Saturday, March 30, 2013

Brain Dead Opinions

LETTER [published by the Hartford]: Defense Is Bad Economics
March 29, 2013

Congressman Joe Courtney's latest emailing touts his contribution in securing the production of two submarines a year at Electric Boat in Groton. This will account for about 14,000 jobs and nearly $3 billion in economic output, he says.

Each submarine, however, costs somewhat over $8 billion to build. Upon completion, the submarines do what? What they do not do is make a positive impact on our economy and there is some doubt as to exactly how they contribute to our defense.

They do seem to be vehicles to sustain the economy of a small region and as contributions to our national deficit.

Of course, this can be said of defense spending as a whole. We have an economy that depends on "defense," which produces nothing but greater deficits and the need for wars to sustain it.

Then there's Mr. Courtney, who is doing the job he was elected to do. He and the others who represent their districts do so for the benefit of their constituents and their need for re-election. I believe that the needs of the country come in as a distant second in their efforts.

Is there something wrong with this system? I think so.

Stuart Reininger, Mystic

* * * * * *

Does the writer, Mr. Reininger, realize that "$8 billion" is only the current, upper-end cost estimate for an SSBN(X)?  Does he understand the strategic mission of SSBN's?  Sounds as if he may not, yet we can be fairly certain he still casts votes. - Vigilis

Submarines are always silent and strange.


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Mabus's PC Reign - Crucifies ex-Submariner


 According to statistics gathered by The Navy Times newspaper, more than 20 Navy commanding officers were fired in 2012 for inappropriate behavior and misconduct; another six commanding officers have been relieved of duty so far this year.  - Source:  The New York Times

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Tuesday sent an unusual letter to the Pentagon’s top leadership urging a renewed “commitment to values-based ethical conduct.”   [ibid]

Latest Example

The Navy on Monday officially disciplined the admiral [a former submariner] who had commanded a carrier strike group until being abruptly removed from the position last fall while the vessels patrolled the North Arabian Sea. ...He was cleared of any criminal violations under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the laws governing the behavior of armed services personnel. But a set of administrative penalties will effectively end his career.  

Admiral Gaouette was the subject of a five-month investigation by the Naval Inspector General, which had been closely watched within the Navy, partly because of unease among officers about the unusual origins of the case and its potential for embarrassment to the service. Several officers said the complaint had been filed by Captain Ronald Reis, the commander of the Stennis, after the admiral admonished the captain for his ship-driving practices.  [ibid]

Admiral Gaouette had ordered the captain to slow down as his aircraft carrier steamed through ship traffic in the Malacca Strait in excess of 20 knots.  The admonished CO soon filed a complaint with the Navy's Inspector General, claiming the admiral was abusive.  Be sure to read the whole NYT article, linked below, for added information.


1)  - "Of all the services, the Navy has been the most aggressive in holding its commanders to strict standards of professional conduct."     - Source:  The New York Times

2) - a Reckless CVN CO Got His Revenge   -  Information Dissemination

3) -  "I am sure there is a lot more to follow, but no officer I have ever served with could survive being, "... the subject of a five-month investigation by the Naval Inspector General, ... ", and since when does a senior O6 cry to the zampolit when someone hurts his feelings?" - Cdr Salamander 


1.  Shouldn't an ex-submariner have been particularly sensitive to traffic, ship's speed and steering conditions in a strait? (The admonished CO was known for not adhering to standard ship driving protocols through busy shipping lanes, and ran a bridge in which the surface officers under his command felt tense and unable to offer their input, the officers said.)

2.  Should any senior naval officer be overly sensitive to doing his/her job when PNS's chain of command (think shipyard's CO) got a pass over the USS Miami arson? Hint: Contempoaray employment policies of a well-know commercial shipyard (EB) would have either helped to prevent an arson, or have resulted in $400 million shipyard liability to taxpayers.

Submarines are always silent and strange.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Mystery Questions of the Month - March 2013


Policing is a protective security practice.  Whether performed by civilian or military establishments a normal premise of effective policing is assuring that bad guys are never privy to confidential information such as schedules, etc.

Icelandic Air Policing
Iceland does not maintain an air force. The country was left without means to patrol its airspace when the United States withdrew from Keflavik Air Base in September 2006.  Following the withdrawal Russia's 37th Air Army aircraft have entered Icelandic airspace on several occasions.

Since May 2008, Iceland's NATO allies have sometimes deployed fighter aircraft to Keflavik to protect its airspace. Past deployment schedules appear at Wikipedia with information on future deployments:

 "In October 2012, the governments of Finland and Sweden announced that, at the request of Iceland, they would contribute forces to the air policing mission during 2014. The North Atlantic Council formally approved the participation of these countries on 19 December that year. It is planned that the Finnish and Swedish forces will be deployed between January and April 2014; at this time Norway will lead the forces in Iceland and will sponsor the presence of the other national forces."

For those concerned, timely scheduling for next month (April 2013) also appears in Iceland News outlets (Monday, 25 March 2013):

Canada will guard the Icelandic airspace in April with six fighter jets
"Six CF-18 Hornet fighter jets from Canada are expected to Iceland by the end of the month. They will guard the Icelandic airspace through April according to an announcement from the Canadian authorities. The jets will come from a military base in Quebec, but a total of 160 soldiers will be involved in the surveillance. This is the second time the Canadian air force handles the surveillance in Iceland, but 5 fighter jets were in Iceland from March 28th and through April in 2011."  


Questions of the Month

1)  Why have there been apparent gaps in Iceland's Air Policing deployment schedule?

2)  Certain months appear more critical (deployments were scheduled in the past), while other months appear vacant.  What would possibly need to be policed (protected) on only a part-time basis in Iceland?

3)  Russians have also been accused of submarine intrusions into Swedish waters, as well as suspected in more recent black ops.  Does Russia have imperialist designs on Iceland and Sweden?

4)  If your answer to Question 3) was NO, what threat by whom needs such odd policing?

ANSWERS:  Good question!

Submarines are always silent and strange.


Friday, March 22, 2013

Code Name Irony

Code names (cryptonyms) are generic words or phrases used in place of publicly identifiable descriptions, names, nomenclature and wording. Code names are often used clandestinely for covert military operations or espionage purposes. 


Circa 1960

Operation Sandblast was the code name for the first submerged circumnavigation of the world executed by the United States Navy nuclear-powered radar picket submarine USS Triton (SSRN-586) in 1960 while under the command of Captain Edward L. Beach, USN.  ...more here


Sandblaster Casey James Fury pleads guilty to arson resulting in $450,000 damage to USS Miani (SSN-775).  Could shipyard submarine sabotage have actually been intended?


Circa 2008
You Don't Mess with the Zohan was a 2008 slapstick comedy produced by comedian Adam Sandler, who stars as Special Agent Zohan Dvir. Wanting to abandon his dangerous life of terrorist encounters, he fakes his own death, hides on a New York bound plane, and assumes the quiet life of a hair-stylist.
note: Urban Dictionary defines Zohan3.  "The action of swinging one's leg vertically high in the air, almost parallel with the body. Much akin to the action a stripper makes during a floor show, however with the intent of showing off one's shoes or foot/ankle jewelry."


Exercise Zohan 13 is a joint air defense exercise that undertakes testing of equipment and military technologies by the Air Force, Army, and Navy for assessment by France's version of DARPA, the General Directorate for Armament (DGA), the agency responsible for development and purchase of weapons systems for the French military.  

From 25 to 28 March 2013, off the islands of Hyères Exercise Zohan 13 simulates the neutralization of a hostile force by military aircraft and security around the island.  ...more (Fr)

Submarines are always silent and strange.


Monday, March 18, 2013

SSN-775 to be nicknamed USS Midol?

"Navy Adm. Jonathan Greenert, chief of Naval operations, said the Navy is confident the Miami can be returned to service for $450 million, plus-or-minus $50 million." - recent Huffington Post

The updated cost range for rehabilitation of SSN-775 has officially crept back up to $500 million

Back in July of last year we  had noted, "2. Additional funds have been requested from Congress ($220 million more than the $400 million initially fed to journalists)."   Like everyone else familiar with DoD spending habits, we knew the final cost had to go up, and the rise cannot be over yet, unless...

Something dramatic (our June 2012 prediction regarding USS Miami) like reconfiguring USS Miami to berth women sailors:

"The Navy intends to repair the Los Angeles-class attack sub, which is based in Groton, Conn., with a goal of returning it to sea in 2015." - Huffington Post

Perhaps Juan Caruso's 2010 cartoon will have really been prophetic  (M-I-D-O-L :  M-I-A-M-I)  ...
Submarines are always silent and strange.