The Falklands v2.0- Getting There

Pretty quickly in doing research on the recently increased tensions between Argentina and Great Britain, I realized one of the biggest problems Argentina would have in any notional conflict would simply be getting to the islands.  Getting ashore would just be the first problem. Defeating the current defenses would be another.

Let’s take a look at the current Order of Battle for both sides.

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Given the vast increases in British defense resources in the Falklands since 1982, any Argentine attempt to seize the islands would have to take a much different approach than the 1982 amphibious invasion, and would be a much wider scale operation, with much greater risks.

Argentina no longer has a credible ability to deploy more than a single battalion of expeditionary forces. Facing a reinforced rifle company in the defense with such a small force is just within the realm of feasibility, but facing one with air superiority over its own territory would be futile.

Argentina could land a token force of special operations somewhere in the Falklands to “show the flag” for domestic political consumption. Such a force could be landed by fishing vessel, or conceivably by Argentine submarine. Such a force would likely not be able to maintain station on the islands for more than 48 hours before British forces hunted them down. Since such a mission would be strictly for domestic purposes, the capture or destruction of such a team would be highly counterproductive, and great pains would be taken to plan for the retrieval of the team.

Other options short of an outright invasion are open to Argentina. Harassment of fishing vessels in Falklands waters, denial of landing rights to civil aviation from the Falklands (or even Great Britain), denial of port entry to ships making landfall in the Falklands are all options.  Other than being about 300 miles from Argentina, the Falklands are in the middle of nowhere, and some level of outside trade is critical. Actions by Argentina that are short of outright combat can persuade some commercial interests that it isn’t worth it to trade with the remote outpost.  We can expect Argentina to continue to do as much as possible to make the Falklands as expensive an outpost of Great Britain as they can, in hopes of reducing British support for the Falklanders continual claim to be under the protection of the Crown.

Should Argentina seriously try to seize actual control of the islands, they would first have to seize control of the air. The only way to do this would be to attack RAF Mt. Pleasant, and render its runways inoperative, at least for a few days. With any strategic warning at all, Great Britain could reinforce the standing force of four fighters with fairly large numbers of fighters, strike aircraft, and tankers.  With that in mind, Argentina would have to strike “out of the blue.”  A mass raid by as much of the A-4AR fleet as can be made operational would have a fair chance of success of damaging both runways. But if RAF Mt. Pleasant has as little as five minutes warning of the incoming raid, Argentine losses would be very heavy, both from ready alert Typhoons and Rapier surface to air missiles.

Let’s assume that such an Argentine raid has been successful. While denying Great Britain use of its airpower (at least temporarily) is a condition for any chance of success, such a raid would certainly alert ground forces to a possible landing.  Rehearsed plans to defeat any Argentine landings would be initiated. Whether Britain would attempt to defeat such a landing on the beaches or inland is an open question.

Any Argentine landing would have as its prime objective to seize RAF Mt. Pleasant. Failure to do so would give Britain time to repair any damage, and potentially allow reinforcements to flow in via an air bridge.  To defeat the British Army garrison quickly, the Argentines would need to land more than one battalion of their own Marines. But they lack the amphibious shipping to do so. They would have to press into service merchant vessels, themselves ill suited to serve as troopships. Worse, this procurement would have to take place prior to any hostilities. Such an action could very easily come to the attention of Britain, and serve as strategic warning of an impending attack.  Indeed, an large scale preparations by the ARA to ready more than a usual number of ships for sea is likely to attract British attention, and lead to reinforcing the islands.

But let’s assume, for the purpose of our discussion, that Argentina somehow manages to both suppress RAF Mt. Pleasant, land two or more battalions on the Falklands, and seize RAF Mt. Pleasant, and destroy or capture the garrison.  What could Britain do in return?

Much as Argentina would need to change its approach, with the absence of sea base airpower, and with a much smaller navy (and RAF, and army) Britain too would have to resort to different methods.

We’ll take a look at some possible courses of action in our next installment.

Biden: Gun Control Measures Will Do Nothing to Stop Shootings

Joe-Biden

VP Biden made his admission to NBC News.

Which, of course leaves the question of why these gun control measures are being considered at all, if it is nothing more than the act of a Government disarming a populace of free peoples in violation of their Constitutional liberties.

“Nothing we’re going to do is going to fundamentally alter or eliminate the possibility of another mass shooting or guarantee that we will bring gun deaths down to 1,000 a year from what it is now,” Biden told reporters Thursday afternoon after he spent over an hour lunching with Democratic senators at the Capitol.

Then he says:

“But there are things that we can do, demonstrably can do, that have virtually zero impact on your Second Amendment right to own a weapon for both self defense and recreation that can save some lives,” he said.

Which is it?  Will it save lives or will it not?  And since when does infringing on the right to keep and bear arms not infringe upon the right to keep and bear arms?    But wait, there’s more.

“I’m not saying there’s an absolute consensus on all these things,” Biden said, “but there is a sea change, a sea change in the attitudes of the American people. I believe the American people will not understand — and I know that everyone in that caucus understands — they won’t understand if we don’t act.”

