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Category: Robert Farley

Having A Cake…

[ 8 ] March 14, 2015 |
J-7I fighter at the Beijing Military Museum from above.jpg

“J-7I fighter at the Beijing Military Museum from above” by Max Smith  (Own photo). Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

My latest at the Diplomat works through the implications of China’s efforts to build a modern IP bureaucracy:

Can China create an intellectual property system robust enough to support domestic technological innovation (on both the military and civilian side) while still maintaining its casual attitude toward the theft of foreign technology? The answer is almost certainly no.

Foreign Entanglements: The Iran Deal

[ 2 ] March 13, 2015 |

On this week’s episode of Foreign Entanglements, Matt and I discuss the Iran deal in context of the infamous letter:

Why Do We Have This Tool?

[ 12 ] March 10, 2015 |

In honor of the release of Grounded: The Case for Abolishing the United States Air Force in paperback, Real Clear Defense has published an excerpt:

Air force independence was controversial from the start. The appendix of a British Air Ministry memorandum of June 1921, entitled “Some Arguments for and against a Separate Air Force,” detailed seven arguments against independence. In this section, I boil these arguments down to five rationales for air force independence. Some of these rationales speak directly to the idea of an independent air force, while others justify bureaucratic division in a more general sense.

LGM Tourney Challenge

[ 2 ] March 10, 2015 |

I have reactivated the LGM Tourney Challenge group.

Group: Lawyers, Guns and Money

Password: zevon

Something tells me that more than two people will pick Kentucky to win this year… As always, prize to the winner.


Monday Reading

[ 78 ] March 9, 2015 |

Happy Monday!

USS Enterprise FS Charles de Gaulle.jpg

“USS Enterprise FS Charles de Gaulle” by U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate Airman Doug Pearlman. – U.S. DefenseImagery photo VIRIN: 010516-N-6259P-003. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

From Vietnam to Chicago to Gitmo

[ 35 ] March 9, 2015 |
Chicagopd jpg w300h294.jpg

“Chcagopd jpg w300h294″ by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia.


What happened at Gitmo wasn’t torture.  Why, it was no worse than serious BDSM/ Special Forces training /frat hazing/ what the Chicago Police Department does on a daily basis.

These allegations recall Chicago twenty-five years ago. In 1990, after multiple allegations of torture, the CPD Office of Professional Standards conducted an investigation in Area 2 that identified fifty cases of torture by over thirty officers. Subsequent investigations led to the uncovering of over 100 victims, going back to 1968. Tactics included shocking, bagging [the head] and suffocating, suspension, whipping, burning, and beating. Most incidents were connected to Jon Burge and his “Asskickers.” Jon Burge brought many of the tactics he learned in Vietnam to interrogations of criminals of Chicago. Although Burge eventually lost his job,[4] other than two associated officers, no other officers were disciplined. Many remained and were promoted.[5] Even if the problem was a “bad apple,” it may very well have spoiled the bunch. Investigations identified over fifty officers over close to three decades. Not only that, but approximately one third of Cook County criminal court judges were attorneys or detectives involved in the torture cases.[6] So the fact that the allegations that began to surface about nefarious practices at Homan in the mid-2000s has gone mostly unnoticed is not all that surprising. When asked about why the Chicago media hasn’t broken the story, Tracy Siska, the executive director of the Chicago Justice Project, replied that many “reporters agree with the police perspective.”

Nuclear Targets

[ 58 ] March 7, 2015 |

_56356891_hmssheffieldpaOne of the lessons we can draw from the best work on nuclear weapon handling accidents, a lesson available from both the theoretical and the anecdotal accounts, is that the accidents happen due to an accumulation of unexpected errors that interact in unpredictable ways.  A falling wrench tears open a pipe; changes in personnel rotations lead experienced people to ignore weapons loaded onto a plane; and so forth.

I’m not sure that “sending nuclear-armed ships into an area where they’re being fired on by Exocet missiles” counts as this kind of normal accident:

The Ministry of Defence admitted for the first time last night that British ships carried nuclear weapons in the Falklands war.

The disclosure came as the government was forced to concede – after a long-running campaign by the Guardian – that seven nuclear weapons containers were damaged during a series of wartime accidents.

But many of the details of these accidents are still being kept secret by the MoD.

The ministry also refused to say whether any nuclear depth charges were on board HMS Sheffield, which was sunk during the war.




So You Want a Blue Water Navy…

[ 16 ] March 6, 2015 |
US Navy 050614-N-0120R-050 The conventionally powered aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) and the guided missile cruiser USS Cowpens (CG 63) receives fuel during a replenishment at sea.jpg

US Navy 050614-N-0120R-050 The conventionally powered aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) and the guided missile cruiser USS Cowpens (CG 63) receives fuel during a replenishment at sea.jpg

Here’s five things that could maybe help:

Broadly speaking, having a blue water navy means having the capacity to deploy a task force of ships across the open ocean, and to support them at great distance from their bases. Having a blue water navy means that a nation has the potential to play a big role on the international stage. Indeed, developing a blue water navy may be more complex, expensive, and useful than building a nuclear weapon.

In Mahan’s day, what countries needed to count as having a blue water navy was a series of coaling stations that they could access during war. This could mean colonies, friends, or a healthy set of financial accounts. Times have changed, but much of the basic logic of blue water deployment remains the same.


[ 23 ] March 5, 2015 |

Japanese battleship Musashi cropped.jpg

“Japanese battleship Musashi” by Tobei Shiraishi – Japanese_battleship_Musashi.jpg. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Because of course I’d have more than just one thing to say about HIJMS Musashi:

The sinking of HIJMS Musashi in October 1944 made depressingly clear what many observers had suspected since 1941, and even as early as the 1920s: sufficient numbers of committed carrier aircraft could sink a battleship, even when that battleship carried a heavy anti-aircraft armament and could maneuver at speed. But a more careful look at the story offers some insights into how we understand the relationship between military innovation and “obsolescence.”

HIJMS Musashi

[ 12 ] March 4, 2015 |

It appears that Paul Allen has found a very large battleship:

More about the expedition here. I suppose this means that a Gamilon attack is right around the corner…

Wednesday Linkage…

[ 19 ] March 4, 2015 |
Mig-29ukraine arms.JPG

“MiG-29ukraine arms”. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia.

For your reading pleasure:

Dronz! With the Killz!

[ 46 ] March 2, 2015 |
The Reaper returns

MQ-9 Reaper (US Air Force photo)

My latest at the National Interest takes a look at killer drones:

Why kill with drones? States have a few reasons to prefer Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to do their dirty work. From a political standpoint, drones would seem to carry less risk than manned aircraft; even unsophisticated foes can sometimes bring down a jet and take its pilot captive. Freed of the need to keep a human pilot alive and awake, drones can loiter on station much longer than manned aircraft, keeping more careful watch on potential targets.

Some drones kill directly; others facilitate joint military operations. This list looks at five of the most lethal drones that nations have begun to field over the last decade.

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