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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #350 on: March 07, 2013, 04:09:42 PM »

BD, please post this in the Legal Issues in the War with Islamic Fascism thread as well.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #351 on: March 13, 2013, 01:08:48 AM »


Summary
 


Alex Wong/Getty Images
 
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at a Newport News Shipbuilding facility in Virginia on Feb. 26



Sequestration, the automatic spending reductions scheduled to take effect March 1, will affect the U.S. military's ability to project force around the world. The current continuing resolution that Congress is using to fund the entire government until March 27 has already affected U.S. forces. The longer these funding cuts continue, the more degradation the U.S. military will incur, with longer-lasting effects.
 


Analysis
 
Although Stratfor typically does not examine domestic U.S. issues, this one is geopolitically significant. The U.S. military, and particularly the Navy, is the most powerful force projection instrument in the world. When the sequester takes effect, it will immediately reduce military spending by 8 percent, with more than $500 billion in cuts to defense spending over 10 years divided equally among the military branches. The continuing resolution is already affecting the military since it has locked the military budget into 2011 spending levels and prevented spending increases or reallocations among various budgets. On March 27, Congress will have to have a new budget in place, extend the continuing resolution or force a government shutdown; the most likely decision will be to maintain the continuing resolution.
 
It is not the overall amount of the reductions that is damaging, necessarily; it is the way in which the cuts will be implemented. The across-the-board cuts required by the sequestration coupled with the limits set by the continuing resolution are constraining budget planners' options in how to absorb the spending reductions and thus are damaging all the military branches, programs, training, deployments and procurement.
 
Funding Cuts and Force Readiness
 
Just the threat of continued budget reductions has had an immediate effect on the military's readiness. The Navy decided not to deploy a second carrier to the Persian Gulf, backing down from its standard of two carriers in the region. Instead, the second carrier will serve in a surge capacity for the immediate future. The other branches have extended the deployments of units already in theaters and delayed others from rotating in as replacements since it is relatively less expensive to have units stay in place than move them and their equipment intercontinentally.
 
Maintenance budgets across the forces have been reduced or suspended in anticipation of cuts. Training of all non-deploying forces who are not critical to the national strategic forces is also being heavily curtailed. These options were chosen because they are immediate cost-saving measures that can be reversed quickly as opposed to the big-budget procurement programs, in which changes can cause delays for years. In many cases, the Department of Defense would have to pay massive fines for withdrawing from binding contracts, and renegotiations are often very costly. The Defense Department hopes that the cuts will be short-lived, but the longer the spending constraints continue, the more the military's platforms and personnel units degrade in readiness.
 
The medium- to long-term effects can be even more serious. Any given military platform, from a Stryker armored vehicle to an aircraft carrier, requires a lot of money in order to be ready for use at any time at its intended level of performance. These platforms require consistent use to maintain a certain readiness level because machines cannot sit idle for months to years and then operate effectively, if at all, especially if called on for immediate action. Moreover, the people that operate this equipment need to maintain their working knowledge and operational skill through continued use. This use causes wear and tear on the platform and requires consistent maintenance. All of this is necessary just to maintain the status quo. In the end, there must be a balance between a platform's readiness level and the amount of funding required for operations and maintenance, but if the money is no longer available there is no choice but to reduce readiness.
 
Also, upgrades are needed so platforms can stay up to date and useable within the system the military is using to move, shoot and communicate. This is a constant cycle that, when interrupted, has very long-lasting consequences. For example, the Navy has said it is considering suspending operations of four of its nine carrier air wings while shutting down four of its carriers in various stages of the operations and maintenance process. This would essentially give the United States one carrier deployed with one on call for years. This will be sufficient if the world remains relatively quiet, but one large emergency or multiple small ones would leave the United States able to project limited force compared to previous levels.
 
In the longer term, procurement programs for new equipment will either be delayed or cut altogether. This will put more pressure on existing platforms, requiring them to operate past their intended life spans, and will preclude or delay the introduction of better abilities into the military. Procurement cycles are very slow and take decades to implement; for instance, the Navy that the United States wants to have in 20 years is being planned now. An extreme example of the damage that a military force can incur because of a lack of procurement, operations, maintenance and upgrades is the current state of the Russian military. Russian forces still feel the effects of the Soviet Union's collapse and the subsequent decade of neglect.
 
A Smaller Presence Around the World
 
The U.S. military has a global presence, and sequestration would have appreciable effects on this in certain areas. Potentially, the hardest hit region will be the Pacific, which has been the focus of the United States' new strategy. If the United States wants to continue pivoting its focus toward the Pacific, the military would have to draw more resources than originally planned. No specific mention has been made of changing the U.S. military footprint in Japan, other than possibly curtailing combat air patrols, and U.S. forces are already consolidating their presence in South Korea to fewer bases south of Seoul and diminishing their role in relation to the South Korean military. The Navy's reduction in ship deployments to the region will just reinforce the current trend.
 
The U.S. military's footprint is being reduced in a few other areas. The combat zone in Afghanistan has 66,000 troops, with 34,000 scheduled to come home by the end of the year. All but around 8,000 will return home by the end of 2014. The 5th Fleet headquartered in Bahrain is being affected by the Navy's decision to have only one carrier in the Persian Gulf. Europe is seeing a reduction from four brigade combat teams to two, which was already planned and is another reinforced trend. The U.S. ground presence in Africa and South America should be relatively unchanged, since these predominantly involve special operations forces -- the kind of deployment that is already being emphasized over larger conventional forces.
 
The single biggest capability gap that will develop will be the U.S. military's surge capacity. If the Syria-Iraq-Lebanon corridor were to become more unstable, the United States will not be able to respond with the same force structure it had in the past. The U.S. military can still shift its assets to different regions to attain its strategic goals, but those assets will come from a smaller resource pool, and shifting them will lessen the presence in some other region. The military's ability to use one of its softer political tools -- joint military exercises -- will also be at risk.
 
Reduced Relative Dominance
 
This is not to say that the U.S. military will be wrecked immediately or that its condition is anywhere near that of the Russian military in the 1990s. A military's effectiveness is measured against its potential opponents, and the United States has enjoyed a large gap for decades. However, if a military is not growing in capabilities and other militaries or groups are, then its relative power is decreasing. This means that after sequestration is implemented or the continuing resolution is maintained, the U.S. military will remain dominant for years to come, but not as dominant as it has been relative to other forces.
 
There are many ways the effects of funding cuts can be mitigated. Congress can continue to delay addressing budget issues and the military's concerns indefinitely, or it can make some changes, such as allowing the Department of Defense more discretion in how it implements these cuts. However, the budget cuts are already having preliminary effects, and the longer the cuts continue, the greater the potential for degradation of the U.S. military's force projection capabilities. Funding cuts are not necessarily abnormal for the United States while winding down into a postwar stance. Historically, the pattern has been a reduction in spending and retrenchment of a large volume of forces from abroad. However, Pentagon planners typically go into a postwar period with the stated goal of not damaging the force through these cuts and reductions.


Read more: U.S.: What the Sequester Will Do to the Military | Stratfor
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bigdog
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« Reply #352 on: March 13, 2013, 07:54:56 PM »

Description from the author:

"My report on US defense strategy and budget during a period of limited means, i.e. how to maintain sufficient military power to deter the Chinese from acting a fool while also reducing the defense budget."

http://nsnetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Reshaping-Pentagon-Spending-and-Capabilities_Future-Priorities_FINAL-0313132.pdf
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bigdog
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« Reply #353 on: March 13, 2013, 08:52:20 PM »

http://rt.com/usa/climate-change-threat-locklear-225/

From the article:

The head of the US Navy’s Pacific fleet has declared climate change as the biggest long-term security threat in the region. Anticipating severe typhoons and rising sea levels that will displace nations, he emphasized a weather crisis few had foreseen.
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G M
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« Reply #354 on: March 13, 2013, 09:30:54 PM »

http://rt.com/usa/climate-change-threat-locklear-225/

From the article:

The head of the US Navy’s Pacific fleet has declared climate change as the biggest long-term security threat in the region. Anticipating severe typhoons and rising sea levels that will displace nations, he emphasized a weather crisis few had foreseen.


And we wonder why the Chinese laugh at us.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #355 on: March 14, 2013, 11:30:12 AM »

In Obama's third term maybe he will look to a Keystone pipeline protestor to head the Pacific fleet, or someone with a meteorology or IPCC background instead of military.

Admiral Locklear: “It is not just about China and everybody else, because there are disputes between other partners down there, too. Sometimes I think the Chinese get handled a little too roughly on this.”

I wonder if our friends and allies in the region agree with him:
http://www.scmp.com/news/asia/article/1096687/china-naval-build-major-concern-india
http://chinadailymail.com/2013/01/05/chinese-navy-buildup-no-threat-to-us-but-a-possible-threat-to-japan/
http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/strengthening-of-chinese-navy-sparks-worries-in-region-and-beyond-a-855622.html
http://thediplomat.com/2010/09/29/china%E2%80%99s-naval-build-up-not-over/
http://www.wantchinatimes.com/news-subclass-cnt.aspx?id=20130209000029&cid=1703
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #356 on: March 18, 2013, 06:50:13 PM »

http://www.michaelyon-online.com/seven-myths-about-women-in-combat.htm

Myth #1 – “It’s about women in combat.”
 
No, it’s not. Women are already in combat, and are serving well and professionally. The issue should be more clearly entitled, “Women in the infantry.” And this is a decidedly different proposition.
 
Myth #2 – “Combat has changed” (often accompanied by “There are no front lines anymore”).
 
This convenient misconception requires several counters. First, any serious study of military history will reveal numerous historical examples about how successive generations (over millennia) believed that warfare had changed forever, only to find that technology may change platforms, but not its harsh essence. To hope that conflicts over the last 20 years are models of a new, antiseptic form of warfare is delusional.

The second point is that the enemy gets a vote – time, place, and style. For example, war on the Korean Peninsula would be a brutal, costly, no-holds-barred nightmare of mayhem in close combat with casualties in a week that could surpass the annual total of recent conflict.
 
The final point on this myth reinforces the Korea example and it bears examination — Fallujah, Iraq in 2004, where warfare was reduced to a horrific, costly, and exhausting scrap in a destroyed city between two foes that fought to the death.
 
The standard for ground combat unit composition should be whether social experimentation would have amplified our opportunity for success in that crucible, or diminished it. We gamble with our future security when we set standards for warfare based on the best case, instead of the harshest one.
 
Myth #3 – “If they pass the physical standards, why not?”
 
Physical standards are important, but not nearly all of the story. Napoleon – “The moral (spirit) is to the physical as three is to one.”
 
Unit cohesion is the essence of combat power, and while it may be convenient to dismiss human nature for political expediency, the facts are that sexual dynamics will exist and can affect morale. That may be manageable in other environments, but not in close combat.
 
Any study of sexual harassment statistics in this age cohort – in the military, academia, or the civilian workplace — are evidence enough that despite best efforts to by sincere leaders to control the issue, human instincts remain strong. Perceptions of favoritism or harassment will be corrosive, and cohesion will be the victim.
 
Myth #4 – “Standards won’t be lowered.”
 
This is the cruelest myth of all. The statements of the current chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are telling.
 
They essentially declare “guilty until proven innocent” on anyone attempting to maintain the standards which produced the finest fighting force in the world. There are already accommodations (note that unit cohesion won’t be a metric), there will be many more, and we will pay a bloody price for it someday.
 
Pity the truthful leader who attempts to hold to standards based on realistic combat factors, and tells truth to power. Most won’t, and the others won’t survive.
 
Myth #5 – “Opening the infantry will provide a better pathway to senior rank for the talented women.”
 
Not so. What will happen is that we will take very talented females with unlimited potential and change their peer norm when we inject them into the infantry.
 
Those who might meet the infantry physical standard will find that their peers are expected, as leaders, to far exceed it (and most of their subordinates will, as well).
 
So instead of advancing to a level appropriate to their potential, they may well be left out.
 
Myth #6 – “It’s a civil rights issue, much like the integration of the armed forces and allowing gays to serve openly.”
 
Those who parrot this either hope to scare honest and frank discussion, or confuse national security with utopian ideas.
 
In the process, they demean initiatives that were to provide equally skilled individuals the opportunity to contribute equally. In each of the other issues, lowered standards were not the consequence.
 
Myth #7 – “It’s just fair.”
 
Allow me two points.
 
First, this is ground warfare we’re discussing, so realism is important.
 
“Fair” is not part of the direct ground combat lexicon.
 
Direct ground combat, such as experienced in the frozen tundra of Korea, the rubble of Stalingrad, or the endless 30-day jungle patrols against a grim foe in Viet Nam, is the harshest meritocracy — with the greatest consequences — there is.
 
And psychology in warfare is germane – the force that is respected (and, yes, feared) has a distinct advantage.
 
Will women in our infantry enhance a psychological advantage, or hinder it?
 
Second, if it’s about fairness, why do women get a choice of whether to serve in the infantry (when men do not), and why aren’t they required to register for the draft (as men are)?
 
It may be that we live in a society in which honest discussion of this issue, relying on facts instead of volume, is not possible. If so, our national security will fall victim to hope instead of reality. And myths be damned.
 
Gregory S. Newbold served 32 years as a Marine infantryman, commanding units from platoon to the 1st Marine Division. His final assignment before retiring in 2002 was as director of operations for the Pentagon’s Joint Staff.
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bigdog
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« Reply #357 on: March 20, 2013, 01:40:29 PM »

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/03/19/this_is_not_the_drone_debate_were_looking_for?print=yes&hidecomments=yes&page=full

From the article:

During his 13-hour filibuster, Senator Rand Paul repeatedly asked if President Obama believed he had the constitutional authority to target U.S. citizens within the United States. He specifically mentioned the hypothetical scenario in which Jane Fonda, Kent State protestors, or someone in a café (mentioned 34 times!) could be targeted under the Obama administration's legal framework. While Paul raised several important questions about targeted killings, his focus on such implausible examples obscured the full scope of the drone wars. Of the 3,500 to 4,700 victims, only four were U.S. citizens -- and only one was targeted intentionally. In short, the longest congressional discussion held on targeted killings concentrated on one one-thousandth of the issue.
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bigdog
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« Reply #358 on: March 20, 2013, 01:41:32 PM »

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/03/19/silicon_iron_and_shadow?print=yes&hidecomments=yes&page=full

From the article:

The wars of the 21st century will be dominated by three overlapping types of conflict: Wars of Silicon, Wars of Iron, and Wars in the Shadows. The United States must design a new readiness and investment strategy in order to effectively deal with all three. Yet today it continues to pour scarce resources chiefly into its sphere of long-held dominance -- Wars of Iron. This is a potentially disastrous mistake, but one that can be corrected if we act now.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #359 on: March 20, 2013, 04:53:17 PM »

Not the drone debate:

I understood Paul to be focusing on the area where the Obama administration is clearly out of line.  Good for him.

Silicon, Iron, and Shadow:

Agreed.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #360 on: March 23, 2013, 11:48:34 AM »

http://www.geek.com/articles/geek-cetera/micro-drones-are-real-heres-the-horror-inducing-video-to-prove-it-20130220/
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bigdog
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« Reply #361 on: March 27, 2013, 11:27:35 AM »

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/03/26/can_the_marines_survive?print=yes&hidecomments=yes&page=full

From the article:

The Marines are a door-kicking service, designed to breach enemy territory and establish an entry point for the Army's strategic land capability. But the U.S. military's development of unmanned aircraft, combined with stealth technology and unmatched ISR capability, makes it almost impossible for an enemy today to significantly impede the landing of U.S. forces on a beach or at a port. Forcible entry no longer requires landing forces -- it takes precision strikes, coordinated by special operations forces as needed. But if the door is going to be kicked in by a cruise missile, an unmanned aircraft, or other platform delivering precision munitions, why does the Marine Corps insist on maintaining such a large amphibious forcible entry capability based around the same Marine who stormed ashore at Tarawa? Because to argue that the United States does not need a forcible-entry force would be to question the very necessity of having a Marine Corps. Unfortunately, that is the question the Corps must now answer.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #362 on: April 05, 2013, 10:27:30 AM »

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323646604578400640274392064.html?mod=politics_newsreel
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #363 on: April 05, 2013, 11:07:34 AM »

second post of the morning

Narratives of war
Michael Howard

Emile Simpson
WAR FROM THE GROUND UP
Twenty-first-century combat as politics
285pp. Hurst. £25.
978 1 84904 255 0

US: Columbia University Press. $32.50.
978 0 231 70406 9
Published: 3 April 2013


Some four decades ago, the Times Literary Supplement sent me a book to review by a young lecturer at Sandhurst entitled The Face of Battle. It impressed me so much that I described it as “one of the best half-dozen books on warfare to have appeared since the Second World War”. I wondered at the time if I had made a total fool of myself, but I need not have worried. The author, the late Sir John Keegan, proved to be one of the greatest military historians of his generation. It would be rash to put my money on such a dark horse again, but I shall. Emile Simpson’s War From the Ground Up is a work of such importance that it should be compulsory reading at every level in the military; from the most recently enlisted cadet to the Chief of the Defence Staff and, even more important, the members of the National Security Council who guide him.

Emile Simpson does not presume to show us how to conduct war, but he tells us how to think about it. He saw service in Afghanistan as a young officer in the Gurkhas, and his thinking is solidly rooted in that experience. Like Clausewitz 200 years earlier, Simpson found himself caught up in a campaign for whose conduct nothing in his training had prepared him; and like Clausewitz he realized that to understand why this was so he had to analyse the whole nature of war, from the top down as well as from the ground up. Afghanistan, he concluded, was only an extreme example of the transformation that war has undergone during his lifetime; and that itself is due to the transformation of the societies that fight it.

Clausewitz saw that the limited wars of the eighteenth century on which he had been brought up had been transformed into the total wars of the Napoleonic era – and all subsequent eras – not by any change in the nature of weaponry, but by the enlistment of “the people”; people whose emotions would distort the rational calculations of governments and the professional expertise of the military, but could never again be left out of account. Now there has been a further change. The paradigm (still largely accepted by Clausewitz) of “bipolar” wars fought between discrete states enjoying the support of their peoples has now been shattered by globalization. Popular support can no longer be taken for granted. “The people” are no longer homogeneous and the enemy is no longer a single entity. Further, “the enemy” is no longer the only actor to be taken into account. The information revolution means that every aspect, every incident of the conflict can be instantly broadcast throughout the world in width and in depth, and received by anyone with access to the internet; including the men in foxholes fighting it.

