Archive for the 'Soft Power' Category
Our guest on Midrats today at 5pm Eastern U.S. will be Rone Tempest.
Mr. Tempest is a former Los Angeles Times national and foreign correspondent who served as the newspaper’s bureau chief in Houston, New Delhi, Paris, Beijing, Hong Kong and Sacramento from 1981 to 2007. In 2004 he was part of a team of reporters and photographers to win the Pulitzer Prize for coverage of massive wildfires in Southern California. A resident of Lander, Wyoming, he served as WyoFile.com’s editor until November 2010.
During his stint with the LA Times, Mr. Tempest was one of the foreign reporters riding out of Afghanistan on Russian armor as the Russians withdrew, visited the country while the Taliban were in charge and was recalled to the area shortly after 9-11. One of his key takeaways from his experience is the importance of tribes both in Afghanistan and in Pakistan, as well as in other parts of Southwest Asia.
A graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, he also attended the American University in Beirut and colleges in Germany and France.
He also suffers the distinction of being my brother.
Did you happen to catch the @ISAFmedia twitter feed in the last week? Or, ever? That feed is getting some considerable accolades from some of the more active members of the Twitterverse. Why? Because of the discourse that ISAF is having with individuals. Think about it for a minute. Rather than a citizen having to get their information by proxy during a press conference or statement, the citizen is now able to engage with ISAF (or any organization) directly. The nuance of message that such an ability allows serves to make the information availed by ISAF all the more cogent.
Read through the links recanting the conversations the @ISAFmedia account has had. It’s no easy feat, twitter moves fast with many people able to come at you at once–and never mind the time difference between those in the conversation. So, what does it take to be able to be the person at the helm of an organization’s social media? As usual, the Marines have exceptional guidance for where to begin. It’s no wonder too, the social media chief listed in their guidance is an E-5 (natch).
Listen to active audiences to determine how to best engage. The paradigm of telling everyone what theyneed to know no longer carries significant weight when communicating via social media channels —social media requires, and begins with, listening. If you don’t know and understand the audiences you arecommunicating with, then the interaction will be of limited value. Listening to the online community andcomplying with Department of Defense policies is paramount to communication success.
Fouled Anchor Intro: This post appears at the request of a leader in the Information Dominance Corps (IDC) and its Self-Synchronization Team, known as the IDCSync. While the subject may appear a bit specialized on the surface, the concept should have wide appeal, particularly for other relatively small communities. It should also be of interest to members of other warfare communities, arguably beneficiaries of the IDC’s specialized skills, and the IDC can only benefit from your comments and contributions.
I was compelled to ask before posting it how are the discussions, since many take place on Facebook, are they anonymous. Well, Facebook obviously isn’t, but many of the ideas shared via IDCSync appear in their weekly newsletter. They are submitted anonymously or come from other non-attributed sources. They may originate anywhere, from offline discussions to passing comments or unofficial gripes. It is proving an effective means of converting ideas which may have died in the passageway to discussions with a Flag audience.
There are many outlets for this type of post, but the IDCSync sought publication here, on your USNI Blog, because they understand that this blog has Navy-wide relevance and reach…much like the IDC itself.
In the spirit of taking permission, demonstrating horizontal leadership, and active communication, the below post comes from the “Cloud of Collaboration” that is the Information Dominance Corps Self-Synchronization Team…
“Fostering Collaboration and Conversation Across the IDC”
They have never met in person, individually or as a group, yet they are a team in the strongest sense of the word. They volunteer their time. Their work is strictly unofficial. Their individual anonymity ensures only the group as a whole gains credit for their actions. Their collective efforts enable collaboration and ensure collective situational awareness across a newly-formed community. They are self-starters who believe in “making time” for the collective good of that community. They are the Information Dominance Corps (IDC) Self Synchronization Team.
The Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) ordered the establishment of the IDC on October 6, 2009. As outlined in OPNAV Instruction 5300.12, “the IDC has been created within the U.S. Navy to more effectively and collaboratively lead and manage a cadre of officers, enlisted, and civilian professionals who possess skills in information-intensive fields.” Those personnel include Information Professional (IP) officers and Information Technicians (IT), Information Warfare (IW) officers and Cryptologic Technicians (CT), Naval Intelligence officers and Intelligence Specialists (IS), Oceanography (OCEANO) officers and Aerographer’s Mates (AG), select members of the Space Cadre, and associated civilians. Under the leadership of the newly-established Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Dominance (OPNAV N2/N6) the IDC encompasses more than 47,000 Navy professionals.
The IDC Self Synchronization effort — IDCsync for short — began shortly after the IDC was established with just one person and an idea: Find a way to bring the members of the IDC together using the latest in collaboration and communication tools.
That individual effort soon grew with the addition of a number of like-minded individuals. Today, the IDCsync Team is as diverse as the IDC itself with team members hailing from the ranks of active and reserve force enlisted and officer ranks, as well as civilian members of the community. Their guiding principle is “making time;” each member makes time to make their environment, their shipmates, and the entire IDC better.
The group’s greatest strength, beyond its members, is its unofficial status. This is a grassroots effort of IDC members working for and with other IDC members to move the community forward. As an independent initiative, the individual efforts of the team members are not constrained by anything more than the group’s collective approval. But as IDC members themselves, the group has a vested interest in forwarding a productive, collaborative dialogue aimed at improving the IDC as a whole.
Tools and Channels
To reach the members of the IDC, the IDCsync Team employs a number of channels drawn from the tools of the trade of the information age (and the IDC) — email (using a newsletter format), the web, and various social media venues.
Most of the effort is concentrated on the IDC Self Synchronization Facebook site, which currently serves over 2,000 members. The page’s stated purpose is “To share unclassified information, enhance our collective situational awareness and facilitate the development of a common Navy IDC culture.”
IDCsync Team members independently post information relevant to the IDC on the Facebook page, coordinating their efforts electronically via a team coordination site and online chat. Information shared runs the gamut of the IDC interest areas — technology, innovation, and leadership issues included. if it’s deemed pertinent to the IDC, it is posted on the site. The ultimate goal is to spark conversation and collaboration between members.
In recognition of its growing audience and increasing reach, the site has been used by members of the IDC Flag Deck to disseminate official correspondence and reach the greater IDC collective. IDCsync’s audience includes everyone from the backbone of the IDC, our enlisted Sailors, to commanding officers, current and former IDC Flag Officers, and civilian Senior Executive Service (SES) staff. Administrators and site members alike can post information, share ideas, and collaborate.
The primary IDC Self Synchronization web site contains pertinent IDC documents and resources with the intent of creating a “one stop” library of information.
The team also sends out a weekly newsletter which encapsulates Facebook posts for the previous week. The same information is also disseminated via Twitter, Google+ (Google’s new social networking site), and eChirp on Intelink-U. Details of all the venues are available on the web page.
With the IDC Self Synchronization team and tools in place, the only missing element is you.
Does the idea of sharing, collaborating, and enhancing the professional knowledge of the community resonate with you? Then now is the time to step out of the audience and join the conversation. Join your community conversation by visiting the IDC Self Synchronization Facebook and web sites today. The forum belongs to you — make it your own!
IDC Self Synchronization Team
“Washington should show its political will and stop playing with guns on China’s doorsteps.
‘Good fences make good neighbors’ the words of the American poet Robert Frost also hold true for this relationship.” – China Daily (27 July 2011)
Last week the Taiwanese press revealed an incident that occurred on the 29th of June wherein one of a pair of PLA-AF SU-27s crossed the median line between PRC and Taiwan while ostensibly pursuing a U-2 conducting reconnaissance in international airspace. The story briefly ran in the Western press and the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, ADM Mullen, when asked to comment on the incident, noted that while ” (W)e both have to be very careful about how we fly them,” the US would be undeterred in continuing to fly the missions. In the days that followed, “opinion” pieces ran in the China Daily (source of the quote above) and Beijing Global Times – both generally recognized sources of “official” Chinese messaging without coming directly from a government spokesperson. Both articles, pointing to the the recent visits by the PLA CoS to the US in May and the visit by ADM Mullen in mid-July, noted the difficulty in re-establishing these early steps in mil-to-mil relations and how this action (the continuation of U-2 “spy” missions) threatened their continuation. For it’s part, the Global Daily quoted a military expert’s analysis on China’s “legitimacy” in challenging the missions:
Song Xiaojun, a Beijing-based military expert, told the Global Times on Tuesday that China can legitimately interrupt US surveillance moves.”It is impossible for China to deploy the electronic countermeasures needed to set up a so-called protective electronic screen in the air to deter reconnaissance. Sending flights to intercept spying activities is essential to show China’s resolution to defend its sovereignty,” Song said.”The US has insisted that their spying on China brings no harm by using the excuse that it is safeguarding its own security,” Song said. “US spying activities, arms sales to Taiwan and uneven military communications with China have been the top three major barriers for military ties between the two countries,” he added.
China Daily, which tends to be a little more restrained or conservative in tone, emphasized Chen’s comments during the recent visits:
During Mullen’s visit to China, Chen Bingde, the General Chief-of-Staff of the People’s Liberation Army, also voiced his concern on potential miscalculations or even clashes between the two militaries. While China welcomes the US military presence in Asia-Pacific for its constructive role in maintaining regional stability, that does not mean that China will compromise on issues relating to its territorial integrity or national security. Chen criticized the US naval drills in the South China Sea and attempted arms sale to Taiwan, and also urged the US to reduce or halt its military surveillance near China’s coast. Given the increasingly interdependent relations between China and the US, and the commitment by both governments to build a cooperative partnership in the 21st century, it is in both sides’ interests to build and maintain good-neighborliness based on mutual respect for each other’s sovereignty and national dignity. (emphasis added)
Which, of course, preceded the ‘good fences = good neighbors’ quote above.
|PLAAF J-8||PLAAF J-10||PLAAF SU-27/J-11|
China, like North Korea and the former Soviet Union, is openly hostile to reconnaissance flights, taking every opportunity to display their impatience and displeasure with the missions. Generally speaking, unlike the Soviets and North Koreans, the Chinese have been less inclined to shoot down reconnaissance aircraft unless they were actually over Chinese territory (the wreckage of several Taiwanese U-2s shot down over the mainland are on display in a Beijing military museum). T0 a degree, that has been a function of their inability until the recent past decade to reach out and touch US platforms, like the U-2 (and presumably the RQ-4 Global Hawk UAS which has been forward deployed to Guam for a while now). The deployment of SU-27 FLANKERs, purchased from the Russians (and now, indigenously produced J-11′s) have served to significantly extend the PLAAF’s reach, both in range and altitude, over the much less capable F-8 and even the That, however, does not mean that they will not react to US aircraft engaged in intelligence collection missions off the Chinese coast. Ample evidence of how a reaction can go wrong, especially if the reacting fighters are overly aggressive, is provided with the midair between a PLAAF J-8 and a Navy EP-3. Though it turned out badly for the Chinese pilot (whose body was never found) the exploitation of the EP-3 after it made an emergency landing at a nearby airfield on the Chinese island of Hainan, proved to be a windfall for Chinese intelligence. Still, the manner and size of a reaction to reconnaissance missions can be used as yet another means of “signaling” to another country. A reaction by a pair of fighters that maintains a stand-off distance of 5 or so nautical miles, effectively shadowing the recce aircraft signals the awareness of the observed nation to the presence of the aircraft and the mission assigned. An intercept with aggressive maneuvering, like a CPA inside 50 ft, “thumping” or other clearly hazarding maneuvers might serve as a warning to open distance from the edge of a nation’s airspace (even though the recce aircraft may be in international airspace) or even a warning that future missions will be met with hostile fire. It’s all part of a range of strategic communications (like so-called “op-eds” in State-owned or directed media). So, what is the context here?
