January 17, 2011

FROM NEPTUNUS LEX, A GOOD DOG.
SOME COMMON SENSE ON WOMEN IN COMBAT UNITS, FROM BLACKFIVE.
OVER AT INFORMATION DISSEMINATION: Why our best Navy officers are leaving.
DATA OVERLOAD AND COLLATERAL DAMAGE.


     When military investigators looked into an attack by American helicopters last February that left 23 
     Afghan civilians dead, they found that the operator of a Predator drone had failed to pass along 
     crucial information about the makeup of a gathering crowd of villagers.


     “Information overload — an accurate description,” said one senior military officer, who was briefed on  
     the inquiry and spoke on the condition of anonymity because the case might yet result in a court martial. 
     The deaths would have been prevented, he said, “if we had just slowed things down and thought 
     deliberately.”


Unfortunately, non-combatants deaths are as much a part of war as mud and dust. Kissinger, in Diplomacy, understood the decision makers dilemma: latitude for action is greatest where available information is at its scarcest. Data is not information. Targets are perishable and operators, sifting through reams of conflicting data must weigh many factors. 
AFGHAN GOVT LOSING FIGHT AGAINST OPIUM. "The price of opium is now seven times higher than wheat, and there is a $58 billion demand for narcotics, so our farmers have no disincentive to cultivate poppy,” Azhar said. “We have gotten a lot of help but it is not enough. Afghanistan is still producing 85 percent of the opium in the world, and it is still a dark stain on our name.”
PIRATE ACTIVITY, FROM EAGLE 1.
OUR DEBT FUELS CHINA'S DEFENSE BUDGET. CDR Salamander takes a look.
ARGGHHH!!!: Iraq, then and now.
JED BABBIN: Is Obama losing Afghanistan?
OVER AT MAJ PAIN, ARMY PATROLLING IN AFGHANISTAN.
AIR FORCE INFRASTRUCTURE TAKES HIT.
REQUIRED READING. The Military-Industrial Complex at 50.

January 15, 2011

ADMIRAL'S ASSESSMENT OF CHINESE TECH. I like Admiral Dorsett's take. While media focus on transformational ideas and technology, little thought is given to operational and strategic art. The Chinese may develop individual capabilities, but they tend to think in 2 dimensions. The conductor has to get the instruments playing in harmony and the Chinese have little experience projecting power or integrating large, full spectrum campaigns.
PENTAGON ALLOWS SOCIAL MEDIA.
NEPTUNUS LEX AND SOME AIRWAR TACIT KNOWLEDGE.
MORE FRUITS OF DADT REPEAL. It seems the floodgates are open. Transgenders next for open service. Soon our armed forces will look like the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
WE'RE IN THE ARMY NOW. "But there is more to the National Guard. Most American men are unaware that they are in the army, or, as described by the Militia Act of 1903 (popularly known as the Dick Act), the unorganized militia."


Seems strangely appropriate, somehow. 
HOW'S THIS FOR A RESET BUTTON?

"Russia has been selling weapons (including fighterplanes, SAMs, and Kalashnikov rifles) to America's enemies, including Iran, Venezuela, and Syria, and shielding these nations (as well as North Korea) from serious UNSC sanctions. It has been selling tons of weapons to Communist China, currently the biggest threat to the U.S. It still backs the regimes of Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, thus maintaining anti-American outposts in the USA's backyard. A real friend doesn't behave like that. And Russia's own defense doctrine presents NATO as Russia's principal enemy."
INDIA'S FIRST HOME GROWN FIGHTER REACHES IOC.
CHECK OUT THE FUTURE OF THE USMC, OVER AT CDR SALAMANDER.
TALIBAN TARGETS LOGISTICS TAIL FOR NATO. Great generals don't think tactics, they think logistics.
DIFFERENT VIEWS ON THE HONORS SCANDAL.
WILL ARMS SALES TO TAIWAN CONTINUE? 


     "United States arms sales to Taiwan seriously damaged China's core interests and we do not want to see  
     that happen again, neither do we hope that the U.S. arms sales to Taiwan will again and further disrupt 
     our bilateral and military-to-military relationship," Chinese Minister for National Defense Gen. Liang 
     Guanglie said during a joint press conference with Gates Jan. 10.


