Saturday, August 30, 2014

Weekend MODLOC achieved

After a very busy summer, it is time to do some catching up. Not a weekend at my deep country retreat, but to the beach FOB for some sand and salt to work the ponderings.

I think after catching up on the magazines, it will be time to reacquaint myself a bit with, Admiral Sims and the Modern American Navy, from 1942, natch.

I think I will put out quotes on twitter just to annoy Armstrong on holiday.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Fullbore Friday

When do you accept defeat? When do you allow your morale to be beaten down? Think you have an excuse to complain about things in your military career that are beyond your control? Really?

Pawel sent me a link earlier this week to one of the many unsung (at least in the Anglosphere) heroes from Poland who fought on the Western front.

I've always had a soft spot for their story, but we've discussed them here mostly in their ground component support. Simply an amazing story of so many who fought for their nation only see it liberated from one occupier to be handed to another. Those who survived the war and fought in the West rarely had a chance to go home and had to find their way the best they could, mostly in post-war UK, Canada or the USA.

Not all made it, but their records remain. One such that Pawel rightly points out is worthy of mention is Captain Eugeniusz Horbaczewski, Polish Air Force contingent of the RAF.

Just the start is enough;
On September 17th, with a large group of Polish aviators, he crossed the Romanian border and via Yugoslavia, Greece and France, arrived in Britain. After completing fighter training in British aircraft he was assigned to fly "Spitfires" with the Polish 303rd Squadron. To his squadron mates, Horbaczewski was also known as "Dziubek".
By 1944, at age 27, he took command of 315 squadron and as all good commanders do, set the example;
On 16 February 1944 Horbaczewski took command of Polish 315 Fighter Squadron "City of Deblin," with squadron codes "PK". In March of1944, the Squadron was re-equipped, from "Spitfire" Mk Vs to "Mustang" Mk IIIs. On June 22, 1944 "Dziubek" had a performance of remarkable courage. During a ground attack on German units near Cherbourg, the aircraft piloted by Lt. Tadeusz Tamowicz was damaged and forced to land. Horbaczewski skillfully landed nearby on an airstrip just built by Americans. He found Tamowicz, who had injuries to both legs, and brought him back to "Dziubek's" P-51. Horbaczewski flew the two of them across the Channel to the home base of Coolham.
Read the whole thing - and Wiki has a good entry too.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

About that new Navy football uniform

A lot of dudes seem to be getting a bit too engorged over the new uniforms. Some are making snarky comments like Byron's comment about Eric Estrada called and wants his CHP helmet back, but my favorite is by our Army buddy John of Argghhh!!!;
Imperial Storm Troopers.... a galactic force for good, eh?
Well ... what do you think?

Me? All I can think of is this.

Diversity Thursday

This week, after a few weeks break from the DivThu grind, I'd like to review some of the macro reasons this whole Cultural Marxist, sectarian, and multi-cultural cancer must be pushed back.

There has never been a society that has survived and prospered by promoting division among its members. A society must emphasize what brings a people together, not what drives them apart. Reward unity, not division.

No need to immediately go to the extremes of Rwanda and Nazi Europe, no ... those are just examples of possible ends on the edges of the curve. No, let's look at degeneration.

Look at the the record of societies that never properly rallied its people around a common, national ethos - and instead allowed an emphasis on race, language, and religion to be the strong, central point of focus for the individual.  Most recent examples include Yugoslavia, The Soviet Union, The Austro-Hungarian Empire, and Czechoslovakia - there are others. How did that work out for them?

If Scotland goes its own way next month, you can add the late great United Kingdom to the list.

There is one rare success, and that is the small nation of Switzerland - but again, you are talking about a common Western European ethos, religion, common terrain, and relative independence of its Cantons. What unifies the German, French, Italian and Romansh of Switzerland is the unique position of the Canton vs. the State - and the civil agreement on being Swiss. Not unlike the ideal design of the large nation of the United States (separate post one day about the dangers of centralization to the foundational agreement that keep the "U" in USA).

Let's not jump down that rabbit hole today - perhaps later.

Let's look at what a half century of multi-cultural primacy has wrought. Being that we brought up the UK earlier, let' stick with that for a bit. 

Recall that much derided individual, Enoch Powell? You should. If not, google the man and come back.

From 1968 ... perhaps you have heard people hiss his name, but have you ever heard his "River of Blood speech?" Not quite outside the lines in 2014 - when allowances are made for anachronisms that don't translate to this century. Well, here it is;

Where has multi-cultural Britain found itself?

Can you quote its greatest modern leader? No.
Paul Weston, co-founder and leader of the GB Liberty party and a candidate for Member of the European Parliament, was arrested Saturday, hauled off in a police van, and could face two years in prison. All for reading a passage from Winston Churchill’s book, The River War, regarding Islam:
“How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property – either as a child, a wife, or a concubine – must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the faith: all know how to die but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith.”
He spent several hours in a cell at Winchester Police Station, after which the original charge of breaching a Section 27 Dispersal Notice was dropped and Mr Weston was "re-arrested" for a Racially Aggravated Crime, under Section 4 of the Public Order Act, which carries a potential prison sentence of 2 years.

He was then fingerprinted and obliged to submit to DNA sampling, following which he was bailed with a return date to Winchester Police on May 24th.
Perhaps the 2nd and 3rd generation of Her Britannic Majesty's subjects would assimilate in to the Western culture and support its values? No.
At least one in four of the estimated 2,000 foreigners fighting for ISIS in Syria and Iraq is British - and half of those are already back in the UK, it has emerged today.
Serious questions have been raised as to whether enough is being done to stem the flow of fighters after the Government revealed it has only seized 23 passports this year to prevent them travelling to the war zone.

The Government says there are around 500 British among the fighters while a further 250 are thought to have already returned to the UK where the police and security services are attempting to watch them.

That means there are now almost three times as many British Muslims fighting for Islamic State than there are serving in the UK military, an MP has claimed.

