On the same say that North Korea launched its
missile test rocket, USA launches its third OTV. This OTV mission is designed to test the vehicle’s performance after a mix of success and failure with the previous two missions. The exact test parameters are unknown.
Category: air force
On the same say that North Korea launched its
It's been far too long since my last blog post, but now that the linear algebra class I'm teaching is coming to an end, I hope to update a bit more.
This one is a long time coming, considering…
Boeing and the U.S. Air Force successfully tested the Counter-electronics High-powered Microwave Advanced Missile Project (CHAMP). The missile’s primary purpose is to disable computers and other electronics from a distance, using microwaves.
Cyber-Fear? Cyber-Uncertainty? Cyber-Doubt? (Cyber-FUD?) Fodder for a struggling defense cybersecurity industry? Maybe. [LINK]. What do you expect? This is the defense secretary, and former CIA director. He makes a living being more paranoid than everyone else! The boss has a point. The use of networking technologies for the sake of convenience is so pervasive in today’s society that it can now be used as a weapon to derail trains, shut down power grids, or interfere with nuclear power plants. This type of cyber attack is much worse than simply flooding the Internet with traffic and denying users access to Facebook. This is much worse than stealing your Facebook password and spamming all your friends with nude pictures of and attaching malicious code.
Knowing all this, what can the average American do about it? Go out and vote on election day. Make sure that the officials you elect are willing to go to work, and support legislation to protect the nation’s critical infrastructure. While you are at it, go to your social networking settings and fix those privacy settings.
What is the plan for ending the Afghan war? Right now, the plan is for the US to simply pick up its toys and withdraw combat forces while leaving behind occupation forces. Since this is not a war, there are no objectives… unless you consider killing Usama Bin Laden an objective.
The goal is a framework for political transition where each side’s demands are boiled down to the irreducible essentials — providing a better deal for each party than they could get from battling on. [reference 1]
Both sides need to agree on terms to end the war based on what each nation wants.
Gen. Ehsan ul-Haq, a former chief of the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence directorate and a former chairman of the Pakistani joint chiefs of staff, sees two baseline U.S. demands: No al-Qaeda forces in Afghanistan, and no return to the Taliban’s oppressive policies toward women; the Taliban, according to Haq, has just one irreducible demand:No more foreign forces in Afghanistan.
What this means is that the US will have to let Afghanistan continue treating women as they always have. Is the US willing to sacrifice another 2,000 troops to gain equality for women in Afghanistan? Is Afghanistan ready for this? Apparently not.
Either way, you as the voter should be researching what your candidate wants to do to end the war in Afghanistan. Let me save you some research here and tell you that neither candidate has laid down a solid framework to end the war. Vote anyway, and hope the winner figures out that the US cannot simply pick up its toys and leave without a plan.
When you do cast your vote, bear in mind that not all Afghanis are terrorists. One may be tempted to lump all Afghanis into one category based on what you hear in the news with the green on blue killings. What many of us missed out on in the news is the white on green retaliations, or other Afghanis fighting back against other Afghanis…in support of America [reference 2]. Despite a few tragic stories of Afghanis turning on American trainers, the majority of Taliban are pushed out of major population centers. This is a minor victory that Americans should keep in mind. Furthermore, American should look at the recent uprising in white on red violence–Afghanis fighting off the Taliban themselves!
These trends speak well for the future of Afghanistan, but the international community should know these gains are fragile, and reversible, if we lose our will to succeed.
Despite the bad news that dominates the media, American voters should consider the lesser known successes in Afghanistan and compare that to the candidate’s potential to put together a logical framework to end the war.
One American military and one civilian member were killed today in an insider attack . The same Afghan troops that Americans trust and train every day are turning on us and shooting us in the back. With 27 more months left of combat ops in the Afghan theater, we should expect more deaths like this, and it could get worse after December 2014 when all we have are “peacekeeping forces”. “Stability operations” do not work well with combat operators, and they are even less efficient with peacekeeping forces . The current paradigm is to toss up to $200K per combatant commander to organize, train, and equip gendarme forces, or military forces with police skills . In theory, this should work. I guess. I cannot imagine that the US government would continue to do this knowing that gendarme forces have not worked in recent history. Maybe. Someone out there that studies this stuff every day might be able to cherry pick a few intellectual articles to prove me wrong. I am not going to pretend that I am an expert in this topic, but I will say that I am not confident that American military members like me should be sacrificing our lives if our government is not equipping us with the best tools, training, equipment, and knowledge to execute the orders given to us. I did not enlist or commission into the civil affairs force, so I not think my fellow Airmen should be deployed to do civil affairs. If the solution is to cut back the military and build up a civil affairs force, then so be it. Just stop depending on military forces to do non-military functions. Our job in the military is to break stuff and kill people, not train others on military and police operations that we are not even experts in ourselves. If we are to continue on our goal of bringing democracy to other nations, then we should, as a nation, commit to this using a force other than a military [2,3]. So far, this policy of promoting democracy to deter terrorism and promote peace is not working . It may not be a bad policy, but I can say that we should not be trying to build democracies with a military–it should be done with a civil affairs force. The civil affairs force needs to be trained in democracy building, foreign relations, and diplomacy. Any foces left behind to protect these civil affairs forces must be trained as policemen and bodyguards. These are not skills used by our military forces, so something has to change. If I were king, I would offer a bunch of mid-career military folks, senior diplomats, and junior police-militia types some handsome salaries to serve on a civil affairs force. In the background, I would right-size the military to support the civil affairs force while bolstering true combat operations, especially special operations. The special operations community might be able to evolve its counter-insurgency operations, as long as they are also given the freedom to break stuff and kill people.
 “Afghan inside attack kills 2 Americans”. Associated Press. Fox News. 20120930. http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/09/30/nato-troop-and-civilian-killed-in-apparent-insider-attack-in-afghanistan/#ixzz27vU5ggZm
 “Peacekeeping and Related Stability Operations: Issues of U.S. Military Involvement”. Nina M. Serafino. Congressional Research Service. 20060713. http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/crs/rl33557.pdf.
 “Democracy Promotion: Cornerstone of U.S. Foreign Policy?”. Susan B. Epstein, Nina M. Serafino, and Francis T. Miko. Congressional Research Service. 20061227. http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/RL34296.pdf.
The US military is going drone crazy. As technology gets better, drones are capable of the precision, endurance, reliability and firepower needed to replace or augment manned combat forces. Unfortunately, drones are no less flawed than humans when it comes to killing:
An AP investigation in Pakistan’s North Waziristan published in February found that at least 194 people had been killed in 10 separate attacks over the preceding 18 months. At least 138 of the dead were militants, according to 80 villagers interviewed by the AP. The other 56 victims were either civilians or police. In all, a minimum of 2,800 people have died in no fewer than 375 US drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia since 2004, according to a count by the UK Bureau of Investigative Journalism. Many hundreds of those killed were probably innocent bystanders.
There should always be a human in the loop, especially when it comes to doing the harshest thing one man can do to another–take another human life. I doubt that many civilians were actually killed by drones, simply because they do not carry that much firepower with as few drones as we actually have. I do believe that the number of civilian casualties from drones is higher than it is with manned aircraft, which should serve as a caution as we do develop many more drones with much more firepower. It may be contingent upon military operators to perform immediate battle damage assessment and collect data on the number of potential civilians killed in an attack. If the military wants to increase usage of drones, it will need some evidence that human operators are accepting fiduciary responsibility for the lives being taken at the push of a button. At the end of the day, we as a society need to ask ourselves if taking human life is just a video game, especially if we are accidentally killing civilians.
I was able to watch three of the four passes that the Endeavour took over Los Angeles. I happened to be at work getting ready for commander’s call. The commander let us all stand outside and watch history. The first two passes that I saw were too low for me to see much. The last pass was great, because the aircraft tandem executed a pylon turn over El Segundo in order to line up for final approach into LAX. It just so happened that the pylon turn was oriented right at Los Angeles Air Force Base, and I got to see the whole thing. What a wonderful sight.
President Obama’s promises to America:
- [DONE] Kill Usama Bin Laden (May 2, 2011)
- [DONE?] End the Iraqi Campaign (Operation IRAQI FREEDOM March 20, 2003 – September 1, 2010 & Operation NEW DAWN September 1, 2010 – December 18, 2011). Note: 4,409 American military deaths; 31, 928 WIA; $845B to $3T
- [INWORK] End the Afghanistan Campaign (Operation ENDURING FREEDOM – AFGHANISTAN October 7, 2001 – present). Note: 3,078 American military deaths; 16,277 WIA; $468B+
- [WTH?] Get rid of Cold War-era systems…invest in cutting edge technologies…required to execute a wide range of military missions
- [GOOD] ….commitment to Israel’s security
- [GOOD] Increase services to veterans
- [IGNORED] Sequestration and potential $500B impact to current defense spending and future spending plans
In theory, I like most of what I am hearing from Barack Obama. I am by no means a Democrat or an Obama supporter, but I am convinced Mitt Romney will not win the election. I should get used to whatever Obama has promised, and hope he serves my interests well, even if I vote for the other guy.
My main complaint against Obama is that he does not understand what sequestration is doing to the military. As an acquisitions officer, my job is to design, develop, install, modify, provide service engineering, test, and analyze materials, techniques, methods systems, or processes in the management of programs, projects, and activities established to perform development engineering in my specialty. All of these things take money, especially if we are truly replacing Cold War weapons with cutting technology systems. I have a system right now that could use $6M next year, but I know that at most it will get 10% taken off its $6M/year bill next year…if I am lucky. The best way to explain sequestration is to look at your own expenditures and do a flat, 10% “peanut butter spread” cut on your own budget, regardless of your budget requirements. Your requirements may be growing at home due to growing kids, larger family, or increased cost of living, but you must make do with 10% less each year. The DoD is being asked to do 100% more with 10% less funding, and up to 25% fewer personnel.
So, Mr. President, as Commander In Chief, I would like you and the ladies and gentlemen on Capitol Hill to continue executing your promises with regards to national defense, and I would like for you to re-evaluate the policies of sequestration and force reduction. Cutting edge technology costs money, and even after the two wars are “over”, we can still use a similar size military.