Launch Sequence

Launch Sequence

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Saturday Is Old Radio Day: Have Gun WIll Travel "Bad Bert" (1960)

Probably not this Bert.

On Midrats 20 May 2018 - Episode 437: Fighting the Great War at Sea, with Dr. Norman Friedman

Please join us at 5pm EDT on 20 May 2018 for Midrats Episode 437: Fighting the Great War at Sea, with Dr. Norman Friedman
As we approach the 100th Anniversary of the end of the First World
War, it is good to reflect back on the impact of WWI on the growth of our modern navy, and the echoes it has to the present day.

For the full hour our guest to discuss this and related issues will be Dr. Norman Friedman. As a starting point of our discussion will be some of the perspective brought out in his 2014 book from Naval Institute Press, Fighting the Great War at Sea: Strategy, Tactics and Technology.

As described in the review at Amazon, “While the overriding image of the First World War is of the bloody stalemate on the Western Front, the overall shape of the war arose out of its maritime character. It was essentially a struggle about access to worldwide resources, most clearly seen in Germany's desperate attempts to counter the American industrial threat, which ultimately drew the United States into the war.”

Dr. Friedman has had a long career in weapon and system analysis for
the U.S. Navy, DOD, and industry. He has authored numerous histories of naval weapons and platforms with a concentration on the connection between policy, strategy, and technology. With over 40 published books, he also has lectured extensively and served as an adviser at the highest levels of government and think tanks.

His Fighting the Great War at Sea won the Lyman prize awarded by the North American Society of Oceanic Historians. He recently published a history of fleet air defense, Fighters Over The Fleet, and is about to publish a history of the British battle fleet during the Victorian era.

He received a Ph.D. in solid-state theoretical physics from Columbia University.
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.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Better Late . . .

The Freedom variant littoral combat ship USS Milwaukee (LCS 5) conducted a live-fire missile exercise off the coast of Virginia May 11.

The Milwaukee fired four longbow hellfire missiles that successfully struck fast inshore attack craft targets.

During the evolution, the ship's crew executed a scenario simulating a complex warfighting environment, utilized radar and other systems to track small surface targets, simulated engagements and then fired missiles against the surface targets.

"The crew of the USS Milwaukee executed superbly and the test team ran the event seamlessly, both were critical in making this event successful," said Capt. Ted Zobel, LCS Mission Modules program manager.

This marks the completion of the first phase of the Surface-to-Surface Missile Module (SSMM) Developmental Testing (DT) for the LCS Mission Modules (MM) program. This was the first integrated firing of the SSMM from an LCS. Additionally, this was the second at-sea launch of SSMM missiles from an LCS. SSMM leverages the U.S. Army's Longbow Hellfire Missile in a vertical launch capability to counter small boat threats. Initial operational capability (IOC) and fielding of the SSMM is expected in 2019.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Rest in Peace, Tom Wolfe

The world is a little colder as Tom Wolfe has died.

I'm pretty sure I read him first in my teen-age "car phase" somewhere around 1965, when The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby, his first collection of essays came out in book form. I think that some of his style might have rubbed off on writers at Car and Driver during those heady days. On me, too. Just as some aspiring writers copied Hemingway's style, I strove to emulate Wolfe. Most of my high school English teachers seemed to have missed the level of my success in accomplishing my goal. On the other hand, my mother was a professional writer whose short stories had sold in various major magazines of the day, and she both read and enjoyed Wolfe and, I came to understand, she didn't find my adoptions of his style to be too . . . outre'.

When studying sociology, I found his Radical Chic and Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers, to pretty much cover the area of what we now call "political correctness" as well as make "peer pressure,"  "in crowds," and similar ideas come to life. In short, I still laugh at those people he skewered (and at those who have followed them in kind). As written about in Commentary magazine by  Joseph Epstein in 1971 here:
For the essence of Radical Chic is precisely that it is devoid of content. At the moment in America it runs much lower down the social scale than the Leonard Bernsteins of Park Avenue. At least in part, it is behind such phenomena as the radical professors (those guerrillas with tenure, in Irving Howe’s phrase), closet revolutionists working at high salaries for large corporations, and upper-middle-class students in search of a political high. What the Bernsteins’ evening accomplished, with the indispensable aid of Tom Wolfe, was, by exaggerating an already bizarre phenomenon, to show it up for the foolish, misguided, and ultimately self-destructive tendency it really is.

I was fortunate that in my senior year in college, Mr. Wolfe came to my English class and spoke with us about writing and life. I have never forgotten his polite kindness to us.

Rest in peace.

Monday, May 14, 2018

U. S. Navy Office of Naval Intelligence Worldwide Threat to Shipping (WTS) Report 9 April - 9 May 2018 and HORN OF AFRICA/GULF OF GUINEA/ SOUTHEAST ASIA: Piracy Analysis and Warning Weekly (PAWW) Report for 3 - 9 May 2018

Note that the WTS report refers to a U. S.- Computer Emergency Readiness Team (U.S.-CERT) Alert Russian State-Sponsored Cyber Actors Targeting Network Infrastructure Devices:
... FBI has high confidence that Russian state-sponsored cyber actors are using compromised routers to conduct man-in-the-middle attacks to support espionage, extract intellectual property, maintain persistent access to victim networks, and potentially lay a foundation for future offensive operations.

DHS, FBI, and NCSC urge readers to act on past alerts and advisories issued by the U.S. and U.K. Governments, allied governments, network device manufacturers, and private-sector security organizations. Elements from these alerts and advisories have been selected and disseminated in a wide variety of security news outlets and social media platforms. The current state of U.S. network devices—coupled with a Russian government campaign to exploit these devices—threatens the safety, security, and economic well-being of the United States.

The purpose of this TA is to inform network device vendors, ISPs, public-sector organizations, private-sector corporations, and small office home office (SOHO) customers about the Russian government campaign, provide information to identify malicious activity, and reduce exposure to this activity.