Work Crew

Work Crew

Friday, November 24, 2017

Thursday, November 23, 2017


In our hectic lives, is it not a good idea to have a day on which to be thankful for all the blessings you have and to wish for others to have their own good things?

No one is harmed when you are thankful for the new child or grandchild or for friends or the shelter above your head or for a year of life - or for the memories of those who may have left us - leaving us with those rememberances of smiles, words of wisdom and love.

Not only is no one harmed, but your own life is enriched by being thankful for such things.

In short, have a most Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Not So Far-Fetched - "Space Militias?"

Is the U.S. ready for China’s ‘space militias’? asks Adam Routh at SpaceNews:
NASA image of possible asteroid mining

Economic interests in space continue to rise. In 2016 the global space economy represented $329 billion, and 76 percent of the total was produced through commercial efforts. With some of the most lucrative endeavors like asteroid mining, space tourism, micro satellites, and space colonies still in the early stages of development and application, it’s no wonder economic projections estimate the space sector will grow to $2.7 trillion over the next three decades.

Nations’ militaries will continue to protect vital economic interests, and outer space will be no exception. But how will it happen? Will the United States see peer competitor militaries expand more aggressively into outer space? The answer lies in gray zone tactics and space militias.

The operational complexities of the space environment coupled with poorly defined international norms and laws will likely encourage U.S. adversaries to use gray zone tactics. Chinese maritime militias provide a likely model.
Space militias could operate much in the same way maritime militias act currently. Space militias will be commercial (or at least appear to be commercial) spacecraft supporting commercial activities but when directed by their government will quickly adjust and adopt a more military or law enforcement like role. The United States should expect these space militias to defend territory, provide situational awareness, and even attack other spacecraft through a variety of anti-satellite systems, but instead of people, these commercial spacecraft will rely on automation and artificial intelligence for basic operations. Without human life at stake risk tolerance will surely increas

Before the recent NavyCon at USNA, we discussed some of this on Midrats:

It was discussed at NavyCon, too.

And a modest discussion of space exploration, asteroid mining and such stuff at Space Exploration: Inflatable Habitat Ready for Space Station Trip:
"It will," the old man promised. "Funny—not so long ago people thought that space ships would have to be really rigid—all metal. So how did they turn out? Made of stellene, mostly—an improved form of polyethylene—almost the same stuff as a weather balloon."

"A few millimeters thick, light, perfectly flexible when deflated," Nelsen added. "Cut out and cement your bubb together in any shape you choose. Fold it up firmly, like a parachute—it makes a small package that can be carried up into orbit in a blastoff rocket with the best efficiency. There, attached flasks of breathable atmosphere fill it out in a minute. Eight pounds pressure makes it fairly solid in a vacuum. So, behold—you've got breathing and living room, inside. There's nylon cording for increased strength—as in an automobile tire—though not nearly as much. There's a silicone gum between the thin double layers, to seal possible meteor punctures. A darkening lead-salt impregnation in the otherwise transparent stellene cuts radiation entry below the danger level, and filters the glare and the hard ultra-violet out of the sunshine. So there you are, all set up."

"Rig your hub and guy wires," old Paul carried on, cheerfully. "Attach your sun-powered ionic drive, set up your air-restorer, spin your vehicle for centrifuge-gravity, and you're ready to move—out of orbit."
The quote is from The Planet Strappers by Raymond Z. Gallun (1961). As I recall it featured some sort of space piratea. A more contempory cite might be The Expanse.

UPDATE: Jerry Hendrix notes his CNAS report From Blue to Black
Applying the Concepts of Sea Power to the Ocean of Space
written with Michelle Shevin-Coetzee:

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Saturday Is Old Radio Day - NavyCon Warmup " The Green Hills of Earth"

Hey, NavyCon starts at noon U.S. Eastern on 18 November 2017 so, in preparation, here's a classic about space travel which hits on many of the underlying themes I would expect from the presenters at NavyCon - space travel is the human future, space involves risks, including phsyical and those we are familiar with on earth - lines of commerce, sustainment of forces in remote areas, rogues, tramps and large doses of the unknown.

