Monday, October 31, 2011

The press and Iraq

On yesterday's Midrats, our guest brought up a point that I have heard often - one that many members of the press feel that they - the press in general - did a poor job prior to the invasion of Iraq.

I don't know if I fully agree with that statement, everything has a time and context. There is a little bit too much Monday morning quarterbacking; I don't think there was a failure of the press then. It was what it was.

I do know where they are failing now - and that is in the end of the Iraq war. Once it became clear that the surge worked - most of the press was wrong in that respect - by the time President Obama took office the reporting has been little to none. Now that the President has announced the complete withdrawal from Iraq at the end of the year - very little reporting has been done that asks the tough questions. Very little in depth discussions about the 2nd and 3rd order effects.

Max Boot's latest at WSJ gets close - but he isn't a reporter.

Failure on Iraq reporting? In the past you could debate that - what you can't debate is the failure of the press now.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pre-Halloween Perspective; on Midrats

This Halloween - what scares you most on the National Security Front? Are today's worries any more - on aggregate - that what came before?

With time & experience comes perspective.

Join EagleOne and me with our guest, Rone Tempest today from 5-6pm EST.

A journalist with over 40 years of experience including LA Times bureau chief stints in Paris, New Dehli, Beijing, Hong Kong. "Rone Tempest, a longtime foreign correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, has reported from India, China, France, Afghanistan and Pakistan, among many other stories." He won the Pulitzer prize for reporting on Calif wildfires.

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.

Sunday Funnies

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Help to the Homeowner

I think this describes a lot of what we have seen for the last 2-3 years.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Fullbore Friday

In the Long War, you run in to some individuals that you have as ask twice, "You've deployed how many times?"

Once that soaks in - even for Navy types who like to pride themselves in their operational time - it keeps you very quiet about your "sacrifice" and "long deployments."

To deploy in this war in the Navy is one set of odds - the odds for a Soldier or Marine is another. The math is what it is.
U.S. Army Ranger Sgt. 1st Class Kristoffer Domeij, 29, of San Diego, Calif., assigned to 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment was killed Saturday in Kandahar province of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device, according to an L.A. Times article.

Domeij was serving on his 14th combat deployment, the report said.

Also killed were Pfc. Christopher A. Horns, 20, of Colorado Springs, Colo., from the same ranger regiment and 1st. Lt. Ashley I. White, 24, of Alliance, Ohio, assigned to 230th Brigade Support Battalion, 30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team, North Carolina National Guard, Goldsboro, N.C., according to a Defense Department release.

An L.A. Times article said Domeij enlisted in the Army in 2001 and joined the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington in 2002.

Domeij is survived by his wife, Sarah, and daughters Mikajsa and Aaliyah of Lacey, Wash.; his mother, Scoti Domeij, of Colorado Springs, Colo.; and his brother, Kyle Domeij, of San Diego, the article said.

According to the L.A. Times report, Col. Mark W. Odom, commander of the 75th Ranger Regiment, said Domeij was a “veteran of a decade of deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan and hundreds of combat missions ... an operator who in real terms had the value of an entire strike force on the battlefield.”
A career in a decade of war; SFC Domeij - fullbore.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Diversity Thursday

VADM J.M. Byrd, Directory, Navy Staff - with all due respect - you are being made the fool.

For the readers, on 20 OCT 2011 he issued an EEO policy statement you can read in full here. In it, he stated the following,
As the Equal Employment Opportunity/Equal Opportunity (EEO.DO) Officer for the OPNAV staff, I am committed to fostering a work environment free of discrimination and/or discriminatory behavior by ensuring:
  • EEO for all employees and applicants, regardless of race, religion, color, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, age, disability, or genetics.
  • Employee freedom to compete on a fair and level playing field.
OK, I will give him the benefit of the doubt that he will try to do that for the OPNAV Staff and will tell the Diversity Bullies to pack sand when they want to do an "Accountability Survey" ... ahem ... but is he content to stand by and let the rest of the Department of the Navy continue its discriminatory practices wholesale?

Annapolis proudly continues to consider self-identified ethnicity & race as part of admissions criteria. Recruiting, Navy and USMC is full of discriminatory practices simply to reach quotas.

Level playing field? Our mentor programs are based on direct discrimination based on race and ethnicity - and we proudly acclaim that we give special attention and consideration based on a few selected races and ethnicities - that on its face creates an unfair and unlevel playing field.

So, what is it? As it stands from the cheap seats, either VADM Byrd is standing athwart the Diversity Industry yelling "STOP," he is sadly naive, or he is putting out a memo that is laughable as it has no basis on reality.

Which is it?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Desert Rats Return ....

Forget why - this is a job any professional wants a part of.

I love bug hunts.
British Special Forces are engaged in a frantic desert manhunt for Colonel Gaddafi’s fugitive son Saif al-Islam.

The London-educated playboy, 39, is the last member of the hated despot’s family still feared to be at large in Libya.
Yesterday the southern border area with Niger was the focus of an intense search operation said to include elite troops from Britain and Qatar.

Can we NOT have a USS MURTHA now? Please ...

This is just beyond a stupid disgrace.
Last week’s release of FBI documents finally put in writing what nobody had ever said on the record: The FBI suspected that former Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) and lobbyists close to him were running a scheme to funnel earmarks to sham companies and nonprofits to benefit the lawmaker’s friends and former staffers.
Bits and pieces of this story were kicked around for years before Murtha died in February 2010. The Los Angeles Times, Roll Call, the Washington Post and others had documented the odd appearance of earmarks for tiny defense contractors that just happened to open an office in western Pennsylvania and just happened to hire one of the lobbying firms close to Murtha and just happened to begin making campaign donations to Murtha and other Members of Congress close to him.
Hat tip S.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Just Greasing the Bobcat

Hat tip MaryR.

Well, Turkey has a solution ....

This little bit from Defense News, ironically, caused me to giggle a bit.

You know I feel that having roughly one Admiral per warship is pathetic .... and that we need to seriously adjust our top-heavy command structure ... but perhaps the Turkish model isn't quite what we should follow.
Twenty-five of the Navy's 48 active-duty admirals are in jail pending trial on charges connected with a plot to overthrow Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's moderate Islamist government. The admirals are widely known to be staunchly secular. Nearly 20 retired admirals and several more junior Navy officers also are accused and in detention.

