Category Archives: Around the web

U.S. Department of Defense Reading Lists

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One of my favorites on the CNO’s list.

The folks over at Small Wars Journal bring us a list of lists of DoD recommended reading. All services are well represent in addition to some of the recommend reading from Joint Commands, the CIA and Small Wars Journal itself. Most of these I’ve read and you may want to add some to your reading list for next year.

Throwing in the promo, you should be able to find not only the books at the Pritzker Military Museum and Library but also the recorded programs featuring some of the authors.

Or buy them at the Amazon link at the right.

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Filed under Air Force, army, Around the web, Coast Guard, Defense, doctrine, history

Domestic Enemies: 2014

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If you read here more than a little, you are familiar with my use of the term “enemies, domestic”.  For the uninitiated, those words are a part of my oath of office as a Commissioned Officer in the United States Marine Corps.  They define, in part, those from whom I have sworn on my life to defend the Constitution from.  Just who are those people?  Well, DaveO among our friends at Op-For provides some superb erudition to the subject:

In August of 2013, I posed the question “Who are ‘Domestic Enemies?’” This question stemmed from comments in an earlier post provided by Mike Burke and Slater. In September of 2013, Colonel Joseph L. Prue, USAF, in his post  “Identifying the domestic enemy” pulled this definition from our Constitution:

Amendment 14, Section 3 states, “No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.” As a military officer, I honed in on the words military and insurrection. To me, this meant that any insurgent against the United States shall not hold any public office to include civil or military.

The Constitutional parameters of: 1) engaging in insurrection or rebellion against the Constitution; or 2) to have given aid and comfort to the enemies of the Constitution.

By that definition we’ve got a  LOT of domestic enemies in America. Folks love to argue that President Obama’s [still unsigned?] amnesty is the very definition of rebellion against the Constitution. Others, myself included, believe Senator Reid of Utah and the anti-war groups such as Code Pink did gave aid and comfort to AQ and its offshoots and the Taliban up until Obama won the presidency, and then the groups were quickly hustled off to rest and recuperate until the next Republican POTUS appears.

But the folks in and behind the anti-war crowd were never anti-war, just anti-America and if hampering the war effort hurt America, they were all for it. Once Obama won, these people could turn to more productive pursuits. They are working on an “American Spring.” Legitimate protests of law enforcement are being hijacked to bring about rebellion. There are problems with race in America, as well as problems enforcing the an unknowable and incoherent body of law. Domestic enemies don’t care about race or relations with the police – domestic enemies wish to supplant the Constitution and become their own law and engage in mass murder. The NSA knows who they are, where they live, and who is paying them. January 20, 2017 can’t come soon enough – we need to cut out this cancer of domestic enemies.

Every link Dave puts in his post is worth the read.  This Administration has embarked on a systematic shredding of our Constitution, and with it, our liberties protected thereby.  The 14th Amendment has already been a casualty, when the Attorney General defined just who would face prosecution for crimes, based on skin color.  DaveO is entirely correct.  January of 2017 cannot come soon enough.
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Filed under Air Force, army, Around the web, guns, history, marines, navy, obama, Politics, terrorism, Uncategorized, veterans, war, weapons

This is What’s Infuriating About Professional Sports

Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo is a very poor shooter.  From the free throw line, he has gone from mediocre to downright abysmal.   Rather than taking Rondo to task for his performance, an article by Celtics beat writer A. Sherrod Blakely at CSNNE on the subject is all but an excuse-making session for a professional basketball player, a ball-handling guard, no less, being such a poor free throw shooter.   Rondo’s coach, Brad Stevens, talks as if there is simply some fine tuning and a confidence issue.

“The only way that it’s going to be brought up is by everybody else on the outside,” Stevens said. “So all we’re going to do is encourage and try to help in the small ways we can. But it’s about feeling good about yourself, about going in and knocking the next one in. That’s a lot easier said than done. That’s something that, I want him on the line again in a tie game with a minute to go. He’ll make those.”

Really?  Seems Rondo has been a terrible free throw shooter his entire career, making a dismal 61.5% (the league average is over 78%) over nine seasons.  He has two years in which he failed to make 60%, and so far this season he has been historically bad.  Rondo is just 9 for 28 from the free throw line, 32.1% thus far in 2014-15.  And he is the guy that is the Celtics’ ball handler, the one who needs to be automatic from the line, because he is the one you want with the ball and a lead in the closing seconds of a tight game.  Except he stinks from the free throw line.  And for years, the Celtics have inserted other players in those situations specifically because their “star” point guard is so bad in the clutch.  You want him on the line in a tie game, coach?  Funny, so does the other team.  Methinks you are full of it.

But don’t worry, Rondo promises to get into the gym and “fix” his problem.

“I’m gonna work on it,” Rondo said. “I don’t have the answer on it now. When I figure it out, I start making nine-for-10 I’ll let you know what I did to tweak it.”

