This week, Sea Control Asia Pacific takes on land-based anti-ship missiles in Asia. Natalie Sambhi, of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, interviews US Pacific Command’s Lieutenant Colonel Jan Ken Gleiman (views expressed are his own) and ASPI’s Harry White on the development of Chinese land-based anti-ship missiles, and whether the US and its allies should follow suit. They also discuss the impact of this activity on the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, and whether Australian strategic culture is ready for this capability. Lastly, having been a visiting fellow embedded in ASPI for two months, Ken shares his first impressions of the Australian strategic culture and the differences between the ability for the Australian military to participate in public commentary when compared to their American counterparts.
Welcome back to this week’s Members’ Roundup. I hope that all of you found last week’s post enjoyable reading for the weekend. As mentioned previously, the idea behind this series is to be able to collate and disseminate works of all CIMSEC members. So if you, or if you know that another member, has published recently, then please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This first article focuses on a more traditional debate regarding naval strategy: “As we approach the centenary of Mahan’s death it is time to reexamine our modern conceptions of sea power”. Over at gCaptain, Benjamin Armstrong shares his thoughts on balancing the competing requirements of the naval service moving in to the future. This discussion is particularly important as many Navies around the world are facing significant cutbacks in funding and personnel. Thus an examination of Navies’ roles in future can provide a good basis for this debate.
But wait! This week we have two contributions from LCDR BJ Armstrong. Over at the US Naval Insitute’s Blog (and on the 239th birthday of the US Marine Corps) BJ shares with us his thoughts on talent management, using the story of Major General John Lejeune’s early challenges as an example of this. Sometimes the service knows what it is doing, but if Lejuene’s story is anything to go by, sometimes the service gets it wrong.
In the 21st century we are seeing a paradigm shift of perceptions of power and how that impacts on global affairs. Admiral (retd.) James Stavridis shares his thoughts on how the changing nature of power shapes our world, in an interview over at Thought Economics.
I believe that the Admiral will be a regular feature of this series in the coming months. His career, and the topics that he writes on, provides us with a variety of topics to discuss outside the maritime domain and regularly visiting the relationship between these subjects will be important as we navigate the challenges in maritime security.
Once again, we respectfully ask that you email email@example.com so that we can share your great work here at CIMSEC.
Nam is a Maritime Warfare Officer in the Royal Australian Navy. He holds a Bachelor of Business and is currently completing a Master of Philosophy in International Security Studies at the University of New South Wales. He joins the CIMSEC team as its new Director of Member Publicity.
On Sunday, 26 October, the Defense Entrepreneurs Forum hosted an innovation competition sponsored by the United States Naval Institute. $5,000 in prizes were awarded after the eight contestants made their pitches. This was the one-pager from the winning entry.
GRAND PRIZE WINNER
Contestant: Mark Jacobsen, USAF Officer
In many cases, the United States cannot airlift supplies into non-permissive conflict zones without a major military effort to take down Integrated Air Defense Systems (IADS). Even then, manned cargo aircraft are vulnerable to surface-to-air fire from small arms and MANPADs. These challenges became apparent during the recent siege of Yazidi civilians in Iraq. With a humanitarian catastrophe unfolding and pressure on the US to “do something”, the US reluctantly began kinetic strikes to facilitate airdrops. In Syria, meanwhile, up to 240,000 civilians have been besieged by the Assad regime, ISIS, and various militias. The international community has no way to alleviate this suffering without direct military intervention. The ability to deliver cargo through non-permissive airspace would give the US government more flexible policy options for addressing humanitarian crises, and could open up new options in A2/AD environments. Non-governmental organizations could also employ this capability to bypass logistic bottlenecks and deliver aid to inaccessible or widely distributed populations.
The revolution in micro UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) opens up a new paradigm for cargo delivery. Instead of using one vulnerable airplane carrying a large amount of cargo, it is now possible to swarm cargo in small packets. Micro UAVs are difficult to detect, and no one aircraft is worth the price of a surface-to-air missile. Although these aircraft are extremely payload limited, they could deliver critical medical supplies like insulin or antibiotics, and in sufficient quantities they could move greater masses of food or other supplies (imagine an army of ants carrying away a picnic lunch).
After an eye-opening research trip among Syrian refugees, I founded the Syria Airlift Project to explore technologies for delivering humanitarian aid through contested airspace. My team and I have developed a small fleet of experimental UAVs. Each vehicle costs less than $350 and can carry 2-3 lbs. We plan to iterate soon to a larger vehicle that can carry 5-10 lbs. The planes are built from common materials, and an experienced builder can assemble one in just a few hours. We are writing custom software so a single operator can generate a swarm of deconflicted flight plans based on a single reference flight plan. To ensure the technology does not fall into the hands of malicious actors, we are writing custom software and hardware failsafes that will destroy the autopilot in the event of a crash. We have successfully flown our aircraft on profiles including automatic takeoffs, airdrops at designated GPS coordinates, and auto landings.
In the coming months, we will continue developing the ground station software and self-destruct mechanisms, building a larger aircraft, and extending our fleet’s range and endurance. We will also be developing our concept of operations for building, maintaining, and operating the aircraft. After extensive testing in the US, we hope to deploy a few trial aircraft with an NGO partner that serves northern Syria. I am also reporting on our work back to Air Mobility Command (AMC), the provider of global air mobility for the United States.
*ANCILLARY BENEFITS TO DOD: *
Through my research, I have been able to build relationships with many key players in the micro-UAV industry. I am now on the volunteer developer team for 3D Robotics UAV autopilots and software, where I am focusing on improving flight safety, training, and the integration of private UAVs into the national airspace system. I am also working with AMC contacts on a concept for “standoff airdrop”, that would allow AMC aircraft to conduct airdrops at significant range from drop zones.
On Sunday, 26 October, the Defense Entrepreneurs Forum hosted an innovation competition sponsored by the United States Naval Institute. $5,000 in prizes were awarded after the eight contestants made their pitches. This is the second prize winner posted originally at the DEF Whiteboard.
SECOND PLACE WINNER
Contestant: Charlie Hymen, US NAVY
Access to the Navy’s abundance of official information is too limited. This is a problem recognized by leaders onboard ships and in operational units at sea. There is no shortage of official military guidance that discusses a leader’s responsibilities pertaining to basic administration, personnel management, and professional development, but this information is often embedded in large, cumbersome documents that one must access from a computer. This proves challenging for those at sea, as computers are scarce resources on many vessels. Furthermore, inexperienced officers and junior Sailors have difficulty locating the correct information needed at any given time because they simply do not know where find it.
eDIVO will solve these inefficiencies. As a mobile application that will be available through the Apple Store and Google Play in February 2015, eDIVO will provide access to the most commonly used and referenced Navy documents and serve as a quick reference management and education tool for Navy leaders of all ranks. The mobile application will also extract the most important information contained in these documents and organize it in a logical, user-friendly format. All information included in the application is nonproprietary, and the vast majority will be accessible free from internet connectivity. Whether conducting an inspection in the engine room, training with peers while navigating around the world, or mentoring a struggling Sailor at sea, eDIVO will enable leaders to provide accurate guidance to their subordinates, peers, and superiors at any time and in any place. No longer will one be required to waste valuable time finding access to a computer, locating pertinent documents, and printing the applicable pages; a user’s personal mobile device is the only hardware necessary.
Topics of focus within eDIVO include, but are not limited to, legal and financial guidance, operational safety precautions, basic navigation principles, sexual assault reporting procedures, and suicide prevention measures. Armed with the Navy’s official guidance on these subjects, leaders will be able to shave from their workweeks hours spent searching for information. Not only will leaders be empowered to provide accurate guidance, but they will also have more time available that can be devoted to leading their teams, learning their jobs, strategizing against potential threats, and ultimately becoming more effective and informed leaders.
The Navy has provided initial funding to develop the first version of this mobile application. While approximately 75% of information contained within eDIVO is applicable to all ranks and specialties in the Navy, the initial version is tailored to leaders serving on ships. Future versions of eDIVO will be customized to those in other specialties. On a broader level, eDIVO represents the first operationally focused mobile application funded within the Department of the Navy. Its success, and the lessons learned from its development, will shape the Navy’s policy for all future mobile ventures.
On Sunday, 26 October, the Defense Entrepreneurs Forum hosted an innovation competition sponsored by the United States Naval Institute. $5,000 in prizes were awarded after the eight contestants made their pitches. This is the third prize winner posted originally at the DEF Whiteboard.
THIRD PRIZE WINNER
Contestant: Dave Blair, US Air Force Officer
MoneyJet: Harnessing Big Data to Build Better Pilots
BLUF: ‘Moneyball’ for flying. Track flight recorder and simulator ‘Big Data’ throughout an aviator’s flying career. Structure and store these data so that aviators can continually improve their performance and maximize training efficiency for their students.
High-fidelity data exists for flights and simulators in an aviator’s career. However, these data are not structured as ‘big data’ for training and proficiency – we track these statistics by airframe, and not aircrew, unless there is an incident. Therefore, we rely on flawed heuristics and self-fulfilling prophecies about ‘fit’ when we could be using rich data. Solution. Simple changes in data retrieval and storage make a ‘big data’ solution feasible. By making these datasets available to aircrew, individuals can observe their own trends and how they compare to their own and other flying populations. Instructors can tailor flights to student-specific needs. Commanders can identify ‘diamonds in the rough’ (good flyers with one or two key problems) who might otherwise be dismissed, and ‘hidden treasure’ (quiet flyers with excellent skills) who might otherwise be overlooked. Like in ‘Moneyball,’ the ability to build a winning team at minimum cost using stats is needed in this time of fiscal austerity.
