Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Hendrix Christmas; in books

With Thanksgiving behind us, it is time to focus on the next potlatch ... wait ... excuse me ... holiday on the Calendar.

Christian or not, Christmas is a big holiday. A bit too commercial for my taste, and as a result I remain firm in my belief that the best gift you can give is one that makes a better person - and one of the best ways to do that is through books.

Once again this season, Captain Henry J. Hendrix, Jr., USN has sent along his recommendations. If you are stumped on what to give someone this season; this should fit the bill.

Jerry; over to you!

It is difficult to understate how important books are to my basic mental health. For years I read in an attempt to gain an understanding of how other people thought about the challenges facing our Navy and our Nation. I read biographies, mostly, dealing with military and political leaders to gain their views on our "national interests." More recently, however, I have been challenged to "Think Different" (more on this) by my bosses and co-workers. The idea that our nation has reached a strategic inflection point, that all that we have done to get us to this point as a nation, will not take us to the next level, has been raised with me repeatedly and I have actively sought out books that give insight into innovation, economics, security, and culture. Here are five that I think are particularly useful.

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. National best seller by a great author about a highly controversial liberal techno-tycoon who advised the current president to scrap the American education system and deregulate the business community if he wanted to get the economy going again. A business realist who eschewed commonplace solutions to create a highly successful vertically integrated personal communications model that has been adopted by a growing portion of the techno-population. What intrigues me most about Jobs is how he was able to "institutionalize innovation" in the businesses he ran (Pixar and Apple). While highly successful, it is questionable how long his system will survive his passing and termination of his personal involvement.

The Quest by Daniel Yergin. Think that we are running out of energy or that the Middle East holds a monopoly on energy reserves? Think again. Yergin, one of the world's foremost experts on energy and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for his previous seminal work, The Prize, on the oil industry lays open the facts of how the world's energy reserves have continuously expanded even as its consumption has gone up. His brilliant descriptions regarding shale gas "fraking" (which I thought only occurred on Battlestar Gallactica) and the falsehoods behind wind and solar "alternatives" are worth the price of this book. Find out how much energy truly exists within the United States and be astonished about what our government has to say about it.

The New Navy Fighting Machine by Captain Wayne Hughes. Its not really a published book, but it is downloadable from the Naval Postgraduate School. Captain Hughes, the dean of American naval strategists, and a fellow native of the great state of Indiana (we actually grew up 15 miles and fifty years from each other), Hughes fundamentally challenges the way we think about naval force structure and the way it is applied strategically. This study came out about two years ago, and its implications have caused me to circle back to it time and time again. Closely aligned with some of my own thinking regarding Fords vs. Ferraris and naval presence as being analogous to baseball's on base percentage, Hughes' New Navy Fighting Machine provides us with an elegant force structure alternative in a fiscally constrained environment.

Giants in the Earth by O.E. Rolvaag. This is an old novel a much beloved high school English teach assigned to me in my senior year that I just picked up and read again. The story of Norwegian immigrants moving into the vastness of the Dakota plains encapsulates the true pioneer spirit of America, the do-it-yourself attitude and pride in self-reliance and success that seems so distant from our Occupy Wall Street entitlement debate today. What is amazing is the story of the children of these immigrants who are so intent on shedding their Norwegian exterior (while retaining their strong core) to learn the English and find success as Americans farming on the harsh Dakota plains. Read this and juxtapose Rolvaag's (a Norwegian immigrant himself) ideas against current trends that seek to preserve cultural diversity and reject older melting pot approaches.

The Aubrey-Maturin Series by Patrick O'Brian. OK, I came to this series late in life (my misplaced thought that somehow I was being disloyal to CS Forester and my beloved Horatio Hornblower if I read O'Brien books) but man, what a rush! This is not pure brain candy. You have to pay attention to what O'Brian is telling you (the description of the type of trees that are needed to refit a frigate after crossing the Indian Ocean in monsoon season was wonderful) and readers will soon be as intrigued by the surgeon-spy Stephen Marturin as they will enjoy the traditional sailor-hero Jack Aubrey. Aubrey is based upon the real hero-innovator Thomas Cochrane, and the events closely parallel events surrounding the Napoleonic wars. My girls got me the first five books for Father's Day, and I am now on book 13. You won't want to put them down.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Navy Abandons its Dead

We've all heard it; "We don't leave our men behind." "We will come back for you." "You will not be forgotten." Really?

We all see the ubiquitous POW/MIA flag, but does it really mean anything - does it have an experiation date?

A quick review:
United States Navy Master Commandant Richard Somers was one of the first officers to enlist in the new Navy at the turn of the 19th Century. The young officer and his men fought gallantly in America’s first naval war against the States of North Africa. He died with his 12-man crew of the USS Intrepid on September 4, 1804 while engaged in a secret mission during the Battle of Tripoli.

Today the first Navy commandos lie abandoned in mass graves in a foreign land.

When their bodies washed up on the shores of Tripoli, the bashaw - the king of the pirates - invited a pack of dogs to devour them as American prisoners of war looked on. These 13 naval heroes remain buried today in mass graves in Libya.
We have a window - a closing window - to get our Sailors home. We know where they are; we have the people to get them.

We even had the ability to get them home ... until about 3:30pm EST today when after being on the brink of getting the funding to bring them home, and after stating for so long to family members and supporters that he would support bringing them home, Sen. McCain (R-AZ) stated that he would no longer support it.

Yes, that Senator McCain. Of all people; he killed it.

What seems so straight forward, isn't. This has a nasty past going back years. A book could be written on this project - as a matter of fact it would make a great book - but instead of doing that here, let's focus on one critical part that was played in killing this. A part played by one of our own; CDR Renee Richardson, USN - head of the Department of Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel.

She has an email trail - one where she strangely doesn't describe her position in the matter the way one would suspect. In an email to the family of Master Commandant Richard Somers in 2008, she fails to identify herself as being in the Navy; no big problem I guess. In the second email from this year, she did admit she was in the Navy, but didn't state that she was head of the Department of Defense POW-MP office.

Imagine you are someone in the Somers family line. Don't poo-poo the time-gap either. For those of us who can trace our family lines in the USA pre-nationhood, 200 years isn't that far. Heck, I have two family Bibles that date back to the 1820s.

Anyway, put yourself in their shoes ... then read these two emails.
----EMAIL1 - 7SEP08 ---
Questions on Repatriation of Intrepid Crew

TO: William Kelly [Intrepid Project]


I recently came upon your site concerning the "Intrepid". Having just finished "Six Frigates", "Jefferson's War" and "The Pirate Coast" I was looking about on the internet for additional information, what a very interesting bit of history.

I am curious about the repatriation however, as the responsibility for repatriation prior to WW II usually seems to fall to the Service, unless the individual(s) have already been interred--in which case the Service will decline the request (as the mariners have been interred, it is likely the Navy should and will say "no". Additionally the Navy/Libyans had a dedication ceremony in 1949 indicating the Service considers Tripoli to be the final resting place of these brave souls). Or the cost of repatriation falls to the individual family(ies) of the deceased.

1) That being the case who would bear the cost of this repatriation?

2) Assuming the US Government/Service might choose to absorb the cost, why should these remains (which are properly buried) receive a priority of exhumation/transportation over the 80,000 plus remains around the world awaiting excavation, and identification from WW II, Korea, the Cold War and the Southeast Asia conflict? The families of the "Intrepid" crew, know exactly what happened, they blew up, and they were buried. We even know where some/most/all are buried "Tripoli" in the Protestant Cemetery, along with several Italians and Dutch. That is not the case with so many of the lost from WW II, Korea and Southeast Asia, while the team at Dover is no doubt very good as you put it, they are a limited and costly resource that is engaged in the work to identify and repatriate those who had no real resting place, no grave, no identity even of the remains--and living immediate or at the least first and second generation family members awaiting disposition.

3) Do all 13 families desire the disinterment of the comingled graves?

4) If not, is the encouragement of that disinterment not potentially repugnant to present-day descendants of the deceased and should their wishes not also be respected? As a mother, I for one would not desire that my loved ones remains be disturbed or removed from the finalresting place. As a tax-payer, I can think of better uses for those funds as well.

5) The graves have no names, they merely annotate that these are sailors lost in the explosion of the "Intrepid", thus we know not who is in what grave and the potential cost to discover that is prohibitive and of a much lesser priority than the identification of more recent losses.

6) Although these are indeed brave men who died engaged in the war to thwart the Beshaw and the Barbary Pirates--an enormously significant and formative action in our nation's history, what exact purpose is served in digging up, and dragging home the mixed and unspecified bones of these worthy seamen?

On a different note I have your well done book "300 Years at the Point" did not realize you were the same person (blog and book) until I was reading along on your site. Wonderfully enjoyable work.

Renee Richardson

-- EMAIL2 - 22JUN11 ---
From: "Renee Richardson"
Sent: Wednesday, June 22, 2011 1:39:37 PM
Subject: Cost of HR 1479

Dear Mr. Gregory, Ms. Hastings and Mayor Glasser,

I watched with wonder as HR 1497 was approved. I am sure that all of you are very pleased. The information that abounds on the various websites dedicated to the mission of repatriation for the crew of INTREPID (lost 4 September 1804) is mostly right, but not completely. On your own site you should ask Mr. Kelly to properly annotate the chronology for the events below (taken from your site and presumably taken from his blog or his book):

"After decisively defeating the enemy in a number of skirmishes, Decatur sailed the Intripid [sic] into the harbor disguised as an Arab trader. He recaptured and sank the Philadelphia without firing a shot and without any casualties. Then Somers, with a dozen volunteers, reentered the harbor, having filled the Intripid [sic] with combustibles. Unfortunately, during the daring nighttime raid the Intrepid prematurely exploded in the harbor. The bodies of Somers and his crew washed ashore the following day and were buried in a nearby cemetery by prisoners from the Philadelphia. An unkempt memorial marks their graves."

First this chronology suggests that the action taken by Decatur and that of Somers was within a similar time period. Decatur burned the frigate U.S.S. PHILADELPHIA in February of 1804, Somers failed fire-ship mission took place on September 4, 1804. Second the bodies were not buried in "a nearby cemetery." Rather after being exposed todogs, the elements and the ire of Tripoli's residents, Bashaw Yusuf Karamanli allowed the bodies to be buried in a communal grave area by some enlisted from PHILADELPHIA along with the Ship's Surgeon, Dr. Cowley; all of whom were the Bashaw's hostages.

Nowhere on the miscellaneous sites dedicated to this cause does anyone annotate the fact that in the 1790s and the 1800s the captive European slave population in Tripoli of people taken from pirated ships, was at a minimum (the ones whose names were officially recorded) 600 people. Most of them (unlike the surviving crewmembers from PHILADELPHIA), where never ransomed or returned to their native lands, rather they were worked to death and buried in the same communally designated area as the sailors from INTREPID.

Additionally the remains uncovered during construction by the Italian road crew in the 1930's were not readily or properly identified as being Americans or from INTREPID. There is no evidence (except the political expediency of post WWII Relations) to suggest that the remains were not merely those of other unfortunate wretches who died in Tripoli. The only anecdotally evidence we have is from 1949, when it was in the best interest of the government of Tripoli to cement relations with the U.S., and suddenly those five unmarked graves are alleged to contain the remains of American sailors from INTREPID. Thus on April 2, 1949 during a ship visit by U.S.S. SPOKANE a memorial service was performed, a plaque erected and the graves marked as being those of sailors from INTREPID. The ceremony was attended by the Commanding Officer of SPOKANE, Captain William Marshall; Rear Admiral Cruzen, Commander Cruiser Division Two; Mr. Orray Taff, U.S. Consul at Tripoli, and Prince Taher Bey Karamanli of Libya. But at the end of the day there is no definitive evidence that suggests that the five graves contain any remains of Americans, let alone remains from the dead of INTREPID.

But let us for the moment set all that aside and leap into the presumption that in fact the graves contain at least some of five of INTREPID's thirteen dead. And let us imagine that HR 1497 passes and DoD (because the Navy has regularly and wisely said "nay" to exhumation) is forced to repatriate the remains in those five graves--and no doubt sundry other remains outside Tripoli's original walls just for good measure--do you anticipate that these remains should jump to the front of the line?

Perhaps you did not realize there is a line and that the DoD organizations responsible for recovery and accounting of the Missing-in-Action already have a massive load to deal with. The dead of INTREPID, just for clarification are not MIA, they are buried andaccounted for. And by the way the MIA that are currently being looked for (WWII to Date) still have family members who were ALIVE when their loved one went missing. I did not see any additional funding or resources attached to HR 1497, which means the Bill, if passed, selfishly takes limited resources from modern losses. For WWII there over 73,000 missing in action, for Korea there are nearly 8000, Southeast Asia still has about 1,700 missing and there are some 125 from the cold war.

Not only is the endeavor of this bill selfish in the theft of resources (because it is political and noisy) from extant missions for families who still remember the missing (not as a historic footnote of family lore--but fremembered fathers and husbands and brothers and sons ) but it is potentially also a precedent setting bill that opens liability and government obligation for repatriation from 1804 forward: the First and Second Seminole Wars, the War of 1812, The Mexican-American War, The Civil War, The Spanish-American War, including losses in Cuba and the Philippines, The Philippine-American War, The Boxer Rebellion, the Great War (WWI) and the Banana Wars.

I do not dispute the desire of the descendants (217 years removed) to return their beloved. I dispute that our government (except in assisting permissions and access) is in anyway responsible, or obligated to repatriate these 13 sailors from a failed mission, who are accounted for and buried, not missing. If ten years ago, when Mr. Kelly first started his agitation for their return, all of you had formed a 501 C 3 Not-for Profit, not only would you have already raised enough money to have brought them back, and paid for the DNA testing and Family Reference Samples and genealogy to find all the living relatives, but there would likely have been enough left over to be providing Master Commander Somers' scholarships to all the great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandsons-daughters-neices-nephews. BUT, more importantly you would not now be detracting from the real POW/MIA mission.

As a commissioned Navy officer from a Navy family (Grandfather, father, husband, father-in-law and son) I find it repugnant that this measure should take away from the current MIA/POW recovery missions, whether all of you intended it or not, that will be the consequence.

Respectfully in disagreement over this measure,

Renee Richardson

Who is CDR Richardson? Well - you can listen to her in the video below.

How can you square what she said above with her actions WRT the Intrepid Sailors? Hard to - I offer her this space to respond if she wishes to, but until then - I will let her words speak for themselves. Right now, I am gobsmacked at its callousness, generational bias, and totally lack of the concept of honor and keeping faith with the fallen.

I'm not sure her facts are quite right either. Working with Michael Caputo; here is a little light fisking of her email #2.

Para 5 -
"...they were worked to death and buried in the same communally designated area as the sailors from INTREPID."
Wrong. The men of the Intrepid were buried over a mile from the area where slaves were buried. The Intrepid crew was buried in an
identified area
, not among slaves and others. They can be easily located and exhumed. This is answered in The Intrepid Project's document "Answers to the Navy" point 1.

Para 6 -
"...the remains uncovered during construction by the Italian road crew in the 1930’s were not readily or properly identified as being Americans or from INTREPID"
Wrong. From The Intrepid Project's report, "Final Burial Place", "According to Italian maps and accounts contained in “Secrets,” the engineers found the bodies close to the water while they worked on constructing a landfill for the future Al-Fatah Highway. With help from the Libyans, who knew the general location of the Intrepid enlisted men’s mass grave, the Italians exhumed the remains they found, identified them as American using bits of uniform and buttons, and interred the remains in a pair of empty Cemetery coffins" This is from our report "Final Burial Place..." on page 4 and comes from a deeply researched and heavily footnoted Libyan scholarly work called "Secrets of the Old Protestant Cemetery" in Arabic. The disturbing thing is the US Navy was offered a copy of this 2008 seminal research and REFUSED it.

Para 6 -
"But at the end of the day there is no definitive evidence that suggests that the five graves contain any remains of Americans, let alone remains from the dead of INTREPID."
The parade of fail continues. The burial report above shows these are the men. There is no evidence to the contrary, and CDR Richardson is one of the only people out there who is still peddling this theory.

Para 7 -
"And let us imagine that HR 1497 passes and DoD (because the Navy has regularly and wisely said “nay” to exhumation) is forced to repatriate the remains in those five graves—and no doubt sundry other remains outside Tripoli’s original walls just for good measure—do you anticipate that these remains should jump to the front of the line?"
Amazing. First of all, the legislation is very clear what remains are to be repatriated - her concerns were taken care of by Sen. Heller with very specific language as to what the repatriation must accomplish. "Sundry other remains" will not be affected. Also, why shouldn't they be the first to be repatriated? This is an officious statement of a frustrated bureaucrat with no facts or information. Has she started to take this personally? Is this a control thing with her?

Para 8 - She calls the family selfish and accuses them of theft of resources. Says remains of combat heroes are worth more when they have live relatives and this repatriation will start a domino effect of family requests for historic heroes' remains.

The entire paragraph is sophomoric and pedantic, answered by the "Final Burial..." report. Live families waiting for remains are answered in point 5. Domino affect is answered in point 2: There are no pending family requests to repatriate these other historic combat veterans while the families of the Intrepid crewmen have never stopped asking for their return. This is according to the foremost expert on foreign burial of US remains, Chris Dickon.

Para 9 - She accuses The Intrepid Project and others of being lazy in raising money to pay for this, ridicules "great-great-great..." relations all wanting them home. Then accuses those supporting return of our Sailors of detracting from the real POW/MIA mission.

First, she is WAY out of line. Second, if recovering combat heroes remains from confirmed locations is not the real POW-MIA mission - what is?

Para 10 - She calls this effort "repugnant." I think that the families of the crewmen of the USS Intrepid would find it beyond repugnant that an officer of the US Navy would contact the families of the fallen to load insults and misinformation on them. Did CDR Richardson take classes on leadership from CAPT Holly Graf?

I still cannot believe that we are going to let this pass us by. Have we fallen that far Navy? If there were the remains of a dozen Marines in North Korea near the Chosin reservoir and a small window opened to let us in to bring them home, would some Lt. Col. give the families the raspberry? Would General Amos shrug and tell people to get over it?

If you want more detail on this, you may recall the interview we did with Michael Caputo of The Intrepid Project on Midrats back in July. Listen to the second half of the hour for more details.

This isn't an isolated problem. There is something very wrong in our Navy when we spend millions of dollars on junk from a couple of million dollars in one year for "Diversity recruiting" for USNA, to the horrible waste created by Task Force Uniform - yet we abandon our dead like so many piddle packs.

It isn't just those from a couple of centuries ago either - ask the families and surviving crewmembers of the dead from GEORGE ONE.

All the words that some speak from a podium a couple of days a year about our "sacred promise" from the cheap seats just smells like fried air; hollow words of the paper mache patriot.

Someone give me a good reason why we don't bring our Sailors home. It isn't the money. Including the cost of fuel for military aircraft, estimated cost to bring our Sailors home is only $80,000 to $100,000 - a rounding error for what the Dept. of the Navy used to throw at the disgraced late Congressman Murtha's district. Then again - we are naming a ship after that thief who called our Marines murderers.

Admiral Greenert, Senator McCain. Shame on both of you. Shame.

UPDATE: I don't want to make this personal, but how do you square this way of thinking about buildings compared to human remains of roughly the same age?
Bladensburg's historic Bostwick house passed through three families in 255 years and each left their signature. Through renovations and additions, the centuries-old mansion has undergone as much change and growth as the town surrounding it.
In 1997, the city purchased it and Bladensburg officials are now waiting for the results of a feasibility study due this fall to decide how to best honor its legacy, while improving tourism and economic development in the area.
The main house built in 1746 passed to his son-in-law, Benjamin Stoddert, who became first secretary of the Navy.
One possible use the city council is considering would include a conference center on 1.4 acres atop Lowndes Hill, behind the main house. Other options include a museum and tourist attraction or a reception hall.

In the meantime, though structurally sound, the interior of the house has fallen into disrepair.

For now, a family with a love of historic homes is working to stabilize the structure and wall surfaces on behalf of the town. Navy officers Reneé Richardson and her husband Stanley Richardson, with help from their four children and Renee's brother Mike Rivard, spend their off-hours and leave time working on the home because they would "hate to see a historic home deteriorate," said Renee. Their Navy housing allowance is kept in a town account used for materials and supplies for the rehab work.
I don't know what to say.

