Friday, December 04, 2020

Fullbore Friday

I bumped into a post I did over six years ago on the passing of one of our greats.

Phyllis. 

Thought I'd repost today ... because, she deserves it. 


Circumstances display character. Character comes often from places least expected - unless of course you know the best of military spouses
She said in a Richmond News Leader interview in 1971 that while Galanti was a POW, she just “wanted to be a housewife.” She wanted to “sink into oblivion” when he returned.

By 1969, she had become active with other POW wives. 
In 1970, the wives group became the National League of Families and Friends of POWS and MIAs in Southeastern Asia. It evolved into a tour de force in crusading for the North Vietnamese to adhere to Geneva Convention protocols in treatment of prisoners and eventually for the release of POWs and the accounting for those missing in action.
Mrs. Galanti served as chairwoman of the league.

In a televised speech before the Virginia Senate on Feb. 12, 1971, she kicked off an areawide campaign, “Write Hanoi: Let’s Bring Paul Galanti Home,” part of a nationwide project.

Her efforts generated more than 450,000 letters from the Richmond area, around 300,000 letters from Northern Virginia and 378,000 from Gastonia, N.C., where Paul’s parents had moved in 1964.

More than 80 percent of people living in the Richmond area contributed a letter, which was thought to have been the greatest response to the Write Hanoi campaign anywhere in the United States.

In March 1971, Mrs. Galanti was among a delegation of 10 Write Hanoi campaigners who went to Stockholm, Sweden, to try to obtain information on the POWs from the chargé d’affaires in the North Vietnamese embassy there.

They also wanted to send the letters asking for freedom for American servicemen being held in Southeast Asia to the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong delegations attending the World Assembly of Paris for Peace and Independence of Indochinese Peoples. 
Because “they knew we had” the letters, Mrs. Galanti said they were able to talk with officials. The letters were flown to Paris to be given to the North Vietnamese delegation at the peace talks.

By Christmas Eve 1971, she received two letters and two postcards from her husband. “Those four little pieces of mail were the most elaborate Christmas gift,” she said.

She reported in March 1971 that she was using the services of a peace group to correspond with her husband.
Mrs. Galanti called for a shift in strategy in July 1971. Instead of writing Hanoi, she asked Americans to write to President Richard Nixon and Congress. “The issue has become a political matter,” she said. “Their release can come from one place — Washington.” 
In an op/ed piece in The News Leader in 1971, she wrote, “I can honestly say that I have never done anything so rewarding and worthwhile in my life. Knowing that so many people were genuinely concerned gave me a much-needed boost.”
When she and other POW wives went to Versailles, near Paris, in February 1972 to talk about release of POWs with 800 communist delegates from 75 countries at the World Assembly of Paris for Peace, they failed to get an audience. However, Mrs. Galanti said she felt a softening on the part of communist officials to Nixon’s plan to end the war.
Mrs. Galanti and two other POW wives talked about prisoner issues with Nixon and Henry Kissinger, then national security adviser, on May 15, 1972.

In October 1972, she was elected chairwoman of the league and early the next year learned that her husband’s name was on a list of living POWs.

Galanti was released on Feb. 12, 1973, among the first group of POWs freed by the North Vietnamese. Their plane landed at Clark Air Base, Philippines. He arrived in Virginia from Travis Air Force Base, Calif., on Feb. 15. He was reunited with his wife at the Norfolk Naval Station.

At the time, he told reporters, “Phyllis was pretty shy when I left, and I came back to a real tiger.”
We should all be so lucky. 

Ms. Galanti passed in the spring of 2014 after 51 years of marriage.

Fullbore.

Thursday, December 03, 2020

Even the Chairman Goes Salamander on Overseas Forces


As regulars here know, from the start of the blog - and a decade earlier IRL - one of my core stands is that we are long past the need for having large formation of maneuver forces based overseas in now rich and ready allies.

Besides unit rotations, occasional exercises to practice surge, and combined training and logistics facilities, everyone needs to come home.

As a maritime and aerospace power, we need to be home based, but postured for forward deployment of land forces to support allies and interests.

We are a mercantile republic, not an empire.

It has been a lonely vigil, and I know many of the respected and wise members of the Front Porch disagree with me, but that's OK.

That being said, the Chairman is not all the way Salamander, but I'll take 80%;

In remarks on the future of warfare, Army Gen. Mark Milley said he believes the military should be more selective in its peacetime presence abroad. He said he strongly favors an overseas U.S. presence but prefers that it be rotational or “episodic” rather than permanent. He was not referring to counties like Afghanistan and Iraq, where U.S. forces have been involved in wars for nearly two decades.

“Large permanent U.S. bases overseas might be necessary for rotational forces to go into and out of, but permanently positioning U.S. forces I think needs a significant relook for the future,” not just because of the cost but also because it can leave military families vulnerable in high-risk areas, he said.

In the same article, I found these remarks interesting from a navalist point of view;

Competing effectively and peacefully with China requires a vastly larger U.S. Navy, he said, including a much larger investment in robotic surface and underwater vessels.

That was right after a discussion about flat to slightly smaller budgets. So, an Army 4-star can see the argument for Navy getting a larger slice of the pie?

Interesting. 


UPDATE: I'm sorry, but I refuse to not LOL.

Even NAVSEA is going Salamander. No one of the Front Porch should ever have to buy a beer again. Also, we need to make clear that I am not VADM Galinis IRL
The Navy’s experience with fielding new warships in the last two decades has shown that an evolutionary approach to ship design is more likely to succeed than a revolutionary approach, the commander of Naval Sea Systems Command design said.   

“As we go forward and look at future platforms, [consider an] evolutionary approach versus a revolutionary approach,” said Vice Adm. William Galinis, speaking Dec. 3 in a Defense Forum 2020 webinar sponsored by the U.S. Naval Institute. “Where we have done that [evolutionary approach], frankly we’ve been pretty successful.” 

I would laugh harder is it weren't for the untold hundreds of billions of dollars, and untold destroyed careers that resulted from the Age of Transformationalism.

Just read all the above and join me in saying, "NOT ONE DAMN LINK OR CREDIT TO CDRSALAMANDER? That is just rude."

Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Have We Forgotten the Art of Deception?


Looking back at some overlooked but critically important - and successful - naval tactics that have a direct and sometimes dramatic strategic effect ... I found myself thinking of a great example from WWII.

Can you defeat the worlds most feared warship with just some lumber and canvas?

Maybe ... 

I'm pondering over at USNIBlog. 


Come by and give it a ponder with me ... and think why this may be of use today.

Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Hug Your Local SINKEX Today


Some of my most memorable peacetime experiences in my naval career were SINKEX. I mean ... really people.

There is the "fun" factor - but I also fully appreciated the good information we received from sending warshots downrange. Sure, the targets didn't shoot back or try to intercept our weapons ... but it did give you a good outline of the performance of those things in the kill chain you could control. 

That is why - while using the exceptional google translate function - this bit from Russian open source caught me off guard;
... testing modern means of destruction of the Navy on it. And as an example here, we, alas, the US Navy, which does not just use old ships as targets, such firing has a pronounced research character, all reports on which, of course, the US Navy is tightly secret (with a minimum of details for the media).

Such events have not been carried out in our fleet for many decades, despite the fact that new anti-ship missiles with a sharply reduced mass of warheads are being adopted for service, the issues of the real effectiveness of which on large ships are acute.

That's right kiddies ... the Russians and the Soviets before them were not in to doing SINKEX. 

I find that, frankly, amazing. You learn so much by doing even these highly controlled and scripted exercises from both a weaponeering and damage control point of view.

While we may need to work on basic seamanship and preservation, there are two things we like to think we are good at compared to other navies; damage control and weaponeering. Both of these assumptions - which I think are very defendable - derive a fair bit from what we learn from SINKEX.

At war, our weapons may not be as good as we think they are ... but pondering the Russian admission above, I have to wonder ... what effectiveness are Russian weapons in comparison?

I know what I assume ... but maybe even less effective?

Hmmm.

As a side note, take time to read the full article linked to above. Nice discussion of lost opportunities by not having proper stewardship of existing warships ... and even a dig at LCS. Nice confirmation of what I had heard SEPCOR about Soviet Era gas turbines. 

H/t SJS.

Monday, November 30, 2020

China Bully-boys Australia

Here is one hard fact; Australia has 1.7% of the population of Communist China. 

Additionally, Australia is 80% of the landmass of Communist China. Australia is also heavily reliant on China with regard to trade. 39% all goods exported in 2019-20 go to China, while 27% of all goods imported were from China.

This is top of mind to the Chinese Communist Party.

As they have in other parts of the world, once China gets comfortable with their economic leverage, they will begin to use it against you. 

They are not too good at it, and more often than not they come out as rather thuggish. They also lack cultural competence to see that what may work in some parts of the world, may not work elsewhere.

Case in point, Australia.

China has been pushing its influence in Australia for awhile, resulting in the occasional scandal and insult. 

Their latest play seems a bit much
Fraying relations between Australia and China have sparked a more than 25 per cent drop in coking coal prices even as iron ore — the other ingredient needed to make steel — has soared to six-year highs.

China last month placed what has been seen as an unofficial ban on imports of coal from Australia, following a sharp deterioration in diplomatic relations after Canberra called for an inquiry into the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic. On Friday, Beijing followed up with tariffs on Australian wine.

In a sign of China’s influence over commodity prices, since the coal ban came into effect the price of premium Australia low-volatility coking coal — the current industry benchmark — has dropped from $138.50 a tonne to $101.25.

Julien Hall, Asia metals pricing director at S&P Global Platts, said October was a “big tipping point” for the market as its recovery from the demand hit caused by the pandemic was put on hold by Beijing’s action.

“The need to find other destinations [for Australian cargoes] led to a rapid fall in the price,” said Mr Hall.
To top things off, this happened over the weekend



A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson has hit back at the Australian government's demands for an apology over a doctored photo posted by a Communist Party official.

The photo, blasted as "repugnant" by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, has been altered to depict an Australian soldier holding a knife to the throat of a child atop the Australian and Afghanistan flags.
China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian today tweeted the faked image, sparking Mr Morrison's swift rebuke demanding an apology from China and for the image to be taken down.
...
"The Australian side is reacting so strongly to my colleague's Twitter," Ms Hua said, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

"Does that mean that they think the coldblooded murder of Afghans is justified? The Australian government should feel ashamed of this; they owe an explanation to the world and they should solemnly pledge such crimes will not be repeated."

The Brereton report was actioned by the Australian government after allegations of improper conducted by SAS troops.

READ MORE: PM urges restraint over alleged war crimes exhibits at War Memorial
Mr Morrison earlier today said Australia was demanding an apology and immediate removal of the image, which he labelled as "false and a terrible slur".

"There are undoubtedly tensions that exist between China and Australia. But that's not how you deal with it," he said.

"It is deeply offensive to every Australian who has served in uniform.

"It is outrageous and can't be justified on any basis whatsoever."
The Australians don't need me to tell them this - but make no mistake, the Chinese don't just want to force Australia to submit to their will - they want to humiliate Australia. The Chinese do not see them as equals - and in the long run they have plans for Australia that they need to set the proper conditions for.

I'm not sure what we can do from here but be an even better friend and ally to Australia. Buy some Australian wine ... but more importantly, let both Australia and the Communist Chinese government know that we see exactly what they are trying to do, and call them on it.

The international community needs to get used to this. This is what dealing with a powerful China will look and feel like. 

Best thing nations can do is not to rely on Chinese money all that much. Their money comes with strings.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Fullbore Friday


One of the highest forms of the military arts is to use your enemy's habits against them. Not forcing them, but simply opening a door for them they are simply too willing to enter out of habit.

Anyone who has lived in Europe - especially around or with Germans, French, Dutch, and Scandinavians, will enjoy this FbF.

This story is short, but it is important in a couple of ways. First, the French military was never really given a chance in WWII. Beset with spotty leaderships and in some cases just bad luck, the incredible martial example of WWI just two decades earlier was as if it never happened. They had a few bright spots against the Germans ... and this was one.

Secondly ... the naval battle in the Mediterranean was a near run thing. If the Royal Navy were not so good and the Italians such sub-performers, the entire course of the war would have changes. 

A big "what if" was the large and modern French Navy fleet in Toulon. Most here know it was scuttled ... but do you know the story about why the French Sailors had time to make it happen?

Well, let's set the board. Remember here, this is the German Wehrmacht and Waffen SS of the early war. Man to man ... the modern world has probably not seen a more effective fighting force.

...the 7th Panzer division arrived in Toulon. There were tanks, armored cars, armored personnel carriers and an SS motorcycle battalion. This fast-moving force entered the town and rapidly took control of the major port defenses to the west and east of the harbor. They entered the headquarters of the fleet on land and arrested the French officers, but not before a warning was radioed to Admiral Laborde on the great flagship Strasbourg. Laborde was shocked at the rapid and unexpected attack, but he swiftly took command of the situation. The orders went out to the fleet. They were to prepare to scuttle their ships and to fire on any German troops who approached. 

Have you worked in a shipyard? This will make complete sense. 

It took the German soldiers longer than they had planned to reach the harbor. It was surrounded by a great maze of naval infrastructure, sheds and warehouses, barracks and administrative buildings, turrets, watchtowers and high walls and fences topped with barbed wire. When they finally found their way to the main gates they found them closed and manned by French soldiers.

...but here is the trick; 

The German officers demanded the gates be opened. The French officer in charge smiled.

‘Of course,’ he replied in German, ‘Do you have your access paperwork?’ 

Yes ... right out of a bad Hollywood WWII movie; "Your papers please."

The German officer was perplexed, but his orders were to capture the port and the fleet without bloodshed, if possible, so he began to debate with the officer at the gate. The conversation went on for some time, and in the end, the German officer was obliged to produce documentation for the Frenchman, who nodded, smiled, thanked him, and then left him standing at the gate.

The French soldiers began to banter and chat with the Germans. The officer returned with more questions and requests for further paperwork. He delayed the German officer for as long as he could, but eventually the man’s patience was at an end, and the French soldiers were obliged to open the gate.

It was 5.25am when the German tanks finally rolled through the gates, by which time all was ready on board the doomed fleet. The order was given to scuttle the ships, and the French crews began to pour onto the harbor. Dull explosions reverberated through the air as the pale light of early dawn began to spread across the sky. The main force of the German tanks rumbled toward the flagship Strasbourg, which was already listing to one side in the water. Infantry dismounted from their motorcycles and ran toward the disembarking crews. Sporadic fighting broke out as thick greasy black smoke began to pour from the docked ships. 

Can we count this as a French victory? I think so ... but such a tragedy. If only the French Navy had made a run for it instead ... that would have been a story.

Total cost:

3 battleships (scuttled)

7 cruisers (scuttled)

15 destroyers (scuttled)

3 destroyers (seized by Germany)

13 torpedo boats (scuttled)

6 sloops (scuttled)

12 submarines (scuttled)

4 submarines (seized by Germany)

9 patrol boats (scuttled)

19 auxiliary ships (scuttled)

1 school ship (scuttled)

28 tugs (scuttled)

4 cranes (scuttled)

39 small ships (seized by Germany)

12 killed

26 wounded 


 

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Have a Happy Navy Thanksgiving

...and take a moment not just to think about all the Sailors at sea, but every single person on the Mess Decks who work hard to make it happen.

I love those guys. Few ratings are as great a combat multiplier than those who can make the magic happen during the holidays at sea. From the dedicated Culinary Specialists to those just mess cranking for a spell. 

BZ.





Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Nice Oil Trade You Have There. Shame if Something Happened to it


Have you been surprised that Iran and her Houthi proxies in Yemen have not gone after the Saudi's oil industry more?

What are your thoughts on home-grown cruise missiles and mines?

I'm pondering both over at USNIBlog.

Come on over and give it a read.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

France's National Antibodies Wake - but too Late?


The story of Europe's growing struggle with its intentional own-goal of importing a critical mass of people who will not simply, "become European," will be an ongoing story this century.

Especially in France.

Outsiders also misunderstand the situation on the ground in France as it deals with radical Islamism. After the recent attacks, the government chose to close a mosque and an NGO suspected of ties with radical groups. But more consequential legislative action was initiated this fall, when the French government proposed a bill seeking to fight “separatism.” Building on months of dialogue with religious organizations like the French Council of the Muslim Faith, Macron suggested stemming foreign funding for mosques and the training of imams, aiming to instead privilege domestic training of religious scholars in accordance with democratic values.

The term “separatism” was chosen concertedly. Scholars such as Gilles Kepel, who has been influential in Macron’s thinking, have documented that France faces a struggle with Islamism that extends beyond terrorism. The deeper societal challenge involves the growing influence of radical groups in certain neighborhoods that exist outside the state’s purview, a countersociety that operates at the expense of women, LGBT people, Jews, and many others. Kepel’s book Terror in France recounts the trajectory of figures like Mohammed Merah, the terrorist who killed seven people, including three Jewish children, in Toulouse in 2012. At the time, Merah was seen as the ultimate “lone wolf,” a former petty criminal-turned-radical, acting on his own, without receiving orders from an organized terrorist network such as al Qaeda or the Islamic State. But years of investigations showed a different picture from the convenient lone-wolf narrative. Merah was socialized in a radical ideology that was the norm in his direct environment. From his family to his friends to his mosque (that Islamic State leaders Fabien and Jean-Michel Clain also attended), Merah’s ideological surroundings laid the groundwork for his radicalism. Rather than look at individual profiles and the psychological underpinnings of radicalism, the French government wants to tackle the ecosystems that have allowed them to prosper.

All this adds to many reports over the years of growing pressure on teachers trying to teach about the Holocaust, sex education, or even basic biology. In 2002, a book written by a collective of high school professors, The Lost Territories of the Republic, warned of alarming sexism and anti-Semitism in the French banlieues. A female professor interviewed by the Financial Times last month reported: “I don’t feel safe. If I have to show a film with a nude scene or a couple embracing, there’d be shouting, and not just the normal teenage stuff, real aggression, kids saying, ‘This is not OK. It’s not allowed.’” Male physicians have been put under pressure to avoid attending to female patients alone. Mayors have come under criticism for acceding to demands from religious groups for separate hours for women in public swimming pools. More recently, a group of Sorbonne scholars (a university not known for its far-right activism to say the least) led by Bernard Rougier published a series of empirical studies titled Territories Conquered by Islamism, warning that “Islamist networks have managed to build enclaves at the heart of popular neighborhoods.” Jews, who represent 1 percent of the French population but are disproportionally targeted by hate crimes (about 40 percent of attacks most years), have largely deserted these areas in the last decade.

This was, of course, avoidable ... but for decades politicians and cultural leaders - for reasons best explained by them - refused to clearly see the problem. They were more interested in being called nice things by all the right people. To accrue personal virtue today at the expense of the security and national unity of their children's future.

For their part, the French seem to be a victim of our garbage mainstream press and are misreading the USA; 

An op-ed in Le Monde denounced a “disconcerting American blindness when it comes to jihadism in France.” Macron’s measures have frequently been analyzed through the prism of domestic electoral politics as allegedly trying to co-opt the far-right. But this analysis represents a gross misunderstanding of the French political reality. A recent poll on the upcoming French presidential election in 2022 shows a situation eerily similar to the one that prevailed in 2017, when Macron roundly defeated Marine Le Pen in the second round. The vast majority of French citizens feel deep concern over the situation. According to a IFOP survey last month, 89 percent of respondents considered the terrorist threat to be “high,” 87 percent that “secularism is in danger,” and 79 percent that “Islamism has declared war on the nation and the Republic.” Are these all National Rally voters?

While pointing to a “crisis” within Islam, Macron was careful to distinguish the majority of French Muslims living and observing peacefully from the radical minority that poses a threat. The comparisons with far-right rhetoric, which precisely refuses to make such distinctions, thus completely miss the point. For many French liberals, this fight is not easily separable from the one against the far-right—both are a defense of liberal democratic values against illiberal ideologies. French Justice Minister Éric Dupond-Moretti thus dismissed calls for emergency measures coming from the National Rally, insisting that the rule of law was the only possible solution.

There is a large mass of Americans who fully understand the challenge that France faces, and support the French people's efforts to preserve their culture from a hostile import. 

The problem is that they won't hear it from the French language press that mostly copies what it reads from NYT and WaPo. They think that is the USA, and as we know - it isn't.

As I've mentioned over the years here, in the years I lived in Europe, this topic came up not infrequently over beers with my European military colleagues.

The most sobering was one long evening in Norway at a table full of Norwegians, Swedes, Danes, Finns, me and a Brit. At a dark moment, a Swedish Field Grade army officer coldly stated, "Our politicians will wait too long and things will get too bad and then they will call on us and the police to do what we have done before in Europe. It will not be pleasant."

I didn't ask for more - we all knew what he was saying.

I wish Macron success. If the political center will not take care of the security and cultural concerns of the people, the people will seek champions on the fringes. If they cannot find a responsible way to take care of this systemic problem - through incompetence or prolonged inaction - then Europe will force itself to become something it does not want to become, or accepts its transformation in to something their ancestors fought a thousand years to prevent. 

Read all of Benjamin Haddad's article over at FP. Very well done. 

Monday, November 23, 2020

Your Presence Mission is not Sending the Message You Think it is

No, I’m not going to let this go. 

Yes, I am going to throw this in your face. 

What message does this send to friend or foe? 

BEHOLD!


Want to see the absolute state of it all, in detail?

Well, in another recent pic - this just happened to be the first one I could find - you can download the hi-res here, if you zoom in to just one section, you can see the long-term damage being done to the ship. This isn't just cosmetic. 


This is what is being sold; 


This is what is actually being seen by anyone who sees this ship:
"This is a slowly degrading force sent by a declining empire. They send their warships to impress us, but all I see is a nation and its navy who lacks either pride or the money to properly maintain their front-line forces. If their exterior looks like this, imagine everything inside. Imagine the mentality of its leadership. Their leadership either does not care, or does not know. We should plan accordingly.”
Is that accurate, or even fair? 

I don’t know, but here is what I do know. 

We are burning up our navy and its working capital without regard for the future – or even the present. 

We are chasing metrics and COCOM demand signals decoupled from centuries of known best practices of peacetime stewardship of a navy to ensure it is ready for war. 

I find nothing impressive about “7th” if that is what we are putting forward. 

You know what would be more impressive? A “5th” that had a properly maintained warship that you wouldn't be embarrassed to pull in to any port, accept any dignitary. 

I feel sorry for the Skipper and crew of the DONALD COOK; they deserve better support. They deserve better leadership. 

PS: this perfectly flows with much of the conversation we had yesterday with Mackenzie Eaglen on Midrats

h/t Blake

Sunday, November 22, 2020

The Problem with Proconsuls; the Combatant Commanders - on Midrats


34 years after Goldwater-Nichols and the rise of the Combatant Commanders (COCOMS), is our national security structures more in line with what we need in the 21 Century, or the Roman Empire’s Proconsuls? 

What are these mini-Pentagons supposed to bring to the national security of the United States, and what are they actually delivering? What do they do right, and where are they off phase? 

Our returning guest for the full hour this Sunday from 5-6pm Eastern to discuss this and more will be Mackenzie Eaglen. We will use her recent article, Putting Combatant Commanders on a Demand Signal Diet, at War on the Rocks as a starting point for our conversation. 

Mackenzie is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, where she works on defense strategy, defense budgets, and military readiness. She has also served as a staff member on the 2018 National Defense Strategy Commission, the 2014 National Defense Panel, and the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review Independent Panel. Prior to joining the American Enterprise Institute, she worked on defense issues in the House of Representatives, in the Senate, and at the Pentagon in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and on the Joint Staff.
   
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, November 20, 2020

Fullbore Friday

I put this FbF up every few years, last time was 2016, because it simply is a great story that makes you think anew every time you read it. Enjoy...and ponder


Training. Drills. PMS. PQS. Attention to detail.

Do you do just the minimum, or do you ask for extra time to get it better and better? Do you train and inspect hard? How many times have you gone through different scenarios with your crew?

Do all your watch standers know how critical their position and responsibility is? From the OOD to the YN3 on the 50cal.; do they appreciate that they are as important as the Commanding Officer?


Discipline. Discipline and obedience in the time of stress, strain, and unimaginable threat to life an honor. Have you and your crew's training been built to refine and demonstrate those qualities? How do you address shortcomings? Are your Chiefs and First Class focused, demanding, masters of their team and 
duties?
As the Sydney approached the starboard beam of the larger Kormoran, the cruiser used a daytime searchlight to flash the signal “NNJ,” the maritime code ordering the merchant ship to identify herself. After a delay, the Kormoran ran up the signal flags of the Dutch vessel Straat Malaaka, although their location ahead of the freighter’s single large funnel purposefully made it difficult for the Sydney’s spotters to read. The warship requested the freighter to re-position the flags, and as German crew slowly complied, the distance between the two ships, still sailing due west, shrank to a mile.

“Where bound” came the second signal flashed by the Sydney. “Batavia” was the reply from the Kormoran, indicating the capital of the Dutch colony of Java lying over a thousand miles to the north.

