Saturday, January 21, 2017

Mass Transit in Houston during heavy rains....

The backstory?  Its been raining cats and dogs here in the South.  Houston, all of Louisiana and Mississippi has been hit with some pretty severe thunderstorms.

Flash floods are common in Houston and apparently this bus driver thought that he could simply drive thru the water.  He's lucky.  That's a good way to get yourself and in this case your passengers killed.  If you don't know the road and can't properly estimate the depth of the water AND MORE IMPORTANTLY how fast its moving then this is suicide.  You might as well play Russian roulette.

Full story here.

How many Iranian Generals have died in Syria?

via The New Yorker (Oct 2016).
Iran has increasingly been forced to acknowledge its losses—including at least four generals in the past year—with some reports suggesting that twice that number have been killed since the intervention began. Brigadier General Hossein Hamedani, who was killed on October 8th, was given a state funeral. Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, personally called on Hamedani’s family to convey his condolences. Khamenei’s official Twitteraccount, in English, lauded the general for fulfilling his “martyrdom wish.”

Hamedani’s death was a setback for Iran—and possibly for Syria, too. According to Jane’s Defense Weekly, Syria’s regular Army has been halved since the war began, in 2011. Assad has increasingly relied on leaders in Iran to develop strategy, and counted on Hezbollah, Iran’s proxy force in Lebanon, to provide new fighters. Hamedani was the senior Iranian tactician in northern Syria, where the regime is simultaneously fighting Western-backed rebels, the Islamic State, a local Al Qaeda franchise, and smaller militias. Hamedani was a hero of the war with Iraq—the deadliest modern conflict in the Middle East—and his death was the most notable Iranian military loss since that war ended.
Story here. 

How did we miss this?  The problem with gaining combat experience is that if its done improperly you start losing valuable personnel (the same can be said if you "over deploy" the force with back to back tours and increased optempo to satisfy a strange forward basing strategy...HELLO Pentagon!).

I would say that the Iranians are gaining combat experience but at the expense of current expertise and destroying the "seed corn" of an effective force in the future.

Syria might be buying us time to effectively deal with them after the madness of Obama's nuclear deal.  From my seat things are grim for the two countries that sought to become masters of the Middle East.  The Turk military has suffered a catastrophic purge which has destroyed any hint of combat effectiveness/leadership that they might have had and the Iranians are seeing the same thing happen by pushing their best and brightest into the meat grinder that is Syria.

Even worse for the Iranians?  We know that the Quds Force has been active in Syria but additionally its believed that in addition to volunteers on Jihad, they're also losing regulars.  Check this out from the same article.
Iran’s aid has increased since the Islamic State, the Nusra Front, and other Sunni extremists began seizing large areas of Syria and Iraq, in mid-2014. Over the past month, hundreds of additional Iranian “advisers” have reportedly gone to Syria. Middle East media outlets claim that General Qassem Suleimani, the renowned commander of the Quds Force, arrived in Syria this month to mobilize a new offensive around Aleppo. The growing Iranian ground presence has coincided with Russia’s new bombing campaign by air.
Side note.  I don't like the targeted assassination of "high value targets".  In my opinion focusing on individual leaders instead of conducting the war is a distraction.  Leaders can be replaced but when there is no one left to lead then the war is over.  I personally feel that the current policy of raids and drone strikes is a fools errand.  Having said that I would cheer if we caught General Suleimani in a strike while he's in Syria.  I've heard rumors that the guy was behind the Quds Force while they were active in Iraq.  A B-2 strike on his sorry ass instead of training camps would be welcome news. 

Back on task.  The Iranians have probably lost a couple of battalions (at least) of troops in Syria.  We're talking Generals but they've probably lost quite a few Colonels and Majors too.

We have an opportunity.  If we can act decisively against ISIS and get that issue solved we might have the room to deal with Iran properly while they're weakened from their participation in Syria.

Friday, January 20, 2017

NCSIST - Guided Missile Destroyer Concept Combat Simulation

ISIS is curb stomping the Turks!

Thanks to MicMac 80 for the pics!


No wonder they've been crying for US air support!  ISIS is curb stomping the Turks if these pics are to be believed.

Open Comment Post. Jan 20, 2017. Have you watched the protests?

Ok so Trump is now President but that's just the anti-climax...the amazing thing is the protests!

From the Congress Critters not attending the inauguration to the idiots in the streets its been comical beyond belief (the only bad spot is that some LEO's have been injured).

Fear and loathing because a new President is put in office?  People have lived some soft lives.  Personally I fear Congress and the talk about "doing something" which translates into new intrusive laws that will wreck or at least mess with our lives.

The pushback against Trump's "America first" slogan is puzzling.  I won't even try to understand the thinking.  But that's what's on my mind.  What's on yours?

Lotar Monkeys Search & Rescue Training pics by Cpl. Eden Briand

NOTE!  The "Monkey" section of the Lotar counter-terrorism unit specializes in mountaineering, climbing and rappelling. Last week, the section's new "monkeys" trained in S&R.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Tank Platoon, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, participate in Exercise Alligator Dagger in Djibouti, Africa.

Sig won the pistol contract for the US Army?

According to Firearms Blog, Sig won the contract to build the US Army's next service pistol.

I'm stunned.

How can big Army get it so wrong?  Everyone is migrating to the Glock 19 (SOCOM, Big City SWAT, Federal Law Enforcement and everyone in between) and they're going with Sig?

I'm gonna need more details on this.  Did Sig come in so low that they're willing to take a loss to win the contract?  Is buying the same weapon as used by the US Army that valuable?  I'll find out!

Full Disclosure...I am part of the Glock Nation so I MIGHT be a bit biased.

Pentagon, Lockheed near deal on $9 billion F-35 contract..

via CNBC
The U.S. Department of Defense and Lockheed Martin are close to deal for a contract worth almost $9 billion as negotiations are poised to bring the price per F-35 below $100 million for the first time, people familiar with the talks said Wednesday.
The F-35, the Pentagon's costliest arms program, has drawn fire from U.S. President-elect Donald Trump who has made lowering prices for military equipment a pillar of his transition into office.
Talks are still ongoing for the tenth batch of stealthy fighter jets with a deal for 90 planes expected to be announced by the end of the month, three people said on condition of anonymity.

A Lockheed representative declined to comment and a representative for the fighter program said negotiations are ongoing.
Either the mainstream news media is incredibly stupid, or they're purposefully dismissing issues with this plane.

The best that can be said for this insanity is that they're displaying irrational exuberance and misleading the public.

The Pentagon is buying mistake jets.  Every single plane bought now and for the next couple of years will require MASSIVE upgrades.   The real price for each of these airplanes MUST INCLUDE the eventual price to upgrade them to a REAL WARFIGHTING STANDARD!

Long short?  The real price of the F-35 will without a doubt exceed the 100 million dollar tag that this article is claiming.

Survivorship Bias by DieselPunkIsDad Tumblr Page...A MUST READ!

via DPID
I have posted about survivorship bias and how it affects your career choices: how a Hollywood actor giving the classic “follow your dreams and never give up” line is bad advice and is pure survivorship bias at work.

When I read up on the wikipedia page, I encountered an interesting story:

During WWII the US Air Force wanted to minimize bomber losses to enemy fire. The Center for Naval Analyses ran a research on where bombers tend to get hit with the explicit aim of enforcing the parts of the airframe that is most likely to receive incoming fire. This is what they came up with (note..its the pic above).

So, they said: the red dots are where bombers are most likely to be hit, so put some more armor on those parts to make the bombers more resilient. That looked like a logical conclusion, until Abraham Wald - a mathematician - started asking questions:

- how did you obtain that data?
- well, we looked at every bomber returning from a raid, marked the damages on the airframe on a sheet and collected the sheets from all allied air bases over months. What you see is the result of hundreds of those sheets.
- and your conclusion?
- well, the red dots are where the bombers were hit. So let’s enforce those parts because they are most exposed to enemy fire.
- no. the red dots are where a bomber can take a hit and return. The bombers that took a hit to the ailerons, the engines or the cockpit never made it home. That’s why they are absent in your data. The blank spots are exactly where you have to enforce the airframe, so those bombers can return.

This is survivorship bias. You only see a subset of the outcomes. The ones that made it far enough to be visible. Look out for absence of data. Sometimes they tell a story of their own.
Just wow.  Awesome stuff.

B-2 Bombers strike targets in Libya. The USAF makes a play to impress the new boss!

Thanks to Robert for the link!

via Air Force Times
American warplanes unleashed a massive attack Wednesday on at least two Islamic State training camps in Libya, killing an estimated 80 militants who fled the group's crumbling stronghold there, U.S officials said. 
The airstrikes occurred in a remote area approximately 30 miles southwest of Sirte, a city along the Mediterranean coast that's been a focus for U.S. forces since at least February. 
The operation was carried out by two Air Force B-2 bombers and an unspecified number of unmanned MQ-9 Reapers armed with Hellfire missiles, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James told Air Force Times on Thursday morning. An estimated 100 Islamic State fighters were targeted and approximately 100 weapons were released, James said, adding that the mission was coordinated with U.S. special operations personnel working with local allies on the ground nearby.  

Freaking seriously?  You're gonna send two B-2 bombers and an "unspecified" number of Reapers to kill 100 ISIS fighters?

I would bet body parts that the B-2 weren't even necessary but added to the package to simply earn the USAF a little publicity before the new boss takes over.

The SecAF passed this info to reporters?

This is obvious and obscene.  The USAF is making a play for relevance.  I guess the budget wars are in full effect.

This TV prop is gonna get people killed. How is this a thing?

Above you see "Lucille" the weapon used by Negan in the Walking Dead TV show to bash in the heads of a couple of characters on that show.

No big deal its fiction right?

Wrong.  The pic above is from an ad on WALMART showing it for sale.  Don't get me twisted.  I'm not for the nanny state in any form but let some idiot think he's gonna scare me (and in his mind he only wants to scare) by running at me or mine with this in his hands as some type of prank and someone is going to be crying because their loved one was a Darwin award winner.

How is this a thing?

I guess it doesn't matter.  It is a thing and something that those that are into self defense should know about.  Check out this article from the Daily Mail...
San Francisco Police are asking for help leading to those chaining up spiked baseball bats to poles throughout the city.
San Francisco Police Sgt. Michael Andraychak says officers first received reports of wooden or metal baseball bats appearing on poles and parking meters in the city on Thanksgiving morning.
The bats are 'spiked' with large screwdrivers driven through the tops.
The weird bats have been chained to telephone poles and parking meters.

Andraychak says 27 bats with spikes running through them have been found since then. The latest discovery was Friday in the Fishermen's Wharf area.
Andraychak says the spikes on the objects allow them to be considered a prohibited or deadly weapon, which is a felony.
Want to know the bad news?  If you're attacked with one of these weapons then that means your attacker has gotten close, is probably conducting an ambush and the trauma from the first hit could be bad enough to totally incapacitate you.

We're entering a new world.  A gun attack is one thing but a spiked club attack is something that few people have ever really wargamed (knife attacks...even California rushes we have practiced against).  I'll be looking to see what the pros are saying to do to protect against this (besides the obvious to be aware of your surroundings).