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January 13, 2007

H&I* Fires, 13 JAN 2007

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. [Admittedly, I'm fibbing. Trackbacks are still broken]

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There's some attempted reform of the UN going on. Japan wants to be a UNSC permanent member and Abe is 'pressing the flesh' to see that they get there. Right now he's talking to Chirac.

Something lots of people said was impossible has at least been agreed to (there are light years between agreeing and doing, mind you): Somalian warlords agree to disarm. Maybe the nightmare that Skippy-san and Eddie saw coming has been dodged? I sure as hell hope so, but I'm not holding my breath just yet.
Go Navy. Go TF-HOA.

I first saw this at Armchair Generalist's joint, but now NeIN (Northeast Intel Network---didn't they have a tussle with She-who-threatens-lawsuits?) is also reporting on a claimed chemical tipped rocket attack of an FOB in Iraq.

Two, one reallllllllllly long, pieces from Bruce Schneir, the computer security guru. One on airport security and the other, the long one, on computer password security. Not a bad idea for our more professional readership to think about.
Oh, and just 'cause: LA Kings (Damn, they still suck.) recall Japanese goalie.
ry
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The Academic Submariner is somewhat annoyed with students at the University of Pennsylvania.

Via Stop the ACLU, the 9th Circuit surprises us, and we discover there are Klingons in the White House. Kewl. Also at STACLU, there's an approving post about the ACLU defending a Medieval Re-enacting Dork. I added a slightly different defense in the comments. Bottom line, leave the duct tape at home. -the Armorer

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Lex catches the NYT in constitutional revisionism and succinctly states the conservative perspective on liberal views of taxation. It looks like a good discussion is developing in the comments, too. - FbL

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Jules Crittenden points out the most absurd thing about Barbara Boxer's ridiculous comment to Condoleeza Rice (it's not what everyone is talking about). He also has a nice roundup of responses to Boxer. On second thought, he has so much good stuff.... just start here and keep scrolling. - FbL

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by Denizens on Jan 13, 2007 | TrackBack (0) | General Commentary

A whatziss of a different color.

One of these things is not like the other. Of course, that's the easy part.

So, what *is* the thing that's not like the other? What's the oddness of it being here in the first place?

One of these things is not like the other...

Extra credit? Who, what, and where on the photo.

Just to be kind - hi-res here.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Jan 13, 2007 | TrackBack (0) | Gun Pr0n - A Naughty Expose' of the fiddly bits

Heh.

Anybody seen Neffi or Bill lately?

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Photo taken at Meadowlake Airport , Falcon, Colorado (suburb of COS ). Reportedly the pilot walked away after climbing down a tree.

H/t, Dick T.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Jan 13, 2007 | TrackBack (0) | I think it's funny!

News of the Kansas Guard.

The surge washes across Kansas.

SOME KANSAS GUARDMEMBERS MAY STAY IN IRAQ LONGER TO SUPPORT GLOBAL WAR ON TERRORISM

President Bush's announcement regarding the need for additional troops in Iraq will impact Kansas National Guard soldiers. The U.S. Army's 1st Brigade, 34th Division may be needed to continue its missions in Iraq for an additional time of up to 125 days to help carry out the president's plan.

The 1st Battalion, 161st Field Artillery, headquartered in Wichita, is attached to the 1st Brigade, 34th Division. The battalion was scheduled to return to Kansas in the spring of 2007. However, the change would likely mean a return in the summer of 2007.

"Our Guardsmen know there is always a possibility that they will be needed for additional missions or an extended timeframe and we appreciate the service they provide in protecting our nation," said Maj. Gen. Tod Bunting, Kansas adjutant general. "We know this means additional time away from their families and greater sacrifices for everyone involved. We will continue to support the families of the deployed soldiers and work to ensure the soldiers are brought home as soon as possible."

At this time, the announcement has not impacted other Kansas Guard units, however, additional information is expected in the coming weeks regarding other possible impacts.

The change for the 1st Brigade, 34th Division came about as a result of the Department of Defense implementing policy changes Thursday, Jan. 11, to better allow the military to succeed in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The policy change will also affect the maximum mobilization time for members of the reserve forces. Currently, the policy is for a maximum mobilization time of 18 months. However, for soldiers being deployed in the future, this change will reduce the maximum mobilization timeframe to one year.

According to Department of Defense, the policy objective for involuntary mobilization of Guard/ Reserve units will remain a one-year mobilized to five-year demobilized ratio. However, a number of selected Guard/Reserve units may be remobilized sooner than the current policy goal. That deployment to demobilization ratio remains the goal of the department.

The policy change will also establish a new program to compensate individuals in both active and reserve component forces that are required to mobilize or deploy earlier than established policy goals of deployment to home station ratio times. It will also involve those service members who are required to extend beyond established rotation policy goals.

The policy change also directs commands to review their administration of the hardship waiver program to ensure that they have properly taken into account exceptional circumstances facing military families of deployed service members.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Jan 13, 2007 | TrackBack (0) | Global War on Terror (GWOT)

January 12, 2007

H&I* Fires, 12 JAN 2007

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. [Admittedly, I'm fibbing. Trackbacks are still broken]

You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...

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This is something John’s covered before. But it was prominently on The Keith Olberman Show last night and I found another report on it today: Reactive armor to beat RPG and ATGM, and more specifically the TROPHY system developed by Israel, that the Army refuses to buy and deploy in Iraq.

Yeah, throwing material in the way of oncoming missiles is a good idea. That's the idea behind the CIWS the Navy uses. In the right circumstances it’s a great idea. Is a Striker or Bradley MICV in a market full of people and with a bunch of dismounted infantry walking patrol such a circumstance? Doesn’t the utility of something like this in the current conflict have to be decided with that as a factor? Just blindly saying “We want the best for The Troops” is not actually doing what is best for the troops.

It also makes a lot of a very old problem. If it wasn’t designed and built by ‘Muricans we ain’t buying. Was ever thus. There’s some good reasons, and some terrible ones, for doing it this way. But that’s for another day.
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I think we have a new job for the old F-14s. Why ugly up an F-15 by putting a huge missile under her when the Tomcat was already designed to carry something monstrous and provide area defense?
Putting a PAC-3 (Patriot, advanced capability---meaning it has, among other refinements, an anti-ballistic missile capability) missile on a plane for CM and TBM defense? Brilliant. Putting it on an F-15? Not so sure it’s brilliance even if they were the vehicle of choice for the old ASAT system.

Now, would we really need such defense? That’s another post for another day, or at least to be argued in the comments.
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Something to think about from the boys (and at least one girl last time I checked) over at Crooked Timber. Again, I go so you don’t have to.

Don’t agree with it. The simple Prisoner’s Dilemma from game theory comes to mind---with a modification for small group benefit against large group benefit. Or, say, you know the other guy is limited to bargaining and are therefore being a royal pain getting more than you could otherwise? Wouldn’t it be nice for the other guy to have a trump card to make you play fair? Or how about simply not being able to compromise, which, while speculation only, may be the problem with ‘reconciliation’ in Iraq right now? Those situations DO come up in real life and in international relations.

