Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Propping up NATO, PAO fail, and Libya

I've done another Libya update over at USNIBlog ... but I'm all over the place in a stream of conscientiousness.

In a way, I do another "kick the PAO" hit as well - but it is well deserved as the PAO fail off Libya is shocking.

Details are there. Check it out.

UPDATE: Behold the power of the Salamander. DoD finally provides the answer today - with a push from our friend Phil Ewing.

Monday, August 29, 2011

How your Navy still does IAs

Almost a decade in to a war and all the access we have to information - and this is how we do IAs.

If you want to understand why IAs are still such a sore point, you can start by reading the below to see the process as it is seen in the Fleet.

The fact this has not changed and is still going on is a shame on us all. Silly people - you think there is a level playing field? You think we are matching jobs to skill sets?

-----Original Message-----
From: [redacted] LCDR NPC, [redacted]
Sent: [redacted], August [redacted], 2011 [redacted]
To: [redacted] CAPT [redacted], CO; [redacted] CDR PEO[redacted], [redacted]; [redacted]@[redacted]; [redacted] CDR [redacted]; [redacted] CDR OPNAV [redacted], [redacted];[redacted] CDR [redacted], [redacted]; [redacted] CDR PEO [redacted], PMS [redacted]; [redacted] CDR NAVSEA [redacted], PMS[redacted]; [redacted] LT [redacted]00 [redacted]; [redacted] LCDR [redacted], [redacted]
Subject: IA Volunteer Opportunities

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Please pass this out to your mentor groups.

To all,

Do to the ever changing IA environment, I will open up the following IA for volunteers as of Thursday 0000 September 1.

Reconstruction Engineer
O-4 (1-up/down)
12 Mos
Rpt July 2012

Public Outreach and Response
O-3 (1-up/down)
12 Mos
Rpt July 2012

O-3 (1-up/down)
12 Mos
Rpt Sept 2012

Remember, the first email that I see in my inbox with a timestamp of 0000 on 1 Sept gets first choice.

The IA list will be published on NKO by COB 30 Aug 2011.

Very Respectfully,
LCDR [redacted]
BTW - OOPS! Looks like the "inside scoop" no longer is in effect.

If you want to be in play for these IAs - you now have the billet numbers as well. Call your detailer.

UK learns a hard lesson on bad acquisition habits

The sad story of the British maritime patrol aircraft, the Nimrod, was covered for a bit with Dr. Norman Friedman in Midrats yesterday.

The path to the killing of the MR4 and then the entire Nimrod fleet - and with it the ability to do long range maritime reconnaissance - has left this island nation with less maritime patrol capabilities than the continental land power Germany.

The Brits have a problem similiar to ours - people who have no concept of how you actually execute assigned missions at the tactical and operational level are making decisions. Only a person who has never done ASW could think that it could be done only without long range aircraft as part of the tool set. Only someone with a PPT thick understanding about what it takes to have an accurate plot of what is going on in a large area of ocean could think you can do it without long range air.

Well - the team of fail in Whitehall has discovered - to its shock - that the UK is, after all, an island nation.

Cue the circus music;
Military strategists from the U.K. are weighing whether to rush a basic maritime patrol aircraft into service to compensate for recent defense cuts. The alternative would be to hope that the post-2015 budget climate will permit development of a more elaborate aircraft.
Marshall Aerospace, which specializes in modifying and overhauling planes for the U.K. military, has presented a proposal to the Ministry of Defence describing how it could modify an unspecified number of the country’s 25 C-130J Hercules troop and cargo aircraft for maritime patrol duties. At the moment, Britain is not flying any maritime patrol planes because of cuts ordered by the country’s Conservative-Liberal Democrat governing coalition to address a 30-plus billion pound ($48 billion) shortfall in defense spending.
The 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review led to the retirement this year of the Royal Air Force’s Nimrod MR2 planes and cancellation of a project to convert MR2s into more advanced MRA4s. The MR2 fleet provided maritime patrol, anti-submarine and search-and-rescue capabilities around the U.K., and it was increasingly called on for duty over Afghanistan, where its electronic surveillance and communications capabilities were valued. The scrapping of the Nimrods was one of the most controversial outcomes of the strategic review, as it left the U.K., a maritime nation, without long-range maritime patrol aircraft. In November, Defence Secretary Liam Fox said the country was using ordinary transport C-130s for maritime tasks as required. Current tasks include monitoring the route taken by the U.K.’s nuclear-armed submarines leaving the Clyde Estuary for the North Atlantic and conducting search-and-rescue missions.
Actually - as a temporary "good enough" fix as a bridge to something else - the C-130J mod sound like a plan given the money challenges right now. Something beats nothing and don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good (use your own cliche from here). Beats the South African solution ... but if you want perfect ....

Boeing has an offer for you ....
Boeing has a new sales pitch for the international version of its P-8 submarine hunter: Buy soon before the commercial side of the company retires or significantly changes the design of the 737 airliner fuselage that forms the foundation for each P-8.
You see, you can approve the PPT and nod at the nice plans made by the nice people saying all the nice things .... but when you actually operationalize it and the truth of time, space, engineering, and communications needs show themselves in the 3D world - then you have to address the problems that wouldn't exist if you held people accountable and had operators having a significant say in program development.

What ever the British have been doing in product development in the last 15 years - they need to stop. Then again - so do we.

When you look at the Brit story - and then you look at Admiral Greenert's plan for our EP-3 capability - mark my words - don't laugh too much at the mother country. We are going to have the same reality check on ES in about 10 years.

Oh, and Nimrod mods have a bad track record - remember this ugly duckling?

The New Chairman's Reading List

As he heads out the door as Army Chief of Staff - Gen. Dempsey put out a reading list.

As I mentioned over half a decade on this blog - I love books so much I just want to git nakid and roll around in 'em.

As you ponder that visual again, I'll admit that I am a bit disappointed in his list. I prefer to give people a lot of room to recommend books - but seriously - he has TWO books by Thomas Friedman? Ungh. I'll nod to his list - but really - TWO Friedman? -1.

I like Exum's list better for the record.

Two Friedman and no VDH. Sad.

