I guess we can close up shop now.


Loren B. Thompson, Ph.D.

Greetings from New England. Yes, I too am at the beach. But I’m still working, and the purpose of this brief is to tell you about a new project that the Lexington Institute has launched while you were away. It is a defense blog. Yes, yes, I know — there are already hundreds of defense blogs, and many of them are pretty awful. But that’s why we launched our own blog on the Lexington homepage, called Early Warning. It isn’t awful. In fact, I’m betting that if you read a few entries, at some point you’ll say — “Gee, I didn’t know that.”

We all recognize what the main problem is with blogs. The barriers to entry are so low that almost anyone with a laptop can start one, and it’s hard to sort out the good ones from tendentious nonsense. For every interesting, competent effort like DoD Buzz, there are dozens of ill-mannered rants masquerading as insight. To say that blogs have lowered the standards of public discourse on policy matters is an under-statement — there are no standards. Anybody can say anything, with extra points for verbosity.

We are trying a different approach. First, we intend to keep our postings brief. It will be a rare day indeed that a posting on Early Warning runs as long as this brief, and the typical posting will run to two or three paragraphs. Second, we plan to be long on facts — especially little known, useful facts — and short on opinions. I mean really, why should you care what I think about the Bradley infantry fighting vehicle or V-22 tiltrotor unless I have inside information to impart? And third, we intend to write about national security in a somewhat more expansive manner than most military analysts. We will frequently look beyond the realm of strategy and tactics, to dissect economic trends, political developments and technology breakthroughs that have a material bearing on national security.

Obviously, we do not expect this vision of a world-class web-log to spring spontaneously from the collective consciousness of the Lexington braintrust onto the Internet. It will take some time to get the blog right, including all the material that surrounds it at www.lexingtoninstitute.org. The blog has actually been up and running for over two weeks, and we are still tweaking features such as how the postings display and are written. But we think we’re off to a good start, and are already getting indications that people in the defense community have noticed.

We want Early Warning to be an island of sanity in the chaos of the Worldwide Web. With so many traditional news outlets declining and no new hierarchy of credible sources yet emerged, we’d like to offer a site that is both sensible and engaging. We will never match the resources of the New York Times or the reach of the Associated Press. But we hope that when you read something on the Lexington blog and say, “Gee, I didn’t know that,” it will be because the information is new and not because it is wrong.

Uh, huh – classy.

About like the Soviets on 08 AUG 45; tell’n us how to address our failure to fight and win against Japan — or sump’n.

Posted by CDRSalamander in Aviation, Navy

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  • Simple compare/contrast exercise. Review how USNI and USFFC blogs entered the fray. Re-read the above and compare. Now, which blogs got it right? <– at the risk of "verbosity" this is a rhetorical question…
    – SJS

  • Byron

    Major yawn. This guy is going to look at his hit count, and realize how irrelevant he is.

  • Apparently you missed the notice in the Traditional Media about me being made King. I will have my Grand Vizier — Ash Carter’s new position — shoot you a copy of the proclamation.

    Read the blog. You’ll like it.

  • Smiley1081


    It seems that they have just received the February issue of the Proceedings regarding the Arctic Ocean, given their August 12th post in the “Early” Warning blog…

  • Bucherm

    Don’t feed the Troll, CdrSalamander.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Two or three paragraphs (long on fact, too) to describe extremely complex problems and propose meaningful solutions?

    This might be brought to you by the same mindset that believes one can put a foreign policy onto a bumper sticker.


    Interestingly enough, there was a similarly pattered defense/natsec oriented blog run by a Washington Post writer, William Arkin. He was vehemently anti-Bush so they pulled him and yanked the blog.

    The name of said blog by said Washington Post writer?

    Early Warning


  • UltimaRatioReg

    Shocking. Who would have guessed that WAPO was anti-Bush?

    Maybe our buddy the Duck can be a guest blogger on EW.

  • P.M. Leenhouts CAPT USN (Ret)

    way too snarky, guys, and definitely unprofessional. It cheapens the blog to engage in this kind of posturing.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Sorry, Captain, disagree. When something purports to be an objective discussion of an issue or topic, but is instead an ideological platform, that bears comment. Critical comment, at that.

  • Cap’n Bill

    Calm Down Friends– Perhaps this new puffery will rise to a proper level. There should always be room for some good thought, even if one might have to wait a bit.

  • Welcome to the blogosphere Dr. Thompson. We wish you the best of luck.

    Naval Institute

  • FORAC,
    With the traditional auto companies producing such terrible cars, I think I have a business idea.

    I have driven all the junk that people are trying to sell from USA and Japan. The Germans are the only ones that make good cars, but they are, well, German.

    We need a good American car, made in America – by Americans. I know how to succeed where all the incompetent fools who run the auto industry have failed. On top of that, I have a great name for our brand new auto manufacturer.

    The American Motors Corporation.


    CAPT L;

    I think you have your tongue implanted in your cheek, but in case not …..

    Sometimes, when the snotty new kid on the hockey team tries to hip-check you during warm-ups, you have to come around and slam him against the wall. The blogosphere is more hockey than cribbage – respect begets respect. SJS and URR outline the issue well.

    I wish Loren well in his new enterprise/hobby – but at this point of the game, only a BM1 has the correct lexicon to describe Loren’s manners.

  • RickWilmes

    I have read about five posts at EarlyWarning and they have raised my interest on several issues. I also read about 60% of the biography’s and I don’t see any left wing liberal conspiracy or anti-Bush sentiment coming from the Lexington Institute.