Aboard the German raider, Detmers and the bridge staff watched the exchange of signals anxiously and urged the enemy cruiser to sail away and leave them alone. Their fear rose when they saw the Sydney’s crew prepare to launch the spotter plane from the amidships catapult. The plane, once airborne, would easily spot the hundreds of naval mines strewn about the Kormoran’s high deck, giving away its identity as a raider. But the launch crew apparently received new orders and returned the plane to its storage position.

According to the recollections of Heinz Messerschmidt, a 26-year-old lieutenant commander aboard the Kormoran at the time, Detmers turned to his officers and reassured them again, “Ah, it's tea time on board. They'll probably just ask us where we are going and what cargo and then let us go on.”

By luck and guile the Kormoran had survived for almost a year by preying on isolated Allied merchant ships. But this was its first encounter with a warship brandishing guns of equal firepower. Still playing on its disguise as a helpless merchantman, the Kormoran’s radio operator began broadcasting the alert signal “QQQQ” meaning “suspicious ship sighted.” The anxious signal likely confused the Sydney, whose radio operator would have received the transmission, as did a wireless station 150-miles away in the Australian coastal town of Geraldton.

As the parley continued, the distance between the two ships shrank to less than a mile. Lookouts on the Sydney scanned the freighter for suspicious markings or signs of weapons.

But carefully concealed behind special screens and tarps on the Kormoran’s decks was an arsenal of naval guns, torpedo tubes, and anti-tank guns, all manned, loaded, and trained on the unaware cruiser. Later investigations would attempt to determine why Captain Burnett approached so closely to the Kormoran, or if he was lured into false sense of security.

Although both ships possessed guns of similar caliber, the Sydney’s fire control system and experienced turret crews only would be an advantage at longer ranges. Whether by inexperience or trickery, the Sydney’s vulnerable position would soon turn perilous. Over an hour after the cruiser first sighted the freighter on the horizon and gave chase, Burnett ordered the Sydney to flash the signal “1K”–one half of the secret Allied call sign for the Straat Maalaka—across the short gap between the ships. The actual Dutch freighter of that name had a codebook with the corresponding two-letter response. The Kormoran did not. Detmers realized that the time for hiding was over. He ordered the Dutch flag taken down and the German naval ensign run up the mast as the camouflage screens fell away to reveal the line of gun barrels trained on the Sydney. The Kormoran’s 5.9-inch guns fired first, while the rapid-fire anti-tank and machine guns opened up on the officers visible on the cruiser’s bridge. It was shortly after half past five in the afternoon.

The first two 5.9-inch salvos from the Kormoran missed the Sydney, according to reports from the German gunners. But the third volley crashed into the bridge and gun director tower, crippling the cruiser’s ability to return accurate fire just seconds into the battle.

Meanwhile, the raider’s anti-tank and machine guns raked the Sydney’s bridge, presumably killing or wounding many of the officers standing there. Other guns sprayed the exposed portside 4-inch gun mounts and torpedo tubes, preventing their crews from manning them. According to German witnesses, the gap between the two ships was between 1,000 and 1,500 yards—a distance more appropriate for the muzzle-loading cannons of Trafalgar than the rapid-fire guns and high explosive shells of the Second World War.

The Sydney’s first response was a salvo of 6-inch rounds that passed over the now exposed raider. However, the next shells from the Kormoran smashed into the cruiser’s forward “A” and “B” turrets and put them out of action. Another German shell exploded the spotter plane amidships, spilling burning aviation fuel over the decks and black smoke billowing into the sky. Sydney’s “X” and “Y” turrets located in the rear of the ship continued to fire under local control for a few more minutes, but only the crew of “X” achieved hits, sending three rounds into the high-sided freighter. One shell struck amidships, and another punched into the engine room. But the third shell tore through the raider’s funnel, severing the oil warming lines and sending burning fluids cascading down into the motor room to ignite a major fire.

At about this time the Kormoran reportedly launched two torpedoes; at least one struck the Sydney between the mangled “A” and “B” turrets tearing a huge gash in the bow and igniting even more fires. Locked together like two wavering boxers, the warships exchanged constant blows that crippled them both within a few minutes. A storm of shells swept across the water as impacting rounds blossomed into fireballs and pillars of smoke from burning fuel climbed into the evening sky.

Fifteen minutes after firing began, the stricken Sydney made a sudden turn to port, passing close behind the Kormoran and allowing the raider’s rear guns to engage the previously sheltered starboard side of the cruiser. But the Sydney’s turn also permitted her crew to launch a spread of four torpedoes at the raider, all of which missed.

By this time the fires in the Kormoran’s engine room had spread to destroy the machinery, causing the freighter to stop in the water. The Sydney limped slowly away to the south still under fire, down severely at the bow and burning ferociously. Around six o’clock the now immobile Kormoran loosed a final torpedo from an underwater tube at the fleeing Sydney that apparently missed. The 5.9-inch guns on the raider continued to engage the cruiser for another half hour as the range increased and darkness fell. The Germans’ last view of the Sydney came a few hours after sunset—a burning glow on the distant southern horizon that slowly flickered and faded away.

Detmers soon realized that the Kormoran’s uncontrollable fires threatened the hundreds of volatile mines stored on the deck. He ordered his crew to set scuttling charges and abandon ship. Without panicking, the German crew launched lifeboats and watched as the charges detonated along the ship’s keel shortly after midnight, sinking the Kormoran on her 352nd continuous day at sea.

Of the raiders crew of 397 officers and men, 317 survivors reached the Australian coast over the next few days. And in an outcome that has fueled controversy ever since, neither the Sydney, nor her crew of 645 officers and men, were ever seen again.
That is why we have standards. That is why we have qualifications. That is why we should demand excellence and discipline. Are your standards and expectation focused for the same reasons as Fregattenkapitän (Commander) Theodor Detmers? An epic story.

BZ to ewok40k for pointing out that KORMORAN has been found, and as Matt tells us, the SYDNEY has been found as well.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Diversity Thursday


A little different DivThu today. I’m not going to cover a specific outrage or Orwellian program, no, something different but more important.

Consider this a war warning.

Firstly, I need to repeat something for my Trump supporters here; until the Summer of 2020, he completely failed in this area. As people are policy, he failed in that he did not appoint people who understood what was going on in the larger culture. He finally caught on to what was going on and acted, specifically on Critical Race Theory, but that was him. He quickly saw what it was and took action.

He needed dozens to hundreds of political appointees to see the problem and act on their own as he did, but they were absent from the field.

The people he brought in to his administration simply were not brave enough, or knowledgeable enough, to understand what this new cancer with the friendly sounding names, Diversity and Inclusion, really meant when operationalized.

As opposed to promoting what all well-meaning people desire – a republic where you are judged by the content of your character and not something as meaningless to the individual as race, creed, color, national origin or who you want to spend a long weekend in Tahoe with  - instead the Diversity Industry desires to promote sectarianism and division. To keep the people divided along arbitrary groups that can be pit against each other, fighting over things they cannot do anything about – specifically what they were born as or what was done hundreds of years ago. 

As there is nothing that can be done to correct either of those things, the crisis and conflict never ends. The ability to manipulate and control blocks of people never ends. The hate and anger such a world view provokes never ends, the externalization of internal frustrations never ends, and most importantly to the Diversity Industry – the contracts never end, the jobs never end – the  Möbius strip gravy train never ends.

Identity politics is the political arm of the Diversity Industry. Identity politics is a critical foundation stone, sadly, of the (D) party. Unlike the (R) party opposition to Identity politics, which is an afterthought at best, the (D) realize the power of this brain stem tactic and are serious as can be about it. They will bring it with them everywhere as they once again get access to levers of power.

For those of us who desire unity not division; equality not preference, opportunity not selection, freedom of thought vice ideological compliance – we are about to enter a time of strife.

In the summer of 2020’s unrest, the Diversity Industry took advantage of the opportunity and have a lot of the civilian world already spooked. Many of you have seen it in the new Diversity and Inclusion divisions, training programs, and new requirements concerning undefined “hate speech” and “social media audits” with Star Chamber like decisions on who will be fired or not, etc.

Many of us will find ourselves in positions to be part of these Star Chambers, selection committees, disciplinary arms, or just a gear in machine feeding the Diversity food trough, in both civilian, government, and military areas. This is where you need to be careful

As I’ve offered earlier, you do not have to totally submit to this totalitarian mindset. You don’t have to be a martyr. They don’t have to win every battle. You have to think like an insurgent, act like a guerrilla.

Ask polite but hard questions with an innocent tone and expression. Take the indirect path. If the commissariat demands metrics, nominations, or anything with a deadline – be late. Be incomplete. Be out of travel funds. Send your response to the wrong office code. Miss the photo-op. Be double-scheduled. As for requests in writing, and then reply with questions or clarification requests. Be a bit dim. Do not put yourself in danger, or those who rely on your position or leadership – but don’t be a willing participant to what you know is wrong and divisive. 

They will not be in power forever – but you will have to look at yourself in the mirror every morning.

Follow orders, but do not volunteer. Do what you must, but do not do it well. Ignore what you can. Be absent minded. Smile, be polite … almost to the edge of being patronizing but remember this one thing – those who make a living in the Diversity Industry know who they are and what they are doing. A very small percentage are true believers whose hearts are in the right place. They are not bad, they are just wrong – but make no mistake, they are the minority.

Most of the people in the Diversity Industry – remember, strife is their mother’s milk - spend their days soaked in grievance, resentment, and a sectarian view of everything. They do not really care what is going on – they just want to know the characteristics of the people doing it.

Remember, these are the people who demand that mixed race people MUST choose which of their genetic lines they prefer over all others to either gain advantage, or to be marked as privileged. These are people not motivated to solve problems, but to stoke them to grow. Only through the ongoing struggle to they justify their existence and their paycheck.

If they perceive in any way that you are a barrier to their existence and paycheck, they will set out to destroy you. Like all witch hunters, they must find a witch. If they cannot find one, they will create one. Remember my point above, do not be a martyr. This time will pass, but keep your honor intact.

This brings us to the future. At some point, the (D) will be out of power. When that happens, will the (R) demand that we pick up where the Trump administration started to clue in the summer of 2020?

Will we go after the nomenklatura and commissariat of the Diversity Industry that will be larger, stronger, and more embedded than it is now? Nothing was done to dismantle it in 2009 to today, so it has been hibernating – waiting for the (D) to return … and it will grow as long as they are in power.

Will we have the leaders willing to be called names and smeared all because they said; “No. We will no longer discriminate or give any preference based on race, creed, color, national origin as was done before.”

That is easily defended. That is unquestionably moral. In a wonderfully diverse and large nation such as ours, it is the only way to ensure we continue in peace and grow as a unified people.

Buck up everyone. This is going to be a rough ride. Look out for each other. Support each other … and when the cancel culture circles around someone, defend them. 

You are next; you’ll need friends.  

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Who is Going to Have a New Cruiser Design Displacing Water First?


In Italy vs. USA ... the Italians will beat us to the punch.

Curious what they plan on doing?

Swallow your pride and head on over to USNIBlog for the details.

Note: there will be guns. Lots of guns.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Bit by Bit, an ABM Capability Grows

 


Our Navy would be such a more powerful force if we had kept with the mindset of the Aegis and Standard Missile evolution. 

Bit by bit, step by step, increment by increment, baseline by baseline, we got a stronger, more effective Navy.

A few hiccups like in any  long running program ... but the success is undeniable. 

In a first-of-its-kind test, the United States has successfully used a small ship-fired missile to intercept a target Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), according to the Missile Defense Agency. The successful test shows the U.S. military now has another missile defense system capable of defending against North Korean ICBM’s aimed at the United States.

“The U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA), and U.S. Navy sailors aboard an Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) System-equipped destroyer intercepted and destroyed a threat-representative Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) target with a Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA missile during a flight test demonstration in the broad ocean area northeast of Hawaii, Nov. 16,” said a statement from the Missile Defense Agency.

A target ICBM missile launched from Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean traveled thousands of miles towards the body of water between Hawaii and the West Coast of the United States mainland.

MORE: US successfully intercepts ICBM in historic test
The destroyer USS John Finn that was positioned in those waters then fired an SM3 missile that successfully intercepted the target ICBM. The interceptor missile was directed towards its target using tracking information provided by an array of sensor systems designed to monitor any incoming missile attack on the United States.
There is a lot to do before this becomes a fleet-wide capability, but we are getting there.

An anti-ballistic missile capability afloat isn't just good for national defense and that of our allies, but as anti-ship ballistic missiles become more of a threat - it will be an integral part of fleet defense itself.

As challenging of a science and engineering accomplishment as this is, there are parallel challenges that need to be addressed. 

First of all is a depth of capability. A lot of modifications and improvements will be needed to our Aegis ships before more ships have this capability - if ever. Most with a naval background can figure out an outline of those details on their own.

Once that is done, then we have what has always been an gold-plated issue in the surface community  become a platinum-plated one - the most valuable square footage in the navalists neighborhood; VSL cells.

If you want attack targets ashore with TLAM or the coming hypersonics cruise missiles - and your submarines can't quite get everywhere with enough tubes as it is, you will need this surface capability. 

How many VLS cells can you fill with those weapons if you need to be able to defend yourself and others from one or two varieties of ballistic missiles and ASCM - not to mention an aircraft or two? Maybe leave a few cells for ASW ... perhaps?

Your standard issue Aegis Destroyer has 90 or 96 MK-41 VLS cells. You can do the math from there.

We lost two generations of possible evolution in surface warship development with the failure of DDG-1000 and CG(X). We really need to get off the ball sooner more than later with our next large surface combatant. We can also look at some fun ways to get more VLS cells to our Navy sooner ... but that is a post for another day, perhaps.



Monday, November 16, 2020

So, What Happened with Azerbaijan and Armenia?


Some of you are keeping an eye on the latest Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, so if I may, let me put down a few markers here:

1. The Caucasuss have never been in the American sphere of influence.
2. The Caucasuss are not even tangentially adjacent to American national security concerns.

With that set up, here's the summary from Anders Åslund at The Atlantic Council;
The big lesson of the Azerbaijan-Armenia peace settlement is that military power rules. In a matter of weeks, the use of force has achieved what decades of diplomacy failed to deliver. The only two relevant international players in the South Caucasus region are Russia and Turkey. The United States has taken leave, while the European Union is a paper tiger without troops.

Essentially, Azerbaijan has retaken the territories it lost in 1994, and it has captured a corner of Nagorno-Karabakh. In addition, the agreement promises Azerbaijan a transportation link through Armenia to the Azerbaijani district of Nakhichevan, which lies beyond southern Armenia. In territorial terms, this settlement makes sense and may prove durable.
OK.

Noted.

This area has, for centuries, been a concern of Turkey and Russia. It still is. There is a little religious conflict thrown in for good measure. Things could have gone in a much worse direction - with a noted concern that for inertia reasons we are still allied with Turkey;
Putin has promised to deploy a peacekeeping contingent of “1,960 soldiers with small arms, 90 armored personnel carriers, and 380 vehicles and other special equipment,” which will serve along the contact line in Nagorno-Karabakh and guard the Lachin Corridor for an initial period of five years. Meanwhile, the Armenian armed forces will withdraw.

Russian special forces, many of whom fought in eastern Ukraine, began arriving in Armenia in IL-76 transportation planes on November 10. By sending these special forces as peacekeepers to Nagorno-Karabakh, Putin has made tiny Armenia even more dependent on Russia, leaving it looking less like an independent nation and increasingly like a Russian protectorate.
War over? Good. For now, no American killed. Good. Turkey was not pulled in. OK.

Wait ... of course;
The United States seems to have withdrawn from global affairs; the EU has no military muscle; and the West in general has grown alienated from Turkey. This has left the way open for authoritarian rulers like Putin and Erdogan to seize the geopolitical initiative. 
What does the author want, the USA sticking its nose right in the underbelly of Russia where we have never had a national interest ... ever? Is there any shock that the EU is militarily two steps of useless without American enabling forces, logistics, and more importantly - will?
In geopolitical terms, the most important outcome of the conflict is the appearance of a significant Russian military presence in Nagorno-Karabakh. Russian “peacekeeping” missions already exist in three other “frozen” post-Soviet conflicts. They are present in Moldova’s Transnistria region, along with Abkhazia and South Ossetia in Georgia. A similar Russian military force is now firmly established in the heart of the Southern Caucasus region, fulfilling one of Moscow’s long-term objectives in the region.
Maybe I'm just not sophisticated enough with my land grant university education to see the critical nuance involved with such strange adventures some see for the USA in the Caucasus, were if we did, in additional to more American families hanging gold-star flags in their living rooms, the usual suspects in Europe and elsewhere will tut-tut, micro-manage, moral-posture, and get their large papermache puppets ready for another anti-American protest.

Anyone up for another decades long garrisoning of a god forsaken part of the world? We just had a group of Americans killed as part of the Sinai peacekeeping force. That I can argue is a net good ... but the AZ-AR conflict - for decades? 

No.

If we had, in then end it would just be more American treasure expended so people far away from the fight will feel important, more untold billions of dollars burned for nothing, and no one - literally no one - will thank us for the efforts.

No thanks. We've played this game enough.

The. 

Caucasus. 

You and your Swedish countrymen first Anders. 

After you.

There is a huge problem in our think-tank and academic natsec nomenklatura that needs to be fought every time it comes up. These people are addicted to buying virtue with the blood of other people's children.

What seems like a secondary front from some think tank conference room comfortably on the other side of the planet where a few well placed virtue-forces can make all look well and easily taken care of, may to other people be an absolutely strategically important near abroad that their ancestors fought and died for over centuries to secure, and is well worth another bloodletting.

Other people get a vote on the global value of your chasing virtue unicorns.

Your little police action to help enforce artificial lines on a map could easily become a nightmare of slaughter.

I don't know know many examples history needs to give us where emotion-based national security idealism begat brutal wholescale butchery - but it is clear not enough for some.

There are things worth traveling the world to fight against - genocidal empires focused on world conquest is one, expansionist powers looking to force their will on others through control of economics and trade is another - but those are rare.

A religious and tribal feud between Azerbaijan and Armenia manifesting itself over a bunch of goat-encrusted hills is not even a 4th tier concern of the United States.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Carriers: Workhorse & Warhorse with Megan Eckstein & Sam LaGrone - on Midrats

 

Fewer carriers are deploying more even as repeated warning lights have been going off that we are expending in peace what we will need in war when it comes to personnel and materiel in carrier aviation.

How did we get here, where are we, and where are we going?

Using her article, No Margin Left: Overworked Carrier Force Struggles to Maintain Deployments After Decades of Overuse, as a starting point and diving it to some of the additional insights she gained while writing it, Megan Eckstein from USNINews will be joining us along with Sam LaGrone this Sunday from 5-6pm Eastern.

Megan Eckstein is the deputy editor for USNI News. She previously covered Congress and the Pentagon for Defense Daily, and the surface navy and amphibious operations as an associate editor for Inside the Navy. She began her career covering the military at the Frederick (Md.) News-Post, where she wrote about personnel and family issues, military medical research, local reserve and National Guard units and more. Eckstein is a 2009 graduate of University of Maryland College Park.

