Fundamental Change


Welcome back to the Scuttlebutt, 

pull up a chair, pour something, and let’s talk.  Ah, another week where I have more targets than time.  


Now I could discuss the lawsuit that places… I think it’s 9 states now, and the office of the President, against four states, before SCOTUS in what stands one way or another to be a watershed event in our history, equal it’s quite possible, to the Dred Scott decision. Make no mistake, deciding NOT to hear it will be as much of a decision, and as significant, as deciding TO hear it.  Either way that “interesting times” curse just keeps getting louder.


Then there’s Congressman Swalwell, Shitless Shiff’s boy wonder and failed Presidential candidate, who it turns out has been caught in a Honey Trap by a Chinese Spy, who he employed and was giving the “Intern Dance” ala Bill “I didn’t have sex with that woman” Clinton… Trouble is, this wasn’t just any intern he was slipping the salami to, it was an actual Foreign Intelligence Officer who is now sitting at home back in China collecting a Fat government check as a burned spy.  The severe irony of this fuck making a big deal of trying to hang Trump for working with the Russians, during the time that the FBI informed him that he was employing and fucking a Chinese spy… Well, we can only once again see that there’s one set of rules for Republicans and a separate set for Democrats.   


I could take some shots at the Liberal Left in Seattle, when a leftist rag like the Seattle Times calls you out for eating your own, well… It’s a tale as old as the French Revolution.  Once the leftists take over the first thing they do is string up their own for lack of “appropriate revolutionary zeal” let’s see, we have Robespierre, the various purges of the early Soviet Union, Mao’s Cultural Revolution, the various show trials in the aftermath of the Cuban revolution, see also Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and hell any number of Central and South American nations… 


To this we can add Seattle, who has fired their Black Female Police chief for not being leftist enough, made their LGBTMOUSE Mayor say “fuck this shit I’m out” again for lack of being far enough left, made their female, Native Indian, gay School Chief quit, because after two years, “she hasn’t cured racism, classism, patriarchy, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, extractive capitalism (whatever the fuck that is) and militarized colonialism” (again, whatever that is). When an uber-liberal like Danny Westneat is calling you on your shit and saying “Hey, no-one is going to come to work here, you people are being idiots” well maybe it’s time to slow your roll.  I’m anticipating the Committee of Public Safety to show up over there any day now… That or struggle sessions, followed by the execution of the least zealous.  Remember, don’t be the first one to stop clapping comrade. 


But now, I’m saving the big section for the DOD, in its various uniforms.  I’ve mentioned the Army’s problems with Fort Hood here before, well it’s gotten worse, they’ve found a few more dead soldiers since I last wrote, and now the Secretary of the Army has relieved or suspended 14 of the leaders from the base, starting with the Deputy Commanding General for Support at III Corps, (why the Commanding General isn’t toast is beyond me, makes me wonder if he isn’t too politically connected to hang. The excuse cited is that he was deployed for 13 months to Iraq, during which time the base was under the Deputy C.G.  I’ll tell you, rot like this doesn’t pop up in just over a year, this has been brewing for a while).  They also fired the 3rd Cav CO and Com Sar Maj, First Cav’s CO and Sar Maj, and nine other mothers left unnamed. Their CID (Criminal Investigative Division) is in the shits as well.


Then we’ll go to the USMC. Now what the Marines do, they do well, and if you need some crayons eaten, they’re your boy!   Here’s the thing though: The Marines are supposed to bring shock and awe from the sea, and kill anything moving out to about a hundred miles from the tide line.  That’s what they were invented for, that’s their JOB.  Yet the last two idiots running the show, first decided to get rid of all their Armor, to the point that they announced this week that if you’re a Tank Marine and you want out, we’ll let you go early, we don’t want your ass.  Now I called this a stupid move before I heard they’re giving the tread heads an early out, and it’s even stupider now that I know this. 


But wait, there’s MORE. While “we don’t need no armor no more” the new Commandant has decided that Anti-Submarine Warfare is something the leathernecks SHOULD be doing.  Someone take that fuckers crayons away, they’re spoiled, and it’s damaged the four brain cells he has left.  Commandant Berger, in an interview with the US Naval Institute (the trade rag for the Naval Academy), has decided that the Marines, while doing this new widely disbursed force, (defeat in detail, anyone?) are also maybe the perfect group to run land-based ASW…


OK, now there used to be a unit called “Inshore Undersea Warfare Detachments” made up half of Reservist Sonar Techs and Ocean Surveillance Techs (they’re the guys that ran SOSUS) and half of SEALS.  They were set up to show up, make a mini SOSUS station or stations, and control the Green Water anti-submarine warfare battle.  I don’t know if they were done away with or not, but I think they went the way of the COOP, another good idea that died of Clinton-itis.  Ground-based, rapidly deployed ASW nets are a fine idea, BUT, ASW is a HARD GAME.  The learning curve is a bitch, and it’s a very perishable skill.  I know, it’s what I did for 20 years.  If you don’t eat, and breathe it, you lose it.  


I’m not saying that what Marines do isn’t hard, I met a young Corporal in Leonardo Da Vinci Airport as we were both flying home from Beirut, he had been there for the bombing.  We both agreed that neither one of us would have the other’s job for any amount of money.  I’m not now, nor will I ever be a Marine… But by the same consideration, Marines ain’t sonarmen, and you can’t make them sonarmen while keeping them Marines.  No, this is the CMC trying to get some of the ASW money that is suddenly being turned on by Congress, in the same way that they suddenly developed Spec War troops, when the money was being handed out for Snake Eaters.  Gods damn it, SIR, make your Marines, MARINES!  That’s what they do, they’re the best at it in the world, and no one else does that particular job.  QUIT trying to make them things that they aren’t!


OK, now it’s the Navy’s turn in the hot seat.  First off, let me tip my had to Vice Adm Galinis… who figured it out (albeit ten years or so after bloggers like Commander Salamander and I were screaming it from the rooftops… Still when you’re the Head of NAVSEA, it can be hard to tell past CNOs that “your baby is ugly and will never make it past Patty-Cake, sorry but the kid’s got Down’s syndrome.)  


Galinis, in a Webinar on the third of this month, said “As we go forward and look at future platforms, [consider an] evolutionary approach versus a revolutionary approach. Where we have done that [evolutionary approach], frankly we’ve been pretty successful.” 


Galinis pointed to the evolution from the Spruance-class destroyer to the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser to the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer (DDG 51) as an example of evolutionary design success. 


“The design margin, the robustness of the DDG 51 design continues to prove [itself] even today even as the first three Flight III ships [are] under construction, which right now are state-of-the-art capability going to the fleet.”


Then he called out the Down’s Syndrome Kids: the Zumwalt class, and the LCS… He put it as “we have, in fact, struggled.” When a Vice Admiral says “we’ve struggled” that translates as “it’s a worthless turd that we’re going to be stuck with, and have to make the best of because it cost way too damn much to just make into a reef.”  I note that he didn’t mention the Ford, I suspect that’s not because he wasn’t thinking it, but because he wanted to keep his three stars, and his retirement.  Still, even saying what he did took more courage than his predecessors had.


In other Navy news, the CNO called a spade a spade, saying that “after convincing the Trump administration of the need for a bigger more robust fleet, now we’re going to have to do it all over again with the Biden administration, (while carefully leaving out the little detail that Biden seems to be in the pocket of our most likely enemy, China.) Also of note, Congress has called the Navy on the carpet about the LCS, saying that “OK you screwed that one up, you better get the new FFG right!”  In an ironic coda to that, the second ship in the class will be named the USS Congress. (The CNO is naming them after the first seven frigates of the USN, the first hull will be named the Constellation.)  Let’s hope that hull two doesn’t get itself a Chinese girlfriend, shall we?


The Airforce got a little gift, Congress is letting them keep the 6 F-35s we built to sell to Turkey because Turkey isn’t exactly the most reliable of friends right now.  There’s some precedent for this, back in my day (’79) the four modified Spruance Class DDGs that were meant for Iran were impounded and eventually given to the Navy as the Kidd class (jokingly known as the Aitolia class, by most of the sailors I knew.)


The final shot goes to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. General Milley states that the “character of war is in the midst of fundamental change.”   Well, he is, at least in part, right, but then the character of war has been under constant evolution and fundamental change since Og figured out that using a stick with a rock lashed to the end was more effective than just a stick in killing Gog.  


He’s suggesting that robotics, hypersonic weapons, and energy weapons are going to change the nature of war.  He’s not wrong, in the same way that De Gaul was not wrong when he came up with the idea that combined arms made fortresses a thing of the past… An idea that Guderian took and fine-tuned into the German Blitzkreig… While De Gaul’s country relied on the Maginot line.


Here’s the thing though, you must be careful with how much you bank on the new tech, and trying to gee wiz your way to victory, as the Germans also learned.  While looking at that new tech is vital, and we should not neglect it, trying to adapt it too soon leaves you subject to getting your ass handed to you by someone who isn’t using it but is good with their old tech.  There are many examples through history of technologically superior nations getting their asses handed to them by more primitive tech… For example the Spanish-American war, the Spanish forces had the latest smokeless rifles, and machine guns, better uniforms for the environment, and a long string of success at fighting other nations.  They got their asses handed to them by guys who were still using black powder.  I don’t think I need to mention Vietnam, do I?  Then there’s Afghanistan, where empires go to get humbled. 


Yes, let us look at and develop the next generation of weapons, to include the automated “wingman” system, coherent energy weapons, railguns, and all the rest… But please remember, the thing that wins the battle isn’t the gee wiz toys, it’s the 18-year-old with a weapon in his hand, and a complete unwillingness to lose.  The air war is important, space warfare is important, but at the end of the day, until you put a kid with a rifle (whether it’s a slugthrower or some sort of particle beam thing) on the ground, and hold that ground, the war ain’t over.


And that’s true no matter who your enemy is.


Keep your head on a swivel, and keep your weapons where you can find them in the dark,


Until next time I remain,

Yours in service.

William Lehman.



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