In any event - you can either follow the link above to the PDF or enjoy the widgets below.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sunday Funnies

As for the "great" hurricane ... back home we call that a summer shower FWIW.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Right Weapon Systems at the Right Time, on Midrats

Don't miss the last Midrats of the Summer. EagleOne and I go live this Sunday from 5-6PM EST with two guests you don't wan to miss.

From today's operations off Libya to the closing days of WWII - what are the lessons of using military power to create the effects ashore?

For the last 6-months, conflict once again brought out the question often forgotten in the quiet times; where are our carriers? As was covered well in last month’s Proceedings by Dr. Norman Friedman, the essential effectiveness and efficiency of the CV/S/N. Land based air has its place – but any distance makes the ability to provide persistent effects from the air over the battlespace prohibitively expensive compared to a carrier off shore.

For the first half of the show we will have returning guest Dr. Friedman on to discuss.

For the second half of the show we are going to go back in time to the waning days of WWII with author D. M. Giangreco, the Arthur Goodzeit Award for Best Military History Book of 2009 awarded by the New York Military Affairs Symposium for his book Hell to Pay: Operation DOWNFALL and the Invasion of Japan, 1945-1947. We'll reflect on VJ-Day and what could have happened without the ultimate game changing weapon - the nuclear bomb.

Join us live if you can and pile in with the usual suspects in the chat room where you can contribute your thoughts and observation - and suggest to us questions for our guests.

If you miss the show you can always listen to the archive at blogtalkradio - but the best way to get the show and download the archive to your audio player is to get a free account and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.

A response to Deresiewicz's, "An Empty Regard"

For those who followed the link in Monday's post to William Deresiewicz's article, An Empty Regard, I have something in addition to Greyhawk's ponderings for you to consider.

Occasional guest poster here and USNIBlog, Professor of English at the United States Naval Academy Bruce Fleming, has a interesting personal and philosophical take on it. The rest of the post is his. Well worth your time.

Professor Fleming, over to you.

William Deresiewicz’s front page New York Times Sunday Review article (August 21, 2011) that the editors entitled “An Empty Regard” provided amusement value for military insiders with its initial photo of the mismatched insignia the model was wearing. Anybody who’s ever been to the Naval Academy must have been similarly amused by the Hollywood movie entitled “Annapolis but shot in the neo-classical buildings of a private school in Philadelphia, and completely unfaithful to the Academy (a mid slugs an officer). Both the newspaper’s treatment of the topic and this (really dumb) movie, both ostensibly about the military, are clearly aimed at people who don’t know much about their subject matter. What’s unsettling is when you have to conclude that the people who made them don’t either.

The problem with Deresiewicz’s article was not that it wasn’t true: it was. The problem is that it took center stage to air a completely trivial issue. The article and its presentation show how clueless both author and editors of “the newspaper of record” are about the real issues it all but avoided. Deresiewicz is an interesting guy, but he and his editors are outsiders both talking about and exemplifying their outsidership.

I think I “get” Deresiewicz. We wrote dance criticism together (!) in the 1990s for some of the same publications. He was an English professor for a decade; I’m in year 25 here in the English Department at the Naval Academy. Like me, he’s distrustful of what institutions like colleges do to individual products like literature, or individual pursuits like original thinking—so distrustful that he wrote a “what’s wrong with American education in general and Ivies in particular” essay for the American Scholar after he failed to get tenure at Yale. (My take on this problem was the essay “Leaving Literature Behind” for the Chronicle of Higher Education and the book on which it was based.) And the points he makes in his much-publicized address of 2009 to plebes at West Point, “Solitude and Leadership,” are things that every English professor at a service academy makes over and over: learn to think for yourself, don’t follow the herd. (Unlike Deresiewicz, however , I know that extrovert alphas will never be lovers of solitude, nor should they be, so he’s on the wrong track here.)

He’s not afraid to swing hard and wide, either: give him credit for having a pair. What bugs Deresiewicz about the military is what bugs him about Yale: according to him, it’s largely company (wo)men, lemmings, creatures of hierarchy, apparachicks (Gen. Petraeus is the exception that proves the rule, he says). The real issue in his article is this line, buried in the center: “Has the military really ceased to be the big, bumbling bureaucracy it was always taken to be?”

Of course not. Thus the troublesome point is not that the military gets universal respect these days: I say oohrah. About time we retreated from the universal lack of respect for the military of the post-Vietnam era. Sure, it’s too much love (to the point where even Park rangers are “heroes”) and it’s based on ignorance. Americans blow hot and cold on the military: now it’s hot, and that’s better than cold. My concern, however (as I said in a C-Span interview) is that the military can’t be addicted to the “sugar rush” (as I call it) of this public acclaim, because sure as shootin’ the public is going to blow cold again—and the military still needs to go on. That’s why it needs a self-image that is not based on this kind of “empty regard.”

The real issue is not the silly but sweet post-9/11 love for anything in a uniform. It’s that this blanket love will let the military continue being a bureaucracy that is prone to the ills of all hierarchical monopolies. (These are what I call the “structural weaknesses” of the military, in my recent book Bridging the Military-Civilian Divide.) The military has few external checks and balances (Congress doesn’t know squat, usually), and as anybody in uniform knows, the internal ones are very weak. Try opposing the whims of one of what the Army’s recent study called “toxic” leaders: 80 % of respondents to their survey said they had known one of these, and 20% had worked for one. Try, for that matter, getting a new idea off the ground that the old (wo)man doesn’t want to hear about. Combine this with the fierce military rejection nowadays of rare civilian criticism (this is close to Deresiewicz’s point) and you have trouble: no checks from within, those from without rejected (I’m thinking of journalists who uncover problems, like finding out that Pat Tillman’s death was due to “friendly fire”).

There’s nothing wrong with the current reverence for the uniform except that the military might begin to take it seriously—and conclude that they really are perfect. Now that’s a real problem: the insistence of the military that it’s morally more virtuous than the civilians it exists to protect. Why put your behind on the line to defend a bunch of bagits? Instead of this nonsense, I propose a new professionalism, a realization that the military is a tool of the civilian world, with the measure of its success being effectiveness, not whether it’s Boy Scout eunuchs (being “held to a higher moral standard”). Dissent from within has to be actively encouraged, and “leaders” taught that they can’t “lead” from the gut, but by looking at the evidence and encouraging others to share their views. Leading isn’t about imposing your will, but about getting the best out of your players. Some officers know this; everybody has to be reminded of it.

That’s a more realistic goal, I think, than Deresiewicz’s embittered ex-Ivy Assistant Professor of English who wants officers to be solitary thinkers (he’s got the military personality all wrong with that one). These are the real issues facing the military in America today. As for this uniform business: take the civilian love while you can get it, and enjoy it. You deserve it. But don’t take it too seriously.

Friday, August 26, 2011

A tale of two 50's

President Obama and Governor Perry are roughly the same age a decade apart. Perry’s formative years shaped by the Vietnam Era – Obama’s by the Carter Era. There are different variations of the pics below traveling around, one that my sweetie Bookie has says they are both 22 at the time.

Actually, as Perry looks like that was in flight school before he selected props, he was probably 22-23 when it was taken. The one of Obama was part of that "keep hidden until after the election" photo spread from 1980 when he was 19.

There is a big difference between 19 and 23 - at least there was for me - so I'll cut the President some glassy-eyed slack; but still, I think it sets a tone you will see more of. A lot more of because I think Romney is not going to get traction. The Republican primary seems to be turning in to anti-Romney and anti-Perry camps. We know who has the 'mo.

Speaking of Bookie - if you have not bought her book, The Bookworm Turns: A Secret Conservative in Liberal Land - then go get a copy for your e-reader toot-sweet!

Fullbore Friday

As a dog guy - this is a fitting FbF for our SEAL losses in AFG, methinks.

Full story here.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Diversity Thursday

Where does the Navy's fetid fetish lead to? No need to ask - we're already there.
Career federal managers — most of whom will still be on the job long after their political bosses have departed — have their work cut out for them. The issue:
How to improve diversity (increase the number and percentage of women, blacks, Hispanics and other minorities in government jobs) when the government is downsizing — and while its second largest (and most racially diverse) agency, the U.S. Postal Service is trying to slash its workforce. Also, while implementing a White House-ordered 5 percent spending cut and dealing with to-be-announced budget reductions that will be proposed by the bipartisan, Senate-House committee. It is due to make a batch of BRAC-like tough spending and program cuts around Thanksgiving. If the script is followed, Congress will deal with them on an up-or-down vote.

Last week the White House told agencies to give special emphasis to diversity in the workforce saying it is "one of the cornerstones of the merit-based civil service." OPM is supposed to come up with an overall government plan within 90 days (it has, in fact been working on it for some time) that will launch a four-year effort centered on hiring, training, promotion and retention. After OPM has announced the government wide strategic blueprint, agencies will have another 120 days to submit their own plans for improving diversity. OPM will likely include both overall numbers and percentages and also the status of women and minorities in higher-grade and professional jobs.
Sound like Admiral Roughead's "Diversity Accountability" metrics? Of course it does.

The is nothing more than discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, and national origin. As Congress seems unwilling to do anything about it - we punt to the courts. That will take years with no guarantee of success.

Until then all we can do is this - use what we have. Shame.

Shame them, every one of them. Call them out for what they are - bigots. Anyone who judges on the basis of race, creed, color, or national origin is a bigot. It is one thing to just not like people for such superficial reasons; it is another one to use it as a way to go after the way they provide for their family.

If you actively or through inaction let this pass by in silence, you are part of the problem, not the solution. This injustice can only survive in the silence of the slave.

Unofficially, Diversity has already taken away opportunity; now it is outright firing people.

Hat N.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Good baby cutting on CAPT Honors

An imperfect answer to an imperfect problem.
The former executive officer of the carrier Enterprise can remain on active duty despite a finding that his job performance aboard the carrier fell short of standards, a Navy board of inquiry decided Wednesday.

Capt. Owen Honors was brought to the board of inquiry for co-producing dozens of controversial and sometimes bawdy video vignettes shown aboard the ship in 2006 and 2007.

The three-admiral board unanimously agreed Honors committed misconduct, failed to demonstrate acceptable qualities of leadership required of an officer in his grade and failed to conform to prescribed standards of military deportment. But it also voted 3-0 that Honors “be retained in the naval service.”
I know a two of the Admirals on that board. Anyone passing judgment on their integrity, morals, perspective, motivations, or professionalism on this issue - frankly - does not know what they are talking about.

I defer to the board's judgment on the task they were given, and will leave it at that.
UPDATE: As a TACAIR guy - Lex has a very mature, well thought out, and spot on observation at this place. Check it out.

Must be nice to be on shore duty ...

Shall we count the manhours?
----Original Message-----
From: [redacted] CAPTAIN [redacted], N5
Sent: Monday, August 22, 2011 11:49
To: [redacted]_ALL-HANDS
Subject: FACEBOOK Capture the Flag - [redacted] participation

All Hands,

BLUF: The Chief of Naval Information (CHINFO) will sponsor a virtual "Capture the Flag" game on Facebook beginning today (Monday) Aug 22 and ending (Friday) Aug 26. The game has been designed to share specific themes and messages for a variety of commands with a large audience. The winning command has the opportunity for its message to headline the Navy Facebook page for a week following the competition. We'd like to win and we need the help!

BACKGROUND: CHINFO has developed a game of "Capture the Flag" to be played on Facebook for the next week. Details of the game and how to participate are listed below:


Social media provides a great opportunity to reach a vast audience. Virtual "Capture the Flag" was developed as a way of sharing Navy themes and messages with personnel with that audience.

Official Navy Facebook pages are "competing" against each other as a way to help the Navy raise awareness about the great things Sailors are doing around the world. Eleven commands have entered the game:
- Naval Facilities Engineering Command
- Norfolk Naval Shipyard
- U.S. Naval Air Forces (AIRFOR)
- U.S. Pacific Fleet
- Naval Sea Systems Command
- Commander Submarine Forces Atlantic (SUBLANT)
- U.S. Navy Life
- Naval Health Clinic New England
- Naval Air Station Pensacola Public Affairs
- Commander Naval Surface Pacific Force (SURFPAC/SURFFOR)

The Capture the Flag Bracket shows [redacted] entering the game on Tuesday, August 23 at 0800. [redacted] will go head-to-head with [redacted]! To check out the [redacted] Facebook Page go to:[redacted]
To see the [redacted] page go to:!/[redacted]

How Do I Play?

To play the game you will need to access the [redacted] Facebook page, make the Team [redacted] flag your profile picture on your personal Facebook Page and get ready to "like" and "comment" on Tuesday when [redacted] enters the competition. For those of you who already have a Facebook account you can get the NECC team flag by viewing the note here:!/notes/[redacted]capture-the-flag-instructions/10150265823551448 The note contains the team flag and full instructions on how to play the game.

Attacking and Defending the [redacted] Flag

Once you have made the Team [redacted] flag your profile picture and game day has started you need to defend the [redacted] themed flag posted for that day and attack the competition's posted themed flag. The posts will be made a pictures on the Facebook wall. Hence, on August 23 at 0800 [redacted] will post the first themed flag as a picture on the wall. If a team member from [redacted] "likes" the [redacted] flag then this counts as an attack. You can then counter the attack by posting a comment to the [redacted] flag which means you are defending the [redacted] flag. Same goes for the [redacted] flag, team members from [redacted] can "like" their flag to attack as well. At 2000 CHINFO will evaluate all the likes and comments to determine a winner of the day. The winner will advance to the next day.

Likes = Attack
Comments = Defend

Why Should I Play?

The reward for winning benefits us all because [redacted] will be able to showcase all five of our themed flags for one week on the Navy's Facebook page which has more than 330,000 fans. This is a good way to tell the masses what great work our [redacted] are doing!

What If I Don't Have a Facebook Page?

If you do not have a Facebook account, you will need to get one to play the game. You can go to this page to create an account. If you don't want to get a Facebook page, but know individuals who do have one, please encourage them to support [redacted] and attack the opponent's flag (imagine the power of all of your teenaged children carrying [redacted] message to the masses!)

What If I Have Questions?

Please contact:
John [redacted]x252 or john.[redacted]
Rick [redacted]x249 or Richard.[redacted]
Jeannine [redacted]x251 or Jeannine.[redacted]

Thanks for supporting this effort to get our message out.

Very Respectfully,

[redacted] N5

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Libya update

I'm pondering over at USNIBlog.

Clifford Stanley: bad guy or hated fixer?

Who is Clifford Stanley?
The Pentagon inspector general is investigating Clifford Stanley, the official charged with overseeing the Defense Department’s massive personnel bureaucracy, after a spate of highly detailed allegations of gross mismanagement and abuse of power. He's accused of firing respected senior staff, neglecting programs for wounded troops, and using limited funds on expensive consultants and a lavish new conference room.
My first instincts are to be a little suspicious of IG investigations as we all know - just because someone claims something does not make it true.

OK, Shipmates - does this sound familiar?
"He has created a dysfunctional command marked by fear and mistrust through a capricious, tyrannical and arbitrary leadership,” the complaint states. “Waste, fraud and abuse of power are rampant. Even if he were competent, his destructive leadership would assure ‘P&R’ (personnel and readiness) mission failure.”
"Dr Stanley has demonstrated that he is vindictive against those who merely offer contrary opinions," the July 11 complaint claims. "The reprisals he would carry out against those who lodged a complaint would be severe."
2 out of 3 GOFO I have worked for would have a certain percentage of their Staff make that complaint. Most of those @55h@1es got the job done though and we were better for it. In this case; this could all be true, but ...

Go back to the first quote;
He's accused of firing respected senior staff...
That got my antenna tingl'n.

Ahhh, HA!
The complaints charge that Stanley decimated much of the institutional knowledge within personnel and readiness offices by transferring, firing, or forcing into retirement 30 civilians in the top-tier senior executive service ranks. A senior P&R official said he couldn't believe all 30 were unfit for their jobs, saying it cost the department a huge loss in brain trust.

At least two other officials – a colonel and a high-ranking government civilian – were fired on the spot, sending a “chilling tone” throughout P&R offices, according to the July 11 complaint.
There we go. He went after dead weight SES and they are not pleased. They are playing death buy bureaucratic investigation. Yes, I have an attitude problem towards SES - for good reason.

Sit around a table with 10 SES, and if 8 of them left tomorrow the organization would function better. SES on average have a sense of entitlement "I'm a 1-star equivalent" that simply is not reflected in the value they add to an organization. They are just another layer to deal with between the problem and a solution.

Is it possible that you have a 2-Star Marine who cleaned house with attitude and made some enemies? I'll give that 51%. Could Stanley be a train wreck as alleged? Maybe, we'll see.

Wait for the IG report to finish. I'll give Stanley the benefit of the doubt over a gaggle of pampered, over paid, oxygen thieves.

As for the comment about the conference room, how lame. Might as well blame President Obama for to cost to mow your yard.

Can you surveybomb?

Everyone should know what photobomb is.

Let's see - can we coin a phrase - I don't think anyone has used surveybomb until now. Why not.
If you had an internal survey that you will use to shape policy and influence decision makers, you would make sure that it was secure, right?

Only the people who should take the survey will, right? After all, only amateur organizations with low standards would leave something open for everyone, right?

Well - as we know that only the best people are running SOME organizations after rigorous selection processes; one can assume that an open survey is just that - OPEN to all.

Well - by all means - if you are active duty, reserve, IRR, fleet reserve, or a "retired" officer, then by all means; contribute here!

Hat tip Salamander Underground.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Marine, don't look at this post ...

Hey, it's kick the media day at CDRSalamander! So much material ....

Back to the media-military divide? The reasons that the military is so distrustful and in some ways hostile to the major media outlets are legion - but one is that they are too lazy even to have an interest in getting the basics right.

Perfect example - you want to post a belly-button picking reprint of a speech that might have to do a bit with the, ahem, "Cult of the Uniform." You go to the Getty image bundle and search for "uniform." You say - "Hey, there's one!" You pick it and run.

The editors say it is fine, and after all - you are the NYT writing on the military and all the military looks the same anyways; what could go wrong?


Lazy, ignorant - wait, scratch that - stupid and insulting.
UPDATE: Greyhawk has some good commentary on the substance of the issue.

Hat tip Steve.

With LCS, we have officially become the Soviets

Maybe it's Baghdad Bob. Sump'n.

Here is a problem; a free press relies on honest information from government sources and industry in order to produce stories. The press also should make sure and have the right reporters focus on the right areas.

When you have government sources living in PPTland, industry in full Bu11sh1t Bingo mode, and the press is full of restaurant and theater critics - I guess you git howlers like this from The Australian.
They carry three helicopters and special forces units with armoured vehicles that can roll off a ramp into action, while fast gunboats can be launched from the stern.
All at once? On bank holidays too? Does it slice, dice and julienne as well?

Good googly moogly. Where does one start? Three - counting Fire Scout - really? How much of a surprise for special ops forces using that ramp again? Define "gunboat."

Wait, it gets better.
... it is protected by Mk 110 57mm guns made by BAE Systems, plus missiles for air, land and underwater targets.

The warships' sleek silhouettes reflect their stealth technology, while the stable trimaran design suits the South China Sea, which is swept by typhoons every summer.
Fella, switch to decaf. It has yet to find a missile that can do anything ashore - nothing works yet. It has minimal AAW self-defense and even then only at short range, and no one has ASW missiles any more (ahhh, ASROC nukes; let me tell you a story ..... ).

Even if they did - they can't do all three at once. Ahem, back to now. The LCS going to the South China Sea is LCS-1, monohull. Don't you people Down Under have google? The one you are thinking about is the one on the upper-right of this post.
Experts say the ships are superior to any known Chinese vessel in their ability to combine anti-submarine, minesweeping, surveillance, reconnaissance and troop deployment missions.
On PPT, maybe.

OK. Next week let's put LCS-1 as now equipped on one side of Wake Island, and any of the
83 or so Chinese Houbei Class as now equipped on the other. We'll even play make-believe and give it, ahem, three Fire Scouts. Place your bets. If the LCS, as now equipped, can get pass the 8 C-802, I think the 57mm will best the 30mm ... so at least we have the PLAN in a gun fight ... I think.

I guess we have to repeat. LCS does not have an ability to conduct ASW. All that is in development and PPT-land - same with MIW. It can do recon, and put troops ashore in a permissive environment; so it has that for now. Check back in a year or two, we might have a partially mission capable mission module that is operational in some way.
... they are seen as a potent symbol of US might.
If symbols are overpriced, undermanned, underarmed, short ranged, and incapable of effectively changing its mission once it gets one with the equipment to do it - then sure, that last statement might be more accurate than the author thinks.

Military journalism fail.

I don't know who the reporter, Michael Sheridan, uses as his "experts," but dude - seriously - pop me an email next time.

(NB: Before the "butbutbut" brigade starts in comments. Pic above is from NewWars in 2010. When you take the cost of the LCS baseline model, add in 2-3 mission modules, logistical and infrastructure to support such above a "normal" multi-mission ship's deployment requirement along with the shorter ship life of LCS ... and you get .....)

Hat tip QMC.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sunday Funnies

Did you hear about the NAVSEA Milblogger's Conference on LCS? They invited everyone. I didn't get there until late, as I copied down the wrong address and YNSN (who I made the mistake of carpooling with) entered the wrong state in the GPS. We wound up with at South of the Border and had lunch with Pedro before turning around.

I was stuck in the car for what seemed about FOREVER as he prattled on about this and that. My fault - I started the small talk. Kid still has not learned to only speak if it improves the silence.

Sid gets a net one below in headwork though, he showed up early and was stuck helping the Command Group with some of their problems while they waited for the rest of the blogorati to show up in Maggie's Bus-o-woe. It all fell apart from there.

Sigh - I don't think we will ever get him back.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Beyond Strategic Reconnaissance; on Midrats

Military professionals understand the intelligence requirements of the Tactical, Operational, and Strategic Level.

Each level of command has their own set of reconnaissance and surveillance requirements. In the truest sense - data needs to flow up and down in order to ensure that the National Command Authority has the best information available when forming policy.

They also understand that on top of them all is the Political Level. The Political can be national, alliance, or international. Is there an even more critical level that should inform the Political and effect its direction and guidance?

What about Earth monitoring - the Environmental Level?

The history of the Earth is a constant story of changing climates from temperature, sea levels, deserts and rain. These changes drive migration and wars. Are we monitoring this to the level we should?

To discuss for the full hour this Sunday, 22 August from 5-6pm EST will be Research Associate and Joseph S. Nye Jr. Internship Coordinator at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), and co-author of the policy brief, Blinded: The Decline of U.S. Earth Monitoring Capabilities and Its Consequences for National Security; Will Rogers.

Rogers’s research focus spans unconventional security challenges, and he has authored or co-authored a range of publications on energy, climate change, environmental cooperation in Asia, and cybersecurity. He is a co-editor of and contributor to the Natural Security Blog.

He is an author of, most recently, Internet Freedom: A Foreign Policy Imperative in the Digital Age and Sustaining Security: How Natural Resources Influence National Security.

Join us live if you can and pile in with the usual suspects in the chat room where you can contribute your thoughts and observation - and suggest to us questions for our guests.

If you miss the show you can always listen to the archive at blogtalkradio - but the best way to get the show and download the archive to your audio player is to get a free account and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Fullbore Friday

Their story is more epic than just another war story; and one of their toughest is now gone.
A doctor once told Albert Brown he shouldn't expect to make it to 50, given the toll taken by his years in a Japanese labor camp during World War II and the infamous, often-deadly march that got him there. But the former dentist made it to 105, embodying the power of a positive spirit in the face of inordinate odds.

"Doc" Brown was nearly 40 in 1942 when he endured the Bataan Death March, a harrowing 65-mile trek in which 78,000 prisoners of war were forced to walk from Bataan province near Manila to a Japanese POW camp. As many as 11,000 died along the way. Many were denied food, water and medical care, and those who stumbled or fell during the scorching journey through Philippine jungles were stabbed, shot or beheaded.

