Saturday, May 31, 2008

ECON 101

OK, a loving cluebat for you. Life discriminates against the economically challenged. Case in point.
The most recent data released by the TSP show that 36.1 percent of active-duty military personnel are saving for their retirement through the 401(k)-type program. An additional 12.2 percent of the military reserves have joined the TSP.
Folks there are three words you have to understand here; Pre. Tax. Money. Roll that into the "if you don't see it; you don't miss it" concept with the time value of money, and the 63.9% of you are just throwing money out your window.

Now a free gift for you. If you have ignored my previous advice and have not subscribed to IBD, do so now. If you have not been listening to Gary Kaltbaum, do so now. Read both his book and the ones he recommends. If you want to know what works and what does not, his 26 MAR primer is required listening.

Stupid is as stupid does. Stop being stuck on stupid.


Harvey Korman. A great man.

Hey, that clip kind of remind me of my trip to Millington to scare up the right kind of Sailors; and yea, the detailers are kind of like that - without the hat of course.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Bob Dole off the top rope

Stealing it all from Politico because it is that good.
Bob Dole yesterday sent a scalding email to Scott McClellan, excoriating the former White House spokesman as a "miserable creature" who greedily betrayed his former patron for a fast buck.

In an extraordinary message obtained and authenticated by Politico, Dole uses his trademark biting wit to portray McClellan as a classic Washington opportunist.

"There are miserable creatures like you in every administration who don’t have the guts to speak up or quit if there are disagreements with the boss or colleagues," Dole wrote in a message sent yesterday morning. "No, your type soaks up the benefits of power, revels in the limelight for years, then quits, and spurred on by greed, cashes in with a scathing critique."

Michael Marshall, Dole's spokesman and colleague at the Alston Bird law firm, confirms the message came from the former senator and presidential candidate. "Yes, it is authentic," Marshall wrote in an email.

"In my nearly 36 years of public service I've known of a few like you," Dole writes, recounting his years representing Kansas in the House and Senate. "No doubt you will 'clean up' as the liberal anti-Bush press will promote your belated concerns with wild enthusiasm. When the money starts rolling in you should donate it to a worthy cause, something like, 'Biting The Hand That Fed Me.' Another thought is to weasel your way back into the White House if a Democrat is elected. That would provide a good set up for a second book deal in a few years"

Dole assures McClellan that he won't read the book -- "because if all these awful things were happening, and perhaps some may have been, you should have spoken up publicly like a man, or quit your cushy, high profile job"

"That would have taken integrity and courage but then you would have had credibility and your complaints could have been aired objectively," Dole concludes. "You’re a hot ticket now but don’t you, deep down, feel like a total ingrate?"

He signs the email simply: "BOB DOLE"
Nuff said. Don't piss off Bob Dole.
UPDATE: Bah! Not 'nuff said. Jonah has one of the best opening lines of the year. Read the whole thing.
Not since America’s most revered feckless crapweasel, former Vermont Sen. James Jeffords, switched parties have Beltway Republicans been more eager to sew a half-starved ferret into someone’s body cavity. In this case, the desired victim is former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, who has coughed up a time-honored hairball of capital culture: the “tell-all” memoir.

Fullbore Friday

The Battle of Midway - the Japanese side.

If you don't poke around the site - you are missing it.

During the stay of the United States Strategic Bombing Survey in Japan, shortly after the conclusion of the war, a sizable number of official Japanese naval papers were recovered and returned to the Washington Document Center. The Naval Analysis Division of the Survey, in connection with its studies, arranged for the scanning of most of these documents and the fuller translation of some, but lack of qualified personnel has not yet permitted the complete coverage which a critical historical examination must later demand.

The document here presented in full is the action report by the C-in-C of the First Air Fleet, Admiral Nagumo, who was the commander of the Striking Force at Midway. As its title implies, this force contained the major offensive strength of the Combined Fleet, in its four aircraft carriers, and in fact conducted all the attack effort in this engagement. It was likewise the primary target of the United States forces involved. In the main, therefore, the action report of the Striking Force covers most of the detail of the historic Battle of Midway as seen from the Japanese side.

The Striking Force (variously titled Mobile Force, First Attack Force, and First Air Fleet) approached Midway from the northwest. The Occupation Force with landing troops embarked approached from the southwest. The Main Body, with Admiral Yamamoto, C-in-C Combined Fleet, took no part in the action, remaining to the westward prepared to meet such American threat to the concurrent operations in the Aleutians and at Midway as might develop.

There have been noted a number of obvious typographical errors in the original text, and several minor errors in fact particularly with respect to recognition of American aircraft types. In addition, there is sometimes difficulty in presenting an exact meaning in interpretation due to inherent peculiarities in Japanese naval phraseology.

It is suggested that the reader will benefit by reference to appropriate sections of "Interrogations of Japanese Officials" and "The Campaigns of the Pacific War" which have been published by the Naval Analysis Division of the Survey.

The arduous task of translating this document was accomplished by Mr. Fred Woodrough, Jr., of the Office of Naval Communications. Mr. Woodrough accompanied the Naval Analysis Division to Japan where he served as the Senior interpreter and translator of that group.

Rear Admiral, USN,
Senior Naval Member,
U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey
You miss perspective.
3. Actual Condition of the Enemy

(a) Actual conditions in the Midway area: The enemy apparently anticipated our attack and had their attack planes and flying boats take off. They also concentrated about 50 fighters (all Grummans), and intercepted our first attack wave at a point approximately 30 miles short of our target. When we subjected these to fierce counterattacks, however, they were put on the defensive and engaged, for the most part, in evasive maneuvers. Our ship-based attack planes and bombers suffered no casualties from enemy interceptors while the greater part of their fighters were brought down by us. Results we obtained were 41 enemy ship-based fighters, 1 ship-based bomber and 1 float recco shot down. We lost 4 planes from the exceedingly hot enemy AA fire, so our total losses including 2 which were scuttled during air engagements, were 6 planes.

6. General Situation at Conclusion of Operations and the Commander's Estimate Concerning It

Exceptional fighting was shown by all forces and all ships participating in this operation, and because of it, severe damages were inflicted on the enemy. At the same time, our losses numbered four carriers and the occupation of Midway was not carried out.

The enemy, however, having lost two of their powerful carriers and many of his air personnel, would undoubtedly be unable to effect any large-scale operation in the near future. It is believed that the enemy will surely strike back at some time, and every precaution should be taken against this.

Through this operation, there are some vital lessons learned in aircraft carrier warfare, which should be kept alive. These include such items as the reinforcements of searches for the enemy, flexibility of assembling and dispersing, and the speedy take-offs of friendly aircraft when the enemy is sighted.
You miss the critical importance of timely delivery of CCIRs.
(b) Communication:

Tone's #4 plane's message, reporting the sighting of the enemy, was filed at 0428 but was not delivered until about 0500. Hiryu's Air Officer's message stating that there was a need for a second attack wave was filed at 0400 and delivered 4 or 5 minutes later. The messages ordering the carrying out of the second attack wave today, and to have the stand-by planes change from torpedoes to bombs, were all delivered by 0415. The delay in the delivery of message from Tone's #4 plane greatly affected our subsequent attack preparations.
You also miss the sublime understatement of an unknown horror.
Pertinent facts concerning the POW picked up by the Arashi, and his testimony were as follows:

His plane which was from the U.S. carrier Yorktown,
was shot down in position 30-30N, 178-40W on 5 June. He died on 6 June and was buried at sea. The following information was obtained from him:

(1) POW's name and rank:9

(2) Place of birth: Chicago.

