Monday, July 3, 2017

Train To Fail

The Navy, and every military, for that matter, professes to,

Train like you fight, fight like you train.

That’s just common sense.  Anticipate the type of fighting you’re going to be called on to do and train for it.  Simple and wise.

So, what’s the Navy training for?  Well, nothing relevant, as we’ve discussed repeatedly but let’s set that aside. 

The training the Navy is doing involves precision guided weapons.  Guided by what?  GPS, of course, and also mid-course guidance signals generated from radar data. 

The training the Navy is doing involves battlespace awareness.  Awareness from what?  Radar, mainly. 

The training the Navy is doing involves cooperative engagement whereby separate platforms share data and weapons control.  Data obtained how?  Network transmissions.

The training the Navy is doing involves tightly integrated command and control procedures.  Integrated how?  Various radio and other broad area communications transmissions.

The training the Navy is doing involves ship handling and navigation.  Navigation via what?  GPS coordinates.  The days of the sextant or even radar fixes are gone.

Now that we’ve established what the Navy is training for, let’s consider what the actual fight will be like against a peer.  Our satellites will be destroyed or severely degraded.  We’ll face constant electronic countermeasures, jamming, signal disruption, and electronic warfare.  Our networks will be subject to constant cyber attacks.  We’ll revert to EMCON due to enemy electronic locating efforts.  Our radars will be degraded due to various electronic countermeasures.  In short, the actual fight will be nothing like what we’re training for.  This leads to the blindingly obvious question, why are we training for a fight that won’t occur and why aren’t we training for the fight that will occur?

Our current approach is,

Train like you'll never fight, fight like you’ve never trained.

We need to acknowledge the reality of combat and begin training for it instead of the completely unrealistic set piece training we do now.  To be fair, the Army has begun to acknowledge the reality of electronic warfare and train for it but the Navy hasn't even acknowledged the reality let alone train for it.  We desperately need to relearn EMCON and reevaluate how we'll conduct surveillance, communications, and data transfer and figure out how we'll fight in an electromagnetically challenged environment.


  1. When I was in the army, most of our electronics didn't work any way. When I was in Korea, we had 3 working radios and 2 bft systems that worked for 4 m2a3 and two humvees. Each Bradley and humvee, takes 2 radios and has a bft system. Its not that there becoming reliant on technology, its just they have realized it doesn't work half the time anyway.

  2. This may sound dumb but I thought one our strengths was to be able to adapt very quickly this sounds to me they are trying to take that away and instead are going to a centralized command and control mode which is about as smart person behind a console does not sound like a good idea at all especially if those GPS and other command nodes go down which just happens to be one of my issue's with F35 by the way what's happens when it's sensors or computer crashes

  3. "Train like you fight, fight like you train."

    I like the commie interpretation on that logo more

    "more sweat during training, less blood in battle"

  4. 30 years ago during "blue water" (no divert field..) naval aviation ops we viewed basic INS (self contained nav with inherent errors of several miles/hour)and TACAN (range limited) as "nice to have" vice something "required" for war fighting. In carrier jets we had 7 day clocks, basic instruments and baro/radar altimeters. The "computers" that fuse information from multiple sources today were done in our heads and on paper maps. We practiced this all the time, even on fighter/attack jets that didn't have some type of electronic systems awareness just being introduced non GPS. EMCON was practiced all the time. The ships weren't lit up like they are today and visible from space! TACAN was turned on off and sometimes spoofed during many types of EMCON approaches. EMCON meant even no RADALT emissions (short range) and strangulation of our "parrot" (IFF). CASE 1,2,3 emcon launches/recoveries were done 1/2 the time during a deployment. Did it fool our adversaries? Yeah, I think it did at least some of the time.

    Could this type environment necessitating total e-spectrum denial by the enemy possible today? You bet as CNOPS points out.. Do we practice in that environment much? As CNOPS says- Nope. Were "operators" back in 70's/80's smarter than folks nowadays? Probably not. It just requires a different approach to training. As an example did you know that even basic aircraft like the Texan and the T-45 have GPS oriented glass cockpits student use from day one? IE- they train from the beginning to be users of GPS and situational awareness computers that do all the math and what we used to call "headwork"... Just like they learned before kindergarten...

    I remember doing low levels in T-2/A-4 jets with nothing more than a clock in stop watch mode, a mag compass and an altimeter. These low levels had 8-10 way points all over the map and usually completed at a target requiring a pop up or lay down maneuver for attack and then re-attack. These nav/weps training flights were flown at 7 miles a minute (420kts) at 200 to 300 feet AGL. They took 30-40 minutes to complete (over 200 nm). After commencing the route you had to hit the target area within 10 seconds of planned time of arrival. All done visually with a knee board strip chart, the aircraft clock, your instruments and the mark1,mod0 eyeballs God issued you. As you moved along at a fast clip you had to figure out the wind effects, apply corrections, add/reduce power, constantly staying "ahead of the jet" while avoiding buzzards and bouncing up/down until that final way point was located and the attack began. Hard work to be sure.

    Supermen then, eh? LOL-not. We weren't, we just practiced a lot and many failed but most learned. That's simply what it takes to train, because those that can adapt without crutches after first contact with the enemy when they are Kilo "D" or anywhere in between A and D, will most likely prevail in war. Ship, aircraft, single rifleman, or sub, it doesn't matter. Is this possible to "teach" that basic "woodcraft" in todays world? I don't know.



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