Saturday, September 18, 2021

On Midrats 19 September 2021 - Episode 603: September Maritime Melee

Please join us at 5pm on 19 September 2021 for Midrats 29 August 2021 - Episode 603: September Maritime Melee

Sal and EagleOne are tanned, rested, and ready to dive in a … well … where does one start for the last couple of weeks.

Australia pivots strong to China with here plans to move to SSN, France gets grumpy with the Anglosphere as a result but still kills a baddie for us, fleets of container ships are haunting out ports, and we’re all digesting what happened in Afghanistan. That’s just a start.

Join us for the full hour LIVE Sunday. The chat room will be open and the studio line too.

If you use Apple Podcasts, and miss the show live, you can pick up this episode and others and add Midrats to your podcast list simply by going to here. Or on Spreaker. Or on Spotify.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Countering Drones: U.S. Surface Navy Getting a New Tool

Reported at USNI News Navy Arming Surface Ships with Drone Repellent System:

The Drone Restricted Access Using Known Electromagnetic Warfare system, or DRAKE, built by Northrop Grumman and originally used on Humvees during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, is now used across the Navy’s surface fleet.


“What this essentially does is it works like a normal jammer. So whenever we have a drone that gets a little bit too close, or flies somewhere that it shouldn’t be, or is in any way, shape or form a risk to us, we can just turn on our DRAKE and the DRAKE will basically keep it from coming close to the ship,” he added. “So it projects basically like an umbrella. So when the drone flies in, this will just cut off the signal.”

Variation on a ground based system.

A 2106 video from Northop Grumman shows DRAKE in operation:

DRAKE is not the only system out there - like RAFAEL's system shown in this video:

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Saturday Is Old Radio Day: 9-11-2001 Don Imus Live

Update - revised to the actual radio show. Heard this live while driving home from taking my younger daughter to school.

Tuesday, September 07, 2021

Future Fleet: Unmanned But Not Unarmed

Baby step - but an important one - as discussed in our recent interview with Captain Pete Small.

Listen to "Episode 602: The US Navy's Unmanned Programs, with CAPT Captain Pete Small, USN" on Spreaker.

All according to the Navy/and Marine Unmanned Campaign Plan:

The Medium and Large USVs of tomorrow offer promising solutions to expand the sensor and weapons capacity of the current Fleet. They will be Program of Record, purpose-built vessels that support distributed maritime operations through the Navy Tactical Grid. The MUSV platform is designed as an unmanned sensor-ship, built to carry modular payloads, and standardized to integrate with current and future Navy systems. The LUSV platform will be a high endurance, adjunct magazine, based on commercial designs and built around a common missile launcher with an integrated combat system. The LUSV will add meaningful offensive weapons capability and capacity in Strike and Anti-Surface Warfare.

Monday, August 30, 2021

A Government of Thugs, Acting Thuggish: "China to require foreign vessels to report in ‘territorial waters" The Hindu reports

The Hindu
reports China to require foreign vessels to report in ‘territorial waters

Over $5 trillion trade passes through the South China Sea, and 55% of India’s trade pass through its waters and the Malacca Straits, according to estimates by India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). China claims under a so-called “nine dash line” on its maps most of the South China Sea’s waters, which are disputed by several other countries, including the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia.

While it remains unclear how, whether, and where China plans to enforce this new regulation starting Wednesday, the Maritime Safety Administration said in a notice “operators of submersibles, nuclear vessels, ships carrying radioactive materials and ships carrying bulk oil, chemicals, liquefied gas and other toxic and harmful substances are required to report their detailed information upon their visits to Chinese territorial waters,” the Communist Party-run Global Times reported.

There's more to the story, as set out in China's Global Times, a cheesy stalking horse Chinese government propaganda publication, story is here:

Some people connected the regulation to unmanned spy devices that coastal fishermen have captured from time to time.

By mid-April, China has rewarded 91 fishermen living in coastal cities for capturing different types of foreign devices with spying functions since 2016 as the country faces a growing threat to its maritime security.

But the submersibles mentioned in the announcement refer to manned rather than unmanned spy devices, Song Zhongping, a military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Sunday.

Song said that the new announcement showcases China's determination to regulate the foreign vessels' right of use within the country's territorial waters, which should be based on proper identification.

Guess they have a lot to hide in addition to their outright aggression. It seems they are determined to irritate their neighbors and their neighbors' allies.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Saturday Is Old Radio Day: "Three Skeleton Key" from Suspense

Always worth a repeat performance:

On Midrats 29 August 2021 - Episode 602: The US Navy's Unmanned Programs, with CAPT Captain Pete Small, USN

Please join us at 5pm EDT for Midrats Episode 602: The US Navy's Unmanned Programs, with CAPT Captain Pete Small, USN

While a lot of the attention in unmanned systems the last two decades has been in the air, significant developments on and under the surface of the oceans were happening in parallel.

From small mine hunting unmanned surface vessels and the development of the Large Unmanned Surface Vessel above the seas, to unmanned systems the size of lightweight torpedoes to midget submarines below the surface, unmanned maritime systems capabilities are growing each year.

With each incremental advance in engineering automation to autonomous operations, their utility from maritime security to war fighting increases as well.

For the full hour this Sunday to discuss the potential of unmanned platforms will be Captain Pete Small, USN, Program Manager for Unmanned Maritime Systems (PMS 406) in PEO Unmanned and Small Combatants.

A submariner by trade, CAPT Small has led PMS 406 since 2018 after multiple tours on submarines at sea, and ashore as an instructor, and leading program management and development.

He earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Virginia as well as earning a Master of Science Degree in Operations Research in 2002 from Columbia University and a Master of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Naval Engineer Degree in 2005 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

If you use Apple Podcasts, and miss the show live, you can pick up this episode and others and add Midrats to your podcast list simply by going to here. Or on Spreaker. Or on Spotify.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Some Amusing History

The news these days is dreary enough.  It is worth looking into history for some wit. Here, from the pen of a long ago governor of Georgia (and a distant relative), George R. Gilmer, in his book, Sketches of Some of the First Settlers of Upper Georgia, of the Cherokees, and the Author (1855), a description of the presence of George Washington and how it affected the famed General "Light Horse" Harry Lee, father of Robert E. Lee. The discussion reports a tale told by Robert Grattan.

He (Grattan) commanded a splendid company of cavalry against the whiskey insurgents of Pennsylvania. His intercourse with General Washington during the time, made the strongest impression upon his excitable nature.

One of the incidents of this service which he used to tell, was of a bet made by Harry Lee, the most impudent of men, that he could tap General Washington on the shoulder, look him in the face, and ask him an impertinent question. How when General Lee went up to the side of General Washington, then standing on the parade ground directing the movements of the army, and placed his hand familiarly on the general’s arm, the great chief turned upon him his stern commanding look, until Lee shrunk away, and paid his bet—the only kind of debts he ever paid.

Perfect tale of the majesty of Washington and a couple of slaps against Harry Lee, who did, indeed leave his family in great debt when he died.

Whiskey Rebellion

Friday, August 13, 2021

Intermittent Posting

Everything is good, just on a project for a few days.

“The problem isn't that Johnny can't read. The problem isn't even that Johnny can't think. The problem is that Johnny doesn't know what thinking is; he confuses it with feeling.”
― Thomas Sowell

Friday Film: Damage Control - "Basic Shipboard Firefighting (1960)

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Project Overmatch

From National Defense magazine comes "Navy Dedicates More Resources To Secretive Project Overmatch" with this buzzword filled quote:
Project Overmatch “is a seamless network that will leverage demonstrated progress in command-and-control in all domains and facilitate the manned-unmanned teaming of the future that would be required for future warfare,” said Frederick Stefany, acting assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition.

Hmmm. I am always concerned when a project isn't explainable in simple terms - I would have said, "We want to be able to make all our toys war-fighting things play well together when needed."

Perhaps this discussion with RADM Doug Small presented by CSIS and the US Naval Institute helps clarify matters with this project:

Saturday, August 07, 2021

Saturday Is Old Radio Day - Suspense "The Kettler Method" (1942)

On Midrats 8 August 2021 - Episode 600: Shipping in the time of COVID with Sal Mercogliano

Please join us at 5pm EDT on 8 August 2021 for Midrats Episode 600: Shipping in the time of COVID

Shipping rates, supply bottlenecks, and some nightmare abandonment stories for some mariners, like everything else on our water plant, COVID-19 impacted our shipping industry hard at sea and ashore. The impacts of which rippled in to everything.

As economies, nations, and corporations adjust to the new reality, what trends can the consumer and maritime professional expect?

It’s time to catch up with returning guest, Salvatore Mercogliano.

Sal sailed with MSC from 1989 to 1992, and worked MSC HQ as Operations Officer for the Afloat Prepositioning Force 1992-1996. He has a BS Marine Transportation from SUNY Maritime College, a MA Maritime History and Nautical Archaeology from East Carolina University, and received his Ph.D. in Military and Naval History from University of Alabama. He is the chair if the Dept of History, Criminal Justice & Political Science at Campbell University. He was awarded 2nd place in the 2019 CNO History Essay Contest with his submission, "Suppose There Was a War and the Merchant Marine Didn't Come."

If you use Apple Podcasts, and miss the show live, you can pick up this episode and others and add Midrats to your podcast list simply by going to here. Or on Spreaker. Or on Spotify.

Monday, August 02, 2021

U.S. Navy Office of Naval Intelligence Worldwide Threat to Shipping (WTS) for 30 June - 28 July 2021

U.S. Navy Office of Naval I... by lawofsea

On Midrats 1 August 2021- Episode 599: American Generalship in the Long War, with Gray Connolly

A pre-recorded show due to the time difference between Australia and the U.S. Midrats Episode 599: American Generalship in the Long War, with Gray Connolly

For coming up on two decades, the United States military has been engaged - if you want to call it by the medal they give everyone for it - a Global War on Terrorism.As we have invested two decades, trillions of dollars, and thousands dead across the globe in response to the attacks of September, 2001 - our best friends have been with us.They do this of their own free will, and share the good fortune and bad with us in our contact of the war.

Today’s Midrats is a wide ranging discussion on the history, theory, and application of American leadership with our guest, Gray Connolly.

Gray Connolly (Graham Alfred Frederick Connolly) is an Honors graduate in Arts and Law from the University of Sydney and the University of New South Wales. He is a graduate of the Royal Australian Naval College and holds the Queen's Commission in the rank of Lieutenant Commander in the Royal Australian Navy [Naval Intelligence]. Gray has served on operational Naval Intelligence deployments at sea and ashore in the South China Sea, the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Oman, the Persian Gulf, East Timor, and the Middle East.

Gray served as a Naval Intelligence officer in the Iraq War (two deployments) and in the Afghanistan War.

These days, Gray is a Barrister in Sir Edmund Barton Chambers in Sydney. He has advised and represented the State of New South Wales and the Australian Government, including in national security matters. Gray was before that a Judge’s Associate in both the Supreme Court of New South Wales and the High Court of Australia. Gray lectures in Australian Constitutional Law.Gray is a frequent panelist for ABC radio and television, and he has been published in various newspapers and journals. Gray is married, has had basset hounds named Churchill, and is a life-long supporter of the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Richmond Football Club. He still plays football/soccer and is a plodding midfielder.

Listen to "Episode 599: American Generalship in the Long War, with Gray Connolly" on Spreaker.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

On Midrats 25 July 2021- Episode 598: Maritime Melee!

Please join us at 5pm (EDT) on 25 July 2021 for Midrats Episode 598: Maritime Melee!

Tired of hearing "DELTA" related to COVID, when in a good and just world when you heard that word it would be used to talk about old Russian Soviet Era SSBN or 2-seater all weather F-18s?

Well, we're not sure we'll cover either of those topics on today's episode or that we'll totally ignore COVID's impact in the natsec arena, but it's a melee - so you never know what will come up in the maritime national security conversation.

We do have a few topics to get the conversation started; the CNO admits what everyone knew about FORD for over a decade, the RAF is making the reasoning behind "strategic homeporting" sexy again, the Olympics.

Remember, with the melee format, if you have a chance to catch the you can join in the chat room or call in with the topic of your choice and make the show your own.

If you use Apple Podcasts, and miss the show live, you can pick up this episode and others and add Midrats to your podcast list simply by going to here. Or on Spreaker. Or on Spotify.

Friday, July 16, 2021

On Midrats 18 July 2021 - Episode 597: Ukraine & the Eastern Black Sea with CAPT Chris Rawley, USNR

Please join us at 5pm EDT 18 July 2021 for Midrats Episode 597: Ukraine & the Eastern Black Sea with CAPT Chris Rawley, USNR

If it is early summer in the Black Sea, it is time for the annual Ukrainian hosted international exercise Sea Breeze.

Why is this exercise important, who came along, and what does it tell us about the state of the Ukrainian Navy, maritime security in the contested eastern Black Sea, and some interesting responses from the Russians.

Recently returning from the exercise and joining us for the full hour will be returning guest, Captain Chris Rawley, USNR.

CAPT Rawley is the Reserve Chief of Staff for US. Naval Forces Europe and Africa. Over his 29 year career, he has deployed to the Persian Gulf, Western Pacific, Iraq, Afghanistan, and across Africa.

In his civilian career, Chris is the founder and CEO of Harvest Returns, a platform for investing in agriculture.

If you use Apple Podcasts, and miss the show live, you can pick up this episode and others and add Midrats to your podcast list simply by going to here. Or on Spreaker. Or on Spotify.

