Wednesday, September 23, 2020

USS Thresher's Board on Inquiry is Now Available


It took 57-yrs, but the results of the Board, all 300-pages, is now available with minimal redaction.

Links and a few take-aways from me over at USNIBlog.

Head on over and give it a read.

57 years.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Checking Your Supply Chain Over a Decade Late

 

This is an article everyone should take time to read.  Beyond the entire, "Two decades in to land wars in Asia and we're only now doing this?" are two other critical vulnerabilities that are long overdue for correction and exist only to the everlasting shame of every Executive Branch civilian appointee and Congressional defense player this century.

Via DefenseNews' Joe Gould;

(Army officials admit) ...they rely on 55 foreign suppliers for certain equipment and materials ― like a TNT-replacement 2,4-Dinitroanisole, which comes from India ― because costs, environmental regulations and legal liabilities make many of them harder to develop in the U.S. The Army even relies on a small volume of detonators and pyrotechnics from China, Jette said.

Are we prepared for a high intensity conflict of any extent?

Monday, September 21, 2020

Our Greatest National Security Threat is Our National Security Establishment


When David's article went up Sunday, I was amazed; amazed at the audacity of arrogance and betrayal.

Since we, yes we, caused the unnecessary drowning of 17 of our Sailors in their bunks in the summer of 2017, many of us thought at last we have something that will shake our Navy to take an honest self-assessment and change what we were doing.

We were wrong.

I thought after some rather good comprehensive reviews and nice words spoken by very smart and senior people that we would re-prioritize what we were doing.

I was wrong.

The people and their elected representatives hoped that after the international shaming directly resulting from our poor maintenance practices that begat dirty, rusting, and CASREP besotted ships would bring resources to bear, and unnecessary maintenance deferrals to an end.

They were mistaken

We thought we would work towards a better service climate concerning undermanning and undertraining of personnel, and outright abusive personnel policies that consider it a feature not a bug to demand months of 100-hr work weeks from people who can't escape the skin of the ship - and then extended for months at sea without liberty or rest.  We all thought there would be changes to be better stewards of our fleet and its Sailors.

We were lied to.

Yes, that is a strong word - and I mean it.

One again, for the most gossamer thin reasons, we are about to double-pump a carrier and her crew. We are foolishly consuming in peace what we will need for war.

We are not at war. There is no great emerging threat - right now for the next six months - that demands extraordinary efforts, sacrifice, and taking readiness and availability risk tomorrow to gather deployment time today.

And yet - here we are - again;

After shattering the U.S. Navy’s modern record for consecutive time at sea, the carrier Eisenhower is preparing for another deployment early next year just six months after returning.

Two deployments within the same readiness cycle, colloquially known in the fleet as a “double pump” deployment, used to be seen as something of an anomaly: a break-glass-in-case-of-emergency maneuver that puts enormous strain on the crew and the equipment.

But the decision to redeploy Eisenhower early next year is the second double-pump carrier deployment in as many years and will almost certainly send the 43-year-old ship into another extended period of repairs, experts said. Furthermore, the move raises questions about why the deployment is necessary at all, when the military is supposed to be focusing on readiness and moving away from running its forces ragged.

What is driving this?

...the current commander of U.S. Central Command, Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie has been vocal about his desire to get carriers in the region.

During testimony on March 10, McKenzie told House lawmakers that the aircraft carrier “has a profound deterring affect principally upon Iran.”

“They know what the carrier is. They track the presence of the carrier. And I view a carrier as a critical part of a deterrent posture effective against Iran,” he said.

McKenzie went on to tell lawmakers he believes that the reduction in Navy carrier presence in early 2019 and years prior may have contributed to the latest cycle of escalation from Iran that came to a head with the U.S. assassination of Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander Gen. Qasem Soleimani and a retaliatory strike from Iran on U.S. bases in Iraq.

The carrier that relieved Eisenhower in Central Command most recently, the Nimitz, entered the Persian Gulf late last week, according to a U.S. 5th Fleet press release.

Of course ... of course - it is another example of the metastasized cancer of the ossified and tottering Cold War Era, Goldwater-Nichols COCOM structure that has each COCOM trying to out crisis each other for forces.

One carrier does not deter Iran from doing what she wants to do. If this is such a world ending requirement, who are we short-pumping next? Where are those Sailors coming from? Will they even get a chance to see the sandbox ashore for 96 hrs, or will this be another exercise is Sestakistic sadism?

Who in uniform in our Navy is willing to step up and stop this abuse? Who? Where is Admiral No?

We haven't even addressed what we all know this will do to retention. This is no longer, "Join the Navy and see the world." It is now, "Join the Navy and never have a home."

Sailors will give everything to her Navy, including their lives, on a simple order. They trust their leadership to make the right call so if asked to sacrifice, be it family time, long hours, or even their life, it will all be for a good reason. The right reason. An important reason.

Sell this. Don't demand it - as an institution if they don't know it yet, our senior leadership spent that professional capital years ago - explain the "why" to our Navy. If you can't do it with substance, then think about what, in the end, your accomplishment of reaching O-10 was really about at the end of the day.

We know where this leads. This is not new territory. 

Read it all.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Saving the US Merchant Industry with Captain John Konrad - on Midrats

 

The neglected American merchant fleet and industry is a problem long standing. The realization of the growing challenge on the other side of the Pacific, and the knowledge of what is needed to support it, has brought the problem in sharp relief. 

Like most long neglected problems, the causes are many and deep. Ships, personnel, legal, regulatory, and the latest punch from COVID-19 have all intensified an already gathering storm. 

Returning to Midrats this Sunday from 5-6pm to discuss this critical foundation of maritime power will be Captain John Konrad. 

John is the founder and CEO of the maritime news site gCaptain.com and author of the book Fire On The Horizon. He is licensed to captain the world's largest ships and has sailed from ports around the world. John is an adviser at MassChallenge, SeaAhead, and the MIT startup blkSAIL. He is a distinguished alumnus of New York Maritime College. 

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, September 18, 2020

Fullbore Friday

 

Slowly the sea gives up her secrets;

Divers have found what they believe is the wreck of a U.S. Navy submarine lost 77 years ago in Southeast Asia, providing a coda to a stirring but little-known tale from World War II.

The divers have sent photos and other evidence from six dives they made from October 2019 to March this year to the United States Naval History and Heritage Command for verification that they have found the USS Grenadier, one of 52 American submarines lost during the conflict. 

You can ignore the sub pic in the article linked to above - that is of a later USS Grenadier (SS-525) an not the one in question that we have pics of here, SS-210.


From the exceptional website OnEternalPatrol, here is the story of her loss; 

On the night of 20 April 1943, having had poor hunting for two or three days in Lem Voalan Strait, (northwest of Penang on the Malay Peninsula) GRENADIER ventured out ten miles west of that place to see what she could find. She found two ships, but before she could attack, they turned away. Figuring that they would come back to their original course in an hour and a half, Fitzgerald planned an attack to meet them on their course at that time. About 15 minutes before time to dive and prepare for the attack, a plane came in on GRENADIER, and she dived. As she was passing 120 feet, a violent explosion shook the ship, and all lights and power were lost. She was brought to rest on the bottom at about 270 feet. The hull and hatches were leaking badly aft, and a fire in the control cubicle kept the ship without propulsion. A bucket brigade kept the motors dry, and later a jury rig pump was called into service to perform the task, while the electricians worked all day to restore propulsion. Several men were prostrated by heat and exertion, but the work went on.

At dusk, GRENADIER surfaced and continued the work of trying to restore herself. Finally, they were able to turn over one shaft very slowly, but everything possible had been done, and no more speed could be expected.

Toward morning what appeared to be a destroyer, but was actually an 1800 ton merchantman, and an escort vessel were seen on the horizon, and a plane was driven away by gunfire. The skipper decided to scuttle the ship then, and it was done, with all hands being taken prisoner by the enemy merchant ship. 

That was not the end of their ordeal;

...an hour later were hauled aboard an armed merchant ship, which took them to Penang, a major port town on the Malayan Peninsula.

At a Catholic school requisitioned by the Japanese for use as a prison, events took an even darker turn.

“The rough treatment started the first afternoon, particularly with the (enlisted) men. They were forced to sit or stand in silence in an attention attitude,” wrote Fitzgerald. “Any divergence resulted in a gun butt, kick, slug in the face or a bayonet prick. In the questioning room, persuasive measures, such as clubs, about the size of indoor ball bats, pencils between the fingers and pushing of the blade of a pen knife under the finger nails, trying to get us to talk about our submarine and the location of other submarines.”

After a few months, all the crew were transferred to camps in Japan, where the abuse continued. Four died from a lack of medical attention.

You can see a full list of the crew and those who died in captivity here.

She had a solid, workmanlike war record prior to her loss; 

GRENADIER's record prior to her loss was six ships sunk, for 40,700 tons, and two ships damaged, for 12,000 tons. Her first patrol, beginning in February 1942, was conducted off the coast of Japan, and GRENADIER sank a freighter. Going to the Formosa shipping lanes for her second patrol, GRENADIER sank a large transport and a freighter. On her third patrol, she sank a large tanker. GRENADIER's fourth patrol was a mining mission in the South China Sea, and she damaged no enemy shipping. On her fifth patrol, this vessel patrolled the Java Sea area, and sank two small freighters and a sampan. In addition she damaged a freighter.

Fullbore.



 H/t Shu.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

A Four Year Late Start


Rumors of a plan to find the money to build the fleet we knew would be a priority almost four years ago are floating about again.

Will they come to anything?

I'm asking over at USNIBlog.

Come on by and ponder with me.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

USAF to USN: "New Fighter? We already got one ... oh Yes, its Very Nice!"


I have to tip my hat to the USAF, I didn't see this coming. 

BZ to our friend Valerie for the scoop:

The U.S. Air Force has secretly designed, built and flown at least one prototype of its enigmatic next-generation fighter jet, the service’s top acquisition official confirmed to Defense News on Sept. 14.

...

“We’ve already built and flown a full-scale flight demonstrator in the real world, and we broke records in doing it,” Will Roper told Defense News in an exclusive interview ahead of the Air Force Association’s Air, Space and Cyber Conference. “We are ready to go and build the next-generation aircraft in a way that has never happened before.”

Meanwhile ... last month over at NAVAIR;

 After nearly a decade of fits and starts, the Navy has quietly initiated work to develop its first new carrier-based fighter in almost 20 years, standing up a new program office and holding early discussions with industry, USNI News has learned.

The multi-billion-dollar effort to replace the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and electronic attack EA-18G Growlers beginning in the 2030s is taking early steps to quickly develop a new manned fighter to extend the reach of the carrier air wing and bring new relevance to the Navy’s fleet of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers.

Navy acquisition chief James Geurts told reporters last week that the service created a program office for the Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) initiative.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Keeping an Eye on the Long Game: Part LXXXVI

 I don't think this is quite the graphic we should be using to make our point - whatever that point may be.


As reported by Brian Everstine, Pentagon editor at Air Force Magazine, General CQ Brown, Jr., USAF, the USAF Chief of Staff, shared the above slide with the following additional comment;

 ...USAF Airmen are the 'force multiplier' that make the difference, and a need for better sustainment. "Better to have a force of quality."

Well. 

I guess I need to go there, don't I?

1. First of all, the most expected flash point in WESTPAC involves Taiwan. As such, you can take all the South Korean units off that slide. They don't want any of that.  If 2025 is your point, you can take all of Japan off the slide as well. They unquestionably don't want any of that. Maybe later, but Japan needs another decade of seasoning before they are ready for that COA.

The Aussies? That is a hard best to make. Would they throw in for Taiwan? Impossible? Sure. Good chance, no.

2. I think we make a significant error to underestimate the "quality" of the Communist Chinese forces. Are they person-to-person-unit-by-unit as "good" as ours? No ... but the gap will be a lot closer in 2025 than it was in 2005 where most people's minds seem to be stuck.

We have a history going back to the Korean War in underestimating the Communist Chinese. We would be fools to do so now. You can say an American will kill 10 Chinese for every American loss, but if the Chinese are throwing 15 at you, you have a problem. 

We would also be fools to count as a given our allies forces. They are sovereign nations. They have agency ... and they may have other ideas about what is or is not worth poking the neighborhood dragon over. We have an entire Pacific Ocean to retreat over ... they don't.

H/t Blake.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Shipyards & the Maritime Industrial Base, with Maiya Clark

 

Concerned with the ability of our maritime industrial base to not just build the navy the nation needs, but to help maintain it? Well, do we have the episode for you! 

Join us this Sunday at 5pm with out guest for the full hour, Maiya Clark, as we discuss the issues she raises in her recent work, U.S. Navy Shipyards Desperately Need Revitalization and a Rethink. Maiya Clark is a research assistant in The Heritage Foundation’s Center for National Defense, focusing on defense industrial base issues. 

Before joining the Center for National Defense team, she worked at Heritage as assistant to Dr. James Jay Carafano, Vice President of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy. She originally joined The Heritage Foundation in 2018 as a research and administrative assistant in the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom. Maiya holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in international relations with a minor in economics from the University of Southern California. 

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, September 11, 2020

Fullbore Friday

 

Yes, you have to watch it as I watched it. I was on deployment in the C5F AOR at the time, and we had Fox on in the in the corner of the room.

I had a four year old and an eight month old daughter, a wife on the other side of the world, and less than halfway through what would be one hell of a deployment - and a world forever changed.
 

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Diversity Thursday

There is good news, and there is bad news.

First the good news almost everyone here should already know. It took 3.5 years, but at least part of the Trump Administration finally got around to something that should have been done by St. Patrick's Day in 2017;

US President Donald Trump has ordered federal agencies to stop racial sensitivity training, labelling it "divisive, anti-American propaganda".

A memo to government agencies says it has come to his attention that millions of dollars of taxpayers' money have funded such "trainings".

The document says these sessions only foster resentment in the workforce.

...

Friday's two-page document from Office of Management and Budget Director Russell Vought is addressed to the heads of federal executive departments and agencies.

"All agencies are directed to begin to identify all contracts or other agency spending related to any training on 'critical race theory,' 'white privilege,' or any other training or propaganda effort that teaches or suggests either (1) that the United States is an inherently racist or evil country or (2) that any race or ethnicity is inherently racist or evil," it says.

That is one of the great failures of the Trump Administration.  With very few exceptions, its appointees were poor and most were not even close to supporting issues that his supporters would most want. That failure firmly lies at Trump's feet.

What he and his people either had no clue about or worse didn't see anything wrong with, is the cold fact that the Diversity Industry is thick in the federal workforce. You can only voice support. You cannot oppose it, or you will be destroyed.

Trump needs about 500 Richard Grenells peppered throughout the Executive Branch, but he has failed to find them. Grenell's great ability was his don't give a damn attitude and instinct of what needed to be done regardless of the nomenklatrua.

Especially in this area, you need people who are willing to cancel and fire - even in areas you would least expect there to be cultural Marxist cells.

Who to fire? Well, anyone who thinks this is OK at the DIA, for starters;

A self-described “rabble-rouser,” Miller’s left-wing credentials are sterling: He cut his policy teeth as a staffer for then-Rep. Bernie Sanders before moving to Greenpeace, where he spent years directing its U.S. climate campaign. In his current role, his speaking bio says, he is tasked with “advancing social justice through the day to day operations of an ice cream company.” He is the driving force behind much of the company’s current aggressive social justice advocacy: the author, this summer, of its widely read “Silence Is Not An Option” statement following the death of George Floyd, which proclaimed that “we must dismantle white supremacy,” accused President Trump of “using his Twitter feed to normalize and promote” the “ideas and agendas” of the white supremacists and nationalists who support him, and called for Congress to establish a commission on reparations.

...

An internal DIA announcement about the event obtained by The Dispatch made it clear that these were the issues they’d invited Miller to discuss: “He will address Ben & Jerry’s current involvement and initiatives in combating inequality and pressing social issues.” In anticipation of the event, attendees were encouraged to watch a pre-recorded video “where he discusses the history and foundation of Ben & Jerry’s role in social justice issues” as well as the “Silence Is Not An Option” statement.

“Grappling with issues of white supremacy, grappling with issues of slavery and legalized segregation … We need to dispense ourselves with the idea that there is a mushy middle here through which either individuals or companies and brands can thread some metaphorical needle,” he said in a June interview with advertising trade publication, The Drum.

...

DIA Public Affairs Officer LCDR Kevin Chambers told The Dispatch, “Ben & Jerry’s is considered a corporate thought-leader on diversity, and we asked them to share with DIA their corporate communications approach.”

Thing is, I'm not even a Trump guy ... but if we were in year three pulling this stuff out root and branch, you'd probably see me wearing a MAGA hat.

Wednesday, September 09, 2020

Talking China With the Brits and Aussies

In case you missed it, I had an opportunity to visit on someone else's podcast recently. Dr. Alex Clarke, Drachinifel, and Jamie Seidel so kindly invited me in for a chat. I had a great time. What did we talk about?

Today we are joined by the highly esteemed CDR Salamander for a two-part show that can best be described as what would happen if you sat four naval history geeks down in a room and gave them endless drinks, snacks, and told them to fix what was wrong with navies today. Although, we're not in the same room, not even the same time zone, and definitely not the same continent. Alongside our love of naval history, one of us boxes with springy creatures and fights daily battles with ravenous wildlife, another builds model railways, the third's Australian, and the special guest hobby farms something the size of most UK dairy farms. 
So after all that what is Episode 14 about? Well the #Bilgepumps team is being topical, so the Chinese fleet is massive, ever growing – more as an employment mechanism than a sensible strategy, but how does the west counter that? CDR Salamander joins us to help divine the answer.
You can listen below, or at this link.

USN vs. PLAN on Appearances

 


Why are we willingly giving victories to the Chinese Communist Party when we go to sea? 

Why do we tell sweet little lies to ourselves, our government, & and American people? 

What will it take to wake us from our complacent stupor?

Well ... rust never sleeps, and she seems to be back with an attitude.

Pics and commentary - with a visit by the PLAN - over at USNIBlog.

Tuesday, September 08, 2020

From Aircraft to Dikes ... Pick Your Election Analogy


I don’t do as much politics here as much as I used to – though some of you, especially those who follow me on twitter, may think I still do too much.

The general feelings outlined in my October 2015 post still apply, and I still keep track of things, vote, and have my opinions. I just keep them more to myself.

That being said, traditionally the Labor Day Weekend kicks off the political season, but this year I don’t think the political season ever ended since 2016. Anyway, I will use this as an excuse to bounce something off the front porch.

Over the weekend I had two people drop me a line. One very reluctantly voted for Trump in 2016, and the other voted 3rd party. Unsolicited, they both came out to state they reluctantly are going to vote for Trump this November.

The one who voted 3rd party in 2016 simply refuses to play the game of voting for Biden when it is clear he won’t/can’t do the job – but the real power will be with Harris. A Harris-Schumer-AOC (he sees AOC as the future power broker in the House) as just too much for him.

The one who reluctantly voted for Trump has nothing positive to say about Trump, but reading between the lines, he’s more of a policy vs. personality type, and sees nothing but a horror show of unified (D) government.

I think both are valid arguments for people in the center, and fit in to a larger theme of those who, once again, do not feel the (D) have given them a valid option to Trump.


Yes, it is that Anton, the author of 2016’s essay, “The Flight 93 Election.”

Especially for my fellow brethren of 2016’s NeverTrump brigades who still hold the banner high, this argument holds no water and brings nothing but contempt and bile – and I understand that – but they can’t deny the importance this line of thinking has to many in the center to center-right of the country.

Will it be enough to bring Trump enough in the Electoral College? I have no idea. After 2016, I am out of the predictions business (my "unrealistically optimistic" COA for a Trump victory was actually close … so much for my view of what is “unrealistic.”)

Back to Anton’s argument. He starts somewhere everyone here is familiar with – a topic I have been making since before even Obama was President – that of the goal of weakening voting requirements to enable voter fraud. Yes, that is the goal from universal mail in voting to ballot harvesting. You only need a small percentage to move close elections.
Anton’s commentary on the 2020 election does not belabor the obvious: it is a binary choice. The unprecedented level of opposition President Trump has faced explains, but does not excuse, some of his shortcomings. As Anton puts it: “[t]here’s little wrong with President Trump that more Trump couldn’t solve.” Then he adds what is really radically new about the 2020 election: should the Democrats win, the ruling Left—which includes just about everyone who controls American government and society’s commanding heights—is ready, willing, and eager to implement plans that would make it virtually impossible for conservatives ever to win national elections again. These plans include the importation and counting of non-citizen voters. Elections-by-mail would shift power from voters to those who count the votes, just like in Venezuela. Though reelecting Trump makes the republic’s survival possible, and preserves all manner of good options, it guarantees nothing. Trump’s defeat guarantees disaster—like in 2016, only much more so.
What was the old Tory line from the Thatcher years? “We have to be in power until Labour regains its sanity.” I think this is in the same line of thinking. One would think that fair and secure elections would  be a bi-partisan thing, but it isn’t – and that is a shame. Many elections in the USA would be considered corrupt by international standards. 

As it is 2020, the flood of leftist violence in (D) controlled cities has to be a top concern. My take is that a decision was made that the chaos would be a plus to (D) as they assumed the Trump would overreact (which he almost did) and it would be to the advantage of the (D). However, Trump held back his worst instincts and (D) lost control of the monster they created. Now there is a blowback that is helping Trump. As such, cities are – here and there – trying to regain control. Much of the damage is already done, both real and political.

That is a tactical issue that does not seem to be much of Anton’s book (perhaps much of it was done before this summer’s events). He is looking at larger issues indirectly related to the ANTIFA shock troops; 
They do not believe they have to worry about controlling their own violent troops because they are sure that they have nothing to fear from conservatives. That is because conservatives have continued to believe that the United States’s institutions and those who run them retain legitimacy. Conservative complaisance made possible a half-century of Progressive rule’s abuse. The War on Poverty ended up enriching its managers while expanding the underclass that voted for them. The civil rights movement ended up entitling a class of diversity managers to promote their friends and ruin their opponents. The environmental movement ended up empowering the very same wealthy, powerful folks while squeezing the rest of America into cookie cutter living and paying inflated energy prices. The feminist movement delivered divorce and abortion—far from benefiting women, it has made millions dependent on ruling class favor. The COVID-19 pandemic has had almost nothing to do with public health and almost everything to do with separating, impoverishing, and disconnecting people inclined to vote against the ruling class. As leftist judges rule, conservatives respond by appointing judges who pledge not to rule. As leftist governors establish their brand of effective sovereignty by decree, conservative ones obey court orders. So long as, and to the degree that, the illusion of legitimacy stands—so long as the Right obeys while the Left disobeys and commands—there is no end to what the Left can do because there is so little that conservatives do to fight back.
Now we look to what is in front of us. Codevilla does not leave on a happy note. I remain firmly in the camp that all this “second civil war” talk is unhelpful, unrealistic, and dangerous, but on both sides it is creeping up. I do think that unless there is a clear blowout for Biden and the (D) that they will not go quietly in to the sweet night. They’ve already signaled that. It would make FL 2000 look like a bingo parlor.
Consider the 2020 election. In July, the Democratic National Committee engaged some 600 lawyers to litigate the outcome, possibly in every state. No particular outcome of such litigations is needed to set off a systemic crisis. The existence of the litigations themselves is enough for one or more blue state governors to refuse to certify that state’s electors to the Electoral College, so as to prevent the college from recording a majority of votes for the winner. In case no winner could be confirmed by January’s Inauguration Day, the 20th Amendment provides that Congress would elect the next president. Who doubts that, were Donald Trump the apparent winner, and were Congress in Democratic hands, that this would be likelier than not to happen?

Before or afterward, were conservatives not unanimously to roll over, and were a few incidents to result in loss of life and conflict between police forces on opposite sides of the affairs, America might well experience an explosion of pent-up rage less like the American Civil War of the 19th century and more like the horror that bled Spain in the 20th.
Welcome to the official start of the 2020 political season.

A final note: don’t worry, I won’t be doing much political stuff from here on out. I just won’t. I also won’t tell you who to vote for – unlike what I did here in the 2004, 2008, and 2012 elections. I’ll just ask you to vote. 

Monday, September 07, 2020

USN Tone Deaf on Religion, Again

Indifference, ignorance, hostility ... or a bit of everything?

In times of cultural and societal turmoil, which I think all of us can agree 2020 is such a time, for many people their religion is a safe harbor and a place of stability.

Especially for those in the military where there are stresses few in the civilian world face, for many religion serves as an even greater anchor. It is a force multiplier, and for all of human history, militaries have known this.

There have been notable exceptions - revolutionary France, republican Spain, and the Soviet Union are three examples of military hostility to religion, but probably not good benchmarks ... and yet again we have an example of Navy nomenklatura making pro-active efforts to limit access to religious services ... or at least failing to understand their importance. 

Remember the Page-13 issue that was thankfully nuked by the White House earlier this year?

Catholic Masses at San Diego-area Navy bases have ended because the Navy, in what it says is a cost-cutting move, has declined to renew its contracts with Catholic priests, and there are not enough Catholic chaplains on active duty to fill the void. Protestant services on bases, which are led by active duty chaplains, will continue, said Brian O’Rourke, a Navy Region Southwest spokesman. The changes to the Navy’s religious ministries are part of a national realignment announced on Aug. 20. It is unclear how many priests this will affect.
You have to love the bureaucratic squid ink language;
“The Navy’s religious ministries priority is reaching and ministering to our largest demographic — active duty Sailors and Marines in the 18-25 year-old range,” O’Rourke wrote in an email. “To meet that mission, the Navy has had to make the difficult decision to discontinue most contracted ministry services.” ... In the Navy message announcing the change, Vice Adm. Yancey Lindsey, the commander of Naval Installations Command, said it differently. “We have a responsibility to use our limited resources wisely in meeting the needs of our personnel,” wrote Lindsey. “Therefore, we will reduce redundancies and capture efficiencies by realigning resources,” noting that religious services will be cut at bases where those services are readily available in the surrounding community outside the base.
Oh really? Very well, give me your budgets for the last 3 FY. I also want the manning documents for your UIC and UIC two echelons down. I'll find your funding. As freedom of religion is a constitutional right, I'll look at things in other non-foundational areas. How many dedicated BSC are related to "Diversity and Inclusion" in those three echelons? How much money was spent on contracted trainers, seminars, travel and participation in sectarian "affinity groups?"

After we get that number, we can look elsewhere for things lower on the hierarchy of needs.

Knowing the demographics of San Diego, the stab at Catholics is a bit ballsy, but if you want to make a move, move big. Once you do that without pushback, cutting access in other places for small religious confessions will be easier.

Over to Father Jose;
To Rev. Jose Pimentel, a priest who has led services at Naval Base Coronado and Naval Air Station North Island for eight years, the loss of his parish isn’t just a personal loss — it’s a loss of the 1st Amendment rights of service members on bases. “One issue is discrimination (and) another is the violation of your right to practice your religion,” he said when reached by phone Friday. Pimentel was notified Aug. 19 that the Navy will not exercise the final two years of his contract, citing “funding constraints.” His last day is Sept. 30. While the Navy has an active duty component of clergy — the Chaplain Corps — the number of Catholic priests among them is small, reflecting a worldwide shortage of Catholic priests. To make up for that shortage, the service contracted with priests to lead Catholic services on U.S. bases. Those contracts are the ones being canceled. O’Rourke acknowledges in his statement that the change predominately affects Roman Catholics.
I would really like to know how far up the chain this COA went and who approved it. Who thought, "Hey, let's stick it to Catholics in San Diego." was a smart money move - especially given the already spotty record our Navy has had in San Diego this year? Just look at the stats:
Religion in San Diego, California 45.0% of the people in San Diego are religious: 
- 1.6% are Baptist 
- 0.4% are Episcopalian 
- 26.8% are Catholic 
- 1.0% are Lutheran 
- 1.2% are Methodist 
- 1.1% are Pentecostal 
- 0.9% are Presbyterian 
- 2.4% are Church of Jesus Christ 
- 6.7% are another Christian faith 
- 0.6% are Judaism 
- 1.5% are an eastern faith 
- 0.7% affilitates with Islam
High demand, low density. Who decided the answer would be even lower density support for the majority religious community? Heck, I'm not Catholic and I'm pissed.
Catholics on active duty also have needs many civilian priests can’t accommodate, Pimentel said. Sacraments such as Holy Communion, confirmation and marriages can be challenging for service members and their families when balancing deployment schedules. “It’s hard to quantify what I do,” Pimentel said, saying he’s done everything from performing weddings and baptisms to counseling families of service members who died by suicide. “I’m a 25-year veteran of the Navy and Air Force, so I can provide a certain level of support they wouldn’t get from the civilian side,” he said. Pimentel and those who attend Catholic services said there is still a high demand for Mass. “Between three services, I serve about 250 to 400 people on the weekends,” Pimentel said. Parishioners who spoke with the Union-Tribune questioned the fairness of Catholic services being canceled while Protestant services will continue.
Verily.

UPDATE: Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services, USA, has weighed in.

You can read his letter here.

UPDATE II: Electric Boogaloo: It looks like a course reversal.
Roman Catholic services will continue on board Southern California Naval bases at least for the next year, Rear Adm. Bette Bolivar, the commander of Navy Region Southwest, announced Tuesday, reversing a plan to suspend most contracts for priests in an effort to cut costs. ... Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, wrote on Twitter Sunday that the Navy should “look at canceling Admirals, not priests.”

Sunday, September 06, 2020

Fullbore Friday

In a time when political violence is running at a pace not seen in generations, it is helpful to remember why well meaning people should push back hard against agitators from all sides. 

Citizens of good well should especially push back hard against irresponsible rhetoric from politicians. Unstable people are all around us, and they will take what a "leader" says and will run with it.

This week, I want to pull a FbF from just a few years ago when an unstable person decided that he needed to take out the leadership team of a political party ... and the two security personnel who rose to the challenge.

Stuff like that just happens to other people.

Just another trip.

Just another day.

I wonder when I can get another cup of coffee.

Then there is the sound of the guns, and the training kicks in.

There can only be one FbF today; two public servants who saved this nation from what could have been a massacre of political violence unseen in this nation's history.

No more words from me are needed. Their actions speak.

Capitol Police officers Crystal Griner and David Bailey are special agents on Rep. Steve Scalise’s security detail. Scalise was standing near second base in an Alexandria, Virginia park when the bullets began flying from behind the third base dugout, striking Scalise. While Scalise dragged himself to safety, Griner and Bailey lept into action. In an extended firefight, the two agents took down shooter James Hodgkinson while battling through injuries of their own. Both were taken to the hospital after the gunfight, and are recovering from their injuries, officials say.
Fullbore.

Thursday, September 03, 2020

Diversity Thursday

Like most struggle sessions, no further commentary required - except if you can only take so much, go to the end for the explanation.

