We need to talk about school shootings.

Somehow in the past, we didn’t have this problem. Somehow, kids brought guns to school all the darn time without deciding that it was a good idea to gun down their fellow students. I was guilty of leaving a bunch of shotgun shells in my book bag in 4th grade, because I had gone hunting with my dad the previous weekend. While we had the occasional lunatic, school shootings were pretty rare. Most violent crime happened outside school, and thankfully our crime rate overall has continued to decline over the last twenty years, so we’ve actually gotten safer over time.

So what’s different?

Continue reading “Save our kids by giving teachers guns and banning Facebook”

I’ve now lived through multiple government shutdowns. Each has had a different effect on me, but this last one, and the ongoing Continuing Resolution, has made the largest impact, because I currently manage almost 90 Sailors, a large inventory of equipment, and a large travel budget with Sailors deployed all over the world. I think there is a big misconception about a government shutdown. People imagine that everything just comes to a standstill, everyone just up and leaves their jobs and sits at home on their hands. Nothing could be further from the truth.

For the military, we continue to operate. We continue “operationally related” travel and functions, although that term is often left to local commanders to figure out. We don’t get paid, but that really comes in to play only if the shutdown happens over the 1st or 15th of a month. Otherwise, everyone is showing up to work and doing exactly what they did the day before.

So why exactly is a short shutdown a problem? Glad you asked!

Continue reading “Why Government Shutdowns Suck”

Anyone who watches Star Wars, Star Trek or any other sci-fi flicks knows the excitement of watching humans explore a new world. It’s exciting mainly because we currently can’t do it. At best, we can send trash can-sized robots to Mars and a few older robots at the edge of our solar system. The last time we stepped on the moon was in 1972. Essentially, we’ve been stuck in low earth orbit for 40 years.

Trump indicated he wanted to lead in space, including going back to the moon and then to Mars. Plenty of people talk about going big in space. I remember Bush telling us we’d get a moon base, and Obama saying eloquent words about NASA. But they didn’t get the job done.

It is easier to do something in the realm of the possible. Sending people to the space station, while it is challenging, doesn’t push any boundaries in space. We aren’t going to learn a lot more in low earth orbit. Building a moon base will give us the knowledge needed to build a base on Mars, and building on Mars will eventually get us off Earth permanently.

You would think people would be excited about this. Trump understands he can’t fund both efforts, and his push to allow funding for the space station to expire is done for exactly this reason. Yet already people are lining up to say they will fight him.

This isn’t unprecedented. Back in age of exploration, plenty of people never left the shore line. They told the exploring mariners of their day that they were crazy to try and cross into the Indian Ocean, Atlantic, Pacific and eventually travel around the world. But after each of these feats, it encouraged others to do the same. Magellan’s expedition nearly ended in failure, but his survivors (Juan Elcano and 17 others) returned home to a huge welcome, and Juan was awarded money and numerous titles. Subsequent circumnavigations were never viewed nearly as highly, and over time it was just routine.

We need to get that way in space, first with the moon and then with Mars, and we can only do that if we leave our own shore line behind.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

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I don’t normally watch cable news, but on Friday I had no choice. My sponsor at a command I was visiting hadn’t put in a visit request, so I had to sit in the lobby while my credentials were checked. On the TV was CNN, and they were showing their “Pulse of the People” segment, with the topic “Women on Trump.”

As I watched a good ten minutes of this, I picked up on a lot of nasty setup items that put people at disadvantages.

Continue reading “Lacking a pulse of real people”

Every year, more than a few people make the New Year’s resolution to lose weight. Gyms get crowded, diets get started…and then by about now, people start falling away. Work comes back in force, kid’s activities start again, and life gets busy…and resolutions get discarded.

Maybe you just quit, or maybe you’re thinking of quitting. A few years ago, I was in your shoes. I weighed 225 pounds, and the Navy was taping me (measuring my waist and neck) to see if I was within body fat standards. I was always near the line, only a percentage point away from failing. Now I am 185 pounds, well within Navy regulations. On top of feeling better, my blood pressure and cholesterol is at very healthy levels.

So if you’re still up for losing weight, here’s what I recommend:

Continue reading “Keep that new year resolution”

“Nobody gets removed for adultery! You’re charges won’t stand.”

These words were spoken by a (now former) Sailor when I officially delivered charges. He had been trouble since almost his first day showing up at the command. Besides going through a messy divorce for his shotgun wedding, having a kid and then not paying child support, causing my first safety stand down in years when he shorted out an UPS battery…all these and more, this guy was just problems. After numerous verbal and written counselings, being put on report just wasn’t getting the message across, so I administratively separated him on three different charges, one of which was a self-admitted adultery.

Or in his case, a quick separation…

If you ask most military members, they’ll tell you the same thing he did: that nobody gets removed for adultery. And they are wrong, if only because I removed a Sailor for it. Adultery is still illegal in the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

But that statement speaks to something else…that somehow, because we disagree with a law, and because it’s socially acceptable to partake in such actions, that somehow that justifies doing those things, and thus we shouldn’t enforce that rule.

Continue reading “Laws don’t work that way”

There’s a lot going on for the Navy right now. We’re promised a substantial increase in ships, we’ve got a new strategy that calls out our near-peer adversaries, and we’re finally taking a hard look at how badly we run people into the ground.

But if you hit up Google News for some Navy news, you get a story criticizing the Secretary of the Navy for wearing a gun.

Continue reading “Can we get back to killing bad guys?”

Right about the same time as the new National Security Strategy was released, the Navy put out the Strategic Readiness Review, an in-depth look into what caused the basic seamanship problems out in Seventh Fleet. The review is a good read, detailing how we went from an over 500 ship Navy that couldn’t be touched to the less than 300 ships today that attempt to perform the same missions in a significantly more complex environment. The review says that the Navy needs more Sailors, of higher quality that are better trained.

Yet only a week later, we have the same Navy announcing that it is relaxing the physical fitness standards. Sailors can now fail the Physical Readiness Test (PRT) multiple times, and while they won’t be advanced, they won’t get kicked out either.

Lest anyone think the PRT standards are super hard, you can see the 30-34 year old male standards here. Doing a minimum of 44 curlups, 35 pushups and running 1.5 miles in about 14 minutes is not that hard.

So what gives? It seems a bit like mixed messages.

Continue reading “Mixed messages from the Navy”

The Last Jedi is a great flick, so go and see it. I was initially worried that it might try to be political or do something distinctly un-Star Wars-ish, but it stuck to what makes the franchise great while taking a new twist on a lot of things. Go see it, and my only recommendation is that you remember it is over 2 hours long, so don’t drink a lot of water before you go!

This review is from a purely military strategy and tactics perspective. It contains spoilers, so don’t read if you want to be spoiler free.

Continue reading “A Military Review of Star Wars: The Last Jedi”

Well…sorta. Somehow I missed this gem from Vox in November:

The US needs more babies, more immigrants, and more integration

I did a double take, then read the article. Not surprisingly, rather than propose doing things like promoting families that might create stable conditions for raising children, we instead get more government:

Continue reading “Did Vox just say we should have more babies?”