Notes for the Interlude

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The Problem of the Poison Pill

The Navy is axing the Mk VI and Cyclone-class patrol craft programs. The disastrous Littoral Combat Ship (a large patrol craft) program, has bled all over the other potential replacements for the MK VI’s and Cyclones.

MK VI in San Diego Harbor (above) and Cyclone Class PC in the Persian Gulf (below)

The LCS has been a poison pill that infected the Navy’s thinking. And you can’t blame them for being shy at the monster that tore them new body parts – where they sit.

The FFG’s have much more punch, endurance, and versatility, but they are not a brown water ship. The question of what the navy needs seem to be settled science at this point. The small boys are out to scrap and the admirals will keep a few LCS platforms (why?) because scrapping them too would be to admit defeat…but they’ve been defeated. So it’s down to self-delusion. The US Navy has been good at that lately.


As I understand it, the Navy will keep the small Special Operations Craft – Riverine, and Riverine command variant, primarily because the Army wants them. And if that sounds dysfunctional, it is. The Big Deck Admirals have very little to say about Special Operations and things painted camo. They don’t like them, but they are forced to tolerate them.


Doing it on the Cheap

(UK Armed Forces) The British Army (cited in the article) will draw down again in their 2035 concept – smaller and more lethal with Battle Groups the size of two US infantry companies. The British Royal Army has 82,000 soldiers and that may be too many?

The US Army (with reserves and national guard) stands at 1,005,725, with the US Marine Corps at just over 200,000 (180,000 active and 20,000 reserves).

The UK plans to make this smaller force more lethal by adding equipment.  Eventually, in the future, there will only be one British supersoldier – with a lot of gear.


An Old Biker

An 80-year-old man went to the doctor for a check-up and the doctor was amazed at what good shape the guy was in.

The doctor asked, “To what do you attribute your good health?”

The old-timer said, “I’m a biker and that’s why I’m in such good shape. I’m up well before daylight on Sundays and out sliding around corners, “shootin” sand washes and riding up and down the steepest, wildest mountains I can find at the crack of dawn.’

The doctor said, “Well, I’m sure that helps, but there’s got to be more to it. How old was your dad when he died?”

The old biker asked, “Who said my dad’s dead?”

The doctor said, “You mean you’re 80 years old and your dad’s still alive? How old is he?”

The old biker said, “He’s 99 years old and, in fact, he went riding with me this Sunday, and that’s why he’s still alive. He’s a biker too”

The doctor said, “Well, that’s great, but I’m sure there’s more to it. How about your dad’s dad? How old was he when he died?”

The old biker said, “Who said my grandpa’s dead?”

The doctor said, “You mean you’re 80 years old and your grandfather’s still living! How old is he?”

The old biker replied, “He’s 117 years old.”

The doctor was getting frustrated at this point and said, “I guess he went riding with you this Sunday too?”

The old-timer said, “No… Grandpa couldn’t go this week because he got married.”

The Doctor said in amazement, “Got married!! Good Lord! Why would a 117-year-old guy want to get married?”

To this the old biker smiled and answered, “Who said he wanted to?”

11 thoughts on “Notes for the Interlude

  1. I’m starting a list of all the military acronyms from your blog posts…nearly impossible to keep up. Reminds me of that scene in Good Morning Vietnam. Gotta hand it to the Armed Forces, they do have a creative naming group.

    1. The Navy is the worst. It does have its own language, some of it arcane from the days of fighting sails. Hatch, deck, bulkhead, compartment, overhead, gee-dunk, pogey bait, charlie noble, binnacle, calking-off, head, goat locker, snipes, CHENG, quartermaster, captain’s mast, etc. A ship’s captain is not necessarily a CAPTAIN, and the term Commodore is still in use even though the rank is officially rear admiral lower half.

      Then there are the units such as COMNAVSPECWARDEVGRU (Commander, Naval Special Warfare Development Group). The Navy takes pride in building larger and more complicated acronyms, which are themselves inevitably shortened to “DEVGRU” in this case.

        1. There is also FUBIJAR. An acronym in evidence in a place in the old O-Club at Manilla, PI, if my memory holds. “F-U-Buddy, I’m Just A Reserve”

          Yes, reserves are the lowest form of life, but they did have their own linguistic push back.

      1. Is it cultural appropriation if the CHENG is not a Chinaman?

        Also, it’s racist to automatically put Chinese into the Engineering track.

        1. Chief Engineer is not a position exclusively occupied by people of Chinese ancestry… (haha)

  2. Thanks for the laugh!

    In terms of total numbers, didn’t the Army operate more hulls than the Navy in WWII? They still have 118 ships (from sources I found).

    1. Today, Joint Special Operations Command money derives its funding through the Army, which means that even though the particular stars who command it at any given time might not be an Army general, it is paid for by the Army so the Army has a lot of say-so. Even though the various BOATRON commands have navy equipment/hulls, the funding comes through an Army pocket. It can get complicated.

      Before JSOC took over Naval Special Warfare, the teams essentially had a lot of antiquated junk by way of equipment. I was around when the transition took place and it was like night and day. The Army said, “make a wish list”, the Navy did and the Green Machine delivered just like Cinderella’s fairy godmother. They poured BIG money into R&D and the transformation was remarkable. Admirals didn’t think much of spending money on SPECWAR when they could buy a ship or an airplane (depending on the admiral).

  3. On the bright side, the Mk VI and Cyclone will be (relatively) cheap, easy, and quick to replace when the time comes. They are pretty small, straightforward builds, within the capacity of many yards.


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