Archive for December, 2012

In his own soft-spoken words, from our Americans at War Series.

In part:

Daniel Inouye / U.S. Army /Served 1943-1947. Inouye’s remarkable act of courage resulted in being awarded the Medal of Honor. This can be partly explained by the words his Japanese immigrant father told him before deploying, “This country has been good to us. Whatever you do, do not dishonor this country and if you must die, die with honor.”

In the outtakes of this video, Inouye related to the Naval Institute that the grenade was in the hand of the arm that was blown off (THE ONE BLOWN OFF), pulled out the grenade out of that hand and threw it over enemy lines.

Posted by admin in Army, Hard Power, History | 3 Comments
Join us Sunday 12-16-12 at 5 pm (Eastern U.S.) for Episode 154: Offshore Control and Asia/Pacific with TX Hammes

With significant budget cuts already underway and expected for years, how do we adjust through the Pacific Pivot as these cuts take place, yet still remain postured to influence the region in peacetime and defend our national interests in war?

What is the best way to match required capabilities inside an economically sustainable military budget?
While many are familiar with the concept of “Offshore Balancing” – what is “Offshore Control?”

Our guest for the full hour to discuss the concept he raises in his latest article in the United States Naval Institute’s Proceedings, Offshore Control is the Answer, will be Colonel T.X. Hammes, USMC (Ret.)
Col. Hammes served thirty years in the Marine Corps at all levels in the operating forces. He participated in stabilization operations in Somalia and Iraq as well as training insurgents in various places.

Hammes has a Masters in Historical Research and a Doctorate in Modern History from Oxford University, and is currently a Distinguished Research Fellow at the Institute for National Strategic Studies, National Defense University and an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University.
He is the author of “The Sling and the Stone: On War in the Twenty-First Century” and “Forgotten Warriors: The 1st Provisional Marine Brigade, the Corps Ethos, and the Korean War,” and many articles and opinion pieces. He has lectured at U.S. and International Staff and War Colleges.

Listen live (or download later) here or pick it up from our iTunes page.

In light of the previous post by USNI admin, and the commentary generated, I’d like to add my thoughts in the form of a picture. Or rather, two pictures. And neither one is taken particularly well, for which I apologize.

Back story: last weekend, we took the kids up to Annapolis to see downtown and the Yard all decorated for Christmas. On a trip through the Naval Academy Club (BOQ), we came upon this gingerbread house. No doubt paid for by taxpayer dollars. Hmmm.


Very nice, of course, and I thought the midshipman sneaking out of the house was fitting.

Of course, someone had made a slight change from the original model:


It was nice to see that some things, like the behavior of 18- to-22-year-olds, will never change. And then my 4-year-old asked me why one reindeer was on top of the other one.

I’m inclined to think—based on my reading of the info in the admin post below—that the cancellation of the live Nativity in Bahrain was somewhat over-the-top. However, I’m also inclined to believe that: a) I belong to a mainstream religion and have never felt marginalized for any religious beliefs, and b) we have bigger problems to argue about.

I, for one, got a laugh from the taxpayer-funded reindeer…um…party that apparently lasted all night at USNA (when we came through the next morning Dasher and Prancer were back in their originally intended, separate spots).

Atheists force Navy to cave…

Calling itself the busiest 60 acres in the world, the Naval Support Activity Bahrain (or NSA Bahrain) is home to the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet.

NSA Bahrain is also home to;

  • Thousands of American troops.
  • Hundreds of American military families.
  • Hundreds of Allied military personnel.

What NSA Bahrain is not home to:

  • The Holy Family.
  • Three Wise Men.
  • A singular Santa Claus.
  • Assorted shepherds.
  • A lone camel.
  • A Christmas Tree.

As reported by Fox News, it’s been a long standing tradition aboard the naval installation to host;

“A ‘Live Nativity’ that featured the children of military personnel dressed as shepherds, wise men, along with Mary and Joseph.

It was part of a larger festival that included a tree lighting, Christmas music and photographs with Santa Claus and a camel.”

Manger Scene “Unconstitutional”…

Enter the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers (MAAF), who objected to the Nativity scene and eventually filed a complaint with the Navy’s Inspector General (IG).

They argued the Nativity Scene promoted “Christianity as the official religion of the base.”

According to MAAF, the Nativity Scene puts service members in danger.