Heinleins' classic "The Green Hills of Earth" (1947) anticipates these things and posits humankind in space. This version is from X Minus One in 1955:

NavyCon is hosted by the US Naval Academy Museum and will, as noted below, will be streamed live:



18 November 2017, 1200-1700 EST
U.S. Naval Academy Museum


Opening Address (1200-1220)
Claude Berube, Director USNA Museum
• "The ‘Academy,’ Naval Heritage, and Star Trek"

Special Guest Speaker (1220-1240 plus 10 min Q&A)
CAPT Kay Hire (Ret), (USNA ’81), NASA astronaut STS-90 and STS-130
• "The NASA of Today and Tomorrow"

Panel 1 (1250-1330)
LT Matt Hipple, USN
• "Why the proposed Space Cadre Ought to be part of the Navy"
Tim Choi (PhD Candidate)
• "Maritime Security, Sea Lanes, Chokepoints and ‘Star Trek Deep Space Nine’"

Panel 2 (1330-1430)
Raymond Pritchett, “Galrahn” of
• "Naval Irregular Warfare and SciFi Videogames"
Jonathan Bratten
• “Non-State Actors: The Case of ‘Firefly’”
CDR BJ Armstrong
• "Bringing Balance to the Fleet Forces: Issues of Fleet Design in ‘Star Wars’ and ‘The Expanse.’" 

Break (1430-1445)


Panel 3 (1445-1530)
Jennifer Marland, National Museum of the U.S. Navy
• “Why Old Tech is sometimes the Right Answer: ‘Battlestar Galactica’”
David Larter, reporter Navy Times
• "Fleet Leadership in ‘Star Wars’"

Panel 4 (1530-1615)
CAPT Mark Vandroff (USNA ’89), former Program Manager of DDG-51 program
• "Acquisition Reform Implementation by the Galactic Empire in the Years Prior to the Battle of Yavin"
Dr. Jerry Hendrix, Center for a New American Security, (former Director of Naval History & Heritage Command)
• "Fleet Operations and Tactics in David Weber’s Honor Harrington Series"

Keynote Address (1615-1645):
Congressman Mike Gallagher (R-WI), HASC Seapower Subcommittee, USMC/Iraq Vet
• “Service, Citizenship & ‘Starship Troopers’”

Concluding Address (1645-1715)
David Weber, science fiction author of best-selling Honor Harrington series

Friday, November 17, 2017

On Midrats 19 November 2017 - Episode 411: Making a Better War College

Please join us at 5pm EST on 19 Nov 2017 for Midrats Episode 411: Making a Better War College
What is the best way to hone the intellectual edge of the officers who will lead our Navy? How do we gather our best minds and ideas together to best prepare our Navy for the next war?

How is our constellation of war colleges structured, how did it get to where it is today, and how do we modernize it to meet todays challenges?

We've put together a small panel for today's show to address this and related issues with returning guests Dr. James Holmes and Dr. John Kuehn.

Dr. Holmes is a professor of strategy and former visiting professor of national security affairs at the Naval War College. A former U.S. Navy surface-warfare officer and combat veteran of the first Gulf War, he served as a weapons and engineering officer in the battleship Wisconsin, engineering and firefighting instructor at the Surface Warfare Officers School Command, and military professor of strategy at the Naval War College. He was the last gunnery officer to fire a battleship’s big guns in anger.

Dr. Kuehn is the General William Stofft Chair for Historical Research at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. He retired from the U.S. Navy 2004 at the rank of commander after 23 years of service as a naval flight officer in EP-3s and ES-3s. He authored Agents of Innovation (2008) and co-authored Eyewitness Pacific Theater (2008) with D.M. Giangreco, as well as numerous articles and editorials and was awarded a Moncado Prize from the Society for Military History in 2011.

Join us live if you can or pick the show up later by clicking here. Or you can also pick the show up later by visiting either our iTunes page or our Stitcher page.

Friday Films: Merchant Marine in WWII "Men and the Sea" (1943) and "Seaman Tarfu" an Army Joke

Training of men for service in the Merchant Marine during WWII: "This is war of cargo ships"

A lttle humor: