Sunday, January 31, 2016

Naval Presence and National Strategy, with Jerry Hendrix - on Midrats

From the same school as "If you want peace, prepare for war," a global maritime power must maintain a presence at sea. It must design a national strategy in line with its economic capability and political will, and make sure it mans, trains, and equips its navy in line with the design.

If presence is a critical function of a navy, how is it best accomplished, what are the tradeoffs, and how does it impact friends, competitors, and those sitting on the fence?

Our guest for the full hour to discuss this and more this Sunday from 5-6pm Eastern will be Dr. Henry J. Hendrix, Jr, CAPT USN (Ret).

Jerry is a Senior Fellow and the Director of the Defense Strategies and Assessments Program at the Center for a New American Security.

When on active duty, his staff assignments include tours with the Chief of Naval Operation’s Executive Panel (N00K), and the OSD Office of Net Assessment From 2011-2012 he served as the Director and Designated Federal Officer of the Secretary of the Navy’s Advisory Panel. He also contributed to the 2012 Department Posture Statement to the Congress. Following the fall, 2011 Navy Inspector General’s Report on the state of the Naval History and Heritage Command, he was verbally ordered by the Secretary to assume the position of Director of Naval History.

Hendrix previously served as the Navy Fellow to the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University. He has been awarded a Bachelor Degree in Political Science from Purdue University, Masters Degrees from the Naval Postgraduate School (National Security Affairs) and Harvard University (History) and received his doctorate from King’s College, London (War Studies).

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.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Fullbore Friday

There is a case that can be made for LCS. It is that, yes, LCS is really that bad - but it is what it is. We need good enough until we can get our act together and get better.

5 years past the tipping point to get better and on the down-slope to the Terrible 20s, they have a point. It is a good and sober opinion, and one that has some historical support.

An encore FbF puts some light on that idea. Ponder it a bit. You can also ponder that a FLOWER Class Corvette is still a more dangerous warship to everything but aircraft than a 2016 LCS ... but let's not spoil the party a bit.

For you fans of, "The Cruel Sea" ....

What happens when a Navy finds itself short and has to play catch-up until the yards can design and build a more capable fleet? Sink all its funds into a few big ships and then hold its breath? Perhaps build good enough until you get yourself straightened out? Go smart?
They were a stop-gap measure to take the strain of convoy protection until large numbers of larger vessels — destroyers and frigates — could be produced. Their simple design using parts common to merchant shipping meant they could be constructed in small commercial shipyards all over the United Kingdom and eastern Canada where larger ships like destroyers could not be built. Additionally, the use of commercial machinery meant that the largely reserve and volunteer crews that manned them were familiar with their operation.
Yep, you knew they were going to make it to FbF - The Flower Class Corvette from one of the books on Phibian's professional reading list (hey, there is an idea I never get around to), The Cruel Sea. For a 205', 33' beam 16 kt ship - she seems multi-mission to me.
* 1 x 4 in (102 mm) BL Mk IX gun,
* One QF 2 pounder naval gun (40 mm) "pom-pom"
* Six x 20 mm Oerlikon anti-aircraft guns
* One Hedgehog A/S Mortar
* Depth charge projectors
Range 3,500 nautical miles at 12 knots, and oh boy did they made a lot of them; 267. Duty is as duty does - the Battle of the Atlantic would have been lost without them.
Service on corvettes was cold, wet, monotonous and uncomfortable. The ships were nicknamed "the pekingese of the ocean". They had a reputation of being very bad at rolling in heavy seas, with 80-degree rolls (that is, 40 degrees each side of the normal upright position) (check out the pics here) being fairly common - according to Nicholas Monsarrat they "would roll on wet grass" - however, they were very seaworthy ships, and no seaman was ever lost overboard from a Flower during WW2.
Flower corvettes provided the main escort duties during the critical Battle of the Atlantic, and so were in the thick of the fight. Their primary aim was to ensure that merchantmen survived the crossing rather than sink U-boats, and so if a convoy encountered a U-boat a typical action would involve the corvette forcing the submarine to dive (thus limiting its speed and manoeverability) and keeping it underwater (and pre-occupied with avoiding depth charge attack) long enough for the convey to pass unmolested. This tactic was stretched to the limits when the U-boats made a 'wolf-pack' attack, intended to swamp the convoy's defences, and the Flower's low top speed made effective pursuit of a surfaced U-boat impossible.

Radar, Huff-Duff radio direction finding, depth-charge projectors and ASDIC meant that the Flower was well equipped to detect and defend, but lack of speed meant that they were not so capable of joining the more glamorous fast hunter-killer surface groups which were in place by the end of the war. Success for a Flower, therefore, should be measured in terms of tonnage protected rather than U-Boats sunk. Typical reports of convoy actions by these craft include numerous instances of U-Boat detection near a convoy, short engagement with gun or depth-charge, followed by a rapid return to station as another U-Boat takes advantage of the fight to attack the unguarded convoy. Continuous actions of this kind against a numerically superior U-Boat pack demanded considerable seamanship skills from all concerned, and were very wearing on the crew.

35 were lost at sea, of which 22 were torpedoed by U-boats, and 4 sunk by mines. It is thought that Flowers participated in the sinking of 47 U-boats and 4 Italian submarines.
How is this for you Snipes out there.
2 fire tube boilers, one 4-cycle triple-expansion steam engine
Don't laugh at that plant - after the war they proved their value.
Of particular interest is the story of HMCS Sudbury, built in Ontario in 1941. After WW2 ended she was converted to a towboat and Harold Elworthy, owner of Island Tug & Barge bought her in 1954. The Sudbury and her crew specialized in deep-sea salvage and completed many dramatic operations, but made their reputation in November/December 1955 when they pulled off the daring North Pacific rescue of the Greek freighter Makedonia.

