Burke

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

If You Grow the Fleet, Who Is "Optimizing the US Navy's combat logistics force?"

Prompted by the celebration One Hundred Years of U.S. Navy Replenishment at Sea, it's good to remind ourselves that if you want to have world-wide fleet operations, you need to be able to sustain your fleet wherever it is and for as long
 as necessary.

A good history of refueling at sea can be found in Thomas Wildenberg's Gray Steel and Black Oil: Fast Tankers and Replenishment at Sea in the U.S. Navy, 1912-1995 which features this quote:
USNS Supply
Fuel stands first in importance of the resources of the fleet. Without ammunition, a ship may run away, hoping to fight another day but without fuel she can neither run, nor reach her station, nor remain on it, if remote, nor fight.
ALFRED THAYER MAHAN

A partial history of naval logistics in WWII can be found at Beans, Bullets, and Black Oil: The Story of Fleet Logistics Afloat in the Pacific During World War II by Rear Adm. Worrall Reed Carter.

And more of the WWII story in Ships, Salvage, and Sinews of War: The Story of Fleet Logistics Afloat in Atlantic and Mediterranean Waters During World War II by Rear Admirals Worrall Reed Carter andElmer Ellsworth Duvall USN (Retired).

For the War in Korea, there is Logistics & Support Activities, 1950-1953 --Overview and Selected Views:
Logistics and support activities were vital to the success of U.S. and United Nations Korean War operations. Without extensive and efficient trans-oceanic shipping, the tens of thousands of service people and the hundreds of thousands of tons of "beans, bullets and black oil" needed every month to prosecute the war would never have reached a war zone that was some five thousand miles from the U.S. west coast and about twice that far from eastern seaboard ports. Without underway replenishment of warships off the Korean coast, the effectiveness of Naval forces there would have been substantially reduced. Without well-equipped and effectively-staffed Japanese bases close to the combat theater, sea and air operations against the Communist aggressors would have been gravely hindered, and, during the crisis periods of summer 1950 and winter 1950-51, probably impossible. Without ports and other facilities in South Korea, the insertion and sustenance of the large ground forces needed to defend that country simply could not have been done, and local naval operations would have been hamstrung.

Like much else about the Korean War, its logistics and support effort depended extensively on the legacy of World War II. Transport ships, long-range aircraft and much of the other equipment used in supporting the war had been made during that great conflict and had been wisely retained against the possibility that it might be needed again. The senior officer and enlisted servicemen and civilian sailors and airmen who resurrected the logistics and support system in response to the Korean crisis, and kept it running thereafter, had largely learned their crafts in the struggle against Japan and Germany.
For the Vietnam War, there's Mobility, support, endurance : a story of naval operational logistics in the Vietnam War, 1965-1968 by Vice Admiral Edwin B. Hooper (Retired):
Over the years a number of general officers and a few flag officers in
USNS Bighorn
positions of responsibility have written their own accounts of what went on during a major war. Quite understandably these have tended to focus mainly on the purely combat features of the war and on overall strategy. The result has often been an unbalanced picture of the total military effort.

To complete the picture, it is necessary to place in proper perspective the logistic support actions upon which the combatant forces and the effectiveness of these forces were totally dependent. It is the coupling of combat strength and logistic support that makes victory possible, whether it be action by a small unit, a major battle, a campaign, a war, or the wide variety of peacetime operations to support the national interest. Thus, along with knowledge of combat activities, one must gain an appreciation of logistics, of its relationship to operations, and the nature of operational logistic actions for a full understanding of a war. Hopefully, this recording of the activities of the Service Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, will advance that appreciation, and contribute to a more complete picture of the Vietnam Conflict.
What about going forward? Here's a OR look at the issues as they existed in 2008.


If you are wondering about the current Navy combat logistics force, it is now in the Military Sealift Command and the inventory of ships can be found here.

Is sea-going logistics a concern? See this 2014 article by James Holmes, US Surrenders Naval Logistics Supremacy: Without underway replenishment ships, America’s ability to project power in wartime will shrivel.:
If the United States wants to escape the danger zone in its strategic competition with China — disproving Beijing’s fancy that it can rule the Western Pacific — decommissioning the U.S. Navy’s fastest, most capacious combat logistics ships is no way to do it. Just the opposite. It telegraphs that America is no longer serious about fighting far from North America for long spans of time. Competitors will take note.

Monday, May 22, 2017

U.S. Navy Office of Naval Intelligence Worldwide Threat to Shipping (WTS) Report 17 April - 17 May 2017 and HORN OF AFRICA/GULF OF GUINEA/ SOUTHEAST ASIA: Piracy Analysis and Warning Weekly (PAWW) Report for 11 - 17 May 2017



One Hundred Years of U.S. Navy Replenishment at Sea

Navy Admin Message
UNCLASSIFIED

ROUTINE R
161747Z MAY 17
FM CNO WASHINGTON DC TO NAVADMIN
INFO CNO WASHINGTON DC
BT
UNCLAS
NAVADMIN 121/17
MSGID/GENADMIN/CNO WASHINGTON DC/N4/MAY/

SUBJ/MARKING 100 YEARS OF UNDERWAY REPLENISHMENTS//
RMKS/
1. MAY 2017 MARKS THE CENTENNIAL ANNIVERSARY OF OUR NAVYS MODERN UNDERWAY REPLENISHMENT (UNREP) CAPABILITIES. THIS UNIQUELY AMERICAN OPERATIONAL CAPABILITY ENABLES THE NAVYS COMBAT LOGISTICS FORCE (CLF) TO PROVIDE A CRITICAL LIFELINE TO OUR OPERATING FORCES AT SEA. THROUGH UNDERWAY REPLENISHMENT, THE CLF PROVIDES FUEL, AMMUNITION, FOOD, SPARE PARTS AND OTHER SUPPLIES NECESSARY TO ENABLE OUR CARRIER STRIKE GROUPS (CSGS) AND AMPHIBIOUS READY GROUPS (ARGS) TO OPERATE WORLDWIDE, WITH LITTLE TO NO RELIANCE ON HOST NATION SUPPORT.

2. THE FIRST OPEN-OCEAN REPLENISHMENT OF A US NAVY WARSHIP WAS CONDUCTED BY CAPTAIN SILAS TALBOT IN DECEMBER 1799 ONBOARD THE USS CONSTITUTION. BY USING SMALL BOATS TO REPLENISH, CONSTITUTION WAS ABLE TO STAY AT SEA FOR OVER 347 DAYS, PROTECTING AMERICAN SHIPPING IN THE CARIBBEAN WHILE AVOIDING ENTANGLEMENTS IN FOREIGN HARBORS. ON 28 MAY 1917, THEN LIEUTENANT CHESTER NIMITZ, EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF USS MAUMEE (AO 2), PIONEERED OUR MODERN METHOD OF UNREP, BY REFUELING SIX DESTROYERS EN ROUTE TO ENGLAND FOR OPERATIONS IN WWI. DURING WWII, FURTHER IMPROVEMENTS IN UNDERWAY REPLENISHMENT, INCLUDING THE FIRST TRANSFER OF ORDNANCE, ENABLED THE NAVYS CARRIER TASK FORCES TO OPERATE INDEPENDENT OF FORWARD OPERATING BASES FOR MONTHS ON END. FOLLOWING WWII, THE NAVY CONTINUED TO IMPROVE THE RELIABILITY AND EFFECTIVENESS OF ITS UNREP SYSTEM. THERE ARE CURRENTLY OVER 390 FUEL AND CARGO DELIVERY STATIONS IN THE NAVY AND AN UNTOLD NUMBER AMONG OUR ALLIES, ALLOWING SHIPS FROM DOZENS OF NATIONS TO OPERATE TOGETHER FOR PROLONGED PERIODS AT SEA.

