Friday, February 28, 2014

Fullbore Friday

Through almost eight years of FbF, we have covered a lot of WWII stories. Most of those stories came from the Pacific.

The war in the Pacific was led by a truly unique leader - almost mythological to the point he has his own meme.

For those of us who are WWII history buffs, something intellectually Fullbore took place this week - something we all owe a tip of a hat to the team that brought this about.
The Naval War College Library in Newport, R.I. publicly unveiled online the 4,000-page “Gray Book” collection of Fleet Adm. Chester Nimitz communications that started in the wake of the Pearl Harbor attack and ran right up until the closing days of the war. The event was held Monday, Feb. 24 at 6:30 p.m. Eastern.

The event was held on the anniversary of Nimitz’ 129th birthday. It featured a lecture discussing the Gray Book as well as a question & answer session with U.S. Naval Academy Professor of History Emeritus Craig L. Symonds, PhD, author of numerous books including “The Battle of Midway,” in which he recounts the pivotal role played by Nimitz in what was the turning point of the war in the Pacific.
Naval History and Heritage Command’s (NHHC) Operational Archives, which possesses the physical collection, provided expertise and support to the Naval War College effort to publish the high-quality digital version of the documents.

The WWII historic treasure, named for the color of its original cover, is a daily record of the combat situation in the Pacific Theater and responses of the Commander in Chief, Pacific, and Pacific Ocean Areas (Nimitz) throughout the War. Staff-member Capt. James Steele began it on the day Pearl Harbor was attacked and ended it on Aug. 31, 1945, just two days before the formal end of the war.

“I’ve seen the collection and it’s really a national treasure,” said Capt. Henry Hendrix, Ph.D., director of the Naval History and Heritage Command. “They clearly reveal what Nimitz thought was important, which gives the reader a great deal of insight into how his experiences both operationally and at the Naval War College informed and influenced his prosecution of the war. I’m extremely pleased we can now share it with researchers, the American public, and Sailors past and present. I’m eager to see the collection discussed and to demonstrate the continued relevance of leveraging history in the decision making process.”

Nimitz was assigned to relieve Adm. Husband Kimmel, and arrived in Pearl Harbor on Christmas Day, 1941. Nearly three years later, he was advanced to the newly created rank of Fleet Admiral – five stars. Less than a year later, Sept. 2, 1945, he signed the instrument of the Japanese surrender aboard the battleship USS Missouri (BB 63) in Tokyo Bay.
Here's the video. While you are watching it, you can get the "Gray Book" for free from both the US Naval War College and ibiblio.

From the 1:10 point;
"... the process of decision making ... must be open, must have interchange. You must be able to subordinate your own personal ego to the issues that are under consideration. ... The characteristics that Nimitz brought to the decision making process ... If all leaders in uniform and civilian clothes, can keep in mind Chester Nimitz as a model for decision making process, I think we would all be better off."
- Professor Craig L. Symonds, PhD

BZ to all involved.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Diversity Thursday

Now that we there has been two weeks for everyone to chew on the incredibly anti-freedom effort by the FCC to put monitors in to newsrooms, it is time to expand here what some have already touched on. 

This whole effort by Mignon Clyburn. the daughter of Representative James E. Clyburn (D-SC) is very clear - it is straight out of the diversity industry swamp.

Let's review. Via one of the two Republican FCC Commissioners Ajit Pai;
Last May the FCC proposed an initiative to thrust the federal government into newsrooms across the country. With its "Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs," or CIN, the agency plans to send researchers to grill reporters, editors and station owners about how they decide which stories to run. A field test in Columbia, S.C., is scheduled to begin this spring.

The purpose of the CIN, according to the FCC, is to ferret out information from television and radio broadcasters about "the process by which stories are selected" and how often stations cover "critical information needs," along with "perceived station bias" and "perceived responsiveness to underserved populations."
We need to make sure we understand the words as they define them.

How does the diversity industry define bias?
"Intentional and unintentional, conscious and subconscious, attitudes, behaviors and actions that have a negative and differential impact on segments of the society, or favor one segment of the society."
What wonderfully hazy, opaque, Gumbyesque newspeak.

How do they define "underserved populations?" Well, that is fairly clear.

Why is this important? Well, look to the background of Ms. Clyburn.
Mignon L. Clyburn served as Acting Chairwoman of the Federal Communications Commission, following her appointment by President Barack Obama on May 20, 2013. As Commissioner, she is serving a second term as a Democrat on the Commission, for which she was sworn in on February 19, 2013 following her re-nomination by the President and confirmation by the United States Senate.

Clyburn began her service at the FCC in August, 2009, after spending 11 years as a member of the sixth district on the Public Service Commission (PSC) of South Carolina. She served as its chair from July 2002 through June 2004.

Prior to her service on the PSC, Clyburn was the publisher and general manager of The Coastal Times, a Charleston-based weekly newspaper that focused primarily on issues affecting the African American community. She co-owned and operated the family-founded newspaper for 14 years.
She worked in the family's race-based business for a decade and a half. She then, no connection to her powerful politician father, I am sure, worked for a South Carolina State government regulatory job. Again, completely on her own, she got a Federal paycheck for another decade plus.
She has pushed for media ownership rules that reflect the demographics of America, ...
There you go. Do I need to say any more?

Of course I do, you'd be disappointed if I didn't. Her family sees everything as race-based, and this is no different.

As they have done in academia and in corporations, the diversity industry cannot stand the progress we have made towards a more race-neutral nation in the last few decades. They are the most retrograde force we have in this nation, holding us back from further progress. They have adopted the worse habits of the KKK short of lynching and cross burning. They refuse to even try to understand mixed race people, promoting the one-drop rule. They say nothing when certain areas are over-represented by their preferred ethnic groups, but go in to high dungeon when there is an underrepresentation somewhere else - as long as things are positive - as they define it. Only negative comment are allowed from them - as they define it. All else must be silenced.

When Gen X and younger generation really just don't care and want to move forward, the diversity industry insists on dragging everyone back to 1972 - insist that everything must be race based, that "diversity" must be considered in everything we do.

A cancer, a fraud, and a case of generational abuse of the worst kind. Divisive, sectarian, and sowers of discord.

