Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Twilight of the Summer Moonbat

It has been awhile since we pointed out the bankrupt nature of the moonbat left. 

We have a good excuse thanks to Jim Geraghty's post last week at NRO, Funeral Services for the Anti-War Movement Will Be Held Next Week.
Born in 2002, the anti-war movement suffered ill health since 2009 & collapsed in front of the White House Tuesday.
You need to read the whole thing as he has some great links that flesh out the details ... including one of mine from 2011;
“There never was an anti-war movement. Deep down, I think – most of us knew that anyway. It was an anti-Bush movement. War had nothing to do with it – it was all about the Left finding a way to regain power.”

Monday, September 29, 2014

When Do Leaders Take the McMaster Option?

Guest posting over at Rick's blog at FP, Col. Gary Anderson, USMC (Ret.) lays out what many have been thinking about in the course of the last few weeks, Is it time for General Dempsey to resign?
In a telling study of the Vietnam War, H.R. McMaster, now an Army general officer himself, castigates the military general-officer class of that era for quietly carrying out orders that they knew to be wrong. 
In 2003, many generals strongly disagreed with President George W. Bush's decision to go to war with Iraq, but none resigned in protest. How does this happen? 
General officers have offered a number of rationalizations for lack of moral courage over the years. The most often heard is that they feel they feel compelled to stay on because only they can do the job and mitigate the worst of the senior leader's decision. 
This is tripe; no one is irreplaceable. I would bet that 80 percent of the serving military cannot remember who the last JCS chairman was.
One of the wisest words I ever heard was from a CO on my first sea tour,
Your are irreplaceable until you leave, then you are forgotten.
How true.

Easier said than done - but Anderson makes his case;
The reality is that the very private threat of a resignation might well change a bad policy. No president in his right mind wants to see the very public resignation of a top general on principle. If his policy fails, and the Islamic State strategy surely will, President Obama would alone shoulder the blame for the debacle. The threat of a resignation itself might cause the president to reconsider his ill-advised action in taking American troops in a ground role off the table. Rather than be remembered as the failed implementer of a strategy that he knew to be fatally flawed, Dempsey would be an example to generations of future West Point cadets as a soldier who put honor and professionalism above career concerns.
Resignation would have even greater impact if all of the joint chiefs ask for a closed-door meeting with the president The political and strategic miscalculations that led up to the rise of the Islamic State came because the president ignored the advice of his highest national-security advisors. General Dempsey could save the nation from further strategic folly and perhaps save this president from himself.
Is that the right thing to do? Would it be a net positive for the nation? Would it accomplish anything?

Only one person can make that call or decide if he needs to consider the McMaster Option: General Dempsey.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sunday Funnies

Generally speaking, I've left President Obama's goofy Styrofoam salute alone ... but via TerminalLance, this is just too funny to ignore.

See them all, but here is my favorite.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Fullbore Friday

I was thinking this AM about a few things; those acts of valor that we never find out about for decades because of classification issues and bureaucratic inertia that keep them hidden for so long; lost causes fought well; and that spark in the best of men who give all they have for those they serve with.

In that light, a encore FbF that is well worth looking at again.

Eventually the truth always comes out.
Chief Master Sgt. Richard L. Etchberger, who was killed in action in 1968 in Laos, will posthumously be awarded the Medal of Honor on Sept. 21, the White House announced Friday.

Etchberger will be honored with the nation’s highest award for valor for his actions on March 11, 1968.

According to the announcement, Etchberger displayed “immeasurable courage and uncommon valor” when he deliberately exposed himself to enemy fire in order to place three surviving wounded comrades into rescue slings so they could be airlifted to safety. When it was his turn to be rescued, Etchberger was fatally wounded by enemy ground fire.
This all took place during the Battle of Lima Site 85.
An estimated 6-7 Battalions of PAVN/PL troops were assembled at the base of Site 85. General Vang Pao's troops were ineffective against this large enemy force, they were responsible for a 12 mile perimeter defense. During the enemy's advance on Phou Pha Thi, General Vang Pao's 700 troops could do nothing but harass the enemy. Site 85 even called in air support in its own defense, but it was not effective enough to deter the enemy's progress. To paraphrase Dr. Timothy Castle's outstanding book on this disaster, "One Day Too Long",... they waited "Two Days Too Long" to evacuate the personnel on Site 85.
This was the largest North Vietnamese offensive ever conducted in Laos. After seeing the radar image above, how could there have been any doubt that it was time to destroy the equipment and evacuate. The decision makers evidently did not have the whole story or 1) still considered Site 85 impregnable or 2) wanted to squeeze one more day of operations out of the Site. Considering the sizable enemy force assembled, helicopters should have been assigned and sitting on the ground at Site 85 for possible evacuation.
On March 11, 1968, the inevitable happened... three teams of PAVN commandos... under cover of darkness, scaled the cliffs of Phou Pha Thi. (There is also the theory that they came in through the South defensive gate because the CIA trained locals had abandoned it.) Against previously agreed upon terms, Major Richard Secord (now retired Major General Richard Secord and author of "Honored and Betrayed", Chapter 6 concerns Lima Site 85) provided M-16's, Grenades and a few hand weapons to the Site 85 personnel. The non-combat technicians were no match for the trained PAVN commandos.
More on the battle here and here.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The CINC ignoring military advice? It's a thing.

As many of you have heard, what we are doing right now in Iraq and Syria isn't in line with the best military advice our senior military advisors are gave to President Obama;
As he laid out his strategy to combat the Islamic State in both Iraq and Syria, President Obama rejected the “best military advice” of his top military commander in the Middle East.

Quoting two U.S. military officials, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday that Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, commander of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), said “that his best military advice was to send a modest contingent of American troops, principally Special Operations forces, to advise and assist Iraqi army units in fighting the militants.”

Austin’s recommendation was taken to the White House by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey. The White House rejected CENTCOM’s “advise and assist” contingent due to concerns about placing U.S. ground forces in a frontline role.
This story has legs, and it keeps coming up in circulation - so it is perhaps time to roll it out to the front porch.

OK kiddy-poos, mark your calendar; this is where 'ole Sal comes to the defense of President Obama.

Here is the bottom line up front; he is the Commander in Chief. He was elected to this position and is trusted by the American people to make the call as he feels he should. He is not a rubber stamp on the uniformed leadership or the errand-boy of Congress.

