Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Oh, and about USNI ...

If you are a member - don't forget to vote. Details and suggestions here.

If you aren't a member - shame on you. Sign up.

Listening to PONCE ...

What are the latest plans for the USS PONCE (LPD-15) trying to tell us?

I'm pondering over at USNIBlog. Come visit.

Are those tandem-4s on that Victor III?

Raise your hand if you might have tracked either of these .....
The Transshelf semi-submersible open dock vessel has delivered two decommissioned Victor III class nuclear submarines from a Russian Pacific Fleet base in Kamchatka to the Zvezda shipyard in the town of Bolshoi Kamen in Russia’s Far East for scrapping.

Monday, January 30, 2012

You did check the bridge clearance, right?

Rocket parts: check.
Fishing plans: check.
DVR programmed: check.
Hmmmm .... what else ...

Full story here.

Before everyone laughs about tricky rivers ... all those who remember Naval Base Charleston raise your hand!

Thoughts Shared Only in Private

Time for a guest post on a topic that can set people on edge ... but this is the blogosphere; so there you go.

As the front porch will know once our guest's post starts - his opinion is almost the opposite of mine in many aspects. That's OK, the MIDN below holds an opinion that many do - many good men do.

I don't agree with a lot of what he says - but I think his opinion should be put out there if for no other reason than this; leaders need to know that a lot of men in the military think this way. This doesn't make them bad, evil, or not worthy to serve. It just is - and the time to think about how to work with people like this isn't when you find it in the Fleet. Ponder now so you can lead them tomorrow.

My recommendation to this young man and others like him is to allocate more time for PT. Naval Special Warfare is one of the few places he will be able to serve in the near future without women. That and USMC infantry.

For those who think this man should suck it up or go home - I say you are wrong. We need men who think like the below - we just to make sure we find the right specialty to meet their personality type.

Midshipman, the floor is yours.

I don’t like following women. There – I said it.

The thing is, yeah, I joined the military to serve my country, and I know that she did, too. But really, I joined the military because I had to, to, you know, to prove that I’m a man. To become a man, really. I saw the pictures of the Marines in their dress blues, with their broad shoulders and severe faces. I saw them running over obstacles, firing guns, sweating, bleeding, faces contorted with effort and sweet agony. Proving themselves. And I wanted to be them. Not to serve my country, but to be a freaking badass.

How can she teach me that? She doesn’t know the first thing about being a man. I run faster than her; I do more pull-ups. True, she’s very professional (that seems to be the buzz-word these days, as if we operated in some sort of business), but she isn’t a man. I know she can do everything the same: she’s just as smart as a man, she loves her country just as much as a man, and we all know that running speed and physical strength aren’t really limiting factors for most jobs. But it’s still there. That thing that women can’t understand about being a man. Part of being a man is that wolf-pack mentality. I don’t want someone who’s merely smart and capable. I want that alpha-wolf who leads the pack through sheer physicality and masculinity. Of course ideally he would be smart, patient, just, kind, and so forth. But any leader, male or female, needs to be better than their subordinates. It’s why they’re called superiors. But if a woman is better than me, I can’t be a man. I can follow her, but I feel like my nuts have been chopped off. I feel like a cowed dog; like one of those little chihuahuas that upscale girls carry in their purse. What we forget is that those little pipsqueaks are the descendants of wolves. They were once vicious hunters that struck fear into the hearts of their prey, now reduced to dickless, domesticated freaks.

The military says I have to follow my leader, no matter what gender they are. And I will, and I’ll do my job, either way. Of course I will; I’ll keep my word to my country. But why is it so wrong for me to want someone who I can look up to? Why can’t I just follow a man, and feel like a wolf instead of a Chihuahua? Is this really just “my problem”?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

An EMP Echo .... on Midrats

In the last year, our listenership has roughly doubled. As a result, many have missed some of our more interesting shows.

This week, as your hosts take care of some things in the other part of our lives, let's revisit Halloween of 2010.

When you mention the possibility of an Electro Magnetic Pulse attack (EMP) - people have a reaction of, "What?" - either that or they get all fidgety or roll their eyes. Is the EMP threat trick or treat?

We will discuss the issue from 5-6pm today, Sunday 29 JAN with our guests Jason Sigger, defense policy analyst, opinion writer and blogg'r for the first half of the hour. For the second half of the hour, James Carafano, Ph.D., Deputy Director, The Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies and Director, Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation.

Join us live if you can - even though its a best of, I'll open the chat room where you can contribute your thoughts and observations.
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

More Broadside here.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Saturday Music Stop

Chap - what do you think; The Pains of Being Pure of Heart is simply The Jesus & Mary Chain meets The Psychedelic Furs?

Well, we got there eventually....

Based on this - good googly moogly guv'munt moves slow.
The Deseret Chemical Depot in Utah once contained 44 percent of the nation's supply of chemical agents. The depot didn't just hold obsolete U.S. weapons. A supply of nerve agent seized from Nazi Germany at the end of World War II was destroyed only months ago.
Yes, Nazi nerve gas only NOW destroyed.

Hat tip Hans de Vreij.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Potemkin LCS Deployment ... again

The "early deployment" of LCS-1 when it went through the Caribbean on the way to San Diego was bad enough - but as Lee pointed out to me in a part of the article I missed in the first scan - if you fool them once; why not again?
The first LCS, Freedom — one of only two LCSs in commission — will make a cruise later this year to Singapore, but will be fitted only with a demonstration mission module, not one of the mine-warfare or anti-submarine warfare modules the Navy urgently needs the ships to carry out.
Gundecking like a boss.

Speaking of boss .... looks like LCS has some continuity problems in the new year as well.

The gift that keeps on giving.

Economic Facts - Can't Spin These

I do this just enough to irritate some of you - but it is my blog and I can tap in to my academic background now and then if I want - so there.

Drudge has this at the lead this AM, but there is more than the 1.5% that you need to focus on.

Facts and numbers are important, they are critical to cut through all the smoke, dazzle, and white noise of a political season.

Here is the executive summary you need to let soak in. Via the governments Bureau of Economic Analysis:
2011 GDP

Real GDP increased 1.7 percent in 2011 (that is, from the 2010 annual level to the 2011 annual level), compared with an increase of 3.0 percent in 2010.

The increase in real GDP in 2011 primarily reflected
positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE), exports, and nonresidential fixed investment that were partly offset by negative contributions from state and local government spending, private inventory investment, and federal government spending. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased.

The deceleration in real GDP in 2011 primarily reflected
downturns in private inventory investment and in federal government spending and a deceleration in exports that were partly offset by a deceleration in imports and an acceleration in nonresidential fixed investment.

The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 2.5 percent in 2011, compared with an increase of 1.5 percent in 2010.