Of course, all that is Chicom code for "you're making our takeover of Taiwan difficult." For 60 years the Chinese have overtly and covertly aided North Korea, sustaining a despotic regime that's virtually enslaved its own people, providing themselves a buffer state against the U.S. As for disrupting our bilateral relationship, who cares. The Chinese view our constant obsession with dialogue as weakness. 


To his credit, Gates told the Chicoms to pound sand. 
WIKILEAKS SUPPORTS SUSPECTED TRAITOR'S DEFENSE. And, once again, the NYT bleeds too much.
THE COUNCIL ON AMERICAN-ISLAMIC RELATIONS HELPS US CLEAR UP OUR THINKING ABOUT THE WAR ON TERROR.
THE INTERPRETER AND A JAPANESE OPINION POLL ON SECURITY. Most Japanese still view the US/Japan alliance as critical and recognize the rising threat of China.

January 13, 2011

LISA FABRIZIO ON THE HONORS VIDEOS. While I agree our culture has coarsened, let's not make Honors the fall guy for all that. Fabrizio is guilty of judging from afar, not really understanding "carrier culture," or the context of the videos. These videos constitute only a small slice of CAPT Honors' service to country. As such, Fabrizio, like all outsiders, demonstrates a failure of imagination in weighing the balance of his service. But CAPT Reynolds' statement is way off base and he should know better. 
     
     In my opinion, Honors should now be court-marshaled, dismissed from the Navy, stripped of his 
     pension rights and serve prison time. He's a disgrace and embarrassment to his rank, his ship, the US 
     Navy, and to the United States.


Really? Here's a man who for 20 years endured long deployments away from family and friends: sacrificed the comforts of home for ship life, crowded, uncomfortable, without a shred of privacy: spent hundreds of hours piloting a jet propelled, gasoline bomb on and off the pitching deck of carriers. Honors, like all who serve combat functions, implicitly accepted and expected to place himself in mortal danger at any time and on short notice. Where's the video for all of that!


We live in an age of false pieties, where modern sensibilities easily outweigh the martial virtues celebrated for thousands of years. I guess, if like CAPT Reynolds, you piloted a desk and specialized in the arcane trivia of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, you're bound to have other ideas about virtue.
NEPTUNUS LEX AND THE FUTURE OF CARRIERS.
MAX BOOT, ON GIVING PETRAEUS A FIFTH STAR. As a way of "honoring the troops," I'm a bit sceptical. Most would gladly settle for a little extra combat pay and could care less at what rank Petraeus retires at. This kind of stuff is only important to other flag officers and command groupies.


Most who reached 5 star rank did so during, and immediately after, WWII, where we had 12 million in the military. At that scale of operations, with two major theaters of total war, the rank was justified.    
J. E. DYER AND SABER-RATTLING FROM ASIA.
MARINES HONOR THEIR FALLEN, OVER AT MAJ PAIN.
ESTONIA DEVELOPS CYBER DEFENSE FORCE AFTER RECENT RUSSIAN ATTACKS. "In the years since that cyberassault, Estonia has distinguished itself once again: Now it is a model for how a country might defend itself during a cyberwar. The responsibility would fall to a force of programmers, computer scientists and software engineers who make up a Cyber Defense League, a volunteer organization that in wartime would function under a unified military command."
17th AIR FORCE IN EUROPE TO DEACTIVATE. "The 17th Air Force, headquartered in Germany, will be deactivated, with parts rolled into U.S. Air Forces Europe. The service also will combine separate Air Operations Centers at Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany that now support U.S. European and Africa commands." 
AFTER RECENT ATTACKS, S. KOREAN FORCES TO SHAPE UP.
MINE ROLLERS TO AFGHANISTAN. "The U.S. is moving most of its mine rollers from Iraq to Afghanistan, and saving lives in the process. One of the unrecognized lifesavers in Iraq and Afghanistan is a simple adaptation of an old method of avoiding anti-vehicle mines." 
RECONNAISSANCE GOING GREEEN? First hydrogen-powered UAV takes flight.
ENTERPRISE DEPLOYS WITHOUT C.O.
THE COAST GUARD'S EQUITY SCORECARD, OVER AT CDR SALAMANDER.

January 12, 2011

SENATORS SEEK INFO ON CYBER OPS.
     