The Sudbury towed the disabled vessel for 40 days through some of the roughest weather imaginable before arriving safely into Vancouver to a hero's welcome. The incident made headlines around the world and for the next decade the Sudbury and her 65-meter sister ship Sudbury II, purchased by Island Tug in 1958 were the most famous tugs on the Pacific coast.
There is actually one as a museum ship, HMCS SACKVILLE (K-181) that is pictured below. What a class of ship.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Terrible 20s is About More Than Money

We've defined the Terrible 20s here for years, that horrible mix of debt bombs, recapitalizing our SSBN fleet, and the need to replace and modernize legacy aircraft, ships and the concepts that designed them.

Sydney Freedberg Jr. over at BreakingDefense has a great overview of the challenges all services will face in the next decade, but to make our point, let's pull up the DON Air and Surface/Sub-Surface charts. Here you will see the other part of the Terrible 20's I don't think we have talked about much - the gaping intellectual shortfall.

Where are our designs to replace DDG-51? We cannot build them until the second coming. What about the replacement for the F-18 (no, the F-35 will not be that). I see the line for FA-XX and a little chat here and there, but where is the debate (we need the debate to fight the transformationalists who seem to have sold SECNAV on unmanned systems as the Unicorn of Purity)? That is just the top two, there are other's that are in dire need of new designs too.

These need to be making shadows on the ramp and displacing water in a decade ... we are late. Please don't tell me we are going to have a last minute too big to fail no plan-b train wreck again ... but it looks like we are. I have seen no evidence that we are going to change the horrible acquisition system we have that gave birth to the F-35, LCS, and DDG-1000. We will keep doing the same thing and expect a different result. 

I pray the next administration will have the luck and wisdom to bring people in with the wisdom and power to do more than be a food-trough caretaker. Sigh.

I know these things are being worked on, but we need to drag them out of the shadows. Time and money are not going to be our friends here; we have already wasted too much of both.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

If This is Defending LCS, You're Doing it Wrong

The events of the last year have, in a way, been a Pyrrhic victory for long standing LCS critics. It would have been the best thing for our Navy and its nation if we had been wrong - and as I mentioned years ago, I wished I were proven wrong - but the facts are clear; this sub-optimal platform will saddle our Navy for the next three decades with lost opportunity, China doll deathtraps that will remind everyone of the cost of the Transformationalists' Tiffany Navy.

In the global marketplace of ideas, the verdict is in. No one is trying to replicate the LCS concept. While we have been making excuses during the long, slow rollout of both LCS variants, the Dutch, Danes, Germans, French, Russians and others have commissioned and deployed superior sub-7,000 ton warships that, unlike LCS, are ready to go to war tomorrow. They are very real, self-deployable warships with provable performance metrics that LCS can't seem to get off the PPT.

Other nations' mocking performance in their rollouts do not stop our blinkered LCS advocates who just won't let go. They cannot accept that their beautiful little theory has been destroyed by a rampaging gang of facts and experience.

They yell louder, they call people names, but the facts continue to be what they are.

If you are new here and to the argument against LCS, just click the LCS tag. There is over a decade of commentary here on it - with links that go back even further. A little more than half decade ago when I realized we had moved past the tipping point to execute Plan Salamander and mitigate much of the negative 2nd and 3rd order effects from this snakebit program, I settled on just hoping that with enough time and money, we could salvage something of use from this program.

SECNAV Mabus & SECDEF Carter have helped in the last year. In not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good, most of us had welcomed the stage whisper admission of the failure that led to the redesign of the LCS in to a kind of FF inline with the previous decades LCS-(I) concept, and finally the premature ending of the run. A half-decade late, but a welcome end to the bleeding.

Now, as we have repeated often the last few years, the great effort is to see what can be done to make these ships of some use. You have the Navy you are given, not the one you want.

Does that mean we should stop beating up on LCS/FF? No, not at all. The horrible shortcomings of this program need to be brought out and gibbeted on a regular basis as a warning to future program managers and leaders as to what no to do. It is also needed as now and then, some members of the rapidly decreasing member of the Cult of LCS step out of the shadows and once again try to convince the unwashed masses that LCS is really all that and a box of chocolates. Everyone, you see, are just too stupid, ignorant, or compromised to see its perfection. Have they not seen the PPT? Have they not read the CONOPS? Do they not tasted its awesomesauce?

Well, over at WOTR, our old buddy Steven has dusted off the LCS Tent Revival Handbook to enlighten the heathens. It has kind of a old-timey feel to it, but as the ball is tee'd up, let's grab an old Big Bertha and give a whack at it.

He is a true believer and means well ... but he's wrong, and here's why.

Let's start with the title;
What? Is it still 2007? Shipmate, we are way past the "choose" point. The choice was made, measured, found wanting, regretted, and then retracted. By design, at this point it is our only option - and we've already rejected it with seven servings of buyer's regret.

How is that working out for us?
USS Fort Worth, successfully deployed to Singapore in a variety of missions suffered an engineering casualty that appears similar to that of Milwaukee.
Outline all those PMA it performed, ifyoudontmind. "Successful." I'm sorry - is this successful?
The USS Fort Worth, a Navy littoral combat ship, has suffered extensive gear damage while docked at a port in Singapore. The Navy is blaming the incident on a crew error.

According to reports, the crew failed to use sufficient lube oil, leading to excessively high temperatures on the gears. Debris also found its way into the lubrication system, which also contributed to failure, Defense News reports. The crew did not follow standard operating procedures.
I have yet to see a deployment debrief where gross maintenance neglect is in the "successful" slide. Makes for a rough end of tour award write-up.

Silly. Let's see what else is being thrown up against the wall.
The relatively small size of America’s fleet means that a much higher percentage of ships must be forward-based in order to meet demands for both presence and war fighting missions articulated in the 2015 Cooperative Maritime Strategy.
Relative to who? "What" is forward based and "where" is more important than a number, especially in transition to war. For the foreseeable future, LCS will not be able to conduct any more meaningful war fighting missions than the USN gunboats of COMYANGPAT could after Dec. 7th 1941.
The LCS remains the best program to pursue a modular small combatant.
How long do we pursue until we actually achieve? LCS-1 was commissioned ~8 years ago, 1/3 of its service life. I think we have the answer. With the transition to FF, bolt-on ASCM, and truncated production ... I think the pursuit has turned in to acceptance of failure.
The LCS program has been plagued with legitimate problems to be sure, but defense media sources would rather garner headlines for reporting problems such as the Milwaukee and recent Fort Worth engineering problems rather than analyze why the Defense Department and the Navy chose and have retained the LCS concept.
Blaming the messenger is not a way to progress. I'm sorry, but as per the below, this is simply false. If LCS concept was good, there would be no FF, you would get full production, and other navies would be producing their own versions.

LCS is a peacetime concept that has not even met its minimum theoretical wartime utility requirements for ASUW, MIW, or ASW. As long as we don't have to go to war, LCS will do fine. As long as we continue to shovel money and excuses at it, LCS will do fine. As long as we continue to set lower standards for it to meet, LCS will do fine.
The 2015 Cooperative Maritime Strategy states that 300 ships will be required to provide both presence and war fighting capability in forward operating areas.
Well, no, we don't live in that universe. With the huge debt bomb ticking away, land powers of Russian and China stretching, domestic budget requirements expanding, and the need to recapitalize our SSBN fleet ... well, no. We are not going to get as many ships as we want, or for that matter we need. We also should not just go for numbers for numbers sake. That is a false economy.
Given the success of the Fort Worth deployment and the potential capability of its anti-ship missile armament, the LCS supports both presence and warfighting as required by the Cooperative Maritime Strategy.
Everything is "potential" with this class of ships. A bolt-on, non-integrated, high RCS box launcher on deck is better than nothing (a moment of quiet reflection for the wasted space where NLOS was supposed to be), but again ... long range ASCM was not in the LCS CONOPS. That is simply trying to get something out of it - a move I approve of for what is is worth. You can bolt those on anything, so why not LCS?
A Reasonable Price
For what? A self-propelled 57mm gun and some bolt on 1-off weapons? Give me three accountants and they will give me four different cost estimations for each Unicorn Class FMC LCS (including contractor shore support etc), but this is just silly at this stage of the game. If you want to go there, then here is a question. Is it better to have 10 ships that have limited capability or 6 ships that are fully mission capable through their primary mission areas?

Which is better; to buy 10 $1 items that give you $.85 utility, or to buy 5 $2 items that give you $2.2 utility in return?
Intelligence and/or future strategic requirements may suggest a larger frigate than the modified LCS with greater range, but unlike the late 1970s there is no need for an escort with a destroyer’s armament to plug a gap in overall U.S. surface force capabilities.
Actually, intelligence and future strategic requirements already suggest a larger frigate than the modified LCS, and as for convoy escort ... a secondary mission, sure. Who is asking for a primarily designed convoy escort? PEO Strawman would like their job back.
The LCS, through its system of modular capabilities resident on a common hull offers an affordable solution to the problem of how to field multiple low-end capabilities and rapidly and affordably update them over time. Each LCS mission package is an assembly of sensors, weapons, associated equipment, and the sailors needed to operate them. The mission module list currently features surface warfare, antisubmarine warfare and mine warfare packages. An LCS can only support one module at a time. LCS represents a compromise in a common hull for all three missions that it is larger than the MCM and PC units, but smaller than the Perry class frigates it replaces.
Oh just stop. Mission modules remain only PPT deep. None are even close to being ready to deploy, much less prove their worth under operational conditions. Also, LCS-1 is ~85% the displacement of a Perry class frigate, and only 30' shorter.
One wonders how the FFG-7 or DD 963 classes, both labeled as under-armed and unsurvivable, or the excessively expensive AEGIS system would have fared in an Internet age of instant criticism and anonymous condemnation.
ISWYDT. I love when it becomes about me, but back to the game. 

First of all, we need to stop even trying to parallel LCS with OHP, but if you so wish, we can. Eight years in to the Perry class, we had commissioned 50 of them and they were conducting global fleet operations in all mission areas.

For the SPRUCANS, eight years in to the program and all 31 had been commissioned, and ditto performance at sea as the OHP.

TICO? 20 ships and the AEGIS bugs well worked out with refinements ongoing. 
The LCS program represents a reasonable attempt to field a common small combatant that meets present U.S. requirements and fits within the force structure of the 2nd decade of the 21st century. Its cost remains significantly lower than other proposed solutions from the analysis community. It has suffered unremitting criticism from an analysis community unhappy with the Navy’s choice of small combatant, from a defense press eager to publish bad news stories, from a retired community unfamiliar with its concept, and from legions of “hobbyists” who heretofore never had access to the age-old, messy process of compromise involved in producing a warship. In spite of criticisms, the LCS still represents the best way forward to produce a small combatant that meets multiple mission requirements in the 21st century.
Actually, no. LCS is a failed attempt. By reinforcing failure until recently, we have only damaged our navy and unnecessarily hazarded its Sailors when future conflict at sea comes. 

The best compromise with LCS has been the attempt to make a marginally better warship with the FF modification and the decision to stop throwing good money at a failed program by ending the buy early.

If you are looking for good news in the sad story that is LCS, that is it.

It would be great for our Navy and the nation it serves if one day I can go over to Steven and the other LCS advocates and say, "Folks, the next three rounds are on me. I was wrong about LCS. You were right. I should have seen this for what it is."

We are not there, and not heading there. As a matter of fact, I feel quite comfortable that day will never come.

The beatings, however, will continue.

Monday, January 25, 2016

The EU Conducts Phased Withdraw ... of Europe

I have called this an invasion for years, and it is.

Europe remains in denial in spite of the clear evidence at hand. As the EU as a body continues to try to find some way to make reality go away, it looks poised to cut Greece loose ... better than doing something that might cause the left to call you names, dontchaknow.

Let's review a few things;
European leaders are currently holding an urgent meeting in the Dutch capital Amsterdam amid warnings the EU is on the verge of collapse.

They say the Schengen treaty, which allows freedom of movement between member states, has been pushed to breaking point by the mass migration of people from Africa and the Middle East, and are set to debate extending border controls for two years.
I am still a bit amazed that the Europeans are looking to Islamist Turkey for help.
European Union leaders are considering the option to ring-fence Greece in order to stop the massive inflow of migrants coming from Turkey.

Despite the agreement with Turkey for 3 billion euros in financial aid in exchange for stemming the boat loads of migrants going to Greece, the inflow has not been reduced in the slightest. After the failure to cooperate with Turkey, the European Commission is considering more drastic measures.

EU leaders are considering blocking the passage to Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and offering financial aid to the non-EU Balkan country.

However, this would mean that tens of thousands migrants will end up stranded in Greece. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has warned Europe that Greece might become a “black box” for refugees.
Why would the Ottomans NOT want over a million military aged Muslims to invade Europe? No history there ...

Europe is being failed again by its elites, hiding from hard decisions;
About 35,000 have made the sea crossing from Turkey to Greece since the beginning of the year, a 20-fold increase on the same period last year.

“We don’t have any good options, only bad options on the table,” said a senior diplomat in Brussels. “This simply can’t continue. There’s agreement among the member states on that.”

With little apparent let-up in the numbers arriving via Turkey, three EU commissioners were in Ankara in what has turned into quasi-permanent negotiations with the Turkish government.

The EU cannot agree on how on how to fund the €3bn promised to the Turks to halt or slow migrant flows to Europe. Germany wants to pay Turkey more, and a joint statement from the German and Turkish governments following Berlin negotiations last Friday referred to the €3bn bill as merely a “first” payment.
Part of the problem is that they are being advised by the wrong people who state things that are simply not in alignment with experience and facts;
But Helene Rey, one of Europe's up-and-coming economists, said it was not too late.

"It is an opportunity. You have to invest in the integration of refugees and you get a return on that investment down the road," said the French academic.

This view was echoed by the International Monetary Fund that said in a report released in time for Davos: "In the long run, the economic impact will depend on the speed of integration of refugees into the labour market."
At least the Eastern Europeans are showing some spine in the face of a clear and present danger to the European experiment;
Hungary and Slovenia on Friday urged the erection of a fence along Greece's northern border, effectively sealing off the EU's passport-free Schengen area to migrants seeking to enter the bloc via the western Balkans.

"Just complaining that Greece is not protecting its borders isn't enough," Hungary's right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban said at a joint news conference with Slovenian counterpart Miro Cerar.

"We should take a man's stance and say we expect a fence to be built on the Macedonian and Bulgarian border with Greece and stop the migrant wave," said Orban.
If we are unable to protect the external borders of the European Union, however costly and strenuous it may be, the Schengen zone will be destroyed by we ourselves”, the Hungarian Prime Minister said at a press conference following a Hungarian-Slovenian joint cabinet meeting in Brdo pri Kranju, Slovenia. For this reason, fences have to be built on Greece’s border with Macedonia and Bulgaria to stop the influx of migrants, he pointed out.
Migration season hasn't even begun.

2016. Have a good year Europe. Ahem.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Getting Female Combat Integration Right With LtCol Kate Germano, USMC - on Midrats

How do we get combat integration of women right? The quest has moved well away from "if" and in to "how."

With an apparent broad disconnect between biological realities, cultural norms, and political desires, what is the right way for military leaders to carry out their orders while ensuring that combat effectiveness is maintained.

Our guest this Sunday from 5-6pm Eastern to discuss this and related issues for will be Lieutenant Colonel Kate Germano, USMC.

Commissioned in August 1996, LtCol Germano has served for over 19 years on active duty in the United States Marine Corps. A combat veteran, she additionally participated in numerous operational and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief deployments. Ashore, her duties including a year as the Marine Aide to the Secretary of the Navy.

She was selected for command twice, most recently as the commanding officer of the Marine Corps’ only all-female unit, the 4th Recruit Training Battalion. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Goucher College, where she majored in History with a pre-law emphasis. In 2011, she graduated with distinction from the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, earning her Masters of Military Science degree. She is actively engaged in the struggle to end gender bias in the military, and is a vocal proponent for equal rights and the elimination of double standards and lowered expectations for female conduct and performance.

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.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

BREAKING: Dog Bites Man; LCS Breaks Down - film at 11

I'm not sure what signals the weak horse more, video of USN Sailors on their knees in front of the Farsi Island Chapter of the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society, or the fact that the self-propelled 57mm gun that we seem to want to make the cornerstone of our Fleet becomes another static display pierside.

Another validation of what we have been telling you for over a decade. This china-doll, "exquisitely" engineered, Little Crappy Ship is an albatross around our neck tactically, operationally, and strategically.

Via Chris Cavas;
For the second time in a month, a US Navy littoral combat ship (LCS) has been sidelined due to machinery problems.

The Fort Worth, a Freedom-class LCS that has been operating for more than a year in the western Pacific, “experienced a casualty to the ship’s combining gears during an in-port period in Singapore Jan. 12,” according to Lt. Cmdr. Matt Knight, a spokesman for the US Pacific Fleet.

So far, according to Knight, “the casualty appears to be caused by a failure to follow established procedures during maintenance.”
The Fort Worth’s problem “is similar, but not related to what happened with the Milwaukee,” said one source familiar with the situation. The Milwaukee’s problem could have a physical cause, while the Fort Worth’s problem seems to have come from personnel not following proper procedures.

During sea trials last summer, the Milwaukee also experienced a problem when an engine was improperly turned on while the ship was in port, and resulting repairs caused the trials to be delayed.

A Navy source provided more details of the problem experienced with the Fort Worth in Singapore.

“During startup of the main propulsion diesel engines, lub[rication] oil was not supplied to the ship's combining gears due to an apparent failure to follow standard procedures,” the Navy source said.

“The insufficient flow of lube oil resulted in high temperature alarms on the port and starboard combining gears. An investigation is underway to examine the issue in depth and determine the corrective action required to prevent such actions in the future.”

Knight noted that “casualties involving watch standing procedures are rare. Our LCS crews are well-trained and familiar with this LCS variant.”
Basic navigation skills; check. Standard maintenance proceedures; check.

Heck of a start for the new year. Why don't we just put LCS on a stick and put them outside Coast Guard Stations and call it even or sump'n?

I am so glad I don't work with Royal Navy officers anymore. They would be merciless.

Diversity Thursday

We are way down the rabbit hole. This is absolute Sovietesque madness. Absolute insanity and a ghoul show of moral cowardice. Yes, I said that.

I am not sure people have actually read what is being pushed.

I'm going to say something I've said many times in my career, "Master Chief, I really need your help."

Master Chiefs of the Navy (not the MCPON) who are going to answer this call, this is over to you. 

You are bulletproof. They cannot do anything but ask you to sell your soul for a farthing. 

Help your Sailors and show them that someone will stand up to this insanity.

For everyone else, here is the alter-call;

Next below, Enclosure (1). 

This is what the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy is recommending as the benchmark and foundation of this working group. 

If you aren't gobsmacked, I don't know what can be done for you. If you don't come away with a headache, and either angry or in tears, then you are lost.

Now wait; I am going to ask you to do something that isn't easy. This is written by a Sociology PhD and is soaked in the worst in academic, multicultural, gender studies, and politically correct Social Marxism you can find. It is an intellectual horror show that is an affront to people of a free society. And it is from an Australian.

Just a few pull quotes, but you need to read all 165 nightmarish pages.
This chapter will address the question of how informal, everyday, on-the-job talk perpetuates exclusion, while maintaining the cultural norms and authority of the dominant group. In particular, it will investigate the kind of talk which is used to marginalise, and will outline some strategies which can be used by group members to overcome and manage marginalising talk. These strategies are provided through the voices of the interviewees who volunteered for the study. Each interviewee represents a voice of someone who identifies as belonging to a diversity group (as defined in Chapter 1) and who has had the experience of being marginalised. Yet these people have adapted and prevailed as long-term members of the four Services. Their voices bring a contemporary, personal account of language use in the Services that illustrates how everyday talk is used to construct and vary the levels of belongingness and group membership within the Defence workplace. Their insights and experiences offer the Defence organisation some opportunities for reflection and for cultural change. The results strongly suggest that junior and senior leadership have important roles to play in the monitoring and management of casual conversation.
...The Defence workplace is a male domain. Further, statistics also show that the workplace is dominated by third-generation Australians, that is, Australians who were born here and whose parents were also born here. Typically, third-generation Australians have identifiably Australian accents and have been socialised in Australian cultural norms. What this means is that the Defence workplace is typically blokey, dominated by the social norms of Anglo-Australian men. They work together acting out their collective habitus, assuming that each other knows how to behave like an Aussie bloke, with particular expectations on how everyday talk is conducted. Along with this is the expectation that everyone should behave like the dominant group. After all, the dominant group is in control of the legitimation code and so they can set the standard.

Studies on male everyday talk in Australia and New Zealand have shed light on the nature of this kind of talk. Various studies have demonstrated that the everyday talk of men is usually around workplace activities (Hay 2000; Eggins and Slade 1997; Holmes 2006). Talk is rarely about personal matters, but rather about work and mutual interests, such as sports and movies. Predictably, everyday talk includes humour which is used competitively whereby men ‘exchange jocular abuse ... with each contribution attempting to outdo previous contributions’ (Hay 1994 in Holmes 2006). The humour tends to hinge on sending up non-standard, social differences ranging from individual characteristics, such as gender and race, to differences in performance, skill sets and knowledge. Male workmates typically develop ‘customary, joking relationships’ (Norrick 1993, p. 6) which in many ways contribute to the nature of broader Australian culture, as well as that of Defence.
...Senior leaders need to model and champion inclusive language practices. Such language practices would need to be instituted through policy changes and also backed up by education and training particularly for junior leaders. Junior leaders, who interact everyday with their teams and who typically lead teams, need to be able to effectively model, identify, monitor and manage inappropriate talk.

This chapter has demonstrated that everyday talk matters and that the dominant Anglo-Australian male form of conversation includes banter as a mechanism for achieving group acceptance. This is an important part of day-to-day life in Defence, which is dominated by a knower code. Its strongly classified and framed social relations achieve the mission through team-based work. In this context, team acceptance is necessary for mission success and being different is potentially damaging for team cohesion. Team members who are different have to work to achieve group acceptance. If personnel do not know how to secure membership through everyday talk, diversity and social inclusion across the organisation is at stake. The onus is on the organisation to recognise this and remediate through supervision, management and training.
For whatever reason, difference is a risk to team acceptance. It has to be managed in everyday talk and, in order to do this, control of humour and banter are important as they are the mechanisms for minimising difference. The casual conversation analysis of the interviewees’ everyday talk at work demonstrated that banter can be used to include, provided targets of banter agree to play along and engage with the propositions, on the instigator’s terms.
... it is unlikely that the hegemony of Anglo-Australian male dominance will shift in the near future. Yet it is intrinsically unfair on the minority groups within Defence to do all the changing and adapting. This is the paradox facing Defence leadership. Do leadership just wait patiently for a critical mass to drive changes in socialisation while expecting minorities to adapt, or should intercultural education and training be instituted to raise awareness of the dos and don’ts of banter, offering all personnel an opportunity to learn ways of being socially inclusive?
Get a fresh cup of coffee. Pre-self-medicate with 500mg of Motrin. Gird you loins.


...and cry the beloved Navy.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Farsi Island Incident, One Week On

If you thought by now that Big Navy would let us know exactly HOW our two small boats found themselves hosted by the Iranians for a day, you are sadly left wanting.

Trust me, "Big Navy" knows, it just hasn't reached the point that it wants everyone else to know right now. No conspiracy, just the bureaucratic slug needs to slime its way to a decision.

Until then, there are still items coming out that will keep you up to date. If you are in a hurry, you can in a balanced way get an update from two places.

First, Marina Korin at TheAtlantic;
CENTCOM said the small boats stopped in the Gulf because of a “mechanical issue in a diesel engine” in one of the vessels. “This stop occurred in Iranian territorial waters, although it’s not clear the crew was aware of their exact location,” the statement said.

The two riverine command boats departed Kuwait at 9:23 a.m. GMT on January 12, the statement said. They were scheduled to stop and refuel alongside the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Monomoy at about 2 p.m. But at approximately 2:10 p.m., Navy command received a report that the sailors were being questioned by Iranians. By 2:45 p.m., the military lost all communication with the boats. ...
All weapons, ammunition, and communication gear on the boats were untouched, but two SIM cards appeared to have been removed from two handheld satellite phones, CENTCOM said.
Unaware in broad daylight. Ahem. That about sums it up, and tells me about all I need to know, but I'll let that card be revealed in due time, and the Navy's investigation take its course. That really isn't what is important anyway.

A more interesting take is from our friend Jerry Hendrix over at NationalReview;
Two thousand years ago, a Roman could wander the known world confident that he would be unmolested by local unruly elements, protected only by the statement “Civis romanus sum,” I am a Roman citizen. His confidence stemmed from a demonstrated assurance that any group that dared attack a Roman would trigger a response in the form of a Roman legion, which would deal swift and brutal justice. Juxtapose this image of a previous world-spanning hegemon with the image of ten American Sailors kneeling on the deck of their own vessel with their hands clasped together over their heads. It is an image of indignity and failure that is accompanied by the smell of rotting power.
This is where we find ourselves today, kneeling on the world’s stage, with our hands clasped over our heads, all the while trying to convince ourselves that this new position demonstrates our strength and earns respect. Civis americanus sum, I am an American citizen. Let the molesting begin.
Very much the undesired effect from what I laid out for you at USNIBlog last week.

If you are only interested in putting up political firewalls or get scope-locked in legalism and inner-focused bureaucratic processism, then you are missing the real story. It is how this impacts our image, reputation, and standing in a world that is encouraged by weakness, and only respects power.

That is the story.

Monday, January 18, 2016

How MLK Got Me Thinking of Pim Again

On MLK Day, many will be thinking of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. 48 years ago this April. What a huge loss for the King family and this nation. 

Considering who filled the gap after his death, we could have dearly used him in the last four decades - but that is just another twist of history from that horrible decade.

At the very least, his killer - who I will not name - got close to what he deserved. Though not executed, he did at least die in prison.

Political violence that results in death in free societies should be a capital crime above all others. It is where a gentle and free people find their backbone to respond with equal strength to defend the culture that allows a gentle and free society to exist. Freedom is fragile and often if left to weaken, will fold in the face of violence and evil. Without liberty striking down those who would destroy her, liberty will not last.

We are not the only free nation that suffers political violence. While thinking about today and catching up on the news from Germany, I started to think of many of those who helped inform my world view - some who are no longer with us.

As a fan of the Dutch Enlightenment, no surprise many of the modern influencers on my thoughts who are my contemporaries are Dutch.

Sadly, some are no longer with us, struck down by natural causes and political violence - and I miss them. I miss their abrasive wit and their uncomfortable opinions. I miss their clear and brave stance (from a guy who writes under a Nom du Blog, I know) in the face of opposition.

With the lineup of who is running for President, the invasion of Europe by hundreds of thousands of uneducated, unskilled, and unemployable military aged men from a hostile culture, and generally the business of the ship - I miss them.

I miss Andrew Breitbart. I miss Christopher Hitchens. I also miss someone I think most of you don't remember. He wasn't Anglosphere, he was Dutch.

He was a great influence on me in the period immediately after 9/11, and I used to post on him early on in the blog. Pim Fortune.

I miss Pim, a lot. As part of that early group of Dutch that tried to warn us; Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Theo Van Gogh, and even Geert Wilders - Pim was right next to Ayann on those I most respect.

The #1 thing I look for in politics is simple; what will maximize individual liberty? Once that is defined, I'm content with 80% alignment on other issues. There is no compromise when it comes to individual liberty. I never totally overlap with someone politically, but the Wiki entry is as good as any when it comes to describing Pim's political outlook. How could I not admire Pim? Big check on individual liberty, and an 86% overlap everywhere else;
Civil liberties
Classical liberalism
Criticism of Islam
Direct democracy
Freedom of speech
LGBT rights
Separation of church and state
Small government
Women's rights
He was so far ahead of everyone in so many ways;
" The West has to be able to define itself, show its strength, also when it comes to cultural and intellectual matters and be able to show that there are limits to what is acceptable to us. At the same time we can entertain a strong relationship with Islamic countries. Such an approach will contain the influence of Islam and it will strengthen the power and influence of Islamic nations that strive to separate church and state. It will curtail political adventurism in both western and Islamic countries "

[Pim Fortuyn, Against the Islamization of our Culture, 1997]
Read up on him if you are not familiar with Pim.

Sadly, he was a victim of the left. As with most political violence against outspoken leaders, he was assassinated;
A Left-wing activist confessed in court yesterday to Holland's first political assassination in 400 years, claiming that he shot Pim Fortuyn to defend Dutch Muslims from persecution.

[redacted], 33, a vegan animal rights campaigner, said he alone was responsible for killing the maverick protest leader last May, days before a general election in which the Fortuyn List party vaulted into second place and shattered Holland's consensus.

