Category Archives: marines

Jerry Hendrix Discusses Rep. Randy Forbes’ Assertion That the US Navy Has No Strategy

Jerry Hendrix, late of the Naval Historical Center and now a fellow at CNAS, addresses a letter from Randy Forbes (R-VA) to CNO Admiral Greenert.  Read it all on DefenseOne.com.

A response, but certainly not a rebuttal.  I think the good Captain (Retired) is spot on with his assertions of the victory of the “Technical Rickovers” over the “Humanities Mahans”.   And that the very lack of being able to verbalize the importance of seapower is a major factor in the dearth of strategic eloquence from our Navy leadership.

When senior admirals speak strategically, their message can be summarized as “we do what we do because we have always done what we have done. The oceans are peaceful, we created that environment, and there is no need to change the formula.”

Indeed.  We are saddled with senior Navy leadership that assiduously avoids meaningful discussion about why the US Navy is building a fleet so entirely contrary to the requirements of the Cooperative Strategy.  Inherent in that avoidance is the unwillingness to discuss true ship numbers, or anything approaching a proposition for a high-low mix.  We have ever-smaller numbers of very large and very expensive warships which bodes poorly for forward presence.  The result is an increasing tally of unmet requirements, and of capital ships being employed in very low-end missions, to the detriment of other missions more appropriate and important.

That shipbuilding is a colossal mess, with LCS being the poster-child, should be no surprise.  This is the Navy, after all, that has its senior leadership in critical c0mmand positions offering up such gems as the Navy’s mission not being war at sea, and the most dangerous threat to US interests in the Pacific is not China or North Korea, but global warming.  And, though less openly now, the rather curious assertion that forcible entry is no longer possible or required, that somehow the sea as strategic or operational maneuver space is an outmoded idea.

Have a read, folks, and let me know what YOU think of Hendrix’s assertion.

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Filed under Around the web, budget, China, Coast Guard, Defense, history, Iran, iraq, logistics, marines, navy, Politics, Uncategorized, war

Panetta Jumps Ship

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Former SECDEF and CIA Director Leon Panetta has released an excerpt from his memoirs, Worthy Fights, in which he lays out precisely what nearly everyone who paid any attention at all (to someone other than Chris Matthews, at least) in the last four years knew to be true.  Obama cut and ran from Iraq for domestic political reasons.  The WAPO, of all places, has the story.

(Michele) Flournoy argued our case, and those on our side viewed the White House as so eager to rid itself of Iraq that it was willing to withdraw rather than lock in arrangements that would preserve our influence and interests.

Barack Obama threw away a victory paid for with the blood of American soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines.  He did so with the cavalier disregard of someone discarding old socks.   Obama rendered the blood and sacrifice of our service men and women moot.   Watching ISIS roll over Anbar Province, taking control of places whose names evoke such strong emotion in those who were there, Ramadi and Fallujah, Mosul, Tikrit, engendered in me a seething anger that has not really dissipated.   Anger at Barack Hussein Obama for his dereliction of duty, and for the Useful Idiots who believed his far-fetched fabrications, and who yet refuse to place responsibility for ISIS and Iraq’s current troubles on the man whose blithe and egregious neglect of his responsibilities brought on precisely what he was warned about.  It must be akin to a Vietnam Veteran watching the fall of Saigon.

Maybe it was Leon Panetta’s time in uniform (He was a United States Army Intelligence Officer) that would not allow him to ignore the despicable falsehoods perpetrated by his boss, especially when he knew the price that had been paid for the gains Obama was throwing away.  Whichever, Panetta puts paid to the lies of this Administration regarding ISIS and his headlong skedaddle from Iraq.  Panetta goes further.

To this day, I believe that a small U.S. troop presence in Iraq could have effectively advised the Iraqi military on how to deal with al-Qaeda’s resurgence and the sectarian violence that has engulfed the country.

Barack Obama has not told the truth about a single act or decision he has made.  His is the most malignant, corrosive, dishonest, and damaging presidency in the history of our nation.   The blood of the mass murders committed daily in Iraq is largely on his hands.  Not that he cares.  He got re-elected.  Much to this great nation’s detriment.

“The man who refuses to judge, who neither agrees nor disagrees, who declares that there are no absolutes and believes that he escapes responsibility, is the man responsible for all the blood that is now spilled in the world.”     – Ayn Rand

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Salvage

An interesting and informative look at the truly herculean effort sometimes overlooked in the epic that was World War II.

Salvaging and reclaiming tanks and vehicles destroyed in combat was sometimes a disturbingly gruesome task, as the late Belton Cooper wrote so eloquently about.   But the salvage effort was truly impressive, and saved the cost of manufacture, transport, and time to supply the gigantic American arsenal in Europe and the Pacific with the spare parts needed to keep fighting.

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TDB: Chinese Hacker Complains About ‘Perverted’ American Military

Oh good Lordy.  From our laugh-till-you-cry funny friends at The Duffel Blog.

BEIJING, China — According to Chinese news agencies, the head of a People’s Liberation Army unit of military hackers is planning to file a formal complaint today with the United States Department of Defense after a number of what were called “disturbing” conversations with “American military perverts.”

Senior Colonel Bo Wang of the People’s Glorious Facebook Battalion is one of thousands of Chinese military personnel who spend all-day attempting to infiltrate the social media profiles of US military and intelligence personnel with fake accounts.

Once a target is identified, the hacker will create a false profile, usually of an attractive member of the opposite sex, and ‘friend’ the target.  Over time, a successful hacker can friend almost an entire unit and learn valuable information about military or intelligence plans.

The problem, as Colonel Wang soon found out, is that the majority of his targets are young American servicemen, most of whom only agree to friend requests because they expect sexual favors at some point.

The rest is definitely not safe for work.  Or most anything else.  But jee-ZUS is it funny!

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Marine Corps Gazette: Why Women Do Not Belong in the U.S. Infantry

Beach activity at Da Nang, Vietnam during landing of United States Marines of the 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade in March of 1965

Superb article from Captain Lauren Serrano in the Marine Corps Gazette.  She will undoubtedly become the target of feminists in and out of the Armed Forces as some sort of traitor to womanhood, much as Captain Kate Petronio has been.  But she is right as rain.  As was Captain Petronio.

Captain Serrano explores far more than the mere physical obstacles to women in the Infantry.   She tells an age-old immutable truth about young warriors:

Having women in an infantry unit will disrupt the infantry’s identity, motivational tactics, and camaraderie. The average infantryman is in his late teens or early twenties. At that age, men are raging with hormones and are easily distracted by women and sex. Infantry leaders feed on the testosterone and masculinity of young men to increase morale and motivation and encourage the warrior ethos. Few jobs are as physically and emotionally demanding as the infantry, so to keep Marines focused, the infantry operates in a cult-like brotherhood. The infantry is the one place where young men are able to focus solely on being a warrior without the distraction of women or political correctness. They can fart, burp, tell raunchy jokes, walk around naked, swap sex stories, wrestle, and simply be young men together.  …this is the exact kind of atmosphere that promotes unit cohesion and the brotherly bond that is invaluable. This bond is an essential element in both garrison and combat environments. Ask any 0311 what encourages him to keep training or fighting in combat when he thinks he can go no further, and he will respond, “My brothers to my right and left.” No matter how masculine a woman is, she is still female and simply does not mesh with the infantry brotherhood.

Well-stated, and spot-on.  A great article, well worth the read.

Semper Fidelis, Skipper.  You have the moral courage to speak an unpopular truth, for the greatest good of Corps and Country.  But for more Officers, men and women, especially senior ones, to have such a backbone.

 

H/T GPBW

 

 

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Syria Chemical Weapons in the Hands of ISIS?

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Stop me if you’ve heard this one…

From US News and World Report:

U.S. officials are concerned that secret stockpiles of chemical weapons remain within Bashar Assad’s arsenal despite international efforts to destroy them, and that they may have fallen into the hands of the Islamic State.

You don’t say.  Well, you shouldn’t be concerned in the least.  I mean, Bashir Assad is at least as trustworthy as Saddam Hussein.  And then there are the Russians supervising.  What could go wrong?  And besides, there is “no proof” that Assad would do such an underhanded thing.  And as of yet, no remaining stockpiles have been located.

The issue first caught international attention in early September when Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., suggested there may be gaps in the Assad regime’s accounting for its chemical weapons.

Some can be explained by the haste with which the Syrian government had to declare its stockpiles, said Holgate. But international observers must also consider “less benign” moves by the historically evasive Assad regime as well, she said, including purposefully hiding chemical agents and weapons.

This is all a ruse so that Obama can go to war in Syria.  Right?  I mean, there is NO EVIDENCE.  None.  Whatever intelligence there is regarding these weapons has likely been “cherry-picked” to justify Obama’s reckless “cowboy” foreign policy.  Sure.  See how utterly stupid such tripe sounds now?

At least old friend Ben Connable adds some common sense and perspective to the discussion.

Those who study the region agree that the Islamic State’s potential access to chemical weapons would achieve one of the fundamental goals of a terrorist group.

“The strength of chemical and biological weapons is the fear factor,” says Ben Connable, an intelligence analyst with the RAND Corporation and a retired Marine Corps intelligence officer. “That’s what really separates them apart from other munitions: There’s something inherently terrifying about chemical and biological and radiological weapons.”

“I’m not terrifically concerned about it,” he says, “except for the use in terror attacks.”

So NOW chemical weapons in the hands of Islamic terrorists, taken from hidden stockpiles of a brutal dictator, are a problem.  Unlike 2003, when another brutal dictator was looking to peddle them for hard currency.  Tsk.  Trusting the Russians?  Just icing on the cake.  Darned good thing we have secure borders.

Shame on those who shrieked, and continue to shriek, that Saddam didn’t have any chemical weapons.  And that some in Syria don’t have Iraqi origin.  More shame on those who willfully ignore the stockpiles since captured in Iraq by ISIS.  To what should be the surprise of nobody, a nearly identical scenario is now playing out in Syria, as the childish and naive stupidity of John Kerry and the Obama Administration has evaporated like the morning dew.

The Bush-hating far left began and perpetuated a pack of lies regarding Saddam Hussein’s chemical stockpile that didn’t pass the first blush of the test of common sense.  It was perpetuated incessantly by the beholden media and the liberal elite like a North Korean propaganda effort.  The litany was so pervasive that the unthinking masses began to parrot it back en masse.  Well, it was all a contrived lie, promulgated by any and every left-leaning entity whose hatred of George W. Bush trumped objective truth.  Those of you out there who continue to cling to such abject foolishness need to re-examine everything you have been told, and everything you have come to believe about the origins of the Iraq War.

As for the hypocrites who so virulently trumpeted the “Bush lied!” meme and now sound the alarm over ISIS, you are as intellectually dishonest as it gets.  And are not to be trusted with a thing you say.

Perhaps we can find the hidden Syrian chemical weapons.  I nominate John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Samantha Power, Susan Rice, Fareed Zakaria, Ed Schultz, Keith Olbermann, Barbara Boxer, Harry Reid, Dick Durbin, Al Franken, and Sean Penn to go look for them.  Don’t come back until you find them.  And if ISIS finds you, perhaps we can send a rescue mission to save you from beheading.  Or not.

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A Lesson in Information Humiliation

Seems the vaunted cyber-warriors at US CYBERCOM were matched up recently against some US military reservists whose civilian jobs centered around IT security.   The outcome, the UK’s Register reports, was decidedly grim for the DoD’s concept of a “cyber” command.

“The active-duty team didn’t even know how they’d been attacked. They were pretty much obliterated,” said one Capitol Hill staffer who attended, Navy Times reports.

Bear in mind that the opposing force to CYBERCOM did not consist of true hackers, but IT security people.  The best of those IT security professionals will readily admit that the bad guys, the black hats and hackers, are way ahead of them in the ability to penetrate networks, exploit operating systems, and do so with very little chance of detection and virtually none of attribution.

DoD and the respective services are quick to point to someone or some group and label them “cyber experts”, when in reality those people may merely have some insights into network operations or limited experience with network security.  In actuality, while those people may know considerably more than the average person, their depth and breadth of knowledge is woefully inadequate for even the very basics of what DoD claims it can do in what it euphemistically calls the “cyber domain”.

Retired Marine General Arnie Punaro, commenting as a member of the Reserve Policy Board, had a salient observation:

“It defies common sense to think that industry, in particular our high-tech industries, are not moving at light speed compared to the way government works.”

While Punaro was commenting about the 80/20 active duty/reserve mix in these “cyber” units, he is also seemingly laboring under some illusions about the ability of the US Military to recruit “cyber warriors”.  The kinds of people who will stay up all night eating pizza and smoking grass, pulling apart this or that operating code just for the fun of it, are largely not the types of people whose sense of patriotic duty will put them on the yellow footprints at Parris Island, or have them running PT with a shaved head at 0600 while drawing meager pay and having to field day the barracks every Thursday.  They are a free-spirited counterculture which often operates on both sides of the line of legality.

And those are just the “script kiddies”, whose motivations are often driven by some sense of social cause and are far less sinister than some.  From those groups come those who are hired by some very bad people, nation-state and non-state actors, who mix the technical knowledge of the kiddies they hire (or develop indigenously) with a considerable knowledge of the targeted network(s) and their importance to critical infrastructure which is central to America’s industrialized and automated society. It is  among that latter mix from which our most serious security threats emerge.

The concept of “information dominance”, so cavalierly and arrogantly thrown about, is a thoroughly bankrupt one.  The whispered assurances that “Fort Meade knows all” when it comes to network security and the ability to conduct what we used to call “offensive cyber” are so much wishful thinking.  The adversaries, the dangerous ones, are way ahead of them.   Read any report written by McAfee or other security firm in the last five years and the tale is always the same.  Network exploits and the hemorrhaging of sensitive information have often been ongoing for YEARS before a breach is even detected.  And, without exception, attribution in any meaningful way has proven impossible.

DoD is way behind the eight-ball in all things “cyber”, including a realistic understanding of the problem set.  Some F-16 pilot does not become a “cyber expert” in a ten-month IT course.  He becomes just dangerous enough to overplay his hand.  The depth of technical knowledge required for such expertise is years and decades in the making.  We would be off to a good start in recognizing such.

I will finish with a football analogy.  When you have just scrimmaged a freshman team and lost 63-0, you have a very long way to go before you are ready to play your conference schedule.

Oh, and you FOGOs who might vehemently disagree with what I wrote above?   You may be doing so on a computer that is jump number 384,262 in a 600,000-machine bot-net that will shortly be bombarding the US State Department with hostile packets, or displaying “Free Julian Assange” on a Pentagon website.

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