Current-dollar GDP increased 3.9 percent, or $561.2 billion, in 2011, compared with an increase of 4.2 percent, or $587.5 billion, in 2010.

During 2011 (that is, measured from the fourth quarter of 2010 to the fourth quarter of 2011), real GDP increased 1.6 percent. Real GDP increased 3.1 percent during 2010. The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 2.5 percent during 2011, compared with an increase of 1.4 percent during 2010.
Real GDP growth is contracting. Cost of goods is increasing. Imports are increasing greater than exports. People are spending more, but out of savings.

Frankly, I expected better. In macro - we need to watch 2012 close. To let politics sneak in - this plays in to Romney's strengths. This is a gift if he is willing and able to use it.

Fullbore Friday

Yep'r. Today's FbF is a ponder'n one. A "how it should be done" FbF about Fullbore leaders who did it right - and a reminder of what is doing it wrong.

Via Ian Jack;
Chivalry at sea became an essential British ideal, and proof of the superiority of Anglo-Saxons (a category that included North Americans and most northern Europeans) over more panicky peoples from the south and east. The annals of old shipwrecks are filled with implications of their alleged poor behaviour. "I saw a lot of Latin people all along the ship's rails," recalled the Titanic's fifth officer, Harold Lowe. "They were glaring more or less like wild beasts, ready to spring." No Birkenhead drill for him: Lowe was sitting in a lifeboat at the time, being lowered past the still-crowded upper decks, but the awkwardness of his position as an officer leaving his passengers behind to drown seems never to have occurred to him. "Latins" weren't to be trusted in an emergency, and therefore didn't count.

The spectre now haunting Italy is that this label has stuck. "We've gone straight into the Titanic nightmare [and] Italy is once again the laughing stock of foreign newspapers," wrote a blogger, Caterina Soffici, this week. In Il Giornale, the columnist Cristiano Gatti wrote that the rest of the world would be delighted to rediscover "the same old rascally Italians: those unreliable cowards who turn and run in war and flee like rabbits from the ship, even if they are in command". But are either of these statements really true? People who know about ships and seafaring in Britain take pity on Schettino, rather than laugh at him. They puzzle over the course he took that led to the collision with the reef, they wonder how many people were on the bridge with him at the time, and why nobody raised a warning. Perhaps they snigger a little at his account of tripping and falling into a lifeboat ("How odd that his first officer seems to have done the same thing"), but on the whole they understand the torrent of guilt and self-recrimination that must threaten to overwhelm him, first for losing a ship and so many lives and, second, for his subsequent behaviour. None, at least of those I talked to, went as far as Professor Craig Allen of the US Coastguard Academy and accused him of "abject cowardice".

But his transgression is enormous. The rule that a captain must be the last man (or woman) to leave a ship in difficulties is never written down, but everywhere understood. In the words of a former P&O captain: "At sea, you have a great sense of responsibility for the people who are beneath you – it's moral as well as legal. You need to stay as long as anyone else remains."

In this altruistic sense, the mystique of captaincy has survived into its third century. Sentiment, if not always practicality, will ensure it continues. For who can resist the gallantry of David Hart Dyke staying aboard the tilting hull of HMS Coventry, or Noel Coward and what remains of his crew clinging to their life-raft in In Which We Serve, and Coward commanding, as his destroyer finally goes down: "Three cheers for the ship!"
The lessons of 3.5 yrs ago - and still apply today; as do those decades before.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Freedom's Proxy

The Press Freedom Index is out. Not a perfect proxy for freedom and the ideals of The Enlightenment, but close.

It is a very good snapshot of the condition of most of the people on our little planet. They do not even come close to the freedom we enjoy here - freedom to create your "creative friction" as you wish.

The sad part is that if you had a "Freedom of Speech Index," the areas of green would be even smaller - as our friends in Canada, where you can go on trail for speaking the "wrong thoughts" ISYN - and much of Europe would move from green to yellow - and quite a few yellow to red elsewhere.

Read the report here if you have the time, and appreciate that even with all our challenges - in the USA we do have something of great value in abundance that few in the world do - freedom.

What - no riot?

I think we always knew that the cartoon riots were about a lot more than silly pictures. They were part of a general anti-West cultural Mau-Mau'ing.

Case in point - look at cartoon on the 4th part of CNN's bit on Pandaman's creator Remon Wang.

No one seems to be attacking the Chinese embassy, eh? I'll let you figure it out on your own.

Hat tip Dan.

Diversity Thursday

I had some more entertaining DivThu loaded for today - but I'll shift it to the right for next week.

This week I want to quote the Command in Chief from the State of the Union speech Tuesday night.
These achievements are a testament to the courage, selflessness, and teamwork of America’s Armed Forces. At a time when too many of our institutions have let us down, they exceed all expectations. They’re not consumed with personal ambition. They don’t obsess over their differences. They focus on the mission at hand. They work together.

When you put on that uniform, it doesn’t matter if you’re black or white; Asian or Latino; conservative or liberal; rich or poor; gay or straight. When you’re marching into battle, you look out for the person next to you, or the mission fails. When you’re in the thick of the fight, you rise or fall as one unit, serving one Nation, leaving no one behind.
Mr. President, you're right. Especially Gen-X and younger, we don't.

When we come back from the mission though, when we try to keep that bind, there is an entire army of self-serving racialists on the DoD pay roster who see as their whole job to obsess over our differences; to count or invent every white, black, Asian or Latino nose. They force sectarianism and division for their own purposes, eroding out progress to a more equal and fair nation.

They are a cancer - a cancer that is eating at exactly the good that you spoke of. If you truly believe your words - act. As of right now, your military actively discriminates on the basis of race, creed, color and national origin - all you need to do is start with the actions of the Navy's Diversity Bullies and go from there.

It is just the tip of the iceberg.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sic Semper Pirata

... as it should be done. BZ and many happy returns.
U.S. Special Forces troops flew into Somalia on a nighttime helicopter raid early Wednesday, freed an American and a Danish hostage and killed nine of the kidnappers ... Ahmed Hashi said two helicopters attacked at about 2 a.m. about 20 kilometers (12 miles) north of the Somali town of Adado where the hostages were being held. ... The Danish Refugee Council confirmed that the two aid workers, American Jessica Buchanan and Dane Poul Hagen Thisted, were freed and "are on their way to be reunited with their families."
Oh, there are some helo pilots out there who are quite green today. What a great mission to be on.
UPDATE: ... and yes, yes, yes to all you nit-pic'rs out there - these were not technically "pirates." That ain't the point. Geezzzzz ....

Hat tip Katharine Houreld via EagleOne.

Retro Wednesday: Cold War Edition

We haven't done a combo Retro Wednesday and RECCE quiz in awhile. This one will be fun.

