Wednesday, January 31, 2007

"Fast Eddie's" Follies


Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Chapman's Law of Shorts: Perfect for Confined Spaces and Submarines

Moore's Law (named for Gordon E. Moore, an Intel co-founder) is a savvy rule-of-thumb predicted way back in 1965. Briefly (a pun), it states that the transistors able to be fabricated on an integrated circuit chip would double about every 2 years.[1] [2]

Almost every submarine officer and several technical ratings since 1965 have been acutely aware of Moore's Law. That is because submarines have often been the preferred application for every reliable, miniturization advance since the first production transistors (about $30,000 each) and other semiconductor items, such a the 4-layer diode headaches ETs coped with in the late 60s- early 70s.

Certain submariners were profoundly ignorant of Moore's Law due to lack of an on-the-job connection. Jacks-of-the-dust, corpsmen, A-gangers, nukes, and even the chop were not conversant with this marvelous law.

Yet, each of the above dreamed of a more practical equivalent about which they could sound expert. At last, we have Chapman's Law:

Advances in underwear technology will double the time between compassionate underwear changes! How often? Don't go there without advice from your shipmates.

Recall an article from earlier this month: Submarine (Space Travel) Underwear Developed by the USAF Well, now those are selling in PXs and department stores near you. Check your local newspaper flyers! That was earlier this month. So, what's new now?

Gas Eaters - Unisex, with non-replaceable filter sewn in (photo above). Nationally advertised at $9.95 plus S/H. Also available with replaceable filters. Each filter will last from several weeks to several months depending on the frequency of use and laundering. Source: Operating Details


Monday, January 29, 2007

Shadowy, SSGN Three-card Monte

Sunday, January 28, 2007 Submarine crew change
Historic transition at Pearl Harbor allows the USS Ohio to take on new sailors for deployment

Routine crew transfers, previously occurred about every 90 days at the sub's homeport. For the USS Ohio, a newly converted ballistic missile submarine, this meant transferring nearly 200 people and some four dozen or so cargo containers in Washington state. Last week for the first time, USS Ohio's Gold crew Capt. Hale, his 160 sailors and 40 riders boarded in Pearl Harbor accompanied by over four dozen cargo containers. Hale's Gold crew was flown in to Hawaii from McChord Air Force Base near Seattle.

The purpose of the dual crews is to maximize the time the submarine is at sea, said Capt. Chris Ratliff. We're at sea 70 percent of the time and constantly available to the commander. No other force can make that claim. The purpose is to stay forward deployed for extended periods of time.

"We're at sea 70 percent of the time and constantly available to the commander. No other force can make that claim. "

What's wrong with this story? Is it news, advertising, disinformation, or some combination? It could be futile even to guess.

At sea 70 percent of the time? Even between scheduled maintenance periods 70 percent does sound like high performance. It could be even higher (95 percent) of course, if crew changes and replenishments were conducted underwater in forward-based patrol areas.

What kind of submersible mother ship could ferry a relief crew, provisions, mission cargo and riders (SEALS) to awaiting submarines. Let's see, how about a converted ballistic missile submarine.

What would be the advantage to that? Well, our submarines are all about stealth. Returning to port not only gives our potential enemies information we prefer them not to have, it allows them to more easily track the sub the next time it leaves. Just what might be going on here? Hmmm.

How many SSGNs does the U.S. have? The SSGN forerunner was USS Halibut (SSGN-587). Publicly, the Ohio (SSGN-726) and three other former SSBNs: Michigan (SSGN 727), Florida (SSGN 728) and Georgia (SSGN 729). Of this number, some will be undergoing scheduled maintenance and/or refitting and will not be available at any given time. Say only three are at sea. Which one will be the mother ship in the navy's shadowy steel version of three-card monte?

Our potential enemies have to be beside themselves. Hmmm.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Just Two of Many "Curious" Democrats

He appears about 8 inches taller than the lady beside him. What gives Navy Cross recipient Senator James Webb his gratuitously abrasive and petulant attitude?

He reminds me of a boss I once had, who by the time he had walked from Penn Station to Park Avenue had been accidentally bumped and had his shoes stepped on by half a dozen hurried pedestrians. When the boss got to his office, his attitude was identical to Webb's. Bet you have seen it in some people, too. People with this attitude were never allowed on submarine crews in my day; each having failed the psychological selection test, even if suitable otherwise.

Yes, Webb is principled. He's also a highly decorated Marine veteran (Navy Cross), former SecNAV and even won a varsity letter for boxing at the Naval Academy. There is no doubt that he is driven to excel. My boss was like that, too. He finally got his large yacht.

In the fields of psychology and psychoanalysis, Napoleon complex (Napoleon was around 5 Ft. 2") is a colloquial description of the inferiority complex found in some people of short stature. The perceived height handicap motivates some to overcompensate in other aspects of their lives.

U.S. President James Madison stood 5-foot-4, but most voters had never seen him. How tall do you think Sen. James Webb is? Find a photo of him next to someone of known height. How high do you imagine the lifts were in his son's combat boots worn throughout Webb's senate campaign?


Molten Eagle conjectured in November 2005 that Kerry would not run for president in 2008, when his wife dropped Kerry from Heinz-Kerry. Kerry had possibly been advised by the DNC that it would not support his running again in the 2008 race. Obviously, the senator was not eager to confide this bit of priveleged news with the common people.

Now, we can wonder whether the Senator's botched joke was actually his face-saving excuse for not running instead of admitting being passed over by the DNC for the good senator from New York, Hillary Clinton.

There was one more thing Molten Eagle forecasted back in November 2005:
Prediction #2: Kerry will see a new challenger for his senate seat, also.


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Indian Submarine Intrigue: The Diablo is in the Details

During the 1971 Indo-Pakistani crisis, the USS Enterprise sailed for the Bay of Bengal...

PM Indira Gandhi: What are you going to do?

Admiral S M Nanda: Madam I have given instructions to my captains to treat them as friends, and to invite them on board for a drink. (American ships do not serve alcohol).

Pakistan's Military had predictably decided to neutralize India's aircraft carrier INS Vikrant. PNS Ghazi, Pakistan's first sub, was expected to be a decisive weapon in the 1971 war.

Admiral Nanda, India's Naval leader, recalls how he fooled Pakistan into sending their only long-range submarine to stalk the Indian aircraft carrier INS Vikrant outside Visakhapatnam, while the carrier was safely in Andamans waters too shallow for a sub.

The Ghazi, formerly USS Diablo SS-479, was a long-range submarine leased to Pakistan in 1963. The lease was renewed in 1967. The sub was the flagship of Pakistan's Navy until it sank in 1971. Able to carry up to 28 torpedoes and fitted for minelaying capability, she was still considered a potent threat. During the 1965 Indo-Pakistani war, the Ghazi had won 10 awards including two decorations of Sitara-i-Jurat and the President's citations.

A floating, American-made lifejacket hinted to the Indian Navy that the Ghazi had been sunk with all hands on 4 December 1971. The position was marked, and divers returned with the sub PNS Ghazi's logbook.

India's Navy claims the submarine was sunk by two depth charges from the destroyer INS Rajput after it sighted Ghazi diving diving from periscope depth. Pakistan, however, maintains that Ghazi sank in a mine-laying accident.

The United States and the Soviets offered to raise the submarine at their expense, but India's Government rejected both offers. The Ghazi's log book, and official Pakistani tapes were later displayed in India's Eastern Naval Command.[1]

Submarines are always silent and strange.


Monday, January 22, 2007

Submariners Are Not Superstitious: Submarine pyroclastic eruptions

Juan Caruso wrote of submariners in his poem Extreme Creatures, “... (they) Who suffer no attrition upon news their kind are sunk”.

Ask those assigned to subs named after earlier, sunken ones. Ask those who have transited the Bermuda Triangle submerged, or those who have slept under tons of thick ice and crushing water. Ask those who heard their ship creak under deep dives, and watch deck plates buckle. Ask those who fought real fires, leaks and vital system failures in near total darkness. You either remember these or get the picture. The Bermuda Triangle is roughly the area covering the Florida Straits, the Bahamas, and the entire Caribbean east to the Azores. Shown: Lava at Azores lighthouse. Pyroclastic surges produced by magma-water interaction during nearby submarine eruption nearly buried the lower floor of the lighthouse building. (Photo by R. V. Fisher, 1979 - University of California Santa Barbara).

The first underwater eruption was not documented until 1990, even though many probably occur each year, and seismometers on land still cannot detect the many small, distant earthquakes that scientists believe precede a submarine eruption for many months. - ScienceDaily LLC Nov. 2006.

Submarine pyroclastic eruptions at depths greater than a few hundred meters were generally considered rare or nonexistent due to the pressure of the overlying water. Detailed models of magma eruption at various sea floor depths now shows significant pyroclastic activity can occur even at depths in excess of 9,842 Ft. (3000 meters). source: Pyroclastic flows Deep submarine pyroclastic eruptions: theory and predicted landforms and deposits HEAD James W. ; WILSON Lionel

Contrary Submariner Superstition Comment:
Lieutenant Igor Vasilenko, an officer from the Irkutsk submarine, committed suicide when the Irkutsk arrived in the Zvezda plant on November 26. He shot himself in his cabin on board the submarine. Superstitious seamen said that the Kursk's damnation haunts every submarine of the Antei class. THE KURSK'S DAMNATION - Yury Golotyuk, Vremya Novostei, November 30, 2001.


Sunday, January 21, 2007

Cadence: 5,6,7,8.. Who Do We Appreciate?

This is precisely why an illuminated flag can and so does fly at my residence everyday, all day.

When Sgt. Aubrey McDade Jr. found out that he had been chosen to receive the Marine Corps' second-highest he didn't want it.

"Everybody told me congratulations, but I thought they should not congratulate me if other Marines were hurt," McDade explained.

Sgt. Aubrey McDade Jr., originally from Houston, is the 15th Marine to receive the nation’s second-highest award for valor during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. McDade is now a drill instructor with Charlie Company, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C.

He served with 1st Platoon, Bravo Company, 1/8, while in Iraq. His platoon was ambushed in a Fallujah alleyway by insurgent machine gunfire. Within seconds, three Marines were seriously wounded, many others were pinned down by the firing and most were unaware of the dire condition of the wounded, he said.

According to his official award citation, McDade ordered a machine gun team into the alley to suppress enemy fire and then McDade himself "showed total disregard for his own safety" and dashed out into the machine gun fire several times to pull the three Marines to safer ground.
One Marine died as soon as he had been shot, but the other two received medical treatment and survived, McDade said.

Please accept my most appreciative, civilian salute, Drill Sgt. McDade, and all of the selfless defenders of United States freedom like you.


Thursday, January 18, 2007

Something Exciting Littoral Submarines Do

Experts tell us that if we wish to have a clearer picture of our future, we must have a clear picture of our past. Applying this wisdom to clandestine submarine operations, the following history may clear things up for some people, may be of interest to others, and may even sound exciting to a few.

Germany's World War II Insertion of Spies at Frenchman Bay, Maine

U-1230's brazen submarine skipper, Kptlt. Hans Hilbig, had been a Luftwaffe pilot. His usual complement was 55 officers and men. The sub would have navigated the coast with bearings from U.S. radio stations and entered bays and harbors using our lighthouses and navigation buoys (instead of military-grade GPS). Using islands as screens to avoid radar detection, she would have surfaced at night or in dense fog to recharge her batteries.

U-boat 1230, a small, littoral-type, diesel submarine arrived off Cape Cod on November 27th and proceeded further into Frenchman's Bay. Two members of U-1230's crew in a rubber dinghy landed two German Abwehr agents (spies) at Hancock Point (14 miles up into the Gulf of Maine) late in the evening of 29 November 1944, much as special operations units might do, today.

The spies, William C. Colepaugh and Erich Gimpel were clad in expensive attire, with wristwatches, compasses, .32-caliber Colt automatic pistols, and $60,000 in cash and small diamonds. They hiked through snow to a nearby road, where they were noticed by a high school student who told her friend, wife of a deputy sheriff, who then informed the FBI. Naval Intelligence Enigma decryptions had described a U-1230 "special mission" in the area.

Colepaugh and Gimpel eluded authorities making their way to Boston and then by train to New York City. Their mission was to learn about the Manhattan Project and transmit it back to Germany using a radio they were expected to build. If necessary, they were also expected to destroy factories related to the war effort.

Colepaugh, raised in East Lime, Ct., had second thoughts about his mission and revealed it to a childhood friend. On 26 December, about a month after landing, he turned himself in to the FBI and helped the Bureau track down Gimpel, who was captured on in New York City on the 3oth of that month.

Both were tried for espionage and sentenced to death by hanging under President Roosevelt, but President Truman later commuted their sentences to life imprisonment.

U-1230 resumed her war patrol sinking the 5,500 ton Canadian ship Cornwallis. She was able to elude a hunter-killer unit lead by escort carrier USS Bogue and returned to Kristiansand, Norway 13 Feb, 1945.