But Brown survived and secretly documented it all, using a nub of a pencil to scrawl details into a tiny tablet he concealed in the lining of his canvas bag.
By the time the war ended in 1945, the
40-year-old Brown was nearly blind, had weathered a broken back and neck and suffered through more than a dozen diseases including malaria, dysentery and dengue fever.
Fair winds and following seas.

Hat tip Jeff.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Reachback, bandwidth, and PPT dreams

Learning the wrong lessons of the recent past?

Some think that the future will be full of enemies that will never go after your satellites. You will always have access to bandwidth when you need it. No one will be able to jam. Your computer networks ashore will always be secure.

You see - you never will need someone in the theater in the loop. You will never need line-of-sight back-up systems. Yep. What a brave new world.

Fighter aircraft and surface ships will never need guns again; nuclear weapons will make traditional warfare obsolete. We need to decommission the SPRU, non-Aegis CG/CGN in order to recapitalize the fleet of 2010 with LCS and DDG-1000. And so the story goes.

From Flight Global,
The US Navy has confirmed plans to retire the special mission versions of the Lockheed P-3 by 2020, and replace them with an all-unmanned fleet.

The decision comes as a blow to contractors who had been hoping to extend the service life of the fleet beyond 2020, or introduce new manned aircraft as replacements.

In written responses to the Senate Armed Services Committee late last month, incoming chief of naval operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert said the navy’s ageing EP-3 Aries and special projects aircraft will be retired in 2019 and 2020.

They will be replaced by an $8 billion investment over the next five years in a family of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms, Greenert said.

Those investments include $1.1 billion in the Northrop Grumman MQ-8B Fire Scout, $3.9 billion in the Northrop RQ-4N broad area maritime surveillance aircraft, $2.5 billion in the unmanned carrier-launched airborne surveillance and strike programme and $1.1 billion in the medium-range maritime unmanned aircraft system.
The reasonable way to go would be to parallel the P-8A/BAMS program of a mixed fleet with a EP-8/E-BAMS mixed fleet in order to validate their utility. Oh well. With hope we go.

Many of you here know the mission of the EP-3; if you don't there is enough open source to catch you up. Read the above and you will know where I am going.

Fire Scout does not have the endurance or payload capability to do much ES in the manner of even part of the EP-3 mission.

UCAV-ES by 2020? Interesting payload and COM challenges - but at least some ES comes back to the carrier. Will the intel weenies be local or via reachback? If reachback - nice peacetime project you have there. Oh, and what if no carriers are nearby?

Medium-range UAS doing ES operationally? Not by 2020, especially giving the funding challenges we know are going to be here in the run up to 2020.

That leaves BAMS. If you want to do ES in the role that the EP-3E - BAMS is about it. See payload and bandwidth issues in wartime.

In summary, where does that leave us? Contrary to all history of the last decade or so; we are throwing all away with a hope that technology risk will not take its course. Have we learned nothing with the A-12, DDG-1000, and ACS? It appears not. Pray for an exception.

Combine that with budget risk - and odds are there goes your ES - there goes your eyes, ears, and spies.

Mark my words, this "cost savings" effort will be seen in line with the British carrier plan.

How did we get here? Simple. Giving the EP-3 community to the P-3 community. The ACS dog's breakfast. Third, simple community money politics.

Hat tip Lee.

No, this exactly what you fought for

I've had it. Yes, I know - Greatest Generation - yadda, yadda, yadda.

The self-selected memory though is getting old. We - especially your humble host - like to throw patchouli oil soaked spit balls at the Baby Boomers and all the cultural fetid mass that came out of what the Europeans call The '68'ers.

Riddle me this though; who had the power in academia, politics, and the culture in the late-50s through the '70s? Who raised the Baby Boomers?

In that light; behold those who lack self reflection.
They despise what has become of the Britain they once fought to save. It's not our country any more, they say, in sorrow and anger.
Curious about his grandmother's generation and what they did in the war, he decided three years ago to send letters to local newspapers across the country asking for those who lived through the war to write to him with their experiences.

He rounded off his request with this question: 'Are you happy with how your country has turned out? What do you think your fallen comrades would have made of life in 21st-century Britain?'

What is extraordinary about the 150 replies he received, which he has now published as a book, is their vehement insistence that those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the war would now be turning in their graves.

There is the occasional bright spot - one veteran describes Britain as 'still the best country in the world' - but the overall tone is one of profound disillusionment.

'I sing no song for the once-proud country that spawned me,' wrote a sailor who fought the Japanese in the Far East, 'and I wonder why I ever tried.'

I call BS. This is the UK they made. These seeds were sewn in the 50-70s, and again - who had power then? They did.

This is the whirlwind. Reap it and weep.

Hat tip Mighty Tim

Diversity Thursday

This was in draft for publication last year about this time, but fell through the buffer.

That's OK - it is still worth it. This time NAVAIR is in the cultural Marxism political game.


I would very much like to have your participation in a seminar on "Unintentional Intolerance" provided by dynamic speaker Dr. Steve Robbins on Wednesday, 11 August, from 9:00 - 10:30 and 1:00 - 2:30, Building 1489, Room 101/102 (2 separate sessions.)

"Unintentional Intolerance" is a phrase coined by the nationally recognized diversity and inclusion consultant reflecting his belief that understanding biases is really about "understanding human behavior in a diversity context."

Dr. Robbins is a faculty member at Grand Valley State University, Allendale, MI, in addition to consulting and working with numerous businesses and organizations across the country including Toyota, General Mills, the National Cancer Institute, Pfizer, and many others. His presentation makes the point that exclusion and intolerance takes place even with individuals and organizations that are committed to diversity and inclusion. He accomplishes this through a discussion of human sociology and Neuro-science, and a healthy dose of humor.

Dr. Robbins will show us how "mindless exclusion" can be changed into "mindful inclusion". While the differences that make each of us unique are valued and respected at NAVAIR, we all have biases that we are often unaware of, or think little about. These biases influence our behavior, attitude and decision-making as we interact with others on a daily basis.

I strongly encourage your attendance at this event which is particularly relevant for HR practitioners who are often the first members of NAVAIR to interact with prospective or incoming employees. As we engage in the business of "human resources" we must be careful to be "mindful" of the inadvertent harm caused by "mindless" human interaction in a diverse world. Join Dr. Robbins for a thought-provoking, eye-opening, often humorous look at "Unintentional Intolerance". Limited seating will be available on a first-come first-serve basis.
That is why I call it an Diversity Industry.

Funny - you run out of real discrimination, so you have to invent it as a thought crime.

Enjoy it, you the taxpayer paid for it.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What I saw at the riots

Mostly along the lines of this by the outstanding Peter Hitchens.
Bitter laughter is my main response to the events of the past week. You are surprised by what has happened? Why?
The mass criminality in the big cities is merely a speeded-up and concentrated version of life on most large estates – fear, intimidation, cruelty, injustice, savagery towards the vulnerable and the different, a cold sneer turned towards any plea for pity, the awful realisation that when you call for help from the authorities, none will come.
A friend of mine from Scotland and I had a little message back-and-forth on FB about this. She asked if this could happen in the USA. "Sure." I said, "Happens after every NBA final."

Snarking aside, I got more serious and I told her that it has and probably will happen again in LA, Chicago, maybe DC or other Northern cities - but this will not happen in any major Southern city outside of perhaps Atlanta or New Orleans.

"Why?" She asked. Simple, I replied - like the Korean shop owners acted during the Rodney King riots; in most of the South ya'll gets you'se-self shot.

I think, in time, we'll have a chance to see. Like I have said before, economically we are just 5 years behind everyone in Europe.

Could the Red Ensign be Next?

One can only hope, but probably not. That being said - this is a good sign for Canada (and I say that as a small "r" republican).
The Liberals removed the "royal" designation in 1968 when they amalgamated the branches of service and called the military the Canadian Forces.

General Walter Natynczyk, chief of the defence staff, announced the decision to bring back the word "royal" for the official names of the two branches of the military in a memo posted on Monday on the military discussion site

The initiative to restore the names of Canada's former services "is aimed at restoring an important and recognisable part of Canada's military heritage," Gen Natynczyk said.

"These were the services that fought and emerged victorious from the Second World War and Korea and contributed to the defence of Europe and North America from the early days of the Cold War. These were also the services that paved the way in terms of international peacekeeping missions."
Your core is British; there's nothing wrong with that. Be proud, the British brought the modern world to us all, good and bad. Mostly good.

One final note; I don't know about you, but there are a lot of things picked up in the West circa 1968 I would love to throw away.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Have questions about LCS?

Here's your chance.

The Union-Tribune is scheduled to interview executives from Lockheed Martin on Wednesday about the the status of its first two littoral combat ships, Freedom and Fort Worth. Freedom is already stationed in San Diego. Forth Worth will be sent here after construction and early sea trials are completed.
If you have a question you'd like us to consider for Wednesday's meeting, email it to:

Have at it!

Monday, August 15, 2011

The CNO and the dangers of living in a PPT world

This is just sad to read. Really - sad to read.
Critics say ... the ship will be limited to doing only one thing at a time.

That’s not the way Roughead looks at it. He sees more of a quick-change operation. The Navy can stock spare modules at strategic ports, or airlift them in via large C-17 cargo planes.

“Within 24 hours, I can shift from a very good mine countermeasures ship to a very good anti-submarine ship,” he said. “I submit I can change the capabilities in a region faster than if I have to sail in other capabilities.”
No sir, actually you can't. That is all theory and unfunded promises.

I submit that our ships will be put in harms way without the ability to produce effects needed by the combatant commander due to their inability to sail with the kit that is needed, and unable to effectively and efficiently "transform" in to a different mission set without abandoning another. Sailors will have to do with a sub-optimal platform with static mission systems that cannot respond to the one constant at sea - change. They enemy won't wait while you depart to change clothes - you will fight as are are dressed.

The 24-hrs just doesn't stand the follow-on question test. Maybe in VACAPES, but ...

1. How many places will you have all these "spare" mission modules and fully qualified crews on a "ready 1" status? Do you have enough that a LCS in the South China Sea or Horn of Africa can realize - "Shoot, there are submarines here. Bad guys, stay right there I'll be right back." - then transit to a location having those mission modules and fully qualified crews (NB: more than one you know, LCS will not be going solo) - take the old mission modules off, put the new ones on, gas-go and return onstation to pick up where they were? Oh, and now that they are looking for submarines now - what about the mines they were looking for before?

2. Where is the funding coming from to enable this 24-hr turn around time from South America, to Africa, to Southern Asia, to Europe, to the Yellow Sea? Stationing agreements, BA/NMP, spare airlift, storage and maintenance facilities, all funded - right?

3. Has the USAF signed an agreement for priority lift WRT the number of C-17 sorties that will be needed? Do we have the equipment and personnel in place to move and support these personnel and equipment from the airhead to port?

The CNO repeats the most easily debunked spin of LCS - I guess he has never read the debunking over the years, or Naval history for that matter. Wait, scratch that - perhaps he doesn't think anyone else has? I don't know - but this stale spin is some weak cheese. This never stands up to the light of day.
“The LCS will afford us opportunities to operate in places we haven’t been able to go because of its draft and speed,” he said. “With the numbers we are able to buy, at the cost we are buying them, we couldn’t do it with any other ship class.”
Even a 5-minute review of surface ship actions in Vietnam, The Falklands, to the invasion of Iraq shows the inaccuracy of this statement. It insults the intelligence of all who reads it.

Almost as insulting as this excuse.
Roughead said that the littorals have fewer growing pains than some of the Navy’s past ships.

I have introduced several classes of ships in my career, and we had far bigger problems than that,” said the admiral, who retires next month.

“If you look at how long we spent in development of previous ships classes -- the (destroyer) DDG-51, and say the Ticonderoga-class cruisers, they were in development for 12 to 14 years,” he said. “So that means you are paying money into developing that ship for that period of time. We did LCS in about five.”
I am confused. With the "I" and "me" is he talking about his tenure as CNO - or is he using the Royal "I" and "me?" If he is talking about his tenure as CNO - then he may have a point. LPD-17 and DDG-1000 have quite the record, I guess.

Hmmm .... let's see. If he is using the Royal "I" and "we" then let's look closer at that statement.