Photo: HMS Defender, USS Laboon and HMNLS Evertsen take station for close proximity sailing as a Russian warship watches from afar (rear of picture) whilst on maritime operations in the Black Sea. Photo by Dan Rosenbaum, HMS Defender

Friday Film: U.S. Navy Air Combat " Fundamental Fixed Gunnery Approaches " (1943)

Sunday, July 11, 2021

On Midrats 11 July 2021 Episode 596: Mid-Summer SITREP

Please join us at 5pm on 11 July 2021 for Midrats Episode 596: Mid-Summer SITREP

Sal and EagleOne are back after July 4th with a full plate of catching up to do on the waterfront from ghosting Afghanistan, Japan & Taiwan's awkward natsec flirting, the INDOPACCOM J2 isn't all that happy with what he's discovered west of Wake, and the ever popular question, how many years is a 30-yr CG good for.

If you use Apple Podcasts, and miss the show live, you can pick up this episode and others and add Midrats to your podcast list simply by going to here. Or on Spreaker. Or on Spotify.

Friday, July 09, 2021

The U.S. African Slave Trade Patrol 1820 -1861 and the Royal Navy West Africa Squadron Anti-Slavery Patrols

Anti-slavery Operations of the US Navy

Long illegal, the infamous slave trade was declared by Congress in 1819 to be piracy, and as such, punishable by death. The Navy's African Slave Trade Patrol was established to search for and bring to justice the dealers in human misery. Never exceeding a few ships in number, the Patrol, which from time to time included USS Constitution, USS Constellation, USS Saratoga and USS Yorktown, relentlessly plied the waters off West Africa, South America, and the Cuban coast, a principle area for slave disembarkation. By the start of the Civil War more than 100 suspected slavers had been captured.

Britain attempted to stop slavery by legislation in 1807, and enacted stronger measures in 1827, declaring that participation in the slave trade was piracy and punishable by death; slavery was made illegal in the British Empire in 1833.

Interesting note on where slaves were landed from historian Henry Lois Gates, Jr.:

In the 360 years between 1500 and the end of the slave trade in the 1860s, at least 12 million Africans were forcibly taken to the Americas - then known as the "New World" to European settlers. This largest forced migration in human history relocated some 50 ethnic and linguistic groups.

Only a small portion of the enslaved - less than half a million - were sent to North America. The majority went to South America and the Caribbean. In the mid-1600s, Africans outnumbered Europeans in nascent cities such as Mexico City, Havana and Lima.

The Foote booklet referenced in the second video (at 1:06:18) can be found at African Squadron: Ashburton Treaty: Consular Letters

The American Flag has become deeply involved in the slave traffic. Of this as you are aware, from the reports of our officers on the African and Brazil stations and from our diplomatic agents in Rio de Janeiro, there is abundant evidence in the Navy and State Departments. To correct this abuse, and with the design more effectually to suppress the slave trade, Senator Clayton, at the last session, introduced a bill denying consular sea-letters to American Vessels when sold abroad, provided such vessels were bound to the coast of Africa. This wise and beneficent measure was adopted, the bill passing the Senate unanimously. It is greatly to be deplored that the same bill was not immediately taken up and passed by the House of Representatives.

It may be well here to remark in reference to sea-letters, that on the sale of an American vessel in a foreign port to an American citizen, the register of the vessel, which is her proof of nationality, cannot be transferred with the vessel itself; but a sea-letter, which is merely a transcript of the register and bill of sale with the consular seal appended, is given by the Consul as a substitute for said register for the purpose of nationalizing the vessel.

The greatest abuse of our flag has arisen from the facility with which these consular sea-letters have been obtained. More than two-thirds of the slavers on the African coast claiming American nationality, as may be found in documentary evidence, have been provided with this sea-letter. Or in other words, American vessels when sold abroad, have had their nationality perpetuated by this consular sea-letter for the express purpose of being employed in the African slave trade. And surely, when the evil arising from the issuing of this document becomes as well understood in the House, as it has been in the Senate, it may be supposed, that the bill, denying said sea-letters to African bound vessels, will also be passed unanimously by that body.

Friday Film: "Flying Sense" (1944)

Tuesday, July 06, 2021

Crimes Against Shipping in 2021 to Date

The ICC's International Maritime Bureau provides an invaluable source of locating the "hot spots" of criminal and other activity affecting shipping at its IMB Piracy & Armed Robbery Map 2021, from which these screenshots are taken:

Overview - the key at the top pertains to all images below.

Southeast Asia

Singapore Strait

Africa/Middle East

Gulf of Guinea Region

Americas and Caribbean

If you are interested in reading the reports which generate these maps the IMB's Live Piracy & Armed Robbery Report 2021 maintains a running log of all such events.

The IMB is to be commended for its excellent work in this area, amd reminds that piracy and sea robbery and other threats to shipping are an on-going problem.

Thursday, July 01, 2021

Donald Rumsfeld: “ ‘Well done, good and faithful servant!"

Excellent piece by his former speechwriter here:

Rumsfeld was one of the last of the old-school public servants, who was kind to people in small, quiet ways; who helped a loved one cope with crippling drug addiction while simultaneously managing a war; who was friends with people ranging from the Kennedys to the Cheneys to Sammy Davis, Jr. and could put politics and policies aside to value them as people.

Mr. Rumsfeld was kind enough to join us on Midrats in April 2011.

In this time of demanding instant gratification, it's worth remembering one of his "Rumsfeld Rules"

Strategy doesn’t begin at one point and end at another. It involves planning and evaluation, requiring trade-offs and decisions along the way. It takes work, thought, and time.

His website can be found here.

Monday, June 28, 2021

Drought: Western U.S.

When is a drought a national security issue? When it's severe enough to threaten national security, especially transportation, crop production, cities and towns, and regional military training and safety.

Map from here.


The U.S. Drought Monitor is jointly produced by the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Map courtesy of NDMC.

Another interesting look from NASA at the levels of water "stored" in soil here:

The map below shows surface soil moisture as of March 29, 2021, as measured by the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO) satellites. The colors depict the wetness percentile; that is, how the levels of soil moisture compare to long-term records for the month. Blue areas have more abundant water than usual, and orange and red areas have less. The darkest reds represent dry conditions that should occur only 2 percent of the time (about once every 50 years).

The map below shows shallow groundwater storage as of March 29, 2021, as measured by the GRACE-FO satellites. The colors depict how the amount of groundwater compares to long-term records (1948-2010). Groundwater in aquifers is an important resource for crop irrigation and drinking water, and it also can sustain streams during dry periods. Groundwater takes months to rebound from drought, though, as it has to be slowly and steadily replenished by surface moisture that seeps down through soil and rock to the water table.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports on California water supply issues with the last report being from May 2021 (pdf):

As California enters the dry months of summer, this water year is on track to be one of the driest on record- due in no small measure to the lack of landfalling atmospheric rivers and persistent ridging/blocking over the Northeast Pacific Ocean ( Statewide snowpack peaked on March 23rd with 64 percent its daily average, then shriveled to 17 percent of its daily average by the end of April, and to 7 percent by May 12th. Seasonal (October-April) precipitation totals were less than 50 percent of average in all three regions. Early May has been extremely dry, further reducing the seasonal average. California’s major reservoirs (excluding Lake Mead and Lake Powell) are collectively storing almost 8.5 million acre-feet less than they were this time last year. **** RESERVOIRS Total storage in California’s major reservoirs (excluding Lake Powell and Lake Mead) was 73 percent of average on April 30th, compared to 101 percent this time last year. Storage in Shasta Dam was 59 percent of average at the end of the month, roughly 1.4 million acre-feet less than this time last year. Storage in Lake Mead continues to decline, with reservoir levels approaching the 1,075-foot elevation that would trigger a Level 1 Water Shortage Declaration for the Lower Colorado River Basin.

CA Water Supply Outlook Rep... by lawofsea

As near as I can determine, that "Level 1 Water Shortage Declaration" comes from Interim Guidelines for the Operation of Lake Powell and Lake Mead

D. Shortage Conditions 1. Deliveries to the Lower Division States during Shortage Condition Years shall be implemented in the following manner:

  • a. In years when Lake Mead content is projected to be at or below elevation 1,075 feet and at or above 1,050 feet on January 1, a quantity of 7.167 maf shall be apportioned for consumptive use in the Lower Division States of which 2.48 maf shall be apportioned for use in Arizona and 287,000 af shall be apportioned for use in Nevada in accordance with the Arizona-Nevada Shortage Sharing Agreement dated February 9, 2007, and 4.4 maf shall be apportioned for use in California. 
  • b. In years when Lake Mead content is projected to be below elevation 1,050 feet and at or above 1,025 feet on January 1, a quantity of 7.083 maf shall be apportioned for consumptive use in the Lower Division States of which 2.4 maf shall be apportioned for use in Arizona and 283,000 af shall be apportioned for use in Nevada in accordance with the Arizona-Nevada Shortage Sharing Agreement dated February 9, 2007, and 4.4 maf shall be apportioned for use in California. 
  • c. In years when Lake Mead content is projected to be below elevation 1,025 feet on January 1, a quantity of 7.0 maf shall be apportioned for consumptive use in the Lower Division States of which 2.32 maf shall be apportioned for use in Arizona and 280,000 af shall be apportioned for use in Nevada in accordance with the Arizona-Nevada Shortage Sharing Agreement dated February 9, 2007, and 4.4 maf shall be apportioned for use in California.

According to, Lake Mead's level on 27 June 2021 was 1,069.42 Feet MSL, about 160 feet below "full pool."

A "maf" is a Million Acre Feet"

One acre-foot equals about 326,000 gallons, or enough water to cover an acre of land, about the size of a football field, one foot deep.

So, a million acre feet would cover 1 million football fields with 1 foot of water each. In 2018, California applied 24.5 million acre feet of water to 8.4 million acres of irrigated land, according to the USDA.

If this drought continues in the west, where will the water come from to provide water to the large cities and farmland of the region? What will a shortage do to food costs? What step should be taken to to prevent a catastrooic failure of water supply?

Orange County, California, has a program that is helping as set out here:

This project is the world's largest wastewater purification system for indirect potable reuse. The Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS) takes highly treated wastewater that would have previously been discharged into the Pacific Ocean and purifies it using a three-step advanced treatment process consisting of microfiltration, reverse osmosis and ultraviolet light with hydrogen peroxide. The process produces high-quality water that exceeds all state and federal drinking water standards. Operational since January 2008, this state-of-the-art water purification project can produce up to 70 million gallons (265,000 cubic meters) of high-quality water every day. This is enough water to meet the needs of nearly 600,000 residents in north and central Orange County, California.

Other entities in California are turning to desalination Desalination Is Booming as Cities Run out of Water :

Some 30 miles north of San Diego, along the Pacific Coast, sits the Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant, the largest effort to turn salt water into fresh water in North America.

Each day 100 million gallons of seawater are pushed through semi-permeable membranes to create 50 million gallons of water that is piped to municipal users. Carlsbad, which became fully operational in 2015, creates about 10 percent of the fresh water the 3.1 million people in the region use, at about twice the cost of the other main source of water.

Expensive, yes, but vital for the fact that it is local and reliable. “Drought is a recurring condition here in California,” said Jeremy Crutchfield, water resources manager at the San Diego County Water Authority. “We just came out of a five-year drought in 2017. The plant has reduced our reliance on imported supplies, which is challenging at times here in California. So it’s a component for reliability.”

A second plant, similar to Carlsbad, is being built in Huntington, California with the same 50-million-gallon-a-day capability. Currently there are 11 desalination plants in California, and 10 more are proposed.

Not everyone is thrilled with desalination, pointing out that it requires great amounts of energy, as set out here and here. It should be noted that the "anti-desal" pieces are older than the startup of the San Diego Carlsbad plant.

Be that as it may, it's not like California's existing power issues are not well known, as set out California tells public to prepare for heatwave; power prices soar:

The group responsible for North American electric reliability has already warned that California is the U.S. region most at risk of power shortages this summer because the state increasingly relies on intermittent energy sources like wind and solar, and as climate change causes more extreme heat events, drought and wildfires across the U.S. West.

It would seem California needs to rethink many issues, including nuclear power to help power a system that will help it survive droughts.

And it's not like the rest of the West and the farm belt aren't facing similar issues.

U.S. Navy Office of Naval Intelligence Worldwide Threat to Shipping (WTS) for 26 May - 23 June 2021

U.S. Navy Office of Naval I... by lawofsea

Sunday, June 27, 2021

On Midrats 27 June 2021 - Episode 595: Pre-July 4th Melee

Please join us at 5pm EDT on 27 June 2021 for Midrats Episode 595: Pre-July 4th Melee

One week prior to the July 4th holiday, and it's time to catch up on the latest events in the maritime security arena ... and an arena it is.

We have a new SECNAV nom ... but no one is talking about it.

We have the CNO expending T-AKE amounts of personal, professional, and institutional capital defending quaint academic social theory, FORD enjoys a banging time at sea, and the Royal Navy enjoys a Russian air and sea spectacular!

...and that is just the first few things.

As always with our free for alls, we have an open chat room and open phone line to the studio for those who join us live ... so don't be shy.

If you use Apple Podcasts, and miss the show live, you can pick up this episode and others and add Midrats to your podcast list simply by going to here. Or on Spreaker. Or on Spotify.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Saturday Is Old Radio Day: CBS Mystery Theater "Ninety Lives"

On Midrats 13 June 2021 - Episode 594: Small Island in Great Power Competition, with Alexander Gray

Please join us at 5pm (EDT) on 13 June 2021 for Midrats Episode 594: Small Island in Great Power Competition, with Alexander Gray

China is interested in a lot more than just the first or second island chain. In the vast reaches of the Pacific Ocean, the islands of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia are critical to the sea lines of communication for the economic powerhouses on both sides.

From the Age of Discovery to today, their importance rises to the top of any power who wished to influence the area.

To look at this area of returning importance with us for the full hour will be Alexander B. Gray.

The starting point for our conversation will be the issues he raised in two recent articles: How the US Can Protect the Sovereignty of the Smallest Pacific Island in The Diplomat, and Why a crisis in the Pacific islands matters for Washington and Beijing in The Hill.

Alex is a Senior Fellow in National Security Affairs at the American Foreign Policy Council, served as Director for Oceania & Indo-Pacific Security at the White House National Security Council from 2018-2019.

If you use Apple Podcasts, and miss the show live, you can pick up this episode and others and add Midrats to your podcast list simply by going to here. Or on Spreaker. Or on Spotify.

Monday, June 07, 2021

If True, It's a Mistake: "It May Be the End of the Line for the Navy's Hypervelocity Projectile"

Reported at by Hope Hodge Seck It May Be the End of the Line for the Navy's Hypervelocity Projectile

The hypervelocity projectile, however, seemed to gain its own momentum after officials realized it could be paired not only with the railgun, but also with existing ship deck guns to provide high-speed, low-cost firepower.

The projectile's most recent public outing came in 2018, when the guided-missile destroyer Dewey fired 20 of the rounds from an Mk 45 deck gun during the massive Rim of the Pacific exercise.

"You can get 15 rounds a minute for an air defense mission, as well as a surface-to-surface mission," Bryan Clark, then of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, told USNI News in 2019. "That adds significant missile defense capacity when you think that each of those might be replacing a [Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile] or a [Rolling Airframe Missile]. They're a lot less expensive."

The story also noted that the gun-launched guided projectile, or GLGP, was being considered as a round for ground-based Army and Marine Corps 155mm howitzers.

But while GLGP might be less expensive than some missile systems, which can cost $1 million to $2 million per round, it was still far from cheap. A 2020 Congressional Research Service report noted that each of the rounds cost about $85,000 in 2018 dollars.

And despite the promise GLGP seemed to hold for a range of multi-service uses, the CRS report noted that fielding to ships would involve integrating the round with existing combat systems, and additional tests and war-gaming. After five years in development, these follow-on steps have yet to take place.

So, for $1,000,000, you could buy 11 of these rounds (@$90,000 each) and 22 for $2 million? And you can keep them in the ammo locker and reload at sea?

More here.

Way back in 2014, RADM Klunder, then Chief of Naval Research, spoke of the "rail gun" ammo cost here:

"This {the projectile} costs right here about $25,000," Klunder said.

Both the cost and size -- it weighs 23 pounds -- mean they can be bought and stored aboard ships by the hundreds.

"Someone may be sending a multimillion-dollar missile at us, and I'm going to take it out with a $25,000 projectile round," Klunder said. "I'll take that trade every single day."

Well, according to Ms. Seck's report, killing this projectile will save "$5.9 million." Wonder what the cost in ships and sailors might be?

See the 2018 CRS Report, Navy Lasers, Railgun, and Gun-Launched Guided Projectile: Background and Issues for Congress. here (emphasis added)

This report provides background information and issues for Congress on three new ship-based weapons being developed by the Navy—solid state lasers (SSLs), the electromagnetic railgun (EMRG),1and the gun-launched guided projectile (GLGP), also known as the hypervelocity projectile (HVP)—that could substantially improve the ability of Navy surface ships to defend themselves against surface craft, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and eventually anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCMs).

Any one of these three new weapons, if successfully developed and deployed, might be regarded as a “game changer” for defending Navy surface ships against enemy missiles and UAVs. If two or three of them are successfully developed and deployed, the result might be considered not just a game changer, but a revolution. Rarely has the Navy had so many potential new types of surface-ship air-defense weapons simultaneously available for development and potential deployment.

U.S. Navy Office of Naval Intelligence Worldwide Threat to Shipping (WTS) for 5 May - 2 June 2021

U.S. Navy Office of Naval I... by lawofsea

Saturday, June 05, 2021

Saturday Is Old Radio Day: D-Day - The Allies Invade France (1944)

On Midrats 6 June 2021- Episode 593: More Patrol Craft, Not Fewer with LCDR Jordan Bradford, USN

Please join us at 5pm EDT on 6 June 2021 for Midrats Episode 593: More Patrol Craft, Not Fewer with LCDR Jordan Bradford, USN

In a sharp departure from the ideas that brought them to the fleet, the Navy, "...appears poised to sunset the MK VI and Cyclone-class patrol craft programs in rapid succession, with no replacements on the horizon."

Why are these small craft in our Navy today, what missions are they doing, and what risk are we accepting if we let this capability go? What follow on craft could even do the job better?

To discuss these and related issues will be LCDR Jordan Bradford, USN.

The starting point
for our conversation will be his article from the May 2021 Proceedings, "The MK-VI id Dead - Long Live the MK VII."

Lieutenant Commander Bradford is the commanding officer of USS Typhoon (PC-5). He is a 2009 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and has formerly served as strike officer on board the USS Vicksburg (CG-69), navigator on board the De Wert (FFG-45), and combat systems and operations officer on board the Detroit (LCS-7). His opinions are his own and do not reflect any endorsement by the Navy, the Department of Defense, or the United States government.

If you use Apple Podcasts, and miss the show live, you can pick up this episode and others and add Midrats to your podcast list simply by going to here. Or on Spreaker. Or on Spotify.

Thursday, June 03, 2021

Battle of Midway 3 - 7 June 1942

Good summary of the Battle of Midway from Naval History and Heritage Command

On 3 June, in the preliminary moves of the Battle of Midway, American land-based aircraft from Midway located and attacked Japanese transports about 600 miles west of Midway Island. U.S. Army Air Forces Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses inflicted no damage, however, and four Consolidated PBY Catalina patrol bombers were sent out from Midway for a night attack on the approaching landing forces. As part of the overall Japanese plan, planes from light carriers Ryujo and Junyo bombed Dutch Harbor.

Just after midnight on 4 June, Admiral Nimitz, based on patrol plane reports, advised Task Forces 16 and 17 of the course and speed of the Japanese "main body," also noting their distance of 574 miles from Midway. Shortly after dawn, a patrol plane spotted two Japanese carriers and their escorts, reporting "Many planes heading Midway from 320 degrees distant 150 miles!"

The first engagement on 4 June, however, took place when the four night-flying PBYs attacked the Japanese transports northwest of Midway, with one PBY torpedoing a fleet tanker. Later that morning, at roughly 0630, Japanese carrier aircraft bombed Midway installations. Although defending U.S. Marine Corps fighters suffered disastrous losses, the Japanese only inflicted slight damage to the island’s facilities on Midway.

Over the next two hours, Japanese fighter aircraft on combat air patrol (CAP) and antiaircraft fire from the Japanese fleet annihilated the repeated attacks by Midway-based Marine Corps scout bombers and Navy torpedo bombers. Army Air Forces heavy bombers and torpedo-carrying medium bombers likewise bombed the Japanese carrier force without success, although without losses to themselves.

Between 0930 and 1030, Douglas TBD Devastator torpedo bombers from the three American carriers attacked the Japanese carriers. Although nearly wiped out by the defending Japanese fighters and antiaircraft fire, they drew off enemy aircraft, leaving the skies open for dive bombers from Enterprise and Yorktown. Douglas SBD Dauntlesses from Enterprise bombed and fatally damaged carriers Kaga and Akagi, while SBDs from Yorktown bombed and wrecked carrier Soryu.

Great history, great battle.

Wednesday, June 02, 2021

Future Wars - Complexity and the Price of Complacency

I tweeted yesterday about a interview by Kevin D. Wlliamson at National Review Dispatches from the Future Front. The interview is well worth reading for gems like this:

When President Biden said in his first phone call with President Putin that Ukrainian sovereignty is a priority for the United States, I thought: “All right! That’s a hell of a policy statement!” Of course, we have no strategy that underpins it, and you can’t have a strategy for

the Black Sea region if you haven’t figured out a strategy for how you’re going to deal with Russia. And now there’s a feeling that we’re going down the same path of thinking we can deal with these guys, negotiate with them — forget it, that’s not who they are and have been for hundreds of years. I don’t know why we allow ourselves to continue to be surprised.

Last night I was re-reading Tom Clancy's Red Storm Rising and this morning I started reading Future War and the Defence of Europe by John R. Allen, Frederick Ben Hodges, and Julian Lindley-French Ben Hodges is the author interviewed by Mr. Williamson

Both books posit war with Russia, though the Clancy book refers to the Soviet Union, and Future War is more global, involving fighting Russia and China and more. Both challenge the complacency of the U.S. and the Europeans with respect to Russia and China -  there seems to be be a belief negotiations will work, or that the U.S. will somehow pull Europe's bacon out of the fire, or that they will be "eaten last" - the newer book, being much more up to date on the current state of affairs, of course, including the shortfalls of the U.S. merchant fleet, U.S. Navy combatant warships, and more.

As a review here puts it:

Future War and the Defence of Europe offers a major new analysis of how peace and security can be maintained in Europe: a continent that has suffered two cataclysmic conflicts since 1914. Taking as its starting point the COVID-19 pandemic and way it will inevitably accelerate some key global dynamics already in play, the book goes on to weave history, strategy, policy, and technology into a compelling analytical narrative. *** Europeans should be under no illusion: unless they do far more for their own defence, and very differently, all that they now take for granted could be lost in the maze of hybrid war, cyber war, and hyper war they must face.

I highly recommend this book, which is available for a reasonable price in its Kindle form at Amazon.