Make no mistake, the FCC wanted to go in and get their metrics. Threaten to call people names and bully tokenism at the threat of the regulatory and police action of the state. They wanted their metrics, and they wanted their topics - as they defined them.

Authoritarian, totalitarian, and an anathema to free thought - and they are running free in the Navy and the DOD. Few stand up to them for one reason - people are terrified of being called names. They know that once they are called names, there are few who will stand up for them and have their back. It is easier to cower down than to stand up.

Sad, isn't it? In the pursuit of the diversity industry's fetish for false metrics, they are willing to destroy the very foundation of a the free society. That is why we must stand up to them; at home, at work, at church, and in our schools. 

They are on the wrong side of history - or at least we should hope they are. If not, then we are set for a future of their making, one of sectarianism, ethnic strife, and the most base kind of racial bigotry man can so easily produce.


UPDATE: ... and with perfect timing, a must read by Clare Malone from TheDailyBeast titled; Spoiled Rotten Kids of DC’s Elite.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

McCain Off Centerline - Work Looks Good on the PLAT

There was nothing "maverick" about Sen. McCain's (R-AZ) performance on The Hill earlier this week.
Sen. John McCain is blocking President Obama's picks to fill senior Pentagon positions, calling their answers to questions at a Senate Armed Services Committee confirmation hearing Tuesday "naive" and "nonsensical."

The Arizona Republican was visibly frustrated that Robert Work, Obama's nominee for deputy Defense secretary, was not intimately familiar with a critical government report detailing cost overruns from the Littoral Combat Ship program.

Separately, McCain ripped Christine Wormuth, Obama's pick for undersecretary of Defense for policy. The nominee, he said, was either ignorant of the threat al-Qaida poses or was refusing to answer his questions about the terrorist group's spread.

"Their answers were not only naive but nonsensical," McCain told reporters Tuesday.
Good people can agree or disagree about LCS, and Sen. McCain is spot on about accountability - but to call Bob Work "naive" or "nonsensical" is just wrong and not worthy of the Senate.

Both Bryan and Galrahn over at InfoDis have been very good on this sad little episode. First Bryan;
Senator McCain seems to have been troubled that Mr. Work had not read a 2013 GAO report on LCS, and all things considered, Work probably should have had some familiarity with it, if for no other reason that it is common knowledge that Senator McCain does not like LCS, Bob Work does, and McCain has a seat on his nominating committee. That said, Senator McCain's demeanor and approach in the hearing today bespoke petty score settling, and his suggestion that Work may not be qualified for the post of Deputy Secretary of Defense is just silly.
... and now Galrahn;
How many folks involved in the Littoral Combat Ship program from 2005 - 2008 have been nominated and approved by Senator McCain to become a Flag Officer? The only person in this conversation who was legitimately in a position to hold people accountable for failures in the LCS program was Senator John McCain. The only person in this conversation whose record reflects a positive contribution to the Littoral Combat Ship program problems is Bob Work.
Senator John McCain today is attempting to publicly slap Bob Work with the LCS program, which makes no sense because every data point suggests Bob Work was part of a team that took a really bad LCS program suffering from enormous cost problems, and clearly turned it around and got it back on track. If the Senator will publicly attack people who do a good job, and the same Senator voted affirmative for promotions to Navy officers who were directly involved in the problems of LCS, the Senator is hardly qualified to pass on judgment regarding qualifications, because the Senator is the one demonstrating clear lack of good judgment.
Bob Work and I disagree on LCS, but that is fine - again - good people can disagree on some things, but as Ronald Reagan said,
“The person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally – not a 20 percent traitor.”
Heck, give a listen to the 1-hr conversation we had with Work on Midrats.

Bob Work is a smart, dedicated professional who knows this business well. He has an open mind and an even temperament, and our nation would be well served in any position she found for him to serve. 

If he is kept out of this post as a result of McCain's obtuse behavior, then we have yet another black mark on the record of a man whose record deserves better; not Bob Work, but John McCain.

Hey, if everyone else is getting a warfare pin ...

For the details, click here.

Hat tip GM

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Hegelian Paradox on the Path to Deconstructionalism

It rang out through the blogosphere like the thud of a vacuum sealed bag of liposuctioned yuppy fat thrown in to an empty alleyway dumpster.

Yea, I'm talking about SECDEF Hagel's "thank you brother may I have another" auto-erotic self-flagellation exercise of a speech yesterday. No, not the SECDEF himself with the naughty bits, but the position we as a nation have put him in.

I both agree and disagree with items in his speech, and I'll get to that in a bit. Parts of it are a confused mess of contradictions, but parts of it are excellent. Like the funk your blogg'r finds himself in - this is a mixed bag that generally makes me set my jaw in frustration.

Where in actual Overseas Contingency Operations vaguely related to Man Made Disasters, we like to have our military lead from behind - whatever military classic that concept comes from - at home, by all means - we have the military lead from the front.

Before I get to the meat of it all, like I said last night - I'm in a funk. Not quite as dark as my AUG06 Strategic Funk, but almost there in a middling way. Here's why.

It has been a given for quite a while that the defense budget was destined to contract as we deal with the consequences of doubling down on the failed model of the Western Welfare State. But in a nation run by sentient beings, once that crunch was realized, the defense squeeze was to be part of a larger budgetary effort. There is no similar effort underway in other areas of the budget.

Nowhere else is anyone being asked to make tough choices. For the love of Pete - DOD actually has firm Constitutional footing as a responsibility of the Federal Government. Could we at least have the spawn that extruded from the head of Zeus reeking of Progressive penumbras and emanations take a similar level of intellectual pondering at the same time?

You could break the defense budget as a percentage of GDP down to a pathetic Belgian level, and we would still have a huge structural problem with our budget. In a nation with the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world, declining competitiveness, and its best and brightest getting rid of the passports at unprecedented rates - we are not going to tax our way out of this mess decades in the making.

From left and right the low hanging fruit of the military budget is being treated as the only fruit.

