Chaff Launch

Monday, March 31, 2014

Littoral Combat Ship: War Gaming Success?

Like a lot of people, I have done my share of bashing the Littoral Combat Ship.

As offset to that, here's an interesting blog post from Aviation Week's Michael Fabey concerning a recent U.S. Naval War College war game: "LCS Got Game":
Rowden [Rear Adm. Thomas Rowden, director of surface warfare], who has been locked away in for the wargames in the frigid New England wintry spring weather, took time to chat exclusively to Aviation Week about LCS’ performance thus far in the mid-2020s scenarios.

Stated simply, he says, the LCS give enemy fits.

“They are aware of where the carriers and amphibs are,” he says. “They had no of where the LCS was. They can give the enemy a helluva hard time.”

The LCS, he says, could swing out from the group, nearly unobserved, and deliver a sneak attack with missiles that can hit a target 120 to 130 nautical miles away. There are missiles now, he says, available or in development, that the Navy is confident will work with the ships.

LCS concept of operations, or conops, really open up, he says, when they are paired with other ships, like guided-missile DDG destroyers or Joint High Speed Vessels.

The LCS-DDG mating was particularly devastating, he says, for antisubmarine warfare (ASW). “The whole is significantly greater than its parts,” he says, combining three helicopters and an unmanned vertical lift aircraft.

Also, he says, LCS could be tasked to do some destroyer-type missions to free up the DDGs for other jobs.

Essentially, he says, when used the correct way – the way the ships were envisioned -- they can take a punch and deliver one.

“Are they lethal and survivable? Absolutely.”
Read the whole thing.

Your opinion may vary.

Old Days and Familiar Fights: Admiral Zumwalt: Z- Gram-57

One of the topics we discussed during our discussion Episode 221: Officer Retention with VADM Bill Moran and CDR Guy Snodgrass had to do with certain "quality of life" issues - a familiar path down which the U.S. Navy has trod before.

One of the points made by CDR Snodgrass in his study "Keep a Weather Eye on the Horizon: A Navy Officer Retention Study" as to do with the administrative overhead
facing fleet units and the effort to slim those down:
6. Refocus Efforts to Remove Administrative Distractions for Commands

Admiral Jonathan Greenert, Chief of Naval Operations, wrote in a May 21, 2013 memo to Admiral John Richardson, “I have been made aware, from the chain of command and from direct feedback from the fleet, that we are spending too much time performing administrative tasks, or perhaps completing duplicative or competing requirements … which keep all of us from being effective — that prevent us from keeping ‘warfighting first’.” This memo instructed Admiral Richardson to stand up a task force dedicated to the reduction of administrative distractions so sailors and commands could place greater emphasis on warfighting. The effort was then handed to Rear Admiral Herman Shelanski, who later stated “our goal is to give back to our warfighters, and includes everyone from the CO to the deckplate leaders, more time to focus on the things they need to do.”
Funny, some of that reminded me of the famous Z-Grams from the early 1970s, including Admiral Zumwalt: Z- Gram-57 (emphasis added):
Z-gram # 57 (Elimination of Demeaning or Abrasive Regulations), 10 November 1970

FROM: CNO {Z-57}
TO: NAVOP
UNCLAS //NO1100//
102157Z NOV 70

DEMEANING OR ABRASIVE REGULATIONS, ELIMINATION OF

1. THOSE DEMEANING OR ABRASIVE REGULATIONS GENERALLY REFERRED TO IN THE FLEET AS "MICKEY MOUSE" OR "CHICKEN" REGS HAVE, IN MY JUDGMENT DONE ALMOST AS MUCH TO CAUSE DISSATISFACTION AMONG OUR PERSONNEL AS HAVE EXTENDED FAMILY SEPARATION AND LOW PAY SCALES.
FOR THIS REASON, SHORTLY AFTER TAKING COMMAND I REQUESTED A COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW OF CURRENT NAVAL POLICIES AND REGULATIONS. I DESIRE TO ELIMINATE MANY OF THE MOST ABRASIVE POLICIES, STANDARDIZE OTHERS WHICH ARE INCONSISTENTLY ENFORCED, AND PROVIDE SOME GENERAL GUIDANCE WHICH REFLECTS MY CONVICTION THAT IF WE ARE TO PLACE THE IMPORTANCE AND RESPONSIBILITY OF "THE PERSON" IN PROPER PERSPECTIVE IN THE MORE EFFICIENT NAVY WE ARE SEEKING, THE WORTH AND PERSONAL DIGNITY OF THE INDIVIDUAL MUST BE FORCEFULLY REAFFIRMED. THE POLICY CHANGES BELOW ARE EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY AND WILL BE AMPLIFIED BY MORE DETAILED IMPLEMENTING DIRECTIVES TO BE ISSUED SEPARATELY.


A. IT APPEARS THAT MY PREDECESSOR'S GUIDANCE IN MAY ON THE SUBJECT OF HAIRCUTS, BEARDS AND SIDEBURNS IS INSUFFICIENTLY UNDERSTOOD AND, FOR THIS REASON, I WANT TO RESTATE WHAT I BELIEVED TO BE EXPLICIT: IN THE CASE OF HAIRCUTS, SIDEBURNS, AND CONTEMPORARY CLOTHING STYLES, MY VIEW IS THAT WE MUST LEARN TO ADAPT TO CHANGING FASHIONS. I WILL NOT COUNTENANCE THE RIGHTS OR PRIVILEGES OF ANY OFFICERS OR ENLISTED MEN BEING ABROGATED IN ANY WAY BECAUSE THEY CHOOSE TO GROW SIDEBURNS OR NEATLY TRIMMED BEARDS OR MOUSTACHES OR BECAUSE PREFERENCES IN NEAT CLOTHING STYLES ARE AT VARIANCE WITH THE TASTE OF THEIR SENIORS NOR WILL I COUNTENANCE ANY PERSONNEL BEING IN ANY WAY PENALIZED DURING THE TIME THEY ARE GROWING BEARDS, MOUSTACHES, OR SIDEBURNS

B. I VIEW THE PROHIBITION AGAINST THE WEARING OF CLEAN, NEAT WORKING UNIFORMS OR DUNGAREES TO AND FROM WORK AS UNWARRANTED AND I NOW DIRECT THAT IT BE SUSPENDED FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF ALL CONCERNED.

C. TO STANDARDIZE CURRENT PRACTICES, WORKING UNIFORMS, DUNGAREES, AND FLIGHT SUITS ARE AUTHORIZED IN ALL NAVAL COMMISSARIES. EXCHANGES, SNACK BARS, DISPENSARIES, DISBURSING OFFICES, AND OTHER SERVICE TYPE FACILITIES, AND NO ONE WILL BE DENIED ENTRANCE FOR BEING IN THE "IMPROPER" UNIFORM, ASSUMING THOSE WORN ARE CLEAN, NEAT, AND IN GOOD CONDITION. BASE COMMANDERS WILL REVIEW SIMILAR RESTRICTIONS APPLICABLE TO DEPENDENTS AND ADOPT REGULATIONS CONSISTENT WITH CURRENT FASHIONS.


D. THE REQUIREMENT FOR OFFICERS AND MEN TO SHIFT INTO THE UNIFORM OF THE DAY FOR THE EVENING MEAL WILL BE DISCONTINUED, EXCEPT FOR CEREMONIAL OR OTHER SPECIAL OCCASIONS OR BY DECISION OF THE GROUP OF PERSONNEL INVOLVED.

E. AT LEAST ONE ROOM OF EVERY NAVAL OFFICER, CPO, AND ENLISTED CLUB SHALL PERMIT THE WEARING OF INFORMAL AND CASUAL CLOTHES {SPORT SHIRT} AND NAS CLUBS SHALL SIMILARLY PERMIT FLIGHT SUITS IN AT LEAST ONE ROOM OF EACH CLUB.

F. WHERE OPTIONAL UNIFORMS ARE SPECIFIED BY THE AREA COMMANDER, THIS WILL MEAN OPTIONAL TO THE INDIVIDUAL AND NOT TO THE LOCAL COMMANDS, EXCEPT FOR SPECIAL OCCASIONS, SUCH AS INSPECTIONS, WHERE UNIFORMITY IS REQUIRED.

G. WHEN VISITING FLEET UNITS, I NOT ONLY DO NOT WISH TO SEE FRESH, PAINT APPLIED STRICTLY BECAUSE OF MY VISIT BUT CONSIDER THAT RUSTED SURFACES HASTILY PAINTED OVER ARE A REFLECTION OF POOR COMMAND DISCRETION. THIS TYPE OF PREPARATION FOR ANY SENIOR OFFICER VISIT SHALL BE PROHIBITED.

H. THE REQUIREMENTS TO CERTIFY THE POSSESSION OF SUFFICIENT FUNDS OR TO ACKNOWLEDGE GEOGRAPHICAL LIMITATIONS FOR LEAVE {EXCEPT FROM VIETNAM WHERE SPECIAL REGULATIONS APPLY} OR LIBERTY PURPOSES, TO PRODUCE PERSONAL PROPERTY PASSES, OR TO SHOW CERTIFIED PERMISSION TO BE AWAY FROM DUTY STATION {WALKING CHITS} PRESUPPOSES A GENERALIZED IRRESPONSIBILITY WHICH I DO NOT ACCEPT, AND THESE REQUIREMENTS WILL BE ELIMINATED.

I. IN VIEW OF THE REQUIREMENT FOR SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS FOR OPERATING MOTORCYCLES, SAFETY REGULATIONS MUST BE STRICTLY ENFORCED; HOWEVER, MOTORCYCLES SHOULD BE PERMITTED ENTRY AND ACCESS TO ALL NAVAL FACILITIES UNDER THE SAME CONDITIONS AS FOR AUTOMOBILES, AND CONVENIENT MOTORCYCLE PARKING AREAS WILL BE PROVIDED. FURTHERMORE, SO LONG AS THE HEAD GEAR MEETS SAFETY STANDARDS, NO MOTORCYCLE OPERATOR SHOULD IN ANY WAY BE PENALIZED OR DENIED ENTRY BECAUSE OF THE COLOR OF HIS HEAD GEAR.

J. OVERNIGHT LIBERTY WILL NOT BE TREATED AS A PRIVILEGE FOR WHICH A SPECIAL REQUEST CHIT MUST BE SUBMITTED, BUT RATHER AS THE NORMAL FORM OF LIBERTY FOR OUR RESPONSIBLE SAILORS. EXCEPTIONS TO THIS POLICY WOULD BE MADE ONLY FOR EXTRAORDINARY CIRCUMSTANCES SUCH AS GOVERNMENT IMPOSED CURFEW OR EXTREMELY UNSATISFACTORY ENVIRONMENT, AND THEN ONLY UPON DETERMINATION OF THE SENIOR OFFICER PRESENT.

K. THE REQUIREMENT FOR LINE HANDLERS, REFUELING PARTIES, TOPSIDE WATCH STANDERS IN INCLEMENT WEATHER, BOAT CREWS IN HEAVY WEATHER, AND OTHERS WHO ARE ENGAGED IN WORK WHICH WOULD UNDULY SOIL OR DAMAGE SUCH UNIFORMS, TO PERFORM THE JOBS IN WHITES OR BLUES IS UNREASONABLE AND IS TO BE DISCONTINUED, EXCEPT FOR MOST UNUSUAL CEREMONIAL OCCASIONS.

L. THE OCCASIONAL PRACTICE OF REFUSING TO FORWARD A REQUEST FROM AN INDIVIDUAL TO HIGHER AUTHORITY WILL BE DISCONTINUED. IF PERSONNEL IN THE CHAIN HAVE GOOD REASON FOR NOT RECOMMENDING APPROVAL OF A REQUEST, THEY SHOULD, OF COURSE, SO STATE, BUT THEY MUST FORWARD IT EXPEDITIOUSLY ONE WAY OR ANOTHER.

M. I. AM NOT SUGGESTING THAT A MORE LENIENT ATTITUDE TOWARD IRRESPONSIBLE BEHAVIOR BE ADOPTED, BUT I DO BELIEVE THAT WE CANNOT PERMIT GENERAL POLICIES TO BE DICTATED BY THE NEED, WHICH I SUPPORT, TO CONSTRAIN THOSE FEW INDIVIDUALS WHO DO NOT RESPOND TO THE TRUST AND CONFIDENCE EXPRESSED IN MORE FLEXIBLE AND LESS RESTRICTIVE REGULATIONS.

