Thursday, March 01, 2007

RADM Shuford wants to talk to you...

UPDATE and BUMP ('d again): thanks to reader Brett, we have the PPT. To download, click here. Slide 20 is the place to go. Note, though Seattle is close - there isn't a Navy town among them. Shame. As for the slides themselves - I am troubled if this is the best thing coming out of Newport. Especially in the opening slides, the bullets provided show a dangerous lack of a historical perspective. The use of "profound" is not necessary, and many of the "factors" have always been with us and are nothing new. This brief will have little credibility to an educated audience.
UPDATE II: Electric Boogaloo: Reader Scott sends along the link to The Maritime Strategy Project webpage. I really want to like this project - but I am sorry. It just does not read like a serious project - one worthy of the World's largest Navy. The verbiage has too much hyperbole - too many buzzwords - and gives too much of a look of a marketing/PIO project. I am sorry. It insults my intelligence - it should insult yours.

Let me give you just a brief example. Go to the "Research" page. The last event you can "
Mouse over the specific event for amplifying comments." is from 6-7 DEC "China Energy Futures Conference." It is a PDF Trifold. A Trifold. That is it. How much are we paying Johns Hopkins to maintain this site?

Go back to the "Research" page. We are at the tail end of Phase IV. Last week, if the information is correct, they already "MARSTRAT (Maritime Strategy) Options Refinement Decision Support Event." Next week they will have "Brief to Core Group" and "Options Brief to EXCOM." I next want you to look at the pamphlet from the 14 NOV "conversation." These are not "conversations," the decisions are already made. These are conversations like the ones you have with a Bud Light commercial. These are PR sales pitches for SEAPOWER 21 and the buzzword lined, ill defined program we seem hell-bent to follow. We do not need buzzwords. We do not need PR. We need leadership that makes sense.

This is all cotton candy for the paper-thin thinking crowd. Look at these two quotes.
The process for creating a new Maritime Strategy isn’t about updating an existing document . . . it focuses on a new strategy to address current challenges and to guide the Navy in an entirely new, globally-connected environment that has not existed in the past.
No, the world has been globally-connected for hundreds of years. Nothing now or in the future has existed in the past. That line means nothing. Sure, the time delay and speed of movement has changed. The tools are better - but this world is not new. Nelson, Napoleon, Nimitz, and Alexander the Great would all understand what is going on just fine. This is not new. Nothing.
“Where the old Maritime Strategy focused on sea control, the new one must recognize that the economic tide of all nations rises —not when the seas are controlled by one—but rather when they are made safe and free for all.”
Ungh. It is like New-Coke. You take a couple of swigs and then you realize that it isn't New - it is slightly off taste and has nothing of value. Read it again. It sounds great - but there isn't any "there" there. Read it a third time and it starts to sound like Sec. of State Albright's comment that it is bad if the US is the lone superpower - that it would be better if we had a peer...or worse.

The Army made the same mistake prior to OIF. RMA, war is new, etc, etc, etc. Next thing it knew it was running out of .50 cal ammo and they were having to reinvent RPG cages for their APC that they forgot about from Vietnam. Oh, and convoy procedures...the weakness of a .38 cal (9mm) against rabid foes...and so on.

It is oh-so-sexy to yell about how all is new, all is a crisis, everything our paid consultants say are profound - but it doesn't make a difference when you are 10NM off shore and a truck pulls out of a garage just long enough to put a C-802 through the stern of your best warship that was so damn brilliant that if forgot the basics of operating close to shore in a hostile environment.

It is not sexy to say, "We have forgotten the fundamentals. We almost have as many warships as Flag Officers - if not already passing that point depending on what you define as a warship. We no longer can afford the ships we design. We no longer have an effective way to refuel our aircraft from a CV for deep strike. We do not have enough training space or airfields. We do not have enough ports to move CONUS forces and equipment. We no longer are being realistic on what we need to do to fight hurt at sea. We cannot even find an efficient way to uniform our Sailors. We need to get back to basics - because we are not meeting them in critical areas."

Actually, that last bit, I think the MCPON gets. I am not hearing it from anyone else.

Oh, as much as it pains me, that last quote about the "free for all" above was from ... well figure it out.

This is not an honest approach to the challenges we as a Navy face. This is marketing of a group of concepts that is not dazzling me with its brilliance; it is baffling me with its bu11sh1t.

The Navy is looking for a few good ideas, many of which it hopes will come from the general public, as its leadership tries to determine the course it should chart over the next several decades.

"What we're talking about here is beyond Afghanistan and Iraq," Rear Adm. Jacob Shuford, president of the Naval War College, said Friday in Atlanta during a symposium on future maritime strategies.

Speaking to a group of about 150, Shuford said the symposium here was the third in a series of eight being held across the country to solicit ideas on
shaping the Navy of the future.

I would get a kick seeing "Jake" do his Oprah routine. I first met then CAPT Shuford when he was Skipper of the USS Gettysburg. If he is going to let you get a word in edgewise - take advantage of it. Don't let the Low Country Southern accent fool you - RADM Shuford is sharp, direct, and doesn't suffer fools very well. I can't find a schedule anywhere, but if you hear about it - go.

Personally, I am mostly with Lex here - I think it is a silly idea; but what the heck.

No comments: