Thursday, January 31, 2019

So, the French are Lapping us in Frigates, Again?

Have you heard about the upcoming Frégate de Taille Intermédiaire [FTI – Intermediate Frigate] for the French Navy?

Well, you have now - and I have a feeling it will fill you with a sense of rage if you have any blood left in you.

We should be building this. We should have a diverse and balanced fleet.

As we suffer with the LCS pier queens, the French already have their superb version of the FREMM with the Italians ... but they are not happy with that. Not that it is bad - just the opposite - it is excellent. It is just that they understand how to design and build a balanced fleet.

Perhaps notsomuch efficient ... but effective? I'm not a fan of the tumblehome bow, but I'll allow a class to experiment with. 

Given the small amount of money they have to spend - they at least seem to be thinking right.

Ohhhh yes;
The FTI medium-size frigate will feature modular design with increased self-defence and long-range capabilities.

Overall length and midship beams of the ship are 122m and 17.7m respectively. With a displacement of approximately 4,200t, the frigate will carry up to 150 personnel, including 110 crew and 15 for helicopter detachment.

The ship will incorporate digital technologies for data processing and detection of evolving threats. Its wheelhouse will be positioned in the middle section.

A hangar and flight deck located at the stern will of the frigate will allow for the operation of a single unmanned rotorcraft system and / or NH-90 medium class military helicopter equipped with FLASH-based dipping sonar and MU90 lightweight anti-submarine torpedoes.

The medium-size frigate will additionally carry rigid hulled inflatable boats for patrolling and transportation.
For reference, the LCS FREEDOM Class is 115m long. Unlike our Little Crappy Ship, the FTI is a multi-mission warship;
The FTI will be armed with a variety of anti-aircraft and anti-submarine armament to attack aircraft and submarines and their crew.

An Oto Melara 76mm or 127mm naval gun will be mounted in a gun turret located in the bow deck to fight against enemy aircraft, submarines, missiles and ground-based threats.

Defence against littoral and coastal land threats will be provided by eight Exocet MM40 Block 3 all-weather weapon systems, installed amidships.

The frigate will also be fitted with two eight-cell A-50 type Sylver vertical launch systems for Aster 15 surface-to-air missiles in the bow, two 20mm remotely-operated weapons at the rear, 2×2 deck-mounted torpedo tubes for MU90, and an anti-ship missile decoy launching system.
Shall we do a side-by-side? Why yes, we shall. I'll throw in the FREMM multi-mission Italian version in there for scale;

Read up on the links above and ponder - for a global naval power - who is really building the right fleet?

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Bad Ideas Never Go Away

The idea zombie is once again wandering the streets of DC and the Pentagon, trying its best to destroy another generation of potential advancement.

You can see it clear as day over at USNIBlog.

Come give it a read.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Dress for the Job That You Want

Especially at peace - a core to the "presence" mission - a navy ship represents her country and its people.

Sound seamanship and the material condition of ships sends a message about the nation whose flag it flies. Talk to any PAO, INFO OPS, or PSYOPS operator, they'll tell you.

What message are you seeing below?

First of all, let's look to the Chinese Navy.
A Chinese navy flotilla returned to Qingdao, east China's Shandong Province, on Sunday after completing its mission of escorting civilian vessels in the Gulf of Aden and waters off Somali.

The 30th escort squad of the Chinese Navy, comprised of missile frigates Wuhu and Handan and supply ship Dongpinghu, escorted 59 Chinese and foreign ships during the mission. The fleet set sail from Qingdao on August 6, 2018, the People's Liberation Army Navy said in a statement.

The fleet also participated in the naval parade marking the 60th anniversary of Tunisian Navy. And it visited Cambodia and the Philippines toward the end of its 175-day mission.

China sent its first convoy fleet to Somali waters in December 2008.
Five months later, what does a Chinese frigate look like to the world?

Next, what high profile ship broke in to the news cycle this month? Back on 19 Jan ...
Arleigh Burke class @USNavyEurope guided missile destroyer #USSDonaldCook transits Bosphorus & enters the BlackSea 17:30Z/12:30EST
What do we see 9 days later?

This is a regular habit. This is not sustainable. This is not the world's premier navy looking like one now, or in the future.

This is also not the fault of the CO or the ship's crew. This has everything to do with manning and maintenance support.

That goes straight to DC.

H/t Sid.

Monday, January 28, 2019

The Pirates of the Caribbean: the 200 Horses Indicator

Remember this guest post from Claude Berube last May?
In this highly-trafficked area, tourist destinations such as Aruba, Trinidad & Tobago, and Grenada are within two hundred kilometers of the Venezuelan coastline. At what point, however, would southern Caribbean piracy merit attention?
Well, like I tell everyone; if you want to know what will happen tomorrow, read CDRSalamander today.

If your idea of a tropical paradise is based on what you've seen in tourist brochures, the coastline of south-west Trinidad will not disappoint. Golden beaches and coconut groves? Tick. Sleepy villages, full of fishermen snoozing under palm trees? Tick. A relaxed, laid-back vibe? Hmm. Actually, no.

Take a closer look in villages like Fullarton, and you'll notice a few things seem out of place. For one, why have so many of the fishermen got 200 horsepower engines on their boats, when 75 is more than enough? And why, when they go out fishing at night, do none of them put lights on any more?
When you have mouths to feed ...
The answer, as fisherman Gerry Padarath explains from his beachside hammock, is pirates.
He gestures out to sea, where across a stretch of mud-brown water another coastline can be seen. It's mainland Venezuela - which, at its closest point, lies just 20km (12 miles) from Trinidad.

In happier times, ferries used to bring groups of Venezuelan tourists to party in Trinidad. Today, though, as Venezuela slides further into all-out economic collapse, its impoverished coastal ports have become modern Hispaniolas - havens for buccaneers.
Socialism strikes again;
Most of the pirates are ex-fishermen, who used to make a good living catching tuna, octopus and shrimp in the Caribbean's warm waters. But under Venezuela's former president, Hugo Chavez, the fishing industry underwent a well-intentioned but disastrous nationalisation programme, prompting companies to relocate abroad.

With the added blow of hyperinflation, many of the fishermen now have no job and no way to feed their families. They do however have access to boats and to guns, which are in ready supply on Venezuela's increasingly lawless streets.
This is sad in so many ways.

How many more examples do people need that the false promises of socialism - really just a pitch to the poor in order to enable a power grab by a few - brings only poverty and strife?

Venezuela used to be the richest country in Latin America.

Bad governments run on bad theories lead to bad results.

H/t Claude Berube.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

The Fort Report on the FITZGERALD, with Geoff Ziezulewicz

Over 18-months after the deadly collision of the USS FITZGERALD with the Philippine-flagged merchant ship ACX Crystal off the Sea of Japan, from the courtroom to the fleet, we still have not come to terms with latent causes, accountability, or even a full understanding about what happened from a human and machine perspective.

Earlier this year, journalist Geoff Ziezulewicz received a copy of the Fort Report made shortly after the collision by Rear Admiral Brian P. Fort, USN.

Geoff will be our guest for the full hour this Sunday from 5-6pm Eastern to review the findings, the reactions to it, and further developments.

Geoff is a senior staff reporter for Military Times, focusing on the Navy. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was most recently a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at

Join us live if you can, but if you miss the show you can always listen to the archive at blogtalkradio or Stitcher

If you use iTunes, you can add Midrats to your podcast list simply by clicking the iTunes button at the main showpage - or you can just click here.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Fullbore Friday

Saturday in San Diego we will commission the second ZUMWALT Class destroyer, USS Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001).

You can watch the ceremony live at this link 1pm Eastern, 10am Pacific.

Not much more to say that the citation does for a young man of 25 years of age.

Attention to citation;.


For service as set forth in the following CITATION:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as Automatic Weapons Gunner for Naval Special Warfare Task Group Arabian Peninsula, in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM on 29 September 2006. As a member of a combined SEAL and Iraqi Army sniper overwatch element, tasked with providing early warning and stand-off protection from a rooftop in an insurgent-held sector of Ar Ramadi, Iraq, Petty Officer Monsoor distinguished himself by his exceptional bravery in the face of grave danger. In the early morning, insurgents prepared to execute a coordinated attack by reconnoitering the area around the element's position. Element snipers thwarted the enemy's initial attempt by eliminating two insurgents. The enemy continued to assault the element, engaging them with a rocket-propelled grenade and small arms fire. As enemy activity increased, Petty Officer Monsoor took position with his machine gun between two teammates on an outcropping of the roof. While the SEALs vigilantly watched for enemy activity, an insurgent threw a hand grenade from an unseen location, which bounced off Petty Officer Monsoor's chest and landed in front of him. Although only he could have escaped the blast, Petty Officer Monsoor chose instead to protect his teammates. Instantly and without regard for his own safety, he threw himself onto the grenade to absorb the force of the explosion with his body, saving the lives of his two teammates. By his undaunted courage, fighting spirit, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of certain death, Petty Officer Monsoor gallantly gave his life for his country, thereby reflecting great credit upon himself and upholding the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
H/t KS.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

The Future is Never Wrong

As we think more about what the next decade has in store for us, it would be helpful to see what 2010 looked like six months or so from September 2001.

I have the memo over at USNIBlog.

Come by and be humbled.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Keeping an Eye on the Long Game: Part LXXX

When it comes to looking forward in 2019, keep in mind is that our planet is experiencing something not known in modern times - and it a fashion never experienced; a falling population in parallel with an aging of the population.

While looking for what is happening in China, you cannot decouple the demographic stew it is all happening in.

It is our nature to look back in order to find a useful benchmark to see where the future may take us. When thinking of China, the rise of Imperial Germany and Imperial Japan come up on a regular basis, but I think they are very limited benchmarks.

They both rose in a time of rapidly advancing populations that gave their collective population a forward looking, aggressive outlook - and leaders a large population of surplus males. 

It is one thing to ask a family to lose one of three sons, it is quite another to ask them to lose their only son and child.

Led by Japan, the demographics of East Asia is starting to bite hard in China;
Births in China dropped to the lowest level in almost 60 years in 2018, signaling the country’s looser two-child policy has done little to reverse its slowing birthrate, and worsening the outlook for growth in the world’s second-largest economy.

The number of babies born last year fell by some 2 million from 2017, to 15.23 million, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed on Monday. Demographer He Yafu said it was the least since 1961 and the third-lowest since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.
A top Chinese research institution projected the population could start shrinking as soon as 2027 -- three years earlier than expected -- if the birth rate held steady at 1.6 children per woman. The population -- at 1.39 billion in 2017, and the world’s largest -- could fall to 1.172 billion by 2065, it said.
China’s State Council last year projected that about a quarter of its population will be 60 or older by 2030 -- up from 13 percent in 2010. China’s labor force fell by 4.7 million in 2018 -- the seventh consecutive year of decline.
Where is the inflection point where a nation is too focused on caring for its elderly to go to war? How does that impact military spending?

In parallel, how does that fit when the economy underperforms?
China on Monday announced that its official economic growth came in at 6.6 percent in 2018 — the slowest pace since 1990.

That announcement was highly anticipated by many around the world amid Beijing's ongoing trade dispute with the U.S., its largest trading partner.

Economists polled by Reuters had predicted full-year GDP to come in at that pace, which was down from a revised 6.8 percent in 2017.

Fourth quarter GDP growth was 6.4 percent, matching expectations. That was a decline from the 6.5 percent year-over-year growth in the third quarter of 2018.
Now that China has a President for Life, how does the Communist Party manage popular unrest by replacing leadership as a way to release pressure for action when things hit a rough patch?

Things are more complicated - and unclear - than I think we appreciate.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Now THATS the Navy I Like to See!

Now and then you see a little thing that happened and think, "I wish I were involved with that." 

Well, that happened a few days ago, and BZ to everyone involved.

In its own way, this harkens back to a great tradition in our Navy of chasing records and doing things because they are hard, can demonstrate a capability, and yes ... fun.

At the end of December, a nice record was set in the Pacific;
Two U.S. Navy Mark VI patrol boats assigned to the Coastal Riverine Group (CRG) 1 Detachment (Det.) Guam, completed the longest-ever small patrol boat transit.

The two boats completed the 500-nautical-mile transit in just two days. The objective of the mission was to test and evaluate the operational reach of the patrol craft. Special attention was given to how much fuel the patrol boat was consuming at different speeds, how it handled the different weather conditions, and how the crew was affected by the long transit.

“The transit is the longest these boats have ever made in the Pacific,” said Lieutenant Commander Greg Dusetzina, the commanding officer of Coastal Riverine Squadron 3 Alpha. “It’s incredibly valuable to test the endurance of these boats, which will give the crews and leadership confidence in the platform and thereby expanding the operational reach of Mark VI to our close and valued partners in the Federated States of Micronesia and Palau.”

Overall, the patrols boats cruised at an average speed of 25 knots around (around 30 miles per hour). The Mark VI is powered by two diesel MTU 16V2000 M94 and two waterjet Hamilton HM651 engines. With a length of 85 feet, the boat has a crew of five and can carry up to 16 fully-loaded troops. Regarding armament, the Mark VI is armed with an assortment of Mark 50 and Mark 38 chain-cannons and Mark 44 machine guns.
I don't know why this isn't getting more press, but we'll cover it here.

Does this make China concerned? No, not really. Does it provide a valuable benchmark for this platform? Yes. Does it make me want more smaller ships for JOs to cruise the world around to build not just presence but also experience?

It is a good to see proven platforms doing exceptional things in a sea of bad press?

Yes, yes, and yes.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Fullbore Friday

A man with a job to do.
He was appointed an OBE by the Queen, and awarded the Orden de Mayo (Order of May) by Argentina for his service during the war.

Surgeon Cmdr Anthony Lambert met him several times, the first time shortly after he returned from the Falklands in 1982.

He said: "As medics, we aren't heroes, we just do our job. But he did his job incredibly well and was an inspiration to my generation".
Known as "Doc", he was the senior medical officer of Plymouth-based 3 Commando Brigade and ran the field hospital at Ajax Bay where about 1,000 troops were treated.

Despite the poor conditions, only three of the 580 British soldiers and Royal Marines wounded in action were to die of their wounds, and none while under his care.
He passed away this week at 71.

Surgeon Capt Rick Jolly OBE, Royal Navy.


Thursday, January 17, 2019

Grow or Harvest Critical Thinkers

Some noises are being made that the military and the Navy want more critical thinkers.

Is that something you can mandate? Are critical thinkers born or made ... or do you simply need to create the environment for your latent critical thinkers to reveal themselves?

I'm pondering over at USNIBlog.

Come on by!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Monday, January 14, 2019

The Fort Report on the FITZGERALD Collision

Navy Times reporter Geoff Ziezulewicz got hold of the internal report overseen by Rear Adm. Brian Fort, USN completed 11 days after the collision between the USS FITZGERALD (DDG 62) and a merchant ship on June 17, 2017.

For those who have been keeping track and suspected a systemic failure, nothing will seem out of bounds. If you were thinking this was just a string of bad luck, you're going to be shocked. From Millington to the bridge of FITZ; from C7F to the Chief's Mess; from PACFLT to the wardroom - the Fort Report brings out everything in a bit more detail.

Read the whole thing, but good googly moogly. As Geoff says in his article, it is even worse than you thought;
...routine, almost casual, violations of standing orders on a Fitz bridge that often lacked skippers and executive officers, even during potentially dangerous voyages at night through busy waterways.

The probe exposes how personal distrust led the officer of the deck, Lt. j.g. Sarah Coppock, to avoid communicating with the destroyer’s electronic nerve center — the combat information center, or CIC — while the Fitzgerald tried to cross a shipping superhighway.
I would like more details on this nugget from a human factors point of view. What was the beef with LT Natalie Combs? How many knew of this personal conflict?

Anyway - back to the nightmare;
When Fort walked into the trash-strewn CIC in the wake of the disaster, he was hit with the acrid smell of urine. He saw kettlebells on the floor and bottles filled with pee. Some radar controls didn’t work and he soon discovered crew members who didn’t know how to use them anyway.
Since 2015, the Fitz had lacked a quartermaster chief petty officer, ...
When Fort arrived at her (LT Natalie Combs) CIC desk, he found a stack of abandoned paperwork: “She was most likely consumed and distracted by a review of Operations Department paperwork for the three and a half hours of her watch prior to the collision,” Fort wrote.
“Procedural compliance by Bridge watchstanders is not the norm onboard FTZ, as evidenced by numerous, almost routine, violations of the CO’s standing orders,” not to mention radio transmissions laced with profanity and “unprofessional humor,” Fort found.
About three weeks after the ACX Crystal disaster, Fort’s investigators sprang a rules of the road pop quiz on Fitz’s officers.

It didn’t go well. The 22 who took the test averaged a score of 59 percent, Fort wrote.

“Only 3 of 22 Officers achieved a score over 80%,” he added, with seven officers scoring below 50 percent.

The same exam was administered to the wardroom of another unnamed destroyer as a control group, and those officers scored similarly dismal marks.

The XO Babbitt, Coppock and two other officers refused to take the test, according to the report.
As always in such circumstances, we need to remember where this all led. In the end our Sailors Xavier Martin, Dakota Rigsby, Shingo Douglass, Tan Huynh, Noe Hernandez, Carlos Sibayan and Gary Rehm drowned to death.

This whole process needs more, not less, transparency.

UPDATE: Check out Part II, III, and IV.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Over the horizon, under the radar, & in your MEZ: ASCM & ASBM - on Midrats

This Sunday from 5-6pm Eastern, we're going to focus on the things of nightmares; Anti-Ship Cruise Missiles and Anti-Ship Ballistic Missiles with fellow paleo-milblogger SteelJawScribe.

In a wide ranging discussion, for the hour we'll cover ASCM history, Cold War tales, and what present day Russia and Crimea are bringing to the game.

SJS is a retired Navy Captain with multiple operational tours, including command of the VAW-122 Steeljaws, flying the E-2C Hawkeye as a Naval Flight Officer. With over 3500 hrs in type and 525 carrier arrested landings he was a designated Mission Commander, NATOPS and PMCF check flight NFO, a NATOPS qualified NFO copilot and the first CVW strike lead from the VAW community. He also was navigator on the USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER (CVN 69).

Shore tours included time at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA where he earned a Masters (with honors)in National Security Studies (Russia) and multiple joint penance tours working operational/technical intelligence, collection management and strategy/policy. Following retirement he worked in industry, first in BMD supporting the Missile Defense Agency and then helping establish the Navy Air and Missile Defense Command in Dahlgren VA. As the Navy’s premiere center for all things associated with ballistic and fleet air defense, NAMDC became the IAMD division (Dahlgren) of the Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center (SMWDC) in 2015, where SJS works today after transitioning to govt work.

An honors graduate of the Naval War College, SJS also teaches 2of 3 JPME-1 courses as a Fleet Seminar Program professor and is a published author. Together with his wife Sharon and their fearless dachshund, Jake, they live in Chancellorsville, VA

Join us live if you can, but if you miss the show you can always listen to the archive at blogtalkradio or Stitcher

If you use iTunes, you can add Midrats to your podcast list simply by clicking the iTunes button at the main showpage - or you can just click here.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Fullbore Friday

Those who have deployed understand the connection you have with those you served with - especially those who you know, through their actions, helped you make it home.

Those who have dogs know how complicated creatures they are; their own personalities, quirks, desires, fears and preferences. You also know how they can connect with their person in a very unique way.

For those who know what dogs have done for us in the long war - and the sacrifices known and unknown they have joyfully given, you have to be in awe of this partnership tens of thousands of years in the making.

Meet Dyngo, vis Smithsonian Magazine;
It was February 2011 when Staff Sgt. Justin Kitts boarded a helicopter with Dyngo. They were on their way to their next mission with the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division on a remote outpost in Afghanistan. Unlike other dogs, Dyngo didn’t shrink away from the beating wind kicked up by helicopter propellers. He bounded in alongside Kitts, hauling himself up onto the seat. As they rose over the white-dusted ridges, Dyngo pushed his nose closer to the window to take in the view. Kitts found a lot of tranquility during these rides together before a mission, just him and his dog, contemplative and still.

On the first day of March, the air was chilly, the ground damp from rain. Kitts brushed his teeth with bottled water. He fed Dyngo and outfitted him in his wide choke chain and black nylon tactical vest bearing the words “MWD Police K-9.”