3. TODAY, THE CIVILIAN MARINERS OF THE MILITARY SEALIFT COMMAND OPERATE AND MAINTAIN THE NAVYS 29 COMBAT LOGISTICS FORCE REPLENISHMENT SHIPS. THE SKILL AND PROFESSIONALISM OF OUR SAILORS AND CIVILIAN MARINERS IN THE EXECUTION OF SAFE AND EFFICIENT UNREPS EACH YEAR ENABLE THE NAVY TO REMAIN ON STATION AROUND THE WORLD, PROTECTING AMERICA FROM ATTACK AND WHEN REQUIRED, ENABLING DECISIVE COMBAT OPERATIONS. BRAVO ZULU!//

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Saturday Is Old Radio Day: Lux Radio Theatre "No Highway in the Sky" (1952)

Jimmy Stewart, Marlene Dietrich recreate their movie roles in No Highway in the
Sky:



About:
The film is based on the novel No Highway by Nevil Shute and was one of the first films that depicted a potential aviation disaster involving metal fatigue.

Friday, May 19, 2017

On Midrats 21 May 2017 - Episode 385: Springtime for Russia?

Please join us at 5pm EDT on 21 May 2017 for Midrats Episode 385: Springtime for Russia?:
To say that the profile of Russia since the American elections last fall has increased in the minds of Americans would be an understatement.

Outside the 24-hr news cycle, there have been significant developments in Russia internally and externally. From the Baltics, to nuclear weapons, to her growing influence in the Middle East following her involvement in the Syrian conflict.

What should people be focused on with regards to Russia on the global stage this year?

Returning as our resident Russian expert for the full hour to discuss this and more will be Dr. Dmirty Gorenburg, Senior Research Scientist at CNA, a non-profit think tank, and writer at the Russian Military Reform Blog. Dr. Gorenburg conducts research on security issues in the former Soviet Union, Russian military reform, Russian foreign policy, ethnic politics and identity, and Russian regional politics. He is also the editor of the journal Problems of Post-Communism and a Fellow of the Truman National Security Project. From 2005 through 2010, he was the Executive Director of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies, and from 2009 to 2016, the editor of the journal Russian Politics and Law.
Join us live if you can or pick the show up later by clicking here. Or you can pick the show up later by clicking that link or by visiting either our iTunes page or our Stitcher page.

Just a Context Thing: U.S. not alone in issues with naval shipbuilding

MarineLink reports "Late & Overweight: Germany's New Frigates Found Wanting":
2016 Bundeswehr / Carsten Vennemann)
Germany's much-delayed new frigates, built by ThyssenKrupp and Luerssen for at least 650 million euros ($710 million) apiece, are overweight and float with a persistent list to starboard, according to a confidential report seen by Reuters.

The ships, designed to need a crew of only 120, less than half their predecessors, are a crucial element in Germany's plans to beef up its military to face an increasingly uncertain European security landscape and a more assertive Russia.

Designed to remain at sea for far longer than the German armed forces' existing fleet, the new F125 frigates need extensive servicing only once every two years, compared to once every nine months for their predecessors.

The 1.3 degree starboard list and excess weight, which emerged during testing in September, means the ship is now close to the limit of its design parameters and will raise the class's lifetime maintenance costs by around 20 million euros, according to a confidential annex to a regular German defence ministry report.

A defence ministry spokeswoman declined to comment on the confidential report, but said "in general terms" that the development of the four ships, the first of which was to have been delivered in 2014, remained on track.
Buidling ship on time and on budget is hard. Except, perhaps for the U.S. submarine force, which until recently has been exceptional but apparently is facing growing pains as set out by Chris Cavas in here:
Problems seem to stem from two primary factors: the move in 2011 to double the submarine construction rate from one to two per year has strained shipyards and the industrial base that supplies parts for the subs; and the Navy has successively reduced contractual building times as shipbuilders grew more experienced with building the submarines, cutting back on earlier, highly-trumpeted opportunities to beat deadlines.

Friday Film: U-67 (1931)

How about a revenge movie based on a WWI submarine attack and a failure to follow orders?

Here's U-67 (a/k/a Sea Ghost):


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

I Like Facts

Can't read Twitter today or the past few days without wondering whatever happened to facts.

Not speculation. Not "sources" who won't come forward for cross-examination. Not editorials, not opinion pieces.

Facts.

Now, as a lawyer it never surprised me that in a trial or a deposition that two
people can look at the same thing and get two different meanings from it. That's why we have juries and judges to decided whether the weight of the evidence offered makes one meaning more likely than another.

Not an uncommon theme in art -see Rashomon effect.

Of course, in the perfect world, reporting would be (as science purports to be) "value free." Hard to do, as studying sociology teaches:
Sociologists should observe value neutrality while conducting social research. It means that he should exclude ideological or non -scientific assumption from research. He should not make evaluative judgment about empirical evidence. Value judgment should be restricted to sociologists' area of technical competence. He should make his own values open and clear and refrain from advocating particular values. Value neutrality enables the social scientists to fulfill the basic value of scientific enquiry that is search for true knowledge. Thus sociology being a science cherishes the goal of value neutrality. According to Alvin Gouldner value-free principle did enhance the autonomy of sociology where it could steadily pursue basic problems rather than journalistically react to passing events and allowed it more freedom to pursue questions uninteresting either to the respectable or to the rebellious. It made sociology freer as Comte had wanted it to be -to pursue all its own theoretical implications. Value free principle did contribute to the intellectual growth and emancipation of the enterprise.Value-free doctrine enhanced freedom from moral compulsiveness; it permitted a partial escape from the parochial prescriptions of the sociologists' local or native culture. Effective internalization of the value-free principle has always encouraged at least a temporary suspension of the moralizing reflexes built into the sociologist by his own society. The value-free doctrine has a paradoxical potentiality; it might enable men to make better value judgments rather than none. It could encourage a habit of mind that might help men in discriminating between their punitive drives and their ethical sentiments. However in practice it has been extremely difficult to fulfill this goal of value neutrality. Values creep in various stages in sociological research. According to Gunnar Myrdal total value neutrality is impossible. 'Chaos does not organize itself into cosmos. We need view points.' Thus in order to carry out social research viewpoints are needed which form the basis of hypothesis which enables the social scientists to collect empirical data. These view-points involve valuations and also while formulating the hypothesis. Thus a sociologist has to be value frank and should make the values which have got incorporated in the choice of the topic of the research of the formulation of hypothesis clear and explicit at the very outset in the research. The value-free doctrine is useful both to those who want to escape from the world and to those who want to escape into it. They think of sociology as a way of getting ahead in the world by providing them with neutral techniques that may be sold on the open market to any buyer. The belief that it is not the business of sociologist to make value judgments is taken by some to mean that the market on which they can vend their skills is unlimited. Some sociologists have had no hesitation about doing market research designed to sell more cigarettes although well aware of the implications of recent cancer research. According to Gouldner the value-free doctrine from Weber's standpoint is an effort to compromise two of the deepest traditions of the western thought, reason and faith but that his arbitration seeks to safeguard the romantic residue in modern man. Like Freud, Weber never really believed in an enduring peace or in a final resolution of this conflict. What he did was to seek a truce through the segregation of the contenders by allowing each to dominate in different spheres of life.

At any rate, Twitter seems to be about as "fact free" as you can get lately. Idle conjecture, ideologically driven "interpretations" of events and total bias are fun, I suppose, but really, I like facts - even those often contradictory facts that need to be weighed carefully by a jury.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Italian Field of Fire Volcano Building Pressure, Headed for Eruption?

Experts warn that Italy's supervolcano could be closer to an eruption than we think:
NASA Photo
Almost 500 years ago, Italy's Campi Flegrei supervolcano erupted, spewing molten rock and thick plumes of smoke into the atmosphere for eight days straight, and literally forming a new mountain from the chunks of Earth it drew from below.

Now, researchers are warning that this vast, fiery cauldron could be ready to blow once more, with pressure building up over the past 67 years showing no signs of easing up. And just to put that into perspective, this supervolcano is responsible for one of the biggest eruptions on the planet.