Former CIA agent and Richard Gay determined the following details regarding the Abwehr agents and wrote two books covering the incident:
Colepaugh, had long since been reported dead, and the other, named Gimpel, had long since disappeared. In November 2001 I found the dead one, alive, and interviewed him over the phone. In 2002 I found Erich Gimpel living in South America. He had spent ten years in U.S. prisons before being repatriated to Germany. William Colepaugh, who had reportedly died in prison, was released after fifteen years. He served more time because he was an American defector.

Erich Gimpel, was a prominent member of the SS, from Merseburg, Germany, and a professional when it came to intelligence surveillance. William Colepaugh, an East Lyme, Conn., native known for extolling the virtues of the Nazi Party during his student days at MIT, was his accomplice. The two spent time in Holland and Germany training for their mission and left Europe aboard the 252-foot U-1230 submarine on Oct. 6, 1944. They spent two weeks underwater off Mount Desert Island.

Decades later, one of the the U-1230's crewmen set out on a mission to find Mrs. Forni.
In 1984, Horst Haslau knocked on her door and they became fast friends. Haslau was just 20 years of age when Hitler's sub had arrived off Maine.

Kptlt. Hilbig died 11 June 2004

Erich Gimpel a.k.a. Agent 146, wrote an photographed there.

Colepaugh moved near Philadelphia after parole in 1960. He subsequently owned and operated a business that sold lockers, desks and other metal office products he learned to build in prison. He married and participated in community activities, volunteering with the Boy Scouts and becoming a member of Rotary. He died of complications from Alzheimer's Disease in 2005.
Rumored to be a Bulkeley graduate who had been rejected by the USNA and discharged from the US Naval Reserve ("for the good of the service").


Sct-Fi Movie (Pre-Release): The Texas Oil Rig Massacre

Experience unfounded fear ... shock and mass hysteria ... see your family and your friends traumatized ...

The sequel is loosely based on An Inconvenient Truth (high bid 99 cents on Ebay at time of this writing), which is loosely based on political (federal grant addiction), not hard science.

The movie features more horrific Gore than the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and more truth than An Inconvenient Truth. Written by federal grant addicts who have abandoned skepticism required by the scientific method, it is the 21st Century's literary equivalent of H.G. Well's War of the World's.

Have you already been duped? Have you bought into the fallacies of prohibitively rare hydrogen or inefficient ethanol as the clean fuels of the future? You have plenty of company and probably don't want to spoil your Utopian vision by reading the shocking truth:

Why Global Warming is Probably a Crock (ten short paragraphs) by scientist James Lewis
Hint, the probability of the human-caused global warming models (theory, hypothesis) being correct is only one out of three, at best.

My hat tip to Teflon for his A Simple Exercise in Probability yesterday.


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Trivia Quiz for January: One Question

UPDATED with Correct Answer (below).

Are propagandists spreading deceit in the United States? Few thinking people of voting age would ever dispute that political propaganda of all stripes flourishes in a country dedicated to freedom of speech. Have propagandists seeking to rewrite current history successfully deceived you? See how well you do with this ONE QUESTION of U.S. trivia:

Who has been the only president elected twice without ever receiving 50 percent of the popular vote? Eisenhower, Reagan, Clinton, W. Bush

Correct Answer: William Jefferson Clinton
This Trivia Question and answer were published in a newspaper owned by the New York Times, in a feature written by a Guiness Book of World Records record holder. Do you think he slipped one in on them?


Monday, January 15, 2007

Today's Minor News, Tomorrow's Submarine Undercurrents?

Monday, January 17th
British defense contractor BAE Systems PLC stated that the company and U.S. private equity firm Carlyle Group LP are mulling a joint bid for the Devonport dockyard in the City of Plymouth. Devonport, of course, maintains Britain's nuclear submarines. here A bid around GBP200 million is expected. Devonport is the largest dockyard in Western Europe and the Roral Navy's only nuclear repair and refuelling facility. Since the 1950s the workforce has declined from a peak of 40,000 to some 4,000 today. Devonport's origins were in the late 17th century. Today, it refits Trident nuclear submarines. I do not see any submarine application through my surveillance satellite, do you?

Also, today...
Fairfield, Conn.-based General Electric Co. reported plans to acquire a division United Kingdom-based Smiths Group Plc for $4.8 billion. here Smiths Aerospace, employs 11,000 people and generates $2 billion in annual revenue. It specializes in aircraft components and systems including Boeing 737, Airbus A320, and various military. Smiths' products include landing gear applications, power generation and flight control systems. General Electric also reports its plans to launch a joint venture between GE Security's Homeland Protection business and Smiths Detection, also part of Smiths Group. What does this have to do with submarines? Hmmm.

He holds a B.S. in Ocean Engineering from the United States Naval Academy, an M.S. in Nuclear Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School. He served eight years as an officer in the United States Navy Submarine Force. Who is he? He's Craig Chambers, President & Chief Executive Officer of Cernium Corporation. A leader in intelligent video analytics, Cernium’s patented Perception Based Analytics™ technology that mimics the human vision process to analyze video 8-10 times more efficiently than comparable offerings. I do not see any submarine application through my periscope, do you?


Saturday, January 13, 2007

Backing Off the Newport News Accident

As we all know, Vice Adm. Charles L. Munns, commander of Naval Submarine Forces based in Norfolk, ordered a week-long, fleet-wide, submarine safety stand-down:

"I am fortunate to have assigned the best people America can produce-they are well trained, they have the best equipment in the world," stated Vice Adm. Munns. "This operational focus, 'stand down', will continue our success in national tasking and also improve our daily operations."

Two recent incidents, coupled with four other significant submarine collisions in the past six years, led to this drastic stand-down, which is absolutely the right thing to do.

To put things in better perspective, I will introduce a qualification difference in submarine division officers (yes, subordinates of the CO) that people too often forget, then, I will cite a current event that highlights an amazing and fatal lapse of professionalism in the realm of surface ships that is totally anathema to the US submarine service.

First, the qualification difference:

My 1974 version of Submarine Officers Indoctrination Course includes a two-page listing for Qualifications as Officer of the Deck (Surfaced). It ALSO includes two more pages for Qualifications as Officer of the Deck (Submerged). Of course, there are many, many more requirements in the one-inch thick manual covering other areas like atmosphere control, diving and surfacing, silencing, submerged operations, escape (hmmm) training, and nuclear stuff. If the point of this paragraph is not yet obvious to you, you may stop now.

Finally, the amazing and fatal lapse of professionalism:

SEATTLE -- Two Coast Guard divers, one a female Lt., killed in a botched Arctic training dive were loaded with too much weight and were assisted by untrained crew members who had been drinking beer, an official investigation has found.

Molten Eagle hopes that every mitigating circumstance will be taken into account before the Navy considers cutting short the career of another fine submarine commander. He is truly in a different league, and was performing the nation's business to the best of his abilities in hazardous circumstances.


Friday, January 12, 2007

Submarines and Submariners - Purpose of Safety Stand Downs

Submariners like to read what PigBoatSailor (PBS) writes about subs with avid interest and great respect.

Here PBS shared his rare, personal perspective on the highly unusual and recently announced submarine fleet safety stand down. Note 1

So what then is the purpose of this stand-down? PBS asks.

As a former safety director in a high tech industry, I learned both the purpose and effectiveness of safety stand downs firsthand, and our safety record was the envy of the industry:

Stand downs are the most convincing method of communicating top leadership's commitment to safety to every level of an organization. Safety stand downs are more effective to more people than examples of poor safety outcomes, whether permamnent disabilities, loss of lives, or formal punishments.

Safety stand downs are effective because they are unmistakeably expensive in terms of their cost (time sacrificed) and missions foregone. It is obvious to everyone that such drastic measures require and have top level authorization and must command everyone's earnest attention going forward. For these reasons stand downs can be used only rarely, implying circumstances have been deteriorating and are now deemed unacceptable toward the extreme. Note 2

So how and why does a sophisticated, industrial safety techique get applied to a military organization like the submarine service? The sub fleet has shrunk, and its repair and overhaul budget is being closely monitored by unsympathetic eyes in the U.S. Congress. The readiness of crew and submarine for its next mission could be more important than it was for its prior mission. Submarine COs are accountable for more than success of the current. In WWII, underperforming COs were assigned desk duties (and they were USNA graduates)!

And, who says stand downs are an industrial technique? Recall the grounding of aircraft types after accidents with unknown causes. Also, see Note 3 for the Navy's own examples.

1- source: Multimission-Capable Sub Readies for Full Operation

2- Iran: U.S. Sub Was Spying (ME: So what, no excuse for being in a bad position in the bottleneck; submarine COs are accountable for more than mission success - future availability of crew and vessel are also paramount).

3- Navy safety stand down (ORM) literature sampling: here and here (AFLOAT SAFETY STAND-DOWN GUIDE). ME: Notice that the fleet wide stand down is obviously much more costly and precedent setting. Submarines will still be silent and strange, and their missions are sometimes extremely hazardous. There is absosolutely no reason to make them more hazardous than is necessary. Great move, NAVY!

Submarines are always silent and strange.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Submarine is Art Imitating Life

The photo shows an encrusted, model submarine on display. It certainly appears to be encrusted with these:

Monster barnacles and invasive green mussels, two dreaded sea creatures known for their destructive habits, pose a threat to coastal structures and marine ecology. The invasive green mussels native to Southeast Asia first appeared on Florida's Atlantic coast in 2002. The pest is hazardous to native shellfish and fouls boat hulls. The mussels migrated to South Carolina coastal waters earlier this fall.

"Megabalanus coccopoma" -- the largest barnacle ever found in state waters -- appeared at a marina in the Folly River near Charleston. Two months earlier, the Asian green mussel, another non-native invasive species, was discovered in the same location. "They're huge," Knott said. "We're talking 50, maybe 100 times the biomass of native barnacles. These things could conceivably cause huge problems." Megabalanus, native to the West Coast from southern California to South America, has been known to sink offshore navigational buoys, slow down boats and clog coastal intake pipes. Full story here.

The model submarine is fiberglass, weighs less than 60 lbs, and is just over 5-feet in length. The photo was taken for The Milford, Connecticut Fine Arts Council circa 2000.


Monday, January 08, 2007

Global War on Terror: Phase II (Stymie the Enemy)

The USAF did this one. Hooray!
(CBS/AP) A U.S. Air Force gunship has conducted a strike against suspected members of al Qaeda in Somalia, CBS News reported. The AC-130 gunship flew from Dijibouti to the southern tip of Somalia, where al Qaeda operatives fled upon being chased from the capital of Mogadishu by U.S. backed Ethiopian troops. The fleeing al Qaeda operatives were easy to track using unmanned aerial drones with the aircraft carrier Eisenhower moving out of the Persian Gulf toward Somalia. When the attack order was given, the mission was assigned to the AC-130 gunship operated by the U.S. Special Operations command.

Think they got al Qaeda? Congratulations, Air Force!

What is GWOT Phase II? Obviously, the public role of special forces in Somalia has matured from Phase I (relationship building with Somali warlords) to termination of this guy's (jihadi group leader Aden Hashi Ayro) friends. You may infer accurately that the purpose of Phase I in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Phillipines, Africa, etc., has been singular. We have followed Ayro since he was trained in Afghanistan. We watched him move to Somolia and organize 2,000 militants in early 2005.

Even esteemed journalist cite only failure, chaos and G.W. Bush missteps. Are they right? No, they are not only wrong, but incapable of keeping either the secret details or even the summary plan of what has been achieved. And what is that?

Coalition intelligence networks have been in "acquisition mode" since day one, making up for the prior administration's marginalization of effective intelligence gathering apparatus. The public became fed up in every coalition country, but leadership with secret goals in mind and achievements in hand has been strangely patient.

Detractors may say our intervention and tactics resulted in more terrorists today than before the war's start, but that is very myopic. The number of terrorists and potential terrorists is, in fact, larger today. The key difference is that before, our intelligence units had very few of their identities, contact information and home addresses in a shared data base. Now, we have much more, and the means to update, collate and use it to our advantage. The insurgents are serving a lost cause now, and are not aware of having been compromised. Our attacks had been limited and largely ineffectual.

Tha latest AC-130 gunship attack signals a coalition milestone against radical Islamist terrorism around the globe. Little further is to be gained by feigning coalition weakness. Terror cells have been exposed or infiltrated, individual targets have been surveilled for many months and we control the playing board. Too bad the Clinton administration made us start almost from scratch, but we did it.

How will the public ever know? Well, Phase I was mostly just controlled attrition (notice how beheadings suddenly stopped?), because you can't learn much more about terror organizations once you start taking them out of commission. Phase II will demonstrate superbly executed USMC aggression. Even the press corp should be able to notice the difference.

h/t Juan Caruso al-Humacao


Saturday, January 06, 2007

Submarine (Space Travel) Underwear Developed by the USAF

Molten Eagle first described the rivalry between the USN and USAF for primacy in space when this drawing appeared here, in October, 2005.

Regardless of any Star Trek (nautical) precedents, U.S. Air Force leadership thinks extraterrestrial space should be its domain. Except for AF combat pilots, who rarely land on airfields exhibiting roll, pitch, and yaw, the USAF may be the most pampered service in the US military. Exemplary bands, choirs, back to base every day, daily phone calls to mothers, HDTVs, etc.

With barely $20 million, the USAF developed a super fabric, derived from technology to protect soldiers from biological weapons. Why then, would Air Force types need this (no profanities or diaper humor, please):

Self-Cleaning Underwear Goes Weeks Without Washing
The technology, created by scientists working for the U.S. Air Force, has already been used to create t-shirts and underwear that can be worn hygenically for weeks without washing. (h/t Lone Ranger ex-Army, Nam vet).

The nanoparticle coating kills bacteria, and leads moisture to bead up and run into the bilge. Question: By the way, what is the term for bilge in the International Space Station?
Answer: the atmosphere, where excess moisture would quickly evaporate.

Jeff Owens, one of the scientists responsible, explained, "During Desert Storm, most casualties were from bacterial infections—not accidents or friendly fire. We treated underwear for soldiers who tested them for several weeks and found they remained hygienic. They also helped clear up some skin complaints." [emphasis added]

Okay, the answer to why the Air force needs the new underwear is here. Seems the fabric is also very useful to sports teams, and there is a rumor the fabric will be tested by the cheerleading team.

Full Disclosure: Molten Eagle was once in the Air Force ROTC. Other than little sense of humor, the Air Force is really super in my book, just not nearly as super as the Submarine Sevice.


Friday, January 05, 2007

Trident Submarines: Ultimate Department of Sanitation or Just A "Terrifying Myth"?

Want to calibrate your position on the running UK controversy over nuclear deterrence? Here is a brief, well-constructed critique of the Trident program entitled Trident the Deterrent – A Terrifying Myth, an OP-Ed piece by Jim McCluskey, retired UK Landscape Architect. It is very readable. I recommend reading the full coulumn as only a few excerpts are presented here:

Trident the Deterrent – A Terrifying Myth
We are appalled at the mass destruction of the 20th century yet we wish to upgrade a fleet of these machines which are capable of perpetrating much much worse.

Trident – What is it?
...[the D5 missile] is able to carry the hugely more destructive 450 kiloton W88 warhead(1). ... this one bomb has the capacity to kill over 5 million people... the killing capacity of one bomb on one submarine which can carry many bombs ...

Trident is not a deterrent
...a deterrent during the cold war... [not]. This was definitively illustrated during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. Robert McNamara ...Secretary of Defence at the time said '...we came within a hairbreadth of nuclear war...'

The Power of the Irrational
We know from the history of man that he has never developed an 'efficient' weapon that he did not use.
McCluskey at least mentioned main arguments on the opposing side, for which he must be given credit. He also describes D5 missile general capabilities and quotes reliable authority. His conclusion is fear-based, however. Here are two counter examples:

Why not fear the use of bees for agricultural purposes? Bees can be dangerous to life and there are billions more of them than there are missiles. Between one and two million people in the United States are severely allergic to stinging insect venom, and 90 to 100 deaths from sting reactions are reported annually. We cannot ban beekeeping by our enemies, and we certainly do not want to ban domestic beekeeping, because world food supply depends upon them.

Suppose that France (or any other any country) were decimated by a bird flu epidemic expected to spread uncontrollably across the channel. If modern medicine could not prevent millions of UK deaths, D5s could be the last resort to sterilize the French virulence (apologies to France, this is extremist position, like McCluskey's unilateral disarmament baloney).

Sanitation is considered necessary for largescale human survival, just like nutrition and defense from enemy attack. Mr. McCluskey dismisses the human need for security and marginalizes what Churchill called the history of mankind: war.

Deterrence has worked, by Japanese example. The day may yet come, however, when booster shots become necessary to assure the continued effectiveness of Tridents.


Guess the Target Audience If You Can Decipher the Subliminal Message

A picture is worth a thousand words, says an ancient Chinese proverb advising that complexities can be quickly assimilated with the right image. A well-crafted image often informs us more quickly and unambiguously than many pages of text.

