Monday, June 27, 2022
U.S. Navy Office of Naval Intelligence Worldwide Threat to Shipping (WTS) Report, 25 May to 22 June 2022
Saturday, June 25, 2022
Please join us at 5pm EDT on 26 June 2022 for Midrats Episode 626: Turning the Tables on China with Brent Sadler
If you do miss the show live, you can pick up this episode and others and add Midrats to your podcast list simply by going to you use Apple Podcasts here. Or on Spreaker. Or on Spotify.
While everyone is distracted by the Russo-Ukrainian War, the People’s Republic of China continues to work to solidify her ability to control the South China Sea and to bring more nations in to her orbit.
Though not a cold war, it is a struggle for presence, influence, and setting the conditions for advantage should conflict come.
The United States and her Navy are not required to be in a passive posture, allowing China to shape the environment without pushback.
This episode of Midrats will focus on American options and actions we can take to blunt Chinese influence and to prevent her from setting up the Western Pacific to her advantage relative to the United States and her friends and allies.
Our guest for the full hour to discuss this and more will be Brent Sadler, a senior fellow for maritime security and advanced naval technology at The Heritage Foundation.
The discovery of the resting place of the USS Samuel B. Robert (DE-413) prompts a special look at the series of fights that constitute the Battle for Leyte Gulf. Background here.
Friday, June 24, 2022
Tuesday, June 21, 2022
U.S. Navy Office of Naval Intelligence Worldwide Threat to Shipping (WTS) Report, 18 May to 15 June 2022
Sunday, June 19, 2022
Saturday, June 18, 2022
Monday, June 13, 2022
U.S. Navy Office of Naval Intelligence Worldwide Threat to Shipping (WTS) Report, 11 May to 8 June 2022
Saturday, June 11, 2022
Friday, June 10, 2022
Tuesday, June 07, 2022
Please join us for Midrats Episode 625: Combined Amphibious Operations in the Indo-Pacific. We recorded the show due to our guest's schedule.
Along the spectrum from peacetime exercises to wartime combined operations, successfully integrating multinational forces is not a pick-up game. To do it right requires leaders and institutions years of practice, trust, and demonstrated ability.
This is true of all military operations, but especially true when moving forces ashore during amphibious operations.
In our constellation of allies, partners and friends along the shores of the Indo-Pacific theater, since 2015 the United States Marine Forces Pacific has led the multi-national Pacific Amphibious Leaders Symposium.
We dive into not just the symposium itself to the broader topic of combined amphibious operations in the Indo-Pacific with our guest, Major Evan “Zach” Ota, USMC from the International Affairs Branch, U. S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific.
Monday, June 06, 2022
U.S. Navy Office of Naval Intelligence Worldwide Threat to Shipping (WTS) Report, 4 May to 1 June 2022
Replaying the following (slightly editied) post from 2011 - a look at a great feat of arms - the Allied forced entry into France.
It is worth noting that the Allies had invaded the Italian mainland in September 1943, which began a long slog up Italy, leading to the surrender of Rome on 4 June 1944. While the campaign in Italy had its own issues, it was the earliest invasion of Europe by Allied forces. The remarkable thing is that the Allies had the men and material to fight on two fronts after the various disasters that began the war in Europe, and the U.S. and its Allies in the Pacific were also fully engaged and fighting their way toward Japan at the same time. The scale of the effort by the Allies around the world is truly astonishing.
In case you were wondering what this day is famous for, starting in 1944 try the Normandy Invasion, June 6, 1944:
On 6 June 1944 the Western Allies landed in northern France, opening the long-awaited "Second Front" against Adolf Hitler's Germany. Though they had been fighting in mainland Italy for some nine months, the Normandy invasion was in a strategically more important region, setting the stage to drive the Germans from France and ultimately destroy the National Socialist regime.A story you might not have heard, about how 22 old, mostly useless merchant ships were intentionally sunk to create breakwaters and the role of the " Naval Armed Guards" in that process from here:
It had been four long years since France had been overrun and the British compelled to leave continental Europe, three since Hitler had attacked the Soviet Union and two and a half since the United States had formally entered the struggle. After an often seemingly hopeless fight, beginning in late 1942 the Germans had been stopped and forced into slow retreat in eastern Europe, defeated in North Africa and confronted in Italy. U.S. and British bombers had visited ruin on the enemy's industrial cities. Allied navies had contained the German submarine threat, making possible an immense buildup of ground, sea and air power in the British Isles.
You want lessons in courage? D-Day at Normandy is just one example.
The story of how a modern [artificial] port was built at Omaha and Utah beaches has already been revealed. Armed Guards on some 22 merchant ships which were scuttled [deliberately sunk] to make a breakwater played a vital part in this operation. For days they endured the early fury of the German counter-attack and helped give fire protection to the forces ashore from their partly submerged ships. This was a task which required courage and the ability to do without sleep.
Sunken "Block Ships"
The 22 block ships were carefully prepared for their assigned operation. The heavy [deck] gun aft was removed and four 20mm [anti-aircraft guns] and a 40mm [anti-aircraft gun] were generally substituted. The ships were stripped of all unnecessary gear. About eight explosive charges were placed in the holds and large openings were cut in the transverse bulkheads. Necessary food supplies and ammunition had to be moved topside, for the decks of some of the ships were to be under water at times.
Block Ships in Position with Gaps for Ship/Shore Traffic
The men aboard the 13 ships scuttled off Omaha Beach and the 9 ships scuttled off Utah Beach had much the same experiences. Crossing the [English] Channel there were the [enemy] mines and the E-boats [small fast German motor torpedo boats also known as Schnellboote or S-Boats; similar to American PT-boats]. By day German 88mm guns fired at the block ships, and by night enemy bombers came over.
The James Iredell was the lead ship among the block ships and she was scuttled at the appointed position on the afternoon of June 7, 1944. At 2030 German artillery fire became so heavy that the Armed Guards on this ship and on the Baialaide and the Galveston were evacuated. But they returned to their ships on the morning of June 8. The Armed Guards of the Baialaide remained at their guns until June 17. At high tide the main deck of the ship was six feet under water. The Armed Guards on the James Iredell and the Galveston recorded air attacks every night until June 15, when they were relieved. On the George W. Childs, which was scuttled on June 8, the Armed Guards had narrowly missed being hit by artillery fire as they lay off the beach on the night of June 7. Mines and E-boats had been encountered while crossing the Channel. There were three or four air attacks at night and one bomb landed 50 yards from the Childs. She was credited with two assists [in shooting down enemy aircraft]. She established a kind of open house for visiting firemen by furnishing food and quarters to countless numbers of troops and small boat crews. One of her Armed Guards was wounded by a shell fragment. Not until June 17 did the Armed Guards leave the ship.
Beachhead from Above with Block Ships in Position
The Courageous reported E-boat attacks en route to Omaha Beach, artillery fire upon arrival on June 7, and air attacks every night from June 7 to 12. On June 9 her Armed Guards hit a [German] plane which in turn dropped a bomb so close that the decks were sprayed with fragments. The plane crashed. The Potter was forced to seaward on the night of June 7 by [German] 88mm [artillery] fire, but was scuttled the next day. Many shell fragments landed on her decks and one Armed Guard was wounded. Her crew was relieved on June 13. Several bombs landed close to the James W. Marshall. Her Armed Guard officer remained on board until June 22 in connection with the command of all Armed Guards on the scuttled ships. But Army personnel took over the gunnery duties on the Marshall on June 13. The Wilscox had a narrow miss on June 11. Her Armed Guards were also evacuated on June 13. The Armed Guards on the Audacious remained aboard until June 18. The Armed Guards on the Olambala reported some 32 air attacks to June 16, but only one merchant seaman was wounded before the merchant crew was removed. Fragments from 88mm guns which were scoring near misses hit the decks of the Artemus Ward on June 7. One Armed Guard was wounded on June 9. Bombs narrowly missed on June 10 and 11, and shell fragments hit on the latter date. Part of the gun crew was removed on June 19. Because of a storm from June 19 to 22 [this was the great storm which wrecked the artificial "mulberry" harbors at the Normandy beachheads], the ship cracked. The last Armed Guards were not removed until June 22. The West Grama fired about 19 times and scored one assist on June 9. One Armed Guard on this vessel was wounded while at Omaha Beach. A bomb landed close to the ship on June 14. Her Armed Guards left the ship on June 18. She was credited with two assists [in shooting down German aircraft]. Flight Command reported 30 to 35 alerts prior to June 15.
At Utah Beach the George S. Wasson went through 32 raids from June 7 to 14. The David O. Saylor was forced to withdraw from Utah Beach because of heavy artillery fire which was straddling her on June 7. She was also forced to withdraw once on June 8 but was successfully scuttled in the afternoon. Her Armed Guards left on June 13. The West Nohno helped shoot down several enemy planes on June 10. Her Armed Guards left on June 18. The Benjamin Contee Armed Guards withdrew from the ship on June 14 after 32 raids. Artillery narrowly missed the Matt W. Ransom at Utah Beach. Her Armed Guards reported many alerts and indicated that from 8 to 10 rounds of [German] artillery fire were observed each day to June 15. They left two days later. The Vitruvius reported that six planes were shot down by her fire and by the shore batteries on June 10. She was narrowly missed by bombs on the night of June 11. The Armed Guards on the Victory Sword brought down six planes on the night of June 10. The West Cheswald claimed one plane destroyed. Her Armed Guards were not removed until June 19. The West Honaker was damaged by two skip bombs on June 8 and part of the merchant crew and the Armed Guards abandoned ship. Not until June 10 was she scuttled about 400 yards from the beach. Her Armed Guards left on June 14. The Armed Guard crews from the block ships were returned to the United States on the Queen Elizabeth. There was no loss of life among the Armed Guards taking part in this dangerous operation.
The Commander of United States Naval Forces in Europe highly commended the Armed Guard personnel for their participation in placing the block ships and defending the ships until relieved by Army personnel.
See "Ghost Ships of Normandy for more information on the "block ships." Block ships are an old military idea. Old merchant ships were not alone in being sunk as "block ships" - several old warships were also used. See here:
- HMS Centurion, old battleship sunk as a blockship in "Gooseberry" breakwater
- Courbet, Free Naval French Forces, old battleship sunk as a blockship in "Gooseberry" breakwater
- HMS Durban (light cruiser used as a blockship in "Gooseberry" breakwater)
- HNMLS Sumatra (Dutch, decommissioned due to crew shortages and losing her guns to HNMLS Flores and Soemba, used as blockship in"Gooseberry" breakwater)
"Corn cobs" were block ships that crossed the channel either under their own steam or that were towed and then scuttled to create sheltered water at the five landing beaches.. Once in position the "Corn Cobs" created "Gooseberries". The ships used for each beach were:You might gather that there was a great deal more involved in Normandy D-Day operations than sending landing craft ashore.
Utah Beach (Gooseberry 1): Benjamin Contee, David O. Saylor, George S. Wasson, Matt W. Ransom, West Cheswald, West Honaker, West Nohno, Willis A. Slater, Victory Sword and Vitruvius.
Omaha Beach (Gooseberry 2): Artemas Ward, Audacious, Baialoide, HMS Centurion, Courageous, Flight-Command, Galveston, George W. Childs, James W. Marshall, James Iredell, Olambala, Potter, West Grama and Wilscox.
Gold Beach (Gooseberry 3): Alynbank, Alghios Spyridon, Elswick Park, Flowergate, Giorgios P., Ingman, Innerton, Lynghaug, Modlin, Njegos, Parkhaven, Parklaan, Saltersgate, Sirehei, Vinlake and Winha.
Juno Beach (Gooseberry 4): Belgique, Bendoran, Empire Bunting, Empire Flamingo, Empire Moorhen, Empire Waterhen, Formigny, Manchester Spinner, Mariposa, Panos and Vera Radcliffe.
Sword Beach (Gooseberry 5): Becheville, Courbet, Dover Hill, HMS Durban, Empire Defiance, Empire Tamar, Empire Tana, Forbin and HNLMS Sumatra.
The sheltered waters created by the Corn Cob block ships. Two of the "Gooseberries" grew into "Mulberries", the artificial harbours.
Take time to remember all those who took part in the French shore beginning of the liberation of Europe from the Nazis.
|From Navy Art Gallery showing the Omaha beach just before the storm that wrecked much of the logistics structure - but also shows the Gooseberries in line offshore|
There, with decks awash in the roaring sea, the sunken block ships of the great harbor of "Mulberry" successfully rode out the storm. The part of the breakwater formed by the line of sunken ships was called "Gooseberry." Though they worked about on the bottom, the ships held their place throughout the unseasonal blow of June 19-22, 1944. At the height of the gale's fury, gunners stationed on a sunken merchantman sought safety on the fo'c'sle of the H.M.S. Centurion, an old British battlewagon which was the western bastion of Gooseberry.Top photos from the Naval Historical Center. Photos of "block ships" from "Ghost Ships of Normandy, photo source unknown (but I am ready to learn and give proper credit).
UPDATE: Interesting read from the Navy Department Library: Miracle Harbor:
AMERICAN and British officers planning the D-Day details in England were up against a tremendous problem. It was all very well to land troops on the beaches of Normandy, but once there they had to be kept supplied with immense quantities of ammunition, food, and weapons. How were these supplies to keep flowing without a harbor?
There was a limit to what landing craft could do. The rough Channel seas and the tide that rises and falls twenty feet meant that stuff put down on the flat Normandy beaches would be swamped by the tide before it could all be moved onto dry land. And the idea of starting off the invasion by capturing one of the heavily defended French ports was out of the question. It would take too long.
The story goes that one of the officers engaged in the planning remarked casually to one of his colleagues, not intending to be taken seriously, "Well, I suppose we'll have to take our harbors with us." This remark, it is reported, started the experts on a train of thought that ended at the point where the ramps of the prefabricated ports touched the Normandy shore.
Saturday, June 04, 2022
Yes, the sound quality is a little rough, but the images in this version are the clearest I have seen.Update - less clear, but smoother:
Friday, June 03, 2022
Tuesday, May 31, 2022
U.S. Navy Office of Naval Intelligence Worldwide Threat to Shipping (WTS) Report, 27 April to 25 May 2022
Friday, May 27, 2022
Monday, May 23, 2022
U.S. Navy Office of Naval Intelligence Worldwide Threat to Shipping (WTS) Report, 20 April to 18 May 2022
Sunday, May 22, 2022
If you do miss the show live, you can pick up this episode and others and add Midrats to your podcast list simply by going to you use Apple Podcasts here. Or on Spreaker. Or on Spotify.
If you've missed having David Larter on the Navy beat, well you're in for a treat.
Though everyone's favorite former OS2 is no longer a defense journalist, like most Sailors, he doesn't leave his love of the sea or affection for his Navy behind.
Returning to Midrats, but this time with a little California sunshine kissing his cheeks, David will be with us for the full hour and we will cover the board from Ukraine, fleet size, how we treat our Sailors, global food security, China, and the things navalists should be thinking about, but aren't.
Don't miss it!
Saturday, May 21, 2022
Friday, May 20, 2022
Monday, May 16, 2022
U.S. Navy Office of Naval Intelligence Worldwide Threat to Shipping (WTS) Report, 13 April to 11 May 2022
Saturday, May 14, 2022
Please join us at 5pm on 15 May 2022 for Midrats Episode 623: the USN's Port Arthur Problem - with Matthew Hipple
What do the numbers tell us about the USN's expected fleet during the rest of what we call the Terrible 20s?
We are going to spend an hour digging in to that with returning guest Matthew Hipple, active duty Surface Warfare Officer & former president of the Center for International Maritime Security.
As a starting point for our conversation we will reference his May 9th article over at CIMSEC, "20 Years of Naval Trends Guarantee a FY23 Shipbuilding Plan Failure."
"The FY23 Shipbuilding Plan proposes a 10-year drop in fleet numbers that deviates in spirit from every shipbuilding plan since 2012. During this dangerous decade, the FY23 Shipbuilding Plan returns the fleet to a size that precipitated the period of panic that inspired Congress to enshrine the 355-ship goal into law (Figure 2). The FY23 Long Range Shipbuilding Plan will miss the defunct, minimum goal of 300 ships by another decade, and is less likely to meet the Navy’s legal and operational 355-ship requirement."
Don't miss it!
Friday, May 13, 2022
Monday, May 09, 2022
U.S. Navy Office of Naval Intelligence Worldwide Threat to Shipping (WTS) Report, 6 April to 4 May 2022
Saturday, May 07, 2022
Posted this video before, but in light of the recent events of the carrier crew being taken off their ship in the yards, this seems appropriate. On every ship, large or small, there are a number of people who should regularly looking at the berthing, sanitary facilities, and working compartments which make up the "home" for any sailor on board. Corpsmen, leading Petty Officers, Division Chief Petty Officers, Division Officers, Department Heads, the XO, and the CO should all be making visits to the these spaces, with the most junior being there daily and the most senior inspecting as schedules permit. It is by this system of routine inspections that every sailor should be provided a clean, well-maintained living and working space. When this system breaks down, living conditions can quickly become appallingly bad.
Upon finding that condition are unsatisfactory, the reasons for those conditions need to be taken up the chain of command promptly. "Take care of your people" is a mantra driven into leaderhip from the first days of service. Sometimes it is too easy to forget this concept when things get hectic, but the systematic inspection and discussion with your sailors ought to drive the effort to keep up the high standards required for a clean and healthy ship.
There is no doubt that extended yard periods eat in every aspect of morale and readiness and every effort must be made to use these periods for getting sailors off the ship - to ahsore training, to temporary duty on other ships for OJT, to moving the crew off the ship. This is not a new problem, reading the history of the mannning of ships 200 years ago (or longer) reveals the very same problems. Perhaps it's time to change how we do things.
Always see Ref A.
Monday, May 02, 2022
U.S. Navy Office of Naval Intelligence Worldwide Threat to Shipping (WTS) Reports, 16 March to 27 April 2022
Saturday, April 30, 2022
If it was easy, anyone could do it. Doing the hard things safely as possible? The U.S. Navy way.
*Friday is loose concept on this site.
Saturday, April 23, 2022
On Midrats 24 April 2022 - Episode 622: China’s Assassin’s Mace in WESTPAC w/Gerry Doyle & Blake Herzinger
Please join us at 5pm EDT on 24 April 2022 for Midrats Episode 622: China’s Assassin’s Mace in WESTPAC w/Gerry Doyle & Blake Herzinger
Since the March 1996 humiliation in the waters around Taiwan handed to the People’s Republic of China by the US Navy’s world-dominating Carrier Battle Groups – as they were then known – China and her armed forces started a long-term, disciplined effort to ensure that a point in the not so distant future, their part of The Pacific west of Wake would no longer be considered and American lake.
With a little over a quarter century passed, has China successfully closed the gap?
Come join us for the full hour this Sunday for a deep dive in to the subject with our guests Gerry Doyle and Blake Herzinger as we discuss their recent book, Carrier Killer: China's Anti-Ship Ballistic Missiles and Theater of Operations in the early 21st Century (Asia@War).
Friday, April 22, 2022
Sunday, April 17, 2022
Saturday, April 16, 2022
Friday, April 15, 2022
Monday, April 11, 2022
U.S. Navy Office of Naval Intelligence Worldwide Threat to Shipping (WTS) Report, 9 March to 6 April 2022
Saturday, April 09, 2022
Please join us at 5pm EDT on 10 April 2022 for Midrats Episode 621: Russian Military SITREP with Dr. Dmitry Gorenburg
For over 11-years, once a year or so our guest has joined us on Midrats to discuss the latest military and national security developments with Russia.
With the war waging in Ukraine and in the processing to transitioning to a new phase, there couldn’t be a better time to hear from Dr. Dmitry Gorenburg who will be with us for the full hour in a wide ranging discussion about the buildup to war, and the important takeaways so far.
Dmitry is an expert on security issues in the former Soviet Union, Russian military reform, Russian foreign policy, and ethnic politics and identity. His recent research topics include decision-making processes in the senior Russian leadership, Russian naval strategy in the Pacific and the Black Sea, and Russian maritime defense doctrine.
He is author of "Nationalism for the Masses: Minority Ethnic Mobilization in the Russian Federation" (Cambridge University Press, 2003), and has been published in journals such as World Politics and Post-Soviet Affairs. In addition to his role at CNA, he currently serves as editor of Problems of Post-Communism and is an Associate of the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University. From 2009 to 2016, he edited the journal Russian Politics and Law.
He previously served as Executive Director of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES). He received a B.A. in international relations from Princeton University and a Ph.D. in political science from Harvard University. He blogs on issues related to the Russian military at Russian Military Reform. He is a native Russian speaker.
Friday, April 08, 2022
Monday, April 04, 2022
Sunday, April 03, 2022
On Midrats 3 April 2022 - Episode 620: War, Pestilence, and Famine - the World's Logistics Falters (note special time 2-3pm EDT)
Please join us on 3 April 2022 at the special time of 2pm -3pm EDT for Midrats Episode 620: War, Pestilence, and Famine - the World's Logistics Falters
If it's April, it's time for a return visit by Ross Kennedy to Midrats!
A little under a year ago, we had Ross on to discuss the impact of COVID and related structural issues to the global supply chain. A year later, we find conditions have not just remained, but with war in Ukraine and a new COVID variant working its way through coastal China, in many ways the global trade in essential items has turned for the worst.
If you are worried about the cost and availability of fuel, food, and everyday items you've spent the last decade assuming were always going to be there at a price you're happy with, then you need to join us from 2-3pm Eastern this Sunday.
Ross is a U.S.-based logistics and supply chain expert with more than fifteen years in international transportation, procurement, and analysis. His unique blend of operations, sales, and strategic planning allows him to provide creative, agile solutions for his public- and private-sector clientele.
Saturday, April 02, 2022
Friday, April 01, 2022
Monday, March 28, 2022
U.S. Navy Office of Naval Intelligence Worldwide Threat to Shipping (WTS) Report, 23 February to 23 March 2022
Friday, March 25, 2022
Monday, March 21, 2022
U.S. Navy Office of Naval Intelligence Worldwide Threat to Shipping (WTS) Report, 16 February to 16 March 2022
Saturday, March 19, 2022
Friday, March 18, 2022
Friday Films: "Red Dawn- Beginning of the Invasion" Clip (1984), German Blitzkrieg of Poland (1939), Russian Invasion of Poland (1939)
Warfare doesn't change all that much. Better weapons, but encirclement and creating panic in the invaded people remain goals pf the invaders.
One variation is the willingness and the ability of the invaded to fight back. To be willing to die to resist the invaders.
Don't trust the Russian government - meaning Putin. Plus ça change
Monday, March 14, 2022
U.S. Navy Office of Naval Intelligence Worldwide Threat to Shipping (WTS) Report, 9 February to 9 March 2022
Sunday, March 13, 2022
Please join us on 13 March 2022 at 5pm EDT (you did change your clocks -right?) for Midrats Episode 619: Mid -March Midrats Melee
With the Russo-Ukrainian War in its 3rd week, everyone is starting to see a new normal emerging in Europe, our alliances, and global posture. What are the assumptions time has left behind, what concepts are playing out well, and what surprises at sea and ashore have been a surprise?
What will the next phase look like?
This Sunday from 5-6pm Eastern EagleOne and Sal are bringing back the melee format with an eye on Ukraine.
Open topic, open phones, green range ... bearings free.
Saturday, March 12, 2022
Friday, March 11, 2022
Monday, March 07, 2022
U.S. Navy Office of Naval Intelligence Worldwide Threat to Shipping (WTS) Report, 2 February to 2 March 2022
Saturday, March 05, 2022
Please join us at 5pm EST on 6 March 2022 for Midrats Episode 618: China's 2022 with Dean Cheng
While the world's eyes are focused on Russia and Ukraine - and probably will for the foreseeable future - the People's Republic of China is not standing still.
How can China use this moment to her advantage? What possible lessons can China take away from the Ukraine conflict so far, and perhaps more importantly, how should it impact how we and our allies look at China?
Returning to Midrats to discuss these and related questions this Sunday will be our guest Dean Cheng.
Dean is the Senior Research Fellow for Chinese political and security affairs at the Asia Studies Center of The Heritage Foundation. He specializes in Chinese military and foreign policy, and has written extensively on Chinese military doctrine, technological implications of its space program, and “dual use” issues associated with China’s industrial and scientific infrastructure. He is the author of “Cyber Dragon: Inside China's Information Warfare and Cyber Operations.”
Before joining The Heritage Foundation, he was a senior analyst with the Center for Naval Analyses, a federally funded research and development center, and a senior analyst with Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC, now Leidos), the Fortune 500 specialist in defense and homeland security. He has testified before Congress, spoken at the (American) National Defense University, US Air Force Academy, and the National Space Symposium, and been published in the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post.
Friday, March 04, 2022
Tuesday, March 01, 2022
Well, I'm sure your closest friend - if you had one - wouldn't be telling you about the absolute goat rope you've got going - but since I am not your friend, let me say a couple of things about the mess you've made.
Oh, a "goat rope" is commonly used in the U.S. military to describe a disaster in the making - usually a self-made disaster. Like the one you've got going right now.
I mean you probably were thinking that your "topnotch" Russian army would roll up Ukraine in a hour or so, because you felt in yuor bones that the Ukranians were tired of what freedom they had and would love to get back into the embrace of Mother Russia. That was a bad premise on which to try a snappy invasion.
You probably also thought that the Russian army was a powerful tool. News flash, that was another bad premise. It's a blunt instrument at best, and the world is watching it try to bludgeon its way to victory. Any hope of a clean sweep of the adjoining country - like say the alllied forces did in Kuwait/Iraq back in Guf War I - was screwed from the start. Boy Scout troops have had more impressive beginnings to long hikes, even when little Jimmy Smith forgot to bring a canteen and decided his Sunday going to church shoes were better than hiking shoes.
So now what, have you got enough stuff to turn your invasion into a multi-week smashing of a country the size of Texas? You think threatening the rest of the world with "severe sanctions" will stop the flow of equipment to the Ukranians? You've already played the nuclear weapon card - and pushed more countries into looking to join NATO. Frankly, you look a little desperate there, Vlad.
Of course, given the FUBAR logistics that you've got going, maybe that's a way of buying time to regroup. Of course, when this thing becomes even more of a "crime against humanity" and your slaughter of people whose country you invaded - and don't hand me that guff about giving "plenty of warning" - do you honestly think the rest of the world will sit on their hands? We already see folks wanting to take a whack at you ridiculously long road march convoys. One A-10 or Tornado could stop that gaggle in a heart beat.
By the way, how's troop morale? Anxious are they to spend years trying to subdue a restive population? Share your vision of "putting the empire back together," do they?
Have to be curious about the message you are sending to your erstwhile "ally" the PRC - are they seeing the great Russian army like the rest of us? I wonder if someone sitting in a command cell in Beijing isn't thinking about how quickly they could liberate some of those territories in the eastern part of Russia that used to be Chinese and which are full of oil, gas, and other riches. I'm pretty sure they're not quaking in their boots in dread of the Russian army driving its way eastward to stop them, should they choose to move that way.
So now what? Going to bring in your mercenaries to assassinate the Ukrainian leadership? You must have missed that Star Wars episode about making someone more powerful by striking him down. Legends and martyrs, Vlad, very powerful stuff.
What next? Going after Elon Musk because his little satellites are working to defeat Russian information dominance? Sad, Vlad, sad.
Oh, and thanks for uniting Europe against you. Several America presidents have been warning them not to get too comfortable about Russia, but it was you who finally got their attention. Nice job.
Not having crystal ball I don't know what will happent next. But I have pretty good idea that at some point you are going to have to pay the piper. If you win against Ukraine, you might as well rename yourself "Pyrrhus."
Now, like some Ukrainian warriors, let me sign off with this: GFY!
Monday, February 28, 2022
From the Sea of Azov to the Danube Delta, the maritime component of the Russian invasion of Ukraine's is bringing to the front universal constants; treaties, neutral shipping, amphibious operations, blockades, choke points, sea lines of communication, and an expanded environment where conflict can expand in unexpected ways.
While much of the focus has been ashore, significant developments - and lessons - can be found in the developments in the Black Sea. That will be the focus on today's Midrats with a panel discussion with Claude Berube, Chris Cavas, and Sal Mercogliano.
Dr Claude Berube has taught at the US Naval Academy since 2005 and has worked for two US Senators. He is a Commander in the Navy Reserve. His latest book is “On Wide Seas: The US Navy in the Jacksonian Era” and his third novel, “The Philippine Pact” will be released this fall.
Chris Cavas is a long-time naval journalist who has reported on navies and maritime issues in the United States and around the world. He’s also the co-host of the weekly CavasShips podcast focusing on naval matters.
Dr. Sal Mercogliano is a Maritime Historian at Campbell University. A former merchant mariner and Host of the What's Going On With Shipping YouTube Channel.
U.S. Navy Office of Naval Intelligence Worldwide Threat to Shipping (WTS) Report, 26 January to 23 February 2022
Attacks of ships in the Black Sea as part of the Russian invasion of the rest of Ukraine (remember they already grabbed Crimea) reflected here:
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has brought turmoil to commodities markets as the conflict ensnares merchant shipping.
At least three merchant ships have been reportedly hit since Russian forces began the attack on its neighbor this week. Insurers are either not offering to cover vessels sailing into the Black Sea, or they’re demanding huge premiums to do so.
A discussion of the situation in the Black Sea form Midrats on 27 Feb 27 (I was flying home from a family visit and was unable to join the conversation):
Saturday, February 26, 2022
Friday, February 25, 2022
Thursday, February 24, 2022
Remember, the Russians hold the Presidency of the UN Security Council. The UN is a joke. OSCE is a joke. The EU is little more than a nest of rent-seeking, clock-watching grift-fest. NATO is, well, dysfunctional but better than nothing. Nations must take ownership of their own security. Yes, Taiwan and Japan I am talking to you. Study history. Be ready.***
Is everyone clear what Russia is now? She has a small GDP and apocalyptic demographics, but she is taking what she has and is invading her neighbors, killing people, and taking land. If your nation, company, or neighbor is buying anything from them – they are paying for this military adventurism. If the press wants to do its job, start pulling that string.
The U.S. needs to restart its energy independence efforts and reverse the course of what the current administration has done so that we can offer Europe energy security and cut the flow of energy dollors and Euros to the thugs in Moscowland.
As Mao said, "Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun." Putin is seeking political power, not only over Ukraine, but over Western Europe. His approach is not subtle diplomacy.
Tuesday, February 22, 2022
"U.S. forges maritime technology collaborations to improve domain awareness" from Indo-Pacific Defense Forum
To safeguard maritime borders, the United States military is promoting cooperative technology efforts to provide near-real time global maritime situational awareness to combat everything from illegal fishing and human trafficking to sovereignty threats.
Recent successes include the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory’s (NRL’s) new program, called Proteus, to identify, query and filter maritime vessels based on user-defined criteria and the Defense Innovation Unit’s (DIU’s) international competition, known as xView3, to create machine learning models to locate and distinguish maritime vessels with synthetic aperture radar.
The U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard, in particular, are also pushing for broader collaborations among allies and partners to apply advanced military technologies, including surveillance satellites, high-resolution radar and data-sharing software, to maritime security challenges, experts said.
Advanced maritime capabilities are in high demand as security threats such as illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing continue to worsen worldwide and contribute to broader stability issues.
The People’s Republic of China is “obviously high on the list … when talking about state-sponsored IUU and the way that they use it as both a tool for … economic purposes, but also increasingly for the purposes of influencing bilateral relationships,” Whitley Saumweber, director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Stephenson Ocean Security Project, said in December 2021, according to National Defense magazine.
More about Proteus here:
“PROTEUS is an exciting new U.S. government Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) system providing a powerful array of MDA information and analysis tools,” said Cameron Naron, Director of Maritime Security, US Maritime Administration. “This system enables MDA stakeholders to collaboratively discover and investigate suspicious and illegal maritime activity throughout the world in ways never before possible.”
Additional actions supported by PROTEUS include:
- Counter Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing (IUUF)
- Maritime Protected Areas (MPAs)
- Search and Rescue (SAR)
- Critical Infrastructure Protection
- Environmental Protection & Response
- Maritime Law Enforcement
- Counter smuggling (drugs, weapons, money, people)
Monday, February 21, 2022
Saturday, February 19, 2022
Friday, February 18, 2022
Monday, February 14, 2022
U.S. Navy Office of Naval Intelligence Worldwide Threat to Shipping (WTS) Report, 12 January to 9 February 2022
Sunday, February 13, 2022
On Midrats 13 February 2022 at 1130am EST- Episode 616: First Casualty: The Untold Story of the CIA Mission to Avenge 9/11 with Toby Harnden
Note the special time - please join us at 1130AM (EST)on 13 Feb 2022 for MidratsEpisode 616: First Casualty: The Untold Story of the CIA Mission to Avenge 9/11 with Toby Harnden
As described on Amazon, "Eight CIA officers are dropped into the mountains of northern Afghanistan on October 17, 2001. They are Team Alpha, an eclectic band of linguists, tribal experts, and elite warriors: the first Americans to operate inside Taliban territory. Their covert mission is to track down Al- Qaeda and stop the terrorists from infiltrating the United States again."
Most may be familiar with one member of that team, Mike Spann. This Sunday we will spend the hour talking about that Team, the first few months of the Afghanistan conflict, and what the war and its future looked like early on as described in the recent book, First Casualty: The Untold Story of the CIA Mission to Avenge 9/11.
The author Toby Harnden will be with us for the full hour to discuss the book and the story it tells.
Toby is an author, journalist, and a winner of the Orwell Prize for Books. A former foreign correspondent for the Sunday Times of London and the Daily Telegraph who reported from thirty-three countries, he specializes in terrorism and war. Born in Portsmouth, England, Harnden was imprisoned in Zimbabwe, prosecuted in Britain for protecting confidential sources, and vindicated by a $23 million public inquiry in Ireland. A dual British and US citizen, he spent a decade as a Royal Navy officer before becoming a journalist. He holds a First Class degree in modern history from Oxford and is the author of Bandit Country: The IRA & South Armagh and Dead Men Risen: An Epic Story of War and Heroism in Afghanistan. Previously based in London, Belfast, Jerusalem, Baghdad, and Washington, DC, he lives in Virginia.