Go read Salamander.
Now, what different have you heard from stuff like him and the five or six usual spots lately? We’re getting into a rut. You know as well as I do that a couple of retired O-6s have a plan, if unarticulated, to stir some stuff up, but that’s about all I see right now.
And the comment response to Phibian’s rant is to watch a movie?
Okay. Stop watching Vanderhoeven’s movie and READ THE BOOK. Quit looking for Boyd, a visionary who I might remind you didn’t get his big things done while he was busy being visionary, and look for a guy like Burke, who showed up in the job with a pre-written plan of what he was going to do and IMPLEMENTED THE PLAN. At least get a Galantin, who implemented his plan while in the shadow of Mister Nuclear Himself and had a team that made something spectacular and changed the world.
And why read the book? This is why:
If you load a mud foot down with a lot of gadgets that he has to watch, somebody a lot more simply equipped — say with a stone ax — will sneak up and bash his head in while he is trying to read a vernier.
We Have Lost The Bubble.
Maybe it’s time to discuss just-in-case versus just-in-time, and you could put Taleb in the discussion and ask if FFG-51 becoming DDG-51 was a case of talking turkey or not. But we’ve talked for a long. damn. time.
Panic is a logical reaction to the logical things not working. We are almost–not quite–at the point where panic is going to set in. (I might count that point as one of those days where some Brit will look at us and say “there must be something wrong with our bloody ships today”, and that might be the second flaming datum or it might be the loss of Houston to a nuke or it might be us finally realizing we’re being finessed to capitulation without even needing to have a navy to go up against.)
It is time to find the implementers in our navy, beat them on the head with a stick, and get them a-implementing. So. Let’s find these SOBs and force them to know each other–if Army can map the insurgents in Diyala, why can’t someone just use Facebook and get our insurgents a-plottin’? If Proceedings can spend a major part of an issue bragging about their access to the mailing list of a super secret elite cabal of military thinkers who get allowed to opine to each other by special invite only–see the issue two months ago because Proceedings‘ web interface is teh suck (and it ain’t Adelaide I’m talking about because those guys are rearguing the presidential election, or patriotism’s definition, or something for some reason this week)–who are these wonder menschen? Who’s got the book like Burke had written himself just to get his thoughts in order?
It ain’t me–I’m learning my new job with a bunch of kids straight from boot camp and then I get sandy for a year in the wilderness–but you know as well as I do that the guys in the big brain locker complain that their great ideas become buzzwords and then get lost in the shuffle…and that’s the problem. We need less buzzword more boom, even if the boom turns out to be just some guy employed on a music video in Palestine losing his job.
Why not stuff like: Completely redo the acquisitions system, suggestions available on request or search box, simple and painful but achieveable. Force everyone to work on time cards and pressure the boss who’s making his guys work the most on shore duty when the task is the same thing that’s been done for twenty years with the same ten percent bogies every single stinking year. If there’s people mining away in the “work-life balance” shop until 2000 every night, send them to the hospital for irony poisoning. Make the retiring guy take mister “ethos” and mister “creed” and the endorphin addict with the PT uniform and the officer photos rule along with him on the slug line to Poughkeepsie. Better yet: go completely gonzo, and put every single stinkin’ billet in the Palace and Crystal City and the rest of the NCR in the ‘Stan. Any ‘Stan. Just blow some organizations up until the squealing gets unbearable, then do it some more. SOMETHING. Put the NIE track record history up on the wall and run that through a filter so that every national wartime decision has to look at something like this just to remind them that in wartime none of us know what the hell we’re doing. And I’m not just picking on intel; this works for everything. What was in the outyears five, ten years ago? Why does Congressman Taylor’s staff tell you they know more than you do about what you ask for when you want a ship? What big thing is going to get done on your watch that means something?
The Army has a Small Wars Journal and an internal insurgency. They’re making some change happen the old fashioned way: a near death experience. Us? I count a couple of anonymous ranters, a restricted line guy in the wilderness, a Coastie bless his heart living inside the Beltway and going to monthly sessions on what used to be a magazine worth reading, and reports from smart but ignored contractors on Big Navy “listening sessions” in Durham North Carolina. Who’s the insurgency inside the Nav, folks? Who’s mapping it, who’s connecting them? I Cannot Do It Right Now: I have promises to keep. But SOMEONE has to.
Nobody puts up the stoplight until after the accident. Nobody cares about mine warfare until the second flaming datum. Nobody cares about ASW until someone gets fired. I can go on; you get the picture.
I need this:
–A couple of congresscritters willing to think that their pet navy dude is doing something worthwhile and sexy enough to talk up and protect when the feather bed of Big Navy tries to smother them.
–Gates’s staff, and the bossman himself, willing to bet chips on ’em and stifle his own internal staff dissent.
–One three star or higher, outside the joint world, ready to kill his job over big change. Has to be 3 or higher because if you die in the Pentagon hallway they don’t cart you away until you smell too bad or have three stars; has to be pure Navy with connections to joint instead of multiple joint tours because too much of the joint world is far far away and too many flags have reached escape velocity and won’t come back to being a glorified chop for Big Nav giving up time as WHATEVERCOM to sit in that uncomfortable chair listening to the newest member of the HASC opine about uniform changes.
–People outside DoD who mean something to their own home organizations and mean something to us. Politics is an extension of war by other means; the PLO and Jeane Kirkpatrick taught us that. How many brigades did the Pope really have in Poland in the eighties? It wasn’t zero, was it? Who’s going to make flag working at State…and more importantly, who’s going to get a plum ambassadorship after being a POLAD? How do we even get to play with Agriculture, since it might just be a matter of national security to figure out what the heck to do with places that grow poppies?
–One senior officer with too much personality and ready to get a following. Yeah, he’s going to suck up all the credit. So what. The flag is for top cover. This guy is going to build the important part.
–A snotload of field and company grades who understand the reason why Tom Barnett went to them (before Barnett blew up) and the SWJ’ers came from the guys in the field: because cultural change will happen with the midgrades. Get them power and a sense of mission and make them do pure magic.
But that’s only structure. I need substance. Problem is, there are several places with a little of the structure like that right now in DoD fibrillating because none of them have any ideas worth wiping with. You gotta have something like Burke’s book that he wrote to himself just to put his thoughts together.
And this is where I think I know what those two retired military contractor guys are up to. If they’re smart. Gates’s NDU speech is good–but remember what NDU was at the end of WWII? We had Marshall there. The most popular party in Egypt has a plan, too–how come they can integrate across skills and we can’t?
Argh. I’m too wound up on this. I get like ten hits a week nowadays since I killed the blog to study, but this had to come out or I was going to hurt something else. You have an idea? Got a gripe? Sure, drop a comment.
Better yet, maybe let this get in your craw and think about how to do something about it if you agree with any of it…