President Trump swore into office six months ago, and his foreign policy has been interesting to watch, since he:

  • Started with solid Secretarys of State and Defense
  • Didn’t have an immediate 9/11 event to respond to
  • Has had a chance to travel and negotiate high level deals

The past six months have shown he has a fairly regular negotiating style:

  • He walks into every deal saying “I’m going to change this deal”
  • He makes an initial offer
  • He changes the deal in some way, although it might be more symbolic than actual

So how has he done so far?
Continue reading “Challenging the status quo: Trump’s Foreign Policy”

So I’m a Millenial. Well, or a Xennial (or maybe an Oregon Trailer!) since I’m a bit older, or maybe something else. But in this crazy world, I can identify as a Millenial, so that should be good enough for you, and you’ll just have to accept me as I am.

I work with lots of younger Millenials. I like them, and I think most of the Millenial criticism has more to do with coming from broken families. But I’m seeing a few trends that seem to be unique to this upcoming generation. More importantly, I worry that these are holding people back when they have to work with older people.

Continue reading “How Millenials hurt themselves socially”

I don’t fondly remember college. I was in engineering, and engineering is hard. During my summer indoc course, we had two “welcome” presentations. The first one was this long skit put on while the whole indoc class was present, and it was really bouncy and cheery, like somehow college was all about the social aspect, with classes barely mentioned.

The next day I went to the engineering campus, and the welcome was different. We were brought into a room, the door shut, and the professor let us know that most people don’t last the first year in engineering. He told us that we could expect to work hard without a lot to show for the first three years. But one thing that stuck out was him telling us to “Just do when you have a lot going on.”

Seems easy right? But it isn’t easy, at least for most people.

My workday is pretty busy, and yet I get a lot done both at work and at home. I’m still amazed by the number of people that say “I could never get all that done.” But I’m not special. I don’t have a high IQ, and I wasn’t a brilliant savant in college. I wasn’t blessed with a lot of money, and I didn’t have parents that spoke lots of languages or taught me higher level math.

But what I do best is just do. Everyday, I focus efforts and make things happen. Sometimes it’s getting the family out the door for a trip. Other times, it’s replacing trucks and equipment at work. I take problems, break them down, and just start doing the small pieces. It’s not easy, and I don’t “do” it right the first time, but there is something to be said for just doing.

And yet, I see too many people that don’t “do” in their day to day life. From shipyard workers to government bureaucrats, I’ve seen people spend their days not getting much done. They also tend to be unhappy, even if they get paid well.

Doing leaves me with a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. Instead of analyzing, strategizing, or some other “ing,” perhaps we need to get back to doing.


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

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Millenials seem to leak like a cheap diaper. Manning, Winner, Snowden are only the latest in  a line of people that think it’s OK to send whatever information they want to the press. I recently received a personal-for message (sometimes called a P4) expressing dismay at people who were leaking information about the investigation into the USS FITZGERALD collision. While looking for answers as to why someone would do this, I stumbled on this quote:

“In 2016, Gallup found adults under 29 least likely to say they were “extremely proud” to be American, with just over a third agreeing. If managers in the national security industry think they can count on patriotism to dissuade potential leakers, they are mistaken.”
Continue reading “Stopping the leakers with mandatory service?”

USS FITZGERALD after collision, as shown in Japanese media

A forward deployed, global Navy is going to have problems. Ships are expensive, and occasionally they will go “bump” in the night, like the USS FITZGERALD did recently. While we can hold ship CO’s responsible and fire them when they screw up (and we do), the Navy’s dangerous business means that we’re going to occasionally take damage.

We take more damage during war. Looking back to World War 2, CDR Salamander (another blogger) wrote a great article at USNI about carrier losses during the war. Japan obviously lost 100% of their carriers, with 2/3rds of those in the first year. But the US and Britain suffered as well, losing over half of their carriers by the end of the war. That means that with our current inventory of carriers, we could expect to lose 5 carriers in a war with China or Russia, with 3 in the first year of the conflict.

Each carrier has about 5,000 people on it, so just carrier losses account for 25,000 Sailors. To put that in perspective, that is about half of our Vietnam era casualties, and 5 time the number of people we’ve lost in Iraq and Afghanistan combined. And this reality is not an “if,” but a “when,” if we go to war with China or Russia (both of which seem eager to do so).

But the sheer volume of losses isn’t the point of this article. We won World War 2 in the Pacific because we could replace those losses quickly. Carl Vinson, a Georgia Representative, saw our aging fleet and built it up inside the limits of existing naval treaties, at a time when the nation could have cared less about the Navy. His efforts ensured that the Navy had warships on par with the Japanese, and when they lost these ships, they could be replaced, something that Japan was never able to do. Carl Vinson created a “tough” Navy, one that could take a punch.

Secretary Mattis called out Congress recently for not doing their job of passing budgets. We can design the best ships, but the reality is that a major war is going to deplete them. We’re becoming increasingly vulnerable at sea, and we don’t have a good plan to get healthy soon.

We need a new Carl Vinson in Congress, now more than ever.


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. Please take a moment to keep the Sailors of the USS FITZGERALD in your prayers.

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If you missed it, read part one here.

Your child is learning to act like an adult. So make them do so.

When we lived in Hawaii, I quickly became addicted to Japanese Ramen. Not the crappy 15 cent stuff you ate in college because you were poor (I cooked mine in a coffee pot, so I got my daily dosage of caffeine and salt at the same time!), but the hand made noodles, slow cooked broth and sauteed vegetables that characterize really good Ramen.

Real Ramen looks like this…
Continue reading “Child raising for the Millenial, part 2”

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I am a child raising badass.

Seriously, I must be. Anytime I take my kids out in public, I get the “How do you manage it?” question. Typically this comes from some young Millenial couple that is deathly afraid of having children. Society tells them that having kids is horrible and will end their life as they know it. Yet here I am, in front of them enjoying my time with my kids.

Since I am indebted to society to pass on my badass knowledge about raising kids, my wife and I came up with our top five rules about raising kids. You get them for free, so you don’t have to pay for multiple copies of the “What to expect…”, but if you find these useful, drop Da Tech Guy a couple bucks.

Continue reading “Child raising for the millenial”

President Trump told Philippine President Duterte that there were two nuclear submarines ready to respond to North Korea…and you would have thought the world ended on social media. After making the mistake of engaging on this subject on Facebook, I figured I’d break it down here for everyone.

NO, the presence of nuclear submarines near Korea isn’t classified. It would be impractical to do so, since we announce when they pull into port. The unnamed Pentagon officials (if they even exist) are completely wrong, because we do talk about submarines, in the countless Sailor evaluations and fitness reports, unit awards and in unclassified documents submitted to Congress to justify continued funding of the submarine program.

And even if it was classified, the President can decide to declassify that information. All previous Presidents have done so, including President Obama. It’s part of their job description, check out Executive Order 13526 when you get a chance. Us in the military don’t always like it, but it’s not our job to decide that. The overwhelming majority of military members are derivative classifiers, meaning we classify things according to rules handed down by others. It also means we can’t declassify most things on our own, and the constant “leaking” of information by “unnamed” officials is a far bigger problem than the President’s comments.

How is this different from what Secretary Clinton did? Easy. She wasn’t declassifying anything. She was transmitting classified information via unsecure means, and doing so intentionally. Considering the level of information she sent, that will have far larger consequences than anything President Trump has talked about so far.


This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other federal agency. Unlike “unnamed officials” from those agencies, I actually use references.

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I’m not old enough to remember Vatican II.  As I grew up, I sometimes heard people talk about a “Latin Mass,” but I never attended one until well after I graduated college.  That’s when I started teaching Catechism at our local church, and in order to make sure I could answer 9th grader questions, I researched a lot before each class.

I found a cool mixture of tradition and reverence at the Tridentine Mass.  I grew up with the Novus Ordo, but I attend both the Tridentine Mass and Novus Ordo, depending on what makes the most sense for my family at the time.  I’ve even gone to Eastern Rite churches when I travel.  To me, the Mass was always about the miracle: the transubstantiation of bread into the Body of Christ.

Sadly, I feel alone in thinking this way.  A storm brews inside the Catholic Church.  On one side are the so-called “traditionalists,” who treat the Novus Ordo as heresy.  The other side has the “progressives,” who believe the Church needs to modernize for the 21st century.

I get caught in the middle of this storm.  My in-laws never attended my wedding because I wasn’t “Catholic enough” (read: attends the Novus Ordo).  I bristle when people complain about “rad trads,” and then tell me they are OK with artificial birth control and abortion.  It’s aggravating, and unfortunately I have few friends that I pleasantly converse with about my Catholic faith.

But this whole debate is really a fallacy, because being Catholic has absolutely nothing to do with what language the Mass is said in.  I’ve met wonderful people on both sides of this debate, and it greatly bothers me that people spend their time vilifying others with all the evil that already exists in the world.

For so-called traditionalists (or “rad trads,” or whatever other silly titles they have), your blanket judgement of people that attend a Mass in vernacular is ridiculous.  Jesus didn’t give us a rigid Mass structure, he gave us guidance and the Church built a Mass, which has evolved over time, even before the Tridentine Mass came into existence.  So don’t lecture me how you are the original Mass, unless you want to roll back to saying the Mass in Aramaic.

For so-called progressives, I’m even more dismayed.  So little is expected of us as Catholics: weekly Mass, regular Confession, follow basic Church teachings, pray regularly and teach your kids about the faith.  When you consider that in many places you can’t attend Church without risk of death, these requirements are a small price to pay for salvation.  Yet over the past month here at my local church I’ve seen:

  • A bulletin announcement for parents picking up kids from Catechism, asking them to please attend Mass with their kids.
  • A lasy in front of me at Mass constantly checking Facebook on her phone during Mass.
  • People regularly showing up late to Mass and leaving early (get an alarm clock perhaps?).
  • Folks coming into the pew in front of me while I’m praying and talking loudly.
  • People shaming a mother for bringing her kids to Mass when they make one tiny peep of noise…sadly, the same loud people that interrupted my prayer earlier.

And I’m not trying to call out my local Church, because I’ve seen similar things elsewhere.

For both sides, you all are being played by an atheist-minded media hell-bent on tearing the Church apart from the inside.  This media gleefully alters quotes from Pope Francis to get people riled up.  It dramatizes Church business like the Synod of Bishops on the Family.  I think I spend more time proving that what the media says is wrong to people than I do talking about how much I love the Church.

And that is the problem.  We’ve become so focused on hating each other we often forget that the Church is supposed to bring people together, to help us overcome the daily temptation to sin, and to be our supernatural support structure.  We’re so busy arguing about who is better that we forget to see the good in others.  We’ve been corrupted by the world around us, rather than changing the world for the better.

I encourage you to change the status quo.  If you’ve never attended a Tridentine Mass, find one and go.  Same for Novus Ordo.  Talk to those Catholics after Mass.  Volunteer to teach Catechism and build young adults who are strong in their faith and knowledge of the Church.  Turn off your phone and pray peacefully on Sunday.  Set a good example, not just at Church, but whenever you walk out into the world.

Be that light to the world that Jesus wanted us to be.


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

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This week I had the chance to visit the USS YORKTOWN museum, docked at Patriot’s Point in sunny Charleston, SC.  The crew at Patriot’s Point have done a fantastic job fixing the YORKTOWN, and one of the new exhibits I hadn’t seen before was called the Combat Information Center (CIC) experience.  So, I walked in to check it out.

The revamped CIC at Patriots Point. The “people” are actually projections. Image courtesy of Patriots Point.

The “officer” in CIC talked about tracking a Russian Tu-95 bomber that was preparing to overfly the Navy vessels in formation.  Then he had to deal with a quiet Russian submarine.  The CIC experience walked through the how the Navy tracked and dealt with each of these circumstances in the Mediterranean.


Russian TU-95 bomber , with US escort in the background. DoD Image.

I was struck at how much things haven’t changed.  We’re still dealing with Tu-95 overflights and Russian submarines, and we’re still in the Mediterranean.  Students of history will likely chime in “History repeats itself.”  But I don’t think that’s the full story.  What amazed me as I walked around this World War II era ship is how similar things are to current ships.  While we have nicer equipment, the equipment is essentially covering the same functions as it did 60 years ago.  Even weirder, I read a few of the old ship “Plan of the Day” and some diary entries, and the issues they dealt with were very similar to what we still have now.

I don’t think history repeats itself.  Rather, I think people haven’t changed much, and they tend to attack problems in the same manner they have been for generations.  The only time history changes is when someone steps outside of that box.  Look at World War II Germany.  Previous European wars had not changed the map very much.  Germany shifted to massively different tactics (Blitzkrieg) and won surprising victories.  Eventually we copied that idea, and we haven’t changed much since.

Russia realized this after losing the Cold War and has completely shifted tactics.  That’s why we’re seeing Russian disinformation campaigns, cyber attacks, and a much more subtle Russia, followed by low level conflict to gain territory.  But even this isn’t new…it sounds strangely similar to Germany in the 1930s.  Our sanctions response is doing nothing because it hurts regular Russians, who blame the US for their problems instead of President Putin.

If we want to stop watching history follow predictable human behavior, we have to do something new, and stop attacking today’s problems with yesterday’s solutions.


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