NATO – Interesting moves

Leslie Eastman writes for the LI Blog. I don’t know if any of you know Leslie. She has a son just finishing his plebe (first) year at the USAF Academy. She’s a very bright lady and wrote an interesting article (linked above) about Swiss thoughts of standardizing equipment with NATO. It wouldn’t mean that Switzerland joins NATO and abandons neutrality, but it would mean that they’re re-thinking tooling up in a different direction.

Turkey is always a spoiler. The Turks and Greeks are going at it inside the DC Beltway. I’ve mentioned that I have close relationships with Greece and at the moment, I’m trying to determine if there’s a place for my company in that fight. More on that here. The article in defense news is well written and represents the situation. At present we’re working on placing small nuclear generators in remote locations in Greece to create a robust power grid — but there may be something to this arms contest that we could add to. I’m working on that.

With a satphone in hand, I’m going to head out to the Mogollon Rim today to get even further away from it all. I can work while I’m exploring.

The Mogollon Rim is a topographical and geological feature cutting across the northern half of the U.S. state of Arizona. It extends approximately 200 miles, starting in northern Yavapai County and running eastward, ending near the border with New Mexico.  I live atop the Rim & Colorado Plateau.


Ukraine War Update

Ukraine POWS are being transported from the Azovstal plant to Russian concentration camps. Organized resistance in Mariupol appears to have now ended.


Andrew JacksonGeneral and President of the USA

President Andrew Jackson was captured by the British when he was only 14 years old. His older brother Robert was also captured at the same time.

Jackson’s childhood, including his imprisonment during the Revolution, no doubt explains his feisty nature. He once said of himself: “I was born for a storm and a calm does not suit me.”

Jackson was born in the Waxhaws region of the Carolinas. His Father passed away before his birth, so his mother was left to raise him and his two brothers with the help of relatives. She must have been pretty feisty herself. Reportedly, Jackson once described her as “gentle as a dove and as brave as a lioness.” When the Revolution began, his mother helped as a nurse, taking care of wounded and sick soldiers.

Some of these Revolutionary battles in the South were particularly brutal. At the Battle of Waxhaws (May 1780), British Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton ruthlessly slaughtered or wounded nearly 300 Americans, despite the fact that these Americans were trying to surrender. The massacre caused a great deal of outrage. Soon, a small fighting force was being organized and the 13-year-old Jackson signed up, as did his older brother Robert. (Their older brother, Hugh, had already passed away following the Battle of Stono Ferry.)

Andrew and his brother Robert were too young to serve as part of the regular militia, so they were probably errand boys and messengers. Unfortunately, a Tory neighbor gave away their location to the British. The British raided the home where they were hiding and took them to a British prison camp in Camden, South Carolina.

Jackson was defiant, even as he was being captured. Presumably, to humiliate Jackson, a British officer ordered Jackson to clean his boots. Jackson refused. The officer raised his sword and swung it at Jackson, who had his arms up in a defensive position. Jackson’s forehead and hand were scarred for life as a result of the incident.

Jackson was eventually released from the prison camp when his mother arrived and convinced the British to include Andrew and Robert in a prisoner exchange. Mrs. Jackson must have been feisty! By then, both boys had been exposed to smallpox in the camp and were very ill. Robert died of the disease shortly thereafter. Andrew recovered, but it took several months. His mother soon made another journey in an attempt to save her nephews from another prison camp, but she ended up contracting cholera and dying.

Thus, the future 7th President of the United States was an orphan by the age of 15.


USMC 2030

A group of retired Marine Corps senior leaders are in a custody battle with the service’s current leadership over ongoing efforts to redesign the force for future combat much like grandparents fighting with parents over what’s best for the child.

That’s the description laid out by four senior defense officials who debated the topic Monday at the Center for Strategic and International Studies event, “On the Future of the Marine Corps: Assessing Force Design 2030″.

But one of Commandant Gen. David Berger’s strongest critics had a more strident description. “And those other retired generals who are concerned don’t believe the Marine Corps will exist if (Force Design) 2030 is fully implemented. said retired Lt. Gen. Paul Van Riper, former commander of Marine Corps Combat Development Command. “That’s how seriously we take it. So, not a custody fight. It’s a fight for the life of the child.”

The question put to you readers of this blog is whether you think that Force Design 2030 is a good idea or not.


The Hovel

I received a few e-mails asking for photo views of shack at the White Wolf Mine, where I live. It’s difficult to get the angles without a drone, so I pulled some images from engineering. It looks like the plans…obviously. You also get the elevation effect. I have no idea what it would cost to rebuild it at today’s material prices. The steel roof alone would be 3x what I paid for it three years ago.

There are larger and more impressive homes in the area, but few of them are occupied for more than a couple of weeks or so each year. They’re second or third homes – mountain cabins belonging to rich people from Phoenix or Scottsdale. The only landscaping is the natural flow of native plants, I vowed that I wouldn’t make the place too civilized.

The lower floor is the guest area and to some extent, mirrors the upper floor where I live. There is a large game room whereas there is a great room on the main floor. 10′ ceilings. If you’re going to be remote, you need to make the place comfortable. The upper deck is an outdoor living area that extends out from the great room. The sliding Pela glass doors fold back on themselves and it makes for a large entertainment area inside and out.

I have four married daughters with children. The place needed to be large enough for them too. If the world goes to hell, they need a place to go.


  1. I love the drive through garage on your hovel. No boxes stacked preventing that I’m assuming.

    • If you have the land to do it, a drive-through garage is the way to go. I have had boats and I don’t have one now, but that is one thing that a drive-through garage is good for. Pull it through and park it, disconnect it and you’re ready to go without angle backing.

  2. “Feisty”…about a year and a half ago we had a President like that, a doer who canned people not doing their job and told the people directly his thoughts while calling out the liars and cheats. Contrast Jackson with the current occupant who only gets feisty if he doesn’t get a nap and goes off script.

    Homes tend to reflect their owners personalities…designs from scratch meld that with the priorities on how the home wants to live, by the occupants and on the landscape. Nice “fitting” design.

    • At the risk of sounding old, everything I need is on the main floor with no stairs or steps. Downstairs is for guests.

      That is not an issue now, but looking forward, it might be.

      • That’s a ways off for the Youngin’s, altho an Elevette is a solution. Mom preferred the stairs, dad put one in, she called it “my moving closet”.

        Enjoy The Rim. I’m away as well, helping one brother with his property development. Fun stuff. Still a lot of good country and people in America, in fact, most of it.

      • As I get older I’ve that railings on stairs are my good friends and not having to deal with stairs even better!

      • One of the bloggers who have gone silent is an ex-Marine officer and his wife who built a two-story compound in northwest Georgia when they were retired. And reading his blog, as he got older and creakier and not able to take care of two stories was sad.

        One floor rules them all, two floors divide them.

  3. nice digs. i’d need to keep a map in my pocket to find the bathroom/s….marines, i don’t know the details but i favor going back to the small but deadly amphibious force it once was. they got too big trying to compete w/ army. they should keep capabilities but drop quantities and increase/hone their ability to work with the other services. they should have a specific mission and peacekeeping shouldn’t be part of it. they’re our shock troops, clearing the way for follow-on forces. the air force needs to get a grip and accept the close ground support role again too. army needs to get back to being army, big heavy firepower and overwhelming numbers of shooters/ less diversity officers. navy? PAINT YOUR DAMN SHIPS! and quit building stupid crap. to hell w/ the eco warriors. they can paddle behind the ships and suck up the toxic paint tailings if they want. there, i fixed it. tell all the corporal klingers to get in uniform or go home.

    • At the risk of sounding like the squid that I am, it makes no sense to have a Marine Corps that mirrors Big Army. Just add a couple of divisions to the Army and call it a day. But that’s not what the USMC wants. It has its own organic air support, its expediationary/amphib mission, and so forth – with the Navy to go in first and make sure that it’s safe for them to land ;^)

      When you look at what the USMC is expected to do against current threats that are expected to remain threats (China), in a littoral environment, the transformation makes sense to me. The retired Marine general mafia that wants to derail the transformation will never be called upon to fight China on Pacific Islands.

  4. When the world goes to hell, not “if.” There, I fixed it for you.

    We need a man like Andrew Jackson again today. Immediately, if not sooner. I’m not sure if that guy’s name is Trump or not, but the media and their Donk leadership (spit) are still piling on the guy, and he’s been out of office a long time now. I guess when two thousand mules steal a selection for you, that’s one of your prerogatives.

    • The progs fear Trump’s return with a Congressional majority of non-RINOs, who want to get things done.

      Yes, when the world goes to hell.

    • I built it for my kids as a refuge. It’s really too big for me, but when they are here in numbers, I find that I’m grateful for the space.

      Two Thanksgivings ago there were all here and the power went out. Then the generator kicked on automatically… sometimes the little things make a big difference.

  5. Agree with you on mirroring Big Army.
    During OIF 1st MARDIV had to be equipped by the Army to perform along side the Third Infantry Division. Why not have just have used another mech infantry division?
    The National Security Act of 1947 mandates three Marine Divisions and three air wings. At this point the USMC begins to rival the Army.
    Know LTGEN Van Riper and understand and appreciate his POV.
    The USMC has always lived a precarious life. NSA 47’s mandates W/R to the Corps [largely as a result of effective congressional relations by a Marine named Krulak] were designed to correct that.
    Times change.
    Have no doubt Commandant Berger’s preparations for Sino/Pacific conflict could be carried out within the existing force structure and not by altering it.
    Have served in both Army and Marines. Van Riper and his peers core concern is readiness. They [and I] know is that culturally the Marines are always far readier to take up the cudgels.
    Suspect someone in a position of authority that Berger respected [not the SECDEF] told him that giving it up would be far less painful than having it taken away from him. Power politics meet military affairs.

