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.


ewok40k said...

If the story about SCUDs shot down by AEGIS is true, it is PA fail of the strategic facepalm level... doing exactly what this mission was supposedly about (saving civilian lives), in a spectacular fashion, and highlighting the navy-exclusive capabilities (mobile and easily deployable ABM) - and then hiding it is like, erm, winning the Miss Universum and then immediately putting on muslim burqa...

G-man said...

Hmm, maybe cooler heads have prevailed.  Nothing worse than claiming ultimate victory and then post-action analysis revelas something quite different.  Think back to the Scuds and Israel and the Patriot's "success". 

But if that DDG did fire at 4 Scuds you can bet the scuttlebutt will get outside the lifelines purty dadgummed quick.

Benjamin Walthrop said...

Torm Alexadria in Monrovia, Liberia is the ship photo.

Capsized due to improper ballasting in 2001.  Removed from the harbor in 2009.

I guess that just goes to show that timing is important and it may be a little early to proclaim a PAO failure in this case until the facts come to light.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the PAO types are all busy screening reruns of CAPT Honors videos to ensure that no potentially damning comments were overlooked?

Outlaw Mike said...

You're too harsh on NATO and too harsh on the European militaries - at least, those involved in the Libya operation. They often did prodigious efforts on shoestring budgets. You make it sound as though we did nothing and the US did it all. While it's certainly true that without US backbone the operation would have gotten nowhere, it's also true that if the US had gone alone this thing wouldn't be over yet. I'm going out on a limb here, but I'd say it was a US 65% - EUR 35% thing.

But your tone suggests it was something like a US 95% - EUR 5% effort.

We have the pros. We have some of the systems. We have very tight budgets. Even so, NATO's Libya operation was a success - as I predicted it would be five months ago. You on the other hand, CDR, upheld for a long time the view it would turn in a quagmire, at one point painting a scenario of UK or French Special Forces hanging from lampposts or something. It's obvious this didn't happen.

CDR Salamander said...

Read the post in detail.  In many respects - I was being kind.  My template and reference point are the caveat laden forces in AFG & HOA.

When the Belgian guard at the gate in Kabul will let someone bleed out in a firefight 100m down the road because of his national ROE and the entire navies of Europe cannot even replace the FS Charles de Gaulle onstation .... Europe needs to wear their big-boy pants and take some adult talk about their pathetic defense outlays.

As for the Belgian air force - ask them how many of their weapons came from Belgian stores or were tranferred weapons from USA stores.

No one loves our European allies more than I do - but love is not blind - and I have little patience for those who refuse to carry their load.  Look at the per-capita defense spending of Belgium compared to the rest of NATO - much less the USA.  There is your data point.

If you have a bugger hanging out of your nose, I'm the kind of person who will tell you .... not let you walk around in bliss for the rest of the day.  

ewok40k said...

Sadly I dont see Europe getting better strike capability, if for nothing more than that it would require federal-style armed forces and procurement  - at the moment the trend is quite the reverse, "my-country-first" and regionalisation... there is basically well-run Germany/scandinavian north, various-level degraded economically south, and Russia-wary East. If I could nail the the decisive factor in my govt decision of not sending any units to Libya, it would be that every one of them might be needed in a case of hungry bear visit, trumping the lack of immigration problems, and economic costs of such operations.

Outlaw Mike said...

CDR, you ask me, how much came from our stores? How should I know? At least a significant part of it. This photo:

of a BAF Hercules unloading ordnance at Araxos AFB (Greece, from where our F-16s operated) suggests that at the very least we were not mere ammo beggars. And so what if the USAF provided us 'quietly' with extra bombs? What's the dif?? We don't make them ourselves, they'd have to come from Boeing anyway. Don't worry, we'll pay for 'em.

Also, it seems that my earlier estimate of targets hit over Libya was rather modest. Our MoD has announced that in 448 missions the Belgian Air Force dropped 365 bombs, of which over 97% hit the target. FYI, that is the highest percentage of ALL coalition partners. If you wanna heap scorn on our politicians for starving the military, be my guest. But I think it's grossly unfair to refer to our military's performance as 'pathetic defense outlays'. Rather, I'd say that the euro militaries involved in the Libya operation did a terrific job with very limited resources.

As for the Belgian guard at Kabul, all true, but again, blame our fucking politicians, ESPECIALLY the socialists and the Greens. We have GOOD people on the ground, I tell you. They feel frustrated at being held back. Do you know that of the three Belgian contingents in AF the one guarding KAIA (a 300-man unit) has the lowest morale and the highest number of discipline issues? Do I have to tell you why? Indeed, because of the ROEs. There are no such issues at Kandahar because the F-16s there are engaged in combat missions. And there are no such issues in the north where the OMLT and the engineers, working with the Germans in Kundus,  are being shot at daily, despite the fact that 'officially' they aren't allowed anywhere near a combat zone.

CDR Salamander said...

"Outlays" is a budget issue.  This has nothing to do with the Belgian military - just those who fund it and the civilians who control it. 

Huge difference.

As for weapons inventory ( 

ewok40k said...

Interesting article. My sources indicate Poland has bough a few hundred J-SOW C with the F-16 Block 50+ to make a semi-cruise missile threat...
Anyway, should a "real" war, not policing action recquiring minimised collateral damage, occur i bet there are huge stockpiles of cold war era iron bombs on hand - and with modern sights in F-16 and the like, they have demonstrated CEP of under 100m, which is usually enough for targets like column of tanks...

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