But Khalid Mahmood, Labour MP for Birmingham Perry Barr, told Channel 4 News the lack of border controls meant the Government’s estimates of jihadi numbers were too low. ‘I think it’s about 2,000 people,’ he added.
Well, if they are back in the UK, at least the police and people will have no qualms about speaking up if they suspect something - they won't be scared to speak up, will they? You can trust the police? No.
The sexual abuse of about 1,400 children at the hands of Asian men went unreported for 16 years because staff feared they would be seen as racist, a report said today.

Children as young as 11 were trafficked, beaten, and raped by large numbers of men between 1997 and 2013 in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, the council commissioned review into child protection revealed.

And shockingly, more than a third of the cases were already know to agencies.
But according to the report's author: 'several staff described their nervousness about identifying the ethnic origins of perpetrators for fear of being thought racist'.

Professor Alexis Jay, who wrote the report, condemned the 'blatant' collective failures by the council's leadership, concluding: 'It is hard to describe the appalling nature of the abuse that child victims suffered.'

The landmark report which exposed widespread failures of the council, police and social services revealed:
Victims were doused in petrol and threatened with being set alight, terrorised with guns, made to witness brutally-violent rapes and told they would be the next if they spoke out;

- They were raped by multiple perpetrators, trafficked to other towns and cities in the north of England, abducted, beaten and intimidated;
- One victim described gang rape as 'a way of life';
- Police 'regarded many child victims with contempt';
- Some fathers tried to rescue their children from abuse but were arrested themselves;

The approximate figure of 1,400 abuse victims is likely to be a conservative estimate of the true scale of abuse.
The lack of reports was partly down to a fear of being racist, Prof Jay wrote, as the majority of the perpetrators were described as
'Asian men', and many were said to be of Pakistani origin.

One young person told the inquiry that 'gang rape' was a usual part of growing up in the area of Rotherham where she lived.

In two cases, fathers had tracked down their daughters and tried to remove them from houses where they were being abused - only to be arrested themselves when police were called to the scene.
Prof Jay said the first of these reports was 'effectively suppressed' because senior officers did not believe the data.
The other two were ignored, the professor said.
Fears had also been raised by schools over the 16 years but the alerts went uninvestigated.
Teachers reported seeing children as young as 11, 12 and 13 being picked up outside schools by cars and taxis, given presents and mobile phones and taken to meet large numbers of unknown men in Rotherham or other local towns and cities.
Do I need to go on? Of course ...

Who did this? Simple - the West's political left. The same self-loathing people who could not wait to surrender their society to the Communists during the Cold War. After the fall of the Soviet Union, it just took them awhile to find someplace else to find away to kill that which gave birth to them.

Does this sound familiar?
The huge increases in migrants over the last decade were partly due to a politically motivated attempt by ministers to radically change the country and "rub the Right's nose in diversity", according to Andrew Neather, a former adviser to Tony Blair, Jack Straw and David Blunkett.

He said Labour's relaxation of controls was a deliberate plan to "open up the UK to mass migration" but that ministers were nervous and reluctant to discuss such a move publicly for fear it would alienate its "core working class vote".

As a result, the public argument for immigration concentrated instead on the economic benefits and need for more migrants.
The right? Too weak, shortsighted, prone to self-important infighting, and timid towards what was wrong. They never passed up an opportunity to call fire on their own position any time one of their own wanted to ask that there at least be a discussion.

It's not just the UK. In my Netherlands;
... protests in support of Islamic terrorist group ISIS have gone undeterred by Dutch authorities in the Hague. Two public rallies, expressing support for ISIS have been held this month, with chants advocating the murder of “dirty Jews from the sewers” heard at both.
Those were not Nazis. Nor were these marchers in the City of Lights;
On July 13 thousands of protesters marched from Paris' Barbès district to Bastille Square to express their support to the Palestinian people and to denounce the Israeli attacks on Gaza. Clashes with the police erupted towards the end of the day, after a group of pro-Palestinian demonstrators made its way to two neighboring synagogues ...
When you protest outside the Israeli embassy - you are anti-Israel. When you march on synagogues ... then you are a Jew hater.

Such are the fruits of such mindless multi-culturalism ... wait ... it isn't mindless - it was intentional. Intentionally done primarily by the self-loathing left. 

Immigration policy, if it wants to succeed, should follow some simple, proven paths to success. When those immigrants come from a very different culture, they should come in small numbers and steered towards assimilation - not large numbers who are enabled to not assimilate. All that does is set up future generations for strife and conflict. This has always been so. As a result, you have to ask, "Why promote policies the opposite?"

The answers are one of two: 1) People thought they were smarter than everyone else, and all was new - transformational! 2) They knew it would't work, but it met their goal of undermining Western culture - so they made it so.

We may have a few challenges with our recent waves of immigrants - but these are on the whole Latin Catholics. Those are digestible in to a Anglo-German Christian culture. Add a little flavor, but fundamental change? Not by much (though we need to slow it down and digest too - as we have done in the past.) Millions of Muslims from Africa and the Middle East? Whole different ball of wax, and like a ball of wax - it does not digest well.

While she is still there, let's revisit the mother country of Olivers and Iains;
The most popular boys' name in England and Wales last year was Muhammad, according to an ONS poll released earlier today. 
The research officially lists Oliver as the most popular boys name, with 6,949 counts, but the way the names are organised means each different spelling of Muhammad is listed separately. 
When all the variations are added together, including Muhammad, Mohammed and Mohammad, the name comes out top with 7,445 counts.

For girls, Amelia remained the favourite for the third year running – ahead of Olivia and Emily. 
Multi-cultural London and the West Midlands contained the most babies named Muhammad, while Oliver came out top in the South East, South West and Wales.
I think it is time that we just stop using the term "multi-cultural" and call it what it truly is; "sectarian."

What to do? The first step is to properly identify the problem. The second is to take action. The first action would be to stop and digest as mentioned before. You have taken in too many who resist assimilation too much - taking in more won't help. Then you need to adjust your laws that allow you to deport those who do not have legal status - or to make it so difficult to stay that they go back on their own. You then need to remove incentive for others to come without an invitation - that is your social welfare benefits.