Per the written complaint to the Navy’s IG;

“Also of concern is the likelihood that the predominantly Muslim local population will see the U.S. military as a Christian force rather than a secular military support U.S. – but not necessarily Christian values in their Muslim country.

This even threatens U.S. security and violates the Constitution as well as command policy.”

As told by MAAF spokesman Jason Torpy to Fox News;

“It’s unconstitutional, it’s bad for the military and in a Muslim country it’s dangerous.”



Posted by admin in Navy, Policy | 29 Comments

As military operations in Afghanistan wind down and pressure to reduce defense spending heats up, policy makers and military leaders must carefully assess how to effectively posture the US military for the challenges of the 21st century. Part of this assessment must include identifying the right mix of general purpose forces and special operations forces.

Given the potential demands for traditional capabilities during the so called “Naval Century”, striking an affordable and sustainable balance between the two-forces must be of particular concern for the Naval Services. A recent CSBA report on strategic choices for the DoD identified Special Operations Forces as one of the four “crown jewels” that should be protected in light of forthcoming austerity measures while reducing the size of the Marine Corps and the number of Navy surface ships.

Over the past several months, two reports from the Congressional Research Service began to scratch the surface on this complex issue. First, Andrew Feickert identified that the increasing demand and expanding role of special operations forces will push up against its self-imposed force endstrength limits, intended to maintain the high-quality of personnel within the SOF community. This creates a greater demand for special operations “enablers” from the conventional forces. This shift will have to occur at the same time reducing the endstrength of the Army and Marine Corps is taking place.

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Join us this Sunday, 9 December at 5pm Eastern U.S. for Episode 153: NATO and the Challenge of Relevance :

From the conflicts that came following the break-up of Yugoslavia, a decade in Afghanistan, land and sea-based ballistic missile defense, Libya, and now Patriot missiles deployed to the Turkish-Syrian border, NATO continues to test what kind of alliance it is after the fall of the Soviet Union roughly a quarter-century ago.

Where does the alliance stand, and what direction is it going? Are the roles of the member states changing? Where is the alliance strongest, and where does it need the most improvement?

Our returning guest for the full hour to discuss this and more will be Dr. Daniel Goure, is Vice President with the Lexington Institute.

Dr Goure has held senior positions in both the private sector and the U.S. Government, as a member of the 2001 Department of Defense Transition Team, two years as the director of the Office of Strategic Competitiveness in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, as a senior analyst on national security and defense issues with the Center for Naval Analyses, SAIC, SRS Technologies, R&D Associates, and System Planning Corporation.

Prior to joining the Lexington Institute, Dr. Goure was the Deputy Director, International Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

He has consulted for the Departments of State, Defense and Energy. He has taught or lectured at the Johns Hopkins University, the Foreign Service Institute, the National War College, the Naval War College, the Air War College, and the Inter-American Defense College. Since 2001, Dr. Goure has been an adjunct professor in graduate programs at Georgetown University, and the National Defense University since 2002.

Dr. Goure holds Masters and Ph.D. degrees in international relations and Russian Studies from Johns Hopkins University and a B.A. in Government and History from Pomona College.

If you can’t make the show, listen later on iTunes or at BlogTalkRadio.

Posted by Mark Tempest in Podcasts | 1 Comment

Several years ago I decided to renew my membership with the Naval Institute. I had been retired for about ten years and I found I missed things Naval. Low and behold, the very first issue of Proceedings I received had a whole discussion concerning low mix vs. high mix ship designs and the rationale for that mix. My first reaction was “Good Lord, didn’t we solve that problem with the Spruance (DD963) total package procurement and the low mix Oliver Hazard Perry (FFG-7) class ships” (thus showing my age).

The Spruance class, while initially lightly outfitted did prove one aspect of the high mix design, an unusually long lived hull form. Think of the Ticonderoga Cruiser (CG-47) class and the Arleigh Burke Destroyer (DDG-51) class.

The FFG- 7 ship design had as its one of it’s main features, lower manning by decree. It also sported an integrated combined antenna system that included both acquisition and fire control radars in one device. After some challenges this system became quite useful in close in (Littoral) situations.

Fast forward and we see the same professional discussion occurring today. We see the need for a replacement Littoral Combat ship, and indeed two different ship designs are under contract. Obviously The Arleigh Burke class represents today’s high mix ship and if one believes the articles on the Zumwalt Class Destroyer it will probably redefine the term high Mix. There are still a number of Aegis Cruisers in the fleet and they will be there for some time to come.

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