See the below, and then see if you can guess what you are looking at before you read the text below it.

I remember that thing as a young MIDN when I first read about it. Just a grainy pic and a little hyperbole - a lot of things about tremendous speed and quick strike ability in the littorals or some such transformationalism ....

Yes my friends, its the Caspian Sea Monster; the Ekranoplan - more great pics here.

Note the background - it reminds me of my trip to Russia a couple of years ago - the smell of imperial decay is thick. Heck - how many old Soviet Republics have I been in - four? They all have "that" look.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Why not everything by 5%?

Of course - I know the answer. The defense budget is easy to get to and is just a happy bucket of money.

Have them pay more than they need for each unit of energy while we cut their budget (result is even less energy which means less deployments, training, etc ... use it as a slush fund while you ignore the whole problem hoping the crisis and hard choices will happen on someone else's watch down the road ....

From the State of the Union speech tonight;
And I’m proud to announce that the Department of Defense, the world’s largest consumer of energy, will make one of the largest commitments to clean energy in history – with the Navy purchasing enough capacity to power a quarter of a million homes a year.
Take the money we’re no longer spending at war, use half of it to pay down our debt, and use the rest to do some nation-building right here at home.
... and now;
The U.S. defense budget to be proposed next month by President Barack Obama will cut military spending five percent to $525 million, Pentagon officials said Jan. 24.

The fiscal 2013 budget proposal will show the first decline since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, in the base Pentagon budget, which excludes operations in conflicts such as Iraq and Afghanistan. Those “overseas contingency operations” amounted to $118 billion in the current fiscal year in addition to the main Pentagon operations.
The budget is set to be unveiled as President Barack Obama moves to create a leaner U.S. military focused on countering China’s rising power while signaling a shift away from large ground wars against insurgents.

The administration is preparing for $487 billion in defense cuts over the next 10 years. But the reduction could be as high as $600 billion if automatic cuts are imposed under a budget deal between the White House and Congress, which calls for certain measures to trim the deficit if no agreement is reached on other cuts.
I've seen this movie before. The budget cuts - real budget cuts, not baseline cuts - will come only from the military. They will claim cutting XXX,XXX government jobs - almost all will be DoD, and so on.

Sigh. Thing is, I am sure most military would be happy to take even more than a 5% cut to ensure our nation's financial security ... if everyone else does as well. It all needs to be cut - but I don't see any real seriousness.

Yep, seen this movie before. Click.

Disuniting the Kingdom

The Republic of Scotland? Commonwealth of Scotland? We may be closer than many think. As reported in The Economist here and here;
AFTER three hundred years of union, Scots are to be given the chance to vote for independence. The offer of a legally-binding referendum, probably in 2014, ...
Polls suggest that Scots are keener on more power than on outright independence. Give them three options, and the unionist vote could split, possibly producing a plurality for independence. Whatever the result of the vote, Scotland would surely end up with more powers. The SNP would have delivered something to its nationalist supporters.
A simple question also makes for straightforward campaigning. The Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties would have to explain why union is good for Scotland—something they have so far done poorly, which is one reason they are in headlong retreat north of the border. The SNP, for its part, would have to explain the problem to which independence is the solution—which they haven’t done either. And if the Scots turn down independence, they can later be asked if they want more devolution.

Mr Cameron’s question, then, is the right one. And he should have a say on the referendum’s terms. Divorces affect both partners. Scottish independence would have mighty consequences for Britain, raising questions from how to settle the two nations’ fiscal accounts to where the Royal Navy’s nuclear submarines should be parked, if not in Scotland’s deep lochs.

Canada has a sensible model for moving towards independence: its government has passed a law which sets various conditions on any future referendum on Quebec’s independence, including that the question should be a clear one. If most Scots wish to leave Britain, so be it. But it must be a clean divorce, not a long, finger-pointing row that hurts everyone.

Having spent a fair bit of time in the UK and with their military - some thoughts from a friendly outsider.

When you are in Scotland - you see a lot more Scottish flags than you do English flags in England. You see very few Union Jacks.

Scots are much more nationalistic than the English. So much so, that the last time I was there (visiting the family Clan's castle, natch) the Edinburgh paper was talking about how the "Muslim terrorist problem" was mostly and English issue as the vast majority of British Muslims were in England - and very few in Scotland. Not something you would see on the front page of the self-hating English press.

On balance - not much downside - but there is a lot of political funny stuff going on that, frankly, I will let the Scots work out.

You know me - I am a firm believer that words mean things, even more so that history means even more.

What is significant about 2014? It is the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn. Interesting.
The British government wants independent oversight of the poll and dislikes Mr Salmond’s idea of votes for 16- and 17-year-old Scots (seen as gung-ho about a split). For a heady day or so, aides to Mr Cameron talked about forcing the Scottish government to hold a referendum within 18 months, before Mr Salmond retaliated with his own date, accusing Mr Cameron of “almost Thatcheresque” conduct (a grave charge north of the border). Westminster teasing about a “neverendum” aside, Mr Salmond will probably pick the date. Everything else is up for grabs.

Mr Salmond is on soothing form. He denies “any thought” of hijacking the Bannockburn anniversary. He insists, with a straight face, that his referendum is being delayed almost three years merely to ensure it is well-organised. The SNP, he says, is considering a multi-option referendum because it cannot ignore a big section of public opinion, not because it wants a fallback if Scots reject independence.

Mr Salmond confirms that Britain’s submarine-based nuclear deterrent would have to leave its current home in the deep waters of a Scottish loch. Scotland would leave NATO but would retain an army of perhaps 8,000-12,000 men, a navy and an air force. Scottish warplanes could have served in Libya. But Scotland would have shunned the “illegal” invasion of Iraq.

An independent Scotland would be a co-operative neighbour, Mr Salmond repeatedly says. Queen Elizabeth II would remain Scotland’s monarch. He would accept a stability pact as a basis for sharing the pound with the British. Asked if he would accept binding debt and deficit rules, he ducks the question. With its oil wealth, Scotland will be a better credit risk than England, he beams.

Once voters choose independence, the Scottish government will be an easy negotiator with “few red lines”, predicts the first minister. The friendship between the Scots and English will be “re-invigorated”. But until then, no meddling in Scotland’s vote. The warning is clear. Mr Salmond faces a tough battle. He intends to pick the ground on which he fights it.
History - just when you think some things are all figured out.

As for me? Most of my blood comes from the losing end of various Scottish uprisings and clearings. Whatever the Scotts wish to do - I wish they well, they always treated me very well.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Nashville Standoff

I'm not the greatest fan of his father - but I am a fan of Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY).

This will be fun to watch.
“Senator Paul is being detained at the Nashville Airport by the TSA,” Sen. Rand Paul’s Facebook post reads. “We will update you as the situation develops.”

Sen. Rand Paul’s chief of staff Doug Stafford told The Daily Caller the Senator “was detained by the TSA after their scanner had an ‘anomaly’ on the first scan.”

“He offered to go through again,” Stafford said in an email. “The TSA said he could only have a full body pat down. He would not consent to it. He offered to go through the scanner again. The situation is ongoing.”
Senator Paul - the whole nation is watching.

BZ, the TSA needs to be humbled. They've picked on the wrong Senator, methinks.

LCS: A Global Force for Confusion

From the mouths of Malaysians ....

This whole article is full of win for a variety of reasons. First let's start with something that I really wish a USA lawmaker would say about LCS. This quote is from Malaysian lawmaker Tony Pua about their government jumping on the Bu11sh1tBingo bandwagon on their next purchase of corvettes,
“We would now like to call upon Mindef to ‘call a spade a spade’ and stop the attempt to disguise our acquisition with fancy names to justify their substantial cost,” he said in a statement today.
Amen my Malaysian brother.

We all know that LCS is just a speed-fetish's version of a large corvette. A slightly armed, sub-optimal corvette at that.
He pointed out that the LCS is a specific type of ship built to a specific length, speed and design by the US navy and no other country. He added that the US’ currently had only two such vessels in service and was building others.
Of course - no one else can afford to pay so much for a ship that provides so little. Then again, we are flush with cash that we can afford to spend $1.75 for $.90 in utility, right?

While we are at it - let's look at what they are buying.
The DAP lawmaker said he could now confirm that the government was not acquiring “littoral combat ships (LCS)” as claimed, but another class of naval vehicles called “Gowind Class Corvettes”.
... and it is ...
DCNS, through its local partner in Malaysia, Boustead Naval Shipyard (BNS), has won its first export contract for a Gowind ship. The €2.14 bn deal has been signed by BNS with the Malaysian government for six Gowind-class corvettes
The six corvettes, the first of which will be delivered in 2017, the others following at six-monthly intervals, will be armed with a 57mm gun as well as surface-to-air missiles and torpedoes. The 107-m long, 2,400-ton ships will also carry a Eurocopter EC-275 helicopter.
It is a "scalable" class of warships that, though small to medium-small, seem to pack quite a punch in the generic package.
Displacement: 1,100 to 2,500 tons
Length: 90 to 105m
Beam: 13 to 14.2m
Speed: 22 to 27kt
Armament: 16 Mica RF air to air missiles or 16 Aster 15 SAMs
8 Exocet anti-ship missiles or 8 RGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles or 8 RBS-15 Mk.3
Oh, and cost? Using today's conversion rate and a wee bit of math: €2.14bil=$2.76bil/6=$460 million each.

It would be interesting to see what comes with that price ... but what it does come with is a multipurpose/multimission patrol corvette. LCS?
All told, Stackley said, the average cost to buy an LCS should be between $430 million and $440 million.
That is without a single mission module and it does not include the cost for the first two ships of $637 million for Freedom and $704 million for Independence; so average that up a bit.

If you look at the smaller versions of the GOWIND class (with a lower cost than the Malaysian types - it makes me think of the conversation we had with Bryan McGrath yesterday on Midrats about his ideas on the utility of fast patrol boats.

If you want to be able to run away - LCS is your ship - but being that in this line of work running away isn't an option more often than not - GOWIND or LCS; which ship do you want to take in harm's way? Even more - which would you rather have - 6 GOWIND or 4 LCS?

Klaus, you get only partial credit

I know - everyone likes to harumph at the tax eaters in Davos - but this stuff matters.

Those who created this problem are starting to come to grips with it - but they are only talking around the edges. Via Breitbart;
"We have a general morality gap, we are over-leveraged, we have neglected to invest in the future, we have undermined social coherence, and we are in danger of completely losing the confidence of future generations," said Klaus Schwab, host and founder of the annual World Economic Forum.

"Solving problems in the context of outdated and crumbling models will only dig us deeper into the hole.

"We are in an era of profound change that urgently requires new ways of thinking instead of more business-as-usual," the 73-year-old said...
"The main issue would be the preoccupation with the global economy. There will be relatively less conversation about social responsibility and environment issues -- those tend to come to the fore when the economy is doing well," John Quelch, dean of the China European International Business School, told AFP.

"The main conversation will be about a deficit of leadership in Europe as a prime problem," he added.
But here is why this will take a long time to fix. Those at Davos love certain theories - and even after their theories have been beaten silly by a gang on unmerciful facts - they still can't say it right.
Economic and political elites meeting this week at the Swiss resort of Davos will be asked to urgently find ways to reform a capitalist system that has been described as "outdated and crumbling."
"...capitalism in its current form, has no place in the world around us."
Now let's back this up a bit. The crisis we are in is caused by two things.
1. Government interference in the home lending market in the USA forcing institutions to led money to those who could not pay it back. That created the toxic asset derivites and the bubble and .... you're living the rest.
2. The unsustainable, unsupportable, and unrealistic promises of the Western Welfare State.

Full stop. Capitalism had nothing to do with this. The core and driving force is big and overreaching government. It isn't captialism, unless you mean crony-capitalism, that needs changing - it is political leadership and structures.

Klaus, you helped create this mess we are in - why don't you retire and let the generation who is going to have to fix it - those Gen-X and younger - take it from here.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sunday Funnies

... and there also used to be packs ... yes packs ... of a half dozen or so not-legal-to-drive pre-teens and teens wandering down roads and woods with BB guns, 22s, 30-30s, and single shot shotguns.

People would drive down the road and .... wave.


Hat tip Paul.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Air-Sea, Strategy, & the Pacific; on Midrats

Most agree that our nation's national security focus needs to shift its weight towards the swath across the Western Pacific through the Strait of Malacca to the Northern Arabian Gulf.

We have started down the same path in response to national budget and debt problems that started a decade ago in Europe; and the defense budget here as there will take the first hit.

Are we starting in the right direction - or are we in danger of inserting in to the equasion a fundemantel error?

Our guest this Sunday, 22 JAN from 5-6pm EST for the entire hour will be returning guest and panel member, Bryan McGrath.

Bryan is the Founding Director of Delex Consulting, Studies and Analysis specializing in Defense and National Security issues, including strategy and strategic planning, executive communications, and strategic communications.

You can also find him online at Conservative Wahoo and Information Dissemination.

A retired Naval Officer, Bryan spent 21 years on active duty including a tour in command of USS Bulkeley (DDG 84), with his final duties ashore included serving as Team Lead and Primary Author of the U.S. Navy's 2007 Maritime Strategy; A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower.

