Lt. Col. Kate Germano on the Marines and Women – The New York Times

For decades the Marine Corps has tolerated, even encouraged, lower performance from the young women who enlist in its ranks, an insidious gender bias that begins with the way women are treated immediately after they sign up and continues through their training at boot camp. The results are predictable – female Marines risk being less confident and less fully accepted than their male counterparts, because the Corps has failed them from the outset.

That is the position of Lt. Col. Kate Germano, an active-duty Marine officer who commanded both a Marine recruiting station in San Diego and a segregated all-female training battalion at Parris Island, the Corps’ boot camp in South Carolina. Colonel Germano presented this argument in a draft article, “When Did It Become an Insult to Train Like a Girl?” that she wrote early this year and in which she argued for tougher standards and higher expectations, or, in her words, a movement toward “radical change.”

via Lt. Col. Kate Germano on the Marines and Women – The New York Times.

It’s worth your time to click over and read Lt. Col. Germano’s piece.

Whether recruit training should continue to be segregated for men and women is a question I’m open minded about. But insisting on female recruits meeting the same standards of performance is simply common sense.

More and more, it looks like the Marine Corps shot itself in the foot in relieving her.



Dunford Mulls F-35B IOC Decision; 4 Bs Take Out 9 Attackers « Breaking Defense – Defense industry news, analysis and commentary

WASHINGTON: During the Marine’s recent operational readiness test of the F-35B, four of the Marine aircraft went up against nine enemy aircraft.

“It went very poorly for the bad guys,” Lt. Gen. Jon Davis, deputy commandant for aviation, told me this afternoon. Davis provided few details, saying they were classified, He did say that the F-35s faced a threat that “we have never put an F-16 or a Harrier against.” The F-35Bs, he said, did a “great job.”

I asked Davis about the recent news that the F-35A did not fare that well in dogfight conditions against an F-16. “I love the F-16. It was a great airplane. Still is pretty good, but i would not want to be in a fight against an F-35.”

via Dunford Mulls F-35B IOC Decision; 4 Bs Take Out 9 Attackers « Breaking Defense – Defense industry news, analysis and commentary.

I expect the IOC announcement any day now.

There are some issues left, but overall, the program has settled down quite a bit in the last two years. Yes, the planes are way too expensive.

With all the handwringing in the press about the F-35 being a poor dogfighter, the thing to remember is that the F-35 is a bomber that handles air to air pretty well, not a fighter that also hauls bombs.

There are countries with significant air to air capability. However, the real challenge isn’t sending our fighters against their fighters. It’s sending our attack aircraft against their integrated air defense systems. Even with extensive jamming support, legacy fighters like the F-16 would struggle to operate effectively in the face of S-300 and S-400 type surface to air missile systems.

The stealth characteristics of the F-35 improve the odds of successfully rolling back such systems. It’s that capability to strip away area denial systems that justifies the entire JSF program.

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Andrea Tantaros Broke The Interwebs Today.

and we’re all better ‘muricans for it:

Republicans. Because our women are hotter.



There’s One Big Problem with the White House Plan to Close Guantanamo – Defense One

White House officials say they’re getting close to delivering a plan to close the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as Congress has demanded for years. There’s one problem: a key part is illegal — at least for now.

Current U.S. law forbids the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to prisons on U.S. soil — and yet there are some prisoners who cannot be sent anywhere else, Deputy National Security Advisor Lisa Monaco said Saturday.

“We are going to whittle down this group to what I refer to as the irreducible minimum, who would have to be brought here to a secure location, held under the laws of war, continuing under military detention, and that’s the only way we’re going to be able to close Guantanamo,” Monaco said at the Aspen Security Forum. These prisoners would be prosecuted in the military justice system or federal courts and subjected to a “supermax cell,” Monaco said. “Ultimately, that’s the way we’re gonna do it.”

via There’s One Big Problem with the White House Plan to Close Guantanamo – Defense One.

Here’s a thought.

Don’t close Gitmo.

Since 9/11 the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay has evolved into a sophisticated prison. And many of the terrorists there must not ever be allowed freedom.

The whole point of placing the prisoners there was to keep them out of the reach of US federal courts, where the storm of writs of habeas corpus would clog the judiciary endlessly. That’s why the Congress passed legislation prohibiting the transfer of Gitmo detainees to the US.

As to international law concerning the prisoners there, well, international law can change. In effect, it is what we say it is.

The argument against indefinite detention is weak as well. Closing Gitmo will not suddenly bring respect to the US from nations aligned against her. It will simply embolden international antagonists to move on to the next objective.

Of course, that runs against the plans of our current President. He has spouted much rhetoric about closing Gitmo, but done nothing to achieve it. For once, I’m pleased at his inaction on a promise. One suspects, however, that he, in a bid for a legacy, wants very much to close it, and suspects somewhat that he desires to return the US Naval Base there to Cuba.