Gee, thanks for the effort.  For a salary of $12.9 million, or $35,000 A DAY, one is glad to know that you are willing to put in the work.  After how many years of piss-poor performance?  How many games has it cost your team in the regular season and playoffs?  After nine professional seasons, NOW you are going to “work on it”?   And then this bit of new-age athletic advice from Coach Stevens:

“So I think that, you go in, put your work in. It doesn’t have to be thousands and thousands of hours. It doesn’t have to be hundreds and hundreds of free throws every session. Just get it right, and move on. And believe in yourself to make the next one because the people around you support you.”

Sorry, Brad, it IS thousands of hours.  Confidence comes with practice.  Thousands and tens of thousands of shots, practicing proper form and fundamentals.  Drills for the fingertips, against a wall.  Time in an empty gym.  A lot of time.  Dedication, and hard work.  Something fewer and fewer professional athletes are willing to put in to turn their talents into skills.  It has nothing to do with “support”.  Good gravy.  Such excuse-making is a source of increasing frustration for me and many others who have been watchers of professional sports.  I routinely turn off games in which I see the mediocrity on display that denotes a lack of hard work, and a lack of mastery of fundamentals.  Empty my wallet to buy a ticket to watch it live?  Not a chance.  I don’t want to hear how much you burn to win on game day, when you cannot be bothered to put in the sweat on practice day.  An hour a day in the gym (positing an 8 hour day, Rondo makes $4,500 an hour) shooting free throws is pretty good work if you can get it.

Despite Rondo’s assurances, I doubt he will get any better, except for fleeting stretches here and there.  He hasn’t in nine professional seasons.  And he has been unwilling to put in the work to improve.  Short of some sort of physical disorder, if he’d have worked, he would be better.  Rondo remains what he has been for his entire career, an awful free throw shooter and poor jump shooter whose shortcomings continue to hurt his team.

If you want to be the star of the team and you stink, don’t be surprised if your team stinks.  And if you are the star and are unwilling to work, don’t be surprised if your teammates aren’t willing to work.  And don’t be surprised if I, and many like me, change the channel.

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Filed under Around the web, Personal

Milblogs are dead. Long live the Milblogs!

When blogs first started to flourish, around 2002 to 2004, not surprisingly a lot of guys deployed to various parts of the world started blogs. From 2005 to 2008, it was very common to come across a Milblog written by say, a Staff Sergeant or junior officer that was basically an online journal of their deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan. Eventually, concerns with operational security and a tendency of chains of command to be wary of potential bad press led to social media guidance that made running a blog quite cumbersome. It’s hard enough to write a decent blog without having to comply with directives at the same time.

The huge impact of Facebook, and now Twitter as well, has also seen the influence of the lone blogger wane. It’s just easier to share with your friends over those networks. And finally, conglomeration has had an impact. It used to be one guy could start a blog and become an Instapundit, an Ace, a Talking Points Memo. Instead now, both legacy media hire content providers (that is, bloggers) or e-zines are formed. Buzzfeed takes content from just about anyone. And then there’s reddit.

So the day of the blog is likely past.

But a funny thing happened along the way to blogging obsolescence. A lot of people found out they liked having a forum to discuss issues. Discussion boards run for the benefit of junior soldiers soon built incredibly strong communities. Ideas were shared, argued, torn down, and built up. Where previously a junior officer’s only chance to write and publish was likely in his branch’s monthly journal, these independent forums were far easier to submit to, and far quicker to publish.

And that trend has continued. And those same junior officers are now field grade officers. And they are looking to elevate the discussion from the purely tactical level at with they previously operated, to the operational and strategic levels they are now faced with.

A few years back, there was a short lived Army blog called the League of Disgruntled Majors.

Now comes three of what we can only describe as the League of Gruntled Majors. Majors Cavanaugh, Finney, and McRae are three among the many who seek to use online forums to further the profession of arms. Not just tell war stories, but to actually influence the shape and future of Army thinking.

A core group of mid-grade officers are changing the way professional discussions, doctrinal analysis, and institutional innovations take place in the Army. Like the famous interwar dialogue between Patton and Eisenhower that later found battlefield application during WWII, this group is attempting to foster a smarter, more relevant Army. Unlike those dialogues, they are using the internet and military blogging to drive change and new ideas, aligning with the culture of innovation that defense leaders hope will ensure advantage over potential future adversaries. Initially born of tactical-level information sharing on junior-officer message boards during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, this movement is comprised of officers now working at the field-grade officer level—Major through Colonel—having traded tactical discussions for institutional ones.

They aren’t the only ones. The article mentions the Defense Entrepreneurs Forum, from where we’re going to steal materiel for a post tomorrow.

Another such organization is CIMSEC, the Center for International Maritime Security.