To do the above, you need to grow some confidence. Those who brought you this problem will attack you for trying to solve it - but it needs to be solved. If you don't, then things will continue to go in the direction it has been going - and worst of all to many - you will by your inaction prove Enoch Powell right.
UPDATE: Looks like NRO's Andrew McCarthy is feeling the same vibe today;
Islamists are taking the measure of the West and finding it to be a shallow, self-loathing husk. When Muslims riot over mere cartoons, the intelligentsia’s first impulse is to condemn the publisher. After an Islamist terrorist’s brutal murder of Theo van Gogh, who directed Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s screenplay “Submission,” about the treatment of women in Islam, the first impulse of the Netherlands was to encourage Ms. Hirsi Ali to leave the country. In Birmingham, a conservative group called the “English Defense League” has demonstrated in opposition to what it is careful to call militant Islam, stressing that it has no quarrel with Islam or with Muslims who do not wish to change British law or life. Predictably, Muslim groups reacted violently, exhorted by imams at the Birmingham Central Mosque to show the umma’s “solidarity.” The first impulse of the British media? To side with the rampaging Muslims, whom they portrayed as heroic “anti-fascists”—fighting side-by-side with their socialist allies, to challenge the “anti-Islamic” activists of the right-wing.”

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Waiting for the first "C" in CINC

As is good and proper - in our system, the military waits for civilian leadership to set the direction at the political level.

There is a fine line between being a "good soldier" and not speaking the clear facts as you see them. There is also a fine line between supporting the CINC and sounding like a politician. 

We've had recent example of good men in difficult places trying to do their jobs without embarrassing themselves.

First, from 22 AUG, our friend RDML Kirby is a little wobbly after some high-level PAO dizzy-izzy.
Q: In January, the president equated ISIL's capabilities to that of a junior varsity team, so, which seems to be in direct contrast with what the secretary said yesterday. I was wondering if there had been new analysis or done to get to the secretary to that position?
And does that mean that ISIS is getting stronger?

REAR ADM. KIRBY: I would make a couple of points. One I would point you to what the president said yesterday or the day before about ISIL and the threat that they posed, as well as comments made by Secretary Kerry, and of course you've heard what Secretary Hagel said. I think everybody has the same view here about the threat posed by ISIL not just to Iraq, but to the region.

There's no divergence. This is August. You're talking about comments that were made in January. ISIL -- and we've been watching this for months. They have grown in capability. I've said it from the podium as have others. They have grown in capability with speed, helped along by resourcing from some of their own criminal activity, as well as donations and ransoms and helped along by a sanctuary that they have in Syria. So, we've all been watching this. They have advanced in capability. And we -- we saw the speed with which they gained ground and held ground in northern Iraq earlier this summer.

So, it's a -- the real answer to your question is, it's a constantly changing, fluid situation, and their threat continues to grow. And that's what led us to where we are today, which is that we believe it does pose an imminent threat, and it's a threat that we need to take seriously.
I think he handled that about as well as it can be.

We also have Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey put his marker out a week earlier;
“This is an organization that has an apocalyptic, end-of-days strategic vision and which will eventually have to be defeated . . . can they be defeated without addressing that part of their organization which resides in Syria? The answer is no. That will have to be addressed on both sides of what is essentially at this point a nonexistent border.”
Even on the civilian side, SECDEF Hagel is making sure he has his, "Ref. A" when people ask where he was in AUG 2014;
“ISIL is as sophisticated and well-funded as any group that we have seen,” Hagel said in a news conference one day after President Barack Obama lashed out at the militant Islamic group.

“They’re beyond just a terrorist group,” Hagel said. “They marry ideology, sophistication of strategic and tactical military prowess, they are tremendously well-funded. This is beyond anything that we’ve seen. So we must prepare for everything. And the only way you do that is take a cold, steely, hard look at it and get ready.”
We know that this President is very slow in his deliberations - in many cases too slow.

That can be OK in domestic policies, but in national security areas, this academic habit is deadly;
Anthony Shaffer, a former lieutenant-colonel in US military intelligence who worked on covert operations, said: “I’m told it was almost a 30-day delay from when they said they wanted to go to when he finally gave the green light. They were ready to go in June to grab the guy [Foley] and they weren’t permitted.”
... and so, we wait. We can tool around all day from the air, and do some fairly impressive things - but the Islamic State can only be defeated one way - by someones boots on the ground.

What army? Well, we know how may divisions the Pope has. Turkey is, even on its own border, fairly useless and counterproductive. The Kurds will not venture too far from their highlands. The Iraqi army? For now, child please.

Wait ... there is one army that is fighting the Islamic State that could use some help - but - oh yea, that is Syria's army. Tough nut.

So, all the pieces are there - even calls for an international army to fight the Islamic State - but there is one thing missing; a leader.

The US is the indispensable nation for things like this - but the odds are the international community is going to have to just deal with it. President Obama holds his Nobel Peace Prize close, and is very fond of being the guy to end wars, not start them. He has perennially wrong Joe Biden at his ear to boot. After seeing how the international community treated us the last time we tried to lead an international army against a mass murderer and sponsor of terror - the American people will have to be sold hard and led towards the idea of going in big again. I don't see Obama doing that.

Action is, and will, have to wait.

In the end, it doesn't matter if inaction is the right thing or not - it just is. If things get worse, I think there will be more open disconnects between what uniformed people say and the actions they are being directed to carry out.

Is that healthy? If done correctly, yes.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Naval Guns - Now More Than Ever

Whose up for some good gun talk? I thought so ...

I could spend a whole week just commenting section by section on this 2013 post from the blog UK Armed Forces Commentary.

So much of this is just plain common sense that seems to be lost in much of the commentary about naval gunnery, naval surface fire support, or whatever we are calling it now days.

Let's just mention some of my favorites, and I'll let you dig out the rest.