China, I believe, has clearly laid out three redlines where the future of mil-mil exchange and talks are concerned – China’s claims to the South China Sea, the continuance of arms sales to Taiwan and so-called “dangerous military practices” that are typified by US reconnaissance missions. In each of the high-level visits, this was the message delivered to the US – “here are our conditions for further progress.” The message builds on actions taken from the tactical to strategic — from serial harassment of Vietnamese survey ships in the South China Sea and intercept attempts at high-level reconnaissance aircraft (don’t forget – this took place after the visit by Chen to the US and before Mullen’s visit to China) to pursuing a bi-lateral condominium of “understandings” with nations bordering the SCS, eschewing multi-party fora and working hard to exclude US presence and influence. It is at once a fairly aggressive tack, but one that has remained hidden in plain sight of US policymakers who are wrapped up in three wars abroad and dealing with fiscal issues at home. As part of a carefully crafted strategic communications campaign, the target audience isn’t just the US, but more importantly, regional states. The message it carries – the US is in relative decline across all measures of power but more importantly, in the area of real power and presence in the region, its primacy is declining to such a degree that its reliability is increasingly suspect. Therefore, measure carefully your actions and intent for it is in your better interests – in the long run, if you not only reduce reliance on the US and its instruments of regional presence and power (e.g., naval and air forces), but work with us to reduce this increasingly risky and reckless presence. Combining challenges in relatively low-risk actions – like increasingly aggressive intercepts of US recce aircraft. Just when, for example, has the US militarily reacted to an aggressive intercept, much less shoot-down of a recce platform? Nothing was done to the North Koreans or Soviets even in the face of several high profile incidents like the Pueblo. Throw an unmanned recce platform into the mix as a potential target for a demonstration during a high stakes stand-off and it could get very interesting very soon. The very near sea trials of the former Varyag CV, allegedly named Shi Lang, serves as another point. China knows full well that it can’t compete hull-to-hull with the US CVN/CVW team – but it doesn’t need to because the US is so strapped worldwide in terms of force structure and OPTEMPO. Rather, the Shi Lang is at once a message and warning to states like Vietnam and the Philippines that should they decide to put force behind their challenge to China’s claims in the area, their naval forces are wholly inadequate to the job by themselves, and again, the US won’t be one to be relied upon to fill the breach.
None of this happens overnight and as mentioned, not without a strategic communications campaign. The point is recognizing that one is underway and that the terms of engagement may in fact be changing.
“Good fences make good neighbors’ the words of the American poet Robert Frost also hold true for this relationship.”
Indeed – but as many a suburbanite will tell you, fences can also be very polarizing to a neighborhood, especially when built outside of where property lines are clearly understood and recognized.
Crossposted @ steeljawscribe.com
You may have seen the following quote making the rounds across Facebook:
”I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
The quote is in response to the popular reactions — euphoria in many circles — across the World to the killing of Bin Laden. As it turns out, this quote is not completely real. This memetic event displays the paradigm through which many people base their understanding of conflict, why it exists and how to prevent it.
Security Analyst Adam Elkus penned a brilliant response to the quote,
But neither love or hate are policies, strategies, or tactics. They’re only emotions and ideal categories. They are not instrumental devices that we use to get what we want. So let’s stop pretending that they are causal forces, that somehow rejoicing in the end of a mass murderer is going to conjure up more hate which in turn leads to more conflict.
Read his post, there is not much I can add to his words. Except for on the fact that emotions are not “policies, strategies, or tactics” is why taking up arms can exist as a profession, and why there is a difference between a mob and professionals-at-arms. As Adam mentions, conflict does not exist out of a primordial hate. Nor does it end because of a sudden emotional realization that there is some ‘better way’. There is a spectrum to conflict, the same hatred that can be felt for a mortal enemy is the same hate felt for the Shipmate who cut you off on 264 going into NOB. Both forms of hatred are dismissed through the same cognitive process as well — though the means through that process differ significantly. At one extreme only the acknowledgment of the emotion is necessary for it to quickly dissipate. On the other, is the application of violence by professionals. This is to say that despite the irrationality of emotion, there is a rational and deliberative process that ends conflict. That objectivity defines modern conflict resolution (note: There was VERY little that I interpreted happening to me objectively while I was downrange. Afterwards, in getting home, my objectivity returned to me).
By looking at conflict objectively we have come to better understand the causes of conflict and have attempted to address our understanding of the causes through organizational constructs (NATO, UN, IMF, WTO — deliberative bodies) as well as methodical approaches (COIN, CT — tactics). But, in assuming the causes of conflict only as a function of emotion we remove any hope of conflict prevention. It is ironic that the sentiment expressed in the fake quote are actually an affirmation that violence and conflict are unavoidable and that humans are incapable of being disciplined enough to rise above their emotions.
By popular vote, Naval Institute blog wins best Navy Blog from the military blogging conference sponsored by military.com and USAA.
This is entirely due to the guest bloggers who take time (unpaid) to share their voice on this blog and to those who participate in the comments to continue the dialogue…and to all of those who dare to read, think, speak, write, and blog…
Who is planning for rebel logistics and force sustainment?
US President Barack Obama earlier said he did not rule out arming the rebels.
France and the US say they are sending envoys to the rebel-held city of Benghazi in the east to liaise with the interim administration there.
The US is likely to be in breach of the UN security council’s arms embargo on Libya if it sends weapons to the rebels, experts in international law have warned.
After Hillary Clinton said it would be legal to send arms to support the uprising, lawyers analysing the terms of the UN’s 26 February arms embargo said it would require a change in the terms for it not to breach international law.
“The embargo appears to cover everybody in the conflict which means you can’t supply arms to rebels,” said Philippe Sands QC, professor of international law at University College London.
His view was backed by other experts in international law who said they could not see how the US could legally justify sending arms into Libya under the current resolutions.
Lord knows we wouldn’t like to run afoul of UN resolutions.
And does it without ever using the word…
From the Jackson MS Clarion-Ledger:
Poor education is a major threat to national security, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said Thursday.
“Three out of four young people between the ages of 18 and 24 in the United States cannot qualify to join the military,” Mabus told a meeting of The Clarion-Ledger editorial board. “You can’t join the military today without a high school diploma, yet one-third of the people in our country don’t finish high school. Others can’t join because of obesity or having a criminal record. We can’t remain a great country as long as that is the case. We’re on a very dangerous path if we keep going down that way.”
While CNO and CJCS sincerely talk diversity, and tend to mean “look like”, Secretary Mabus is hitting on the impediment to realizing a vision of a qualified military that “looks like” the country: most of those who enlistment and commissioning age are inelegible for one reason or another.
It’s easy, and dishonest, statistics to press for a Navy that looks the same as the Nation, while at the same time ignoring the realities of the whole population demographic.
Today’s racial demographics are
The looked at statistics for the 2030 demographic of ethnic and racial makeup in the United States are
The most challenging area of meeting the goal of looks is within the officer corps – which has a higher standard for entry. The most immutable one is a college degree. Which brings two other relevant statistics to look at…today’s officer corps, and the number of degrees conferred annualy.
Number of degrees conferred 2007-2008:
American Indian/Native Alaskan .7%
Nonresident alien 2.8%
Which places the officer corps overall at a 1% “deficit” for Blacks and a 2% “deficit” for Hispanics.
And, in order to be able to make up that deficit, there are two options – access Blacks and Hispanics with lower grade point averages than their white peers, and immediately place them at a disadvantage, or get colleges to more provide eligible graduates who meet the criteria for a commission. For Blacks, that comes out to 3,436 more college graduates (in order to make the 864 likley to be eligible, much less have the propensity to join). For Hispanics it would mean 4,320 more graduates. Out of 152,000 and 123,000 respectively – or a 2% increase in the overall number of black college graduates, and a 3.5% increase in Hispanic graduates.
I’ve not done the numbers of students by race who start, but never complete college…but you get the picture. Education is just one facet. Obesity. Mental and psychological problems. Drug use. All of those issues lead to a smaller population that is even capable of joining the force. And until those issues are addressed, we cannot, and will not – no matter how hard our recruiters work – have a force that looks like America.
Now, back to Secretary Mabus – he has not lobbied for or received a single award for Diversity that I can find – he never speaks about it, comments on it. Yet, in a single speech that never mentions the word once, he hits the nail on the head for what Navy needs in order to have a not just a force that looks like America – but a force that is capable of meeting the Navy’s statutory mission.
None of this is commentary on whether the optics of the force are a worthy goal or not…they are the goal that has been labled by CNO as our “number one priority”. However, in my rambling and disjointed way, I think we’d (the Navy, the government, parents, and our own selves) be far better served to work on the recommendations in this report than to seek awards and accolades.
I was so new to the Navy when I first heard the term ’1000 Ship Navy’, that I hardly knew my way from my berthing to my work center aboard SAN. I read all the blog postings about it back in 2007, but didn’t really pay too much attention to it. But, in seeing how my old Ship and others functioned in CTF 151 in 2009, how EUNAVFOR operates in the Indian Ocean, as well as the Indians, Russians, Chinese and others all in an ‘effort’ against piracy, I started to notice a similarity between the words I had read on the 1000 ship navy and what I saw seeing. With the assembled ships and aircraft from many NATO Nations as well as the aircraft from the UAE and Qatar, I am again seeing actions that mirror then CNO Mullen’s words.
Membership in this ‘navy’ is purely voluntary and would have no legal or encumbering ties. It would be a free-form, self-organizing network of maritime partners — good neighbors interested in using the power of the sea to unite, rather than to divide. The barriers for entry are low. Respect for sovereignty is high.
While adding the NATO dimension to operations off Libya, the notion of the fleet being ‘free-form, self-organizing’ is not exactly applicable, the rest of the quote is still rather accurate in terms of how hostilities began off Libya.
To start, I do not think the term 1,000 ship navy is the right term to use. That name itself is antithetical to Admiral Mullen’s words in that he said,”Respect for sovereignty is high.” After all, a Navy is defined as “the whole body of warships and auxiliaries belonging to a country or ruler”. Where as the definition of fleet, “the largest organized unit of naval ships grouped for tactical or other purposes”. What Admiral Mullen was proposing was never a navy, it was a fleet at best.
Alliances of any form, or even just bilateral security agreements between nations are a difficult thing. The ever changing political calculus of each government involved is something that can defy the abilities of even the best statesmen in holding an alliance together. A situation that would warrant the vast array of nations to muster the strength to find enough common ground in bringing their combined maritime forces to constitute a single navy (or fleet) is on par with the World Wars–not a possible reality that is likely enough to warrant such an initiative to become the cornerstone of US Naval Operations.
More well put would be the notion of a Complex Adaptive Fleet (CAF) [note: I called it a Complex Adaptive System Fleet, in the comments. But, The term I use here is less of a mouthful.]. I call it complex, because of the myriad of different Standard Operating Procedures that each ship brings to the fleet. I use the term Adaptive, because the fleet is being joined based on the demands of the specific operation. The number of hulls made available to the fleet, as well as the number of nations contributing to the fleet are not the point, so there is no reason to reference any numbers in the terminology for such a fleet. The marketing, design and grandeur placed on the 1,000 ship navy is what made the initiative a nonstarter.
At the highest levels of World Navies is where this initiative was espoused. But, it is from the highest levels of national power where such an initiative has to be started and implemented, as it has been off the coasts of Libya and Somalia. What the then CNO was looking to do was only a Naval matter in a secondary sense. Primarily, what the initiative looks to do, is increase the amount of cooperation at the highest levels of government, and it is there that the most amount of work is needed to improve our ability to operate in such a manner. We already practice the skills needed to operate in a fleet such as a CAF, we do so by war games with allied and friendly nations and in personnel exchanges. The only place where such an initiative such as a CAF would have a noticeable impact on doctrine is at the level of government where people don’t wear uniforms any more.
At this point I should be clear. For the US Navy today, in terms of power projection or in terms of war at sea a la WWII we do not truly require any allies. However, putting holes in ships and Tomahawks on land isn’t all there is to war fighting. Hell, there isn’t even much fighting to war fighting at sea any more (that is not to say that such a reality can’t change in a heartbeat). The ‘everything else’ in war fighting has to be included. The reality is that for any conflict at sea we are likely to see we will need something like a UN Security Council Resolution. I will also say that the current operations off of Libya set a precedent that Mediterranean operations will demand NATO involvement. The causes of this reality are not so much the waning power of the US, as much as it is stronger regional powers (stronger politically, if not militarily). Isn’t warfare just the continuation of politics? If so, then how we operate in conflict must be in accordance with the political realities of where we are operating — which means allies and partners are required. Which means the banalities of an alliance are as necessary to put up with, work through and make the best of, as the Sun in Kandahar was for me a few months back.
By stating all of this, I do not mean to say that clear objectives are not required for operations. Or that a logical unified command structure is no longer a necessity. What I am stating here is nothing more than the political realities I’ve found in nearly every operation the United States has been engaged in since… Well, most of my life. Again, I do not feel that the US Navy or most other navies have much they need to change in terms of doctrine, not yet at least. On the part of the Navy, I view this as a continuation of the resistance to joint operations a few decades back. But, at the higher civilian levels, I do think there is much work to be done. Where as we have certain tripwires that trigger different responses aboard ships, we also need well defined tripwires geo-politically which trigger certain steps in any escalation of force against a common threat that nations face. As we in the military have preplanned courses of action against potential enemies, we need more planning at the political level between sovereign governments, so that operational caveats are not done in such an ad hoc and clumsy manor when operations should have started days/weeks ago. A notion such as the CAF does not lend itself well to anything beyond what we are seeing today in Libya or Somalia. It is a methodology best suited for sudden turns of events that demand quick action by nations and, as such shouldn’t be considered for anything outside of low intensity conflicts.
None of it would be easy to work out, nor do I have complete faith that such arrangements can be pulled off politically. But, as I said, the only think I think I am doing here is pointing out what I’ve seen as a reality, and offering how to do what we’ve already been doing, better.
[Admin note: this came to our CEO - if you know of anyone who would like to post a dispatch from Afghanistan, Iraq, Japan, Libya, or elsewhere, please email us at email@example.com]
An online friend I’ve nicknamed DoT posted this email from Ensign Margaret Morton, USNA ’10 aboard USS Mustin (DDG 89). The ship’s mission this week is to provide relief to the stricken near Sendai. She provides details of the situation from her vantage point:
Dear friends and family, I am in complete amazement. The number of recipients of this e-mail has grown exponentially, and I quite literally have received replies from people all over the world. I have shared your thoughts and prayers with my sailors and they appreciate the support as much as I do. I am writing to give a second update on the events off the coast of Sendai.
I stood watch this morning from 2-7 am, carefully maneuvering through the darkness so as not to hit half submerged cargo boxes and overturned boats. To add to the challenge, our visibility decreased from about 8 miles to less than one in a matter of minutes as we entered into a blizzard. And if that wasn’t enough, we still are remaining cautious of the radiation hazard a couple hundred miles away and feeling various aftershocks. In my Captain’s words, “You couldn’t write this stuff.” Every day has been an adventure.
Today our helo was vectored off to an isolated hospital with SOS showing on the rooftop. This hospital contained over 200 patients still alive and in desperate need of supplies. We delivered food, water, clothing, and blankets. The pilots are about to make a final run for the day right now and are calling for any last things we can bear to give up. I managed to grab another jacket from my closet and my old UGG boots. I figure I don’t need much more than coveralls and a pair of black boots to live on a ship.
A major concern for us out here on the water is the people we left behind. The Navy has around 25,000 people living in the Yokosuka area. As a preemptive measure, they have just begun voluntary evacuation of families from Japan due to the uncertainty of the nuclear plants and the potential for the winds to shift and spread radiation to the south. They also are feeling the many aftershocks from the initial earthquake, including a six that occurred just across Tokyo Bay from the base. For me, I only have to worry about the state of my household goods, for most of my sailors, they have a lot more on the line.
Please keep all of these people affected in your prayers, from those suffering from injury and loss, to those isolated, yet struggling to survive, and finally for the Sailors and their families who want to help, but must care for their own at the same time.
Many of you have asked how you can help and for now, I don’t have much information as we are only doing what we can from the ship. However, people from our ship are donating money to the American Red Cross who has been working with the Japanese Red Cross to tailor to their specific needs. I will try to find a point of contact in Japan that can provide more information on donations.
Again, thank you for your support, your prayers, your pictures, and the notes you have sent. I am very thankful to have such an awesome group of people to lift me up. Love