These organizations, all largely “organic” in that they sprang to life independent of any official high level sanction from their services, are rapidly gaining respect as vibrant centers of thought.

So the blog is dead. And yet mightier than ever before.

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Ferguson: “Certain Instigators”

In this afternoon’s post, XBRAD applied the term “certain instigators” to define the thugs and race-baiters who wish for “black rage” and senseless violence in Ferguson rather than any acknowledgement of facts or desire for justice.   Those instigators have fanned the flames of racial hatred, demanded that due process be set aside so that revenge could be exacted, and assiduously masked the REAL issue of the Ferguson story: police overreach.   (No, I am not talking about the shooting death of Michael Brown.  Reaching for a policeman’s firearm in a wrestling match almost guarantees such an outcome.)  I am talking about law enforcement who treats every citizen as a suspect and potential perp.  Cops that sight in on unarmed civilians and scream that they are going to kill them.  Cops with little restraint, regardless of skin color of either the officer or the citizen.  Who might be eager to suppress that issue?  Our highest law enforcement official in the land.  And the President whose vision of government is one of omnipotence and intimidation.

The old saying, “You’re known by the company you keep”, certainly applies to those two.  Behold, the “certain instigators” of Ferguson:

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Birds of a feather.  They have far more than skin color in common.  They are hucksters.  Bigoted, race-baiting charlatans.  Despicable and dishonest.  They see an opportunity for racial agitation in Ferguson, and in Wappinger Falls, NY, Durham, NC, Sanford, FL, but apparently none in Duncan, OK, or in South Salt Lake, UT, or Chicago’s projects.  And they are indistinguishable from one another, except that two of them are supposed to be supporting and defending the Constitution.

For people like Tim Scott, Alan West, Mia Love, and Dr. Benjamin Carson, skin color is the ONLY thing they have in common with those pictured above.   Something about content of their character, I believe.

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Filed under Around the web, history, obama, Politics, Uncategorized

SECDEF Fired: Hagel Goes Under the Bus

Chuck Hagel

Big news this morning that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has been fired by President Obama.  Big news, but not surprising.  Hagel has openly contradicted the President several times, especially regarding the Administration’s rather childish assertions regarding the necessity of ground forces in the fight against ISIS.   You will hear various stories about how this was Hagel’s idea, and of course, the media will dutifully report as fact the White House’s version of events.  But that version will be as accurate and honest as WH proclamations on Benghazi, the IRS, Fast and Furious, ISIS intelligence failures, etc.

Though Hagel was not known as a deep thinker, the idea that he somehow couldn’t grasp the deeper and more complex defense issues smells like the intellectual elitism of the self-proclaimed far-left “ruling” class.  It is far more likely that Hagel attempted to keep Obama and his National Security Council grounded in reality, only to be poo-pooed and brushed aside by the overwhelming cacophony from the Marxist ideologues that have the President’s ample ears.   I was never a big Chuck Hagel fan, as he was a Global Zero guy whose viewpoints at various times bordered on the curious, but as SECDEF I thought he was one of the few at the top of the Defense structure with the spine to stand up to the rampant amateurish stupidity that emanated from 1600 Pennsylvania.  We could have done far worse.  We certainly might going forward.

Whether talks were “initiated” by Hagel or not, the nature of those talks were probably discussions about whether Obama was going to keep tossing aside wise counsel or not in favor of the childlike and naive rantings of his fellow-travelers.  And, the answer today seems to be a resounding YES.  Obama will continue to march forward in secular progressive lockstep to the Internationale, wreaking the concomitant damage on US security, foreign relations, and national power.

Funny that the Secretary of Defense that HE chose, to replace another that had had enough (Panetta), is now thought not to be up to the job.  One has to wonder who is.  Michele Flournoy has been mentioned, along with Ash Carter.  One has to think Bob Work is in the mix.  All are far too talented to want to serve out the last two years of the military train wreck that is the Defense Department under Obama.   It is like being hired to coach the Washington Generals, and being told you are expected to win.

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Filed under Afghanistan, Air Force, army, Around the web, budget, Defense, guns, history, iraq, islam, marines, navy, nuclear weapons, obama, Politics, Syria, Uncategorized, veterans, war

Yes, the RAF has a TARDIS.

Really.

The fine folks at Think Defense, always your go-to source for ISO container information, take a look at how the British are using ISO container shaped structures to provide work spaces and specialized storage.

The humble shipping container is adaptable to many roles. Sure, there’s the simplest, storage. Our own Army has used the CONEX box for generations.

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And of course, wired and plumbed, the box has been turned into the CHU, or Containerized Housing Unit that served as home for many troops in Iraq.

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Containers can also be configured as workshops.

And that brings us to t he subject of our post. One workshop in British service is the Tactical Reconnaissance Deployable Imagery System.

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The TARDIS.

Shoulda painted it blue.

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