"The admirals in jail could well make the entire Navy command of a moderately sized country," a defense analyst here said. "It is out of the question that this situation should not create any operational weaknesses."

A top military official did not echo that pessimism, but admitted that the arrests are bad for top management of the Navy.

"In comparison, the Navy is in a more vulnerable situation than the Air Force, where base commanders are in charge of daily operations," he said.

Twelve of the Air Force's 69 active-duty generals are in jail pending trial for their alleged part in the coup d'état. The percentage of arrested generals in the Army is the lowest, 14 percent.
GO NAVY!!!! ..... I guess.

Well, they can answer this question for us.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Darkness before dawn

In spite of all our challenges - in the end it is always a bad idea to bet against the USA.

Over at the UK-Telegraph, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard reminds us that, in the end, it is good to have that dark blue USA passport.
The American phoenix is slowly rising again. Within five years or so, the US will be well on its way to self-sufficiency in fuel and energy. Manufacturing will have closed the labour gap with China in a clutch of key industries. The current account might even be in surplus.
"The US was the single largest contributor to global oil supply growth last year, with a net 395,000 barrels per day (b/d)," said Francisco Blanch from Bank of America, comparing the Dakota fields to a new North Sea.

Total US shale output is "set to expand dramatically" as fresh sources come on stream, possibly reaching 5.5m b/d by mid-decade. This is a tenfold rise since 2009.

The US already meets 72pc of its own oil needs, up from around 50pc a decade ago.

"The implications of this shift are very large for geopolitics, energy security, historical military alliances and economic activity. As US reliance on the Middle East continues to drop, Europe is turning more dependent and will likely become more exposed to rent-seeking behaviour from oligopolistic players," said Mr Blanch.

Meanwhile, the China-US seesaw is about to swing the other way. Offshoring is out, 're-inshoring' is the new fashion.
The list of "repatriates" is growing. Farouk Systems is bringing back assembly of hair dryers to Texas after counterfeiting problems; ET Water Systems has switched its irrigation products to California; Master Lock is returning to Milwaukee, and NCR is bringing back its ATM output to Georgia. NatLabs is coming home to Florida.

Boston Consulting expects up to 800,000 manufacturing jobs to return to the US by mid-decade, with a multiplier effect creating 3.2m in total. This would take some sting out of the Long Slump.
There is another factor that helps a lot - a subject some don't like to talk about, but the future really does belong to those who show up.
Yet America retains a pack of trump cards, and not just in sixteen of the world’s top twenty universities.

It is almost the only economic power with a fertility rate above 2.0 - and therefore the ability to outgrow debt - in sharp contrast to the demographic decay awaiting Japan, China, Korea, Germany, Italy, and Russia.
Europe's EMU soap opera has shown why it matters that America is a genuine nation, forged by shared language and the ancestral chords of memory over two centuries, with institutions that ultimately work and a real central bank able to back-stop the system.

The 21st Century may be American after all, just like the last.
Another factor in our favor is our political system. No system is perfect - but in the USA if the voters make a mistake, they can mitigate it in 2-years and totally undo it in 4. A inefficient and clunky system for the power hungry - but good for freedom. As designed.

We have gone through rough spots before. With the right policies and a steady effort to put the dead hand of government back in its box - we can get through this patch of bother too.

What happens when you are a decade late ...

I distinctly remember discussing this topic in theater 10-years ago with both Navy and USAF pointy-nose folks. We have discussed it here over and over the disgrace that the Navy never brought online the RW assets to support Riverine like we had in Vietnam, not to mention some light attack aircraft for SOF as well ... etc ... etc ...

Moving at a glacial pace ... this came up in Sept.
Lockheed Martin and Hawker-Beechcraft are considering pitching its AT-6B light-attack counterinsurgency plane for the upcoming Navy-led Combat Dragon II program, according to sources familiar with the effort.

The Navy recently shifted over $17 million into the Combat Dragon II program, designed to prove that a small, turboprop-driven aircraft can be used for "high end/special aviation" missions in Afghanistan.

The program was driven by the need coming out of from Central Command to have aircraft do close air support missions that larger fighters and bombers could not do, specifically in support of Naval Special Warfare units.
If you want a(nother) poster child for a hide-bound, myopic, and war-losing acquisition process - here you go.

Well - in twice the time it took to defeat the Axis Powers .... so close ...
The House Appropriations and Armed Services committees and Senate Armed Services Committee rejected a $17 million U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) request for the Combat Dragon II program, according to a Pentagon reprogramming document.
BTW - you know what we talk about Thursday. Add up all the money we spend on that in a FY and then bounce it off the figure above. Just thought I would add that in for 'ya.

Hat tip bthbts.

... but can you leave your voting habits behind?

I call them refugees .... or in my previous line of work - "Internally Displaced Persons," IDP.

Down South we know it well - we saw it before anyone else did. Legions of nasally sounding Yankees from New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and other dirty and threadbare places. They came for the winter and stayed from Miami to Atlanta, Raleigh, Northern Virginia in numbers not seen since the Great Unpleasantness.

People would joke about Snow Birds and in south Florida a snark or two about Miami-Dade being "the Lord's waiting room" - but that wasn't the story, not even close.

They were coming here to escape high taxes, anti-family policies, crime, unions, and a general hostility to small business up North. Lots of great professionals came down here simply because they saw it as the best place to raise their family and run their business. One thing we noticed though was that not all "got it" for the reason they came here to begin with. They soiled their nest and then came down here and started voting in ways that soiled the new one.

The West is seeing their own version of it as well in the last couple of decades; IDP from the People's Republic of California and its client states to the North. Look at voting patterns from Colorado through some parts of Arizona, Idaho, New Mexico, and islands in Texas. Many get it - but some don't. I think though that on balance at least 51% of the refugees are trying to avoid repeating their home-state's mistakes. The natives sure don't want to become "that place" - and there is where the turn is coming. There is a reason for it, one well covered by Merrill Mathews in Forbes,
If you do not currently live in a red state, there’s a good chance you will be in the near future. Either you will flee to a red state or a red state will come to you—because voters fed up with blue-state fiscal irresponsibility will elect candidates who promise to pass red-state policies.
red or red-leaning states dominate the top positions while blue states have the dubious distinction of dragging in last. In the economic outlook section, for example, the top 20 states are bright red or lean red, while eight out of the bottom 10 are very blue: New York, Vermont, California, Hawaii, New Jersey, Illinois, Oregon and Rhode Island.

Most of the “poor states” states, as ALEC calls them, have the highest personal income tax rates and the largest unfunded state pension liabilities. But instead of taking the red-state approach by lowering taxes and/or cutting spending, the blue states tend to want to raise taxes even higher, just like their White House mentor.

The result of their overpromising and overspending, and their knee-jerk response to solving their fiscal problems by raising taxes, is that people are increasingly fleeing the blue states. As commentator Michael Medved points out: “Between 2009 and 2010 the five biggest losers in terms of ‘residents lost to other states’ were all prominent redoubts of progressivism: California, New York, Illinois, Michigan, and New Jersey. Meanwhile, the five biggest winners in the relocation sweepstakes are all commonly identified as red states in which Republicans generally dominate local politics: Florida, Texas, North Carolina, Arizona, and Georgia.”

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sunday Funnies

I think there is a missing chapter from Webb's book; you know his book, Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America.

That gene pool - which for full disclosure I mostly come from - has a lot to do with the character and martial success of our nation. Like all positive things though - there are some quirky side-effects.

Maybe it has more to do with Marines ... I don't know; but the music is a dead giveaway.

Anyway - that chapter has something to do with tooth picks in the head, salt up the nose and lime juice in the eye.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Bill Roggio, AFPAC, & the Long War; on Midrats

In the 14-months since our guest's last visit to Midrats, the Afghan-Pakistan theater has changed in ways both good and bad depending on your goals and outlook; Haqqanni network, drones. OBL. the arrival of the slow withdrawl in 2014, and others.

Where do we stand, and where are we trending?

Join EagleOne and me this Sunday, 23 OCT from 5-6pm with our guest for the full hour Bill Roggio, managing editor from the Long Wars Journal.

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, October 21, 2011

Fullbore Friday

A fun little encore FbF from '06.

Yes, there was once a Austrian Navy. Austro-Hungarian to be precise.

Where else do you think this guy came from?

This ship is the SMS SZENT ISTVAN; background here. A little trivia; she was actually a "Hungarian" Battleship. So, all those jokes about the Hungarian Navy aren't all that out in the weeds.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sic Semper Tyrannis

Hat tip Allah.

Diversity Thursday

Throughout the greater Tidewater area, Sailors are scrambling to swap out duty schedules, routing leave chits, and otherwise trying to schedule mission critical training events, PQS sessions, and badly needed PCS all on the 27th?

Why? Well good googly moogly man - the Diversity Industry is coming to town to create on of Dante's levels of h311 right here.
R 141659Z OCT 11 ZYB


27 OCT 11 0830-1130
27 OCT 11 1300-1600
When I say "Diversity Industry" - well there is one of the poster children; Samuel Betances.

Yep - him again, and again, and again.

He is a racialist to the core who makes his money through a myopic, regressive, and backward looking concept on race, creed, color, and national origin. Extremely stuck in 1970s era racial theory mixed in with parts patronizing accusation, insult, insecurity, personal grievance, and a pinch Phil Donohue thrown in for extra grit.

Enjoy it taxpayer, you're paying for it in five-figures just for his speaking fee.

The Navy needs just one thing ...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Crisis, or an Opportunity?

Taking the post below to a little higher level - I'm pondering the broader way forward over at USNIBlog.

There Goes Your Curve

To build off Monday's post - I think it is clear that we are planning on going to 240.

Don't ever doubt the Salamander: if you read it, you'll read it elsewhere a few years later.

From page 8 of the Congressional Research Service's Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans: Background and Issues for Congress by Ronald O'Rourke, Specialist in Naval Affairs, October 13, 2011. Someone in SEP got a peek ....
September 2011 Press Reports of Navy Options for 250- or 240-Ship Navy
On September 1, 2011, it was reported that the Navy, in response to anticipated reductions in planned levels of defense spending, is discussing options for maintaining a fleet with considerably fewer than 300 ships. The report stated that the Navy is considering the following options, among others:
• reducing the Navy to a 250-ship fleet that includes 10 aircraft carriers or a 240- ship fleet that includes 8 aircraft carriers (a fleet with 9 carriers is another option);
• retiring (rather than performing a nuclear-refueling overhaul on) the aircraft carrier George Washington (CVN-73), which would be one measure for reducing the size of the carrier force;
• delaying the procurement of the aircraft carrier John F. Kennedy (CVN-79) by two years, to FY2015 (an option that was first reported in July 2011);
• eliminating six aircraft squadrons;
• retiring at least some of the Navy’s 22 Ticonderoga (CG-47) class Aegis cruisers;
• reducing the planned number of next-generation Ohio replacement ballistic missile submarines (SSBN[X]s) by two boats, from 12 to 10, and consequently delaying the procurement of the first SSBN(X), perhaps by two years; and
• maintaining funding for procurement of two Virginia-class submarines per year,
and for Arleigh Burke (DDG-51) class Aegis destroyers and Littoral Combat
Ships (LCSs).
... and just because I am feeling full of myself today - see that second to last bullet? Where did you read that first ... say ... 18-months ago? Oh, that's right - at CDR Salamader.

Hat tip J.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sorry Herman, it was fun while it lasted

I think we just saw Peak Cain.

Billet Bloat Poster Child

Is this type of micro-management really needed? Really? Does Navy leadership think we have such p155-poor COs, XOs, and CMDCMs that we need this?
The newly established Physical Readiness Control Officer (PRCO) program will serve as a vital link between command fitness leaders and Navy Physical Readiness Program coordinators, officials said Oct. 11.

