Friday, September 30, 2022

Fullbore Friday

Lessons - yep there are lessons.

When you go to war - you step in to a dark room. You hopefully have prepared yourself with the best equipment, training, operational concepts possible. The wise commander steps in to that dark room knowing that he will not know what will happen when he enters. At first, he won't see what works and does not - but he looks for it.

He adjusts, he modifies - he tries to find advantage.

Remember the FbF the other day about the Australian Light Horse and the 
assault on Beersheba? The Germans then did not think that mounted infantry would fight as cavalry - though the Commonwealth leadership saw the need to improvise, adapt, and overcome. Victory came to the less myopic leader.

Now the other side of the coin. You have cavalry. Always go back to one question: what is the mission.

General de Witte, Belgian Army knew what to do.
On the morning of August 12, the German cavalry arrived at Haelen and prepared to cross the bridge there.
Units of the Belgian cavalry (the 4th and 5th Lansiers, plus a company of cyclists and another of pioneer engineers) under General de Witte ambushed the advanced squadrons of the German cavalry, in what was almost certainly the last fight between mounted cavalrymen, wearing the breastplates and helmets of a different era.
(at the bridge, the Germans) encountered a prepared Belgian cavalry, fighting under General de Witte. The two cavalry fought throughout the day. The significant difference between the two cavalry was that the Belgian cavalry dismounted and fought as infantrymen.

The Germans launched numerous and repeated attacks against the Belgian forces but their sabers and lances could not hold against the unexpected Belgian rifle fire. The Germans fought until 6pm that evening having begun the attack around 8am. Frustrated Marwitz and the German cavalry were forced to withdraw from the bridge at Haelen that evening.

In all the Germans suffered nearly 1000 casualties that August day in 1914; 200 – 300 were taken prisoner by the Belgians, 150 were killed and 600 Germans were wounded. Belgian forces suffered approximately half that number in casualties.
Von Marwitz withdrew, advancing days later with great caution. This battle grew in Belgian folklore as the 'Battle of the Silver Helmets'.
The Battle of Haelen was a tremendous victory for the Allied Forces. Although the Belgians held the bridge at Haelen, the remainder of the German army won the Battle of Liege on August 16 and the German army continued their advance through and takeover of neutral Belgium.
Fight with what you have. Fight for every hour - as those behind you need every one.

Unlike WWII - not all of Belgium was taken by the Germans, and the plucky actions of the Belgian King and his people kept a tiny corner of Belgium free through the war. Their holding action along with the British Expeditionary Force and the spotty help of the French was essential in stopping the Germans from taking Paris.

Without Generals like de Witte, we would live in a very different world. Important to remember - especially for Americans.

In WWI, the Belgians lost 14,000 men in a population of 7.5 million.

For the USA's population of ~307 million today (2010) - that equates to 573,066 dead.

First posted November 2010.

Thursday, September 29, 2022


With what looks like sabotage of the Nordstream 1 & 2 pipelines under the Baltic Sea bringing a momentary focus on critical infrastructure on the seabed, now is the perfect time point everyone to Pierre Morcos and Colin Wall's 2021 CSIS commentary, Invisible and Vital: Undersea Cables and Transatlantic Security.

In the national security arena, when conflicts arise people will discuss Ground Lines of Communication (GLOC) and Sea Lines of Communication (SLOC) - concepts military professionals concerned with keeping beans, bullets, lawyers, guns, and money flowing have focused on for all of human written history. 

In our age, where so much of what goes over GLOC and SLOC relies on the flow of information - voice and data - with few offline backups, is the security of those pathways just as important - the Information Lines of Communication (ILOC)? 

I've been guilty as most have with the fragility of satellite communications ... but is that where the real threat is to the lifeblood of the information age?

...undersea cables carry over 95 percent of international data. In comparison with satellites, subsea cables provide high capacity, cost-effective, and reliable connections that are critical for our daily lives. There are approximately more than 400 active cables worldwide covering 1.3 million kilometers (half a million miles).

Forget obsessing about what additional bridging equipment we need in light of the lessons from the Russo-Ukrainian War (actually, do keep obsessing about it because we are woefully short) - but instead invest some of your intellectual effort about the challenge of bridging a cut in a cable 1,000nm at sea and 3,000 meters under the water;

The Euro-Atlantic ... carries traffic between the two biggest economic hubs with dozens of cables, the majority of which are between the United States, the United Kingdom, and France. Europe relies heavily on these cables as a majority of its data is stored in data centers located in the United States. 


he planning, production, deployment, and maintenance of subsea cables are almost entirely in the hands of the private sector. Currently, the four largest suppliers are Alcatel Submarine Networks (France), SubCom (United States), NEC (Japan), and newcomer Huawei Marine Networks (China)...

...In the financial sector alone, undersea cables carry some $10 trillion of financial transfers daily. 

There is more than just financial and economic exposure here;

Submarine cables are also critical for transatlantic security as governments rely heavily on this infrastructure for their own communications. Diplomatic cables and military orders largely pass through these privately owned cables as military operated, and classified cables remain marginal. Undersea cable breaks between Egypt and Italy in 2008 led U.S. drone flights in Iraq to decrease sharply from hundreds to tens a day. recent years, Russian attention to transatlantic undersea cables, particularly in the North Atlantic Ocean, has increased commensurately with NATO’s perception of undersea cables’ importance and vulnerability. Moscow has two primary means by which it could directly threaten the cables: submarines and surface vessels that can deploy autonomous or manned submersibles. 

On top of physical vulnerability;

More difficult and subtle than destroying the cables is tapping them to record, copy, and steal data, which would be later collected and analyzed for espionage.

Well, 'nuff said on that. Ahem.

This next bit should give you a flash of panic;

Allied governments should also step up their efforts to protect this critical infrastructure from malicious activity. Once allies agree on a shared assessment of vulnerabilities, NATO defense planners could consider setting capability targets to encourage allies to develop appropriate assets, such as surveillance ships or autonomous undersea drones. The United Kingdom has already announced the acquisition of a vessel specifically designed to protect underwater infrastructure. It will be equipped with advanced sensors and underwater drones and is expected to come into service by 2024. In addition to monitoring capabilities, allies could also consider policies to bolster the global fleet of cable repair vessels, which as of now is both overstretched and informally organized. The Fiscal Year 2020 U.S. National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), for example, allocated a small stipend for a program to incorporate two privately owned vessels into a “fleet” the government can activate in a crisis.

Adopt contingency planning in case of major breaks: The United States and its European allies and partners should also develop, in close coordination with the private sector, contingency planning to prepare for the consequences of intended or unintended significant cuts. A focus should be on scenarios where many cables are severed in a short time period, overwhelming the redundancy features that the private sector builds into account for more common, isolated failures. 

We are naked, and you should be afraid.

Ask hard questions. Demand action.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Nordstream's Burning Ships


If there was any concern that Russia might turn Germany as winter sets in cold and expensive, you can put that concern to the side;
European leaders said Tuesday they believed dual explosions that damaged pipelines built to carry Russian natural gas to Europe were deliberate, and some officials blamed the Kremlin, suggesting the blasts were intended as a threat to the continent.