Do SOMETHING.   No matter how egregiously in violation of the Constitution.   Why, one can almost smell the smoke from the Reichstag….

The tragedy in Chicago, the young teen who was killed in a turf-war drive by shooting, just what effect does a gun law have on that awful event?  None whatsoever.

Joe Biden just admitted he knows that, too.  Which should bring every last proposed gun control measure under the deepest suspicion.   But with a beholden media, and a hypocritically anti-gun Hollywood, such is likely to not make a ripple without the voices of reason being raised above the din.

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The Jawa Report outlines the simple dishonesty of MSNBC in their knowingly false reporting of the testimony of Neil Heslin.    Once again, as with the “Trayvon” case, MSNBC has edited footage to produce an entirely false impression, in its further demonizing of those of us who believe in our Constitutional liberties, Second Amendment included.  As TJR notes, neither MSNBC nor Martin Bashir has apologized for their deliberate falsehoods.

Josef Goebbels, call the Ministry of Propaganda.

Defense Department Hypocrisy Regarding Uniform Wear?

Well, DoD not only allowed, but encouraged service members to wear their uniforms at Gay/LBGT Pride events following the repeal of DADT.   The move was lustily (!) cheered by the Far-Left Progressives in whose ranks the activists and the advocates tend to fall.   Despite the regulations (DoDINST 1334.1) that forbid the wearing of the uniform when it “may tend to bring discredit upon the Armed Forces”.

So, we are told, THIS:

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is just fine with THIS:

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And THIS:

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It is encouraged, in fact.

Okie doke.  But there seems to be a problem.  Apparently some enlisted Sailors wore their dress uniforms to an Adult Entertainment convention in Las Vegas over the weekend.  A National Guardsman apparently took and posted several photographs, none of the compromising, showing the men in their uniforms.   And Navy Times’ Scoop Deck posts a most pejorative article regarding the incident.   Bear in mind that the Adult Entertainment Industry is perfectly legal, and that prostitution is legal in Nevada.   Yet, somehow, men in the company of scantily clad women instead of other (scantily clad) men is somehow “bringing discredit” upon the uniform?

So, THIS

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should be strictly VERBOTEN.

If there is the slightest condemnation from Navy leadership over the wearing of the uniform to the convention, or any kind of disciplinary or administrative action against these sailors, what little credibility is left among our senior Military leadership, uniformed and civilian, will have evaporated completely.     The quite understandable perception of caving into a politically-protected special interest group, and of becoming de facto advocates for such causes in order to gain political favor will be confirmed once and for all.

Whadda ya say, Ray Mabus?   I do imagine you are not nodding quite as enthusiastically at pictures of Sailors in uniform at this event…

Hagel sinking- Jen Rubin on Hagel’s hearing to be SecDef

It’s fascinating, actually, to see a nominee of this importance do so poorly. Chuck Hagel, nominated for defense secretary, has gone from awful to atrocious today, having to deny the obvious meaning of words he previously authored (on Global Zero), correct himself repeatedly (no, he didn’t mean Iran’s government was “legitimate”) and find himself simply unable to explain himself. Forgetting about his views, he does not radiate the confidence nor project the intelligence the job demands. It is unclear whether he was not prepped properly, whether he refused to be coached or whether he simply isn’t bright. A long-time Capitol Hill Democrat astounded by the hearing tells me, “It is very clear from the testimony that Sen. Hagel will not be bringing the potato salad to the next Mensa picnic.”

via Hagel sinking.

I disagreed on policy with many of the decisions of SecDef Panetta, but there was no denying he is a smart guy, and a competent manager. But Chuck Hagel is something of a dim bulb, as his performance has shown, both as a (GOP) Senator, and most recently and visibly, in today’s confirmation hearings in the Senate.

It’s interesting that President Obama, who tended to choose fairly bright people for important national security posts in his first term, has swung to nominating such intellectual lightweights as John Kerry and Chuck Hagel.

But don’t worry. Even if he’s confirmed, “I won’t be in a policymaking position.”

Broadside Blog – Military Times – The most interesting SWO in the world

He is always the stand-on vessel.

Stars navigate by him.

He always eyeballs it.

He wears wash khakis under his NWUs.

The equator crosses him.

He has sailed the eighth sea.

via Broadside Blog – Military Times – The most interesting SWO in the world.

Go hit the rest of the list.

Sinking the Fleet

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fishingboat

No, not the US Navy.  Other people are doing that.  Sinking the New England fishing fleet.  Which is a 350-year old industry, among the oldest in the land.    Sinking it not with weapons of war or A2AD technology, but by something far more destructive.  Gummint regulation.  The Associated Press tells us the story.

The New England Fishery Management Council on Wednesday approved a year-to-year cut of 77 percent on the Gulf of Maine cod limit and 61 percent for Georges Bank cod.

The cuts come on top of a slew of other reductions, ranging from 10 to 71 percent, on the catch of other bottom-dwelling groundfish species, such as haddock and flounder.

Fishermen say now they’re staring at industry collapse because they’ve been left with far too few fish for most boats to make a living.

“We are headed down the wrong course here, of exterminating the inshore fleet, for no good reason,” said David Goethel, a New Hampshire fisherman and council member.

The cuts, in effect May 1, are expected to be backed by federal managers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NOAA’s top federal fisheries regulator, John Bullard, acknowledged the reductions will be devastating. But he said the fish stocks are struggling and the industry’s steady, excruciating decline must be reversed.

Another industry damaged to the point of ruin by Government over-regulation.   For Mr. Bullard’s part, his is a now-familiar refrain that science has proven beyond question that the Government and the environmentalists who populate it are correct.

“The first thing we have to do is put denial behind us,” he said.

Like Global Warming, perhaps.   Which became “Climate Change” when they could no longer hide the evidence that the globe was, in fact, not warming.   The climate is changing, of course, and has been for nearly 4.6 billion years, give or take.   But it opens up a whole new list of conditions that can be blamed on Capitalism and mankind, and then “proven” with the shoddy and fraudulent pseudo-science of the Environmentalist Far Left.  Not a new technique.   Just another example of the old terminology bait-and-switch, like substituting “Violent Extremists” for “Muslim Extremists”.

Unfortunately, NOAA has become heavily politicized, the de facto scientific justification mouthpiece for the EPA and other  environmentalist groups bent on stifling industry with regulations.   In all of its prognostications, here’s betting that neither NOAA nor the New England Fisheries Management Council can answer the most basic and important question:

Fishermen have consistently disputed the accuracy of the science that drives regulation and that indicates the stocks are in bad shape. And they noted the industry has generally fished at or below levels recommended by science in recent years, but the advice has proven wrong.

“I’ve done everything they told me to do, and all of the sudden I come up here to a meeting today, and they’re going to send me in a coffin out of this place,” said New Bedford fisherman Carlos Rafael, who said he may have to sideline half his fleet of 20 groundfish boats.

If NEFMC and NOAA have been so consistently wrong in the past several years, what on earth would give me confidence that they are close to being right now, insisting upon regulations that will eviscerate the centuries-old crucial New England fishing industry and all the economic benefits derived from it?    (See: Snail Darter, Red-Cockaded Woodpecker, melting ice caps, Nepalese glacier retreat.)

Never fear, however.   Gib Brogan, he (presumably) of the environmental group Oceanahas it all figured out.

Gib Brogan of the environmental group Oceana said too many boats have been chasing too few fish for too long. Industry downsizing will is actually “right-sizing,” he said, and when those fish come back in greater numbers, the industry will figure out how to benefit.

Perhaps Gib and the rest of Oceana can come up with the money to keep the New England seacoast fishing industry from disappearing.   But one has to wonder whether they have the same concern for people as they do for cod and haddock.

In other news, the economy shrank last quarter by 0.1%, and unemployment claims shot higher.  And we haven’t even begun to see Obamacare’s impact.    I can’t wait.

DoD Buzz | Amos expects to issue ACV RFP soon

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Jim Amos told a group of reporters to expect his service to issue a request for proposals for the Amphibious Combat Vehicle in the next couple months, according to a Defense News report.

The Marine Corps’ top modernization priority, Amos plans to brief Navy Secretary Ray Mabus with the results of a “deep dive” study that Amos ordered on the program. The Marine Corps finished the Analysis of Alternatives study in June 2012. The additional study gave Marine acquisition officials more time to review the amphibious tractor’s requirements.

“I think all of this is going to happen over the next couple of months because we’re anxious to get money in the budget that we’re working on right now, the [2015] budget,” Amos said Monday according to Defense News. “We’ve got [the money], so we just want to keep it there.”

The Amphibious Combat Vehicle is the program stood up by the Marine Corps following the cancellation of the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle in 2011. Better known as the ACV, Marine officials plan to build it to replace the Amphibious Assault Vehicle.

via DoD Buzz | Amos expects to issue ACV RFP soon.

Of all the armored vehicles in the US fleet, arguably the one most in need of replacement is the current Marine AAV-7 family of vehicles. Approaching 40 years of service, and after two major Service Life Extension Programs, there’s just not a lot of room for growth left.

AAV-7A1

The Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle was intended to replace the AAV-7, but the stupendous cost of the program, as well as lingering concerns about the complexity of the vehicle, and how maintainable it would be, led to its cancellation right about the time they got most of the subsystems to work.

The problem is one of physics. Any amphibious landing vehicle is going to either move very slowly through the water, or very quickly on top of the water. Obviously, the second is preferred. But that means an enormous powerplant to achieve those kinds of speeds. Further complications include having to reconfigure the vehicle while underway to achieve that planing capability. That all costs weight and money.

Presuming the program eventually fields some new vehicle to the Marines, at least half the Marines will hate it. It will either be a competent amphibious vehicle, which means its capabilities ashore will be compromised, or it will be optimized for operations ashore, in which case, it will be a lousy boat.

But all design is a series of compromises. The Marines have a particularly challenging environment to operate in. That means some compromises will just have to be endured.