Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Big Plane

SJS has some fire inbound on the junior service...seems he wants some motion.

I'll see your motion and raise you one BIG aircraft, with Jimmy Stewart thrown in for good measure.

Mid-Week Music (Halloween edition)

Valour-IT Pic/Video of the Day

That's right, it takes two of your inferior fuel-lacking Navy fighters to take on one of our awesome lawn darts. I'm surprised they didn't need to hit the tanker just to get from the runway to the ramp.

Also, so you know how I mentioned that I dressed up in a cheerleader outfit for the AFROTC-NROTC football game?

Yeah, we've got pictures.
And video.

Come on people, seriously. If I'm that dedicated you can definitely afford to hit up the USAF for a few bucks.

What's on today (in Air Force class)

"Now I don't have a lot of patience for this 'what are we fighting for' stuff. We're in a war, a shooting war. We've got to fight. And some of us have got to die."

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Things could be worse

Every time I get frustrated at the cadets I'm responsible for this semester, I'm going to look at this video and think, "At least I'm not training the Iraqi Army."

Herding cats, indeed.


Monday, October 29, 2007

Daily Dose of Testosterone

Eurofighter vs a Bugatti over a mile. The twist? The Bugatti does the mile horizontally while the Eurofighter does it vertically.

Valour-IT. Do it.

Most of you probably know what Valour-IT is. For those of you that don't, SJS has a nice summary up here, and there is the history and about from Soldier's Angels.

Bottom line is that it's a great organization doing great things and definitely deserves your support. As you may or may not be aware, bloggers from across the four services have traditionally held a contest to see who can raise the most money. Of course, this is all just in good fun, we respect the contributions that each service makes to the joint fight, and at the end of the day we're all on the same side.

Okay, now that THAT'S out of the way...

Do you want to see a ship on the Terrazzo?


Want to call that raggedy-ass Roughead your king?


You want your children to sing Anchors Aweigh?


Today our AFROTC Det. engaged in a battle on the gridiron with the NROTC schleps here at ISU. Because I am one dedicated airman and am willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish the mission, I was the cheerleader for the Air Force side, pom-poms, skirt, and all. If I can do that, you can give a few dollars to help us accomplish our goal, which is...



The way things should be...

Sunday, October 28, 2007

What is it ya say ya do here?

Lots of good discussion regarding the new MS, especially over at SJS's and the CDR's. However, it's gotten me thinking...what is the USAF equivalent to this? First, a quote from SJS's place that I think has some relevance (emphasis mine):
"A second element of a military service is the resources, human and material, which are required to implement its strategic concept. To secure these resources it is necessary for society to forego the alternative uses to which these resources might be put and to acquiesce in their allocation to the military service. Thus, the resources which a service is able to obtain in a democratic society are a function of the public support of that service. The service has the responsibility to develop this necessary support, and it can only do this if it possesses a strategic concept which clearly formulates its relationship to the national security. Hence this second element of public support is, in the long run, dependent upon the strategic concept of the service. If a service does not possess a well-defined strategic concept, the public and the political leaders will be confused as to the role of the service, uncertain as to the necessity of its existence, and apathetic or hostile to the claims made by the service upon the resources of society."
Astute readers should already be able to see how this relates to the USAF, but let's get into what the Air Force says it does, starting at the highest level. The USAF Mission: "The mission of the United States Air Force is to deliver sovereign options for the defense of the United States of America and its global interests -- to fly and fight in Air, Space, and Cyberspace."

All that's really worth mentioning here are two things: first, the USAF has staked out a claim on the "domain" of Cyberspace, something definitely worth discussing. Second, "sovereign options"?? Gag. John over at Opfor had something to say about that sort of thing earlier this week. A taste of what he's talking about:
"Air power overhead provides capability to the fight with precision targeting which was used on Tuesday to ensure these individuals could no longer target innocent Iraq citizens."
Double gag. For my purposes, here's the relevant part of his commentary:
"Distant from the fight and hated for a controversial acquisitions program, I've always felt that the Air Force is the most disliked service in the Armed Forces. Image is a huge issue with the force right now, and our Public Affairs methodology isn't helping."
No, it isn't.