But it never hurts to question yourself about biases you carry.
ry
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Klingenschmitt, the Navy Chaplain who insisted on pray 'In Jesus' Name', is out of the Navy.
ry
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Email today: starting tomorrow I shut up again. Hope your week wasn't that bad, Boss

My week was fine, thank you. And initiating H&I Fires is now your *job*, night owl. -the Armorer

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Ry,

I think the Patriot-on-a-Mudhen vs. a Tomcat has to do with the level of sophistication of the launch platform. The F-14 is (or was) years behind the A/C model Eagles, to say nothing of the E models. That's one of the reasons the 'Cat had two seats--it takes two to fly the jet and run the systems thanks to their design, not necessarily their sophistication (less user-friendly equals more hands/eyeballs required).

The Eagle started with the premise that a one-man jet needed a cosmic system to allow one guy to fly AND fight AND maximize the system's capabilities, which are formidable, and made even more so by the digital "backbone" in the jet that allows for rapid and frequent upgrades, software changes and capability expansion. The E-model went to two seats not due to design but due to capability--the radar/sensor/multi-weapon choice suite is beyond the ability of one guy to FULLY exploit.

Now, the F-14 may have been re-wired over the years to approach the F-15C/E's abilities, but I doubt it. That said, the F/A-18 is a design whose philosophy much more closely mimics that of the Eagle. However, the Mudhen, I think, has a greater payload capacity and is thus better for hauling a Patriot to the launch parameters the engineers are considering.

So, to cut to the chase, I think the Eagles offer both a more modern system that is easier to integrate with another system never originally considered for air launch and the aerodynamic capability (thrust-to-weight ratio, sufficiently structurally robust to carry large payloads, etc.) to get it to where the users need it to be effective. -Instapilot

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I got a job!!!!!!! - FbL

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Another "Macho Dem." (see here for context) - FbL

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Ry - on the issue of TROPHY, I've got some sources. IIRC, we are quietly buying Israeli kit (not just ammuntion, either) but we aren't buying Israeli kit that doesn't do what we need. We've got people who looked closely at TROPHY, and it didn't pass muster for a number of reasons, not least the unfortunate characteristic of collateral damage to exposed troops and nearby civilians, a subject already mentioned by MajMike, I believe. There is plenty to indicate now that the manufacturer is trying to win politically, via PR, what they were unable to accomplish on the merits. -the Armorer

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by Denizens on Jan 12, 2007 | TrackBack (0) | General Commentary

Rumble in the Blogosphere

"Rumble" as we used the term in the days of my (misspent) youth: A street fight.

Seems the Left side of the street doesn't think the First Amendment applies to the hosts of a certain San-Fran talk show co-hosted by Melanie Morgan and Lee Rodgers (caveat -- both sites are link-heavy to some really neat places, so don't go surfing at work unless the boss is elsewhere) and have declared jihad on them, their employer and the radio station itself.

The Right side of the street, with FREEpers in the van, are mobilizing to defend a Lady in Distress.

The Lefties have opened with a BlogSwarm and the Right is countering with a FaxSwarm.

Electronic Mayday call from Melanie is in Flash Traffic, slightly abridged and annotated by Yrs Trly...

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by CW4BillT on Jan 12, 2007 | TrackBack (0) | Moonbat Watch

January 11, 2007

H&I Fires*, 11 JAN 2007

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. [Admittedly, I'm fibbing. Trackbacks are still broken]

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I have it on good authority that Darryl Worley's new song, "I Just Came Back From War", tells it like it is. Go watch and listen to the video for yourself. Then go read the thoughts of America's Son.
-Barb / Proud blogmom

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Doing a little poking around to find reactions to the Pres last night/The Surge I found worth the look. So, I give to you:
a) TPM Barnett’s reaction (gollum’s take: I’ve always had dwell to deploy ratio and op-tempo issues with further plus ups. There’s good reasoning behind many of the arguments behind doing it, but in the back of my mind there’s always ‘what are we gonna’ do about tomorrow?’
I also think Tom’s gone a bit too far with his big list of nations to include in the discussion for regional security. Yeah, there’s good reason to bring in Russia and China---economics of the region--- but I think you have to worry about how the people in the region will react to you saying Russia and China’s interests matter as much as theirs. That might not play so well.

Basically, I hope The Surge works. It better work.)
b) Dan Froomkin of the WaPo. (gollum’s take: Found this to be the rather rational and representative of the ‘don’t do the surge’ from the anti-war side. Not so screechy.
A bit of wisdom Herr Low Intensity Conflict, him being an Intel Officer who saw trigger time, passed on to me once:, “Take what the opposition says seriously, believe that they believe what they say they do because if you act as if they don’t actually DO you’re bound for trouble in your created fantasy world. Now get me a gingerbrew before I kick your @55 all over the game board.”


Moving on.
Max Boot has something I love and hate going on with this piece. True, the MSM isn’t the enemy. They aren’t even purposeful enemy enablers (though I’m sure someone will tell me I’m on crack for saying that. The purposeful element should be taken note of, if you please.). They just make the enemy’s informational campaigned aimed at the most fruitful ground of all (that between your ears) job a whole lot easier by playing by the scripts they have been.

In the end, if Iraq is eventually and irredeemably lost, the MSM will have played a part in it, which they will deny forever (just as they do about the impact and role that reportage had on the ultimate loss of Vietnam. It wasn’t the sole cause, and maybe not a major element, since Johnson made a deal out of worries that China might get involved like they did in Korea that really had a serious effect on the conduct of te Vietnam War, but when the enemy’s most famous general, Giap, says it played a role and they build a shrine to the MSM’s influence in their War Memerial in Ho Chi Minh City you best believe it did.).

This from TNR shows how far Barnett’s idea of a ‘SysAdmin’ force idea has spread. Wild.
ry(scurries for hidey hole)
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Adding a c) to the round up from above: Mark, the ZenPundit, has a good roundup of his own and some pretty choice commentary about what the domestic political game is. Won't ruin this with my own take.
ry(rescurries for hidey hole)

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Interesting news from Iran - FbL

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OK, here are my two questions of the day:

First, what does this mean? What are we looking for? I heard this on the BBC World Service and have been thinking about it a lot.

Second question.........I recently ordered the deployment of an additional carrier strike group to the region. We will expand intelligence-sharing and deploy Patriot air defense systems to reassure our friends and allies. Where are these Patriot missile batteries going?.......Maggie

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There's no denying that the success of much of what the President outlined last night is dependent upon the courage and activities of Iraq's Prime Minister. So, let's hope this report is true. - FbL

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Jim Baen, SciFi publisher, culture warrior, all 'round Good Guy. H/t, JTG. - the Armorer

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Oh-oh! Alan, what's your lot up to? Dang Maple-syrup-swilling swine! H/t, CAPT H. -the Armorer

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Polls as "manufactured" news... on a whole new level.

Wow. "Fourteen members of an advisory board to Jimmy Carter's human rights organization resigned on Thursday to protest his new book, which criticizes Israeli policy in the Palestinian territories." Is there any rationality to Carter on Israel, or has he really gone senile?

And one more thing: Isn't anybody else disturbed that the "loyal opposition" wants and gets official rebuttal time during war after the CINC announces a new military policy/strategy? And Dick Durbin is the one who gets to do it??!! The same guy who 18 months ago compared American soldiers to Nazis, the minions of Pol Pot, etc? - FbL

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by Denizens on Jan 11, 2007 | TrackBack (0) | General Commentary

Jason Dunham, Corporal, USMC, Medal of Honor

This isn't news, really. We knew it was coming. But now it has happened.

Corporal Jason Dunham, USMC, Medal of Honor

By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 11, 2007 - President Bush today presented the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest decoration, to the family of Marine Cpl. Jason Dunham, who died shielding his fellow Marines from a grenade blast in Iraq in April 2004.

"With this medal, we pay tribute to the courage and leadership of a man who represents the best of young Americans," Bush said before presenting the medal to Dunham's family at the White House.

Dunham, who grew up in Scio, N.Y., was the leader of a rifle squad with 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, in Iraq. Dunham's squad was conducting a reconnaissance mission in Karabilah on April 14, 2004, when a nearby convoy returning to base was ambushed. When Dunham's squad approached to assist the convoy, an Iraqi insurgent jumped out of a vehicle and grabbed Dunham by the throat. As Dunham wrestled the insurgent to the ground, he noticed that the enemy fighter had a grenade in his hand. Dunham ordered his Marines to move back, and when the enemy dropped the live grenade, Dunham took off his Kevlar helmet, covered the grenade with it, and threw himself on top to smother the blast.

Dunham initially survived his wounds, but died eight days later at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., with his mother and father at his bedside.

"By his selflessness, Corporal Dunham saved the lives of two of his men and showed the world what it means to be a Marine," Bush said.

Dunham is the second servicemember in the war on terror and the first Marine since the Vietnam War to receive the Medal of Honor. His mother, father, sister and two brothers were at the ceremony today, which was attended by Cabinet members, Defense Department and Marine Corps leaders, members of Congress, past Medal of Honor recipients, and members of Dunham's unit.

Bush spoke about Dunham's upbringing in upstate New York. Dunham was a star athlete who was popular and a natural leader. His father, a dairy farm worker, and his mother, a school teacher, were devoted parents. "He grew up with the riches far more important than money," Bush said.

Dunham joined the Marine Corps on July 31, 2000. It was in the Marines that he learned honor, courage, commitment and leadership qualities, Bush said. "As the leader of a rifle squad in Iraq, Corporal Dunham led by the values he had been taught," he said. "He was the guy everybody looked up to; he was a Marine's Marine who led by example."

Bush noted that Dunham's mother called the Marine Corps her son's second family. Now that family is embracing her and the rest of the Dunham family as they deal with their loss, Bush said.

Since World War II, more than half of those who have earned the Medal of Honor have lost their lives in the action that earned it, Bush said. "Corporal Jason Dunham belongs to this select group," he said. "On a dusty road in western Iraq, Corporal Dunham gave his own life so that the men under his command might live. This morning, it's my privilege to recognize Corporal Dunham's devotion to the Corps and the country and to present his family with the Medal of Honor."

Now is the time at Castle Argghhh! when we dance: In Memoriam.

President George W. Bush presents the Congressional Medal of Honor to Dan and Deb Dunham for their son, U.S. Marine Cpl. Jason Dunham, during a ceremony in his honor at the White House Jan. 11, 2007. Cpl. Dunham gave his own life in April 2004 by jumping on a grenade during an insurgent attack in western Iraq to save the lives of men under his command. DoD photo by Cherie A. Thurlby. (Released)

President George W. Bush presents the Congressional Medal of Honor to Dan and Deb Dunham for their son, U.S. Marine Cpl. Jason Dunham, during a ceremony in his honor at the White House Jan. 11, 2007. Cpl. Dunham gave his own life in April 2004 by jumping on a grenade during an insurgent attack in western Iraq to save the lives of men under his command. DoD photo by Cherie A. Thurlby. (Released)

The citation has not yet been published, as far as I know. This URL is the placeholder at Marine Corps News.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Jan 11, 2007 | TrackBack (0) | Observations on things Military

Ahhhh....

The Mistress of Snarkitude strikes.


George Bush hates white people.

Or, it that's not to your liking... there's this look at the Democratic Response to the President's speech.

Ah. Cassie uses her fingers better'n a Kansas City harlot, to butcher a phrase from a famous movie.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Jan 11, 2007 | TrackBack (0) | Politics

Too much serious stuff.

Let's take a break.

Caption this:

Hosting provided by FotoTime


I'll get you started.

Little known fact about Chef Emeril Lagasse... where "BAM BAM BAM!" came from. Sergeant Emeril kicks it up a notch!

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Jan 11, 2007 | TrackBack (0) | I think it's funny!

Increasing ground forces.

Well, that will put some more pressure on Recruiting Command... that said - we had 740,000 soldiers in my VOLAR (old term, Volunteer Army) army of the '80s, when there were fewer Americans than there are now (not counting the illegals, either). We're not talking about going back to that era.

Of course, that was also when we had the economy we'd inherited from President Carter.

Oh, wait - the Dems are back in charge of Congress. So, in a few years, especially if they win the White House, I expect meeting those numbers won't be all that hard.

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 11, 2007 - The active-duty Army and Marine Corps will grow by 92,000 personnel over the next five years, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said during a White House news conference today.

"The President announced last night that he would strengthen our military for the long war against terrorism by authorizing an increase in the overall strength of the Army and Marine Corps," Gates said. "I am recommending to him a total increase in the two services of 92,000 soldiers and Marines over the next five years."

The breakout is 65,000 soldiers and 27,000 Marines.

The increase will make permanent the 30,000 temporary increase in Army end-strength and 5,000 increase in the Marine Corps. Then the services will increase in annual increments of 7,000 for the Army and 5,000 for the Marine Corps.

The Army has a current end-strength of 512,400, with the Marines at 180,000. Under Gates' proposal, the Army's end-strength will grow to 547,000 and the Marines to 202,000.

"We should recognize that while it may take some time for these new troops to become available for deployment, it is important that our men and women in uniform know that additional manpower and resources are on the way," Gates said.

The increase will give soldiers and Marines more "dwell time" at home, officials said. Currently, units are on close to a one-to-one deployment to dwell time schedule. The increase in end-strength will reduce the stress on deployable active duty personnel.

Army and Marine officials said the services cannot grow forces overnight. Currently, the active duty Army recruits 80,000 young Americans each year with the Marines bringing in 39,000.

Recruiting officials said that right now, only three of 10 young men and women in the 19-14 year old cohort meet the standards to enlist in the military.

Those young men and women have a lot of demands for their services, an Army official said, and incentives for enlisting and for service may need to be "plussed-up" to encourage these people to enlist. The services also may need to put more recruiters on the street.

Training the individuals in the proper military occupational specialties is also a potential choke-point. Both the Army and Marine Corps training establishments have some growth potential, and can probably expand to handle the influx, officials in both services said.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Jan 11, 2007 | TrackBack (0) | Observations on things Military

Bush on Iraq.

I've said before that President Bush leads, and that's what a President is supposed to do. Vice someone in a leadership position who lives by the poll - effectively looking for where the herd is heading, jumping in front, and saying "Follow Me!"

That's not leadership. Leadership is having a vision, and convincing people to follow you. President Bush has a vision. He's been mixed (and lately bad) on the getting people to follow part.

But give him credit for sticking to his guns, even as he takes his lumps, though I wish he was a little less loyal to close advisors and more flexible in his adaptation.

Jules Crittenden has a pretty good round up on the subject here.

Now, I await the follow-through. Will the *deeds* match the words? We've had plenty of 'leaders' who talk the talk. The question is - will President Bush walk the walk as he has in the past, but not as much lately - and, more importantly, will he be able to make the Iraqi government walk the walk.

Did, as some suggest, the President declare war on Syria and Iran last night? No. The question is - will he *make* war on them in the context of the parameters laid out last night? Will the SOF and Predators prowl in and over Syria and Iran? Will things happen on the border, or inside their borders, in those places where overt and covert support for the mooji's is provided?

If that happens, we'll have some sense of walking the walk. That's just one example. If Maliki gets Sadr to disarm his militia - or turns loose the Coalition on Sadr's Mahdi Army, we'll have some sense.

He may have boxed the Congress for the moment - but this shift in strategy, operations, and tactics is going to have to show something, and soon, in months, for him to keep them boxed.

And the long pole in the tent is... the Iraqis. Can they, will they step up? And if they do - will we support them?

That will be leadership. Unfortunately, President Bush isn't dealing from a position of strength. Now we'll see what his metal is made of. But it won't matter if he's a girder of fine steel, if the footings are balsa.

I'll do my little bit - to include, at the extreme, becoming temporarily unemployed... the money for the surge is coming out of the budget that's been funding the work we've been doing - work that was pretty much guaranteed a month ago has evaporated as the surge sucks the money into different pots and those projects are deferred to next year. This is going to be a lean year for some of us. Hey, there's a war on. S'okay, I'm not worried. Winning is more important than my current job. I'll just engineer a recall... and figure out some way to finesse the physical!


Update: AP/IPSOS Poll shows Americans "overwhelmingly" oppose the surge. I can certainly believe that a majority of Americans believe that, anyway. I know around here, the sense amongst the Auld Soldiers is "Right Plan, Too Late."

Fully 70 percent of Americans oppose sending more troops, and a like number don't think such an increase would help stabilize the situation there. The telephone survey of 1,002 adults was conducted Monday through Wednesday night, when the president made his speech calling for an increase in troops. News had already surfaced before the polling period that Bush wanted to boost U.S. forces in Iraq.

This is where leadership comes in. Of course, if the surge shows results, 6 months from now 55% of the people polled will say "Good idea!"

Show us what you've got Mr. President. The troops will do their bit.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Jan 11, 2007 | TrackBack (0) | Global War on Terror (GWOT)

DoD Announces Changes to Reserve Component Force Management Policy

The secretary of defense announced today a policy change in the way the department will manage reserve component forces.

The first aspect of the policy change will involve the way the department manages deployments of reserve forces. Currently, reserve deployments are managed on an individual basis. In the future deployments will be managed on unit basis, allowing for greater unit cohesion and predictability for training and deployments.

Interested in the rest? It's in the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Jan 11, 2007 | TrackBack (0) | Observations on things Military

January 10, 2007

H&I Fires*, 10 JAN 2007

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. [Admittedly, I'm fibbing. Trackbacks are still broken]

You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...

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Since John hates Argghhh! being an echo chamber I give you things that are likely to put you on heart medication:
1) Senator Kennedy: More troops is an escalation of the war, and he can't do that without our(Congressional) okay.
(gollum's take: the verbiage used (the repeated use of 'escalation'), much less Kennedy coming right out and calling it 'Bush's Vietnam', is very, very odd---like they're running off a script or something(and makes CDR Salamander's Kennedy link real timely in more than one way.). Maybe it's because escalation means something to me in reference to military affairs---going from MOOTW/Low Intensity to full blown armored battle at Kursk type of situation, which the troop plus up wouldn't be doing----that it doesn't to other commentators. Keep that in mind. Jargon is a real bastiche. As are semantics games.)
2) Center for American Progress(CAP) puts something out there that kinda-sorta sounds like Kennedy ain't utterly off his rocker(or in the bottom of a whiskey bottle).
(gollums's take: I'm not a Constitutional Scholar. I think there's some problems with what Kennedy and CAP are saying, but I'll have to look into that a bit more. Separation of powers might be an issue or I could be really wrong. I wouldn't mind hearing from ArmyLawyer or Eugene Volokh on this.)
3) Why are we bombing Somalia?! Apparently we really aren't hunting Al Queda according to the folks over at at-Large.
(gollums' take: Well, at least she didn't claim the US created al Queda. And the 'confirmation' of Atta getting money from ISI doesn't make me like Pakistan more than I did before. But that I have to take with a grain of salt. People claimed Atta was in Prague based on another nation's intelligence but we dismiss that in certain circles because it's inconvinient. I dunno. Mushariff and Pakistan are the bastards we decided to shake hands with ages ago, and in terms of Pakistan I mean that quite literally. Not everyone is Australia or Canada when it comes time that you need a regional ally.)
4) US court will not block the trial of several alleged terrorist financiers.
(gollum's take: I couldn't leave you all with such a downer start to the midweek hump.)

Now to crawl back into my hidey-hole before Big Tribble is able to get his big mitts around my neck for sassing him.
ry
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Laurie at Soldier's Angels sends:

In lieu of trackback, thought some of your readers might be interested in seeing what else our wounded troops are in need of at combat support hospitals. Sheets, towels & other stuff
-the Armorer

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To supplement Ry's lighter fare at the end of his post, check out the cool activity over at Neptunus Lex. The comments alone are well worth the visit, but only after you carefully follow Lex's instructions. - FbL

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by Denizens on Jan 10, 2007 | TrackBack (0) | General Commentary

The Summary of what the President will tell us tonight.

As sent to the bloggers on their mailing list:

The New Way Forward In Iraq

The President's New Iraq Strategy Is Rooted In Six Fundamental Elements:

Let the Iraqis lead;
Help Iraqis protect the population;
Isolate extremists;
Create space for political progress;
Diversify political and economic efforts; and
Situate the strategy in a regional approach.

Ø The Consequences Of Failure In Iraq Could Not Be Graver – The War On Terror Cannot Be Won If We Fail In Iraq. Our enemies throughout the Middle East are trying to defeat us in Iraq . If we step back now, the problems in Iraq will become more lethal, and make our troops fight an uglier battle than we are seeing today.

Key Elements Of The New Approach: Security

Iraqi:

· Publicly acknowledge all parties are responsible for quelling sectarian violence.
· Work with additional Coalition help to regain control of the capital and protect the Iraqi population.
· Deliver necessary Iraqi forces for Baghdad and protect those forces from political interference.
· Commit to intensify efforts to build balanced security forces throughout the nation that provide security even-handedly for all Iraqis.
· Plan and fund eventual demobilization program for militias.

Coalition:

· Agree that helping Iraqis to provide population security is necessary to enable accelerated transition and political progress.
· Provide additional military and civilian resources to accomplish this mission.
· Increase efforts to support tribes willing to help Iraqis fight Al Qaeda in Anbar.
· Accelerate and expand the embed program while minimizing risk to participants.

Both Coalition And Iraqi:

· Continue counter-terror operations against Al Qaeda and insurgent organizations.
· Take more vigorous action against death squad networks.
· Accelerate transition to Iraqi responsibility and increase Iraqi ownership.
· Increase Iraqi security force capacity – both size and effectiveness – from 10 to 13 Army divisions, 36 to 41 Army Brigades, and 112 to 132 Army Battalions.

Establish a National Operations Center, National Counterterrorism Force, and National Strike Force.

Reform the Ministry of Interior to increase transparency and accountability and transform the National Police.

Key Elements Of The New Approach: Political

Iraqi:

· The Government of Iraq commits to:
o Reform its cabinet to provide even-handed service delivery.

Act on promised reconciliation initiatives (oil law, de-Baathification law, Provincial elections).
Give Coalition and ISF authority to pursue ALL extremists.

· All Iraqi leaders support reconciliation.
· Moderate coalition emerges as strong base of support for unity government.

Coalition:

· Support political moderates so they can take on the extremists.
o Build and sustain strategic partnerships with moderate Shi'a, Sunnis, and Kurds.
· Support the national compact and key elements of reconciliation with Iraqis in the lead.
· Diversify U.S. efforts to foster political accommodation outside Baghdad (more flexibility for local commanders and civilian leaders).

Expand and increase the flexibility of the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) footprint.

Focus U.S. political, security, and economic resources at local level to open space for moderates, with initial priority to Baghdad and Anbar.

Both Coalition And Iraqi:

· Partnership between Prime Minister Maliki, Iraqi moderates, and the United States where all parties are clear on expectations and responsibilities.
· Strengthen the rule of law and combat corruption.
· Build on security gains to foster local and national political accommodations.
· Make Iraqi institutions even-handed, serving all of Iraq's communities on an impartial basis.

Key Elements Of The New Approach: Economic

Iraqi:

· Deliver economic resources and provide essential services to all areas and communities.
· Enact hydrocarbons law to promote investment, national unity, and reconciliation.
· Capitalize and execute jobs-producing programs.
· Match U.S. efforts to create jobs with longer term sustainable Iraqi programs.
· Focus more economic effort on relatively secure areas as a magnet for employment and growth.

Coalition:

· Refocus efforts to help Iraqis build capacity in areas vital to success of the government (e.g. budget execution, key ministries).
· Decentralize efforts to build Iraqi capacities outside the Green Zone.
Double the number of PRTs and civilians serving outside the Green Zone.
Establish PRT-capability within maneuver Brigade Combat Teams (BCTs).
· Greater integration of economic strategy with military effort.

Joint civil-military plans devised by PRT and BCT.
Remove legal and bureaucratic barriers to maximize cooperation and flexibility.

Key Elements Of The New Approach: Regional

Iraqi:

· Vigorously engage Arab states.
· Take the lead in establishing a regional forum to give support and help from the neighborhood.
· Counter negative foreign activity in Iraq.
· Increase efforts to counter PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party).

Coalition:

· Intensify efforts to counter Iranian and Syrian influence inside Iraq.
· Increase military presence in the region.
· Strengthen defense ties with partner states in the region.
· Encourage Arab state support to Government of Iraq.
· Continue efforts to help manage relations between Iraq and Turkey.
· Continue to seek the region's full support in the War on Terror.

Both Coalition And Iraqi:

· Focus on the International Compact.
· Retain active U.N. engagement in Iraq – particularly for election support and constitutional review.

Of course, this is Death By Powerpoint. The devil is in the details.

Update: The Highlights of the Iraq Strategy Review.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Jan 10, 2007 | TrackBack (0) | Global War on Terror (GWOT)

Something you might find interesting...

By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 10, 2007 - A new law that took effect Jan. 1 changes the way the remains of servicemembers killed in combat are transported and handled.

The 2007 National Defense Authorization Act states that the primary mode of transportation for remains of servicemembers being returned to the U.S. is military aircraft or military-contracted aircraft. This is a change from the past, when commercial service was used to transport the remains of fallen troops.

"It was a provision in the law, and I think ... there was some interest to make sure that the remains were moved in an expeditious manner," Air Force Col. Michael Pachuta, director of morale, welfare and recreation policy for the Office of the Secretary of Defense, said in an interview.

Every servicemember who dies in a theater of combat is transported by military aircraft to Dover Air Force Base, Del., for processing and burial preparation, Pachuta explained. This law changes the way the remains are transported from Dover to their place of burial.

In a memorandum to senior military leaders, Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England wrote that this change is to ensure the transportation of
fallen servicemembers is given priority. England instructed the military services and departments to work together to ensure air transportation arrangements are handled properly and efficiently.

The law also directs that an honor guard escorts servicemembers' remains from Dover to their final resting place. The servicemember's next of kin can request that commercial air transportation be used for the remains, or that the honor guard not escort the remains, Pachuta said.

Another recent change that is giving more recognition to the remains of fallen servicemembers is the use of honor covers on coffins, Pachuta said. The honor cover is a reinforced cardboard cover that fits on top of the airline industry's standard air tray for coffins. The cover is embossed with an American flag, and the Defense Department seal on both ends.

The idea for the honor covers, which the Army has been using since October, came from feedback from family members and military members who had escorted remains, Pachuta said. "Our intent certainly is to make sure that those handling the remains along the way understand that this is a fallen servicemember and certainly should be handled expeditiously but also with care and respect," he said.

The Army designed the honor covers in cooperation with the Air Transport Association, so they are standardized throughout the airline industry, Pachuta said. The covers are not used more than once and are treated to make them waterproof. When the remains reach their final destination, the honor cover is removed and an American flag is placed over the coffin, he said.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Jan 10, 2007 | TrackBack (0) | Observations on things Military

Geez -- I'm Famous!

Uhhhh -- at least within a vanishingly small circle the remnants of my old Jersey Guard outfit.

I stopped by Flight Ops yesterday to see if I could snag some TCA charts verify a couple of noise abatement procedures (a long story and I'll leave you dangling for a few days) and the Facility Commander wandered in.

"Heya, Bill! How you doing, compadre?"

"Hiya, Sir -- que pasa, comment ça va and all that?"

(Jorge's the only Cuban-born RLO I know who speaks French with a Norman accent. 'Nother long story).

After the usual rundown on the usual not-for-publication-stuff, he said, "Mac went to the helicopter exhibit at the Air and Space Museum last week and got a book on the Loach. Guess what? You're in it -- a *lot*!"

"Geez, I guess he finally got it written..."

Okay, flash back to Spring of 1995. I got an e-gram from a bud at Guard Bureau saying that Wayne Mutza was writing The Definitive Book on the OH-6A and wanted some pilot input, pictures, memorabilia 'n' stuff. (The aviation grognards will recognize his name, but for the benefit of those of you whose library card expired right after Internet access got easy, Wayne's an aviation author. A very *prolific* aviation author. Go ahead and Google him -- I'll wait...)

Long story short, I sent him a bunch of pix and patches and pins, he wrote back asking for some stories, I wrote some war stories, he asked if I could find out the final disposition of all the Guard's Loaches, so I compiled a database of where all the NY-NJ-VT Loaches went.

We TINS'ed a bit over a couple of years about the bad ol' days in the Land of the Two-Way Gunnery Range and I scored an autographed copy of his Cobra book. Just before I left for Boz, I asked how the magnum opus was coming along and he replied that he'd changed the main focus a bit, but had been too busy playing with his grandson to get much done. Heh -- the man's got his priorities straight...

Flash forward to 2002. Enter me, back from Boz.

"Yo, Tim -- where'd my desk go?"

"Dumpster. Along with everything else that got trashed when the outflow pipe from the latrines cracked."

Fark. Cardfile, computer and correspondence files.

Flash forward to yesterday. Enter Mac.

"Wow -- I know you; you're the guy who landed on that rock!"

[Frey's Rock is a balancer perched on the tip of a bluff about a thousand feet from the Colorado River. A thousand feet straight *up* from the Colorado River. Visualize an Easter egg atop another Easter egg atop a ketchup bottle atop the peak of your roof and you'll have an idea...]

Heh. Don't take *my* word for it -- buy the book. Or at least rent it while you're flipping through the pages.

Who knows -- if Wayne makes enough on this one, maybe he'll send me an autographed freebie...

/end shameless gratuitous plug.

*grin*

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by CW4BillT on Jan 10, 2007 | TrackBack (0) | Shameless Self-Promotion

January 09, 2007

H&I* Fires, 9 JAN 2007

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. [Admittedly, I'm fibbing. Trackbacks are still broken]

You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...

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Something has occurred to make me declare ry's rule #1 for having a happy husband.

Attempts to throw away my 15 year old, faded, falling apart, dingy, fugly hat will be met with divorce papers. Put The Hat down, step away, and nobody needs to get hurt, Jess.

Don't throw away truly cherished crap, ladies. Sure, make us decide which is truly cherished and which is merely stuff we simply don't want to part with (and will whine and try to come up with every excuse in the world to keep anyway, even conspire behind your back to sneak back in), but come near The Ugly Hat (chair, whatever) you best be prepared for Armageddon. It's taken us YEARS to get some of that stuff in the condition we like it to be and now you want to make us throw it away? Oh the humanity!
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I still don't know if it's whipped or outgunned (oi, I'm going to regret that one, again), but I just know it makes SWWBO happy. Like the new locks work against ferrets. I think I'm going to regret that one too.
____________________________________________________
Serious now.
The Good 'Phibian comes with something good. Information warfare, narrative building for the masses, the impact of domestic issues on the decisions made in war and how they all come together in the Kennedy years. Some fairly mosaic type thinking there.
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There's a fairly serious discussion of Kilcullen going on around the 'net. JRobb's onto it, but you should troop on over to DNI and ZenPundit to see what they've got going on about it too.
----------------
Eddie over at Live From the FDNF has a use of the Syngman Rhee example I'm not entirely sure I like or entirely agree with. It might just be me, but if you're going to cozy up to a bastiche it's typically best to 'have something on him' so you can move him out of the way when the strongman's time has passed. Have a read. Eddie is typically worth the five minutes it'll take.
For more go visit..... Skippy-san (persona non gratis with the Denizens of the distaff persuasion, but not a bad bloke otherwise.)
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Now I gotta find a place to hide 'fore John comes down with the Big Boot.
ry

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

KtLW once made a similar tactical error. It was *not* a tranquil scene.

'Nuff of that. I expect the Squid Groupies 'mongst the Denizennes (and both of you know who you are) will be ecstatic over the news that every week in 2007 will be Navy Week. Well, *almost* every week, anyway. They left a couple for the Grunts, Zoomies, LGAMs and Coasties to coin-flip for... --Bill
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Can someone explain why *I* am the first one out here saying Bravo Zulu to the Zoomies in their AC-130s?
A U.S. airstrike hit targets in southern Somalia where Islamic militants were believed to be sheltering suspects in the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies, Somali officials and witnesses said Tuesday. - the rest of this story at CBSNews.
There are interesting writeups over at the CounterTerrorism blog with lots of links.
Oh, Chief? 42 weeks seems about right......Maggie

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Maggie - because I didn't have anything to say that wasn't being said elsewhere. You had something to say... that's why you have posting privileges... Dusty might have had something insightful or insidery to offer that wasn't an OPSEC violation. I had nothing new to offer. No insights. No analysis. So I kept my mouth shut. It's taken me 48 years to master that. Don't push me into recidivism. For the greater good of humanity. -the Armorer

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Oh, and apparently, we aren't done. Good. Take advantage of those guys having to come into the open. -the Armorer

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This is not an auspicious start for Navy Week in the Straits of Hormuz. --Bill

Bubblehead (a submariner) has more over on his blog. -the Armorer

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From the "Hmmmmm" File for WWII, comes the revelations of "Agent Zig-Zag. Meet Eddie Chapman, who anticipated the suicide bomber.

A British secret agent who offered to blow up Adolf Hitler at the height of the Second World War was dissuaded from carrying out the assassination by MI5, according to newly released wartime archives.

The offer to kill Hitler in a suicide mission was made by Eddie Chapman, a professional criminal and safe-breaker who was trained by the Nazis as a spy and went on to become one of Britain’s most successful double agents, codenamed Agent Zigzag.

H/t, Bob Tarantino, via Damian of The Torch. -the Armorer

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Just another day in the life of trying to help people rise above old habits - the Afghan National Army and the culture of corruption that holds Afghanistan back - via Bouhammer. -the Armorer

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by Denizens on Jan 09, 2007 | TrackBack (0) | General Commentary

The T-95, yesterday's Whatziss.

Fred identified the vehicle - and found the second of the two that survive. I didn't know where that one was, so I learned something yesterday - and that one, at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, is within striking distance of the Castle.

Here's the picture that I modified for the snipe hunt.

T95 Experimental US tank.  One display in Weirton, W. Va, picture taken from the American Fighting Vehicle Data Base website: http://afvdb.50megs.com/usa/pics/t95.html

That picture came from the American Fighting Vehicle Database website - specifically this page, which has several more pictures and explanatory text.

Most of you went where I expected the visual would take you - though the orangish-tan background color I chose my have given a subconscious cue - that was accidental, not deliberate.

I honestly thought some of you tankers out there would get this one more quickly than happened, in the event. Hey, you must have jobs or something...

Hey, if you've got pics of odd-looking stuff you want to submit for a whatziss - send 'em along! Those of you who have - thanks!

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Jan 09, 2007 | TrackBack (0) | Gun Pr0n - A Naughty Expose' of the fiddly bits | Tanks and AFVs

January 08, 2007

H&I* Fires, 8 JAN 2007

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. [Admittedly, I'm fibbing. Trackbacks are still broken]

You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...

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Jules Crittenden, bragging about family - Canadian family - and them talking about the GWOT. Going to be a busy day. In fact, it will probably be a busy week. -the Armorer

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by Denizens on Jan 08, 2007 | TrackBack (0) | General Commentary

Cpls. Dunham and Miller and Marine Moms

In an act of astonishing sacrifice, Corporal Jason Dunham saved the lives of two fellow Marines three years ago by throwing his body and empty helmet over a live grenade.

At the White House on Thursday, President Bush will present Cpl. Dunham's parents with the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest award for military valor, the first such award for a Marine since Vietnam. The ceremony will enshrine Jason Dunham for posterity as one who loved his brothers more than himself.

In the audience will sit Cpl. Miller, a 23-year-old still struggling with what it means to receive that much love.

Because of Cpl. Dunham's sacrifice, Cpl. Miller is brother to two families and son to two Marine Moms. It's another story of sacrifice, courage, and trying to put the pieces back together...

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by Denizens on Jan 08, 2007 | TrackBack (0) | Global War on Terror (GWOT)

Whatziss?

Change of pace. One for the Tankers. I expect this will go fast.


Hosting provided by FotoTime


Yeah, yeah. I know it's a tank. Let's do better than that. Extra points if you figure out where it is. And the *only* photoshopping was to remove the background.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Jan 08, 2007 | TrackBack (0) | Gun Pr0n - A Naughty Expose' of the fiddly bits

Tension in the Ranks in Blighty

CAPT H sends: Colonel sacked for rebuke over visits to injured.

Sean Rayment, writing in the Sunday Telegraph:

A high-flying Army officer has been sacked for rebuking a senior commander who failed to visit injured troops in hospital.

Col Julian Clover, 43, was dismissed from his post as a staff officer at the Army's Land Command headquarters after clashing with his superior over the need for senior officers to visit troops injured in Afghanistan and Iraq at the Selly Oak hospital in Birmingham.

His sacking has sent shock waves through Land Command, the biggest Army headquarters in Britain, and has raised concerns that some senior officers are "out of touch" with the concerns of the rank and file.

There's more to the story.

Brig Bruce Brealey, 47, who had previously served in the Royal Artillery, was on a rota of senior officers who had been asked to visit Selly Oak hospital in November to check up on the soldiers' welfare and to deal with any complaints they might have. It is understood, however, that before he was due to travel to the hospital he delegated the visit to Col Clover, who at the time was an assistant chief of staff with responsibility for media operations at the headquarters.

After visiting the hospital, Col Clover had a meeting with Brig Brealey in which he expressed his view in a "forthright and uncompromising manner" that it was not acceptable for senior officers to delegate the responsibility of visiting injured troops to junior officers. The two officers were known by colleagues to have had a difficult working relationship.

Brigadier Brealy is referred to by a fellow officer as a "process man" whilst Colonel Clover has made a career in unconventional operations. A clash of personalities.

I'm no Brit, so I may be wrong, but I read this rather as Brigadier Brealy is a Stuffed Shirt Rule-bound Garret Trooper, while Colonel Clover is rather more results-oriented. I can see, being a Brigadier, how your schedule might be pretty full and it's hard to carve out the time to do things like that. Who knows what the travel time is to the hospital?

Of course, that's why you have a vehicle with a driver, and a cell phone, etc - and a laptop. No reason you can't work while in the vehicle going to and fro. And I suspect the hospital might just allow you some leeway in visiting hours, so you could go after work.

And, I suspect, this incident was merely the straw that broke the camel's back for the Brigadier, what with that unruly subordinate. The Brigadier undoubtedly has a story.

Absent any more information, however, I frankly don't care. Bad Brigadier. Sit, stay! You can't find time in your schedule to go visit soldiers? To show you actually care for soldiers - and make the hospital people know you care for soldiers, especially wounded ones? If you can't muster that kind of professionalism, then, in my book, you are unworthy of your commission.

Worse, the man's a Gunner. An Artilleryman. A Redleg (which no doubt was *some* of CAPT H's motivation for sending me the story).

Meaningless as it is, I shun you, sir. I call upon Saint Barbara to withdraw her patronage from you.

Unless you've got a far better reason than the story indicates. If so, I'm sure Saint Barbara will take that into consideration. However, if I hear of you suffering a horrible accident involving a barbecue gone wild... or something similar - well, we'll know Saint Barbara's opinion, won't we?*

This isn't about Colonel Clover - wronged or not. He's getting by on his 70K ($135K USD) salary just fine.

This is about the soldiers, wounded soldiers, you didn't have time for.

Shame, Brigadier. Shame.

You can read the whole story here.

If someone can show me the Brigadier's side of the story, I'll be happy to run with it.

*Note to unbalanced personalities. Don't help the Saint. She doesn't need it. Let her be the judge. Don't you do a thing. -the Armorer

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Jan 08, 2007 | TrackBack (0) | Observations on things Military | Pugnacious Stupidity

January 07, 2007

H&I* Fires, 7 JAN 2007

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. [Admittedly, I'm fibbing. Trackbacks are still broken]

You're advertising here, we should get an ad at your place...

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Today is SWWBO and the Armorer's 9th anniversary. I've been married three times, and never had one of those. Whee! Speaks to the quality of my decision-making. It improved over time. Hers... -the Armorer

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And on the subject of men and women... the revealing phenomenon of "Macho Dems." - FbL

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Courtesy of Capt H, an alternative to Macho Dems," if it suits ya. - FbL

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Over 5 years into a serious casualty-producing era of combat, and two things about the Institutional Army (vice the Operational Army) still stand out, painfully.

1. The pay system for reserve component soldiers is *still* broken.

2. The personnel system has serious issues. From the Washington Post:

Army Mistakenly Sent Letters To Dead or Wounded Officers

The Army said it will apologize to the families of about 275 officers killed or wounded in action who were mistakenly sent letters urging them to return to active duty.

The letters were sent a few days after Christmas to more than 5,100 Army officers who had recently left the service. Included were letters to about 75 officers killed and about 200 wounded.

The latest available Pentagon statistics report that, as of Dec. 2, 217 Army officers have died in Iraq and 894 have been wounded since the war

One can only hope the apologies are delivered in person by the people who screwed up, who will leave copies of their Permanent File Letters of Reprimand behind.

Sadly, I expect excuses will be offered. Oh, and no doubt the apologies will be in letter form, too. Feh. The people who screwed it up should fund their own TDY to put it right.

When I was a battalion adjutant, my battalion commander made it clear to me that if my Personnel Administration Center screwed a soldier, I would read about it in my OER. If it was bad enough, I would read about it in my Relief For Cause OER. I had no reason to doubt him on the issue. I won't lie and tell you the fact that my battalion had *no* late OERs, *no* late NCOERs, *no* late pay changes due to PAC personnel errors was wholly due to my sterling capabilities. It was due to my PAC Supervisor, SFC Sisson, and myself, making sure that everything happened on time and to standard. Period. But the fact that the battalion commander made it clear that I had nothing more important to do, period, than take care of the troops and their commanders, was also a factor. It was a lesson I carried forward the rest of my career.

Inexcusable. -the Armorer

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Oh, after that, I owe you this - Stop The ACLU's Sunday Funnies. -the Armorer

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Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by Denizens on Jan 07, 2007 | TrackBack (0) | General Commentary

Thinking outside the box.

The Russians have always been a fan of artillery. And they've been pretty competent users of it, as well.

They also think differently from us, and take novel approaches to things. There's some pictures of a putative new Russian artillery piece making the rounds, and it's shown up in my email box a couple of times.

Hosting provided by FotoTime

It looks to be a derivative of this SP artillery piece, the 2S19 "Mstas".

Artillery by Beretta... this thing, called 'Koalitcia-SV', or Coalition, hit the web over at the Cannon, Machine Guns and Ammunition website (which is a treasure trove of stuff, btw).

Murdoc noticed it last week, and the comments over at Strategy Page harbor some sceptics.

Interesting concept. Over and under 152mm cannon. They definitely aren't worried about trans-global power projection with this puppy - unless they're driving. However, the reinforcing plates on the travel lock (that gizmo that is framing the driver in the pic above) looks like it would really restrict the drivers vision to the corners - which could be an issue driving through urban areas. But, mebbe not. Of course, being a continental power, like Germany was, and not a sea power like the US and Great Britain, they've been more prone to this sort of thing anyway. Take this example... the Tsar Tank.

Tsar Tank

The Tsar Tank was designed and built in 1915. It was one of the largest attempts at tank-building during the war, reputedly weighing in at a lean(!) 40 tons. In comparison, the Brit Marks I-IV of the 1st World War weighed in at a sprightly 28 tons. The German A7V weighed around 33 tons. The French St. Chamond weighed 22 tons, while the other major large French tank, the Schneider, came in at 14 tons. It wasn't until the Mark VIIs, the "Liberty" tanksjointly designed by the Brits and US did anyone else approach the 40 ton mark that I'm aware of (but who knows, lots of people were tinkering back in the day). This sucker had two huge wheels each driven by it's own 250 hp motor. It had two small wheels in the rear. Some sources suggest the guns were placed outside the wheels, others suggest that machine guns in the small turret were all the armament. I've never seen a photo or drawing showing weapons on this baby - they may have realized what a clunker it was before they bothered. Two prototypes were made but they proved unable to handle mud (I can't imagine crossing a shell-pocked battlefield in one of these) and high costs caused the project to be cancelled, mercifully, in 1916. These photos show a partially scrapped vehicle without wheels in the rear. The last of the two was dismantled for scrap in 1923.

Then there is this puppy, the Object 279.

Object 279 Heavy Tank at Kubinka

In 1957 the Russians developed a prototype of a new heavy tank. Take a look at that body and those quad tracks. It was intended to lower the ground pressure of this vehicle, to give it better cross-country mobility in soft ground. I'm sure if it had ever made it into service, crews would have hated it. Twice the track to break. The hull was intended to protecting it against HEAT ammunition by deflecting the rounds. Putatively this shape would also assist in preventing the vehicle from being overturned by a tactical nuke blast. I'm sceptical of that, but... hey, maybe they did the modeling. It was canceled by Khruschev in favor of his preference - missile tanks. I believe they built two of these - the survivor is at the Tank Museum in Kubinka, near Moscow. That's one museum I want to get to. [note to self, lottery tickets]

Not that the US and Britain didn't have their own behemoths, mind you. The Brits built the Tortoise. Intended to kill tanks and help fight through the Siegfried line.

We built the T28/T95.

T28/T95 Super Heavy Tank

This sucker had removeable outer tracks, which could be towed behind the vehicle so it would be able to cross narrow bridges in Europe. Also intended for breaching the Siegfried Line, we only built two before cancelling the project, and the survivor today sits outside the Patton Armor Museum at Fort Knox.

T28 at the Patton Armor Museum, Fort Knox.

Reporting As Ordered, Sir! »

by John on Jan 07, 2007 | TrackBack (0) | Artillery | Historical Stuff | Tanks and AFVs

A Defense of the ISG recommendations.

Ry will probably like this. Some of you others will not. I'm still pondering my navel, but there are certainly parts that make sense to me.

ASSESSING THE LONG WAR by Frank Hoffman

[January 5, 2007 Frank Hoffman is a non-resident Senior Fellow at FPRI. These comments are his own and do not reflect the position of any organization with which he is affiliated. This enote is available on line at www.fpri.org. ]

America is suffering from a national STD crisis. No, it's not the one you think -it's a Strategic Thinking Deficiency. This deficiency lies at the root of the current challenges in Iraq, an enormous miscalculation and a gross misapplication of national power. This deficiency is also responsible for our continued inability to diagnose today's global struggle in a holistic manner. Too often we look at Iraq as an isolated event, instead of one front or campaign in a larger conflict. Thus, we fail to see how the actions in one theater impact the conduct of the war in a larger or more systemic sense.

The STD limits our ability to measure what is important from what is merely expedient. What should be an American grand strategy ends up a series of policy stovepipes instead of a comprehensive understanding of the problem, and an equally holistic and integrated solution. Such a fragmented perspective fails to recognize our long-term interests and warps American policy. Key strategic interests are being ignored, and isolated actions take us incrementally away from vital requirements.

Washington is responding in classic fashion; after three years of deadly conflict with little concrete progress, a plethora of policy reviews, Congressional blue-ribbon panels, and study groups are underway. The bipartisan Iraq Study Project (ISG) led by former Secretary of State James Baker and Congressman Lee Hamilton tried to provide a remedy. But it did not offer a plan to achieve "victory" in Iraq, and thus the White House apparently has rejected the panel's recommendations. The Chairman of the Joint Staff has assembled an outside team composed of U.S. officers with extensive experience in Iraq. A spate of pundits have chimed in with their own set of options,[1] with most seeking a military solution where there is none.

The ISG was a large dose of common sense. Their report provides a polite but devastating critique of American policy in Iraq. Its 79 recommendations include a few clunkers that are not realistic. But, overall, it serves as an indictment of our current strategy and its implementation. There was nothing terribly original or bold in the report, the product of intense negotiations among ten prominent Americans of great intellect with long careers in public service. That's the nature of these bipartisan groups; the most extreme ideas are left on the editor's floor, victim to the search for unanimity.

The problem with many critiques of the ISG is that they appear to focus solely on Iraq, and thus reinforce Cold War habits. Such reviews focus on individual trees and not the forest. Any serious review needs to begin with the recognition that we do not understand the nature of our enemy or the nature of the war. We began this conflict by calling it the GWOT. This is typical Pentagonese. In essence, we declared war against a tactic, deliberately making our enemies evil and illegal at the same time--but also confusing ourselves about our objective or who really was our enemy.

Some commentators like Professor Eliot Cohen and former CIA Director James Woolsey suggest that World War IV is appropriate. This does suggest a protracted contest with numerous fronts, and the multidimensional mobilization that is needed to achieve success. But this gives Bin Laden and Al Qaeda far too much credit in terms of their total capability.

So we've settled now for the Long War. This says a lot about the protracted nature of the contest, but almost nothing about what we are trying to defeat or what we are fighting for. But it does suggest that it should be fought by the Pentagon, which misleads our strategy. We have over- militarized our counter-terrorism strategy and repeated the mistake in Iraq. In many respects, our reactions have been entirely predictable, very costly, and of great advantage to Al Qaeda. As FPRI Senior Fellow Michael Radu has observed, "When you have confusion defining the enemy, you inevitably have confusion in finding ways to fight it."

Just what have we accomplished to date in the Long War? Well, any ledger is going to identify some clear gains. Viewed objectively, U.S. policy has garnered some positive achievement. For example:

* The U.S. has recovered from a deadly attack on our own shores with two swift military campaigns. Saddam Hussein in no longer terrorizing his people and threatening the region.

* Despite what you might read, there has been progress in governance and economic development in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

* Our economy is doing well; it may sputter from time to time thanks to high energy costs, but the overall economy has grown some 15 percent since 9/11. Recall what the Dow Jones Index was on that day-it's grown from 9,650 to today's rosy 12,500. * We are working effectively in partnership with key allies-not just Britain and Australia-but thirty odd nations.

* The nation has begun to shore up our home defenses, although clearly the stand up of DHS is still a work in progress--reorganizing in the midst of war is never easy.

* Likewise, we've reorganized our intelligence system, although we're still not sure if competition between OSD and the new Director of National Intelligence create more opportunities for our enemies than it retards.

That's our progress to date. Much of this progress has taken form as organizational initiatives, which reflect a needed strategic readjustment from an outdated Cold War architecture. But the ledger has both black and red ink. On the debit side, the strategic evaluation is long and pessimistic.

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by John on Jan 07, 2007 | TrackBack (0) | Global War on Terror (GWOT)