30th

21st Century Thucydides

November 2016

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OK, there isn’t a “21st Century Thucydides” coming out as part of the exceptional USNI Press 21st Century Foundations series, but work with me a bit here. If we are going to review the great minds of the 19th and 20th Centuries, then why not from the 400s BC? The Peloponnesian War lasted 30 years. We are 15 years in to a low degree but still very real war against expansionist Islamic fundamentalism and rising powers to the left and right of us. There has to be something there. Why look at what happened between two city-states at the dawn… Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by CDRSalamander in Books, History, Strategy | 
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In the next few weeks to months we should find out who will be the next Secretary of the Navy. Especially with President-Elect Trump’s desire for a path to a 350 ship Navy, there will be a lot of fine detailed work to be done, but out the door there is a larger theme that I would recommend to whoever finds their way in the office; back to fundamentals. Long deployments, running rust due to fewer deck Seamen and less time and money to do preservation, DDG-1000 that can’t survive a Panama Canal transit, LCS engineering casualties almost every fortnight –… Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by CDRSalamander in Marine Corps, Navy | 
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Please join us at 5pm EST on 20 Nov 2016 for Midrats Episode 359: A Foreign Policy Short List for the New CINC, with Mackenzie Eaglen: Old foreign and defense challenges return, new ones emerge, and existing ones morph in to something slightly different. The only thing that is constant is that there is no opportunity for a learning curve for the Commander in Chief of the United States of America. From the first day in office to the last, a needy, grasping, and unstable world will look to or at our nation. What are those challenges that will test… Read the rest of this entry »


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Recently, we asked Dr. John Ballard, Dean of the National Defense College in the United Arab Emirates, to host a Q&A with Ambassador Jonathan Addleton, author of The Dust of Kandahar: A Diplomat Among Warriors in Afghanistan. Their exchange follows. Professor Ballard: Ambassador, your book really helps readers understand the Afghan conflict from the perspective of a diplomat and development expert. How did you view your mission or main objective(s) when you arrived in Afghanistan in 2008? Ambassador Addleton: I expected to engage in three very different worlds, one involving responsibility for 140 Embassy officers assigned to fourteen locations across… Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by Ambassador Jonathan S. Addleton and Professor John R. Ballard in Books, Foreign Policy | 
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16th

A WESTPAC Missile Gap?

November 2016

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One of the worst kept secrets is that the balance of our surface fleet can do very little surface warfare outside their 5″ gun. Sure, we can play defense until Winchester like champs, but more often than not we’re hoping the aviation side of the house will be there to punch back – and if their lucky, a SSN might be lurking about. Hope and Luck; not a warrior’s ethos. Like a fleet of Lotus Eaters, through compromise, risk hedging, and pulling the cost-saving short straw – we drifted through a post-Cold War complacency and a post-GWOT ground combat focus… Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by CDRSalamander in Hard Power, Navy, Tactics | 
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U.S. ships from the Boxer and Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Groups sail with the Dokdo Amphibious Ready Group from the Republic of Korea during Ssang Yong 2016, at sea, March 8, 2016.

Please join us on at 5pm EST on 13 Nov 2016 for Midrats Episode 568: Seapower as a National Imperative, with Bryan McGrath: Why a Navy? Why a strong Navy? Why is a strong Navy an essential requirement for the United States Navy? From its ability to project national will, to it hidden hand in the economics of every citizen’s life, why is it so critical that we have a Navy second to none. To discuss this and more – especially in light of the election – will be returning guest, Bryan McGrath, Commander, US Navy (Retired). Bryan McGrath grew… Read the rest of this entry »


11th

Why Are We Here?

November 2016

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navy lookout

“Why are we here?” As leaders, this is one of the most difficult questions to wrestle with. Every person wants to know the why behind the orders they both give and receive. Every person wants to have a purpose. We all want to know that our actions matter. It is a challenging question to answer, though, because we are in a complicated business in a complicated world and because our country, our leadership and our culture – focused on trade over profession – have allowed us to wander astray. Why are we here? In the simplest terms, members of the… Read the rest of this entry »


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In a sad insult to the rump class of Pocket Battleship sized Destroyers we are building, the three ship ZUMWALT Class, this week fate delivered what many expected for a while. Just a couple weeks after the Navy commissioned its most advanced warship, the USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000), the service says it won’t be buying any more of the guided precision munitions the ship’s Advanced Gun Systems uses, called the Long Range Land-Attack Projectile (LRLAP). What are we to learn of this? There are a few things. First of all; we have to acknowledge that of the ships of the Transformationalist… Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by CDRSalamander in Navy | 
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The Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS Mason (DDG-87) on June 24, 2016. US Navy Photo

Those who follow naval history will note the recently marked 100th anniversary of the Battle of Jutland—a story masterfully told by Dr. Andrew Gordon in his book, Rules of the Game. Great Britain’s naval mastery was perceived as a birthright, but after what Gordon termed “the long, calm lee of Trafalgar,” he assessed that the Royal Navy had strayed away from its fighting past. The Royal Navy was undeniably full of what Gordon termed “regulators” – people who advanced within the established bureaucratic framework and were comfortable thinking inside the box – rather than the “ratcatchers” who were dearly needed… Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by VADM Tom Rowden in Hard Power, Innovation | 
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Please join us at 5pm EST on 6 November 2016 for Midrats Episode 567: Goldwater–Nichols; Problems and Solutions The systems that trains, mans, and equips our military – and provides guidance and support to their civilian masters is broadly shaped by Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986. There is much discussion that in the middle of the second decade of the 21st Century, is there a better system to serve our national security requirements than one designed at the height of the 20th Century’s Cold War? Using his article in War on the Rocks, Don’t Rush to “Fix” Goldwater-Nichols as a starting… Read the rest of this entry »


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