Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Retired Navy Capt. James E. Fanell, the modern day Capt. Ellis M. Zacharias of WW2 fame.

Capt. Ellis M. Zacharias (Papers of Ellis M. Zacharias)
via achives.gov
Ellis Zacharias sipped on his dry martini as he matched poker skills with a group that included a young naval attaché with the Japanese embassy.
Zacharias, a naval intelligence officer posted in Washington in the 1920s, was not only playing poker but also trying to get the espionage-minded Japanese officer to let slip some information about his country's plans in the Pacific. He restricted himself to just the one martini in order to maintain his edge. This probing for information was a mutual exercise, usually involving shrewd questioning by both men as they played each hand.
Revealing only enough information to keep the conversation going, Zacharias could absorb what he heard over time while maintaining his friendship with the young Japanese officer, who had a reputation as a gambler.
Some years later, Zacharias would use information gathered this way to warn his superiors that Japan, by then on the march across the Pacific Rim, would launch a surprise attack on the United States in the Pacific—on a Sunday morning.
The Navy ignored his warnings. But early on December 7, 1941—a Sunday morning—Japan suddenly attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. It was an operation planned by Zacharias's old poker-playing partner, Isoroku Yamamoto, by then commander in chief of the Japanese fleet.

Zacharias's prediction of the Pearl Harbor attack was a product of his interest in intelligence, primarily in Japanese affairs, an area that was not held in the highest regard at the time. His 25 years in intelligence (out of 38 in the Navy) made him a colorful and controversial figure and were punctuated by clashes with superiors, unwelcome assignments, and failure to gain recognition that his record merited.
Read the whole thing here (short but worth a deeper dig by anyone interested in military history). 

Fast forward to 2015 and what do we have?

Another Naval Officer that is warning of a rising, aggressive power, and he's being pushed to the side...not given the recognition that his work deserves...he suffered the pain of stating the unvarnished truth and being removed from his position....and I suspect forced into retirement when men such as he need to rise in rank.

Check this out from The Free Beacon...
“The challenge, as I have seen it, is for intelligence professionals to make the case, to tell the truth, and to convince national decision and policy makers to realize that China’s rise, if left unchecked or undeterred, will necessarily disrupt the peace and stability of our friends, partners, and allies,” he said.
“We should not have to wait for an actual shooting war to start before we acknowledge there is a problem and before we start taking serious action,” Fanell said.
The Communist Party of China has plans that “stand in direct contrast to espoused U.S. national security objectives of freedom of navigation and free access to markets for all of Asia,” he added.
In particular, the Chinese navy, Fanell said, is taking steps to achieve strategic objectives that include the restoration of what Beijing says is “sovereign maritime territory,” specifically thousands of square miles of water inside the so-called first island chain—a string of western Pacific islands near China’s coasts stretching from Northeast Asia through the South China Sea.

Decades later.  A different nation.  The same ambition.

And the US Govt in general, and the Naval Services in particular are again not paying attention.  Lets hope it doesn't take a shooting war for people to wake up to the threat.


  1. Almost exactly a year ago, I watched the WEST 2014 panel discussion conducted by the USNI (watch it here if you haven't already https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWhwm4SJxTw). I was particularly impressed with Capt. Fanell talk as he didn't bother with any politically correctness and seemed a straightforward officer who didn't hesitate to call a spade a spade.

    I hadn't heard of his retirement (forced or otherwise) and its a damn shame to see the bureaucracy get such a competent officer.

  2. Where are the red herrings, if they are such Intel vacuums, feed them some tech garbage, make them go harder down blind alleys.

  3. Don't worry the F-35 will be ready for China

  4. what country agree that those nine dash line of China is legal? and that China history is true? Or that China Map is genuine? Is their anybody? How about Unclos? Yes that is the most legal law of the sea that is wudely accepted by the UN itself and the whole world... Good moves by the Philippines and Vietnam.


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