Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Bad Superpower STRATCOM Start of the Week

March has been a month where a lot of very smart people have spent a lot of time reminding everyone how weakness invites aggression. Trying to get everyone to see the world as it is - not as we wish it to me.

Well, they need to speak some more. We do not seem to be playing long ball very well.

First of all - PACOM decides to tell everyone that his knob goes to 11;
The head of U.S. Pacific Command believes America does not possess the capacity to conduct amphibious assaults in the wake of a crisis, as it did during World War II.
Adm. Samuel Locklear III, commander of U.S. Pacific Command gave his assessment of the deficiency in readiness on Tuesday, Stars and Stripes reported.

“We have had a good return of our Marines back to the Asia-Pacific, particularly as the activities in the Middle East wind down in Afghanistan. … But the reality is, is that to get Marines around effectively, they require all types of lift. They require the big amphibious ships, but they also require connectors (meaning landing craft and other amphibious vehicles). The lift is the enabler that makes that happen, so we wouldn’t be able to [successfully carry out a contested amphibious assault without additional resources],” Adm. Locklear said, Stars and Stripes reported.
Of course we need more in order not to have too much mission-risk, etc ... but if we can't do amphibious landings, no one can ... right?
The admiral’s comments come only weeks after Capt. James Fannell, the chief of intelligence of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, said that he believes China is training for war with Japan.

“[We] concluded that the PLA has been given the new task to be able to conduct a short sharp war to destroy Japanese forces in the East China Sea following with what can only be expected a seizure of the Senkakus or even a southern Ryukyu [islands] — as some of their academics say,” the captain said in February after witnessing “massive” Chinese military exercises in the Pacific.
Oh, good googly moogly, people. Admiral Locklear, if I may be so bold - you're not in DC playing word games on The Hill. Words matter, and the way this is being reported in the press is simply not helpful. I'm sure this isn't what you wanted, but there it is. There are PLAN intel types who do nothing else but parse every word you say like some druid elbow deep in sheep entrails.

Then we have this jewel. 

Power projection. You know - that "From the Sea" thingy. In the last few decades we have removed our deep strike capability by going to all light strike-fighter and no organic tanking (buddy Hornet doesn't count, Shipmate). As a former TLAM guy myself, I know how well one can clear out the cells in theater and the effort to get reloads to port. Magazine, magazine, magazine - in theater would be nice - pre-positioned better. War won't wait ...

So, this sends an interesting message;
The Tomahawk missile program—known as “the world’s most advanced cruise missile”—is set to be cut by $128 million under Obama’s fiscal year 2015 budget proposal and completely eliminated by fiscal year 2016, according to budget documents released by the Navy.
In addition to the monetary cuts to the program, the number of actual Tomahawk missiles acquired by the United States would drop significantly—from 196 last year to just 100 in 2015. The number will then drop to zero in 2016. 
The Navy will also be forced to cancel its acquisition of the well-regarded and highly effective Hellfire missiles in 2015, according to Obama’s proposal.
There's your risk.

Remember, in three days of DESERT FOX, we launched ~325 TLAM. TLAM are good for the kind of punitive expeditions we should expect to have to do - not to mention a very useful weapon to have against static targets like, oh I don't know, S/IRBM launching bases used or A2AD.

If you respond with "UCLASS UCLASS UCLASS" prior to even IOC, I will have BM1 slap off the front porch.

In summary, we started the week telling our nation's enemies that we have no confidence in our ability to land Marines ashore, and that, really, we don't think we want to attack any major power anytime soon.

Risk; it's what for Spring.

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