When Warriors Slip in to Shadow

As the drone wars expanded and it became more clear how this was being fought - this was inevidable. Via Noah at DangerRoom;
When the Air Force activated its first unmanned aircraft wing in 2007, the military invited journalists out to Creech Air Force Base in Nevada to come take a look at the robotic future taking off.

Today, that kind of openness would be unthinkable. The Air Force began to limit press access to Creech in 2009. In the last six months, they’ve closed it off almost entirely, turning down every American media request to visit the drone pilots. The only visit approved during that period was from a British outlet, involving Creech’s UK drone squadron, Air Force officials tell Danger Room.
The blue lights signaling the presence of journalists haven’t come on for a while. New guidelines put in place have made it harder for journalists to be let in. Starting in 2009, media requests to visit the base had to be run up the chain of command, first through Air Combat Command, which oversees the drones and all other Air Force tactical aircraft, and then relayed to Air Force headquarters, where they were “more or less denied,” said Staff Sgt. Dustin Holmes, Creech spokesperson.

“The change in guidance wasn’t a light switch that turned off all public access to information about [remotely piloted aircraft],” said Lt. Col. Tadd Sholtis, spokesman at Air Combat Command, but “it was a recognition of the sensitive nature of the mission and the risks involved in unrestricted media access to an operational unit.”
film producer Daniel Desure put up a Craiglist ad in desperation. Were there any drone operators who would talk to a group of artists about non-classified parts of their job? Dozens of responses came in. Desure filtered out the obvious fakes, found eight people who sounded legitimate, and set up interviews with four people.

But then, a call from the FBI spooked the team. Desure was warned that “there are a lot of people who don’t want this to happen.” Shortly after that, two drone operators who already agreed to talk to him went dark.

One of the pilots sent an apologetic email, excerpts of which were forwarded to Danger Room. “My commander just briefed the entire base that we are not to discuss details regarding our aircraft, or mission, with outside agencies and press offices,” the email reads. “Everyone is spun up over personnel releasing information to the public.”

Desure’s team eventually found one airman who agreed to speak, but wouldn’t allow himself to be identified. In the final product, 5,000 Feet Is the Best, a former drone pilot addresses the camera, his voice digitally distorted, his face cast in a blurry halo. We have to take the word of the filmmakers that he is who he says he is. He describes the heat patterns of the landscape that stretches out before him, and spots something that looks like a “white blossom.” He must be in his 20s. As he tries to make out the images on the screen, we too, try — and fail — to meet his eyes
It is a bit more than that. You only have to put on your red hat for a few minutes with the right people on your team to sketch this out.

We are engaged in a war where drones are killing a lot of high profile people on the other side. Many doing that killing are "civilian" while others wear the uniform. Some of those people are in theater - some are doing their job in CONUS. By any measure, they are legitimate combatants engaged in combat.

I can tell you what is on my Red Team's Top-3 planning priorities; that is easy.

Do I need to continue this line of thought, or does everyone get it now? Welcome to a secondary effect of the drone war.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Power of the Gun

A weapon is a tool. Like any tool, it can be used for good or evil. Men and nations use tools to further their goals.

We know from history that evil wins when good can not prevail. We also know that when all else fails, nations will resort to war. War is won or lost by one thing; a young man standing on a piece of ground holding a weapon.

Rock, club, hatchet, axe, arrow, sword, or gun; it does not matter. Who that young man works for, and why, is of all importance.

One of the best descriptions of this point was recently made by General Peter van Uhm, Royal Netherlands Army.

The Dutch have one personality aspect that I enjoy; they are direct and to the point. The Dutch don't get shocked very often - but General van Uhm knew how to get their attention.
Today Van Uhm starts off with stating we all have our instruments for creating a better world: for a writer it is his/her pen, for a doctor it is his/her microscope etc. The public was slightly shocked when Van Uhm showed his instrument on stage: his gun!
No small gesture. The Dutch gun laws are about as bad, if not worse, than the British.
The uneasiness of the public is a good thing according to Van Uhm, we are not used to guns being around us, unlike in many other countries.
I always managed to stump my Dutch friends when I offer an alternative history of the below.
The personal story about why Van Uhm has chosen the gun follows. His father fought the Nazis in Nijmegen during World War II. In a critical battle, his father wasn’t able to reach the other side of the river bank and therefore couldn’t stop the Germans. His instrument, the gun, the only thing standing in between good and evil, failed him and his mission, leading to frustration for the rest of his life. Van Uhm chose the gun to stop those who do evil, to protect the vulnerable, to defend democratic values.
The Dutch fought an 80-year civil war to earn their independence from the Spanish crown. Though they fought hard where they could - the Germans easily took them in WWII. If every Dutch household had a gun, would the Germans have been able to roll as they did - when every building could have had a sniper in a window?

If the Dutch had gun laws closer to the Swiss, Finns, or even the Americans - would they have fallen as fast as they did?
“The gun may be one of the most important instruments of peace and stability that we have in this world.”
Yes, as long as it is in the right hands.

Well, the Dutch are what they are - at least they understand the power of the gun in the right hands.

As a personal note; you may want to read this about his son. I do not know General Uhm, but we do share a mutual friends who speaks very highly of him. I hope he gets more opportunities to give this speech. As Europe continues to disarm to rediculous levels - more need to hear this.
UPDATEL The Junior Sailor of the Year at SHAPE has the video. Watching the whole thing, you get much better depth on the topic from a very good man.

NEX Fail

OK, I can accept this kind of stuff from the media and general merchandisers. I'm not a zealot; I think.

However - at the Navy Exchange? Yep - that is where one of my spies, well, spied it.

Hat tip SalamanderUnderground.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Fullbore Friday

Yesterday, as I led the pre-Thanksgiving prayer with a dozen-and-a-half members of my family covering four generations - with dogs snuffl'n about for scraps the kids "dropped" and wee-ones making noise - a prayer circle filling the downstairs with relative silence; I was reminded of one of the major reasons it was good to be home after a couple of decades walkabout.

With my father's passing within a year of my return, this is the second year of my role as patriarch of our little gaggle of civilians. My parents and siblings, wife, children, nieces, nephews, and in-laws have the blessings of seeing the progress of time in a mostly "natural" way.

They did not have war take someone early, turning their world upside down. Yes, we have lost people in our family early, but sickness and accident are different. Parents should never have to bury their children; there is so much more to do.

This AM, I read the following from ABC. I initially rolled my eyes, and then came back a few minutes later and read it again. It stuck.

Fullbore? For the family who experiences this; yes. It would haunt me for the rest of my life. Perhaps even in a good way. For this post-Thanksgiving FbF; this will do.

I was filming soldier Justin Rollin’s parents Skip and Rhonda playing with their dog Hero, whose rescue from the Iraq War zone where Justin died was nothing short of a miracle.