(3) Age: 23.

(4) Point of debarkation: Pearl Harbor.

(5) Destination: Vicinity of Midway.

(6) Other items:

(i) Enemy task force strength:

3 carriers (Yorktown, Enterprise, Hornet).

6 cruisers; about 10 destroyers.

(ii) The Yorktown, 2 cruisers, and 3 destroyers formed one group, and was separated from the other forces.

(iii) Sortied from Pearl Harbor during the morning of 31 May, arriving in the vicinity of Midway on 2 June. Since then, this group had been carrying out a mobile patrol along a north-south line.

(iv) There were no battleships in Pearl Harbor on 31 May. (The POW engaged in base training until 31 May, and therefore had no detailed knowledge of battleship movements in the Hawaii area.)

(v) Air strength on the island of Oahu:

Navy had about 200 to 300 planes (including 20 flying boats); the principal base was on Ford Island; POW had no detailed knowledge of the Army, but believed that it had several hundred planes there.

(vi) Base for carrier plane drills: Kaneohe, on Oahu.

(vii) Types (numbers) of aircraft on the Yorktown
Rest in peace.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

EOT medals jump the shark

It really is getting a bit pathetic. I wish we could go back where each UIC had a ceiling on each type of medal it could give - that way there was at least some type of quality cut. Now days, you have to be found in bed with a live boy or a dead girl to get denied an End of Tour medal.

If I see a Royal Navy Admiral with two rows I go "wow!" If I see a USAF Col. with 7 rows I go, "Standard issue."

This sense of entitlement is just, well, pathetic.
Air Force Col. Morris Davis said he was denied a medal for his two years of work building military commissions cases against terrorism suspects because he resigned and later spoke out about problems in the Pentagon's Office of Military Commissions.
Pathetic - though for an Air Farce Colonel type - you are a little weak on the salad bar.

End of history? Notsomuch...

Trends like this in history, if they pan out, never end in hugs, bunnies, and flowers.
If recent reports of trends in religious observance prove to be correct, then in some 30 years the mosque will be able to claim that, religiously speaking, the UK is an Islamic nation, and therefore needs a share in any religious establishment to reflect this. The progress of conservative Islam in the UK has been amazing, and it has come at a time of prolonged decline in church attendance that seems likely to continue.

This progress has been enthusiastically assisted by this government in particular with its hard-line multi-cultural dogma and willingness to concede to virtually every demand made by Muslims. Perhaps most importantly the government has chosen to allow hard-liners to act as representing all Muslims, and more liberal Muslims have almost completely failed to produce any leadership voices to compete, leading many Britons to wonder if there are indeed many liberal Muslims at all, surely a mistake.

At all levels of national life Islam has gained state funding, protection from any criticism, and the insertion of advisors and experts in government departs national and local. A Muslim Home Office adviser, for example, was responsible for Baroness Scotland’s aborting of the legislation against honour killings, arguing that informal methods would be better. In the police we hear of girls under police protection having the addresses of their safe houses disclosed to their parents by Muslim officers who think they are doing their religious duty.
Some resistance is there - but enough?
Pakistan-born Dr Nazir-Ali told the Mail on Sunday that, while Church leaders had rightly shown sensitivity to British Muslims, “I think it may have gone too far.”

He added: “Our nation is rooted in the Christian faith and that is the basis of welcoming people of other faiths. You cannot have an honest conversation on the basis of fudge.”
Hat tip LGF.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Girl talk

Women in combat - the gift that keeps on giving.

Two things came up recently that seem to need comment. First of all, Sen. Obama gave a horrible, partonizing, and insulting speech on Memorial Day. He seems to have overlooked that Memorial Day is the time we honor those who have fallen in service to this nation. Worse than that, he used it as an opportunity to insult not just everyone's intelligence, but also those women who have served. As is the leftist habit, everyone is a victim - but you know who suffers worse.
OBAMA: We're going to have hundreds of thousands of new veterans coming in, many of them who suffer post-traumatic stress disorder. They are not being diagnosed quickly enough, they're not getting the services that they need quickly enough.

And, sadly, the group of veterans that are probably being most neglected in this area are women veterans. We've got to do a better job of creating facilities...


... specifically for women veterans.

And part of what we need is to recognize that oftentimes our women servicemembers are more prone to post-traumatic stress disorder partly because they -- there's a sad, but real, problem of sexual harassment and sexual abuse for women veterans, and that makes them much more prone, then, to have post-traumatic stress disorder.
One silly aspect of this is that his argument actually helps those who oppose women in combat - a position that Obama is in favor of, I assume.

On the other side of the equation is a shockingly balanced bit in the LATimes.
The drive to eliminate gender distinctions in the military appears to be entering a new phase, with debate likely to come to a head within a few years. The next president, whether presumptive GOP nominee McCain or a Democrat, almost certainly will face the question of women in combat.
Soon after the Gulf War in 1991, a group of military women pressed Congress to allow female pilots to fly combat missions. But a Vietnam War hero in the Senate, John McCain, pushed back hard.

"The purpose of the military is first to defend this nation's vital security interests throughout the globe and only second to ensure equality," the Arizona Republican argued on the Senate floor, framing the issue in a way that infuriated feminists.

McCain lost that legislative battle, and women pilots started moving into combat roles in the mid-1990s. In the last five years in Iraq, women have flown hundreds of combat missions. And though they remain barred from ground combat units, women -- who make up about 15% of the military -- are playing a bigger fighting role than ever. About 100 have died in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Democratic presidential contenders Sens. Barack Obama of Illinois and Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York -- neither of whom has a track record on the issue -- declined to comment on their positions.

McCain's aides said only that he stood by his past positions, suggesting that he would resist pressures for change.
Well, we know where the candidates stand or hide - they also let us know some of the facts that few want to talk about - but is well known.
McCain's views may have been influenced, too, by an acute sense of what a prisoner, man or woman, would face. He spent 5 1/2 years in captivity in a Hanoi prison camp, where he was tortured. He returned home in 1973 having missed the U.S. cultural upheaval of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

In an interview with Navy public relations officials after his release, McCain said women should never be allowed to enter combat. "Some of the people that might capture them can be pretty mean," he said.
The experience of Jessica Lynch, the celebrated Army private who was taken prisoner early in the Iraq war, illustrates the risks. She eventually revealed in her book that she was brutally beaten and raped.
As were the female POWs from the first Gulf War.