With that Chinese proverb in mind, you are invited to evaluate the photo in terms of a clever, subliminal message. Once you see the subtle message, its target audience should become very clear to you, because only to them would that same message be obvious. I will not reveal the answer, since only the correct answer will be self-evident.

Here is the accompanying news article. One piece of background information not found in the news story, can be found here. I will tell you the piece of background information relates to the lady between Speaker Pelosi and Rep. Ellison.

Finally, I am fairly sure this photo-op and the controversy guaranteed by recent Quran oath stories have been orchestrated from the top levels of our government for almost six months. Were Democrats intentionally handed control of the House to make this photo possible for an important national strategy? I am leaning in that peculiar direction, and my opinions of Pelosi, Ellison, and our national security planners have improved because of this photo. Simply brilliant!


Thursday, January 04, 2007

Curious Science

From the Beaufort Gazette
A power line study published in the British Medical Journal in 2005 examined more than 29,000 children with cancer who were born between 1962 and 1995, including 9,700 childhood leukemia patients. Those 29,000 patients were then compared with 29,000 healthy children who had similar demographic characteristics. Data showed that children whose homes at birth were within about 650 feet of a high-voltage line were 69 percent more likely to develop leukemia than those who lived more than 1,970 feet from a line. Those who lived between 650 and 1,970 feet from a line were 23 percent more likely to have leukemia than those who lived more than 1,970 feet from a line. The study authors, however, said they were not convinced that any cases of leukemia were actually caused by electromagnetic fields.

According to a 1996 report from the National Academy of Sciences, studies including actual magnetic field measurements consistently fail to show linkage with cancer, while those based on distance from lines sometimes suggest a link. A report to Congress from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in 1999 said studies indicating links between cancer and power lines cannot be wholly discounted, but the overall evidence for an increased risk of cancer is "weak."


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Submarines: the Only, Survivable Warships off the Atlantic Coast, the Baja Peninsula, in the Arabian Gulf or the Yellow Sea

Quoting an anonymous 688 class submarine sailor criticizing my recent posting about the tragic USS Minneapolis-St. Paul accident, "Submarine crews are fairly streamlined as it is."

Consider that the USS Minneapolis-St. Paul withdrew from Plymouth Harbor in the UK leaving behind all four of the crew members directly involved in the accident (two deceased and two hospitalized at the time). Imagine mission protocols necessitating continuing underway after loss of key crew members like the submarine's Chief of the Boat and one of its sonarmen. Could we also be at war in the Atlantic Ocean? The U.S. submarine fleet seems taxed to meet undisclosed requirements of secretive, cold-war like missions in the Atlantic. Submarine operations are always silent and strange.

Fast forward to 03 Jan 2007, WASHINGTON -- from column by Loren B. Thompson , chief executive officer of the Lexington Institute, Arlington, Va.- The U.S. Navy is planning to launch a major outreach effort this year to reacquaint the nation with its maritime needs. Submariners have been major losers in recent years. Submarine admirals have all but disappeared from the ranks of senior military leaders. The United States also faces the prospect of a decline in submarine numbers beginning within the next ten years, as existing attack subs begin phasing out at twice (three or four per year) of new construction. Phase out is necessary because subs reaching maximum service lives on their nuclear reactors must be retired.

Reasons you might care:

1) Soon, submarines may become the sole type of U.S. warship that can survive hostile action in places like the Arabian Gulf or the Yellow Sea. These potential battlespaces are becoming much more dangerous for surface vessels. Without adequate submarine patrols the United States will lack its most effective tool for countering China's and Iran's submarines, for instance. The U.S. submarine fleet is currently projected to shrink to its fewest units just when their obvious relevance becomes most pressing.

2) Submarines are rare among reconnaissance assets able to act instantly on information they collect. Submarine cruise missiles can strike repeatedly within a thousand mile range with near pinpoint accuracy. Their torpedoes can sink ships transporting weapons of mass destruction, and the elite teams they transport conduct a diverse array of covert missions.

3) Submarines are often the only intelligence-gathering assets with sufficient stealth and persistence to get within range of al-Qaida and North Korea. Most submarine missions in the Central Command are dedicated to eavesdropping on satellite phones and other terrorist communications. Centcom has recently increased demand for submarine intelligence gathering.

4) Talk to just about any ex-submariner. A key reason these people sleep well is because they, unlike most of the public, realize the significance of the Silent Service's actual missions to our national security. Current submariners rarely sleep as well as you or I, because their voluntary sacrifice to accomplish these missions is 24 x 7.