Wednesday, September 02, 2020

Accountability is Still a Thing, Isn't it?


Who allowed Communist China to become the world's largest Navy?

Who allowed the United States Navy to languish and fade?

I'm asking that question in the face of the latest report on China over at USNIBlog.

Come by and tell me what you think

Tuesday, September 01, 2020

Long War in Africa is Tomorrow's War Too

Let's stick with the long war in Africa today, as last night I came across this jewel from the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, The Islamic State’s Strategic Trajectory in Africa: Key Takeaways from its Attack Claims

This heat map is superb and shows that the issue in northern Mozambique is a side show.


From the IS point of view, their main effort is Nigeria and the Sinai.

The Sinai is almost an, "of course..." but everyone should remember that it is the Egyptian military is the only thing keeping Egypt from falling to the Muslim Brotherhood again. As we've seen in Turkey, the West putting faith in modernizing military leadership can only get you so far.  

Nigeria is where the prize is, and not just for oil. Are you up to speed in Nigerian demographics? Let's start with just religion. 

In 2010, the population was 49% Christian and 48% Muslim.  Now?

Where will that stand at 2050?


Now let's look at numbers.


Where will that be by 2050?

~410 million - larger than the United States.


History is far from over and the future has all sorts of horrors it will visit on the planet.

Know the intersection of demographics, economics, and religion and how they relate to future conflict ... and they will all lead you back to Africa.

Monday, August 31, 2020

The Islamic State Terrorists Expand a New Front in Africa

Well, perhaps there should be quotes around "new" because this has been going on - in fits and starts - for over 1,300 years. All that being said, The Long War isn't going anywhere. The question remains where it is flaring up and who is fighting it. 

The "Islamic State's" franchises will continue to pop up all across the bleeding edge of Dar al-Islam. This won't end in any time soon. 

Africa continues to bubble up in any regular scan of trouble caused by Islamic extremism. This violence further handicaps a continent whose demographics and economic development are already setting the condition to create more conflict than can be consumed locally. That is why anyone concerned with global stability needs to keep an eye on Africa. 


Latest example, in a quasi-new front - Mozambique. From two weeks ago;
Militants linked to the Islamic State group have seized a heavily-defended port in Mozambique after days of fighting, according to reports. Local media say government forces that were in the far northern town of Mocimboa da Praia fled, many by boat, after Islamists stormed the port.
The town is near the site of natural gas projects worth $60bn (£46bn).
Where does the situation stand today?
Heavily armed insurgents who seized the strategic port city of Mocimboa da Praia, about 90km away from the commercial gas projects in the Palma district, remain entrenched in the northern Cabo Delgado province of Mozambique. Since the first attack on the area by the Islamic insurgents in late 2017, an estimated 1,500 people have died and about 250,000 have been displaced after numerous attacks and clashes between them and security forces. ...
According to the Bishop of Pemba, Luiz Fernando Lisboa, people displaced from villages attacked by the insurgents do not have humanitarian support. “The entire province of Cabo Delgado — in districts where there are no armed conflicts, is full of displaced people. The most important [need] is food. But it's not just food, there are many types of help that these people need,” said Lisboa. 
... 
A source from a humanitarian aid organisation, said they could not travel to affected areas without the risk of being shot or beheaded. “We are neutral, we cannot be part of the military columns or enter it alone. 
On the one hand it may seem as if we are with the government and on the other hand with the terrorists. There may be this perception. Our aim is simply to support these people in need in various ways.” 
The Citizen Observatory for Health (OCS), a Mozambican NGO, earlier told the media that the closure of 37 health units in districts affected by armed violence in Cabo Delgado had left people there vulnerable.
In the Sahel, France and other European nations are doing what they can there ... but who will help Mozambique if they can't help themselves?

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Space Force – Culture, Ranks and Making the Future with Matt Hipple and Jack McCain, on Midrats

Culture is upstream from performance. 

Behind a sometimes playful, sometimes serious, argument about what rank structure the new Space Force should use is the very serious matter of culture. Culture for any organization is the foundation future success or failure, and is a based on words, and titles. These mean things – especially when they are related to the actual work you do. 

Using their recent article, Parochialism, not Congress or naval history, will kill the Space Force, returning Midrats alumni Matt Hipple and Jack McCain will be with us for the full hour this Sunday from 5-6pm Eastern in a broad ranging discussion on building the right foundation and culture for Space Force … and maybe a few minutes about the upcoming Dune remake too. 
 
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, August 28, 2020

Fullbore Friday

I've been thinking about the Falkland Islands War a bit this week and thought I've bring back a 4-yr old FbF for the new readers ... or for the regulars who would enjoy reading about a great operation that has about everything you'd want; special forces and naval gunfire. 

A great story via our friends at ThinkDefence about an exceptional side-show to The Falkland Island war.
Pebble Island lies to the north of West Falkland and in 1982, its 25 inhabitants were mainly involved with tending 25,000 sheep. Its small airstrip was subject to a daring raid by the SAS.

It did have an airstrip, though, or more accurately, four, three of grass, and the other on the beach. On the 24th of April, Naval Air Station Calderon (as it was called) was established there.
...
HMS Hermes was detached along with HMS Glamorgan and HMS Broadsword. The SAS and personnel from 148 (Meiktila) Commando Forward Observation Battery made for a raiding force totalling 45 and were loaded aboard four 846 NAS Sea Kings for the flight into the assembly point at Phillips Cove.

HMS Glamorgan fired on the western edge of the runway to provide a diversion and draw in Argentine forces. Shortly after, the main attack commenced;
Then our own mortar opened up, lighting the whole place up like it was a bright daylight. The mortar man was having a lot of trouble. Every time he fired the bloody thing, the whack kicking the base plate further into the ground. There was virtually no enemy fire on us, so the boys got stuck into the planes. They split into seven two-man teams. It was a bloody big trip and they had a lot of ground to cover. It’s not as if the planes were all parked in a neat row. They were all over the strip. And all the time the boys were running against the clock. Five planes were destroyed using the explosive charges that they had with them. The Pucara was the tallest of the aircraft. As they approached each plane, one bloke would give the other a leg up on to the wing. Once up, he then leaned down and hauled the other one up to join him. The Skyvan was not a problem. The Mentors were very small, and with one great leap, the guys got themselves on the wings. (Ramsey, SAS: The Soldier’s Story)
Aircraft had cables ripped out and fuel tanks punctured with small arms fire and grenades. It was all over by 03:35 and the SAS teams withdrew to their waiting helicopters, the job well done.

Six Pucara, four T-34C and one Skyvan were damaged or destroyed.
That, my friends, is a nice, efficient OP.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Diversity Thursday


Some time, we see progress ... but in the last few years in the face of the Red Guards of Wokism on the march, it has been disheartening to watch more people threatened, cowed, and otherwise make to kowtow to the Diversity Commissariat. 

Perhaps I've been too pessimistic. 

As the Diversity Bullies feel the wind at their back, they are getting more and more bold ... but they and their useful idiots in the bureaucratic nomenklatura do find themselves over their skis more and more ... especially when they are in front of smart people

 Case in point;
Last year, Sandia National Laboratories—which designs America’s nuclear weapons—hosted a 3-day reeducation camp for “white males,” with the goal of exposing their “white privilege” and deconstructing “white male culture.”
I’ve obtained exclusive whistleblower documents revealing that last year, the national laboratory sent its white male executives to the La Posada luxury resort to undergo a mandatory training called “White Men’s Caucus on Eliminating Racism, Sexism, and Homophobia in Organizations.”
In the opening thought-work session, the trainers demand that the men make a list of associations about white male culture. The trainers write “white supremacists,” “KKK,” “Aryan Nation,” “MAGA hat,” “privileged,” and “mass killings.” 
The trainers insist that white males must “work hard to understand” their “white privilege,” “male privilege,” and “heterosexual privilege.” They claim that white men benefit from positive stereotypes that “far outweigh the Tim McVeighs and Ted Kaczynskis of white maleness.” 
Next, the white male employees must expose the “roots of white male culture,” which consists of “rugged individualism,” “a can-do attitude,” “hard work,” and “striving towards success”—which sound good, but are in fact “devastating” to women and POCs. 
In fact, the trainers claim that “white male culture” leads to “lowered quality of life at work and home, reduced life expectancy, unproductive relationships, and high stress.” It also forces this “white male standard” on women and minorities. 
In a subsequent session, the white males must publicly recite a series of “white privilege statements” and “male privilege statements.” They must accept their complicity in the white male system and their role in creating oppressions. 
Finally, as the reeducation camp concludes, the white males must write letters “directed to white women, people of color, and other groups regarding the meaning of this Caucus experience.” They apologize for their “privilege” and pledge to become “better [allies].” Who is leading the struggle session? A company called “White Men As Full Diversity Partners.” 
This is no joke—their company is literally called White Men As Full Diversity Partners and they specialize in confronting those who “typically hold all the power”: namely, “white males.” 
It’s time to expose this taxpayer-funded pseudoscience and rally the White House and legislators to stop these deeply divisive training sessions. 
My goal is simple: we must pass legislation to “abolish critical race theory” in the federal government. Let’s push as far as we can.
Check out the full thread from Christopher F. Rufo. Great credit on Rufo who made the decision to make a frontal attack. 

From his thread I found the below video by dissident Sandia electrical engineer Casey Peterson who brought receipts;

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Deterring War, Conducting War, Ending War: What Seapower Does

Arguments create policy. Policies drive budgets. In the various argument about seapower, too many default to their comfort areas; platforms and warfighting. As one prepares for a war, what about deterrence and war termination? How do those drive requirements

In today's guest post by Bryan McGrath, he sets out the playing board. 

Over to you Bryan.
In the last week, I happened across two essays that together have made important impressions on me. After reading them, I am even more energized in my avocation of proselytizing for American Seapower. Whereas I previously have talked about two broad functions of Seapower—deterrence and warfighting (with the protection and sustainment of our prosperity a function of deterrence)—I now point to three: deterrence, warfighting, and war-termination. For the purposes of this essay, I concentrate on deterrence and war-termination, although warfighting remains a critical function. Additionally, deterrence in this post is almost exclusively meant to denote conventional deterrence, but there will be obvious and important references to strategic deterrence to come. 

The first essay of note is by former Obama-era Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy at Foreign Affairs and is titled “How to Prevent a War in Asia.” The piece is important for two reasons. The first is that Flournoy is likely to be nominated for high office in a potential Biden Administration, and so any insight into her thinking opens a window on potential national security objectives a new administration might pursue. 

Of even greater interest to me though, is a specific passage in her piece, and I quote it here for emphasis: “For example, if the U.S. military had the capability to credibly threaten to sink all of China’s military vessels, submarines, and merchant ships in the South China Sea within 72 hours, Chinese leaders might think twice before, say, launching a blockade or invasion of Taiwan; they would have to wonder whether it was worth putting their entire fleet at risk.” Flournoy’s essay eloquently conveys her view of a decline in American conventional deterrence effectiveness in the Western Pacific and the need to re-establish deterrence with alacrity. 

The beauty of Flournoy’s example is that it can be planned against. The South China Sea is a known body of water with known “boundaries,” known border states, known weather and oceanography, known air and surface traffic densities and routes, known Chinese naval bases, force structure, and operating patterns, known Chinese surveillance capabilities, and known Chinese offensive and defensive military capabilities. If a Secretary of Defense Flournoy were to tell the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs that this requirement was to be pursued, the Joint Staff would transmit it to the Indo-Pacific Commander whose staff would begin the process of determining the degree to which it could be accomplished today with today’s Joint force providing the ships, airplanes, submarines, missiles, and space assets arrayed in today’s posture. The Math Majors at Indo-PACOM and in the Pentagon would do their magic. They would create realistic reference scenarios, they would assess the degree to which the intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and targeting (ISRT) available achieves the desired end, they would assess the degree to which the weapons in theater sufficed to neutralize (or whatever term they choose to describe damage in this scenario) Chinese military vessels, submarines, and merchant ships in the South China Sea. They would evaluate the effectiveness of ISRT networks to include their extensibility and durability. 

Were this effort undertaken by Flournoy or any other Secretary of Defense, it would likely reveal considerable gaps in virtually all aspects of the force posture arrayed in the Western Pacific. More importantly, it would suggest by inference, an architecture that would be capable of meeting the requirement. This “to be” architecture is compared with the “as is” architecture, and the differences would comprise a set of detailed operational requirements for Service acquisition organizations to pursue. Flournoy’s challenge then, is a good one, because it provides the military establishment with specific commander’s intent and specific operational objectives. 

Flournoy’s idea is important not only as a useful force structure and planning goal, but also as a thoughtful contribution to the concept of conventional deterrence. And while she couches it in the language of “deterrence by denial” (as in, an adversary is deterred from aggression because of doubt that military objectives would be achieved, rather than through a fear of future punishment afterward, our national approach to conventional deterrence since the initial Trump National Security Strategy) it also suggests conventional deterrence by punishment. Irrespective of the brand of conventional deterrence, what Flournoy is suggesting is the creation of the same level of certainty in the minds of Chinese Navy and merchant captains that they are constantly targeted, as currently exists in the minds of U.S. Navy surface ship commanding officers transiting the South China Sea. While Flournoy is far too politically deft to term it this way, it suggests the creation of a modern conventional deterrence “balance of terror”, in which all sides know where the other side’s assets are (or mostly know) and have them constantly targeted with actual weapons assigned and tracked against each known target. This is important to grasp, because left unsaid in her piece is the degree to which the current local balance (or imbalance, more to the point) is strategically destabilizing. 

And though her words speak ecumenically to the Joint Force, it seems likely that the posture necessary to support her requirement would fall principally to naval and aerospace forces but not exclusively. 

It is tempting to read too much into Flournoy’s piece, in that what she is suggesting is a peacetime posture consideration and not a war fighting or winning approach. Some may read her words and believe that she has fallen victim to the “short, sharp, war” fallacy. I am sensitive to these charges, but I do not find evidence in her words to support them. Maintaining the forward presence posture necessary to support “round-the-clock” surveillance and targeting in the South China Sea must be matched by the capacity to follow up to this initial, violent, 72 hours with a long-term effort to end the conflict. And by long term, I mean years. This too is a force structure and force planning construct, that while somewhat more difficult to pin down than the one she has articulated, is nevertheless critical to plan to. And this is where the second article of my eye-opening week comes into play. 

It hails from a chapter in a 1987 book edited by Stephen Cimbala and Keith Dunn called “Conflict Termination and Military Strategy: Coercion, Persuasion, and War.” The chapter in question is contributed by Linton Brooks and is entitled “Conflict Termination Through Maritime Leverage.” In it, Brooks provides supporting fires for the then-raging debates over how to deal with the Soviet threat. The Navy had recently put forward its now famous “Maritime Strategy,” and Brooks sets out to think through what war with the Soviets would look like, and more importantly, how it would end. Critical to his thinking was the debatable proposition that war with the Soviets could be fought on a “limited” level, as in neither side would resort to massive, strategic nuclear strikes, and that therefore strategy must account for other ways in which such a war can terminate. In Brooks’ estimation, powerful, globally arrayed naval forces provide tailor-made means for just this kind of strategy, in that over time, Soviet interests around the world could be threatened in order to achieve a level of discontent within the Politburo leading to an achievable war aim of returning to the status quo ante

This article hit me like a ton of bricks. I have been working my ass off for fourteen years either actively making naval strategy or suggesting how it is made, and I have professional relationships and deep friendships with virtually everyone else who does this stuff. And in that time, I have never—not once—had a conversation about the degree to which naval forces are critical to war termination, especially a war with a powerful, nuclear-armed opponent. This is obviously my failure, but having had my eyes opened, it strikes me as axiomatic that whenever navalists, naval strategists, or Navy/Marine Corps leadership talk about Integrated American Seapower, they MUST begin to cite the obvious benefits a naval force can confer in viable war-termination. This includes conversations within the upper levels of the national security establishment as we think about what a war with China looks like. 

What exactly does “winning” look like when the opponent is China? Unconditional surrender? This seems unlikely, and any strategy that sought this would raise the likelihood of strategic nuclear exchange. No, it seems to me that the objective U.S. and allies would aim at in a war with China is a return to the status quo ante, not unlike the way many thought about a war with the Soviet Union. This is unsatisfying to the American ear, what with our unease with anything but clear-cut victory, but it represents a reasonable and achievable war aim that offers the hope of escalation off-ramps. Given the geography of the Western Pacific, our network of friends and allies in the region, and the vulnerability of Chinese supply lines at sea and on land, naval forces (and grist for a whole other exploration, cyber forces) would have an immense responsibility in bringing about conditions that incentivize the CCP to negotiate war termination on terms the U.S. and its allies can support. 

And where all of this—Flournoy’s deterrence and Brooks’ termination—leads me, is that naval forces should have an outsized role in how this country plans for the possibility of conflict with China. Moreover, planners need to understand the unique military requirements of both deterrence and termination and understand that both functions place claims upon a naval force that are not necessarily perfectly aligned with the war-fighting function of naval forces. Put another way, the Navy you deter with, the Navy you fight with, and the Navy you win with—are not necessarily the same navies. All things being equal, a deterrence Navy could privilege ISRT, networking, and missiles, a war-fighting Navy could privilege undersea dominance, and a Navy to “win” with could privilege the netted distribution of more numerous platforms. Winter is coming. It is time to get serious, and this week’s reading provides for some interesting thinking that needs to be done. 

Bryan McGrath is the Managing Director of The FerryBridge Group LLC, a defense and national security consultancy. The U.S. Navy is a client. All views here are his own.


Space Force: There is no "Colonel" of a Ship


A lot of navalists and other right thinking individuals - including Congress critters - have weighed in on what kind of rank structure Space Force needs to use.

I would say more, but Bill Shatner has spoken on the topic. I'm not sure I can do any better.

Head on over to USNIBlog for a few more of my comments and the full linkage

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

The Fight for Baghdad

BZ to the Army University Press for putting this our earlier this month. Simply superb.

Yes, this has a lot of references to official doctrine (which isn't bad) and is not Hollywood production value heavy (which is good), but this is how we create an environment where people can learn from the past to prepare for the future.

It you want to understand better the ground battle for Baghdad in 2003, independent of the POLMIL or bothering about if it were a good idea in the first place, take the 50-min to watch this.

Even you navalists out there ... you can get some ideas and concepts to use ... but even then, it is worth it to better understand the ground side of the war.

There are a lot of lessons from this invasion at the Tactical and Operational Level that we will need to keep in our collective mind, as we will need to understand them for the next war - a war that is coming - and we shouldn't need to relearn what we intentionally forgot.


Hat tip John Spencer.