Unitas

Unitas

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

U.S. Navy Office of Naval Intelligence Worldwide Threat to Shipping (WTS) Report, 22 September - 20 October 2021

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

Another interesting site regarding the Gulf of Guinea is a joint effort of the Royal Navy and the French Navy MDAT-GoG, with a live map here. Sample screenshot below:



Maritime Domain Awareness for Trade – Gulf of Guinea (MDAT-GoG) is a cooperation centre between the Royal Navy (UKMTO) and the French Navy (MICA-Center) in support of the Yaounde Process. This centre has been in operation since the 20th June 2016.

The primary output from the MDAT-GoG is to contribute by maintaining coherent maritime situational awareness in the central and western African Maritime areas, with the ability to inform and support industry. It contributes to the safety and security of the Mariner in the regional maritime domain. The information supplied by vessels will be treated as commercially confidential.

Of course, the longer running mappping program concerning maritime piracy and armed robbery is that of the ICC CCS IMB Piracy Reporting Center here



Friday, October 22, 2021

Friday Film: "Wings Over Leyte" (1945)

On Midrats 24 October 2021 - Episode 606: China's Dangerous Decade with Andrew Erickson



Please join us at 5pm (EDT) on 24 October 2021 for Midrats Episode 606: China's Dangerous Decade with Andrew Erickson

What are the of economic, demographic, and political forces driving China through this decade?

What direction is her growth heading and where will she find herself at the end of the decade?

Are the forces in play likely to move her towards a more peaceful or a more militaristic stance?

Using the recent article he co-authored with Gabriel Collins in Foreign Policy, A Dangerous Decade of Chinese Power is Here, as a starting point, returning to Midrats for the full hour this Sunday from 5-6pm Eastern will be Andrew S. Erickson.

Andrew is a professor of strategy in the U.S. Naval War College's China Maritime Studies Institute and a visiting scholar in full-time residence at Harvard University's John King Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies. His research website is www.andrewerickson.com.

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, October 20, 2021

Quote of the Day: Economics Isn't Rocket Science

From Joe Biden, Milton Friedman, and the Tyranny of Tiny Minds

Friedman used to say, “Everything we know in economics we teach in Econ 1, and everything else is made up.”

As we see inflation taking off, and some odd economic theory that taking money from people to pay for government - um - projects doesn't "cost" anything, it's good to back to Econ 101:

... Friedman’s observation that “Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon.”

What Friedman meant was, prices rise and fall according to all kinds of market forces, but inflation is what happens when government prints money faster than the economy generates new wealth.

We’ve been printing money by the trillions, and Biden wants to increase that by endless trillions more — all while using the federal bureaucracy to impede the creation of new wealth.

It’s a recipe for inflation, and anyone sensible — including Democratic economist Lawrence Summers — has been warning Biden of just that.

Friday, October 15, 2021

On Midrats 17 October 2021 - Episode 605: The Navy in Afghanistan at Flood Tide - PRT Khost



Please join us at 5pm on 17 October 2021 for Midrats Episode 605: The Navy in Afghanistan at Flood Tide - PRT Khost

Afghanistan is a landlocked nation, but in the USA’s two-decade presence in that country, her Navy was there from the beginning to end serving along with her sister services.

Many are familiar with the untold number of Individual Augmentation (IA) assignments Navy active duty and reserve component personnel filled, Navy Corpsmen serving with USMC units, and even SeaBee deployments to Afghanistan, but there were other units with a large US Navy presence, a few of the Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRT).

This Sunday we’re going to take a snapshot of this part of the Afghanistan conflict from its high-water mark - 2010 and 2011 - with our guests Captain Steve Deal, USN (Ret.) and Command Sergeant Major Alexander Barnett, USA (Ret.). They served together as the Commanding Officer and Sergeant Major of Provincial Reconstruction Team Khost in 2010 through 2011.

Captain Deal had extensive experience in command. In addition to his tour as Commanding Officer, PRT Khost, he commanded Patrol Squadron 47 in Ali AB, Iraq (2007-2008) and Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing TEN in Whidbey Island, WA (2012-2013).

Command Sergeant Major "Beau" Barnett impressive experience as senior enlisted leader in addition to his tour in Khost included Operations Sergeant Major and Command Sergeant Major at Battalion level and as a USASMA Instructor, Command Sergeant Major for the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division and concurrently the Regimental Sergeant Major of the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment. His final assignment prior to retirement the 189th CATB CSM at JBLM Tacoma Washington.

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 Film: "Amphibious Warfare: The Salvage Boat" (1944)

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Establishment of the Navy, 13 October 1775

This resolution of the Continental Congress marked the establishment of what is now the United States Navy.

"Resolved, That a swift sailing vessel, to carry ten carriage guns, and a proportionable number of swivels, with eighty men, be fitted, with all possible despatch, for a cruise of three months, and that the commander be instructed to cruize eastward, for intercepting such transports as may be laden with warlike stores and other supplies for our enemies, and for such other purposes as the Congress shall direct.

That a Committee of three be appointed to prepare an estimate of the expence, and lay the same before the Congress, and to contract with proper persons to fit out the vessel.

Resolved, that another vessel be fitted out for the same purposes, and that the said committee report their opinion of a proper vessel, and also an estimate of the expence."

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Repeat It: "Freedom = I Won't"

When confronted by an overbearing version of group think and increasingly instrusive political demands of power seekers, it is always an option to refuse to participate in the way demanded. Refusal to play along with the zillion gender game, the ignorance-based economic guilt trips, and the pressure to conform to rules that seem to change with the wind direction - is resistance at the highest level.

Some people talk about going "John Galt", others suggest forceful confrontation. What really infuriates the bullies is passive resistance to their demands. Simply refusing to conform to someone else's idea of how you should live and think. Passive resistance requires courage but can be extremely effective. Unlike John Galt, who disappears to make his point, passive resistance requires confrontation.


For some fun thinking on how passive resistance works, see Eric Frank Russell's "And Then There Were None"

“What does this F. — I.W. mean?”
“Initial-slang,” informed Baines. “Made correct by common usage. It has become a worldwide motto. You’ll see it all over the place if you haven’t noticed it already.”
“I have seen it here and there but attached no importance to it and thought nothing more about it. I remember now that it was inscribed in several places including Seth’s and the fire depot.”
“It was on the sides of that bus we couldn’t empty,” put in Gleed. “It didn’t mean anything to me.”
“It means plenty,” said Jeff. “Freedom = I Won’t!”
“That kills me,” Gleed responded. “I’m stone dead already. I’ve dropped in my tracks.” He watched Harrison thoughtfully pocketing the plaque.
“A piece of abracadabra. What a weapon!”
“Ignorance is bliss,” asserted Baines, strangely sure of himself. “Especially when you don’t know that what you’re playing with is the safety catch of something that goes bang.”
“All right,” challenged Gleed, taking him up on that. “Tell us how it works.”
“I won’t.” Baines’ grin reappeared. He seemed to be highly satisfied about something.
“That’s a fat lot of help.” Gleed felt let down, especially over that momentary hoped-for reward. “You brag and boast about a one-way weapon, toss across a slip of stuff with three letters on it and then go dumb. Any folly will do for braggarts and any braggart can talk through the seat of his pants. How about backing up your talk?”
“I won’t,” repeated Baines, his grin broader than ever. He gave the onlooking Harrison a fat, significant wink.
It made something spark vividly within Harrison’s mind. His jaw dropped, he dragged the plaque from his pocket and stared at it as if seeing it for the first time.
“Give it back to me,” requested Baines, watching him.
Replacing it in his pocket, Harrison said very firmly, “I won’t.”
Baines chuckled. “Some people catch on quicker than others.”
Resenting that, Gleed held his hand out to Harrison. ‘Let me have another look at that thing.’
‘I won’t,’ said Harrison, meeting him eye to eye.
‘Hey, don’t start being awkard with me. That’s not the way—’ Gleed’s protesting voice petered out. He stood there a moment, his optics slightly glassy, while his brain performed several loops. Then in hushed tones he said, ‘Good grief!’
‘Precisely,’ approved Baines. ‘Grief and plenty of it. You were a bit slow on the uptake.’