    • And the Air Force would love to take over the Naval & Marine Corps air mission. Of course, they hate the A-10 and close air support. I think that the army should have its own fixed-wing aircraft beyond the C-12 Huron – for when rotors aren’t enough. But USAF guards that jealously.

  6. The Mogollon Rim, Louis L’Amour country!

    I thought the current Commandant of the Marine Corp had already been successful (or was well on the way) in reducing it to a guard force for the navy.
    I did wonder where they found a Marine who was willing to get rid of the Marine Corp, but we are already living in strange times.

    • Yes indeed, Louis L’Amour AND Zane Grey country. Many westerns have been written about this area.

  7. We definitely could use another “Old Hickory”; maybe abut 10 of them. Some of the things coming out of DC make me shake my head in disbelief.

    Very well planned out house, you obviously put a lot of thought into it. Take your point on multiple floors being an obstacle later in life. Happy that you were able to complete it when you did although I seem to recall you saying “never again” to a custom home a few years ago.

    Expanding NATO…no, I think it would just make things more of a tinderbox. I can see Turkey vetoing things but they have a point. For years they have tried to get into the EU and were not allowed to join. A lot of simple payback going on.

    Marine reorganization, I was an enlisted guy so above my pay grade, but to me it should not be another Army so shrink it a bit, give it a specialized mission. Of course that means that the government will have to fund and equip it to be successful.

  8. A thought on the Air Force and the ground attack mission. Either the AF should totally embrace it or should cede it back to the Army. Should not be “oh we will do it but will not be a core mission and you’ll just have to wait until we can get to it” that it is now.

  9. Force Design 2030: My biggest problem is that they’re going ‘all in’, decommissioning and eliminating forces and weapons before there is any replacement. Just looking at the saga of the LCS should give Berger pause. The LAW may never exist. Hypersonic weapons don’t exist yet. NMESIS exists but the JADC2 that will provide targeting data to them doesn’t. And from what land mass will they fire from? Any Nation that allows these Marine units to fire from their islands invites retaliatory fires (not to mention the unit that fires a missile).
    Some of the new capabilities in FD 2030 should be developed, but what if all this new tech doesn’t work? And the DODs track record for the last 30 years isn’t that great. Will the USMC end up being not much more than Light Infantry?

  10. The hovel looks VERY solid. You built well. It also needs two adults per side to defend it.

    I will not dispute the fact that the Litoral Marine Regiments are well adapted to island defence, and each owning its own anti Air Bn is a great development. But no organic armor and less than a single battery of tube artillery, plus one MLRS battery per Marine infantry battalion is a weakness: not everything is worth a missile, and 155mm is still quite hard to intercept due to the thick casing. Ukraine is buying, begging or borrowing every old soviet-era tank or cannon they can lay their hands on, to enable offensive action.

    • Unsurprisingly, I’m with Claudio on this.

      I like the capability that is being built for the USMC, but I don’t think it should be all there is. It makes them too fragile if caught, and to dependent upon other services.

      It also seems to me that they are making themselves into something quite like a modern version of the SNLF, which was a force very often misused and that didn’t fare well against the WW 2 USMC when engaged.

      I would rather not see them expended as penny-packet Task Force Smith style speedbumps and tripwires on small Pacific islands against the PRC, and worry that DoD will use them for exactly that.


      • Oh, and P.S. – the new amphibious ship they seem to want to rely upon has zero survivability, IMO. I think there’s a lot of work to be done before they get to a really workable structure.


  11. Never knew that much about Jackson. The American History I was taught was mostly about events, rather than the people who made them happen.

    The inter-service rivalries have always been with us. I expect it to continue.

    Great house in a very nice location. Perhaps I’ll get to see it someday. Drive through garages are nice, especially if they have high ceilings. Did you get a lift yet?

    And having family with little ones always seems to really bring a place to life. I miss it when out little guy goes home.

    • Not a huge fan either, but I would take him over pretty much everyone in D.C. today, or most State capitals.

      Hell, I think JFK was an idiot, and I’d say the same for him.


  12. 2030 is the death knell for the Marines if it goes through intact… Might as well just give them to the Army at that point. Beautiful design, especially the drive through garage!

  13. The way things are progressing, having a bolthole or redoubt is a must. Gas stations are re-calibrating their machines to four digits in expectation of ten dollar prices. How’s that saying go? Those who trade their weapons for plowshares end up hiding behind those who kept their guns. Preppers are saying, “We told you so.”

  14. I do like the plans of your clubhouse even though there isn’t a TOWER. I find that last aspect odd. Think of the eagle eyrie overwatch of it all.

    • I know – the tower, peeking over the top of the 200′ Ponderosa Pines would be cool.

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