Saturday, August 31, 2013

LCS: Nose Jobs for All My Friends

Remember the silliness of the USS MISS PIGGY (LCS-2) - well, it looks like we have another iteration with USS CORONADO (LCS-4) that is much better.

Surgery scars are still there, but better.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Syria's Battle of the Cloverleafs

If you have not seen the map yet, the below is what the White House put out earlier today describing those areas claimed to be targets of chemical weapons.

The parts that interested me though were those areas held by Assad's forces, those of the opposition, and those which are considered contested. Here is your, "What."

As usual, one of my first thoughts was, "This map is inadequate." So, I went - as I encourage everyone to do as well - to googlemaps. GoogleEarth is better, but run with what you have. This will give us our, "So what?"

There, you have the two maps. See what is going on? 

Yep'r, the opposition is smart - they are trying to get control of the cloverleafs on the Damascus version of a beltway.

Control them and the only access to Damascus is from the NW through Highway 1 through the Yafour intersection East to Qudssaya and then in to the city. You also efficiently cut off the airport to the SE.

With limited resources, you can have trouble holding a road - but if you can take, reinforce and hold intersections - then for resupply purposes, the roads are useless.

Sure, we don't have walled cities anymore - but the fundamentals of blockade and siege have held steady for thousands of years.

Now for the "what's next?"

That is up to the players involved. If access to and from Damascus is cut from 3/4 of the cardinal headings of the compass - then it is easier to concentrate on the other 1/4.

Get that - and the city is officially under siege. Modern people and modern cities do not do well under siege. Knowing that - how hard will this fight get? Yea, that hard.

Here is an interesting thing for you to do in your city; what are those Critical Vulnerabilities of your city? What would you need to take and hold? What does an attacker need to take, what can he destroy - and same for a defender.

Do that a bit more and you will get some idea what the Syrians on both sides are up to.

Folks in LA and Atlanta ... good luck with that.

Fullbore Friday

In honor of our Polish friends who fought the good fight this week, I'd like to reach back four years for a properly themed FbF. Enjoy.

In comments on last week's FbF, regular commenter ewok40K mentioned something that had me do a little pondering.
This is as fullbore as tales my granddad told about facing Me-109s in an outdated fixed-landing gear gull wing PZL P-11 capable of barely 360 kph...
Many people forget that Britain and France went to war over Poland. That is where it started - and in the end we left her to the Communists.

Poor Poland, Nazi on one side, Communists on the other. The Polish military can hold its head high, it fought as best as it could. The nation that saved Vienna and therefore Europe from the Ottomans went down fighting - and continued fighting throughout the war.

In the West we tell our stories because they are so well documented. Much of what Poland did is not well known - and outside Poland their heroes unknown.

In that light, today let's take a chance to give a nod of the head to a blog-buddy's Grandfather and his friends in the Brygada Pościgowa and their plucky gull-winged PZL P-11. They knew what the story was, but fought on.

More real pics here.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Navy Football: a little weak and a tad embarrassing

Hey, that ain't me talking ... it is the Wall Street Journals annual College Football Grid of Shame.

I think we are selling our integrity a little cheap.

See that big "Y" in the middle of the upper right quarter of the grid? Let's see what we can do to get there as an interim step, shall we?

UPDATE: Note that is Army and Air Force up at the top.

Look who got a job

Well ... does he get to keep his US passport

I guess he will have to take up curling or sump'n.
Kevin McCoy, the recently appointed president of Irving Shipbuilding Inc., addresses a briefing at the Irving Shipyard in Halifax on Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013.
From NAVSEA to the Great White North. Good luck and wear a lot of wool.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Syrian Redneck Engineering

If Bubba was in Damascus and was going to build a Transporter-Erector-Launcher (TEL) - well I think it may look like this.

A couple of notes here: some are claiming this is a chemical weapons launch. OK, I know that safety standards are a bit different in that part of the world, but I would bet my next paycheck in Turkish Lira on this - those guys are launching something, but CW it is not.

I don't care who you are - you are not that kicked back around a nerve agent unless you are a complete idiot. Wait .... 

Hat tip BMB.

Europe's Sad Trendlines

I have never understood antisemitism. Perhaps it is because my high school was about 20% Jewish and the way I was raised to see them as no more funky than Unitarians, but I've just never understood those who hate Jews.

As best I can tell, those who seem the most rabidly anti-Jewish seem to be doing so from a base of envy and jealousy more than anything else. A little bit of the primitive brain-stem distrust of "the other" maybe - but my vote has always been along the same lines as where bullies come from; insecurity and envy. 

In many areas, Jews box way above their weight economically, academically, and culturally - and that is fine. From what I have seen, as a group they got to where they are the old fashioned way - they worked hard and earned it.

Emphasize education, hard work, and success in a culture and what do you get? Ummm ... education and success. Network inside family and social connections and ... you grow your business and influence. Hey, as a people they have survived all that tried to eliminate them - their survival didn't happen by accident.

From the Romans to the Nazis; expulsions from England to Spain and other places to the modern Muslim world - they have prospered. They turned the neglected deserts of Palestine in an island of modernity and prosperity surrounded by retrograde squalor. 

They've been denied full rights, concentrated into ghettos, oppressed, slaughtered at a whim - but they survived and prospered where others would have faded in to squalor.

Hey, stadiums full of PhD's have tried to understand the history and causes of antisemitism - I'm not going to do better. Anyway, as with most hate against "the other" - it is irrational.

I am also a Europhile. I lived there for years and in many ways miss it very much - but there is something rotting around the edges of Europe. As they have been before, Jews are often the canary in the coal mine.

As such, it was with heavy heart that I read this from Mosaic;
A large-scale survey commissioned by the European Union’s Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) tells a tale of widespread and persistent anti-Semitism. Although the full study is not due to be released until October, the salient facts have been summarized by EU officials and by researchers like Dov Maimon, a French-born Israeli scholar at the Jewish People Policy Institute in Jerusalem. Among the findings: more than one in four Jews report experiencing anti-Semitic harassment at least once in the twelve months preceding the survey; one in three have experienced such harassment over the past five years; just under one in ten have experienced a physical attack or threat in the same period; and between two-fifths and one-half in France, Belgium, and Hungary have considered emigrating because they feel unsafe.

Statistics from my native France, home to the largest Jewish community in Europe, go back farther in time and tell an even darker tale. Since 2000, 7,650 anti-Semitic incidents have been reliably reported to the Jewish Community Security Service and the French ministry of the interior; this figure omits incidents known to have occurred but unreported to the police. The incidents range from hate speech, anti-Semitic graffiti, and verbal threats to defacement of synagogues and other Jewish buildings, to acts of violence and terror including arson, bombings, and murder.

And that is just France. All over Europe, with exceptions here and there, the story is much the same. Nor do the figures take into account the menacing atmosphere created by the incessant spewing of hatred against the people and the state of Israel at every level of society, including the universities and the elite and mass media, to the point where polls show as many as 40 percent of Europeans holding the opinion that Israel is conducting a war of extermination against the Palestinians; or the recent moves to ban circumcision and kosher slaughter; or the intense social pressures created by the rise of radical and often violent Islam of the kind that targeted Samuel Sandler’s son and grandchildren (and of which more below).

Statements by EU officials and others, even while they acknowledge the “frightening” degree of anti-Semitism prevalent in today’s Europe, and even while they promise to “fight against it with all the means at their disposal,” also contend (in the words of the prime minister of Baden-Württemberg) that anti-Semitism is “not present in the heart of society” or in “major political parties.” Such bland reassurances have quite understandably brought little comfort.

Against this backdrop, it is little wonder that even so sober an analyst as Robert Wistrich of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, author of definitive works on the history and dynamics of anti-Semitism, has concluded that although the final endpoint of European Jewry may be decades in coming, “any clear-sighted and sensible Jew who has a sense of history would understand that this is the time to get out.”
There are only two places that a Jew can go to and have a chance to prosper, that is the USA and Israel.

Sure, you can point to a few other places and the UK perhaps, but the UK, like most of Europe, is going to have to deal with the demographic nightmare of their own creation that is only going to get worse - and make it so no Jew will feel really at home;
From the 1970s on, everything changed. The European birthrate plummeted, just as immigration from Muslim countries was attaining unprecedented heights. Today, Muslim immigrants and their children amount to 10 percent or more of the population in major countries like Germany and France as well as in Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. In the United Kingdom and Denmark, Muslims comprise upward of 5 percent of the population.

Estimates of actual figures vary since most European countries do not allow ethnic or religious census or registration, immigrants are reluctant to give accurate information about themselves or their families, and Muslims in particular resort to taqia (dissimulation about their identity and religious practice) when and as they deem it necessary. What is undeniable is that the proportion of Muslims in European society is rapidly increasing, either naturally or by further immigration or by conversion of non-Muslims, and that the proportion of Muslims in the youngest age brackets is much higher than the proportion overall.

The entire French population, including overseas territories, stands currently at 67 million. Some seven to ten million of these—10 to 15 percent—are non-European, mostly Muslim immigrants or children of immigrants. Among younger cohorts, the figures are much higher: 20 to 25 percent of those under twenty-five are of non-European and Muslim origin. Within the next half-century, unless the ethnic French embark on a new baby boom of their own, or immigration stops, or immigrant fertility falls dramatically, France will become a half-Islamic and half-Islamized nation.

This is quite problematic in itself, and all the more problematic to the degree that Islam overlaps with radical Islam: a philosophy and a way of life that reject democracy, the open society, and, needless to add, Jews. Islamists see Europe as an Islamic-society-in-the-making; attempts by ethnic Europeans or by democratically-minded Muslims to reverse that process, or to reconcile Islam with European and democratic values, are regarded prima facie as “Islamophobia”: i.e., a Western war on Islam. Indeed, in the radical Islamic view, any objection or opposition to Islam or to the transformation of Western secular democracy into Islamic theocracy vindicates jihadism as a legitimate form of self-defense.

In Islam: The French Test, the veteran French journalist Elisabeth Schemla, formerly an editor at the leftwing magazine Le Nouvel Observateur, conservatively estimates Muslims in France at seven million. In her judgment, based on survey data, one third of that community—fully two million people—already embrace radical Islam, and the proportion is steadily growing. She quotes Marwan Muhamad, secretary-general of the ominously named Committee against Islamophobia in France (CCIF): “By what right can anyone say that, 30 years from now, France will not be a Muslim country? . . . No one in this country can wrest from us . . . our right to hope for an entire society faithful to Islam. . . . No one in this country can decide French national identity for us.” The Committee’s logo features the capital letters “CCIF” arranged so as to suggest an alternative reading: çaif, the Arabic word for sword.

Mohamed Merah, the murderer of Samuel Sandler’s son and grandchildren, started his killing spree last year by slaying a lone French soldier in Toulouse on March 11. Four days later he shot three more soldiers in the nearby town of Montauban: two died on the spot; the third, severely wounded, is now a quadriplegic. Merah selected his eight victims in order to “avenge” Islam, as he boasted shortly before being gunned down by security forces. Presumably the four soldiers, either of North African or West Indian origin, were guilty of betraying their Muslim brethren by joining an “enemy” army that has been fighting in Afghanistan, the Sahara, and the Sahel, and that defends the (by definition) Islamophobic French state. As for his Jewish victims, are not all Jews the enemies of Palestinians in particular and the worldwide Muslim umma in general?

Manuel Valls, the French interior minister, has warned that the growing radicalization of the Islamic milieu in France is producing “dozens of new Merahs” every year. And France is hardly alone: one need only recall the slaughter of the film director Theo Van Gogh in the Netherlands in 2004; the Madrid train bombings in the same year; the London suicide bombings in 2005; or the beheading in London this year of the British soldier Lee Rigby.

Islamist violence is not only a matter of murder or terror—often, as we have seen, directed at Jews. Most frequently it manifests itself in intimidation, taking the form of petty crime and racketeering, threatening behavior on trains and buses, or full-fledged rioting and looting. While not always openly Islamic in character, these acts primarily involve Muslim youths, as was the case in the French riots this year and earlier in 2005, and in this year’s Swedish riots. The implicit message they convey is clear enough: any perceived slight to the Muslim “nation within the nation” is liable to trigger mob violence or even urban warfare. They thereby strengthen the bargaining power of Muslim organizations, especially the radical ones, vis-à-vis the government and the political class.
In America, we really have no idea how big of a problem this is. Our immigration challenges are mostly of Latin Catholics - which isn't really a crisis - ... culturally not even close to Arab Muslims.
For years, some Jewish leaders entertained delusory expectations concerning the rise of Islam in Europe. Some believed that a more religiously diverse Europe would conduce to an even more secure place for Judaism in the long term. Others thought that by joining the fight against such conventionally defined evils as “anti-immigration bigotry,” “anti-Arab racism,” and “anti-Islamic prejudice,” European Jews would earn the affection and gratitude of Islam at large and perhaps even contribute to peace between Israel and its neighbors. Still others were of the view that Muslims would gradually become integrated and assimilated into the European mainstream, just like Jews in the past.

Such hopes are long gone. The sad fact is that many European Muslims subscribe to the unreconstructed forms of anti-Semitism that are prevalent in the Muslim world at large, and are impervious to any kind of Holocaust-related education. In today’s Europe, hard-core anti-Jewish and anti-Israel activity, from harassment in the street or at school to arson and murder, is mostly the doing of Muslims.
Survivors if nothing else - the wise among them can see where things are going.
For many European Jews, there is indeed a déjà vu quality to the present situation. Like Israelis, but unlike most American Jews, today’s European Jews are survivors, or children of survivors, either of the Holocaust or of the near-complete expulsion of Jews from Islamic countries that took place in the second half of the 20th century. They know, from personal experience or from the testimony of direct and irrefutable witnesses, how things unfolded in the not too distant past, and how a seemingly normal Jewish life could be destroyed overnight. When anti-Semitic incidents or other problems accumulate, they can’t help asking whether history is repeating itself.

“Call it the yogurt’s-expiration-date syndrome,” an elderly, Moroccan-born Frenchman recently said to me. He elaborated:
Right after Morocco won its independence from France in 1956, my family joined the country’s ruling elite. My father, a close friend of King Mohammed V, had access to everybody in the government. It went on like that for two or three years. Then one day, out of the blue, Father told us we were leaving. We children asked why. “We’ve passed the yogurt’s expiration date,” he said. “We have no future in Morocco; as long as we’re free to go, we must go.” So we left, leaving behind most of our money and belongings. Ever since then, wherever I’ve lived, I’ve been on the lookout for the yogurt’s expiration date. In France, I think it’s close.
To contemporary European Jews like this one, today’s anxieties thus also recall the crucial choice they or their parents made some 30 or 50 or 70 years ago when, having survived the Holocaust, they resolved to stay in Europe—more accurately, in Western Europe, under the American umbrella—or, having been forced out of Islamic countries, to flee to Europe. Was this the right choice, after all? Hadn’t a majority both of the surviving European Jews and of the refugees from the Arab world decided otherwise?

Yes, they had; and here too a little history is helpful. Back in the early 1930s, there were about 10 million self-identified Jews in Europe (including the USSR). There were also others—estimates range from one to three million—who for one reason or another had converted to Christianity but retained a consciousness of their Jewish identity or who had intermarried or otherwise assimilated into Gentile society without converting.

Half of this prewar European population perished in the Holocaust. Of the five to seven million survivors, about 1.5 million emigrated to the newborn state of Israel throughout the late 1940s, 50s, and 60s. Another half-million made it to the United States—a number that would surely have been higher had the restrictive quota system introduced in the 1920’s not still been in place. About 200,000 wound up in Canada, the Caribbean, Central and South America, South Africa, and Australia/ New Zealand. As for the roughly 2.5 million locked up in the Soviet Union and Soviet-dominated Eastern Europe, most made their way to Israel or the United States whenever the opportunity presented itself.
A great irony would be this; in a large measure, Europeans let in large groups of Arab, North African - and in the UK's case South Asian - Muslims largely as atonement for the large-scale slaughter of Jews in Europe during WWII. Any attempt for the better part of half a century to bring up that this might not be a good idea, was immediately shouted down with cries of, "racist, fascist, Nazi, bigot!" etc. 

Only until recently can you raise the topic, but even now you still get called names. 2-5% of a population that is unassimilated but benign - such as Amish or Buddhist Thai - is fine to a culture at large. 20-50% of a population that is hostile and unassimilated, well then you have Malmo, Sweden and other garden spots of multiculturalism.
Can it really be that European Jewry was reborn after the Holocaust only in order to die again? Can it be that, even as Jews, you only live twice? History, of course, is unpredictable except in retrospect. But it would be irresponsible in the extreme to brush off the possibility of demise; “unthinkable” is no longer a word in the Jewish vocabulary. The sober assessment of Robert Wistrich, the instincts of Samuel Sandler and so many other European Jews—these rest on firm foundations. The expiration date looms nearer, however slowly and by whatever intermediate stages it may finally arrive.

A mitigating view of today’s situation might have it that, at the very least, divine providence did beneficently afford to about two million European Jews a brief golden age, a true rebirth, which in turn brought fresh luster to European civilization as well as encouragement and inspiration to millions of their fellow Jews around the world, most especially in the Jewish state. True enough; but what is no less certain is that the end of European Jewry, a millennia-old civilization and a crowning achievement of the human spirit, will deliver a lasting blow to the collective psyche of the Jewish people. That it will also render a shattering judgment on the so-called European idea, exposed as a deadly travesty for anyone with eyes to see, is cold comfort indeed.
What is the direction for Europe?

Well, as its Jews shrink, something else it taking its place.
From her deckchair on a beach in southern Italy, Gina Bova watched with interest as the small, rickety fishing boat was pushed by the waves closer to the shore. It was a windy Saturday afternoon in August, and the beach was packed with holidaying families, picnicking on tubs of home made pasta and fresh figs.

But suddenly, as the boat hit the shallow sandbank, the passengers sprung overboard and made a dash to the shore, with police in hot pursuit.

"But there were lots more migrants than police," said Mrs Bova, 63. "The police grabbed a few of them, but most ran up the beach and off into the hills. There wasn't a lot anyone could do."

Her feeling of inevitability is one shared by the Italian authorities – and their counterparts across Europe.

Around 1,000 migrants crossing the Mediterranean from North Africa have landed in Italy in the last week alone, and the waves of migrants show no sign of decreasing.

On Friday another 140 Egyptians and Syrians arrived – this time further west along the coast, in Sicily. A further 200 migrants landed on Saturday. The United Nations Refugee Agency says that the number of Egyptians arriving in Italy has doubled, from 836 in 2012, to 1,641 so far this year.
They come, they get benefits, they have many times more children than their native neighbors.

The future belongs to those who show up. Europe will not be a calm place in the second half of this century. No, not even close. Less Luxemburg - more Lebanon - and unquestionably fewer Jews.

Net gain for us. If there is one group who produces more than takes - it is the Jews.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Syria: Subjective Desires Fed by Ambiguous Intel Never Turns Out Well

An alternative title for this post could be, "Sal's 14 Pillars of Neo-Realism."

On Syria, here are 14 points that need to be pondered a lot more than they are. I think in many ways we Westerners are misreading what is going on in Syria - something I reviewed in the free-swim portion of Midrats Sunday.

1. Bashar is the second son whose oldest brother was to be next in line until died in a car accident in '94. Bashar was a mild-mannered ophthalmologist and had less than 7-yrs to transition from a London eye doctor to head of a government.

2. Bashar is the leader of a family who has seen two of his brothers die prematurely in accidents and a brother in law killed in a civil war. His only surviving brother is the head of the Republican Guard and a survivor of a previous assassination attempt.

3. He is a member of a small Shi'ite sect who are not even seen as Muslims by Sunni fundamentalists. They are hated by most Syrians for the preferential treatment they have received for over 40 years. He knows if he does not hold power, Alawites will be slaughtered wholesale. His tribe does not have the best reputation either.

4. He has no options for him, his family, his tribe and his co-religionists other than victory.

5. He is of no serious threat to his neighbors and is focused on one thing; survival.

6. Some focus on taking out his "offensive power" - most of which is on paper only. Even if he had the ability, he has nothing to gain by attacking Western naval and air targets when his capital is infested with insurgents. He gains nothing from attacking his neighbor to the south. He gains nothing from attacking British bases in Cyprus.

7. What he needs are three things; time, Russia & Iran. Giving the West an excuse to attack him buys him nothing.

8. Always ask, "Who gains?" Small uses of gas helpful at the Tactical level? No. Useful at the Operational level? No. From a Strategic or Political level, does his use of gas produce any positive effects? No; for him.

9. If the international community thinks that Assad used poison gas, who gains positive Political and Strategic effects? The anti-Assad forces.

10. If Assad falls, who gets possession of all of Syria's poison gas stockpiles? The anti-Assad forces.

11. Who in the anti-Assad forces has the most military power to keep and control the gas? Al-Qaeda affiliated groups.

12. Who has the most to gain from Assad's use of gas? Al-Qaeda.

13. What is one weapon-set Al-Qaeda has wanted to use against the West since even before 9/11? WMD; chemical, biological, or nuclear.

14. What is the #1 target of Al-Qaeda if they had WMD? The West in general, USA specifically.

So, if we contribute to the fall of Assad, we are giving our enemy the weapons they want to kill thousands of OUR people.

If that is the case - is it in our national interest to see Assad survive? Yes.

Is that pretty? No. 

Which is worse, thousands of dead Sunnis or thousands of dead Shi'ite & Christians? They are all bad ... but none of them are worse than thousands to tens of thousands of dead Americans gassed in subways in 2016.

UPDATE: Sometimes, TheOnion is pretty darn close to good.

Bragging about impotence

This has to be one of the more pathetic reasons to end a program.

Good people can agree or disagree if it was a good idea to begin with - I happen to think it was - but this is what we are telling the Fleet why we killed it?
The Navy has permanently grounded its 6-year-old Flying Warrant Officer Program, saying that though successful at turning enlisted sailors into aviators, the needs of the service have changed. Moreover, the long-term impact of keeping it going would hurt both the people and the service.

The 49 fliers created by this enlisted-to-officer program — both pilots and naval flight officers — will continue to fly, most likely as commissioned officers, though the service is giving them options.
“We were bringing junior E-6s as W-2,” Whitehead said “Because there was not a formal career path established for these people, there were no metrics for by which promotion boards had to select these people for the more senior warrant grades, W-4 and W-5. For at least 34 of these warrants, it was a real possibility that they would fail to select for W-4 two times and be forced out of the Navy because they would not have enough commissioned service to be either retirement eligible or even be in sanctuary to be retirement eligible.”
Now that the program is officially dead (announced in NAVADMIN 192/13), the question remains as to the future of the 49 flying warrants, 21 of which are pilots and the other 28 being naval flight officers.

Whitehead said the current plan is to allow the warrants to apply to transfer into the unrestricted line aviation community. Their accession would happen in phases over the next few years, he said, inserting them into officer pay grades and year groups that will make them competitive down the line for the jobs they weren’t supposed to have — department head, XO and CO jobs.

Most will move to the URL community once they make W-3 and pick up there as junior in grade lieutenants, he said.

The Navy is also giving these warrants the option to roll the dice and stay flying and keep their warrant officer status. But this comes with a warning that they risk not being able to advance and possibly retire because of their anomaly status in the system if they fail to select for the higher warrant grades.

In addition, those who don’t qualify for the URL jobs, or who for some reason leave flying status, those sailors can compete for other warrant or limited duty officer designators they’re qualified for based on their aviation or prior-enlisted experience in another community.
What have we discussed over and over from Mahan to Midrats about the warfighter needing to make sure the administrator is not primary?

Are we that rigid? These are our rules, these are totally under our control. How sad and what a waste. 

This really boils down to killing a program because Millington can't make it fit in their little system. They can't make it fit because they don't want it to. It speaks to a lack of imagination and to an even greater extent to breaking faith with people.

"Warfighting First?" No CNO, actually - in this case - it is Millington Diktat first, and we are a weaker Navy for it. This was a good program - but it was killed for what seems the most petty of reasons.

Monday, August 26, 2013

On LCS: As for me and mine; we stand with Norman

My, my, my - the legions of the insecure LCS proponents have really put out the full-court press the last week or two, haven't they?

As good of a sample of the genre as any other can be found quoted in this bit from the editors of USNINews;
On Aug. 8, USNI News interviewed Capt. John Ailes, program manager for Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Program Executive Office Littoral and Mine Warfare’s (PEO LMW) LCS Mission Modules, for an update on the embattled mission package program.

Ailes acknowledged past failures in the program but painted an optimistic picture of the way forward for the mission packages.

“It’s a wondrous time to be the mission package guy today compared to three years ago because you can point to the successes,” he said.

Starting next year, the Navy will test the packages in a series of operational evaluations (OPEVAL) as a final examination before moving the new capabilities into the fleet.
In June, NAVSEA completed its reliability work and now states that reliability numbers for RMMV has grown to more than 200 hours.

“That was highly successful, the reliability issues are really behind us,” Lose said.

AQS-20A is the primary sensor of the mine-hunting systems on LCS. The Navy has largely corrected detection problems found in early developmental testing with training and software and hardware upgrades, Ailes said. A plan to field the sonar from the package’s MH-60S was canceled for safety reasons.

“We took the Q20 and flew it from a 60S for a long time but the problem was, if an engine failed you could lose the aircraft,” Ailes said. “It hardly ever happens but once you lose an engine it would be catastrophic.”

NAVSEA instead decided to field the sonar only on the RMMV.

“That’s the centerpiece of increment,” Ailes said.

“If RMS works you’re going to be able to find mines and do it in a rapid fashion.”
The good Captain has a tough job. I wish him the best.

We will reach the point soon where LCS-1 will use up almost half its expected service life and yet to have the ability to have a set of mission modules to use.

What prompted me to put out another LCS post for discussion though, was this little video JD sent my way from LMT.

They totally lost me at the 0:24 mark. Look at it a couple of times and note where they say CENTCOM is? Yep .... they must be C-17 guys, they're going to Peter O'Knight. Who edits this stuff?

This is fun. Let's keep going. I don't know about you - but I have never seen a civilian intel type that looked like that. For a bit, I thought from the 0:38 to the 1:10 point this was about to be NSFW.

... watch the whole thing - there is so much more; I'll let ya'll hoist your favorite parts in comments including uniform, watch floor, and bridge funnies ... and yes, you heard a "Roger, over." 

I can hear Captain Hoffman yelling from here.

To cut to the chase, in the last issue of Proceedings, Norman Polmar calmly summarized what many of us kept reminding everyone for 8+ years.
Of course, any comparison of the DDG-51 with an LCS is ludicrous. The destroyer is a multi-mission ship, capable of standing alone against most threats, with upgraded ships providing ballistic-missile defense without the loss of other combat capabilities. The littoral combat ships now in the Fleet have a single 57-mm gun (the Freedom additionally has two 30-mm guns fitted as part of an antisurface module), a limited helicopter capability, and a limited point-defense capability. Some 12 years after the program was initiated, no complete mission modules are yet available for the LCS.

A follow-on (updated) DDG-51 costs some $2 billion. An LCS—when a mission package is available—will provide a highly specialized ship at a cost of about $750 million per unit (including a mission module). For the same investment, would a combatant or fleet commander rather have one follow-on DDG-51 or two or three LCSs? 3

The same Proceedings article also extolled the potential political influence of the LCS: Discussing the “strategic” Cook Islands, “A visit by the U.S. Secretary of State, followed by one or several visits by an LCS would reinforce our efforts to improve our influence in the region.”

So could a much less expensive Coast Guard cutter, or the temporary assignment of a Seabee team to recondition a school or build a playground, or a Marine band and drill platoon. While Oliver Cromwell said that “a warship is the best ambassador,” the LCS is not a warship in the context of impressing populations and governments, nor are the Cook Islands of strategic importance to the United States.

The LCS has several severe problems and limitations:

• The ships are over cost.

• Both LCS designs have required major changes for production units, causing cost increases; changes are continuing to be made in sequential ships.

• Shore support requirements are much greater than earlier envisioned; with a large number of the ships planned for forward-basing, this could be a major cost factor.

• No complete mission modules are available.

• Designed for core crews of about 40, the ships now require more than 50 personnel (plus the mission-module teams).

•The Freedom has experienced major mechanical problems on her first forward deployment (to Singapore); similar problems were experienced during earlier operations in the Caribbean.

• The ships lack realistic air-defense capabilities, meaning that they will need to be accompanied by a missile-armed ship when in hostile waters.

• The mission-module concept has failed to provide the promised capabilities although several LCS are in commission.

• Procuring both the LCS-1 and LCS-2 designs is requiring two crew-training programs, two sets of spare parts, two sets of documentation, etc.; it also limits flexibility in personnel assignments.

The LCS spin and happy talk is not helpful.

Those who had the power to direct our future Fleet last decade decided that LCS is going to be a large part of our future. We need to stop with the PPT pipe-dreams and cheesy videos based on best-case scenarios and 0-downside technology-risk analysis. We need serious discussions and serious plans on how we can best employ a seriously sub-optimal platform.

Norman is doing it. Others, notsomuch.

Hat tip, in part, ELP.

UPDATE: BEHOLD the power of the front porch! I guess they couldn't take the taunting; they took the video down. Nice LMT.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Crowdsourcing the Admin Overhead, on Midrats

If the CNO's #1 priority is warfighting, how do leaders focus on that priority inside a 24-hr day?

In a complicated structure of Administrative and Operational Chains of Command and the unending hunger of a bureaucracy for metrics and the reports that feed them - when does a system itself become and "Administrative Burden."

On person's administrative burden is another person's critical requirement - so how does an organization's leadership balance subordinate priorities so they do not interfere with #1?

This Sunday, 25 AUG from 5-6pm Eastern, for the first half of the show, our guest to discuss this and more will be Rear Admiral Herman Shelanski, USN, Director, Assessment Division, (OPNAV N81). Specifically, we will discuss the CNO's crowdsourcing initiative "RAD" (Reducing Administrative Distractions) specifically looking at removing those non-value added distractions in the Fleet keeping Sailors away from the Navy's top priorities.

For the second half of the show, join EagleOne and me as we conduct our end-of-summer SITREP.

Join us live if you can with the usual suspects in the chat room and offer up your questions for our guest, but if you miss the show you can always listen to the archive at blogtalkradio.

Listen to internet radio with Midrats on Blog Talk Radio

Friday, August 23, 2013

Fullbore Friday

Via Jake Tapper at CNN who has done so much to bring to the attention a part of a war most have chose to ignore:
The first shots rang out just a few minutes before 6 a.m. The rumors that the soldiers had heard for months were coming true. Carter said he had often imagined that day.

"I was like, 'Well, if it's my time to go, how am I going out?' " he said.

The Taliban had studied how the Americans responded to previous attacks, and they knew the outpost relied heavily on its mortars.

So they made the big guns their first target.

"When the enemy weren't shooting at us, they were shooting at the weapons," Carter said. "So they were disabling the weapons."

The insurgent fire killed Pfc. Kevin Thomson as he raced to his post. Sgt. Josh Kirk was killed while returning fire.

"You could hear the rounds coming in from every direction," said platoon Sgt. Jon Hill.

Troops begin running much-needed ammunition to the men on guard duty. Sgt. Michael Scusa was gunned down 10 feet outside one of the outpost's doors. In the midst of the gunfire, Sgt. Christopher Griffin "immediately ran out the door without hesitation," Hill said.

"He didn't make it back"

Ammunition was starting to run out, so Ty Carter and other members of his Black Knight troop volunteered to deliver more -- a hundred yards away across the heaviest of gunfire.

Carter didn't think twice about the danger. All he knew was there were three fellow soldiers -- Sgt. Bradley Larson, Spc. Stephan Mace and Sgt. Justin Gallegos -- trapped in a Humvee and they needed more supplies to return fire.

"Carter's kinda like .. for lack of a better word, a robot," Hill said. "You tell him to do something, he's gonna do it and he's gonna do it to the best of his ability."

He would return through that deadly gauntlet three times to get supplies to the men.

When the firefight was over, the death toll would include Mace, Gallegos, Sgt. Josh Hardt, and Staff Sgt. Vernon Martin.

The names of all eight men who died on that day are engraved on a steel band that Carter wears on his wrist, not that he needs the reminder.
You really need to read it all - and consider learning about the larger battle via Tapper's book The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor.

In his own words:

He will join a rare group on Monday.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Stupid is a strong word, but ....

Our buddy Galrahn tweeted yesterday,

Not the first time I have heard that, but the guy was elected to quite a few offices. So, who am I to judge his IQ - though there are lots of brilliant idiots out there and very smart people who don't know squat about what they should - or know a lot of what is just wrong.

SECDEF Hagel was hired for one reason; to preside over the more rapid decline of the US military so that the next President doesn't have enough to really do anything overseas - and Hagel is doing a find job in that respect.

No, I prefer to evaluate someone by the company they keep and the causes they support. For me, Hagel was unqualified for the position he now holds for one reason; his association with "Global Zero."

Quick backgrounder:
Hagel is a vocal supporter of Global Zero, a group formed in Paris in 2008 that promotes eliminating nuclear weapons.

Made up of political, civic, and military leaders, the group calls for deep cuts in US and Russian nuclear arsenals.

Hagel has said that he does not believe in unilateral disarmament - a sticking point with right-wing policymakers.

He has also said he does not believe that eliminating the weapons will happen in the short-term.

In a press release on the Global Zero website, Hagel, with co-authors, wrote:

"We support bilateral, negotiated, verifiable U.S.-Russian arms reductions, to be followed by multilateral negotiations, bringing other key countries into a serious, verifiable process of reductions."

"...the suggestion that we naively believe that the elimination of nuclear weapons can be achieved easily or in short order is likewise false."
At best, Global Zero is just another posturing place for self-appointed intellectuals to make statements that make themselves feel good and be in a proper light with the "right" people. At worst, it follows in the long tradition of people so enamored by their importance that they think they can eliminate war, conflict - and have found just the way to do it. See the Washington Naval Treaty, Versailles, etc, etc, etc.

Here is a cold fact; it is simple mid-20th century technology to create a nuclear weapon. Almost all modern, non-nuclear nations from The Netherlands, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, Australia, Korea, and more could - turnkey - create a nuclear weapon of their own if they wished.

But they don't. Why? Simple, they don't have a reason to. The domestic politics, international environment, cost, and most importantly - a relationship with the United States of America in one way or another, keeps the needle in the "don't build" area.

So - what if we went to Global Zero? In a 4-Phase operation, we end here;
PHASE IV (2024 - 2030)

The phased, verified, proportionate dismantlement of all nuclear arsenals to zero total warheads is complete by 2030. The comprehensive verification and enforcement system prohibiting the development and possession of nuclear weapons is in place to ensure that the world is never again threatened by nuclear weapons.
OK, let's be adults here. How long, given human nature, will that last? The world has "zero" and then some player is found to have kept 50. The USA says, "no" it won't build more bombs, but will instead negotiate.

What do mature nations do? Without a big-friend's nuclear umbrella for the Worst-Case COA - the math changes. Simple - some will build their own, and off we go. That or a few cities get nuked and nations blackmailed ... and there you go.

Right now, no one does that because there is still the feeling of some kind of nuclear umbrella. No one fears that a bad actor will be able to click off a nuke and keep the USA, GBR, FRA, or even RUS from responding in kind.

Like chemical weapons, most believe that even in a shooting war between most nuclear nations listed above, no one would use the nukes just like in WWII no one used chemical weapons.

PAK and IND? Well, that is something different. Rogue nations? They may - but as long as we have a strong nuclear capability and seem to be willing to use it - that should keep it contained.

All depends upon leadership - but right now I have little doubt that if someone nuked NYC, that in time we would find out were it came from and if needed respond in kind - at least I hope so.

I recommend you spend some time on the Global Zero site - look at their "leaders" and think a bit. Think hard, think historically, think critically - and find your inner neo-Realist.

Personally, I like the fact that our President has access to our nuclear "crazy Aunt in the basement," who can advise him on how to vaporize entire cities in short order - and the fact that we have people trained, equipped and ready to do so.

The world is a nasty place, all cultures are not the same, and now and then good people have to do what they need to do in order to keep chaos and barbarism on the other side of the border.

As the world was, is, and will be.

In 1386, he marched again. The destination was the city of Isfahan, noted at that time, as it is today, for its beauty as well as its magnificent monuments and learned people. The city offered no resistance and opened its gates. Timur promised not to plunder the city if a ransom was paid. Out went the noblemen of Isfahan to collect the demanded booty. All was quiet for a day. Then, in the darkness of night, some of the townsfolk attacked Timur’s guards. In retrospect, it is not clear what happened, but the result was a disaster for the city. In the morning, Timur gave a general order for a massacre. The inhabitants of the city were hunted down and a mountain of skulls was created in the main bazaar. This was the first of the general massacres that Timur is noted for, something that he was to repeat later in Lahore, Delhi, Damascus and dozens of lesser cities. Almost 100,000 Isfahanis was killed.
In living memory, as a nation we have intentionally slaughtered hundreds of thousands of people - mostly women and children - in a fortnight - and one day we will have to again.

We should openly and soberly maintain a national Mattis Doctrine;
Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.
- General James Mattis, USMC (Ret.)
A bad actor using a nuke and good nations do nothing? That is a world I would not want to live in.

When Rome lost the ability to "go Roman" - we all know how that worked out. Well, I assume everyone knows ... but at the rate our leaders seem to study history, perhaps not.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Echoes in Egypt

Should our policy makers have been shocked by what has happened in Egypt? Was it really unpredictable?

How smart was it for this Administration to throw in with the Muslim Brotherhood early and often?

Well, when you have Egypt experts who were educated in the politically correct ahistorical Middle East Studies Departments - you get what you get.

Shall we let history get in the way? Of course. Via Arnoud De Borchgrave;
Next day, Cairo erupted in what became known as "Black Saturday" and the "Big Cairo Fire." It was huge. Some 300 buildings were torched, including the old Shepherd's Hotel where we were staying.

Martial law was decreed throughout Egypt. Losses to fire included 30 major companies and banks (including Barclays), 310 stores, 117 residential units, 92 bars, 73 coffee shops, 13 hotels, 40 movie theaters, either automobile showrooms, 10 weapons stores and 16 clubs.

Casualties were comparatively light -- 26 killed and 552 injured.

It was the handiwork of the banned Muslim Brotherhood.
It is a great story. Read it all.

History will not tell you the future, but it will help you make the odds.

Hat tip PD

The Post-Modern Navy Does Roving Patrols

OK, someone help me out here.

I will just make two points, but then I want you to read it yourself and tell me if this is as upside-down as it reads.

From COMNAVREGMIDLANT NOTICE 5354 - Installation Roving Patrol Requirements"
- Per para 3.b and para 4.b.(1) - if a LT is not available, at LTJG or ENS will be under a Senior NCO? Really?
- Under Standing Orders 2.b - Commissioned Officers and Senior Non-Commissioned Officers, on duty, in uniform, on base, - if they find themselves in a hostile situation they shall NOT:
Confront a hostile situation that may put the patrol in danger.
So, a drunk 225# guy is acting like he is about to beat the snot out of his girlfriend, the patrol is to stand back - or are they just to wait until the 110# takes a solid hit square on the nose? They find three teenagers beating up a forth who won't stop, so they just stand there and wait for the MAs to show up? Clear?

Read it and let me know what you think.

Roving patrols are a good thing - as a matter of fact as a JO I used to do something similar - just me and the Barracks Petty Officer. I know this is an effort to stop the snot-slinging drunk from turning in to a, "Why am I in bed naked with SN Schmuckitelli?" But seriously - should we forget simple military standards? 

Teenage Midshipmen used to be given command of prize ships, lead boarding parties, etc; in the Cold War ENS and LTJG were given authority to deliver nuclear weapons. We don't even want to review what our Army and USMC brothers and sisters let their O1-O2 do. Yet, we won't let an ENS or LTJG lead a roving patrol CONUS?

Building confidence and refining leadership ability in our Junior Officers is a core requirement. What are we doing here? I can understand a standard-issue LTJG being under the positional authority of a MAC while on patrol conducting MA duties - but that isn't what we are talking about here.

Also, do you really want a roving party led by a LT with a BMC and EN2 to come across four drunk SN fighting over who is going home with the cute OSSN, and have the LT say, "No Chief, don't get near them, they are drunk and dangerous! Stay away! Stranger Danger!"

Next thing you know part of the roving patrol uniform will be Army issue glow belts.

Hat tip Fleet LT.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Aviation Dystopia

After starting off Monday with such a negative-Nimrod theme, I really wanted to bring up something positive up today ... but alas - DC won't let me.

Where to start? Well, let's go to one of my favorite places; the USAF.

Think of the one plane that the USAF has been trying to kill for well over three decades - but whenever there is a no kidding conflict, the Soldiers and Marines on the ground can't get enough of? Remember - everything every service does boils down to helping that Soldier or Marine stand on a street corner holding a gun.

One would think that even in a time of decline - you would want to keep some of that valuable support handy, right?
Senator Jeff Flake is making the customary rounds of Arizona during D.C.’s summer recess, and on a rare trip to Southern Arizona, he dropped a bomb on the residents of the 6th poorest metropolitan area in the country. In one of the few free opportunities to hear from their senator, Tucsonans were told that the Air Force plans to phase out the A-10, which will result in an estimated loss of 5,000 jobs.

In one of the few opportunities to hear from the Senator without paying a cover charge, Flake confirmed for listeners of the James T. Harris radio show that one of their worst fears was true: the A-10 has been marked for elimination in the next 1 to 2 years.
The F-35 can do many things - but that China Doll of an aircraft simply cannot take a hit like the A-10. The cost of a loss or damage repair? Child please.

Speaking of the F-35, David Axe has a must read for those - like me - who have been closing their eyes and hoping for the best on the F-35.
“Inferior acceleration, inferior climb [rate], inferior sustained turn capability,” they wrote. “Also has lower top speed. Can’t turn, can’t climb, can’t run.” Once missiles and guns had been fired and avoiding detection was no longer an option — in all but the first few seconds of combat, in other words — the F-35 was unable to keep pace with rival planes.

And partly as a result, the U.S. lost the simulated war. Hundreds of computer-code American air crew perished. Taiwan fell to the 1s and 0s representing Chinese troops in Stillion and Perdue’s virtual world. Nearly a century of American air superiority ended among the wreckage of simulated warplanes, scattered across the Pacific.

In a September 2008 statement Lockheed shot back against the war game’s results, insisting the F-35 was capable of “effectively meeting” the “aggressive operational challenges” presented in the Taiwan scenario. RAND backed away from the report, claiming it was never about jet-to-jet comparisons, and Stillion and Perdue soon left the think tank. Stillion is now at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments think tank in Washington, D.C. Perdue currently works for Northrop Grumman.

Steve O’Bryan, a Lockheed vice president and former fighter pilot, targeted the war game analysis and its authors. “It was policy people who did that report, [people] with no airplane experience,” O’Bryan said, adding that many critics of the F-35 “are people who are self-proclaimed experts who live in their mom’s basement and wear slippers to work.”

But Stillion and Perdue are both veteran aviators. Stillion flew in RF-4 recon planes and Perdue in F-15s during the Gulf War. “I don’t live in my mom’s basement,” Perdue said.
Engineering compromises forced on the F-35 by this unprecedented need for versatility have taken their toll on the new jet’s performance. Largely because of the wide vertical-takeoff fan the Marines demanded, the JSF is wide, heavy and has high drag, and is neither as quick as an F-16 nor as toughly constructed as an A-10. The jack-of-all-trades JSF has become the master of none.

And since the F-35 was purposely set up as a monopoly, replacing almost every other warplane in the Pentagon’s inventory, there are fewer and fewer true alternatives. In winning the 2001 competition to build the multipurpose JSF, Lockheed set a course to eventually becoming America’s sole active builder of new-generation jet fighters, leaving competitors such as Boeing pushing older warplane designs.

Which means that arguably the worst new jet fighter in the world, which one Australian military analyst-turned-politician claimed would be “clubbed like baby seals” in combat, could soon also be America’s only new jet fighter.
Sorry about that readers. Is it too early to start drinking?

Wait, this will perk you up. What can I find uplifting from

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (Aug. 16, 2013) Chief Hospital Corpsman Efrain Chaidez, assigned to the aircraft carrier Pre-Commissioning Unit PCU Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), places a dessert onto Chief Ship's Serviceman Lisa Jones' plate during a bake-off sponsored by the command's chapter of the Coalition of Sailors Against Destructive Decisions. Gerald R. Ford is being built in the Newport News Shipyard in Newport News, Va. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Davis Anderson/Released)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Salute Me You Psycho, Suicidal Rapist!

Don't you miss the days when leaders simply called their Sailors, "scallywags?"

If you know the Fleet you serve in isn't the Fleet you hear about in the popular media - do you wonder why our senior leadership won't defend it ... or do you wonder if they agree with the slander?

I'm pondering over at USNIBlog. Come visit and let me know what you think.

Well, at least you know how politicians view you

According to stipulations in The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, random and unannounced visits might be a provision of the new government healthcare program. Those eligible and enrolled in the ‘Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program’ (MIECHV) can expect to receive random visits, especially those who are in “high risk categories”.

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HSS) recognizes high-risk categories as:

- Eligible families who reside in communities in need of such services.
- Low-income eligible families.
- Eligible families who are pregnant women who have not attained age 21.
- Eligible families that have a history of child abuse or neglect or have had interactions with child welfare services.
- Eligible families that have a history of substance abuse or need substance abuse treatment.
- Eligible families that have users of tobacco products in the home.
- Eligible families that are or have children with low student achievement.
- Eligible families with children with developmental delays or disabilities.
- Eligible families with individuals who are serving, or formerly served, in the Armed Forces.
Well, there you go.

Interesting country we're making here.

Hat tip WS.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Young Jake Tapper & My People's Civil War

Good to see where one of our better journalists cut his teeth.

It is also kind of funny that he didn't get the brief on when NOT to come to Gator Country. Boy looks like the heat and humidity was a bit much for him.

Note to ya'll's from off yonder; come do your outdoor stuff down here OCT-MAY. JUN-SEP will flat melt your thick Yankee blood, bless your heart.