First, a well designed and proven 5" (127mm) round should be the minimum - air, surface - just an all around multipurpose mount - if you want to keep swarms at bay ... I love that pic to the right;
... firing trials of the 127/64 of the FREMM frigate Carlo Bergamini. The first image shows the excellent capability of engagement at very short range, which can seriously ruin the day for suicide boats and similar threats.
Let's ponder that gun for a moment;
On the FREMM frigates of the Italian navy, the AAHS is installed over two decks (deck 2 and deck 3) and can hold 350 rounds in addition to the 56 held in the feeding drums.
The 127/64 gun system is thus able to fire 30 and up to 35 rounds per minute. The Naval Fire Control System calculates the ballistic trajectories, programs the fuzes and, when the GPS-guided VULCANO rounds is used, sets up the GPS data before launch. It can be easily integrated via LAN onto any kind of Combat System, in a Plug and Play fashion. Thanks to the NFCS, the 127/64 is also very effective in anti-air role.

The VULCANO, differently from LRLAP, ERGM and SGP is not a rocket-propelled munition, but an under-calibre, rocket-shaped dart with a diameter of 90 mm. VULCANO employs a discarding sabot to be fired out of the barrel at extremely high speed while avoiding two of the main complexities of full-calibre rocket-propelled rounds: increased barrel wear and tear, and difficult deployment of the folding fins used for guidance. These problems, along with huge cost escalation, were the factors which killed the ERGM.

VULCANO is a steerable sub-munition with tail fins and canards. The submunition is the same in both the naval 127mm variant and in the land 155mm variant. The difference comes down to the sole sabot and launch charge assembly: the naval shell is an all-up round compatible with any NATO 5’’ gun, while the army variant is modified to employ land-specific modular launch charges.
The VULCANO family comprises the BER (Ballistic Extended Range) variant, which is not guided and only has fixed winglets: it uses aerodynamics and ballistic trajectory to extend its reach to 70 km, and it is useful for a long range bombardment in which pin-point accuracy is not needed.
OK, URR ... gird your loins and be prepared to swoon ...
The most interesting VULCANO variants are, however, the Guided Long Range (GLR) ones. These include:

- GPS / Inertial Navigation System
- GPS / INS / Semi Active Laser
- GPS / INS / Infra-red Imaging
The addition of a SAL seeker to the GPS and inertial navigation guidance makes this variant of the round extremely accurate. With external laser designation of the target, it can engage with high accuracy even moving targets.

The GPS/INS ammunition is mostly suited to use against fixed targets, whenever high accuracy is needed to reduce the risk of collateral damage. The Circular Error Probable for this round variant is inferior to 20 meters. This is possible thanks to the steerable canards and fins which guide the ammunition on the target with a near-vertical descent, which maximizes both accuracy and lethality.
The addition of a SAL seeker makes the VULCANO capable to engage small, fixed, moving and relocatable targets (including vehicles and small boats) with extreme accuracy, with a CEP reduced to a handful of meters. The Semi Active Laser seeker guides the shell on a target illuminated by an external laser marker, which could be “painted” on the objective by a UAV or by observers on the ground.

The IIR seeker is instead meant primarily for anti-ship role. ... The anti-ship VULCANO is meant to be fired over the area where an enemy ship is known to be sailing, and engage the target on its own.
Take a look at what our Italian friends have done to our little buddy, the 76mm Oto Melara ... now with extra Super Rapido;
With a rate of fire of up to 120 rounds per minute, the 76/62 can put a thick wall of iron and fire in the face of any threat aiming for the warship, but it is with the DAVIDE model (STRALES for the export market) that the CIWS capability of the 76mm gun was really achieved.

STRALES is a guidance kit, installed within the gun turret and comprising a radio frequency beam antenna which is normally hidden under a sliding panel in the gun shield, to the side of the barrel. The covering panel slides upwards to reveal the radio frequency antenna when it is time to employ the DART (Driven Ammunition Reduced Time of flight), a guided, sabot-discarding high speed round meant to shot down airplanes and missiles as well as take off FIACs and suicide boats. The DART is an hyper velocity munition capable to cover a 5 km distance in less than five seconds, with enough energy to perform up to 40 manoeuvers and course corrections.
I know this is all, ahem, "old think" ... but, well, get your SWO on!
The most impressive feature, however, is the possibility to employ both STRALES and VULCANO, from the same gun mount, giving the small 76/62 a formidable mission flexibility. ... Thanks to the Multi Feeding system, it is possible to modernize a SUPER RAPIDO or COMPATTO mount, with minimum impact on weights, so that it can simultaneously employ standard ammunition, guided DART rounds when it is necessary to shot down incoming threats, and the whole variety of VULCANO rounds for shore bombardment and anti-ship attacks.
I think that Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work should call his office. Here is something involving LCS that gets the Salamander seal of approval;
The evolution of the 76/62 has caught the interest of the US Navy, which during 2012 conducted an extensive design review of the Littoral Combat Ships which noted that the Bofors MK110 light gun is not as effective as would be desirable. One of the most interesting options on the table is the possible future fitting of the 76/62, replacing the MK110. ... It would be very easy to fit the 76/62 on the Lockheed Martin/Marinette Marine monohull LCS, the FREEDOM sub-class. A bit more complex, but not impossible, would be the retrofit of the trimaran LCS of the INDEPENDENCE sub-class, built by General Dynamics/Austal. With the larger caliber, the longer range, and the availability of the multi feeding system, with DART and VULCANO ammunition, the 76/62 would represent a dramatic improvement in firepower for the LCS.
Why couldn't we replace the 57mm with the 76/22 instead of the 30mm on DDG-1000? Because "exquisite" engineering, I presume. Sigh.

As for LCS, I'm not sure what the weight penalty would be, but with the NLOS area empty, there may be some options to ponder.

They have an nice write up about the DDG-1000 AGS 155mm ... with a few jewels that I haven't see in our press releases. Ponder this a bit;
... the more complex and time consuming loading process reduces the rate of fire of the AGS to just 10 rounds per minute, which means that a DDG1000 Zumwalt, with two AGS mounts, can fire around 20 rounds in a minute, against as many as 25 VULCANO rounds fired from a single 127/64 gun.

