October 26, 2015
Be Concerned. Be Prepared...But Don't Lose All Historical Perspective. IBT notes that they are shocked to learn that the Russians are poking around undersea cables with their submarines.
They are not the only paper to point tis out.
Cdr. Salamander has a sublimely titled response.
First of all, if anyone in government service in the national security arena is surprised or shocked by this, please go work somewhere else.If those who are responsible for maintaining connectivity have not been refining our branch plans to respond to this eventuality, will someone please fire them?
Do read the whole thing.
October 21, 2015
218 Years Ago Today U.S.S. Constitution was launched.
Built to fight the Barbary Pirates (yes our first war was against Islamists) the ship distinguished herself in that war as well as the War of 1812, where the ship defeated HMShips Guerriere, Java, Pictou, Cyane, and Levant and in the process earned the nickname "Old Ironsides".
Saved from the breakers by public outcry, the ship served for nearly a hundred years, circumnavigating the world, fighting pirates and slavers, serving as a a school ship, carrying out various diplomatic duties, and on occasion even supporting archeological and oceanographic expeditions. In 1874 she carried the US delegation and display to that year's Paris World's Fair.
After a spell as an accommodation hulk, the ship was restored as a museum ship in the early 1900's and is moored in Boston harbor, the oldest commissioned warship afloat.
October 18, 2015
The State of Things Business Insider has published STRATFOR's thumbnail overview of the world situation and their predictions for the rest of the year.
It's long but warrants a read (though one should probably ignore the breathless headline). STRATFOR can be hit or miss on their predictions, but they do give a decent overview of what's happening now and, more importantly, they also keep an eye on parts of the world that get less coverage.
October 07, 2015
Article 5 Article 5 of the Washington Treaty (generally referred to as the NATO Charter, to avoid confusion with that other Washington Treaty...and because it IS the NATO CHARTER) reads as follows...
Article 5 of the Washington Treaty:
The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.
Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall immediately be reported to the Security Council. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security.
As an aside, apropos of nothing, I'm sure..., here are a few of the mornings headlines...
...and a couple of analysis pieces.
(Perhaps your effort should be put into determining how we DON'T)
I am have tests coming up and no time to opine on these matters so instead I'll just leave this here.
Tam has comprehensive yet concise thoughts on the matter here as well as worrying confirmation that it's not just me looking to Fred Thompson for insight on this matter.
October 04, 2015
Shootings, Floods and Lost Ships are what the news is focused on (a not entirely unwarranted decision) but there are other things deteriorating as well that deserve some attention, as they have considerable potential to generate rather greater levels of grief...
First off, ISIS has opened two theme parks for the de-facto nation's children...
The photos show smiling children enjoying various rides, as well as landscapes featuring ferris wheels and a play train. The rides fail to disguise the ravages of war; beyond the foreground, dilapidated buildings and bombed-out areas can be seen.
I guess some positive reinforcement to go along with the punishments of children there is necessary for morale.
Meanwhile, the administrations expert responsible for overseeing the war with ISIS just resigned.
He has been joined by the nation's top cyber security advisor, and the Pentagon's top Russian expert. Three in such a short time would seem to indicate a lack of faith in the administrations policies on these matters.
On the other hand, Russia took a break from bombing the snot out of the American and European proxies in Syria to hit ISIS headquarters...which had somehow managed to elude the bombs of America's bombing campaign for a year.
Instapundit links to a Lee Stranahan editorial which comprehensively sums up the situation...assuming of course that the emerging outcomes are not the goal.
Speaking of Russia, they just drafted 150,000 troops. This seems to be a supplementary conscription, since the annual draft of 150000 (Russia has active selective service) took place in the spring.
Russia is recomissioning and upgrading 12 nuclear submarines 6 of which are identified in this article. They also announced plans earlier in the year to restart the production line for the TU-160 bomber with 50 (some sources say 60) expected to be commissioned by 2023. There has been some skepticism expressed, but the upgrade program on the existing 16 operational Backfires is actually ahead of schedule and they are producing some very large and very fast planes now so there is no reason to suspect that they can't.
Speaking of capabilities....the first Chinese indigenously built aircraft carrier, will, reportedly, be launched on December 26. (This date has been chosen to commemorate Mao TzeDong's birthday...presumably because genocidal dictators are the sorts of people the current Chinese Government wants to honor.) Note that the carrier was started earlier this year, so the ship is being launched in less than a year...unheard of for such a large vessel. Note that this is a launch and not a commissioning....lots of equipment needs to be installed, but while analysts are skeptical that commissioning will happen sooner than four years hence, the incredible speed with which the hull was constructed should give one pause.
Also concerning capabilities, Next Big Future points to a WCT article that gleefully boasts that China has demonstrated the ability to put MIRVs with its ability to launch multiple satellites on a single launcher. They also point out that the Chinese commercial space launcher the Long March 6 can launch 20 (twice as many as the Russian R-36, the biggest ICBM in the world). That a commercial space launcher takes hours to fuel and so could only be used for first strikes (and dozens of launchers fueling would give fair warning) is not mentioned in the article. NBF does point to the capacity of the bigger Long March 5 is 25 metric tonnes. Taking the conservative path of using the weight of an obsolete USAF ICBM warhead ( the W-56) and a current one (the W-76) dividing 25 tonnes by that amount (25tonnes = 55,115.500 pounds round down so 55,000 / 680 = 81.1 or 55,000 / 362 = 152.3 warheads delivered with one launch. (Capacity to an antipodal target is a bit more than 50% greater than capacity to LEO but there is still a lot of weight involved in the buss and such)...so hey perhaps they don't need but one launch. Naturally, the same basic math would apply to the Russian launchers in the same class such as PROTON.
Of course this is silly as it would be suicide. They'd still face our righteous wrath unless there were some reason to believe our nuclear deterrent was a hollow force.
Meanwhile...in completely unrelated news in the U.S., the nation's last American owned uranium enrichment plant was just shut down by the DOE.
U.S. Rep. Brad Wenstrup, whose 2nd District includes Pike County and part of Ross County among others, expressed disbelief. Both he and Portman said that on the heels of a deal that recognizes Iran’s right to enrich uranium and maintain access to thousands of centrifuges, shutting down of the only source of domestic uranium enrichment is irresponsible. The Centrifuge is the only American-owned enrichment facility operating in the United States, while foreign-owned Urenco USA operates an enrichment facility in New Mexico.
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