Having served with women my whole career, I am of two minds on the subject. In the early part of OEF, my best junior Petty Officer was female, and one of my top 5 junior officers. That being said, there is a difference between floating at sea and kicking in a door. Flying a plane at 30,000 and fast-roping into a LZ.

My most significant issue is that Leadership will not discuss the facts we all know. There is servicemember to servicemember prostitution that no one will deal with. The highest secret on any CVN is the pregnancy rate - and don't even try to get a "married vs. single" breakout. There is rampant bump'n uglies at sea all over the pay scale (related, duh, to the previous point) that creates "leadership challenges." Most all men can carry my weight up a ladder to safety - almost no women can. Almost all men can deal with a flailing injured shipmate, few women can. The balance of men could hold their own in hand-to-hand combat with a terrorist trying to get access to the Quarterdeck - almost no women can. No men require special facilities that use up space we don't have - women do.

These are facts, and many real leaders who just happen to be female agree,
The Air Force's most senior female fighter pilot, Col. Martha McSally, has even called for eliminating dress code and grooming distinctions.

"Women's hair should be at least cut extremely short upon entering basic training in all services," she wrote in a Duke University law journal last year. "Uniforms should be standardized, and skirts, high heels and pantyhose should be removed from the military uniform."
Women everywhere? No. Women where it makes sense in a sane view of how the world is? Yes.

A job for Jawa

Dr. Rusty Shackleford and his band of merry pranksters have had a field day shutting down Jihadi websites. I think we have a prime target for them to do that do like they do so well,
On the street, Malika El Aroud is anonymous in an Islamic black veil covering all but her eyes.

In her living room, Ms. El Aroud, a 48-year-old Belgian, wears the ordinary look of middle age: a plain black T-shirt and pants and curly brown hair. The only adornment is a pair of powder-blue slippers monogrammed in gold with the letters SEXY.

But it is on the Internet where Ms. El Aroud has distinguished herself. Writing in French under the name “Oum Obeyda,” she has transformed herself into one of the most prominent Internet jihadists in Europe.

She calls herself a female holy warrior for Al Qaeda. She insists that she does not disseminate instructions on bomb-making and has no intention of taking up arms herself. Rather, she bullies Muslim men to go and fight and rallies women to join the cause.

“It’s not my role to set off bombs — that’s ridiculous,” she said in a rare interview. “I have a weapon. It’s to write. It’s to speak out. That’s my jihad. You can do many things with words. Writing is also a bomb.”

Ms. El Aroud has not only made a name for herself among devotees of radical forums where she broadcasts her message of hatred toward the West. She also is well known to intelligence officials throughout Europe as simply “Malika” — an Islamist who is at the forefront of the movement by women to take a larger role in the male-dominated global jihad.
Don't you love how she sucks off the teat of the beast she damns? You will love her background even more.
Ms. El Aroud began her rise to prominence because of a man in her life. Two days before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, her husband carried out a bombing in Afghanistan that killed the anti-Taliban resistance leader Ahmed Shah Massoud at the behest of Osama bin Laden. Her husband was killed, and she took to the Internet as the widow of a martyr.

She remarried, and in 2007 she and her new husband were convicted in Switzerland for operating pro-Qaeda Web sites. Now, according to the Belgium authorities, she is a suspect in what the authorities say they believe is a plot to carry out attacks in Belgium.
... she knows the rules. “I write in a legal way,” she said. “I know what I’m doing. I’m Belgian. I know the system.”
Ms. El Aroud was tried with 22 others in Belgium for complicity in the Massoud killing. As a grieving widow in a black veil, she persuaded the court that she had been doing humanitarian work and knew nothing of her husband’s plans. She was acquitted for lack of evidence.

Her husband’s death, though, propelled her into a new life. “The widow of a martyr is very important for Muslims,” she said.

She used her enhanced status to meet her new “brothers and sisters” on the Web. One of them was Moez Garsalloui, a Tunisian several years her junior who had political refugee status in Switzerland. They married and moved to a small Swiss village. There, they ran several pro-Qaeda Web sites and Internet forums that were monitored by Swiss authorities as part of the country’ first Internet-related criminal case.

After the police raided their home and arrested them at dawn in April 2005, Ms. El Aroud extensively described what she called their abuse.

“See what this country that calls us neutral made us suffer,” she wrote, claiming that the Swiss police beat and blindfolded her husband and manhandled her while she was sleeping unveiled.

Convicted last June of promoting violence and supporting a criminal organization, she received a six-month suspended sentence; Mr. Garsalloui, who was convicted of more serious charges, was released after 23 days. Despite Ms. El Aroud’s prominence, it is once again her husband whom the authorities view as a bigger threat. They suspect he was recruiting to carry out attacks last December and that he has connections to terrorist groups operating in the tribal areas of Pakistan.

The authorities say that they lost track of him after he was released from jail last year in Switzerland. “He is on a trip,” Ms. El Aroud said cryptically when asked about her husband’s whereabouts. “On a trip.”
Although the identities of those detained were not released, the Belgian authorities and others familiar with the case said that among those detained were Mr. Trabelsi’s wife and Fatima Aberkan, 47, a friend of Ms. El Aroud and a mother of seven.

“Malika is a source of inspiration for women because she is telling women to stop sleeping and open their eyes,” Ms. Aberkan said.

Ms. El Aroud operates from her three-room apartment that sits above a clothing shop in a working-class Brussels neighborhood where she spends her time communicating with supporters, mainly on her own forum, Minbar-SOS.

Although Ms. El Aroud insists that she is not breaking the law, she knows that the police are watching. And if the authorities find way to put her in prison, she said: “That would be great. They would make me a living martyr.”
Nice. I would love to see how many Euros a month she gets from the Belgium gov'munt in benefits. Brussels, the capital of Europe. Mohamed the number one name for males born there. Nice future you have there OMC.

And people think electing Sen. Obama (D-IL) will bring this war to an end. I know what MTH would say.....

But can you get ASW readiness points for it?

The Mexican Navy searched for sharks in the ocean near Pacific surfing beaches on Monday, after two bathers were killed and another maimed in a rare spate of shark attacks.

Three boats and a helicopter patrolled the sea while Navy and rescue officials scanned the horizon with binoculars from popular beaches around the southwestern Mexican resort of Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo. They warned surfers not to go far out.

"We've been monitoring the beaches; we've done reconnaissance flights," Rear Adm. Arturo Bernal said, adding that no big shark had been detected yet in the area.
No further comment needed.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Buy one for Stephen...

You know he wants one. Skippy too.

This is who talks to the CNO

In case you are wondering where all the Diversity Bully tail-wind comes from and why warriors run like beaten puppies when someone yells "racism."
A hearing last week before the House Homeland Security Committee would have been hilarious if it hadn’t been so appalling, or maybe it’s the other way around. Anyhow, according to a May 21 article in Congressional Quarterly (subscription required), the focus was on the Department of Homeland Security’s efforts to achieve greater racial and ethnic diversity in its personnel, and of course the committee’s Democrats thought that DHS needed to do more to get its numbers right.

The appalling/hilarious part is how openly contemptuous the committee was of rules, regulations, and procedures to ensure that the federal government not give preference based on race and ethnicity. "You can’t hire anybody unless they go through this [race-blind] Web site, so how can you have any kind of affirmative action program?" asked the incredulous Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.).

Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Tex.) impatiently noted that such regulations could be gotten around. "If you really want to diversify, you can diversify." Notwithstanding the "legal barriers," he said, "it can be done." He cited his own successes in avoiding a pesky federal court order when he was the state chairman of higher education in Texas: "I did what I needed to do and diversified."... While the DHS witness did express reluctance to violate the laws, she cheerfully pointed out a way to better achieve a politically correct racial and ethnic balance nonetheless: "I think we have to change the regulations," she said.
Yep, give them the House, the Senate, and the White House .... then the real fun stuff will happen.

Hat Tip Roger Clegg.

The Germans have a point

I have seen the new US Embassy in person in the later stages of construction. It is an embarassment. We are better - but in one of the most visible places in the world, we are seen cowering. That being said, the British Embassy isn't much better.

The best one in the area is the Russian Embassy.
"The new US Embassy in Berlin fits together with trends towards nostalgia in architecture -- it is the knights' castle that you can knock together with items from the home-improvement store," continues the FAZ's critic. "On the other hand, there is hardly a modern building -- with the exception of bunkers and pesticide testing centers -- which is so hysterically closed off from public space as this embassy. There is not a single window on the upper part of the building's south side. Here America shows itself as living a completely impenetrable, erratic bunker existence. One doesn't need to be as bitchy as certain angry passers-by, who postulated that the top part of the building must be home to the 'wellness and waterboarding' area, to be disturbed by such a lack of windows."

"If a building could stand with its arms crossed, it would look like this one," the paper writes. "Perhaps it is also typical of the first decade of the 21st century that public space, which once looked like a promise, is now perceived as a threat. The stranger, who was once the projection surface for the most beautiful collective and private fantasies, could be a terrorist, have AIDS or be transporting the plagues of globalization like factory closures, migration flows or bird flu."

"The American Embassy does not reflect the image of a country that was once a melting pot for immigrants from around the world, a place for new beginnings and reinventing oneself. The embassy represents a country which has been traumatized by 9/11 and the consequences of globalization -- a nation which is now so protected by armor that it can no longer see the world."
We should have done better - but with Congress that is more interested in selfish pork-barrel than showing the greatness of our nation to our friends, and an architectural Nomenclatura that derides and discourages beautiful buildings - this isn't shocking. Shame, but no shock.

Sherman is at a desk, punching tickets

Victor Davis Hanson has a great read out, "Do we still have Shermans?" on a theme you are familiar with; why in a time of war are we running with outdated Cold War and peacetime personnel policies? The Marines are best, the Army trying to get better,
Who becomes a general - and why - tells us a lot about whether our military is on the right or wrong track. The annual spring list of Army colonels promoted to brigadier general will be released soon. Rumors suggest that this year, unlike in the recent past, a number of maverick officers who have distinguished themselves fighting - and usually defeating - insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq will be chosen.

For example, scholar-soldier Col. H.R. McMaster, Special Forces Col. Ken Tovo and Col. Sean MacFarland - all of whom helped turn Sunni insurgents into allies - could, and should, make the cut.
- but the Navy, IMAO, is still lost at sea.

This war is longer than WWII now, yet we cannot seem to get ourselves out of the peacetime mindset in either acquisition or personnel policies. Many have heard the lament, "America is not at war. The military is at war, American is at the mall." I would take that a bit further that large parts of the military, especially the Navy, is not at war. Instead, they are stuck on "war after next" fantasy opponents, Diversity Fetish like diversions, and pet projects of questionable use and affordability (LCS, DDG-1000) that spend a lot of money, but result in few ships pier-side.
Now we will see whether the former mavericks can become incorporated into the military establishment. Will this wartime change in Pentagon thinking be enough - and in time? It depends on how many of the forward-thinking colonels get promoted and how much influence they wield.

The successful invasion of Normandy and subsequent race to the Rhine would have been unimaginable without Gens. Bradley, Eisenhower and Patton - all unknown colonels as late as 1940. So far, a few largely unheralded colonels in Iraq have salvaged the American cause.

The significance in the promotions of an H.R. McMaster or a Sean McFarland to general is not that they represent the nature of all future American wars. In fact, it is easy to conceive how a blow-up in North Korea or Iran would require a return to conventional military assets of heavy armor, firepower and high-tech close air-ground support.

Instead, the issue is whether the military still remains flexible enough to find the right commanders for the right type of fighting at the right time - and is preparing for all sorts of diverse scenarios in an increasingly competitive and unpredictable world.
Because of Goldwater-Nichols distortions, archaic established promotion habits, and poor leadership, we hold up 1-stars promotions so we can cram them through the Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk so they can get their required JPME-2. Why the rush? - this check in the block is required because ---- it is require. Don't mind what is going on in reality, after all - these guys have been fighting wars, that's all.

What will some time in Norfolk give them they don't already have? Books. Nothing else really. Books. Don't get me wrong, I love books - but should they be allowed to put artificial constraints on promoting out best? Did Sherman have to take 1862-1863 off to go to War College because his community manager told him he had to in order to get promoted?

For the Navy, we have out best and brightest pulled off the front lines because they "have" to get War College and JPME-1 done prior to CDR Command - or they won't get CDR Command - operational expertise and excellence be damned. Want Major Command at Sea? Unless you are very "special," don't spend too much time deployed or earning tax-free post CDR Command, I'll tell you that. Huh - is that the right message?

Besides the starved and still ill-equipped RIVRON and NECC related forces, the Navy is still stuck in FY00 and bold-faced career advice to the Junior Officer has not changed. That should give us all pause.

Are we encouraging and rewarding thinkers, risk takers, and those looking over the horizon and taking those non-traditional career tasks? On a macro-scale? How do we?

Monday, May 26, 2008

Deadman's Island

A little something for Memorial Day from a USN PEP (Personnel Exchange Program) officer to Canada, Brad McGuire, who was kind enough to send me something he put together for a local paper. I like the little hidden things for Memorial & Veterans Day, so with Brad's permission - below in whole.
May 26th this year is when Americans will gather in many places to honor the service men and women who have fallen in battle.

Memorial Day got it’s start after the Civil War; a war that saw brother against brother with staggering losses on both sides. America has memorial battlefields, cemeteries, and monuments recounting those who paid the ultimate price and their deeds literally all across the country.

Waterloo N.Y. was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson one day in May, 1966. Being from Southern Illinois, I take exception to that call. Memorial Day was officially proclaimed 5 May 1868 by General John A. Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order Number Eleven and was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. Similar ceremonies were said to have occurred throughout Southern Illinois as well.

It is not important who was the very first or what town did it in a particular manner, what is important is that Memorial Day was established as a coming together to honor the fallen who gave their all.