The LRLAP is also less accurate: the rocket booster is not the best friend of high accuracy, and the CEP is expected to routinely sit somewhere between 20 and 50 meters. The addition of a Semi Active Laser seeker to the LRLAP is reportedly being considered for the future to address this problem and expand the engagement capability, but this is all yet to come.
Of course, the combination AGS/Zumwalt makes for an impressive “bomber”: the 14.000 tons warship carries more ammunition (600 rounds in 2 magazines) than any likely 127/64-equipped vessel, and each shell is much larger, heavier and carries a lot more explosive. The massive gun is capable to fire them over greater distances, as well. However, the AGS is an extremely complex, massive and expensive solution which might never appear on platforms other than the Zumwalt, despite BAE’s effort in marketing an AGS-Lite.
Yes, exquisite.

There is also a depressing discussion of the ERGM and the US MK-45 Mod 4 and all that lost opportunity. Why are we getting our butts handed to us by the Italians of all people?


Enough grumbling ... read the whole thing. There are some very exciting things going on in the naval gun arena. Not the PPT thick, theory, or "expected IOC by 2025" stuff ... but the very much "now" that can be used today.

Monday, August 25, 2014

WWI Reading List from Midrats

If you didn't catch yesterday's Midrats with Dr. James Holmes from the Naval War College - well shame on you! Don't worry, you can redeem yourself by catching the archived show here

As a sidenote, if you use iTunes, make sure and click the iTunes button (it's the purple one) on the main showpage here. If you do that, then Midrats is automatically downloaded in to your iTunes Podcasts, and save you the trouble of hunting down every show.

Anyway, during the course of the show, we discussed a few books, mostly about WWI. For reference, I've put them in the carousel below for your review.

To Russia Without Much Love

Russians are a little prickly about the monuments they sprinkled around their former empire.

As Estonia learned in 2007, they can overreact a bit. So, what do you do when a dead empire that imprisoned your people and drained your national culture to a bland, poured concrete block, from the grave has its rump follow-on insist that you continue to honor the thieves, murderers, and rapists that replaced the homicidal genocidal maniacs that were there before? Decades after you tried to become a member of the free world ... what do you do with these anachronistic monuments to a totalitarian nightmare?

Well, when the rump replacement plays dirty and has you under their thumb by your reliance on their energy industry - well - you have to keep the jackhammers at bay.

It doesn't mean you still can't make your point. Via our NATO ally and former Warsaw Pact member Bulgaria, this is how you do it.

Check out all the rest, especially the one in honor of Ukraine. Well, OK; here it is too.

A free people of the West always have a sense of humor. I think Bulgaria will be just fine.

BTW - my favorite punk of a Soviet war memorial? Yea ... Mrs. Salamander did that.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Lost Opportunities: WWI and the Birth of the Modern World, With James Holmes - on Midrats

A hundred years on, in 2014 what insights can we gain from the war that started 100 years ago in August of 2014? What are some of the lessons we need to remember in all four levers of national power; diplomatic, informational, military, and economic - in order to help steer our future course as a nation, and to better understand developing events?

Using his article in The National Interest, World War I: Five Ways Germany Could Have Won the First Battle of the Atlantic as a starting point for an hour long discussion on Sunday from 5-6pm Eastern, our guest will be James Holmes, PhD, professor of strategy at the Naval War College and senior fellow at the University of Georgia School of Public and International Affairs.

Jim is former U.S. Navy surface warfare officer, graduating from Vanderbilt University (B.A., mathematics and German) and completed graduate work at Salve Regina University (M.A., international relations), Providence College (M.A., mathematics), and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University (M.A.L.D. and Ph.D., international affairs).

His most recent books (with long-time coauthor Toshi Yoshihara) are Strategy in the Second Nuclear Age and Red Star over the Pacific.

Jim has published over 25 book chapters and 150 scholarly essays, along with hundreds of opinion columns, think-tank analyses, and other works. He blogs as the Naval Diplomat and is an occasional contributor to Foreign Policy, The National Interest, War on the Rocks, CNN, and the Naval Institute Proceedings.

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.
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Friday, August 22, 2014

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Do you judge a nation by how it treats its friends?

Nations can make friends with other nations - and those are one level of commitment, but what about when a nation asks an individual to help it out and saves untold numbers of lives? What does that nation owe that person?

In light of how easily we are throwing around de-facto amnesty to law breakers and known criminals, I would like for you to ponder this;
For more than five years, Iraqi Judge Hussen Al-Anbaki worked alongside U.S. troops battling to bring terrorists to justice. But now he's engaged in an even bigger fight -- trying to get himself and his family to the U.S.

A local state prosecutor and a New Haven immigration lawyer are spearheading an effort to convince the U.S. government to issue Al-Anbaki and his family special visas. They say with U.S. troops gone from Iraq terrorist groups have become emboldened and are assassinating judges, and they are worried Al-Anbaki is next on their list.

"This is not just about wanting a better life for himself and his family, this is about wanting a life. Their lives are now in peril because he helped us," said Deputy Assistant State's Attorney Emily Dewey Trudeau.
Yes, that is our Emily - still focused on mission and taking care of those who took care of her and her Shipmates;
Trudeau was a lieutenant in the Navy's Judge Advocate General's office when in 2007 she was assigned to the Law and Order Task Force in Iraq. It was there she began working with Judge Al-Anbaki and became friends with him and his family, his wife and three children. As an investigative judge, Al-Anbaki worked within the Iraqi judicial system gathering evidence on terrorism against both American soldiers and Iraqi citizens that he would then present before an Iraqi trial panel.

Dangerous people

"He was doing it because he believed it was the right thing to do because these were people not only dangerous to the Americans in Iraq, but to the Iraqi people as well," Trudeau said.
That should frame the situation for you.

Now, your nation at work;
In 2008, the U.S. Congress authorized a Special Immigrant Visa program to allow Iraqis, Kurds and Afghans who had worked for the U.S. government and were now in danger for doing so to immigrate to the U.S. A number of Kurds were relocated to the Bridgeport's West Side through the program. However, Judge Al-Anbaki was rejected.

