Unrep MSC to amphib

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Saturday is Heinlein Quote Day #18

Why the military trains hard:

"There are no dangerous weapons; there are only dangerous men. We’re trying to teach you to be dangerous — to the enemy. Dangerous even without a knife. Deadly as long as you still have one hand or one foot and are still alive. If you don’t know what I mean, go read ‘Horatius at the Bridge’ or ‘The Death of the Bon Homme Richard’; they’re both in the Camp library.”
― Robert A. Heinlein, Starship Troopers

I'll get you part way there - Horatius at the Bridge:
Then out spake brave Horatius,
The Captain of the gate:
“To every man upon this earth
Death cometh soon or late.
And how can man die better
Than facing fearful odds . . .

Friday, July 25, 2014

Special Time for Midrats Episode 238: "The Horn of Africa - still the front lines, with RDML Krongard, USN" - 27 July at 2pm (EDT)

Please join us at - 2pm (1400) EDT on 27 July as we time shift Midrats for Episode 238: "The Horn of Africa - still the front lines, with RDML Krongard, USN":
A special time this week, 2pm Eastern, in order to have a reasonable time for our guest on the other side of the world.

This week we are going to visit an AOR that may have dropped of a lot of people's scan, but in the Long War - it is still the front lines; the Horn of Africa.

Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, and the waters around the Arabian Peninsular - from terrorism to piracy - America and her allies and partners
are at work every day to keep the beast over there, and not here.

Our guest for the full hour will be Rear Adm. Alexander L. Krongard, USN, Deputy Commander, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Africa. In this position, he supports the CJTF-HOA Commander to counter violent extremism in East Africa, foster regional security cooperation, strengthen partner nation security capability, and build and maintain U.S. strategic access in the region. Krongard is also responsible for developing relations with senior military leaders in African partner nations and directing CJTF staff and subordinate commanders’ support to deployed personnel and units of all Services across the Horn of Africa. DCJTF-HOA.

A Navy SEAL by training, RDML Krongard is a graduate of Princeton University and the National War College.
Join us live or pick the show up later by clicking here.

Friday Fun Video: "Story of the Black Cats"

Slow, cumbersome and deadly under the right conditions.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Arctic Waters: U.S. Policy and the Sea Services

With our long Alaska Arctic coast (over 1000 miles), the U.S. is an Arctic power. What does that mean and how what is the U.S. approach to the Arctic waters?

On 23 July 14, there was testimony on this topic before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, where, among others, Coast Guard Vice Adm. Neffenger testified on implementing US policy in the Arctic :
Currently, Coast Guard vessels and aircraft monitor close to one million square miles of ocean off the Alaskan coast to enforce U.S. laws, conduct search and rescue, assist scientific exploration, advance navigation safety and foster environmental stewardship. Throughout his testimony, the Vice Commandant spoke to these diverse operations, focusing on the need for the continuous assessment of capabilities required to operate in the region, long-term icebreaking needs and the National Arctic Strategy.
USCG Polar Star
“Current and future operations in the Arctic and Antarctic will continue to be informed by the availability of polar icebreakers and ice-strengthened vessels. Polar Star’s recent reactivation will provide the U.S. with heavy icebreaker capability for another seven to 10 years,” said the Vice Commandant. “We believe that Polar Star along with the medium icebreaker Healy provide a minimum capability necessary to address the nation’s near-term icebreaking needs in the Arctic and Antarctic, and will give us the time we need to assess longer term national needs and requirements.”
I translate that last part as "We need more ice capable assets, including more real ice breakers."

The National Arctic Strategy:

The Coast Guard Arctic Strategy follows:

The U.S. Navy has an "Arctic Roadmap"-

You can watch the 23 July hearing here.

You might note the absence of pictures of U.S. Navy icebreakers - because the U.S. Navy hasn't got any. It used to, but not now.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Disaster Prep Wednesday: Free Disaster Prep Courses from FEMA

When I was earning a certificate in Community Preparedness and Disaster Management from the University of North Carolina, one method of getting students from a variety of backgrounds speaking a common "language" of disaster work was to have us complete several courses from the Emergency Management Institute - FEMA Independent Study Program:
FEMA’s Independent Study Program offers courses that support the nine mission areas identified by the National Preparedness Goal.