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.
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, January 20, 2012

I am humbled by the honor ...

Hey, don't I get a gratuity or at least a comp on this?
Please Save the Date: Feb. 7, 2012

On Tuesday, Feb. 7, Gibbs Technologies will unveil Phibian – one of the largest and fastest amphibians ever built – at an event preceding the annual American Society of Naval Engineers conference. Phibian is a high-speed amphibian (HSA) with humanitarian and military capabilities. It can travel on land at speeds in excess of 50 mph and more than 40 mph on water.

Please join us at 1 p.m. (13:00) for a special presentation at the Columbia Island Marina in Washington, D.C. At the event you’ll have an opportunity to ride in Phibian and experience HSA technology for yourself.

Look for additional details soon. To reserve a spot, or if you have questions, please contact MSL Detroit in care of Katie Barnes (katie.barnes@mslgroup.com) or Stephanie Lowet (s_lowet@verizon.net).
Hat tip Maggie.

Fullbore Friday

Naval History Magazine has an article (membership required) out in the latest edition about the WWI Battlecruiser HMS Invincible. It reminded me of a FbF I did back in 2007 on the WWI Battle of the Falkland Islands. Let's revisit.
Time for Part 2 ... of 3 of the story of Admiral Graf Maximilian von Spee' glorious and beautiful, but doomed fleet. It is time for a classic story of revenge at sea: The Battle of the Falkland Islands, 8 December 1914. I like to pay a lot of attention to HMS Canopus. If you review Part 1, you will see how you could dismiss this old ship full of Reservists; but it that what a leader does? No, a leader finds a way to make every bit of kit count.
On November 11 1914 the battlecruisers Invincible and Inflexible under Admiral Sturdee left for the Falkland Islands. HMS Princess Royal was dispatched to the Caribbean to guard the Panama Canal. The shock of the defeat at Coronel had made the Royal Navy take decisive action to destroy Spee and the battlecruisers were the chosen means for retribution.

After his victory Spee coaled and then loitered in the Pacific whilst he decided what to do next, little did he realise that this indecision would prove fatal. Eventually he decided to enter the Atlantic and try to make it home. The squadron had passed Cape Horn by December 1 and on the following day they captured the Drummuir carrying coal. They then rested for three days at Pictou Island. Spee wanted to raid the Falkland Islands but his captains were opposed to the idea, however in the end Spee decided to go ahead anyway, another decision he was to regret.

HMS Canopus was now beached at Port Stanley, the capital of the Falklands, as guard ship. On December 7 Sturdee arrived, bringing the British warships at Port Stanley to the pre-dreadnought Canopus, the battlecruisers Invincible and Inflexible, the armoured cruisers Kent, Carnarvon and Cornwall, the light cruisers Bristol and Glasgow and the armed merchant cruiser Macedonia.

On the morning of December 8 1914 Gneisenau and Nürnberg were detached from the main squadron, which followed about fifteen miles behind, to attack the wireless station and port facilities at Port Stanley. At 0830 they sighted the wireless mast and smoke from Macedonia returning from patrol.

They didn't know that at 0750 they had been sighted by a hill top spotter which signalled Canopus which then signalled Invincible, flagship, via Glasgow. The British ships were still coaling and most ships, including the battlecruisers, would take a couple of hours to get up steam. If the Germans attacked the British ships would be stationary targets and any ship which tried to leave harbour would face the concentrated fire of the full German squadron, if they were sunk whilst leaving harbour the rest of the squadron would be trapped in port. Sturdee kept calm, ordered steam to be raised and then went and had breakfast!

0900 the Germans made out the tripod masts of capital ships. They were unsure of what theses ships were but they knew Canopus was in the area and they hoped that these were pre-dreadnoughts, which they could easily outrun.

Canopus was beached out of site of the German ships, behind hills but had set up a system for targeting using land based spotters. At 13,000 yards her forward turret fired but was well short, the massive shell splashes astonished the German ships who could see no enemy warships. The rear turret then fired using practice rounds which were already loaded for an expected practice shoot later. The blank shells ricocheted off the sea, one of them hitting the rearmost funnel of Gneisenau. The two German ships turned away. Canopus didn't fire again but she saved the British from a perilous situation.
Also a lesson on not pressing the attack and getting spooked. Probably remembering what happened when the British pushed the attack against his Squadron and were sunk for it - Admiral Graf Spee was too cautious by half, perhaps with a bit of "get-home-itis," a disease that will get you killed.
By 0945 Bristol had left harbour, followed 15 minutes later by Invincible, Inflexible, Kent, Carnarvon and Cornwall, Bristol and Macedonia stayed behind. The German squadron had a 15-20 mile lead but with over eight hours of daylight left and fine weather the battlecruisers would be in action in a couple of hours.

The German lookouts could now tell that the tripod masts belonged to battlecruisers which at c25 knots were considerably faster than the 20 knots the in need of refit German ships could manage. Spee set course to the South East in the hope of finding bad weather.

At first the British squadron stayed together but the battlecruisers were being slowed down by the other ships and so pulled ahead on their own.

At 1247 at 16,500 yards the battlecruisers opened fire, with little accuracy, taking half an hour to straddle the rear ship, Leipzig. Spee realised he was caught and turned his armoured cruisers to slow the British whilst ordering his light cruisers to try and escape. Sturdee had made contingency plans for this and Invincible, Inflexible and the trailing Carnarvon engaged the armoured cruisers whilst the rest of the force set off after the light cruisers.

The battlecruisers turned onto a parallel course to Scharnhorst and Gneisenau at 14,000 yards. The Germans had the advantage of being in the lee position of the wind, the British gunnery was badly affected by their own smoke. The German shooting was excellent but at this long range their shells did little damage to the battlecruisers. The British also scored a few hits which did more damage but they were unaware of this as the visibility prevented them from seeing these.

In an attempt to gain the lee (smoke free) position Sturdee made a sharp turn to starboard towards Spee's stern. Whilst performing this turn the British were shrouded in their own smoke and Spee took this opportunity to turn south, pulling out of firing range. It took the British another 45 minute stern chase before they could resume firing.

At 1450 the battlecruisers turned to port to bring their broadsides to bear. Spee decided that his only chance was to close the range and use his superior secondary armament but his change of course made the smoke much less of a problem for the British. Their firing became much more accurate and both German ships, but especially Scharnhorst suffered severe damage and casualties. By had received over fifty hits, three funnels were down, she was on fire and listing. The range kept falling and at 1604 Scharnhorst listed suddenly to port and by 1617 she had disappeared. As Gneisenau was still firing no rescue attempts were possible and her entire crew including Spee were lost. Invincible had received 22 hits, over half 8.2 inch, but these caused no serious damage and only one crew member was injured.

Gneisenau kept on alone, zigzagging to the south west. At 1715 she scored her last hit on Invincible before her ammunition ran out. The British stopped firing soon afterwards and the burning German ship ground to a halt, her crew opening the sea-cocks and abandoning ship, 190 crew from a total of 765 were rescued but many of these died from their wounds. Inflexible was only hit 3 times and had 1 killed and 3 injured.
The brutal facts of war at sea. There is little room for caution or pause.
Whilst the big ships were fighting the smaller cruisers were having their own battles. The German light cruisers were in the order Dresden leading followed by Nürnberg and Leipzig whilst the British were led by Glasgow with Cornwall and Kent trying to keep up with her.

At 1445 Glasgow opened fire on Leipzig, Leipzig turning to port to reply, scoring two early ships whilst Glasgow's fell short. Glasgow had to turn away, allowing Leipzig to resume her earlier course. The other German ships had not turned to help Leipzig but had carried on their escape attempt.

Glasgow fired on Leipzig again, but this time the other German cruisers changed course, Dresden to the South West and Nürnberg to the South East. Glasgow's ploy of forcing Leipzig to turn and fire succeeded in slowing her so that at 1617 Cornwall had her in range, Kent setting off after Nürnberg.

Leipzig's firing was good but she didn't hit Glasgow and her shells didn't do much damage to Cornwall. By 1900 Leipzig's mainmast and two funnels were down and she was on fire. When her ammunition was exhausted she made an unsuccessful torpedo attack on Cornwall and then her crew prepared to abandon ship.

Glasgow closed the range to finish her off as her flag was still flying, stopping when two green flares were fired by the crippled German cruiser. At 2120 she rolled over and sank leaving eighteen survivors.

Cornwall had received eighteen hits but no casualties. Glasgow had received no damage after the two early hits which killed one and four wounded. Her boilers were damaged which reduced her speed enough for there to be no chance of catching Dresden which escaped.

Nürnberg had a 10 mile led on Kent and was, on paper, faster, but Nürnberg needed an engine overhaul and Kent's crew worked so hard that the old cruiser exceeded her designed horsepower, reaching 25 knots, being forced to burn all available wood on board and causing the whole ship to vibrate violently.

By 1700 the range was down to 12,000 yards and Nürnberg opened fire with the by now expected superb accuracy. When Kent returned fire ten minutes later her shells fell short. Once the range had fallen to 7,000 yards both sides started to score regular hits and Nürnberg gave up her escape attempt and turned to bring her broadside to action.

By 1730 the range was down to 3,000 yards and Kent's heavier shells and thicker armour gave her the upper hand. An hour later, just as bad weather arrived which may have saved her, two of Nürnberg's boilers exploded, reducing her speed. Kent was now able to easily outmanoeuvre her opponent and within half an hour Nürnberg was dead in the water, at 1926 she rolled over to starboard and sank with only twelve survivors.
Kent had received thirty eight hits but only sixteen casualties.

Whilst these battles had gone on Bristol and Macedonia had sunk Spee's colliers Baden and Santa Isabel, the other collier, Seydlitz escaped, eventually being interned in Argentina.
Even in victory, you will be second guessed by those who don't know; they just don't know but their petty concerns.
Sturdee searched for the Dresden before returning to the UK with the battlecruisers. There was some criticism (mainly from the 1st Sea Lord Fisher) of him for letting Dresden escape and for the heavy ammunition expenditure of his battlecruisers (Invincible 513 12 inch rounds, Inflexible 661 12 inch rounds fired) but generally his clear victory was welcomed. He had destroyed Spee's squadron without any serious damage to any of his ships and their shooting (c.6.5%) was considerably better than was managed by British (and German) battlecruisers at Dogger Bank and Jutland.
Ah, the SMS Dresden. That will be Part 3, with a twist. See you there in March.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Diversity Thursday

This will continue to spread and spread until good people stand athwart its progress and yell, "Stop."

This should be one of these lines.
From: [redacted]@gmail.com [mailto:[redacted]@gmail.com] On Behalf Of Nikki Dell'Ara
Sent: Monday, January 16, 2012 11:14 AM
To: SDCBA Business & Corporate Law Section
Subject: [sdcbabusiness] Fwd: Diversity/Veterans Bar Association Event on January 19th

SDCBA Community Message Sent by: Nikki Dell'ara. To reply privately to Nikki Dell'ara, Click Here

Dear Members,

We are pleased to co-sponsor the following program:

They're Back! Now What?: Diversity and Inclusion of Veterans in the Legal Profession

Ted Gizweski, Senior Counsel at Microsoft and former Marine will provide insights and discussion of current events of veterans returning from active/reserve duty overseas; discuss the basis of veterans as "diverse" members of the legal profession (including the diversity of veterans as ethnic, disabled, and LGBT) and the elimination of bias against veterans; discuss the laws that relate to veteran hiring, employment, and reserve commitments; discuss the benefit of hiring veterans into the legal profession; and provide recommendations for the legal community to increase hiring of veterans and/or the pipeline for veterans in the legal community.

Time: 5:30-7:30 p.m.

San Diego County Bar Association
Bar Center
1333 7th Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101

Veterans Bar Association; the Ethnic Relations & Diversity Committee of the SDCBA; the Business & Corporate Law Section

EOB CLE Credit cost $15

For registration is open at: https://www.sdcba.org/index.cfm?pg=events&evAction=showDetail&eid=6437&evSubAction=listMonth&calmonth=201201

Thank you,

Nikki Dell'Ara & Tristan Higgins
Co-Chairs, Business & Corporate Law Section
I don't know what is worse here:

... insights and discussion of current events of veterans returning from active/reserve duty overseas
That everyone that comes back from deployment is returning - WWII draftee style - to the civilian market? No. Having done this in the last three years, I know the drill; but this just builds on the already high and thick wall of ignorance about what being a veteran is. This archiac understanding is unhelpful.

... discuss the basis of veterans as "diverse" members of the legal profession (including the diversity of veterans as ethnic, disabled, and LGBT)
OK, what are we talking about here? At first glance, it seems that they want to just add having a DD214 as another "Diversity" check in the block. No thank you.

At second glance, it looks more like they are looking for a twofer, almost as if someone with a DD214 is even better if they can help you fill another box to justify your job. We also need to define "disabled." Defined by who, VA? What percentage? If you say 50% VA rating - you know you just covered someone with hemorrhoids, flat feet, tinnitus, and a trick knee. Is that a pile of goo you really want to wade in to? No - so lets give that a pass. LGBT - you are going to ask someone that? So, what if you are a heteronormative, male, caucasian with a DD214, or you less desirable?

...elimination of bias against veterans...
That does exist. I'll discuss my experience over beers with you some time.

Sponsors: Veterans Bar Association; the Ethnic Relations & Diversity Committee of the SDCBA; the Business & Corporate Law Section
Please tell me that the VBA is going to run as fast as possible away from the Diversity Bullies. If not, they are pathetic and worthy of nothing but scorn.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

West Coast Seabees .... a good day

BZ Shipmates!

How Many Elevation Clicks on That G3, URR?

Caption Contest!

FILE - In this Friday, Dec. 30, 2011 file photo, a member of the Iranian military takes position in a drill on the shore of the sea of Oman, on Friday, Dec. 30, 2011. For leaders on the Iranian side of the Gulf, the past days have offered some hard lessons in the politics of oil. Iran has watched as the leader of its most influential ally, China, began a tour of Gulf Arab states and other Asian envoys held talks with oil-rich Gulf rulers, who have shown growing confidence to stand up against rival Iran and use tougher tactics to try to gain the upper hand in their standoffs with the Islamic Republic. (AP Photo/YJC, Mohammad Ali Marizad, File)

Ahhh, yes. The Protesting Youth

I think I am going to have some pics to ponder today.

As you may see on the right, I am listening to 1968: The Year That Rocked the World. How is the communist youth movement doing?

Protesters take part in a rally organized by the PAME Communist-affiliated union as a Greek flag is seen on a department store advertising banner in Athens, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012. Strikes and demonstrations over austerity measures hit the Greek capital of Athens on Tuesday, as international debt inspectors returned to resume their scrutiny of the country's reforms. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
Yep - what is that? Three baby boomers and one older-cohort Gen-X type?

Snort. Ha, ha Greek commie b@st@rds; we still won the Cold War you bloodless, mass murdering useful idiots.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What is "Yellow Stain" in Italian?

Captain Francesco Schettino - I think we need a leadership award named after him. Via CBS;
The newspaper Corriere della Sera has posted online what it states is an audio recording and transcript of phone communications early Saturday morning between Schettino and the Coast Guard commander at the port of Livorno, who is heard pleading with the captain to return to his ship until all aboard had been safely evacuated.
Coast Guard: "Listen Schettino, there are people trapped on board. Now you need to go on your life boat, under the bow of the ship on the side. There is a ladder. You need to climb up the ladder and board the ship. Get on board and report to me how many people there are. Is that clear?. . . . "

Schettino: "At this moment the ship is tilted."

Coast Guard: "I understand. Listen, there are people who are coming down the ladder on the bow. Go back in the opposite direction, get back on the ship, and tell me how many people there are and what they have on board. . . . Tell me if there are children, women and what type of help they need. And you tell me the number of each of these categories. Is that clear? . . . Listen Schettino, perhaps you have saved yourself from the sea but I will make you look very bad. I will make you pay for this. Dammit, go back on board!"

Schettino: "Please . . . "

Coast Guard: "There is no please about it. Go back on board. Assure me you are going back on board!"

Schettino: "I am in the life boat, under the ship, I haven't gone anywhere, I'm here."

Coast Guard: "What are you doing?"

Schettino: "I am coordinating . . . "

Coast Guard: "What are you coordinating there? Go on board! Coordinate the rescue from on board! Are you refusing?"

Schettino: "No, I am not refusing."

Coast Guard: "Tell me the reason why you are not going back on board."

Schettino: "There is another life boat ... "

Coast Guard: "You go back on board! That is an order! There is nothing else for you to consider. You have sounded the 'abandon ship.' Now I am giving the orders. Go back on board. Is that clear? Don't you hear me?"

Schettino: "I am going on board."

Coast Guard: "Go! Call me immediately when you are on board. My rescue people are in front of the bow."
The Coast Guard said Schettino defied their entreaties to return to his ship as the chaotic evacuation of some 4,200 people was in progress.
Corriere della Sera also reports that the crew mutinied, ordering passengers into lifeboats before the captain issued an abandon ship order.
You can hear the audio here. If memory serves me right, a Captain who abandons a shipwreck in this manner in Italy can be sentenced to 12 years or more in jail; as it should be.

Admiral Canute Sits Upon His Chair

I knew it would take time. We are, well others are, a polite bunch. We don't want to make our predecessors look bad. We don't want them to lose face.

On balance, we like for there to be a little time to pass before we start to back away from the really bad things that previous leaders said and did - things that were wrong on its face, though no one could say so.

In that light, I am glad to hear this from David Axe in The Diplomat;
With looming defense cuts of at least $450 billion over 10 years, the U.S. military is reconsidering long-standing modernization schemes. For the U.S. Navy, that means potentially abandoning a six-year-old plan that envisioned growing today’s fleet of 285 major warships to at least 313 ships.

But Navy leaders claimed the reduction will not degrade the sailing branch’s ability to influence world events and deter rivals. At roughly 3 million tons displacement combined, today’s Navy is by far the largest in the world, exceeding the tonnage of the next dozen navies, combined. The Navy maintains around 2/3 of its forces in the Pacific and Indian Ocean regions.

Adm. Mark Ferguson, the Navy’s second-ranking officer, signaled a possible shift away from the 313-ship plan in a recent speech. He said a new shipbuilding plan could take three years to finalize.
No one has thought the 313 was doable for years; one of the reasons Admiral Roughead in his last few years had so little credibility on The Hill.

This is good. Let us be adults and talk plainly among ourselves as adults.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Potomac Flotilla PPT Pom-Pom

Do you hear it? Sometimes it is as a whisper; sometimes as through clenched teeth; and sometimes as a warning.

Every professional should somewhere in their nogg'n have Rear Admiral Meyer’s philosophy on memory speed dial; and short little mental audio file of;

Build a Little, Test a Little, Learn a Lot
The Meyer school, like those that developed the cruisers and naval missiles before him, are from one school. That progressive, optimistic, but engineering minded caution which has a great track record.

To truly advance, which they did, that school needed to interact with the type of person perhaps best described as a "futurist"; people who have quick and agile minds; those who try to think 3-4 steps ahead. You know the type. The two types work great together either as a group, or in the best of cases, in the mind of a single person. It works well as long as the Meyer school gets 51% of the vote. When out of balance, sub-optimization happens.

The futurists live in a world of ideas; constantly flowing ideas. They bounce from the possible, to the improbable, to the impossible often in the same paragraph. They don't want to be bothered with the green eye-shade types and their "Cult of the No." They are aggravated by what they see as the obstructionists inertia of the establishmentarian "new-is-different-different-is-scary-scary-is-bad" trolls at the end of the conference table. Those types raise the futurists' blood pressure, elevate an octave of their voice, and most infuriatingly - slow down the inevitable dialectics of technological progress; as the futurists see it.