The damage did not have an immediate impact on Europe’s energy supplies. Russia cut off flows earlier this month, and European countries had scrambled to build up stockpiles and secure alternative energy sources before that.

With both Nordstream 1 and 2 now offline due to - well - "things," Russian gas is no longer an option for Germany in the short term. 

Who did this, why, and what are the implications? Well - I don't want this to be Emma Ashford week - but her thread here is pretty good;

What this means is high energy prices for Germany, significant headwinds for her manufacturing and export markets, and lowered living standards for the German people and others who ride in her wake.

The German people will have to do those things smart people have been telling them to do for a couple of decades - nuclear, coal, LNG - things their political class thought was "old think" by people who were of a lower class than they.

Arrogance, again, has a price.

This should not be a shock. This is a perfect storm resulting from decisions of her political class who painted their nation in to a corner for the sake of Green fever dreams, WEF/ESG sourced corruption, and general arrogance of a leadership class more interested in their in-group positioning than serving the needs of their people.

Will there be any accountability? I hope so. Maybe, maybe ... hopefully ostpolitik will be dead for another generation ... but it will be back. Money has its own gravity field.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Russia's Nuclear Option?

As winter arrives in Eastern Europe and the Russo-Ukrainian war approaches the end of its first year, a very serious war will become even more serious.

Both nations are increasingly fully invested in to seeing this to the end. Though on paper stronger, cracks in national resolve in Russia are showing much more than in Ukraine. Wars of choice for conquest – which is what Russia is engaged in – has a much different impact on a nation’s people than an existential war for national survival, which is the war Ukraine is in.

As Russia’s problems in trying to achieve something that looks like victory manifests itself in to the Russian people’s waning support for the war, the rulers of Russia will increasingly find their legitimacy and hold on power under threat. They know this war should have been over months ago. They clearly did not know their enemy well. 

Desperate times can force desperate measures. If the present Russian leadership’s hold on power is seen as weak, what measures might they take to try to hold on to power by forcing a quick end to the war on favorable terms?

Some are looking closer at the nuclear option that Russia has. I think they are looking too hard. A good example of this line of concern was in yesterday’s WaPo by Joseph Cirincione

NB: Before the pull quotes, a fair warning – Cirincione is selling a book titled, Nuclear Nightmares: Securing the World Before it is Too Late, so keep that in consideration;

Russian President Vladimir Putin is losing his war. If the Ukrainians continue to liberate areas of their country from his invading army, would he actually use nuclear weapons as he has threatened? If so, how? And what would the U.S. response be?

It is difficult to put percentages on risk. Nor does it really matter. Given the stakes, if the chances are 10 percent or 40 percent, the response would be the same: Minimize the possibility of nuclear use, and prepare responses in advance.

This is when I remind everyone that "we" are horrible at predicting the next war early enough to prevent them. The track record is simply not very good. However, Cirincione has invested a lot of time and effort in looking at this - so we should give his ideas some consideration;

The next quote reminded me of a little reminder a peer gave me back when I was a NATO staff weenie at the other end of the HQ p-way from him. As a JO, he was on the other side of the wire as an JO in the Warsaw Pact. "Americans may not follow their doctrine very well, but Russians do."
Russian military writings describe in detail how, if Russia is losing a conflict, it could use nuclear weapons to force its enemy to retreat. This “escalate to de-escalate” or “escalate to win” strategy is somewhat controversial, but it is not dissimilar to various U.S. plans for using nuclear weapons first.

Well, sometimes we follow our doctrine. Sometimes the Russians don't...but if you are playing odds... 

I still stand by my belief - and that is a weak thread, I know - that in the next war, nuclear weapons will be what chemical weapons were during WWII. Everyone had them; no one used them.

If nuclear weapons were to appear on the Ukrainian stage, Cirincione does not have this COA as his most likely ... but it is my most likely if one must choose from the "Nuke" basket;

Demonstration shot. One option is for Russia to fire a nuclear weapon over an uninhabited area — say, part of the Black Sea — as a demonstration of its seriousness in hopes that the West will back down. Some scientists involved in the Manhattan Project urged just such a demonstration shot as an alternative to bombing Japanese cities at the end of World War II. While no one would be killed and there would not be physical damage, the explosion would stop the world in its tracks. There has not been a nuclear weapon used in combat in 77 years. No one has even seen a nuclear explosion above ground since 1980.

This is their neighborhood and fallout will drift to their lands if nukes are used. Is anyone going to buy grain downwind? No. Next to underground explosions, explosions high over the water or in the atmosphere create the least secondary radiation effects. Don't underestimate the lingering memory of Chernobyl. I see "Demonstration Shot" of the most likely COA of the least likely Nuke COAs.

As shocking as this would be, Russia would likely reject this option for the same reason U.S. military leaders did in 1945: It is not shocking enough.

Don't agree. Russia believes their own FITREPs, so to speak. The arrogance of their initial OPLAN speaks to this. They hold most of Central and especially Western Europe in contempt. I am sure a nuke over the Black Sea would be shocking enough (and they're right).

This is the author's "Most Likely COA:"

Low-yield weapon. Russia could fire a “low-yield” nuclear weapon on a Ukrainian military target. The explosion would kill hundreds or thousands and cause significant damage. Russia could use one of the 10-kiloton warheads it deploys on some of its ground-launched cruise missiles, including the Iskander that has been used extensively in the war with conventional warheads. Although this would be a massive explosion — equal to 10,000 tons of TNT — it would be small by nuclear standards. The bomb that destroyed Hiroshima was 15 kilotons; most U.S. and Russian nuclear warheads range from 100 to 1,000 kilotons. Some believe that Russia has even smaller-yield warheads, in the one-kiloton range.

I'm sorry, a nuke is a nuke. Any use, however slight, breaks the seal. As mentioned earlier, why go right away with something that will blow fallout your direction and ruin a major cash crop for who knows how many years? No one would want hot-wheat. You'd win nothing but a poisoned challis.  

Once this seal is broken, beyond that line be dragons. I would see a hard split between Western and Central European NATO on a response. Lots of marches with large paper mache puppets, etc. I don't think the author is correct at all in his assumptions.

... it would not require a “response in kind” by the United States, though some would urge that. The likely response, in addition to those in scenario one, would be massive increases in military aid to Ukraine and possibly concerted NATO or U.S. strikes on the Russian units that launched the attack.

As per the split in NATO, there will be no NATO strikes anywhere after such a use. I do not see the USA using nukes either when two European NATO members, France and the UK, have nukes of their own. NATO will not do it, and especially the Biden Administration won't go alone in such a step unilaterally.

In his next two COAs, he treats them as individual events, I don't. Once "Low Yield" goes, unless there is an immediate capitulation to Russian actions, the next two steps will follow rather quickly. This isn't a ladder, this is a chute.

Large-yield weapon. Putin could dial up the explosive force of the attack to the 50- or 100-kiloton range, or about three to six times the Hiroshima bomb. Tens of thousands would die with massive damage and radiation plumes. If the target were Kyiv, it would decapitate Ukraine’s leadership. This would almost certainly trigger a direct U.S. or NATO response, though not likely nuclear. The United States and NATO have sufficient precise, powerful conventional weapons that they could use to devastate Russian forces in Ukraine and command headquarters, including those units responsible for the attack. This would likely be accompanied by large-scale cyber operations.

