Wednesday, March 23, 2011

One week in...who are the 'stars' of the conflict...

Time to do a tally of events in Libya...who are the stars and who are the big losers....


1.  Surface Navy.
The Tomahawk strikes prove that they're relevant, vital and a strategic and tactical resource.  Our vaunted air arm still relies on this 70's era technology to kick in the door.
2.  26th MEU.
Its understrength but still delivering.  Everyone has forgotten that they deployed elements of this unit to Afghanistan then turned around and are supporting this effort.
3.  France.
They took the lead and pushed the US President into supporting this effort.  They might have blundered but they brought the US along for the ride.
4.  RAF.
They've effectively neutered the Royal Navy and established themselves as a long range strike force despite the Typhoon not being a capable ground attack platform.  Harriers would have been more effective off one of their carriers but they've nullified that with their early performance.


An after action report showing that an understrength MEU was able to pull off this mission will effectively force the end of CSAR as the USAF practices it.  I see deep missions reverting to SOCOM entirely.  Expect more service specific efforts in the Army and the Marines to operate at the edge of the battlefield with SOCOM operating deep.  I expect the USAF to be out of a job and the Navy to piggy back on Marine efforts.
2.  B-2 bomber.
Despite the transcontinental flight of two of these airplanes, the efficacy of them as platforms of war must be questioned.  They're costly to operate and they still need tremendous support.  I believe calls to retire them and replace them with some type of advanced cruise missile will escalate.
3.  France.
They want a free hand outside of NATO control.  I don't think they'll have there way.  Whatever they planned for an endgame appears to already be in jeopardy.


  1. Sorry bud, that's a swing and a 'whiff' on the B-2. You got 45 high-quality DPMIs from three planes on ~26hr missions using JDAMs that could kill targets TLAMS wouldn't even dent located where other aircraft would fear to tread. That's about 45% of the TLAMs aimpoints for less than 5% of the cost for expended TLAMs. If you factor in the flight hour costs including tanker hours, you will have to also factor in the operating costs of the platforms that spewed the TLAMs. But even if you don't, the total cost of the B-2/tankers mission with JDAMs is still less than 10% of the TLAM munitions expense, and that's assuming the lowest cost estimates I've found for the TLAM and nost expensive estimates I've found for the JDAM. Both systems' costs are very sensitive to lot-size buy.
    I like the rest of your lists though.
    P.S. I think there's a bit of F-35 news brewing you may want to check out at my place.

  2. Yikes! Correction: Those would be DMPIs not DPMIs.

  3. The MEU's have and will always the easiest and more cost effective way to put out America's presence forward. Being able to do anything from kicking in teeth to disaster relief.

  4. It's the USMC of the 21st Century, as envisioned in late 1990's: the post-Cold War transformation.

  5. How about telling us novices what the hell all those acronyms stand for.

  6. Use your Google Fu grass hopper.

    Funny a few weeks ago Gates and the Beltway where holding an axe over the Marine Corps. A second land army, seems that they need to ask can we live with out the Marine Corps?

    How fast could the sister services get in theater?

  7. damn slow. the only unit that could arrive quickly would be the 82nd but they would be dependent on the USMC for supplies or a very long supply train by air.

    even then they'd have to use Marine Helos and would be dependent on Harriers for close air support unless the allies want to have a very expensive cloud of aircraft over their ready battalion.

    lets not even start on the Stryker're talking weeks...maybe a month and a half if everything goes perfect.

  8. I'd say another big winner is the MV-22, it did the job in a hostile environment and played its role along the Harriers. It seems like defense analysts are a little surprised even at the speed and quickness of the recent CSAR of those F-15 pilots. Good for the MV-22 and good for those F-15 pilots getting back safely.

  9. DPMI Designated Mean Point of Impact
    Tomahawk Land-Attack Missile TLAM
    Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM)
    Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU


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