Saturday, March 12, 2022


Every five years or so the Navy gets a wild hair up the butt and comes up with yet another thing that is ancient old battered and worn but LOOK!!!!! Now it's all shiny and new. What I was just reading was National Defense Magazine giving a long and idiotic description about how the USN has suddenly discovered something renamed from the old days when it was simply Preventive Maintenance and now it new and an algorithm. Woot. They have determined that there is a way, through contractors and some very expensive practices to determine what systems will fail on deployment and they have worked out that the Navy could actually uniquely take the necessary spare parts along on deployments and use them to fix these little problems.

I'm a little past 60 but I had really hoped that we would actually be smarter at this point in the century and not simply coming up with solutions that the Phoenecians had figured out millenia ago.

I remember in school I got involved with the Futarians. They were an eclectic and probably subversive group that tried to prognosticate the future. One of the things I remember them postulating was we would sometime in 2000 achieve "Never Break Technology" I can't say they were wrong but they weren't right in practice. My day to day computer is a 2012 Mac plus. Sitting on the desk for when I need to use something truly obsolete is my perfectly functioning Dell Inspirion that I bought new back in 1996. I don't use them to compute orbital rendezvous but they are still every bit as servicable as a typewriter and best of all, I never sit down late at night to compose that 15 page typewritten essay that is due in the morning and find that the damned typewriter ribbon is useless. Yes, that was an old machine nothing like those wonderful state of the art IBM Selectrics we used in the only worthwhile class I ever took in high school.

The Navy bought into something called Operational Risk Management back when I wasn't looking. To tell you just how screwed up this management philosophy was let me tell you about our Commodore's inflexible policy that all of our 5 ton and 2 and a half ton trucks would be ground guided off the base and then set loose on the civilian streets. This idiotic insane policy expired when a driver accidently ran over the ground guide he couldn't actually see because if you are in closer than about 10 feet you can't actually be seen by the truck driver because the engine hood is in the way. This was ORM. The navy bought into it and raised a whole bunch of worthless types that would instantly inform you that your desire for them to get to maintaining the equipment was from a certain standpoint, operationally risky.

I think that I have mentioned a time or two here that my favorite sailors were E-5s. They had enough experience to be savvy enough to do the task but were still too junior to tell you it couldn't be done. These are the things that occur in the life of JOs. I have, literally, no conception of what it is like to serve in the current fleet. I thought of this as I was reading an article about the Russian military debacle in Ukraine. The author made the point that the last time the Red Army actually fought a real war was 1945. One might almost say that about us. When was the last time any general or admiral of ours was sacked for incompetence? I've known scores of them. A lot of them should have been sacked. Actual competence got lost somewhere along the way, as usual and as usual, it takes an existential war to straighten out. They authors talked about 1500 fighters the Russian Air Force had and wondered why they didn't dominate the skies and sort of hinted at a little tiny thing like the simple fact that 85% of them couldnt fly. I don't know if we still do Elephant Walks but I kind of wonder, how many of those multi-engine aircraft proceeded down the taxiway and only the pilot and maintenance officer knew that it couldn't take off if it was strapped to space shuttle. I know the warships. When I was a JO a single Fail To Sail was death for the CO's career. Then I read for years about multiple fail to sails and ships in commission for decades that never made a single operational deployment because they simply didn't work. Non functioning engines are kind of obvious, Non-functioning weapon systems can be hidden in the admin office. Our admirals and generals have been hiding a lot and hope they won't get caught. When they finally get caught, it's in a war where the weapons don't work or aren't there.


SCOTTtheBADGER said...

The Navy, and it's techno puppy fan boys are quite capable of amazing self delusions. I had someone actually tell me that an LCS would defeat The Big Badger Boat, because of the amazing missile systems that they carried.

Anonymous said...

I was in the Navy from 1988-92; just after the peak of the '600-ship Navy'. I cannot believe the state ships are now allowed to get in, and I have no words for the fact that they can't avoid running into things, sometimes each other.
When I was aboard Forrestal, we had an oiler lose its gyro during an unrep. Oiler's stern (I think it was Neosho) swayed side-to-side, fuel oil hoses snapped, but the helmsman managed to hold her, and we didn't collide. I wonder if that would be true now.
--Tennessee Budd

ruralcounsel said...

"Thanks to the radar intelligence from America and NATO, the Ukrainians have been successfully keeping Russian planes out of the sky. This is potentially very dangerous of course, as the Russians are faced with a dilemma. They either have to accept this situation where their air force is grounded or they will take action against these early warning planes, which risks escalating the current war into full Russia-NATO collision. Reportedly the Ukrainians are even using American intelligence to deliver highly accurate artillery fire against Russian forces. It is without a doubt, both the intelligence and weapon systems that NATO is providing to Ukraine are seriously annoying the Russian leadership. If Russia’s war effort becomes bogged down, if progress is too slow or if Russian forces are suffer greater than acceptable losses, I am confident Russia will try to do something to force NATO to end these activities."


HMS Defiant said...

Ha! I remember the USN used to 'deconflict' Iraqi airstrikes into Iran during the Tanker War so that they wouldn't fly too near primary USN ships. It was OK if they flew right over us at 100ASL but the important thing was to keep Iraq fighting the real enemy....

Can't you see it now? In 10 years Ukraine will be the nucleus of a central European Empire that hates the West with a passion and does everything in its power to destabilize and undermine it. Something to look forward to.