Nuclear attack on NATO. This is the least likely scenario. Russian first-use doctrine includes the option of striking NATO targets. The attack could be by long-range missiles or air-launched cruise missiles on Central European states. If the yield of the weapon was similar to the previous scenario, it would inflict a level of destruction on a NATO state not seen since World War II. This could trigger a nuclear response. Some would argue a limited nuclear counterstrike was necessary to preserve nuclear deterrence. More likely is an all-out conventional assault to try to eliminate either Putin himself or the weapons he commands before he strikes again.

There is a certain arrogance in thinking that you can control the nuclear genie once it is out of the bottle. I am firmly of the school that you can't ... unless one side buckles. That is why one must be firm. The weaker you are, the more attractive the chute of nuclear use seems.

There is also a Rumsfeldian Known-Known in play here; the US President Joe Biden. He has a history going back decades. As former SECDEF Gates noted, he has a tendency to pick the wrong action on the international stage. He also shows a desire to - at whatever cost to foreign nationals - get the USA out of foreign entanglements involving our forces.

Should the Russians in desperation pull the nuclear card, would the USA do nothing and let the Russians get her way? What precedent does that set? Does anyone think that will stop the Russians from pulling this card again?

Does anyone really think there is a way to control nuclear escalation, that the same people who on the USA side who never saw Kabul collapsing like it did or on the Russians side who didn't see Kyiv standing like it did - that these two groups - have the insight and nuance to steer around and control each step in the "nuclear escalation ladder?" 

If the Russians do an airburst high over the Black Sea, would NATO/USA do a similar airburst over the Arctic? I don't know. No one does. Do you think the Biden natsec team has run this game yet and has a pre-planned response approved and ready to go?

I don't. 

Even with the best of teams on both sides, these are the "B" and "C" teams, not the "A" teams. Neither side has that record. There is no ladder to escalate on, to pause on each step and ponder. No, once the seal is broken, we have a steep and well greased chute. 

Pray for cooler heads, humility, and well secured genies. 

Monday, September 26, 2022

Realism in Foreign Policy and its Discontents


Before diving into today’s post, as we have reached a lot of new readers in the last year, I would beg the indulgence of long-term members of The Front Porch to allow me to review some long-standing positions of mine.

On the foreign policy front, especially for the last decade, I have liked to consider myself a realist. I do not expect perfection in my personal friends, nor expect perfection in my nation’s friends. I am not an isolationist by any stretch, but I do find myself much closer to John Quincy Adams’s;

…admonition that “Americans should not go abroad to slay dragons they do not understand in the name of democracy.”

…than I am to that mindset that brought us to that now clearly disastrous invasion of Iraq in 2003 etc.

For firm realists, I am probably seen as a bit wobbly, but that’s OK as it is fair. I am, for a lack of a better description, a situational realist. For even longer than the 18 years I have put my thoughts down here, I continue to advocate for a complete restructuring of our imperial presence around the world, especially when it comes to our ground forces. All of our friends and allies can more that support significant ground forces to defend their lands. We are a maritime and aerospace power on the other side of the world. We can maintain combined logistics and training facilities with them, and even rotate forces in and out when desired, but we should not be garrisoning their nations with tens of thousands of ground forces as we approach the middle of the 21st Century.

I’m not dogmatic on the topic. I am open to the argument for some forces in South Korea – very few – because integration timelines are so short for that still unresolved war. Other locations, even in Europe, I am much more skeptical about. Even with recent Russian aggression, our allies in Europe should, if we can break their addiction to Uncle Sam’s umbrella, more than handle that threat until, if needed, we need to bring forces across the Atlantic.

I also depart realist dogma when it comes to Ukraine. As the record shows, I have been a regular supporter of helping Ukraine defend herself over the last decade. Russia is, and remains, a bully with an imperial mindset. She started this war, and it is in our interest that she is defeated as her present leadership clearly stated that this was the first of many wars of conquest. Best to stop the Russian neo-imperial effort with Ukrainians on the Dnieper than with Americans on the Oder.

America has a long record of helping those trying to secure self-determination. An imperfect record, but in line with our nation’s founding. We are not, however, to force our beliefs on others. Set and example for others to follow if they so wish, but not force.

That’s the outline, and with that, today I’d like to point you to an article by someone who I disagree with now and then – which is normal and healthy. 

You must read widely, and not just the people who think just like you. You need to challenge your ideas with well meaning people of good intention that see solutions to problems differently than you do in whole or in part. No one has a perfect picture, but some are mostly right and others history shows are mostly wrong regardless of their pedigree or alignment with the constellation of your priors. You may dismiss their ideas for lacking merit, find some challenges in them that refines and improves your own, or you might even be provided some insight which leads you to change your own. Normal and healthy.

I’m not aligned with her fully here, but if you want to hear – and you should – what a principled realist argument is, our friend Emma Ashford has a read worth your time over at Foreign Affairs. It is actually a review of the recent books, Matthew Specter’s The Atlantic Realists and Jonathan Kirshner’s An Unwritten Future,  but in practice it is much more.

First, let's allow Emma to define "realism" in this context;

What today is called “realism”—the school of thought most undergraduates are taught in their International Relations 101 class—is in fact structural realism or neorealism, a version of realism outlined in the 1970s by the scholar Kenneth Waltz. Neorealism is further divided into “defensive” and “offensive” variants, depending on whether one believes that states primarily seek security through defensive means, such as military fortifications and technology, or through an expansion that acquires power and territory. Both versions focus heavily on structural factors (the ways that states interact at the global level) and effectively ignore domestic politics, the quirks of bureaucratic decision-making, the psychology of leaders, global norms, and international institutions. Neorealism thus stands in stark contrast to the older school of classical realism, which counts Thucydides, Machiavelli, and Bismarck among its earliest practitioners, has strong roots in philosophy, and includes factors such as domestic politics and the role of human nature, prestige, and honor. It also contrasts with classical realism’s more modern counterpart, “neoclassical realism” (a term coined by Gideon Rose, a former editor of this magazine), which seeks to marry the two variants by reincorporating domestic and ideational factors into structural theories. 

Now let's dive in to a few pull quotes that hopefully lead you to read the whole thing.

None of these notions are pleasant or popular. The realist Robert Gilpin once titled an article “No One Loves a Political Realist.” All too often, pointing out the harsh realities of international life or noting that states often act in barbaric ways is seen as an endorsement of selfish behavior rather than a simple diagnosis. As one of the school’s founding fathers, Hans Morgenthau, put it, realists may see themselves as simply refusing to “identify the moral aspirations of a particular nation with the moral laws that govern the universe.” But their critics often accuse them of having no morals at all, as the debate over Ukraine has shown.

That is something I find attractive about the realist argument. It accepts the reality of fallen man, our own limitations, and the need for the attenuation of emotion. At its core is humility - a rare but valuable commodity in our age.