Sometimes when Rhonda hugged Hero she would softly pet her face and coo, “Justin, are you in there?” It was Rhonda’s gentle way of remembering their son and his last living connection to Hero. At one point, Hero wandered off and took a stroll in the backyard. All of a sudden, the clouds broke and a light began to solidify in a beam directly down on Hero — a kind of vertical halo.

As this dramatic ray of light was shining on Hero she turned to look at me, and it was all I could do to hold the camera steady and not drop it in astonishment. It was an unforgettable moment, and made me wonder if in fact Justin was in there. Then the light vanished.
I couldn’t wait to check my camera’s playback to see if it caught the stunning beam. When I saw that it did, I was so happy that I burst out dancing. It was a great moment to share with Justin’s parents. We all laughed together, and wondered if perhaps this had been a sign from Justin.
Follow the link above for the show about this which will be on tonight.
Hat tip Jazz@hotair.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Thursday

Thanks. That is it for today; a very American holiday methinks.

I am thankful that no war has been fought within sight of my town since 1942. No army has occupied it in 146 years.

My wife did not die in childbirth. My daughter can choose her own future.

I have a good dentist and my water is safe.

I made it through over two decades in military service, intact.

I live in a fashion that for the vast majority of the world is so free and safe as to be almost unimaginable.

The least among my countrymen have more than the best of most. My blessings are almost shameful.

None of this happened by accident, and here I am; unworthy and with much work to do.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Why You Don't Make Fun of Beards & Turbans

Good googly moogly! Chuck Norris; call your office.

I hear - and it sure looks like - these guys are Sikh.

The Sikhs I knew in college were incredibly smart, reliable, friendly, and all sorts of good. As a people, in general, their military record is outstanding. They don't try to force their religion on anyone ... and though there was the Golden Temple unpleasantness a quarter century ago that is working itself out - they are as a group an impressive people.

What this video has to do with that, I'm not sure .... but good googly moogly.

Bearded & turbaned or fully westernized - the Sikhs here in the USA that I have run into my whole life are a great addition to our national character - even when they aren't chewing light bulbs.

Oh - and this is another reason not to mess with South Carolina.

Retro Wednesday

VAQ-129 aboard Reagan over the Veteran's Day weekend.
Hat tip DW.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Keeping an Eye on the Long Game: Part XXXVII

Always make sure you walk a little bit in the other guy's moccasins.
The US is moving forces to Australia, Australia is selling uranium to India, Japan is stepping up military actions and coordinating more closely with the Philippines and Vietnam in the South China Sea, Myanmar is slipping out of China’s column and seeking to reintegrate itself into the region, Indonesia and the Philippines are deepening military ties with the the US: and all that in just one week. If that wasn’t enough, a critical mass of the region’s countries have agreed to work out a new trade group that does not include China, while the US, to applause, has proposed that China’s territorial disputes with its neighbors be settled at a forum like the East Asia Summit — rather than in the bilateral talks with its smaller, weaker neighbors that China prefers.

Rarely has a great power been so provoked and affronted. Rarely have so many red lines been crossed. Rarely has so much face been lost, so fast.
The US has won the first round, but the game has just begun. The Obama administration and its successors will now have to deal with a long term contest against the world’s most populous country and the world’s most rapidly developing economy. The Obama administration may not have fully counted the costs of the new Asian hard line; for one thing, it is hard to see significant cuts coming in defense spending after we have challenged China to a contest over the future of Asia. It’s possible that less drama now might have made America’s point as effectively while reducing the chance of Chinese push back, but there is not a lot of point in debating that now.

Given where things now stand, follow through will be as important as the first steps; the US must now try to make it as easy as possible for China to accept a situation that, in the short to medium term at least, it cannot change.

WINCHESTER 2-steps From Winchester‏

How many years is the US Navy behind the Royal Navy? Perhaps my Baby Boomer Shipmates who were on active duty through the Carter years can help out - buy my Salamander senses put it just a few years lagging behind the economic problems. So - I think 7-12 years.

Then again - when you do your wargames and then look at what we actually have in the magazines at sea and ashore ... maybe a bit closer in some warfare areas.

In any event - the Brits are walking a rather thin line methinks ....
Royal Navy officers said HMS Westminster was “dangerously under-defended” when it was called on to patrol close to the Libyan port city of Benghazi in March.
The warship can carry 32 Seawolf and eight Harpoon missiles but it is understood that military cutbacks left the Westminster and its crew of 190 with only a fraction of that capability.
As Seawolf missiles — which are used to intercept incoming missiles — are fired in pairs, sources said the Westminster had just two rounds to defend against missile attacks from Col Muammar Gaddafi’s forces.
A hollow Navy defined. Nice E-Ticket part of the 1,000-ship Navy we have there.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Readiness, the last bastion of scoundrels


He strikes; again.
"What our task force is here to do is really to understand what the impacts of climate change, especially in the arctic, will have on Navy's operations, said Rear Adm. David Titley, Navy oceanographer and director of task force climate change.

"We look at climate change simply as changing geography, and we work on, above and under the water and the ocean every day, so we need to understand as that environment is changing, how that will impact our naval operations. So, really it's all about readiness for us."
Where exactly have poorly researched, fraud infused, socio-religious, neo-paganism made its way in to the readiness matrix again?

The pathetic thing is - the climate has always been changing. Was, is, and will. What is different now? Simple; politics.

What a self-licking ice cream cone.

I guess when you are an O-8 doing an 0-6's job, you have to stir up something.

Canada Rediscovers its Heritage

More and more good news is coming from Canada (where I vacationed, again, this summer FYI).

First the Royal Canadian Navy is back, and now this good news from Ezra Levant,
For 34 years, Canada has had a disgraceful censorship law that violates our human rights.

In 1977, Pierre Trudeau rammed through the Canadian Human Rights Act — an Orwellian name for a law that actually destroys real rights.

The entire law is a corruption of justice — it creates a kangaroo court, run by non-judges, that does not follow the same rules and procedures of real courts, but has massive powers to punish and fine people who aren’t politically correct.

But the worst part of the law is Section 13, the censorship provision. Section 13 creates a word crime — the crime of publishing or broadcasting anything that can cause hurt feelings.
In February of 2006, I published a magazine called the Western Standard. We reported on the major news story that month — riots around the Muslim world purportedly in response to some pretty banal Danish newspaper cartoons of Mohammed. Those riots killed more than 200 people, and we wanted to show our readers what all the fuss was about. But a radical Muslim imam in Calgary named Syed Soharwardy complained to the Alberta Human Rights Commission.

He said I violated his human right not to be offended. He wanted to ban the cartoons, and his hand-scrawled complaint even bitched about the fact that I dared to publicly defend my right to do so.

I laughed off that little nut-bar. I mean, get a life — you’re in Canada now, not Saudi Arabia. But to my surprise, the Alberta Human Rights Commission took his complaint and ran with it.

The Alberta government, using its provincial version of Section 13, prosecuted me for 900 days, with no fewer than 15 government bureaucrats and lawyers. It spent $500,000 prosecuting me, before dropping the case — and leaving me with my $100,000 legal bill. But sometimes freedom wins a round.

Last week, the federal justice minister, Rob Nicholson, stood up in the House of Commons and answered a question about Section 13.

The question was about a private member’s bill, put by Brian Storseth, an MP from northern Alberta. Storseth has introduced a private member’s bill, C-304, to repeal Section 13. But private member’s bills have little chance of passing without the endorsement of the government.

But Nicholson did endorse it. He called on all MPs to support it, too. Bill C-304, Storseth’s bill, is now effectively a government bill. And with a Tory majority in both the House and Senate, this bill is as good as done.
If you want to know what consistent, moderate and principled fiscal conservatism can bring you - look to Canada's recovery.

Prime Minister Harper and his government - and the Canadian people who have put them there - deserve a lot of credit for the example they have set. We would be so lucky.

Bully on Canada rebuilding a great Commonwealth almost destroyed by some of the worst of Anglo-Saxon leftism.

Hey, that reminds me - time to update what I'm drinking. It is from my vacation. It must be rationed - its what for desert.....

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Darkhorse Battalion with Tom Bowman; on Midrats

For those who listen to All Things Considered on NPR, earlier this month you caught an outstanding series on the 3rd Battalion 5th Marines – the Darkhorse Battalion — the Marine unit that suffered the highest casualty rate of any Marine unit during the 10-year Afghan war.

Please join my co-host EagleOne and me this Sunday, 20 NOV from 5-6pm EST with our guest for the full hour who brought the American people this story - Tom Bowman, NPR National Desk reporter covering the Pentagon.

In his current role, Bowman has traveled to Iraq and Afghanistan often for month-long visits and embedded with U.S. Marines and soldiers.

Before coming to NPR in April 2006, Bowman spent nine years as a Pentagon reporter at The Baltimore Sun. Altogether he was at The Sun for nearly two decades, covering the Maryland Statehouse, the U.S. Congress, the U.S. Naval Academy, and the National Security Agency (NSA).

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.

Caption Contest!

OK - look at the wake .... and tell me what the bridge transcript would read....

Get the details over at gCaptain.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Fullbore Friday

Time is running short for me this week - so time to reach in to the archives for an encore FbF from 2007. Interesting that in four years we are planning to have even less than I snarked about then.

Only 3 DDG-1000s of less capability. No CG(X) at all. Sigh. So back to 2007 and the archive.

Imagine a ship that had the following life;
(She) reported to Admiral "Bull" Halsey's Third Fleet and participated in task force strikes on the Japanese mainland near the close of World War II. On August 9, 1945, she fired the final salvo on the home islands of Japan. She rescued two British POWs just before entering Tokyo Bay for the surrender ceremonies on September 2, 1945. From November 1945 until early 1946, she was anchored off Shanghai, China as the flagship of Task Force 73.

During the Korean War, (She) supplied close gunfire support for United Nations troops, conducted gun strikes against enemy supply lines, and rescued downed pilots. She participated in the drive to Chongjin, the Inchon invasion, Wonsan, and the Hungnam evacuation. On July 27, 1953, (she) fired the last salvo of the war, just two minutes prior to the cease fire.
(She) became the first heavy combatant to be permanently homeported in the Orient since the pre-World War II days of the Asiatic Fleet. She operated from Yokosuka, Japan as the Commander Seventh Fleet flagship for more three years. In June of 1960, President Dwight D. Eisenhower embarked on (Her) for a trip from the Philippines to Taiwan. Three weeks later, she became the first Navy ship to raise the new 50 -star flag. She hosted nearly a quarter million visitors during this extended Far East assignment.
On 17 November, she provided gunfire support to the United Nations troops advancing on Chongjin. That day, shrapnel from a near miss by a shell from a Communist shore battery injured six men at gun mount stations. The cruiser destroyed the enemy emplacement with counter-battery fire and continued her support mission.

As the Chinese Communists began massive attacks late in November, United Nations forces commenced a general withdrawal to consolidate and hold south of the 38th parallel. She provided close support for the Republic of Korea I Corps on their east flank as they withdrew from Hapsu, and along the coast, as they retired from Chongjin. On 2 December, she moved north again, conducted night harassing missions above Chongjin, then moved south to support the withdrawal of the Republic of Korea Capital Division to Kyongsong Man. She entered the harbor at Wonsan on 3 December to provide a curtain of shellfire around that city as United Nations forces and equipment were moved to Hungnam; then followed the forces there, and remained to cover the evacuation of that city and harbor between 10 December and 24 December.

From 21 January to 31 January 1951, She conducted shore bombardment missions north of Inchon where, on 26 January, she was again fired upon by shore batteries. On 7 April, in special TF 74, with destroyers Wallace L. Lind (DD-703), and Massey (DD-778), landing ship dock Fort Marion (LSD-22) and high speed transport Begor (APD-127), She helped to carry out raids on rail lines and tunnels utilizing 250 commandos of the 41st Independent Royal Marines. These highly successful destructive raids slowed down the enemy's resupply efforts, forcing the Communists to attempt to repair or rebuild the rail facilities by night while hiding the work crews and locomotives in tunnels by day.

She returned to the United States for yard work at San Francisco, California, from June to September, then conducted underway training before sailing on 5 November for Korea. She arrived off Wonsan on 27 November and commenced gun strike missions. During the following weeks, she bombarded strategic points at Hungnam, Songjin, and Chongjin. In December, she served as an antiaircraft escort for TF 77, and, following a holiday trip to Japan, returned to operations off the coast of North Korea. In April 1952, She participated in combined air-sea attacks against the ports of Wonsan and Chongjin. On 21 April, while the cruiser was engaged in gun fire support operations, a sudden and serious powder fire broke out in her forward eight-inch turret. Thirty men died. Before returning to Japan, however, she carried out gunstrikes on railroad targets near Songjin, during which she captured nine North Koreans from a small boat. Following a brief stay in port and two weeks on the gun line, she headed home and reached Long Beach, California, on 24 June.

On 28 February 1953, She departed the West Coast for her third Korean tour and was in action again by April. In mid-June, she assisted in the recapture of Anchor Hill. With battleship New Jersey (BB-62), she provided close support to the Republic of Korea Army in a ground assault on this key position south of Kosong. The cruiser was fired upon many times by 75 mm and 105 mm guns, and observed numerous near misses, some only ten yards away. But on 11 July at Wonsan, she received her only direct hit from a shore battery. No one was wounded, and only her three-inch antiaircraft mount was damaged. On 27 July, at 2159, she conducted her last gunstrike and had the distinction of firing the last round shot at sea in the war. The shell, autographed by Rear Admiral Harry Sanders, was fired at an enemy gun emplacement. The truce was effective at 2200. She then commenced patrol duties along the east coast of Korea.
In 1963, she was visited by the Secretary of the Navy, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, and the Commandant of The Coast Guard. John Wayne and Kirk Douglas filmed scenes for the movie "In Harms Way" as she steamed from Seattle to Hawaii in 1964.
(Her) second Vietnam deployment began April 3, 1967 when she steamed west from San Diego. It would be seven months and 20,000 rounds later before the Fighting Saint would return. In her 1966 deployment, she had fired more than 10,000 rounds in support of allied troops south of the DMZ. Prior to that it was in Korea that CA-73 had last fired her big guns at hostile forces; and more than 20 years since the "Snooky Poo Maru", as she was affectionately known to her crew, had participated in World War II.
On September 1, 1967, she engaged in her toughest battle of the deployment. Accompanied by two destroyers, she moved in to attack waterborne logistics craft when about 25 coastal defense sites opened fire. She immediately returned the enemy fire and a running batle ensued with shells falling all around the ship.

More than 500 rounds were fired at Her that morning, and one round found its mark. A shell entered near the starboard bow and damaged a storeroom and several staterooms. There were no personnel casualties. Continuously firing, the ship maneuvered to safety and retired to sea for repairs. Working all, night, crewmembers pumped the damaged area dry and welded a patch over the hole. The patch held during high-speed turns, and the next day, "The Fighting Saint" returned to the gunline.

The ship later steamed to Subic Bay for permanent repairs. (She had been in Subic Bay just a month earlier to have all of her 8" guns replaced.) She returned to Sea Dragon where she destroyed six more waterborne craft, two concrete blockhouses, and two costal defense sites. She also heavily damaged railroad yards at Cong Phu and the shipyards Phuc Doi. She was relieved by USS NEWPORT NEWS CA-148 in October and headed to San Diego.

In May 1968, on her third Vietnam deployment, (she) returned to Sea Dragon operations. She picked up right where she had left off, shelling enemy targets on call-fire missions on a round-the-clock basis. She silenced North Vietnamese Army gun positions and sank three 30-foot logistics craft while damaging two 50-foot motorized tugs. The ship again took a brief mid-deployment break for regunning in Subic Bay. In over 1300 missions, she was credited with 380 enemy killed and 800 military structures destroyed or damaged. She was relieved in October by USS NEW JERSEY BB-62 before pointing her bow eastward for San Diego.

During her 130 days on the gunline on this deployment, "The Fighting Saint" fired a total of 64,055 rounds, making a total for the Vietnam conflict of more than 93,000. These figures established the 23-year old CRUISER as "Top Gun", having fired more rounds during a single deployment, and more rounds in all of her deployments, than any other warship.
Although "The Fighting Saint" had been decommissioned by the time the Vietnam conflict ended, she holds the distinction of two famous gunfire "lasts". As a member of Admiral 'Bull' Halsey's Third Fleet, she fired the final round on main home islands of Japan on August 9, 1945. She followed up that notoriety by letting go the last salvo of the Korean War on July 27, 1953, just two minutes before the armistice took effect. In more than a quarter century of service to her country, She earned 18 battle stars and fired more rounds of ammunition than any other United States crusier in history. She hosted eight heads of state. A total of 18 of her commanding officers and executive officers ascended to flag rank.
What a girl.

You know my bias, and the story of the ST PAUL just makes it stronger. Think about the bang for the buck we got from the
ST PAUL. Then think about the limited gene pool of a fleet we have now. Think about Somalia, Pakistan, SE Asia, China, South America - anywhere there is a shore line. Look at the mission she did and the firepower, and ability to take a hit, she took with her. Littoral? Yea, she has that. Range? Ditto? You can go on and on.

Here is the point to ponder, did we take the wrong fork in the road when we left the gun cruiser behind? Don't talk to me about the 5" guns we put on our CLG (which is what a Tico class is) or the Arleigh Burke class (which are a CLG as well - I don't care what you call them).

The dirty little secret here is that the Navy has realized that it did make a mistake when it decided to go all missile and pop guns, and left the MK-71 behind. DDG-1000 proves my point.

155mm = ~6.1". DDG-1000 is the size of a WWII Pocket Battleship. It may be a lot of things, but it is not a DDG. It is another CLG. One with 6.1" instead of 5", but a CLG none-the-less.
The problem though, was the execution. Instead of doing what the USAF is doing with the B-3 Bomber (proven technology that is evolutionary not revolutionary), we fell in love with the theory, the bleeding edge of what might be able to be done if we just throw enough money at it. Everyone wants to be part of something cosmic, not pedestrian. Some people join Comet Cults, some people build warships that work. As a result, the Comet Cult has bought us an expensive bucket of unproven technology in one unaffordable short run of a half-dozen ships, if we get that. All on the promise of the CGX, which is really going to be a CBX. Right answer, wrong execution. Enough of that, just look at the ST PAUL and say, Bravo Zulu. Fullbore.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Nigel's Uncomfortable Truth

I cannot add more but; huzzah, huzzah, huzzah!

Funny day #OWS picked, 17 NOV ...

There are no accidents in politics. Especially on the far left.
Are the protests on November 17 going to ratchet up the civil disobedience to show that eviction hasn’t weakened protesters’ resolve, or an opportunity to demonstrate a broad post-encampment solidarity across the country? Depends on who you ask.

The national day of action was planned before Mayor Bloomberg initiated a late-night clearance of Zuccotti Park, but the confrontation has rewritten the script for the national day of Occupy protests scheduled for November 17, or #N17 as it’s known on Twitter. Organized labor, progressive activist groups like MoveOn are encouraging participation in local demonstrations on Thursday, but their focus, and the militancy of their tactics, vary widely.

Here in New York, the day will be a combination of envelope-pushing direct actions and mass demonstrations.

"It's an opportunity to come out and for people to demonstrate their support for an economic justice movement in whatever way they feel comfortable," Han Shan, an organizer with Occupy Wall Street, said of the plans to mark the two-month anniversary of the protests.
17 NOV sound familiar? It should.
“Mr. Welch?” a man asked in Greek.

The CIA station chief opened the car door. He stood for a second and squinted at the figure in the shadows. Then came three shots from a .45-caliber pistol, one of which tore into Richard Welch’s heart.

It was the bloody birth of the November 17 terrorist group.

“He got out of the car because he thought it was a friend,” said Welch’s widow, Cristina. “I rushed to him. But he was gone.”

The masked killer and two accomplices, who blocked Welch’s car on the way home from a Christmas party the night of Dec. 23, 1975, sped away without a trace.

And that’s how it remains, a quarter of a century later.

A Quiet Revolution

There have been no arrests or firm leads during a generation of bombings, rocket attacks and shootings that have killed 22 people, including three American officials: Welch, Navy Capt. George Tsantes in 1983 and defense attache Capt. William Nordeen in 1988.
Who were "17 November?"
Revolutionary Organization 17 November - a Marxist-Leninist terrorist organization in Greece that is violently opposed to imperialism and capitalism and NATO and the United States; an active terrorist group during the 1980s.

