Monday, January 31, 2011

Joining the 21st Century

Last week, Galrahn looked at me like I told him I wear a thong when I told him I don't have a link on my site where people can subscribe via email.

Well ... I won't comment further on my unmentionables - but if you would like to get email notifications of the next CDRSalamander post as they come out - then click here or just follow the click on the upper-right hand side of the page.

See, I'm trainable.

The other Honors

I wonder if Brokaw was ever asked what he thought of CAPT Honors?

Go to the 7 minute mark to see. Interesting in a variety of ways. Mostly though - in contrast to what everyone thinks they know about CAPT Honors, I think what this does is show to many who may not know a simple fact; we do show different faces depending on who the audiance is.

Among friends you trust, you can let your hair down a bit. In front of the taxpayer, you act as they expect. When the two worlds cross - bad things can happen.

For the professional though, this is a good reminder of two things - neither the camera nor the press is ever your friend.

Still .... the whole thing still makes me sad.
UPDATE: Remember when this started I told you that there was no way the CO & the CSG Commander did not know about this? Well, this is about to get very ugly. From the VA Pilot,

In a statement to investigators, Capt. Owen Honors said he had "affirmative and tacit approval of senior Navy leadership" when he made and broadcast a series of videos to the crew of the carrier Enterprise in 2006 and 2007.

The former Enterprise commander said in his 15-page statement to Fleet Forces Command that the ship's two commanding officers, two strike group admirals and "myriad other senior military and civilian distinguished visitors" were aware of the videos, the Navy Times reported on its website Sunday. The statement was dated Jan. 12.

David Brown, managing editor of the Navy Times, said Honors' statement includes two points - that senior leadership encouraged the videos by discussing them weekly and that Honors was never told to stop making them - that contradict what the Navy has reported.
The Navy first called them "humorous skits," then called them "clearly unacceptable" and said there would be an investigation.
The Navy Times reported this morning that two men who were captains at the time commanded the ship while Honors was the executive officer: Larry Rice and Ron Horton, who both now are rear admirals. Rice's Feb. 1 retirement was put on hold this month.

Two carrier strike group commanders also were aboard: retired Rear Adm. Raymond Spicer and now-Vice Adm. Daniel Holloway, commander of 2nd Fleet, the newspaper reported. 

Honors also said in his statement that the commander of Strike Force Training Atlantic at that time, Rear Adm. Richard O’Hanlon, also was aware of the videos and approved them. O'Hanlon is now commander of Naval Air Force Atlantic, according to the Navy newspaper.
Well Navy, are we about to go through another round of unnecessary, self-inflicted pain?

We should have stuck with our first instinct, but that was then, this is now. We wanted the full truth - well it looks like we are going to get it good and hard.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

USMC and the Long War, on Midrats

Much of the conversation about the USMC over the last decade has been about its "Second Land Army" status .... well .... Marines are still second to none at their core skill set. In case someone forgot that - our guest this week and his Marines reminded everyone of not just that - but the power of the Navy-Marine Corp team.

Over a 48 hour period , the 15th MEU/PELARG team conducted offensive air operations in Afghanistan resulting in the deaths of 5 confirmed enemy fighters, provided disaster relief in Pakistan to 120 victims who had been without aid since July, and seized a pirated vessel, rescuing a crew of 11 hostages and detaining 9 suspected pirates off the coast of Somalia. Our guest will be Captain Alexander Martin, USMC - the leader of the team that took back The Magellan Star.

A 2004 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, his career has been dominated by the Long War. It is that perspective and experience that EagleOne and I will tap in to today, Sunday 30 JAN 2011 from 5-6pm EST. From Piracy to proper manning and equipping our Marines - we'll try to run the spectrum

Join us live if you can, and pile in with the usual suspects in the chat room during the show where you can offer your own questions and observations to our guests. If you miss the show or want to catch up on the shows you missed - you can always reach the archives at blogtalkradio - or set yourself to get the podcast on iTunes.

Listen to Midrats on Blog Talk Rad

Sunday Funnies

Thought USAF flavored - this one is for Lex, Skippy, and SJS.

... standard Kristen warning. Aviator talk again ....

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sandy pessimism

It is good to see that many are showing cautious pessimism about what is going on in Egypt, Tunisia, and perhaps even Yemen.

While there is reason for hope in the Iranian "Green Revolution" (if it ever really takes off) - there is little to no reason to be enthusiastic about what is going on elsewhere. It isn't that I support the present rulers, it is just that I understand that once one power structure falls, another must take its place. If you are like me a staunch republican (small r) and democratic (small d) fundamentalist, you quickly see that those who have a power structure waiting in the wings in these countries share nothing with you.

Tunisia is different in many ways compared to Egypt and Yemen. Like Carthage of old, it is closer to being Western than not. From the relative freedom its women have to demographics and education - Tunisia is a muslim country, but of a distinctively Mediterranean variety. More Italian that Omani. Even there though, there is no strong democratic movement to step out of the tear-gas fog to take power. It is also a small nation of little consequence in the large scheme of things.

In Egypt, you have just the opposite problem. There is but one power structure waiting in the wings - the Muslim Brotherhood. Egypt has a few million educated and western minded citizens, buy literally by an order of magnitude, they are outnumbered by a swelling, ignorant, Islamists mass yearning not to be free.

Yemen, an economic and demographic time bomb is set up to just go from misery to woe. No Jefferson or Washington to be seen. If he does exist, he took a plane long ago to London or Deerborn and is an associate professor somewhere worried that his daughter is a Justin Bieber fan.

In our age, there is a pattern to revolt in Muslim countries I am afraid. In Iran, they have lived under Islamist government for over 30 years. They have a very educated younger generation. Being that they have lived under the Islamist, they have no desire to make that mistake again. They have yet to stage a real, sustained rebellion - but the trend lines are clear. Once the new generation of Iranians take power, they will be more of a force for good than evil. It may take awhile, but the trend lines are good.

Persians are not Arabs, Sunni are not Shia - but the difference between Iran and what we are seeing in Egypt and other places differs mostly because of the fact that the people of those nations do not know what it is like to live under Islamist rule. While there is an Islamist power structure in the waiting, there is no western, freedom focused power structure in waiting to counter them. As a result, when the present power structure falls, there is only one direction for those nations to go. Islamist. They will have to learn the hard way.

The implications will be bloody and stark. Will they lash out internally or externally ... or a bit of both? We won't know until things take their course. Fair to say though, Egypt's Copts and Israel will have a very tough(er) decade to come.