All this is common knowledge. It has been treated in dozens of studies based on the unhappy experiences of Iraq and Afghanistan, and has been absorbed into the teaching of staff colleges on both sides of the Atlantic and elsewhere. But no one to the best of my knowledge has previously propounded a theory that explains so clearly the full implications of this transformation, and provides a guide to strategic thinking for the future. Simpson follows Clausewitz in seeing war as “a continuation of politics with an admixture of other means”, but he divides wars into two categories: not the “total” and “limited” wars of Clausewitzian analysis, but those fought “to establish military conditions for a political solution” and those that “directly seek political, as opposed to military, outcomes”. The first are the traditional bipolar conflicts in which all operations are directed to defeating the enemy armed forces and compelling his government to accept our political terms. The second – those in which the British armed forces have been largely engaged for the past half-century – are those where operations themselves are intended to create the necessary political conditions, usually through what are known as counterinsurgency techniques. In the former, strategy, though still directed to an ultimate political objective, is largely driven by the operational needs of “bi-polar” warfare which anyhow come naturally to those engaged in battle. (“For a protagonist to understand combat as anything other than an intensely polarised confrontation”, remarks Simpson with splendid understatement, “is very difficult.”) But in the latter, operations are themselves political tools, used to undermine the adversary, deprive him of political support and if possible to convert him. The people firing on you today may be vital associates tomorrow. But in both, the ultimate object of combat is to convey a message; and to ensure that the message is understood, one has to understand the audience for which it is intended.

In traditional “bipolar” war between nation states, the ultimate “audience” was the enemy population, which was assumed to be united behind their government and armed forces and therefore only likely to listen to reason once the latter had been defeated – or clearly would be defeated if they were brought to battle. In contemporary conflicts the audience is far more diverse. The adversary is no longer homogeneous, one’s own people may be puzzled and divided, and a significant element in the audience will be spread throughout the world.

Under such circumstances a military operation intended to convey a message to one audience may mean something quite different to another. Simpson shows how this was so in Afghanistan, where the audience was kaleidoscopic, but one can see its effect in all contemporary operations. The operations of the United States and her allies in the Middle East have been intended to convey to their own peoples and to the international community that they intend to liberate the indigenous populations from their oppressive regimes and bring to them the blessings of “freedom” as the West understands it. But to many on the receiving end (especially those who saw their homes destroyed and their families slaughtered), and to observers elsewhere in the world, it appeared as a neo-imperialist attempt to impose Western hegemony. More recently, the Israeli bombardment of Gaza was intended to show, both to Hamas and to the Israeli electorate, that the Israeli people would tolerate no further aggression against their own population; but to others in the Arab world it has been seen as further evidence that Israel is a cruel and implacable enemy with whom no peace is possible short of her total destruction.

None of this is new or surprising. No responsible government now uses armed force without calculating the global impact of doing so; deciding, that is, which is “the strategic audience”. But in addressing a strategic audience, Simpson explains, a “strategic narrative” is all-important. This is a public explanation of why one is at war at all, and how the military operations are devised to serve the strategy that will lead to the desired political outcome. Without such a narrative, no government can command the support of its people, nor, indeed, ensure effective planning by its armed forces – to say nothing of gaining the sympathy of “the strategic audience” beyond its own frontiers. The narrative must not only be persuasive in rational terms. It also needs drama to appeal to the emotions. Above all, it needs an ethical foundation. Not only one’s own people, but the wider “strategic audience” must believe that one is fighting a “good” war. The genius of Winston Churchill in 1940 was to devise a strategic narrative that not only inspired his own people, but enlisted the support of the United States: indeed, most of British military operations in the early years of the war were planned with an eye on that strategic audience. The great shortcoming of Hitler’s strategy was his failure to create a strategic narrative that appealed to anyone apart from his own people – and a rapidly decreasing number of them.

It is impossible to summarize Emile Simpson’s ideas without distorting them. His own style is so muscular and aphoristic that he can concentrate complex arguments into memorable sentences that will have a life of their own. His familiarity with the work of Aristotle and the history of the English Reformation enables him to explain the requirements of a strategic narrative as effectively as his experiences in Afghanistan illuminate his understanding of the relationship between operational requirements and political objectives. In short (and here I shall really go overboard) War From the Ground Up deserves to be seen as a coda to Clausewitz’s On War. But it has the advantage of being considerably shorter.

Michael Howard’s books include Strategic Deception in the Second World War and A Short History of the First World War. He is the co-editor and translator of Clausewitz On War.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #364 on: April 05, 2013, 03:45:20 PM »


From the Netherlands: US 82nd Airborne Unwelcome
 
(Given the history of the 82nd in Holland, this is strange news.)
 
"Veterans and representatives of the 82d Airborne Division are not welcome at the royal inauguration of King Alexander and Queen Maxima on April 30."
 
"For their heroic fighting during operation market garden 1944 the 82d Airborne Division was awarded the Dutch Military Order of William(Medal of Honor). LTC James "Maggie" Megellas the most decorated officer in the history of the 82d Airborne Division who in 1945 was appointed by general James Gavin to receive the award on behalf on the division."
 
"It's unbelievable that soldiers who fought and died for the liberation and democracy of the Netherlands are treated this way by the Dutch government who is organizing this."
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #365 on: April 09, 2013, 08:22:55 AM »

This could belong in the China-China Sea thread, but I place it here for the military science dimension:

Summary

China is rapidly expanding its research into and production, deployments and sales of unmanned aerial vehicles, colloquially known as drones. The primary role of this growing program is to help Beijing control and monitor disputed territories in the Asia-Pacific region.

Analysis
 
Beijing has decided to prioritize its drone program for security and economic reasons. In the security sphere, these machines are very useful for patrolling the East and South China seas, allowing Beijing to maintain a presence in the disputed waters, and play a role in China's anti-access/area denial strategy.
 
China is developing multiple types of drones, ranging from high-altitude, long-endurance designs like the U.S. Global Hawk to small, hand-launched designs similar to the U.S. Raven. Typically, new Chinese designs are revealed at the Zhuhai Airshow. Chinese companies also have used Zhuhai to demonstrate drones with increased stealth capabilities.
 
China's equivalent to a Global Hawk, the Soar Eagle, was introduced at Zhuhai in 2006. China already has drones that are comparable to the U.S. Predator and Reaper known as the Yilong/Wing Loong, or "Pterodactyl," and the CH-4. Like the United States, China also has many smaller drones, the most common being the ASN-15.
 
The United States and Israel are currently the leaders in this technology. While China's drones are not as advanced, tested or capable of the same ranges, they do allow Beijing to monitor its borders and waters more effectively due to extended loiter time. They also help China deter countries from intervening in the area by helping detect and target potential violators of the area they are trying to deny. This is at the heart of the anti-access/area denial strategy and China's motivation for devoting resources to the program. Beijing has plans to build 11 coastal drone bases by 2015 to increase its ability to survey the region for possible intrusions or threats.
 
Beijing's increased deployment of drones near the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands has impacted Sino-Japanese relations, prompting Tokyo to expand its own program. Japan is investigating building its own drones and purchasing some from the United States, which Tokyo insists will be unarmed. Reports say the Japanese Defense Ministry hopes to introduce Global Hawks near the disputed islands by 2015 in an attempt to counter Beijing's increasingly assertive naval activity in the area.
 
Economically, more Chinese drones mean more export opportunities for Beijing. According to some reports, Chinese drones similar to U.S. models are cheaper. China has exported several types to countries including Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates, although Pakistan has also purchased some from the United States. China's best potential markets are countries to which the United States will not sell drones, though such sales would be of concern to Washington -- especially because China has started to sell armed unmanned aircraft. At present, however, the primary role of China's growing program is still to help Beijing monitor territorial waters and control disputed territories in the Asia-Pacific region.


Read more: China's Expanding Drone Program | Stratfor

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #366 on: April 11, 2013, 11:55:20 AM »

http://pjmedia.com/blog/obamas-strategic-guidance-calls-for-more-defense-gutting/?singlepage=true
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #367 on: April 13, 2013, 09:03:09 AM »

I see that Baraq's budget intends to decrease military spending to less than 3% of GDP.  angry angry angry  This percentage is the lowest it will have been since before WW2. cry cry cry
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« Reply #368 on: April 13, 2013, 08:27:24 PM »

I see that Baraq's budget intends to decrease military spending to less than 3% of GDP.  angry angry angry  This percentage is the lowest it will have been since before WW2. cry cry cry

Hey, his bows are free! Isn't it great to live in this new era of peace and prosperity?
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« Reply #369 on: April 14, 2013, 11:24:19 AM »



http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/14/us/militarys-top-officers-face-review-of-their-character.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20130414
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« Reply #370 on: May 08, 2013, 06:13:56 PM »

Women Warriors Need Their Own Combat Units
Female-only platoons might be good first step amid worries about unit cohesion.
By BEN LUXENBERG

Writing about the Amazons in "The Iliad," Homer refers to them as antianeirai or "those who fight like men." Legend says they were a tribe of fierce warrior-women who struck fear into the hearts of their enemies and who would not suffer men in their company, let alone trust men to fight alongside them. Is it time for the U.S. military to test that strategy?

As American forces were opened to women in recent decades, a line was drawn in 1994 with a rule barring them from infantry and other combat units. In January, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta formally lifted the rule. He gave the military services three years to seek exemptions if they wanted to keep some positions off-limits to women.

The military has begun researching how best to integrate women into these units. And as with any new initiative, there have been some hiccups. In late March, two female Marine Corps officers failed to complete the Corps' Infantry Officer Course, as did the two pioneering women who last year became the first to attempt the grueling course.

While the branches research the initiative further, many male soldiers and Marines remain vehemently opposed to the integration. Many cite physical and physiological challenges that come with serving in the infantry. Carrying full combat loads, which often exceed 100 pounds, for 16 hours a day for an entire deployment wears down the hardiest men and will do worse damage to women.

Others believe that the presence of women will cause a rift in the traditional male bonding of combat-arms units and damage the cohesion that is a key element in the success of any battlefield unit. Many worry that men will have to pick up the slack if women cannot perform at the same level—or that floundering women will endanger themselves and their comrades.

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Female Marine recruits are disciplined with some unscheduled physical training in the sand pit outside their barracks during boot camp at MCRD Parris Island, South Carolina in February.

Yet the tides of history seem to be turning against these sentiments and the questions of whether women can handle sustained combat operations. The issue is often framed now in terms of patriotism and human rights.

The service branches say that endurance and other standards won't be lowered, and perhaps there will be special training programs to prepare women who wish to become infantry. Yet there may be a better way to bring them into combat units—one that could serve as a test and steppingstone toward tighter integration.

In professional sports and in the Olympics, men and women perform separately. In boot camp and officer-candidate schools—the entry points for all service members—men and women also are separated, with placement into different platoons within the same company.

So why not mirror what society at large and the military already do: put men and women into their own teams, with female infantry platoons on one side and male platoons on the other?

An all-female infantry platoon would not suffer from many of the problems that detractors cite, such as a lack of unit cohesion caused by mixing the sexes. Like the Amazons, female-only platoons could build their own brand of cohesion, which may prove superior to the men's. The arrangement would also avoid putting male soldiers in the position of feeling obliged to compensate for an underperforming female.

While the all-female platoon solution would not compensate for physical and physiological differences and how they affect performance on the battlefield, it would be a good way to test that line of argument. If the female platoons showed that their combat performance equaled that of men, then the separated-platoon arrangement would merely be a step on the road to full integration. If the female platoons underperformed, then the idea of women in the infantry might need to be scrapped or the women-only platoons would be the final compromise, with their deployment based on battlefield needs.

A staged approach rather than rushing headlong into full integration in combat units may be the best approach. Once the right (or privilege) to serve in any military specialty is passed to women, it would be virtually impossible to change course, no matter the consequence or effect on combat effectiveness.

But who knows? Women running toward the sound of the guns may very well prefer fighting alongside other women—and their effectiveness may surprise even the most pessimistic. The Amazons certainly made an impression on the Greeks.

Mr. Luxenberg is a first lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps. His views do not represent those of the Defense Department or the Corps.
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« Reply #371 on: May 13, 2013, 10:30:24 AM »

False reports outpace sex assaults in the military
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/may/12/false-reports-outpace-sex-assaults-in-the-military/?page=all#pagebreak
By Rowan Scarborough
The Washington Times
Sunday, May 12, 2013



False complaints of sexual abuse in the military are rising at a faster rate than overall reports of sexual assault, a trend that could harm combat readiness, analysts say.

Virtually all media attention on a Pentagon report last week focused on an increase in service members’ claims of sexual abuse in an anonymous survey, but unmentioned were statistics showing that a significant percentage of such actually investigated cases were baseless.

From 2009 to 2012, the number of sexual abuse reports rose from 3,244 to 3,374 — a 4 percent increase.

During the same period, the number of what the Pentagon calls “unfounded allegations” based on completed investigations of those reports rose from 331 to 444 — a 35 percent increase.

In 2012, there were 2,661 completed investigations, meaning that the 444 false complaints accounted for about 17 percent of all closed cases last year. False reports accounted for about 13 percent of closed cases in 2009.

Robert Maginnis, a retired Army officer and analyst at the Family Research Council, is writing a book for Regnery Publishing Inc. about the Pentagon’s push to put women in direct ground combat in the infantry, armor and special operations.

“In the course of conducting interviews with commanders, I heard time and again complaints about female service members making sex-related allegations which proved unfounded,” Mr. Maginnis said. “Not only do some women abuse the truth, but it also robs their commanders from more important, mission-related tasks.

“Female service members told me that some women invite problems which lead men on and then result in advances the woman can’t turn off. Too often, such female culpability leads to allegations of sexual contact, assault and then the women feign innocence.”

The annual Pentagon report on sexual assault noted the numbers of false complaints but included no analysis. The Pentagon did not respond to a request for comment.

Elaine Donnelly, who runs the Center for Military Readiness, said the Pentagon's Sexual Assault Response and Prevention Office (SAPRO) is ignoring the problem of false reports.

“Unsubstantiated accusations remain a significant problem, but the SAPRO is doing nothing about it,” Mrs. Donnelly said. “I went through both volumes and found no evidence of concern about the significant 17 percent of ‘unfounded accusations.’ Something should be done to reduce the numbers of false accusations, the first step being an admission that the problem exists.”

The number of sex abuse reports has risen from 1,700 a decade ago to 3,374 last year.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have pushed male and female personnel into close living conditions at a sprawling network of bases.

The existence of unwanted and wanted sexual contact in the war zone is not disputed.

For example, a group of Army physicians in 2010 studied one brigade combat team deployed to Iraq in 2007.

The physicians’ study, published in the Military Medicine journal, examined the number of soldiers who sustained disease or noncombat injuries. Of 4,122 soldiers, including 325 women in support roles, 1,324 had diseases or injuries that forced them to miss time or be evacuated.

“Females, compared with males, had a significantly increased incident-rate ratio for becoming a [disease or noncombat] casualty,” the doctors found.

Of 47 female soldiers evacuated from the brigade and sent home, 35 — or 74 percent — were for “pregnancy-related issues.”

Even before the wars, the Pentagon removed barriers across the board to women and took action to mix the sexes more closely. Men and women share dorms and barracks in boot camp and at the service academies, and deploy in close quarters on ships.

The integration promises to become even more intimate in coming years as the Pentagon places women into training for direct ground combat jobs.

“The latest SAPRO report confirms that problems of sexual assault against both men and women are getting worse, not better,” Mrs. Donnelly said. “Pentagon leaders nevertheless are planning to extend these problems into the combat arms. Congress and the Pentagon first must do no harm. At a minimum, the Obama administration must not be allowed to extend complicated issues of sexual assault, which have increased by 129 percent since 2004, into direct ground combat infantry battalions.”

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel last week announced several steps to eliminate assaults, including ordering commanders to conduct “visual inspections” of all workplaces to ensure they are “free from materials that create a degrading or offensive work environment.”

The Air Force completed such an inspection last year after a female service member complained of persistent harassment.

In January, the Air Force reported the “health and welfare” inspection results:

“The Air Force found 631 instances of pornography (magazines, calendars, pictures, videos that intentionally displayed nudity or depicted acts of sexual activity); 3,987 instances of unprofessional material (discrimination, professional appearance, items specific to local military history such as patches, coins, heritage rooms, log books, song books, etc.); and 27,598 instances of inappropriate or offensive items (suggestive items, magazines, posters, pictures, calendars, vulgarity, graffiti). In total, 32,216 items were reported. Identified items were documented and either removed or destroyed.”

Said Mr. Hagel: “We need cultural change where every service member is treated with dignity and respect, where all allegations of inappropriate behavior are treated with seriousness, where victims’ privacy is protected, where bystanders are motivated to intervene, and where offenders know that they will be held accountable by strong and effective systems of justice.”

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« Reply #372 on: May 21, 2013, 07:04:16 AM »



http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/may/20/victims-of-sex-assaults-in-military-are-mostly-sil/?page=all#pagebreak
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« Reply #373 on: June 01, 2013, 04:18:18 AM »



http://www.whiteoliphaunt.com/duckofminerva/2013/05/obama-drones-and-the-matter-of-definitions.html
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« Reply #374 on: June 05, 2013, 09:01:45 PM »

http://www.washingtonian.com/projects/admiral/index.html

From the article:

Dorsey never flew a plane for the Navy again. But he began a new line of work, as an intelligence officer. He joined the Navy Reserve and rose through the ranks. And after a succession of increasingly prestigious Navy jobs, the personnel file of one Captain Timothy Dorsey, age 50, came before a promotion-selection board, composed of seven admirals. In a dimly lit room, they scrutinized his record. They saw a blistering report of the shootdown, signed by a Navy captain, practically calling Dorsey a damn robotic idiot. They saw the evidence of what Dorsey had done to that plane and the men inside it. And like the inquisitors 25 years before them, they were at a loss to explain it. But they also decided that he’d done it a long time ago and had overcome it. Not only that—they judged that a young, irrational aviator had grown into one of the finest officers in the Navy.
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« Reply #375 on: June 13, 2013, 06:29:35 AM »

http://www.wnd.com/2013/06/guess-whos-coming-to-military-exercises/
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« Reply #376 on: June 21, 2013, 09:24:29 AM »

WSJ
China's Growing Challenge to U.S. Naval Power
Beijing builds while America's fleet shrinks. No wonder our Western Pacific allies are nervous.
By SETH CROPSEY

On his recent trip to Asia, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel tried to allay fears that the 7% cut to the Pentagon's budget due to the sequester will diminish America's protective influence in the region. Referring to President Obama's pledge to "rebalance" U.S. forces in favor of Asia, Mr. Hagel told reporters that America is carrying forward "every measurement of our commitment to that 'rebalance.' "

He also spoke of U.S. efforts to improve military-to-military relations with China. His aides pointed to plans for increasing the U.S. Marine contingent based in Darwin on Australia's north coast to 1,100 from 250.

The defense secretary's message was unlikely to reassure America's allies in the region. The U.S. Marine contingent in Darwin, even if it reaches its long-term goal of 2,500 personnel, might be useful in a conflict over control of the narrow sea passages (the Strait of Malacca, Sunda Strait and Lombok Strait) through which shipping between Asia and Europe must pass. But the Marines would be of limited use if China directly threatened Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines or Vietnam. Darwin is roughly as far from the northern reaches of the South China Sea as New York is from San Francisco.

China will be participating in U.S.-led naval exercises near Hawaii, part of an effort to improve military relations with China. The exercises include Australia, Canada, South Korea and Japan. That's all well and good, but it is ludicrous to imagine that any of this will moderate Beijing's vaulting ambitions in the Western Pacific. In addition to China's long-standing threat to Taiwan, Beijing has made no secret of its desire for hegemony in the South and East China seas. It already has engaged in provocative incidents over territorial disputes with Japan and the Philippines.

These ambitions are backed by an extensive program of Chinese military modernization. According to a report last month by the U.S. Defense Department, Beijing continues to build up its medium-range and long-distance missile arsenal, antiship cruise missiles, space weapons and military cyberspace capabilities. China is also improving its fighters, building three classes of attack submarines, and has commissioned its first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning. It is, in short, building an advanced system of weaponry capable of striking Asian states from afar.

Facing this growing military might in the Western Pacific is a U.S. fleet less than half the size it was at the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s. The plan to build the 306-ship fleet that the Navy says is necessary to accomplish all its missions rests on assumptions about shipbuilding costs that the Congressional Budget Office and Congressional Research Service agree are unrealistic. The current situation is also troubling. On Tuesday, Rep. Randy Forbes (R., Va.), chairman of the House Armed Services subcommittee on sea power, told a group at Washington's Hudson Institute that "In 2007, the Navy was able to meet about 90% of America's combatant commanders' need [for ships]. This year that figure will fall to 51%."

The growing disparity between Chinese and U.S. military investment will eventually alter the balance of power in the Western Pacific. This shift will likely lead either to military conflict or to tacit American acknowledgment of Chinese dominance. A war would be disastrous, but Chinese dominance would not bode well either: The U.S. ability to shape the international order would end with Chinese supremacy in the most populous and economically vigorous part of the world.

The budgets needed to achieve the Navy's goals were unlikely even before sequestration. The defense budget since 9/11 has averaged 4.1% of GDP. Under the budgets projected by the Obama administration, the figure is projected to drop to 2.5% in less than a decade.

If America's unilateral disarmament occurs and the Pentagon leadership clings to a more or less equal division of dollars among the military services, the U.S. sea power available in the Western Pacific will decline significantly. Alternatively, to maintain strong forces in the Pacific, the U.S. would be forced to abandon its naval presence in such areas of strategic concern as the Caribbean or the Persian Gulf.

Such a shell game is not in the best interest of U.S. strategy. Neither is it in the interest of the international order that America has helped to establish and maintain in the decades since World War II. What ultimately matters for the U.S. and for a stable world order is America's ability to maintain a distributed and powerful presence across the globe.

Yes, the U.S. needs to pay greater attention to the security situation in Asia. But "rebalancing" requires weight, and America is losing this weight. Japan's plan to increase its submarine fleet to 24 from 16 demonstrates that Asia's leaders know it.

Mr. Cropsey is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and the author of "Mayday" (Overlook, 2013). He served as a naval officer from 1985 to 2004 and as deputy undersecretary of the Navy in the Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations.
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« Reply #377 on: June 24, 2013, 11:12:02 AM »

In Debate Over Military Sexual Assault, Men Are Overlooked Victims
Daniel Acker for The New York Times

A scrapbook made by Gregory Helle, who says he was raped by another soldier in Vietnam.
By JAMES DAO
Published: June 23, 2013 151 Comments


Sexual assault has emerged as one of the defining issues for the military this year. Reports of assaults are up, as are questions about whether commanders have taken the problem seriously. Bills to toughen penalties and prosecution have been introduced in Congress.
Video: The Legacy of Tailhook

Retro Report: Military sexual assault is not a new phenomenon. A second look at the Tailhook scandal in 1991 reveals what happened then. And what it all means now.

Richard H. Ruffert in Fort Worth. He said a female boss in an Army reserve unit forced him to have sex with her.


But in a debate that has focused largely on women, this fact is often overlooked: the majority of service members who are sexually assaulted each year are men.

In its latest report on sexual assault, the Pentagon estimated that 26,000 service members experienced unwanted sexual contact in 2012, up from 19,000 in 2010. Of those cases, the Pentagon says, 53 percent involved attacks on men, mostly by other men.

“It’s easy for some people to single out women and say: ‘There’s a small percentage of the force having this problem,’ ” said First Lt. Adam Cohen, who said he was raped by a superior officer. “No one wants to admit this problem affects everyone. Both genders, of all ranks. It’s a cultural problem.”

Though women, who represent about 15 percent of the force, are significantly more likely to be sexually assaulted in the military than men, experts say assaults against men have been vastly underreported. For that reason, the majority of formal complaints of military sexual assault have been filed by women, even though the majority of victims are thought to be men.

“Men don’t acknowledge being victims of sexual assault,” said Dr. Carol O’Brien, the chief of post-traumatic stress disorder programs at the Bay Pines Veterans Affairs Health Care System in Florida, which has a residential treatment program for sexually abused veterans. “Men tend to feel a great deal of shame, embarrassment and fear that others will respond negatively.”

But in recent months, intense efforts on Capitol Hill to curb military sexual assault, and the release of a new documentary about male sexual assault victims in the military, “Justice Denied,” have brought new attention to male victims. Advocates say their plight shows that sexual assault has risen not because there are more women in the ranks but because sexual violence is often tolerated.

“I think telling the story about male victims is the key to changing the culture of the military,” said Anuradha K. Bhagwati, executive director of the Service Women’s Action Network, an advocacy group that has sharply criticized the Pentagon’s handling of sexual assault. “I think it places the onus on the institution when people realize it’s also men who are victims.”

The Department of Defense says it is developing plans to encourage more men to report the crime. “A focus of our prevention efforts over the next several months is specifically geared towards male survivors and will include why male survivors report at much lower rates than female survivors, and determining the unique support and assistance male survivors need,” Cynthia O. Smith, a department spokeswoman, said in a statement.

In interviews, nearly a dozen current and former service members who said they were sexually assaulted in the military described fearing that they would be punished, ignored or ridiculed if they reported the attacks. Most said that before 2011, when the ban on openly gay service members was repealed, they believed they would have been discharged if they admitted having sexual contact — even unwanted contact — with other men.

“Back in 1969, you didn’t dare say a word,” said Gregory Helle, an author who says he was raped in his barracks by another soldier in Vietnam. “They wouldn’t have believed me. Homophobia was big back then.”

Thomas F. Drapac says he was raped on three occasions by higher-ranking enlisted sailors in Norfolk in 1966. He said he had been drinking each time and feared that if he told prosecutors they would assume it was consensual sex. Parts of his story are corroborated in Department of Veterans Affairs records.

“If you made a complaint, then you are gay and you’re out and that’s it,” he said.

==========================

Page 2 of 2)

Mr. Drapac, 66, said that over the coming decades he kept the rapes to himself, combating recurring nightmares and doubts about his sexuality with alcohol and drugs. But he began seeing a Department of Veterans Affairs therapist several years ago, and decided to tell his story recently after seeing accounts of female sexual assault victims.

“The best thing going on right now is that the women’s issue is coming to the fore and you see some mention about male rapes,” he said.

Many sexual assaults on men in the military seem to be a form of violent hazing or bullying, said Roger Canaff, a former New York State prosecutor who helped train prosecutors on the subject of military sexual assault for the Pentagon. “The acts seemed less sexually motivated than humiliation or torture-motivated,” he said.

But such attacks can be deeply traumatizing, causing men to question their sexuality or view themselves as weak. Some said their own families seemed ashamed of them.

“Being a male victim is horrible,” said Theodore James Skovranek II, who said he was sexually hazed in the Army in 2003. Some people told him the attack, in which another soldier shoved his genitals in his face after they had been drinking with friends, was not a big deal. But it made him question his manhood.

“I walked around for a long time thinking: I don’t feel like a man,” said Mr. Skovranek, who left the Army in 2005. “But I don’t feel like a woman either. So there’s just this void.”

Rick Lawson said that while he was in the Army National Guard in Washington in 2003 and 2004, he was repeatedly sexually bullied by a group of soldiers, including a sergeant who rubbed his groin into Mr. Lawson’s buttocks and jumped into his bunk and pretended to cuddle with him. Later, during preparations for deployment to Iraq, one sergeant handcuffed him and put him in a headlock while another pretended to sodomize him, Mr. Lawson said.

Several months after his unit arrived in Iraq in 2004, Mr. Lawson decided to report the bullying. His assailants were punished with reduced rank, Army records show, but he had to finish his deployment while living near them on the same base.

After he returned to Washington, he received a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder and was discharged from the Army in 2006. He struggled with depression and lost a job, then decided to start an advocacy group for veterans.

“A lot of people say this problem exists because we are allowing women into the military or because of the repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ ” he said, referring to the ban on openly gay service members. “But that is absurd. The people who perpetrated these crimes on me identify as heterosexual males.”

Although the vast majority of military sexual assaults are by men, a small number of men have reported being raped by women.

Richard H. Ruffert, 50, said his boss in an Army reserve unit in Texas forced him to have sex with her by threatening to give him poor reviews. He said the sex continued for about two months in the late 1990s, until he attempted suicide. He then told a commander and, after a lengthy investigation, his boss was transferred. But he believes that she was never punished.

He retired from the military in 2004 and spent several years struggling with nightmares, drug addiction and homelessness, which he blames on the sexual assault. Therapy and working with veterans have helped him, he said.

But he does not feel comfortable dating women anymore. “This has completely changed my life,” said Mr. Ruffert, who appears in the film “Justice Denied.”

Many experts believe that the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” will cause many more men to report sexual assault. That was the case with Lieutenant Cohen, who says he was raped in 2007 by an Army officer he had met in graduate school. At the time, Lieutenant Cohen was preparing to join the Air Force.

After initially remaining silent about the episode, he filed a complaint with Air Force investigators in late 2011, after the ban was rescinded. But the investigation took a surprising turn: after Lieutenant Cohen returned from a five-month tour in Afghanistan, he learned that he had become the subject of the investigation and was no longer viewed as a victim.

The lieutenant, 29, now faces a court-martial trial on multiple charges, including conduct unbecoming an officer. Lieutenant Cohen’s special victims counsel, Maj. John Bellflower, said the Air Force investigators apparently used information provided voluntarily by the lieutenant in bringing the charges against him, a possible violation of his rights.

The military recently told Lieutenant Cohen that it was reopening the sexual assault case. In the meantime, he faces a trial in July that he views as punishment for filing a criminal complaint against a superior officer. The Air Force denies that.

“I think the attention to this issue is absolutely needed,” Lieutenant Cohen said. “But it’s a little bit late. We still have attacks, and we still have retaliation.”
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« Reply #378 on: June 25, 2013, 04:04:39 PM »

http://pjmedia.com/eddriscoll/2013/06/25/vdh-savior-generals/
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« Reply #379 on: June 26, 2013, 09:57:04 AM »

 China's Space Program Tries to Catch Up
Analysis
June 26, 2013 | 0600 Print Text Size
China's Space Program Tries to Catch Up
The rocket carrying the Shenzhou 10 spacecraft blasts off June 11. (ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images)
Summary

China's strategic focus on space is less about national pride than about the importance of space for both the military and economic progress of the country. The Chinese space program has developed rapidly over the past decade, illustrating the importance of the program to Beijing. Shenzhou 10, a 15-day mission that began June 11 and returned to Earth the morning of June 26 marked China's fifth manned mission to space. An increasing, ongoing presence in space is essential for civilian and military communications. Satellites' functions include navigation systems such as GPS, weather data and communications relays. But the significance of space goes beyond satellites. Technological advancement and development is required for countries such as China that want to participate in future resource development in space.

 
Analysis

The Chinese space program officially began in 1958. Beijing launched its first earth-orbiting satellite in 1970, and while there were a series of launch failures in the 1990s, China carried out its first manned mission -- Shenzhou 5, which put a man in orbit -- in 2003. More manned missions would follow in 2005, 2008 and 2012. A major uptick in activity began in 2010, when China successfully completed 15 unmanned launches, including a lunar orbiting probe. Nineteen more launches would follow in 2011 and 2012. China is now one of only two countries -- Russia being the other -- actively putting people into space and plans to land an unmanned craft on the moon in late 2013.

The latest mission, Shenzhou 10, was launched as part of the testing process for docking capabilities with Tiangong 1, the small space module that is part of the program that will eventually culminate in China's own full-sized space station, planned for the 2020s. The mission, which reached completion June 26, also set out to advance flying abilities; demonstrate adaptability and efficiency while completing objectives on the complex; and test coordination of various systems.
Benefits of Space Exploration

Continued advancements in space-related technology will enable China to compete on the commercial and military fronts as more activity becomes dependent on space-based infrastructure. Prior to satellite communications, surveillance and detection abilities and communication were limited by line of sight and by the atmosphere, which can reflect signals and can distort and dilute their strength. Space-based infrastructure also enables more efficient communication over time.

Satellites are also essential to the coordination of a global military presence. Modern global warfare requires the acquisition of data and ability to move and utilize data in real time. This need is highly dependent on satellites, which provide the necessary sensors to "see" what is happening and the transmission capabilities to distribute this data.

However, the defense of satellites remains difficult. In addition to anti-satellite missiles, it is also possible to blind and jam satellites. Given the imbalance between the United States and the nearest competitors when it comes to space-based technologies (and reliance on these technologies), the disabling or destruction of U.S. satellites would be a bigger blow than a similar retaliatory response. But as China becomes more reliant on satellites for communications, military or otherwise, it is less likely to interfere with U.S. satellites for fear of retaliation (and vice versa), an effect similar to the nuclear standoff in the Cold War.
The Future of Space Exploration

While the current motivation for an increased space presence is satellite technology, continued progress in space is vital for future strategy as well. Resource acquisition will likely be a priority for future space exploration. The United States, Russia and Europe are all continuing efforts to expand space activity (though the United States is increasingly looking toward the private sector for further space development). Beijing cannot afford to be left behind in the ongoing pursuit to establish a greater presence in space. As the world's most populous country, China will continually have to seek out new resources in order to support and sustain itself. Space cannot be ignored as a potential, critical future source.

For example, asteroid mining may seem farfetched, but it could be a real possibility in the coming decades. NASA's strategy that seeks to find, capture and explore asteroids that may threaten Earth is currently competing for room in the budget with, among other things, exploration of Mars and lunar missions. There are also a few private asteroid-mining companies seeking to develop the necessary technology. There are likely many overlaps between the technology necessary to capture or divert an asteroid and that needed to exploit an asteroid for its resources.

Asteroids are a potential source of many substances, including nickel, iron and even water -- essential starting materials for constructing infrastructure in space or on the moon. The ability to extract resources in space could be instrumental in making space-based construction economical. Currently, lifting costs (the cost to get a material into space) are a limiting factor in the economics of space development.

While the returns on programs aimed at the future development of space are limited at the moment, the infrastructure, once built, can take several forms, including possible bases or colonies on the moon and Mars. Once space-based construction does become economically viable, only the countries that have established programs and research will able to take advantage of the new frontier. Much like the naval powers of history were able to colonize on other continents, it will be the space powers that will have the advantage on the moon or Mars.

As these pursuits move forward, it is important to remember that throughout history, research done to advance space exploration has found a way into everyday life, from something as simple as Velcro to advanced composite materials that can withstand immense heat. Research currently targeted for space also has the potential to improve earth-based technologies. Ongoing development in space has already had tangible benefits, including increased cellphone coverage (and ease of international calls), improved weather and GPS coverage and improved mapping technology.

While the path of ongoing development of space is unknown, the earlier a country enters this new space race, the better. Even so, establishing a strategic presence in space requires an ongoing and active development of space programs. It is for this reason that China, while starting later than the United States and Russia, is quickly and urgently expanding its technological capabilities in space.

Read more: China's Space Program Tries to Catch Up | Stratfor
Follow us: @stratfor on Twitter | Stratfor on Facebook
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« Reply #380 on: June 26, 2013, 10:10:37 AM »

second post:

http://www.armytimes.com/article/20130625/NEWS/306250042/Army-announces-10-brigade-combat-teams-cut
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« Reply #381 on: June 26, 2013, 04:53:41 PM »

This could go on about half a dozen threads: http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/recent
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« Reply #382 on: June 26, 2013, 08:37:27 PM »

BD: 

Your posting here of SWJ reminds me I need to bring this site onto my semi-regular reading screen.

Are you posting about a particular piece here or of SWJ in general?
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bigdog
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« Reply #383 on: June 26, 2013, 09:26:24 PM »

In general, which I why I placed it here. SWJ is general, "low intensity" stuff. There are individual essays that would be better on the immigration or war on drugs threads, for example, but generally I think it is better here.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #384 on: June 29, 2013, 09:50:25 PM »

Not quite sure what to make of this , , ,

http://www.ijreview.com/2013/06/62053-president-obamas-purge-military-officers-replaced-by-the-commander-in-chief/
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ccp
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« Reply #385 on: June 30, 2013, 11:35:23 AM »

I guess if I was younger and wanted to meet girls and get laid I could join the military..... new military recruiting ad can go like:

you need dates come and serve.  We have a huge selection of boys and girls gay straight you name it.

****The Pentagon's Surrender to Feminism

Pat Buchanan June 25, 2013  Society
 
"The Pentagon unveiled plans Tuesday for fully integrating women into front-line and special combat roles, including elite forces such as Army Rangers and Navy SEALs."

So ran the lead on the CNN story. And why are we doing this?

Did the young officers leading troops in battle in Afghanistan and Iraq, returning with casualties, say they needed women to enhance the fighting efficiency of their combat units and the survival rate of their soldiers?

Did men from the 101st and 82nd airborne, the Marines, the SEALs and Delta Force petition the Joint Chiefs to put women alongside them in future engagements to make them an even superior force?

No. This decision to put women in combat represents a capitulation of the military brass, a surrender to the spirit of our age, the Pentagon's salute to feminist ideology.

This is not a decision at which soldiers arrived when they studied after-action reports, but the product of an ideology that contradicts human nature, human experience and human history, and declares as dogma that women are just as good at soldiering as men.

But if this were true, rather than merely asserted, would it have taken mankind the thousands of years from Thermopylae to discover it?

In the history of civilization, men have fought the wars. In civilized societies, attacks on women have always been regarded as contemptible and cowardly. Even the Third Reich in its dying hours did not send women into battle, but old men and boys.

"You don't hit a girl!" was something every American boy had drilled into him from childhood. It was part of our culture, the way we were raised. A Marine friend told me he would have resigned from the Corps rather than fight women with the pugil sticks used for bayonet practice at Parris Island.

Sending women into combat on equal terms seems also to violate common sense. When they reach maturity, men are bigger, stronger, more aggressive. Thus they commit many times the number of violent crimes and outnumber women in prisons 10 to 1.

For every Bonnie Parker, there are 10 Clyde Barrows.

Is it a coincidence that every massacre discussed in our gun debate — from the Texas Tower to the Long Island Railroad, from Columbine to Ft. Hood, from Virginia Tech to Tucson, from Aurora to Newtown — was the work of a crazed male?

Nothing matches mortal combat where soldiers fight and kill, and are wounded, maimed and die for cause or country. Domestically, the closest approximations are combat training, ultimate fighting, boxing and that most physical of team sports, the NFL.

Yet no women compete against men in individual or team sports. They are absent from boys' and men's teams in high school and college, be it football, basketball, baseball, hockey or lacrosse.

Even in the non-contact sports of golf, tennis and volleyball, men compete with men, women against women. In the Olympics, to which nations send their best athletes, women and men compete separately in track and field, swimming and gymnastics.

Consider our own history. Would any U.S. admiral say that in any of America's great naval battles — Mobile Bay, Manila Bay, Midway, the Coral Sea — we would done better with some women manning the guns?

In the revolutionary and civil wars, World Wars I and II, Korea and Vietnam, women were not in combat. Was it invidious discrimination of which we should all be ashamed that women were not fighting alongside the men at Gettysburg, in the Argonne, at Normandy or with "Chesty" Puller's Marines in the retreat from the Chosin Reservoir?

Undeniably, some women might handle combat as well as some men. But that is true of some 13-, 14- and 15-year-old boys, and some 50- and 60-year old men. Yet we do not draft boys or men that age or send them into combat. Is this invidious discrimination based on age, or ageism?

Carry this feminist-egalitarian ideology to its logical conclusion, and half of those storming the Omaha and Utah beaches should have been girls and women. Is this not an absurdity?

We have had Navy ships become "love boats," with female sailors returning pregnant. At the Naval Academy, three midshipmen, football players, allegedly raped an intoxicated classmate. For months, she was too ashamed and frightened to report it.

An estimated 26,000 personnel of the armed forces were sexually assaulted in 2011, up from 19,000 in 2010. Obama and the Congress are understandably outraged. Such assaults are appalling. But is not the practice of forcing young men and women together in close quarters a contributory factor here?

Among the primary reasons the Equal Rights Amendment, the ERA, went down to defeat three decades ago was the realization it could mean, in a future war, women could be drafted equally with men, and sent in equal numbers into combat.

But what appalled the Reaganites is social progress in the age of Obama. This is another country from the one we grew up in.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of "Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?" To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2013 CREATORS.COM****
« Last Edit: June 30, 2013, 11:40:22 AM by ccp » Logged
bigdog
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« Reply #386 on: June 30, 2013, 02:54:54 PM »

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/06/26/dont_call_it_isolationism?page=full

From the article:

Some principles, like not providing military assistance to militaries that violate human rights (the "Leahy Amendment") may need to be pushed aside to make stealthy military globalism work out the way the services would like.

And the new tools of "warfare" available to the military are compatible with this level of engagement. Retiring Adm. James Stavridis made this intention clear in FP last week. The triad of nuclear weapons (missiles, subs, and bombers), even large conventional forces, are a thing of the past, he argues. Instead, the weapons of the future will combine Special Forces with drones that can operate at a distance and offensive cyber operations, which can be done virtually from home.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #387 on: July 01, 2013, 11:42:37 AM »



http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jun/27/special-operations-forces-are-worried-about-adding/?page=all#pagebreak
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« Reply #388 on: July 01, 2013, 10:48:13 PM »

http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/090712-624998-obama-ignores-military-absentee-voting-problems.htm?ven=OutBrainCP
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« Reply #389 on: July 03, 2013, 11:01:07 PM »

http://www.businessinsider.com/2-more-women-fail-marine-infantry-test-2013-7
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« Reply #390 on: July 06, 2013, 10:50:31 AM »

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jul/5/china-russia-partner-largest-ever-joint-naval-dril/
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« Reply #391 on: July 10, 2013, 01:11:31 PM »

Interesting charts/graphs in original at http://nation.time.com/2013/07/09/female-troops-medevaced-from-afghanistan-at-higher-rate-than-male-comrades/#ixzz2YfDn5VgT

Female Troops Medevaced from Afghanistan at Higher Rate Than Male Comrades
By Mark Thompson @MarkThompson_DCJuly 09



As the U.S. military prepares to send women into the toughest combat billets for the first time, Pentagon medical officers have just released data showing that while “battle injuries” were the leading reason male troops were flown outside Afghanistan for medical care, “mental disorders” topped the list for female troops.

That shouldn’t come as a complete surprise. After all, women remain technically barred from the infantry and other units where close-in combat is the norm. But the data also show that despite the ban, women were medically evacuated from Afghanistan at a rate 22% higher than their male comrades.
evac by gender

DOD

The report, which limits itself to a recitation of data, draws no conclusions about why the female evacuation rate was greater, or how that might change as women move closer to the front lines.

But that didn’t stop some from drawing their own conclusions.

“Women in combat zones are enormously valued and respected by their comrades in both Afghanistan and Iraq for physical courage, discipline, personal initiative, and smarts,” says Barry McCaffrey, a retired four-star Army general who commanded a division in 1991′s Persian Gulf War and is father of a Army-major daughter. But, he adds, there are key differences. “In general, women soldiers in good physical condition have much less upper body strength than male soldiers—and are more prone to impact injuries and stress fractures,” he says. “Women soldiers are challenged by some field combat duties such as carrying five-gallon cans of fuel and water, changing armor vehicle track and heavy truck tires, carrying 100-plus-pound loads of ammunition and fighting gear on extended dismounted operations, carrying stretchers of wounded soldiers, and the brute labor required to dig in fighting positions.”

“Women are, on average, less well-suited to the lifestyle of infantry and direct infantry support units,” says William Treseder, who deployed to both Afghanistan and Iraq as a Marine sergeant. At least one female Marine agrees. No woman has been able to pass recent physical-qualification tests for Marine officers.

But others view the findings as a given, in light of the training provided some women. “There is a disgusting and dangerous gap in the type of pre-deployment training afforded males and females in the Marine Corps,” says Lydia Davey, who spent much of 2006-07 in Afghanistan during eight years of service in the corps that ended in 2011 as a sergeant. “I wonder if women fail to adapt to situations they’ve never been trained for….this report can, and probably will, be easily spun to support the conservative agenda against women in combat.”

Medical teams inside Afghanistan handle most wounds, injuries and ailments. “Medical air transports (`medical evacuations’) are costly and generally indicative of serious medical conditions” that cannot be handled in the war zone, the report adds. “Some serious conditions (e.g., battle wounds) are directly related to participation in or support of combat operations; however, many others are unrelated to combat and may be preventable.”

The study, contained in the June issue of the Pentagon’s Medical Surveillance Monthly Report, tracked the 23,719 medical evacuations from the theater among the 1.7 million U.S. deployments between Oct. 7, 2001, the day the U.S. invaded Afghanistan in response to the 9/11 terror attacks, and Dec. 31, 2012.

“During every month of the 11-year period, medical evacuations for disease and non-battle injuries exceeded those for battle-related injuries,” the Pentagon analysis found. “Overall during the period, the rate of evacuations for disease and non-battle injuries was more than triple that of battle-related injuries.”

Battle wounds (5,570 men, 77 women) represented the single largest cause of medical evacuations, followed by musculoskeletal problems (3,074 men, 353 women), non-battle injuries and poisonings (3,159 men, 239 women), and mental disorders (2,408 men, 442 women):

    Overall, nearly eight times as many males (n=21,046) as females (n=2,673) were medically evacuated; however, the rate of medical evacuations was 22.0 percent higher among females (46.0 per 1,000 dp-yrs [deployed person-years]) than males (37.7 per 1,000 dp-yrs). Of all medical evacuations of males throughout the period (n=21,046), the most frequent associated diagnoses were battle injuries (26.5%), non-battle injuries (15.0%), musculoskeletal disorders (14.6%), and mental disorders (11.4%). In contrast, the most frequent diagnoses among evacuated females during the period (n=2,673) were mental disorders (16.5%), “signs, symptoms, and ill-defined conditions” (15.3%), musculoskeletal disorders (13.2%), and non-battle injuries (8.9%).

The report says 4% of Army personnel, 2% of Marines, and 1% of Air Force and Navy personnel required medical evacuation from Afghanistan.

“The relatively low likelihood of medical evacuation suggests that most deployers were sufficiently healthy and fit, and most received the necessary medical care in theater to complete their Operation Enduring Freedom assignments successfully,” the analysis concludes. “The findings enforce the need to tailor force health protection policies, training, supplies, equipment, and practices based on characteristics of the deployed force (e.g., combat versus support; male versus female) and the nature of the military operations (e.g., combat versus humanitarian assistance).”
afg evacs


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ccp
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« Reply #392 on: July 11, 2013, 09:55:17 PM »

Bring the boys home.   Send in the terminators:

http://games.yahoo.com/blogs/plugged-in/afraid-darpa-unveils-terminator-atlas-robot-005030043.html
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« Reply #393 on: July 14, 2013, 01:44:27 PM »

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/14/us/obama-remark-is-complicating-military-trials.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20130714
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« Reply #394 on: July 14, 2013, 11:54:19 PM »

How We Lost the Seas
What will happen should American sea power wane and China replace the U.S. as the guarantor of maritime security?
 By GARY ROUGHEAD

The American strategist Alfred Thayer Mahan (1840-1914) characterized naval power as "more silent than the clash of arms." His emphasis on the centrality of this "silent" power in world affairs captured the interest of a young visiting lecturer at the Naval War College in the late 1880s. That lecturer, Theodore Roosevelt, would go on to be president and transform the U.S. Navy into the global force that has underpinned international security and prosperity for a century.

The sort of thinking about naval power that informed Mahan's and Roosevelt's work now appears anachronistic. When the U.S. Navy is discussed today, the conversation leaps immediately over strategy to commentary on budgets and the number of ships. Those are aspects of sea power, to be sure, but the ability to command the seas is much more than comparisons with other navies and much more complexly tied to our place in the world. Sea power sets conditions for stable world trade, as some 90% of commerce moves on the oceans. The Navy's persistent presence far from our shores enables effective diplomacy and provides regional influence without the burdens and sensitivity of deploying ground troops on foreign lands.

In "Mayday: The Decline of American Naval Supremacy," Seth Cropsey, a former deputy undersecretary of the Navy, argues that the end of unchallenged U.S. supremacy at sea may be closer than American policy makers would like to think. In a well-structured narrative, Mr. Cropsey provides a concise and compelling summary of the evolution of American and other great powers' application of and dependence on sea power. He chronicles the waxing and waning of that power and the global order that has come with our nation's ability to command the seas.

Navies aren't just a whimsical investment of national treasure. Rather, they are an outgrowth of trade and man's desire to extract resources from the sea, be they fish or natural gas. The relationship of commercial success and naval might is evident in the rise of great powers throughout history—Spain in the 16th century, Holland in the 17th, France in 18th and Great Britain in the 19th. It is likely that today Mahan finds a more devout audience among China's strategic thinkers than our own. Chinese naval deployments to areas important economically, such as the Southeast Asian sea lanes and the pirate-plagued trade routes in the vicinity of Africa, reinforce Chinese diplomatic and commercial activities. With Beijing so dependent on faraway markets and imports of natural resources, naval power weighs heavily in all its considerations.



By Seth Cropsey
(Overlook, 336 pages, $29.95)

China, Mr. Cropsey argues, is on the path to overtake U.S. naval power, with little deliberation in this country about the consequences of such a development. As Mr. Cropsey warns, reducing the number of U.S. ships "accelerates the decline of American sea power, unintentionally adding strategic weight to Beijing's naval buildup, and more important, to China's rise to dominance in Asia. Politicians have not faced this basic question of strategy."

The last transfer of sea power was between nations, Great Britain and the U.S., that shared political values and commercial philosophies and saw eye-to-eye on freedom of navigation in international waters. It was a seamless transition for the international order at the time. What will be the effect among our allies and like-minded partners should U.S. sea power wane, our global naval presence diminish and China replace the U.S. as the guarantor of international commerce and maritime security? As Mr. Cropsey says, "the signs point to a change in power in the western Pacific," a region of great importance to our future prosperity.

With its 286 ships, the U.S. Navy is now smaller than it was in 1917, when it boasted 342. The number is stuck, and the trend spans the administrations of both parties. We have spent heavily on our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the U.S. Navy, which is central to our long-term strategic interests, languishes. Navies, unlike armies, take time to build—why the framers of our Constitution wrote of the imperative to "provide and maintain a Navy," as opposed to the need to "raise and support an Army."

"Mayday" provides an insider's view into the many ills of the Navy's planning and budgeting system. These range from low and unsteady quantities of ship orders; to the trade-offs between building a few cutting-edge ships and more ships less technologically complex; to the ever increasing "contractual, statutory and regulatory" burdens on the Navy. The latter include a requirement for new paints that emit fewer toxins in shipbuilding; compliance adds an estimated $16 million to the price of an aircraft carrier. But "Mayday" doesn't address forcefully enough how diminishing procurement budgets will be further eroded by rapidly rising personnel costs and inefficiencies within the procurement process itself.

Mr. Cropsey offers some good recommendations to adjust the size and makeup of the Navy. He wisely advocates that "the most advanced technology should bow to numbers" and argues for pursuing unmanned systems to achieve "decreased cost and increased surveillance and combat power." Yet some of his suggestions fall short, in that they assume a linear relationship between cost and reduced ship size. The inconvenient truth is that a ship that is half the size doesn't cost half as much. Deploying more small ships is appealing, but to get to areas of interest such as the Middle East, the Western Pacific and the Indian Ocean we must cross vast waters and remain present for extended periods. Size, speed, endurance and lethality matter greatly, especially when forward bases can't be assured at a time when foreign populations are prickly about sovereignty.

But "Mayday" is extremely timely, reminding us that security and prosperity are inextricably linked to sea power. As John F. Kennedy said half a century ago: "Control of the sea means security. Control of the sea means peace. Control of the sea can mean victory."

Adm. Roughead, a former chief of naval operations, is a fellow at the Hoover Institution.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #395 on: July 20, 2013, 12:27:50 PM »



http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/article/20130718/CAREERS03/307180027/Commander-22nd-Marine-Expeditionary-Unit-relieved-command
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #396 on: July 21, 2013, 08:52:44 AM »

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jul/19/navy-chief-surge-capability-were-not-where-we-need/
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #397 on: July 26, 2013, 09:30:10 AM »

Just to be clear, I've no opinion on this.
=======================


Military Entitlements Are Killing Readiness
The Pentagon and President Obama understand this. So why doesn't Congress?
By MACKENZIE EAGLEN AND MICHAEL O'HANLON

Members of Congress rarely miss an opportunity to trumpet their support for the troops, and the 2014 Defense Appropriations bill passed Wednesday by the House trumpeted away. Health coverage for life with minimal cost sharing? Check. Retiree pensions? Check. Generous housing allowances, grocery discounts, tuition assistance, tax breaks and more? Check. That's just a small recompense to the men and women who risk their lives for us, right? Not exactly.

America has arrived at a moment when the honorable instinct to keep boosting military compensation risks harming the very men and women Congress claims to be helping. The reality is that the U.S. doesn't have one sacred contract with our troops: It has two.

In addition to generous care and compensation, we owe them the best possible preparation for combat—weapons and other technologies that outmatch the enemy, excellent intelligence, training and logistics support. When they fight, our troops should prevail quickly and decisively.

These two noble promises are now in direct conflict. Defense entitlements are well on their way to crowding out military readiness and capacity, a fact even the Pentagon has acknowledged. But lawmakers refuse to address this challenge. Unless Congress reverses budget sequestration and restores three years' worth of additional cuts, the Pentagon is in for more belt tightening.

The Navy will retire more ships over the next five years than it will build. The fleet now stands at about 285. (At the height of the post-Soviet "peace dividend" era, it was 375.)

The Air Force is even worse off. The U.S. has fewer than one-third the number of bombers it had during the Vietnam era. Most of the Air Force's planes are B-1s and B-52s that predate modern stealth technology, and even the stealthy B-2s are nearly two decades old.

Troop numbers are also declining. By the end of fiscal year 2014, active duty Army and Marine Corps personnel are set to decrease by about 13% and 10%, respectively, from 2010 levels.

Some of these cuts may be acceptable, even necessary, but sequestration will soon make the situation much worse. Mandatory and arbitrary cuts are already forcing many service members to "take the summer off," forgoing crucial training time. Additional automatic cuts looming for 2014 will mean more downtime.


Now consider the realities of Defense Department entitlements: Between fiscal year 2001 and 2012, the inflation-adjusted compensation cost per active-duty service member grew by 56%. From 2000 to 2010, defense health-care costs skyrocketed nearly 180%, to $49.8 billion from $17.8 billion—more than double the rate of the national increase. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projects that military health-care costs will nearly double again by 2030.

Some benefits should remain unassailable. Solid salaries, world-class health care for our service members and their families, educational benefits through the GI Bill for those returning to civilian life, and Veterans Administration services for the disabled (which are resourced outside the defense budget) must not be threatened.

But it is time to reconsider other benefits. Doing so will not make sequestration a good idea, though it may lead to fewer cuts elsewhere that harm readiness.

The Tricare program, highly subsidized health care for military retirees, supposedly honors a promise made many years ago by some military recruiters to provide service members free health care for life. Setting aside that such a promise was never officially made, Tricare is incentivizing overuse of the health-care system.

In 2004, for example, the rate at which Tricare recipients used outpatient services was 44% higher than in civilian plans; the inpatient rate was 60% higher. That is unsustainable, and it is the main reason President Obama has promised to veto the House appropriations bill unless Tricare fees for military retirees are raised.

Military retirees receive an extremely generous pension. For example, under the "High-3" retirement system—one option available for troops who entered the military after Sept. 8, 1980—retired active-duty forces receive 50% of an average of their three highest years of basic pay after 20 years of service, up to a maximum of 75% of their "High-3" pay after 30 years of service, along with an annual cost of living adjustment determined by the Consumer Price Index.

Begun in an era when those leaving the military often struggled in the workforce, the military retirement system is long overdue for an overhaul. It cost the Pentagon nearly $20 billion in 2011 and does nothing to address the fact that the vast majority of combat veterans (who are officially "veterans" but not "retirees") don't serve a full 20 years—and therefore get zero pension. In other words, those who deploy overseas and fight are often getting nothing while those who may well have stayed stateside for two decades before leaving the military get a very generous post-service pension.

Conveniences like commissaries also need rethinking in the era of Wal-Mart and Home Depot. So does military pay, which should generally track the rate of inflation but need not increase faster (as it often has of late), given the solid and generous compensation packages already provided to service members.

There is plenty more to consider, including addressing the 20% excess capacity in military bases and the bloat in the roughly 760,000-strong civilian workforce, which has grown even as the uniformed military has shrunk. A 10% cut to that bureaucracy, implemented intelligently and without furloughs, is sensible and fair.

This sort of prioritizing—something every American family does in hard times—apparently hasn't occurred to Congress. The fact that the two pacts with Americans in uniform are on a collision course has been shrugged off. Even the Pentagon's own requests for base closures, increases in health-care premiums, and a slowdown in the growth of military pay were ignored in the appropriations bill just passed by the House.

It is important that the U.S. maintains its contract with those who serve by providing them generous pay and benefits. But it is unfair to those very same troops to undercut the other sacred contract we have with them, which demands they have access to the best weapons and training so they are ready for whatever the nation asks of them next.

Ms. Eaglen is a resident fellow and defense analyst at the American Enterprise Institute. Mr. O'Hanlon, a scholar at the Brookings Institution, is the author of "Healing the Wounded Giant: Maintaining Military Preeminence While Cutting the Defense Budget" (Brookings Institution Press, 2013).
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #398 on: July 26, 2013, 09:33:46 AM »

second post

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jul/25/pentagon-mulling-separate-combat-training-men-wome/
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« Reply #399 on: July 30, 2013, 04:32:23 PM »

http://www.ammoland.com/2013/07/army-giving-up-traditional-ammo-stopping-power-for-green-bullets/#axzz2aZCeE2uK
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