- Incident Management
- Operational Planning
- Disaster Logistics
- Emergency Communications
- Service to Disaster Victims
- Continuity Programs
- Public Disaster Communications
- Integrated Preparedness
- Hazard Mitigation
There are 186 courses available - from the core you can expand into areas of interest to you.

These courses run the range from "IS-1.a Emergency Manager: An Orientation to the Position" to "IS-2900 National Disaster Recovery Framework (NDRF) Overview. " You take them online and complete a quiz at the end to get a certificate of completion for each course.

There are also 16 courses that deal with the National Incident Management System:
EMI replaced its Incident Command System (ICS) curricula with courses that meet the requirements specified in the National Incident Management System (NIMS). EMI developed the new courses collaboratively with the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG), the United States Fire Administration and the United States Department of Agriculture.

Further, there is a FEMA program that is neighborhood oriented, Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) with a course designed to introduce you to the concept of CERT and their place in disaster management, IS-317: Introduction to Community Emergency Response Teams:
The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program educates individuals about disaster preparedness and trains and organizes teams of volunteers that can support their communities during disasters. The CERT Program offers training in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, and disaster medical operations. With proper CERT training, you can help protect your family, neighbors, and co-workers if a disaster occurs.

"Introduction to Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT)," IS-317, is an independent study course that serves as an introduction to CERT for those interested in completing the basic CERT training or as a refresher for current team members. The course includes six modules: CERT Basics, Fire Safety, Hazardous Material and Terrorist Incidents, Disaster Medical Operations, and Search and Rescue, and Course Summary.

While IS-317 is useful as a primer or refresher for CERT training, it is not equivalent to, and cannot be used in place of, the classroom delivery of the CERT Basic Training. To become a CERT volunteer, one must complete the classroom training offered by a local government agency such as the emergency management agency, fire or police department. Contact your local emergency manager to learn about the local education and training opportunities available to you. Let this person know about your interest in taking CERT training.
Local CERT associations may conduct training in CERT matters. For example, an association near me offers:
Members are expected to complete the Basic Training course. Additional ongoing training is provided at monthly meetings and other events.

The CERT Basic Training is delivered in one of two ways. These are held several times each year, depending on demand.
a) Seven week version - 2 1/2 hour sessions, one evening a week over a 7 week period plus a Saturday exercise
b) Single weekend version - 3 hours on a Friday night followed by 8.5 hours each on Saturday and Sunday.

You must be 18 yrs or older unless you attend with a parent.

The training consists of the following:

Session I, DISASTER PREPAREDNESS: Addresses hazards to which people are vulnerable in their community. Materials cover actions that participants and their families take before, during, and after a disaster. As the session progresses, the instructor begins to explore an expanded response role for civilians in that they should begin to consider themselves disaster workers. Since they will want to help their family members and neighbors, this training can help them operate in a safe and appropriate manner. The CERT concept and organization are discussed as well as applicable laws governing volunteers in that jurisdiction.

Session II, DISASTER FIRE SUPPRESSION: Briefly covers fire chemistry, hazardous materials, fire hazards, and fire suppression strategies. However, the thrust of this session is the safe use of fire extinguishers, sizing up the situation, controlling utilities, and extinguishing a small fire.

Session III, DISASTER MEDICAL OPERATIONS PART I: Participants practice diagnosing and treating airway obstruction, bleeding, and shock by using simple triage and rapid treatment techniques.

Session IV, DISASTER MEDICAL OPERATIONS, PART II: Covers evaluating patients by doing a head to toe assessment, establishing a medical treatment area, performing basic first aid, and practicing in a safe and sanitary manner.

Session V, LIGHT SEARCH AND RESCUE OPERATIONS: Participants learn about search and rescue planning, size-up, search techniques, rescue techniques, and most important, rescuer safety.

Session VI, DISASTER PSYCHOLOGY AND TEAM ORGANIZATION: Covers signs and symptoms that might be experienced by the disaster victim and worker. It addresses CERT organization and management principles and the need for documentation.

Session VII, COURSE REVIEW AND DISASTER SIMULATION: Participants review their answers from a take home examination. Finally, they practice the skills that they have learned during the previous six sessions in disaster activity.
In addition, supplemental training is suggested including a couple of the FEMA Courses discussed above:

Supplemental training conducted, recommended, and/or required for CERT members:

IS-100.a Introduction to Incident Command System (ICS)
IS-700.a National Incident Management System (NIMS), An Introduction
Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
Automatic External Defibrillation (AED)
Basic first aid
Additional Incident Command System (ICS)
Additional National Incident Management System (NIMS)
The point of all this training to eliminate confusion by offering up a standardized approach to disaster response. If everyone is using the same playbook, there should be less wasted effort on "re-inventing the wheel."

Essentially, the message is exactly like the motto of the Boy Scouts: "Be Prepared"

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Hidden Side of the U.S. Navy: Military Sealift Command

On Sunday 20 July 2014, we had a discussion on Midrats with Salvatore R. Mercogliano, Ph.D. about the "Military Sealift Command - Past, Present and Future." Many of you may have heard of MSC, but not know all that much about it. So, if you missed the show, here's a chance to catch up:

Online Military Radio at Blog Talk Radio with Midrats on BlogTalkRadio

Professor Sal also sent along this PowerPoint presentation that helps further the discussion:

Professionals talk logistics.

Because tactics and strategy are driven by it.

Energy Wars: Marcellus "Miracle" Continues

Was it only a few short years ago that there was concern over "peak oil" and worry over the dwindling supply of U.S. natural gas? Why, yes it was.

Then along came shale oil and gas.

A revolution that changed everything, as noted in this Oil and Gas Journal article, "Marcellus continues to defy expectations, driving US gas production ever higher":
Shale has been the primary driver of US gas supply growth since 2007, and the Marcellus shale has been the largest single contributor to rising production.

Marcellus production topped 14.5 bcfd in March and is expected to account for nearly one fourth of all US gas output by 2015, according to a report by Morningstar Inc.

The Marcellus's eminent position stems, in part, from the ability of wells in the formation to come online at high initial production (IP) rates and to sustain those rates for longer than wells in other shale formations.
The Marcellus stretches across portions of Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, and New York. Moody's Investor Service figures the formation holds an estimated 141 tcfe of recoverable reserves.

Marcellus output climbed from virtually nothing in 2007 to 9 bcfd in 2013, equivalent to the combined production growth of the Haynesville (4 bcfd), Eagle Ford (3 bcfd), and Barnett (2 bcfd) shales. According to Morningstar, output from the formation helped boost US production 14 bcfd, or 25%, during the 6-year period, more than offsetting declines from conventional reservoirs and the Gulf of Mexico.

If not for the Marcellus, Morningstar found, US gas production would likely have peaked in late 2011 or early 2012 as producers reduced gas-directed drilling in response to weak domestic gas prices.
The Marcellus shale has fundamentally altered the outlook for the US natural gas industry. The US is emerging as a low-cost chemicals producer and is poised to become an exporter of natural gas—a feat unthinkable just 5 years ago when it was widely believed that increasing LNG imports would be needed to meet domestic demand.

According to Hanson, "In short, the growth of the Marcellus over the next several years is likely to be nothing short of astounding."
Europe ought to be happy, too, if the U.S. can get its LNG export business in motion. The Russians? - well, not so much.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Saturday Is Heinlein Quote Day #17

From the Cat Who Walks Through Walls:
One must trust, I find. The art lies in knowing whom to trust."

Just a reminder that although you can like some or all of Heinlein's books, you don't have to. Let's face it, the man had some interesting ideas, but not all interesting ideas are good ideas, if you catch my drift. But it is all make-believe, not a real world. Sort the wheat from the chaff.