Work Crew

Work Crew

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Disaster Relief: It's Always About Logistics

Logistics, logistics, logistics. Some excellent points about the problems of Puerto Rico and the issues faced in getting assstiance to the population at Breaking: Trump waives Jones Act for Puerto Rico which quotes a Bloomberg piece by Laura Blewitt Mountains of Aid Are Languishing on the Docks in Puerto Rico which, as the title suggests, states the issues concerning aid are not in the delivery to the island, but in the infrastructure of the island:
There are plenty of ships and plenty of cargo to come into the island,” said Mark Miller, a spokesman for Crowley, based in Jacksonville, Florida. “From there, that’s where the supply chain breaks down -- getting the goods from the port to the people on the island who need them.”
***
The buildings that would receive supplies are destroyed and without electricity, Miller said. The transport companies that have staff available and diesel on hand encounter downed poles and power lines while navigating 80,000-pound tractor-trailers on delicate washed-out roads.

“It’s one thing to move a little car through there,” Miller said. “It’s another to move a semi truck.”

Russel L. Honore, a retired Army lieutenant general who took over the federal response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, said the efforts in Puerto Rico require what he called "expeditionary logistics" -- ships, aircraft and trucks that can move goods onto and around the island.
Read it all.

By the way, while the government recommends 3 days worth of food and water per person (and pet), the reality is that you are far better off planning on 7 to 10 days without power, water and food from other than your own supplies.

About the photo:
170925-M-IZ659-0017 ST. CROIX, U.S. Virgin Islands (Sept. 24, 2017) U.S. Marines assigned to Combat Logistics Battalion 26, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (26th MEU), cut branches from a fallen tree to clear a road in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, Sept. 25, 2017. The 26th MEU is supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the lead federal agency, and local authorities in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands with the combined goal of protecting the lives and safety of those in affected areas. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Santino D. Martinez/Released)

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Innovative Ways to Expand the Radio and Radar Horizon from DARPA

Keep good idea coming (and help design plans for scenarios where satellites might be unavailable) - here is a DARPA test report TALONS Tested on Commissioned U.S. Navy Vessel for First Time:
DARPA’s Towed Airborne Lift of Naval Systems (TALONS) research effort recently demonstrated its prototype of a low-cost, elevated sensor mast aboard a commissioned U.S. Navy vessel for the first time. The crew of USS Zephyr, a 174-foot (53-meter) Cyclone-class patrol coastal ship, evaluated the technology demonstration system over three days near Naval Station Mayport, Florida.

TALONS demonstrated safe and routine operation from the ship’s deck under a variety of sea states and wind conditions without adversely affecting the ship’s operational capability. In tests, the system significantly improved the ship’s ability to detect, track, and classify contacts of interest. It also increased communications range between the ship and remote platforms such as the Zephyr’s rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIBs).

Towed behind boats or ships, TALONS could persistently suspend intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR) instruments and communications payloads of up to 150 pounds at altitudes between 500 and 1,500 feet above sea level—many times higher than current ships’ masts—greatly extending the equipment’s range and effectiveness.

“We’re very pleased with the USS Zephyr testing, which showed that a future system based on TALONS could provide operational benefits for even small Navy vessels,” said Scott Littlefield, a program manager in DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office (TTO). “In the next year, we will continue our cooperative relationship with the U.S. Navy and work toward fully automating launch and recovery, which would make the system even easier to use on manned vessels and compatible with unmanned surface vessels.”

“Expectations were really exceeded with the ease of not only deployment, but the recovery of the system,” said Lt. Cmdr. Cameron Ingram, commanding officer of the Zephyr. “Beyond the initial launch, it immediately stabilized, and it had a very smooth transition all the way up to altitude. I was very impressed with how stable it was.”

The TALONS test on USS Zephyr built upon a successful joint test last year with DARPA’s Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) program. ACTUV’s technology demonstration vessel set sail with TALONS as its first payload as part of open-water testing off the coast of California.

TALONS is part of DARPA’s Phase 1 research for Tern, a joint program between DARPA and the U.S. Navy’s Office of Naval Research (ONR).


That "joint test" with the ACTUV? See below:


DARPA’s Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) program has developed and built a technology demonstration vessel that is currently undergoing open-water testing off the coast of California and recently set sail with its first payload: a prototype of a low-cost, elevated sensor mast developed through the Agency’s Towed Airborne Lift of Naval Systems (TALONS) research effort.

ACTUV seeks to lay the technical foundation for an entirely new class of ocean-going vessel—one able to traverse thousands of kilometers over the open seas for months at a time, without a single crew member aboard. Potential missions include submarine tracking and countermine activities. Towed behind boats or ships, TALONS could persistently carry intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR), and communications payloads of up to 150 pounds between 500 and 1,500 feet in altitude—many times higher than current ships’ masts—and greatly extend the equipment’s range and effectiveness.

The demonstration took place over two days with 90 minutes of flight each day. The TALONS prototype started out from its “nest” installed on the back of the ACTUV vehicle. It then expanded its parachute and rose to an altitude of 1,000 feet, where it tested its onboard sensors and communications equipment. Once the test was complete, the prototype reeled itself in back to the nest. The entire process took place as the ACTUV vehicle maneuvered at operationally realistic speeds.

While aloft, TALONS demonstrated significant improvements to the range of the sensors and radios it carried compared to mounting them directly on a surface vessel. For example, TALONS’ surface-track radar extended its range by 500 percent—six times—compared to its range at sea level. Its electro-optical/infrared scanner doubled its observed discrimination range. The TALONS team plugged in a commercial handheld omnidirectional radio; that radio’s range more than tripled.

“I was delighted to explore the possibility of hosting TALONS on ACTUV and from my perspective, the testing could not have gone better,” said Scott Littlefield, DARPA program manager for ACTUV. “We just started at-sea testing of ACTUV in June, and until now we've been focused on getting the basic ship systems to work. TALONS was our first chance to demonstrate hosting a real payload and showing the versatility of ACTUV to do a wide variety of missions for which it wasn't originally designed.”

“TALONS showed the advantages of using a low-cost add-on elevated sensor to extend the vision and connectivity of a surface asset and ACTUV demonstrated its ability as a flexible and robust payload truck,” said Dan Patt, DARPA program manager for TALONS. “This demonstration was an important milestone in showing how clever use of unmanned systems could cost-effectively provide improved capabilities.”
***

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Modern Times?

Walter Lippmann wrote The Good Society before World War II but some of it speaks to us today:
Although the partisans who are now fighting for the mastery of the modern world wear shirts of different colors, their weapons are drawn from the same armory, their doctrines are variations of the same theme, and they go forth to battle singing the same tune with slightly different words. Their weapons are the coercive direction of the life and labor of mankind. Their doctrine is that disorder and misery can be overcome only by more and more compulsory organization. Their promise is that through the power of the state men can be made happy.

Throughout the world, in the name of progress, men who call themselves communists, socialists, fascists, nationalists, progressives, and even liberals, are unanimous in holding that government with its instruments of coercion must, by commanding the people how they shall live, direct the course of civilization and fix the shape of things to come.
That's not to suggest the Mr. Lippmann was not right about everything he ever wrote- like most of us, his thinking evolved as he grew older.

Considering when he was writing the above, however,  his thoughts here are worth considering in these more -uh- modern times.

Freedom requires resisting "compulsory organization" in all its various guises.

UPDATE:
I think AG Session gets it right here:
Attorney General Sessions Gives an Address on the Importance of Free Speech on College Campuses
Washington, DC ~ Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Remarks as prepared for delivery

Thank you for that kind introduction. I am so pleased to be here at Georgetown Law and to be speaking at the Georgetown Center for the Constitution where the exchange of ideas is both welcomed and encouraged. Thank you, Professor Barnett for that introduction and for hosting me here with your students. And thank you students for letting me take part in this important conversation with you.

As you embark on another school year, you and hundreds of your peers across this campus will, we hope, continue the intellectual journey that is higher education. You will discover new areas of knowledge; you will engage in debates great and small; many of your views will be challenged and some changed. You will—if your institutions follow our nation’s historic cultural and education traditions—pursue truth while growing in mind and spirit. In short, we hope you will take part in the right of every American: the free, robust, and sometimes contentious exchange of ideas.

As you exercise these rights, realize how precious, how rare, and how fragile they are. In most societies throughout history and in so many that I have had the opportunity to visit, such rights do not exist. In these places, openly criticizing the government or expressing unorthodox opinions could land you in jail or worse.

Let me tell you about one such example. It occurred one autumn when a few idealistic university students came together as a group to advocate for a deeply felt political creed. Wanting to recruit others to their cause, they staked out some ground on a campus walkway popular with students and approached them as they passed.

They said things like: “Do you like freedom? Do you like liberty?” and then they offered to these passersby a document they revered and believed stood for these ideals: the U.S. Constitution. These young proselytizers for liberty did not block the walkway, did not disrupt surrounding activities, and did not use intimidation or violence to press their cause.

Nevertheless, a local government official labeled this behavior “provocative” and in violation of government policy. When the young people bravely refused to stop, citing their right to free speech, the local official had them arrested, handcuffed, and jailed.

This troubling incident could have occurred under any number of tyrannies where the bedrock American ideals of freedom of thought and speech have no foothold. But this incident happened right here in the United States, just last year, at a public college in Battle Creek, Michigan. A state official actually had students jailed for handing out copies of the United States Constitution.

Freedom of thought and speech on the American campus are under attack.

The American university was once the center of academic freedom—a place of robust debate, a forum for the competition of ideas. But it is transforming into an echo chamber of political correctness and homogenous thought, a shelter for fragile egos.

In 2017, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education surveyed 450 colleges and universities across the country and found that 40 percent maintain speech codes that substantially infringe on constitutionally protected speech. Of the public colleges surveyed, which are bound by the First Amendment, fully one-third had written policies banning disfavored speech.

For example, at Boise State University in Idaho, the Student Code of Conduct prohibits “[c]onduct that a reasonable person would find offensive.” At Clemson University in South Carolina, the Student Code of Conduct bans any verbal or physical act that creates an “offensive educational, work or living environment.”

But who decides what is offensive and what is acceptable? The university is about the search for truth, not the imposition of truth by a government censor.

Speech and civility codes violate what the late Justice Antonin Scalia rightly called “the first axiom of the First Amendment,” which is that, “as a general rule, the state has no power to ban speech on the basis of its content.” In this great land, the government does not get to tell you what to think or what to say.

In addition to written speech codes, many colleges now deign to “tolerate” free speech only in certain, geographically limited, “free speech zones.” For example, a student recently filed suit against Pierce College, a public school in southern California, alleging that it prohibited him from distributing Spanish-language copies of the U.S. Constitution outside the school’s free speech zone.

The size of this free speech zone? 616 square feet—an area barely the size of a couple of college dorm rooms. These cramped zones are eerily similar to what the Supreme Court warned against in the seminal 1969 Tinker v. Des Moines case about student speech: “Freedom of expression would not truly exist if the right could be exercised only in an area that a benevolent government has provided as a safe haven.”

College administrators also have silenced speech by permitting “the heckler’s veto” to control who gets to speak and what messages are conveyed. In these instances, administrators discourage or prohibit speech if there is even a threat that it will be met with protest. In other words, the school favors the heckler’s disruptive tactics over the speaker’s First Amendment rights. These administrators seem to forget that, as the Supreme Court put it in Watson v. City of Memphis more than 50 years ago, “constitutional rights may not be denied simply because of hostility to their assertion or exercise.”

This permissive attitude toward the heckler’s veto has spawned a cottage industry of protestors who have quickly learned that school administrators will capitulate to their demands.

Protestors are now routinely shutting down speeches and debates across the country in an effort to silence voices that insufficiently conform with their views.

A frightening example occurred this year at Middlebury College. Student protestors violently shut down a debate between an invited speaker and one of the school’s own professors. As soon as the event began, the protestors shouted for 20 minutes, preventing the debate from occurring.

When the debaters attempted to move to a private broadcasting location, the protestors—many in masks, a common tactic also used by the detestable Ku Klux Klan—pulled fire alarms, surrounded the speakers, and began physically assaulting them. In short, Middlebury students engaged in a violent riot to ensure that neither they nor their fellow students would hear speech they may have disagreed with.

Indeed, the crackdown on speech crosses creeds, races, issues, and religions. At Brown University, a speech to promote transgender rights was cancelled after students protested because a Jewish group cosponsored the lecture. Virginia Tech disinvited an African American speaker because he had written on race issues and they worried about protests disrupting the event.

This is not right. This is not in the great tradition of America. And, yet, school administrators bend to this behavior. In effect, they coddle it and encourage it.

Just over a week ago, after the Orwellian-named “anti-fascist” protestors had successfully shut down numerous campus speaker events in recent months with violent riots, Berkeley was reportedly forced to spend more than $600,000 and have an overwhelming police presence simply to prove that the mob was not in control of the campus.

In advance, the school offered “counseling” to any students or faculty whose “sense of safety or belonging” was threatened by a speech from Ben Shapiro—a 33-year-old Harvard trained lawyer who has been frequently targeted by anti-Semites for his Jewish faith and who vigorously condemns hate speech on both the left and right.

In the end, Mr. Shapiro spoke to a packed house. And to my knowledge, no one fainted, no one was unsafe. No one needed counseling.

Yet, after this small victory for free speech, a student speaking to a reporter said in reaction, “I don’t think Berkley should host any controversial speakers, on either side.” That is, perhaps, the worst lesson to take away from this episode.

I know that the vast majority of students like you at the Constitution Center need no lecture on the dangers of government-imposed group think. But we have seen a rash of incidents often perpetrated by small groups of those students and professors unable or unwilling to defend their own beliefs in the public forum.

Unfortunately, their acts have been tolerated by administrators and shrugged off by other students. So let us directly address the question: Why should we worry that free speech is in retreat at our universities?

Of course, for publicly run institutions, the easy answer is that upholding free speech rights is not an option, but an unshakable requirement of the First Amendment. As Justice Robert Jackson once explained: “If there is a fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion.”

But even setting aside the law, the more fundamental issue is that the university is supposed to be the place where we train virtuous citizens. It is where the next generation of Americans are equipped to contribute to and live in a diverse and free society filled with many, often contrary, voices.

Our legal heritage, upon which the Founders crafted the Bill of Rights, taught that reason and knowledge produced the closest approximation to truth—and from truth may arise justice. But reason requires discourse and, frequently, argument. And that is why the free speech guarantee is found not just in the First Amendment, but also permeates our institutions, our traditions, and our Constitution.

The jury trial, the right to cross-examine witnesses, the Speech & Debate Clause, the very art and practice of lawyering—all of these are rooted in the idea that speech, reason, and confrontation are the very bedrock of a good society. In fact, these practices are designed to ascertain what is the truth. And from that truth, good policies and actions can be founded.

The Federalists against the Anti-federalists, Abraham Lincoln against Stephen Douglas, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. against George Wallace. Indeed, it was the power of Dr. King’s words that crushed segregation and overcame the violence of the segregationists. At so many times in our history as a people, it was speech—and still more speech—that led Americans to a more just, more perfect union.

The right to freely examine the moral and the immoral, the prudent and the foolish, the practical and the inefficient, and the right to argue for their merits or demerits remain indispensable for a healthy republic. This has been known since the beginning of our nation.

James Madison knew this when, as part of his protest against the Alien and Sedition Acts—the speech codes of his day—he said that the freedom of speech is “the only effectual guardian of every other right.”

And, in a quote that I am reminded of daily in this job, Thomas Jefferson knew this when he said in words now chiseled in the stone of his memorial, “I swear upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”

Soon you will be the professor, the university president, the Attorney General, and even the President of the United States. And you will have your own pressing issues to grapple with. But I promise you that no issue is better decided with less debate, indifference, and with voices unheard.

There are those who will say that certain speech isn’t deserving of protection. They will say that some speech is hurtful—even hateful. They will point to the very speech and beliefs that we abhor as Americans. But the right of free speech does not exist only to protect the ideas upon which most agree at a given moment in time.

As Justice Brandeis eloquently stated in his 1927 concurrence in Whitney v. California: “If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.”

And let me be clear that protecting free speech does not mean condoning violence like we saw recently in Charlottesville. Indeed, I call upon universities to stand up against those who would silence free expression by violence or other means on their campuses.

But a mature society can tell the difference between violence and unpopular speech, and a truly free society stands up—and speaks up—for cherished rights precisely when it is most difficult to do so.

As Justice Holmes once wrote: “If there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other it is the principle of free thought—not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate.” For the thought that we hate.

And we must do so on our campuses. University officials and faculty must defend free expression boldly and unequivocally. That means presidents, regents, trustees and alumni as well. A national recommitment to free speech on campus is long overdue. And action to ensure First Amendment rights is overdue.

Starting today, the Department of Justice will do its part in this struggle. We will enforce federal law, defend free speech, and protect students’ free expression from whatever end of the political spectrum it may come. To that end, we are filing a Statement of Interest in a campus free speech case this week and we will be filing more in the weeks and months to come.

This month, we marked the 230th anniversary of our Constitution. This month, we also marked the 54th anniversary of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham. Four little girls died that day as they changed into their choir robes because the Klan wanted to silence the voices fighting for civil rights. But their voices were not silenced.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would call them “the martyred heroines of a holy crusade for freedom and human dignity,” and I urge you to go back and read that eulogy and consider what it had to say to each of us. This is the true legacy of free speech that has been handed down to you. It was bought with a price. This is the heritage that you have been given and which you must protect.

So I am here today to ask you to be involved to make your voices heard—and to defend the rights of others to do the same.

For the last 241 years, we have staked a country on the principle that robust and even contentious debate is how we discover truth and resolve the most intractable problems before us.

Your generation will decide if this experiment in freedom will continue. Nothing less than the future of our Republic depends on it.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Saturday Is Old Radio Day: The Pacific Story, "Our Strategic Needs in the Pacific" (1946)

The U.S. has been a Pacific nation since before 1850 (California statehood). With the addition of
Hawaii, Guam, American Somoa and other territories and the alliances we have, the Pacific is really not something we needed to "pivot" to. We simply are a Pacific power with all that implies.

Further, with the expenditure of lives of young Americans and the expenditure of vast sums to free the Pacific from occupation (including - by the way - China, the Philippines, New Guinea and other areas), we have paid our dues as a Pacific nation. We have every right and reason to be involved in the region. We are a "stakeholder."

Here's a show from 1946 dealing with the issues of Pacific in the days after WWII:


Friday, September 22, 2017

On Midrats 24 September 2017 - Episode 403: Hezbollah, Israel, Syria, Lebanon and What's Next

Please join us at 5pm (EDT) on 24 September 2017 for Midrats Episode 403: Hezbollah, Israel, Syria, Lebanon and What's Next
As the Syrian conflict enters what looks to be its end game, one old player on the scene is emerging stronger than it has ever been, a point of concern for all the nations in the area.

How has the Syrian civil war changed Hezbollah and her allies, and what does it signal about the post-war order?

To discuss this and related issues will be our guest for the full hour, Solume Anderson.

Solume is journalist and author based between New York City and Beirut, Lebanon. An
alumna of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. She writes regularly for publications including Newsweek, The Atlantic, New York, Harpers, Foreign Policy, VICE, Village Voice and Vox.com. Her first book, The Hostage’s Daughter was published in 2016.

We will use her latest article, Hezbollah’s New Strength Leaves Israeli Border Tense, as a starting off point for our conversation.
Join us live if you can or pick the show up later by clicking here. Or you can also pick the show up later by visiting either our iTunes page or our Stitcher page.

Friday Films Double Feature: "Operation Pluto" and "Time of Disaster"

First, British film about a remarkable engineering feat that help win the war in Europe:



Unrelated, but interesting, a film about civic duty during disasters:


Thursday, September 21, 2017

Fun in the U.S. Navy World

Galrahn takes on the "can-do" vs. "must-do" Navy in The US Navy and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Tuesday
"Can do" cultures don't require risk mitigation plans, but "must do" cultures do. The distinction is the difference. A "Can do" culture in an organization is a bottom-up culture of productivity, while a "must do" culture within an organization is a top-down culture of productivity. The specific characteristics that distinctly identifies whether an organization has a positive "can do" culture or a negative "must do" culture is the persistent requirement for risk mitigation and the acceptance of risk mitigation as part of standard operating procedure at the senior leadership level.

The CNO's own testimony before the Senate on Tuesday suggests that the US Navy has a toxic "must do" top-down culture, because he not only cited risk mitigation but a tremendous amount of evidence was presented in testimony that the acceptance of risk mitigation as part of standard operating procedure is prevalent in the Pacific theater.
We touched on this in our recent Midrats episode with David Larter about 25:40:



Couple that with this USNI Proceedings piece by LT John Miller, There Are No Benign Operations with its excellent lede:
The Navy often overlooks its vulnerabilities in peacetime, but as the crew of the USS Stark and sailors before them have learned, material and personnel readiness are critical even during seemingly neutral taskings.