"We decided it would be beneficial to put a link between the commands and the Physical Readiness Program Office (OPNAV N135), where policy is written, to ensure accuracy and fairness to Sailors and commands," said Bill Moore, director, Navy Physical Readiness Program, OPNAV N135. "It lets us provide command fitness leaders (CFL) with more direct assistance and also gives each one of the echelons an opportunity to monitor the commands within their area to ensure compliance with the program."

In accordance with NAVADMIN 203/11, echelon III commanders must now appoint a PRCO to liaise with OPNAV and provide assistance to subordinate commands on physical readiness program policy and compliance and also ensure physical fitness assessment (PFA) compliance reporting semiannually.
"During training, the PRCOs went through everything that CFLs learn during the five-day CFL certification course," said Moore. "They learned all the major components of policy, frequently asked questions that we receive at headquarters, everything about the PRIMS 2011 and also what their role and responsibilities are as a PRCO."

"The Navy will benefit by having collateral duty PRCOs in place through the assurance that all commands are in compliance with the physical readiness program, how it is run, that it is administered in a standardized, efficient way and benefits each one of the Sailors, but most of all that it's fair," said Moore.
Good Lord man. I await the donkey-bottom wiping instruction and certification course.

Hat tip T.

Mayport; The next Charleston?

As the plans for the Fleet keep getting smaller and smaller, jobs and money will get scarcer - and people will start to fight for it.

Talk is already there of the Virginia long-knives coming for Mayport - but I am an optimist. I just don't think that our nation, even in the financial stress that we will be under, would be so foolish as to trap its entire Atlantic Fleet in one port.

Let's go with the idea that Mayport won't go the way of NS Charleston, that we keep it. That does not remove some of the coming challenges.

As outlined by some of the Salamander underground; here are some thoughts:
1. The airfield and the helo squadrons are scheduled to be moved to JAX NAS; in its place will be UAV units.
2. The buildings that the contractors use on Supply St. will be leveled and in their place will be the building to handle nuclear material and the shops to work on the CVN that may show in 2016.
3. By then, there may be but a half dozen ships left at Mayport. Unless LCS show early in numbers (which isn't expected), there won’t be a lot to work to keep industry busy enough to stay in business due cyclic nature of ops. Those jobs won't wait. How many companies will actually stick around? How much will you lose when you have to bring them back or take your ships elsewhere for the work that used to be done on-site.

From a Strategic POV - having at least one CVN at Mayport is good - from an industrial capacity POV - a little more diversity and number of ship types would be useful.

Use it or lose it.

When J-2s Dream Intel Weenies Dreams ....

They dream of having a few of these in the CVN magazine ....

As for the Aviation Ordnancemen ....

A few more details on micro-satellites here.

Hat tip SLDINFO.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Where is the option, "Go Apesh1t"

That required pre-deployment training. A little patronizing, a little insipid - a lot of wasted time. Counterproductive? Sometimes.

Who comes up with this shi'ite? Do they actually know what takes place in a sexual assault? Do they know what 5, 10, 15 seconds as you dither can do to a woman under attack? (click for larger if needed)

The POM Bomb

When you consider all that happy talk as Admiral Roughead was going out the door about making sure ships can make it 30, 35, 50, 75 years - this data point should provide the real Roughead legacy, in a fashion.

Via a forwarded email, Names removed to protect pretty much everyone involved. In part;
Based upon the ALT POM changes- the Department plans to inactivate the ships below:

CG (FY 13): 60, 68, 69, 71
CG (FY 14): 59, 63, 64, 65, 66
LSD (FY 14): 41, 43, 46

While there may be some further discussion with the CGs with respect to which ones in which year- these are the hull numbers (and OPNAV concurred).

Per 10 USC 2244A, any modernization (except safety modifications or modifications costing less than $100K) is not allowed within 5 years of retirement/disposal. NAVSEA (any SYSCOM) should not provide FY 12 (or remaining FY 11) procurement funds to any of the above platforms (except safety modifications). If funds are already spent on these platforms, that is okay given that these are recent changes. The key is to ensure no new money is being spent.
+/- a year or two, this is where we are:
- USS CAPE ST. GEORGE (CG-71) was commissioned in 1993. In FY13 she will be, yes Liberal Arts math here - 20 years old.
- USS PRINCETON (CG-59), commissioned in 1989 in FY14 will be 25 years old.
- USS WHIDBEY ISLAND (LSD-41) commissioned in 1985 will in FY14 be 29 years old;
- USS TORTUGA (LSD-46) will be 24 years old.

Please, let's build more 20-yr expected life LCS to tote around their 57mm gun and making waves instead of getting another decade out of an Amphib or Aegis Cruiser. There's your opportunity cost for the pig-headed desire to keep building a ship that is PPT deep and based on nothing but promises.

I've yet to run the numbers on where this curve leaves us if you need to do another run of early retirements (which you will unless things change drastically) - if you know someone who has drop me a line - but who was it that warned everyone the need to prepare for the low 200s while those who should have know better mindlessly bleated 313? We should have been working this problem four years ago - but we weren't. Good people have been working hard on these numbers this year - it looks like a solid plan to do what needs to be done.

When you build small run, highly expensive ships - and the coming budget trainwreck that some have seen coming for decades (one of my ECON Profs explained it to me in the mid-80s) is knocking at the door.... Well - there you go.

There will be more. The questions is - how do we match a Maritime Strategy to our future capabilities?

Yes I said that - as we do not have the money or political will to have the capabilities to match our Maritime Strategy.

The Four Horsemen of M-e-S

We've discussed it since the start of this blog - we've begged for the movie only now - over a decade later - is starting to make its way.

Here's one blog'rs predictions - that will be one of the most copied statues of the last half-century; miniture versions adorning desks throughout this country.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Lessons from Libya - on Midrats

As the last few battles wind up to remove the last few pro-Gadaffi forces - for the Western & Arab nations who, literally, provided the top-cover for the advancing Libyan rebels - what are the lessons that need to be remembered?

Especially as economic and budgetary pressures add further pressure on defense budgets, are there important lessons that need to be brought to the front to influence plans & policy?

Listen in today, 16 OCT from 5-6pm EST with my co-host EagleOne and me as discuss the issue for the full hour with Dr. Robbin Laird, co-founder of Second Line of Defense.

Dr. Laird is a Washington and Paris based defense consultant and has worked with all of the US services on various strategic issues. His most recent books are the Re-Norming of Air Power and 21st Century Air Capabilities.

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.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Humanitarian Imperialism Marches On

Shall I do one of my favorite things, quote myself? Sure.

From my post over at USNIBlog back in March of this year;
Is it in the American interest to have our children borrow money from the Chinese so we can send our armies though the earth searching for dragons to slay, to do the fighting for others who will not do it for themselves?
I guess the answer is to many, yes.
Two days ago President Obama authorized the deployment to Uganda of approximately 100 combat-equipped U.S. forces to help regional forces “remove from the battlefield” – meaning capture or kill – Lord’s Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony and senior leaders of the LRA.
The forces will deploy beginning with a small group and grow over the next month to 100. They will ultimately go to Uganda, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with the permission of those countries.
Where to next? Burma? Any dozen other nightmare African despot-laden backwaters?

R2P - take a number.


I'm falling off the grid for a day or so. Byron, take the troll watch; I'll talk to you soon. The swamp is calling.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Please come to IMAX

Full background here.

Fullbore Friday

E3 and below.



Huh. Ponder.

Unqual. "Hasn't paid his dues." etc.

Well, there's a then-Seaman in the upper-right hand corner. Where did he come from?
When he decided to join the U.S. Navy, (Raffetto) was living at home and working in construction, and he craved a more structured lifestyle. His brother had been a Marine and Raffetto was tempted to join the infantry, but his father suggested enlisting in the Navy and learning a useful trade. Becoming a Hospital Corpsman, Raffetto thought, seemed like the right course of action.
A serious rating for serious Sailors doing a critically serious job.

Underway time and pre-deployment training is, for a Sailor, a bit different.
The convoy moved through dirt roads where mock IEDs exploded during an ambush.

“This is to see our reaction after the explosion,” said Cpl. Michael Kempker, a point man with Co. B. “Someone in the convoy gets injured by the blast and we have to find a safe place to treat him.”

Once at a safe location, Marines followed instructions from a Navy corpsman to treat common injuries seen from IED attacks.

“It’s important for them to know what procedure to follow because if something were to happen to me whether I get killed, or injured in a way I can’t help, they will be able to treat me or anyone else who needs it,” said Seaman James Raffetto, a corpsman with Co. B.

The recon Marines learned how to treat the specific injury each of their patients had during practical applications in a simulated combat zone.

“The main thing is to acknowledge the life-threatening injuries and stabilize the casualty,” said Raffetto.

Marines explained the importance of knowing what to do and doing it in a fast manner.

“Every second counts in this type of situation, so we rehearse and rehearse to change any minor problems to help us in the future,” said Lance Cpl. Ben Eiden, an assistant radio operator with Co. B.
You train hard for a reason. Your future can visit you quickly.
Raffetto spent the bulk of his Navy career in training; he was wounded during his very first deployment. He was assigned to the Marines of 1st Reconnaissance and, while in Afghanistan in August 2010, he was severely injured by an improvised explosive device (IED) blast. The accident resulted in the amputation of both his legs above the knee, an amputation of his left arm at the elbow, and the amputation of three fingers on his remaining hand.
There is something about a Corpsman, their view on life - and the women that they marry, often right before deployment.
Though his recovery process was very difficult at first, Raffetto, who now is standing tall on prosthetic legs, feels very hopeful about the future.

“Several factors help me stay positive: first and foremost, my wife – the best part about all of this is that she is with me and I can spend time with her,” Raffetto said. “Organizations like Navy Safe Harbor have made a big difference. And my physical therapists are extremely skilled. Had I been injured a few years ago, walking may have been impossible. But, considering the future of prosthetics, it is hard to not be optimistic.”

Navy Safe Harbor has helped the Raffetto family address a number of non-medical issues, from helping the family get to Raffetto’s bedside immediately after his injury to fixing pay and personnel problems.

“Navy Safe Harbor has been very helpful,” said Raffetto. “They strike the perfect balance of being there when you need them, but not hanging around when you don’t. [My Non-medical Care Manager] CDR Hamilton is phenomenal. She gets results, she checks in often, but she’s not overbearing in any way.”

“From day one James has maintained a positive attitude that sort of says: ‘This is where I fell; I’m going to stand where I am and move forward from here,’” said Hamilton. “He faced many trials in his recovery and rehabilitation but has never given up. He sets goals and strives to achieve them. He’s a champion.”

When they can, Raffetto and his wife Emily like to visit other wounded warriors; they generously offer their company, share their experiences, and offer an ear to listen if needed.

“The most important thing I can do is show the wounded warriors what they can accomplish during their recovery – by seeing me, they learn that so much is still possible,” said Raffetto. “I try to give them a realistic look – but a hopeful look – at what’s to come.”
His Marines didn't forget him either.
He lost his legs, his left arm and part of his right hand to a roadside bomb in Afghanistan in August, but Navy Medical Corpsman James Raffetto says that's not what's been worrying him.
"I just wanted to know my guys would make it home OK," he said.

When the 220 troops from Camp Pendleton's 1st Reconnaissance Battalion he served with in the Helmand province arrived home on Wednesday, they were equally concerned for Raffetto.

Dozens of Marines rushed up to the Pennsylvania native, hugging him and asking him how he was doing in a remarkable display of Marine Corps' brotherhood.

"I'm great," he assured them as he stood in a corner of a gymnasium filled with parents and families of the returning troops. "It's a relief to know everyone is now home and all right."

Raffetto explained to his buddies how he's able to get around on prosthetic legs and use the portion of his hand that remains.
He flew from Washington, D.C., to California to welcome the battalion back to Camp Pendleton. After all, he said, it was those he was assigned to protect who saved him, making sure he didn't bleed to death when he was blown up.

"They're the reason I'm still alive," he said. "They used the training that I helped give them, and that's why I'm here today."
Then Seaman now Petty Officer Ratello; BZ and Fullbore.
WASHINGTON (July 14, 2011) Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class James A. Raffetto and his wife are congratulated by Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert during the third annual Safe Harbor Awards ceremony. Safe Harbor is the Navy's lead organization for coordinating non-medical care of seriously wounded, ill, and injured Sailors and Coast Guardsmen and their families. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Matt Dickinson/Released) 110714-N-ZZ999-001

Happy B-day Week

All sorts of birthdays going on this week.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Diversity Thursday

Below is a copy of an open letter sent out recently by a group of Marine Officer Recruiters. As traditional paths for addressing their greviences have been blocked by their Chain of Command due to process and command climate - they took this route.

There is a lot more here than we find in a usual DivThu --- but you can find here an outline of what is being done in the name of the Marine Corps and being ordered to Marines.

This letter was not sent to me for distro - but I managed to get a copy. It is from a new member of the Salamander Underground; but it looks solid and seemed like a safe bet; so I'm running with it. The original distribution list is on the bottom of the first page.

Read it all, but (D)iversity related items are in bold red.

Below is the open letter.
(NB: The linked article below by then Maj. Vold is from '98, so this isn't a new problem)


Marine Corps officer recruiting is a broken and dysfunctional system. The officer recruiting community is stressed, undervalued and struggles to find necessary support. The officer recruiting community meets its core mission, Officer Accession, only because the Marine officer mission is so inflated. The accessions goal is always met.

The current officer recruiting system is a patchwork of temporary fixes built up through years of neglect and bureaucracy. The current system is extremely wasteful, inefficient and undermines effectiveness on all levels.

Over the years, senior Marine Corps leaders have ignored or been ignorant to the deficiencies of the officer recruiting program and community. There has been a de facto block, or ceiling emplaced, in which top Marine officials have not been made aware of the problems at the lowest levels of officer recruiting. Since prudent changes have not been implemented, there is now no coherent, streamlined system that makes sense. All that is left is a shell of haphazardly established tactics, techniques and procedures.

-GS/civilians are the only mainstays
-No 8412 involvement (no career path)
-RFA (appointments) untenable
-SF86/JPAS untenable
-De facto diversity quota system
-Improper manpower in AO’s
-Improper training (all levels)
-Improper civilian leadership

-Medical support (BUMED/NAMI)
-Automated system untenable (ACP)
-200+ page- paper applications
-IT support untenable (server space)
-Advertising (low levels) ineffective
-Administrative support
-Financial/disbursing support
-Logistical support
-Officer applicants expected to pay for medical/dental exams

-MPPM (last updated in 1989?)
-Frost Call situation(s) 1st, 2nd, 3rd tier effects
-No standardization across MCRC
-Poor initial training
-Applicants turned away (reverse discrimination)
-No special duty allowances (RS SgtMaj rates?)
-Political correctness RUNS AMUCK!
-Tragedy of the commons (RS or District??)

A serious inquiry/investigation needs to be conducted into the tactics, techniques, treatments, personnel and procedures of the officer recruiting system. This proper authority will see a system that has serious and detrimental flaws. The system will be found as improperly managed and supported, underfunded, maltreated, and undermanned by proper duty experts.

A non-exhaustive examination will expose serious fraud, waste and abuse into allocations of recruitment funds — such as contracts with advertisers and ―diversity‖ biased projects, GS/civilian employees that are ineffective (and detrimental to mission), preferential hiring of former senior Marines, and wasteful conference and training seminars.

Findings will expose a veritable secret diversity quota system where 80+% of the recruiting effort is focused on meeting diversity quotas. Even then, these secret diversity quotas are improperly imposed; i.e. US current population/enlisted accessions rate Hispanics as number one minority group; whereas the current de facto focus is solely on African American attainment (ALL OTHER MINORITY GROUPS IGNORED – Hispanics, Native Americans, Asians, etc). Competitive and highly qualified applicants are ignored or turned away because they will not affect diversity attainment! Findings will also show current proposed changes to applicant standards, such as a sliding scale with ACT and GPA scores, all in the name accommodating ―recruiting, aka; diversity attainment.

Concern with political correctness and the diversity quota system has now progressed into the proposed change in the basic qualification(s) of Marine Officer Candidates? See attached Marine Corps Gazette article. Where has the importance of standards and adherence to these standards, in the Marine Corps gone? Marines are held to the standard. Why would we allow different standards to be emplaced, especially in officer accessions? To suggest that if we did not change the standard, the Marine Corps would suffer; is an untruth, a falsehood and tantamount to saying that the Marine Corps HAS NOT BEEN EFFECTIVE FOR THE LAST 236 YEARS??? ANGLO APPLICANTS WILL START SUING THE MARINE CORPS AND CONTACTING THEIR ELECTED OFFICIALS. AFFIRMATIVE ACTION IS NOT THE ANSWER! SELECTING THE BEST AND BRIGHTEST, REGARDLESS OF RACE OR GENDER IS THE RIGHT ANSWER! THE BRIGHTEST PEOPLE WILL BRING THE DIVERSE BACKGROUNDS, THE KNOWLEDGE, THE OUTSIDE THE BOX THINKING AND IN TURN THIS WILL MAKE THE MARINE OFFICER CORPS AND THE MARINE CORPS, THAT MUCH BETTER.

Courtesy Copy: Commandant of Marine Corps, Assistant Commandant of Marine Corps, Inspector General Marine Corps, MCRC CG, Secretary of Defense, Secretary of the Navy, Senate Armed Forces Committee Chairman/Ranking Member, Marine Corps Times, Navy Times, Air Force Times, Army Times,, Christian Science Monitor, New York Times, Washington Post, MCRC Marine Corps District Commanders/DROO’s