The plan for the day was familiar. The platoon would make its way on foot to nearby villages, connecting with community elders to find out if Taliban operatives were moving through the area planting improvised explosive devices. The goal was to extend the safe boundary surrounding their outpost as far as possible. Kitts and Dyngo assumed their patrol position—walking in front of the others to clear the road ahead. After six months of these scouting missions, Kitts trusted that Dyngo would keep him safe.

Kitts used the retractable leash to work Dyngo into a grape field. They were a little more than a mile outside the outpost when Kitts started to see telltale changes in Dyngo’s behavior—his ears perked up, his tail stiffened, his sniffing intensified. It wasn’t a full alert, but Kitts knew Dyngo well enough to know he’d picked up the odor of an IED. He called Dyngo back to him and signaled the platoon leader. “There’s something over there, or there’s not,” Kitts said. “But my dog is showing me enough. We should not continue going that way.”

The platoon leader called in an explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) team. Given the inaccessible location, the team’s arrival would take some time. The other soldiers took cover where they were—along a small dirt path between two high walls in what was almost like an alleyway—while Kitts walked Dyngo to the other end of the path to clear a secure route out. Again, Kitts let Dyngo move ahead of him on the retractable leash. They’d barely gone 300 yards when Kitts saw Dyngo’s nose work faster, watching as his ears perked and his tail stopped. He was on odor again.

If Dyngo’s nose was right, there were two bombs: one obstructing each path out of the grape field. Then the gunfire started. To Kitts’ ears it sounded like small-arms fire, AK-47s. He grabbed Dyngo and pulled him down to the ground, his back against the mud wall. They couldn’t jump back over the wall the way they came—they were trapped.

The next thing Kitts heard was a whistling sound, high and fast, flying past them at close range. Then came the explosion just feet from where they were sitting, a deep thud that shook the ground. Kitts didn’t have time to indulge his own response because just next to him, Dyngo was whimpering and whining, his thick tail tucked between his legs. The rocket-propelled grenade explosion had registered to his canine ears much deeper and louder, the sensation painful. Dyngo flattened himself to the ground. Kitts, knowing he had to distract him, tore a nearby twig off a branch and pushed it toward Dyngo’s mouth. Handler and dog engaged in a manic tug of war until Dyngo’s ears relaxed and his tail raised back into its usual position.

The popping of bullets continued, so, knowing his dog was safe for the moment, Kitts dropped the branch and returned fire over the wall. He’d sent off some 30 rounds when a whir sounded overhead. The air support team laid down more fire and suppressed the enemy, bringing the fight to a standstill.

When the EOD unit arrived, it turned out that Dyngo’s nose had been spot on. There were IEDs buried in both places. The insurgents had planned to box the unit into the grape field and attack them there.

Altogether, during their nine months in Afghanistan, Kitts and Dyngo spent more than 1,000 hours executing 63 outside-the-wire missions, where they discovered more than 370 pounds of explosives. The military credited them with keeping more than 30,000 U.S., Afghan and coalition forces safe and awarded Kitts the Bronze Star.
That isn't the most impressive part of the story.

There is another Fullbore character in this story, Rebecca Frankel. The love and passion she showed to help one of our own find a forever home is, at least for me, hard to describe.

As I am in awe of Dyngo, I am also with Rebecca.

"Thank you Rebecca." That is what I see in his face below.

Thanks from me too.

Read it all

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Diversity Thursday

This week's DivThu is a bit different - and it is a reminder that

The Diversity Bullies, like all insecure totalitarians, will not allow any spoofing, laughing, or punking - much less dragging out their dirty laundry for all to see.

No, they will have none of it.

Peter Boghossian, a professor of philosophy best known for his involvement in the "grievance studies" hoax papers, is now in trouble with Portland State University's Institutional Review Board (IRB), which has accused him of violating its policies regarding the ethical treatment of human test subjects in the course of his experiment.

"Your efforts to conduct human subjects research at PSU without a submitted nor approved protocol is a clear violation of the policies of your employer," wrote PSU Vice President Mike McLellan in an email to Boghossian, according to Areo.

No shock though. Read up on the story.

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

So, let's talk about 5" General Purpose Gun

You know you love it.

You know you want more of them.

You know you want more things to shoot out of them.

So do I.

Come on by USNIBlog for the latest goodie.

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

The New SASC

More over at Midrats than here, regulars know one of my more persistent questions when discussions of the US military of tommorrow come up is, "Who are the advocates of both Parties on The Hill?"

People are policy ... and we will see significant change over on the Senate side.
As many as eight seats on the military panel — nearly one-third of the committee membership — could change before its next meeting, even with the Senate remaining in Republican control.
Graham, who joined the panel in 2003, leaves as he is expected to ascend to the role of chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He is also expected to retain the gavel of the powerful Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs, as well as remain a member of the Appropriations Defense Subcommittee.

South Carolina, which has a large military presence, will lose representation on the panel as Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., also departs — alongside GOP Sens. Ted Cruz, of Texas; Ben Sasse, of Nebraska; and Jon Kyl, of Arizona.

Senate Democrats have already announced three new members for the Senate Armed Services Committee. Sens. Tammy Duckworth, a combat-wounded Army veteran from Illinois; Joe Manchin, of West Virginia, and Doug Jones, of aerospace powerhouse Alabama, will replace three departing Democratic lawmakers.
The committee will add five incoming Republican senators: former U.S. Reps. Martha McSally, of Arizona; Kevin Cramer, of North Dakota; Marsha Blackburn, of Tennessee, as well as former Florida Gov. Rick Scott and former Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley.

