ANSWER - Yesterday's Mystery Question of the Week
Background can be found here.
QUESTION of the WEEK: Why is open solicitation of technological industry news? Ask yourself how opening up old cans of worms (requesting concepts that never passed muster with DARPA) could be of possible value now?
Yesterday's two HINTS practically gave this answer away:
HINT ONE: Since the media will continue to hype the advent of women in sub crews at least until the first 16 report aboard, the Navy is on notice for something else the media will hype relentlessly, if it ever occurs.
HINT TWO: WASHINGTON, 9 June 2010 - Military & Aerospace Electronics - Navy asks for industry ideas on submarine technology, including submarine communication, sonar, and combat systems
ANSWER: The value consists entirely of a public relations tactic designed purely to demonstrate everything that could have been done was, in fact, done.
So, what possible calamity might justify such an extraordinary PR tactic? Remember, the current administration, comprised of more lawyers than at any other time in our nation's history, is forcing some highly controversial promises. The promise of concern to the administration in view of the media's relentless push to keep it in the news until at least 2012, is integrating females into our submarine crews by 2012.
The calamity feared is that in the chaos of some future sea battle, a submarine (with a female crewmam aboard) will be accidentally sunk by a unit of our own surface navy, or its aviation wing.
Why is such an hypothetical event feared? Because it has happened (without females aboard), and it is likely to happen again during the chaos of another battle. What? You thought digitized subs were just ultrasafe underwater buses? Think again.
U.S. Navy researchers are asking industry for new ideas in submarine technology - particularly involving submarine communication, anti-submarine warfare (ASW), submarine combat systems, and towed array sonar applications.
In other words, during naval warfare, our own surface navy is still never certain whether a submerged submarine is one of ours or one of theirs. The advantage of stealth is also a liability.
A mistake these days would exact a PR toll unlike the tragic sinking of one of our own subs in a submerged safe passage lane during WW2. Add to the news value the ingredient of extinguishing the life of an innocent, pioneering woman, and the public's first question to the Navy will be, "You told us it was going to be safe. Why wasn't it?"
Not only will some admiral have to fall on his sword, but the SECNAV and perhaps the fired Secretary of Defense's (Les Aspin) modern, cabinet-level counterpart could also be held responsible by a relentless media. Hmmm, today's media is both uncensored and around-the-clock compared to in WW2. Times have changed; cowardly politicians have not.
Submarines are always silent and strange.
Labels: SS-197 USS Seawolf