‘Mobile and Flexible’

This is one of our first reports of the day. Very cool to be back on board the USS Milius!

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29 Responses to “”

  1. @Adam Housley

    You know I am a big proponent of BMD, and a big supporter of the fact that our Japanese Naval SDF has gone with the same SM3 systems that you have there on the USS Milius, so take this comment with a moment’s consideration, please…

    The cancellation of the land-based element of missile defense has nothing what so ever to do with the superb capabilities of the ship you were standing on. It was a political move. Please don’t equate what is gained by increased deployments of ship-board BMD with what was lost by selling out the Eastern European allies. Even from an exclusively missile-defense focus, the loss in layered capabilities is regretable.

    This week’s Iranian tests of all-solid-fuel IRBMs pretty much says that any defense plan for Europe and the Near East had better have layers and enough interceptors to deal with a salvo… and the AEGIS capable ships are committed currently at 160% of capability (we’d need 60% more ships to cover the assignments already out there and maintain readiness/repair/training)… so there will be too few available for new comitments because the U.S. isn’t building or refitting anywhere near enough new platforms.

    source for that “160” number. Other items mentioned might be of interest as well:
    http://www.dodbuzz.com/2009/09/22/missile-plan-sound-but/

    I’ll happily go further into this matter, if you’d like. Thanks.

  2. LDG,
    WOW!
    You are the expert and I have so little understanding of all this. I do see your point about layered defense. I was upset with the President’s decision to appease Russia and screw the Eastern European countries.

  3. @Sylvia

    ’tis what I do… but I certainly don’t mean to overwhelm you with too much detail.

    I’ll try to answer questions, if you have any.

  4. LDG,
    How does the newly elected government in Japan feel about this decision by Obama to scrap the defense plans for Eastern Europe?

  5. @Sylvia

    The new government (under Mr. Hatoyama and the Democratic Party of Japan) hasn’t weighed in with specific comments on that move, but their general line is to support the “negotiate; denuclearize; run everything through the U.N.” line that the Obama administration has been tub-thumping about.

    Not a great big surprise, that. The core element of the DPJ is what was basically the Labour-Socialist party back until the 90’s. Looked a lot like Social Democrats in Europe. Spend little on defense; talk big about the U.N. as the world’s peacekeeper; spend lots of money the country doesn’t have on things of “social merit”.

  6. (more)

    Here’s an example of what Hatoyama and crew think is important:
    http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D9B30E603&show_article=1&catnum=0

    …sound familiar?

  7. LDG,
    Scary!!! Looks like these new wave politicians are in dreamland. They need to realize how dangerous this world is. Without safety the rest of the issues don’t matter.

  8. @Sylvia

    Heh. Would you be trying to make the argument that “governments exist for a reason”? (…the U.S. for example supposedly needs a government to see to: national defense / foreign affairs; the currency; and the resolution of disputes between the states… and that’s all)

    If so, you are in for some rough sailing. The “political class” in most nations sees government as self-justifying.

    Shame, that.

  9. LDG,
    I always believed in a strong defense and looked to the Federal government to provide that. The other issues have their places down the priority list. And some issues taken on by our national government shouldn’t even be on its agenda. I don’t think the site of the Olympics is a national priority if/ when Iran has nukes!

  10. @Sylvia

    It does beggar the imagination what some politicians think is national business, doesn’t it?

    By the way, did you see the results of latest “negotiations” with Iran about their nuclear program? The Americans claimed great progress… but even the French realize that *nothing* was gained.

    Iran + Missiles + Atomic Bombs = very bad

    You’d think that would be almost self-evident, wouldn’t you? But that sort of thinking gets us back to the “why cancel one part of the BMD vs. Iranian missiles?” and that is not where your government wants your thoughts to be headed.

  11. LDG,
    Even the French realize that Obama makes bad decisions. That says it all!

  12. LDG,
    I will be back later. Have to go on errands and to my Mother-in-law’s nursing home. It is her 97th birthday today.