One Hundred Forty years later I find myself in a unique position. I am stationed in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada as a US Navy exchange officer. I’m a third generation Sailor whose ancestry may have ties to not only to the birth of Memorial Day but to Deadman’s Island too. By happenstance I will be assisting the senior US Navy officer here in the Maritimes in arranging a tribute to what until very recently had been America’s forgotten fallen. 195 Soldiers, Sailors and Marines served, fought, and died almost 200 years ago in yet another war that has faded in memory; the War of 1812. But they lie here in an unmarked burial site.

The War of 1812 has many facets depending upon your point of view. America was a very young country and viewed this war as a second war of independence. Canada was a British colony and viewed the entire war as an act of aggression and invasion by their upstart neighbor to the south. While American history will tell the tales of fierce fighting in New Orleans, sea battles raging upon the Atlantic and Caribbean, most of Canadian history focuses upon the St. Lawrence seaway, the Great Lakes battles and the Upper and Lower Canadian land battles.

It truly is a matter of perspective. I have often heard that “history is written by the victor”, so what happens when it’s a draw?

One of the most famous Canadian battles occurred at a place called “Lundy’s Lane” up near Niagra Falls. American history does not gloss it over but does not regale one with the entire story either. It involves allied Indians fighting alongside British forces and in fact a certain amount of deceit enabling a conniving British officer to accept the surrender of several hundred American soldiers. Among those units were the soldiers of the 16th Infantry from Ohio. Some were taken as prisoners of war (POWs). Most POWs were transported to Halifax to remain in the prison on Melville Island until the war’s end. Some died there. Remember the 16th Inf, this will figure in later.

Fast forward to the turn of the Twenty First century. Waterfront property is always at a premium. Halifax is a growing metropolitan area and Deadman’s Island appears attractive for development. The locals who grew up in the Armdale region have heard the stories surrounding this island but few knew the details. Local legends and scary kid’s tales, no one thought anything of it. But CDR Brad Renner on exchange to the Canadian Navy and a powerboat sport hobbyist used to anchor within a hundred yards of Deadman’s Island, he had heard the tales and began to ask questions as did other concerned citizens.

In his words:

“In 2005 the City of Halifax dedicated this Island as a park, in large part because there are nearly 200 US Navy, Army and Marine Service Members buried on the Island in unmarked graves. They were prisoners of war from the War of 1812 and died while in captivity. In addition to these men there are approximately 100 Chesapeake Blacks - men, women and children - who were brought here after the British raided Washington D.C. in 1814. Promised their freedom by the British if they left their homes in the Chesapeake Bay area these people, many entire families, boarded the British ships and returned to Halifax only to be quarantined at Melville prison and die in captivity as did our POWS - an ironic twist of fate for what was supposed to be their trip to freedom.

In any event, since the city officially dedicated this site in a 2005 ceremony and a plaque with all the names of the POWs who died while imprisoned here was placed on the Island, those of us stationed here in Nova Scotia have invited the residents of the city of Halifax, Canadian and American, as well as all visitors to join us on Deadman's Island on Memorial Day to remember those who have gone before us and sacrificed, with their lives, so that we can enjoy the freedoms we have today.

The men buried on this Island represent what I call a sad blot on our great military history - they fought, were captured, died and were buried in unmarked graves on an Island on a foreign shore...and for nearly 190 years they were forgotten...until the good people of Halifax reminded us they were here. So now, each year, those of us stationed here prepare the Island for Memorial Day and celebrate and honor our fallen comrades, from the most recent to those who fell decades ago.

For the past 2 years we have had the privilege of having US Navy Ships visiting in-port Halifax just prior to Memorial Day. Last year we asked for support from USS WASP and with their help for about 4-5 hours we were able to repair much of the damage caused to the Island by the harsh winter storms here in Halifax. This year we will have USS BARRY, USS DONALD COOK (both Destroyers) plus 1 other visiting ship and we are hoping that we can muster a good turnout to help preserve this serene, quiet, beautiful Island for the men buried there and for future generations of people who will visit the Island to honor and remember them.

On 14 May 08 I met with city officials to survey the Island and set a work agenda for the things we would like to accomplish this year. The below list is what we have put together as our wish list. We invite any and all who would like to join us on the morning of Wednesday, 21 May 2008, from 0800 until 1200 to form a working party to assist the city of Halifax in cleaning up and preserving Deadman's Island. The city will provide transportation to/from the pier/Island and provide lunch (on the Island if Weather permits) for all those who join us for this event.

Scope of Work as discussed at site meeting:
- revitalization of the entrance way plant material
- removal of weed material throughout walkway
- repair to minor washouts in walkway and revitalization of lower walkway with installation of proper w/w materials
- some minor fence repair
- general park and beach area clean-up
- graffiti removal
- cleaning of memorial stone and interpretive plaques
- addition of soil and seed to eroded areas on Island site
- some ground level arboricultural maintenance as directed by Brian Phelan
- other minor maintenance as required

You can anticipate media interest. The Island is a site of great interest and each year our Memorial Day ceremony grows a little larger. The Canadian Base in Halifax is aware of this event and supports our Service with a Bagpiper, Bugler and material support. Their PAO advertises this event as does the PAO at the US Consulate. The city advertises it as one of their "Community in Bloom" projects which is part of a larger national program and one for which last years efforts were noted during an awards ceremony held to recognize the Halifax parks. For last years clean up event several local papers were on the Island and took pictures and interviewed crew. All in all it has been a very positive COMREL event for the USN - we look forward to working with you and helping to make your visit to Halifax a most enjoyable one.”

I’ve become “the old stuff” repository for much of my family history. I’ve tried to search out some of the genealogy using fresh data combined with what my Mom had collected as well as notes from my Grandmother McGuire and tales from my Grandfather McGuire (he had plenty). The collective memory of six generations ran something like this:

We came from County Fermanaugh, Ireland in the early 1800’s.

The first to come over was Patrick McGuire who landed in North Carolina then moved to Ohio and finally settled in Southern Illinois.

He had some kids, they had kids, those kids….you get the idea.

My research led me along those lines as well, in fact I found a Warrant issued in 1818 to a Patrick McGuire, Sgt, 16th Infantry of Ohio for 160 acres of land in Peoria County, Illinois. Does this match up with our progenitor? I have no way of proving that and it really doesn’t matter, it will be on my mind in the coming days to be sure. 196 years after the battles of my long, long past Grandfather’s unit and friends, they will rest in my mind most assuredly.

What matters most is honoring those Forgotten Few on Deadman’s Island on this Memorial Day.

The clean up will happen rain or shine as will the ceremony on the following Monday.

Ranks will again be drawn. Lines tightened as the colors are raised on foreign soil alongside a POW/MIA flag. Both shall fly to the peak and then be reverently lowered to half mast.

The pipes will wail their mournful tune and bugle shall play Taps as salutes are rendered for the fallen.

Those that die in service to the United States should not be forgotten.

And like the families of these Fighting Americans now resting in honor in Canada, maybe one day I’ll find the rest of Patrick’s story.

Boss, you talking to me?