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services since 2009 and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.

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, November 13, 2020

Fullbore Friday


There is a moment when even a prisoner sees an opportunity to contribute to the war.

Considering the nightmarish conditions experienced by prisoners of Imperial Japan faced in WWII ... the quiet bravery here is gobsmacking;
A shipyard is a massive and highly complex industrial system. In 1943, before the age of computer automation, the basic production process could be roughly summarized as follows. A marine engineer would design, in blueprint form, drawings of a ship’s components. These parts would then be rendered into wooden moulds or templates that could be used to trace out the shape of each part on thick steel plate, which would guide the acetylene torches used to cut the steel into required form. As each part was cut from steel sheets, it would be transferred to the appropriate vessel under construction and riveted, welded, or bolted into place. The high volume of ships being produced at the shipyard, and the large number of parts contained in each one, meant that tons of paper blueprints and templates had to be stored on site. The two-building facility where they were stored comprised a single tiny nerve center within an industrial shipbuilding process that otherwise spread out over many square miles—a fact of considerable interest to anyone who might want to bring production to a sudden halt.

The crucial question was how. Since the yard worked on a 12-hour day shift, any scheme Clark developed would have to be executed in broad daylight, under the noses of Japanese guards—an impossible task. What he needed was some way to set the destructive act in motion on a delayed basis, so that it would unfold when the site was empty.

At the work sites to which they’d been assigned, Clark and Cameron began squirreling away a variety of combustibles that they could use to produce a primitive firebomb—such as paint thinner, oil, rags, oil-soaked shavings, benzine, resin, paper, and celluloid. To time the operation properly, they used a candle, which, once lit in the afternoon, would burn down for several hours until it ignited a hand-made fuse that would, in turn, set off the assembled combustibles.

It took Clark and Cameron a year—acting without the knowledge of anyone else, even fellow POWs—to gain access to the target buildings, establish a safe hiding place for the bomb, smuggle in the combustibles, and put the device together, all the while knowing that an unexpected search or a single mistake would lead to certain, and possibly gruesome, death.
...
Shortly before quitting time on the afternoon of January 20th, they set up their device behind a pile of rubbish in one of the rarely inspected storerooms in the mould loft, lit the makeshift candle fuse, then marched back to Camp 3D with their comrades. At 8pm that night, with every POW in camp and accounted for, the candle burned down to the fuse and the bomb ignited, just as planned. The storage building and the neighbouring blueprint facility were engulfed in flame. Because of the nature of the combustibles, the initial incandescent blaze emitted an enormous amount of heat and smoke, and the handful of security officers on site were powerless to extinguish what soon became a raging inferno.

The result was everything Clark and Cameron had hoped for: Work at the massive shipyard ground to a halt. In the days to come, some limited construction did recommence on ships that already were near completion, but building new ships had become impossible. This included the anti-submarine vessels that the Japanese navy desperately needed.

To say that the Japanese were furious is an understatement. And the feared Kenpeitai—Japan’s military police—were soon in our camp, questioning the Canadian warrant officers and anyone else they suspected might be involved. But two things blocked their discovery of the truth. First, the pact of secrecy Clark and Cameron had agreed to had been total. No one (including me) told the police anything because, aside from this pair of conspirators, no one had anything to tell. (In fact, I didn’t discover the facts until the war was over.) Secondly, the fire had consumed the evidence. Clark and Cameron left no telltale signs that could be traced to them or any of the other POW workers.

Until then, give an nod of honor to two great Canadians;
Staff Sergeant Clark and Private Cameron escaped detection until the end of their captivity, and both survived to return home to their Canadian families. For their brave actions, they were decorated by the King. “Charlie” Clark won the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) and Private Cameron the Military Medal (MM).

Clark also became an energetic leader of the community of returning Canadians soldiers, and eventually formed the Hong Kong Veterans Association of Canada. Tragically, soon after returning home, this brave man died in a house fire. And with him perished his detailed notes of how he and Cameron had so bravely carried the war to their enemy.

Back home in Alberta, Private Cameron became active within his community as a Big Brother, Kiwanis Club member, and Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) volunteer, in which capacity he taught blind people to play golf and curl. While writing this account, I asked his family about his wartime exploits. They told me that they’d only learned of them when he was decorated and written up in the press. When asked why he hadn’t told them about it previously, Cameron had simply smiled and said he “was just doing my duty” (an admirably humble formulation that, as his 1944-era Japanese captors might have noted, wasn’t literally true).
Fullbore.

Hat tip JK.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Time to Update the Natsec Firmware


Are you as frustrated as everyone else the inefficiency and petty squabbling in our natsec ecosystem?

There are things that are due to change.

I'm pondering over at USNIBlog.

Come over and give it the smell test.

Monday, November 09, 2020

The Best Joint Programs are not Joint Programs


BZ to the Army for selecting some excellent weapons to tweak a bit to suit their specific requirements, and then add to their weaponeering tool kit.

As covered by Syndey Freedberg at the end of last week;

...the Army has chosen to mix two very different Navy weapons together in its prototype MRC (Mid-Range Capability) unit: the new, supersonic, high-altitude SM-6 and the venerable, subsonic, low-flying Tomahawk.

“Following a broad review of joint service technologies potentially applicable to MRC, the Army has selected variants of the Navy SM-6 and Tomahawk missiles to be part of the initial prototype,” says a Rapid Capabilities & Critical Technologies Office (RCCTO) statement released this afternoon. “The Army will leverage Navy contract vehicles for missile procurement in support of the Army integration OT [Other Transaction Authority] agreement.”

That is programspeak for, "We need to get this capability forward as soon as possible. No, we don't have two decades to make our own stuff. Navy has already done the hard part and has some nice kit. Let's slap a Army sticker on it and get this moving."

Though it was owned by the USAF at the time, at the end of the Cold War we deployed to Europe the nuclear BGM-109G Gryphon Ground Launched Cruise Missile (GLCM). Leverage that experience and modernize it, as the modern Tomahawk is to the old TLAM - but this time in a conventional mode - and you have a nice capability.

The SM-6 is already wired with a secondary anti-surface mode at sea, so this too should be an easy path.

Some of the usual suspects will get grumpy because, damblit, the US military has a new capability, but they should pack sand.

If you desire peace, plan for war - and these missiles play to our comparative advantage.

BZ to everyone on a sound decision.