  13. LDG … very interesting.

    Sylvia… happy birthday to your MIL.. 97 that is great.

  14. @Sylvia

    Best wishes to your mother-in-law. 97… wow.

    @Barb

    Thank you ma’am. I’ll be around a bit longer if there are any questions that come to mind (esp. on-topic).

  15. @All

    oh hohoho…

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/elections/2009/10/02/obama-heads-denmark-lobby-olympics/

    IOC drops Chicago in the first round.

    Toukyou (which had no bloody business having a bid in) is also out.

    Rio or Madrid still in the running.

  16. and with Rio confirmed as the winner, and the Obama machine looking decidely less well-oiled… while all is not right in the world, it’s a start…

    I’m to rest. I look forward to Sylvia’s followup when she gets back from errands.

    Be well and safe, All.
    ((departs))

  17. Hi All,
    Mother-in-law enjoyed her birthday and couldn’t believe she was 97. She was more lucid today than I’ve seen her in months. She has slight dementia and some days are better than others.
    Thanks for all the b-day wishes for her.
    On another note, I am extremely pleased that Rio got the Olympic bid. Sen. Burris blamed it on Bush. Axelrod blamed it on Olympic politics. It seems Pele has more clout than Obama! I am finding this whole thing to be a comedy. What was seen to be a done deal for Chi turned into a first round defeat. Life is strange.

  18. Whether one agrees with the Olympic commitee’s decision to pass by Chicago or not, IMO, Rio de Janero is not that much better a choice. Maybe even a worse choice…………..

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,241262,00.html

    Although that article is almost three years old, much of what was going on then is still going on today. According to a recently viewed BBC documentary, even after several years of the Brazilian government’s attempt to clean up their country the drug gang related killings rival that of Mexico. Some of these “gangs” are nothing more than political extremists that use the sale of drugs to fund their movements. It is these gangs that are the most dangerous, killing almost anyone at will for no apparent reason other than to create fear among the population.
    In 2008, Brazil led the world in armored car conversion sales. These conversions are not for their government or military vehicles, but for the civilian car market……………….nice place to hold the Olympics, huh?

  19. John,
    Is Chicago safer???

  20. Sylvia………….Statistically Yes. Chicago’s murder rate over the past few years averages about 28 per 100,000 people, or about 815 per year for the 2.8 million Chicago residents. Rio de Janeiro current average stands at about 38 per 100,000, but the city’s population is approximately 13 million,( source Wikipedia.org ) making for a staggering average of about 4900 people murdered anually in the greater Rio de Janeiro area.
    Here’s a quote copied form Wikipedia.org regarding the current state of Rio’s crime problems…………

    ” Rio has high crime rates, especially homicide, in poor areas dominated by drug lords, primarily in the North Zone.[80] As of 2007, the homicide rate of the greater metropolitan area stood at nearly 30 victims per week, with the majority of victims falling to mugging, stray bullets or narcoterrorism.[81][82] In 2006, 2,273 people were murdered in the city giving it a murder rate of 37.7 cases for every 100,000 people.[83]

    According to federal government research,[6] the city itself ranks 206th (out of a total of 5,565) in the list of the most violent cities and municipalities in Brazil and first in total number of firearm-related deaths. Between 1978 and 2000, 49,900 people were killed in Rio.[84] The Urban Warfare involves drug-traffic battle with police fighting against outlaws, or even corrupt policemen on their side.

    Rio de Janeiro’s low paid and ill-equipped police are violent as well, it has been said.[85] In 2007, the police allegedly killed 1,330 people in the state,[86] an increase of 25 percent over 2006 when 1,063 people were killed, in 2003 that number plateaued at 1,195. In comparison the American police killed only 347 people in whole of the United States during 2006.[87][88] The average Rio policeman earns only R$874 a month or R$10,488 (around US$6,000) a year.[89]”

    Looks like not only will they have to control the criminals, but the police as well. Of course, when a city gets a international event like the Olympics, the powers that be usually go to great lenghts to clean up their act as to not be embarrased in front of the international community. Let’s hope for their sake this will be the case here.

