Archive for the 'blogging' Tag

CDR Salamander joins Matt and Grant for a podcast on writing as a member of the military, anonymity, and some sacred cows military planners hold dear: benefits, high-end systems, equal budgeting, etc… Join us for Episode 8, Sacred Cows and Amphibians (Download).

Articles from Sacred Cows Week:
Quantity over Quality (Michael Madrid)
Holy Bovine, Batman! Sacred Sailors! (Matt McLaughlin)
American Defense Policy: 8 Reality Checks (Martin Skold)
Ain’t Ready for Marines Yet? The Sacred Cow of British Army Organization (Alex Blackford)
SSBN(X): Sacred Cow for a Reason (Grant Greenwell)
Why the United States Should Merge Its Ground Forces (Jeong Lee)
Sacred Cow: Military Pay and Benefits By the Numbers (Richard Mosier)

Sea Control comes out every Monday. Don’t forget to subscribe on Itunes and Xbox Music!

So Navy Times scribe Phil Ewing sat down with me the other day to discuss blogging, the ex-USS Iowa, naval history and blogging. The result was a Scoop Deck interview, entitled “Hanging’ with Dr. Hooper“. If you want to know why I do this–and why I’m retiring the old “Defense Springboard” alias, go pay Scoop Deck a visit.

In the interview, we discussed how blogging has become a means to for new defense policy/national security talent to emerge. Having the trillion-dollar defense industry tied to three or four oft-quoted defense commentators is not healthy. The community needs a more voices–whose views are not compromised by where they’re getting their paycheck.

In the interview, I threw down a marker for those big-league defense commentators:

“…what I’d like to sort of try and be is the anti-Loren Thompson. Loren is a great source, a smart person, but he’s become so ensnared in his competing interests, it’s difficult to take him credibly [a good example is here].”

Uh…can you hear us bloggers now, Loren? Or are you at the beach?

(To be honest, I’ve been Loren bashing a long time–back before it was cool to do so. Here’s some coverage of Loren contradicting himself on the LCS back in September 16, 2009 and Loren doing a ex-SECNAV Winter apologia from early 2008. In my mind, good, solid debate makes for better strategies and better weapons…but when paid flacks enter the public sphere they, more often than not, protect errors and work to sustain mistakes.)

In the interview I pushed back on the choke-hold Washington, DC holds on defense policy debates. That’s normal–DC is the center of gravity, where the decision-makers live. But over-centralization leads to group-think and limits input. So, in my mind, it’s good to build and maintain separate, independent centers of defense policy expertise.

Let’s put it this way. San Francisco isn’t exactly synonymous with defense expertise–but it’s growing–from scratch–a community of defense policy people:

“…doing it out here in San Francisco has been great. There’s a lot of enthusiasm for this. We’re starting to build a policy community where there wasn’t one. We’ve got Kyle Mizokami, he’s blogging about the Japanese navy and the Japanese self defense force; we have Christopher Albon [note: when he’s not off doing thesis research in Africa]. It’s neat to build a competing center to provide a little bit of a a reality check on the Beltway bloggers, so to speak.”

San Francisco doesn’t have a critical mass of defense policy expertise available–yet. But in a few years, who knows? Wait and see…

Finally, well, we discussed civil-military communication. Though the military has made enormous progress in engaging, it still has a way to go:

“…When the military loses its ability to communicate itself and its ideas in a patient way, that’s disturbing. That weakens the very fabric of our nation. It’s tremendously important for the military to learn how to engage and explain itself to its citizens. In this era of complex weapons, of projects, of complex strategies, it really needs to go the extra mile and tell its message. Anything I can do in that regard, I feel like, is time well spent…”

And time well spent it is….Go read the interview. And if you want more perspective on this interview–my politics and the like, go check out and read about it over there.


Launch ’em!

December 2008


Greetings and welcome aboard the Naval Institute Blog. Not coincidentally, do we find its launching near the 67th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. That event forced a severe reappraisal of naval forces, both those on hand and in the pipeline, for the fight ahead. Interestingly, that fight would be carried out with a plan, a strategy if you will, drawn up years before as one of several scenarios – a fight against a near peer that some claimed would never come about (sound familiar yet?).

Therefore, my question to you dear reader is this: Quo vadis Navy? Where are we headed? What is our relevancy in the 21st Century? Are we to become a dispersed fleet of small(er) vessels furtively probing the littorals? A dwindling fleet of immensely capable but numerically inferior behemoths – the current state of the Royal Navy writ large?

We have a new(ish) Maritime Strategy – but how does our acquisition match-up? Is there linkage? Is it a strategy for the next few decades or one with a half-life of a few years? Where is the Naval Operations Concept that operationalizes the strategy and presumably adds the force structure argument that many said was lacking in that same strategy? And what of the fleet? Why in the middle of two wars are we dithering around with ethos by committee and expending manpower on uniform surveys when we cannot come up with a viable CONOPS for the next generation cruiser and destroyer? And don’t get me started on the way we are burning up flight hour life on our maritime patrol and strike fighter assets while staring at a coming train wreck in both capabilities.

Lots to discuss and debate here – that is the purpose of this forum. There are some great folks on this panel; some I knew and served with while on active duty, others I have met in person or virtually through milblogs – all bring a unique perspective and viewpoint. Me? Bio’s to the right over there and website’s here if you want to see what makes me tick. Brownshoe that I am (or rather, was), you will find that while some of my posts will focus on naval aviation, on the whole my larger bias is for the maritime services and the issues affecting them.

Over to you now – so cry havoc and let slip the pens of war…


Posted by SteelJaw in Navy, Strategy | 6 Comments