     The military’s use of offensive cyber warfare has only rarely been disclosed, the most well-known 
     instance being the electronic jamming of Iraqi military and communications networks just before the 
     lightning strike against Saddam Hussein’s army in 2003. But Pentagon officials have been clear that 
     cyber espionage and attacks from well-funded nations or terror groups are the biggest threats to military 
     networks, including critical battlefield communications.
DELAY FOR F-35A. "The initial operational capability date for the Air Force version of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is likely to slip due to recent program changes to help right the troubled tri-service effort, Air Force Secretary Michael Donley said Wednesday during an Air Force Association-sponsored breakfast with reporters."


And, in case you missed it, Why we need the F-35, in Armed Forces Journal. 
MAX BOOT AND DETERRING CHINESE ADVENTURISM.

Also, Alana Goodman's take.
NEW MARINE SWIMMING TANK? Spencer Ackerman in the Danger Room. Also, the hypersonic Blackswift. 
FORGETTING WHY NATO WAS CREATED. Russia wants joint decision making in missile shield.
RED FLAG CANCELLED DUE TO OPTEMPO. "The Air Force rarely cancels Red Flag, but eliminated October’s when refueling tankers needed to get the fighters to the event were too busy supporting operations in Iraq and Afghanistan."
CHINA'S CIVIL-MILITARY DIVIDE, OVER AT NEPTUNUS LEX. The last time China tried a large scale military operation, Vietnam gave them a bloody nose. They should stick to supressing Tibet before they try to take on the U.S.

See also, COIN Critics.
IED'S KILL 21,000 IRAQIS LAST 5 YEARS.
101st HONORS ITS DEAD.
DOCTRINE MAN, COURTESY OF ARGGHHH!!! Funny spoof on the outcomes of a doctrine bound service and the second rate thinking that predominates.
GATES TOURS CHINA NUKE BASE. "China invited U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates inside its nuclear warfare headquarters on Wednesday, giving him a rare glimpse into control of weapons that could one day be launched at the United States."

BIDEN WANTS PAKISTAN TO GET TOUGH WITH MILITANTS. "Vice President Joe Biden met with Pakistan leaders Wednesday as part of American efforts to get Islamabad to intensify the fight against Islamist militants sheltering along the Afghan border."
OVER AT CDR SALAMANDER, OFFICER CORPS CULTURE. And, the end of the Navy's Optimal Manning Experiment.


Easy to see how the two subjects are related. 
BOMBS TARGET AFGHAN INTEL SERVICE.

January 11, 2011

OBAMA FORGETS BRIT MILITARY SUPPORT.
     
     Barack Obama has declared that France is America’s greatest ally, undermining Britain’s Special 
     Relationship with the U.S.


     The UK has lost nearly 350 troops in the war against the Taliban – seven times as many as France.
GENERALS AT ODDS OVER CRASH CAUSE OF OSPREY.

     Brig. Gen. Donald Harvel, president of the accident investigation board, said he believes engine        
     problems brought down the Osprey during the landing approach, Air Force Times reported in its Jan. 17 
     edition. Lt. Gen. Kurt Cichowski, to whom Harvel answered during the investigation, said aircrew 
     errors were at fault.
SPENCER ACKERMAN ON THE COMING ARCTIC WAR.
BLACKFIVE REMEMBERS A DOOLITTLE RAIDER.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT. China's Naval Ambitions.
NEPTUNUS LEX ON ADM. MULLIN.
ALANA GOODMAN AND CONCERN OVER CHINA'S ADVANCING MILITARY CAPABILITIES. 

     Concern is growing over China’s advancing military capabilities. As Secretary of Defense Robert Gates 
     met with civilian leaders in Beijing today, Chinese bloggers and news agencies produced photos that 
     appear to show the country’s new stealth fighter taking its first test flight: “That message undercuts the 
     symbolism of Mr. Gates’ visit, which is designed to smooth military relations ahead of a state visit to the 
     U.S. next week by Chinese President Hu Jintao.”
MORE MONEY DOWN A RATHOLE. Biden says U.S. will continue aid to Afghanistan after pull out.
ENJOY THE FRUITS OF DADT REPEAL. Transgender vets want to serve openly.

And Neptunus Lex.
GATES CALLS N. KOREA A DIRECT THREAT TO U.S. And the Danger Room take.

CHINESE STEALTH FIGHTER IN FIRST TEST FLIGHT. "The test flight comes on the second day of a visit to China by U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and the normally secretive military made no attempt to hide it or remove photos and reports about the J-20 from the Internet."


And at Blogs of War: "Conducting the first flight with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in-country is icing on the cake for the Chinese even if coincidental."
RETIRED ARMY COL HELPED CAPTURE ARIZONA GUNMAN.

January 10, 2011

LOUGHNER REJECTED BY ARMY OVER FAILED DRUG TEST.
IN COMMENTARY, MAX BOOT ON WHY DEFENSE CUTS ARE UNWISE.

And on the Center for American Progress' take on defense cuts: "You can always count on the Center for American Progress — a Democratic Party propaganda shop disguised as a think tank — to come up with a cheap partisan screed on any issue. And with their response to my concerns about cutting the defense budget, they do not disappoint." 
ADM MULLEN WANTS AN APOLITICAL MILITARY. In other words, just accept whatever social engineering comes down from Washington. Well, good luck with that. Soon, the military will look like that co-ed shower scene from "Starship Troopers." 
THE GUARDIAN: U.S. concerned over China's rapid development of new weapons. "China has made strides in building a new stealth fighter jet and Washington is also concerned about a new ballistic missile that could theoretically explode an aircraft carrier nearly 2,000 miles (3,200 kilometres) out to sea. China has also apparently beaten US estimates to develop that weapon."
ABOUT TIME. Pentagon ordered to buy American. "The military authorization law signed by President Obama on Friday contains a little-noticed “Buy American” provision for the Defense Department purchases of solar panels — a provision that is likely to dismay Chinese officials as President Hu Jintao prepares to visit the United States next week."
BLACKFIVE ON THE ARIZONA SHOOTINGS.


And Neptunus Lex: "But it’s a strange sign of our toxic national discourse that this tragedy has become an additional drop of toxin to the national discourse. It’s Sarah Palin’s fault, e.g. She did it. Or those nasty Tea Baggers, with their hateful rhetoric."


Also, A Soldier's Perspective: Another Lefty Tramples Constitution
SECRETS OF THE DMZ JUMPERS, in Strategy Page.
COMMANDER IN CHIEF CHANNELS HAMLET ON GITMO. Jed Babbin on Obama's Gitmo Melodrama. "Obama's Gitmo melodrama seems destined to play on indefinitely because the president's policies are so contrary to America's interests that even the hyperliberal 111th Congress wouldn't play the role it was assigned."
GERMANY REFUSES REQUEST FOR MORE AWACS IN AFGHANISTAN.
A MUSICAL TRIBUTE TO EASY COMPANY AND ITS SKIPPER, MAJ DICK WINTERS, WHO DIED JAN 2.

And Blackfive.
CDR SALAMANDER ON THE GATES' BUDGET CUTS. "More evidence by SECDEF Gates is the right man at the right time."
ARGGHHH!!! AND THE COMING IRAQI BUG-OUT.
A BAD IDEA WHOSE TIME HAS COME? "The Obama administration has shown an uncomfortable degree of deference to Russia on most security issues, whether missile defense, nuclear arms or the Iranian nuclear program. Pressing the "reset button" on U.S.-Russian policy is a catchy slogan but has little strategic underpinning. Washington and Moscow have few common interests; holding out hope for NATO membership may wrongly be seen as a means of increasing American leverage."
IN THE DANGER ROOM. Gates and Chinese military agree to more talks. Also, one army brigade in Europe on the chopping block.

Meanwhile the AP reports, "U.S. and Chinese defense chiefs took a step Monday toward mending frayed relations between their powerful militaries, though China warned ties could be cut again if Washington does not heed Beijing’s wishes."


Does anyone get the idea that we're the only ones working to breakup this relationship?

January 8, 2011

HOMEOWNER ASSOCIATION SUES MARINE OVER OLD GLORY. "A Marine Corps veteran is being sued by his Cypress-area homeowners association because the flagpole on which he flies the United States and Marine Corps flags does not meet his subdivision's design guidelines."
ALANA GOODMAN AND THE TWO VERY DIFFERENT GOP RESPONSES TO DADT REPEAL.
LEE DECOVNICK ON CHINA AND THE CHANGING MILITARY BALANCE. "We outspend the Chinese about five to one in military appropriations, but only two to one in military spending as a percent of GDP. Yet the Chinese seem to be spending wisely on those weapons systems that could most affect the Navy carriers, our most lethal and effective means to project power over the horizon. As we juxtapose these articles we find broad outlines of national military policy from the US and China. One country is building toward a future regional projection of power, another is cutting back, seemingly more focused on soft core video tapes produced five years ago, than planning for the inevitable conflicts with Marxism and radical Islam in our own hemisphere and Asia."

And noting the disproportionally large cut taken by our Marines, "Obama and his socialist thugs are kicking the Corps in the cojones for opposing the repeal of DADT.  The Marines, our best trained, fast deploy troops are to be cut from 35,000 to 20,000 active duty soldiers. That is a 43% drop in our finest hardcore bastards-on-the-ground troops."

AL-SADR AT IT AGAIN. "A powerful cleric whose fearsome militia once battled Americans urged followers Saturday to resist the United States "with all means" in his first public address in Iraq after four years in exile."
U.S. TO OFFER MORE SUPPORT TO PAKISTAN. "The Obama administration has decided to offer Pakistan more military, intelligence and economic support, and to intensify U.S. efforts to forge a regional peace, despite ongoing frustration that Pakistani officials are not doing enough to combat terrorist groups in the country's tribal areas, officials said."
GENERAL DECRIMINALIZES SEX IN AFGHANISTAN. "After nearly two decades of effort to ban sex in the combat zone, an American commander has admitted defeat and issued orders de-criminalizing fornication in Afghanistan. Thus the latest version of General Order No. 1 issued in Afghanistan warns against heterosexual sex between troops, but no longer prohibits it."


Neptunus Lex: "So now, to the stresses of wartime service we may add, 1) intimacy-based loyalties that might conflict with the unit mission, 2) sexual jealousy – not everyone will be getting it – 3) favoritism in the hopes of treatment in kind, and 4) elevated stress levels among spouses left behind."
FLEET HIT HARD BY LATEST BUDGET CUTS. "Cancellation of the long-troubled and expensive Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle will bring to an end nearly two decades of work that cost $3 billion in an effort to make what was essentially an armored Dumpster speed across the water at more than 30 knots. The Marines themselves recommended the move — a reflection not only of the great cost to buy and operate a fleet of 573 of the vehicles, but also of a shift in tactical thought that is making the need for such a fast vehicle unnecessary."

FLORIDA GUARD HELPING RETURNING VETS FIND WORK.
WILL SMART PHONES FOR SOLDIERS BE COMBAT MULTIPLIERS?
MORE SNARKAGE FROM ARGGHHH!!!

January 7, 2011

A TASTY BLACKFIVE SMACKDOWN OF SOMEONE NAMED MATTHEW YGLESIAS. "Hey Matt, next time why don't you focus your half-assed efforts on the Middle East? You oughta be able to come up with a completely, bone-ass stupid solution to that in say....half a day and a trip to the coffee shop with a co-worker who once visited Beirut. I am gonna go beat my head against the wall to shake out some of the garbage you just put in there."
MAJOR PAIN ON THE ARMY AND MARINE DRAW DOWN.
GATES TO SHORE UP U.S./CHINA TIES. Meanwhile, back at the ranch: Chinese digging America's stealth fighter freakout.
DEFENSE UPDATE, "THE CORPS WILL NEVER BE DEFINED BY A PROGRAM, BUT RATHER BY THE CAPABILITIES WE BRING TO THE FIGHT."
JOINT FORCES COMMAND CLOSED. "President Obama on Thursday formally signed off on the closure of U.S. Joint Forces Command in Norfolk, Va."

Lets hope the prez cuts more waste from the guv'ment.
WIRED ON THE NEW ARMY CHIEF, GEN. DEMPSEY.

I have a different take. Gen. Dempsey was picked because politically he's on board with the Obama administration, not because he's a big thinker and he blogs. TRADOC, after the officer promotion system, is the single greatest impediment to Army innovation. The bias for Army officers is usually towards linear thinking and a process approach to training and operations. On the other hand, context, or the non-linear dynamics found in real life, are messy and transitory. If Dempsey realizes that decentralized operations are imperative for the future, then how does a central repository for doctrine writers, far from the action, facilitate that? Will the Battle Command Training Program (BCTP), the Jesuits of TRADOC, cease using checklists and strict adherence to doctrine, when they evaluate training units?

Gen. Dempsey is a good and capable man, but he won't change the culture. Senior officers who've found success operating within the system tend to perpetuate the status quo by promoting those like them. Outsiders, enamoured of transformational ideas and personalities, tend to underestimate the bureaucratic inertia to change.
I CALLED THIS ONE. Gates wants gay awareness training for the troops.
THE DIFFERENTIAL THEORY OF THE U.S. ARMED FORCES (SNAKE MODEL), FROM BLACKFIVE. As vignettes into service idiosyncrasies, these are timeless. I especially love the ones about military intelligence and the weaselly equivocation that dominates thinking and "assessments."
GREGORY MCNEAL TAKES A LOOK AT THE MILITARY'S BRAIN DRAIN.
THE AMERICAN SPECTATOR, "Uneducated to Serve."

     Twenty-seven percent of New Jersey's 17-to-20 year old high school grads applying to enter the 
     military flunked the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, the test potential recruits must take for 
     successful enlistment. Essentially, one out of every four Garden State residents -- including 34 percent 
     of young black and Latino recruits -- couldn't answer such basic questions as "If three plus X equals six, 
     what is the value of X?" and "If 4 people can run 8 machines, how many machines can 2 people run?"
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT. MAJ. GEN. Robert H. Scales (RET), "Small Unit Dominance."
VIETNAM WAR ALLY OF U.S. DIES. "Vang Pao fought the Japanese as a teenager. He later led Hmong guerrillas in their CIA-backed battle against communists during the Vietnam War. More recently he was a father figure to Hmong refugees who fled Laos for the United States."
U.S. SEEKS TALKS WITH N. KOREA. What could go wrong?
ARGGHHH!!! IF WALLS COULD SPEAK.
101ST RETURNING HOME.  Well done!
TURKS SEE US AS BIGGEST THREAT. "According to a wide-ranging survey carried out by the Ankara-based MetroPOLL Strategic and Social Research Center in December, some 43% of Turks said they perceive the U.S. as the country’s biggest threat, followed by Israel, with 24%. Just 3% of those surveyed considered Iran a major threat."

MAN IN COURT OVER RECRUIT OFFICE BOMB PLOT. Anyone surprised suspect is a recent convert to Islam.
CUTTING DEFENSE.

Neptunus Lex on Belt tightening.

Spencer Ackerman:  "What really happened is that Gates and the White House stopped increasing the military’s cash. The following years’ budgets will grow less steeply than they did in previous years — only between one and two percent higher — and by fiscal 2015, they’ll flatline. In the past, Gates has talked about the military’s financial “spigot” closing. Under this plan, the tap will flow at essentially the current rate — still more than President Bush’s first post-9/11 Pentagon budgets. With inflation, you’ll see the budgetary numbers growsomewhat over the next few years, but not significantly."

WAPO: "For the first time since the end of the Cold War, the Pentagon is confronting the reality that inexorable increases in defense spending are no longer a sure thing and that cuts that actually shrink the military's bottom line could be on the horizon."


NATIONAL REVIEW: "The collective cuts have taken a huge toll on the military. Killing the Army’s Future Combat Systems program not only deprived the service of a new generation of ground combat vehicles — for the fifth time since the end of the Cold War — but threw a monkey wrench in an innovative plan to “network” the force (which means, roughly, bringing it from the age of the Atari to the age of the iPhone). The shrinking of the Navy to fewer than 280 ships means the smallest fleet since World War I, when it shared the ruling of the world’s waves with the British Royal Navy."

January 6, 2011

PROTECTING THE COMMANDER IN CHIEF. Confederate Yankee on MMA fighter Jacob Volkmann.
A SOLDIER'S PERSPECTIVE ON REPEAL OF DADT.
THE GATES BUDGET PLAN. Reducing over bloated senior military and civilian staff is welcome, but should have included the largely ceremonial service secretaries. I would include elimination of the Army's TRADOC as well.

A leaner DoD would ultimately include decentralizing critical functions and locating them with war fighting commands where defense staff can collaborate in close proximity to the operational and tactical levels of command. With modern day connectivity there's little reason to consolidate everything in the Pentagon.

With the national debt quickly becoming the number one security concern for the U.S., conservatives should demand that all other government agencies undergo the same levels of streamlining.

Spencer Ackerman on cuts to the massive intelligence budget.

Killer Drones, Jamming Jets Win big in New Budget. "New fleets of retooled fighter jets, futuristic bombers, jamming planes, and advanced drones will all take to the skies, if Gates gets his way."

Blackfive's take: "The economy and spending needs to get under control - no doubt about that. However, with everything that we have going on in the world including a hostile Iran and Korea, reducing troop levels by almost 10% is good idea? And the good news keeps coming because the Marines get to use money that they will save and reinvest it into repairing the torn up/blown up/beat up equipment from the war zones. Awesome! National Defense will take the hit. We'll see what other agencies get reduced in the near future...or not."
HOLLY PETRAEUS TO LEAD CONSUMER PROTECTION EFFORTS FOR SERVICE MEMBERS. 
DRAWDOWN PART OF SEC GATES INITIATIVE. "The Army and Marine Corps each have been ordered to draw down tens of thousands of troops as part of Defense Department budget cuts, with as many as 49,000 soldiers to be sliced."
DEMPSEY NOMINATED TO REPLACE CASEY AS ARMY CHIEF. A safe pick, but don't look for any new thinking. TRADOC remains the greatest impediment to Army innovation, with its all-consuming focus on doctrine, or, set piece thinking. The world is a non-linear place where the meaningful action is on the periphery, not at headquarters. 
GERMANY TAKES OVER BALTIC AIR POLICING MISSION.
DOWN THE RATHOLE. $20 Billion for 2 years of Afghan training.
MAX BOOT ON THE DEFENSE BUDGET. "I am struck by the juxtaposition of two news items. First, it is being reported that Bob Gates is proposing $100 billion in defense cuts over the next five years, including the cancellation of the Marines’ Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle. Second it is being reported that China’s military modernization program is moving ahead faster than expected. In recent days, China has unveiled a new stealth fighter, the J-20, and a new ballistic missile that has been dubbed a “carrier killer” because it is designed to target U.S. aircraft carriers. China is also reportedly building its own aircraft carriers and taking other actions to beef up its arsenal."
WORK TO BEGIN ON CYBER SECURITY CENTER IN UTAH.
SPENCER ACKERMAN ON THE LOOMING DEFENSE BUDGET FIGHT BETWEEN GATES AND THE REPUBLICAN CONGRESS.
THE ATLANTIC ON "WHY OUR BEST OFFICERS ARE LEAVING." Blackfive's response.

Watch Armed Forces Network anywhere around the world and our troops are constantly reminded that they're sexual predators who can't balance a check book and should watch what they eat. This "nanny state" mentality breeds a corporate conformity hardly conducive to innovation. Add the coming indoctrination, er, advocacy for the gay lifestyle, and soon the military will perfectly reflect a college dorm room meeting of the young Trotskites.

And, Neptunus Lex.
SCOTT RUPPERT AND THE MILITARY AFTER DADT. Now for something completely different, Neptunus Lex on the consequences of the Honors scandal.
ARMY SEC. ASSESSES DAMAGE AT LEONARD WOOD. Why did McHugh give up a critical republican NY house seat again?
GEORGE NEUMAYR ON CAPT HONORS: "The left has always regarded the military as an undemocratic and hidebound repository of passé standards of discipline. It wants the military to be as dysfunctional as domestic society. So why should it care about immoral hijinks in the military?" 
MAJ PAIN AND PRAISE FOR "THE PACIFIC."
CDR SALAMANDER ON THE BIG XO: "We have a tradition in the Navy that when you do something out of line, discipline is at the discretion of the CO. As long as everything is legal and above board - you take your punishment and go forward. We do not practice double jeopardy."
NO SOUP FOR YOU! Sec. Gates will announce 2 year delay in Marines' Joint Strike Fighter.
MARYLAND COURT RULES NO 2ND AMENDMENT RIGHT TO GUNS OUTSIDE OF THE HOME. 
QUESTIONS REMAIN IN DEATH OF PENTAGON OFFICIAL.
1,400 MORE MARINES TO AFGHANISTAN.

January 5, 2011

NEW TAURUS SLIM PISTOLS FEATURE REAR LASER SIGHT. A Soldier's Perspective review.
NAVY ACKNOWLEDGES NEW CHINESE ANTI-SHIP BALLISTIC MISSILES REACHING OPERATIONAL CAPABILITY.
SEC GATES TRYING TO SHAPE INEVITABLE DEFENSE CUTS.

    Gates was expected to announce Thursday that he would cancel a $13 billion plan to buy the Marines new armored   
     vehicles from General Dynamics Corp. that can quickly ferry troops from ship to shore while under fire. Other cost-cutting 
     measures were planned as well, including the delay of the Marine version of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, according to 
     defense analysts familiar with the plan.