So, when someone says, "Comply or else!" There is response that defeats their goal of your submission.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

On Midrats 10 October 2021 - Episode 604: October Natsec Free-For-All



Please join us at 5pm EDT on 10 October 2021 for Midrats Episode 604: October Natsec Free-For-All

From the fleet parked off Long Beach, to the already forgotten Afghanistan, to the particular aspirational desires of the latest 30-year Shipbuilding Plan - and whatever else comes across then quarterdeck - Eagle One and Sal are back LIVE for an October maritime and national security discussion.

As with all free for alls, the chat room will be open as will the studio phone lines … come join us this Sunday starting at 5pm Eastern.

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.

Sunday Ship History: Nixon's Trident - Naval Power in Southeast Asia 1968-1972

A publication from the Naval History and Heritage Command by John Darrell Sherwood published in 2009.

Nixon's Trident: Naval Power in Southeast Asia, 1968–1972 by lawofsea on Scribd

Sunday, October 03, 2021

Sunday Ship History: A Short Look at the Korean War and Navy Surface Forces

Most Americans don't have knowledge of the 1950's Korean War or its background.

Few know that Japan annexed Korea starting in 1910 after a 1905 treaty which made Korea a protectorate of Japan.

At the end of WWII, Soviet Russia gained control of what is North Korea and American forces took over South


Korea, with the 38th parallel being the dividing line.

On June 25, 1950, North Korean forces invaded South Korea and drove very deep into South Korea, by early August only leaving what became known as the "Pusan Perimeter" in U.S. and South Korean hands.

In order to relieve the pressure on the Pusan Perimeter in early September 1950, General MacArthur, acting as UN Command, organized an successful amphibious assault on Inchon ("Operation Chromite"), "110 miles behind enemy lines" (see here) in one of the most amazing feat of arms ever accomplished.

The success of MacArthur's plan was reliant on a strong and coordinated sea, air, and land force. The Inchon invasion demonstrated how naval forces can be a decisive factor in littoral operations. The 230 ships of Vice Admiral Arthur D. Struble's Joint Task Force (JTF) 7, with the aid of Royal Navy and other Allied warships, established superiority in the Yellow Sea as well as the air over it. The continued presence of U.S. and Allied naval forces acted as a deterrent to Soviet and/or Chinese intervention. The element of surprise was essential to Operation Chromite.

On 13 September 1950, the naval forces in JTF 7 led by Admirals Struble and James H. Doyle, began their attack against Inchon. Carrier-based aircraft squadrons, destroyers, and cruisers battered North Korea's fortifications, coastal artillery batteries, and supply points for two days. On 15 September, 1st Marine Division assaulted three beaches and quickly seized Inchon. General MacArthur signaled that "the Navy and Marines... never shone more brightly" than at Inchon.

By 19 September, the Marines had captured Kimpo air base, into which flowed Marine close support aircraft and U.S. Air Force supply transports. U.S. Army troops advanced from the beachhead and linked up with their comrades advancing north from the Pusan perimeter. Marine, Army, and South Korean troops captured Seoul on 28 September 1950.

Another phase of the war began in October 1950, with a planned amphibious assault at Wonsan on North Korea's east coast which left the U.S. Navy and its allies with a valuable lesson as set out below:

The great success of the Inchon Invasion led General MacArthur to order a second amphibious assault, targeting Wonsan on North Korea's east coast. After landing there, Tenth Corps could advance inland, link up with the Eighth Army moving north from Seoul and hasten the destruction of the North Korean army. Wonsan would also provide UN forces with another logistics support seaport, one closer to the battlefronts than Pusan and with greater handling capacity than tide-encumbered Inchon.

Since the enemy army's coherence collapsed much more rapidly than expected, by the Wonsan operation's planned execution date of 20 October 1950, its immediate strategic goals had been overtaken by events. However, the forces landed there proved valuable in the push up North Korea's east side, and the captured port did fulfill its intended mission.

Wonsan's greatest value, though, was unintended: it gave the U.S. Navy a painfully valuable reminder of the fruits of neglecting mine countermeasures, that unglamorous side of maritime power that, when it is needed, is needed very badly. As Admiral Forrest Sherman, the Chief of Naval Operations at the time, remarked "when you can't go where you want to, when you want to, you haven't got command of the sea". This experience provoked one of the greatest minesweeper building programs in the Navy's history, one that produced hundreds of ships to serve not only under the U.S. flag, but under those of many allied nations. (emphasis added)

At the time, the lesson was painfully learned by the damage to or loss of ships. Not all damage was caused by mines - the risk of inshore operation from gun batteries has been well known for hundreds of years, but it came back in 1950.


From the Naval Heritage and History Command this partial list of Ships Sunk and Damaged in Action during the Korean Conflict, the U.S. Navy lost 5 ships to mines, four minesweeping units and one fleet tug
(see here).

USS Magpie (AMS-25) blew up after striking a mine off the coast of Korea on Sept. 29 1950,
claiming the lives of 21 members of the crew. Ships hitting mines during the Korean Conflict would also cost the U.S. Navy the USS Pirate (AM-275), USS Pledge (AM-277), USS Sarsi (ATF-111) and USS Partridge (AMS-31). Mines continue to be the biggest threat to the world’s navies and account for most ship losses other than accidents.

Another 87 ships were damaged, either by mines or by engagement with shore batteries with last damage occurring in 1953.

Now, about that lesson regarding mine warfare . . .

Another aspect of the Navy's involvement in the Korean War was the sea-borne evacuation of both military units and civilians from North Korea after the Chinese Army entered the war in massive numbers. As set out in Edward J. Marolda's The Hungnam and Chinnampo Evacuations:

The Hungnam Evacuation by the U.S. Navy from North Korea of troops under the U.S. X Corps, including the U.S. 1st Marine Division, 7th Infantry Division, and 3d Infantry Division, and the Republic of Korea I Corps, including the 3d and Capital Infantry Divisions, took place from December 9 to 24, 1950. When the People's Republic of China intervened in the Korean War in late November 1950, its 250,000 ground forces threatened to cut off and destroy UN units operating in the mountains of North Korea. To prevent that catastrophe and to concentrate UN units in more easily defended terrain further south, on December 9 General Douglas MacArthur, Commander in Chief, United Nations Command, ordered evacuation by sea of the U.S. X Corps.

Vice Admiral C. Turner Joy, Commander Naval Forces, Far East, had already alerted Rear Admiral James H. Doyle, his amphibious commander, to prepare for such a contingency and begun deploying naval forces to waters off Hungnam on the east coast of North Korea. He dispatched other units, under Rear Admiral Lyman A. Thackrey, to Korea's west coast to handle evacuation from Chinnampo and Inchon, in company with British, Australian, and Canadian ships, of U.S. Eighth Army and allied forces. The mission at Chinnampo was accomplished between the 4th and 6th of December, although most of the allied forces made their way south in vehicles or on foot. In addition, during December and early January 1951, Thackrey's ships pulled 69,000 military personnel, 64,000 refugees, 1,000 vehicles, and more than 55,000 tons of cargo out of Inchon.

As the marines and soldiers, in biting cold and wind, fought their way out of encirclement at Chosin Reservoir and elsewhere in northeast Korea during December, several hundred Navy and Marine aircraft operating from airfields ashore and from the ships of Task Force 77 (aircraft carriers Philippine Sea, Leyte, Princeton, and Valley Forge, light carrier Bataan, and escort carriers Sicily and Baedong Strait) pummelled enemy ground troops. Other U.S. planes airdropped supplies. Conducting round-the-clock air operations from snow and wind-swept carrier decks and from unimproved airstrips ashore demanded the most of the sailors and marines working feverishly to help bring their comrades out of the frozen hills of North Korea.


