Friday, April 29, 2022

Fullbore Friday


In war, it often is not what you were designed to do. It is not what in theory what you were primarily trained, manned, and equipped to do. No. More often than not it is what you must do. What you are needed to do. What you may be the only unit in place to do.

There is also, like we saw in the below - what must be done now with what is at hand. With the right leadership, a lot is possible. The dogmatic, rigid, and blinkered - things that are often rewarded in peace - are not what gets the job done in war. One hopes that in peace we accept the above truth and only have our minds dogmatic, rigid, and blinkered. Hopefully we have enough intellectual and material flexibility to be able to do what is needed and must be done. To improvise, adapt and overcome.

A bit of a encore FbF, but as the original video links don't work from 2010, and I like to emphasize the important fundamentals, I would like to bring back the Battle of Beersheba; almost 105 years ago.
The Turkish defences of Beersheba were strongest towards the south and west. There they had a line of trenches, protected by barbed wire, supported by strong redoubts, all constructed along a ridge. To the north and east the defences were much weaker, and crucially lacked any wire. No serious attack was expected from the area of rocky hills east of the town. Beersheba had just been designated as the headquarters of a new Turkish Seventh Army, but on 31 October that army had not yet come into being. The town was defended by 3,500-4,000 infantry, 1,000 cavalry with four batteries of artillery and fifty machine guns.

Allenby allocated a very powerful force to the attack on Beersheba. Three infantry and two cavalry divisions would take part in the attack. Two of the infantry divisions were to attack against the main Turkish defences, to the south west of the town, to tie down the Turkish garrison. The third division was to protect against any Turkish reinforcements arriving from the north-west. Meanwhile, the two divisions of the Desert Mounted Corps (Anzac Division and Australian Division) were sent around the town to the east, with orders to sweep into the town through the weaker eastern defences.

The infantry attack proceeded entirely according to plan. The bombardment began at 5.55am, and lasted, with one gap, until 8.30. Over the course of the day the Turks were slowly forced out of their strong defensive positions, the last of which fell at around 7 p.m. The attacking infantry suffered 1,200 casualties during the battle.

At 9.00 am the Desert Mounted Corps was ready to attack the eastern defences of Beersheba. The New Zealand Brigade of the Anzac Division soon ran into a problem. The Turks had a strong defensive position at Tel es Saba, a steep sided flat topped hill three miles east of the town. The battle to capture the Tel took up all of the morning and much of the afternoon, and did not end until 3 p.m.

General Chauvel then decided to take something of a gamble. The delay at Tel es Saba threatened to prevent the capture of Beersheba before dark. Rather than continue with the methodical plan of attack, Chauvel ordered one of his reserve brigades, the 4th Australian Light Horse, to mount a direct assault on Beersheba. They had the ideal terrain for a cavalry charge – a long gentle slope running down into Beersheba. It was defended by two lines of trenches, but crucially not by barbed wire.

The attack soon developed into a classic cavalry charge. The 4th A.L.H. simply galloped over two lines of Turkish trenches. Part of the brigade then dismounted to attack the trenches, while the rest galloped on into Beersheba. There they found a Turkish column preparing to retreat. The sudden appearance of the Australian cavalry caused panic. Most of the 1,500 prisoners captured by the Desert Mounted Corps on 31 October were taken during the charge of the 4th A.L.H. The Australians suffered very light casualties during the charge of 32 killed and 32 wounded, most of them in the attack on the trenches east of Beersheba.
The whole movie The Lighthorsemen is available - but I would like you to go ahead to the 1:20 mark for the charge (the German officer's assumptions at 1:34 is critical). One of the best filmed scenes in the genre - if it doesn't raise your heart rate, pressure nothing will.

First posted OCT 2014.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Return of the Black Sea Convoy?

The commercial folks sure would like it;
The world's largest shipping management firm has requested that NATO provide naval escorts for shipping in the Black Sea amid concerns that vessels could be at risk as a result of conflict in Ukraine, the Financial Times reported.

The CEO of V.Group, René Kofod-Olsen, told the outlet that NATO intervention is merited due to the region's importance for shipments of food. According to the paper, the conflict in Ukraine has made the northernmost third of the Black Sea unsafe for shipping.

"We should demand that our seafaring and marine traffic is being protected in international waters. I'm sure Nato and others have a role to play in the protection of the commercial fleet," Kofod-Olsen told the FT.

According to NATO, floating mines have been found and deactivated in the Western Black Sea by authorities of countries that border the waterway. The organization also said that "threat of collateral damage or direct hits on civilian shipping" in part of the Black Sea remains high.

V.Group did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

NATO has so far declined V.Group's request, according to the FT.
"Russia's naval presence in the Black Sea has disrupted maritime commerce even before its invasion of Ukraine," the military alliance told the paper. "Nato is not considering a naval mission to escort ships in the Black Sea, but Nato allies that have coastal borders — Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey — have deployed ships to find and neutralize any mines that may be in the area."
Let's go to the map room.

It is clear that the Black Sea is a NATO sea. Romania, Bulgaria, and Turkey own almost half of its coastline ... and yet even with the mine threat long standing from the start of the war, it is also clear that NATO is going to avoid any risk to conflict by getting further in to the Black Sea outside of what the three NATO coastal nations are doing.

I can argue both sides, but given the historical habit of problems at sea translating quickly in to conflict ashore, I can understand the caution. 

The economies, and stomachs, that rely on the free flow of goods at market prices from the Black Sea will just have to absorb the cost of mitigating conflict risk.

The great irony here is that Bulgaria, and to an extent Romania, all owe their status to the military actions of Imperial Russia in the 19th and 18th Centuries against the Ottoman Empire. Now those nations are aligned with the Ottoman successor state against Russia.

History is funny that way sometimes.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Marine View from Down Under

There is a lot of good ... and sometimes not so good ... arguments pro and con on the decisions being made by and the direction where Gen.  David Berger, USMC is taking our Marine Corps - but the fact he has engaged a lot of minds and forced a lot of people to think is a service in itself to our nation's security.

In his visit earlier this month to Australia, he summarized some points that just cannot be said often enough.

You have to repeat the basics to as many people as you can as often as you can...because most people either don't know or don't understand the basics.

This is just superb, and I wish our Navy's senior leadership would use this mindset every time they have the opportunity.

Has Berger upset some people? Yes.

Good. That means he's standing for things and making people uncomfortable with their ideas.

Berger has done his thinking. If you are going to counter him - you had better done yours;

... in the long term, the marines’ value to the US military joint force was as an expeditionary element that was forward all the time and which could gather information while preventing an adversary from doing the same. That presence could ‘open the door to places’, Berger said.

‘Some of it is back to our roots where we came from.’

The marines have had to adjust their structure and posture, how they train and manage their people, their warfighting concepts, what platforms they use and what capabilities and weapon systems they need wherever they operate to make sure they stay ahead of change happening around the world, Berger said.

‘As a service chief, we have two responsibilities to make sure we provide the forces today for a conflict, but also to make sure that five, 10 years from now we’re in the right spot. We have made the investments in the right places so that the future is in a good place.’

A likely challenge for the marines and for allies such as Australia would be to keep maritime choke points open to allow commerce to flow freely and they would need to develop the tools to do that.

‘You have to be able to monitor that, to engage an adversary who wants to close it down. So, we need things like anti-ship capabilities, the surveillance, the collection capabilities in the maritime domain that we don’t have right now. We need the ability to move laterally, both by air and on the surface at a tactical level, with greater frequency and in smaller numbers than we do right now.

‘But I would say, beyond a piece of hardware, the most important part is that human part of operating in an austere, expeditionary, maritime environment without any developed infrastructure, but getting a job done. And being able to transition quickly if there’s a crisis.’

A little sidenote on the pic above (you see more on DVIDS); it represents a part of Marine culture I have always respected. The most senior Marine is visiting your command, and is just there talking to a few other Marines while everyone else just carries out the Plan of the Day as if he's just another Marine ... which he is.


Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Have the Russians Restarted the Odessa Offensive?

As we covered here last month before the debacle at the gates of Kyiv knocked the Russians off their stride, the supply lines from NATO territory into the southwest of Ukraine and on to Odessa are incredibly delicate. 

Then northern route is an iffy 2-lane surface road that goes through Moldova and too close to the Transdniester.

If you need anything heavy from the Danube ports to Odessa, you will need to go over the Zatoka bridge.

When the Russian Navy shelled the coast there, I was frankly surprised the road and more importantly the rail line across the bridge at Zatoka was left intact, but they were. Things then got quite on that front, but not anymore. 

I'm not a bridge engineer, but it is clear the surface road is gone, and the structural integrity of the structure is probably not ready for a train any time soon.

Perhaps the Russian's OPLAN did not see this war taking this long and they didn't see the need to take out this bridge as it would be needed to economic reasons once this part of Novorossiya &  Bessarabia were back in the fold.

Well, they have a different war now and it is back to fundamentals.

Take out the bridges and Odessa is the key to the Black Sea between Crimea and Constantinople. 

Monday, April 25, 2022

The Progressive War Party, of Sorts

Our American system of government, by design, has a lot of healthy churn. So far this century we’ve seen a Democrat Clinton hand power to a Republican Bush who handed power to a Democrat Obama who handed power to a Republican Trump who handed power to a Democrat Biden. There is enough churn to make hyper-partisans of all types frustrated, but for the mass in the middle and everyone else, really, this is a good thing.

Like a body of water, national politics needs vigorous competition and change. It keeps things healthy. For those in the national security arena, domestic politics can be a distraction. Programs, requirements, and threats do not work in election cycles. 

For those in uniform, domestic partisan politics is something to be avoided in the open. This is a feature, not a bug. However, national defense is, to a nation, a different policy area than others.

Any student of history will tell you that the most serious of all areas of government is national defense. If you get it wrong, you put your nation and your people at existential crisis and risk of poverty, servitude, and in extreme cases, elimination wholesale. Even for those sad souls who don’t know their history, they can just look to the latest news out of Ukraine for the latest example of a pattern as old as our species.

For the USA, with our pleasantly healthy churn between the two parties, the nation needs serious natsec people in both parties. On occasion you will hear people reminiscence about the “bi-partisan consensus” (BPC) on defense that existed at some point in the past … if you ask them they will vaguely wave at the 1980s or perhaps 1950s, but really – no. It never existed. Trust me about the 1980s, I was there. Conflicting views, concepts, and priorities were there, and rather heated. I will give the BPC false memory this, the real national security professionals on Team Donkey and Team Elephant were closer together then than they seem now.

As we now are in an age where the center is thinning and in domestic politics as the center-mass of each party seems to be running to the fringes, many serious people are wondering how this separation will manifest itself in the natsec arena.

Apart from your friendly local liberal of old, today’s “progressive” is of a different stripe. More leftist than liberal, and all that comes with it. It is fair for those on the right to wonder, as the progressive wing grows stronger in (D) circles, are they still within arm’s reach of their counterparts on the most critical issues?

In case you didn’t know, friend of the blog and occasional guest poster here Bryan McGrath has his own substack (which you need to subscribe to), and on this topic I’d like to point you to his latest post, “Can Progressives Run the Pentagon?”

You need to read the whole thing, but let me grab a few pull quotes for your consideration. He starts with a point that needs to be in your mind in everything you see coming out of the present DOD;

… progressives in positions of authority in the Department of Defense must wrestle with ideological dilemmas that do not occur to conservatives, and that to the extent their ideological priors influence policy, those influences are unlikely to be additive.

In essence, the Pentagon—populated with progressives in key policy jobs—is being asked (told) to keep a lid on spending so that money can be applied to other domestic political priorities. And I assert that this is fine with most of them. These other domestic political priorities are not random or unanticipated; they represent the jot and tittle of the modern progressive agenda. Inequality, climate change and the environment, the welfare state, and urban transportation and housing are center of mass policy ends of the progressive cause, far more so than Pentagon spending. Progressive national security types certainly want sufficient resources for national defense, but they REALLY want a domestic agenda that looks to the defense budget for resourcing.

People are policy … and political appointees, regardless of what their personal views and opinions may be, serve at the pleasure of the President. They, rightfully, owe him their advice and opinion, but at the end of the day must align themselves 100% with his policy goals. That is their job. That is an honorable position and as long as what you are doing is legal, ethical, and does not dishonor you – it is what you do, or you resign.

It isn’t business, it’s politics – even in the natsec arena. That is OK, but you need to acknowledge it and its consequences;

The current Deputy Secretary of Defense is … Kathleen (Kath) Hicks…(who) spent a good bit of time and energy thinking and writing about how to cut the defense budget before she came into office.

The closer one looks at the details of military spending, the clearer it becomes that although radical defense cuts would require dangerous shifts in strategy, there are savings to be had. Getting them, however, would require making politically tough choices, embracing innovative thinking, and asking the armed forces to do less than they have in the past. The end result would be a less militarized yet more globally competitive United States.

It is difficult to conceive under what circumstance a modern American conservative national security thinker would advocate for a “…less militarized yet more globally competitive United States…”, but I supposed they may exist.

Looking at it from the outside, I think Bryan gets it about right.

At some level of abstraction, progressive national security types are a lot like conservative education policy types. The work is incredibly important to the country, but within your own tribe, other priorities exist. When a nation spends $750B on defense even under a progressive administration, it is hard to feel bad for the left of center defense community, and I’m sure the policy analysts at Health and Human Services aren’t crying any crocodile tears for the poor Schedule C personal assistant to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Global Partnerships with whom they worked on the Hill. But it is important to realize that both come from the same set of policy preferences, one that sees unfairness and inequity as something to be addressed by government and policy, and that sees “investment” in education, the environment, infrastructure, and diversity as governing priorities, with national defense as as a necessary government function requiring reshaping and reform in order to harvest savings to be applied to the other priorities.

I’ve only taken a sample, take some time to read the whole thing to start your week off right.

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Episode 622: China’s Assassin’s Mace in WESTPAC with Gerry Doyle & Blake Herzinger

Since the March 1996 humiliation in the waters around Taiwan handed to the People’s Republic of China by the US Navy’s world-dominating Carrier Battle Groups – as they were then known – China and her armed forces started a long-term, disciplined effort to ensure that a point in the not so distant future, their part of The Pacific west of Wake would no longer be considered and American lake.

With a little over a quarter century passed, has China successfully closed the gap?

Come join us for the full hour this Sunday from 5-6pm Eastern for a deep dive in to the subject with our guests Gerry Doyle and Blake Herzinger as we discuss their recent book, Carrier Killer: China's Anti-Ship Ballistic Missiles and Theater of Operations in the early 21st Century (Asia@War).

Join us live if you can, but it not, you can get the show later by subscribing to the podcast. 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. You can find us on almost all your most popular podcast aggregators as well.

Friday, April 22, 2022

Fullbore Friday

What ever happened to Colonel Yuli Mamchor, Ukrainian Air Force?

I've thought of him a few times since the war started and all my google fu tells me is that he dropped off after a short sting in politics.

If you find anything, let us know in comments ... but until then, let's look back at a FbF from 2014.

What does a leader do? When are you willing to put yourself and your troops on the line to make a point? How do you, unarmed, give the presence of leadership among your armed opponents?

I give you a leader who simply, is. In another word; stud.

Colonel Yuli Mamchor (L), commander of the Ukrainian military garrison at the Belbek airbase, leads his unarmed troops to retake the Belbek airfield from soldiers under Russian command in Crimea on March 4, 2014 in Lubimovka, Ukraine.
I may quibble a bit about their historical regimental flag, but that would be a quibble.

The point I was making about presence? This pic captures it.

There is no question who is in control here and who is looked at as the leader. Even among the Russians, the respect is there.

I also want to give a nod to the officer or NCO from Russia here. Another great example of leadership. Whoever he is, BZ to him as well. He has "it."

There is a lot to chew on about this event - and for all leaders to ponder from both the Russian and Ukrainian point of view. If you have not already, if you have an "interesting" career, odds are you will find yourself here. May we all have the character to comport ourselves as Col. Mamchor.

UPDATE: Interesting:

UPDATE II - Electric Boogaloo: Good interview with Col. Mamchur by TheTelegraphUK:
"Yeah, I know," said Colonel Yuli Mamchur, shifting his weight a little uncomfortably from foot to foot. "I get people trying to call at 2 AM," he said. "I'm no hero. I'm a military professional doing his job."
There was never any question of fighting. Faced by what he believes are special forces soldiers, armed to the teeth with machine guns and Kalashnikovs, Col Mamchur, whose name was earlier incorrectly reported as Mamchuk, resolved that no blood would be shed on his watch. "I wasn't going to see my men slaughtered. I decided to negotiate," he said.

But early on Tuesday, the officers and men of the brigade agreed to march behind him, unarmed, back to the occupied aerodrome and demand to be allowed back to work.

"It was a pretty spontaneous decision, to be honest," he said. "It was a gamble. We're soldiers and we have our duty to fulfil. So are they, and they understand that. So I was hoping we could find an understanding," he explained. "We just wanted to get back to work."
The diminutive colonel's daring march led to a dramatic five hour stand-off in which the Russians fired warning shots - their first of the occupation - and his men played football under the noses of Russian machine gunners.
For now, though, Col Mamchur and his men are largely confined to their residential buildings and command centre in the village of Lubymovka. The aerodrome on the ridge above - including the runway, the magazine, and the entire complement of 45 Mig-29 fighters - is under the control of Russian troops who continue, hopelessly, to maintain the official pretence that they are "local self defence volunteers".
"We love it here," said Mrs Mamchur, who was accompanying her husband around his command center on Wednesday. "It's one of the best cities in the world. We love Sevastopol, Crimeans are wonderful. And in all our time here there was never any kind of tension between Russians and Ukrainians and Tatars - it all started now."

Mrs Mamchur, who is herself half Russian, blamed a ceaseless barrage of Kremlin propaganda for creating and stoking artificial tensions between ethnic Russians and others, especially Ukrainians and Tatars, on the peninsula.

"Just look at the local TV - and local TV is already Russian TV, by the way - and we all Banderites, Kiev is full of Fascists, we are occupiers here, there is going to be a genocide of Russians," she said. "And we are all the hostages in the middle of it."

For the Mamchurs, as for many of the service families who live at the Belbek base, the idea of finding themselves in confrontation with Russians - their neighbours, relatives, and for the soldiers previously their allies - is almost absurd as it is frightening.

"It makes no sense. I can't even say whether I am Ukrainian or Russian - it's not a choice any of us can really make. My wife's Belarusian, her mother is Russian. We've all got relatives on both sides," said Col Mamchur. "When all this started we got calls from friends in Moscow who were simply in shock."

"Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine are really one slavic people," said the Colonel. "The divisions are only formalities. Whoever gave the order for this operation set brother against brother. It's a crazy situation."