Futurists are needed, but with too much power and a lack of strong pragmatists to counter them, they soon start to wander from the probable, to the possible in a parallel universe, to the disaster of tomorrow's reality. There is a reason H.G. Wells and Robert A. Heinlein were never given a major decision making position in real institutions doing real things; outside perhaps of Heinlein's worker bee engineering work in WWII.

When a futurist's idea gains an advocate who bets the balance of a professional reputation blended with a healthy bit of ego, you can have problems as truth changes and the laws of physics and math remain.

That is where Undersecretary of the Navy Work comes in to this post. If you were following DoDBuzz's twitter feed last week, there were a couple of interesting tweets about Work's comments at the Surface Navy Association's 24th National Symposium.
Work, in funny high voice, mocked hand-wringing over numbers of ships in fleet: "Is it 313? Is it 310?" Doesn't matter, he sez. Cont (1/2)
(2/2) Work says look at capabilities of ships, new systems such as BAMS, NIFC-CA, global placement. That means ship numbers matter less
I would feel better if he were, with a wave of the hand, dismissing concerns of shrinking numbers based upon gains in effeciencey through known, and demonstrated technology - not modeled, presumed, simulated, vignette'd, believed, felt, thought, or hoped.

Known. BAMS, NIFC-CA, global placement, and LCS are all in the believed, felt, thought, or hoped category right now.

Meanwhile, even our shrinking global committments are taking a toll on our present Fleet in both personnel and material condition. Numbers matter - real numbers - when faced with real requirements.

Look at the condition of our ships and manpower needs. If we cannot get the numbers and capabilities we need inside the budget - then as a Navy we need to cut back on our operations and make sure the national command authority knows we can't do X, Y, & Z. The worst thing we can do is say that there is no need to worry, with my bag of pixie dust, 1+1=3 and all is well.

Let's talk about Work's solutions:
1. Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS): That this the UAS companion to the P-8A. Thank goodness it is built on the Global Hawk platform, so the technology risk is minimum. How it will actually contribute is still only PPT thick. It will augment some of P-8A's lower-end mission areas, that we know. It is just an UAS - and evolutionary UAS at that - and will take all the knows quirks and requirements of UAS with it. That is all. As for ships - it will only help on the margins in some mission areas. Its manpower footprint is not small either. In any analysis, it is a wash given a shrinking fleet.

2. Navy Integrated Fire Control - Counter Air (NIFC-CA): Again, nice system but is just another technical evolution - one that is a bit more than PPT thick - but in the operations we are and will be doing will only impact shrinking numbers on the margins.

3. Global Placement: OK, I'll bite. Is this a new way of saying "Forward Deployed Naval Forces?" DDG to Rota for BMD or LCS to Singapore to .... go to Singapore? Stationing ships overseas. OK, that has been a practice of navies for a few thousand years, but sure - use it if you need to.

4. LCS: Ahhhh yes - LCS the gift that keeps on giving. A short legged, overpriced, undermanned, exquisite bit of Tiffany, heavy, uni-mission, incomplete corvette. Hey, you've all heard my assaults on LCS, let's let someone else speak about it for a moment.
Navy surface requirements boss RADM Rowden says Navy must, must, must get LCS right, as it's make-or-break for surface force.
Thank you RADM Rowden. You are right. We have no idea if we have LCS right - even if Work and others continue to tell us of its wonderful ability to ride rainbows and skittles flow out of its exhaust ports. We are planning based on hope. What is our Branch Plan if our Planning Assumption (getting LCS right) is shown not to be valid? Ahem.

Too bad we don't know if we got it right - we are betting the farm on it. A ship based on a buzz-word, distorted from its original concept founded on an archaic concept, foisted upon a Navy by false vignettes three strategies ago. Even our friends and allies don't want it. It used to be that our "low end" ships were so well designed that in addition to buying USA made ones - our allies built their own versions (see KNOX and OHP). (BTW, we discussed the LCS silliness a bit on Midrats with Bob Killebrew on Sunday.)

Throwing acronyms at a problem is not solving it or addressing concerns it brings; neither does waiving away critics.

Remember at West2011 last year? I am glad that Work mentioned John Patch's article - even if he was dismissive and slightly insulting. No biggie there - I can be dismissive and slightly insulting myself - but it fits a pattern. That is also when we heard him yell that,
"We don't need more frigates, if we need more we can use our allies."
From capabilities to caveats, I think our experience from HOA to the Gulf of Sidra should have reminded everyone, again, the utility of having your own multi-use frigates under your own command.

Again, numbers matter. Look at our deployment stats the last few years. Look at the BATAAN ARG if nothing else.

In the end though, Undersecretary Work is an exceptionally talented patriot and in the short time I have spent across the table from him last year, he seems like someone who would be fun to buy a few pints of Boddingtons with.

Phil calls him a "happy warrior." I think that is fair, and his position is one part of the creative friction that will be needed to get the Navy this nation will need. I don't have the solution (though I would love for Plan Salamander to be run years ago when I first proposed it - what was that - at least 5 years ago) - but neither does he. The answer is somewhere in between.

That being said, I think he is wrong in the way many futurists get lost without the leavening of a good the pragmatist by their side. He sees the problems in front of us, but as solutions to the problems only offers PPT programs, best case scenario outcomes with no backups, and solutions to even partially fix problems identified over a decade ago with what we have now. "Now is bad; and tomorrow will have to sacrifice and accept risk for the perfect next year."
The answer, you see, is always in the out years.
Work admitted that he might be accused of “talking nirvana,” and he acknowledged to reporters afterward that part of Washington’s emphasis on Navy fleet numbers was because of the Navy itself. Two consecutive chiefs of naval operations spent years selling 313 as at least the minimum number of warships the Navy must have, but as we saw Wednesday from Senator Susan Collins, even the Navy’s own projections aren’t very optimistic about that.

Work said he thought the Navy should begin trying to tell Congress a broader story about the Navy as “a total integrated battle force,” as opposed to just a simple number of ships, but he and other top Navy leaders this week did not concede the service should change its official requirements.
Ummmm .... many, including your humble host, have been saying "balderdash" to 313 since it came out - and we were right. Math is funny like that - you can't spin it away once you start paying welders. No one who is serious has accepted 313 as doable for years, much less in the last three years.

As for the Navy being "a total integrated battle force" - what is the news with that again? Is not water wet? Yes, I know he is going down the network-centric hobby horse way; but again that example is a self-parody. Water one day will be wetter they say; one day.

"Ignore Meyer, your sensors, your instruments, and their reactionary data. The answer to your problems is over the horizon - go faster, you'll get there - ignore the shoal water you are in and the fact we were warned about it two watches ago, and your ears that hear the scraping against the hull - go faster to the future, I can feel it's just over the horizon."