As Christine Fox said, unlike other drawdowns, there is no peace dividend here. No, all there will be is increased assumed risk. That is the rub, we all know what that means - the risk is that when the next conflict comes - and it will - that "risk" really means that young men and women will be killed at higher rates then, in order to let the salons of pampered patricians slathered in their beltway sestertii now look for ways to recycle their faded yellow ribbon magnets on the backs of their Land Rovers and Prius. There is also the additional Strategic risk from defeat when conflict comes. The Russians over a century ago learned that lesson the hard way.

There - that is my bile purge. Now to the speech; good, bad and ugly.

Let's do this in reverse order.


The first half of the speech is just plain ugly. A little bu11sh1t-bingo, a little cognitive dissonance, historical apostasy, a little contradiction thrown in for good measure. I'll just clump these scattered jewels of the chop chain for you to string together.
... adapt and reshape our defense enterprise ... unprecedented uncertainty and change. ... focus on the strategic challenges and opportunities that will define our future: new technologies, new centers of power, and a world that is growing more volatile, more unpredictable, and in some instances more threatening to the United States. ... Defending the homeland against all
Secure your 5-point harness; we are about to spin-and-puke a bit.
To close these gaps, the President’s budget will include an Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative. (to) provide an additional $26 billion for the Defense Department in Fiscal Year 2015.
... budget for Fiscal Year 2015 will also contain a new five-year defense budget plan, mapping out defense programs through 2019. Over five years, this plan projects $115 billion more in spending than sequestration levels.
The reality of reduced resources and a changing strategic environment requires us to prioritize and make difficult choices.
That is all in the same section. I've read it four times and still can't square that circle.

Silly time;
... the military must be ready and capable to respond quickly to all contingencies and decisively defeat any opponent should deterrence fail.

Accordingly, our recommendations favor a smaller and more capable force
You can do both. Seriously, who let that go? Read it again? Not in this universe, Shipmate.

Really ugly things are those bad ideas promoted in peace that are disproved at ever real conflict. USAF rings its bell;
To fund these investments, the Air Force will reduce the number of tactical air squadrons including the entire A-10 fleet. Retiring the A-10 fleet saves $3.5 billion over five years and accelerates the Air Force’s long-standing modernization plan – which called for replacing the A-10s with the more capable F-35 in the early 2020s.

The “Warthog” is a venerable platform, and this was a tough decision. But the A-10 is a 40-year-old single-purpose airplane originally designed to kill enemy tanks on a Cold War battlefield. It cannot survive or operate effectively where there are more advanced aircraft or air defenses. And as we saw in Iraq and Afghanistan, the advent of precision munitions means that many more types of aircraft can now provide effective close air support, from B-1 bombers to remotely piloted aircraft. And these aircraft can execute more than one mission.

Moreover, the A-10’s age is also making it much more difficult and costly to maintain. Significant savings are only possible through eliminating the entire fleet, because of the fixed cost of maintaining the support apparatus associated with the aircraft. Keeping a smaller number of A-10s would only delay the inevitable while forcing worse trade-offs elsewhere.
Two things. 1. The A-10 comments were being made when I was a MIDN. 2. The F-35 is a China doll that cannot get down and dirty. Again, like plowing the bean field with the Lexus.

The answer here is to do what many have called for starting in the 1990s. Begin work on a replacement for the A-10 using its exact mission requirements. Do it fast. Do it cheap. Do it sturdy. Do it well ... just like the A-10 program.


There are things here that are on their face self-contradictory. I think I know what he was trying to say - but it comes across as a hedge to far, if that is what it is.
... we are entering an era where American dominance on the seas, in the skies, and in space can no longer be taken for granted.
... and we are addressing that by what? Getting smaller? Decline is a choice, I get that - but don't complain when you are the primary agent of your own decline.
... as a consequence of large budget cuts, our future force will assume additional risks in certain areas.
You don't say.
We chose further reductions ... in order to sustain our readiness and technological superiority,
Well, that worked so well when we abused and then retired the SPRUCANS and OHP early so we could get the technological superiority of LCS and DDG-1000 ... wait ...
Launch an aggressive and ambitious effort to reduce acquisitions costs and maximize resources available to buy and build new ships.
... said every SECDEF ever. That is just funny. Please, show me the plan. Don't just say the words, operationalize it for me.
We cannot fully achieve our goals for overhead reductions without cutting unnecessary and costly infrastructure. For that reason, DoD will ask Congress for another round of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) in 2017. I am mindful that Congress has not agreed to our BRAC requests of the last two years. But if Congress continues to block these requests even as they slash the overall budget, we will have to consider every tool at our disposal to reduce infrastructure.
Stupid. Once we give up our base infrastructure, we won't get it back. This is no longer a nation of 100 million souls with lots of accessible open land. We are 313+ million where you can't even dig a fish pond without a lawyer. Talk to the J4 folks about our West Coast challenges and tell me again how BRAC will make any of this (inside USA territory and possessions) is a good idea for when the next medium to large war comes (which it will). BRAC is a false economy if you look beyond your own tenure.

That being said,
In Europe, where BRAC authority is not needed, we have reduced our infrastructure by 30 percent since 2000, and a European Infrastructure Consolidation Review this spring will recommend further cuts which DoD will pursue.
Good and smart. Speaking of good.


No, I am not a perma-bear negative ninny (all the time) - there are some good things here.
Last summer I announced a 20 percent cut in DoD’s major headquarters operating budgets, which is expected to save about $5 billion in operating costs over the next five years. These efforts began in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and in the Joint Staff, but they will also include Service and Combatant Command headquarters. We are paring back contract spending, making targeted cuts in civilian personnel, ...
Rinse and repeat; yes.
In order to help keep its ship inventory ready and modern under the President’s plan, half of the Navy’s cruiser fleet – or eleven ships – will be “laid up” and placed in reduced operating status while they are modernized, and eventually returned to service with greater capability and a longer lifespan.
That is fair - but one snarky side-bar. What will the surface community do about the reduced number of CAPT Commands at sea? BMD DDG-51's move to CAPT Commands? In 3, 2, 1 ...
... the Navy’s fleet will be significantly modernized under our plan, which continues buying two destroyers and two attack submarines per year, as well as one additional Afloat Staging Base.
Defendable and sound.

OK, let me have a little fun here. I would like to officially welcome SECDEF and everyone else to the Front Porch's PLAN SALAMANDER MOD2 circa 2006. Glad to have you onboard. Everyone seems to be going Salamander! (OK, I'll stop gloating ... but shall we roll around in this stinky mess a bit? Yes, we shall.)
Regarding the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship, I am concerned that the Navy is relying too heavily on the LCS to achieve its long-term goals for ship numbers. Therefore, no new contract negotiations beyond 32 ships will go forward. With this decision, the LCS line will continue beyond our five-year budget plan with no interruptions.
The LCS was designed to perform certain missions – such as mine sweeping and anti-submarine warfare – in a relatively permissive environment. But we need to closely examine whether the LCS has the protection and firepower to survive against a more advanced military adversary and emerging new technologies, especially in the Asia Pacific. If we were to build out the LCS program to 52 ships, as previously planned, it would represent one-sixth of our future 300-ship Navy. Given continued fiscal constraints, we must direct shipbuilding resources toward platforms that can operate in every region and along the full spectrum of conflict.
Additionally, at my direction, the Navy will submit alternative proposals to procure a capable and lethal small surface combatant, consistent with the capabilities of a frigate. I’ve directed the Navy to consider a completely new design, existing ship designs, and a modified LCS. These proposals are due to me later this year in time to inform next year’s budget submission.
Here you find the best part of the speech as far as proper thought goes.
The Marine Corps’ inherent agility, crisis response capabilities, and maritime focus make it well-suited to carry out many priority missions under the President’s defense strategy. Accordingly, if the President’s budget levels are sustained for the next five years, we could avoid additional reductions in end strength beyond those already planned. Today the Marines number about 190,000, and they will draw down to 182,000. If sequestration-level cuts are re-imposed in 2016 and beyond, the Marines would have to shrink further to 175,000. Under any scenario, we will devote about 900 more Marines to provide enhanced embassy security around the world.
... and yes, the following is good to quasi-good. If you are going to cut one part deeper ...
Today, there are about 520,000 active-duty soldiers, which the Army had planned to reduce to 490,000. However, the Strategic Choices and Management Review and the QDR both determined that since we are no longer sizing the force for prolonged stability operations, an Army of this size is larger than required to meet the demands of our defense strategy. Given reduced budgets, it is also larger than we can afford to modernize and keep ready. We have decided to further reduce active-duty Army end-strength to a range of 440-450,000 soldiers.
Yes, yes - I know the 1939/40 response to this. Remember though, that what is now the USAF was part of the Army at that time. Number was different when you are talking about just the ground component.

This is solid balancing as well;
The Army National Guard and Reserves will also draw down in order to maintain a balanced force. Today, the Army National Guard numbers about 355,000 soldiers and the Reserves about 205,000 soldiers. ... This five percent recommended reduction in Guard and Reserve soldiers is smaller than the 13 percent reduction in active-duty soldiers.
If you are going in this direction in the macro - then this is probably the area you can accept the most risk.

Personnel issues? Mostly in the good range. Yes, I said that.
We are also recommending a number of changes:
• We will slow the growth of tax-free housing allowances – which currently cover 100% of housing expenses – until they cover an average of 95% of housing expenses with a 5% out-of-pocket contribution. In comparison, the average out-of-pocket expenditure was 18% in the 1990s. We will also no longer reimburse for renter’s insurance.
• Over three years, we will reduce by $1 billion the annual direct subsidy provided to military commissaries, which now totals $1.4 billion. We are not shutting down commissaries. All commissaries will still get free rent and pay no taxes. They will be able to continue to provide a good deal to service members and retirees – much like our post exchanges, which do not receive direct subsidies. Overseas commissaries and those in remote locations will continue receiving direct subsidies.
• And we will simplify and modernize our TRICARE health insurance program by consolidating plans and adjusting deductibles and co-pays in ways that encourage members to use the most affordable means of care – such as military treatment facilities, preferred providers, and generic prescriptions. We will ask retirees and some active-duty family members to pay a little more in their deductibles and co-pays, but their benefits will remain affordable and generous… as they should be.
To protect the most vulnerable, under this plan medically retired service members, their families, and the survivors of service members who die on active duty would not pay the annual participation fees charged to other retirees, and would pay a smaller share of the costs for health care than other retirees.
On balance, that is fair. Going back to the start of this post - I would be happier if the civilian recipients of government largess would take an equal hit to their money-for-nothing handouts - but that is not the political universe this administration lives in. Take what you can, and the above is fair.

The next quote shows they are learning as well.
Our proposals do not include any recommended changes to military retirement benefits for those now serving in the Armed Forces. We are awaiting the results of the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission, which is expected to present its report in February 2015, before pursuing reforms in that area. But DoD continues to support the principle of “grandfathering” for any future changes to military retirement plans.
Yea Rep. Ryan ... you blew it. Enjoy Congress, because I think you are going to be there for awhile.

I want to quote the conclusion in whole because it is the best part of the document. On a good day, it could have been written by me. Nice.
As I weighed these recommendations, I have, as I often do, looked to the pages of American history for guidance. In doing so, an admonition by Henry Stimson stood out. Writing after World War II, Roosevelt’s Secretary of War during that time, said that Americans must “act in the world as it is, and not in the world as we wish it were.” 
Stimson knew that America’s security at home depended on sustaining our commitments abroad and investing in a strong national defense. He was a realist. This is a time for reality. This is a budget that recognizes the reality of the magnitude of our fiscal challenges, the dangerous world we live in, and the American military’s unique and indispensable role in the security of this country and in today’s volatile world. There are difficult decisions ahead. That is the reality we’re living with.

But with this reality comes opportunity. The opportunity to reshape our defense enterprise to be better prepared, positioned, and equipped to secure America’s interests in the years ahead. All of DoD’s leaders and I have every confidence that this will be accomplished.
There you go. Strange speech. First third horrible, middle was a muddle, and the last third not too bad.

A little hope for all, I guess.

Just as last decade the military went to war while the USA went to the mall; under budget stress, the military takes the hit, while the USA recharges its EBT card and hires an attorney to get guv'munt disability for their hemorrhoids.

This still has to make its way through Congress ... in an election year ... so, well; whatever.

Here, have a speech wordcloud in at 1970s'esque font, and cry the beloved country.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Hagel - Dempsey Caption Contest

I have a major case of writers funk ... not block ... funk, trying to squeeze out tomorrow's post.

In case I can't drink my way to lucidity ... here, bounce this around the front porch for a bit.

Funny the things you back away from ...

I'll have a post on my big takeaway from the West2014 China Panel a bit later this week, but when you get a chance - watch the video below in full.

Here is the other side of the argument from the official "China Shop" - this is the clear eyed realist's position across the entire panel. That isn't what many want discussed.

As you can often tell a lot about a person by not so much their friends, but by those who are not - many times you can tell how close someone is to the uncomfortable truth by who reacts to them and why.

Case in point:
U.S. Navy Captain James Fanell, deputy chief of staff intelligence and information systems for the U.S. Pacific Fleet, was quoted as saying China is training its forces for a “short, sharp war” with Japan in remarks at a gathering in California earlier this month.

At a briefing Thursday, Pentagon spokesman U.S. Navy Rear Admiral John Kirby told reporters those are not the department's views.

“As I understand it, he was answering a question at a conference he was attending and that those were his views to express,” said Kirby.

U.S. officials have long complained that China has not been transparent about its goals as it continues an unprecedented expansion of its military. Kirby, using careful, diplomatic terms, repeated the calls the Pentagon has been making for years.

“What I can tell you about what Secretary Hagel believes is that we all continue to believe that the peaceful prosperous rise of China is a good thing for the region, for the world. We continue to want to improve our bilateral military relations with China and that we also think that a major component of that is increased transparency on their part about the investments they're making and the operations they're conducting, and that's where I leave it,” said Kirby.
You can hear CAPT Fanell's comments starting at the 18:55 point.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Maritime Strategy and Control of the Seas with Seth Cropsey, on Midrats

What direction do we need to go for our next maritime strategy? Using he recent article, Control of the Seas, as our starting point, our guest for the full hour this Sunday from 5-6pm Eastern will be Seth Cropsey, Senior Fellow and director of Hudson Institute's Center for American Seapower.

He served in government at the Defense Department as Assistant to the SECDEF Caspar Weinberger and then as Deputy Undersecretary of the Navy in the Reagan & Bush administrations, where he was responsible for the Navy’s position on efforts to reorganize DoD, development of the maritime strategy, the Navy’s academic institutions, naval special operations, and burden-sharing with NATO allies. In the Bush administration, Cropsey moved to OSD to become acting assistant secretary, and then principal deputy assistant SECDEF for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict.

During the period that preceded the collapse of the USSR, from 1982 to 1984, Cropsey directed the editorial policy of the Voice of America on the Solidarity movement in Poland, Soviet treatment of dissidents, and other issues. Returning to public diplomacy in 2002 as director of the US government’s International Broadcasting Bureau, Cropsey supervised the agency as successful efforts were undertaken to increase radio and television broadcasting to the Muslim world.

Cropsey’s work in the private sector includes reporting for Fortune magazine & as a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and as director of the Heritage Foundation’s Asia Studies Center from 1991-94.

His articles have been published in the Wall Street Journal, The Weekly Standard, Foreign Affairs, Commentary magazine, RealClear World, & others.

Join us live if you can with the usual suspects in the chat room and offer up your questions for our guest, but if you miss the show you can always listen to the archive at blogtalkradio.

Listen to internet radio with Midrats on Blog Talk Radio

Friday, February 21, 2014

Fullbore Friday

OK, he fought for the enemy - but that is fine.

I vaguely remember his story, and to read it again makes be think about honor, oaths, orders, and more than anything else; patience.

In a day when most modern men would not survive a month on their own in any environment - from both a human and military professional's perspective, you have to be in a bit of awe of 2LT Hiroo Onoda, Imperial Japanese Army;
A Japanese soldier who refused to surrender after World War Two ended and spent 29 years in the jungle has died aged 91 in Tokyo.

Hiroo Onoda remained in the jungle on Lubang Island near Luzon, in the Philippines, until 1974 because he did not believe that the war had ended.

He was finally persuaded to emerge after his ageing former commanding officer was flown in to see him.

Correspondents say he was greeted as a hero on his return to Japan.

As WW2 neared its end, Mr Onoda, then a lieutenant, became cut off on Lubang as US troops came north.

The young soldier had orders not to surrender - a command he obeyed for nearly three decades.

"Every Japanese soldier was prepared for death, but as an intelligence officer I was ordered to conduct guerrilla warfare and not to die," he told ABC in an interview in 2010.

"I became an officer and I received an order. If I could not carry it out, I would feel shame. I am very competitive," he added.
While on Lubang Island, Mr Onoda surveyed military facilities and engaged in sporadic clashes with local residents.
Finally in March 1974 his former commanding officer travelled to the Philippines to rescind his original orders in person.

Mr Onoda saluted the Japanese flag and handed over his Samurai sword while still wearing a tattered army uniform.

The Philippine government granted him a pardon, although many in Lubang never forgave him for the 30 people he killed during his campaign on the island, the BBC's Rupert Wingfield-Hayes reports from Tokyo.
For his culture and time - you can't fault him.

91 years.

Wikipedia has a nice entry for him - worth a read.

Hat tip Stuart.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Diversity Thursday

The balance of the sectarianism, illogic, mathematical jackassery, and general intellectual malaise that represents the military wing of the diversity industry is on full display in the 17FEB Navy Times article by Greg Zoroya.

Once again, we find our Navy in a retrograde mentality as stuck in the past as much as the early 20th century description above. 

Well my friends - it is Thursday, so once more unto the breach.

First things first, I really want to get this out of the way. I hate to hit on this topic again, but here we go - as someone has to put out there what so many are saying in private.

The next VCNO, VADM Howard, has for a long time been under a cloud of concern that she got where she was not just by her superior service - she has served well - but by the nature of her DNA. That isn't fair to her or our Navy - but she and our Navy are not doing what they need to do in order to counter that critique.

Right or wrong, fair or not, it is there - and when you look at her record and those of her peers - it is fair that good people raise that issue, especially for those who have been in the Navy long enough to know that some people do get special consideration due to their sex or self-designated racial group. For those in uniform, these conversations are usually kept in private for obvious reasons.

