In July 2015, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal, was agreed to by Iran on one side and on the other by the United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom, and France plus Germany (the P5+1). At the inception of negotiations, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry stated that Iran was believed to be within 2 to 3 months of being able to manufacture 10 to 12 nuclear weapons.[i] Three basic options were available to the United States and its P5+1 partner countries regarding how to deal with an Iranian nuclear threat: (1)… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by Barry Schneider in Foreign Policy | 

We have all seen the fear in the eyes of even the bravest when they hear of a possible IG investigation. We’ve seen good people suffer under an IG cloud through a few FITREP cycles only to be exonerated in the end of the accusations – but the professional damage was already done and reputations unrecoverable. We’ve seen an IG investigation finding nothing to substantiate the original accusations, but in the end crush someone based on totally unrelated items discovered in the very wide and deep net they throw. How many people could survive one of these IG investigations that have no… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by CDRSalamander in Policy | 

I was lucky, I was a JO in the last act in the Anti-Submarine Warfare golden age; the Cold War. Headed over to Desert Storm as an Ensign, came back a LTjg and then spent a few glorious years in an ocean where Soviet Tangos and Victor IIIs still prowled, frustrated, and more often than not – snuck by us when we weren’t trying to run away from them. In exercises towards the end of that first sea tour a few years after the Soviet collapse, we still were a well oiled machine living off of tactical inertia. I have… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by CDRSalamander in Hard Power, Navy | 
1967 Marine Corps General Officers Symposium

It is what it is. Over the years we laughed at the use of this phrase, a catch-all Marine Corps-ism that regularly worms its way into briefs, emails, and conversations around the Corps. Even as young Marines, “It is what it is” stood out to us for its inanity. During endless staff briefs, annual training sessions, and mandatory safety standdowns, we would play bingo with common Marine Corps catchphrases, and “it is what it is” was an easy one to get. Alongside other ubiquitous sayings like “where the rubber meets the road” and “needs of the Marine Corps,” “it is… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by Chris and Jeannette Haynie in Uncategorized | 

For some it is at least a half-decade late – or for long term critics, perhaps a decade – to stop what we are doing with LCS and to re-baseline our assumptions about what we have wound up with at the terminal end of the sausage maker. The events of this year have brought even the most invested LCS advocates to pause a bit. Via Chris Cavas at Defense News; Sources said the Coronado is about 800 nautical miles west of Hawaii, proceeding at about 10 knots. The Military Sealift Command oiler Henry J. Kaiser is accompanying the ship. About… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by CDRSalamander in Navy | 

Please join us at 5pm (EDT) for Midrats Episode 347: Baltic Security with Bruce Acker and Dan Lynch With a resurgent Russia, the security environment from former Soviet Republics to the traditionally neutral nations of Finland and Sweden has changed dramatically. What are those changes and how are they changing how these nations see their place in the larger Western security infrastructure? We’re going to look at how thing are changing in how they work and see each other, NATO, and what they need to do to provide for both their and collective defense. Our guests for the full hour… Read the rest of this entry »


There is an almost palatable desire by the NATSEC community to focus on those things it is most comfortable with, what is easy to wargame, what good people can politely in detached manner disagree about alternative Courses of Action in public; territorial disputes in the South China Sea, the Syrian Civil War, the future of NATO, a resurgent Russia. Yes, these are comfortable subjects, but they are wrapped in the vanity of denial. For The West, they may not be the most important subject worthy of time and treasure to prepare for. It should invest more time in looking at… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by CDRSalamander in Strategy | 
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NORFOLK (July 12, 2011) Sailors assigned to Riverine Group (RIVGRU) 2 participate in pre-deployment exercises in a riverine command boat powered by an alternative fuel blend of 50 percent algae-based and 50 percent NATO F-76 fuels. The alternative fuel mix supports the secretary of the Navy's efforts to reduce total energy consumption on naval ships. RIVGRU-2 is stationed at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Andre N. McIntyre/Released)

Please join us at 5pm (EDT) on 21 Aug 2016 for Midrats Episode 346: The Farsi Island Incident – Is the Navy a Learning Institution? The thankfully bloodless embarrassment that was the Farsi Island Incident is still making news after the January 12, 2016 seizure of 10 U.S. sailors by Iranian forces. Especially for our Surface Warfare community, there are a lot of hard, cold lessons here not just about the incident itself, leadership and professionalism – and institutional lessons about how conditions are set and organizations are sub-optimized to a degree that an incident – in hindsight – was… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by Mark Tempest in Navy, Podcasts, Training & Education | 

When you’ve worked on a problem for a long time and cannot make progress in a direction that is in your favor, and the harder you work the more on the problem the more difficult it becomes – then perhaps it is time to look for fresh ideas and perspectives. There is a good chance that you have identified both the problem and the possible solution incorrectly. In this case, let’s look at Syria and Iraq through Part 1 of an exceptional bit of work by the pseudonymous Cyrus Mahboubian over at WarOnTheRocks. The whole article deserves a thorough reading… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by CDRSalamander in Foreign Policy, Hard Power, Strategy | 
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Pilot Officer WIlliam Fiske, RAF

Seventy-six years ago today, Pilot Officer William “Billy” Fiske scrambled to his Hurricane along with his fellow pilots at RAF Tangmere to intercept a formation of German Junkers over the English Channel. His squadron destroyed 8 German aircraft, but a gunner badly damaged Fiske’s aircraft and put a bullet through his fuel tank. Rather than bail out, in one final piece of extraordinary skill, he managed to nurse his burning Hurricane back to the airfield, and bring it down through a steep dive into a belly landing. Fiske had to be recovered from his aircraft and died the next day… Read the rest of this entry »

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