Lesson learned applications? Another USNI Proceedings piece by RADM John Wade and LT Timothy Baker, Red Sea Combat Generates High-Velocity Learning:
Most important, with this tasking came direction to ensure the ships’ crews knew they were not being investigated. Our assessment was not an investigation; rather, it was a method for extracting valuable lessons from ships having engaged in combat to increase the surface community’s warfighting effectiveness.
***
The assessment confirms how these ships performed. The first and perhaps most significant lesson emerged from observing the impact of the Red Sea littoral environment on combat-system performance during an actual engagement. Until the events in October, the best understanding of environmental impact on system performance had come from computer simulations and live-fire exercises in the less-challenging conditions in the Virginia Capes or Southern California operational areas. Second, we identified specific areas where SMWDC can improve firing-point procedures, refine the Aegis ship self-defense system (SSDS) and SPY radar doctrines, and provide increased threat-specific training to increase battlespace and maximize depth-of-fire for shipboard weapons. The third lesson derived from assessing crew endurance. Until now, little had been understood about how stress and uncertainty affect sailors in our newest and most capable warships in combat.

On a different but related topic, an excellent post by Scott Cheney-Peters on Filling the Maritime Law Enforcement Gap
Last week, Japan gathered world maritime security leaders in Tokyo for the first-ever Coast Guard Global Summit. Even without the U.S. Coast Guard’s headline-grabbing search and rescue operations in the wake of recent hurricanes, attendees had plenty to talk about. They face an array of maritime challenges including piracy in Africa and Asia, large-scale migration in Europe, and illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing pretty much everywhere. And this before, as a concession to cooperation and dialogue, the summit agenda avoided an issue increasingly important to Asian maritime services: protecting sovereign rights in the face of competing maritime entitlement claims.

Any one of those challenges could stress a maritime law enforcement service to the limits of its operational effectiveness; taken together, they point to a critical security danger that has been ignored by too many for too long. Around the world there is a pervasive lack of adequate capabilities to deal with maritime security challenges below the threshold of war. Nations that have rarely assessed their interests accurately in the maritime domain or resourced their protection accordingly are beginning to face up to the mounting threats. More than ever, governments are seeking assistance with what are primarily maritime law enforcement operations, leading even NGOs and private enterprise to try to fill the Last week, Japan gathered world maritime security leaders in Tokyo for the first-ever Coast Guard Global Summit. Even without the U.S. Coast Guard’s headline-grabbing search and rescue operations in the wake of recent hurricanes, attendees had plenty to talk about. They face an array of maritime challenges including piracy in Africa and Asia, large-scale migration in Europe, and illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing pretty much everywhere. And this before, as a concession to cooperation and dialogue, the summit agenda avoided an issue increasingly important to Asian maritime services: protecting sovereign rights in the face of competing maritime entitlement claims.

Any one of those challenges could stress a maritime law enforcement service to the limits of its operational effectiveness; taken together, they point to a critical security danger that has been ignored by too many for too long. Around the world there is a pervasive lack of adequate capabilities to deal with maritime security challenges below the threshold of war. Nations that have rarely assessed their interests accurately in the maritime domain or resourced their protection accordingly are beginning to face up to the mounting threats. More than ever, governments are seeking assistance with what are primarily maritime law enforcement operations, leading even NGOs and private enterprise to try to fill gaps in some instances.
Nice to see that SecNav is looking at filling some gaps with platforms that may not be "first line" ships but which can carry out some important missions while saving the big gray hulls for other matters, as reported by Ben Werner at USNI News SECNAV Spencer: Oliver Hazard Perry Frigates Could be Low-Cost Drug Interdiction Platforms:
SECNAV Richard V. Spencer told reporters he and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson are studying how the Navy faces-off a threat and how the Navy can best match the different types of threats.

“Is a (guided-missile destroyer) DDG the thing to put for drug interdictions down in the Caribbean? I don’t think so,” Spencer said.
“Do we actually have something in the portfolio right now?”

If pressed, Spencer said he’d task the Littoral Combat Ship with assisting the Coast Guard’s drug interdiction work in U.S. 4th Fleet in the short term. But looking forward to the Navy’s stated goal of increasing its fleet size to 355 ships, Spencer said part of his planning will include considering recommissioning the seven Perrys (FFG-7).

“One of the things we might look at is bringing the Perry-class to do a limited drug interdiction mode,” Spencer said.
***
“No combat systems, but sea-ready, navigation ready, radar ready out the door,” Spencer said. “That’s a pretty inexpensive proven platform right there,” Spencer said. “Can you arm it up with Tomahawks? No.”

But for drug interdiction or operating in low threat areas, Spencer said the frigates could accomplish these important missions without expensive upgrades to weapons systems.


As I have stated before, Congress needs to quit screwing around with funding the Navy and the Coast Guard and provide the American people with a force funded to do its job. That includes funding for an adequate number of ships and personnel. While it's sexy to discuss carriers and cruisers, it's the non-sexy areas that also need attention. These include ice breakers, fleet auxiliaries and mine warfare.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Short Version of the Hearing on Recent United States Navy Incidents at Sea: "We need ships and more people"

Let me sum up Recent United States Navy Incidents at Sea Hearing by United States Senate Commitee on Armed Services. "We need more ships and people."

It is the job of Congress.
"The Congress shall have Power To ...provide and maintain a Navy.... ARTICLE I, SECTION 8, CLAUSE 13, U.S. Constitution.

See SecNav Spencer:
All of these efforts rest on a foundation of sufficient and predictable funding to sustain our readiness. As I stated in my confirmation hearing, the Navy-Marine Corps team, their families, and their civilian teammates have never failed our Nation, and they never will. However, I believe that we are failing them through such actions as the Budget Control Act and repeated continuing resolutions. This imbalance must be rectified.

See CNO Richardson:
I have testified several times about the “triple whammy” - the corrosive confluence of high operational tempo constrained funding levels, and budget uncertainty. Although warfighting capabilities of ships have dramatically increased in the last century, the size and scope of U.S. responsibilities around the world have also increased, and the Navy is feeling the strains of consistently high operational tempo. Added to this challenge, eight years of continuing resolutions and the Budget Control Act have impacted the ability to plan and schedule training, ship maintenance, and modernization.

We had a discussion on these recent incidents with David Larter:



There's a discussion of "can do-ism" beginning about 25:27. My apologies for the "breaking up" on my part, but the answer is spot on as is Sal's follow-on.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

On Midrats 17 September 2015 -Episode 402: Mid-September Melee

Please join us at 5pm EDT on 17 September 2017 for Midrats Episode 402: Mid-September Melee:
From WESTPAC to the Caribbean to the Euphrates river valley to Arakan province,
U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Ryre Arciaga/Released)
we’ll be covering the mostly maritime national security developments of the last few weeks for the full hour in a Midrats free-for-all format. This is also your chance to bring up the topics you want addressed. Join in the chat room live to share your questions, or call in to the show if there is something you like us to talk about.
Join us live if you can or pick the show up later by clicking here. Or you can also pick the show up later by visiting either our iTunes page or our Stitcher page.

Constitution Day


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

"A Naval Blockade Is the Best Option to Cut Off North Korea"

Retired Admiral James Stavrides, A Naval Blockade Is the Best Option to Cut Off North Korea:
The fact is, the only way to keep the Kim regime from violating UN sanctions would be a stringent naval blockade. While a full-on blockade would require a Security Council resolution, it would be possible for the U.S. to immediately start putting in place the rudiments of a comprehensive inspection regime on the high seas, which could be easily adapted over time as more allies, partners and ultimately geopolitical competitors like China and Russia can be persuaded to sign on. Indeed, the Trump administration has already been thinking along these lines.

Such a blockade would serve three key purposes: definitively cutting off North Korea’s access to oil imports from the sea; stopping Korean exports, especially textiles and seafood (which are of significant hard currency value to the regime); and ensuring that high-tech machinery and raw materials that might support Kim’s nuclear-weapons and missile programs are not allowed into the Hermit Kingdom.

While China might continue to provide such supplies across the long Chinese-North Korean land border, a naval blockade would increase pressure on Beijing to comply with existing UN sanctions, as any illegal imports would be obvious proof of Chinese violations.

Setting up a naval blockade is a tactical challenge, even for the U.S. North Korea operates commercial and military ports on its east and west coasts of the peninsula, including Nampo on the Bay of Korea and Hungnam on the Sea of Japan. It also has ports in the far northeast of the country on the edge of Russia, which has been one of Kim’s apologists on the world stage. Shutting down the entire flow of goods into and out of North Korea would significantly tax the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

But it wouldn’t be impossible. . . 
Well, we are technically still at war with the NORKS, so it's not an new act of war.

As the Admrial notes, it would put a real strain on the U.S. fleet,  especially without lots of allied help.

CIA World Factbook (from whence came the image above) notes the following "major" seaports:
Ch'ongjin, Haeju, Hungnam (Hamhung), Namp'o, Senbong, Songnim, Sonbong (formerly Unggi), Wonsan

Monday, September 11, 2017

Remember

Remember that moment.