The pessimist's view.
UPDATE: Michael J. Totten is on about the same sheet of music with a first hand report from Cairo ... from 2005. A must read.

China PAO Fail

I hear Xinjiang is very nice this kind of year. Via Gizmodo.
A few days ago, China Central Television showed footage of what they claimed was an air force training exercise conducted on January 23. From the looks of things, they were actually just playing clips from Top Gun.

The clips in question were reportedly aired during the News Broadcast program on China Central Television, the major state television broadcast company. They supposedly showed a J-10 fighter firing a missile at another aircraft during a practice exercise.

I wonder what the shower scene is like.

Hat tip David.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Fullbore Friday

After walking around the F-8 on the USS MIDWAY (CV-41) a couple of days ago - I had to dig in the files for this early '07 Fullbore Friday. Even if you saw it then - you need to watch it again.

Dick Schaffert's 10 minute dogfight. I want you to watch Part 1 and Part 2 below - and then tell me that we can't let a little 1310 in on Fullbore Friday.

More of the Crusader

1v4 then 1v6 then 1v1. One F8, 4 Mig-17 and 2 Mig 21 - and everyone came home.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

The best of the West

... West 2011 that is.

As I start travel today after a week with USNI at West2011 - I wanted to give everyone a reminder to head on over to USNIBlog on a regular basis.

Galrahn, Hughes, and I have already done our first posts on what we saw and heard. I have more to post over the next couple of weeks, and I know others have more posts on the way as well.

Diversity Thursday

Do we desire a nation that judges people by the content of their character - or by the color of their skin?

Well, it looks like many have given up on the concept of equality and have decided that - hey - we like the idea of discrimination - let's make it the law.
First came the Coast Guard Authorization Act, which Congress approved last fall.
This gave the Coast Guard Academy - for the first time - the leeway to consider an applicant's sex, race, color and religious beliefs as it shapes the makeup of its classes. The act struck down the provision in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations that prohibited the academy from considering those characteristics of an applicant.
We convered that earlier - but this article from TheDay in CT is just full of wonderful second and third order effects.

Hidden behind a fluff of "outreach" - which everyone agrees should be done and is good - there is the core of what they are actually doing.

Let's review:
The academy looks for well-educated, physically fit students who have demonstrated leadership in their high schools and communities. The sorting of applications eventually gets to a point where all the remaining students are qualified, but the number of places is limited.

At that point, Burhoe said, it would be appropriate to consider the composition of the class in making decisions.
Let's play a bit with round numbers, simplify and shorten for demonstration purposes - "operationalize Diversity," so to speak.

You have a few thousand applicants, but as there are minimum qualifications just to make the first cut - you can cut that stack fairly easily. Once that is done, you see that you have 1,000 people who meet the minimum objective criteria, and you have 800 spots to fill.

As you start to rack-and-stack them, you see that there is a natural grouping at the top you know are good to go. Let's say that is 200 people. Easy cut.

You go back into the pile. This time you have 800 people competing for 600 spots. You rack-and-stack them. You see another natural grouping at the top, let's say 200, and you also see a group at the bottom. You take the top 200 and cut out the bottom 100. Now you have 500 people competing for 400 spots. You're almost in the crunch.

You can find another top-200 and bottom-100 and you're through the crunch. Tough, but fair.

What happens now? From the sound of it - now we have the Diversity Commissariate come in with their color wheels and abacuses. There are different ways to execute a racist selection policy, this is one - though they all follow the same mentality.

They tell you that your efforts are not in alighment with the goals of The Party. You must increase your minority numbers by 100.

What happens then? Well, you go back into your stack of 800 and seperate them into racial categories. You will be given "goals" to meet. Your first step will be to go to the over-represented pile, probably the white males and possibly asian males (depending on how they are counting them this year). You will take out 100 of them.

You will then go through your reject stack and do the same. You ignore the white stack and probably the asian stack (we have discussed anti-asian activity by Diversity Committees before) and then try to find the best candidates in the reject stack per minority group in order to meet your "goals."

Bingo: you now have your numbers. Of course, when you take the 100 people removed from the initial selection and compare their objective criteria as an aggreate with the 100 "goal makers" - you will have a statistically significant difference between the two groups in their objective criteria. The reasons are
complicated but well documented. This has been demonstrated in court cases for decades. It is how it works.

All of them meet "minimum criteria" - but some people are more equal than others.

That is why the law needed to be changed. If you cannot discriminate - which is what the law used to be - then people had to stand by the content of their character; not the color of their skin. Now, thanks to the last Congress - the USCG can actively discriminate not just on the base of race, creed, color, or national origin ---- oh joy of joys; it can now discriminate on the basis of religion as well.

So, is this the country you want to live in? Is there any society in human history that has prospered under a system of racial and/or ethnic spoils?

What would Morgan say?

This brings up another topic. SECDEF Gates has spoken often about the need for Moral Courage by leaders to oppose those things that are bad. Admiral Mullen also set the example during DADT where, even though DADT was the law of the land, he thought is was wrong and said so - and even helped with its repeal.

We also had the Attorney General of the United States state that we are a nation of cowards when it comes to race - and he is right. Good people are terrified of speaking out against the Diversity Industry becasue if they do, they are afraid of being called nasty names and their careers destroyed.
Where does that leave us? Well, listen to what leadership is saying. If they support this policy it tells you one of a few things:
  1. They support a policy that is at its core based on discrimination based on race, creed, color, national origin, or religion. There are names for people who conduct their business from that framework - I'll let you figure it out.
  2. They think the policy is wrong, but they lack the Moral Courage to speak out against it. There are words for people who act like that as well.
I guess there is another option, they could just think that it isn't their position to question the law or to speak out about it. They thought Admiral Mullen set a poor example during DADT, and as a result - regardless what they think of the moral, Constitutional or ethical implications of the policy, they will carry it out. They are just following orders in the finest Prussian tradition.

That position is not one I agree with - but I understand it and think on the margins I can respect a person for holding that position. If that is your position though, it is not your job to then become a cheerleader. Just execute your orders in silence and hope that the courts or the new Congress will change things. If you are a cheerleader though - you are #1 or #2.

For the parents of young men and women who are applying to the USCG Academy whose were unfortunate enough to have DNA from Europe, North Africa, The Middle East through to the Indian Subcontinent (and maybe Asia) - well there are other options. Don't feel guilty because in the Navy we have Flag Officers who have done this and gotten away with it their entire careers.