From Abraham Lincoln (TDY), to George W. Bush (PBUH), Presidents have had to make the military call in opposition to what in hindsight was the wrong military advice.

I remember like it was yesterday;
Against the advice of both the ISG and the Joint Chiefs, he embraced a proposal to increase temporarily the number of American troops in Iraq to tamp down the violence. The decision marked his single hands-on intervention in the direction of the conflict.
In so far as the President has made a call that may or may not be at odds with the senior uniformed leadership; back off folks. He is well within his charter to do so.

The key will be if he is right or if he is wrong. History will decide that - and as we are trained to do, the military leadership whether they agree or not will do their best to make his decision a success. Also remember, if the senior leadership was always right, then we wouldn't have blueberry NWU and an all light attack airwing.

Critize the substance of the decision if you like, I will; but don't criticize his right - indeed his obligation - to make the call he did. If he is wrong, well, in the end it is really the American people's fault, they voted for him twice. Either way, the Republic will survive.

Diversity Thursday

So, on DivThu, if the "... head of diversity, inclusion and women’s policy for the U.S. Navy (who BTW is a CAPT (sel) and needs to update her linkedin profile) ..." has an article at WaPo titled; To keep up with 21st century threats, the military needs to modernize its hiring, should we Fisk it?

Why yes, we should.

But, first things first.

Unless something has changed recently such that the USN has not updated its innerwebs, there is no such thing as the "head of diversity, inclusion and women’s policy." There is OPNAV N134 that in theory is the Navy Office of Diversity and Inclusion - but their websites, as linked on their facebook page (that hasn't been touched since July) are all dead ends, and their official Navy.mil site hasn't been touched since April of 2013 and tells nothing of leadership - nor does their Navy.com site that still has Admiral Harris as a 3-star. Their NPC site looks all of 1996, and their twitter account (both of them) are dead.

Perhaps she is running the Office of Women's Policy (OPNAV N134W) (no, I didn't make that 4-digit N-code up) But again, they are very poor about identifying who is in a leadership position only giving three LT's named Erin, Heidi, and Tawney (not very diverse) as staff members, and their brief is from March of 2013 without much mention of who is running the circus either.

Here's an idea, before our good O-6 to be starts coming up with such bang-up ideas about the future, perhaps she should first get her present day house in order. Yes, that is petty, but in 2014, one can't help oneself. 

Now that we have established how great the Diversity Bullies have their social media in order to the point they can pimp articles to WaPo, let's go.

By Renee J. Squier September 23 at 9:34 PM
The writer is head of diversity, inclusion and women’s policy for the U.S. Navy. The views expressed here are her own.
Cool. This writer thinks anyone who is a HR officer on active duty can express her own views, then so can he. Using the starting point that as a professional group, on balance the self-licking, Cultural Marxist, sectarian, non-value added Navy adjunct to the diversity industry do little more than sow derision in the ranks, promote their own self interest, and in general through the performance of their duties are prejudicial to good order and discipline - then we should not let them suffer the soft bigotry of low expectations. We should offer our constructive and not-so-constructive review of their ideas.

She didn't get to O-6 for nut'n, I'm sure she's fine with it. Nothing personal - I am sure we would get along swimmingly, but Squier's ideas .... well. Let's see what cuts the WaPo mustard.
If the United States were attacked again, the way it was at Pearl Harbor or on Sept. 11, would you step forward to serve in the military? If you’ve climbed any distance up the career ladder, the answer is probably no, because the military hires people almost exclusively at entry level, and signing up could severely diminish your pay and status.
Wow. Well, I served 21 years on active duty, so I get a check in that block. After both those attacks - especially Pearl Harbor - hundreds of thousands of people in their teens, twenties, thirties, forties, and more were directly commissioned for their skill sets - and enlisted if they met the physical requirements. Even more served as civilians. After 911, as needed, so did more people leave their lives behind to serve. "Pay and Status" were not their concern. I'm not sure what she is going for in this paragraph, but it sure gives some insight in to what this HR professional thinks about people's motivations ... and it is wide of the mark and ahistorical.
But what does that mean for the defense of our nation? 
The world is changing rapidly, with technology at the forefront. It once was possible to hire military personnel young and teach them to be experts in a single skill over a 20- to 30-year career. But today this approach isolates the military from society, limiting its expertise with cutting-edge technology and reducing the diversity of its thinking.
The strawmen cometh. That could have been written at any decade in living memory and beyond. I don't know of a single enlisted person or officer who spent "20-to-30 years" on a single skill. Shipmate .... you may have spent from what I see the last six years plus just doing HR - but in the Fleet, you are lucky if you do the same thing for one tour, much less a career.

Technological change was much greater from 1910 to 1950 than it has been from 1974 to 2014. It is simply temporal copernican narcissism to think that "all is new." As for "diversity of its thinking" - wouldn't a first step perhaps be to move away from the STEM bias ... but that is a different topic for a different day. Want to give people a few years for dedicated study at civilian institution or extended fellowships at civilian corporations? Yea, that is good ... but Squier isn't quite asking for that as I can tell.
Plus, in the past, people were our main source of power projection and had to be physically present at the battlefield in a fight. But this, too, has changed. Now we use missiles and drones to fight from a distance when possible. The need for skills beyond physical prowess has multiplied.
I'm sorry. The ICBM has been with us since, when, 1959? Drones have been in use for even longer. No transformational crisis there.

Oh, "physical prowess" .... mmmm .... a little motivational leg showing here. We shall keep an eye on that as we go further ....
The breakneck advance of technology is producing commensurate change in the threats we face. How can we keep up? The answer is to be just as innovative with our human resources strategy as we are with our weapons and tactics. We need new ways to recruit the best talent to defend our nation. The key is to modernize our core concept of an all-volunteer force to include lateral hiring.
"Breakneck?" Child please. There is that "transformational" don't-let-a-crisis-go-to-waste-if-we-don't-have-a-crisis-let's-play-pretend that has grown so shopworn.

From Libya to ISIS/L/Islamic State to Ukraine to the Taiwan Straights ... even throwing in cyber (just an extension of electromagnetic warfare) - just how have the threats changed?

Answer; they haven't. They only seem unusual if you have not been paying attention or only have a historical perspective the length of your conscience life.

Now we have her "it," the term "lateral hiring." Nice - not quite ready for bu11sh1t bingo, but we'll put in on the side of the page just in case.
When the all-volunteer force was formed in the 1970s, its structure reflected the common career arcs of the day, where many workers served a single employer their entire careers. Now, workers change jobs every few years, updating and improving their skills to stay current. The military hasn’t kept pace.
I will agree that we need to update our personnel system - something we spent an hour talking to VADM Moran about on Midrats - but again - our Sailors are changing jobs every few years as well ... so are our officers. OK, Staff types, ahem, may feel stuck on groundhog day, but line officers? Job stability, well ... that's cute. In the middle 10-yrs of my career, I had four distinctly different job responsibilities over five tours - three of which were sea tours. That's normal.
Suppose you could enlist at a rank reflecting your management experience or mastery of a valuable, high-level skill? And for a limited number of years? Would that make you more likely to answer the call to serve in an emergency? For large numbers of patriotic Americans, I think it would.
Sure, I can imagine it ... because I've seen it with some, ahem, Staff positions. I have also seen this ... wait for it ... BY TAPPING IN TO THE FRACKING RESERVES FOR RECALL TO ACTIVE DUTY.

For the love of Pete ... could it be any clearer? But, I'm getting distracted by the shiny light on the wall ... back to the topic.

I would like an example exactly who in WWII or in the post 911 world we could not bring in to the fight? Examples please; UIC and BSC would be nice, but I'll take NECC or designators if possible. This general statement is just so much fried air.
There are many advantages to this approach. Although boot camp or officer candidate school would still be required to acclimate enlistees to the unique culture of the military, lateral hiring would significantly reduce the time needed to “create” effective leaders. 
(1) Officers are not enlistees. (2) I don't see how lateral hiring would have anything to do about "creating" effective leaders. Positional authority is not the same as being an effective leader.
It would also ease budgetary pressures by enabling the United States to maintain a smaller standing military, since it would be much easier to rapidly increase numbers across all ranks in a crisis. There would still be career military members, but they would be fewer and less likely to have served continuously. Instead, they would move more freely between the military and private industry.
OK, once again we are talking ABOUT THE FRACKING RESERVES. Renee, you are hurting my head.
The biggest impediment would be cultural. Some will say that lateral hiring would dilute the quality and prestige of the services, or that competition with “outsiders” for promotions would be unfair to those working their way up the ranks. 
Way too many generalities. Again, it depends on the specifics of the job. If you are a cardiologist who is less than a decade out of med school as a LCDR and the head of cardiology from Harvard Medical School came in at age 55 as a CAPT - I don't think you'd have an issue.

If on the other hand, you are a LCDR F-18 pilot with 3,000 hrs and a tour as a FRS instructor and then a 737 pilot is coming in to be your CO after just getting his safe-to-solo flight ... then sure ... there might be issues ... especially when that 737 pilot took a command slot away from a newly minted pilot with 4,000 hours and multiple combat tours.

How about a "lateral hiring" in to a SEAL team? Make a UFC champion a Chief and put him on a team ahead of others who have been on teams for 15 years?

Yes, I know - that is all rather silly, but I am only illustrating absurdity by being absurd. That is not what Squier is talking about.
But the imperative to maintain technological dominance begs for cross-discipline, integrated careers. Every company in the world does lateral hiring, and their employees accept new leaders as a matter of course. It may be difficult to give up the traditional military career ladder, but there is much more to be gained by seeking greater diversity in skills, experience and ideas.
Again ... define "diversity" please ... the Navy, especially those in the diversity commissariat like Squier, have muddied that name a bit. 

My career was very cross-discipline - heck I had jobs that were coded for a completely different designator - and in another case, a higher rank from another service. And again ... my experience is not unusual. Then again ... I was an unrestricted line officer. YMMV.

As for the substance of the rest of the above paragraph, sound great, and we have that IN THE FRACKING RESERVES.

I do not think that Squier really addressed the topic she wanted to address. She talked around it and played a little dog whistle shadow puppet with it ... but really. That can't be it. 

I was hoping for something more along the lines of what we have discussed multiple times on Midrats, but alas ... I am left disappointed. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

So, while the Navy goes to war ... again ... this happened ...

Yes, yes, yes. Something must be done so we can say, "We're doing more." 

You can overdo something. You can patronize adult men and women just so much. You can pummel people in to cynicism. You can tee up a ball for me to whack at it.

Does this move the needle? Will this piled on top of everything else we put butts in seats over? Do you get your $6,000 worth?

Will someone please check Admiral Burke's grave? As his namesake puts ordnance downrange ...
Mike Domitrz stands on the stage in a black T-shirt, a black blazer and jeans, talking about sex, with the rapt attention of hundreds of sailors in the audience.

He calls two volunteers to the stage and tells them they are on a date. It’s going well, he tells the audience. Then, prompted by Domitrz, the woman says to the man, “This is going to sound really awkward, but I was wondering if I can give you a kiss?”
“By the way, a woman who is sexually assertive is not a slut. She’s a woman. We have to stop calling people names for being human beings.”
Ummmm .... yea. Try that line at Mast from the male perspective.
“PowerPoint and lectures really can only go so far,” said Capt. Chuck Marks, the sexual assault prevention and response officer at the Navy’s Fleet Forces Command. “If the sailors can interact with it and it is more meaningful and something they will remember longer, perhaps they’ll take some of those tools with them when they are on liberty overseas or they are in the barracks, or when they are interacting with peers.”
Oh Chuck - I'm sorry.

Hey! Looks whose earning his keep?
Cmdr. Chris Servello, a Navy spokesman, said the study does not reflect the dramatic changes to sexual assault training, particularly in the Navy, since 2010.

“Sailors routinely cite progress being made in how we talk about sexual assault, the sophistication of training methods being used, and the forums in which we conduct education and training,” he said.

Kathryn Holland, one of the authors of the Michigan study, said that, regardless of the year examined, the study does demonstrate the importance of transparency in evaluating prevention efforts. The study questioned the Pentagon’s methodology for evaluating the effectiveness of its prevention programs.

“We recognize the limitations of the data we have, but the message itself is just as applicable today as it was to what they were doing in 2010 and in 2005,” she said.

“The efforts are excellent, and we never doubted whether they were making an effort,” she added. “It was more about the transparency of what they were doing, and whether the evaluation was adequately measuring whether (the training) is doing what you really want it to do.”

