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Saturday, March 17, 2018

Saturday Is Old Radio Day: Now Hear This "USS Philadelphia" (1951)

On Midrats 18 March 2018: Episode 428: Battleflags, Korean Battles, and the Joys of Unexpected Archeology

Please join us at 5pm EDT on 18 March 2018 for Episode 428: Battleflags, Korean Battles, and the Joys of Unexpected Archeology:
Put yourself in the shoes of a museum curator. You have the funds to conduct some much needed preservation on battleflags captured by the US Navy from the War of 1812. To do
USNI News Photo
that, you have to remove them from their home for almost a century.

What happens when you all of a sudden find they are not alone? They are covering something else?

No, this isn't another "National Treasure" sequel, but things that actually unfolded last year at the US Naval Academy. For naval history buffs, this was an exciting time and an opportunity to explore some relatively unknown chapters from our history.

For almost all Americans, when you mention American forces coming ashore to do battle on the Korean peninsula, they think of Inchon and 1950.

Well, we came ashore earlier and fought another battle, in 1871.

When you hear about the American navy vs. pirates, you think about the waters off the Horn of Africa in this century. What about off China in the 1850s?

Join us Sunday to discuss the history and the battleflags of pirates and forgotten kingdoms with returning guests, BJ Armstrong, CDR USN and Claude Berube, LCDR USNR.

BJ Armstrong, PhD is an Assistant Professor of War Studies and Naval History with the History Department of the U.S. Naval Academy. He holds a PhD in War Studies from King's College, London.

Claude Berube is the director of the Naval Academy Museum and recently completed his doctoral dissertation through the University of Leeds on Andrew Jackson’s Navy.
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.

Monday, March 12, 2018

U. S. Navy Office of Naval Intelligence Worldwide Threat to Shipping (WTS) Report 5 February - 7 March 2018 and HORN OF AFRICA/GULF OF GUINEA/ SOUTHEAST ASIA: Piracy Analysis and Warning Weekly (PAWW) Report for 1 - 7 March 2018

Of particular note this week from the WTS:
(U) MEXICO: On 1 March, the U.S. embassy in Mexico issued a travel alert for a popular tourist destination in southeast Mexico. This came a little more than a week after an explosion on a ferry in Playa del Carmen injured more than 20 people, some of them U.S. citizens. The alert was issued the same day as another explosive device was found on another ferry owned by the same company in Cozumel, another tourist hub in the area. According to the alert, which advised U.S. travelers to exercise caution, purchase travel and medical-evacuation insurance, and contact the nearest embassy or consulate for assistance. (;

Though it seems to defy logic, the Mexican government is denying that this is a "terrorist" act as set out in Mexico: Crude bomb caused ferry blast; terrorism ruled out:
Prosecutors said they believe there is no motivation for a terrorist group to have carried out the attack and also think criminal gangs would not have done it, knowing it would draw unwanted attention and increased security.

"Responsibility by terrorist organizations or organized crime has been ruled out," Deputy Attorney General Arturo Elias Beltran said at a news conference.
He added that the bomb "had a very limited capacity" and "was not intended to do major damage."

The Feb. 21 explosion ripped through the upper section of the ferry as it was moored to the dock at Playa del Carmen, leaving a gaping hole in the side of the vessel.
As a result of the investigations, it can be concluded that the remnants of the explosive artifact (in the Feb. 21 incident) show similarity to the one discovered days earlier, and it is clear that it was a rudimentary or homemade artifact," the office said.

On March 2, another object said to be a possible bomb was found attached to the underside of a ferry belonging to the same company whose boat was bombed earlier. That vessel was anchored about 500 yards (meters) off Cozumel. There were no passengers aboard at the time, and authorities said it had been out of service for over 10 months.

Investigators are pursuing multiple lines of inquiry but have not made any arrests or advanced a definitive theory about a motive for the explosion.
I guess it could be some sort of labor dispute, but the definition of terrorism is not stretched by calling the planting of even "rudimentary or homemade" devices to influence actions by some party. As even Wikipedia has it,
Terrorism is, in the broadest sense, the use of intentionally indiscriminate violence as a means to create terror, or fear, to achieve a financial, political, religious or ideological aim.
I suppose, though, that using that word might shake up the local tourism industry a tad.

Important Strategic Input: "U.S. Navy Carriers: Strike Range Expansion Is Critical"

If you are going to influence shore based powers, you need to be able to reach out touch them if need be.

This is addressed by Jerry Hendrix in this National Review piece, U.S. Navy Carriers: Strike Range Expansion Is Critical
The United States Navy needs to make some hard choices if it wishes to remain relevant in the Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2AD) security environment that lies ahead of it. It must begin to adjust its strategy as well as its accompanying shipbuilding and aircraft-procurement plans to enable it to fight and win within the emerging great-power competition. This new environment, at last recognized in President Trump’s National Security Strategy and the Secretary of Defense’s National Defense Strategy, requires the Navy to strike enemy capitals and other vital centers of gravity from range, but the Navy’s decision to bypass a carrier-based strike asset, and now even to push off its acquisition of an unmanned mission tanker, suggest that it is not taking A2AD great-power competition seriously. Its decisions place the future relevance of the entire maritime service, at least as it is presently composed, at risk.
We also discussed this on Midrats on 11 March 2018 - and Dr. Hendrix joined us - the discussion rolls through the show, but especially beginning around the 44 minute mark:

Sunday, March 11, 2018

On Midrats 11 March 2018: Episode 427: Midrats March Madness ... well, mostly Navy talk

Please join us at 5pm EDT on 11 March 2018 for Episode 427: Midrats March Madness ... well, mostly Navy talk:
Now that we're near the end of 2QFY18, it's time for another Midrats Free-For-All!

Just Sal from the blog CDR Salamander and Eagle1 of EagleSpeak covering the latest developments on the maritime and national security front.

If you have topics you would like us to address, send them to us on twitter at @cdrsalamder or @lawofsea, join the chatroom while the show is live ... or even call in.
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.