Was I right on Russia?

Russian consulate in Svalbard, which looks like my kid built it out of Legos. From The Barents Observer.

Russia continues to make big news that stays under the wave tops of COVID-19 news. I’ve written about Russia many times in the past, and made a few predictions:

I’ve also said that Russia would never give up footholds in Ukraine and Georgia. So, how is that playing out? Sadly, I’m not far off.

Turkmenistan

Turkmenistan is facing a spread of COVID-19 in its country. Who has lined up to help? Russia, of course. They’ve done this while trying to find ways to boost Turkmenistan’s economy, all while Turkmenistan gets closer to the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), which is Russia’s stand-in for the USSR.

Belarus

Belarus recently arrested a number of Russians that it accuses of inciting riots ahead of its 8 August election. Not surprisingly, Russia asked those people be released. There was in fact a large rise in the democratic movement that seeks to unseat the 5-term Belarussian President Lukashenko. With a soon-to-be contested election and shared border with Russia, what could go wrong?

Svalbard

Russia has started the messaging train once again for Svalbard, this time demanding that Norway comply with Russian demands on Svalbard. Which they still call Spitsbergen, just to make the Norwegians angry.

Georgia

Russia continues to manufacture a “border crisis” in Georgia. It’s slowly stopping any aid from reaching the breakaway sections while not removing troops in accordance with the cease fire.

Russia isn’t pulling any “crazy Ivan” moves. It knows that the US and Europe just don’t care enough (with the exception of Norway in Svalbard) about Georgia, Belarus and Turkmenistan. If Americans can barely find these places on a map, they certainly won’t care enough to risk their sons and daughters in the military to save them. In truth, if we want to stop this, we have to ask ourselves if we’re willing to go to war with Russia to save some territory in Georgia. And because the Russians think we won’t, they aren’t likely to stop taking that territory.

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.

Why ships burn

USS BONHOMME RICHARD on fire in San Diego, from Wikipedia

Starting on Sunday, there was fairly non-stop news about the USS BONHOMME RICHARD (LHD-6) on fire in San Diego. The fire was extensive, burning from the middle of the 844 foot long ship, burning in 11 of her 14 decks all around the ship. It’s caused significant damage, and there are already talks it may not be salvageable. To put a dollar amount on it, she cost about 750 million to make in 1998, but today it would cost more like $3.3 billion to build a replacement vessel.

Most people’s first question is, how in the heck can a fire rage through a ship like that? The answer is complicated. First, BONHOMME RICHARD was in a maintenance availability period. She had a large number of shipyard workers fixing a variety of systems onboard. Imagine if you hired contractors to replace your roof, drywall and paint two rooms, replace your kitchen sink, and rewire half your house all at the same time. My first ship was in a maintenance period, and I didn’t recognize the rooms I was in while walking around. It’s a confusing, crazy, dirty mess to try and fix complex systems.

Extra complexity means nothing is normal, with firefighting as no exception. Firefighting equipment gets moved around to support maintenance, and on an 844 foot ship, that might mean extensive portions where there isn’t much equipment. Holes get cut in decks, requiring extra ventilation equipment and rerouting of normal movement paths, which makes getting to and from places hard. All that extra equipment is an inviting target for a fire. Even small fires take way more time and effort to find, fight, isolate and eventually put out.

Fighting fires on a ship is scary business. I’ve gone through our basic firefighting trainers. They are difficult. Contrary to the movies, a firefight is almost pitch black due to the smoke. So imagine you’ve got on 40 pounds of extra gear, breathing through a mask, walking in pitch black conditions, dragging a hose with you while the guy behind you with an infrared sensor guides you towards hot spots that you can’t see. That’s the reality of firefighting. A friend of mine fought a large fire on a submarine and nearly drown when the deck gave out below him and dumped him in a large pool of water, the same water he had been spraying on the fire. He’s really in shape, and even he struggled to get out.

I’m not surprised BONHOMME RICHARD caught fire and that it was bad. What I want to know is whether it’ll cause changes in the future. The shipyard has always been a dirty place, and shipyard workers aren’t normally known for cleanliness. Navy Sailors, unfortunately, get used to this and develop just as bad of habits, which the senior enlisted try desperately to fix. When I visited Japan, I was shocked at just how clean the shipyard was. While you can’t always keep an area clean, going days and weeks without cleanup significantly increases the chance for fires, accidents and all sorts of problems. If this fire forces the Navy to work with shipyards to clean up their act, it would be something useful in an otherwise tragic circumstance.

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.

Did you catch Trump’s Farsi Tweet?

Screen capture of President Trump’s Farsi tweet

I’ve been helping a new Public Affairs Officer get setup at her new job. We had a chance to talk about what influence’s people, specifically in news media, and specifically about the importance of understanding and communicating to your audience in a way that they understand. I brought up how during our BALTOPS exercise, one of the most popular items was an interview my boss had with a local news organization that was translated into Russian. It spiked traffic and I was shocked at how well received it was.

This Public Affairs officer called me this week with a short request, and then asked “Hey, did you see Trump’s tweet in a foreign language?”

Me: “Nope.”

Her: “Yeah, he tweeted about the Iranian executions in their language.”

Sure enough, a quick Google revealed that she was correct. President Trump tweeted in Farsi (the most common language in Iran) about his opposition to the execution of Iranian protesters. It’s quickly become one of the most popular Farsi posts. Ironically, Trump had previously tweeted in Farsi in January which became the most popular Farsi tweet ever. And just as interesting, I had not heard of this tweet. Granted, I’m not a Twitter user, but normally that sort of thing makes the news.

Tweeting in Farsi is hard. It’s not an easy language to use, and not easy to convert English into Farsi. President Trump is showing a pretty good understanding of how to make his tweets viral with a foreign audience he wants to influence. And yet…no mention of this, at all, in the media. Not even to make fun of it.

It’s the lack of coverage on these things that makes it too easy to believe the media is horribly biased.

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.

Why your Navy can’t telework (even if you wanted it to)

From Breitbart Media

It seems plenty of people want the entire United States to telework and stay at home until a COVID-19 vaccine is created. To be fair to those people, many jobs that we once thought weren’t telework capable are suddenly finding a way to overcome those barriers. But for government workers, especially those in the Navy, telework doesn’t remain a viable option, and we need to stop lying about its viability.

Let’s start with what should be an obvious point: many military members work with classified information. Information gets classified for a variety of reasons: it keeps ship movements safe, protects how sensitive intelligence is made, or where we’ve made breakthroughs in military technology. We spend a lot of taxpayer money to build systems with advantages over our enemies, and protecting the information from our enemies so we can maintain that advantage is important. Or put another way, we throw away taxpayer dollars when we give up classified information.

To protect this information, we make people work in secure facilities. More sensitive information merits more secure facilities. These facilities don’t include your living room couch. Or your home office. Or the Dunkin’ Donuts coffee shop. Worse still, we have some mobile technology, but its normally reserved for higher ranking members in the military.

So we’re put in a quandary. Navy leadership at the high level can work from home to some degree. The Sailors doing the work cannot. This inevitably leads to the desire to “talk around” information, or find ways of getting work done that put our information at risk. Remember to keep in mind this information costs money, so putting it at unnecessary risk is the equivalent of throwing money away to our enemies.

A second less obvious point is that the Navy has a lot of equipment that we don’t just lock up and store. Ships require maintenance. Submarine nuclear reactors always have someone at a panel. Without Sailors onboard, these vessels cease to be useful. We can’t drive them into a warehouse, turn on the dehumidifier, shut and lock the door and wait for a vaccine.

So your government, especially your Navy, can’t telework forever. We put information and systems, which are expensive, at risk. Just like the rest of America, we need to get back to work.

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.

On Your Mark; Get Ready

Don’t Be Like King Josiah

by baldilocks

Fletch Daniels at American Thinker:

Nobody gets to sit this one out.  The cultural enforcers expect everyone to parrot their talking points publicly, to destroy all resistance, forcing dissenters to grovel in submission.  That’s the whole idea behind the “silence is violence” aggression.  Cultural violence is quite the opposite of silence; it is forcing people to say what no sane person should believe in order not to be destroyed.

Few stand against this pressure, which is why nearly all major companies and organizations have come out with quisling statements of support of the name of a vile Marxist organization like Black Lives Matter.  It’s why Hillsdale College’s response was so notable, because it was a rare exception to the rule.  (This was not surprising coming from one of the only places in America still putting up statues to honor our tremendous heritage of liberty when the cultural zeitgeist is to rip them all down and start at a Marxist Year Zero.)  Hate groups like Antifa and Black Lives Matter operate quite freely in this environment, serving as the cultural shock troops and the terrorist wing of the cultural tyrants who have taken over the Democrat party.

Consider just a few of the displays we’ve watched over the last few weeks.  A football coach had to apologize for wearing a One America News sweatshirt…in Oklahoma.  We watched as most of our senior military leaders bowed before their cultural masters.  We watched as statues of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Francis Scott Key, Theodore Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, and even an assortment of abolitionists either were destroyed or came under attack, even as discussions of replacing the National Anthem erupted from the propaganda and activist cultural tyrants.

We watched as the weaponization of the federal bureaucracy by a U.S. president against a president of the opposite party was unveiled before our eyes to a massive shrug by the seditious media, who see it as a wonderful use of state power by their fellow leftist travelers in the bureaucracy.  They are smug in their belief that they can use their cultural power to protect the perpetrators, whom they regard as heroes.

We even watched as a sports league that caters to a conservative audience was complicit in perpetrating a crazy Jussie.  We observed an emboldened social media giant censoring the president of the United States for promising to protect Americans.

We also watched what I believe is the vilest propaganda campaign of my lifetime, when every cop in America was slandered as a racist with barely a protest.  The guardians of civil order, who put their lives on the line every day, often under unimaginably difficult circumstances, to protect their fellow Americans, are being demoralized and hounded out of service.  This has created the fertile ground for a massive increase in lawlessness that will result in a significant rise in the deaths of black Americans, showing that black lives matter not a lick to those claiming that name.

I wish I had a dollar for every American who uttered the phrase “never in my lifetime did I expect to see…” over the last few weeks.  We are living in the upside-down when patriotism is outlawed, the vilest of criminals are celebrated, and brave law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line daily are slandered as the worst of society so thoroughly that it descended into evil farce, when a kid’s show, Paw Patrol, came under attack since it is apparently racist to have a positive police character in a children’s show.

This is war, and the left is playing to win.

(…)

I’d like to see far more people vocally pushing back against the mob within their social circles.  Every person who pushes back emboldens others to do the same.

So, would I, but each person who does so has to be prepared first, and the primary area of necessary preparation is in the spiritual realm.

I know that I’m not alone in think that our country finds itself here because it has turn away from God. We have seen the results of this before; God lifts up His hand of protection and of favor just a little bit – not a total removal. And, suddenly chaos, anger, and fear seem high, wide and deep.

All I’m saying is that is we are plainly seeing the result of doing things the secular way; of raising children to hate each other and themselves. Of believing that if something isn’t perfect – like our history – that it should be eradicated.

Newsflash. Nothing in this world is perfect. Will every imperfect thing be blown up and every imperfect person be dead before the rampaging mobs figure this out?

I think that Daniels is right, action must be taken. But don’t run out there halfcocked, like that couple in St. Louis did while defending their lives and property.

They weren’t fully prepared, though they had just enough. Learn from them. (Side note: I heard that they’re Democrats, fans of Biden. After what has happen to them in the last few days — including being doxxed, I wonder if that is still so.)

Plan your rhetorical tactics and strategies. And take all your self-defense classes and whatnot for when those don’t work.

But if you act against the marauders without preparing your soul, you’re making the same mistake this country has been making for the last sixty years. You will make things worse, not better.

However, between the Wuhan pestilence and the hordes of demons er rioters, looters and mayhem-makers, it’s certain that a ton of people are talking to God already — more than was so in December 2019, at any rate.

Good.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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India standing up to China

Lost in the media’s fake news was a very disturbing report of a clash between India and China, the world’s two most populated nuclear-enabled countries, in the Galwan Valley. If you don’t know where that is, its a north-eastern section that divides China from India. India and China fought a war in 1962 over this and other regions, which China won. Ever since then, the Chinese have been encroaching on the area, and small flare ups have happened now and then, including this latest fight.

What’s different is that India probably learned lessons from last time and was better prepared. Previously China tended to have the upper hand in conflict, but based on the downplay from both sides on the most recent conflict, I’m guessing it was much more of a draw. India’s military has upgraded much, including training, so it was more of an equal fight, especially because that area makes it more difficult for more advanced weapons to be brought to play.

The big lesson to learn here is that China is only going to respect power when it comes to border disputes. If you don’t punch back twice as hard, expect China to simply continue to take. It’s become more apparent that China is like Hitler’s Germany, never quite satisfied with whatever land was given up to satiate Hitler’s desires. China will find excuses to lay claim to the Galwan Valley, Tawang, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Siberia, Hawaii, and whatever else it can get away with.

This also opens up huge opportunities for US-India relations. India has traditionally used Russian weapons and equipment, but as China rolls out more upgraded gear, better equipment and training is needed to stand up to them. Given the U.S. experience in Afghanistan, especially for special warfare personnel, the border disputes give an opportunity for enhanced US-India military training. Even better, from a strategic standpoint, having an open conflict on China’s western border would be a way to temper Chinese ambitions in other areas. China can take on Japan, Taiwan or South China Sea claimants one by one, but if they combine and also face a land war on their western border, its a bit much to handle.

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.

Posturing before the deal: Russia and nuclear weapons

The Davy Crockett Nuclear Munition, from Wikipedia

Amid the chaos in the news was an announcement that President Putin signed an updated nuclear deterrent policy for Russia, which expanded the use of nuclear weapons as a response against conventional attacks on Russia’s critical government and military infrastructure.

I haven’t found a translated copy yet (the original Russian is linked in this article), but if you were to ask me if this is a surprise…its not. We need to view this through Russia’s eyes and see what nuclear weapons mean to them, why they would change policy now, and what is their desired end state.

First, when we talk nuclear weapons, realize that Russia has always had a pretty wide range of weapons. When we hear nuclear, we think giant missiles with multiple warheads, and for the current U.S. stockpile, that’s pretty true. But we forget that the U.S. had an interest in tactical nuclear weapons, right down to the man portable “Davy Crockett,” a man-portable nuclear bazooka that you can still see on display in the Army Ordnance Museum. Russia has never lost its taste for tactical nuclear weapons, even going so far as to look at suitcase (really, backpack sized, ~70 pound) warheads that could be smuggled and detonated inside the U.S. Russia’s Navy has always viewed nuclear weapons as a viable option in naval warfare against U.S. Carrier Strike Groups.

A Special Atomic Demolition Munition with a W54 warhead…essentially, a backpack nuke.
Image from Wikipedia

For Russia, using tactical nuclear weapons doesn’t mean we will go to full-on nuclear conflict. It’s not in Russia’s best interest to have a full nuclear exchange with the U.S. or NATO. Think about it. Russia loses in a full exchange: they have less people, less ability to rebuild, and will likely lose all military forces (and thus ability to defend) in any full exchange. Russia doesn’t want to own the whole world, but to simply dominate the parts that were the former USSR.

Because the U.S. views nuclear exchange as an “all or nothing” game, Russia uses this to its advantage. It’s always viewed theater war as a limited exchange that could allow tactical nuclear weapons to be used without escalation, so long as they achieved a specific objective. In this sense, Russia is OK with an “escalate to deescalate” policy with nuclear weapons.

So given that, why the policy change now? It’s part technology, part negotiation. On the technology side, conventional weapons are becoming incredibly accurate and more lethal. Russia fears a decapitating strike by the U.S. using advanced weapons like the Tomahawk cruise missile. Russia has watched the U.S. strike country after country with these weapons to great effect. Nuclear policy, specifically Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD), was written before conventional weapons were this accurate. Does MAD work when I can hit decision makers in under an hour (like the program Prompt Global Strike was pursuing)? Doubtful. The technology has simply changed too much.

It’s also a negotiating move. Withdrawing from the INF treaty means the last nuclear treaty is the START treaty, set to expire in February 2021. Russia can’t afford an arms race with the U.S. The Russian economy is tanking due to COVID-19 and sanctions. If European nations stay in NATO and allied with the U.S., this situation is unlikely to change. Plus, Russia is shrinking as its population gets older and more sick due to the poor healthcare in the country. If START doesn’t get re-upped, Russia is in trouble, as it can’t compete with U.S. and European manufacturing of nuclear weapons.

So, as Russians are fond of doing, its striking hard. It’s trying to get people scared that it might pull a “Crazy Ivan.” That’s a possibility, but an unlikely one. Its big hope is for the U.S. to blink and negotiate on their terms. Given the current administration, that’s unlikely too. In fact, the DoD is practicing against just such a thing, much to Russia’s ire.

In the next six months, expect the Russian’s to run drills and emphasize their use of tactical nuclear weapons. Russia could even find a way to test a nuclear weapon underground as part of these drills. RT and Sputnik news will play this up, bringing in images of the Cold War, with kids under their desks and mushroom clouds in the background. We’ll probably “find” a nuclear-like device in the U.S., or uncover a plot to transport one. All this is to get the U.S. to give them the nuclear deal that they want.

All this will be done with the hope of persuading the American people and sitting President to negotiate. Whether it works will depend on how willing we are to look past the fluff.

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.

The Iran War Powers Act, and what it (doesn’t) mean

Qasem Soleimani, Commander of Quds Forces during National AGIR commanders conference, from Wikipedia

There is much to-do about President Trump’s veto (that was not overridden) of the Iran war powers resolution. On its face, a bill that says President Trump can’t just declare war on Iran seems to be a good thing, given the crazy number of places we have committed our Armed Forces to so far. I was curious what the bill actually said, so I did a bit of digging. At first, it was difficult to get the right bill because there have been multiple bills introduced by various members trying to restrict war with Iran. The one that was recently vetoed was S.J. Res. 68. You can read the PDF version here.

It’s a pretty short bill, so let’s dive into it! We’ll skip the fancy header stuff and get into the meat of it:

Congress makes the following findings:
(1) Congress has the sole power to declare war under article I,
section 8, clause 11 of the United States Constitution.

Well, no issue there. In case you only read the amendments to the Constitution, this is squarely in Article I.

(2) The President has a constitutional responsibility to take actions to defend the United States, its territories, possessions, citizens, service members, and diplomats from attack.

Sounds about right.

(3) Congress has not yet declared war upon, nor enacted a specific statutory authorization for use of military force against, the Islamic Republic of Iran. The 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107-40; 50 U.S.C. 1541 note) against the perpetrators of the 9/11 attack and the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (Public Law 107-243; 50 U.S.C. 1541 note) do not serve as a specific statutory authorization for the use of force against Iran.

Sure… but how does this apply if you’re a terrorist funded by Iran? Iran is running a proxy war against the United States, and the U.S. has responded in kind. Both nations are fighting each other in the shadows, but hesitating to attack each other directly, although there have been the occasional assassination attempt. Essentially, this says you can’t use these two pieces of legislation to justify war with Iran.

(4) The conflict between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran constitutes, within the meaning of section 4(a) of the War Powers Resolution (50 U.S.C. 1543(a)), either hostilities or a situation where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances into which United States Armed Forces have been introduced.

That is correct, see the USC text here. Then again, you could say this applies every time we conduct a Freedom of Navigation transit. It’s pretty vague. A U.S. Carrier Strike Group would be always “equipped for combat,” so anytime it goes anywhere its meeting this criteria.

(5) Members of the United States Armed Forces and intelligence community, and all those involved in the planning of the January 2, 2020, strike on Qasem Soleimani, including President Donald J. Trump, should be commended for their efforts in a successful mission.

Yay, I guess? Did they just give a shout-out to the President? Who snuck that in?

Even Democrats give me credit!

(6) Section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution (50 U.S.C. 1544(c)) states that “at any time that United States Armed Forces are engaged in hostilities outside the territory of the United States, its possessions and territories without a declaration of war or specific statutory authorization, such forces shall be removed by the President if the Congress so directs”.

True, but missing a section. The previous portion, 5(b), allows the President to essentially deploy the military for up to 60 days before he has to remove them. Kind of important. Should read the whole text, available here.

(7) More than 100 members of the United States Armed Forces sustained traumatic brain injuries in the Iranian retaliatory attack on the Ain al-Assad air base in Iraq despite initial reports that no casualties were sustained in the attack.

And initial reports are normally wrong, so the point here is what? Iran shot a bunch of missiles at us and nobody died? Some people get a Purple Heart and a VA disability bump? Sure, its just a statement of fact, but to what end?

I’m not downplaying the damage here, it sucks that people got injured. My bigger point is that it doesn’t matter to this bill in the slightest.

(8) Section 8(c) of the War Powers Resolution (50 U.S.C. 1547(c)) defines the introduction of the United States Armed Forces to include “the assignment of members of such armed forces to command, coordinate, participate in the movement of, or accompany the regular or irregular forces of any foreign country or government when such military forces are engaged, or there exists an imminent threat that such forces will become engaged in, hostilities”.

100% true.

(9) The United States Armed Forces have been introduced into hostilities, as defined by the War Powers Resolution, against Iran.

Introduced? Against Iran? Here’s where you can lawyer-away. The troops were in IRAQ. They were attacked in IRAQ. President Trump authorized a strike on General Soleimani in IRAQ. Not Iranian soil, Iraqi soil. He even notified the Iraqis. The troops in Iraq are in no way sufficient to invade Iran. We’re not even shooting across the border…General Soleimani was killed in Baghdad, which is over 200 km from the Iranian border.

Maybe I’m wrong, but this simply sentence seems like its reaching a bit. Troops that were already there (not introduced) and are helping Iraq (not fighting Iran) are somehow now engaged in hostilities against Iran? Please, if a lawyer wants to drop a comment to explain this, I’m all ears. I just don’t see it.

(10) The question of whether United States forces should be engaged in hostilities against Iran should be answered following a full briefing to Congress and the American public of the issues at stake, a public debate in Congress, and a congressional vote as contemplated by the Constitution.

Sure, couldn’t agree more. Congress hasn’t lost the ability to declare war or turn off the military funding tap, neither of which it has decided to do. And, to be fair, President Trump hasn’t put military forces in Iran, nor is he massing troops on the border to do so.

(11) Section 1013 of the Department of State Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1984 and 1985 (50 U.S.C. 1546a) provides that any joint resolution or bill to require the removal of United States Armed Forces engaged in hostilities without a declaration of war or specific statutory authorization shall be considered in accordance with the expedited procedures of section 601(b) of the International Security and Arms Export Control Act of 1976.

Yup, but again, the soldiers involved were all already in IRAQ, and there to help the Iraqi Army.

SEC. 2. TERMINATION OF THE USE OF UNITED STATES FORCES FOR HOSTILITIES AGAINST THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN.

(a) Termination.–Pursuant to section 1013 of the Department of State Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1984 and 1985 (50 U.S.C. 1546a),
and in accordance with the provisions of section 601(b) of the
International Security Assistance and Arms Export Control Act of 1976,
Congress hereby directs the President to terminate the use of United
States Armed Forces for hostilities against the Islamic Republic of
Iran or any part of its government or military, unless explicitly
authorized by a declaration of war or specific authorization for use of
military force against Iran.

OK. So, pray tell, what hostilities? Did we shoot missiles into Iran? Did we invade some piece of Iranian territory? I’d like to know.

(b) Rule of Construction.–Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the United States from defending itself from
imminent attack.

Well that’s good to know!

So I’m not seeing the big deal with this bill, besides that its a bunch of grandstanding. It’s a lot of fluff and it’s accusing the President of conducting operations against Iran, without saying WHAT operations he’s engaging in. It also is attempting to link soldiers that are already in IRAQ as somehow having something to do with IRAN. I get it, the countries are only one letter apart…but seriously.

How this piece of legislation feels

I’ve had a few people quote President Trump’s tweets about “raining fire down on Iran” if they attack our Navy vessels. OK, I’ll bite. For starters, imminent attack and self defense are still protected, so President Trump threatening to use them is a giant nothing-burger. Did he threaten to invade Qeshm Island? If so, I’d be all onboard saying that’s a really bad idea without a war declaration.

That’s not what is happening. Essentially, we have a President that is totally fine making bombastic claims when another country threatens him. It’s his personal style and likely part of his negotiating strategy. We can argue about whether this is effective, and I think there is plenty of room for debate on that. I personally think it isn’t always the best strategy to use with our allies, for example. I’m not the President, so I don’t get to make those choices, and for people that really don’t like that style, there is the voting box come November.

To accuse President Trump of engaging in hostile acts directly against Iran, but then not being able to name them, and trying to disguise it as an attempt to reign in a President that is trampling on Congressional rights is nothing more than stupid grand standing. We continue to be promised World War III with President Trump, and it continues to not happen.

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.

Don’t Think We Ain’t Keepin’ Score

Prince of the Blessed Side-Eye Memory

Somebody has to

by baldilocks

This is pretty much a continuation of my last post on the fear-mongering goals of Big Media.

ABC

The Pentagon says a supposed intelligence report cited by ABC News on an emerging COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t exist.

ABC said the report was issued in November by the National Center for Medical Intelligence, an arm of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). It supposedly warned of a pandemic of what would be later named COVID-19.

Relying on sources who said they saw the report, ABC News said the warning was briefed “multiple times” to the DIA, the staff of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Trump White House. (…)

Col. R. Shane Day, a physician who heads the medical intelligence unit, issued a flat denial.

“As a matter of practice, the National Center for Medical Intelligence does not comment publicly on specific intelligence matters,” Col. Day said. “However, in the interest of transparency during this current public health crisis, we can confirm that media reporting about the existence/release of a National Center for Medical Intelligence Coronavirus-related product/assessment in November of 2019 is not correct. No such NCMI product exists.”

CBS

CBS News said an “an editing mistake” led to the network airing footage of an Italian hospital during a segment on New York’s coronavirus crisis in a statement to the Daily Caller on Monday.

“CBS This Morning” discussed Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s allegation that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) only gave the state 400 ventilators when they needed 30,000 on March 25. The network aired footage of a crowded Italian hospital room that was reported by Sky News on March 22 during a segment on hospitals in the country.

CNN


There are dozen — hundreds — of examples which long precede the headline dominance of the Wuhan Plague. But ADD is much a more virulent virus, if not as deadly. Usually.

Many of you are still oblivious to this pattern, but now you have a lot more time to pay attention. Seize that time.

Just trying to assist you for the next Big Media “mistake.”

Happy Passover and Happy Resurrection Day!

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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For lack of all things, the Navy

From military.com

I wrote about the CAPT Crozier/SECNAV Modly affair last week, and couldn’t have been more wrong. I was disgusted to get information from others that pointed to a lack of a plan and a lack of care by many in the chain of command for the well being of the Sailors aboard THEODORE ROOSEVELT. What should have been a good news story of the Navy tackling the COVID-19 virus turned into a complete shit show, resulting in Acting SECNAV Modly resigning, a lot of hurt feelings on all sides, and a huge loss in confidence in senior Navy leadership. The only good thing we got out of it was no more “Vector” emails. Despite tons of good news stories for the Navy right now, especially the USNS COMFORT and USNS MERCY, the Navy headlines will be more bad than good.

So yes, I got it wrong. I was fooled by a good media performance early on, then watched everything descend into chaos. I do hope, if CAPT Crozier is found innocent, they put him back in charge.

Going forward, our Navy is in trouble in terms of leadership. To start with the situation, we have a Navy too small for what we ask of it. We’ve killed the Navy’s one saving point, mobility, by demanding presence per a Global Force Management schedule that doesn’t take ship maintenance into account. Yet we pay an astronomical amount of money for the Navy we have, mainly because our shipyards can’t produce a ship on budget or on time. Worse still, while the Army and Air Force had free reign of Overseas Contingency money, and a chance to recapitalize hardware, Navy still has old ships that are increasing in maintenance cost.

We need a strong SECNAV to get the Navy bureaucracy back on track, and yet to Congress, the Navy is somewhere on the bottom tier right now. Nobody cares enough to approve the President’s SECNAV choice, or to suggest someone else. Nobody cares enough to either build more ships or demand we scale back our overseas commitments. So this puts us lacking equipment and leadership.

But soon it’ll be worse, because we’ll be lacking people. When we put the Blended Retirement System in place, it was to make the system more “fair,” which for Congress means “cost less money.” The negative effect is that we’ll need more recruiting more often, because more people will leave earlier. Since it started in 2018, you’ll start seeing drastic changes in 2023 as Sailors that entered in 2018 leave in greater-than-anticipated numbers. For officers, who already have large incentives to leave after their 5 year initial contract, we’ll either have to throw huge bonuses at them to stay or live with gaps, keeping in mind in many cases, we’re already maxing out bonuses in many cases. If you’re an O-3 in 2023, would you stay in a Navy full of old ships, a declining retirement system and leaders that set poor standards, or would you jump ship for a civilian job?

The Navy’s approaching a crisis point. We’ll soon be lacking in equipment, leadership and people. Without some drastic rudder, the Navy will struggle to weather the upcoming storms.

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.