Change your children's ethnicity. In my family we can pick white, American Indian, and/or Hispanic. If you try hard enough, you can too. Just find a grandparent or great-grandparent and roll with it.

Do two wrongs make a right? No - but as my friends who grew up in Communists countries would tell me - a "Comrade!" here and there is worth it to be able to get on with your life.

If you don't like that - then you may want to contact your Congressman or find a good Civil Rights organization, such as the
Center for Individual Rights. Good luck.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Retro Wednesday

VAQ-129 EA-6B almost done ~1942 for 100 Years of Naval Aviation. BZ.
UPDATE Thanks to the Commanding Officer of VAQ-129, CDR Tim "Tmurf" Murphy, USN - we now have a pic of the finished aircraft.

Thanks Skipper!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A whiff of Stuxnet in the air?

What does the Stuxnet worm have to tell us?

Well, after the opening remarks at West2011, I have some
thoughts over at USNIBlog.

Wanted: Photo Editor ....

Yes, I know. Tough ship to keep in proper shape; optimal manning poster child.

Yes, I know. However ..... why is Navy putting this pic out there for all to see? Is this really what is the best picture we have out there? What message are we sending? Operating with LCASs is messy? Optimal manning sux? Aquaflage can stand up to a seabag?


OK - it is what the Navy is every day. I get it. I'm not asking for social realism in pictures or anything ... but still.

Nice pillow there shipmate; and BM1 - is that really the best we can do with the banner? Here is the
high-res for 'ya.

Would the People's Liberation Army Navy publish such a picture? No.

Hat tip SB.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The slow, staggering death of LCS continues ...

What did I say last week, from tragedy to farce? Now from farce to pell-mell collapse of an entire concept.
The rapid airborne mine clearance system, a Northrop Grumman system being tested as part of the mine counter-measure module of LCS, “has slid to the right, and it is not not testing well, but it is an expensive program,” Rear Adm. Frank Pandolfe, director of surface warfare division, said in a speech at the national symposium of the Surface Navy Association.

The system features a 30mm gun designed to detonate floating and shallow-water mines. It fires an armor-piercing tracer round, outfitted with fins, that vaporizes the water in front of it and reduces drag, according to a Northrop Grumman factsheet on the weapon.
Another anti-mine system is facing the ax. Pandolfe said that the reliability of the remote minehunting vehicle — a diesel-powered, semi-submersible sled that tows the AQS-20 sonar — is at “80 percent of where we need it to be.”

He added, “It’s on the right glide slope. It’s getting lots of attention. We’re going to get where we need to be.”
That PPT to reality transition is hard, isn't it? Expensive ... and avoidable if we had not created a climate of "sit down and shut up."

Throw more money at it, I guess - that is the only option anyone out there is talking about. Sad.

Hat tip Lee.

If you ain't in Sand Dog ....

... then you are missing what's next.
2011 WEST Conference & Exposition

25 - 27 January 2011

San Diego Convention Center

Details available at:

Co-sponsored by the U.S. Naval Institute and AFCEA International, West 2011 is the largest event on the West Coast for communications, electronics, intelligence, information systems, imaging, military weapon systems, aviation, shipbuilding, and more. Don't miss this exclusive opportunity to engage the military and industry leaders who are designating warfighting strategies and operational platforms.

Follow WEST on Twitter: Hash Tag - #West11
Take some time to see what the timeline is and who the speakers are either at the link above, or USNI's here. Make time if you can ... you never know who you will run in to .....

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Rise of Chinese Sea Power, on Midrats

The last few decades have seen the growing quality and quantity of the People's Republic of China's Navy. Along with this rise has been a maturing of their maritime strategy and their view of what to do with their growing sea power. What is the status of China's Navy, and now that they have a substantial one - what does China want to do with it?

Join EagleOne and me today,
Sunday 23 JAN 2011 from 5-6pm EST as we discuss this topic with United States Naval War College Associate Professors Toshi Yoshihara & James R. Holmes, the authors of the book, Red Star over the Pacific: China's Rise and the Challenge to U.S. Maritime Strategy.

Join us live if you can, and pile in with the usual suspects in the chat room during the show where you can offer your own questions and observations to our guests. If you miss the show or want to catch up on the shows you missed - you can always reach the archives at blogtalkradio - or set yourself to get the podcast on iTunes.

Listen to Midrats on Blog Talk Rad

Sunday Funnies

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Well .... it was a nice FF(not-so-G)

The USS Bertandernie ... errrr .... MCINERNEY (FFG-8), as you all know, is now the PNS Algaier.

She had a few more things to do in Mayport before she left for sunny Pakistan ... and well ... it looks like she may be here a little longer.

The Mayport Underground is a-buzz .... this is an initial report from a few sources, but - probably well within a standard deviation.
While doing dock trials in preparation for next week's sea trials, someone engaged the shaft clutch.

The ship then pulled against the Kevlar reinforced lifelines until they snapped. The ship shot towards the head of the pier (about 100 ft) and hit so hard that it rode up the pier, striking a large crane with the bullnose.

The sonar dome is wiped, oil is leaking into the river, and the ship is currently settling by the bow. Initial damage estimates are pointing towards the following voids: 4-H-0-V, the chain locker, 4-27-0-V, the 5-32-0V, and the 64 fuel tanks too.
If anyone can smuggle out pictures of the damage - please send them my way. Yes, I am talking to you - but don't get yourself in trouble over it.

Should I make a joke about Pakistani taxi drivers? Nawww. That wouldn't be fair.
UPDATE & BUMP: Well - here's your sign.

Take THAT Canada!!!

First ... the better, because early-80s Chap demands it.

Then what started it all.

If you don't know why I am even posting this - then click here.

People need to get a hobby .... wait .... being
Mrs. Kravitz is their hobby.

Friday, January 21, 2011

ROK Adopts Plan Salamander

Like I always tell people - at the tactical level never underestimate the tenacity of the South Korean. Never.

Via TheDailyMail;
South Korean navy commandos stormed a ship hijacked by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean last night and rescued all the crew.

Eight pirates were killed in the raid on the chemical freighter, which was seized along with 21 crew on January 15 in the Arabian Sea while en route to Sri Lanka.

The captain of the 11,500-ton Samho Jewelry was shot in the stomach during the attack, and three commandos also suffered wounds.

Colonel Lee Bung-Woo, a spokesman for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said: 'Our special forces stormed the hijacked Samho Jewelry earlier today and freed all hostages.