E. R. ZUMWALT, JR., ADMIRAL, U.S NAVY,
CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS.

See CDR "Bus" Snodgrass's 14th point:
14. Reinstitute Uniform Wear Diversity for Commands

Unit esprit de corps is an incredibly powerful tool that can aid the retention of our best, brightest, and most talented. As one commanding officer put it best, “Everyone likes to be a part of a winning team.” Unfortunately, senior leaders lost credibility by making a change that had no discernible effect other than to make cosmetic changes to highly valued uniform components. As one officer put it, “Why make a change to something that is trivial to many, but held very dearly by those it affects most?”

Senior leaders should reconsider relaxing regulations concerning uniform wear, such as the reinstatement of command ball caps for surface warfare commands and the use of colored t- shirts and shoulder patches on flight suits for naval aviation – to include their wear off base. A February 18, 2014 message from Vice Adm David Buss, Commander Naval Air Forces, allows the wear of additional shoulder patches off base and colored t-shirts on base. This is a welcome change that many junior officers have fought to restore over the course of several years. Since the Navy Uniform Board is internal to the Navy, and is chaired by Vice Adm William Moran, Chief of Naval Personnel, the opportunity exists to push this to it’s logical conclusion: Allowing the wear of colored t-shirts off base. This will remove the necessity for a majority of officers to change shirts once they arrive at, and depart from, the squadron.

This is just one specific example among the many available to each warfare community. While broad in nature, this recommendation should not be perceived as decreasing professionalism or relaxing uniform standards. Rather, it is intended to provide commanding officers greater latitude in building a command climate based on excellence and individuality – both traditional hallmarks of successful Navy units.
You want a simple way to send some power back to commanding officers and to their subordinates throughout the fleet? Just go back to allowing them the flexibility to establish and enforce uniform policies in accord with Z-Gram 57 and Bus's 14 (also VADM Buss's msg referenced therein), especially for those who occupy space at the pointy end of the spear and not cubicles in big buildings. How about allowing SWO/SWE coveralls at Exchanges, Medical Facilities? Working sailors should not have to change clothes to go on the beach during working hours or to and from home. If a clean flight suit is permitted in such circumstances, why not a clean set of coveralls?

In short, ship and other afloat commanding officers should be given the power to allow sea-going sailors to wear when ashore such uniform items as ship ball caps and patches that will identify them as proud members of the sea service afloat units and teams. (For current standard, see fn7, Chapter 3 Navy Uniform Regs).

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Saturday is Heinlein Quote Day

From Double Star:
Take sides! Always take sides! You will sometimes be wrong — but the man who refuses to take sides must always be wrong.
Robert A. Heinlein

Friday, March 28, 2014

Thursday, March 27, 2014

On Midrats 30 March 14 - Episode 221: "Officer Retention with VADM Bill Moran and CDR Guy Snodgrass"

Please join us on 30 March 2014 at 5pm (1700) EDT for Midrats Episode 221: "Officer Retention with VADM Bill Moran and CDR Guy Snodgrass
This Sunday, join our guests Vice Admiral Bill Moran, USN, Navy Chief of Naval Personnel, and Commander Guy Snodgrass, USN, Prospective Executive Officer of Strike Fighter Squadron ONE NINE FIVE, in a discussion of the challenge of officer retention that is facing our Navy.

As over a decade of major combat operations ashore winds down, economic and budgetary stresses grow on defense spending, a strategic re-alignment combined with a generational change are coming together in a perfect storm of challenges to keep the intellectual and leadership capital our Navy needs to meet its nations challenges in the
coming decade.

What are those challenges? What lessons can be drawn from past retention problems, and what is different this time? What steps can be made in the short term to address this, and what longer term policies may be put in place to mitigate the systemic problems that are being looked at.

Our guests will be with us for the full hour, and the foundation of our discussion will be CDR Snodgrass's Navy officer retention study, Keep a Weather Eye on the Horizon: A Navy Officer Retention Study (as posted on the USNI Blog - original study here)
Also see VADM Moran's USNI Blog post A Navy needs critical thinkers ... those willing to share their ideas.

The show goes live at 5pm EDT you can listen then or pick it up later by clicking here.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

U.S. Naval War College Symposium on "Maritime Security, Seapower, and Trade"

I'm sure my invitation to this got -um- lost in the mail, but if, like me, you find that you were unable to attend this 24-26 March 2014 U.S. Naval War College Symposium on "Maritime Security, Seapower, and Trade," then I can recommend that you follow that link to learn about the symposium and then visit the working papers link for some interesting reading.

Some of the usual suspects were there, Claude Berube, B. J. Armstrong and Dr. Martin Murphy - but there are many others who names presently may not be known to you, but whose papers will both inform and raise new questions for you to ponder.

The symposium goal:
To make sense of the relationship among maritime security, seapower, and trade, the EMC Chair will convene a symposium that brings experts from industry, the policy community, and the sea services. Participants will reflect on the importance of classic maritime thought and how changes in the shipping industry, trade patterns, and non-state use of the oceans impact future naval operations. The implications are important for understanding the types of missions combatant commanders will execute and the types of equipment and training the Navy must provide to support these missions. Keynote speakers will address the diplomatic and operational considerations of maritime cooperation.
Sure would like a webcast of these things . . . but without that, go read and enjoy.

Things to Worry About: China and the Buying of Resources

In the world of free trade, there are some interesting trends as set out in this interview from Mining.com: Jeb Handwerger: China isn't slowing down, it's buying up (resources, that is:
This is really all about natural resources and the ability to control the trade. There's a whole list of 10 to 15 strategic minerals that come from China almost exclusively. Russia, on the other hand, has a major control on palladium, platinum group metals and nickel, as well some of the agricultural fertilizers, such as potash. Russia also has a critical supply of uranium; it produces about 3,000 tons of uranium, close to double United States production of uranium. Not only that, but Russia has strategic ties with Kazakhstan, which produces close to 20,000 tons of uranium—over 36% of global supply.

I've written for years that these metals and these materials are at risk of critical supply shortfall. It's even more the case now as these tensions increase. There is greater risk of China or Russia turning off the natural gas pipelines or cutting exports of the rare earths and graphite.

Their control of these critical metals is going to force the West, the European Union and the U.S. to develop their own strategic, secure supplies of these materials needed for the critical technologies.

We're already beginning to see that take place. Many junior miners have made strategic advancements with some jurisdictions in the rare earth sector.
***
China is going to have to go abroad to support its expanding economy with natural resources over the long term.
***
While the media dazzles us with a Chinese slowdown, China's buying up North American energy resources and precious metals during this pullback. One of the areas that has benefited the most from this ongoing trend has been Western Canada, most notably Alberta. It may be one of the best economies in the world right now. Hundreds of billions of investment dollars are earmarked for this region to build liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities and major pipelines to transport petroleum to the growing economies in Asia.
So, if a country is importing natural resources from abroad, it is forced to use the sea to carry the resources on ships and on sea lines of communication.

One of the reasons to build up a navy is to protect those sea lines. Ah, but protect them from whom? Why, of course, anyone that might threaten them to force behavior changes by your government.

If you catch my drift.

Here's an older map of "China's Critical Sea Lines of Communication":
Might want to add something like the non-great circle sea lanes as new critical routes:

Just sayin'

And, so long as China is the topic, you might go to the U.S. Naval War College's China Maritime Studies page and download some research papers. The latest covers China's Near Sea Combat Capabilities.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Not a surprise: "Oil and gas will drive future control of the South China Sea"

If you've been reading this blog, this will not come as a surprise to you, but if Robert Kaplan writes and talks about it, perhaps others will get the idea: "Oil and gas will drive future control of the South China Sea". From MarketPlace.org (and NPR):



In his new book “Asia's Cauldron: The South China Sea and The End of a Stable Pacific”, Robert Kaplan breaks down how a possible dispute over the South China Sea could have a substantial impact.
***
Kaplan said the possible dispute over who owns the South China Sea could have a staunching economic impact.

“If the pacific is no longer stable, that will affect investment, growth rates, etc.” said Kaplan. “If you ask me what’s the biggest question in the world today; it’s not ‘Will Iran get its Nukes?’ it’s the direction of the Chinese economy.”

Makes You Go Hmmmm: "Plots to rob, kill foiled: Officials investigate how rocket launcher got to Guam"

I used to deliver the Guam Daily News when I was a kid, so every now and then I check in to see how the "Plots to rob, kill foiled: Officials investigate how rocket launcher got to Guam":
now named Pacific Daily News is doing. Surprisingly frequently the headlines are interesting like
While authorities investigate how a rocket launcher made its way from a U.S. Air Force base in Korea to Guam, police yesterday said the arrest of three men foiled a potential robbery and homicide over the weekend.

On Friday, officers recovered a "Trainer Handling Guided Missile Launcher" and arrested Ivan Cabrera, Donald Castro Aldan and John San Nicolas.

The rocket launcher, which police estimated had a range of at least 500 feet, was recovered while police and investigators from the U.S. Air Force were serving a warrant on a home in Dededo.
You know, for an island 35 miles long and about 9 miles wide, Guam is . . . where America's day begins.

A stolen rocket launcher from an air base in Korea? That seems like a little on the overkill side for local robberies.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

On Midrats 23 Mar 14 - Episode 220: "CNO's Rapid Innovation Cell"

Please join us on 23 March 14 at 5pm (EDT, U.S.) for Midrats Episode 220: CNO's Rapid Innovation Cell
The Chief of Naval Operation's Rapid Innovation Cell (CRIC) was established in 2012 in order to provide junior leaders with venue to identify and rapidly field emerging technologies that they see needed in the Fleet.

Who is in the CRIC, how do they get there, and what are some of the projects they have been working on?

Join us this Sunday for the full hour with Commander Ben Salazar, USN, Director of Innovation (N93) with CRIC, along with other members of his team.
Join us live or pick the show up later by clicking here.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday Fun Film: "Who are the People of America?"

Another film from the Coronet Collection of things we watched when our teachers were out sick or in meetings.

The resident A/V geek ran the projector.

From 1953:



Were those simpler times?

How much has changed?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Fighting "Sea Blindness" - Chief of Naval Operations Tells Congress "We need more ships"

A few short weeks ago, I put up a post on Sea Blindness, by which is meant the seeming inability of Americans to grasp that, while "the U.S. is not quite an island nation, it is a nation deeply dependent on the seas and the free flow of commerce across them." During Midrats Episode 216(at about 19:51), I asked our guest, Seth Cropsey, about "sea blindness" and whether the time had come for our senior naval leaders to tell the elected civilian leaders that the Navy has reached the point at which there are missions and areas we cannot perform or cover with the size Navy we currently have and are projected to have in the near term.

An excerpt from Episode 216:


Well, last week, the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Greenert went before the House Armed Services Committee and did a little counter-Sea Blindness work, both in his written testimony and in his spoke words.
First, from his prepared written testimony:
Chairman, as I testified before you in September 2013, I am troubled by the prospects of reverting to the BCA revised caps in FY2016. That would lead to a Navy that is just too small and lacking the advanced capabilities needed to execute the missions the nation expects of its Navy. We would be unable to execute at least 4 of the 10 primary missions that are laid out very clearly in the Defense Strategic Guidance and QDR.

Even more, according to Military.com, "CNO Tells Congress the US Needs 450-Ship Navy"
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert told lawmakers Wednesday that the Navy would need a 450-ship fleet in order to meet the global needs of combatant commanders.

"For us to meet what combatant commanders request, we need a Navy of 450 ships," he told the House Armed Services Committee.

Officially, the Navy's position is to achieve a 306-ship fleet by the end of the decade, service officials said. At the moment there are 289 ships in the Navy, according to service officials who said the number reflects a new method of counting ships.
As Claude Berube wrote somewhere, when the news was the Army being cut to pre-WWII levels, the Navy was at pre-WWI levels. See here, where it shows the fleet in April 1917 had 342 ships.

Good for Admiral Greenert snd Secretary Mabus for standing up on this issue.

A Panel to Examine the Littoral Combat Ship

Breaking Defense has the tale of a Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship Panel :
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has told the Navy in no uncertain terms that he wants a second opinion on the controversial Littoral Combat Ship. Perhaps that’s why the newly formed “Small Surface Combatant Task Force” won’t be led by a sailor or even a Navy civilian. Instead, the “SSCTF” chairman will be Marine Corps Systems Command director John D. Burrow, according to a memo the Navy released today.
***
The Small Surface Combatant Task Force’s charter is to look at a range of alternatives, from all-new designs to existing ships. Both Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert have repeatedly emphasized the fact that Hagel has by no means taken LCS off the table. To the contrary, both Hagel’s memo and this new one specifically mention the option of “modified LCS design.”

In fact, given the time and cost required to develop an all-new ship, a souped-up LCS may be the only practical option. The only other near-term options seem to be a military variant of the Coast Guard’s National Security Cutter or a foreign frigate, which even if license-built in the US would raise all sorts of patriotic hackles on Capitol Hill.
Any bets?

Monday, March 17, 2014

National Energy Security: Keystone Pipeline vs. "Environmental Security"

There is a debate - of sorts - going on over whether the Keystone XL pipeline is a good or bad thing. For those of you who may not have followed the story, the pipeline is designed to transfer crude oil extracted from Canadian oil sands to refineries in the U.S.

After roughly a gazillion environmental studies on the impact of said pipeline on the Great Plains and its underlying aquifers and the double-crested Nebraska imaginary vampire vole, the pipeline has won approval from nearly everyone, including the Department of State (see here).

Nearly everyone does not include some environmentalists or, apparently, the President and some leading Democrats, who are now arguing over about the "national security" implications of the pipeline - as set out in this piece from the Oil and Gas Journal's Nick Snow, "Witnesses disagree on Keystone XL’s potential US security impacts"
Witnesses at a US Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing sharply disagreed on whether the proposed Keystone XL crude oil pipeline would help or hinder US security.
***
Retired US Marine Corp. Gen. James L. Jones, a former presidential national security advisor who now co-chairs the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Energy Project and Task Force on Defense Budget and Strategy, said in his written statement there is no doubt that the Keystone XL determination will be of strategic importance to the US. America’s Fifth Fleet is based in Bahrain, primarily to secure continued free passage of crude oil through the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz to global markets, he reminded committee members.

“I would like to pose what I regard to be a pretty fundamental question: Why would the United States spend billions of dollars and place our military personnel at risk to ensure the flow of energy half a world away, but neglect an opportunity to enable the flow of energy in our very own backyard—creating jobs, tax revenue, and greater security?” Jones said.

He called the Keystone XL cross-border permit decision “a litmus test of whether America is serious about national, regional, and global energy security, and the world is watching.” Jones said the proposed pipeline is integral to US and North American energy security, which in turn is paramount to the nation’s prosperity and leadership.

“America’s ability to prosper and lead in a dangerous and uncertain world that needs us is quite clearly a preeminent matter of national interest,” he maintained. “I think that is why Congress has voted consistently, and in a bipartisan manner, to move forward with Keystone.”
***
Karen A. Harbert, president of the US Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy, said the group looked at how much of the total global oil supply is in the hands of potentially politically unstable countries in its latest indexes of US and International Energy Security Risks. It found that since 1980, crude output from free countries has been stuck in the 17-20 million b/d range while production from partly free and not free countries has grown, she indicated.

“At a time when North Sea oil output is falling, large emerging economies are growing into large oil consumers, putting pressure on spare oil production capacity globally,” Harbert said in her written statement. “Political instability in many producing countries is also on the rise, and greater output from a closer friend and ally like Canada is needed and welcome.”
***
But two other witnesses argued that global climate change poses an even greater threat to US national security. They called for policies which discourage the use of fossil fuels and encourage development and deployment of alternatives.

The recently released Quadrennial Defense Review 2014 warned that climate change impacts could increase the frequency, scale and complexity of future military missions while undermining domestic military installations’ capacity to support training activities, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune testified.

James E. Hansen, who retired in April 2013 after 32 years of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies to devote his time to educating the public about climate change dangers, said that taxing oil, gas, and coal’s carbon emissions and rewarding consumers who move to low-carbon and no-carbon sources would make Keystone XL unnecessary.

“The annual reduction of oil use alone, after 10 years, would be more than three times the amount of oil” it would carry, he said in his written testimony. “By eliminating the need for the pipeline, the danger of oil spillage on American soil is also eliminated.”(emphasis added)
I am having trouble with the "climate change" as a threat to national security issue as presented in the QDR. Here's what the QDR 2014 says about climate change:
Climate change poses another significant challenge for the United States and the world at large. As greenhouse gas emissions increase, sea levels are rising, average global temperatures are increasing, and severe weather patterns are accelerating. These changes, coupled with other global dynamics, including growing, urbanizing, more affluent populations, and substantial economic growth in India, China, Brazil, and other nations, will devastate homes, land, and infrastructure. Climate change may exacerbate water scarcity and lead to sharp increases in food costs. The pressures caused by climate change will influence resource competition while placing additional burdens on economies, societies, and governance institutions around the world. These effects are threat multipliers that will aggravate stressors abroad such as poverty, environmental degradation, political instability, and social tensions – conditions that can enable terrorist activity and other forms of violence.
Notice anything missing?

If it were me looking down the road, I would have put in some sort of time line concerning the effects of climate change. Are the oceans rising dramatically tomorrow or over the next 200 years? Is the QDR suggesting that "water scarcity" occurs because water is somehow destroyed or that there is a failure to plan for desalination, reservoirs and other means of recycling water? If the former, the science is bad. If the latter, then the failure to plan for projected scarcity seems to be the real issue, not just the use of a pipeline that will transport oil to the U.S. instead of to other countries via "risky oil tankers" on the high seas.