    Honestly speaking, their approach and format is how I think the USNI blog should be run. At this time, the USNI blog comments are dominated by one guest bloggers crew and any view not in agreement gets the unwarranted response that EarlyWarning blog has just received.

  • Byron

    “only a BM1 has the correct lexicon to describe Loren’s manners.”

    That being said…Dr. Loren, you need to take a turn or two off the mooring lines, you’re lines are too taught.

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    “only a BM1″:
    Well, yes one could, but not only…, there are MM’s, EN’s, TM’s and…and…and…

    Not to mention Chiefs, Warrant Officers, LDO’s…

    There is no shortage of talent.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    “here are MM’s, EN’s, TM’s and…and…and…

    Not to mention Chiefs, Warrant Officers, LDO’s…”

    Don’t forget the rogue-ishly handsome artillerymen on the green side….

  • Lloyd Daub

    Where’s the RSS feed? What good is a blog without that?

  • Lloyd,

    It’s in the right-hand navigation…scroll up and it’s on the right below the Categories section

  • admin,

    I think you misunderstood, it took awhile for anyone to say it in a blog comment, but Lloyd just added a very valuable contribution to the discussion.

    That it took this long for someone to both notice and care enough to note on one of the blogs discussing this topic says many things.

  • Am I dense or stupid or both? Wait…don’t answer that!

    I understand your point about lack of RSS feed there and the implication in strategic communications (or perhaps I don’t!)

    Please though, explain how I can make this better here, and what we (Naval Institute) should learn/correct.

  • “We all recognize what the main problem is with blogs. The barriers to entry are so low that almost anyone with a laptop can start one, and it’s hard to sort out the good ones from tendentious nonsense.”

    I thought that was supposed to be a feature of blogs. I don’t see the problem, then again it normally takes me just a couple seconds to spot that a blog (or blog post) is not worth your time.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Rick Wilmes,

    Please note my comments (re: Bush) were in reference to the Washington Post, and not necessarily Dr. Thompson, Lexington Institute, or the new EW blog in its current form.

    There may be much there that is thought provoking. But the opening credits to the movie should not insult the audience. Just sayin’.

  • “At this time, the USNI blog comments are dominated by one guest bloggers crew “

    Dude – I just rent those guys from Lex.

    Oh, and Gal — that is true if you lean on RSS alone. While I use my RSS feeds a lot — now I use the “Show Top Sites” feature on Safari more and more after my initial AM news feed review.

    Once you go Mac — you never go back!

  • CDR S:

    I’m a mob for no one, thank you.

    I do visit many places, and am not assicated with any union….:)


  • Byron

    Mob? I’m quite organized, thank you very much 🙂

  • Natty Bowditch

    Thompson is right. Most milblogs are crap.

    Of course, it doesn’t necessarily follow his will be any better.

  • I did cop to being “tendentious nonsense” at my place.

    And Rick – Regarding your comment – “At this time, the USNI blog comments are dominated by one guest bloggers crew and any view not in agreement gets the unwarranted response that EarlyWarning blog has just received.” I don’t see where you can leave comments at Early Warning – that makes it a lecture, not a discussion. It might be rough and tumble in the comments sometimes, but I think, for the most part, it’s a valuable discussion.

    Also, I can’t be part of anyone’s crew….as GODNAVBLOGSTRIFOR, I outrank you all.


  • Byron


  • UltimaRatioReg

    I think that billet even trumps Idi Amin’s “His Excellency, Generalissimo, President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hadji Doctor” gig!

  • Byron

    Natty, if all Milblogs are crap, why do you keep showing up? You post here, at Skippy’s all the time, the CDRs, who knows where else. I think you missed Lex’s place. Maybe it’s just that you think that everyone should agree with you. Hey, wake up, this is America, we believe in disagreement!

  • Natty Bowditch

    Byron: I have no idea who Skippy is. I’m not sure who the CDRs are–CDR Salamander? Lex does amuse me; of course, I’m amused by hilariously bad writing and pomposity.

    It’s like a car wreck; I know I shouldn’t slow and rubberneck..but I can’t help myself.

  • Byron

    Mea culpa: meant to say “Joel’s place”.

  • Old Air Force Sarge

    Not sure where these comments are headed but before we crucify anybody have a look at the last paragraph of the Lexington Institute’s mission statement (particularly the first sentence of that last paragraph):

    “The Lexington Institute believes in limiting the role of the federal government to those functions explicitly stated or implicitly defined by the Constitution. The Institute therefore actively opposes the unnecessary intrusion of the federal government into the commerce and culture of the nation, and strives to find nongovernmental, market-based solutions to public-policy challenges. We believe a dynamic private sector is the greatest engine for social progress and economic prosperity.”

    Hhmm, the Constitution… I do believe I swore an oath to support and defend that document. Sounds to me like they’ve got something there.

  • Grandpa Bluewater


    Wrt “the green side”, the artillery “lends a note of refinement and dignity to what would otherwise be a mere vulgar brawl”. Rogues to a man/woman. Handsome…mmm, opinions vary.

    Natty: You must really crack yourself up.

    And I am commander of my own coracle, thank you. Although for some reason when I boards a fat packet, I finds the same usual scurvy lot pillaging, chasing the women around the mizzen and setting up the gear for a plank walking party.

    There’s only so many passages through these hyar islands, ya see.

    By the way laddy, have you ever kissed the gunner’s daughter?, Would you like to?