'During the operation, our forces killed some Somali pirates and all of the hostages were confirmed alive.'

Eight South Koreans, two Indonesians and 11 from Myanmar were on board the vessel when it was attacked after setting out from the UAE.

Seoul ordered a destroyer on patrol in the Gulf of Aden to give chase and President Lee Myung-Bak ordered 'all possible measures' to save the crew.
Today's rescue followed a gunbattle on Tuesday, when the destroyer encountered pirates who had left the South Korean freighter to try to seize a nearby Mongolian vessel.

Commandos on board a speedboat and a Lynx helicopter were dispatched to rescue the Mongolian ship.

Several pirates were believed to have been killed during that raid, although their bodies have not been found.
Soon word will get out - if you hijack anything South Korean or having South Korean citizens on-board; move along to better targets. BZ South Korea - may my nation and others realize the wisdom of your actions.

Fullbore Friday

A war is winding down - but more work needs to be done.
The Henry Bacon was one of the thirty-eight merchant ships in convoy RA-64, which departed Kola Inlet, Murmansk, North Russia bound for Loch Ewe, Gourock, Scotland on Friday, 17 February 1945. The crew complement under Captain Alfred Carini was forty-one merchant seamen and twenty-six US Navy Armed Guard. The Henry Bacon was in ballast and carrying nineteen Norwegian civilian refugees, including women and children, as passengers.

Before the convoy set sail, news had been received of a German attack on Norwegian patriots living on the island of Sørøya, in the approaches to the former German naval anchorage at Altafjord. The British Royal Navy had sent four destroyers to the scene and had rescued 500 men, women and children. These refugees were distributed among the ships of the convoy for passage to England.

On the afternoon of the Saturday, 18 February, the weather deteriorated to force 8 on the Beaufort scale, and the escort carriers were unable to operate aircraft. That night the storm intensified with winds gusting up to sixty knots (110 km/h) with a heavy sea and swell. The convoy split up and began to disperse. The storm continued through Sunday, 19 February.

On 20 February, the storm abated and the escort vessels started to round up the scattered ships. At 4 am the convoy had been detected by aircraft, and by 9 am twenty-nine of the ships were back on station with four still straggling.

Then, on 22 February, the convoy ran into one of the worst storms ever recorded in the Barents Sea. Once again the convoy began to split up and was blown apart. The weather deteriorated to Beaufort scale force 12 with winds at 70 to 90 knots and temperatures 40 below zero. During this storm, one of the main springs on the Henry Bacon's steering gear was broken, and the retaining pin was sheared. This damage caused the Henry Bacon to drop out of the convoy to effect repairs.
Like the wounded Wildebeest - you can almost see this coming ...
Around 1500 GCT on 23 February 1945, the Henry Bacon was some 50 to 60 nautical miles astern of the main convoy when she was attacked by twenty-three Junkers Ju 88 and Ju 188's torpedo bombers of Luftwaffe Group KG26, out of Bardufoss, Norway, some 250 miles (400 km) away. The Germans were on their way to attack the main convoy, and thought they could finish the lone straggler easily.
One merch vs. 23 JU-88s .... so, who's taking bets?
The Henry Bacon was armed with eight 20 mm anti-aircraft guns, with a 5 inch (127 mm) gun aft and a 3 in (76 mm) gun forward. The ship’s Naval Armed Guard gunners fought the attacking planes for over an hour, shot down five planes, damaged at least four others and managed to defend against several torpedoes by causing their detonation before they reached the ship.
Over an hour under attack. An eternity ... and then;
At 1520 GCT, one torpedo struck the starboard side of the No.5 hold, and detonated the aft ammunition magazine. A large hole was torn in the hull. The rudder, propeller and steering engine were destroyed. The ship settled by the stern and sank within an hour. This action helped save the main convoy, as most of the German planes were forced to return to base owing to battle damage, low fuel, and low ammunition.
The Henry Bacon was abandoned at 1600 GCT at 67.38N 05.00W. Lifeboats #1 and #2 were launched safely. The #3 boat capsized while being lowered, and because the davits to the #4 boat had been damaged in the storm, this boat was also lost. Three of the four life rafts had been released prematurely and had drifted away. The two surviving lifeboats were filled to capacity with all of the Norwegian passengers and some members of the crew.

This left a number of crew members stranded aboard the Henry Bacon. When this situation became known to Chief Engineer Donald Haviland, he insisted that he would give his place in the lifeboat to a younger crew member and died with the ship. That crew member's name was Robert Tatosky. For his sacrifice, Chief Engineer Haviland was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, the highest award for the men of the Merchant Marine.

The Bosun, Holcomb Lammon, collected dunnage from the deck and lashed it into a makeshift life-raft. Six Armed Guard and five merchant crew owe their lives to this raft. Lammon also died with the ship, and he was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal.

The survivors were rescued by crew members from three British destroyers, HMS Zambesi, HMS Oppotune and HMS Zelast. By this time the men in the water were so cold they were unable to help themselves, so the British sailors had to jump into the freezing sea with ropes tied around their waists to help them. When it was over,
all of the Norwegian civilians had survived, nine Naval Armed Guard gunners, and two Navy signalmen were lost at sea. Captain Carini and fifteen fellow Merchant Marine crewmen were also lost.
The Liberty ship SS Henry Bacon was the last allied ship sunk by the Luftwaffe in World War II.
Lessons on how to arm a ship for war, how to fight, how to win, and how to live.


Hat tip E40.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Making your own luck

Part of me wants to ask where were his Shipmates. Part of me wants to bemoan our inability to have a decent drinking education due to our self-destructive 21-yr old drinking age. Part of me wonder just why.

Mostly though I see an adult that for reasons best known to him
just blew his ride, has a lot of personal and family things to take care of, and should drop to his knees in thanks that no one in town was hurt and that he is still alive.

Gut check time. Good luck bouncing back - you're young, healthy, & smart. The world is still yours if you want it. No Navy though. No one to blame but yourself - remember that, learn from it, then let it go.
A Naval Academy senior and admiral’s son, charged with breaking and entering an Annapolis home in early December, has been kicked out of the academy, a school spokesman confirmed Wednesday.

Michael Guadagnini was discharged from the Naval Academy on Tuesday, academy spokesman Cmdr. Joe Carpenter said. The former midshipman first class faces charges of breaking and entering and malicious destruction of more than $500 worth of property after allegedly trespassing on an Annapolis residence on Dec. 2. His trial date is March 14.

An Annapolis attorney representing Guadagnini declined to comment. Guadagnini is the son of Rear Adm. Mark Guadagnini, commander of the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group,

Police say Guadagnini stumbled onto the back patio of a house on Regent Street, about three miles from campus, in the early morning hours of Dec. 2. The academy had held its annual service assignment night, but the celebrations that followed had ended at midnight, when liberty expired.

Guadagnini wandered drunk into the backyard, Annapolis police spokesman Maj. Scott Baker said. The family’s dog started barking at him.

This awoke the homeowners. A startled Brian Brown saw the 22-year-old, in uniform, and told him to go away, Brown said in an e-mail. Guadagnini responded by allegedly kicking in the patio door. Guadagnini then stepped into what appeared to a be a playroom, filled with children’s furniture, a plastic buggy and stacked board games, as seen in a photo Brown provided to Navy Times.

Brown wrote that he told Guadagnini to get out and tried to snatch his nametag, but missed. Then, just as abruptly as he’d come, Guadagnini left.

Diversity Thursday

Well, another Thursday is here ... sigh ... another moment for reintroducing your face and palm.

Really though - some outrages become so common and accepted, that you no longer notice them. Like a slow-boiled frog; the discomfort just seems part of the natural environment.

For example, take this innocuous occasion;
The Naval Special Warfare East Coast SEAL and Special Warfare Combatant-Craft Crewman (SWCC) scout team attended the 17th annual Hispanic Games, Jan. 7-10, at The Armory Indoor Track and Field Stadium in the Bronx, NY.

More than 8,000 athletes attended the games from high schools throughout the state of New York. The SEAL and SWCC scout team worked with members of the Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) and mentored and encouraged athletes throughout the event.

Words again - always words with me.
His·pan·ic [hi-span-ik]
1. Spanish.
2. Latin American: the United States and its Hispanic neighbors.
3. Also, Hispano. Also called Hispanic American , Hispano-American. an American citizen or resident of spanish or Latin-American descent.

There is the broader farce of it all. Like our own well documented tragic-comedy of Navy racial self-identification fraud - we have people in the the track meet with the very Hispanic first name "Ste'yce" and the equally Iberian last name "McNeill"
winning races.

And the name; Hispanic Games - really? Obviously they are not shooting for ethno-centric types of games - Highland Games style - no this is all ethnic-title only from the looks of it.

That is almost as insultingly funny as the winners of the
2x400 meter relay. The great Hispanic powerhouse ethno-linguistically diverse team of Ryan Allen, Jordan Coleman, Tayvon Jacobs, and Levern Jacobs.

Ok, just for a moment let's play the
Diversity Bullies' game and count, shall we? Exactly what is "Hispanic" about these games?

Hmmmm, do I detect a little Salamanderesque
cultural insurgency action going on here? Who needs Maria Fernandez when you can have Fawn Leibowitz? They all seem Hispanic to me.

Hmmm ... as I free-form this post - let me dig and ponder.

Looking at the glorious mixture of kids of all DNA origins and mix there-of at this track meet - I don't think you can call this "Hispanic Games" at all.

Follow the links and look at the names and faces (you know, the "look like America theme everyone is so interested in") - just looks like America to me. Mostly Anglo-Irish, Italian, German, and a smattering of Polish names with the normal mix for that part of the country of Iberian names. Colors from all over the place as you would expect at any track meet - especially as in America a person of sub-Saharan DNA can have a very Irish name, and a girl 100% Han-Chinese will have a very Italian name - who knows.

Why make it seem so sectarian when it sure isn't - and why would the Navy want to be part of something with such an ethnically-exclusive title? Do we sponsor the Aryan Games? Must be a generational thing where the games started as one thing but that reason has become archaic in 2011 ... or maybe something else.

Either way, it makes this statement from a good Sailor trying to do and say the right thing just, well, in a word; silly.
"The sheer number of kids participating in this event is what made this weekend successful; we were able to give them a small peek behind the curtain and expose a diverse group of young men to the SEAL and SWCC communities," said Senior Chief Navy Counselor (CRF/SW) Gio Giovanetty, a Navy special programs coordinator.

"Now there is an effort being made to introduce diverse communities to opportunities in Naval Special Warfare." said Giovanetty
No - you are just introducing yourself to a generic population mix. What is wrong with saying something like that? Why not make it geographical? Why does there seem to be a need to have a check-in-the-block sacrifice to the Diversity Bullies?

America, like the Navy, is diverse. That is a given - why is this news in 2011? Has the "D" word just become a verbal tic to protect yourself - like "Comrade" in the days of the Commissariat?

You might as well call it the 2011
Dinka Games - it would be just about as accurate. What a Potempkin embarrassment. The deeper I dig, the more LOL-worthy it is. This doesn't stand up to even a little bit of light and investigation. Farce, joke, or fraud? Take your pick.

Check out the PDF ironically titled, "
hispanicrecords.pdf." You can't make this stuff up - check out the first ten names;
Porter, Clarke, Ervin, McMillen, McFadden, Coleman, Drummond, Rhodes-Devey, Pannon, Morrison
That is almost as Hispanic as Mayer and Brady. Wait - according to the Navy they are.

What a self-delusional, sectarian joke.

The dangerous thing is - even a people exactly alike - like Serbs and Croats - will if you encourage sectarianism long enough, kill each other like strangers. That is an European thing to do though. Not American style in the 21st Century. I think we are trending the other way - and that is something to encourage, not discourage with retrograde ethno-centrism.

The more I ponder this Potempkin track meet the Navy seems to sponsor, the more I think they do this exists so some can put it on a PPT slide to show the CNO. Thing is - this isn't a Diversity event. There is no more outreach to Hispanics here than there is at a Blue Angles show.

In many ways, this again demonstrates the generational disconnect between the America of today and the retrograde 1970s attitude towards race and ethnicity of those in power. Sure, there are plenty of Gen X and younger who buy into this stuff, but there are many more that laugh at it - and to those men and women just coming into voting age, it is background noise.

I assume many in older generations see this - but are those in power Mau-Mau'd by the Diversity Industry to make the proper motions? Maybe I should cut Boomers some slack? Anyway, talk about the need for intellectual courage at the top ....

While looking at that great mix of young men and woman I see the America I know - the best of our nation that says, "
OK, today I'm Hispanic - tomorrow I will be black - next week white - and later mixed if needed. Whatever works for you, just get out of my way." In may family, we claim Hispanic, Amer-Indian, European, Mixed, and Other depending on the person, the need, and the mood. I don't think we are alone.

I might change my mind about the Hispanic games. Maybe next year there can be a bunch of bagpipes in the
opening ceremonies? Well - why not? Celtic is as Iberian as anything else. I won't wait for the Navy to sponsor the St. Patrick's Day Parade though.
A final note on these games. I have searched and searched for some data on who started this, organized this, and paid for this - but I can't even find an organized website to claim it.

That has my skin getting all a'twitchy. Please don't tell me this is some USN Diversity Directorate sock-puppetry/astroturfing. Please. Just tell my the organizing committee is IT-lazy and outdated as their title, and Navy is just footing the bill ... please.

If you know who or what the owning organization is for this - please let me know.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

LCS ASUW: from tragedy to farce

Remember those wonderful days of NetFires and the joy of Joint? The promise the PPT Gods gave us of intellectually airbrushed exquisite systems that were so multi-functional that they could do everything? Why have three good and proven systems based on solid and affordable engineering systems technology when you can have one exquisite system that we know will transfer from PPT to field with no problems. We have pixie dust, don'tyanknow.

Textbook case of technology risk last week. NLOS - under the bus.
The U.S. Navy is moving towards selecting Raytheon’s Griffin missile as the replacement for the cancelled Non-Line of Sight missile on its Littoral Combat Ships, according to the director of the service’s surface warfare division.

After evaluating its options for replacing one of the key parts of the LCS’ surface warfare mission systems for six months, the surface warfare division settled on the Griffin due to the fact that it can hit targets at acceptable ranges for less money than the NLOS system, said Rear Adm. Frank Pandolfe today during a speech at a Surface Navy Association convention in Arlington, Va.

The Griffin — with its launchers pictured above mounted on a Humvee — will also be cheaper to install on the LCS than the larger NLOS system, according to Pandolfe.
We knew this was just a matter of time after the Army got rid of the program. It was also just a matter of time until someone had to find a replacement option. Griffin? Really?

First a little review of what NLOS was supposed to be:
At a May 6, 2010, hearing on Navy shipbuilding programs before the Seapower subcommittee of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Jack Reed questioned Sean Stackley, the Navy’s acquisition executive (i.e., the Assistant Secretary of the Navy [Research, Development and Acquisition]), and Lieutenant General George Flynn, Deputy Commandant, Combat Development and Integration, and Commanding General, Marine Corps Combat Development Command, regarding the impact the cancellation of the NLOS-LS program. The following is text of the exchange.
SENATOR REED: Let me ask a question, then yield to Senator Wicker. And I might have one more question, but going back to the decision about the DDG- 51 versus the DDG-1000. The DDG-1000 was developed with the principal mission of close fire support for forcible entry, principally the Marine Corps. Then the Navy made the decision that they could do that by other means, and the more pressing need was missile defense, which the DDG- 51 seems more capable. Part of that decision, I understand, is the thought that essentially the Navy could adopt an Army system, the non- line of sight launch system, NLOS. But now it appears that the Army is getting ready to abandon the development of that system, forcing you to have no system or to adopt the cost of that system, rather than bootstrapping on the Army. So, I'm just, Admiral Blake, if NLOS is canceled, which it appears close to be, what’s your backup plan? But more importantly, I'd like everyone to comment on this general topic. What are we going to do to ensure close fire support for forcible entry of Marines?

BLAKE: Well, sir, first of all, for the NLOS program, the NLOS was looked at from the Navy perspective to go on the LCS. It was going to be a part of the surface package, the surface modular package [for the LCS]. It was going to go on there. And it was going to be used—one of the missions it was going to be used for was for the swarming boat issue. What we are doing right now is because of the Army’s announcement that they are potentially looking at terminating the program, we have been—we are going back and evaluating for that particular module. If, in fact that program is terminated and it is decided that the Navy would not go down that path, then what would we have to do in order to meet the key performance parameters for that particular module on the LCS.

REED: Thank you. That helps to clarify. Can I assume then, Secretary Stackley, to my comment, that the close fire support would be provided not by a destroyer, but by the LCS? Is that correct, the operational concept, Mr. Secretary?

STACKLEY: No, sir. There’s a naval surface first support capability. That requirement is met by what is called a triad. First, there’s organic artillery, there is air, then there’s naval surface fires. So that triad is intended to meet the overarching or capstone requirement. And we look at—you started with the DDG-1000 with the advanced con [sic: gun] system [the DDG-1000’s 155 mm Advanced Gun System] to [help meet] the overall requirement, and we look at other surface ships, basically [the] five-inch 54 [caliber gun], basically which is common to the DDG-51 and the [CG-47 class] cruiser. And with the NLOS, we looked at a capability that the LCS could further contribute to that [naval surface fire support] campaign problem.

REED: General Flynn, since your Marines are going to have to make the forceful entry, you have the last word on the whole topic and NLOS, too.

FLYNN: Sir, over a year ago we agreed that the solution, and this was at the same time we were examining the DDG-1000, we agreed to look for a joint analysis of alternatives [AOA] to determine the way ahead for naval surface fires. A key part of that had, as Secretary Stackley said, is our belief in the triad, that no single leg of the triad can meet all the demands of it. And we see naval surface fires as providing volume and accuracy as a key part of that triad. As part of the joint AOA, we looked at 71 alternatives, and we came down to the six most promising. One of them was the NLOS system. If it proved promising, it would have to have an extended range, but that was one of the alternatives. And that was one of the areas that we were also looking to capitalize on the Navy’s building of the LCS platform. If NLOS proves not to be effective, then the only other option that’s available right now is the development of the five-inch round, the extended range round for extended use off the DDG-81 and higher class [destroyer] hull forms. And that really needs to be upon 12-ish (ph) [sic: a POM-12 issue], because right now there is no [new] naval surface fire [capability], with the exception of the DDG-1000 in the program of record. The next promising or viable thing seems to be the extended five-inch range [shell]. And that would meet the requirement.
Executive summary. With DDG-1000 relegated to technology demonstration and NLOS proven the mirage its critics told you it was - we are stuck with the 5-in. Single mount 5-in at that. Ummmmmm, OK. More people owe me beer.

My solution remains what it has been for years - cancel the LCS program as soon as practical. Delay transfer of FF(not-so-G) to other navies. License build a run of 12-24 European designed frigates (NANSEN/SEVEN PROVINCES/etc) until we can design a solid, low-risk domestic frigate-sized platform. Transfer LCS to USCG.

Of course, that won't happen with the present leadership who have too much of their professional reputation tied up in LCS (oh, for the Burke option...)

So ... what do we do now?

Leaving the programmatics aside - think tactical application.

is laser guided - therefore line-of-sight. It is targeting-platform limited with no back-up guidance, and little use in supporting operations ashore.

The usual answer to this point by a defender is "...launched by LCS, targeted by FireScout/Helo" - which of course brings in the whole maintenance, sortie rate, crew rest, weather/sea state to recover, access to the appropriate freq for guidance and control, EMCON, permissive air environment issues, etc that comes with that crutch. Really - doesn't anyone in the Surface shop have a RW friend to bounce ideas off?

Griffin is an adequate system, but for a Surface weapon system, exceptionally delicate. It is a single route to success, multiple point of failure weapons system. Tactically robust it is not.

If Rube Goldberg designed ship based weapons systems - it would look like this. It is however, a perfect system for LCS.

LCS as a warfighting platform for ASUW, ASW and even MIW would only work if everything from weight restrictions, crew fatigue, endurance, to mission module performance stayed withing strict metrics. Multiple technology risks left very little room for error. That doesn't even mention the lifetime per-unit cost and original sin(s) of this failed system of failed systems.

To argue that this program is anything but a failure at this point is just being pigheaded.

Let's get back to the Griffin. Let me paraphrase another professional's critique below.

The Griffin was designed to replace the Hellfire missile. It does not have the range of the canceled NLOS missile, so at best it is a weak replacement further requiring this delicate ship to close the enemy.

Another weakness of the Griffin for shipboard use is it was designed as an air-launched weapon. To extend the range of a surface launched version, either the solid rocket motor has to be increased in size or length or a solid rocket booster is required. Griffin uses a semi-active laser seeker head and that means the laser designator has to keep target lock on the target until impact. Anyone who has been at sea in a corvette sized ship can quickly see this challenge.

If we need to fill the VLS cells on LCS, then LCS should be getting the Mk 56 Evolved Sea Sparrow to give it more standoff range against air threats. The Griffin doesn't help unless it's being used as anti-boat defense - something it was not designed for and will require a lot of engineering and software work to make functional. Even then - unless you have multiple laser designators, you are limited to engaging one target at a time. Swarms come in parallel, not serial. You need a weapon systems that functions in the same manner.

The below is from a email that I will quote in part- further fleshing out what we are looking at in this compromise.
(When) speculation about the acquisition of a Griffin missile variant surfaced, my initial reaction was positive. Here was a cheap, reasonably MOTS solution to one of the LCS's problems. However, further research undermined this reaction.

The Griffin can project a 5.9kg warhead to a maximum range of 5500m (surface-to-surface, 12.5km air-to-surface) at somewhat less than $40,000 per shot (reading between the lines, perhaps as little as $5000, but I doubt that).

The M110 57mm, on the other hand, has an effective range of 8500m (care of wikipedia, max of 17,000m) with a shell that weighs 2.4kg (so most likely 1.5+kg HE) at a small fraction of the cost/rnd of a missile.

While I acknowledge that 1 6kg warhead is more powerful than 4 1.5kg warheads. Neither of these weapon systems are able effectively conduct fires ashore.

So, my question is: now that NLOS (ie a reasonably long-ranged system able to both be used in ASuW and against targets ashore) is dead in the water, what role does a LCS mounted Griffin missile have?

Apart from covering the rear arc of the LCS, ofc - noting the limits of LCS STFZs.

I absolutely acknowledge the role of a LCS deployed Griffin missile (ie fired from an LCS-launched UAV, supported and controlled from the LCS); but I struggle to find a role for so short-range a missile system that cannot be already completed by MOTS gunnery systems.

My conclusion then, is that the MOTS version of the Griffin adds nothing to the LCS that equipping LCS borne UAVs with Griffin does not already do. Therefore, money spent on integrating on-board Griffin into two separate combat systems would be better allocated to integrating UAV launched Griffin and to improving the LCS's gunnery systems.

Does this equation change if the surface-to-surface range of the Griffin is extended?
Possibly, but this option comes at with an R&D cost. (Presently) there is not really a 'weapon's-gap' that the LCS needs to close. Most threat systems available to small fast craft (ie ATGMs, RPGs, rockets etc) have a range less than 4nm. Those with a longer range are generally 'proper' ASMs and will out-perform a Griffin-ER (for example, even Griffin-ERs fired from LCSs are no response to Houbei class FAC(M)s).
LCS, again, is the gift that keeps on giving. Sad thing is - this was all avoidable. It has been known in professional circles for years that this program will never be able to justify its cost and will never meet its tactical requirements as there were simply too many wrong assumptions and pet theories from speed to manning that compromised the design and development.

Also - it is easy to blame the companies in question, but I will repeat - this is a failure of those in uniform. Full stop. Until we accept this blame, we will not be able to fix this gaping hole in our Navy's capability that grows larger with each LCS that joins the Fleet.

Herman Cain Retro: My God, it's Full of Win

If you are running short of time, like Allah says, go to the 5-minute point.

I've liked him for years since his failed Senate run in 2004. More Cain please.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Rewarding moral courage

The fact that the SECDEF makes this very Salamanderesque statement on moral courage should make everyone appreciate the significance of the problem in the military we have with intellectual courage -- and fear. SECDEF knows it - and I think he knows to fix this is a top-down problem, not a bottom-up. Leadership 101 - from the front; but let's look at what the SECDEF says;
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has said he counts candor and moral courage among the essential qualities for 21st-century military leaders. Speaking last spring at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., he cited several Naval Academy graduates who rose to greatness largely because they recognized the need to sometimes buck institutional resistance.

“One of the key reasons they were successful was because they were willing to speak truth to power -- willing to tell superiors what they needed to hear, not what they wanted to hear,” Gates told the midshipmen.
This is not the first time he has mentioned this. He senses, rightly, that there is not a command climate that encourages discussion. Just the opposite. I would also mention that it isn't binary between intellectual courage and fear. There is also a need to understand foolishness and futility. Often in policy issues, you must have the mind of an insurgent. Before you engage, think what is the possible cost-benefit of engaging at this time, on this ground, on this target. Often it is best to husband your resources and fight another day. Especially in a high threat environment - you cannot expect good men and women to mindlessly charge the front.

If there is senior leadership showing the way - then yes, you will see more intellectual courage. If the junior personnel are sitting there watching their senior leadership hunkering down, digging in deeper, or leaving for the rear - do not be shocked when everyone stays put.

I don't know if Midshipmen and other junior people are the ones who need this speech - I think the target audience should be the O5-O10.

Moving on through the article; one of my side-jobs last decade was to run interference for my boss on any publicized articles by officers under his chain of command. We literally spiked or edited to death articles that were not in strict compliance with his D&G - regardless of their tactical or historical significance.

Indeed - it was the spiking of one of my proposed articles on my experience in early OEF that led after a year's slow boil to this blog. Funny - I've never posted on that topic directly anyway ... but a catalyst it was.

Instead of "preaching to" - perhaps a better thing to do is to "ask from." Ask serving and retired officers under Chatham House Rules to send him their stories about how they were actively discouraged from publishing - or even better intellectually bullied after publishing. Ask for the direct and indirect threats they received to their career prospects. Heck - people send me emails all the time on the subject.

That is why I found this by CJCS so curious. As I spend a fair bit of my most effective years on active duty under his leadership, I would like to parse the following by Admiral Mullen.
"Few things are more important to an organization than people who have the moral courage to question the direction in which the organization is headed, and then the strength of character to support whatever final decisions are made," the chairman told the cadets.
Sounds good at first read - yes? OK. Take a moment and then read it again. Then read it clause by clause - starting backwards (and no URR, don't read the words backwards; read the last clause first, second to last second ... etc). I'll wait. Do it, then come back.

See - is not logical, and it isn't supposed to be.

What he is saying is that you are to support whatever final decisions are made. Feel free though to question the direction of the organization prior to the decision being made. Of course, no one knows what the direction is until the decision is made ... and very few people are behind the closed door when/if discussions are being made ... so ... if you question the direction an organization is headed after the decision is made, then you have a weak character. Those with weak character are not worth promotion or support - therefore they have no career future. We can crush them if we wish.

In summary; "support our decisions and do not question them." I don't think that is what SECDEF was going for there Admiral Mullen.

We all know about the operational need to fully support the Commander once a Course of Action is chosen even if you don't agree with it - that is basic and fully agreed on. The problem we have is that bureaucrats and politicians in uniform are abusing that tradition to stifle dissent on programmatic, strategic, and policy issues.

They do not want courage - they want fear - they want silence. It is the results of that climate of fear that surrounds us from Optimal Manning, LCS, DDG-1000, LPD-17, and the still unsolved problem of unaccountable Sailors getting unaccountable Sailors pregnant - just to name a few.

In the same article, Air Force Lt. Gen. Jack L. Rives, the Air Force’s judge advocate general after the 9/11 terror attacks,
... kicked off yesterday’s panel discussion by reciting the oath every officer takes when receiving a military commission. “That is really all the guidance you need,” he told the attendees, key leaders of the military education and training community. Pausing, he added with a smile, “Of course, the devil is in the details.”

Military members have a responsibility to remain apolitical even when reporting to political figures, Rives said, reiterating a key point made earlier in the day by Mullen as well as retired Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman.

“It’s important to realize that your oath is to [protect and defend] the Constitution,” Rives said. “It is not to a political party. It is not to an administration. It is not to a person…We owe our allegiance and loyalty to the country and its Constitution.”

When testifying before Congress, Rives said he knew he was bound by a promise to provide his best military guidance and when asked, his personal opinion, even when it didn’t jibe with the administration’s position.

“You have to live with yourself. You look at yourself in the mirror each day,” he said. “So you shouldn’t be motivated by, ‘What is this going to do for or to my career if I give my boss certain advice. Your obligation is to give the best advice possible.”

When he shares that conviction with younger officers and advises them to do what they believe is right, Rives said they sometimes balk. “They say, ‘It’s easy for you to say, you’re a three-star general,’” he told the group. “I thought about it and said, ‘Really, it’s easy for you to do as well, because you have to live with yourself. You look at yourself in the mirror each day. And you shouldn’t be motivated by, ‘What is this going to do for or to my career?’”

Rives said he knew during his career he’d given his commanders advice they didn’t like hearing. “But in almost every case, later they showed some appreciation for me telling them what I believed was my best advice,” he said. “So, ‘To thine own self be true’ is what I have to say.”
Yep. As we have discussed before - the guy in the mirror check is the key. As for his Rives's experience in appreciation - not everyone is as lucky. That is the gamble you take.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Oh - that right-wing rhetoric ...

Even the NYT can't hide the truth anymore.
He became intrigued by antigovernment conspiracy theories, including that the Sept. 11 attacks were perpetrated by the government and that the country’s central banking system was enslaving its citizens. His anger would well up at the sight of President George W. Bush, or in discussing what he considered to be the nefarious designs of government.
Insanity knows no political bounds - but the smearing by the Left during the last week should have them all apologizing for their shameful political opportunism of a tragedy.

You want a better climate? Fine - lead by example, so far your grade is FAIL.
UPDATE: I guess we should all go back to the good old days of enlightned discourse, yes? Like the Democrats before Bushitler ruined everything. Remember the good old days?

Simple math

Jack made a good point last week over at USNIBlog,
Something’s gotta give. In 2009, the U.S. spent $187 billion (more than China’s defense budget) paying off interest on government debt.
But let's focus on China specifically,

China holds $846.7 billion in treasuries as of July, approximately 6.22 percent of the total debt, which means it probably collected more than $12.6 billion in interest payments last year alone. In the great scheme of things, that may not seem like much. But with an annual defense budget of $77.95 billion, those interest payments currently constitute about 16 percent of China’s military spending.

Alarmingly, China’s military spending was up 7.5 percent from the year prior. That’s about how much interest owed on the debt grew from 2009 to 2010, from $187 billion to $203 billion, an 8.5 percent increase. The more taxpayers chip in via interest payments, the larger China’s military grows.

Consider this: By 2020, OMB estimates net interest owed on the debt will total $840 billion. If China keeps a consistent share of the debt, its annual interest paid will more than double to $52.2 billion every year. That’s more than two-thirds of China’s current military budget. So, the rising cost of interest owed on the debt is helping to directly fund a dramatic expansion of the second largest military in the world. That’s not even counting the revenue China generates every year because of the trade deficit.

As we all know - those payments will be made by your children and grandchildren, and you in your dotage.

So, next family dinner - play this and tell the family - "Enjoy it everyone - you're paying for it!"