Be that as it may, much of the "debate" remains one of "near term" versus "long term." One pipeline is probably not the place to have that discussion. I think General Jones put it well in his testimony:
What we need more than symbolic, over-politicized debates on particular projects is a more strategic approach to U.S. energy and climate policy — one that promotes energy diversity, sustainability, productivity, and innovation. We can’t do that until we organize ourselves better to make and execute a bona-fide national energy security strategy
If you are interested in a good military/political analysis of the world's energy issues, I highly recommend you read General Jones's testimony:



You can find Dr. Hansen's testimony here. The Sierra Club representative's testimony is here. General Jones testimony. Ms. Harbert's testimony. All are PDFs.

Friday, March 14, 2014

On Midrats 16 March 14 - Episode 219: The USMC Post-QDR with Dakota Wood

Please join us on Sunday 16 March 14 at 5pm EDT for Episode 219: The USMC Post-QDR with Dakota Wood
With the new defense budget out, new QDR out, the withdraw of maneuver forces from Afghanistan, rising interest in INDO-PAC operations, and a resurgent Russia: after over a decade of COIN and land wars in Southwest and Central Asia - what is the status of the United States Marine Corps?

Materially, intellectually, and culturally - is the USMC set up to move best towards the expected challenges and missions?

Our guest for the full hour will be Dakota L. Wood, Lt Col, USMC (Ret.), Senior Research Fellow, Defense Programs at the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign and National Security Policy at The Heritage Foundation.

Following retirement, Mr. Wood served as a Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

Most recently, Mr. Wood served as the Strategist for the U.S. Marine Corps’ Special Operations Command.

Mr. Wood holds a Bachelor of Science in Oceanography from the U.S. Naval Academy; a Master’s degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the College of Naval Command and Staff, U.S. Naval War College.
Join us live at 5 or pick the show up for later listening by clicking here.

Friday Fun Film: "The Story of Submarine Warfare in the Pacific" (WWII)

A PerscopeFilm, "The Story of Submarine Warfare in the Pacific":



The "Silent Service" at its WWII best.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

South China Sea: China Keep Raising Heat Over Disputed Island Claims

China keeps throwing its weight around in the South China Sea, bullying smaller countries and, according to the U.S., acting in violation of various "stand-still" agreements pending legal resolution of ownership of disputed islands. Most of the current situation is set out in US hits ‘provocative’ China move on Philippine ships :
The United States on Wednesday accused China of raising tensions by blocking two Philippine vessels as it urged freedom of navigation in the tense South China Sea (West Philippine Sea).

The United States, a treaty-bound ally of Manila, said it was “troubled” by Sunday’s incident in which China prevented movement of two ships contracted by the Philippine Navy to deliver supplies and troops to the disputed Second Thomas Shoal.

“This is a provocative move that raises tensions. Pending resolution of competing claims in the South China Sea, there should be no interference with the efforts of claimants to maintain the status quo,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
The Philippine government has taken to the air to resupply its forces, as set out in "Manila air-drops supplies to troops on disputed South China Sea reef":
Beijing claims Manila is trying to start construction on the disputed reef after it ran aground an old transport ship in 1999 to mark its territory and stationed marines on the ship. Manila claims the Shoal is part of the Philippine's continental shelf.

"We only intend to improve the conditions there, we have no plans to expand or build permanent structures on the shoal," said a Philippines navy official, who declined to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

"On Monday, we sent a navy Islander plane to drop food and water, but it will only last a few days. We really have to send back the civilian boats. Since last year, we've been resupplying our troops using civilian ships to avoid confrontation and this was the first time China blocked them."
Both sides are exchanging "strongly worded notes" and pointing fingers.
Intentionally grounded Philippine ship in dispute

So far as is known, however, the Philippines has not blocked resupply efforts to any Chinese troops enjoying their tours on the various small reefs in dispute.

Why all the fuss? As noted here:
The Second Thomas Shoal, a strategic gateway to Reed Bank, believed to be rich in oil and natural gas, is one of several possible maritime flashpoints that could prompt the United States to intervene in defense of Asian allies troubled by increasingly assertive Chinese maritime claims.
Of note from the same Reuters article:
Ernest Bower of the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank said new pressure on Manila could be due to China's perception that the United States has shown weakness in dealing with crises in Syria and Ukraine and will be similarly lacking in resolve in Asia - in spite of its declared policy "pivot" to the region.
An interesting look at the situation in 2013 at Aksharadhool.

And a map of interest concerning potential offshore oil and gas fields (from here):

Energy needs rule the waves.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Disaster Prep Wednesday: Take Cover

When you are aware of the possibility of high winds in your area, it's a good idea to head for a safe place.
Not the house in question, but a warning nonetheless

Sadly, Man killed after tree falls on him during storm:
One person was killed Wednesday evening when a tree fell on him as heavy rain, strong winds and thunderstorms moved through the Triangle.

The man, who was in his 50s, was standing on his back deck on Roper Lane in Chapel Hill at about 7 p.m. when the tree fell, killing him instantly, Chapel Hill police said. The street is in Chapel Hill city limits but located in Durham County.

Damaging straight line winds with gusts up to 60 mph were reported in the Triangle, resulting in downed trees and power lines, WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said.
Some good hints here:
Preparing for High Winds
In advance of any storm, be sure your property is secure. Remove any dead trees or overhanging branches near structures, loose roofing materials and objects in yards, patios, roofs, or balconies that could blow away. If a high wind warning is issued:
• Take shelter and tune in to local weather forecasts issued by the National Weather Service.
• Shutter windows securely and brace outside doors.
• Bring in unsecured objects from patios and balconies.

Safety Tips
The safest place to be during high winds is indoors.
• Watch for flying debris.
• Take cover next to a building or under a shelter. Stand clear of roadways or train tracks.
• Avoid anything that may be touching downed lines, including vehicles or tree branches.
• Do not touch anyone who has been shocked who may be in direct or indirect contact with a power line.
• When driving, keep both hands on the wheel and slow down.
• If winds are severe enough to prevent safe driving, get onto the shoulder of the road and stop.
• If a line falls on your car, stay inside the vehicle. Do not to touch any of the metal frame of your vehicle. Honk your horn, roll down the window and warn anyone who may approach of the danger.

U.S. Oil and Gas: Keeping the U.S. Economy Afloat?

The Oil and Gas Journal says, "Study notes boosts from US drilling boom":
• Overall US employment has yet to return to its prerecession level, but the number of oil and gas jobs has grown 40% since then.

• In the 10 states at the epicenter of oil and gas growth, overall statewide employment gains have greatly outpaced the national average.

• A broad array of small and midsize oil and gas firms are propelling record economic and jobs gains—not just in the oil fields but across the economy.

****

• The shale revolution has been the nation's biggest single creator of solid, middle-class jobs—throughout the economy, from construction to services to information technology.

• Nearly 1 million Americans work directly in the oil and gas industry, and a total of 10 million jobs are associated with that industry.

***

• America's oil and gas boom has added $300–400 billion/year to the economy; without this contribution, GDP growth would have been negative, and the nation would have continued to be in recession.
I wonder how all the billions of government dollars spent in developing "green jobs" has worked out in comparison?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Cruise Ships: Ways to Kill an Industry

You could blame the "greedy" passengers for making over-inflated claims and outrageous demands as set out in this lawsuit report, "Carnival cruise passengers sue seeking $5000 per month for life" from MarineLink:
A group of passengers suing Carnival cruise lines for damages after an engine fire left their ship adrift for days are asking the company to pay $5,000 a month for the rest of their lives for medical bills and mental anguish.

A lawsuit brought by 33 passengers of the ill-fated 2013 voyage could change how cruise lines insulate themselves from legal actions, according to maritime legal experts.
Or, if the fine print on the tickets they bought gets tossed as a "contract of adhesion" by sympathetic judges, then you could blame the cruise lines for overreach in attempting to avoid liability for most everything under the sun and above the sea.

You could blame the engineering of the cruise ships or perhaps their construction or maintenance.

You might expect lawsuits on such matters to be lined up end to end in the federal courts . . . and you would just be seeing the crowd chasing the visions of pots of money at the end of the cruise ship rainbow.

However it shakes out, if these cases succeed, I suspect that the cruise business will decline in capacity and increase in cost, which usually spells doom for an industry.

$5000 a month for life? Nice retirement plan. Could probably afford to take some cruises . . . oh, wait.


Monday, March 10, 2014

Pirates: Not Dead Yet


According to the Office of Naval Intelligence Piracy Analysis and Warning Weekly (PAWW) Report for 27 February – 5 March 2014 there still be pirates out there attempting things:
1. (U) OMAN: On 6 March, three suspicious white skiffs approached a merchant vessel near position
22:27.1 N - 060:29.2 E, approximately 122 nm southeast of Muscat, Oman. The skiffs with two persons onboard each skiff approached the ship to within a half mile. After self protection measures were initiated by the crew, the
skiffs moved away. (NATO Shipping Centre)
2. (U) PAKISTAN: On 28 February, suspected pirates in a skiff chased an underway Bangladeshi-flagged bulk carrier, MV CRYSTAL GOLD near position 24:33 N – 062:44 E, approximately 40 nm southeast of
Gwadar, Pakistan. The pirates reportedly chased for up to four hours. The vessel took evasive measures as outlined in BMP 4, reported the incident to UKMTO, and headed towards the Pakistani coast. The Pakistani
Navy deployed a naval asset which located the skiff and detained the suspected pirates. The vessel's owners said there were 23 Bangladeshi crewmen on their vessel. (IMB, The Daily Star (Bangladesh), The New
Nation (Bangladesh)
3. (U) RED SEA: On 3 March, pirates approached an Iranian-flagged tanker near the Bab al Mandeb Strait, in the southern Red Sea. Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari told reporters that the
armed pirates attempted to attack the ship twice and that Iranian Naval forces thwarted the attacks. (Fars News Agency)
and in the Gulf of Guinea:
U) Kidnapping:
(U) NIGERIA: On 4 March at approximately 0130 local time, pirates boarded the Nigerian-flagged offshore supply vessel PRINCE JOSEPH 1 and kidnapping three crewmembers near position 04 17 N - 007 53 E,
Bight of Bonny, off Akwa Ibom State. After the pirates departed the vessel, the remaining crewmembers sailed to the port of Onne. (www.news.odin.tc)
***
(U) Vessels Fired Upon/Attempted Boardings:
(U)
NIGERIA: On 4 March, armed pirates attempted to board an underway bulk carrier near position 04:00 N–005:16 E, approximately 60 nm west-southwest of Brass. The pirates in two skiffs chased and fired upon the
vessel during the attempted boarding. The vessel raised the alarm and non-essential crew mustered in the citadel. Master increased speed, took evasive maneuvers and sent SSAS alert. Due to the hardening measures
taken by the Ship’s Master the pirates aborted the attempted attack and moved away. The vessel sustained damage due to bullets striking the accommodation area.

Also of interest is this report on the counter-piracy prowess of the remarkable Iranian
navy:
Commander of the Iranian Navy says the country’s naval forces have thwarted over 150 pirate attacks on Iranian merchant vessels and oil tankers in the past four years.

“Over the past four years, the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy warships have escorted some 2,000 merchant vessels and freighters…and provided full security for the passage of Iranian vessels in a way that pirates have been unable to mount an attack on our ships,” Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said on Thursday.

He added that Iranian naval forces arrested a number of pirates in four occasions.
Simply amazing!


Hat tip to Bryan!

Sunday, March 09, 2014

March 9 Midrats Episode 218: Abolishing of the USAF, with Robert M. Farley

Please join us at 5pm (Eastern U.S. Daylight Savings time), Sunday March 9, 2014, for Episode 218: Abolishing of the USAF, with Robert M. Farley :
In concept, execution, and ability to effectively provide its part of the national defense infrastructure, has a separate Air Force served this nation well, and does it make sense to keep it a separate service?

Our guest this week makes the case that the experiment in a
separate US Air Force is over, and it has failed. Though we need airpower, we don't need a separate service to provide it.

With us for the full hour will be Professor Robert M. Farley, PhD, author of the book being released 11 March, Grounded: The Case for Abolishing the United States Air Force.

Rob teaches defense and security courses at the Patterson School of Diplomacy at the University of Kentucky. He blogs at InformationDissemination and LawyersGunsAndMoney.
Join us live or pick the show up for later listening by clicking here.

Friday, March 07, 2014

Friday Fun Film: Cold Front (1961)

Perhaps a little too familiar this year:



U.S. Response to Putin: Clowns to the Left, Jokers to the Right

You may have read my suggested response to Russia's Putin in the Ukraine Russia in the Ukraine: 90 day eviction notice, but if you missed The DiploMad 2.0: Cage Fighter vs. Pajama Boy; Putin Confronts the West, then you need to head over there right now:
Let's just say that we have on our hands a New Old Russia. Blah, blah, wishes, and pink unicorns will not cut it. On paper, Russia is not strong compared to the West. The West should be able to handle Russia relatively easily. Russia, however, has one big advantage. Russia has leadership, a determined leadership not afraid to make decisions and act. That compensates for several orders of economic and technological inferiority. The West has, well, you know what the West has, and it ain't good.
My emphasis. Somehow I don't think the Diplomad feels all warm and fuzzy about the West's "leaders."

Let's go over some suggestions:
  1. Work to make sure Western Europe has alternatives to Russian natural gas. This would include exports of LNG from the U.S., restarting nuclear power plants, get fracking going in Poland and other locales where it might be profitiable.
  2.  Put some real U.S. forces (101 and 82 Airborne) on the continent. Call it an "exercise" if you want. Have them "visit" NATO countries bordering Ukraine.
  3.  Put a frigging ESG group in the Eastern Med, fully loaded. 
  4. Dig up those "useless" A-10's and conduct an exercise with, oh, say Romania. 
  5. Grow a pair.
And get over the vapors.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Naval Blockade: Israel Disrupts Iranian Arms Shipment

IDF photo
Reuters reports "Israel seizes arms shipment":
The Israeli navy seized a ship in the Red Sea on Wednesday that was carrying dozens of advanced Iranian-supplied rockets made in Syria and intended for Palestinian guerrillas in the Gaza Strip, the military said.
***
The Panamanian-flagged cargo vessel Klos C was boarded in international waters without resistance from its 17-strong crew in a "complex, covert operation," military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Lerner told reporters.

Lerner said dozens of M302 rockets were found aboard the Klos C, a weapon which could have struck deep into Israel from Gaza and would have significantly enhanced the firepower of the Palestinian enclave's Hamas rulers and other armed factions.

"The M302 in its most advanced model can strike over 100 miles, and if they would have reached Gaza, ultimately that would have meant millions of Israelis under threat," he said.

Hamas dismissed the Israeli announcement as a "silly joke".
Alleged path of rockets
Those innocents in Iran claim it is all an Israeli "lie" as set out in this part of the Iranian Ministry of Truth:
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has dismissed as “lies” the recent Israeli allegation that Tehran sought to send missiles to the blockaded Gaza Strip.

“An Iranian ship carrying arms for Gaza captured just in time for the annual AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) anti-Iran campaign. Amazing Coincidence? Or same failed lies,” Zarif wrote on his Twitter account on Thursday.

On Wednesday, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian also stated that the allegation that a ship was en route to Gaza from Iran with advanced rockets is basically unfounded.
"Basically unfounded?"

Israeli Defense Force report here:


Interesting use of new media by both sides.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Disaster Prep Wednesday: Get First Aid Training


There is no more hopeless feeling in a disaster than not knowing what to do when someone you love is injured, perhaps in a life threatening way.

While it would be nice to suggest that we all become trained EMTs, the reality is that a good start is to become trained in basic first aid.

You can start at minimal cost (and sometimes for free) by checking out the American Red Cross basic First Aid course
Learn how to provide immediate care in cardiac, breathing and first aid emergencies until advanced medical personnel arrive.
Encourage your employer to get the training for all hands at your work place.

Have first aid kits in your home and in all of your cars. Take one with you when out on adventures.

Also, these might be useful (especially the last one):

  1. First Aid, Health and Safety for Coaches
  2. Pet First Aid
  3. Wilderness and Remote First Aid Course:

Designed for scouts and scout leaders, outdoor enthusiasts and anyone who works or spends time in remote environments, this course teaches advanced skills to be used in emergencies when help from professional first responders may be far away. Based on the Boy Scouts of America Wilderness First Aid Curriculum and Doctrine Guidelines, this course aligns with OSHA’s Best Practices for Workplace First Aid Training Programs.

Prerequisites: Must be at least 14 years old and hold current adult CPR/AED certification.

2 year certification

Digital certificate available upon successful completion of course

Course length: 16 hours

Topics include:

Primary and Secondary Assessments
Head/Brain, Neck and Spinal Injuries
Heat-Related Emergencies
Hypothermia
Altitude-Related Illnesses
Go on, get moving. You may never need the training, but if you ever do, you be very glad you had it.


Monday, March 03, 2014

Russia in the Ukraine: 90 day eviction notice

Dear Mr. Putin:

In the next 30 days, unless your military forces now in the Ukraine and Crimea return to the status quo ante, the United States of America will do everything it can to shut off all aspects of your economic activity with the rest of the world.

Starting in 7 days, all assets of Russian citizens in the U.S. will be frozen pending some indication of Russian intentions.

U.S. citizens and businesses doing business or living in Russia are being asked to leave Russia or get to the American embassy as soon as is possible.

Starting in 5 days, any Russian flagged or owned merchant ships will be refused entry into U.S. ports.

The U.S. will recommend to the countries through which Russian natural gas pipelines
are routed that those pipelines be closed for "safety inspections" as soon as is practicable.

As this letter is being written, I am communicating with U.S. and allied natural gas companies about their ability to:
  1. Export LNG to Europe and other areas now served by Russian gas pipeline.
  2. Export fracking technology teams to promising areas of development in Europe, especially Poland.
  3. Establish emergency natural gas pipelines from those fracking areas into the main distribution systems of Europe.
Pursuant to standing NATO commitments, I am ordering various elements of the U.S. military to be ready to deploy to Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Latvia, or Lithuania should any their governments request security assistance (see here).  Air elements, including airborne troops and U.S. Marines and U.S. Navy amphibious units are on notice to prepare for rapid deployment. U.S. naval units will also be dispatched to the eastern Mediterranean.

If U.S. forces are deployed, there should be no doubt in your mind that assistance will be provided to the people of the Ukraine should it be necessary.

We remain in consultation with our allies throughout the world.


The next step is up to you.

With all due respect,

xxxxx