  21. LDG…………Good to see you back on the blog and just to stray back on subject. How many AEGIS class ships would it take to defend a missile attack from Iran (or other Mideast foe) on Europe or Israel?
    Assuming that these ships would have to be stationed in the Mediterranean Sea to have success, how vunerable would they be to any air/sea attack? Does Iran have the capabilty to attack ships in the Mediterranean?

  22. @Sylvia and John

    re: Rio ~ You got it right about the crime problem there. It is rather like taking the World Cup (Soccer) to South Africa… it is going to be a case of the host government spending a ton on security and then hoping that national pride will carry them the rest of the way toward a safe event… even though the numbers are against them.

    @John

    re: missiles

    It all has lots to do with: from where; to where; and how many?

    Against a singleton launch, *for the SM-3 layer of a systematic response*, the doctrine is three but the necessity is two. That has to do with getting tracking data from more than one position, and carrying a spare if something fails. In addition, they would probably launch 2 SM-3’s for one enemy missile. To deal with more than one missile in short order, the same three-ship set up can take on a few more if they are carrying enough SM-3’s. Obviously, the number of SM-3’s carried at any time, and the limits on multiple target engagement is classified.

    For opinion’s sake, let’s say that more than about 6 simultanious launches would likely saturate the defense of a two-ship (3 ship, one spare) set up.

    The other issue is positioning. One choice would involve placing the ships fairly near the predicted flight path for mid-course parallel interception… (which is really really hard and the SM-3 is too slow to do vs. a real IRBM or ICBM) …otherwise the need is to put them fairly close to either the launch or target points. Defending vs. launch means ships in the Persian Gulf and eastern Black Sea. Defending vs. aim point means ships in the eastern Med (Israel) and western Black Sea (southeast Europe). There is talk of making land-based versions of the system that could be positioned on a semi-mobile basis as well, but those are years away.

    Vulnerablity ~ AEGIS ships at sea, on combat status, are highly resistant to conventional air attack. Air Defense is their specialty. As part of a carrier strike group, you can almost call them impervious to anything short of a major airforce’s entire sortie capability. Against surface threats on the open sea, they are a very tough ship also. Most anti-shiping missiles won’t get through against them. Where they are at risk is in the littorals and vs. submarines. (again, as part of a carrier strike group, they are much better protected against submarines). So the main threats the Iranians or their proxies could pull off against a major surface combatant would be:
    1) an attack in-shore combining small craft, submarines or semisubmersible attack craft, and land based missiles all done in very close quarters. The Persian Gulf would be a big risk area; the eastern end of the Med would be a potential but small risk.
    2) a terrorist-style strike using an unmarked attacker in open waters. Very hard to pull off.
    3) a preemptive terror-style attack vs. ships in harbor or in “safe” waters to degrade the system in the days or weeks before a missile attack.

    So, to sum up:

    “How many…?” ~ 3 on station, as it is now. That means 12 ships capable assigned to the theater (including all those on rotation, repair, training, and other assignments). Double those numbers if the Iranians demonstrate the capability to launch more than about a half-dozen missiles at once.

    “to defend … an attack on Europe” ~ isn’t going to happen from the Med if the missiles are 3,000 km+ IRBMs and the target is Central (or Western) Europe. The existing SM-3 system won’t handle those except relatively near point of launch or point of aim.

    “how vunerable…” ~ not very, except in-shore. That might be managable in the eastern Med or eastern Black Sea. There is a serious risk in the Persian Gulf.

    “Does Iran … attack ships in the Mediterranean?” ~ basically, no. They’d be dependent upon an irregular threat there, most likely based out of Lebanon, which is managable. Syria has to know that is they let the Iranians use their coastline they’d be signing their own death warrant, so that isn’t going to happen in the near term. In the unlikley case that there was a change in management in Syria, that could be a problem, though.

    OK, I think that covered it.
    ((whew))

    Hope that helps.

  23. So Rio was a bad choice, our defense system is not strong enough, and my brain needs more coffee to deal with all these issues at 5:30 AM.

    Good Morning All.

  24. LDG…………..thanks for the indepth information. I can’t help but ponder as to what the importance of today’s events hold in a possible future scenario. If one looks at a map of the region as a chessboard, for example, you can begin to see why certain areas on the map are more important for the “players” to control than others. And also, why certain events may be happening now……..

    http://maps.google.com/

    You begin to see why it is important that the U.S ( and allies ) keep a military presence in Iraq, since it is directly in the way of any Iranian missile attack. A future ground based anti-missile defense system in Iraq would be directly in the line of fire from any Iranian launch against Europe. Yes, we have “pawns” in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, but they flank Iran and as you say, our defensive missiles are too slow to chase down one of their long range ones. Afghanistan and Pakistan are at the rear and would have even a lesser effective shot.

    Again thinking chess, you can even see the importance of who “controls” Azarbaijan and Georgia, since based on their present day capabilities, any Iranian missile launch would probably have to come from northern Iran to have any effect on Eastern Europe. If the allies placed ground anti-missile defense forces in Georgia, for example, it would surely worry Iran.
    In the midst of things is Turkey, although they have been a formidable ally in the war against terror, they have also shown to be too selective and unpredictable on what they will alow us to do from their soil. So it’s hard for us to place a chess piece there.

    If you scroll the map to the west (left) you see an old foe which may still be seeking revenge against us for past deeds. For my last chess move, I’d worry about a Knight jumping from Iran to Libya. That could change “the game” in a hurry.

    OK, that was my Tom Clancy moment for the weekend. Off to run some errands and enjoy a wonderfull day off.

  25. @Sylvia

    a belated good morning, and here’s hoping the coffee helped…

    Don’t write off Rio as a bad choice for the Olympics. What it is however is a challenging one (from a security point of view). But it will be great for all of the region if they are able to pull it off admirably.

    @John

    Heh now, that was a piece of geopolitical thinking there. I won’t quibble the details, because just going through the exercise of looking at the map and seeing what is there is a big step toward understanding why a ship-based BMD capability is an important *part* of a defensive system, but not the whole answer. Kudos also for picking out Azerbaijan as a linchpin location.

    Enjoy the day off, compadre.

  26. follow-up for John, re: above item

    Some people have been looking at your map, and drawing the right conclusions:

    http://www.longwarjournal.org/threat-matrix/archives/2009/10/bring_in_the_turks_why_turkeys_1.php

  27. Adam Housley Says:

    LDG and John and Everyone-

    Have a great story you are going to love on Friday and Saturday of this week. Info to come. Also. LDG…the missile guys I talk with say that the ground based systems are just part of the overall shield. I equate it to a premier soccer team. They can easily win, but when a player gets a red card, a 10-man team means a level playing ground. Candidly I don’t want level, especially with the way the Russians, Iranians and a few others continue to skirt the system at best. What do you think?

    Also…new POST! And I found socal surfer on the other blog and I’ll try to get him over here.

    Adam

  28. @Adam Housley

    Those guys are right. The whole BMD problem is so challenging that it is hard to place the burden on any one layer. The U.S. Navy has probably the hardest job right now, facing PRChina’s evolving capability to use ballistic missiles as anti-shipping weapons, and it is hard as much because they will have far fewer chances to intercept as because of anything the attacking missiles do.

    I’d say the idea of making any combat “unfair to our enemies” is just fine by me (in a practical sense). So yes, I’m always uncomfortable with political decisons that say a given layer or component of some part of our defense.

    I’d rather not fight any wars. Since that is not going to happen, I’d rather win the ones we are obliged to fight… and win them in a big way.

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