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Gates Gets His Talking Points Mixed Up

December 10th, 2009 by Kevin

Earlier this week Air Force Lt. Gen. David Deptula warned that the US was losing it\’s advantage is air power due to more advanced aircraft and missiles being fielded by other countries.  The next day (Wednesday), Secretary of Defense Gates dismissed that notion by pointing out that with the addition of the F-22 and the F-35, the United States will maintain air superiority for years to come.

Today, address­ing the same audi­ence, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the notion of a “fighter gap” is non­sense. Instead, the “more com­pelling gap” is the “deep chasm” that exists between ever more capa­ble U.S. air­craft and that of other nations that will ensure U.S. air supremacy “far into the future.”

That\’s correct to a certain extent, the F-22 and the F-35 were designed and built specifically to address the fielding of foreign aircraft that were more than a match for our aging F-16, F-15 and F-14s.

The problem with that though is that the Obama Administration has already cut the F-22 program.  And they apparently have such an animosity towards them that they refused to allow an F-22 to be in the same hangar where Obama was recently giving a speech to the very people that fly the F-22.  And now, rumors are flying on capital hill that the F-35 (Joint Strike Fighter) program will also be cut back.

Yesterday the F-22 and the F-35 are the keys to maintaining our air superiority, and today they are on the chopping block? Which is it Gates? Are they expendable or critical to our defense.  If the former, then how do you address Lt. Gen Deptula\’s claims?

In addition, apparently two carrier groups may also be cut.  Currently the US fields 11 active carriers, but the thing with carriers is the are huge complex machines, floating cities in their own right.  You really need three to have one.  For every three carriers more often than not, one will be down for maintenance/upgrades/refueling/etc, another is on training manuevers and the other is available for active duty.  So our current total of eleven carriers means we realistically have three to four fully ready, and that\’s split between two damn big oceans and other miscellaneous seas.

For a government that\’s spending a trillion dollars on industries it\’s not even supposed to be involved in, it\’s awfully funny they can\’t afford a $7 billion dollar aircraft carrier for a role in which they are constitutionally mandated to perform.

[Crossposted at True North]

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Posted in Military, The Messiah, True North | 1 Comment »

Let\’s Play \”Are You More Extreme Than A Fifth Grader?\”

April 14th, 2009 by Kevin

You can play along at home by answering these easy questions…

– Are you concerned about illegal immigration?
– Are you concerned with increasing federal power?
– Are you concerned with current/future restrictions on firearms?
– Are you concerned about abortion?
– Are you concerned about the loss of US sovereignty?

Basically what this boils down to is, are you conservative to any degree?

If you answered yes to any of the above, congratulations, according to the Department of Homeland Security you\’re officially a \”right-wing extremist\”!! Bob, tell them what they\’ve won!!

That\’s right John, our contestants win further intrusion upon their lives by the federal government. And you potentially get a lifetime supply Rice-A-Roni, the San Fransisco treat, lovingly prepared by fellow inmates in one of our delightful federal prisons.

Some tongue-firmly-in-cheek humor there, but it\’s based on a study by the Department of Homeland Security, the very same department that last we heard was letting us know they couldn\’t provide homeland security, yet has no need for a budget increase to take on the herculean task of quelling border violence.

Apparently if you\’re more conservative than Meghan McCain (probably 60% of the US), you quite possibly may be a \”right-wing extremist\” according to our wonderful DHS. If you\’re a veteran returning from war, you got two strikes against you, as you are quite clearly a Ted Kaczynski just waiting to happen! Supposedly the catalyst being the poor economic conditions and potential restrictive legislation being passed by the new Administration.

Now I\’m poking fun at the DHS a bit here. I understand they are attempting to do a job. And to be sure, each of the issues listed above is an issue that provokes enough passion, that in some it might lead to irrational acts. We\’ve heard of attacks on abortion clinics. Or the war vet that is having issues adjusting to life back home. Or the firearms enthusiast that decides to go Waco. But in every single instance, it has always been isolated incidents.

What I take issue with is that only right-wing extremists appear to be possible. The DHS isn\’t concerned with the rise of \”extremism\” due to bad economic conditions, they are concerned with \”right wing extremism\”, even though left wing extremism is just as common. We\’ve all heard of animal rights activists attacking scientists who use animals in experiments. We\’ve heard of environmentalists burning down buildings. We\’ve heard of gay rights activists threatening those they perceive as against their cause (i.e California in the last election). We\’ve heard of anarchists rioting and attacking police. And in the left wing examples I gave, you have liberal organizations openly endorsing those actions.

So then wouldn\’t it be more prudent for the DHS to be worried about extremism in general?? Certainly bad economic times leads to greater stress and tougher times for everyone. Wouldn\’t all be effected equally? I mean besides the Al Gore and George Soros of the world.

The right wing hardly has a monopoly on extremism, and for the most part, unlike the left, we\’ve closed our franchises. So the fact that the DHS would put out a study extolling the dangers of \”right wing extremism\” indicates more of a political agenda, than a real (or perceived) danger to public safety. And for a department that can\’t afford to play politics, they should be ashamed.

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Posted in Economy, Immigration, Military, Terrorism, This Is My Rifle, This Is My Gun | 2 Comments »

If You\’re Going To Kill A Raptor, At Least Have A Good Reason

April 7th, 2009 by Kevin

Today Robert Gates announced some rather large cuts and out right cancellations in lots of defense programs.  Now to be sure there is a lot of fat to be cut in the budget of the Defense Department.  However, when trying to save money I\’m not sure that the most efficient of the government\’s departments is the best place to start.  Especially when it\’s probably one of only two government departments with a constitutional justification for it\’s existance.

And the timing could probably be better.   A resurgent Russia, an increasingly aggressive China, North Korea flaunting it\’s missile capabilities and an Iran that…well, it\’s Iran.  On top of that our military reserves are still a little stressed from two long engagements.  But heh, it\’s a down economy, we got to make cuts.  Why start here now, but….whatever.

Now the F-22 program has long been on the chopping block and it does have it\’s cons, as well as a lot of pros.  I wouldn\’t agree with cutting it, but if you\’re going to do it, at least do it for legitimate reasons.  Cancelling the F-22 program because it\’s futuristic is a bad reason, in fact the worse because it misses the point entirely.

The Pentagon is frequently accused of always fighting the last war.  While there is some proof to that, some of it is unfair.  Learning from and preparing for past mistakes isn\’t in itself a mistake.  Right now the Su-27 Flanker can already compete, and in capable hands, outclass our F-15s and F-18s.  Wars that are a \”fair fight\” are destined to be long, bloody and costly.  Wars where one participant holds an overwhelming advantage, frequently either never take place or are very short and minor skirmishes.  The F-22 fills that role against enemies the could potentially field the resources to make a war long, bloody and costly.

If you want to cancel a program due to inept management, fine, that makes fiscal sense.  If you think another program can better fill the role, that good prioritizing.  If a program no longer answers a legitimate threat, then that makes sense.  But cancelling a program simply because it\’s futuristic and super-sophisticated is not a good reason and so far that\’s the primary reason I\’ve heard for cancelling the F-22.

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Posted in Military | 1 Comment »

Raptor : Stimulus Or Fluff?

February 6th, 2009 by Kevin

The F-22 Raptor is a fascinating aircraft, which already has a long and interesting history.  Now to be fair, I should disclose that while I don\’t work on the program itself, the people that do are just down the hallway.  So I\’ve kept up on this program for quite awhile now.

Although the F-22 program is possibly on the chopping block, Captain Ed makes the case that the F-22 makes for a wonderful stimulus program, and he does make a lot of good points.  However, this is nothing new.  The F-22 has been on the chopping block literally since the very very beginning, even back when it was still an experimental program.

There are a lot of reasons for this, none of them having to do with our current economic worries or any stimulus program.  The F-22 has had a rather lengthy development process, complete with cost overruns and underperformance, both almost requirements for a defense project.  But probably it\’s biggest liability is it\’s cost, at close to $200 million per aircraft it\’s not cheap.  Although to be fair a lot of that skyrocketing cost is due to political nitwits and an ever diminishing total order number.  Originally 750 were ordered, the total order now stands at 183.

The F-22 Raptor is supposed to be the replacement for the F-15 Eagle, and a fine replacement it is.  But it is also a very close cousin to the F-35 Lightning, which is another liability it carries.  The F-22 is an air superiority fighter, that could also perform a strike role if necessary.  The F-35 is a strike aircraft that can also function as an air superiority fighter.  The F-35 is by far the cheaper of the two aircraft.  This is due both to it\’s development costs being paid by several countries, but also because much of the necessary technology was already developed for the F-22.  So it\’s tempting to wonder if the F-35 could perform both roles.  Technically yes, but no aircraft can be all things and do all of them well.

The F-22 is also a victim of it\’s era.  When Lockheed won the contracts for the F-22 and F-35, the rest of the industry decided to put their money on UAVs and that field has skyrocketed.  It is probably not unlikely that the F-22 and F-35 will be the last manned fighter aircraft ever produced.  For politicians that are easily distracted by shiny things, a new technology is a fascinating and tempting choice.

Whether there is an actual need for the F-22 is also frequently cited as a reason to consider it\’s termination.  Critics will argue that there is no need for a big expensive next generation fighter aircraft when there is nothing for it to fight.  I mention this last because it\’s the stupidest reason, as it\’s critics seem to forget that\’s exactly the point.  The Su-27 fighter emerging throughout the world is the match of both the F-15 and F-16, and more if in the hands of a competent pilot.  The F-22 makes this angle less than appealing for any potential enemies, such as China, Russia, Iran, etc.

So it\’s not that anyone has rejected the F-22 as not economically stimulating, but rather it\’s been on the verge of death for at least a decade.  Really it\’s only been the political game playing of Lockheed management that\’s kept it alive.  Such as farming out work to other defense contractors, thereby instantly procuring the use of the lobbyists for the entire industry.  Plus the positioning of production facilities in politically advantageous has given it cover in Congress for years.

Which by no means should imply that the F-22 is not a worthy program.  It extends the air superiority ability of the United States for at least another generation.  It has also served as a platform from which to develop new technologies that have already been put to use elsewhere.  In that sense, the F-22 has been the incoming tide that has caused all boats to rise.  It also keeps alive airframe production lines, which at the very least retains some of our nation\’s industrial capability.  The aircraft itself quite frankly kicks ass.  In wargames, it\’s racked up impressive victories…including one case were 12 F-22s downed 108 adversaries, with no losses themselves.

Should the F-22 be a stimulus project?? No, it works as that, but it has benefits enough to stand on it\’s own two feet.  Continue the program and enjoy the benefits that are all the more appealing because of our recession.

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Posted in Military | 1 Comment »

A Different Christmas Poem

December 8th, 2008 by Kevin


The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.

The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn\’t loud, and it wasn\’t too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn\’t quite know, Then the
sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.

Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

\”What are you doing?\” I asked without fear,
\”Come in this moment, it\’s freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!\”
For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts.

To the window that danced with a warm fire\’s light
Then he sighed and he said, \”Its really all right,
I\’m out here by choice. I\’m here every night.
\”It\’s my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.

No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I\’m proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My Gramps died at \’ Pearl on a day in December,\”
Then he sighed, \”That\’s a Christmas \’Gram always remembers.\”
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of \’ Nam \’,
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.

I\’ve not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he\’s sure got her smile.\”
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue… an American flag.
\”I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.

I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall.\”

\”So go back inside,\” he said, \”harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I\’ll be all right.\”
\”But isn\’t there something I can do, at the least,
\”Give you money,\” I asked, \”or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you\’ve done,
For being away from your wife and your son.\”

Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
\”Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we\’re gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.\”

PLEASE, would you do me the kind favor of sending this to as many people as you can? Christmas will be coming soon and some credit is due to our U.S service men and women for our being able to celebrate these festivities. Let\’s try in this small way to pay a tiny bit of what we owe. Make people stop and think of our heroes, living and dead, who sacrificed themselves for us.

LCDR Jeff Giles, SC, USN
30th Naval Construction Regiment
OIC, Logistics Cell One
Al Taqqadum, Iraq

NOTE: Special thanks to my buddy 50¢, who will soon be one of those soldiers standing guard for the rest of us as he leaves for his second deployment to that big sandbox.  Let it never be doubted, you matter.

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Testing The Second And Third

December 3rd, 2008 by Kevin

The federal government of today bears little resemblance to the federal government envisioned by our Founding Fathers.  To them the federal government was simply a necessary evil to bind together the fragments that were the colonies and to provide the services that absolutely positively could not be done by the states, such as national defense and foreign policy.

Today\’s federal government has it\’s vicious little claws in virtually every aspect of our lives.  Virtually any decision, however private, more involved that what to have for dinner is going to fall under the jurisdiction of at least one federal agency.  Having already made our business theirs, now the federal government wants the ability to put a sharp edge on their will, in the form of 20,000 uniformed troops.  And like any good tyrant worth their arrogance, it\’s for our own good.

Oppressive moves like this on behalf of the federal government is precisely the reason our first ten amendments exist, especially the Second and Third.  It\’s also the reason for the Posse Comitatus Act, a 130-year-old federal law restricting the military\’s role in domestic law enforcement.  The fact that we have long-standing laws preventing, and countering the possibility of, exactly this sort of thing should say quite a bit, especially since it\’s never been a problem in the past.

But it\’s necessary for domestic security right??  Really?? In a nation with the most heavily armed civilian population in the world??  A nation with a relatively non-corrupt police force?  A nation with a National Guard force in addition to our professional standing military??  This is not India.

Oh I\’m sure intentions are pure.  The government is simply looking our for our best interests, and no sacrifice is too large for that, right???  Then answer me this….

The federal government, without public outcry, wants to deploy uniformed troops within our borders, to protect a threat that might one day exist.  But they absolutely resist deploying any amount of troops for any amount of time guarding our borders from a threat we KNOW exist and is an ongoing threat, despite the fact that the public has been in favor of it??  If their concerns were really so pure and altruistic we\’d have a Marine division on each of our borders.

No a move like this reeks of abuse of power and further future abuse.  The Founding Fathers know that an all-powerful central government cannot be trusted, so they left behind safeguards against them.  Do we really think we should trust Uncle Sam and find out if those safeguards are enough??

[Crossposted at True North]

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Posted in Immigration, Military, Political Mumbojumbo, Terrorism, This Is My Rifle, This Is My Gun, True North | Comments Off on Testing The Second And Third

A Battle To Warm Up On

November 19th, 2008 by Kevin

While Somali pirates have existed for a long time now, they certainly have made quite a number of high profile hijackings lately.  Most notable recently was the hijacking of the Faina, and it\’s cargo of battle tanks.  Now word that they\’ve also captured a Saudi supertanker, which represents about a quarter of Saudi Arabia\’s daily output of oil.  Clearly, the status quo cannot continue.

That said, this seems like a perfect situation for Obama to warm up that smile and motivating speaking and any other skills he may have….if any.  But it\’s a chance to show what He can do on a global scale.  All the more since it\’s a relatively easy one, as global crises go.

Ships of many nations are being hijacked.  Countries and companies are losing money.  Lives are being lost.  The criminals are of no importance to….well anyone.  It\’s not likely to be difficult to generate widescale support for action given those conditions.  If The Messiah can\’t grow enough of a backbone to stand up to pirates, what chance does He have against Iran or Russia??  After all that talk, pirates can\’t have a place in the Age of Obama can they??  There has to be someone in the town of Hopenchange that can come up with a solution.

Toward that end, I\’m wondering if we necessarily need to reinvent the wheel on this one.  Seems to me that there is a solution that has worked before in a situation, which not identical, at least distantly similiar.  There are at least two methods, both created in the First Battle of the Atlantic (WWI), and later \”perfected\” in the Second Battle of the Atlantic (WWII).

The first method being a convoy situation.  The lack of a sufficient number of military ships to cover all areas off the coast of Somalia is frequently cited as one of the reasons world navies haven\’t been able to counter the pirates.  Ok, that same problem was part of the problem of battling U-boats.  As a result a convoy system was used.  Sure it\’s a big target, but you can better utilize finite resources.  And since the pirate\’s range is relatively limited (even with motherships), the convoy wouldn\’t even have to be maintained for long.

The second method is what\’s known as a \”Q-Ship\”.  Essentially it has the outward appearance of a common merchant ship, but in reality is an armed warship.  In both WWI and WWII, these Q-ships had a rather paltry success rate…partially due to the fact that the first sign of their enemy was a torpedo in the side.  In the case of a pirate attack, it seems it would be much more effective.  Especially since it\’s wouldn\’t involve camoflauging a 5-inch gun, which was frequently the case in WWII.  Here a platoon of Marines armed with a few long range weapons stationed aboard a common merchant vessel would do the trick.  End result is the pirates would be a lot less confident in their trade.

In the end, we\’ll have to await what The Almighty Obama has in store for us mortals.  For He is the giver of both Hope and Change.  Neither of which seems particularely useful against a pirate….especially since these aren\’t even the cool pirates of grog, busty wenches and cool sword fights.

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Posted in Military, The Messiah | 4 Comments »

NATO Passes Expiration Date?

October 7th, 2008 by Kevin

The NATO alliance appears to have officially spoiled, as German Chancellor Angela Merkel made it clear that Germany would effectively veto any effort to even put Ukraine and Georgia on the path to membership, much less membership itself. Given Germany\’s historically close relations with the US, this is quite a move. Even more notable is that the reasons for it are completely sound

First, expanding NATO guarantees to Ukraine and Georgia is meaningless. NATO and the United States don’t have the military means to protect Ukraine or Georgia, and incorporating them into the alliance would not increase European security. From a military standpoint, NATO membership for the two former Soviet republics is an empty gesture, while from a political standpoint, Berlin sees it as designed to irritate the Russians for no clear purpose.

Next, were NATO prepared to protect Ukraine and Georgia, all NATO countries including Germany would be forced to increase defense expenditures substantially. This is not something that Germany and the rest of NATO want to do.

In it\’s present form NATO has effectively been neutered. Thanks to over a decade of anemic military spending by our NATO allies (other than the UK), NATO not only can\’t handle a relatively minor situation in Afghanistan without US assistance. And the recent conflict in Georgia demonstrates that NATO can\’t even fight for an ally on their very doorstep.

Given that NATO can\’t even protect what it\’s already supposed to protect, taking on additional members, especially clearly endangered members, is pure folly. While both Georgia and Ukraine possess relatively impressive militaries, given the the size and wealth of their country, they aren\’t going to contribute much to a NATO membership, making them a net negative addition to the alliance.

So given NATO\’s likely inability to protect it\’s current members without US assistance, and the fact that they can\’t counter Russia, which was the mission for which it was established, what purpose does NATO still serve? Other than committing the US to providing for the defense of the entire Western world for yet another ungrateful generation of Europeans that is.

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Who Says You Can\’t Teach A Democrat New Tricks

September 10th, 2008 by Kevin

Earlier this year things were looking pretty bad for Republicans. Their base didn\’t like them. The general public didn\’t like them. Even on issues like national security, the public trusted the Democrats more than Republicans…..until the surge.

When Bush proposed the Surge, even Democrats from miles around sprinted to the nearest microphone to declare that it was never gonna work. Then reality set in and Democrats had to eat crow. What\’s worse, now polls indicate that the public no longer trusts the Democrats on national security. And things were going so well!!!

Well apparently the Democrats can be taught new tricks, because they are making it clear they aren\’t going to make the same mistake on the \”quiet surge\”.

Bush said the battalion, roughly 1,000 Marines, now headed to Afghanistan in November will be followed in January by an Army combat brigade. A brigade is 3,500-4,000 troops.

The move answers in part calls from Democrats to shift troops out of Iraq to a more sizable force in Afghanistan. Still, Democrats quickly shot back that Bush isn\’t doing enough to get troops out of Iraq, and into Afghanistan, where violence is rising.

\”The president\’s plan to reduce force levels in Iraq may seem to signal movement in the right direction, but it really defers troop reductions until the next administration,\” said House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton, D-Mo. \”More significant troop reductions in Iraq are needed so that we can start to rebuild U.S. military readiness and provide the additional forces needed to finish the fight in Afghanistan.\”

Said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid: \”I am stunned that President Bush has decided to bring so few troops home from Iraq and send so few resources to Afghanistan.\”

Even \”The One\” is getting in on the act…

Bush\’s \”plan comes up short,\” Obama said. \”It is not enough troops, and not enough resources, with not enough urgency.

\”I am convinced that it is time to change our foreign policy,\” he said, noting that he will withdraw troops from Iraq and create a \”comprehensive strategy to finish the job in Afghanistan.\”

Not enough troops for the Democrats?? Although I\’m a little disappointed that Obama didn\’t miracle a few thousands troops over there. Given his powers, it doesn\’t seem like a daunting task.

But at least it shows that Democrats can learn. Previously they had everything going their way and 2008 was going to be a great year for them. Now they\’ve slowly f-ed it up and watched it fade away. But at least they are attempting to salvage something of their reputation, if not their integrity.

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Posted in 2008 Elections, Iraq, Military | 3 Comments »

Naval Blockade Of Iran Likely

August 14th, 2008 by Kevin

I wrote previously that we had sent two aircraft carriers and their battle groups to join two battlegroups already in the Persian Gulf, and about the significance of this move. At the time I theorized that the move was related to a move against Iran, but then later thought that perhaps we have advance knowledge of the strike on Georgia. Turns out, not only was I right on both counts, but what I then termed as \”not a trivial chess piece in a global chessboard\” is just the tip of the iceberg.

There is a massive naval fleet heading for the gulf, most of which just completed Operation Brimstone, a joint US/UK/French/Brazil naval wargame. From descriptions of Operation Brimstone, it appears it concentrated on international cooperation to conduct military operations in littoral waters. All handy skills to have if one is planning a international naval blockade of another country.

Previously, I was aware of only the USS Theodore Roosevelt, the USS Ronald Reagan and their battle groups heading for the Gulf. Now it appears they are joined by the USS Iwo Jima, an amphibious assault ship (similar to the Peleliu), the UK Royal Navy HMS Ark Royal aircraft carrier, and her battle group, along with assorted French naval assets including the nuclear attack submarine Amethyste and French Naval Rafale fighter jets on-board the USS Theodore Roosevelt. By virtually any measure, that is a massive amount of firepower, especially combined with the forces already in the Gulf. Forces which include the USS Abraham Lincoln and her battlegroup, the USS Peleliu and her battle group, at least one US nuclear attack sub and miscellaneous other forces. This is the largest buildup of US allied naval forces in the Gulf since the invasion of Iraq.

There are several possible reasons for this buildup of forces:
1) The US and several allies have decided to enforce at least a partial naval blockade of Iran
2) The US and several allies are preparing for an Israeli and/or US strike on Iranian nuclear facilities
3) The US and several allies are preparing for an invasion of Iran.

Option #3 is the least likely, as this buildup is happening absent any major redeployment of air and ground forces. Both of these would be necessary for an invasion. Also with it\’s easily deployed ground forces already committed in Iraq and Afghanistan, and with the potential of action in Georgia. The timing of this, make option #3 severely unlikely.

Option #2 while possible, has become increasingly unlikely. Israel certainly has the capability. And if they feel the US isn\’t gonna do it, then they may feel the need to step up. And they may very well be at that stage. However, the US just rejected a request from Israel for military equipment necessary to make a strike on Iran. So clearly the Israelis lack some equipment necessary to make a strike. Even if they could manufacture it themselves, they are clearly not at a stage were a strike on Iran is imminent hence no need for a force buildup.

Which leaves us option #3, which I think it increasingly likely, especially considering that a majority of the forces involved just participated in a training exercise practicing precisely this. Plus a naval blockade would be a likely next step in the escalation of force to get Iran to comply with UN demands. While Iran is rich in oil, it has limited domestic refining capability. Which means while it exports lots of oil, it also has to import benzene in massive quantities. So a naval blockade would cripple their economy and that tends to draw attention.

Now certainly a much smaller force would certainly be capable of a naval blockade. The fact that such a large force is being arrayed also says quite a bit about the operational planning that went into this, and tends to imply two different possibilities.

First that it was considered possible that such a blockade would be resisted either by Iran or others (i.e. Russia). In the latter case, this formidable force would likely be intended to make intervention seem futile, or at least impractical. While Russia does have forces in the area, most notably the carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, in the Mediterranean, it\’s aircraft would have to pass over Iraq, and the US forces deployed there, in order to reach this flotilla.

Almost certainly the Iranians would attempt to resist as well, through quite a few different methods. Air attacks from land based aircraft would seemingly be met by aircraft from the four different carriers. Helicopters from the amphibious assault ships would likely be tasked to anti-sub detail. And the numerous warships in the battlegroups would fend of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard high-speed boats, functioning as suicide boats, similar to the attack on the USS Cole.

Almost certainly there would be an attempt by Iran to close the oil route chokepoint (only 21 miles wide) of the Strait of Hormuz, since one side is controlled by Iran, and the other by US allies United Arab Emirates and Oman. With the forces currently being positioned in the Gulf, it seems very likely that the US would be able to keep this route open, and prevent any attempts by Iran to break through the blockade.

Of course, a naval blockade is generally considered an act of war. So it\’s unlikely that everything will be just this simple. The board is set, the chess pieces are moving. This game is about to get interesting.

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Posted in Iran, Iraq, Middle East Mayhem, Military | 10 Comments »

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