In a letter to Al-Anbaki dated March 27, Gillian Apfel, refugee coordinator for the U.S. Chief of Mission, stated: "You were not actually employed by or on behalf of the U.S. government. Your work with the Law and Order Task Force was the result of a cooperation agreement between Multi-National Force Iraq and the government of Iraq."

But Trudeau said it had been the judge's decision not to be on the U.S. government's payroll. He believed he could do a better job if he was considered neutral.

"He purposely remained neutral as a member of the Iraqi judiciary, but he did receive other compensation from the U.S. We supplied him with a secure housing facility so he could carry out his work without getting killed," Trudeau said. "If I had hired someone in Iraq to keep up my WiFi, giving them a paycheck, that person would be eligible to come to the U.S., but not the judge. He tries to come here and gets the door slammed in his face."
You need to read it all - and there is still time for you to help.

Help spread the word.

Sometime I am at loss at the decisions my nation makes. There are Americans walking the streets right now who are only here because of the work Judge Al-Anbaki did - and yet, we slam the door in his face and that of his family.

In addition to Senator Blumenthal (D-CT), others involved who need to hear from you are about SIV Visa legislation are Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), Sen John McCain (R-AZ), Andre Carson (D-IN), Jon Conyers (D-MI), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), Chris Gibson (R-NY), Duncan Hunter (R-CA), Dave Loebsack (D-IA), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Ted Poe (R-TX), Dave Reichert (R-WA), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Adam Smith (D-WA), Steve Stivers (R-OH), Marc Veasey (D-TX), Peter Welch (D-VT), and Frank Wolf (R-VA).

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

When do you give terrorists exactly what they want?

There is one way to take what the Islamic terrorists did to James Foley - they want to provoke the USA in to attacking them. Why?

From their perspective, they want a broader war. In their minds they are the carriers of the Black Banners of prophecy of the end times. 

They are fanatics. They thrive off of war and conquest. They derive their best satisfaction by fighting non-believers (as they define them). The Great Satan has shown weakness as of late, and they are drawn to that; they want a part of demonstrating that weaknesses.

They would like nothing more than for us to try to redeploy large formations of American ground troops on a field of their choosing. In their mind, that would be best - but they have another path to victory - appear to humble the Great Satan, to gain a great PSYOPS victory by threatening him in to inaction.

Those are their two paths, but we really don't want to follow either one. So far, we seem to be following the early Afghan model (but with better allies in the Kurds) - where we use a few Special Forces and specialized units on the ground to help indigenous ground forces leverage what is our competitive advantage; technology and airpower.

This is the right thing to do - this is the smart thing to do. If we continue to use this model, and adjust as we go, we can give the enemy what they want; greater US involvement, but we should deliver it not quite in the way they want it - and as a result produce our desired effects, not theirs.

By beheading Americans for simply being Americans - IS is calling America out. We should accept the call - but on our terms. If they want this fight, then we should give it to them.

The tactical strikes we have been making are tactically important - but the beheading of Americans is a strategic act of PSYOPS, and we should respond in kind.

The tactical killing by drone, single drops of bombs, etc are good and important too - but we need to make a strategic statement.  

Two things that we can do quickly. 

1. Used to great effect in both of our Iraqi conflicts based on their superb use in VietnamB-52 carpet bombing
2. A few MOAB will do nicely as well.

No need for press conferences or other spoken or written responses. Just action. 

After the first flush, keep the B-52 and MOAB going now and then to keep them jumpy - but keep a steady pattern of death from the air from other air assets as well. If it is done in coordination with Syria or Iranian proxies in a temporary alliance of convenience - that is fine.

We need to accept that the killing that needs to be done in the land between the Mediterranean and Mesopotamia will need to follow more Game of Thrones rules of allies and partnerships than nice things done in Vienna, Brussels, or Strasbourg. 

Do what must be done, but the Islamic State (IS) must be destroyed wholesale and in detail.

It will become more difficult with time to keep at it, especially near the end game (assume that IS is defeated as much as it can be) and the usual suspects get wobbly - but we need to do it, starting sooner more than later. 

We need to play another long game. There are thousands of people holding Western passports fighting for IS - like the guy with the English accent who sawed off Foley's head. 

I am quite sure that we are working closely with our allied security services to identify them. They need to not be allowed a day of rest until they are killed or captured. They are the most dangerous ones, especially the Anglosphere citizens. 

Just as you cannot negotiate with IS, so too can you not treat the individual members of IS as criminals. They are unlawful enemy combatants and should be treated as such. The only mercy that should be shown to them is if they are captured on US soil or they turn themselves in. Otherwise, they should be on the primary kill list. No reason to expend too much effort to capture them. Just kill.

In the end, this is a religious war - even if you don't think it is: if the people who are trying to kill you are part of some religion-based death cult, then you're in a religious war. Accept that and act accordingly.

Their Strategic Center of Gravity is their ideology - but that is a discussion for a different day.

As a final note, can we call it the Long War again?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Generation War - Unsere Mütter, Unsere Väter; a Netflix Must Have

I have to agree with Matthew Gault over at WiB - this needs to be watched;
Five friends gather in a bar in Berlin. It’s 1941. The German Wehrmacht readies its Russian campaign.

Two of the five friends—brothers Wilhelm and Friedhelm—are on their way to fight on the Eastern Front. Charly has just finished training as a field nurse. She’ll follow behind the two, caring for the wounded. Greta wants to be a star like Marlene Dietrich. Viktor Goldstein is a Jewish tailor in love with Greta.

These five grew up together. It’s the last night before the war separates them. They dance, smoke, eat and listen to swing music. Wilhelm—the older brother—is confident the war will be over by Christmas.

Friedhelm—the younger brother—says that the war will only bring out the worst in them. He’s right.

This is the opening scene of Generation War—a three part mini-series that ran on German television under the title Unsere Mütter, Unsere Väter.

It’s a tragedy in three acts and it’s fantastic. Rarely do Americans ever consider this side of World War II or see it rendered with such thought and care.
This is now being set up for a bing watching.

You can get it over at Amazon to keep if you wish, or chase it down on Netflix.

Heck ... you can see a lot of the scenes on YouTube:

Monday, August 18, 2014

Keeping an Eye on the Long Game: Part LXI

WSJ has a wide ranging must-read article on China. It doesn't address any of the military aspects - but that does not matter. 

From economics to demographics, there are plenty of non-military aspects to the China story that arguably are more important than how many ships they are pushing out each year.

The Chinese are on the move, and most of them are not wearing uniforms. They leave for a variety of reasons; economic, political, educational, ecological, or just wanderlust. For decades, the Communists kept them inside the borders, but no longer.

Just a few of the topic areas:

Get used to more Chinese ... and perhaps Canada is on to something;
Politics, though, isn't the most important issue on the mind of Ms. Sun, a 34-year-old Beijing resident who's bailing out. (She requested anonymity because she doesn't want publicity to spoil her plans.) The main reason she's planning to pack up: Her 6-year-old daughter is asthmatic, and Beijing's chronic pollution irritates the girl's lungs. "Breathing freely is a basic requirement," she says. The girl also has a talent for music, art and storytelling that Ms. Sun fears China's test-driven schools won't nurture.
Last year, the U.S. issued 6,895 visas to Chinese nationals under the EB-5 program, which allows foreigners to live in America if they invest a minimum of $500,000. South Koreans, the next largest group, got only 364 such visas. Canada this year closed down a similar program that had been swamped by Chinese demand.
Just don't call their actions imperial;
But China's cross-border political activities are creating unease. Consider Australia—one of the most popular destinations for Chinese students, emigrants and tourists, and a country where Mandarin Chinese is now the second-most widely spoken language after English.

"Chinese Australians are being lectured, monitored, organized and policed in Australia on instruction from Beijing as never before," wrote John Fitzgerald of Swinburne University of Technology, one of the country's foremost China experts, in an article published by the Asan Forum, a South Korean think tank.

In the U.S., a vigorous debate has broken out in academic circles about the role on American campuses of Confucius Institutes, which are sponsored by the Chinese government and offer Mandarin-language classes, along with rosy cultural views of China. Critics say these institutes threaten academic independence; supporters say they offer valuable language training that would not otherwise be available. In June, the American Association of University Professors stepped into the controversy and recommended that universities "cease their involvement" with the institutes unless they can gain "unilateral control" over them.
Want to know where your Walmart dollars are going?
In the global market for high-end real estate, Chinese buying has become a key driver of prices. According to the U.S. National Association of Realtors, Chinese buyers snapped up homes worth $22 billion in the year ending in March.
Anyone who has had the displeasure to show up somewhere right after two busloads of Chinese tourists show up at a location will perhaps want to stay home;
The Chinese have overtaken Americans to become the world's biggest tourist spenders—and they're rapidly moving upmarket. Mei Zhang, the founder of Beijing's high-end travel operator WildChina, offers family holidays to destinations such as Kenya, Patagonia and Alaska at $10,000 per head. Chinese are now the third-largest group of nationals landing in Antarctica, where tourists zip around the ice floes in Zodiac inflatables to watch penguins.
And the outflow has only just begun. The Hong Kong-based brokerage firm CLSA forecasts that departures from China will double to 200 million by 2020.
And finally - are we subsidizing the education of our competitors ... or are we sowing the seeds of their next uprising?
The Chinese government has no desire to slow the flow of students. Its attitude is simple: Why not have the Americans or Europeans train our brightest minds if they want to? President Xi's own daughter went to Harvard.
I think China is betting on the former, and we lack the long-term strategic thinking to do the later. Anyway, our major institution of higher learning are not exactly hotbeds of pro-Western, pro-American, and pro-liberty thinking.

Watch the Chinese economy as well. How they react internally to a contraction will have a lot of impact externally. If things really go south inside China, it will be interesting to see how much the anchor-baby hotels and 2nd home buying is used as an exit plan.

Buy chicken feet.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sunday Funnies

I will have but one thing to say about the recent death of a comedian who did a lot for those in uniform over the last decade of war; thanks for that - and my thoughts are with your loved ones.

Hey ... one chuckle for the road.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Personnel Policy & Leadership, with VADM Bill Moran, USN - on Midrats

How does policy shape, limit, or empower the effectiveness of command at the unit level? Which policies are a net positive, and which ones are counter productive? Are there things we can do to better balance larger Navy goals with the requirement to give leaders the room they need to be effective leaders?

In times of austere budgets, can you both reduce end-strength while at the same time retain your best personnel? Are we a learning institution that can adjust policy that answers the bell from DC in shaping tomorrow's Fleet, yet does not break trust with Shipmates?

To discuss this and more for the full hour this Sunday from 5-6pm Eastern, we will have as our returning guest, Vice Admiral Bill Moran, USN. Chief of Naval Personnel. A P-3 pilot by trade, he held commanded at the squadron, wing and group levels. As Chief of Naval Personnel, he oversees the recruiting, personnel management, training, and development of Navy personnel. Since taking over a year ago he has focused on improving communication between Navy leadership and Sailors in the Fleet.

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, August 15, 2014

Ferguson and the power of the visual

Though the worst among (usually those who either have made a living off of promoting racial division for decades or are just full of race-based hate) us have tried to make what is going on in Ferguson a "race" thing. It really isn't.

Sure, as Ferguson is ~2/3 black, race is unquestionably in the mix and is a primary driver in the protests ... but not THE primary as many knee-jerkers think. Look close. There are two visuals that matter here - and both negate the race-specific nature of this and point to the real visual issue.

Below is a short photo essay that I want you to look closely at. The guy with the Captain bars is Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol. He was brought in, and people's first reaction of some was, "Hey, they are bringing in a black man in uniform to help tap things down."

Yes, Captain Johnson is black - but that is not the visual that matters. There have been black police officers there from day one. Look carefully at the pictures of the bitched-up wannabe police in their camo, boots, and body armor. When you can actually get past their fascist bling, what do you see? Yes, there are black officers there.

Also look close at the civilian crowds. As is the neighborhood, they are mostly black and blacks make up more than their percentage of the general population ... but ... as it has been from the start, there are plenty of non-black members of the protester cohorts. There is no racial animus towards them - they are all on the same side; the side against the police power of the State overreaching.

Here is the visual that matters. What is Captain Johnson wearing? He is wearing what is clearly a police uniform.

What are the other officers wearing? Police uniforms. Not the all black einsatzgruppe outfits, no; a bi-color clearly identifiable police uniform.

He is in the community, uncovered, no body armor, with just his side arm. There are places where a police officer may need riot helmet, body armor, and long arms … but those can stay in the trunk until needed.

This is the visual that is important – not the color of the skin. Both the police and the protesters are multi-racial – and so is the solution.

Lots of lessons here, and in a way – almost all of them good.

Note ... update removed as reports are iffy at this point. Stand by.

Fullbore Friday

For longtime Midrats listeners who heard our interview with Laura Hillenbrand on Midrats, you've been waiting two years for this.

Her book, Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, is outstanding - and the movie looks good as well.

I think Captain Louis Zamperini, US Army Air Corps (Ret.) would approve - though he probably would be a bit worried about all the fuss.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Is it time for the Mediterranean to Return as Well?

Though there isn't much snickering now, remember when Russia started to stretch? She messed with Estonia soft, Georgia hard, and Ukraine a bit harder.

There were plenty of jokes about how those old, shuffling, ignored, and slightly grumpy Russia hands in the Beltway and Pentagon were all of a sudden demanding face time and wildly gesticulating with an unexpected youthful vigor after so long in the wilderness. Well, not so funny or ignored now.

As the USA continues to want to pull back and/or be stuck in analysis paralysis at the POLMIL level, that vacuum will draw others in. Smoldering and quiet areas will flame up to meet whatever fuel is there.

At the end of the Cold War, remember what we had deployed to the Mediterranean? The 6th Fleet was strong on the surface and subsurface. In the air, including a carrier's airwing, Navy alone had squadrons of VQ reconnaissance and VR fixed & rotary wing cargo aircraft based out of Rota, Spain and Signoella, Italy. CONUS based VP squadrons deployed to Rota and Sigonella, Italy. There were full time detachments in Souda Bay, Crete as well.

The Med was busy ... in the last 20 years, notsomuch.

Victor Davis Hanson thinks, like Russia, the Med might be back in play;
The Mediterranean (“in the middle of the earth”) has been history’s constant cauldron. It provided too easy access between three vastly different and usually rival continents — Asia, Africa, and Europe. And it helped birth and spread three major and often warring religions — Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Without it, there would have been no Roman or Ottoman Empire.

Most of the Mediterranean’s history, then, is one of abject violence. The unfortunate islands situated in the sea’s vortex — especially Cyprus, Crete, Malta, and Sicily — were invaded, occupied, and fought over constantly by Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Venetians, Franks, Ottomans, British, Italians, and Germans. To chronicle these islands’ history is to study massive castles and walls, which are still what first greet any visitor to port.
For the last 70 years, the Mediterranean has been quieter than at any other time in its long history — at least since the second century a.d., during the reign of the five so-called “good” emperors of Rome, when all the shores of the three continents were tranquil and interconnected by what the Romans called “mare nostrum” (our sea).Why?

Largely because of American warships. Except for the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, and occasional violent spillage offshore of the various Middle East wars, the U.S. Sixth Fleet, based in Naples since shortly after World War II, has been able, with its NATO partners, to keep pirates out, aggressors down, and peaceful nations in.
Will that always be so?

If the U.S. recedes and lowers its naval profile, it is not hard to see how the Mediterranean could once again heat up. Amid the relative peace of a divided Cyprus, we forget that the island’s fate has never been resolved. An increasingly Islamist Turkey is becoming neo-Ottoman in its relationship to Greece and Israel. If Vladimir Putin’s Russia continues to rebuild its military as the U.S. continues to downgrade its own, it is not hard to envision Russian ships leaving their now-permanent Crimean ports on new missions out of the Dardanelles.
I also very much like his reminder that this great international maritime partnership with the increasingly militarily impotent Western Europeans is a mirage;
The great European fleets of the past — the Spanish, the French, and the British — are shadows of their former selves. Some of the worst violence in the world today — the civil war in Syria, the bloodletting in Libya, the war in Gaza — takes place on the shores of the Mediterranean, but so far has not spread to sea.

Americans might think the Mediterranean is too distant to care much about. But from our very beginnings that sea had an odd ability to draw us into its turmoil. “To the shores of Tripoli” is a refrain known to most Americans, and we also remember the Barbary Coast — the scene of our nation’s first foreign fights and our most recent, in Benghazi.
In a message navalists need to be repeating as much as possible;
As we dismantle our military, we should remember that history’s natural order of things unfortunately is not peace, but instability and war. Peace, as a character in Plato’s Laws remarked, is a brief “parenthesis.” It occasionally breaks out because aggressors are deterred by the superior military forces of those committed to the general peace — and all nations understand the consequences of weaker aggressive nations’ stirring up trouble.
We can see the results of the new lower profile of the U.S. fleet also in the South China Sea, as Japan squares off against China, and South Korea, Taiwan, and the Philippines anxiously watch. As the world heats up, and as the U.S. global deterrent forces erode, there is no intrinsic reason why history’s most contested sea might not be so again. We should remember that when we talk of defense cuts, and before we pull too many American ships out of a maritime intersection where peace has usually been the exception.
One thing he does not cover is something top of mind to Italians, Spaniards, and Greeks in their demographic dotage and economic dystopia. As Africa and the Islamic world continue to be in turmoil and are unable to meet the aspirations of their people - where is the nearest access to a Western lifestyle? North and west to Europe. How do they best get there? By sea. 

It has only started.