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GoT at ISA

[ 3 ] January 25, 2015 |

This, by LGM alumna Charli Carpenter, is very well done:

Tragically, Alex and I won’t make the panel because of unforeseen new commitments. Nevertheless, if you’re at the ISA conference I can’t imagine a more interesting Wednesday afternoon panel.

As China Pushes Forward…

[ 6 ] January 24, 2015 |

My latest at the National Interest takes a look at five areas the Chinese military may want to improve:

What weapons should China be developing and building right now?   There’s an inherent tension between defense procurement and innovation.  On the one hand, the Chinese military needs platforms now in order to fulfill the increasing scope of its responsibilities.  On the other hand, funds committed to production and operations don’t go into innovation, or to the integration of new weapon systems.

With this trade-off in mind, this article takes a look at five kinds of weapon that China can develop in the short, medium, and long terms.  China needs systems to secure its borders, ensure the defense of its trade routes, and potentially challenge the United States in the Western Pacific. The list concentrates on systems that enable these missions, with a focus on weapons that other countries either already have or are developing.

 

Travails of a Starter Carrier

[ 15 ] January 23, 2015 |

The South China Morning Post has a very interesting series on the purchase of the Ukrainian Varyag, the half-constructed aircraft carrier hulk that eventually became Liaoning, China’s first operational carrier. Some thoughts up at the Diplomat:

China’s acquisition of Varyag was contingent on a series of often improbable events. How would China’s carrier program have worked out differently if Ukraine has rejected the purchase, or the Turks had refused transit of the ship, or if the hulk had sunk along the way (a real possibility at the time)?

The Problem is Structural

[ 58 ] January 22, 2015 |

An update on Major General Post:

A prominent lawmaker is calling for an investigation of a major general’s reported comments blasting officers as treasonous if they work with Congress against Air Force plans to retire the A-10.

Maj. Gen. James Post, vice commander of Air Combat Command, reportedly told officers at a recent meeting of the Tactics Review Board at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, that they were not to speak with Congress about the service’s attempt to retire the attack jet.

“Anyone who is passing information to Congress about A-10 capabilities is committing treason,” Post is quoted by former airman and blogger Tony Carr as saying.

Post reportedly prefaced his comments by saying “if anyone accuses me of saying this, I will deny it,” according to Carr’s “John Q. Public” blog.

Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who wants to keep the A-10 in service, has called on Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James to investigate the reported comments, McCain spokesman Dustin Walker told Air Force Times.

A-4 McCain is right on the particulars, but the problem isn’t with any one individual. Post voiced (in clumsy terms) what the vast bulk of the Air Force hierarchy is thinking about the A-10. The USAF has made its case on the Warthog openly, and strictly on the merits it’s not that awful of a case; the A-10 has a limited future because of its inability to survive in contested airspace. Hell, if any of the Strelas that ISIS fired at A-10s a few days ago had found their mark, the entire fleet would likely have been withdrawn from action.

The problem is that the A-10 represents the only palpable commitment that the USAF has to the close air support mission, and that no one trusts the USAF to pay much attention to the mission when the A-10 is gone. And that problem stems from the fact that we’ve badly misorganized our military forces around the idea that one service should control stuff that flies (as long as it has fixed wings and doesn’t fly off aircraft carriers), regardless of what those planes are supposed to do. And senior officers have every incentive to focus on the parochial needs of the service, rather than on the contribution the service makes to the joint mission.

And, I should hasten to add, there’s a solution…

If You Have a Nickel to Spare…

[ 2 ] January 21, 2015 |

drop it over at Lance’s place. I like to think of Lance as LGM’s Ozzie Altobello.

History of the Battleship

[ 62 ] January 20, 2015 |

This is extremely well done.

In the late Sixties, Milton Bradley created the game Battleship, which introduced the catch phrase “You sank my battleship” to the general public.

It is still the shortest and most accurate history of the battleship to date.

In other battleship news, the manuscript for the book I’ve been developing out of Sunday Battleship Blogging is now with the editors. We should have some info soon regarding publication dates, etc.

Dartmouth Has Trained You Well

[ 110 ] January 19, 2015 |

Now that’s good trolling.

I suppose there’s something to be said about the manner in which the terms of conservative “intellectualism” have changed over the years. In the 1980s and 1990s, D’Souza felt the need to make an effort at what amounted to mainstream respectability. Today, he has no interest in it, and it’s hard to identify conservatives who have the same pretensions. I guess that Ross Douthat would be the closest to having “crossover appeal.”

Digital Arms Race

[ 8 ] January 18, 2015 |

I’m old enough that I can remember when the Snowden docs were about domestic spying and civil liberties:

In addition to providing a view of the US’s own ability to conduct digital attacks, Snowden’s archive also reveals the capabilities of other countries. The Transgression team has access to years of preliminary field work and experience at its disposal, including databases in which malware and network attacks from other countries are cataloged.

The Snowden documents show that the NSA and its Five Eyes partners have put numerous network attacks waged by other countries to their own use in recent years. One 2009 document states that the department’s remit is to “discover, understand (and) evaluate” foreign attacks. Another document reads: “Steal their tools, tradecraft, targets and take.”

It’s interesting stuff, of course, the breathless citation of Marshall McLuhan aside.

“It’s Treason, Then”

[ 23 ] January 16, 2015 |


An Air Force general goes all Palpatine over the A-10:

At the same time IraqiNews.com reported on a local source in Nineveh province who said that “the ‘Wild Boar’ aircraft which belongs to the U.S. Air Force has carried out four air strikes that killed and wounded dozens of ISIS elements, adding that the aircraft sparked panic in the ranks of ISIS, USAF officers were being told by [Major General James] Post “if anyone accuses me of saying this, I will deny it… anyone who is passing information to Congress about A-10 capabilities is committing treason.”

Who knew that an independent air force might pursue its own parochial vision of the national interest, without reference to either the needs of its sister organizations or the political process of American national security policy?

Also, I love the idea that the A-10 Warthog is known in some circles as the “Wild Boar” aircraft.

Bowl Mania

[ 13 ] January 15, 2015 |

My therapist says that if I want to come to terms with Monday’s tragedy, I have to name the winner of the LGM Bowl Mania Challenge:

1 561 99.6
2 549 99.3
3 534 98.6
4* 518 97.2
4* 518 97.2
6 516 97.0
7 510 96.2
8 507 95.8
9 497 93.9
10 496 93.7

Thank you all for your participation, etc. cabotgk should contact me at the address on the right sidebar regarding prize info.

Carriers!

[ 11 ] January 15, 2015 |

My thoughts on last week’s aircraft carrier debate:

Last Friday, Commander Bryan McGrath (USN, ret.) and Captain Jerry Hendrix (USN, ret.) debated the future cost-effectiveness of the nuclear supercarrier. The United States Naval Academy provided the venue, the midshipmen the audience.  The debate shed some light on how the USN thinks about its aircraft carriers, and potentially portended the future of the aircraft carrier debate across the Indo-Pacific.

Thursday Linkage

[ 25 ] January 15, 2015 |

From around the inter-tubes:

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