Night Ops

Thursday, November 26, 2015


If our menu is not as elaborate as that of USS Arizona in 1917, we are no less grateful for the blessings of the past year.

From the Naval History and Heritage Command:

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Disaster Prep Wednesday: Don't Let the Turkey Burn Your House Down (Reposted)

Here's a re-posting of a 2014 post on how to avoid making a wreck of your Thanksgiving:

Okay, try not to burn your house down while cooking your turkey.

Especially true if you decide to deep fat fry the thing.

Some words of advice from Joseph Lindberg at the Twin Cities Pioneer Press
Exploding turkeys: How to avoid them
On average, five Americans die each year from fires caused by deep fryers, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

The most common mistake is overfilling the deep-frying vat, which causes oil to spill over the edge and ignite, engulfing the entire unit in flames that are difficult to extinguish.

And placing a frozen -- or even partially frozen -- turkey into the vat can cause an explosion of hot oil, according to the fire marshal.

In fact, UL, an independent and global safety science company, considers turkey fryers so hazardous that it will not certify them for safe use.

U.S. fire departments respond to about 1,000 home fires each year that are started by deep fryers. In addition to deaths, those fires cause some 60 injuries and $15 million in direct property damage on average per year.

To avoid explosions and fire, follow these tips from the fire marshal:

-- Place the fryer outdoors on a flat surface, and never on a wooden deck or in a garage.

-- Fill a cold fryer with water and place your turkey into the vat to determine the amount of oil needed. Mark the water level well below the rim of the vat, and make sure the fryer dries thoroughly before filling with oil.

-- Oil and water do not mix. Avoid injury, and explosions, by thoroughly thawing and drying the bird before frying it.

Be smarter than the turkey. Don't be in the running for a Darwin Award.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Turkey v. Russia: Turks Defend Their Airspace

Reuters report "Turkey downs Russian warplane near Syria border, Moscow denies airspace violation". Hurryiet report:
Turkish F-16
Two Turkish F-16's shot down a Russian-made SU-24 jet on Nov. 24 near the Syrian border after it violated Turkish airspace, presidential sources said.

Turkey shot down the jet after it failed to heed the warnings within the rules of engagement.

Initial reports said the jet belonged to Russia, but presidential sources later clarified that the jet's nationality was unknown.

The Turkish Armed Force also stated that the jet of “unknown nationality” had been warned 10 times in five minutes about its violation of the airspace.


Saturday, November 21, 2015

Saturday Is Old Time Radio Day: Fibber McGee and Molly "The War is Not Almost Over" (1943)

A small look at America during on a full war footing:

On Midrats 22 November 2015 - Episode 307: Our Own Private Petard - Procurement & Strategy with Robert Farley

Please join us at 5pm on 22 November 2015 for Midrats Episode 307: Our Own Private Petard - Procurement & Strategy with Robert Farley
This Sunday we are going to look at the big pixels that supports the entire national security infrastructure above it.

Using his recent article in The National Interest, The Real Threat to America's Military (And It's Not China, Russia or Iran), we will tackle the greatest challenge of a world power - those things it has no one else to blame for.

Procurement, strategy, and the choices we make. The run of the last 30 years of weapons development and strategic foresight has not been a very good one. Why?
Join us live if you can or pick the show up later by clicking here or by picking it up later by visiting our iTunes page.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Danger of Ignoring Opinions Which Challenge Your World View

It's probably absurd for a small time blogger like me to link to the mighty Instapundit, but this Ed Driscoll post is important "Sharyl Atkisson: Obama Won't Read Intelligence on Groups He Doesn't Consider Terrorists" is important because of what it reveals about the problems that can be caused by not occasionally taking a look at things you might find disagreeable (and probably much more about the ego which, once committed to a cause or course, cannot be swayed by evidence that might challenge the correctness of that path). No I won't quote the post here, but you really should read the whole thing.

One really good aspect of military planning is that, if done properly, it requires the commander to sort through a problem and carefully weigh risks and possible outcomes before committing to a course of action.

A key element of this planning process is gaining - to the extent possible - a good understanding of the current situation - an "assessment." The function of this process is to make sure that "what is" is not overtaken by "what I wish it was." or, as set out in the following manual:
First, assessment must determine “where we are.” The assessment process must examine the data received and determine, in relation to the desired effects, the current status of the operation and the operational environment. This is the most basic and fundamental question that assessment must answer. The second fundamental issue that assessment must address is “so what and why” (i.e., what does the data mean and what is its significance)? To answer this question, the assessment team will examine the measure of effectiveness indicators, both individually and in relation to each other. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, assessment must begin to address the “what’s next?” Assessment must combine the analysis of the “where we are”and the “so what” and develop thoughtful, logical guidance for the command’s planning efforts.
 "Data received" includes intelligence about the enemy force, the human terrain, the physical terrain and one's own personnel and equipment availability and status.

Now, it is entirely possible for the Commander in Chief to determine that he or she is perfectly satisfied with the state of things as they are and not see a need to commit any assets to changing the status quo or to affect a change in direction.

If based on a thorough understanding of the risks of that path (and recognizing that the "law of unintended consequences" is always in play), then the executive can be held to account for his or her choices. "What happens if I do nothing?" "What happens if if I withdraw troops?" "What happens if I add more troops?" are legitimate questions.

Most field commanders are not in a position to pose questions about the political ramifications of such choices - although one can hope that even political leadership can ask "What is the right thing to do?" without political overtones - but with careful weighing of national security interests.

What happens when an executive is not inclined to look at realistic assessments of "how things are" or "how this coud turn out" or if those in the assessment chain begin to shade the information that they are sending up? What happens if you ignore intelligence reports that you have decided in advance you don't agree with?

Probably not much good.

That being said here's a guide for commnders:

The focus of this publication generally is on-going operations and the progress made to achieving a desired end state. Lack of clarity of what that end state should be can lead to a lot of waste in people, equipment and other tools of implementing national policy.