Smells the same. Hopefully these people are too disorganized to start killing down the road ... but at least we have been warned who they aspire to be if they do.

Hat tip Larry.

Diversity Thursday

So Chief .... busy on deployment? Feel like a warfighter in pursuit of life, liberty, and all that threaten it?

What? No? Bad collateral duty? Are you a meat-gazer? No? What?

There is something worse? Oh, Shipmate. I'm so sorry.
-----Original Message-----
From: [redacted], James M. AEC
Sent: Friday, October 07, 2011 4:41 PM
To: CVN-72 Chief's Mess; CVN-72 Wardroom
Subject: FW: DEOMI EO/EEO/Diversity/Cross Cultural Competency News
Highlights 7 October 2011

CVN-72 Leaders,

The attached and forwarded e-mail is information and a newsletter from DEOMI concerning pertinent topics of Equal Opportunity. Recommend that all leaders have a good understanding of EO competencies and project EO in their everyday leadership roles. This is quality information for all leaders at every level and I intend to share this information with you as I receive it. Please, give the information a review and see how you can use the information in your leadership arenas. Thank you!

Very Respectfully,

James M. [redacted]
CVN-72 USS Abraham Lincoln

-----Original Message-----
[redacted], Bryan S Civ USAF AFSPC DEOMI/PA
Sent: Friday, October 07, 2011 7:57 AM
To: undisclosed-recipients
Subject: DEOMI EO/EEO/Diversity/Cross Cultural Competency News
Highlights 7 October 2011

This email is best viewed in HTML

Good morning,

As part of DEOMI's endeavor of disseminating pertinent EO, EEO, diversity, and Cross-Cultural Competency information, our library staff has developed various avenues for DEOMI faculty, staff and practitioners in the Field and Fleet to become aware of the "current issues" that affect our mission of equal opportunity and equal employment opportunity training, education, and research. One method of accomplishing this is a weekly document created by our library staff we call EO/EEO News links which capture stories concerning subject matter that our EO and EEO professionals may be interested in.

Note: For ease of navigation, the PDF file now contains internal bookmarks to all the sections and individual articles. To access the bookmarks, click on the second icon down in the vertical panel on the left side of the screen.

If you elect to share this e-mail with your peers in the field or your respective Service headquarters, the attached file can also be accessed on the main page of DEOMI's public Website at by clicking to the right of the headline that says "Click here to read Current EO/EEO News," or go directly to the link within the Website at: We are also keeping and archive of past issues of this document on this page as well.

It is our hope that the articles will help all of us capture "current issues" to share with others to ultimately become more aware of equal opportunity, equal employment opportunity, diversity and culture issues in the news. Our goal is to better educate ourselves and others to further our mission of equality and fairness for all.

Also, did you know: That you can visit DEOMI's Education & Training Programs link on our Website at:

... to enroll and take online E-learning courses anytime and anywhere? Let your friends, coworkers, family members, your child's teachers, etc. know about this great opportunity. You don't need a Common Access Card (CAC) to login and you can take the courses anywhere. This is a great opportunity to help make America a better place for everyone. DEOMI training officials have announced that another online e-Learning Course has been added to DEOMI's Learning Management System (LMS.) The "Bystander Intervention" course is the 15th course to be added to DEOMI's E-Learning Catalog. These courses are all available to anyone, anytime, anywhere.

The "Bystander Intervention" course provides information on who is a bystander, bystander responsibilities, and bystander situations. The course concludes with strategies on bystander interventions in the moment and after an event has occurred.

Other enhancements to the DEOMI E-Learning courses include: Full audio; student input survey; student demographic survey; enhanced completion certificate; and a reminder for students to update their official training records.

Currently the Learning Management System houses courses on topics such as Group Development; Communication Skills; Listening & Feedback Skills; Communicating Across Differences; Ethics; Socialization; Perceptions; Individual Diversity; Religious Diversity & Accommodation; Power & Privilege; Prejudice & Discrimination; Racism; Sexism; Sexual Harassment, and Bystander Intervention.


Bryan S.
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Readiness...Is DEOMI's Guiding Principle

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Plan Salamander Down Under

Just a quick review for you what Plan Salamander has been for over a dozen years: withdraw all maneuver forces from Asia and Europe except for what is needed at Combined Training and Logistics Bases with our most important allies.

WWII and the Cold War are over; we should act like it.

Possible compromise positions would be for a few forward deployed ships and independent, quick response Brigades.

Along those lines - I support this - and no question a lot of people will be fighting for these orders.
President Obama announced Wednesday that the United States planned to deploy 2,500 Marines in Australia to shore up alliances in Asia, but the move prompted a sharp response in Beijing, which accused Mr. Obama of escalating military tensions in the region.

The agreement with Australia amounts to the first long-term expansion of the American military’s presence in the Pacific since the end of the Vietnam War. It comes despite budget cuts facing the Pentagon and an increasingly worried reaction from Chinese leaders, who have argued that the United States is seeking to encircle China militarily and economically.
In an address to the Australian Parliament on Thursday morning, Mr. Obama said he had “made a deliberate and strategic decision — as a Pacific nation, the United States will play a larger and long-term role in shaping this region and its future.”

The president said the moves were not intended to isolate China, but were an unmistakable sign that the United States had grown more wary of its intentions.
Some analysts in China and elsewhere say they fear the moves could backfire, risking a cold war-style standoff with China.

“I don’t think they’re going to be very happy,” said Mark Valencia, a Hawaii-based senior researcher at the National Bureau of Asian Affairs, who said the new policy was months in the making. “I’m not optimistic in the long run as to how this is going to wind up.”

The president is to fly north across the continent to Darwin, a frontier port and military outpost across the Timor Sea from Indonesia, which will be the center of operations for the coming deployment. The first 200 to 250 Marines will arrive next year, with forces rotating in and out and eventually building up to 2,500, the two leaders said.
Nice move Mr. President.

If nothing else; America gets to bring home more Australian wives. They're good, and love American men.

Put up or Shut up

I know you have a few shekels in you pocket - THIS is worth a few of them.
... we’re announcing a donation opportunity for our members and supporters – and we need your help! A collection of rare books on 19th century Afghanistan, primarily written by British military officers, has recently become available on the antiquarian book market. The Navy Department Library is interested in acquiring these volumes, but lacks the funds to do so. The library will digitize the books in HTML (textual) format, prominently post them on the Naval History and Heritage Command’s website, and house the volumes in the Rare Book Room. The library has previously posted similar items from its collection, such as “A Journal of the Disasters in Afghanistan, 1841-2” and “The Afghan Wars 1839-42 and 1878-80,” and their content has been used in briefings to Navy leadership. The volumes ... cost $9,800, and two generous donors have offered $1500 in seed money to assist in the purchase of this collection. We ask that you consider a tax deductible gift to this worthy project through our online GiveDirect interface, which is linked below. Acknowledgement letters will be sent in time for your 2011 tax preparations!