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.
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.
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.
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:
Search engines are amazing. In Fifth Grade I had to write a paper on fireworks, and I remember digging through the local library’s index cards, finding the section in the Dewey Decimal system that I cared about, finding those books, and then reading them to get enough information to write the paper. By the time I was done, I could tell you what metals burned what color (magnesium is white, for example), how fireworks were packaged, and how a manufacturing plant managed static electricity to prevent explosions.
Now you can do most of this from your computer at home. I’m building a home, and a combination of Google, YouTube, and the local library has helped me design my house and ask my builder intelligent questions, like what sort of additives he plans on using in the foundations concrete. And naively, I thought most people use the internet for this purpose.
Normally Thanksgiving is about getting together and enjoying each others company. In my case, with no nearby family, I tend to host Sailors at my house who can’t travel home to be with family. They come from a variety of backgrounds, so the conversations we have over the dinner table are always interesting. Despite the time we spend cooking, I don’t tend to find having guests over as stressful.
Apparently I’m a minority, at least if you have a Facebook account. Plenty of Facebook friends were complaining about having to hang out with their family, dreading the inevitable conversations about how they are doing (work, family, etc.) or having political conversations. At first I thought maybe that’s just my Facebook friends, and then I found articles like this. Continue reading “Is Thankfulness too much to ask for?”→
So it’s Veteran’s Day, a chance to have a Federal Holiday, get a free meal from local restaurant, and then go about my day. Sadly, that’s how I spend most Veteran’s Days. What I should be doing is talking to more people about what it means to be a Veteran, and try to dispel the myths that surround us. Most people are real weird about talking to me in uniform, almost like I’m some mythical unicorn demi-god creature that you should worship at a distance.
Trust me, I’m not.
I encourage everyone reading this to find a veteran and talk to them. Whether it’s the young kid in uniform in the airport or an older lady in a VA hospital, please, go and speak to your veterans. To give you a hand, here are the best questions I can think of for you to ask:
Nuclear power is a pretty dangerous thing. Even if you can’t see radiation, acute radiation poisoning can kill you very quickly. The nuclear Navy that I grew up in had a whole set of rules that safeguarded you from radiation poisoning and contamination. Not all of them made sense the first time you heard them, but over time you quickly realized that they worked and kept you safe.
This bears a striking similarity to the Catholic Catechism. The rules were built over a long period of learning in the Church, and they helped keep people from getting hurt. Simple things like saving sex for marriage and receiving the Sacraments regularly kept people’s physical and mental health safe.
But hey, we had to screw it up. Timed perfectly before Halloween, there were a variety of stories about how the incoming generation was ditching Christianity for paganism. Two particular pieces stuck out to me. The first was from Quartz:
Today was Scouting for Food, where the local scouts pass out plastic bags to be gathered the next week, hopefully filled with food donations to help feed the hungry. Instead of spending my morning catching up on the latest news on my phone, I spent most of the morning putting miles on the pavement with another dad and our two Scouts, putting bags on over 100 homes.
That time was fun. The 4G connection in our neighborhood is poor, so while I took some photos of the Scouts putting up bags, I spent the rest of the time engaged in conversation, some of which was quite comical: