Archive for army training

Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot…

Posted in politcs, rankers, War On Terror with tags , , , , , , , , , on 23, September 2012 by chockblock

So 2008 was supposed to be a break from the George W. Bush presidency. The left kept jumping up and down saying that he was an evil moron etc.

The media really didn’t know the people they put in the White House and they never bothered to find out. We have an administration that kowtows to an angry mob, thinks it can advance a liberal agenda on the backs of dead Mexicans, downplays a Marine unit that is non-mission capable and the media just goes along with it.

I get that the left hated Bush. The election, the Iraq war etc. The man could never catch a break. However our current government seems to be doing a worse job. The Arab spring? Came about because of Saddam’s fall. The administration sits on its hands as crazed radicals take control of Egypt and demand the release of the man behind the 1993 bombing of the World Trade center. Instead of charting its own course, the DOJ works with a liberal organization to slander reporters covering the DOJ. The media doesn’t cover the war in Afghanistan, yet lamets that there are no protests and outcry over it. Energy policy that hits the poor and working families hardest. There was never any hope and change. Only Washington insiders protecting their own. I’ve always suspected that the conspiracy theories about Bush were the left’s wishful thinking. They wanted to be able to manipulate the government for their agenda. Hence the millions wasted on Solyndra, high-speed rail in cali and our complete loss of influence in the Middle East. Why does the administration have to arrest a filmmaker?

Because theory and ideology are more important than real people and elections are more important than the truth. The lunatics are running the asylum.

You are what you hate lefties. You gave us a government that is made of fail. With the coming budget cuts and you’re leadership’s failure to act, this is your fault. Bush is out of office. This is not inherited . This. Is. Your. Mess.

Dilbert on 6 Sigma

Posted in army training, HOOAH!, politcs, rankers, Uncategorized, War On Terror with tags , , , , , , , on 4, September 2012 by chockblock, this strip says it all:

RIP Neil Armstrong

Posted in HOOAH!, politcs, rankers with tags , , , , , , on 26, August 2012 by chockblock

And more people saw the moonshot than attended Woodstock...

Neil Alden Armstrong (August 5, 1930 – August 25, 2012) was an American astronaut, test pilot, aerospace engineer, university professor and United States Naval Aviator. He was the first human to set foot on the Moon.


Small Wars Journal Jumps the Shark (or how the left loves to curbstomp dissent)

Posted in politcs, rankers, Uncategorized, War On Terror with tags , , , , , , , , on 11, August 2012 by chockblock

The Computer is happy. The Computer is crazy.
The Computer will help you become happy. This will drive you crazy.”
— Tagline For Paranoia: The Roleplaying Game

“Under present law, which initially stemmed from bad feelings about Reconstruction, the military’s domestic role is highly circumscribed. In the situation we lay out below, even though the governor refuses to seek federal help to quell the uprising (the usual channel for military assistance), the Constitution allows the president broad leeway in times of insurrection. Citing the precedents of Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War and Dwight D. Eisenhower sending troops to Little Rock in 1957, the president mobilizes the military and the Department of Homeland Security, to regain control of the city. This scenario requires us to consider how domestic intelligence is gathered and shared, the role of local law enforcement (to the extent that it supports the operation), the scope and limits of the Insurrection Act–for example maintaining a military chain of command but in support of the Attorney General as the Department of Justice is the Lead Federal Agency (LFA) under the conditions of the Act–and the roles of the local, national, and international media.”
Full Spectrum Operations in the Homeland: A “Vision” of the Future : by Kevin Benson and Jennifer Weber

Ultimaratioregis, over at Brad’s blog has a detailed takedown (he’s nice compared to the comments at the SMJ article). Wikipedia notes that

“An exception to Posse Comitatus Act derived from the Force Acts allowed President Eisenhower to send federal troops into Little Rock, Arkansas, during the 1958 school desegregation crisis. The Force Acts, among other powers, allow the President to call up military forces when state authorities are either unable or unwilling to suppress violence that is in opposition to the constitutional rights of the people.”

Okay, fair enough. However, the Tea Party is a non-violent movement. Unlike the Occupy movement, or the 60’s many lefty movements. There are many domestic terrorists groups, from Skinheads to the radical left and Islamic extremists that have drawn blood at the drop of a hat. Yet the left, from pundits and academics to the DHS seems fixated on conservatives, vets and those not buying the party line.

Make no mistake it’s the left’s fantasy: call opponents enemies of the state and use force to knock’em down. Remember, the left believed that in 2008, George Bush was going to somehow overthrow the government with the help of his Blackwater friends. And that would be bad.

Now we have two kunckleheads, a history professor and a retired full bird, who think it’s okay to shred the Constitution and have US troops fire on the American people. *headdesk*

What we have here is the real civil-military “gap”. The left sees the military as a toy it can play with. In their world, the military is a lower caste used for grunt work as needed then put away. I had a professor actually claim (back when I was a civilian) that the military attracts stupid people. Since our names and rank are sewn on our uniforms people know who they are talking to. Yea really, he went there.

They want to underpay us, give us crappy equipment and take away our benefits AND be stormtroopers. Remember, while Bill Clinton was exploiting the Oklahoma City Bombing, Bin Laden planned 9/11. While the DHS and the left attempt to connect the Tea Party to recent events. All while Iran tried to get nukes and the economy sputters.

In the roleplaying game “Paranoia”, a fictional holocaust has occurred. A domed community is ruled over by the Computer. However this all seeing, all knowing machine has only a boy scout manual and 1950’s era propaganda to guide it’s programming because all information was lost. The characters have a slapstick adventure trying not to be labeled “commie mutant traitors” while trying to do the Computer’s bidding. Of course the players are post-Apocalypse mutants and are trying to escape the computer. It’s 1984 by way of Monty Python. to paraphrase TVTropes.

The left is much like the fictional Computer. They have 60’s era propaganda, a 30’s era view of the economy and a desire to crush those who disagree with them. Paranoia indeed.

Defense Tech: or why Apple can’t build a jet fighter

Posted in HOOAH!, politcs, rankers, tech pron, Uncategorized, War On Terror with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 28, July 2012 by chockblock

The future of military technology is the kind of high-tech engineering in which American companies already are the established leaders. So why not let the Air Force ask Apple to design an iFighter? Or let the Navy ask Google to design the software architecture to power its ships and submarines? That company’s skunk-works innovation team, Google X, has now developed a car that drives itself on the streets of San Francisco. Why not tap that expertise for the Pentagon’s future unmanned systems?
“What If Apple Designed an iFighter?”:Arthur Herman, The Wall Street Journal.

Some idiot pines for the Spitfire. It’s cheap origin is a myth.

MIL-SPEC was a punch line for years. Now it’s a major market, products advertised as “mil-spec” are highly valued.

The old saying “GI proof” used to mean making something so tough that a soldier fresh from bootcamp couldn’t break it even if he tried. Something of a joke in the draft-era military because anyone could be assigned to repair and maintain anything (from airplanes to rifles). Of course building things for the military meant making them rough, rugged and designed for their roles. After the war, the allies forged several agreements called STANAGs. Between that and MIL-SPEC the military forged a standard. Things are built for battle and can be shared among allies. If need be, an American Patriot missile unit can work with an allied Patriot unit and vice versa. Many commercial products you use at home are hardened for the battlefield. Other widgets are purpose built.

However the expense of designing things for the military led to Commercially available Off-The-Shelf or COTS. Take it away wikipeida:

In the United States, Commercially available Off-The-Shelf (COTS) is a Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) term defining a nondevelopmental item (NDI) of supply that is both commercial and sold in substantial quantities in the commercial marketplace, and that can be procured or utilized under government contract in the same precise form as available to the general public. For example, technology related items, such as computer software, hardware systems or free software with commercial support, and construction materials qualify, but bulk cargo, such as agricultural or petroleum products, do not.

Those dirty commies used to say that “quantity has a quality all it’s own”. And Desert Storm shat on that idea. The myth of low tech US military weapons in WWII is debunked by In From the Cold:

“How inferior was the Sherman? Consider these statistics from the Third Armored Division, which fought its way from the hedgerows of France to the heart of the Third Reich. In eleven months of heavy fighting, the unit lost over 700 Shermans destroyed and many more that were damaged, but repaired and returned to service. The units cumulative tank loss rate from D-Day to VE Day was roughly 700 percent. Only the ready availability of replacement tanks and crews(and the ability of maintenance personnel to repair damaged Shermans) kept the division in the fight.”

He’s referring to the M-4 Sherman. Many American tankers died, even as better tanks were held up by Army politics. There was the P-75 Eagle. It was a Frankenplane developed by General Motors. It never delivered on its promised performance. Thankfully an aircraft designer developed the P-51 Mustang.

DoD Buzz posits that a dedicated defense industry can design weapons for war. Why dedicated? Because defense contractors know what it’s like to get shot at. It’s not just hiring veterans, it’s building a system from the ground up that’s designed to fight AND taking data from the field (many times collected by service members themselves).

Many companies made dumb mistakes. Virtual Boy, Edsel, New Coke, the Apple Newton. None of those mistakes had a body count. Many companies got out of the defense business because the Cold War ended. Intel no longer makes microchips for the Pentagon (so much for the idea that war is good for the big corporations). From cables and connectors that break when used to tools that rust up when used in the rain, COTS may have low upfront costs but over the long term the DoD just buys more.

The military gets a lot of ribbing for the up-front costs of gear. But aside from tools, clothing and food, most equipment has to be designed, modified or bought in small quantities. Roll-on/Roll-off (RoRo) ships are a good example. There are many shipping companies and ship builders out there. Some even have car-carriers and ferries. But the military must buy the ships it needs, most commercial ships are not designed to carry 70+ ton tanks.

Most civilian companies don’t enter into the military market because of the boom and bust cycles inherit in defense. The end of the Cold War has led to massive shrinkage in the defense sector. Grumman built the planes that won WWII in the pacific, but today they are the IT arm of Northrup-Grumman. War is not for fun and profit.

Open source software has been a godsend to the DoD. Most computers (wither they are ‘ruggedized” or just the same kind you can get at Best Buy) have encryption software installed. Many have special software for communicating with units in the field. If the DoD had to pay for the operating systems and other software, less money would be available for mission critical software. LINUX, UNIX and now the Android OS are being welcomed by the military (after added security of course). Once again the military must modify and write the programs it needs. At least open source is cheaper.

WWII was the last big war where entire countries were mobilized to fight. After the war, the US kept a larger standing military. After Sputnik, the Pentagon and industry forged a partnership to keep the US ahead. Decades latter,after Vietnam, Afghanistan etc, the Cold War ended. Desert Storm showed off the high tech military. But declining budgets not only forced the military to do more with less so did rising personnel costs were a large factor as well.

Today’s military is an all volunteer force supported by a few big contractors. There are problems: field grade commanders who let power point slides do their thinking, civilian leaders who set unrealistic expectations and let the military take the fall, a defense industry that oversells its systems. But they are learning. Technology marched on. Propellers gave way to jets. Missiles took over from cannons and the lower enlisted are more important than ever.

Can companies with no military experience design weapons and IT systems? Maybe. Maybe we should let the subject matter experts do their job. Google and Apple can provide the framework, but defense companies and those in uniform need to do the hard work.

How to keep the all volunteer military

Posted in politcs, rankers, Uncategorized, War On Terror with tags , , , , , , , , , on 23, July 2012 by chockblock

“One of the recent initiatives the President or at least the folks at the Pentagon have put forward is a 401K style retirement system. Along with Tricare hikes it is assumed that this will somehow lower the personnel costs of the military. The benefits that the military enjoys, or at least the Active Duty Service Members, are far better than any civilian jobs so why not cut them? Unfortunately this might well cut at the very heart of the all volunteer force. Again and again we have seen that the pay that SMs receive is far lower than their civilian counterparts. Even 4-star Generals and Admirals who make about as much in a month as an E-1, the lowest rank makes in half a year, but the jobs they do and their responsibilities, were they in the civilian world would make them easily ten to fifteen times as much.”
–“Military Benefits Are Not So Clear Cut “: the Madness of the Combat Medic
(h/t: Business Insider)

The movie The Best Years of Our Lives showed the problems that WWII vets had returning home. The most poignant character was a man who lost both his hands (played by a real veteran who did lose his hands). The country seems to move on, forgetting about the vets who fought for it. Wars are fleeting, battles forgotten. The WWII, Korea and Vietnam vets had the GI Bill at least. However not all scars are physical.

But the fact remains that young service members have, are and will give the best years of our lives. For what? Not the money. There are many jobs that pay more than the military. Many soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines are on food stamps.

Spare me the talk about benefits. You can’t put health insurance in the refrigerator and Tricare has many problems. The life insurance isn’t that great either.

The left wants to cut anything military. In their twisted worldview they see military pay and bennies as the socialist utopia they have never been able to get. There are some on the right that just want to cut government period.

A draft would bring crap into the ranks. Citizens with no values will not get them with a draft notice in the mail. Likewise, troops need at least 2 years to gel with their units. 3 years to really learn their jobs and at 5-6 years you have “tribal knowledge” that makes the military run. Warrant officers and Senior NCO’s come from NCO’s and Petty Officers who came up through the ranks. Generals and Admirals come from officers who spent time as junior officers. Yes there have been draftees who stayed on, but those were few. A draft army is a slave army. It belongs in the past.

Cut benefits and watch experienced leaders, NCO’s and soldiers leave in droves. Why should they stay if they can’t feed their families or pay their bills? You can’t draft them because they have finished their terms of service. Once decades of skill walk out the front gate you can’t get it back.

Experience can’t be bought, drafted or come from a book. The modern career soldier wants to serve. He or she faces more danger and has greater responsibly than any civilian worker. Unions bled state governments dry due to their electing lapdog democrats who promised the moon. Service members were promised modest bennies (compared to teachers and lifeguards who make $100k pensions, some after criminal convictions). Civilian business leaders never had to pay bills after coming home from a long military exercise. They didn’t get shot at. Many general officers who call for pension reform are receiving lavish pensions AND getting paid to say that pensions and bennies need to be cut. So called “journalists” are just leftist shills.

If this country wants a military staffed by service members with experience, it must love them as much as they love their country.

And the draft talk continues

Posted in army life, army training, politcs, rankers, Uncategorized, War On Terror with tags , , , , , , , , on 14, July 2012 by chockblock

I suspect that talk of a draft is from people who don’t have “skin in the game”. Armchair Generals who’ve never served on the front lines. Some believe that a draft is cheaper for some reason.

Cue my wall of text:

“So, in the New York Times, Tom Ricks echoes Stan McCrystal’s call to bring back the draft. Ricks is two days younger than me, but our life experiences are quite different, apparently, because his vision of a draft is decidedly not to support our warfighting capability, and contrary to McCrystal’s plan to have every American community have “skin in the game” in the next war, Rick’s sees it as a jobs program and to provide cheap labor – an Army of janitors;”
Ricks: Draft our kids: This Ain’t Hell.

“McChrystal admits that it would lead to a loss of professionalism in the ranks, but I guess because he’s a liberal deep inside (he voted for Obama, he says) the loss of a successful military is secondary to everyone’s feelings about war. Americans were largely against the surge in Iraq, and their opinions didn’t matter, because it happened anyway. Americans wanted the wars to end and they voted for Obama…the casualties since the “peace President” took office are 2/3s of the total US casualties in the nearly 11-year war. So what good would everyone having “skin in the game” do for our policies?”
McChrystal calls for a draft: This Ain’t Hell.

“The U.S. Army by the end of the Vietnam War suffered from a bad case of this; as mentioned above, many films set during the War show military units that are barely wearing uniforms, with half of the soldiers high most of the time. While this often seems jarring to viewers, any soldier who was there will tell you that it was absolutely Truth in Television: the army was falling apart, discipline had gone completely to hell, the percentage of heroin-addicted soldiers had reached the double digits, and killing your own commander was so common as to get its own Deadly Euphemism: fragging.
Mildly Military“:

ordered to de-ice them before flying operations in wintertime. It is recalled that, since no jet fuel was available for jet heaters, these soldiers used brooms to remove the ice, a process which resulted in the MiGs’ honeycomb structures such as elevators, flaps, rudders and ailerons being seriously damaged.

Several of the MiGs never flew again. Not coincidentally, Hungary ended the draft in 2005.

From a General who can’t keep his mouth shut, a lefty mouthpiece journalist and many, many corners of the ‘net.

The draft has its origins in Medieval warfare. When kings would go to war, they would call upon the nobles (princes, lords, barons, other minor nobles). In exchange for their loyalty to the king, they promised their fighting men. In exchange for living on a noble’s land, the peasants would have to fight for their lord and their king.

Castles and kings became towns and democracy. However conscription remains. The west fought countless wars with conscripts. The left is still just angry about Bush. McCrystal just wants to vindicate himself and possibly run for office.

Wars are not fought so much as processed. Information, high tech weapons, cultural sensitivity are more important than just stuffing bodies into uniforms. WWI was the last time armies just lined up and shot at each other. WWII, Korea, Vietnam, were wars of maneuver, Korea and Vietnam brought politics to the mix. Desert Storm, the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the war in Afghanistan would have chewed up and spit out Forrest Gump.

A draft army is a slave army, forced to fight.

The mission of the military is to fight and win the nation’s wars. This crap about “making men out of boys” or “building citizenship” is utter bullshit. The draft-era military was all about sending men to die. That was one of the way the North won the civil war. We don’t fight that way in the 21st century. Those who are too spoiled, too fat, to criminal or too leftist don’t need to be in uniform. The reporter asking for a draft won’t send his kids to fight. He undermines his point by asking draftees to do the easy jobs that the DoD as long ago given to civilians.

“Civilians are like beans; you buy ’em as needed for any job which merely requires skill and savvy.
But you can’t buy fighting spirit.”
Starship Troopers

Before WWII, most jobs in the military were simple. Technology marched on between the wars. The airplane, tanks, radio, as the war ground on we got rockets, jets and the bomb. The Cold War saw computers go from filling a room to being able to fit in the palm of your hand. We don’t need ersatz “soldiers”. Even the smallest amount of carelessness can kill. Draftees will make this worse.

“I also think there are prices too high to pay to save the United States. Conscription is one of them. Conscription is slavery, and I don’t think that any people or nation has a right to save itself at the price of slavery for anyone, no matter what name it is called. We have had the draft for twenty years now; I think this is shameful. If a country can’t save itself through the volunteer service of its own free people, then I say : Let the damned thing go down the drain!
Robert A. Heinlien: 29th World Science Fiction Convention, Seattle, Washington (1961)

Well said.

Link: Brad takes down the jobs Rick’s “army” would do.