Remember those hours.

Remember those lost then.

Remember those lost since.

Never ever forget.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

On Midrats 10 September 2017 - Episode 401: Reporting on a Navy in Crisis, With David Larter

Please join us at 5pm EDT on 10 September 2017 for Midrats Episode 401: Reporting on a Navy in Crisis, With David Larter
USS Fitzgerald (U.S. Navy photo by MC1 Peter Burghart)
In an era of the 24-hr news cycle but in a subject area where accuracy and subject-knowledge is required - how does the navy-focused media report on the fast changing environment?

For the professional journalist, the last few months have shown that even peacetime naval operations can create stories as professionally demanding as reporting on wartime developments.

The stories coming from the deaths of 17 Sailors from the USS FITZGERALD and USS JOHN S. MCCAIN and the reaction from the SECNAV on down are just the latest
USS John S. McCain (U.S. Navy photo byMC2 Joshua Fulton)
examples.

Our guest for the full hour to discuss the interplay between media, political concerns, industry pressure, and personal agendas in reporting on our Navy will be David Larter, Naval Warfare Reporter for Defense News. He's a graduate of the University of Richmond and a former Operations Specialist Second Class, still DNQ in his ESWS qual.
Join us live if you can or pick the show up later by clicking here. Or you can also pick the show up later by visiting either our iTunes page or our Stitcher page.

Saturday Is Old Radio Day: The Great Gildersleeve "Gildy Arrested as a Car Thief"

About The Great Gildersleeve":
The Great Gildersleeve was a radio situation comedy broadcast in the USA from August
31, 1941,[1] to 1958.[3] Initially written by Leonard Lewis Levinson,[4] it was one of broadcast history's earliest spin-off programs. The series was built around the character Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve, a regular element of the radio situation comedy Fibber McGee and Molly. The character was introduced in the October 3, 1939 episode (number 216) of that series. Actor Harold Peary had played a similarly named character, Dr. Gildersleeve, on earlier episodes. The Great Gildersleeve enjoyed its greatest popularity in the 1940s. Peary played the character during its transition from the parent show into the spin-off and later in four feature films released at the height of the show's popularity.


Thursday, September 07, 2017

On Reading Walter Lippmann's The Good Society

Thinking of Freedom of Thought and Speech and the willingness of some to believe they have the ideas to make a better world, if only everyone would conform.

Written as WWII approached, The Good Society (emphasis added):
Their weapons are the coercive direction of the life and labor of mankind. Their doctrine is that disorder and misery can be overcomeonly by more and more compulsory organization. Their promise is that through the power of the state men can be made happy.

Throughout the world, in the name of progress, men who call themselves communists, socialists, fascists, nationalists, progressives, and even liberals, are unanimous in holding that government with its instruments of coercion must, by commanding the people how they shall live, direct the course of civilization and fix the shape of things to come. They believe in what Mr. Stuart Chase accurately "describes as "the overhead planning and control of economic activity." This is the dogma which all the prevailing dogmas presuppose. This is the mold in which are cast the thought and action of the epoch. No other approach to the regulation of human affairs is seriously considered, or is even conceived as possible. The recently enfranchised masses and the leaders of thought who supply their ideas are almost completely under the spell of this dogma. Only a handful here and there, groups without influence, isolated and disregarded thinkers, continue to challenge it. For the premises of authoritarian collectivism have become the working beliefs, the self-evident assumptions, the unquestioned axioms, not only of all the revolutionary regimes, but of nearly every effort which lays claim to being enlightened, humane, and progressive.

So universal is the dominion of this dogma over the minds of contemporary men that no one is taken seriously as a statesman or a theorist who does not come forward with proposals to magnify the power of public officials and to extend and multiply their intervention in human affairs. Unless he is authoritarian and collectivist, he is a mossback, a reactionary, at best an amiable eccentric swimming hopelessly against the tide. It is a strong tide. Though despotism is no novelty in human affairs, it is probably true that at no time in twenty-five hundred years has any western government claimed for itself a jurisdiction over men's lives comparable with that which is officially attempted in the totalitarian states. No doubt there have been despotisms which were more 'cruel than those of Russia, Italy, and Germany. " There has been none which was more inclusive. In these ancient centres of civilization, several hundred millions of persons live under what is theoretically the absolute dominion of the dogma that public officials are their masters and that only under official orders may they live, work, and seek their salvation.

But to those who Lippmann describes, there is this: