Wednesday, February 10, 2016

You Can't Make This Stuff Up

Just when you think you’ve seen it all, our military leadership shows that they can accomplish new lows.  From the Washington Times comes this,

“A new Pentagon report says that climate change is an “urgent and growing threat to our national security” and blames it for “increased natural disasters” that will require more American troops designated to combat bad weather.

The Pentagon is ordering the top brass to incorporate climate change into virtually everything they do, from testing weapons to training troops to war planning to joint exercises with allies.

To four-star generals and admirals, among them the regional combatant commanders who plan and fight the nation’s wars, the directive tells them: “Incorporate climate change impacts into plans and operations and integrate DoD guidance and analysis in Combatant Command planning to address climate change-related risks and opportunities across the full range of military operations, including steady-state campaign planning and operations and contingency planning.” (1)

So, don’t worry about new Russian heavy tanks and infantry fighting vehicles.  Don’t worry about Russian expansionism.  Don’t worry about Russian and Chinese stealth fighters.  Don’t worry about Chinese expansionism.  Don’t worry about the massive buildup of Chinese military forces.  Don’t worry about N.Korea’s nuclear ambitions.  Don’t worry about Iran’s nuclear program, their state sponsored support of terrorism.  Don’t worry about any of that.  Climate change is our real enemy.

Ignoring that there are as many or more scientific studies that debunk climate change as support it and that the bulk of climate change studies have been shown to be flawed or outright falsifications, it’s not the job of the military to be concerned about climate change.  The military exists to fight wars.  It’s that simple.  Everything else, whether it’s social engineering, diversity, gender equality, humanitarian assistance, or whatever, just takes away from that.

Where are the military leaders who are willing to resign in protest over the emasculation of our armed forces?


  1. Maybe I'm suffering from a drumbeat of bad news, but at this point, if our military is going to be making such bad decisions, and our cost to effectivness ratio is going to be so bad, I'd rather we just pulled the money from the military. Cancel future carriers, the F-35, and the LCS and build more subs.

    What's the point if we are going to make a 'Should we arm ship X with an OTH missile if that missile exhausts greenhouse gasses?'

    while other nations are making real surface combatants built to a seemingly tight conops.

    1. You've brought up a great point. I'm all in favor of a large, strong military but the amount of money we're wasting on non-combat programs or substandard combat programs is staggering. With that in mind, I'm in favor of cutting military budgets until we learn the lesson of focus (on combat) and performance.

    2. This will be a bit off topic... but it kind of relates to the idea that the Navy has lost its way.

      I'm doing some reading on the Standard battleships.

      USS Nevada was laid down in 1912. The West Virginia was commissioned in 1923.

      So, in 11 years we commissioned 13 battleships (!), of significantly different sub types, but all adhering to the Standard design, which was a design made to meet a specific mission.

      Now, we have the LCS/F-35 nightmare.

      I don't have a solution.

      I'd be very curious to find out the Navy's funding as a percentage of GDP then vs. now.

      My supposition is that the Navy was far more focused on its mission, in a far more multi-lateral world, than it is now.

  2. They'll conclude that we must stay with nuclear carriers to help save the climate. Anyway, new topic to post:

    Navy to disband a carrier air wing in fiscal 2017

    Never going back to 11 carriers now. Good, 9 would be better. If we are ever in a serious war and we don't lose any carriers, how will we replace all the downed aircraft? The fleet replacement squadrons exist but have little, and the CAWs are already short, starting with the 10 aircraft per fighter squadron BS, and that is a goal!

    1. Its more to do with a dip in carrier numbers till the new builds get into commission.
      The one to go is Carrier Air Wing 14, based out of Naval Air Station Lemoore, California, which hasn't deployed since 2011 or been fully staffed since 2013.

    2. All of the mothballed carrier-capable planes have been destroyed, there is no depth to that supply resource.

    3. We still have the vikings. When they are done with the old Hornets I bet there isn't much life left in that airframe. Some of the C/D's I'd worry about coming apart in the air. THat's a long time of hard, hard use.

  3. Can't fight a war with your head up your arse. Climate change can't sink a variety but it might make it float over those Chinese made islands

    They need to focus on war fighting. Also the climate had never been static and is always changing. It's called cyclical nature like the season's

  4. I have removed several comments. I will not tolerate idiocy. I don't care whether anyone believes climate change is real or not. The premise of the post was that it is not the Navy's responsibility to address it given the Navy's reason for existence.

    The extremely low brow "discussions" demonstrated in this post also illustrate why I severely limit political discussions.

    I will not be allowing any further climate change debate. There are plenty of other blogs where you can go to have that argument. Climate comments will be limited to their direct impact on the Navy.


    This stuff is not by chance or accident or inexperience this is preplanned longterm goals of the leadership. The new military of climate change, multicultural, integration of women, LBGTRDXYZ. We are fundamentally transforming from all that ole outdated unprogressive knuckle dragger stuff like fighting winning wars against enemies of the nation.

    I see someone mentioned subs you can write that off because sonar is a major killer of marine life why it has literally killed ALL the sea life off the cali coast or something.

  6. Well, that gets back to what I was saying before. I'll risk skirting the issue: From other blogs I've read political correctness has become endemic. And that colors things quite a bit. I'm not confident that in this environment the Navy will focus on the things they need to focus on.

    I hope I'm wrong.

    I don't think its as bad as you say, C-Low. So far the Virginia class is a success. The biggest problem we have with subs is not enough of them; and, I'd argue, they need a decent Anti ship missile.

    1. Jim, I'm not at all certain that the Virginia class is a success. It came in well over cost and remains so although it has stabilized. No one knows about the performance. The Navy has, understandably, told us nothing. I can't help but wonder if the Virginias are really a significant improvment on the Los Angeles class - newer, certainly, but better? Could the LAs have been maintained and soldiered on for another decade each, thus saving (or deferring) the expenditure? Could we simply have continued to build LAs with some upgrades for far less than the developmental cost of the Virginias?

      I don't know but I'm skeptical given the Navy's history.

    2. You have a point. We never will really know, but I've heard that the quieting is significantly better than the LA class. Virginia vs. LA isn't the comparison I'd make. At the price point we finally got for them, I'd make the 'Virginia vs. Seawolf' comparison.

      Look at the sizes, capabilities, and price points. I wonder had we gone into full production with the SSN21 class if we might have gotten better value.

      I remember reading up on the Virginia's in the 90's, when the Navy started putting out the 'forward, from the sea' doctrine.

      To step back a bit, I think that doctrine got us alot of the mess we face now: SuperHornet vs. SuperTomcat (That is at least, IMHO, arguable). Virginia vs. Seawolf (Virginia, then NSSN, was going to be cheaper and 'littoral capable', not an oldthink Cold War blue water relic like the SeaWolf) and the littoral argument that I think ended up spawning the LCS.

      I think the Navy was looking for a reason to exist in the post cold war world.

      The NSSN was a great promise because it could serve 'in the littorals' where all of our new enemies were going to be. The SH gave us better maintanance, good bringback, and great sortie rates. Range was a bit better, but who cares? Its great for the Bosnia type mission, you don't need pacific ranges for that because Bosnia isn't going to be lobbing supersonic cruise missiles at your carrier or attacking it with subs.

      All that said, what I've read about the Virginia's is that price aside, they are good boats. The biggest failing they had was the anechoic tiling issue a few years back.

      I'm hoping that they are really good boats. At least we have a good history with SSN's.

  7. The 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) recognized the effects of Climate-Change incl. engineering- and fiscal-planning for sea-level rises projected to impact Naval Bases.

    USN Admiral-level Weather-Chiefs went on TV-record to discuss the range of related realities for USN and USMC.

    As we speak, Norfolk VA has a well-documented inwards-creeping high-water mark.

    No discussion however what would happen to the functionality of Washington DC as the Potomac rises...

    For much greater dramatics just about ay time, check out the increasingly-unstable 21,000 high seamount-type volcano Cumbre Vieja and also Mount Tiede in the Canaries west of Morocco to contemplate 6-8 hrs of lead-time before a lot water hits and reorganizes East-Coast topography.

    Question is whether a crude smaller nuke flown via suicide cargo-plane into any of the weakening flanks could trigger what according to some scientists (as per BBC docu) could exceed a 150 cubic-km landslide.

    Sobering stuff.

    1. Climate change occurs naturally on an immensely slow time scale. Man made climate change on the order of a handful of years is a highly debatable subject and neither of us will pursue it further.

      The post is dealing with the issue of climate change as a priority for the Navy (and DoD). Climate change has no impact on the warfighting responsibilities of the Navy over the next 30 years which is the cycle of new platforms/assets.

      If base infrastructure is affected by rising sea levels or other climate related phenomena, that's an administrative matter for the Navy/DoD and has no place in the Combatant Commander's thinking.

      Even opening of the Arctic, whether due to natural cycles are other reasons, is of highly debatable interest to the Navy.

      Finally, nuclear impacts on geographical features is a valid concern but does not fall under the category of climate change.

      Far from sobering, climate issues border on trivial and irrelevant for the Navy.

    2. C.N.O., like you, I sure won't follow the well-trodden path of exchanging well-rehearsed reflexes on related politics.

      And SSN-drivers won't need to argue depth or absence of snow-pack in the Sierra or Rockies. But they are in a position to confirm that in the Gulf of Maine water-temperatures have risen faster than near any other body of water. The displacement of colder-water dependent species vital to commercial fishing is just one of several hard scientifically-observed 'Canary-in-the-coal-mine' indicators. As are the episodes on both Pacific and Atlantic coasts of ph-imbalances resulting in so far localized aqua-farming die-offs.

      I would not know whether SSN-folks test for ph-levels. But we are in a position to measure airborne and waterborne increases in released 'Carbon' unprecedented in the rate of change as compared to ice-cores.

      Few know with any certainty how much water-temperature and ph-changes the massive ocean-water quantity can absorb overall. But calculations appear plausible how much Atlantic temperatures would need to rise while Greenland adds lots of fresh-water before the Gulf-Stream may slow substantially. Europe is ill-prepared for the temperatures that would produce.

      For USN and USMC the consequences of too many 500-year droughts, floodings, etc. within anyone's life-time, with associated crop-failures, mass-migration of people, disintegrating political systems suggests an obvious need for greater flexibility to address both competing HA/DR demands and the challenge of smaller, possibly medium conflict-flare-ups in MORE concurrent locations than there currently are MEUs, CSGs etc.

      In those scenario, quantity of hulls would likely matter more than n-th-gen tech, affordable only in very limited numbers. Which seems to make all this directly relate to ship-design principles that allow for successive insertion and extraction of sensor- and weapons-hardware across the 50-year life of a well-kept steel-hull.

      Nothing new to old hands at NAVSEA for instance who have looked at this at some depth, but a few mass-produced 'Standard-Hulls' - with horse-power/range variations to match the projected task - would allow endless adaptation via bolt-on/bolt-off mission-related manned- and defensive/offensive systems to indeed respond to both mil-spec- and fiscal needs, since Climate-Change is projected to rapidly exceed e.g. national civil-engineering wherewithal and the measure of all things - the tax-base.

      Good-enough solutions at mass-production rates supporting more quantity of naval assets will likely be one of the many adaptations we may want to explore early and often.

      There will always be R-&-D necessary for DDG-1000 type duper-tech exercise to then find affordable ways to translate that into the fleet at large.

      Part 1 of 2

    3. Part 2 of 2.
      As to the basic lower-maintenance preferably 'near-immortal' hull-structures to carry whatever systems for an ever-evolving range of missions, tolerably-heavier Wrought-Iron hulls would last near indefinitely... judging by 'ancient' survivors.

      Food for thought: launched 1860 launched 1843

      Let's have GIBBS & COX design a Wrought-Iron DDG-51 successor to the same capabilities-spectrum as the 'best-flight' batch of them.
      Old muscle-memory to re-energize and new neuro-pathways to build as certain high-tensile steel engineering reflexes will be ill-suited here.
      ONR could really shine pushing and supervising this...

      This will produced heavier hulls. But we have rigorous knowledge how to shape hulls to have weight-penalties not result in a collapse of performance-standards. Gaining even a few extra 1000-tons per identical capability, but with that distributed across more length and a pinch more beam will not result in a failure.
      Even if she'd require a 2020-edition LM-2500 turbine-set offering another 20% of power, the hull-structure cost saved by keeping them solid and looking good for 75-100 years would likely be a good investment versus that periodic extra fuel-bill for W.O.T episodes.

      Just to reemphasize the obvious, we pretty much have learned what there is to learn to move 9-12.000 ton hulls through the water via rigorously-designed and tested hulls. This is almost at the level of 'certainty' as the round wheel. We know how to do this right.

      Under fiscal realities, there may be little defensible arguments for de facto 'throw-away' 25-35 year hull-life construction-approaches if multiples can be had per budget line-item leveraging upgraded mid-1850s shipbuilding-technology. Just plan for engine swaps via hard-patches.

      Somewhere in the dusty dank tech-archive we have the exact knowledge-base to USN-quantity-produce and then work that Wrought Iron material in the 21st century.

      Almost sounds like a new Thread to me.
      But even in this one here, geopolitics - rain, ice or shine - will suggest being really 'smart' about using limited budgets to offer USN leaders and ship-COs plausible flexibility with a stable ever-upgradable long-term fleet-structure to count on.

      Imagine the time and resources saved to not get all excited and severely political about a new ship-class every 30 years - if the fleet's hulls are just 'there' while the system-upgrades keep coming several times each decade to keep that sharp war-fighting edge.

      P.S.: IS would love to use limited hardware to maximum destructive effect against 'the great satan', following the simplicity of using those box-cutters on 9/11. These two+ volcanoes in the Canaries are not that far away from hard-core IS-friendly landing-strips in North-West Africa. Tsunami-researchers are a fairly serious bunch when it comes to simulating the effects form North-West Europe, over West-Africa, Brazil, the Caribbean and the US Seaboard.

    4. No one, least of all me, has any problem with conducting "what if" planning, wargaming, studies, white papers, or whatever variety of research you want and whatever you want to call it about any topic including climate effects. To return to the point of the post, tasking Combatant Commanders with climate change planning (assuming there even is such a thing) is grossly overloading and neglecting the main priority of the Combatant Commanders which is warfighting on a "now" basis. It is appropriate for some obscure planning person or group in DoD to consider climate effects but not for the front line people who are concerned with next week's issues.

      Not explicitly discussed in the post but certainly implied is the steady "non-mission creep", to coin a phrase. We're tasking our Navy (and all the other services) with so much diversity, sensitivity, gender equality, climate change, HA/DR, alternative energy, etc. concerns that we're shorting our warfighting budgets, readiness, maintenance, tactics, and training.

    5. An eternal ship makes sense only for non-combat applications. I've covered this repeatedly. A non-optimized modular platform will lose to an optimized one every time.

    6. On your note in regards to "diversity, sensitivity, gender equality,..." this should be fairly old news by now since Blacks were indeed fully integrated post-WW-2. Officers of my acquaintance seem to see this a matter of professionalism how readily they can integrate all elements of this society reflected in the people willing to volunteer in the armed forces.
      The idea of either denying these realities of "diversity" within society at-large or insisting on 'separate-but-equal' rehashes of failed such policies from generations-past would seem a oddly-circular unproductive puzzler from that perspective.

      No point in defending this democracy without defending all of it and by all of it by leveraging all groups and individuals within it. Hierarchies of categorical 'Worthiness' of folks has been much studied, evaluated and written about in philosophical, political, anthropological circles with the conclusion that arbitrary differentiations between folks has proved to be extraordinarily costly to the discarded individuals all the way to stagnation if not collapse of whole civilizations.

      Aboard a ship the modest head-count of initially 'special cases' typically disappears as eventually irrelevant amongst more serious daily and organizational concerns. This will be a non-issue within a fraction of one generation. And that is one more step upwards in the evolution of this already most powerful societal model on this globe.

      Just picture the massive improvement of the atmosphere of professionalism aboard once nobody is institutionally-forced to lie about their private life, or is casually denied recognition of performance because they are seen as one of 'those' folks. USN/USMC has been there and done that. And overcoming the weird ugly unethical contradiction inherent in the earlier much documented practices is one more laudable sign of a maturing HR-culture in our Sea-Services. This leaves crew-members to focus of war-fighting-related tasks - rather burning energy lying, hiding, pretending.

      And who can't live in this actual world of human diversity aboard are free to muster out... to only find the same elsewhere in advanced self-liberating democratic societies. However, they can always move to darker places elsewhere and sample a load of that...

      With the Pentagon getting these matters on their way towards predictably successful resolution - like around the earlier integration of Blacks, Women, Polynesians, Irish, Upper-Podolians before - the Combatant Commander can then draw on that up-graded (again) pool of crew-members undistracted by prejudice and other such corrosive factors to fully focus on the best performance of her unit.

      End of part 1 of 2.

    7. Part 2 of 2
      Between the technophilic dreams of e.g. EFV and LCS driven by a small cadre of over-optimistic Engineering-Mandarins, plenty of money has been sunk to not much war-fighting capabilities- returns. Too much promised and not enough delivered at massive cost of whole classes of more plausible weapons-systems never pursued.

      Compared to that arc of costly self-indulgent visioning of Unobtainium-driven hardware-musings, the inherently time-limited costs around 'diversity-training' are negligible, and could tend to near zero if that work were done earlier as parts of 'Civics' on the Highschool-level, in order to prepare to 'full functionality' these emerging adults living in an emancipated society, potent to outperform all others, since freed from all but a few dark-sticky remnants of bigotry here and there that can be laughed at and otherwise functionally neutralized as any disruptive factor.

      In the context of the prior experience around these integration-stages no Combatant-Commander is alone in any of this. This is only getting easier towards becoming a non-issue every day. Already quietly in the 'system' for a long time, respective heretofore excluded folks have reached high ranks to leads by example for CCs and crews to quickly 'get over it' in order to focus on their jobs.

    8. CNO wrote "an eternal ship makes sense only for non-combat applications. I've covered this repeatedly. A non-optimized modular platform will lose to an optimized one every time."

      Ship-Designers and engineers at NAVSEA have grazed on those grounds quite a bit.

      But even from without that high-powered universe, a generic 30-knots-capable hull with a matching HP-rating really does not care whether it carries a DDG mission-suite or is used to move at just 20 knots driven by less than half that power, hauling whatever USN needs hauling. Designing it to the most demanding specs to then let successive mass-produced hulls do equally-demanding other missions or lots of lower-order work is a functionally defensible approach to match constricting ship-building budgets.

      Modern high-speed Container-Carriers designed to do 25+knots had some of their go-fast-correct bow-bulbs removed and replaced with 16-knots go-slow-correct noses when fuel was at an all-time high recently. Clearly in this commercial highly-competitive environment of pumping trade around the world, functionally 'good-enough' thinking was exercised to match serious fiscal pressures.
      Meaning that the best is indeed the enemy of the good-enough, with a 30+ knots hull being 'good-enough' to perfectly serve in 20kts
      duty. Neither the ship-builders' man-hours nor the steel used will matter that much how you use either. And should that 20kts duty eventually become redundant, that 'eternal' hull could be re-engine to do 30+ again.

      There is little cause for categorical assumptions about this. Only ship-designers will like to suggest as many hull-classes as there are conceivable duties. However, limited budgets and strategic and tactical considerations take precedent over individual career-aspirations after the last 'eternal' design has been crafted and the production-line gets going.

      Since hydro-dynamics and even elements of structural design can be increasingly a computer-generated exercise, reduction in that design-staff have been in the offing for a bit. No ship will be auto-generated by purely a piece of software cranking along anytime soon. But we are talking rigorous understanding of shapes and structures - without much new to be found - in the context of which vast numbers of high-powered ship-design minds may be less and less necessary.

      As in many technologies supporting our lives and work, there is a de facto plateau of working knowledge beyond which not much seems to be waiting - unless major paradigm-shifting materials were to emerge that can perform to duties, reliability and affordability we'd come to expect by then. If they can't, they won't replace the 'rigor'-class of ships doing stalwart-duty across successive career-spans of long-term Navy professionals.

      As discussed before in another Thread, the US Air Force offers the B-52 example which will be deep into its 80s by age as a design, before it will be retired in the 2030s sometime. Will it still be "optimized" after first design-sketches were produced quietly/unofficially amongst some design-engineers at Boeing in the late 1940s is something to take up with those Generals adapting the type again and again to 'good-enough'-status in the context of strategic demands under fiscal constraints.

    9. You fail to see both the specific issue of gender integration and the broader issue of time-on-task.

      Gender integration, unlike integrating blacks, is based on actual inability to do the job. Blacks were completely capable of performing any task but were restricted due to unfounded policy. Women are unable to perform certain tasks due to physiology (strength). Many tasks are well within women's capabilities and they should be free to pursue them. However, those tasks that are beyond their capability should not be open to them. To force the issue will only get them and the men they serve beside killed.

      The physical limitations of women have been proven in the civilian sector (police and fire) for many years. Any police or fire personnel will tell you that women are restricted in what specific tasks they can perform whereas men are unrestricted. If you cannot acknowledge the fact of physical differences then you are not approaching the issue from a factual basis.

      The Marine study appeared to be well constructed and executed and clearly demonstrated the unsuitability of women. That the study was ignored demonstrates the political nature of the issue at the expense of facts.

      The problem is that women are being pencil whipped into positions they are not qualified for. This demeans the accomplishments of those few who are capable and results in the questioning of all women's credentials.

      The broader issue is the time and money wasted on the myriad social engineering and other programs that contribute nothing to warfighting and, arguably negatively impact our warfighting by breeding resentment. At a time when we are, supposedly, severely constrained by budgets, why are we spending a single dollar or hour on non-warfighting issues?

      Finally, you seem to think that the military should be some sort of social reflection of society at large. This is ridiculous. When we fight, we want to send our biggest, baddest, toughest fighters. Using your social engineering theories, we would send women, children, cripples, blind, old, drug addicted, and every other segment of society. That's patently absurd! You need to understand what war is and stop trying to make it a social engineering exercise.

    10. Well, C.N.O., assuming plausible standards that must be met to enter and eliminate the final vestiges of segregation, we'll see who will make it and who will not.

      In terms of the 1+% spectrum you appear interested in, such as SEALs, RANGERs etc. even there among the men, plausible standards does not mean destroying their physiology with ever-mounting physical loads to insist on some upwards spiraling 'Mule-Coefficient' in frantic clinging to some notion of physical exceptionalism to boost the standing of a few 'hulks' in order to freeze out 99+% of all other men and likely 99.8% of women.

      As stated elsewhere before, - and respective experts are hard at work on this - we are well-advised to continue work towards actually lightening the physical load on each frontline soldier to reduce fatigue and injury-potential.
      Folks will look at this weight-lifting 'Mule-Coefficient' -centric argument with shaking heads not too long from now.

      In terms of experiences in my branches of the family, "toughness" does not necessarily go hand-in-hand with physical bulk for effective survival in frontline duty.

      "Using your social engineering theories, we would send women, children, cripples, blind, old, drug addicted, and every other segment of society. That's patently absurd!..."

      The term 'social engineering' is as useful as the term 'politically-correct'...

      Since women, old and drug-addicted can very well serve - it's been going on for a bit in human history - we have in the past found supporting rear-guard duties for the "cripples", and the blind, while being reminded of one of the motivations for this effort - the children.

      "You need to understand what war is and stop trying to make it a social engineering exercise."

      On that one I cannot claim personal direct full-contact war-experience. Sensible folks on both sides of the Atlantic saw to it that peace was upon the land I was born into.
      I certainly have been fortunate.

      - I grew up in a largely-reconstructed bombed-out City 'urban-renewed'-the-hard-way to the tune of 91% destruction... inflicted for good reasons by multiple episodes of 1600+ heavy-bombers nights,
      - was raised by two draftees into WW-2 who also got to be POWs for quite a while, but despite close calls came to survive physically in decent shape after all,
      - then life in the ruins and through the winter of '47
      - never met my uncle since he died upon release from endless years in a Russian Gulag,
      - got to see the losses for my Grand-Mother who lost her remarkably-functional husband to a WW-1 frontline brain-injury some 15 years later to then also lose her first son post WW-2 Gulag,
      - never got to meet two Great-Uncles mowed down
      in WW-1,
      - never met other branches of the family.

      So, nobody has shot at me and mine anytime in my lifetime. But clearly lots of "social engineering" for many of mine though across the 20th Century...

      How about you and yours ?

  8. Here the 2010 QDR:

    Page 84ff


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