So, mission statement is bland, but that's to be expected. The Air Force vision? "Global Vigilance, Reach and Power." Huh? So the Air Force does all its stuff globally? No way!

Maybe we'll get somewhere with the core competencies. "Developing Airmen, Technology-to-Warfighting and Integrating Operations." Are you kidding me? I'm in my third year of AFROTC and study this stuff for fun and I can barely articulate what the hell "Technology-to-Warfighting" means, much less "Integrating Operations." To put it into language normal people speak, the first one is training people, the second is buying cool stuff that kills people and accomplishes the mission, and the third one is using that cool stuff to accomplish the mission in a "joint environment" (*gag*, I'm sorry for that phrase). This is garbage. No normal person is going to be able to understand what these are.

On to the next level, distinctive capabilities:
Air and Space Superiority : With it, joint forces can dominate enemy operations in all dimensions -- land, sea, air and space.

Global Attack: Because of technological advances, the Air Force can attack anywhere, anytime -- and do so quickly and with greater precision than ever before.

Rapid Global Mobility: Being able to respond quickly and decisively anywhere we're needed is key to maintaining rapid global mobility.

Precision Engagement: The essence lies in the ability to apply selective force against specific targets because the nature and variety of future contingencies demand both precise and reliable use of military power with minimal risk and collateral damage.

Information Superiority: The ability of joint force commanders to keep pace with information and incorporate it into a campaign plan is crucial.

Agile Combat Support: Deployment and sustainment are keys to successful operations and cannot be separated. Agile combat support applies to all forces, from those permanently based to contingency buildups to expeditionary forces.
Slightly better, but not really. All this really begs the question, "why?" Going through them one by one, Superiority should and is self explanatory; it's the second oldest mission of air forces. Global Attack is one that definitely begs that question. So we have all this cool technology that allows us to attack anywhere we want, but why would we want to do that? What's the national security ramifications of this capability? Rapid Global Mobility is even worse. The bullet point statement just explains the keys to rapid global mobility but does nothing to explain why we should be spending money to maintain this capability. Precision Engagement is full of buzzwords. Garbage. Information Superiority is better in that it attempts to explain why IO are important but it doesn't relate this back to the USAF. Finally, I'll be impressed if anyone can explain to me how Agile Combat Support is any different from Rapid Global Mobility.

Of course, all this glosses over the biggest reason why none of this makes any sense. The distinctive capabilities are intended to be nothing more than bullet points, but the next level down from this is a 100+ page strategy document that really doesn't sound much different. Third time I've used this word, but garbage. Contrast all this with the Navy's six capabilities from the MS:

1. Forward Presence.
2. Deterrence.
3. Sea Control.
4. Power Projection.
5. Maritime Security.
6. Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response.

Those are solid statements that make sense to a layperson. More importantly, there is a nice concise blurb to go with each one explaining why this is important and what the maritime services can contribute to that particular aspect. Contrast that to the Air Force's 100+ page abomination in which you have to wade through 70+ pages of "doctrine" before you even get to the core competencies and distinctive capabilities.

Gen. Barry McCaffrey recently wrote an interesting memo about why the USAF is important and the stuff it desperately needs after his being treated to a nice dog and pony show out at Nellis and Scott AFBs. However, the memo has several flaws. The introduction does a good job of breaking down some larger strategic imperatives about the future of the U.S. military and policy as a whole, but then immediately devolves into what is wrong with the USAF without spending any time on discussing what the USAF specifically brings to the fight.

Once the memo really gets going on "The Seven Imperatives for US Airpower," it quickly turns into a shopping list. The "seven imperatives" are just various systems and capabilities that the USAF should be funded to buy/develop. It does not answer the question "why". There are a few good nuggets here and there, such as the C-17 being a "global national transportation asset, not just a military or Air Force system," that "We will drop back to WWII era capabilities if we suddenly lose our space advantage," and cyber-warfare being the "poor man's WMD," but all this is too few and far in between and is obscured by the shopping list aspect of the memo. The General concludes with this:
"We have under-resourced this proud and crucial fighting force. We lack the equipment, Airmen, and money to adequately defend America in the coming 15 years. We are placing our national security at enormous risk if we do not soon act to correct these crucial shortfalls."
I agree, but I'm not the one the USAF needs to convince. To go back to the quote at the top of the post, it doesn't matter what we say we need. What matters is what the public, and more importantly, the political leaders think we need. You ask any Congresscritter about what the USAF needs to be funded with and they'll probably say three things: UAVs, gunships, and whatever airframe their local pork ANG/Reserve unit flies or pork aircraft factory builds. That's unacceptable.

This isn't a pie in the sky thing, either. Doors are rapidly closing. If we don't get the funds we need in the next few FYs, it's not going to matter a damn what happens after that because the production lines will close and we will be screwed. (In fact, as that article implies, we might already be screwed. Definitely check out the article, it's very interesting. But that's a post for a different day.)

I leave you with this (h/t Alert 5):
Lawmaker chides Air Force for fixation on budget woes

House Armed Services Chairman Ike Skelton, D-Mo., publicly chided Air Force leaders for failing to give his panel a more thorough assessment of the service's plans and programs during a hearing Wednesday.

Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne and Chief of Staff Michael Moseley, called by the panel to testify on their force's "strategic initiatives," spent much of the morning expressing concerns about budgetary shortfalls and congressional restrictions preventing the retirement of the service's oldest aircraft.

"I'm sorry to tell you I'm disappointed, but we can have a budget hearing any time," Skelton said. The chairman, who said the panel might have to have a second hearing on the subject, said it "would have been helpful" to have received testimony on the Air Force's strategic vision, as opposed to more limited testimony on current budget constraints.

What he said. I submit that Secretary Wynne and CSAF Moseley were a little confused at Rep. Skelton's disappointment, since the USAF's strategic initiative seems to be its budget.

That's a problem.

Postscript: Bonus points to anyone who can reference the title of the post.

Friday, October 26, 2007


This was this Friday morning's pre-PT '80s rock out while shaving song: I recall, this song was featured in a pretty funny movie...

One of my favorite lines from Caddyshack..."Well, the world needs ditchdiggers too!"

And this is just because...

It could be-IT'S IN DA HOLE!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Presidential hopefuls' wives trade tales

And no one whose opinion actually matters cares.

Seriously, why do we give spouses of candidates the least bit of attention? There was a good article I meant to blog about a couple of days ago discussing the differences between American politics and the rest of the world and our obsession with the spouses of politicians, contrasting it with France and Sarkozy. That's one thing France does right.

Midweek AC/DC

Comes courtesy of the Luftwaffe:

Also, check out this parking job. I don't recommend having your speakers up, as the soundtrack is Eminem, and you can just skip to around 2:00 if you want to see the sweet stuff, but I definitely recommend it.

Having a beer on the flightline? Not in today's USAF.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Gates: "Not Satisfied"

NATO allies take notice: U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is going to the Alliance's defense ministers' meeting in Noordwijk, the Netherlands this week with an axe to grind.

Speaking in Kiev, Ukraine, today, Gates gave reporters an insight into what he intends to focus on at the NATO meeting.

"I am not satisfied that an alliance whose members have over 2 million soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen cannot find the modest additional resources that have been committed for Afghanistan," he warns.

Right on. Go get 'em, SecDef. It's an old story, but it's rapidly approaching the tipping point. Canada, Britain, the Dutch, and others who have been providing the bulk of the ISAF forces in the south and have been doing the majority of the shooting and the majority of the bleeding are beginning to get tapped out, and they aren't happy at the lack of dedication others are showing to the mission. Yes, someone has to watch the north, but there's no reason it can't be rotated.

Speaking of the Dutch, there's a bit of an ongoing kerfluffle in that country regarding the ISAF mission. Turns out the Dutch are pretty much willing to stay past the original 2008 deadline if they need to, because first and foremost they're interested in getting the mission done. Unfortunately, the leakage of this information has probably hurt their negotiating position to get someone to take their place. They're doing good work, but they can't do it indefinitely, something the rest of Europe doesn't seem to understand.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

USAF Blogs

The Navy's unveiling of their new Maritime Strategy has really highlighted something I've been thinking about for awhile now. The USAF seems really underrepresented in the milblogging world, especially with regard to "thinking" sort of blogs. Let me try to explain what I mean. I'm aware that there are several USAF blogs out there, but most of these are either more personal oriented blogs that just happen to be written by an Airman, or are like Greyhawk and focus more on the general war. I can only think of two blogs that do anything remotely close to USAF strategic analysis: Spook86 at In From the Cold, and John over at Opfor. And even then, while both of these blogs offer up fine material, the USAF is definitely not the defining focus of the blog. Contrast this to the Navy, where there is a relative plethora of blogs that focus on the Navy and the specific strategic problems it faces. The CDR, SJS, Lex, Eagle1, Galrahn, heck, I'll even include Skippy and Springbored. While none of these blogs focuses exclusively on the Navy and strategic issues, that sort of discussion plays a large part in all of them. The really interesting thing is the interaction between these blogs, and, at least in the CDR's case, the large group of Navy-centric commenters. I'm sure you could make a network map of the Navy blogosphere, and I'm sure that the above mentioned blogs would appear as nodes in this network. A great example of this has been the discussion surrounding the release of the Maritime Strategy.

Contrast this with the Air Force. There are no nodes. Heck, there isn't really much of any sort of network. If the Air Force was to release a new Strategy doc (as they did with AFDD 2-3), there is no place where there would be 25 knowledgeable people commenting on it, no blogs having an interactive discussion amongst themselves over the pluses and minuses of the document. Using AFDD 2-3 as an example, the only places I saw any sort of discussion/analysis on it were ground pounder blogs like The Captain's Journal, or civilian analysts posting on sites like Ares or Danger Room which can be useful, but also sometimes can have a bit of an ax to grind cough*David Axe*cough (pardon the pun). In any case, the only reason AFDD 2-3 got any attention was that it actually had something to do with the GWOT and more importantly, ground forces.

Of course, this all could be just me being an idiot and not looking hard enough. I will concede that one of the reasons I'm so knowledgeable about the Navy's network is that I started reading one or two of the blogs in that network initially, and then it fed upon itself. There is the possibility that there is a similar USAF network that just isn't connected in any way to the Navy's. I doubt this, but I would like to be proven wrong. If you have any good USAF-centric "thinking" sort of sites, please let me know.

UPDATE: Be sure to check out the comments, Galrahn left a good one regarding the details of how the Navy community was formed, which I agree is definitely the interesting part. What he said is probably in part what I really wanted to say.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


If you're into that sort of thing, there's gonna be a four-ship of Iowa ANG F-16s doing a flyover of the ISU-OU game today at 11:28:45. FSN is picking the game up on regional coverage, at least, so tune in if you're interested. I'd imagine they'll show at least a few seconds of it on the pre-game show.

If you're wondering why I'm up so early, it's because I'm parking today. The Corps makes all of our discretionary spending money from helping ISU DPS direct parking before the game. Since kickoff is 1200ish, the lots open up around 0600, which means we have to be at the lots around 0530. Anyway, I've been told we look something like this:We're pretty hardcore like that.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Midweek AC/DC

I know it's Army...I'll try and find some Air Farce Force stuff next week.

I feel your pain

Tearing Your Hair Out:

Top leaders of Britain's Royal Navy are "tearing their hair out' in frustration that they can't "get the message across" that the maritime service is playing a crucial role in ongoing, seemingly land-locked operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Rear Admiral Robert Love, responsible for the RN's CVF aircraft carrier project, told a recent naval conference in Rotterdam about the concerns among the RN leadership regarding its less than favorable public image.

"We're still not very good at getting our message across. The focus of the media and the public is on the here and now, on what they see in TV coverage every day. That is dominated by land counter-insurgency operations in Afghanistan and Iraq," RADM Love told the IQPC-organized OPV Conference.

Sound familiar?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

What's your zombie plan?

Especially pertinent because now that one of my roommates got an entire freezer of food (plus freezer) from his parents, me and another one of my roommates have decided that once we get our hands on a shotgun or two and about 500 or so rounds of 00 buckshot, we should be well prepared for the upcoming zombie invasion.

h/t: Chris

Picking on Lou Dobbs

Never miss an opportunity...

h/t: The Agitator

Monday, October 15, 2007

My new tools

Click on the pic for high-res.

A Columbia River Knife & Tool M16-13SF and a Maglite 3 AA LED. The knife has a 3.5'' blade. I like the true hilt and the fact that I can have a virtual fixed blade with the LAWKS system. The knife is light enough for easy everyday carry. It has a nice look to it, if I do say so myself. Black, useful, and durable but not too "tactical." The blade looks pretty vicious. As for the Maglite, it is BRIGHT. Yay for LEDs.

The best thing about the whole deal? I was able to get a package that would've cost me around $135 MSRP for $85 (that includes shipping and handling). Thank you!

And thanks to my roommate Kevin for the camera and the picture.

Wild Bill and Babe

Bill Guarnere and Edward Heffron have a new book out. Story here:
PHILADELPHIA (Oct. 13) - After parachuting into Europe during World War II, battling along a strip of road called Hell's Highway in the Netherlands and surviving the freezing woods of Bastogne surrounded by German troops, William Guarnere and Edward Heffron do not consider themselves heroes.

Guarnere, 84, and Heffron, 84, are among the surviving members of the fabled Easy Company memorialized in the HBO miniseries "Band of Brothers." To them, the real heroes are the men whose bodies stayed buried in that foreign soil and the mothers who sent their sons off to war, praying for a safe return.


The book, with a foreword by actor Tom Hanks, one of the miniseries' producers, tells the story of how the two young men from South Philly became paratroopers, fought in some of World War II's major battles and survived to form a lifelong friendship.

And the book comes at just the right time, says Berkley's Natalee Rosenstein. "It's a period of time when we're all looking for real heroes," she said. (Some one like this? -Ed)

Guarnere was one of the original members of Easy Company who dropped into Normandy ahead of D-Day in 1944, while Heffron, often called "Babe," was one of the replacements who joined the unit later. Guarnere earned the nickname "Wild Bill" because just before D-Day, he discovered that his brother had been killed in Italy and he became obsessed with getting back at the Germans.

Both authors take part in Operation Market Garden, a massive jump into the Netherlands designed to get Allied troops into northern Germany, and the winter Battle of the Bulge in which they were surrounded and outnumbered in a Belgian city called Bastogne but helped repel Hitler's final effort to push into Belgium.

Buried in foxholes as shells exploded above them, the men were dubbed "The Battered Bastards of Bastogne."

It was at the Battle of the Bulge that Guarnere lost his leg saving a friend. Easy Company and Heffron went on to Germany, liberated a concentration camp at Landsberg and captured Hitler's mountain fortress, The Eagle's Nest.

The book began after the two were interviewed for a magazine article in 2001 when the miniseries aired. They hadn't talked to their families much about the war, but as some of the last remaining members of Easy Company - Guarnere estimates about 23 are still alive - they felt an obligation to tell their story.


But they said it was important to give as an accurate picture as they could about what they experienced, saying that they were simply trying to do their job the best they could and protect their friends.

"Once you start lying and trying to change things, it's no good," Guarnere says. "You tell the truth, and that's it."

After the war, Heffron met up with Guarnere in South Philly; he found him on the street, playing craps. Since then, they've talked almost every day, see each other almost as often, travel together, finish each other's bad jokes or roll their eyes when they know a story they've heard before is coming.

When Guarnere had a heart attack this summer, Heffron was at his bedside daily, said Robyn Post, who collaborated on the book with the two men. "It's one of the most profound friendships I've ever seen. They would lay down their lives for each other - even today."


Since the war's end, Guarnere has organized yearly reunions for the men of Easy Company, and Heffron and Guarnere have traveled back to the places where they fought. They've also visited American soldiers in Germany and the United States who have been injured in Iraq or Afghanistan.

During one trip, Heffron recalls how Guarnere talked to a serviceman who had also lost his leg. "This guy had his leg off. Bill said to him ..., 'Next time I see you, I want to see you dancing."'

Both men constantly wonder how it was that they survived the war and went on to such long prosperous lives, and they say they are left with a sense of war's random luck and of the responsibility to remember the men who were not so lucky.

"They ain't never going to forgive you if you don't," says Heffron, pointing toward the sky.
Only 23 left...that's a pretty striking statistic. Good on both of these fine gentlemen for getting their thoughts and memories down on paper.


If you don't read xkcd and you are the slightest bit amused by computer/tech/nerd humor, you should. This comic in particular amused me, especially when you go to this page and scroll down to the last picture.

I'm definitely doing that someday, given the opportunity.


Apparently I'm a rather bizarre individual...

h/t: Buck

You Are

Fool In The Rain

You are a very bizarre person, to say the least. You don't think the way most other people do. And you probably don't really care.

You defy convention, and probably really like burritos. And you're very content with your life. You're a ray of sunshine. Piercing, bizarre end-of-the-world sunshine, but sunshine nonetheless. While most people are going to college to be lawyers or accountants or something, you'd be just as happy working at Tippy's Taco Stand in San Dimas, CA.

You probably have a really interesting car. You definitely do not drive a Honda Civic. There's a good chance that you smoke weed. There's a good chance you sell it.

Everybody worth anything likes you a lot.

Take the Which Led Zeppelin Song Are You? Quiz

Friday, October 12, 2007

Gundy on Coors

Almost can't have Coors without the O'Jays:

The Man Commercial

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Mid-week AC/DC

Was rocking to this when I was up at the Armory on Monday doing two hours of mid-term evals for my cadets. No real reason other than it's the middle of the week and I could use me some AC/DC.

There is actually a quick story that goes along with this song, though. Back in junior high I was on a high adventure trip with my Boy Scout troop out in Colorado. Our guide was this total ski bum hippie named Decker. He hiked the entire 50 miles in sandals, which is actually pretty comfortable as long as you have tough feet. Way better than boots. But I digress. We're heading out to the trailhead in these old '70s Ford crew vans and he's like, "We need some tunes." He digs around for awhile and eventually comes up with this old tape. Throws it in and cranks it. I still think of that every time I hear this song.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Please order your army to stop shooting with firearms

Doing some early morning reading for my International Security Policy class (seeing a pattern? I'm actually playing a bit of catch up in that class...anyway) and came across a quote I'm going to use again and again. The book is A History of Warfare by John Keegan. It turns Clausewitz on his head from the first sentence: "War is not a continuation of politics by other means." In fact, Keegan argues that this viewpoint leads to societies for which politics is the continuation of war by other means and societies in which a fixation on war results in their being overtaken militarily or consumed by war.

In any case, as part of this argument, Keegan includes four case studies of societies that have taken this viewpoint to their severe disadvantage and eventual extinction. One of these is the Muslim Mameluke society. In 1515-1516 their horseback based military were utterly defeated by the gunpowder focused armies of the Ottoman Turks. A Mameluke historian had some interesting words to say about the battles...
Hear my words and listen to them, so that you and others will know that amongst us are the horsemen of destiny and red death. A single one of us can defeat your whole army. If you do not believe it, you may try, only please order your army to stop shooting with firearms. You have here with you 200,000 soldiers of all races. Remain in your place and array your army in battle order. Only three of us will come out against you...You have patched up an army from all parts of the world: Christians, Greeks and others, and you have brought with you this contrivance artfully devised by the Christians of Europe when they were incapable of meeting the Muslim armies on the battlefield. The contrivance is that musket which, even if a woman were to fire it, would hold up such and such a number of men...And woe to thee! How darest thou shoot with firearms at Muslims!"
(emphasis mine)

"How darest thou shoot with firearms at Muslims!" That one's never gonna get old.

Monday, October 08, 2007


Doing some reading for my International Security Policy class, and right now I'm reading an excerpt from Moltke's Doctrines of War. He had some interesting words for coalitions, particularly relevant to NATO and ISAF...
A coalition is marvelous as long as all interests of all members are the same. In reality, the interests of allies in all coalitions only converge up to a point; as soon as one of the allies has to make sacrifices for the achievement of the great common goal, one can no longer rely on the coalition, for coalitions will not easily understand that the great aims of a war cannot be reached without such partial sacrifices.

For this reason a mutual defense pact is at all times the least perfect form of mutual aid; it is worth only what each member on its own can give by way of aid. One thus cannot expect mere coalitions to do what is militarily most desirable, but only what is advantageous for both parts of the coalition. Every strategic agreement of allied armies is thus a compromise which tries to take into account special interests; these can only be ruled out within a single, unified state.
(emphasis mine)

Oh, and Europe? He had this to say on the maintenance and upkeep of armies...
An army can never be a provisional affair, it cannot be improvised in weeks or months, it needs to be educated throughout long years, for the basis of any military organization is continuity and stability.
The RN is going to be how small? The Dutch are selling off enough equipment to give any third world dictator a sizable military of his own, to say nothing of the Swedes' conundrum, and then there's that little issue of the helicopters. By these standards the USAF's future looks positively rosy. That's the same USAF that is "going out of business."


It's how many days to 24 Nov?

Too many.

h/t: Doug at Below the Beltway

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Snark of the Day

Comes from Lex who, while discussing the refusal of some Muslim med students in the U.K. to treat alcohol-related illnesses, STDs, and women, makes the suggestion that perhaps veterinary school would be more to their liking because..."Goats don't drink."

Saturday, October 06, 2007

What's on this afternoon, part III

No real good football games on since the local ABC station decided to pick up the Iowa-Penn State game...and decided to stick with it even when Penn State was up 20-0 in the fourth quarter, so no Red River Shootout for me.

Fortunately, found this gem on TCM:

Ranks right up there with 12 O'Clock High.

Friday, October 05, 2007

That's what she said part II, electric boogaloo

Sitemeter fun

As I was browsing sitemeter this evening because, well, I'm bored, I noticed a rather interesting hit. I occasionally get hits from .mil addresses, two big ones have been my posts on the Airmen's Creed and the "Hot Cuz I'm Deployed" video. Occasionally they're from deployed bases, more often than not they're just standard stateside. However, this hit was of a rather different nature...from the Pentagon, and it hit my recent post on the brouhaha surrounding the decision to require reservist mechanics to wear the uniform even when they aren't drilling. I did ask Secretary Wynne and CSAF Moseley a question at the end of the post, so maybe they're listening? Doubt it, but still, just something I found rather amusing.

In any case, to whoever is perusing this site from the Pentagon, CHANGE YOUR MONITOR SETTINGS!!! There is absolutely NO reason to have a monitor set at 16 bits, especially when your resolution is set at 1024 x 768. You're running XP, you have IE 7.0, change the settings! Oh, and while you're at it, get rid of Internet Exploder.

BIG Boom

Self explanatory:

30 tons of military grade high explosive followed by 429 tons.

h/t: Danger Room

Thursday, October 04, 2007

You can't pick up chicks in a tank

Apparently the Ukrainian Army begs to differ...

As does the British Armo(u)red Infantry:

h/t: Danger Room

If you don't get the title, reference here. Scroll down to where Tucker and Church start talking.

This is interesting

Some Air Reservists Reject Uniform Rule:
The Air Force Reserve may be an unrivaled wingman to the active duty force, but it's also a conflicted one right now, with air reserve technicians angry over a new policy mandating daily uniform wear on the job.

And that's prompted some to increasingly talk like the union members many are.

Bristling at the new regs, some reservists intend to pressure the Air Force into scrubbing the new uniform policy - a demand that could have a ripple effect on Air Force missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Stop volunteering for Air Expeditionary Force rotations" is the call rebel Air Force reservists are making.

"We've got to do something to get their attention," said Master Sgt. Jerry Merrill, a KC-135 crew chief at March Air Reserve Base, Calif., and vice president of local 3854 of the American Federation of Government Employees.

Calls to boycott AEFs have been posted in a handful of messages included in an online petition against the policy, and Merrill believes reserve Airmen could begin acting on them.

"We're obligated to do a certain amount" of deploying, he said, but the reserve techs "may be less cooperative with their free time. I would say everyone is behind the war on terror, but we can't be stomped on and have this thing rammed down our throats."
Sounds like some sort of mutiny, no? Here's where it gets interesting:

There are more than 8,000 enlisted Air Force Reserve technicians - civil service employees whose civilian job and reserve job essentially are the same - of which more than 6,600 are union members.

As a condition of employment, they serve as reserve Airmen. But except when they're doing their one-weekend-a-month or two-weeks-a-year of duty, or when they are called up or volunteer for active duty, they are civilians.

But the Reserve Command in April notified the union that a change was coming, that all reserve technicians would be required to wear the Air Force uniform whenever they're on the job. Several references to the need for good order and discipline in the original letter suggested to many reservists that the change was connected to discipline problems - a claim that Reserve Command chief Lt. Gen. John Bradley later denied.

Bradley has said the change reflects the professionalism of the Reserve Command and is in keeping with its continuing and expanding role as a full partner with the active duty Air Force.


Mark Gibson, a labor relations specialist for AFGE, could not agree more about the Reserve's importance to the overall mission, but he maintains the new policy threatens the force and the mission. It hurts the reserve technicians morale, could cause many who have long years of experience to leave, and could mean fewer techs volunteering to flesh out AEFs.

"This thing is blowing up in the Air Force Reserve's face and they're going to seriously damage that program," Gibson said. Boycotting AEFs, he said, is "a subject that a lot of Air Force Reservists don't want to be public about, but I know a lot have talked about it."

I've got to question why uniforms are such a big deal. It seems to me that this is the straw that broke the camel's back. And that points to a larger flaw in the system. If we step back and look at the big picture, why is the USAF party to a system that allows, in effect, for there to be unionized reservists? This is reminiscent of the problems (IIRC) the USAF ran into with the farming out of the maintenance of one of its training aircraft in the mid-'90s, where striking workers shut down the ability for one of the training squadrons to fly. (I couldn't actually find any information about the supposed strike, but it stands out in my memory. If someone has some information about the incident, feel free to let me know.)

This seems to me to be a case of trying to get things on the cheap and having them turn around and bite you in the ass. No one should be surprised that these workers are upset about having to wear the uniform or "volunteer" for AEF deployments. They are unionized workers first and airmen second. It's harsh, but there it is. It's not surprising in this era of downsizing budgets that the Air Force has tried to save a buck and now it's going to possibly cause huge problems with the AEF cycle, increasing the burden on everyone else and stressing an already over-stressed force.

This is what you get when you try to do things on the cheap. Secretary Wynne? CSAF Moseley? Congress?

Monday, October 01, 2007

YouTube Fun

First, we've got some taunting of Mahmoud.

Suck it.

h/t: Buck and Lex

Next, Brendan Loy was posting some Star Trek Picard shenanigans and this came up...probably the best Picard rant, bar none:

Finally, this is just silly.

It's not too early to start preparing for International "That's what she said" day, 15 Feb.