Let's start with the largest crime of the Lost Decade - the decommissioning of all the SPRUANCE Class. I will even be generous with the timeline.

- The study that outlined the need; 1967 (or 1965).
- Ordered; 1970.
- Laid down; 1972.
- Commissioned; 1975.
- First Operational Deployment; 1979.
- Timeline in years: 5, 7, 10, 14.

- The study that outlined the need: ~1971 (hard to tie down).
- Ordered; 1973.
- Laid Down; 1975.
- Commissioned; 1977.
- First Operational Deployment; 1981 (Great Lakes in 1979 doesn't count).
- Timeline in years: 2, 4, 6, 10.

- The study that outlined the need; 1973-75 depending on your call.
- Ordered; 1978.
- Laid down; 1980.
- Commissioned; 1983.
- First Operational Deployment; 1984.
- Timeline in years: 5, 7, 10, 11.

- The study that outlined the need: ~1982.
- Ordered; 1985.
- Laid down; 1988.
- Commissioned; 1991.
- First Operational Deployment; 1993.
- Timeline in years: 3, 6, 9, 11.

- The study that outlined the need: ~2001.
- Ordered; 2004.
- Laid down; 2005.
- Commissioned; 2008.
- First Operational Deployment; TBD.
- Timeline in years: 3, 4, 7, TBD.

It is the first operational deployment that is the key. Until then, all you are is an funding sponge. The Caribbean cruise on the way to San Diego doesn't count.

When will they be ready? Even if LCS made an operational deployment today - that would be 10 years, in line with OHP. When will LCS be able to deploy for ASW, MIW, ASUW? 2013 at earliest maybe? That makes first deployment at .... wait for it ... 12 years. More than TICO, OHP, and BURKE. Only two years better than the SPRU. Grab you bag of pixie dust and make it next year? Congrats, you are worse than OHP and tied with BURKE and TICO.

I can hear some people now - "Your timeline is wrong!" OK - we can all pick a start date of our choosing which will impact the timeline. I think I have been more than fair and consistent. If you have ligit corrections or other dates - post them in comments and we can adjust if needed. I could have been rougher. As a matter of fact - and I think VADM Cebrowski would agree - that the concept for LCS pre-dates 2000. In that case - LCS is plodding along worse than even SPRU.

Let's look at the CNO's comment again.
“If you look at how long we spent in development of previous ships classes -- the (destroyer) DDG-51, and say the Ticonderoga-class cruisers, they were in development for 12 to 14 years,” he said. “So that means you are paying money into developing that ship for that period of time. We did LCS in about five.”
Someone help me out here - I just don't see it. Where is he getting his numbers? I don't see an appreciable delta even with the most pro-LCS spin to justify the hype. There are better reasons to show support for LCS - but timeline from concept to being of use to the Fleet? No. Fail.

As we have mentioned before, many people have too much invested emotionally and career wise in LCS. As a result, they see nothing but rainbows and unicorns - or their command climate is such that their Staff only produces reports of rainbows or unicorns. Either way, its embarrassing.

Hey, I have always said that if you are willing to throw enough money at LCS and move your timeline to the right - in the end you will have something the Fleet can use. Sub-optimal, but useful in some narrow, defined ways. We need to have fact based discussions if we are going to make it work. We have more work to go there.

One reason I have little patience with the Church of the LCS is the fact that few are willing to even discuss actual facts on the ground. If you even get close to that point, they go in to wish-land, or speak as if just because something is on a PPT - that means that it will be.

I don't live in that land. I live in the land of "is." In my world, you see, Unicorns don't actually ride on rainbows and shi'ite Skittles. No, they ride on the backs of Sailors and consume funding lines.

The fleet is waiting and the coal bunker is getting low. Call for more coal when there isn't doesn't mean it is there.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

There goes my guy ....

Well ... time to look again.
After spending much of his money to finish a distant third in the Ames Straw Poll, Tim Pawlenty ended his presidential bid Sunday.

"We needed to get some lift to continue on and have a pathway forward and that didn't happen, so I'm announcing on your show that I'm ending my campaign for president," the former governor said on "This Week."

The Minnesota Republican revealed his decision on an early morning conference call with supporters, an aide told POLITICO.

"I wish it would have been different, but obviously the pathway forward for me doesn't really exist, so we're going to end the campaign," Pawlenty told ABC's Jake Tapper.
Back in 2008, at least my guy made it to the Primaries (Giuliani). Last time my #2 was Romney - but for now I am going to stay in my whaleboat for awhile until I decide which ship to shift my flag to.

My basic requirements, not that different than 2008:

- First, I need someone with a successful record as a leader and executive. That means a governor or mayor of a state-like city, re: NYC.
- Second, I need a fixer. Someone with a record of fixing existing problems lessor men/women would not fix.
- Third, I need someone with a thick skin who also realizes it isn't about him/her.

So, let's look at the rest.

Romney: meets all the criteria, but I don't know if I really trust him to stick to his guns. I like him, but I think his time may have passes.

Huntsman: only meets #1. When someone mentions country club Republican, he pops in my mind. I grew up in a country club; no thank you.

Bachmann: meets none of my requirements. More qualified than Obama was at this stage, but not really that much.

Paul: really? Now is not the time for the Republican Party to enjoy a hobby loss like this. Maybe the next generation.

Cain: should have concentrated to being elected to the legislative branch. Not ready for the job. Nice guy, but not ready.

Santorum: boutique candidate that meets none of my criteria. Next.

Gingrich: he isn't campaigning for President - he is on a book tour. He should play golf with Clinton or something. Anyway, someone in his middle-age who treats wives like a college junior treats girlfriends is all the I&W I need.

McCotter: I like him a lot, but only if we lived in a different country; he doesn't meet 2/3 of my criteria.

Perry: new kid on the block - but I say this as a Southerner - the next Republican candidate does not need a Texas accent. That being said, he meets 2.5 of my 3 criteria - that puts him at the top.

So, there I go - sitting there deciding which ship I can best fight from.

First Class: Romney, Perry.
Second Class: ungh. None.
Third Class: McCotter, Bachmann, Huntsman.
Others: yadda, yadda, yadda.