Perhaps the Air Force Band….

should play a concert for the entertainment of these guys.

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Then, the entire Air Force Band can apologize to everyone who has been in combat.   THEN, they can don some desert uniforms, get on an airplane, and form the First Provisional Air Force Rifle Company and relieve some Marine or Army company patrolling in Helmand or Kandahar.  Perhaps after that, they can talk about “hell”, and “lack of sleep”, and “injuries”.

Meantime, Air Force Secretary James and Chief of Staff General Welch should remind Air Force Airmen not to act like spoiled little p*ssies for having to hump the Sousaphone when Soldiers and Marines are engaged in combat operations against our enemies.   Oh, and the Captain and Staff Sergeant who were among the bitchers and complainers in that AF Times article?   If they aren’t already out with a boot print on their respective asses, they damned sure should be.

Lazarus Calls for Executing Plan URR with Tico Reduced Commission Proposal

Information Dissemination contributor (and Salamander Front Porch regular) Lazarus lays out a good plan which should ring slightly familiar.  Laz’s post contains far more practical information than my conceptual musings, and I am very pleased to see the ideas be floated in such a widely-read forum as ID.

A Ticonderoga class cruiser shorn of most of its combat systems, operations, and supply departments would qualify for nucleus crew status. A U.S. nucleus crew might spend a week to 10 days per quarter underway with these opportunities spread out rather than concentrated in one at sea event. Underway periods need be no greater than 24 hours in duration in order to provide elements of basic crew training. Crews could eat pre-prepared meals for short underway periods, and a shore-based centralized supply office could support individual ship’s logistics and maintenance support needs. All CGs selected for such a program would be assigned to geographic areas relatively free from foul weather sortie requirements. The program would need to be flexible in order to be resilient through periods of fluctuating budget support.

Lazarus points to the wear and tear that the Ticos have endured, and is far more diplomatic than I have been about the cause of their “rapid aging”.

Shortfalls in training and maintenance in the decade of the 2000’s as highlighted in the Balisle report further indicate the class has been proverbially “put away wet” without necessary attention as well.

In short, a bunch of senior Naval Officers, including a number of Admirals, decided that skimping on maintenance and manpower was a good way to save money.  For all of their MBAs and other service experience, that cabal of Officers cost this country and its Navy BILLIONS of dollars in premature retirement of fully capitalized assets, by formulating a stupid and short-sighted plan that ignored the very fundamentals of equipment operation that any Vocational High School Equipment Maintenance and Repair teacher could have taught them in ten minutes.

I do hope someone is listening at Big Navy.  Otherwise more valuable assets and taxpayer treasure go down the drain for the stubborn stupidity of our Navy’s leadership.

LCS vs PF

It’s “Beat up on LCS Day” at CDR Salamander’s. First, we’ll steal a document from the good CDR himself about the origins of the Little Crappy Ship. Note the extensive use of subjective adjectives, vice concrete, measurable metrics.

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Indeed, the only hard number in the document is the 50 knot speed, which drove so much of the design process that it overwhelmed pretty much any chance of a reasonable outcome.

Of course, in contrast, one of the comments links to this document on how the “design to cost” approach to the Patrol Frigate (which would become the FFG-7 class frigate” was quite specific on just what the ship would entail.

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One of the strengths of the program management of the PF was a very clear vision of just what the ship was intended to do. That vision drove the decisions of which features to include. In contrast, the LCS document emphasized features such as “netted” and other rot. Just what the ship was intended to do in the mission areas was a tad vague. The inshore ASW portion looks a lot like an underpants gnome business model.

Band members cite lack of sleep, grueling rehearsals | Air Force Times | airforcetimes.com

There is one thing that both critics and supporters of Tops in Blue agree on: Being part of the group is no vacation.

Former members of Tops in Blue said the pace of touring and rehearsing is grueling, and sleep is hard to come by.

“I wish it were 12-hour days,” Staff Sgt. Brittney Perry said when asked if Tops in Blue members regularly worked 12 hours a day. “It was normally 18 hours. It was hell. There was one [stretch] we pulled 36 hours. Because of a lack of sleep, our entire team was sick. There were a lot of injuries. A lack of sleep, it just messes with your body.”

via Band members cite lack of sleep, grueling rehearsals | Air Force Times | airforcetimes.com.

Does the Air Force enlist whiners, or do they teach that at Lackland?

Guns in Kennesaw

You may have seen in the news yesterday that a disgruntled worker went on a shooting spree at a FedEx facility in Kennesaw, GA, yesterday, wounding six people before turning his gun on himself and committing suicide.