Ukraine has long been a flash point for realist thought. Many realists argue that in the post–Cold War period, the United States has been too focused on an idealistic conception of European politics and too blasé about classic geopolitical concerns, such as the enduring meaning of borders and the military balance between Russia and its rivals. Policymakers who subscribed to liberal internationalism—the idea that trade, international institutions, or liberal norms can help build a world where power politics matter less—typically presented NATO’s expansion as a matter of democratic choice for smaller central and eastern European states. Realists, in contrast, argued that it would present a legitimate security concern for Moscow; no matter how benevolent NATO might seem from the West’s perspective, they would argue, no state would be happy with an opposing military alliance moving even closer to its borders. 

This argument aligns closely with one of my critiques that is mostly OBE but should be understood; our Ukraine policy was in no small measure run by people who could not see the situation from the Russian perspective. They were Russian experts who had a spreadsheet understanding of Russia, but not a cultural or historical perspective. That ignorance was fortified with an unalloyed belief in their own expertise. They/we were like a stumbling child - meaning no harm but unable to not damage things they/we don't understand.

Yet even if realism is largely present in today’s policy debates as a foil, pushing U.S. foreign policymakers to justify their choices and perhaps adopt slightly more pragmatic options, that may be the best that realists can hope for. As Specter points out, realists have had a complicated relationship with policymaking. Kennan, who served as the U.S. State Department’s director of policy planning, and Morgenthau, who worked under him, are among the best-known realist policymakers, and their influence has waxed and waned over time. The most realist administrations—those of Presidents Richard Nixon and George H. W. Bush—had some notable policy triumphs: ending the Vietnam War, managing the peaceful breakup of the Soviet Union, winning the Gulf War. But they also had mixed legacies, from Nixon’s troubled domestic political record to Bush’s 1992 electoral loss. That is still more than one can say for realist influence in the Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama administrations, when unchallenged U.S. power allowed idealists to drive most policy. Yet as the world continues its shift toward multipolarity, realist insights will once again become more important for the conduct of U.S. foreign policy. 

Perhaps realism at mid-century will have a better seat at the table. Perhaps.

Again, I encourage you to read it all, but in your busy life if you can't, I will leave you as Emma leaves her review. This is the core, and apologies to Hillel, all else is commentary;

Realists accept that foreign policy is often a choice between the lesser of evils. Pretending otherwise—pretending that moral principles or values can override all constraints of power and interest—is not political realism. It is political fantasy.


Sunday, September 25, 2022

AUKUS at 1-year, with Alessio Patalano - on Midrats


In September of last year, the national security story was the announcement of AUKUS - trilateral security pact between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Though the Russo-Ukrainian War quickly took it from headlines, it is still moving forward - and in ways you may not expect.

These three Anglosphere nations have a long cultural, diplomatic, economic, and military history together - so many of the building blocks are already there to make something impressive.

Using his recent article in the Australian Strategic Policy Institute as a starting off point, our guest for the full hour returning to Midrats this Sunday from 5-6pm Eastern will be Dr. Alessio Patalano.

Alessio is Professor of War & Strategy in East Asia and Director of the King’s Japan Programme at the Centre for Grand Strategy at the Department of War Studies (DWS), King’s College London (KCL). Prof Patalano is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (FRHistS), Adjunct Fellow at the Institute of Contemporary Asian Studies, Temple University Japan, a Visiting Professor at the Japan Maritime Command and Staff College (JMCSC) and a Senior Fellow at the highly influential think tanks Policy Exchange and the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). In 2022, he also became fellow at the Royal Navy Centre for Strategic Studies, and Sir Herbert Richmond Fellow in Maritime Strategy at the Council on Geostrategy. 

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, September 23, 2022

Fullbore Friday

So, who is great in the pantheon of retired Navy Commanders?

Well, we lost one, if not the, ranking member last month - Commander Dean S. “Diz” Laird, USN (Ret.).

Another legend next door

Over the course of his 29-year legendary military career, he shot down the first German planes of World War II off the coast of Norway for the Navy and was the only Navy Flying Ace who scored victories against German and Japanese planes in both the European and Pacific Theatres. Diz flew 99 different military aircraft before retirement and then flew his 100th at the age of 95, flying a T-34C in Coronado in July 2016. He flew 175 combat missions and served on 12 aircraft carriers, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in 1945, won the National Air Races in 1949 (setting a world speed record at the time), and holds the U.S. military record for most straight deck carrier landings. Additionally, Diz was part of the Navy’s first Jet Squadron, becoming the first pilot to land a jet on the deck of the USS Midway. In 1969, he flew as the lead stunt pilot and helped choreograph the reenactment of the attack on Pearl Harbor for 20th Century Fox’s 1970 film “Tora! Tora! Tora!” 

While still in the Navy, Diz moved to Coronado in 1958 with his wife and three children. He stayed active in the community as all his children attended Coronado schools. He cherished the idyllic Coronado way of life to raise his children and thoroughly embraced the island’s close-knit community with his kind-hearted spirit, generous personality, and innate ability to make friends easily. Upon retiring from the Navy in 1971 at the rank of Commander, he became a partner and co-owner of the Coronado Municipal Golf Course restaurant. Diz operated and managed the concession for nearly 20 years, making lifelong friends and playing countless rounds of golf — which included six career holes-in-one at the Coronado Golf Course — a true Ace’s ace!  

With Lorraine, always at his side, Diz traveled extensively in his retirement years, often times meeting with pilots who were former World War II adversaries. He was inducted into San Diego’s Air & Space Museum International Hall of Fame in 2014 and honored on the Coronado Avenue of Heroes in 2015. Diz was also a member of the American Fighter Aces and Tailhook Associations (original member and organizer of the first several annual Tailhook events). He lived life to the absolute fullest and never let his age slow him down, accomplishing several noteworthy feats after age 90: he went skydiving on his 90th birthday, received the Congressional Gold Medal in 2015 and the Audie Murphy Award in 2018, and threw out the first pitch for the Oakland A’s in 2019. 

Coronado was Diz’s primary home until 2015, when he moved to Walnut Creek, CA to be closer to his daughter and grandchildren. He was predeceased by Lorraine in 2014 and his oldest daughter Diane in 2008. He is survived by his son Michael (Clare), daughter Andrea (Scott), eight grandchildren, and 13 great-grandchildren. We will always love our Commander Laird, Diz, Dean, Dad, Grandpadean, BePa, and Great Grandpadean. He will be sorely missed, and we will always carry his spirit with us with the fondest of memories. 

h/t MR.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Diversity Thursday

Don't think this is just a problem with the US Air Force Academy. No, all our services academies are worm-ridden with the worst ideas infesting academia from the "diversity" cult.

You need to read the full thing, but to give you a taste of what is going on, I do have three slides for you to review;

So, in the USAF you are a bad person if you are "colorblind" or state "I don't see color."  Even worse, you are not allowed to think that "we're all just people."

To draw that out, it appears that the USAF wants everyone to judge people by the color of their skin first of all.

If that isn't racist and retrograde, I'm not sure what is.

Callsigns and nicknames are bad too, it appears. 

Oh, no boyfriends or girlfriends.


It gets worse.

As always, if you have to tell someone you are important, or threaten them to say you are important, you actually are not important - just a hazard. 

Also I will note, they are referencing the "diverse teams outperform" that has been debunked countless times by actual scientific studies...and reminded to everyone during the FY 2023 NDAA markup by Congressman Gallagher (R-WI)

Not only is this political, it is starting to gain the appearances of cultish religions. You have a cadre of zampolits/inquisitors who run around looking for heretics to destroy, they have "Reading Rooms," "Red Guard" apparatchiks embedded with eyes and ears everywhere, and of course, promote "Affinity Groups" who exist only to promote sectarian division.  

Don't forget, the commissariat that the US military, academic institutions, and other governmental organizations do not come cheap, and they only grow. They don't exist to solve any problems, but to instead expand them. That is the way to job security and more contracts.

Next week's DivThu will give you an example of that price tag. 

Until then, please try to remember that no one has a "mom" or a "dad."

Welcome to Year-0.

Good news, there are people about to access levers of power who appear to have had about enough of this grevience-driven rent seeking;
Waltz (R-FL), a ranking member of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Readiness, told Fox News Digital that the program’s structure is particularly concerning because it appears to create a "separate, parallel chain of command."

"To those of us who are a little bit older, it reminds us of what the Soviets used to do or what the Chinese do today, where they literally have political commissars inserted at every level end of the chain of command, but they have a separate reporting chain to ensure that the military is abiding by their ideology and their political doctrine," Waltz said.

"Not only do they have diversity and equity officers in the cadet chain of command, they wear a special insignia, which is exactly what the political commissars — they would wear an armband in both the Soviet army and now in the Chinese Communist military. I just think there are some really alarming parallels," he said.

"When we are in the majority, we are going to legislate this, and we are going to cut it out of the U.S. military," he added.

An Air Force Academy spokesperson said in a statement to Fox News Digital that the D&I training is to help prepare cadets for "warfighting effectiveness."

There is a time and a season for everything.

Winter is coming...or spring. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

What NATO Must Do 01JAN24

So, what did you wake up to
President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday ordered Russia's first mobilisation since World War Two and backed a plan to annex swathes of Ukraine, warning the West he was not bluffing when he said he'd be ready to use nuclear weapons to defend Russia.

In the biggest escalation of the Ukraine war since Moscow's Feb. 24 invasion, Putin explicitly raised the spectre of a nuclear conflict, approved a plan to annex a chunk of Ukraine the size of Hungary, and called up 300,000 reservists.
This should not be a shock to anyone. If it is, perhaps you should consider investing your time in cat-blogging. 

It should bring to the front that NATO can no longer allow unserious nations to play like they are anything but security free riders. They need to contribute their fair share or pay some consequence. Alliances have benefits and responsibilities. You should not have one without the other.

While percentage of GDP is an imperfect measure of contribution, it is better than all the other ones. It is as simple benchmark of national effort.

As these are the best numbers we have, let's look at 2021 and then forward.

It is amazing that after all Russia has shown Western Europe - both of its nature and the nature of modern warfare - that so many of our NATO allies continue to slow walk defense spending, doing the very minimum to be a full and fair partner in the alliance.

Russian victory - however they define it - or Russian defeat - however Ukraine defines it - will not change the geography or nature of Russia. She is not going anywhere.

This article back a couple of months ago is a nice summary of who is who in the alliance. Some nations get it more than others:

Ever since NATO defence ministers agreed to spend a 2% GDP quota on their military budgets annually, it’s been a stick with which the big spenders can beat their frugal partners.

When NATO members again agreed to meet the 2% of GDP target at the summit in 2014, only the UK and Greece were keeping up the European side of the bargain. 


Across much of Central and Eastern Europe, politicians are now racing to make sure they meet the percentage target by at least next year.


Poland’s parliament passed the Homeland Defence Act in March that will increase defence spending to three per cent of GDP, which would make Warsaw the second-biggest European spender in NATO, after Greece.

Of course the Poles get it. Others - especially the former Soviet and Warsaw Pact nations - get it too. Others with rare exception are playing catch-up to where before the Russo-Ukrainian War only Poland and the UK were 2%+.

According to NATO forecasts published last month, seven European members of NATO will hit the target this year — Croatia, Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and the UK. Romania and France will be off by less than 0.1%. All but Greece and the UK are from the former “Eastern bloc”.
Just this month the governments of Slovakia, Slovenia and Latvia said they intended to reach the spending mark by at least 2023, if not this year. Romania has increased defence spending by 14% for 2022 and says it could meet the 2% target next year. 
Finland, which recently agreed to join NATO, spent around 1.5% of GDP on defence in 2020. But its government announced an injection of €2 billion following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which could bring it above the 2% mark in 2022 or 2023.
Who should be on everyone's naughty list?
Sweden, which also recently agreed to join NATO, has vowed to reach the 2% mark by 2028. 

Now-former Prime Minister Mario Draghi said in April that Italy would meet the target the same year. Spain’s government says by 2029. Denmark thinks by 2033.

Last week, Belgium’s parliament agreed to spend an additional €10 billion by 2030, taking it up to around 1.5% of GDP. Alexander De Croo, the prime minister, reckons the 2% mark will be reached by 2035.
Germany has recently come under criticism after new financial plans released this month appear to indicate that defence spending will only be around 1.5% of GDP this year and 1.7% in 2023. Only by 2026 will it fulfil its 2% pledge, according to some media reports.
There is so much deferred spending from our free-riding European allies. 
Between 1999 and 2021, EU combined defence spending increased by 20%, according to reports by the European Defence Agency. That compares with a 66% increase by the US, and 292% by Russia and 592% by China, over the same period.
"Out years" are where dragons live, so anyone not on guide-slope to 2%+ by the end of 2023 - when one way or another the Russo-Ukrainian War should be over - will find someway to not get there in a wave of excuses and bluffing. 

We should call their bluff.

As such, and this is generous, we need to finally pursue PLAN SALAMANDER for NATO "Flags-to-Post" that I first proposed almost six years ago.
In NATO, General and Flag Officer billets are distributed amongst nations in a rather complicated way, but this formula is controlled by NATO – and as such – can be changed.

Entering argument: take the present formula for “fair distribution” and multiply by .75 any nation that spends 1.5% to 1.99% GDP on defense. Multiply by .5 any nation that spends between 1.25% to 1.499%. Multiply by .25 1.0% to 1.240%. If you fall below 1%, you get nothing and your OF5 (Col./Capt) billets are halved. 

1.25x for 2.01%-2.25%. 1.5X for 2.26%-2.75%; 1.75x for 2.76% -3.0%. 2x for +3.01%.

The math gets funky when a lot of people get over 2%, but we can refine it later. Doesn't cost a penny and will unquestionably get the attention of those nations. Trust me on this. By January 1st, 2024 no more excuses. A small and symbolic punishment, but a good start that may be all that is needed. This is not the second half of the 20th Century any more.

2% is something that the Russo-Ukrainian War should show as an artifact for a different world. Smart people know this.

But General Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO secretary general, said at a summit last month that he reckons 19 partners will exceed the target by 2024.

“Two per cent is increasingly considered a floor, not a ceiling,” he added.

Europeans should be the primary drivers of having everyone spend more. As I have been warning since before the turn of the century - the USA is one election or significant political/civil/economic/natural disaster away from shrugging carrying the load for European security. They need to be ready to stand on their own. 

If they think Americans love their freedom more than they do - they are wrong.

If they think a Russian defeat and Putin in the history books will keep their eastern front quiet - they are wrong.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

So, AUKUS is About Submarines Down Under, Right?

As with many things in the last nine months, the bolt from the blue in the maritime national security world that was the September 2021 announcement of AUKUS - trilateral security pact between Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States - has faded from view as the more immediate and interesting Russo-Ukrainian War took the headlines.

Even without the war, as with many long-term programs that start with a flash, AUKUS would have become a background issue anyway - which is a shame.

Most are left remembering the interesting bit - nuclear submarines for the Royal Australian Navy - but is that really the most important thing about AUKUS?

Our friend Alessio Patalano over at ASPI has a nice, brief primer to tap everyone on the shoulder that, yes, we are missing the big picture;

AUKUS is not a security alliance. It holds no provision to suggest such a notion, nor were any of the steps undertaken so far aimed at making it an alliance.

AUKUS is a technology accelerator agreement for the purpose of national defence, no more, no less. It is designed to allow three countries to work closely together to translate the promise of today’s maturing technologies, such as quantum computing and artificial intelligence, into tomorrow’s military edge.

So, Anglosphere tech-bros go to sea? 

This is the second reason why AUKUS matters strategically. In a context in which advanced technology will matter increasingly more to maintain a military edge, only trusted partners will be able to achieve the most from defence collaborations.


This doesn’t mean that AUKUS won’t face challenges along the way before Australia deploys nuclear-powered submarines in 2040. Implementing the agreement will put national industrial capacity under pressure. Recent comments from senior American officials suggest that the idea of building the initial submarines for Australia in the US could be problematic.

...When considered against the impact of technology on future changes in systems and sensors, the division of labour is likely to remain a major changing variable.

What is certain is that one year on, AUKUS has started to chart a clear path as to what it is and why it matters. AUKUS is set on a path about a maritime-informed worldview in which accelerating advanced technology cooperation might very well make the difference in how strategic advantages can be secured and maritime stability can be maintained.

Especially if you buy in to the early-threat-theory of the People's Republic of China, 2040 is a LONG time from now - just a little under 18-years.

However, I've been blogging for 18-years and somewhere today in Australia is a 20 to 25 year old young Royal Australian Sub-Lieutenant who may wind up in 2040 being the first CO of a RAN SSN.

Time is faster than you think. Until then - if the fighting core of the Anglosphere (and in 2022 the AUKUS nations are that fighting core, sorry Canada and New Zealand) spends that time integrating their high technology developments, whatever appears as a threat in 2040 - the Anglosphere will be better positioned to face it.

Monday, September 19, 2022

If They Name Them “Yamato” and “Musashi” I will Probably Stroke Out

We talked about them a little bit on yesterday's Midrats, but I can't keep them out of mind - so, we'll start out the week looking at one hell of a fleet the Japanese seem to be building;

On the morning of September 1, the Japan Jiji News Agency suddenly reported news that the Japanese Ministry of Defense is preparing to build two new large warships. Its main features are: the standard displacement is about 20,000 tons, equipped with SPY-7 large radar originally used for land-based missile defense systems, equipped with American-made Standard-3 Block 2A anti-ballistic missiles, and Standard-6 long-range air defense missiles, made in Japan, Type 12 anti-ship missiles, and several other land-attack cruise missiles. This new ship, which can be fully classified as a heavy cruiser, is expected to enter service in 2027 and exist as a maritime mobile platform and a forward early warning and air defense base for Japan’s missile defense system.

Unless they are VERY far along in the process already, 2027 seem ambitious - but look again at what they are planning. 

An Arleigh Burke Flight III DDG displaces about 9,500 tons, just a little under a Ticonderoga Class CG. A Zumwalt Class DDG 15,600.

20,000 is a one big warship for a 21st Century navy to build. It makes sense though. If you consider that any static defense against ballistic missiles in Japan would not survive long due to their close proximity to the launch sites for ballistic missiles from China or North Korea - something underway is simply more survivable. Yes, they need more than two - but get started then see about getting more.

These aren't the only larger ships - modern Japanese technology ships - that Japan will have on hand.  The Izumo-class multi-purpose destroyers (AKA CVL) displace almost 20,000 tons empty 27,000 tons fully loaded. I am sure they have a follow-on carrier design somewhere. My guess is something between the Izumo and the Royal Navy's 65,000 ton Queen Elizabeth CV.

As we struggle to build a proper navy to meet the Chinese challenge, a militarily stronger Japan - if properly done - would be a tremendous asset in securing peace through deterrence in the Western Pacific, or in case of war, dominate the Northwest Pacific in a manner to free up the USN for other responsibilities.

I can see a few scenarios where the Japanese sit out a Pacific war, but I think they are unlikely to as it is in no way in their interest to have the Americans slink east of Wake.

Of course, as it is the the USN, funding is the key. There is new momentum to spend more on defense in Japan. As a maritime and aerospace power (as the USA is too, ahem), one would hope most of the increases would go to her navy.

We'll see, but until then ... I cannot wait to see the design for that 20,000 ton Japanese beauty.

Sunday, September 18, 2022

A Mid-September Midrats Melee!


Labor Day is behind us, school is in session, and winter is coming. That can mean only one thing - it’s time for a Midrats mid-month melee!

For the full hour LIVE this Sunday from 5-6pm Eastern, we will take a bit from the headlines, a tad from the history books, and whatever shows up in the chat room or the studio line.

From DC to Ukraine, to the other side of the International Date Line, we’ll try to squeeze it in.

We'll distribute your defense, integrate your lethality ... whatever it takes.

As with every melee, if it is interesting and in the maritime or national security arena - we’ll take it on.

Open chat, open phones, open topic - come 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, September 16, 2022

Fullbore Friday

A pivot of history around a man.

For over two decades the American military occupied a foreign country on the other side of the planet, supporting an oppressive local government that was mostly known for its anti-democratic habits and corruption.

Over the two decades of occupation, thousands of Americans and her allies who also contributed forces died in order to keep a clear threat to global peace contained.

During the previous presidential election in the USA, the candidate who won made repeated statements that he planned to withdraw all American forces from that country. Two decades were long enough, and he was insistent that he was a man of his word.

The new president carefully placed reliable political operatives in to national security positions who he could rely on, and to the professional intelligence and military community, it was clear what was going on

…politicizing the intelligence process. the CIA an attitude that the withdrawal policy presented dangerous risks. But he felt that, …the risk of withdrawal was not alarming. … the policy represented a political decision. Administration decision makers understood the risks involved and had judged them to be acceptable.

Are you thinking of the events of the first year of the Biden Administration that resulted in the greatest national humiliation since the Vietnam War?

Well, you would be forgiven is so – but no, we are talking about one of the more undertold stories of the Cold War and the Carter Administration – one the usual suspects in the civ/mil fetish world either don’t know about or won’t talk about.

For those who don’t remember, in hindsight (and even more so at the moment), the apex of global political and military power of the Soviet Union was somewhere between 1975 and 1985. American military ability and confidence – especially in our Army - were at its post-WWII nadir.

In that background, here’s the background.

Jimmy Carter's decision to withdraw ground troops from South Korea goes back at least to January, 1975, and the earliest days of his campaign for President. His original idea was to pull out all U.S. forces - ground and air - and to negotiate assurances from China and the Soviet Union that North Korea would not invade the south.

The origins and evolution of Carter's ideas are of unusual importance because his campaign stand has been translated directly into U.S. policy with a minimum of official review. In order to avoid a battle within the government, a National Security Council study leading to the U.S. withdrawal plan did not question whether American ground troops should be removed but focused instead on how many should be removed.

As sent to the White House in mid-March, the council's Presidential Review Memorandum 13 acknowledged that there are differences of opinion about the troop withdrawal policy and that the impact of it is difficult to predict. At the explicit instruction of Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance, however, the State-Defense-Central Intelligence Agency study accepted as its promise Carter's previous announced conclusion that the troops should be taken out.

It is amazing how some bad ideas and unmoored assumptions just keep showing up in some circles;

Administration officials have emphasized that the Carter plan would leave American air forces in‐place and that there would be a continued strong American naval presence in the Sea of Japan to assist South” Korea in the event of an invasion. American troops in Korea represent about 30 percent of United States forward‐deployed forces in the western Pacific, which number ‘about 127,000.

Did the senior uniformed leadership have concerns?
Many Army officers in Korea as well as at the Pentagon (view) that the withdrawal of American ground troops in South Korea would upset the military balance there and provoke North Korea to plan another invasion of the South, as occurred 25 years ago.
But did they do anything? People matter. One man can matter. History and the lives of millions can rest on the decisions of one person - and how they define duty vs. self-interest.

The following story has a few angles. One angle is an echo of warnings I have put out before; if you wear the uniform, do not get comfortable with the press - especially "traditional" press that works DC or are from hyper-political organizations. With very few exceptions, they are not your friend. They have a job. You are not just a source, you are part of their building of their personal brand. 

You may think you are on background, but ... perhaps not. There are questions if this spark was a case of a reporter or their editor deciding not to respect a background source, or a polite wink between parties - I have heard both, but we know the results, so let's focus on that.

On May 19th 1977, John Saar at the Washington Post had an article that would lead to the premature end of one of the US Army's most respected Generals and ... in the end, perhaps prevented the death of millions or even a third world war.

The third-ranking U.S. Army general in South Korea says that President Carter's plan to withdraw U.S. troops here in the next four to five years is a mistake that will end in war with North Korea.

"If we withdraw our ground forces on the schedule suggested it will lead to war," said Maj. Gen. John K. Singlaub, chief of staff in the U.S. Forces Korea headquarters.

Singlaub said he and many other senior military officers challenge the wisdom of Carter's plan, and predicted that withdrawal of the war-ready 2d Infantry Division in that time frame would seriously weaken defenses in the South and encourage North Korean Peresident Kim II-sung to attack.

The unusual situation of serving generals, openly differing with the President's declared policy arises on the eve to talk to implement that policy.

...  "The question asked after U.S. setbacks in China and Vietnam was, 'Did the military people in the know express themselves loudly and clearly enough that the decision-makers understood?' We want to make sure." he added. "If the decision is made we will execute it with enthusiasm and a high level of professional skill."

The apprehensions voiced by Singlaub are enchoed to some degree by many, if not all U.S. military leaders in South Korean. "No one understands why they are being pulled out," said a well-informed American source. "Carter says that withdrawal won't endanger South Korean security or upset the military balance. Out military people say that would be a miracle. They think it can't be done."

The impact professionally did not take long. Three days later;
President Carter yesterday fired Maj. Gen. John K. Singlaub as U.S. chief of staff in South Korea for telling The Washington Post last week that Carter's plan to withdraw U.S. troops from Korea is a mistake that will lead to war.

Defense Secretary Harold Brown announced Singlaub's dismissal as chief of staff less than an hour after Singlaub, in uniform, met for 30 minutes with the President. Carter was described Thursday as distressed and angered by Singlaub's remarks.

Brown accompanied Singlaub to the meeting. In a statement issued from the Pentagon afterward, Brown said, "Public statements by Gen. Singlaub inconsistent with announced national security policy have made it very difficult for him to carry out the duties of his present assignment in Korea.

"I have, therefore, recommended to the President that Gen. Singlaub e reassigned, and with the President's concurrence I have directed the secretary of the Army to take action to that effect."
...and there goes a 35-year career. But...Singlaub knew what he was doing. History has proven his professional sacrifice as being the right move. A 2018 paper by Eric B. Setzekorn in the Army War College Parameters titled, Policy Revolt: Army Opposition to the Korea Withdrawal Plan gives Singlaub and others a good review;
By publicly opposing the plan as part of a Fabian strategy, senior Army leaders gained public support of their position and the president suspended the planned withdrawal.
Although Army leaders were clearly manipulative and pushed the boundaries of professional ethics, they effectively halted a deeply flawed withdrawal policy. Viewed from a distance of forty years, President Carter’s politicized policy process and shortsighted mentality of reducing deterrence capabilities on the Korean Peninsula were clearly dangerous. Singlaub and Vessey, as the subject matter experts on the American military role in South Korea, should have been consulted. Yet the generals’ actions led to a more comprehensive debate of American security policy in Korea. As the case of the aborted Korean withdrawal highlights, Army leaders can successfully challenge presidential policies. But the question is should they?
That is a great question - and one that will always in the American context get a reply, "It depends."

And so is a long introduction to a recognition that earlier this year, General Singlaub was called home one last time;
John K. Singlaub, a two-star general with a record of wartime derring-do who resigned from the Army in 1978 after openly criticizing President Jimmy Carter’s defense policy, and who later battled communism as a private citizen by funneling weapons and money to rightist insurgents around the world, died Jan. 29 at his home in Franklin, Tenn. He was 100.

A long live. An impactful life. If you read his full bio - one hell of a life. I don't know if there is a statue to him in South Korea somewhere, but there probably should be. Just look at 2022 South Korea. It did not get the opportunity to grow in to one of the most highly successful and developed nations on this planet in isolation or by accident. 

How would Singlaub want to be remembered? I don't know, but I'll take a guess;



John K. Singlaub was recruited by the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in November 1943. As part of JEDBURGH Team JAMES, he jumped into France on 11 August 1944 to arm and direct the French resistance. Sent to China, as the commander of the PIGEON Mission, he jumped onto Hainan Island on 27 August 1945 to rescue Dutch and Australian Prisoners of War. As one of a handful of Special Operations Branch personnel retained the Strategic Services Unit (successor to the OSS), Singlaub stayed in China to report on the Civil War. Singlaub was again involved in special operations when he was an instructor at Fort Benning, Georgia and helped to establish the Ranger Training Center in 1950. He then had two tours in Korea, including one with the Central Intelligence Agency’s Joint Advisory Commission, Korea (JACK). Singlaub returned to special operations in from 1966-1968, when he commanded a joint unconventional warfare command, the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, Studies and Observation Group (MACV-SOG). Retiring in 1978, Major General Singlaub has remained active in the Special Operations community and was recognized with the United States Special Operations Command’s (USSOCOM) Bull Simons award in 2011.


Thursday, September 15, 2022

Diversity Thursday

A lot of you are experiencing official discrimination on a regular basis and share what you are going through with me. The vast majority of it I don't share because it is sent on background to me as people are terrified of being found out by the diversity zampolits. 

The most scared people - even more than those in the military - are those in academia. It isn't just the college admission process, it is the red in tooth and claw discrimination in hiring faculty giving special consideration to some racial and ethnic groups while at the same time taking specific negative action against other racial and ethic groups.

I've written way too much in a rambling way on the topic over the years, but in the latest legal case against this overt and official discrimination, I think I found a smarter person with a much more succinct response when asked, "What is wrong with our policies?" 

As reported by Aaron Sibarium in the Washington Free Beacon, I give you University of Texas at Austin finance professor named Richard Lowery;

"These discriminatory, illegal, and anti-meritocratic practices have been egged on by woke ideologues who populate the so-called diversity, equity, and inclusion offices at public and private universities throughout the United States," Lowery’s lawsuit says. "The existence of these offices is subverting meritocracy and encouraging wholesale violations of civil-rights laws throughout our nation’s university system."

Nice summary.

This has the potential to be as important as the case we will soon see come out of SCOTUS on the discrimination in admissions.

Racial discrimination of any kind has no place in official policy in 2022.

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Every Chief a Recruiter? Why not?

BZ to our Coast Guard friends.

There is a lot of good here in this message. The master message is, "tell our story." 

Simple but powerful.

Having Chiefs - every Chief - helping bring in new people sounds like it should be happening already, but it isn't. Telling "our" story should be a given, but it isn't.

All the services are having trouble recruiting, and no small measure of the problem is that our senior leadership from CJCS on down spent a bit too much time the last few years playing socio-political games and telling the public the military is full of racists, sexists, and rapists to a degree that we don't have time to spend telling the great story that represents 99.7% of what those in uniform do ever day.

The USCG has a great story to tell, so does the US Navy. If our senior leaders can't tell that story well - and they don't - then by all means, let's get the Chief's Mess in to the breach. Recruiting should be an all hands effort. 

R 171705Z AUG 22 





ALCOAST 300/22

SSIC: 1100



B. Everyone is a Recruiter Incentive Program User Guide, PSCINST

1120.1 (series)


D. Coast Guard Recruiting Manual, COMDTINST M1100.2G

1. I am proud to announce the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard (MCPOCG) Recruiting Challenge in support of the Commandant's direction announced in REF A through D to maximize recruiting efforts. The purpose of this challenge is to rally and unite the Coast Guard's Chief's Mess behind a common cause to recruit 250 new Coast Guard members. This challenge will run from August 17, 2022 until August 17, 2023, and result in one Chiefs' Mess earning the first of its kind MCPOCG Recruiting award.

2. I strongly believe that Chiefs provide an unmatched contribution to our great Service. It is not surprising to hear how individual Chief's Messes are working to combat our current recruiting deficit. However, we recognize that we are more effective when we can work collectively toward improving the future for our Coast Guard workforce. I issue this challenge as a way to help overcome the current workforce gap and to draw Chiefs together with a set of four unified goals in mind.

a. Goal 1: Tell our story.

(1) The Coast Guard has a proud history of harrowing rescues, combat action, and storied accomplishments celebrated around the world. Each day the women and men of the Coast Guard add to the honor and prestige of our Service. Yet, many of our heroic day-to-day efforts go unsung. One reason for this is our culture.

We are humble and loyal public servants who accept being "Always Ready" as the minimum acceptable standard. We must temporarily set this humility aside to enhance our Coast Guard brand by telling our unique and powerful stories.

(2) I challenge all Chiefs to find creative and engaging ways to tell the "why" behind their personal stories and accounts of what makes the Coast Guard the best way to serve our Nation.

b. Goal 2: Engage with our communities.

(1) We have profound stories to tell. To overcome this recruiting challenge we need to get our Chiefs out in the community to talk about the unique places around the world we work and the incredible communities we live in. These narratives will also show the value we provide to the Nation that bolsters our brand and attract talented people who want to serve their country.

(2) I challenge each Chiefs' Mess to seek out community event opportunities where Chiefs can sponsor a unit open house, put together a booth or display, and represent the Service at high visibility events that tell our story and generate potential recruits. Examples of potential recruit generating events include boat shows, local festivals, state fairs, unit tours, sporting events, and career days. These events should be included during Chief Call to Initiation processes outlined in MCPOCG Standing Order One.

c. Goal 3: Generate high quality potential candidates.

(1) Each Chief understands the caliber of performance and personal accountability we expect of those who desire to join the Coast Guard. High quality leads are those with reasonable potential of becoming a recruit in the Coast Guard.

(2) I challenge each Chief to generate one high quality lead, and for all Chiefs' Messes to collectively generate a minimum of 250 new Coast Guard recruits reported to boot camp by 2024.

d. Goal 4: Mentor potential recruits through the process.

(1) Chiefs are outstanding mentors, and can help recruits navigate perceived hurdles related to physical fitness, a medical waiver, or other perceived barriers, to ensure that otherwise motivated recruits are not dissuaded by the process and lack of mentorship. Chiefs can also work closely with recruiters to assist with administrative or medical issues, which must be resolved before recruits can ship off to boot camp.

(2) I challenge each Chiefs' Mess to remain involved and invested with the potential recruits as the recruit goes through the accession process, and serve as an advocate to the recruiters when necessary.

3. Process. Each Chiefs' Mess is encouraged to sign up for the MCPOCG's Recruiting Challenge by using the USCG-Recruitng IMT sharepoint page:

(Copy and Paste The URL Below Into Browser)

This will enable the Coast Guard Recruiting Command to identify your Chiefs' Mess, log its participation, and measure progress toward our shared goal. This page also includes a link for recording activities. Each Chiefs' Mess should coordinate its activities with the nearest Recruiter in Charge (RIC). Your nearest recruiting office has a wealth of knowledge and recruitment materials they can share with the mess.

a. Chiefs' Messes should link each potential recruit with the proper RIC to continue the recruitment process and properly conduct follow-up. Chiefs' Messes should continue to provide mentorship, and ensure that leads are progressing through the recruiting process, providing guidance and advocacy where necessary.

b. One of the most important ways that Chiefs can have an impact on the future of our workforce is to ensure that potential or newly sworn-in members of the Coast Guard are never left behind. Chiefs can lead the way to facilitate a prosperous Coast Guard career by conducting follow-ups with each high quality lead.

c. The Office of the MCPOCG and CGRC will compile the results submitted by each Chiefs' Mess at the conclusion of the event period and determine winners based on impact to their local area's recruiting mission, while acknowledging that some units are remote and may have limited access to schools and events.

4. Please direct questions to the recruiting IMT, your local Gold Badge CMC, or CMC Jeremiah Wolf at the contact below.

5. POC: CG Recruiting IMT (202) 372-[redacted] or [redacted] and CMC Jeremiah Wolf, DPR-CGHQ [redacted]

6. Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard, Heath B. Jones, (CG-00B), sends.

7. Internet release is authorized.