***

In an orderly fashion, on December 10th the ships under Rear Admiral Doyle, Commander Amphibious Force, Far East (Task Force 90), began embarking the withdrawing ground troops and their equipment from Hungnam (and some ROK 3d Division troops from Wonsan further to the south). The marines, who had endured the hardest fighting, were the first men to board the evacuation ships. They were followed by the ROK units on the 17th and the U.S. Army divisions during the third week of December. By Christmas Eve 1950, Task Force 90 had embarked 105,000 military personnel, 17,500 tanks and other vehicles, 350,000 measurement tons of cargo, and 91,000 Korean civilians. Marine and Air Force transports airlifted out another 3,600 troops, 196 vehicles, and 1,300 tons of cargo.

More here

Generally described as an "amphibious operation in reverse", the evacuation of Hungnam encompassed the safe withdrawal of the bulk of UN forces in eastern North Korea. It was the largest sealift since the 1945 Okinawa operation. In barely two weeks, over a hundred-thousand military personnel, 17,500 vehicles and 350,000 measurement tons of cargo were pulled out. In comparison with the retreat in central and western Korea, little was left behind. Even broken-down vehicles were loaded and lifted out. Also departing North Korea through Hungnam were some 91,000 refugees, a large number, but not nearly as many as had gathered to leave.

These evacuations were not only carried out by U.S. forces, but by chartered merchant ships, and by allied ships, including but not limited to Japanese manned LSTs.

Another reference to the LST force here

There were a total of 40 LSTs and 75 marine transports used during the evacuation of Hungnam. All ships making multiple trips from Hungnam and Wonsan to various ports in southern Korea and parts of Japan.

Early in my research I managed to find a list of US LSTs involved in the Korean War – some 40 LSTs. As part of this process I also found that a lot of Japanese and a few Korean LSTs were used. There were a total 40 LSTs used at Hungnam, 11 US, a large number of Japanese LSTs and a few Korean.

The importance of the evacuation is well stated in the following video:

Friday, October 01, 2021

Don't Trust China: China's Harvesting American Genetic Information is a Threat According to the National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC)

In all the post-election excitement, perhaps you missed this Feb 2021 report from the National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC).

What use can China make of such information? Let your imagination work out the possibilities, but I don't think they are up to any great good things.

National Counterintelligenc... by lawofsea

UPDATE: Some in Congress are on the issue: See here for a press release from Senator Cotton and Rep Gallagher:

BGI also attempted to take advantage of the pandemic to acquire U.S. data, reaching out to the governors of six states with offers to build advanced COVID-19 testing labs before top U.S. intelligence officials convinced states to reject BGI’s offers. Most recently, reports revealed that BGI was selling prenatal tests to pregnant women around the world and using the tests to collect vast swathes of genetic data on different populations.

The Party’s focus on biotech also extends to biotech’s potential military applications. The former head of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) National Defense University identified biology as one of seven “new domains of warfare,” including the possibility of “specific ethnic genetic attacks,” in a 2017 publication.

BGI has a history of collaboration with the PLA and serving the PLA’s interests. A review of 40 publicly-available research papers demonstrates BGI’s work on PLA priorities, such as improved high-altitude soldier performance, neuroscience, and pathogens. BGI’s worldwide prenatal test was itself developed in collaboration with the PLA. BGI has also partnered with the PLA’s National University of Defense Technology (NUDT) to advance bioinformatics research and leverage supercomputers for biological research. Joint BGI-PLA research could have an application in future bioweapons—which is especially concerning because BGI’s national gene bank is presumably made available for military research.

Given BGI’s and other Chinese biotechnology companies’ support for and collaboration with the PLA, I urge you to include BGI and other Chinese biotech companies on the NS-CMIC List, the Entity List, and the Section 1260H Chinese military companies list. The United States must not turn a blind eye to the threat posed by Chinese biotechnology companies operating at the CCP’s behest. Blacklisting BGI and its fellow biotech companies will help the United States counter the Chinese Communist Party’s efforts to capture Americans’ most private information—their DNA. (emphasis added)

Friday Film: Fog (1943)