Of course, radical left wing blog Think Progress gleefully noted that Kennesaw has a rather unique municipal ordinance, one that requires each household to own a firearm. TP wonders where the armed citizen responders were, why didn’t this heavily armed community immediately gun down the attacker?

The answer is, of course, just what you and I expect:

 

Now, FedEx, like most private entities, is free to restrict the presence of weapons on its facilities. I’m not even going to suggest that FedEx should reexamine that policy. They have the right to decide.

But I am hard pressed to think of any mass shooting incident in recent history that hasn’t taken place in a “gun-free” zone.

DOJ's 'Operation Choke Point' May Be Root of Porn Star Bank Account Closings – Hit & Run : Reason.com

Under “Operation Choke Point,” the DOJ and its allies are going after legal but subjectively undesirable business ventures by pressuring banks to terminate their bank accounts or refuse their business. The very premise is clearly chilling—the DOJ is coercing private businesses in an attempt to centrally engineer the American marketplace based on it’s own politically biased moral judgements. Targeted business categories so far have included payday lenders, ammunition sales, dating services, purveyors of drug paraphernalia, and online gambling sites.

via DOJ’s ‘Operation Choke Point’ May Be Root of Porn Star Bank Account Closings – Hit & Run : Reason.com.

How long until the DoJ decides gunmakers should be targeted? Or maybe YOUR line of business?

The federal government is simply out of control, and unaccountable to the American people.

Midwest Mystery Jets are Actually B-2 Stealth Bombers | USNI News

You tell me. Does that look like a B-2 to you? Is the resolution that poor? What kind of optical illusion do you think is at work?

The mystery jets that were spotted over Amarillo, Texas, and Wichita, Kan. earlier this year are in fact Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit stealth bombers on a training sortie, military sources told USNI News on Monday.

“The Amarillo jets were B-2 training sorties,” an U.S. Air Force official with direct knowledge of the incident told USNI News on Monday.

The jets were enroute to the Utah Test and Training Range to practice dropping bombs after a brief delay at the Melrose Air Force Range in New Mexico.

via Midwest Mystery Jets are Actually B-2 Stealth Bombers | USNI News.

I’m not much of a conspiracy theorist. But when the “mystery bombers” story first popped up, one thing that caught my eye was that one of the planespotters that snapped pics simply called Whiteman AFB, home of the B-2, and asked them if they had any B-2s flying that day. The answer was no.  Then a day or so later, suddenly there were multiple, very visible, sorties of planes clearly identifiable as B-2s over the same areas. But calls to Whiteman to ask about sorties went unanswered.

 

US Navy Orders 10 New Subs for Record $17.6B | Defense News | defensenews.com

The US Navy announced a record $17.645 billion contract Monday to build 10 new SSN 774 Virginia-class nuclear-powered attack submarines. The order assures prime contractor General Dynamics Electric Boat and chief subcontractor Huntington Ingalls Newport News Shipbuilding of submarine orders through 2018.

The fixed-price incentive multiyear contract for 10 Block IV subs provides for two ships per year over the five-year period, each yard delivering one sub per year. The two shipbuilders share equally in a teaming arrangement to build the subs, with each yard responsible for certain portions of each hull.

“The Block IV award is the largest shipbuilding contract in US Navy history in terms of total dollar value,” said Rear Adm. Dave Johnson, program executive officer for submarines at Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA). It “builds upon the Virginia-class program’s successful Navy and industry relationship,” he added, calling the program “a model of acquisition excellence.”

via US Navy Orders 10 New Subs for Record $17.6B | Defense News | defensenews.com.

Finally, some good news on the shipbuilding front. In spite of the weird split-yard building technique, which we can’t imagine really improves efficiency, the Virginia class has generally been a well run program, with most boats on time and on budget.

We don’t really tend to talk about subs here much. Partly that’s because the submarine service is rather tight-lipped about what it is they actually do. Mostly, though, its because a well run program doesn’t seem to generate nearly the number of press releases, blog posts, or editorials that a monumental screw-up like the LCS program does.

And its nice to see the Navy finally buying two a year. The predecessor SSN-688 class averaged about 2.5 deliveries a year, with a total of 62 delivered over the life of the program. Of that total, 40 are still in service, but many are rapidly approaching retirement age. Clearly, the Navy will need even more Virginia class boats in the out years.  And at $1.7 billion and change per boat, that’s something of a steal.