You don't counter a criticism by engaging in behavior that only reinforces it. The more senior you are, the greater the demands are on your time. You cannot do everything or be everywhere - so the decisions on where you invest your time and professional capital say a lot.

I believe that senior leaders should be writing, speaking, and generally being at the front of the maritime side of the national security conversation. That is part of their job. Everyone from junior enlisted to members of Congress want to hear what they have to say, and what topics are of interest to them. I wish the CNO and SECNAV were out more - they are, but it is just hard to get good press time. 

The VCNO is part of that conversation as well. Especially due to fact that VADM Howard has not published all that much for public consumption in her career, with her higher profile she needs to get out there more, and get out there in the right venues for the right reasons.

She has given some very good talks, specifically one at the Navy History and Heritage Command about the War of 1812, but try to get a wider viewing/hearing/reading for her? Not that easy.

Where do we see her? Where is she investing her time and professional capital. She and others seem to enjoy having her speak and go to venues where she is always being referred to by what she was born as. By doing this, it only feeds her critics' concerns on why she got to where she is. Additionally, such activities are way too self-referential and do little to serve our Navy outside a very narrow, and again, self-referential scope. The Fleet Sailor does not really care, and it does nothing to advance our Navy.

We and she need less of this;
Michelle Howard, soon to be second-in-command of the Navy, still recalls her days fresh out of the Naval Academy, when she was the only woman and only black in a crowd of officers.

“You look around the room, and there’s nobody who looks or sounds like you,” says the vice admiral, who has been approved for a fourth star and promotion to vice chief of naval operations, the Navy’s No. 2-ranking officer. “It can make you take your breath in.”
... and more of this,
There are shortfalls that teams only learn through the actual act of doing. The reliance on 100 percent simulation covers up vulnerabilities that if found before the fight, can be mitigated.

I’m now in a job that underpins the train, equip and man responsibilities of the Navy. Regardless of the reason, when resources are scarce, leaders will attempt to husband means to reduce expenditure of assets. Simulation will appear to be the panacea for efficient and less costly war fighting preparation. We will need to keep in mind the requirement to preserve live training for our Sailors and fleets in order to be ready when our Nation needs us.
She should insist on a firm "no" to anything or anyone who wants to talk about her sex or the source of her DNA. It is a waste on her professional capital and actually degrades its quality. It is beneath her position and is contrary to good order and discipline. You cannot lead all Sailors when you intentionally in word and deed keep reminding a large percentage them that you are different than they are. If you did not like it when it was done to you passively, then you shouldn't impose it on others actively.

You also cannot complain that others are judging you by your sex and DNA when that is what you are seen constantly doing yourself.

That is about all on that. I would think that in the end it is much better not to be known as a, "minority female VCNO" but just as a, "good VCNO" - but that is just me.


Let's get back to the heart of that dog's breakfast of an article; notsomuch the author, but the material he is working with. Math and demographics are hard;
Despite achievements by Howard and her contemporaries to reach the highest ranks, raw percentages of black soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines have actually edged lower in recent years.

Today, about one in five soldiers are black, compared with nearly 27 percent in 1985 and 1995, according to Army figures. The share of black soldiers is still larger than the 17 percent of the U.S. population who are African Americans of military enlistment age and education.

Representation in the Navy also has slipped slightly: 21 percent of its ranks were black enlisted sailors in 2005, compared with 17 percent today. The Air Force has remained fairly steady for nearly 30 years with about 17 percent of its enlisted personnel being African American.
Sounds like representation is in line with, or above the national average. Why is the Army regressing to the mean a bad thing again?
The percentage of black officers in the services has remained fairly steady since 1995 — about 5 percent to 7 percent in the Navy, Air Force and Marines, and 10 percent to 15 percent in the Army. About 8 percent of the American population of similar age and education to a military officer are black.
Again ... there is no bad news here. We are either at the national average or slightly above.

Why are people trying to hard to find a negative - or inventing it out of whole cloth? Simple - there are serious jobs at stake here; jobs in the diversity industry. People and companies who make their living promoting sectarianism and discord. They cannot report success or progress - as to do so endangers not only their paycheck, but something they have invested their self-worth. Yes, pathetic - but true. Some people soak in race 24/7/365.

I'll let you ponder this tidbit for yourself.
The Army issued a statement saying it now devotes a third of its recruitment marketing campaign to attracting minorities and winning over parents, educators, clergy and coaches.
So ... 2/3 are focused on who then? In California that is majority-minority, you are spending 1/3 on 1/2? No, dear readers - it is not you. This doesn't make sense because in 2014 this whole sad show cannot make sense as it is senseless. 

... and for some reason, people have a problem with where people want to serve.
About half of African-American soldiers in 2009 were choosing, or being chosen for, service support jobs, such as cooks or maintenance workers. Only 24 percent served in combat arms, which is traditionally associated with greater advancement through the ranks.

Although blacks in 2013 were still working in largely the same Army jobs — 22 percent in combat arms and 46 percent in support positions — there are signs that attitudes about the service may be changing.
You can write a dissertation on why people of one group serve on one place or another, but really, if it is by free choice - why care? Like I've said before - if half a ship's officers happen to be of Philippine extraction, who cares?   

This next quote is a warning to all that the diversity industry will invent the undefinable - being that you cannot find institutional or real bias, we have this;
One of his panel members, Frank Wu, chancellor and dean of the University of California Hastings College of the Law, says another factor hindering diversity efforts is one that still exists in many areas of society: subtle biases.

“The military reflects society, and that’s part of our society,” Wu says.
Job security.

Actually, we have open bias. When we make special considerations for one race or another - then you have bias. I don't think that is what Wu had in mind though.

As for VADM Howard, this last quote begs the question; 
Howard, who will receive her fourth star in the spring, says minorities will fill more command positions in the future only if sufficient numbers are brought into the ranks today.

“We have to grow people with the experience,” she says. “That group of people that you start with in that year — 20, 25 years later, are going to be the group from which you select a commanding officer.”
I'm interested in how she plans to operationalize that desire - and does her plan treat all Sailors the same regardless of race, creed, color, or national origin?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Retro Wednesday

OK folks ... let's us review an important aspect of the Operational Art; Planning Assumptions.

Click the map for larger.

Hat tip Stacey Pettyjohn.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

It's not their fault, deployment made them do it?

So, what do leaders think is the cause of servicemembers being shown the door for poor behavior? 

Lolita C. Baldor takes a stab at it. I'm not a fan of what she was being told.
The number of U.S. soldiers forced out of the Army because of crimes or misconduct has soared in the past several years as the military emerges from a decade of war that put a greater focus on battle competence than on character.

Data obtained by The Associated Press shows that the number of officers who left the Army due to misconduct more than tripled in the past three years. The number of enlisted soldiers forced out for drugs, alcohol, crimes and other misconduct shot up from about 5,600 in 2007, as the Iraq war peaked, to more than 11,000 last year.
Ummmm ... no. Never once have I ever heard someone say - at least in this war; "You know what - he cheats on his travel claims, wife, and is a toxic leader ... let's give him more power and responsibility."

No. One. Ever. Said.

The implication is that those who serve well in combat are somehow less ethical and worthy? I know some Navy selection boards may act that way ... but that is not the message we need to be using as an excuse.

Look who is making these excuses ... blaming war? Really?
"I wouldn't say lack of character was tolerated in (war) theater, but the fact of the last 10 or 12 years of repeated deployments, of the high op-tempo — we might have lost focus on this issue," Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army's top officer, told the AP last week. "Sometimes in the past we've overlooked character issues because of competence and commitment."
"We're paying a lot more attention to it now. We are not tolerant at all of those showing a lack of character," Odierno said. "We have to refocus ourselves so we get to where we think is the right place."
Good googly moogly. Either you are saying it or not. Diagram that logic and plan of action for me. Odierno has been in DC too long - and worse - he has put a shadow on everyone who advance through deployment and success on the battlefield.

To be fair - this is a tough issue and he might be trying hard to explain what to him is unexplainable (always a sign of bad staff work). 

Let's try again - is this any better?
"It is not the war that has caused this," Dempsey said. "It is the pace, and our failure to understand that at that pace, we were neglecting the tools that manage us as a profession over time."
Maybe it is just me, but this doesn't wash. What examples are backing this up?
... the demotion of Army Gen. William "Kip" Ward for lavish, unauthorized spending; sexual misconduct charges against Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair; and episodes of gambling and drinking by other general officers.

More recently, there have been cheating allegations against Air Force nuclear missile launch officers and a massive bribery case in California that has implicated six Navy officers. Examples of troop misconduct include Marines urinating on the corpses of Taliban fighters and soldiers posing with body parts of Afghan militants
None of those people are even remotely acting as a result of being deployed too long. As you try to unpack all that fried air - you eventually find the real story.
As the Army began to reduce its ranks in recent years toward a goal of 490,000 in 2015, leaders have been more willing and able to get rid of problem soldiers. That is likely to escalate because the latest plan would reduce the Army to 420,000 later in the decade if deep, automatic budget cuts continue.

The Navy went through a similar process.

When the decision was made to cut the size of the 370,000-strong naval force in 2004, the number of sailors who left due to misconduct and other behavior issues grew. In 2006, more than 8,400 sailors left due to conduct issues.

As the size of the Navy began to stabilize — it's now at about 323,000 — the number of problem sailors leaving also began to decline steadily, dropping each successive year to a new low of about 3,700 in 2013.
You can also find similar results, I would wager, on PRT issues.

If you are looking for character flaws, look to a culture that uses NJP and arbitrary PRT enforcement as a force management tool. Either standards mean something, or they do not. If you have to reduce the force, then do it - don't hide behind the skirt of the JAG and measuring tape.

Well, "Go Navy" in this respect;
The Navy has become known as the most transparent service, often quicker to publicly fire commanders for misconduct or poor leadership. But the number of Navy officers forced out has remained relatively constant, ranging from 84 to 107 annually for the past eight years. The bulk of those were for what the service calls "unacceptable conduct" or unfitness for duty.

The Air Force, which is smaller than the Navy and Army, reported far fewer cases of airmen leaving for misconduct, both for officers and enlisted service members. The number of officers separated from service since 2000 due to a court-martial ranged from a low of 20 in 2001 to a high of 68 in 2007. For enlisted airmen, the number ranged from a high of nearly 4,500 in 2002 to a low of almost 2,900 in 2013.

Data for the Marine Corp, the military's smallest service, was not broken out by officers and enlisted personnel. Overall, it showed that Marines leaving the service due to misconduct was about 4,400 in 2007, but has declined to a bit more than 3,000 last year.

Those forced to leave for commission "of a serious offense" has nearly doubled from about 260 to more than 500 over the past seven years. The number of Marines who left after court-martial has dropped from more than 1,300 in 2007 to about 250 last year. The Marine Corps also grew in size during the peak war years, and is now reducing its ranks.
Something tells me that we may have a complete lack of desire or clue to dig behind the numbers - either out of disinterest or not really wanting to look at where it is coming from - if you can.
"I don't think there is one simple answer to the issue of ethics, values, a lapse in some of those areas," said Hagel during a recent briefing. "Was it a constant focus of 12 years on two long land wars, taking our emphasis off some of these other areas? I don't know."

He said he is appointing a top officer to work with the services on the problem, and he will be addressing the topic at regularly scheduled meetings with his military leaders.
Oh yes, a study group - by all means - a study group. Call it Blue-Ribbon panel, that will work. The Beltway punt it is.
The military services have been adding more lectures on ethics in their schools, and are also targeting top officers.

"We are talking to senior leaders about the consequences of power and how that changes somebody's personality," said Odierno. "Some don't realize it's happening to them."

Lower-ranking service members are being asked to evaluate their higher-ranking superiors as part of the annual performance reviews. That process is slowly being expanded.

"As we conduct operations around the world we represent the United States with our moral and ethical values," said Odierno. "We believe we should be held to a higher standard."
More NKO. More "sit here and endure" drones at a podium. Could this not have been written any time in the last few decades? Great advice ... but one I used to give to LPOs.

What is really going on here? Are we reporting more, are we letting people get away with too much when they are junior that the bad habits show up in spades later? Are we promoting the wrong personality types for the wrong reasons?

Look at what we have going on here: we have sexual misconduct, misuse of funds, abuse of power, with a little abusive command climate thrown in. That is most of it.

What would be nice to see, as apposed to a bunch of fuzzy navel gazing, it a hard look - to start - via a science based examination for common threads in those who get in trouble. A full demographics break down along with socio-economic, personal, educational, and career data too. Have one of our statisticians look for what factors they have in common - if any.

In parallel, you can then start interviewing their peers under Chatham House Rules.

Blaming our failings as leaders because we were sent to do our jobs? No. Without some good facts to back that up, it sounds like lazy excuse making.

Monday, February 17, 2014

"To Hell With Them" Waxing?

Though they have a way of pulling you back in, and in no small part the Pacific Pivot is fed by a desire just to not think about the 5th FLT AOR - but - regardless what the foreign and defense policy grandees say; perhaps as a whole we have reached the point of acting on the groundswell of, as Jonah puts it - "To hell with them."
... not just among self-described hawks. There’s even a version of that attitude among doves. Though they probably wouldn’t say, “To hell with them,” they share a similar attitude that there’s little the U.S. can do for the Arab and Muslim world.
All you need to do is read the headlines coming out of the Middle East and feel like, “I’ve seen this movie before.” And thanks to fracking and other technological boons, the fact that we’re becoming less and less reliant on Middle Eastern oil only serves to undermine arguments that we need regional stability at any cost.

You can’t prove a negative, but my hunch is that support for Israel or South Korea, never mind our NATO allies, remains quite strong. If real friends were threatened, the American people would support coming to their aid. It’s just that there’s a growing — or, in many cases, deepening — sense that we don’t have real friends in the Muslim world.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sunday Funnies

Hat tip Tom G, context here.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

You Can't Dominate What You Can't Define

Of the myriad of things I have issues with about the whole "Informtion Dominance" cadre - from their title, to their overcompensating rhetoric, to their everyone-gets-a-trophy pot-metal "warfare" pin, their greatest issue is that fact they they seem to have issues with themselves.

The issue isn't the individual members of the cadre themselves, but the mushy construct they have been told they are a part of.

With a field report from West14 over at USNIBlog, Still Struggling to Define “Information Dominance”, our buddy URR outlines the issue well.
... the biggest shortcoming ... was the inability of any of the panel members to actually define the term “Information Dominance” in any meaningful way. ... We heard what information dominance is similar to, and what the supposed goals of information dominance were, but neither was in any way a real definition. (This is not a surprise. Two years ago, the Navy had an “Information Dominance” booth on the “gizmo floor”, staffed alternately by a Captain and two Commanders. I asked each, separately, over a couple days, to give me their definition of “information dominance”. None of theirs were remotely similar, nor any more adequate than what we heard today.)

The problem, of course, is the term itself. Information cannot be “dominated”, despite assertions to the contrary. An enemy with a very specific information requirement that he can fulfill reliably and in a timely manner can be said to have information “dominance” over our massive sensor and communications networks that commanders and staffs pore over in attempts to see through the fog of war. The dust cloud from the dirt bike as the teenager rides from Baghdadi to Hit to tell the insurgents of the Coalition convoy headed their way trumps our networked, data-driven ISR platform links that cannot help prevent the ambush that awaits us.

We have much work ahead of us to make most effective use of our incredibly robust data collection systems and information networks. The solution to the problems of analytical capacity resident in C2 nodes with which to turn raw data into useful information and intelligence will be far more human than digital. Commanders have to insist on a philosophy of “Don’t tell me everything, tell me what I need to know”. And then go about ensuring that those who collect, compile, and analyze data have a very good idea of what they need to know.

And we can start by retiring the troublesome and ill-suited term “Information Dominance”. As General van Riper is fond of saying, “Words MEAN things!”. They’re supposed to, anyway.
You can catch the full panel at the below video.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Fullbore Friday

Outside the box? Dude, you have no idea ....
MIDNIGHT, July 23, 1945

The Barb had crept within 950 yards of the shoreline. If it was somehow seen from the shore it would probably be mistaken for a schooner or Japanese patrol boat. No one would suspect an American submarine so close to shore or in such shallow water.

Slowly the small boats were lowered to the water and the 8 saboteurs began paddling toward the enemy beach. Twenty-five minutes later they pulled the boats ashore and walked on the surface of the Japanese homeland.
Don't know where this is going? Well shame on you - click here for the rest.

Hat tip Carl.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Why Drone "Virtual Presence" is a Bogus Concept

Over the last year, the marketplace of ideas has done a good job beating up the goofy argument by the drone cult that UAV/Drones can perform a presence mission.

Presence is one of those critical missions no one can do like a navy. Nothing like thousands of tons of national will bob'n off your coast to focus the mind.

The pic below I think speaks for itself. It makes a point, no?

Well PEO LCS, you have this going for 'ya

I agree with warfighting first ... but if we can learn to paint along the way, that would be great.
PPG Industries’ protective and marine coatings (PMC) business inform they have received The Society of Protective Coatings (SSPC) 2014 Military Coatings Project Award of Excellence for the performance of AMERCOAT® 240 and PSX® 700SG coatings on the 'USS Freedom', the lead ship of the U.S. Navy’s littoral combat fleet.

The award is given annually by SSPC to recognize exceptional coatings work performed on U.S. military ships, structures or facilities.
Wait for it ...
Commissioned in 2008, the USS Freedom went to dry dock last year after its existing coating system failed. The ship’s builder, Lockheed Martin; coatings contractor and applicator, YYK Enterprises, Inc., National City, Calif.; and the U.S. Navy specified a two-coat paint system by PPG as replacement. The new system incorporated one coat of Amercoat 240 edge-retentive epoxy from the water line to the rail and a finish coat of PSX 700SG epoxy-polysiloxane coating from the water line to the topside interface.
Byron ... over to you.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Christine Fox and the High Value Unit

If you have been waiting for a senior civilian leader to come out and speak in a way that encourages you that we have some of the right people for the intellectual contest for this drawdown, then let not your heart be troubled.

Head on over to USNIBlog where I outline the highpoints from Acting DEPSECDEF Christine Fox at West14.

If I were a narcissist I might dare say that, yes, she was almost Salamanderesque.