"By studying how the ground is cracking and moving at Campi Flegrei, we think it may be approaching a critical stage where further unrest will increase the possibility of an eruption, and it's imperative that the authorities are prepared for this," says Christopher Kilburn from the University College London Hazard Centre.

You might picture a supervolcano as just like a regular volcano, only super-sized, but it's more like a giant volcano that's been flattened into the ground, leaving extensive fields of volcanic activity like we now see at Yellowstone.
***
Campi Flegrei (or "burning fields" in Italian) covers an area of 100 square kilometres (38 square miles) just west of Naples, with a massive 12-km-wide (7.4-mile) caldera at its centre. It boasts 24 craters and large volcanic edifices, mostly hidden under the Mediterranean Sea.

In recent times, Campi Flegrei has had two major eruptions - 35,000 years ago and 12,000 years ago - and a smaller eruption in 1538.

It's all relative though, because that "smaller" eruption lasted for eight days straight, and spewed so much material into the surrounding area, it formed a whole new mountain, Monte Nuovo.
Spent about 6 month in Naples and visited Camp Flegrei several times. Given the population density of the area, an eruption could be . . . bad.

More here:
Campi Flegrei (also referred to as Phlegrean Fields) is a volcano located in southern Italy, immediately north-west of the city of Naples. The structure is not that of a more classical stratovolcano (a more or less regular cone surmounted by a volcanic crater), instead that of a large, 12x15 km caldera, this being a vast depression originated by a structural collapse following one or more large-scale volcanic eruptions. The Campi Flegrei caldera has been largely filled by volcanic products from eruptions originated after the caldera formation, so that the general appearance to-date is that of a generally flat area punctuated by several post-caldera volcanic craters.
***
The last eruption occurred in 1538, and was among the smallest recorded in the eruptive history of Campi Flegrei. This eruption interrupted a period of quiescence of more than 3,000 years, and in about one week it originated the Monte Nuovo (= “New Mountain”) cone, about 130 m high. Since then, the activity at Phlegraean Fields has been mainly characterized by bradyseism (slow upward or downward motion of the caldera floor), and fumarolic activity mainly located in the Solfatara crater.

Since the 1950s the Campi Flegrei volcano is in a state of unrest, characterized by discrete (months to years) periods of caldera floor up-rise accompanied by seismic swarms and shortly followed by significant changes in the composition and flow of fumaroles. The latest crisis occurred in 1983, when about 40,000 people were evacuated from the town of Pozzuoli. During last ten years there have been several minor uplift phases, each accompanied by seismic swarms, and a general intensification of the fumarolic outflow that overall contribute to substantial concern for a possible reappraisal of the volcanic activity in the area.

Monday, May 15, 2017

U.S. Navy Office of Naval Intelligence Worldwide Threat to Shipping (WTS) Report 10 April - 10 May 2017 and HORN OF AFRICA/GULF OF GUINEA/ SOUTHEAST ASIA: Piracy Analysis and Warning Weekly (PAWW) Report for 4 - 10 May 2017

In addition to the warnings below, Matime Executive reports Saudi Forces Find More Naval Mines Off Yemen:
On Monday, the Royal Saudi Navy announced that its forces have located more floating mines off the coast of Yemen, likely placed by Houthi rebel militias.

The latest mine sightings were off of Midi, a port on the Red Sea just south of the Yemeni-Saudi border. The Saudi military said that the mines were of simple construction, but they could pose a threat to civilian maritime traffic, including aid vessels.

In mid-March, a Yemeni coast guard ship struck a mine near the port of Mokha, about 40 nm to the north of the strategically important Strait of Bab al-Mandeb. The ensuing blast killed two servicemembers and wounded eight. The Saudi navy said that it disabled several more naval mines near the port later in the month; images posted to social media at about the same time claim to show improvised mines recovered from Yemen’s Red Sea coast.
Obviously, improvised sea mines constitute a cheap deterrent to naval operations in waters that for various reasons restrict ship movements. Not an encouraging development, but a not unexpected asymmetric means of warfare. See Houthi-Cast Naval Mines Threaten International Navigation near Midi, Yemen from whence the nearby photo came.