Servello said the Navy is continually improving its training and assessments: “We certainly have been open, and remain open, to outside critique and criticism. We are an organization that wants to learn.”
Commander? Someone get promoted? Ahem. Anyway - they don't pay you enough to wade in this goo.

For the love of Pete;
Petty Officer 3rd Class Mario Veccino, who works aboard the inactivated aircraft carrier Enterprise, said he was going to go home and ask his girlfriend whether he could kiss her – just to see what she said.

“She should be cool with it,” he added.
Oh, "rapt attention?" What do the pics of our Shipmates say?

Here is part of the show - this one from LSU.

Here is Domitrz chatt'n about his call'n.

Hat tip SP.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

DDG-51 Finds Gainful Employment

Primary/Backup/Ready Spare.

There are few things in present day war at (from the) sea like a night time TLAM salvo launch. Ahhh … retention just went up for BURKE.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Rule of Saul's Children

Some people just keep popping up either in person or as an influencer, Saul Alinsky is one of those. If you aren't familiar with Alinsky, you should be - you're being ruled now and possibly in the future by his followers.

If you need to catch up, I highly recommend one of my influencers, David Horowitz.
Below are six ideas, six “rules,” that the Godfather of community organizing packs between the covers of Rules, ideas that Obama’s imbibed hook, line, and sinker.

(1). Politics is all about power relations, but to advance one’s power, one must couch one’s positions in the language of morality.

Community organizers are “political realists” who “see the world as it is: an arena of power politics moved primarily by perceived immediate self-interests, where morality is rhetorical rationale for expedient action and self-interest” (12).

(2). There is only three kinds of people in the world: rich and powerful oppressors, the poor and disenfranchised oppressed, and the middle-class whose apathy perpetuates the status quo.

“The world as it is” is a rather simple world. From this perspective, the world consists of but three kinds of people: “the Haves, the Have-Nots, and the Have-a-Little, Want Mores.” The Haves, possessing, as they do, all of “the power, money, food, security, and luxury,” resist the “change” necessary to relieve the Have-Nots of the “poverty, rotten housing, disease, ignorance, political impotence, and despair” from which they suffer (18).

The Have-a-Little, Want Mores comprise what we call “the middle class.” While Alinsky believes that this group “is the genesis of creativity,” (19) he also claims that it supplies the world with its “Do-Nothings.” The Do-Nothings are those who “profess a commitment to social change for ideals of justice, equality, and opportunity, and then abstain from and discourage all effective action for change [.]” Alinsky remarks that in spite of their reputable appearances, the Do-Nothings are actually “invidious” (20).

This being so, they are as resistant to change as are the Haves.

(3). Change is brought about through relentless agitation and “trouble making” of a kind that radically disrupts society as it is.

Since both the middle and upper classes have none of the organizer’s passion for radical change, he must do his best to “stir up dissatisfaction and discontent [.]” He must “agitate to the point of conflict.” The organizer “dramatizes…injustices” and engages in “‘trouble making’ by stirring up” just those “angers, frustrations, and resentments” (117) that will eventuate in the “disorganization of the old and organization of the new” (116 emphasis original). He is determined to give rise to as much “confusion” and “fear” as possible (127).

(4). There can be no conversation between the organizer and his opponents. The latter must be depicted as being evil.

If his compulsion to “agitate” makes it sound as if the organizer is disinclined to converse with those with whom he disagrees, that is because, well, he is. Alinsky is blunt on this point: “You don’t communicate with anyone purely on the rational facts or ethics of an issue” (89). It is true that “moral rationalization is indispensable,” (43) that the organizer must “clothe” one’s goals and strategies with “moral arguments” (36). But there can be no conversation with one’s opponents, for to converse with them is to humanize them.

The organizer’s objective is to demonize those who stand in the way of his designs for change.

The reason for this is simple: “Men will act when they are convinced that their cause is 100 per cent on the side of the angels and that the opposition [is] 100 per cent on the side of the devil.” The organizer “knows that there can be no action until issues are polarized to this degree” (78).

Elaborating on this theme, Alinsky asserts that in “charging that so-and-so is a racist bastard and then diluting” this “with qualifying remarks such as ‘He is a good churchgoing man, generous to charity, and a good husband,’” one convicts oneself of “political idiocy” (134). The winning strategy is to “pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it” (130 emphases original).

(5). The organizer can never focus on just a single issue. He must move inexhaustibly from one issue to the next.

The organizer “must develop multiple issues,” (76) for “multiple issues mean constant action and life” (78). Alinsky explains: “A single issue is a fatal strait jacket that…drastically limits” the organizer’s “appeal,” but “multiple issues…draw in…many potential members essential to the building of a broad, mass-based organization” (120). The only “way to keep the action going” is by “constantly cutting new issues as the action continues, so that by the time the enthusiasm and the emotions for one issue have started to de-escalate, a new issue” has emerged “with a consequent revival” (161).

(6). Taunt one’s opponents to the point that they label you a “dangerous enemy” of “the establishment.”

Finally, in order “to put the organizer on the side of the people, to identify him with the Have-Nots,” it is imperative that he “maneuver and bait the establishment so that it will publicly attack him as a ‘dangerous enemy’” (100).
Rules, is of course Alinsky's Rules for Radicals: A Practical Primer for Realistic Radicals. If you don't want to buy the book but just want the meat of it and how Obama uses it, Horowitz has a free primer in PDF you can download here.

Enough of the President's influencer, Alinsky is back in the news via something that is actually embarrassing to read. I don't think anyone should be held too much to account for youthful over-enthusiasm under age 25 - but still - it can be useful in understanding where someone's reference point is.

Behold Hilary's a55-smacking love letters to crusty 'ole Saul. You can read the actual letters from Miss Rodham at the previous link, but Alana Goodman over at TheFreeBeacon has a nice summary of the stuff from the poor working class girl from Wellesley & Yale;
A 23-year-old Hillary Clinton was living in Berkeley, California, in the summer of 1971. She was interning at the left-wing law firm Treuhaft, Walker and Burnstein, known for its radical politics and a client roster that included Black Panthers and other militants.

On July 8, 1971, Clinton reached out to Alinsky, then 62, in a letter sent via airmail, paid for with stamps featuring Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and marked “Personal.”

“Dear Saul,” she began. “When is that new book [Rules for Radicals] coming out—or has it come and I somehow missed the fulfillment of Revelation?”

“I have just had my one-thousandth conversation about Reveille [for Radicals] and need some new material to throw at people,” she added, a reference to Alinsky’s 1946 book on his theories of community organizing.

Clinton devoted just one paragraph in her memoir Living History to Alinsky, writing that she rejected a job offer from him in 1969 in favor of going to law school. She wrote that she wanted to follow a more conventional path.

However, in the 1971 letter, Clinton assured Alinsky that she had “survived law school, slightly bruised, with my belief in and zest for organizing intact.”

“The more I’ve seen of places like Yale Law School and the people who haunt them, the more convinced I am that we have the serious business and joy of much work ahead—if the commitment to a free and open society is ever going to mean more than eloquence and frustration,” wrote Clinton.
All the above is worth reading, but here is why I can't help but laugh - not a happy laugh, but a darkish laugh.

Like we saw most recently in Scotland, those who lead modern leftist movements couch so much of what they do in the soft light of struggle for the "working people." They don't care about the working people - the working people are just the cannon fodder in their assault on the gates power and privileged for themselves. 

Highly cynical as they are patronizing, they don't want to pull down power, they simply want to transfer power for their use. There is never enough power, of course, but they will continue the fight to accrue power, influence and - yes - wealth for themselves.

Just look at the spectrum of how the left operates - from the desolation of Detroit to the wealth of Hillary, Obama, and Reid.

Ruled by oligarchs like Pelosi - the story goes on. The 21st Century has the oligarchs and the proletariat vs. the bourgeoisie and the Kulaks. I've had fun with this very interesting zip code based demographic view that shows the education and income dynamic at work. The DC area is interesting, but play around your hometown as well. It outlines the above conflict rather well when viewed in the proper context.

Alinskyism is all around you folks. You don't have to like him, but you do have to nod your head to his success.

Oh, a 48-hr liberty over any weekend to the first person to find the Easter Egg in the poster below.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

When the short snappy war goes long, with Chris Dougherty - on Midrats

As we once again face the promise of a conflict with a limited mission and a strangely ill-defined Strategic and Operational design - what do we need to keep in mind not just from recent history, but the longer term record?

History shows us that military and political leaders either over or under appreciate changing technology, outmoded doctrine, and the imperfect correlation between past experience and present requirements.

From the national psyche to stockpiled war reserves - what happens when the short and splendid turns in to the long slog?

Using his latest article in The National Interest, The Most Terrifying Lesson of World War I: War Is Not Always "Short and Sharp," as a starting point, but expanding to a much broader discussion, our guest for the full hour this Sunday from 5-6pm Eastern will be Chris Dougherty, research fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) .

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

If you use iTunes, you can add Midrats to your podcast list simply by clicking the iTunes button at the main showpage - or you can just click here.

Listen to internet radio with Midrats on Blog Talk Radio

Friday, September 19, 2014

Fullbore Friday

A service culture, nee an ethos, is not created overnight. You cannot promulgate it via a the PAO, PPT, or NAVADMIN.

A service culture is an organic growth over decades of sustained and exemplary performance and can only prosper when those in that service remember, celebrate and then emulate that culture.

It is easy to talk about the "Navy Marine Corps Team" - but do you know its roots? Do you know its foundation? Do you know the Battle of Blandensburg?

Well, you will now.

In the latest edition of Naval History Magazine, Chip Reid does an outstanding article on it, The Last Stand at Bladensburg. You need to read it all, and it is behind the members only firewall ... but you are all members of USNI, right? If not, shame on you - click here and join then come back.

Let's get right to the center of it;
U.S. Marine Corps Private Charles Dechard stood next Captain Samuel Miller, watching with a mixture of horror and rage as the American army defending Washington, D.C., disintegrated around them. Everywhere, it seemed, frightened soldiers were running as fast as they could from the fields around Bladensburg, Maryland.

The Marines could see the reason for the panic—a line of red-coated soldiers advancing inexorably across the field. Small groups of American defenders clustered around the Marines, taking heart from the grim manner in which the blue-clad leathernecks held their ground. There was nothing else the Marines could do. Miller, Dechard, and the 112 other Marines in Miller’s command knew they were all that stood between the advancing enemy and the nation’s capital.

To the right of the Marines, 400 men from Captain Joshua Barney’s Chesapeake Flotilla also prepared to meet the oncoming enemy. The flotillamen and Marines were well acquainted. They had fought together since June and had far more trust in one another than they did in the army to which they were now attached.
The British infantry approached, hooting and hollering as they marched, poking fun at the militia as they ran from the field. For Lieutenant Gleig of the 85th, the advance was more fox hunt than warfare. “Never did men with arms in their hands, make better use of their legs,” he recalled. “Though we did our best to kill a few of them, I question whether one American lost his life . . . so rapid, or if you please, so judiciously conducted, was their retreat.”

But as the British advanced toward the sailors and Marines, expecting yet another precipitous retreat, they were greeted instead with a hail of lead.

“They fired volley after volley as fast as they could load their pieces, and raise them again to their shoulders,” Gleig wrote. “Five guns, moreover, played upon us without intermission: in a word, I can compare the shower of balls of all sizes and descriptions, which whistled round us, to nothing more aptly, than the pelting of a hail storm, which a strong northeasterly wind drives into your face. The whole ground at our feet was ploughed up with them, and their singing was like that of a tempest through the bare cordage of a vessel at anchor.”

The flotillamen’s and Marines’ artillery was especially well sited. Barney placed his big 18-pounder guns at a slight angle to the road where they could sweep the field in front of his position. Miller set up his three 12-pounders to protect his flank. The Marine and flotilla gunners loaded their cannon with a double shot of grape and canister, two lethal antipersonnel rounds. Grape, or grapeshot, was a canvas bag filled with 1½- or 2-inch lead balls. Canister was a can filled with up to 50 musket balls. Their effect on massed infantry was devastating.

The British advanced to within 50 yards of his line when Barney ordered his guns to fire. The 18-pounders belched fire and smoke, clearing the road. Dead and wounded British soldiers covered the road while the remainder scampered for cover. Colonel Thornton rode up and rallied his men, leading them in a second charge that Barney’s sailors and Miller’s Marines met with another volley of grape, canister, and musket fire. The blast killed Thornton’s horse, an Arabian he had had since his days in the Peninsular War.

The British recoiled and surged forward a third time, and for a third time the Marines leveled their muskets and Barney’s gunners stood by their cannon and let loose another volley. Thornton, sword in hand, fell with a wound in his thigh, his uniform riddled with bullet holes. Lieutenant Colonel William Wood took over the brigade and fell just as quickly with wounds in his side and chest. Major George Bowen next assumed command and attempted to rally the staggered British.

Miller, on a signal from Barney, led 78 Marines and a group of flotillamen in a headlong charge. The Marines attacked with the bayonet while the sailors wielded cutlasses. All the men charged yelling, “Board ’em! Board ’em!”

The charge sent the British into retreat. Flotilllaman Charles Ball observed that “If the militia regiments on our right and left, could have been brought to charge . . . we should have killed or taken the whole of them in a short time.”

The Marines drove the British back to a wooded ravine, then returned to their own position. Several Marines lay dead and several more lay wounded, including Sergeant Thomas Holiday, who was the number two–ranking noncommissioned officer in the Corps. Miller suffered a slight wound but remained with his command.

The charge all but shattered the 85th, but British reinforcements were now streaming in. General Ross led the line companies of the 4th, 21st, and 44th regiments onto the field and rallied the battered light infantry. He rode across in full view of his men and the Americans, exhorting the British. “I thought then and think yet, that General Ross was one of the finest looking men on horseback I have ever seen,” recalled Ball.

The reorganized British force surged forward, where it met the Marines bayonet to bayonet. The three Marine cannon joined the battle, spitting out grape and canister. The combined artillery and musket fire forced the British back once more. Ross, seeing the hopelessness of a frontal attack, ordered his men to strike the flanks. The British easily pushed through the remaining militia, making them “run like sheep from dogs,” said Ball. Captain Sevier turned the Marines’ cannon to the left to counter the British move on that flank, while Barney ordered his sailors to cover the right.
Yep ... you need to read it all.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Diversity Thursday

Quotas! (or fried air)

I don't know what I can really say. It is damning all by itself.
"The force that protects a democracy should reflect the population that it protects much more than we do today," he added.
U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said more women should be serving in the Navy and Marine Corps, and plans to take action to boost their presence in those military branches.

"We don't have enough women in either the Navy or the Marine Corps," Mabus told the Reuters Aerospace and Defense Summit on Wednesday as he kicked off a drive to expand the number of women in the Navy.

Women represent 18 percent of the Navy and 8 percent of the Marine Corps, Mabus said.

"I don't know exactly what the goal ought to be, but I know those are too low," ... "The more diverse input you have into something, the better the organization is," Mabus said.
We have an all volunteer force. You get those who have the interest and entering qualifications to raise their right hand. Does he think there is active discrimination against women and minorities in accessions and promotion? If so, who is being brought up on charges?

I hope he doesn't, because that would mean that he has led that gaggle of bigots for over half a decade - but don't worry, he doesn't. No, he is just trying to sound all aflutter because graphs don't match. He wants them to - but to do so, you have to move numbers. To do what he wants though, you'd have to force it.

If you are going to try to force a number, then you going to wind up looking like a fool or a fiend. If you take 100 17-yr old boys and 100 17-yr old girls and ask them, "Step forward if you want to join the military." You are not going to get the same numbers. That is nature, that is what it is. 

More women than not would like to actually help raise their children or have more than one or two. Except in exceptional circumstances like a close friend of mine whose husband decided to go USNR and be a full time househusband, you can not do that and be a front running, fully deployable Sailor. Oh, and that's OK. Not everyone can or should stay in for 30 years.

The only way to move the needle any significant way is to create sub-optimal, misallocation of resources and discrimination on a broad scale. Is that really what he wants to do?

Anyway, read the whole thing. It is an intellectual and moral house of cards that I don't really need to beat up on it more - there is more fetid business about.

We have another place where leadership refuses to ask and address the very real causes and issues, and instead takes the intellectually lazy road of simply looking at numbers and wanting everything to magically match up.

Life is not that simple;
U.S. Army sociologists are worried that a lack of black officers leading its combat troops will have detrimental effect on minorities and lead to fewer black officers in top leadership posts.

“The issue exists. The leadership is aware of it,” Brig. Gen. Ronald Lewis toldUSA Today on Thursday. “The leadership does have an action plan in place. And it’s complicated.”
Just as the NBA and the Olympic curling team do not "look like America" - in an all volunteer force based on personal desire and objective criteria, it should not be a shock that differences exist.

If we are going to focus on the numbers of black Americans serving as the linked article does, then I would prefer that we not imply that the military is doing something wrong. It isn't, as a matter of fact, the military is one of the most inclusive organizations in our nation. The only people who actively promote discrimination based on race, creed, color, or national origin are those in the diversity and inclusion commissariat who rely on sectarianism for a paycheck.

There are huge societal and cultural reasons why, especially among officers, the numbers don't match up. If you are going to have a true meritocracy in place in the military, then you are going to have trouble having the numbers of blacks represented at senior levels in line with their general population numbers. 

Let's look at underlying causes; headwinds if you will, to a natural, balanced percentage breakout per race and ethnicity - and let's stick to cold, hard, neutral facts. 

First let's look at this graphic from The Economist - not exactly a St0rmfr0nt publication.
In 2012 America reported 14,827 cases of murder and manslaughter, ... That is 4.7 homicides per 100,000 people: the lowest rate in over 50 years but far higher than in other rich countries. Canada sees 1.6 murders per 100,000; western European countries, just one.

Three-quarters of all victims and nearly 90% of perpetrators are male. Black Americans are only 13% of the population, but over 50% of murder victims. Among black men between 20 and 24, the murder rate is over 100 per 100,000 (see chart). If this group were a country, it would be more violent than Honduras, the world’s most violent nation.
That is just one indicator of a sub-culture out of alignment with the rest of the nation with regard to crime. Check the FBI stats - the numbers are even more stark. Young men involved in crime are not those being brought in to the military in number - nor should they. This is just a small headwind.

The fact that the overwhelming percentage of crimes are made by men, and the military is also overwhelming male - this disparity of crime rates among races will manifest themselves even more when you are looking at groups of people eligible to serve. The headwind gets a bit stronger now.

What about basic academic ability based on objective testing? If you like statistics, you can dig through this work on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery from '92, but I find this from The Brookings Institute more useful for a broad view of the challenge:
AFRICAN AMERICANS currently score lower than European Americans on vocabulary, reading, and mathematics tests, as well as on tests that claim to measure scholastic aptitude and intelligence. This gap appears before children enter kindergarten (figure 1-1), and it persists into adulthood. It has narrowed since 1970, but the typical American black still scores below 75 percent of American whites on most standardized tests. On some tests the typical American black scores below more than 85 percent of whites?

The black-white test score gap does not appear to be an inevitable fact of nature. It is true that the gap shrinks only a little when black and white children attend the same schools. It is also true that the gap shrinks only a little when black and white families have the same amount of schooling, the same income, and the same wealth. But despite endless speculation, no one has found genetic evidence indicating that blacks have less innate intellectual ability than whites. Thus while it is clear that eliminating the test score gap would require enormous effort by both blacks and whites and would probably take more than one generation, we believe it can be done.

This conviction rests mainly on three facts:

--When black or mixed-race children are raised in white rather than black homes, their preadolescent test scores rise dramatically. Black adoptees' scores seem to fall in adolescence, but this is what we would expect if, as seems likely, their social and cultural environment comes to resemble that of other black adolescents and becomes less like that of the average white adolescent.

--Even nonverbal IQ scores are sensitive to environmental change. Scores on nonverbal IQ tests have risen dramatically throughout the world since the 1930s. The average white scored higher on the Stanford-Binet in 1978 than 82 percent of whites who took the test in 1932. Such findings reinforce the implications of adoption studies: large environmental changes can have a large impact on test performance.

--Black-white differences in academic achievement have also narrowed throughout the twentieth century. The best trend data come from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), which has been testing seventeen-year-olds since 1971 and has repeated many of the same items year after year. Figure 1-2 shows that the black-white reading gap narrowed from 1.25 standard deviations in 1971 to 0.69 standard deviations in 1996. The math gap fell from 1.33 to 0.89 standard deviations. When Min-Hsiung Huang and Robert Hauser analyzed vocabulary scores for adults born between 1909 and 1969, the black-white gap also narrowed by half.
Very strong headwind. We prefer to enlist high school graduates. What about high school graduation rates?
In school year 2011–12, some 3.1 million public high school students, or 81 percent, graduated on time with a regular diploma. Among all public high school students, Asians/Pacific Islanders had the highest graduation rate (93 percent), followed by Whites (85 percent), Hispanics (76 percent), and American Indians/Alaska Natives and Blacks (68 percent each).
Commissioned officers need a college degree. What about college?
About 58 percent of whites and 69 percent of Asians who entered four-year colleges in 1996 had a bachelor’s degree six years later, compared to 39 percent of blacks and 46 percent of Hispanics,
This is well beyond the charter of the military to fix. We are on the receiving end of what society produces, and we cannot in good faith force the numbers to match. The only way to do that is through the unfair, dishonest, and dishonorable short cut of actively discriminating against people on the basis of race, creed, color and national origin. That is not only a disservice to those who are discriminated against, but automatically puts a cloud over those from racial and ethnic groups who would have qualified on their own merit regardless of preferences, but are put in a group that are given what is taken from others.

That is, after all, what Mabus the the Army as asking for - to put the thumb of favor towards preferred groups - taking away from the objectively more qualified and giving to the objectively unqualified only for one reason - to make the Cultural Marxists of the diversity and inclusion industry happy and employed. Just as Jim Crow laws kept the foam flecked bigots happy in the old Mississippi that both Mabus and I both know better than we like to discuss in polite company. He knows the pool he is playing in - our families come from the same background and history.

Emotions can get the best of people in this discussion - and that is a large reason why, as stated by Attorney General Eric Holder, we are cowards about race. The science can be uncomfortable ... but is fairly clear.

Does it apply to all individuals? Of course not - but we are talking about groups, and not all groups are the same - not today. Combine cultural, educational, and objective academic capability differences - and you have one heck of a headwind to fight, if you choose to fight it.

By not addressing the root cause of the difference in some numbers, is there an implied insult to everyone who is wearing the uniform? An implication that the numbers are what they are in 2014 because we are a racist institution against, in this case it seems, blacks and certain other race and ethnic groups? I really hope that isn't it, and I don't think it is. I just think that the diversity and inclusion commissariat have them by the short hairs and they don't have the strength to fight the good fight.

What is best is to accept the reality of what comes our way and evaluate everyone as individuals; individuals that if they choose to serve will each come to us with distinct knowledge, skills and attributes that they have to bring to the fight? Their race? Who cares? They, and we, can't do anything about that - nor should we.

We have come so far as a nation to try to weld such primitive, destructive, and retrograde answers to complicated questions. If you desire social justice, than you need to look to the family, to the schools, to the culture to chase that chimera - the military solved its problems decades ago. 

You can remove NROTC from every majority Asian and white college in the nation and set aside a larger percentage of NROTC scholarships to historically black colleges and universities until the crack of doom - but you will not change facts. No, you will only become what you like to tell people what you abhor - a race focused, practicing and proud bigot.

That is something we have no need for on our watch, on our ship, or on in our Navy.

Hat tip S.

UPDATE: DivThu seems to be in the air. Interesting posts at GreenieBoard and Instapundit. Also check out the guest poster at Thomas E. Ricks's blog over at FP.

Stavridis tacks right ...

Hmmm ....
"Without question we will see our young men and women engaged in combat. I don't think they'll be given a primary, direct, combat assignment initially, but I think it's entirely possible that as events change and morph, the situation may ultimately require that," said former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Adm. James Stavridis.

"If we're going to be honest, we ought to start by saying we'll send in troops and they're going to advise, train, ,mentor, and they'll stiffen the Iraqi security forces and they'll stiffen the Peshmerga in the north, and we'll do the bombing in the west and initially no combat mission," he said.
You you can watch the full interview here.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Europe has a larger Islamic problem than it thinks

The below has been making its way around this week, and I wanted to give a little context to it.

Some have stated that these are low-ball numbers. Perhaps - but we have what we have, let's run with it. Ponder and note that the USA number is 100? Not that bad for a nation of 313.9 million souls. What about the other, smaller nations with larger numbers?

They have a problem.

To truly understand the blowback that is coming to Western Europe, I've converted these numbers in to American relative terms, i.e. as a percentage of the population, what would that look like if America had the same numbers?

Ireland: 2,049
Britain: 2,449
Belgium: 8,408
Germany: 1,557
France: 3,328
The Netherlands: 2,803
Spain: 1,151
Denmark: 5,591
Norway: 3,087
Sweden: 3,272
Finland: 1,731

I think we can deal with our 100. Over 5,000? That would be a different challenge.

The wages of mass Muslim immigration dropped in to a non-assimilation, multi-cultural context. There you go.

Multi-culturalism is national suicide. Assimilation is the only way to success.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Searching for the military Laffer Curve

I love think pieces, the ones you read that make you stop, read again, and then parse.

Find the chaff, define the wheat, and then shuffle again - breaking in to bits.

Fresh off his civilian clothes shopping spree now that the uniform is in the back of the closet, our friend Jerry Hendrix, CAPT USN (Ret.) is stretching out his PhD on his new desk at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) in a bit at The National Interest that is well worth you stopping by to read in full; A Conservative Defense Policy for 2014: Look to Eisenhower.

In my first run at Jerry's bit, I was a bit drawn off what I think are some unnecessary distractions. I think they are there because this probably should have been broken in to a few articles. Valid topics worthy of discussion, but perhaps best in a separate article. 

The first distraction was the opening partisanship vibe it gave off - right away it puts up walls to half your readers if they imply what follows is another (R)-bad (D)-not bad bit;
Recent discussions amongst Republicans regarding U.S. Defense force structure have revealed an ongoing disagreement between two camps within the party. Military Hawks, citing the recent disturbances in Ukraine and Iraq, have begun to beat the drum for more resources to be allocated for the Department of Defense to address threats that never really subsided. Fiscal Hawks, focused on budget deficits that stretch as far as the eye can see, continue to argue for DoD to continue to be part of a basket of cuts in entitlements and discretionary programs.
That is a good argument to have, but why limit a two-sided debate to one party? No reason to make this seem partisan to some readers, you have to draw in the inside argument for the other party - there is one if you look for it. In any event, Republicans only have one-half of Congress - they aren't even a majority decision maker. The Democrats hold most of the power levers, especially holding the Commander in Chief billet, that are the key in making any significant decisions in defense.

Maybe it is just me and my ongoing theme of the need to find and nurture a bi-partisan defense consensus. There is one, but we keep missing opportunities to feed it - I'm a little sensitive to the topic. 

Sure, there are extremes on defense in both parties that will never learn good sandbox skills for the benefit of all - but there is a large group from both sides of the aisle whose interests well overlap and are the key to finding the right answer to a very real challenge.

In his article, Jerry only brings up the Democrats directly in this context;
The Democrats need to come to the table to address the looming crises in Social Security and healthcare.
Yes, they do - but so do Republicans. By not at least addressing the internal debate in both parties on defense and entitlement spending, an opportunity is missed by putting Republican interest in defense and Democrat interest in domestic issues - the actual situation is much more nuanced. Lost opportunity and a distraction, but let's move on.

I would offer that this one aspect of the article should be set to the side whether you enjoy it or not, because Jerry is bringing up some reference points that are spot on and should be the part of all efforts to find the right solution;
It has not been so long since the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff pronounced that our debt posed a grave threat to our national security at home and around the world.
we should not give way to election-year desires to spend more, ignoring the long-term implications of our debt.
In the end, a major inflationary pressure remains our addiction to exquisite platforms.
There he hits it. Regulars here and at Midrats know this is a topic that is absolutely critical. "Exquisite," "Tiffany," "Perfect vs. Good," "Transformational!," - the Biblical plagues we have suffered over the last couple of decades. Regardless of how we got here or who is at fault, it needs to be fixed now.

This is where my review of Jerry's article turns. He sets out an argument that is incomplete but central, and a valid starting point;
... the United States needs to maintain a military strong enough to deter the rise of competitors and preserve its ability to respond to crises around the world, the question that remains is: how large and how capable does our military have to be to accomplish these twin goals?
I don't think a strong military will deter the rise of competitors, just as Rome did not deter the Germanic tribes or the British Empire deterred Imperial Germany - but a military does need to be strong enough to decisively meet any challenge at war while being effective and affordable in peace, or at least a warm peace. (NB the word "strong" does not necessarily mean "big" - more on that in a bit).
Objective analysis suggests that a path exists that would allow cuts to the DoD budget and marginal growth in the force. Such a path is predicated on recognizing that our national fascination with high-tech weapons systems has led to a defense culture where the exquisite has become the enemy of the “good enough.”
There it is. That is the core; that is the question - that is the sexy bit.

Is that a path, or a destination - or both? How do you visualize the quandary that less can give you more, and that to meet a nation's national security requirements - more might actually be less?

Is it as simple as quality vs quantity? Platforms vs. payloads? Size vs nimbleness? Yes and no.

How do we boil that down? For me, I go back to my other calling; economics.

Economics is the perfect meeting place between the hard and soft sciences - the STEM and the philosopher. Yes, self-serving observation, but it is my blog, so roll with me a bit.

I will make an assumption - you all know what the Laffer Curve it. If not, read up and come back.

If you are looking for my takeaway visual for most of what Jerry is looking for and trying to explain - here you go. Let's call it the Salamander Curve. Ahem ... OK, the Salamander-Hendrix Curve ... ehhhh, alright then; Hendrix-Salamander Curve, whatever ...

Executive Summary: for every national security military requirement (X), there is a place where the maximum benefit is gained between cost, complexity, and utility. The challenge is to find that maximum benefit. On either side of that point, you are operating at a suboptimal level; either you are spending too much on too much complexity and producing a diminishing level of capability to the nation, or you are spending too little on obsolete or sub-optimal platforms to achieve what is required. Depending on where you are, you can spend more on more complex systems and personnel and gain additional national security benefit, or you can spend more and get less.

Jerry put it, perhaps, a bit more eloquently.
It is unwise to accept the false premise that we can only arrive at a larger force by spending more on the same types of platforms that we are already building. A conservative approach to the future must find the right balance between high-priced silver bullets that can only be purchased in small numbers and low technology assets that can be purchased in large quantities at low costs. ... The turning point on defense will occur when we recognize that spending less money does not have to equate to a smaller force. Wise leaders have a credible alternative in defense-force structure and should pursue it.