Archive for July, 2009

For the past 60 years, our Navy has been the most technologically advanced, well-trained, and most complete and capable naval force in the world. Since the end of the Cold War, other nations have not been able to compete with us militarily or economically. But as Bob Dylan said, “The times, they are a-changing.”

We are now in a time where a terrorist group like Hezbollah can not only acquire a cruise missile, but also train, launch and hit an Israeli Sa’ar 5 corvette – a capability once possessed by only a handful of militaries. This type of capability (once the purview of the nation-state, now within the reach of many non-state extremist and criminal organizations) requires us to take a hard look at all of our warfighting capabilities and how we man, train, and equip. It is no longer just about ensuring that we do not allow our traditional warfighting capabilities to atrophy – we must be able to deter and when necessary, fight and win against ALL those who seek to do us harm, including those that do not fight under a nation’s flag like terrorists, cyber-hackers, and pirates.

What are some of your ideas concerning how we ensure our warfighting capabilities like ASW / BMD / Strike, etc. keep pace with the threat, while we also ensure we are prepared to combat “irregular” threats like terrorism, cyber-hackers, and piracy? And how do we best accomplish all this during a time when the great pressure on our budgets will not allow us to just “buy our way” out of the problem?

Cross posted from US Fleet Forces Command Blog



CVN_79_CGIt’s time to return some sanity to the way ships are named. Why? Because the silliness is upon us once again:

111th CONGRESS 1st Session H. CON. RES. 83 Expressing the sense of Congress that a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier of the Navy, either the aircraft carrier designated as CVN-79 or the aircraft carrier designated as CVN-80, should be named the U.S.S. Barry M. Goldwater.

Bill information and status here

Enough with the politicians – these ships are going to last to the middle of the century and outlive many of us reading these words.

It is time to reclaim our heritage and properly name our ships – and leave it to a Chief to put it succinctly:

“One man’s hero is another man’s goat. Carriers should be named for things we all have in common, not the party in power’s favorite politician. I vote we go back to the traditional carrier names as a reminder of the great ships and men who held the line when the chips were down and the odds were against us. Those names are a tribute to America’s greatness. Politicians? Not so much.”

So here’s your chance to make a difference, via petition:

Whereas the namesake ENTERPRISE has been proudly borne by two combat aircraft carriers of the United States Navy;
Whereas the first USS ENTERPRISE (CV-6) (seventh ship to bear this name) and her embarked airwing and crew gallantly fought in every major battle in the Pacific during World War Two, including the signatory battle at Midway when vastly outnumbered by the ships and planes of the Imperial Japanese Navy’s Combined Fleet, ENTERPRISE, with YORKTOWN and HORNET struck a mortal blow, sinking four enemy aircraft carriers and turning the tide of the war in the Pacific;
Whereas the same ENTERPRISE concluded that war as the most decorated warship in the United States Navy with 20 battle stars, a Presidential Unit Citation, a British Admiralty Pennant, Navy Unit Commendation, Philippine Presidential Unit Citation, and Task Force 16 Citation among many other accolades;
Whereas the second United States Navy aircraft carrier to be named ENTERPRISE (CVAN/CVN-65) was the first such ship of her class in the world to be nuclear powered;
Whereas that ENTERPRISE, the eighth ship to bear that name in the United States Navy is concluding a half-century of service to this nation and has honorably served in every theater of operations from leading the naval quarantine off Cuba in 1962 to conducting the first strikes following the terrorist attack on the United States on September 11th, 2001;

Be It Resolved
That the next nuclear aircraft carrier to be constructed (CVN-79) should bear the name USS ENTERPRISE in recognition and honor of the fighting men and women of the United States Navy who have sailed in her namesakes through the centuries.

We The Undersigned:
Call upon the Congress of the United States to remand H. CON. RES. 83 and replace it with a resolution supporting the naming of CVN-79 or the next nuclear aircraft carrier to be constructed, the USS ENTERPRISE.
Call upon the Secretary of the Navy to support this petition of the tax-paying people of these United States and name the next nuclear aircraft carrier to be constructed the USS ENTERPRISE.

Again – here’s the link to the petition: http://ussntrprs.epetitions.net/

(This is a guest blogger driven initiative)



Danger Room just broke that the DoD will almost certainly block Twitter, Facebook, and all other social networking sites on its networks.

Game Over for Social Media?

Game Over for Social Media?

The ban is all-but-certain, military officers and civilian employees say. Many are upset, because after years keeping the social networks at arms’ length, the armed services appeared to be finally embracing the Web 2.0 sites. The Army recently ordered all U.S. bases to provide access to Facebook. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has 4,000 followers on Twitter. The Department of Defense is getting ready to unveil a new home page, packed with social media tools…

People started working with these social networks “before we got a handle on how to use them in the context of the Department of Defense,” a Stratcom source says. “Now, they’re just too big of a headache.”

Unfortunate as ADM Allen and ADM Harvey noted the importance of outreach using these channels. However, the security concerns seem quite real. How can the DoD find a happy medium?

ADDENDUM: Somewhat ironic that DefenseLink featured a story on social media success in Iraq on the day Danger Room’s story broke.

“For the first four or five months there, I kept working through the system to get permissions to allow us to blog, go on YouTube, play with Facebook,” he said. “I wanted to engage in these social media forums, and you just couldn’t get access to them on your military computers.”

But Caldwell met with red tape everywhere he turned — until he mentioned his frustration to Casey, now Army chief of staff, during one of Casey’s monthly visits to the Combined Arms Center.

“He looked at me and said, ‘Just do it,’” Caldwell said. “And when I asked him if this meant he was giving his permission to do this, he said, ‘Absolutely.’ He said, ‘We have got to change the culture of the Army, and you can help make this happen.’”



Next Friday, 7 August, is the 67th anniversary of the amphibious assault on Guadalcanal – the first halting offensive steps in the Pacific war. This week once again, UltimaRatioRegis joins the project with a look into the background of WATCHTOWER, setting the stage for next week’s post. The following week – Savo Island. – SJS

Guadacanal Island as seen from STS-59 (Image Science and Analysis Laboratory, NASA-Johnson Space Center. "The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth.")

Guadalcanal Island as seen from STS-59 (Image Science and Analysis Laboratory, NASA-Johnson Space Center. "The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth.")

In the aftermath of a desperate and decisive battle, those of us who look back across the years, decades, and centuries at such events, inevitably ask the question; “Why there? What made that place worth the price in sweat, blood, and sacrifice?” Something must have drawn the crosshairs of history to such a place, made its possession worth the titanic struggle for control.

Megiddo, the most fought-over place on earth, is a hillock that dominates the ancient Haifa road in modern-day Israel. Such a symbol is it of man’s propensity for war that its very name is where scripture ascribes the end of the world to occur- Har Megiddo. Armageddon.

Gettysburg’s extensive road and rail junctions were keys to Robert E. Lee’s successful foray into Pennsylvania, once the Federal Army of the Potomac could be dislodged from the dominating high ground east of the town.

The terrain of Gallipoli overlooks the Dardanelles, and access to the Bosporus and the Black Sea, and was envisioned as a way to break the ghastly stalemate on the Western Front that had been consuming Europe’s youth for a year.

The Battle for Guadalcanal and the Solomon Islands Campaign is no different. Except that by the Summer of 1942, it was not just what nature had made, but also what man had built, that drew the respective armies and navies into the fiery maelstrom that churned the jungle and the waters around them some sixty-seven years ago. As author Eric Hammel states; “There was no reason inherent in the value of the Bismarcks and the Solomons that made them worth a fight. Only a confluence of events would make them a focal point for a desperate gamble.”(1)

…continued

Read the rest of this entry »



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(via Ria Novosti)

Generally speaking, the preferred direction for a ballistic missile, especially a sub-launched one is UP

Six launch failures is also not career enhancing – at least its not off to the Gulag in the New Russia …



As Fouled Anchor posted, don’t forget about cryptology and network security. What good are assets if the enemy can hack systems to disrupt communications and cause temporary (or lasting) confusion?

Meanwhile, Peter Singer of the Brookings Institute and author of Wired for War has posted an article on the Chinese plans to build an aircraft carrier. He observes:

First, their “new” carrier is not all that new. Actually, the Varyag was first laid down back in 1985. Originally planned for the Soviet fleet, it was never completed. Instead, at the Cold War’s end, it was scrapped of all its electronics and engines and sold off to be a floating casino. Even if the Chinese can refurbish it, at best they will be getting an old, untested ship that carries only a third as many planes as a U.S. carrier.

Similarly, the idea that the Chinese can build four new carriers over the next decade is less than realistic. It takes approximately six years to build one of our aircraft carriers, and we have been doing this for more than eight decades. By comparison, the biggest warship the Chinese have yet to build on their own is 17,000 tons, a quarter the size. More importantly, building a ship is not the same as operating it successfully.

I wonder if we should think of their aircraft carrier fleet as part of a sleight of hand trick. While attention is focused on the looming possibility of four aircraft carriers, we lose focus on the imminent threat of network disruption.

Given the costs of the carrier endeavor, I’m not sure this is intentional on the part of the Chinese or that the US Navy is even falling for the hocus pocus. But for blogosphere strategists, hopefully this is a useful paradigm for evaluating the threats.



In a previous post, I posed the somewhat rhetorical question, Is Cryptology Dead? At the time, it appeared that cryptology and Signals Intelligence were not quite dead, but were certainly being under-valued. It appears that is all about to change.

A 23Jul09 Chief of Naval Operations memo titled Fleet Cyber Command/Commander Tenth Fleet Implementation Plan (pdf) directs the formulation of a plan to stand up these two new commands. This new organization will “serve as the Naval Component Commander to [U.S. Cyber Command]” and as the Navy Service Cryptologic Commander. As background, USCYBERCOM is also a new agency, its own formation directed only a month ago by SECDEF memo (pdf).

FLTCYBERCOM is interesting in many ways, but it cannot go unnoticed that this will be a kind of trip back to the future. The purpose and structure will not be unlike the former Naval Security Group Command, one of the organizations absorbed by NETWARCOM just four years ago. Ironically, under the construct described in the CNO memo, NETWARCOM will be subordinate to FLTCYBERCOM. It will also lose an echelon and a star…moving from echelon two to three and its command billet going from three stars to two.

The known plans for FLTCYBERCOM allow limited analysis and lots of conjecture (and I encourage both, especially from folks who really understand naval organization). The implementation plan will provide a lot more information if it’s made public. Two important decisions are location and commander. Because of the relationship with USCYBERCOM (proposed location Ft. Meade) and the National Security Agency (Ft. Meade), FLTCYBERCOM should reestablish the Navy flag officer presence on the Fort. The future commander will likely be an intel officer…or will the information warfare/cryptologic community get a vice admiral?

The final analysis will not be possible until some time after the command reaches full operational capablility, but this is a step toward reinvigorating SIGINT and achieving true excellence in the other functions FLTCYBERCOM will dominate. What is already clear is the CNO’s imperative for change. The implementation plan is due by 31 August and the command will be operational on 1 October. That’s light speed in any bureaucracy.

[For those who might remember, I wasn’t happy about NETWARCOM’s plan to rename to Cyber Command. Well, I still don’t love the name, but you could call it Frank if you wanted, just as long as cryptology is no longer ignored.]



GEN Petraeus, COL McMaster (selected for BGEN), Dr. Monsoor, Nathaniel Fick, and LTC Nagl (Ret) will speaking at “Counterinsurgency Leadership in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Beyond” hosted by Marine Corps University on September 23 at the National Press Club in DC. Registration is free and open to the public.

Moreover, Tom Ricks will speaking on “Officer Development in the US Military.” Perhaps this would be the perfect opportunity to stage a protest of his column bashing the service academies? It’s been awhile since I last ran from security….

Thanks to SWJ for pointing this event out!

In other news, GEN Petraeus has joined the Pirate Brigade

In other news, GEN Petraeus has joined the "Pirate Brigade"


Hat tip: Scoop Deck



With the inauguration of Barack Obama as President, the debate over nuclear deterrence and disarmament has sprung back to the forefront of international debate. The end of the Cold War brought about an initial euphoria that the threat of nuclear annihilation had dissipated and dramatic changes in the deterrence postures of the major powers could be enacted. Time, though, has shown that prevailing doctrines of nuclear deterrence are essentially unchanged between the major powers. The change that has created a need for further development of nuclear deterrence doctrine in the last twenty years, however, is the appearance of nations with small nuclear forces (SNF) and non-state actors pursuing nuclear capability.

From the start of the 20th Century to the beginning of WWII, deterrence relied upon conventional arms races and preventive war. The German pre-WWI posture serves as an excellent example. The Germans relied on starting a preventive war against Russia and France to prevent being attacked itself. The Germans could see they were gradually being eclipsed by French and Russian military power and believed war was inevitable, so Germany chose to fight while they were still relatively strong. Similar thinking is documented in Germany and Japan at the start of the Second World War, and one can argue that the 2003 invasion of Iraq was itself a preventive war.

Later, following the advent of atomic weapons, theories of nuclear deterrence arose. Of these theories, there were two major schools of thought: 1) deterrence by punishment–retaliation against population centers in the event of an attack—and 2) deterrence by denial–a successful first strike against an opponent’s arsenal. The U.S. and Russia pursued both strategies at one time and another.

A third theory, existential deterrence, emerged following the Cuban missile crisis and argued it was the fear of nuclear war that made deterrence work and resulted in a “tradition of non-use.” These theories worked well to prevent nuclear conflict and direct confrontation between the U.S. and U.S.S.R., but as McGeorge Bundy pointed out in “The Unimpressive Record of Atomic Diplomacy”, this nuclear stalemate did little to prevent any of the large number of proxy wars between the two superpowers. Read the rest of this entry »



Last week while we were discussing at my home blog the career development of the Navy’s newest Life/Work Balance/Integration SME (160+ comments there natch – update on the story here), regular reader LBG added this link to the discussion; a speech by former GE CEO Jack Welch at the Society for Human Resource Management’s annual conference on June 28.

Jack Welch’s opinions and observations are, especially if you pay his speaking fee, worth a teleprompter’s weight in gold.

When it comes to Life/Work balance/integration, he has a nice bucket of cold water to counter much of the fluffy happy-talk we seem to exchange with each other on the subject.

“There’s no such thing as work-life balance,” Mr. Welch [said]. “There are work-life choices, and you make them, and they have consequences.”

Mr. Welch said those who take time off for family could be passed over for promotions if “you’re not there in the clutch.”

“The women who have reached the top of Archer Daniels, of DuPont, I know these women. They’ve had pretty straight careers,” he said in an interview with journalist Claire Shipman, before thousands of HR specialists.

“We’d love to have more women moving up faster,” Mr. Welch said. “But they’ve got to make the tough choices and know the consequences of each one.”

Outside the Navy, there is a vigorous debate, but inside the Navy, notsomuch. We identify the problem well and did a lot of work on it, but don’t seem to follow through with the conclusion we all know – an answer we don’t seem to want to hear. Understandable, as an incorrect opinion spoken too loudly in the ear of the person that owns paper on you is career poison.

We should be a bit more direct with each other though. The Navy isn’t GE, isn’t Princeton, and isn’t even Lockheed Martin. We are an armed service that should have as its first priority to prepare for victory in any global contingency the CINC points us towards.

There is a hard truth about career and family that we all know. Especially in the combat arms (as our Army brethren like to call warfare community professionals), you cannot have it all except in the most exceptionally unique circumstances, such as a stay-at-home dad (we have quite a few of those in the Navy, and they work).

As the latch-key son of an entrepreneurial mother – I know what the demanding schedule of a working mother can be and how it impacts the family for better and worse. However, Mom did come home every day except for rare trips out of town, and was always there on the weekends … well …. Sunday.

She also did not deploy for 6-months to a year. Neither did Dad.

I agree largely with Jack; there is no Life/Work balance/integration — there are only only Life/Work trade-offs. That is having an honest, direct, clearheaded mentoring conversation with your Sailors. Selling them a concept of having it all, when 95% can’t, isn’t fair to them, isn’t fair to their children, isn’t fair to their spouse/baby-daddy, isn’t fair to their Shipmates, isn’t fair to the Navy, and isn’t fair to the taxpayers.

What I don’t think we need to sell to the Navy that it has to adjust its mission to meet a socio-political agenda of questionable theory and unrealistic executability. I do not agree with ADM Harvey that in order to meet the challenges of motherhood in the Navy, we have to “Burn the Boats.”

The Navy is an armed service, it is not Campbell Soup. My $.02.

UPDATE: Just a friendly suggestion, astroturfing is not a good PR move into new media. It is much better to be open about what is or is not a Navy site.



Posted by CDRSalamander in Navy | 31 Comments
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