked at his new class of students and could see the jitters.

“They were a little antsy,” he said. “They’re not used to sitting around on land for so many hours.”
That is just pathetic. We would be all better off if that was true. More time at sea, less time in DC.
The Navy, in an effort to run more efficiently, is sending its admirals back to school to learn how to think more like entrepreneurs. On June 8, a dozen admirals and a handful of other naval leaders completed a week of executive education classes on the Babson College campus.

The admirals spent four days attending sessions on such topics as “Organizational Innovation” and “Using Effects-Based Thinking.” They ditched their uniforms in exchange for khakis and casual sweaters and dispensed with formal titles to call each other by nicknames like “Sully” and “Arch.”

Emphasizing collaboration and negotiation is new for many admirals, but retired Vice Adm. Phil Quast, one of the architects of the program, said things are changing.
I can hear Skippy yelling from here.
“There was a ‘rice bowl’ mentality, where people would protect their resources and not share with others,” he said. “People who are dictatorial don’t command ships anymore.”
I'll just leave that there soaking in its parallel universe - besides one question; does he realize that the Fleet is reading and that the integrity of an officer's word is the only currency he really has?
During one session called “Influencing Without Authority,” the admirals formed small groups to practice negotiating win-win agreements. That gave them a chance for a new way of thinking after one admiral complained of another’s “take-no-prisoners” attitude.

“To be successful, you have to see the other group as an ally,” Thornberry said. “People in power who are arrogant about their power almost always create common enemies.”

Vice Adm. Paul Sullivan, who manages a staff of 53,000 as the commander of Naval Sea Systems Command, said the business education programs have helped him improve productivity and interpersonal relationships. He said he’s also better equipped for negotiations.

“I own the people, but I work with five other admirals that own the money,” said Sullivan, who also attended the UNC training. “I want to influence them to go down the same direction.”

Rear Adm. P. Stephen Stanley, who is deputy chief of staff for capabilities and resource integration for commander, Fleet Forces Command, said the courses at Babson and UNC have helped him make his organization less hierarchical.

“We don’t flog sailors at the mast anymore,” Stanley said. “But will it ever get to the point where we’re throwing around beach balls on the mess deck? I don’t think so. Because we’re also sending people into battle, so we need to protect the formality of the military.”
I won't even comment of the statements above. It just makes our Flag Officers look like, well, you know. We all have the "Random Comment and Platitude" generator. Here is what I have a problem with. You do not become a Master of Business Administration in four days, two weeks, or two months. You don't even really have a sound understanding of the concepts and words you have just learned. You are about as much in depth on the subject as a parrot is of the English language.

No one tells these guys this though -- in the worst case of Outcome Based Education for Adults, they send these guys along in a few days with a bit of paper that makes them feel that they should be writing for Forbes Mag. The end result are things like TQL, HCS, and other Buzzword Generators that consume quality Staff Officer time until the next Change of Command or short notice PCS.....and those, ahem, officers who actually have a real MBA from a real university will shake their head and pine away for the days of the FDF in Japan and the command of something small, dangerous, and full of Sailors who look forward to getting underway. We are at war. Who knew.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Is that the former MCPON?

There I am, reading AGAIN, stories about the most unsanitary protest around when I see this guy.

The chin, the flavor-saver - the
issues with clothes - could that be Terry Scott in retirement?

He will never get his OOD Underway qual

What is AirFarce lingo for "You keep station about as well as the Bert-n-Ernie...umm USS McInerny."

Ruined a still pretty good pic.

06/18/06 - U.S. Air Force and naval aircraft fly over the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) and USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) carrier strike groups in the Philippine Sea June 18, 2006, during exercise Valiant Shield 2006. The joint exercise consists of 28 naval vessels, more than 300 aircraft, and approximately 20,000 service members from the Navy, Army, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Photographer's Mate Todd P. Cichonowicz)

Click pic for higher res.

Fullbore Friday

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Yes, we once had a fleet in peacetime

Click for a higher res picture. See all those little ships? They were on balance LCDR Commanding Officers with a few LT thrown in. That is how you build leaders. That is where you have a professional Navy. That is where the taxpayer gets its money's worth.

You know why a ~75 person corvette (AKA LCS, Little Crappy Ship) is a CDR command? Simple, and right from the big oval table many moons ago; "We need to make more Captains."

Sigh. It is that attitude that gets us where we are in many respects.

The problem in Darfur is, of course, the Joooooos

As is so often true; to find evil in the world - look for who blames
their problems on Jesus's Maternal kinfolk:
The head of U.N. peacekeeping downplayed the Sudanese president's rejection of a U.N. mission for Darfur Wednesday, saying it was not the end of the story.

President Omar al-Bashir on Tuesday accused Jewish groups of pressing for the U.N. mission, and vowed never to let U.N. peacekeepers into Sudan's western region of Darfur.
Sudan's president said Monday he would personally lead "the resistance" if foreign troops come to Darfur.

"If we return to the last demonstrations in the United States, and the groups that organized the demonstrations, we find that they are all Jewish organizations," al-Bashir said Tuesday, referring to rallies held in New York and Philadelphia earlier this year.

Funny, CNN doesn't pull these quotes. Mmmmm.... wonder why? I know; do you?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Going after the Poseur Wannabees

USA today has a two-fer here and here. The FBI is going after these jerks.
Retired Marine Corps master sergeant Fred Montney III and others turned to admire Gerard Smigel, 52, in his dress blue uniform and wearing the rank of lieutenant Colonel. "He was in his element. He enjoyed it," says Montney, who sat at Smigel's table.

As the night wore on, Montney noticed little flaws. Smigel would excuse himself to go to the "latrine." Marines call it the "head." Smigel wore one award, a Combat Action Ribbon, upside down. "When I asked him questions, he would get somewhat fuzzy" about details, Montney recalls. He snapped a photo of Smigel, smiling next to his wife, and later called the FBI.

Smigel pleaded guilty this month in federal court to illegally wearing the uniform and medals. He was sentenced to three years of probation and fined $3,000.
The FBI has investigated 58 cases of people allegedly wearing fraudulent military decorations since 2001. Assisted by military researchers and the Internet — where hoaxes can be quickly tracked and exposed — the FBI could end up investigating more cases of medal fraud this year than in any other previous year, Cottone says. He says he gets one tip a week.

"I call them gutless creeps," Montney says of frauds such as Smigel. According to court documents, Smigel's true military service was as an Air Force plumbing specialist who received a less-than-honorable discharge in 1975.

"The vast majority, it's just low self-esteem," says B.G. "Jug" Burkett, a retired stockbroker from Dallas who led efforts to unmask frauds with Stolen Valor, a 1998 book he co-wrote. Burkett says people assume heroic alter egos to offset shortcomings.

"Whenever you make someone a hero, he's not only heroic, he's trustworthy, he's honest, he's loyal, he's sincere. All these other attributes get attached to him," he says. "And if somehow he has failed in some way, then it's due to that evil war that he was forced to fight. You can take both the good and the bad and it explains
We are getting better at going after these guys. They drive me nuts. They are bad enough on the Internet; at a bar......
Support in Congress is growing for the "Stolen Valor Act," which would stiffen penalties for falsely claiming to have received any medal. Since it was introduced last year, the number of co-sponsors has doubled.

The bill would make it a crime to merely claim the medal was earned. It would also increase punishment. Today, only those fraudulently wearing Medals of Honor face up to a year in jail and a $100,000 fine. The bill would increase penalties for wearing other medals to the same level.
BZ to DC. Nice start.

Japanese Aegis

While we are all thinking about NW Asia....

Nice little amateur video. I am glad the
JMSDF is on our side and we aren't the only ones thinking about the NORKs.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

People's Democratic Republic of Oakland

Say what you want about Gov/Mayor/perhaps-Attny-General-of-CA Jerry Brown, he is a honest, clear-headed Leftist. A true believer, but not a hater or a crypto-tyrant wannabe.

Looks like former Rep. Ron Dellums has a good chance of being the next mayor of Oakland.

Jerry Brown did as best as could be done to try to get Oakland back on its feet. The #2 in the race, City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente, would bring some chance of sane government. Castro and Communist Grenada Thug lov'n Dellums?

Sell. Now.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Watching a great church destroy itself

Throw in any cliché you wish. Cognitive Dissonance. In a hole and digging deeper. Selfish narcissism. Refusal to understand that something is greater than yourself.

I am not, nor have I ever been a member of the Episcopal Church. I do follow it, because it was once such a great force for good. In the market of ideas that is religion in our free nation, especially Christianity and its variants, you can watch trends by growth or decline. The trends are clear, churches to the right of centerline are growing, those to the left are withering on the vine.
The Yearbook also records the continuing growth of Pentecostal, historic African American and other non-mainline churches in the U.S. Among the largest 25 churches in the U.S., the fastest growing are the Assemblies of God (increasing 1.81 percent to 2,779,095), the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (increasing 1.74 percent to 5,999,177) and the Roman Catholic Church (increasing .83 percent to 67,820,833).

Only three mainline Protestant churches are among the ten largest churches: the United Methodist Church (ranked 3 with a membership of 8,186,254), the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ranked 7 with a membership of 4,930,429), and the Presbyterian Church, USA (ranked 9 with a membership of 3,189,573). All three churches declined in membership since the 2005 Yearbook was released.
A good review of one reason for the Episcopal’s decline;
One sign is the Episcopal Church’s accelerated membership decline in 2003. After several years of largely static membership, the church experienced a one-year drop of 36,000 souls. The average Episcopal Church has just over 300 members, so that’s the equivalent of shutting down over two congregations a week – a total of 113 for one year. I have no doubt that the membership fall off has continued in 2004.

Church leaders say that the membership decline is because Episcopalians have fewer children than members of other churches. But that doesn’t explain the sudden 2003 dive. Only the controversy over the new homosexual bishop makes sense as an explanation.
If that isn’t enough, they have decided to pick a fight with the Anglican Communion.
Anglicans faced a new crisis on Monday after a liberal female bishop became head of the U.S. branch of the church and an English bishop warned that Anglicanism was in danger of splitting into "two religions."

The consecration of openly gay American bishop Gene Robinson and the blessing of same sex marriages in Canada three years ago have deepened differences between liberals and conservatives among the world's 77 million Anglicans.

Now the broad church, which prides itself on governing by consensus, is braced for fresh turmoil after the U.S. Episcopal Church chose Katherine Jefferts Schori as its first female head.

"It will be a great adventure," Schori promised after her election at the weekend — but the already battered and bruised Anglican community was not so sure.
Hey, not my battle, not my denomination – but it is a warning. If you loose control of something you care about to a dedicated group of Leftists – they will destroy it in order to validate their own misguided, selfish desires - and ignore the foundation of the body they feed on. They will tolerate anything – but opposition.

Whenever I shake my head about going another round about “grape juice vs. wine” at Sunday School, I realize that it could be much worse. Often, I feel more comfortable when I am left of centerline.

Oh, in case you are wondering; I leave female Preachers/Priestesses/etc to each denomination. I will judge someone who is gay when I fix all my sins. This post isn't that simple. Think about it before you pun intended.
While we are at it, from The Corner - don't forget my former church, the neo-Pagan Prebyterian Church USA.
The divine Trinity - ``Father, Son and Holy Spirit'' - could also be known as ``Mother, Child and Womb'' or ``Rock, Redeemer, Friend'' at some Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) services under an action Monday by the church's national assembly.
Besides ``Mother, Child and Womb'' and ``Rock, Redeemer, Friend,'' proposed Trinity options drawn from biblical material include:

- ``Lover, Beloved, Love''

- ``Creator, Savior, Sanctifier''

- ``King of Glory, Prince of Peace, Spirit of Love.''
Can't make this stuff up. Reminds me. I need to get back to The Word. 1 July, Matthew here I come.

"Daddy, please make her stop!!"

That is a direct quote from my 9 year old. Rarely has a father been more proud.

Hat tip The Corner.

The subtle anti-Americanism of Newsweek

It is the little things that can tell you a lot about what septic gobbs of goo flows through the minds of the MSM. Read this little review of the new Superman movie. This is what came at me like a fat middle finger and a raspberry:
"Superman Returns" (written by Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris from a story they cooked up with Singer), the caped crusader for truth, justice, etc.
"etc". Sigh.

It is supposed to be this. But, they knew that. At least the movie got it right.

Adds you won't see in the U.S. II: Electric Boogaloo

Ahhhh, the Dutch. The Dutch government. 'Nuff said.

Maybe in the next Clinton Administration.

(NB: really SFW, just a little, well, don't let the kids see it).

Part I can be found here.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Free Guns, Beer, and P0rn!!!

There, now that I have Skippy and your attention - it is time to turn over CDR Salamander until the Sunday Funnies to Valor IT. There is a lot of goodies at Argghhh!!!! and MilBlogs on the right project at the right time for the right people. Here is a quick summary if you are not familiar with Valor IT.
Project Valour-IT, in memory of SFC William V. Ziegenfuss, provides voice-controlled software and laptop computers to wounded Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines recovering from hand and arm injuries or amputations. Operating laptops by speaking into a microphone, our wounded heroes are able to send and receive messages from friends and loved ones, surf the 'Net, and communicate with buddies still in the field without having to press a key or move a mouse. The experience of CPT Charles "Chuck" Ziegenfuss, a partner in the project who suffered hand wounds while serving in Iraq, illustrates how important this voice-controlled software can be to a wounded service member's recovery.

So, the fundraising for Project Valour-IT continues today.

Please click on the graphic below - and give up a little beer/winecooler/pack of cigarettes/movie rental money to help the wounded re-connect to their wired lives.

Work with us - donate!

Fullbore Friday

HMS Nelson. One of the more curious, no, the most curious Battleship classes (2) ever built. The first thing that comes to mind is "Shipmate, where is your stern?" If it looks like a ship built by committee, well that is because it is. A product of The Washington Treaty, "compromises" were made. Though it was the only RN ship with 16" guns, the ship herself was a tad slow, and once the war was done - like the rest of the RN Battleships - off to the breakers she went. Best pictures here. Other sites here and here.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Durka Durka Mohammed Jihad

I am back to the world of private broadband, and have discovered that, well, no one here is having fun with Cpl. Joshua Belile and The Sweater Kittens.

There is so much here. First of all, watch it on HotAir (with subtitles), or YouTube first.

Now read what is being written at Reuters, the German-American Bund...err...CAIR, and round it up with an update by Allah.

My favorite quote is;
"I cannot say if there is a violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice or the law of armed conflict. Lawyers have looked at it and they're kind of scratching their heads, which is why we're doing this preliminary inquiry," said Lt. Col. Scott Fazekas, a U.S. Marine Corps spokesman at the
Does anyone read/listen to the lyrics? Can any PIO take a clue from Tony Snow? Do you now what Durka Durka Mohammed Jihad means?

Just read/watch and bask at the world’s only SuperPower pick at its navel - and the miracle that our women aren’t in burkas already..

UPDATE: My bust. Uncle Jimbo had it two days ago over at BLACKFIVE. Well, you can get an update today from him today as well..

Cross posted at MilBlogs.

Combat Arms should not rap

NB: as you may have noticed, posting has been light. I am on another of those limited access trips, I am pulling a lot from saved drafts. I'll be back full time tomorrow.

Hat tip Gunner Palace.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Wilf for President

Yes. If Sestak is going to try to go to Congress...why not.

GunnerPalace has his qualifications.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Reality check

Before you start to smear or pontificate too much; remember - even the "Greatest Generation" had some bad things said about them.
The following quotations from "Naples '44," by the late Norman Lewis (perhaps the greatest English travel writer of the past century), are instructive. Lewis was stationed in Naples following Italy's liberation from the Nazis, and he kept a diary:

"What we saw was ineptitude and cowardice spreading down from the command, and this resulted in chaos . . .

"I saw an ugly sight: a British officer interrogating a civilian, and repeatedly hitting him about the head with the chair; treatment which the [civilian], his face a mask of blood, suffered with stoicism. At the end of the interrogation, which had not been considered successful, the officer called on a private and asked him in a pleasant, conversational sort of manner, 'Would you like to take this man away, and shoot him?' The private's reply was to spit on his hands, and say, 'I don't mind if I do, sir.'

"I received confirmation . . . that American combat units were ordered by their officers to beat to death [those] who attempted to surrender to them. These men seem very naive and childlike, but some of them are beginning to question the ethics of this order.

"We liberated them from the Fascist Monster. And what is the prize? The rebirth of democracy. The glorious prospect of being able one day to choose their rulers from a list of powerful men, most of whose corruptions are generally known and accepted with weary resignation. The days of Mussolini must seem like a lost paradise compared to us."
Hat tip LBG.

The new Goths

I want to work for this guy. Heck, I don't even need the Joint Credit.
ONE of Britain’s most senior military strategists has warned that western civilisation faces a threat on a par with the barbarian invasions that destroyed the Roman empire.

In an apocalyptic vision of security dangers, Rear Admiral Chris Parry said future migrations would be comparable to the Goths and Vandals while north African "barbary" pirates could be attacking yachts and beaches in the Mediterranean within 10 years.

Europe, including Britain, could be undermined by large immigrant groups with little allegiance to their host countries — a "reverse colonisation" as Parry described it. These groups would stay connected to their homelands by the internet and cheap flights. The idea of assimilation was becoming redundant, he said.
Go home and hug your U.S. passport. This is one of the most important, relevant, and timely works done on long term strategy in awhile. Something else for me to throw at those goofy fans of Francis.

Oh, and a side note. This guy is on active duty --- read the whole thing. The fact he wrote this in this tone - this bluntly - tells me a couple of things:

1 - The PC Fascists have not attacked the Royal Navy like they have, ahem, elsewhere.

2 - I like OUR immigration woes much better.

Hat tip The Corner.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Viva May-hick-oh

This may be the only time you read that title here (actually not true).
Mexico beat Iran 3-1 in the first Group D match in Nuremberg on Sunday. The Iranians started strong but then soon fizzled.

Mexico scored twice in three second-half minutes to beat Iran 3-1 on Sunday and give a massive boost to their bid to go past the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time.
Notice, just like NPR I used the proper accent, Mexico isn't correct - you know - it must be May-hick-oh. Don't worry about pronouncing Hong Kong with a Chinese accent, or Munich (Munchen) in a German, or Paris with a French, ---
you must be a nice paternalistic, condencending, PC Leftist with anything Spanish, oh excuse me, Castellano.

But, what is not the love about just about anyone that makes Iran look bad? Bask in it. We can't do it, let the Mexicans. We are all "North Americans" now.

Z.A.S.=Zarqawi Avoidance Syndrome

The formative years for me were a large part taken up by the mid-to-late 70s and the national nadir that all represents. As a young’un I remember seeing “The Wind and the Lion” and wishing that we could be THAT America (invented as it was), and not the Carter America that seemed, to me at least, the worst possible reaction to just about everything. National security, music, clothing, cars…what? Tell me there was anything of any use to that time but the Farrah Faucett poster?

Anyway, I think we may be getting close.
Members of an armed Fatah militia which claimed to have kidnapped an Israeli Saturday transferred the individual in question, a U.S. citizen, to the custody of the Palestinian Authority before dawn Sunday.

The PA security forces subsequently handed the American over to the Israel Defense Forces. Defense officials believe once the militants discovered the person was indeed an American citizen, they took steps to end the matter quickly.

“Apparently, the kidnappers did not want to end up like Zarqawi,” a defense official said.
A great quote from the movie. I always thought this was deep. If not, it sounds that way.
Raisuli: To Theodore Roosevelt - you are like the Wind and I like the Lion. You form the Tempest. The sand stings my eyes and the Ground is parched. I roar in defiance but you do not hear. But between us there is a difference. I, like the lion, must remain in my place. While you like the wind will never know yours. - Mulay Hamid El Raisuli, Lord of the Riff, Sultan to the Berbers, Last of the Barbary Pirates.
Crossposted at MilBlogs.

Hat tip LGF.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Why they survived Egyptians, Assyrians, Romans, and Nazis

They are tough. Just plain old tough. Almost like they are chosen or something.....

Hat tip Lex.

Unsanitary Moonbats

I'm sorry but, and I men butt, you just can't parody these people.
The World Naked Bike Ride pedals into Chicago and at least 25 other cities around the world Saturday.

It's a peaceful protest against international oil consumption.

Just how peaceful likely will depend on the site since public nudity is illegal in many areas and most of the bikers plan to be totally naked.

"We don't expect everyone to be OK with this," Aurora Danai, a 26-year-old Bucktown, Ill.. resident told the publication RedEye. "We're just trying to have a good time and raise awareness."
I mean, BEHOLD! Oh, I think I found Skippy's picture from last years protest here.

Hat tip PowerLine.

Friday, June 09, 2006

The 5.56 mm belly button

Time to pick at it again. I can't believe I am linking to a CBS report, but this is about one of my favorite subjects. Guns -
One particular episode immediately caught our eye. It involved a Special Forces raid in Ramadi in response to the bombing of the U.N. Headquarters in Baghdad back in August 2003. According to a soldier who was there, during a fierce exchange of gunfire, one insurgent was hit seven — count ‘em, seven — times in the torso by the 5.56, only to be brought down by a single shot to the head from a .45 caliber pistol. But before the insurgent died, he killed two U.S. soldiers and wounded seven.

The man who brought that story to our attention was retired Marine Maj. Anthony Milavic, who's hardly shy in his anger over the 5.56.

"The lack of lethality of that bullet has caused United States soldiers to die," said Milavic, a veteran of two tours of duty in Vietnam.
Yep, the 40 yr old argument. It has been a head scratcher for me since I did a report on it for 11th Grade chemistry. I am, with varyinging degrees of success, a hunter. It is illegal to hunt 150-200# deer with a .223 Remington (what the 5.56 NATO round is). The reason is that you simply cannot kill effectively with one. We will throw you in jail and/or fine you for trying to kill a 150# herbivoreore with a round we expect you to kill an excited 150# Jihadi. It just boggles.
Pierre Sprey couldn'’t have been less impressed when I told him what we had seen. A former Pentagon weapons expert, he championed the 5.56 to secretaries of state and presidents believing it both lethal and light. During our time together, he shook his head at the online debate sparked, he felt, by those who are far from expert in the field of testing and war. He believes the more bullets the better, and that soldiers carrying 300 rounds and firing on automatic don't compare to those carrying 100 and firing one big bullet at a time. "There is no such thing as a well-aimed shot in combat," said Sprey. "Combat is fought by scared 18-year-olds who haven't trained enough and are in places they've never seen before."
Ground combat is not my specialty, my professional toolbox has big things that make big fireballs going out and going in, look cool on video, and require AC power - but please. There are more bad theories there than you can shake a stick at. I thought we stressed Aimed Fire? Spray and pray is what poorly trained targets do. Say what you want about the Soldier or Marine of 2006, but "..poorly trained and clueless 18 yr old" isn't very accurate. There was a move post OEF/OIF experience to go to a 6.5/6.8mm, but the bean counters, again, are trying to kill it. This sounds familiar.
So off we went — eventually discovering a confidential report to Congress in which active Marine commanders complained about the 5.56 ("the most worthless round, torso shots not lethal") and two more internal reports based upon the Army's most extensive testing of the 5.56 since 1990.

The testing took place at the Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey. In an initial interim report dated September 2004 the 5.56 ranked last in lethality out of three bullets tested. A second draft, dated March of this year, confirmed those rankings to a CBS producer who looked at the report. To top it off we found a story in a recent issue of Marine Corps Times magazine that was particularly enlightening. In it a squad leader said his Marines carried and used "found" enemy AK-47s because their 7.62 bullets packed "more stopping power." In effect, they put down their own weapons in favor of those carried by the enemy because they felt more secure, especially in close-quarter battle.

We contacted both an arsenal and an Army spokesman at the Pentagon about our story, and both knocked it down. Initially, they called the reports and rankings "wrong Â… not statistically grounded" and "not the final version."

Then just before our story ran, the Army issued a press release stating it had completed a detailed study affirming the effectiveness of the 5.56. Surprisingly, at least to us (given the rankings and reports we had seen) the Army said their study actually was not a comparison of the 5.56 to any other caliber bullets in close-quarter fighting but rather the 5.56 to "commercially-available" rounds. The release pointed out the 5.56 did "have the same potential effectiveness in the hands of a Warfighter during the heat of battle."

You can read what you want in that last paragraph. I can tell you many of the people to whom we were talking expressed a great deal of displeasure over it. No matter what side youÂ’re on, one thing is abundantly clear: with nearly 800,000 U.S. soldiers carrying M-16 rifles around the world, the cost of modifying those guns to fire any other bullet seems certain to spark a firestorm all its own.
Hey, all I know is that when I am hunting Wild Boar, I would be checked into a Psych Ward if I went out there with a 5.56mm. 30-30 or 41 mag min, and if there is a big, bad sow out there, get me a 45-70. My trusty, not-rusty Sako 75 in 30-06 for Deer (180gr) and Elk (200gr).

Oh, one of the "5.56mm is great" theories that is always thrown out there is the "..if you wound a man, you make his whole unit less effective by making his fellow soldiers take care of him. If you kill him, you only stop one." I am sorry, when you have a room of 4 Jihadi, or a car coming at you at 50 mph; you need to kill - now.
Since 11th grade I have listened, with an open mind, to both sides. The only argument that the 5.56mm side seems to have are accounting and inertia. But, I'm a squid. What do I know....if 10 is good, wouldn't 11 be better?

Well, that was fun. Who wants to do 9mm vs 45?

Hat tip Emperor Darth Misha I and Kim du Toit.

Speaking of the draft...

Check out Michael Yon's interview with the last remaining draftee on active duty; the senion enlisted member in Iraq - Command Sergeant Major Jeffrey Mellinger.

You spin me round-round baby round-round

Sigh. It would be nice to break this loop.

Hat tip, OP-FOR.

Fullbore Friday

USS Pensacola (CA-24). A great ship with a great history. She had a very busy early war.
When the Pacific War began on 7 December 1941 with Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor, Pensacola was at sea escorting a convoy that was subsequently diverted to Australia. Following patrols in the vicinity of Samoa, the cruiser screened the carriers Lexington and Yorktown during their operations in the southern Pacific from February into April 1942. In the early June Battle of Midway PensacolaEnterprise and USS Yorktown. From August to December 1942, she operated in support of the Guadalcanal campaign, mainly serving with aircraft carriers, and was present during the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands in late October and the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal in mid-November. At the end of November, Pensacola was badly damaged by a torpedo in the Battle of Tassafaronga, with the loss of over 120 of her crewmen.

In the end though, at least she died a warrior's death. She got nuked and then sunk by gunfire.

Best pictures are here.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Phestival of Phuture Phleet Phorecasts

Get a nice beverage, relax and head on over to Chap's latest snag; the CBO's May '06 "Options for the Navy's Future Fleet."

This thing is just loaded with good info, but I will let you dig out your own jewels. I will just quote from my favorite windmill - the Little Crappy Ship.
The Navy is determined to keep the costs of the littoral combat ship low so the service can procure them in large numbers. Specifically, it does not want the “truck” portion of the LCS system to cost more than $220 million apiece in 2005 dollars (or $235 million in 2007 dollars). However, the latest shipbuilding plan implies that the LCSs purchased through 2011 will have an average cost of around $300 million each just for the ships themselves.

Limiting the cost of the mission modules—some of which are still in development and whose costs are uncertain— could also be problematic. Relying on the Navy’s budget submission, this report assumes that one LCS with two mission packages would cost an average of about $450 million.

Observers have raised three key issues about the littoral combat ship:

Size. Different critics maintain that the LCS is either too small or too large. The Office of Force Transformation proposed several ideas for surface combatants that were one-third to one-30th the size of the LCS. Other analysts argue that the LCS will be too small to defend itself against missiles or larger surface combatants that it might encounter.12

Process. The Navy did not conduct a formal study to determine whether the LCS was the right ship to perform the missions of antimine, antisurface, and antisubmarine warfare before it decided to proceed with the program.13

Logistical Support. As a relatively small ship, the LCS may experience more wear and tear from the sea than larger ships do. Although the Navy wants to keep a large number of LCSs forward deployed, its plans for supporting and maintaining the ships are not yet clear.

Look at the charts in the paper, and see what a large part of the #s LCS has. That is based on a much smaller per-unit cost. We know how that changed. Knock that wedge down 40% or so. Yes, it is that bad.

There is also some good work being done over at EagleSpeak. Also, for an answer - look at the benchmark at Lex's place for some nice book learn'n. Say what you want about the Hornet/Super Hornet, but it is making shadows on the ramp. A great example of not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good.

You read it here first here, here, here, here, and here. On top of that, reader Byron A. has told you over and over in the comments section about the sea keeping challenges that have yet to be addressed on trials. Oh, there is a way out. Cry uncle and buy LCS-I instead.