Rich Data environment for objective assessments.
o Self-Improvement, Squadron Competitions, Counterbalance Halo/Horns effect
o Whole-force shaping, Global trend assessments, Optimize training syllabi
o Maximize by giving aircrew autonomy in configuring metrics.
Costs: Contingent on aircrew seeing program as a benefit or a burden.
o Logistics: Low implementation cost, data already exist, just need to re-structure.
o Culture: Potential high resistance if seen as ‘big brother’ rather than a tool.
o Minimize by treating as non-punitive ‘safety data’ not ‘checkride data’
Partial foundation for training/ops/tactics rich data ecosystem.
o Build culture of ‘Tactical Sabermetrics’ – stats-smart organizational learning
o Amplify thru Weapons School use of force stats, large-n sim experiments
Over-reliance on statistics to the expense of traditional aircrew judgment
o If used for promotion, rankings, could lead to gaming & stats obsession
o Mitigate by ensuring good stats only replace bad stats, not judgment Implementation. First, we build a secure repository for all flight-performance-relevant data.
All data is structured by aviators, not airframes. This data is stored at the FOUO level for accessibility (w/secure annex for wartime data.) Second, we incorporate data retrieval and downloading into post-flight/sim maintenance checklists. Finally, we present data in an intuitive form, with metrics optimized to mission set. For individuals, we provide stats and percentiles for events such as touchdown point/speed, fuel burn, and WEZ positioning. For groups, we provide trend data and cross-unit comparison with anonymized names.
The fundamental justification for the Marine Corps is not tied to any Operations Plan—it is much more basic than that. While the combat effectiveness of the Marines is without parallel in modern expeditionary warfare, the Corps’ lethality is not in my opinion its greatest contribution. As the Marines mark the 239th anniversary of their founding and carry out the guidance of legendary Commandant General John A. LeJeune to “commemorate the birthday of the Corps by calling to mind the glories of its long and illustrious history,” it is beholden on the American citizenry writ large to reflect on why we need the Marine Corps. Simply stated, we will always need the Marine Corps because it produces Marines.
The metamorphosis from Marine Recruit or Officer Candidate to Marine is the single greatest transformational experience a person can ever undertake in the US Military. The inculcation of basic Marine Corps training yields a bounty of new Marines at the conclusion of every Officers Candidate School and Recruit District class who represent the timeless American ideal—the most physically fit, polished, tough young men and women in uniform, guided by core values—“Courage, Honor, Commitment”—and possessing an uncommon tenacity to “Improvise, Adapt and Overcome.” Marines carry this American Ideal to the four corners of the Earth while engaged in combat operations, humanitarian assistance / disaster relief operations, theater security cooperation missions and as Marine Security Guards at our embassies.
You’ve probably heard it said before that “once a Marine, Always a Marine.” Former Commandant of the Marine Corps General James Amos codified this in 2011:
“A Marine is a Marine. I set that policy two weeks ago – there’s no such thing as a former Marine. You’re a Marine, just in a different uniform and you’re in a different phase of your life. But you’ll always be a Marine because you went to Parris Island, San Diego or the hills of Quantico. There’s no such thing as a former Marine.”
And thank God. The ethos that Marines carry with them—Semper Fidelis–has not only served them on active duty and in their follow-on civilian lives, but has also served as a pillar to many of our great civilian institutions that they have brought this ethos to such as the New York City Fire Department and the National Aeronautical Space Administration. Marines are Always Faithful—to the nation, to the Corps, to each other.
Today the Marine Corps is shrinking as part of a post Operation Iraqi Freedom / Operation Enduring Freedom peace dividend. The Corps is shifting from its previous land based war footing to a more expeditionary / responsive, sea based force. While the doctrine is being adjudicated, the ultimate asset in the continued existence of the Corps is not a mission set, but the production of such fine men and women who are capable of accomplishing any task handed to them. So long as Quantico, San Diego and Parris Island produce Marines, America shall always require a Marine Corps.
Happy Birthday, Marines. Thanks for being Always Faithful.
Nicolas di Leonardo is a member of the Expeditionary Warfare Division on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations and a student at the US Naval War College. The views represented here are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Expeditionary Warfare Division or the Naval War Colleg
Alex Clarke interviews Major General (ret) Nick Vaux, Royal Marines who, in 1982, was a Colonel and the Commanding Officer of 42 Commando. He is the author of two books:
Take That Hill
March to the South Atlantic
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