Facing a raucous court on the first day of his murder trial, he said his goal was to stop Mr Fortuyn exploiting Muslims as "scapegoats" and targeting "the weak parts of society to score points" to try to gain political power.

He said: "I confess to the shooting. He was an ever growing danger who would affect many people in society. I saw it as a danger. I hoped that I could solve it myself."
Typical virtue seeking, bloody minded, leftist murderer. When they cannot compete in the marketplace of ideas, or are weak in their own faith in their politics, they don't debate - they murder.

So, let's close the circle of this post. What happened to the man how murdered Pim?
The Dutch authorities have released the man who murdered the flamboyant anti-immigration politician Pim Fortuyn in 2002, now that he has served two-thirds of his jail sentence.

[redacted], an animal rights activist, got 18 years after shooting Fortuyn in the head in Hilversum.

The murder stunned Dutch society, only days before elections. Big gains had been expected for Fortuyn's party.

[redacted] said he had seen Fortuyn as a threat to minority rights.

No information has been released about [redacted] whereabouts now. He has to wear an electronic ankle tag and must report weekly to police.

He has expressed remorse for the murder, and prosecutors do not think he will be a repeat offender.
This was two years ago he was released. Such a sad event. That murderer walks the streets, while Pim is lost to liberty. I'd much rather have Pim than his statue. But such as it is.

I miss Pim, a lot. He should be where the less than ideal Geert Wilders is now. The Dutch should miss him too.

As we look at the huge wasted opportunity of the Obama Presidency, we all should miss what MLK could have been. Who knows where he would have wound up in the political world of today, but I would bet we would all be better for his presence, as the Dutch would with Pim.

Next time someone you know get's foam flecked about a peaceful person they disagree with ... think of MLK, Pim, and others. Stand up and call them out - like Andrew did. Exactly like Andrew did.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Where Next for our Ground Forces, Next on Midrats

A decade and a half of ongoing ground combat under their belt, what are the hard-won lessons we need to keep, and what should be left behind? Looking forward, what are the challenges our ground forces need to make sure they are prepared to meet?

From growing conventional strength from nations who desire to challenge our nation's global position, to the unending requirements for Counter Insurgency excellence, what is the balance?

Our guest to discuss this and more Sunday from 5-6pm Eastern will be Paul Scharre, senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security and a former Army Ranger with service in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Fullbore Friday

Today, I'm going to direct you over to Skipper's place for a story and a man more people should know about, CDR Hugh Magee, USN (Ret), who passed earlier this month.

You honor men by speaking their name and telling their stories of honor.
... on June 25th, the entire strike package got airborne and headed north for the 20-minute trip to Haiphong. And, while the weather had improved slightly, in the end it still wasn’t good enough for the planned “ALPHA” strike. Divisions were split off and sent on to secondary targets.

Busy Bee One, Two, Three, and Four turned toward their pre-briefed secondary mission, but before making much progress in that direction they were directed to support an ongoing SAR effort. An A-6A from CONSTELLATION had been shot down near the coast. The pilot survived the ejection only to land ¼ mile off shore and well within the range of enemy coastal mortar positions. After a series of frequency changes and then visually locating the A-6 crew, the lead A-4 (flown by the Blue Diamond Commanding Officer, CDR Ed Schaufelberger) called “Busy Bee 1, rolling in.” Then 2. Then Hugh. What followed is an amazing tale of luck (both good and bad), remarkable bravery and regrettable loss.
Read it all.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

General John Kelly, USMC - first person, spoken word

In case you were not aware;
“This will sound strange to you,” said Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly, the U.S. military’s longest-serving general. “My greatest fear was that I would be offered another job.”

The four-star head of U.S. Southern Command will hand over his final command on Thursday and retire at the end of the month. In an exclusive interview, Kelly reflected with his characteristic off-the-cuff candor on nearly half a century in the military, spanning from the Vietnam War to three tours in Iraq to overseeing the Defense Department detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
I hope we have not heard the last of General Kelly.
Two sons followed him into the Marines — one, Robert, was killed in Afghanistan in 2010, making the general the highest-ranking officer since 9/11 to lose a child in combat.

When Kelly visited the Walter Reed military hospital and wrote letters to the families of those who had died under his command in Iraq, he said he tried to think of what it’d be like to lose a child, to better empathize. “You can’t imagine until it happens,” he said Friday in his last briefing at the Pentagon.

For other parents in his situation, he said, “I think the one thing they would ask is that the cause for which their son or daughter fell be carried through to a successful end, whatever that means, as opposed to ‘this is getting too costly,’ or ‘too much of a pain in the ass,’ and ‘let’s just walk away from it.’”

Later in the press conference, a reporter, citing recent losses in Afghanistan, asked the same question Kelly said these families occasionally ask: “Was it worth it?” He gave the same answer: “Not my question. It’s his,” he said, referring to his son Robert. “He answered it.”
Clear, direct, and to the point - pitch perfect.
“If there’s a country and it’s dangerous and we deploy a U.S. military man or woman, if there’s only one there, and they never leave the capital, that is ‘boots on the ground,’” Kelly said. “We do a disservice to the sacrifice of these people, particularly if they are killed, when we say there’s no boots on the ground.”
the general also undermined key aspects of the administration’s argument for why Guantanamo must be closed: that the so-called “worst of the worst” can be held in the U.S., and that its mere existence poses a national security threat by serving as a propaganda tool.

“Bombing the living shit out of ISIS in Iraq and Afghanistan, Syria, that would maybe irritate them more than the fact we have Guantanamo open,” he told Defense One. For terrorist groups and rights activists alike, “What tends to bother them is the fact that we’re holding them there indefinitely without trial … it’s not the point that it’s Gitmo. If we send them, say, to a facility in the U.S., we’re still holding them without trial.”

Obama administration officials argue that ISIS executing hostages in orange jumpsuits is purposeful stagecraft in protest of Guantanamo. Kelly disagrees, saying, “What I see are animals acting like brutal animals.” He pointed out detainees now wear beige. “If they execute these poor sons of guns in orange jumpsuits and we say, ‘ah, see, that’s a good example of how Gitmo —,’ that’s full of sh… — I think it’s not accurate.”
Someone recently asked what it’d be like no longer being a Marine. “I’ll always be a Marine,” he said.

“I’d love to find a way to keep giving,” he continued. “My fear was of being offered a job that would be kind of a full-time position at a veterans organization or even in the government … I’d prefer to not be that, to come up the Beltway every day.”

As I am sure he knows, one of his quotes is a great gift to those who serve and have served. It is OK to be tired of war, even wars still going on. If you have done your bit, it is OK to take a break. No guilt, no excuses, no reason to explain. It is OK.
When Kelly took Southern Command, an area of responsibility from the Southern Cone to Mexico’s southern border where much of the action consists of drug interdictions, some observers thought the lower-profile post was intended to sideline the unreserved general.

Yet Kelly explained Friday, “I was given some options. And I was kind of tired of the war.” Southern Command would, “allow me to unleash other energies and talents.”

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

How were the two boats captured by Iran? Not the story.

The story is best told in pictures and video.

That is what will impact out nation the most.

I'm reviewing over at USNIBlog.

UPDATE: New video out with a confession. Updates at USNIBlog.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

BREAKING: Iran Captures 2 USN Boats

This is about all we have right now:
The Pentagon says it briefly lost contact with two small Navy craft in the Persian Gulf on Tuesday but has received assurances from Iran that the crew and vessels will be returned safely and promptly.

Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook tells The Associated Press that the boats were moving between Kuwait and Bahrain when the US lost contact with them.
Will update as meaningful information becomes available.

Update: NBC is reporting 10 Sailors captured. That is ~5 per boat. I have ideas what kind, but let's see.
Update II - Electric Boogaloo: USNINews is reporting that is was two "riverine" boats that experienced mechanical problems and drifted in to Iranian territorial waters. Both? Bad fuel, sabotage? About the only way that would happen. I'd wait for more info.
Update: III Some reports saying Iran will let the boats leave at dawn. If this turns in to a case of bad navigation or no sea anchors and towing lines ... well ... 'ole Sal will be ... well ... yea.

Iran's Revolutionary Guards have released 10 US sailors held for entering its territorial waters in the Gulf, state television reported.

They were detained on Tuesday after one of their two vessels broke down during a training mission, the US says.
A statement read on state media said the group was released into international waters after apologising.
First, glad everyone only had a short, safe visit. Now we can move on to the, "How in the h311 ... " phase.

Perhaps the Long War is a Bit Longer Than What We Think

When we talk of The Long War and those who have been calling its long nature for over a decade, that isn't just back to 2001 or even the 1990s. I'm not talking about Churchill quotes either. No, let's stick with the modern era and a proper context to what we are seeing ... just 40 years back to Bernard Lewis in January of 1976;
Islam from its inception is a religion of power, and in the Muslim world view it is right and proper that power should be wielded by Muslims and Muslims alone. Others may receive the tolerance, even the benevolence, of the Muslim state, provided that they clearly recognize Muslim supremacy. That Muslims should rule over non-Muslims is right and normal.9 That non-Muslims should rule over Muslims is an offense against the laws of God and nature, and this is true whether in Kashmir, Palestine, Lebanon, or Cyprus. Here again, it must be recalled that Islam is not conceived as a religion in the limited Western sense but as a community, a loyalty, and a way of life—and that the Islamic community is still recovering from the traumatic era when Muslim governments and empires were overthrown and Muslim peoples forcibly subjected to alien, infidel rule. Both the Saturday people and the Sunday people are now suffering the consequences.
Robert Tracinski over at TheFederalist, brings us back to today;
A specter is haunting Europe. The specter of Islam.

George W. Bush used to say that we had to fight the terrorists over there, in the Middle East, so we wouldn’t have to fight them here at home. A long period of relative security made that claim seem overblown, like a lame justification for interventionism. But it just might turn out that he was right, and that it is even more true for Europe than it is for us.

I was reminded of this reading about the curtailed New Year’s Eve celebrations in Paris.
About 60,000 police officers and troops were deployed across the country, and revelers said that made them feel safer. “The same troops who used to be in Mali, Chad, French Guyana or the Central African Republic are now ensuring the protection of French people,” said Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.
In Belgium, the New Year’s Eve festivities were canceled entirely.
In Brussels, 2016 was rung in without the customary fireworks display and downtown street party…. Earlier this week, Belgian authorities announced they had arrested two men suspected of planning to stage attacks in Brussels over the holidays…. On Thursday morning, forklifts and trucks removed generators and other equipment from the Place de Brouckere, the broad square in central Brussels where the fireworks show was supposed to happen.
In Paris, they were significantly scaled down.
Paris canceled its usual fireworks display in favor of a five-minute video performance at the Arc de Triomphe just before midnight, relayed on screens along the Champs Elysee, where people chanted. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said the show was aimed at “sending the world the message that Paris is standing, proud of its lifestyle and living together.”

Well, no, if Paris were standing tall, it would have had its usual celebrations. Fireworks have an interesting symbolism, recalling the sights and sounds of war. Presumably that’s the problem this year: fireworks would be good cover for another shooting rampage. In the United States, legend has it that the reason we have fireworks on the Fourth of July is to remember the wars we fought to gain and keep our independence — the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air. But you only want to remember that if you won the war. If you’re losing, I can see why you wouldn’t be so excited about the fireworks.
The most dispiriting thing said about Paris was from a Parisienne on the street: “It was a very strange year, and we just want 2016 to be different, simply a normal one. It does not need to be an excellent one, but just a normal one.” Way to aim high.
Do not lament that the world is not what you wish. Accept that it is as it is. 

Stay alert, stay honest with yourself about what you see, and act. 

So, where is the Long War kicking off 2016? Via ISW;