The Workings of an Ancient Nuclear Reactor – Scientific American

In May 1972 a worker at a nuclear fuel–processing plant in France noticed something suspicious. He had been conducting a routine analysis of uranium derived from a seemingly ordinary source of ore. As is the case with all natural uranium, the material under study contained three isotopes— that is to say, three forms with differing atomic masses: uranium 238, the most abundant variety; uranium 234, the rarest; and uranium 235, the isotope that is coveted because it can sustain a nuclear chain reaction. Elsewhere in the earth’s crust, on the moon and even in meteorites, uranium 235 atoms make up 0.720 percent of the total. But in these samples, which came from the Oklo deposit in Gabon (a former French colony in west equatorial Africa), uranium 235 constituted just 0.717 percent. That tiny discrepancy was enough to alert French scientists that something strange had happened. Further analyses showed that ore from at least one part of the mine was far short on uranium 235: some 200 kilograms appeared to be missing— enough to make half a dozen or so nuclear bombs.

via The Workings of an Ancient Nuclear Reactor – Scientific American.

Well, this is pretty fascinating. It’s old, but it’s new to me. Jeff, any other nukes familiar with this?



The Un-Armed Services (Guest Post) | I don’t know; ask the skipper.

According to recent reports concerning last week’s tragedy in Chattanooga, two servicemembers — the commanding officer of the Navy Operations Support Center (NOSC) and one of the slain Marines — carried weapons when Mohammad Abdulazeez gunned down their unarmed colleagues. These same reports have pointed out that should this detail prove true, LCDR Timothy White and his fallen brother violated Department of Defense policy by carrying their personal weapons onto the military installation. They were confronted with a sick choice: remain in accordance with current regulations, or use the force necessary to defend themselves and their shipmates. It would be an absolute abdication of leadership to prohibit military personnel from possessing the tools and authority to guard against a similar future attack. To that effect, Congress should empower troops stationed at vulnerable facilities like NOSCs or recruiting offices with the ability to carry firearms for personal and unit defense.

The United States is still at war with ISIS, Al Qaeda, and other transnational terrorist organizations. Just like there are Americans in a targeting cell somewhere at this moment working to take down terrorist training and recruiting sites in Syria, violent radicals are no doubt chomping on the bit to carry out attacks on similar targets inside the U.S. An incident in 2009 similar to last week’s resulted in the death of one soldier and the wounding of another. Operations like these are equally deadly whether conducted by a self radicalized, troubled “loan wolf” or a steely eyed, well-trained operative. After all, their preferred targets — recruiting offices and reserve centers — are lightly, if at all, defended.

via The Un-Armed Services (Guest Post) | I don’t know; ask the skipper..

The Skipper has a guest post that takes a look at some of the challenges of arming recruiters and reserve centers.

As an infantryman, weapons were part and parcel of the job. Even so, you’d be surprised at how little time was actually spent using them.  Now consider the life of an Army recruiter. I was what they called a “detailed” recruiter, selected to spend a three year tour at a recruiting station, and then return to my normal career field.

All recruiters in the Army start out this way. Many, finding they enjoy the job, convert their career field to recruiting, and follow a career progression including jobs such as station commander, recruiting company First Sergeant, and ultimately, Recruiting Battalion Command Sergeant Major for some.

People in that career field simply never see the “real” Army again. They don’t deploy to war, they don’t train on weapons, they simply do office work and spend time interacting with the public. It’s the least martial job in the Army. That’s not a knock, just how it is. They do an important job. But what they don’t do is train to fight.

Could they reasonably be trained to qualify with a weapon? Sure. But let us not pretend that everyone in the Army, let alone the other services, spends every day learning to be a crack pistolero.



Thirty-nine Marines previously MIA returning to US – Stripes

The remains of 39 Marines — including Alexander Bonnyman Jr. — will return to the U.S. this weekend, more than seven decades after the men vanished during World War II’s Battle of Tarawa.

A repatriation ceremony is scheduled for Sunday at Hickam Air Force Base in Honolulu.

After Bonnyman and his comrades died in 1943, the military issued a letter stating that most of those killed at Tarawa were presumed lost at sea.

In May, however, the Marines’ remains were uncovered by an archeological team on Betio, in the Republic of Kirbati.

via Thirty-nine Marines previously MIA returning to US – Stripes.

Welcome home, Marines.

This is a tad embarrassing for the service. The DoD POW/MIA Accounting Agency exists to fulfill this role. Through various names over the years, the DPAA has sought to recover the remains of Missing in Action personnel, originally from the Vietnam War, but eventually expanding its role to all unrecovered US personnel.

What’s sad is that the remains found on Bieto were something of an open secret.

We’ll leave it to Jennifer Holik to explain the exact details of interment during the war, but in general, if you were killed in action, you could expect to be buried in a temporary grave very near where you fell. After the battlefield was secured, you’d be reburied in another cemetery, and eventually, after the war, a final, permanent resting place, either overseas or here in the United States.

In this case, it appears that the temporary graveyard was simply forgotten, and part of it at least was built over during the construction of military installations on Bieto after it was secured.

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