I had a "rhut roh" moment when I saw this,
The highest-ranking U.S. military officer has written an unusual open letter to all those in uniform, warning them to stay out of politics as the United States approaches a presidential election....
As you know, I like to dabble in politics quite a bit here.

However, I consider what I do, an Active Duty Officer blogg'n on my own dime and my own time under a nom de blog, as one step below the bumper-stickers I see on cars. ADM Mullen's set me back a bit until I read the rest of the quote.
"I am not suggesting that military professionals abandon all personal opinions about modern social or political issues," Mullen wrote. "What I am suggesting - indeed, what the nation expects - is that military personnel will, in the execution of the mission assigned to them, put aside their partisan leanings. Political opinions have no place in cockpit or camp or conference room."
Restating the standing position is actually a good idea - as is his bit of advice,
Military personnel are obligated to give their unvarnished, even critical, advice to their civilian leaders, he told the class.

"If it's followed, great," Mullen said. "If it's not, we only have two choices: obey the orders we have been given, carrying them out with the professionalism and loyalty they deserve, or vote with our feet."

"That's it," he added. "We don't get to debate those orders after the fact. We don't get to say, 'Well, it's not how I would have done it,' or, 'If they had only listened to me.' Too late at that point - and too cowardly."
The full essay is in the upcoming edition of the Joint Force Quarterly, available online here.

As I read it, all is safe here - I'll keep plugg'n along. As I thought though, this is more directed, methinks, at the Revolting Generals.
In particular, members of the Joint Chiefs have expressed worries this election year about the influence of retired officers who advise political campaigns, some of whom have publicly called for a change in policy or others who serve as television commentators.

Among the most outspoken were those who joined the so-called generals' revolt in 2006 demanding the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld as defense secretary, as well as former officers who have written books attacking the Bush administration's planning for and execution of the war in Iraq.

While retired officers have full rights to political activism, their colleagues still in uniform fear its effect on those trying to carry out the mission, especially more junior officers and enlisted personnel. Active-duty military personnel are prohibited from taking part in partisan politics.
Just as a note - you won't find me starting or rolling with a political discussion in uniform or on the job. Never have. As a matter of fact, I can be quite demure on the subject - as it should be.

No, this is old school

The things you find floating around ...... forget the date though, math never changes ... or it seems - classified.
Who knows, with the Chinese and Indians looking at building more "Type 1 like" SSNs, ...... The inside cover is here, and the actual slide-rule front and back here and here.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Thresher, Scorpion ... Titanic?

Now we can know the connection. Surprised the secret has been kept so long.

Also, this Memorial Day is a good opportunity to remember the men of the THRESHER and SCORPION for their sacrifice.
A mission to discover the wreck of the Titanic was actually a cover a story for examining the remains of two Cold War nuclear submarines, the man who located the liner has revealed.

Dr Bob Ballard, an oceanographer, has admitted that he had to locate and inspect the remains of the vessels, which sank during the 1960s, in a top secret mission for the US navy before he was allowed to look for the Titanic.

He said: "I couldn't tell anybody. There was a lot of pressure on me. It was a secret mission. I felt it was a fair exchange for getting a chance to look for the Titanic."

He added: "We handed the data to the experts. They never told us what they concluded – our job was to collect the data. I can only talk about it now because it has been declassified."

When USS Thresher and USS Scorpion sank, more than 200 men lost their lives and suspicions were raised that at least one of them, Scorpion, had been sunk by the USSR.

In 1982, Dr Ballard approached the US Navy for funding to search for the Titanic with a robotic submarine craft he had developed.

He was told that the military were not prepared to spend large sums of money on locating the liner, but they did want to know what had happened to the submarines. Officials were anxious to find out how the nuclear reactors had fared after being under water for so long.

The oceanographer was given funding to embark on two expeditions, one to find the wreck of Thresher in 1984 off the eastern coast of the US, and another to find Scorpion in the eastern Atlantic.

It was only once these missions were complete that Dr Ballard located the wreck of the Titanic in 1985, which sank in 1912 after it hit an iceberg with the loss of 1,500 lives.

DoD gets it

From the team that brought you the Blogger's Roundtable - the DoD now has its own blog, DoDLive.

In addition, we have some leaders who get it as well. Lieutenant General William Caldwell, IV, Commanding General of the US Army Combined Arms Center gave his direction in a recent CAC memorandum:
Command and General Staff College faculty and students will begin blogging as part of their curriculum and writing requirements both within the .mil and public environments. In addition CAC subordinate organizations will begin to engage in the blogosphere in an effort to communicate the myriad of activities that CAC is accomplishing and help assist telling the Army’s story to a wide and diverse audience.
More here.

After some bad experience on banning, censoring, and threatening - it seem that the brighter lights have decided to let a thousand flowers bloom. This is good for a free nation and its military. This will make us much better and more effective. It may be uncomfortable now and then for some - but so is anything that makes you stronger.

Sunday Funnies

Saturday, May 24, 2008

That is how you make 2nd Class

A regular reader, commenter, Fleet spy, and friend to this blog (who wished to remain anon .... ), has done it the way it should be done. This man is no one's "administrative burden."

Second Class Petty Officer in 25 months from getting his sexy haircut in a rate whose advancement rate can be measured in the amount of eggs you get at Food Lion. BZ. How do you do this online, I don't know; but I'll let Maggie and Kristin do the smoochie stuff.

Finally, the Navy might actually get some work out of him.

Alliance Alert Levels

FRANCE: Following the announcements by Taliban in Afghanistan, the French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from 'Run' to 'Hide.' The only two higher levels in France are 'Surrender' and 'Collaborate.' The rise was precipitated by a recent fire which destroyed France's white flag factory, effectively paralyzing their military. In response to the French raising their alert level other European countries have responded in kind.

ITALY: The Italians have increased their alert level from "Shouting Excitedly" to "Elaborate Military Posturing." Two more levels remain, "Ineffective Combat Operations" and "Change Sides."

GERMANY: The Germans have also increased their alert state from "Disdainful Arrogance" to "Full Dress Uniform and Marching Songs." They have two higher levels, "Invade a Neighbor" and "Lose."

: Seeing this reaction in continental Europe, the Americans have gone from "Isolationism" to "Find Somewhere Ripe for Regime Change." Their remaining higher alert states are "Take on the World" and "Screw the World."

The British have gone from "Pretend Nothing's Happening" to "Make Another Cup of Tea". Their higher levels are "Chin Up and Remain Cheerful" and "Win." With the growing number of native grown Muslim terrorists and security threats and have raised their security level from "Miffed" to "Peeved." Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to "Irritated" or even "A Bit Cross." Londoners have not been "A Bit Cross" since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies all but ran out. Terrorists have been re-categorized from "Tiresome" to a "Bloody Nuisance." The last time the British issued a "Bloody Nuisance" warning level was 1066.

The mask slips ...

Just soak it in. Cue Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA).

Friday, May 23, 2008

Fullbore Friday

Nothing in detail this FbF, because there is nothing open source about what happened when two submarines HMS Opossum and HMS Otus earned the best paintjob of any submarine with the right to fly the Jolly Roger on the way home -- and a good story that will be told someday about how they put the SBS ashore in the first Gulf War.

I saw the Opossum when she was headed home in '91. Looked even cooler underway. Just wanted to share that image.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Just can't please some people

As the Diversity Bullies keep stroking their fetish, and the CNO gets in on the game as well - it seems the UN/ACLU thinks we have the opposite problem.
The government report also reveals the high number of youth of color among enlistees. In fiscal year 2007, 43 percent of all new under-18 enlistees in the Navy were black or Latino, along with 32 percent in the Air Force, 30 percent in the Marine Corps, and 22 percent in the Army. In its submission to the UN yesterday the ACLU charged that the military targets youth of color for military recruitment.
Hat tip Greyhawk.

BZ to Qatar

They are trying to embrace modernity.
Qatar's first Christian church has no cross, no bell and no steeple.

And when 5,000 faithful flock to Our Lady of the Rosary to celebrate its historic consecration this weekend, they pray no one will notice.

Father Tom Veneracion, the parish priest, is worried about a backlash.

"The idea is to be discreet because we don't want to inflame any sensitivities," he says. "There isn't even a signboard outside the church. No signs at all."

Qatar's fledgling Catholic community considers its sprawling $15 million saucer-shaped facility a victory. A 15-minute drive into barren desert, it has been built with the blessing of the nation's emir.

But some people in this Muslim country have branded it an offense; one prominent politician has called for a national referendum to determine its fate.
...but within limits
"It is confusing to us," said the priest, a soft-spoken man from the Philippines who seemed genuinely caught off guard by the controversy.

"We tried to be discreet, and I think there's an atmosphere generally in the Gulf that's fairly anti-Christian, but that's mainly to do with what's happening in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"It has nothing to do with us at all."

In Doha, the call to build a Catholic church has grown as waves of migrant workers from South Asia and the Philippines arrived in the Gulf, answering the call for cheap labor to fuel the region's runaway economy.

But the Christian immigrants have sometimes collided with the native Qatari population, which practices Wahhabism, a strict interpretation of Islam.
Those who have been there know that it isn't just Europe and SoCal that have demographic "issues."
Native Qataris account for only 200,000 of the country's population of 900,000.
It is only a matter of time.
The Vatican estimates there are 100,000 practicing Catholics in Qatar. They attended underground services until seven years ago, when Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, the country's current ruler, granted permission to five denominations to open churches.

The Sheikh, who seized control from his father in a 1995 palace coup, is a staunch U.S. ally, and the move is part of a broader push to promote Qatar as an open and tolerant society, in order to attract tourism and business.

Veneracion says that the church, when it's completed, will serve as a place for "prayer and inter-faith dialogue." The grounds boast a catechism building and conference center. A wedding party has already booked a ceremony and reception in May.

When Our Lady of the Rosary opens its doors, it will make Saudi Arabia the only Gulf state that still bans churches.

But it remains unclear if Qataris will accept the church, or whether a backlash will force it to close its doors.

Rashed al-Subaie, a Qatari engineer, wrote in a letter to the Al-Watan newspaper that Christians should practice their faith only "in line with public morals without being given licenses to set up places of worship."

Christians should "worship their God in their homes," he wrote.
Funny, I thought He was "our" God....

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

About the Obama Oregon crowd

Oh, so that is the rest of the story.
From CNN to the New York Times, the media hyped Barack Obama's Portland, Oregon rally on Sunday, some comparing him to a rock star.

Unmentioned in national reporting was the fact that Obama was preceded by a rare, 45-minute free concert by actual rock stars The Decemberists. The Portland-based band has drawn rave reviews from Rolling Stone magazine, which gave their 2005 album Picaresque four and a half stars (out of five), and another four and a half stars for 2007's The Crane Wife.

How many of the people showed up to hear Obama, and how many to hear the band?

Here's how the local paper The Oregonian, which estimated the crowd at 72,000, reported the rally:

"Obama was the biggest star at Sunday's gathering -- though a popular Portland band, The Decemberists, provided the warmup act. With blue skies and temperatures in the 80s, many in the crowd said Waterfront Park was simply the place to be."

CNN headlined its 10 p.m. segment on May 18 with "Barack Obama: Achieving Rock Star Status in Oregon."

The New York Times, which ran a color photo of the crowd, estimated the throng at 75,000, noting that it was "the largest crowd of his campaign so far." There was no mention of The Decemberists, and the Times described the weather as "an unseasonably hot day."

The Decembrists are a standard issue "spoiled upper-middle class college Freshman or High Schooler" Indy-pop band not unlike that stuff Chap and I fiddled with in the mid/late-80s that was too "pop" for proper "alternative" music - but we would still go to their concerts to pick up chicks.

That being said, once you get by the 30-something and up folks playing High School angsty ... there is a bit of cheek about their "Commie-chic."

The real "Decembrist," of course, were the members of the "
Decembrist Revolt" in Russia in 1825; so yea - I get the joke about when they play the Soviet Anthem at their concerts. 95% of the people out there don't get the temporal displacement - but it is all fun for the Che t-shirt crowd and those who like to giggle at them and take their money.

What I would really like to know - did they play this when Sen. Obama (D-IL) came out? Now that would be fun.

Oh, as a sidebar - they do have a song on military wives too.

You can't make this stuff up. Typical MSM to make you think that everyone came out just for Obama ... but then they would have to mention that The Decemberists are a hyper-popular Portland, OR band that doesn't tour all that much ... heck, I once went to a James Taylor concert that he gave to support a Lefty ... just to see James Taylor. Robert Knight gets it right,
There's nothing wrong with a candidate using celebrity power to draw a crowd, but the media have a responsibility to report their presence. By ignoring the free concert, the Times and other outlets made it appear that 75,000 people were drawn only by Sen. Obama's considerable charisma.
...and yes, I would have gone if I was under 30 and within an hour's drive.

The definition of negative help

Why national caveats are such a problem. Germany's shame.
A Taliban commander with links to the killers of several British soldiers has escaped from German special forces because they were not allowed to shoot.

Elite soldiers from the German KSK had been charged with capturing the terrorist. After spending weeks searching for him, in cooperation with the Afghan army and secret service, they discovered that he was located near the town of Pol-e-Khomri in the north of Afghanistan.

Wearing night-vision goggles, the German team came within a few hundred metres of his hideout before they were discovered by Taliban forces.
The Taliban commander was known as the Bagh - lan Bomber after masterminding an attack last year in Baghlan province in which 79 people died.
How many more will die because of this. If you needed to hide, where would you go?
It quoted an "incredulous" British officer in Kabul as saying: "The Germans are allowing the most dangerous people to get away and increasing the danger for the Afghans and all foreign forces here."
No kidding.

Hat tip No Pasaran.

So Phib, how did the exercise go?

Harumph. Something like this. 'Nuff said.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Liar & thief

Michael Moore. Who else?

One reason newspapers are dying

Sometimes it seems that none of them have any kids.

One reasons I feel incomplete without a morning paper is that I grew up with it. It is something my father and I shared more than anything else is the need for the paper. As long as he got the sports section first and I got the comics and editorial section - there was peace.

I never remember his worrying all that much about what his kids would see. Now days, you have to screen the paper. Just an example, check out what is on the front page of the Sunday Virginia-Pilot.

Come on people - the Sunday Edition. Just when are we supposed to get our kids started on the newspaper. I am supposed to throw the paper at my pre-teen with this stuff on the front - of the Sunday paper?

Mil & Civ gap

The pic on the right. I know what it is right away, and so do most of you.

The important thing is what audience you publish it in. Well, when it goes on PerezHilton ... you just have to read the comments.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Smart Aussies = more ships

You need a subscription to read the whole thing, so the copy-paste is below. What I want you to focus on here is the smart thinking the Aussies did WRT tradeoffs and what the a sober, clear headed "want vs. need" analysis with a mind on budget reality can get you if you do it right.
Key differences between the contenders included 64 VLS missile cells for the Evolved Design vs. 48 for the F100 frigates, 2 Phalanx-type close-in defense weapons instead of 1, and a hangar for 2 naval helicopters instead of 1. In exchange for these advantages, detailed analysis by the AWD Alliance showed that the Evolved Design would cost A$ 1 billion more over 3 ships, offer less certainty regarding schedule and cost, and deliver the first ship at least 4 years later.

The financial benefits resulting from the selection of the F100 are so great that they will go a long way towards funding (some estimates are that they will almost completely accommodate) a fourth Air Warfare Destroyer. The Australian Cabinet’s National Security Committee will consider an option to buy a fourth F100 destroyer when it makes a final decision on a go-ahead for the project in June.”

SEA 4000: The Design Competition

SHIP FFG F124 Class F219 Sachsen
Sachsen Class

The difficult Collins Class submarine project delivered some of the world’s most advanced conventional submarines – and something extra, besides. The submarines were late, significantly over budget, and are still receiving electronic refits to replace the original combat systems. In response, the Australian Government’s Defence Procurement (Kinnaird) Review strongly recommended spending more money and time on up front design activities, in order to reduce overall project risk. This would be more expensive in the short term, with the hope of making large overruns or schedule issues less likely later on.

That philosophy was implemented in the SEA 4000 program, which moved from a 3-platform shortlist, to detailed design of 2 different options, to the final selection of Navantia’s AEGIS frigates.

ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems’ F124 Sachsen Class air defense frigate, currently one of the world’s few operational ship classes with an X-band Active Phased Array naval radar. Its thousands of electronically-focused emitters offer improved performance and phenomenal multitasking ability, giving it exceptional capabilities against a sudden saturation missile attack with supersonic cruise missiles. This design was eliminated from the shortlist, however, by Australia’s stated requirement for the AEGIS naval air defense system. While its AN/SPY-1D is a previous generation passive phased array radar, the AEGIS combat system software and the potential for cooperative engagement capability proved decisive.

That left an “Existing Design” based on Spain’s in-service F100 Alvaro de Bazan Class AEGIS frigates, which would compete against a larger “Evolved Design” option from naval architects Gibbs & Cox. The latter would be a new ship design, albeit based on the DDG-51 Arleigh Burke Class AEGIS destroyers they had designed for the US Navy.

AWD Evolved Design

The first images of the Evolved Design for Australia’s Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) project were unveiled on August 3/06 by Minister of Defence Brendan Nelson at the opening of the new AWD Systems Centre in Adelaide. At 7,370t/8,100t full load, they would have been much closer in size to the 8,300t full load DDG-51 Flight I ships than the 9,200t tons full load Flight IIA ships, with 64 vertical launch missile cells (vs. 90-96 cells for DDG-51 variants), 2 PhalanxType 45 Daring Class anti-air warfare destroyers reportedly weigh in at 8,000t full load. close-in defense weapons, 2 helicopter hangars, extended range, and good future growth capabilities. As an additional basis for comparison, Britain’s forthcoming

The F100 frigates, in contrast, are smaller ships, weighing in at only 5,800t. This inevitably means sacrifices in armament and growth capability. Australian government Q&A sessions immediately after the selection, however, said that in their opinion, the overall operational capability, maximum speed, range and endurance were all “very similar.” Their evaluation was that the 2 designs had “basically the same” surface warfare, undersea warfare, communications, and electronic warfare capabilities, and both also shared a growth path to ballistic missile defense (via the AEGIS BMD system), and strategic land strike capability (via Mk 41 vertical launchers that can accommodate BGM-109 Tomahawk Cruise missiles).

Key differences between the contenders included 64 VLS missile cells for the Evolved Design vs. 48 for the F100 frigates, 2 Phalanx-type close-in defense weapons instead of 1, and a hangar for 2 naval helicopters instead of 1. In exchange for these advantages, detailed analysis by the AWD Alliance showed that the Evolved Design would cost A$ 1 billion more over 3 ships, offer less certainty regarding schedule and cost, and deliver the first ship at least 4 years later.

Spain’s F100 Frigate

Others had seen this coming earlier. Back in April 2007, Forecast International cited internal sources to say that Navantia had won, and said:

“Common wisdom has often suggested that the Navantia bid was simply a stalking horse for Gibbs and Cox…. the information we were receiving from Australia from the start of the project was consistently that the F100 was the preferred candidate and that the Gibbs and Cox design was a back-up in case the F100 class hit serious problems on its trials. This did not happen, the Alvaro de Bazan proved to be a great success and this eliminated the DDG-51 derivatives last hope of winning this contract.

It may well be that the appointment of Gibbs and Cox as preferred designer in 2005 was not a sign of preference for their design but the group’s last chance to make its case.

A key handicap for Gibbs and Cox was that its proposed warship existed only in its preliminary design phase, increasing the technical risk for a local builder. Australia’s experiences with new and untried designs has been disappointing…”

They also said:

“Although supporters of the Gibbs and Cox-designed DDG-51 derivative promoted the greater weapons carrying capacity of their design, including 64 rather than 48 vertical launch tubes and two rather than one helicopters, the advantages of the F100 were so strong that a debate between supporters of the two designs was a complete wipeout according to one senior Australian defense source.

The financial benefits resulting from the selection of the F100 are so great that they will go a long way towards funding (some estimates are that they will almost completely accommodate) a fourth Air Warfare Destroyer. The Australian Cabinet’s National Security Committee will consider an option to buy a fourth F100 destroyer when it makes a final decision on a go-ahead for the project in June.”

Australia appears to have decided on buying just 3 ships, and even under that regimen the estimated total program cost had grown from A$ 6 billion to A$ 8 billion from the time project funding began to the announcement of the winning design and contract.

Every decision you make has tradeoffs - the key is what do you know and what do you wish. What is the risk - and can you afford that risk. They didn't want to get burned again, so they made their move. We'll see once the ships get underway, but it looks like they did their homework.

Hat tip Lee.