UPDATE: Thanks for NEC338X in comments, we have found the good Colonel. He was brought back on active duty after the invasion. 

Nice interview at the link, just remember to do the google translate in to English. You got to love his quote: 
"On May 9, the Russians will not have vehicles to drive through Red Square if there is still a parade" - Colonel Yuli Mamchur, UKR Air Force

The Ukrainians are a people worthy of saving. We don't have to fight for them - we just need to give them the weapons to fight. 

Thursday, April 21, 2022

America: the Arsenal of Democracy Again

We cannot do anything about the continental powerhouses in NATO who can also make a big difference helping the Ukrainians defend their soil. Specifically Germany and France, who mostly insist on token assistance or sitting on the sidelines relatively speaking as Russia gets ready for a mid-20th Century like summer offensive east of the Carpathians, but we can do what we can do.

Though our industrial capacity is not ready to support a long, global conflict - we do have quite a deep warehouse of items that are slightly used, but good for a few more years.

As we have already come off the sidelines in the Russo-Ukrainian War when it comes to supplying lethal aid, we might as well not hold back at this point

President Joe Biden on Thursday announced an additional $800 million in military aid to help Ukraine fight back against the Russian invasion, and he warned that Congress will need to approve additional assistance.

The new military package includes much needed heavy artillery, 144,000 rounds of ammunition, and drones for Ukrainian forces in the escalating battle for the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine. It builds on roughly $2.6 billion in military assistance that Biden had previously approved.

He also announced that all Russian-affiliated ships would be barred from U.S. ports.

Biden said that $13.6 billion approved last month by Congress for military and humanitarian assistance was “almost exhausted.”

“Next week, I’m going to have to be sending to Congress a supplemental budget request to keep weapons and ammunition deployed without interruption,” Biden said. Congress has signaled it is receptive to further requests and has been expecting there would be a need for further help for the Ukrainians.

Today's announcement has set down a clear marker to the rest of the nations who call themselves "The West."

We should all note who is standing where.

The new tranche of military assistance is expected to include 72 155mm howitzers, 144,000 artillery rounds, 72 vehicles used to tow to the howitzers onto the battlefield, and over 121 Phoenix Ghost tactical drones, as well as field equipment and spare parts.

The 72 howitzers are in addition to the 18 announced last week the U.S. was transferring to Ukraine.

A senior U.S. defense official said training of Ukrainian personnel on American 155mm howitzers has begun in a European country outside Ukraine.

Other nations are slowly coming off the sidelines too. The longer the Ukrainians hold out - and the more we continue to support them - the more of our traditional allies will help too.

Earlier this week, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his country will send heavy artillery to Ukraine. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that the Netherlands will send more heavy weapons, including armored vehicles.

What 155mm towed artillery are we sending their way? Don't know. We presently use the M777, but we have a few hundred M198 they replaced in storage. Either will be fine, but we'll see.

Everyone should really go to the map room here, preferably grabbing one that shows terrain features. Southeastern Ukraine is wide open country. 

As the ground firms up, it is ideal for armor and artillery. This is well targeted aid for the fight to come;

This commitment, together with the 18 155mm howitzers announced on April 13, provides enough artillery systems to equip five battalions. The United States has now committed more than $4 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of the Biden Administration, including approximately $3.4 billion since the beginning of Russia’s unprovoked invasion on February 24.

Our allies have a lot of towed 155mm in storage. We've supplied enough 155mm for five battalions, I am sure the rest of NATO can pony up for another five. I also know that there are A LOT of 155mm rounds in bunkers all over the continent from Spain to Germany; from Italy to Norway. If they won't spare the tubes, then they can at least clean out the back of the magazine. 

Summer is almost here. It takes awhile to transport, train, and man battalions of artillery. Faster my friends; faster. We are already in it, might as well help the Ukrainians win it.

Now, if someone would kindly jump in to comments and let us know what the hell a "Phoenix Ghost" is ... that would be great.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Want a 30-yr Shipbuilding Plan Bad? Well, you’ll … well … you know

American navalists must endure the hardships of a long march in the winter of their discontent. In this struggle we will see who is dedicated, who is strong, who will be best to bring the fight when the season changes and time is right to advance sea power to its proper place. The self-promoting amongst us will fade away. The weak shall perish. The dishonorable will change sides. The ideologically unsound will confuse themselves and others. This will be a filtering, a purifying, an ultimately strengthening trial of The Terrible 20s.

We are only partially through this march, but we are already seeing a healthful pruning of our ranks. The first tranche of the careerists, the lickspittles, the confused, and the just plain congenitally wrong are already sloughing off the navalist host like so much dead skin. The exposed flesh does hurt, but will heal and be stronger by the intellectual debridement it endures.

Like most of you I have been waiting for the required but long awaited 30-yr shipbuilding plan. Of course, we all know that it is only accurate for a few POM cycles, but it is a great tool to point out issues and problems, and to message. If you are looking at what we will have to fight west of Wake, you can ignore any of the dreaming past 2030 in the report. How it is written and phrased outside the tables can tell you much about the fight in the naval arena in the promotion of the natural comparative advantage – and requirement – of the Unites States; that as a maritime and aerospace power.

And so we have OPNAV’s “Report to Congress on the Annual Long-Range Plan for Construction of Naval Vessels for Fiscal Year 2023.”

I printed it out, two pages per sheet of paper with pen and highlighter ready to go – as I do – and almost as excited as a kid at Festivus, but alas … I behold an almost unintelligible act of self-sabotage. 

Even the most gifted navalists, if they squint and rotate OPNAV's N9’s cube 45-degrees along all three axis, can only guess at what the intellectual difference between Alt 1 & 2 are. Heck, get three of us together and we’ll give you five different answers. I’ve beta-tested this today with some of the best. We’re all … well … disappointed would be a nice thing to say.

They do help some with these graphs, where Alt 3 "give me more money" is the gold line, and the upper and lower limits of Alt 1 and 2 is represented by the blue band. Again, it is all after 2030-35, but still, it is just, "For Deposit Only" as we don't know the argument between Alt 1 and 2. We have OUR ideas what the intellectual basis of the difference is, but I want to know what N9's is.

Remember what I said about a few POM cycles? You know the "Davidson Window." Just look at 2030-35 - the timeframe that is most accurate.

Now, how interested are you in seeing what the PLAN's numbers are in WESTPAC by 2030? Do you want to see what they desire to have displacing water in 2055? Do you think N9 does? Congress? 

What a lost opportunity this is at such a critical juncture where “sea blindness” is close to tipping in to “sea disinterest.” 

At a time when we need something to help push the argument forward – the very top of the Navy shrugged.

If that is the state of things amongst the most interested, then of what use is such a document to 99.784% of other natsec people who are trying to read it?

How are our advocates in Congress, the press, and civil society going to get any use out of this to pursue the goal of building a navy that this nation needs? 

Instead of making a good argument and providing a framework to argue our position from strength, it reads like something written by Qing Dynasty palace eunuchs for other palace eunuchs. 

In the summary – at the very end – N9 kind of let the cat out of the bag.

Difficult choices must be made to ensure that the Navy best meets Joint Force operational requirements.

Of course. 

I’m not going to pull up a bunch of the graphs and charts, just maybe one or two, you can see them yourself, I am just going to pull out a few quotes for consideration because they tell the full story better.

This plan highlights the Navy’s work ... to build a modernized naval force that makes needed contributions to advance the Joint Force’s ability to campaign effectively, deter aggression, and, if required, win decisively in combat. ... For the ranges in the FY22 shipbuilding plan, the FNFS Future Fleet Architectures (FFAs) were adjusted for final analytic insights based on combat effectiveness, industrial base production feasibility, and no real budget growth.

If that isn't a weak tea pre-emptive surrender and masochistic desire to be a secondary power to the People's Republic of China in the Pacific, I don't know what is. 

Well, there is a positive point to be found; it validates our criticism here at the Front Porch the last 18 years;

The DoN, working with industry partners, will deliberately reduce execution risk through improved cost estimation, prototyping, and landbased testing systems to de-risk critical technologies and ensure that new programs deliver on expected capabilities.

Just search for "program risk" here at CDRSalamander - this is not new. It is nice that in 2022 we're talking about it.

We should take the "W." 

We should also take the "W" on frigates;

Increased numbers of smaller multi-mission combatants, such as Constellation Class Frigates (FFG 62), enable more efficient distribution of missions across the surface fleet, freeing up the more capable DDGs for critical high-end missions.

They could really just save the ink and say, "Salamander and the Front Porch were right about the Age of Transformationalism and we were wrong," but alas, we'll just have to pat each other on the back in the shadows.

This next line is simply gobsmacking.

New submarine tenders will be constructed to support the Navy’s new SSNs and SSBNs.

Considering how old the ones we have are, this is good, but why do a 1-for-1 replacement? Recent experience has shown the vulnerability of static support facilities in an age of exceptionally accurate conventional ballistic and hypersonic conventional weapons with global reach. We need to plan for attrition at war. We need more mobile repair facilities. We need destroyer tenders along with submarine tenders and more tugs, repair ships etc.  

There is also a bit of wishcasting;

Unmanned platforms show significant potential

One thing demonstrated clearly the last few decades is that unmanned platforms overperform in unexpected areas, and underperform in others. Until you start operating them in an extended, unscripted operational environment with standard issue operators, you really don't know fully what they are. 

We need to continue to build a little, test a little, operate a lot, learn a lot - and be humble. Just because we say something in 2022 does not mean it will manifest in 2035 - especially when it plays just too conveniently towards fixing your problems. Just look at the 2006 shipbuilding plan

We will get some things right, some things wrong ... but in all cases, go in being humble and take your results with humility. No one, not even 'ole Sal, can see the future clearly. Neither can you. The Potomac Flotilla unquestionably can't.

One thing we can know with certainty is that negotiating with ourselves and pre-emptive surrender is no way to maintain our place as the world's premier maritime power.  

Two decades of happy talk and self-delusion have eroded almost all the credibility our senior leadership has in Congress, press, and the American public. We have no expectations that anything will be done on time and on budget. We do not have an Executive Branch that is supporting a larger Navy. One month we will have the CNO say we need a 500 ship Navy, and then the next he will let his staff put their name - without protest, a document such as this.

Maybe there is an intention here to do a passive-aggressive 3D chess to make a point, but I'm sorry, it fails. I'm not sure what this does but signal that the Navy is supine and resigned.

To expect others to fight for you when you won't even fight for yourself is not indicative of an organization who wants to win - or for that matter - should be allowed to.

The cost to procure a larger Navy represented by the third profile in Table A1-5, is shown in the third graphic of Figure A2-1, and assumes industry produces future ships on time and within budget. The high range represents an additional $75B real growth beyond the FYDP in FY2022 constant dollars. The increased procurement level, informed by industrial base capacity and on-time and on-budget performance, achieves 326 manned battle force ships in the mid-2030s, and ultimately achieves 363 manned battle force ships in FY2045. The previous analytic work depicted in Table 1 will be updated with follow-on force structure assessment based on, and thus reflective of, the warfighting requirements of the 2022 NDS.

The cost to sustain a larger Navy is in addition to that required for procurement and is phased within the appropriate accounts (i.e., manpower, support, training, infrastructure) to match ship deliveries. Appendix 3 illustrates the projected cost of owning and operating (operations and sustainment) the fleet at the ranges that represent no real budget growth. This appendix does not include the funding associated with Appendix 5, which discusses the growing logistics requirement and sealift recapitalization. 

How is one supposed to fight for something when you are handed a weapon without handle and no readily recognizable lethal edge?

How are we supposed to build new relationships and nurture established relationships in Congress when we do such things?

The Terrible 20s was not supposed to be characterized by internal malaise and self-loathing, but here we are.

Read the whole report here if you wish.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Who is Doing What to Help Ukraine?

If you want to get past the press releases, spin, and general garbage takes about who is doing what to help Ukraine, the Kiel Institute should be one of your first stops.

Their Ukraine Support Tracker is heavy on facts and light on what you don't need.  If like me you like to see the dataset, they've posted it in the raw or a smoother form.

They are doing this right.

I especially like how they break out aid as a percentage of GDP, the Salamander Approved™ way that smaller nations show they are giving a fair-share effort.

Dig in to the data. Talk is talk; action is action; money speaks.


Monday, April 18, 2022

Moskva's Last PHOTOEX

Sunday evening, the first pics came out of the Russian Black Sea Fleet flagship, the Slava Class cruiser Moskva.

As we know this Monday AM ... this is her. No photoshop or spoof.

If you need to brush up on your RECCE:

Good news here is that as you can see in the green rectangle above, the life rafts have been deployed. As there were almost 500 Sailors assigned to her, that may be a secondary indication, along with the good weather, that those not killed on impact or in the following fire and secondaries were most likely able to get off the ship and as such, loss of life less. More to follow on that I hope.

I'm sorry, I don't care what nation's flag they fly under; once defeated they are simply Sailors in need of rescue. If you don't get that, we should all pray for you.

When  you consider how dark that smoke is, the fire must be intense. The large SS-N-12 Sandbox missiles stacked like so many sticks of dynamite had to be on the mind of the ship's leadership. If one of those things cooks off, they must go like so many firecrackers on a string. We also don't know the extent of her internal damage ... but it appears when this picture was taken she was probably already abandoned.

The reported weapon used to attack the Moskva were the Ukrainian built Neptune ASCM, which is itself evolved from the Soviet Era SS-N-25 Switchblade (Kh-35), AKA "Harpoonski."

To use round numbers, a high subsonic ASCM will cover the ground at about 9nm a minute.

If you are 50nm from the beach, that means you have about five and a half minutes once the missile goes feet wet to engage ... but really, if you don't have I&W of a launch and from what direction ... on a standard issue day with a standard issue watch after weeks and weeks at sea ... even assuming your radars and electronic gear aren't CASREP's or down for maintenance ... when will you detect that?

20nm or 10nm from the ship? Maybe 5nm? That gives you, what, a minute +/- to detect to engage?

Are your watch sections ready? Are your close in weapons systems ready? Who has to give permission to fire? How fast are they from being able to give that order? 

That math is just hard ... especially for a crew on station 24/7 for weeks on end. The math is even harder with supersonics.

Look at the pics above, I appears, ironically, she was struck on her port side where her close defense AK-630 are located.

That is about where you'd expect the seeker head from a "Harpoonski" to want to attack. Just about the center of the ship's profile.

One day, perhaps, we may get an unvarnished report of the damage control efforts, along with the story of the Ukrainian coastal defense battery's performance in location, tracking, and ultimate attack on Moskva.

Will we get that? Unknown ... but there are a lot of lessons here. A lot.

Second photo credit to Andy Hall.

Friday, April 15, 2022

Fullbore Friday

Service selection. Warfare speciality. Rating/MOS. When you sign your name on the bottom line, except for certain circumstances, you really don't know where the "needs of the service" will take you.

You fill out your wish list and hope for the best.

We all know someone who wasn't all that excited about what their service had in store for them. I had a peer who came from a family of fighter pilots. He didn't pass the pilot physical for eye reasons, so wound up on the naval flight officer pipeline. This was when we still had A-6 and F-14, and that is where he thought he would save face.

Where did the Navy decided he was needed? 


He cried.

He then didn't tell anyone for awhile. Have no idea how his career worked out, but it didn't start very happy.

No one should ever feel that way. You run your odds, but in the end, you go where you are needed. You may think you're destined to be a terror ... but your Navy may need you to run the air picture. 

Somewhere just a couple of years ago, a young Ukrainian Naval officer had dreams of heading to sea. He always felt the draw of the sea, and though much of his nation's navy was lost when he was barely a teenager, he didn't care. 

He put together his wish list. He wanted to go to sea, but he'd be OK flying too.  Then service selection came.

Coastal defense.

There would be no going to sea. Yes, they'd have new kit, but why wear blue combat uniforms on land? He'll never command a ship. Heck, like chemical officers in the army, he probably will be lucky to make O5.

Well, he'll serve and do his best.

Then war came. His navy never had a chance to fight, mostly scuttled at the pier. His colleagues and fellow Sailors fighting were with marines or moving to Odessa ... but ... not him and his Sailors.

Their orders were simple; hide and wait. 

What little shoreline was still Ukrainian was under blockade. The Russian Black Sea Fleet and its flagship haunted the shoreline, shelled coastal villages - pretty much did what they wanted, where they wanted, when they wanted; and yet their orders remained the same; hide and wait.

In the two years before the war, our young Ukrainian naval officer ashore studied his rather unique warfare area and its history. If it were going to be his, well, he'd master it. 

He knew the story of Colonel Eriksen and his Norwegians guarding Oslo. He knew that unlike a lot of the equipment his countrymen were fighting Russians with, he had new equipment. He knew what he could do. He knew his Sailors and their equipment were ready. They kept their maintenance schedule. They trained. They ran through scenarios. They practiced until they were perfect, and then they practiced perfection. They can hide and wait. Let the Russians get overconfident. They will be ready.

Then, the call came.

Like they had done uncountable times before, they moved in to  their firing position. They went through the checklist.  They had their target's range, course, and speed.  Weapon selected. Master arm to arm. Intent to launch.

...and there they are;

The flagship of the Russian Black Sea fleet, the missile cruiser Moskva, sunk on Thursday after large explosions shook the ship following what the Ukrainians claim was a missile attack on Wednesday.


The loss of a flagship during war can be devasting to a navy’s pride as well as national morale. This is further complicated by the fact that the ship was named for Russia’s capital.

This threat so vexed Adolf Hitler during World War II that he ordered the renaming of the heavy cruiser KMS Deutschland to Lützow in early 1940, recognizing that the loss of a warship named for the nation itself would be a devastating propaganda victory. This cautionary move was validated when, only three months later, a sister ship of the newly renamed Lützow, the KMS Blücher, was sunk by gunfire and torpedoes from Norwegian coastal defense batteries on April 9, 1940.

Blücher was the flagship of the German operation. Lützow was also damaged and forced to withdraw in the same battle. The loss of these German ships in the battle delayed Germany’s Norway conquest timetable, allowing the Norwegian royal family to escape and lead a government in exile. Blücher’s displacement was 18,500-tons, about half again as large as Moskva.

Some 42 years after the sinking of Blücher, a nuclear-powered Royal Navy attack submarine hit the Argentinian cruiser ARA General Belgrano with two torpedoes May 2, 1982, during the Falklands War. The General Belgrano, formerly, the USS Phoenix, a U.S. Navy light cruiser, sank with the loss of 323 of the ship’s 1,100 crew members. General Belgrano displaced 12,242-tons when loaded for battle, slightly smaller than Moskva.

From a practical perspective, the loss of the Moskva is significant, not only because it served as the Russian flagship, coordinating the Black Sea fleet, but also because the ship’s significant anti-air and anti-missile capabilities provided an air defense umbrella for the smaller ships around it. Consequently, the Russian amphibious threat to Odessa has virtually been eliminated, allowing Ukraine to redeploy forces assigned to the defense of that key port city to the battle to retake Kherson, about 90 miles to the east along the Black Sea coast.

Every service matters. Every warfare speciality matters. Line or staff - they all matter.

Be the best of where you are - and when history calls, you will be there to make it.

For their security, we may never know who was on the launch crew - and for that matter - I spent a lot of time looking for the name of the command(s) in the Ukrainian Navy where their coastal defense missiles are assigned. Can't find them. They have to have a patch.

They're navy, that I do know. However - like many of the small, unsexy but important things in a navy ... they seem to have been forgotten.


Maybe they will get their own stamp sometime. They deserve it.



Thursday, April 14, 2022

Diversity Thursday

As we watch another war wage in Europe fueled to a large degree by ethnic hatred and division, we find again people who are trying to promote the same cancerous mindset in our wonderfully diverse nation and Navy.

One of the primary ways to inflame sectarian tensions is to encourage separation while at the same time instituting a series of preferences and punishments - unequal treatment - based on what group you are defined as. In the zero sum game that is promotion and desirable billets that impacts income and career prospects - that's just accelerant.  

The Diversity Bullies' diktat makes you disconnect your critical thinking skills. The fear that the commissariat has injected it to the bureaucracy guarantees that few will challenge statements the commissars ask that you make in public - regardless of how discredited or detached from reality they and their socio-political theories are.

I still stand by a simple standard - the benchmark from which all things in this area are measured. An American standard;

How far we have strayed ... but ok - it just means we need to keep trying.

This isn't a popular position in many areas of our society. It sure isn't popular in the senior ranks of our Navy. Few make it very far challenging today's diversity industry push to divide the people and set one group against another - so you can pretty much guarantee that leaders either are reading exactly what their UIC's diversity commissar gave them, or they are a true believer.

If you are going to swallow whole the diktat from the socio-political zampolits on your staff promoting division and sectarianism, then that's on you.

Recently, I don't think we've seen a senior Navy leader step in it so openly and so deeply as the Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Adm. John Nowell Jr., USN last summer.

It is about time for someone to step up, I guess.

Behold, Commander of Naval Surface Forces Vice Adm. Roy Kitchener, USN at Naval Surface Force Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Symposium April 7-8 in Norfolk, Va;

Commander of Naval Surface Forces Vice Adm. Roy Kitchener said ... thinks that focusing on diversity and inclusion can help the force gain further advantage over potential adversaries in multiple ways.

“Our adversaries think differently than we do,” Kitchener told Navy Times April 7 after speaking at the first-ever Surface Force Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Symposium in Norfolk, Virginia. “We have a lot of people in our country with a very diverse thought process, and that is a real strength when you’re teaching people tactics.

“When people can say, okay, what do you think the opponent is going to do? … Your opponent is not necessarily thinking like you, and what I found is that, if you can have people on our team that can think out of the box, perhaps different than the conventional Western way to think, it really is a game changer.”

How many Thursdays have we seen this mindset? You can see it a mile away. Let's take out the playbook.

So we all know that the Navy does not track "diversity of thought." It sure does not promote diversity in educational and socio-economic background in its senior leadership.

No, the Navy only defines "diversity" with regards to race, ethnicity, sex, etc ... you've seen the metrics. You've filled out the reports. You've seen the affinity groups. It is all in the open.

So, the implication here is, in essence, that a person's opinion is genetically coded and you can predict a person's way of thinking by their race and ethnicity. To say that is red in tooth and claw ethnic determinism.

Is that a Navy you want to be part of? A nation? No, not me either.

There are, of course, more inflammatory ways to describe a mindset that states that how and what a person thinks is somehow genetically coded - but I am not going to assume the worst of the good VADM. That being said, he has absorbed a world view that has the most brain-stem simplistic view of the people around him and is responsible for untold hundreds of millions of people slaughtered through the ages.

Looking first at a person's value on the basis of their perceived race, creed, color, or national origin is the cornerstone to disorder, sectarianism, division, and ultimately group violence.

You can tell that he has not intellectually pondered well what he's saying or is very well read on the topic.

There is this discredited talking point that he rolls out there like it is a fact;

More broadly, he added, “it’s a proven fact that the more diverse you are, you’re going to be a better and more high-performing organization. But I just see it simply from the warfare perspective, where being able to have a team that can think with that kind of agility against an opponent that probably doesn’t have that agility is a huge advantage.”

Proven? Really? 

What did Sarah Kaplan say in FastCompany?

Pamela Newkirk points out in her new book, Diversity, Inc.: The Failed Promise of a Billion-Dollar Business, that the main beneficiary of the business case for diversity so far has what we might call the Inclusion Industrial Complex—consulting firms and Diversity & Inclusion professionals who can profit from putting diversity management programs in place.


The other reason the business case doesn’t work is that it hurts those the case is designed to help. Women or racial minorities, who are the supposed beneficiaries of the “business case for diversity,” may experience negative consequences.

The latest experiments have found that exposure to an organization’s business case for diversity decreased a sense of belonging to that organization for women and for members of the LGBTQ community, which was then associated with lower desire to join and lower performance on the job. The business case language has a way of making people feel “othered” and devalued.

Even more insidiously, the presence of diversity policies tends to make the majority groups feel like the organization is doing its part, which then legitimizes the status quo. While creating roles such as Chief Inclusion Officers or Directors of Diversity and Inclusion can drive action by giving a point person a mandate to make change, it also risks disengaging everyone else in the organization because they figure someone else has “diversity” covered.

How about Katherine Klein over at the Wharton School?

Do companies with women on the board perform better than companies whose boards are all-male? Many popular press articles and fund managers make this claim, citing studies by consulting firms, information providers and financial institutions, such as McKinsey, Thomson Reuters and Credit Suisse.


But research conducted by consulting firms and financial institutions is not as rigorous as peer-reviewed academic research. Here, I dig into the findings of rigorous, peer-reviewed studies of the relationship between board gender diversity and company performance.

Spoiler alert: Rigorous, peer-reviewed studies suggest that companies do not perform better when they have women on the board. Nor do they perform worse. Depending on which meta-analysis you read, board gender diversity either has a very weak relationship with board performance or no relationship at all.

Sarah Todd does a good job summarizing this intellectual FOD as well;

“I’m a big believer in responsible diversity, and I’m a minority myself—I would love [the McKinsey] studies to be true,” says Alex Edmans, a professor of finance at London Business School who was not affiliated with either the McKinsey papers or the new study. “But it’s important to make sure anything we say is based on rigorous research.”


When Hand and Green followed the McKinsey model, measuring firms’ financial performance between 2015 and 2019, they found “statistically insignificant relations” between the racial and ethnic diversity of a given executive team and that company’s financial success. This applied both to EBIT margins and to a number of other measures of financial performance, including industry-adjusted sales growth, gross margin, return on assets, and return on equity. McKinsey declined to comment on the study’s findings.

When a study’s findings are too good to be true

The authors emphasize that this isn’t definitive proof that there is no connection between racial and ethnic diversity and profits—more research is needed on that front. They also note several other important caveats, including that S&P 500 companies are not a random sample of public US firms, and that their method of identifying race and ethnicity among executives (using faces and names) is likely to overestimate the number of white executives. But they criticize McKinsey’s methodology, including its metric for measuring diversity among executives. They conclude that “caution is warranted in relying on McKinsey’s findings to support the view that US publicly traded firms can deliver improved financial performance if they increase the racial/ethnic diversity of their executives.”

Among the additional research that Green and Hand call for is a way to better examine whether there is any causal relationship between a firm’s diversity and its financial performance. McKinsey, by its own admission, is only looking at correlation. Green and Hand are working on a longitudinal study that will look at causation by gathering historical data on the racial and ethnic makeup of firms’ leadership teams in different years, then looking at the companies’ financial performance before, during, and after those years.


From an academic researcher’s perspective, he says, it’s unclear why McKinsey looks only at companies in the top and bottom quartile on diversity, as opposed to the top third or bottom third or not splitting them up at all. Also unclear is why the McKinsey studies focus on whether the most- and least-diverse companies beat the industry average of profitability. “The most standard way to do it is to say what’s the average profitability of diverse versus the average profitability of non-diverse” companies, he says.

In general, when reviewing a study, as Edmans explains in his 2017 TEDx talk “What to trust in a post-truth world,” it’s always worth asking whether the authors would have published it had they found the opposite result. “It’s really easy to get away with sloppy research if it confirms what we’d like to be true because we’ll accept it uncritically,” he says.

I think we can make a good guess about why McKinsey would do this. It is the same reason the Navy's branch of the diversity industry continues to feed such divisive, sectarian, and just plain incorrect socio-political talking points to our senior leaders.

Kitchener was joined by Rear Adm. Brendan McLane, the commander of Naval Surface Force Atlantic. McLane was once Commander, Navy Recruiting Command. Trust me, he knows exactly what metrics are tracked and what decisions are made about them.

Let's take this little pull quote from the same event apart. Words mean things.

“Retaining the very best people that we have and promoting them, that I think is an individual inside-the-lifeline task that each captain has to take on,” McLane said. “And that’s the reason we’re having this conference.

The title of this conference again  is, "Naval Surface Force Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Symposium" - this isn't "tips on breaking out your best junior officers" so one must ask McLane to define, in detail, by what he means by "very best" in the context of this conference.

“If we can create an environment on every ship that’s inclusive — which is something I think our millennial sailors expect — and then everybody is treated equally, 

That 'If" there SURFLANT, let's pull that thread. Are you implying we don't have that on every ship? Really? For those ships you are under your C2 diagram, which do not - by name? Why not? What action have you done to correct that? Maybe it's me - but that sounds like news...but wait;

and then we actually go above and beyond that and actually have equity so everybody’s getting everything that they need to succeed, I think the diversity part is going to take care of itself.

OK, so "everyone is treated equally" is not good enough? So we have to go to "equity?' Let's pause for a moment here.

Regulars on the front porch know this, but we have new readers every day, time to define our words closely. I'll let the social justice warriors over at RISE define that for us;

Key Takeaways:

- Equity and equality are different.

- Equality means everyone is treated the same exact way, regardless of differences.

- Equity means everyone is provided with what they need to succeed.

That is it. You can see exactly where he's getting his talking points from. Unless you missed the nuance - base upon your self-classified category under "equity" you may be given more or less of a thing of value - billets, rankings, time to qualify, etc - than someone who self-classifies as a different, less favored category.

He would like to see a Navy give and take away opportunity based on something as meaningless as race, creed, color, etc.

Quick, name one military or nation that has prospered under a racial or ethnic spoils system? Does that create unity or division? Does that create good order and discipline, or disorder and conflict? The Austo-Hungarian Empire? The Soviet Union? Yugoslavia?  Rwanda?

“The talent part is going to take care of itself, but I think that’s just part and parcel of good leadership — of taking care of your sailors.”

Taking care of some of your Sailors more than others, it appears. I wonder if he's made that connection - or he considers a racial and ethnic spoils system is good for all Sailors?

So, there you go. There's your snapshot.

I've avoided this topic for awhile - and I didn't even cover the USAA sponsored sectarian festival over at USNA ... but you can play around at that link on your own time. This is enough I think.

Both Kitchener and McLane are great and accomplished professionals. Smart men doing the best they can in hard jobs of importance. As such, they have a lot on their plate. I'm not sure they should get a pass here. Nothing is more fundamental to a gloriously polyglot republic like ours than unity and - especially considering our history - an ongoing drive to be one people, not have our own government underwrite and encourage sectarian division. However, if people really believe otherwise, they should take action in the open - personally.

A final note here that should be clear to everyone. Both Admirals here are men of European extraction. One went to a small liberal arts college in Maine and the other at the US Naval Academy. You know the old saw ... if you really wanted "equity" then lead from the front.

Billets at this level are a zero sum game. If you want equity on selection boards, and if you really believe that diversity makes a "better and more high-performing organization" and that you love our Navy, then by all means lead from the front. Step aside and give your billet to someone that improves the metrics on the slide. That will make VADM Nowell feel better about his pictures too.

Make the future you want Admirals...but don't do it with people under 30. Be the change you want - don't make yourself feel better on the backs of young men and women born after the turn of the century - young enough to be your children.