With McSally, who Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey appointed to replace Kyl in McCain’s seat after she lost a Senate bid, Congress retains an advocate of the A-10 Warthog — a platform McSally piloted in the Air Force.

Democrats are losing three senior members. Scott bested Sen. Bill Nelson, formerly the SASC’s No. 2 Democrat; Hawley beat Sen. Claire McCaskill, a senior SASC member and top Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee; and Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly, the top Democrat on the Strategic Forces subpanel lost to incoming Sen. Mike Braun.

The panel will also see a large proportion of women, veterans and female veterans.

Monday, January 07, 2019

Keeping an Eye on the Long Game: Part LXXIX

If you don't keep an eye on the second and third order effects of Chinese demographics, start.

Nothing "breaking news" - but like a slowly retreating tide, you can't ignore it and it effects everything around it.
China's population is set to peak at 1.44 billion people in 2029 — but it then faces a long period of "unstoppable" decline, government scholars have warned.

Key points:
- China is grappling with demographic problems caused by its ageing population
- The country could be missing more than 200 million workers by mid-century
- The birth rate fell in 2017 despite the abolition of the one-child policy

The world's most populous country must now draw up policies to try to cope with a declining labour force and a rapidly ageing population, according to a summary of the latest edition of the Green Book of Population and Labour published by the China Academy of Social Sciences (CASS).
Note the timeline - the end of the Terrible 20s.

China is not alone in this challenge. Indeed, led by Japan, all of East Asia is feeling it. Europe is feeling it. Most of the developed world is. The USA, not to the same degree due to a different fertility rate and approach to immigration.

Declining population is something not seen in the modern era.


Sunday, January 06, 2019

Midrats 9th Anniversary Show

Nine years of Midrats.

That’s right, EagleOne and I have had the pleasure of talking to you and our guests for nine years.

This Sunday from 5-6pm we’re going to have just the two of us on to talk about not just the last nine years, but the general growth of podcasting the last decade. We’ll also review what we have top-of-mind for 2019.

As always on our free-for-all shows, you’re invited to call in or ask questions in the chat room.

Join us live if you can, but if you miss the show you can always listen to the archive at blogtalkradio or Stitcher

If you use iTunes, you can add Midrats to your podcast list simply by clicking the iTunes button at the main showpage - or you can just click here.

Friday, January 04, 2019

Fullbore Friday

Every 4-5 yrs I run this FbF because it has so much to teach us about the demands of surface combat - even today. As you read, pay attention to the actions taken from bluff or misinterpretation of unfolding events. Pay attention to the amount of ordnance sent downrange by both sides and the incredible acts of damage control.

When I say Battle of the Komandorski, what comes to mind? If nothing, well that is sad ... but we can fix that.

Well, I think you would be hard pressed to find a more deserving Battle for FbF - if for no other reason than the very, well ... Shoe-y-ish-ness of it all.

A perfect day in the Northern Latitudes, you know the type of day.
The day was dawning with remarkable visibility under a light overcast, a glassy sea and gentle breezes from the southwest. Air and water temperatures were just at or above freezing. At 0830, apprized of his opposition, Hosogaya began to deploy his ships. Abukuma with Wakaba, Hatsushimo and Ikazuchi turned in column to starboard, followed two minutes later by Nachi, Maya and Tama. The two transports, accompanied by Inazuma, continued north, northwest as Hosogoya led his fleet southeastward in two parallel columns to engage the American fleet. At about this time Nachi launched an aircraft to assist in spotting the fall of shot.
How much do you rely on Intel? What do you do when you realize you are outnumbered almost two to one?
McMorris’ movements upon sizing up his opposition were reckless. Initially he believed he had found the expected convoy and that it would be lightly escorted. But as the masts of first one and then two heavy cruisers hove into sight over the horizon, he realized he was outnumbered and outgunned. Nonetheless, he continued to lead his fleet toward the enemy,
What was he looking at?

Forces Engaged - Battle of Komandorski Islands 
Salt Lake City 






I also want you to ponder Damage Control. Follow this performance by the crew of the USS SALT LAKE CITY (CA-25) in particular.
By 0840 the Americans were in battle formation: a single column still heading north led by Bailey followed by Coghlan, then Richmond, Salt Lake City, Dale and finally, Monaghan when Maya and then Nachi opened fire at a range of 20,000 yards. Maya obtained a straddle on Richmond with her second salvo, but then both cruisers switched fire to Salt Lake City. Salt Lake City began shooting back two minutes later. The Americans believed they scored a quick hit on Nachi with Salt Lake City’s third and fourth salvos, but they were apparently observing blast damage on Maya. Her action report stated that her opening salvos set her No. 1 floatplane ablaze. Damage control dumped the plane overboard and quickly controlled the fire. At 0844, as the range continued to rapidly close, Nachi launched eight torpedoes. Apparently these came close to doing serious harm: lookouts aboard Richmond saw a torpedo pass under her bow while one broke surface near Bailey’s starboard quarter. At the time these reports were discounted because the Americans still had no appreciation of the Japanese Long Lance torpedoes’ range.At 0845 McMorris finally changed course as the range was closing rapidly, turning to port, and increasing speed to 28 knots. As the Americans settled on a southwesterly course, Salt Lake City continued firing with her rear turrets and drew first blood hitting Nachi at 0850 with her sixteenth salvo from approximately 16,000 yards. One 8” shell struck the aft section of the compass bridge, killing eleven and wounding twenty-one and damaging the gunnery control electrical circuit. The second shell damaged one of the mainmast’s struts. Two minutes later a third 8” shell struck Nachi’s aft aircraft deck, killing two and wounding five in the torpedo room below. Damage control attempted to shift the affected generator to a boiler with low steam pressure. This error resulted in a complete failure in all power to Nachi’s main battery turrets, freezing her guns at full elevation and leaving them unable to train. She was effectively out of the battle for a half-hour while power was restored.

As Nachi struggled to correct her damage, Hosogaya turned his cruisers southwest to pursue the Americans. The light cruisers and destroyers had already peeled off to the southwest several minutes before. Strategically he was now between McMorris and his base, chasing the Americans from their aft port quarter while his light forces, positioned to protect the convoy, followed from the starboard quarter. Tactically, Hosogaya possessed the weather gage, but a stern chase is a long chase. His cruisers had to turn to fire their full broadsides (only four of their ten 8” guns could bear forward) and these maneuvers negated any advantage he might have gained with his superior speed.

As the Japanese settled on their new course, the range opened slightly. The Maya rightly concentrated her fire on Salt Lake City. Her aim was good, but Captain Rogers commanding the American heavy cruiser successfully chased salvos until 0910 when Maya finally landed an 8” shell on Salt Lake City’s starboard spotter plane on the midships catapult. The only two deaths the Americans were to suffer during the battle resulted, but damage control quickly extinguished the fire and dumped the plane over the side.

Another hit, once again from Maya followed at 0920. This struck Salt Lake City’s quarterdeck, but did little to immediately affect her fighting value. At this point the Americans gradually started bending their course west, then west by northwest. The Japanese suspended fire for nine minutes from 0921 to 0930 when Nachi re-opened fire. They were now sailing almost due west. By 0945 Tama had encroached to within 18,000 yards of Salt Lake City’s starboard quarter. Rogers sheered his ship out of line and with a few salvos forced the light cruiser to make a 360° turn. During this portion of the battle Abukuma with the three destroyers continued to follow off the American’s starboard quarter, out of range, but gradually closing.

Salt Lake City first experienced a serious problem at 0952 when the repeated concussions of her own salvos, as well as numerous near misses, threw her steering gear out of control. This problem was corrected, but only temporarily. By 0953 Abukuma had approached sufficiently close to merit attention from Richmond. The Japanese light cruiser exhibited a certain timidity, opening range when she came under fire by turning more to the north; perhaps her orders made protection of the convoy her primary responsibility.

At 1002 Salt Lake City’s steering gear failed again, this time permanently, restricting her course changes to only 10 degrees and thus limiting her ability to chase salvos. This handicap quickly told: at 1010 Salt Lake City was hit again from a range of nearly 22,000 yards; the shell, fortunately a dud, passed through her main deck and out her hull below the waterline, causing flooding in an engine room. At 1018, with Salt Lake City taking on water and having trouble steering, McMorris ordered his destroyers to make smoke to hide her from the pursuing Japanese. Conditions were perfect for this tactic and the white chemical and black funnel smoke hung thick in the still air behind the Americans.

At 1028 Salt Lake City changed course to 240?. Richmond followed about 3,000 yards astern while the destroyers remained on her engaged side, continuing to pour smoke from their funnels and generators. As the American column made its way west northwest at 30 knots, the Japanese cruisers followed. Up to this point, Hosogaya had fought an intelligent battle, exploiting McMorris’ initial aggressive movements to position his ships in the superior position. His long-range gunnery had damaged the principal American ship. With the advantages of speed, material and position, it was time to close range and force the issue. Instead the Japanese cruisers continued to zigzag, Hosogaya electing to fire full broadsides rather than close range. For three quarters of an hour the Japanese failed to score any hits as the smoke served to protect Salt Lake City, despite the presence of Nachi’s spotter plane. At 1100 McMorris turned his column due south. The Japanese cruisers were slow to respond to this course change and continued west for nearly a half-hour. Hosogaya was permitting McMorris to slip out of his trap. At 1103 Abukuma hit Salt Lake City, her fourth and final hit. This caused flooding in her after gyro and engine rooms. She took on a 5° list, but continued at full speed.

Shortly after the American course change the Japanese launched a torpedo attack with Maya firing four at 1105 followed by eight from Nachi at 1107 and four more from Abukuma at 1115. These sixteen torpedoes probably passed behind the Americans. The cruisers continued to swap ineffective salvos. Then, at 1125 Salt Lake City’s after fireroom went out of commission reducing her speed to 20 knots. McMorris initially ordered his destroyers to conduct a torpedo attack and they dropped back to get into position, but he canceled his order at 1138 as Salt Lake City was able to work her speed back up. Hosogaya was only able to close range about 3,000 yards during this time as he maneuvered to avoid the torpedo attack that never came.

At 1148 Nachi was hit again by a 5” shell on the starboard front side of #1 turret. This blocked her turret and killed one and wounded another crew. At 1149 the Japanese destroyers tried to enter the action when Wakaba fired five torpedoes at the American destroyers followed by six from Hatsushimo at 1154. As this attack was being conducted, the battle reached its moment of crises. At 1150, engineers counterflooding to correct Salt Lake City’s list, accidentally let water into the fuel oil and extinguished her burners. By 1154 she was dead in the water. The Japanese heavy cruisers were 19,000 yards north northwest, firing steadily and closing while the light cruisers were a little further to the northeast. Although Salt Lake City was partially obscured by smoke, there appeared to be little hope of saving her. McMorris immediately ordered his destroyers to form up for a torpedo attack. At 1159 Bailey, Coghlan and Monaghan reversed course to close the cruisers 17,000 yards to their northwest while Dale remained to refresh the smoke screen. Richmond closed Salt Lake City to evacuate her crew if need be. Rogers, however, was not ready to give up his ship. Frantic damage control efforts got her burners lit and by 1200 she was underway again making 8 knots.

As the American destroyers charged northwest Coghlan fired her 5” guns at Maya while the other two targeted Nachi. Hosogaya shifted fire to this threat and Bailey was quick to suffer. At 1200 an 8” shell struck her galley door on the starboard side, killing five. In the next two minutes she was hit again in her forward fireroom and her forward engineroom loosing boilers 1 and 2. Scrapnel from near misses wounded four on Coghlan and knocked both radars out of commission. Nachi suffered her fifth hit during this run in on a signal platform to starboard. Bailey launched five torpedoes at 1203 from 10,000 yards and turned away. The punishing fire prevented the other two destroyers from closing any further and they turned away as well, their torpedoes still in their tubes. Salt Lake City reopened fire just before Bailey’s fish hit the water. McMorris turned his cruisers east. Hosogaya made a turn to the west at 1203. The Japanese ceased fire at 1204 and the Americans at 1212. Both forces were now heading in opposite directions toward their respective bases.

Hosogaya’s turnabout seemed a miracle to the Americans. Apparently there were several factors behind his decision. His destroyers were low on fuel and his cruisers low on ammunition. He was not aware of the gravity of Salt Lake City’s problems. He was also concerned about air attacks. When Salt Lake City reopened fire, she was using HE ammunition, having expended all her AP. Apparently the white splashes from these shells were interpreted as explosions from aerial bombs dropped from above the overcast. Hosogaya’s decision to turn away was reportably not popular with his men. “They silently cursed the caution of their chief which depreived them of a victory already won.”

This battle was fought at long ranges, under perfect conditions, without intervention by aircraft (other than the one spotter) submarines shore batteries or mines. In this regard, Komandorski was unique, at least in the Pacific Theater. The expenditure of ammunition for all the American ships engaged was heavy. Salt Lake City fired 806 8” shells, 85% of her stock, and 95 5”. Richmond contributed 271 6” and 14 3” while Bailey, Coghlan, Dale and Monaghan fired 481, 750, 728 and 235 rounds of 5” respectively. On the Japanese side the totals for the heavy cruisers were impressive: Nachi and Maya fired 707 and 904 8” rounds respectively (up to 70% of their total) and 276 and 9 5”. The light forces fired considerably less: Tama 136 5.5” and Abukuma just 95 5.5”. Of the destroyers only Wakaba and Hatsushimo got into the action. Wakaba fired a few rounds of 5” and Hatsushimo only 5. The Americans launched 5 torpedoes, all from Bailey, while the Japanese launched 43, Nachi 16, Maya 8, Abukuma 4, Tama 4, Wakaba 6 and Hatsushimo 5. No torpedoes scored, but interestingly, the two American attacks, one aborted and one only partially carried out, had decisive results. The first prevented Hosogaya from closing range just before Salt Lake City lost power and the second encouraged him to break off his attack just when it was in his power to win the battle.
More details on the battle here. Things to ponder - how is your DC training? Are you ready to fight hurt? Are you ready to fight when your primary weapons are not hitting as you expect? Is you ship designed to fight hurt? Are you too reliant on technology? 
The sharp-eyed Japanese lookout once again got the jump on American radar. It wasn’t until a half hour later, at 0730, around an hour before dawn, when radar on McMorris’ flagship light cruiser Richmond and Coughlan independently detected ships north of the American picket line.
Are your leaders ready to fight hurt, or are they going to retreat without full victory? How is caution in war seen by history - or your peers and superiors?
McMorris maneuvered his fleet patiently and well. When the battle began he was outgunned and cut off from base. He managed to play to Hosogaya’s caution by conducting a slow, wide turn while maintaining range. The failure of the Japanese destroyers and light cruisers to play a larger part in this battle is a mystery. They never closed the range sufficiently to effectively attack although it was easily within in their power to do so. Apparently this caution was not of Hosogaya’s making as he was not happy with their performance. The Japanese inflicted more damage than they received, but strategically, they were defeated as their transports returned to base without delivering the supplies so badly needed by the isolated Aleutian garrisons. The final indicator of victory or defeat is how the commanding officer is judged by his superiors. Hosogaya was relived and sent into reserve. McMorris was decorated and became chief of staff to Admiral Nimitz.