-GS/civilians are the only continuity in officer recruiting. Every Marine (3 years +/- tour) leaves the job. Civilians run officer recruiting! Civilians should be replaced with 8412’s. No civilian should be in charge (regardless of enlisted recruiting experience) of officer recruiting!
-8412’s should be the duty experts on recruiting. Currently, there is no incentive nor career path for these Marines in officer recruiting. 8412’s should be the continuity and should have positions where they can progress through the chain as their experience dictates. No more 8411’s!!
-RFA process is cumbersome and inadequate. More MCRC staff is needed to process RFA’s. Current system is keeping officers from commissioning.
-Security clearance system does not work. Complete redesign is needed.
-Diversity quotas are being forced so hard that de facto quotas are in place (LAW?). Time and resources are being unfairly taken away from Marines to find and process QUALITY applicants because of the focus on Diversity. Focus is only on African Americans when in fact Hispanics make up a larger margin of the U.S. population and also of enlisted accessions. Native Americans, Asian Americans?
-Not enough trained and professionally screened Marines (OSO, 8412) on duty in officer recruiting. Assign officer recruiters to where they are from. (i.e. African American officers near HBCU/population centers, Hispanic officers to the southwest, Native American officers near traditionally western states, Anglo officers in their respective areas, etc)

-BUMED is totally broken and unacceptable. BUMED is under-staffed. NAMI is not conducive to Marine aviation candidates.
-ACP is not user friendly. ACP has too many glitches. ACP does not make contracting more efficient or timely (actually makes contracting more difficult and logistically harder to conduct). A common “MCRC SharePoint” should be utilized where all documents can be uploaded and downloaded by all users (server space). MCRISS OSS should be upgraded and utilized to control systematic recruiting but not in conjunction with ACP. Use a simple software program to generate contracts (upload all documents to “MCRC SharePoint” – this can be viewed by all users.).
-Hard copies of contracts/applications should be kept at local level but electronic versions uploaded to the “MCRC SharePoint”.
-IT support untenable (server space):”MCRC SharePoint” will need server space.
-Advertising (low levels) ineffective: tactical advertising is run by civilians (JWT), not Marines!
-Administrative support: 8412’s trained in officer recruiting to take over GS. More staffing is needed at higher echelons to support processing.
-Financial/disbursing support: bureaucratic system in place to administer and track funds. Complete redesign is needed.
-Logistical support: RS’s don’t like to support and neither do Districts. Where does the specific support come from?
-Officer applicants expected to pay for medical/dental exams: MEPS does not conduct all tests that are needed for officer applicants (DENTAL EXAMS, FEMALE EXAMS, EYE EXAMS, etc)???

-MPPM (last updated in 1989?) Self-explanatory. No categorized, searchable or user friendly database for frost calls or updates.
-Frost Call situation(s) 1st, 2nd, 3rd tier effects: Frost calls are implemented/dictated from established law; some frost calls seem to neither apply law nor take into consideration tactical level effects.
-No standardization across MCRC: Contracts, selection boards, waivers, RFA, RFO, administrative procedures, forms, training, applicant standards?
-Poor initial training at all levels: 8412’s should be emplaced into officer recruiting at all levels to provide all training and continuity. 8412’s should be used at OCS (use 8412s as OCS sergeant instructors or staff --- 8412’s can be used much as MOI’s; as most colleges and universities are slow for officer recruiting in the summer) to gain basic understanding of what officer candidates go through(this will assist with prospecting and selling). 8412’s should be emplaced at the OSS, the DIST and OA/MCRC. Career path and promotion considerations should be emplaced to provide incentive for 8412 “buy-in”. Screening and selection of 8412’s should be very competitive (and should be E-7 and above for maturity and administrative experience).
-Quality applicants turned away (due to diversity): quality applicants are turned away or placed on backburners in order to accommodate diversity applicants (usually of lesser quality – i.e. GPA, PFT, ACT/SAT, BACKGROUND). This is not conducive to employing the best and the brightest and will have 1st, 2nd and 3rd tier effects in the operating forces for years to come! A quality applicant is a quality applicant.
-No duty allowances: officer selection officers are the only production recruiters that do not receive a duty allowance. These Marines are the liaisons with community and key influencers, the liaisons with career services, deans and professors of universities and local advertisers. Why would they not receive an allowance to assist them in connecting and working these influencers? Also, incidentals and misc. expenses (dental and misc medical exams for applicants) are experienced all the time. Are these Marines expected to pay out of their own salary? RS SgtMaj receives an allowance; what is a SgtMaj billet’s recruiting production quota? Nil. Switch allowances from the RS SgtMaj to the OSO. No further funding needed.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Beats the frack out of "Global Force For Good"

Salamander approved.

Hat tip Lee.

Programmatic Potpourri!

A friend of the blog sent along the following very serious but also very funny excerpt from a Acquisition Program document.

People wonder where I got the idea for the subtitle of this blog from ....

Sometimes you have to wonder if we just hit the "Enter" button in a random word generator to create this stuff - or just pick a scattering of FITREP bullets; same thing.

People write, read, and make policy based on this every day. It explains a lot.


"Integrate force projection, employment and sustainment in order to eliminate unnecessary redundancies, reduce friction, stimulate synergy, and enhance the effectiveness, efficiency, and economy of operations."
Someone Please diagram that sentence for me.

Hat tip J.

About Last Night ...

Just a few observations:

- Romney owned the night. He is like the Soviet Army in '44-45. Nothing tactically brilliant, just slow, steady progress based on mass, logistics, and will. I don't see anything getting in his way.

- I think Perry is done. Let him go back to Texas. Again; our nation is done with Texas accents for at least one more election cycle, and as a history Geek, the 16th Century American Revolution comment was just a bit too much of a flub. Can't afford that in the general election; ask President Ford.

- Cain more than survived some very unattractive attacks. He will continue to grow as the "Not Romney."

- Gingrich is still selling books and providing oversight. Someone should give him a white vest. I think he is just the Safety guy.

- Bachmann is someone who was. Smart, attractive, but will never be on the ticket. Please go back to the House where you can do some good.

- Santorum is a nice guy and all - but will never get traction nationally. Someone put him it a/the Cabinet.

- Paul is RON PAUL.

- Huntsman in this primary season will be a never was has been. I never had anything against the guy until now - his snobby comment about pizza soured me. Coming from a family who made its money off the Big Mac clamshell - he should be careful about throwing stones.

That is all. I'm still uncommitted since T-Paw left - but all in all; I'm happy with the offerings.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Dutch See the Light on Piracy

Looks like my friends the Dutch have felt the bat of clue.
The Netherlands plans to deploy 50 vessel protection detachments (VPDs) to protect vulnerable ships from Somali pirates in 2012, ten times the number deployed so far this year. The Dutch cabinet is thus taking the advice of an inter-ministerial commission formed to study the issue.

The Netherlands has deployed five VPDs so far in 2011 and plans to deploy more in the coming months. If the 50 planned for next year are not sufficient, more may be drawn from the reserves or private security personnel given military status.
... and the reason they have to do that? Simple. The world's naval powers - led by the US - refuse to do one of the most basic missions of naval power; the protection of merchant ships.

We lack the will to do what needs to be done.

That being what it is - BZ to the Dutch! Hup Holland Hup!

(NB: the pic if of another German/Estonian VPD).

Hat tip Lee.

The CNO Joins the Blogosphere

Admiral Greenert has joined the blogosphere. No kidding.

He has his first post up here. Head on over and welcome him to the land of the great unwashed!

To be frank, I am very encouraged by this step and more importantly the substance of his first post. He restates his three priorities and three tenents.

They are simple, clear, and clean. All of our leaders from LPO to Vice CNO can use them to influence their day-to-day decisions.

Very well done CNO!

Hat tip Byron.

Monday, October 10, 2011

I think this is more what they had in mind ...

It is always useful after a few dozen spin cycles to go to the beginning and rebaseline the argument.

Remember what LCS was supposed to be a dozen years ago?
As of mid-2001 the Office of Naval Research was considering construction of a Littoral Combat Ship with a displacement of 500 to 600 tons. The LCS would have a draft of about three meters (9 feet), an operational range of 4,000 nautical miles, and a maximum speed of 50-60 knots.
Remember the original promise about LCS? We all know what happened when the transformationalists got hold of it. Imagine if we had a leadership that instead were students of the last few hundred years of shipbuilding - and specifically understood the usefullness of understanding the lessons of cruiser development in the '20-30s and guided missile development in the '50s-60s. Evolution, not revolution.

Where do you think they might have started to look at a place to "evolve" and existing concept?

Mostly using our friend Eric's Naval Institute Guide to COMBAT FLEETS OF THE WORLD, 15th Edition, BTW, to see what I could dig up.

Sure it sounds funny - but the answers were all American, right in front of our face; the Saudi:

BADR Class Corvettes: (ex-PCG, 4-ships built in Tacoma, Wash starting in 1979) and AS SIDDIQ (ex-PGG, 9 ships built in Sturgeon Bay, WI starting in 1978).
- Displacement; 1,038 tons
- Length; 245'
- Draft; 8'9"
- Speed; 30kts
- Range; 4,000 nm @ 20kts
- Manning; 7 officers, 51 enlisted
- Armament:
-- 8 Harpoon
-- 1 76-mm/62.
-- 1 CIWS
-- 2 20-mm/40 Oerlikon
-- 1 88mm mortar
-- 2 40mm MK19 grenade launchers.
-- 6 ASW torpedoes in two MK-32 launchers.

AS SIDDIQ Class Guided-Missile Patrol Combatants
- Displacement; 495 tons
- Length; 190'
- Draft; 6'4"
- Speed; 34kts
- Range; 2,900 nm @ 14 kts
- Manning; 5 officers, 33 enlisted
-- 4 Harpoon
-- 1 76-mm/62.
-- 1 CIWS
-- 2 20-mm/40 Oerlikon
-- 1 88mm mortar
-- 2 40mm MK19 grenade launchers.

LCS-1 Class:
- Displacement; 3,000 tons
- Length; 348'
- Draft; 12'10"
- Speed; 47kts
- Range; 3,500 nm @ 18 kts
- Manning; 75+ TBD
-- 1 57 mm gun,
-- 4 .50-cal machine guns
-- 2 30 mm Mk44 Bushmaster
-- 1 RIM-116 RAM launcher

LCS-2 Class:
- Displacement; 2,784 tons
- Length; 418'
- Draft; 13'
- Speed; 44kts
- Range; 4,300 nm @ 18 kts
- Manning; 75+ TBD
-- 1 57 mm gun,
-- 4 .50-cal machine guns
-- 2 30 mm Mk44 Bushmaster
-- 1 SeaRAM CIWS

Yes, I know, I did not include the weapons on the mission modules. Why? Well - they don't exist.

Why even bring this up? Simple. First - the Saudi design was over two decades old when the initial sparks came up for LCS. The original idea was for something size wise between the BADR and AS SIDDIQ. From the building of those two classes, we knew two things - you were going to be top-heavy and overweight if you were not careful. Knowing that and tweeking a few things - why didn't we do what we started out wanting to do and create an updated Corvette?

Of course, we know why - it wasn't "Transformational." We needed that big word to impress people with and fill up the FITREP white space. So, in the end what do we have? We have a real fast, short legged frigate that is incredibly underarmed and overpriced. To be useful for warfighting, you will need to put on more weight (shocker). That will decrease both your speed and range. You have something that can't quite perform as a frigate or a corvette - but we'll have a lot of them because, well, we will have a lot of them.

I look at the 30-yr old designs that the Saudi's have and what we have now and I just sigh. An evolved and modern 21st Century warship somewhere between the two designs, that would be what - 766 tons displacement?
Littoral Combat Ship with a displacement of 500 to 600 tons
Yep. And look what she became - one of the most dirty, nasty, ugliest things out there with an IR signature almost as great as its visual plume of coal-like smoke and a wake that will create enough bio-luminescence to read by.

LCS - the ship that keeps on giving .... bloggers things to blog about.

Hat tip an old friend.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Midrats: Afghanistan - to what end; at what price?

Over a decade in to the war in Afghanistan and over three years in to the surge of forces - have we reached the point of diminishing returns? Is the present AFG government stable enough to accept a transition? Is the present withdrawl timetable right, wrong, or just right?

Join EagleOne and me this Sunday from 5-6pm EST to discuss the past, present, and future of the AFG campaign for the full hour will their our Michael Barrett, co-founder of Diligent Innovations, a Washington consulting firm, former Navy Intelligence Officer and director of strategy for the Homeland Security Council under President George W. Bush.

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.