Archive of Apr 2008

30.04.08
Think Tank’s Bad Idea: Destabilize Somalia to Hurt Al Qaeda

The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point has some good ideas about, well, combating terrorism. Not so good is their advice for preventing Al Qaeda from finding refuge in failed states (Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, etc.), and doing so without too many ground troops. Consider: While a concern with security vacuums is warranted, the implication is [...]

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30.04.08
Secretive Radar for Future Navy Patrol Plane

The Navy’s new P-8 patrol plane, like the 40-year-old P-3 it’s replacing, began as a submarine hunter. Over time, the old P-3 picked up ground-surveillance missions using special radars, including the Littoral Surveillance Radar System. To make sure the P-8 hits the ground running in 2013, the Navy is giving it a similar radar, too [...]

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29.04.08
Destroyermen: Back from the Depths … and towards War (Updated Five Times and Bumped)

After nearly getting sunk a couple weeks back, the USS Russell‘s Destroyermen blog is back in action with this post from Commander Chris van Avery, as he ponders his ship’s approach (link broken) to the Middle East war zone: Ahead lay sandstorms, the pounding, merciless sun and it’s evil twin, saturating humidity. Then there’s the [...]

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29.04.08
Exploiting Al Qaeda’s Weaknesses (Updated with Link)

“Understanding of the Al Qaeda network and how it operates under pressure from the [U.S.] government” — that’s the aim of a short monograph (updated link — ed.) from the Combating Terrorism Center, a new think tank at the U.S. Military Academy, aka “West Point.” The monograph is based on documents snatched from Al Qaeda [...]

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29.04.08
Carrier = Awesome

Just caught Hour Six of PBS’s Carrier documentary. One word: awesome. Sure, the Navy brass has been freaking out over the thing — but that’s only because this show has the balls to be complicated, funny and dark, in addition to putting the usual hardware and platitudes on display. Watch. And Navy: relax. This show [...]

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29.04.08
Cool Ship = Good Ship?

So General Dynamics/Austal’s entry into the Littoral Combat Ship contest to build 55 shallow-water corvettes is pretty much the coolest-looking thing to ever grace an American shipyard. But does that mean she’ll work? And that her design will beat the $460-million cost cap imposed by Congress? We’ll know pretty soon. Independence just made her public [...]

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29.04.08
Al Qaeda’s Cash Crunch

The U.S. military and Treasury have targeted financiers in a bid to financially starve the Iraq insurgency. A similar effort has succeeded in draining Al Qaeda’s coffers, according to an article in West Point Sentinel journal (pdf!). But the bad guys adapt fast: Budding, local terrorist cells are increasingly self-funded through the proceeds of criminal [...]

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29.04.08
Crazy Man Vacations in Somalia

Okay, so he’s not really going on vacation. But writer Alex Strick van Linschoten is going to Somalia, and that does make him slightly crazy. He’s blogging the trip over at The Frontline Club, where I will soon be a regular contributor: MGQ. A complex grouping of consonants represents Mogadishu in its airport 3-letter code. [...]

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28.04.08
Boeing’s Killer Drone Invades Museum (Updated with Pic)

Two years ago the Air Force bowed out of a potentially revolutionary program — Joint Unmanned Combat Air System — to build super-smart, super-lethal fighter-size flying robots. Boeing had built two lightweight X-45 demonstrators (pictured) favored by the Air Force; Northrop Grumman had put together the tougher X-47, favored by the Navy. The idea was [...]

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25.04.08
The U.S. Civil War Almost Became an Iraq-Style Insurgency

During the U.S. Civil War from 1861-1865, Missouri — out on the fringes of the conflict — was a guerrilla battleground. Jay Winik describes the fighting in his book April 1865: Union soldiers hunted down the guerrillas like animals, and in return, they, too, eventually degenerated into little more than savage beasts, driven by a [...]

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24.04.08
Somalia Piracy Update

Somali troops nab pirate in gun battle. Spain prepares forces to rescue kidnapped sailors. U.S. and France prepare U.N. anti-piracy accord. A German warship beats back pirate raid.

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24.04.08
China = Future Ally?

“China will not be our biggest future enemy but our most important ally,” Thomas Barnett, he of “Pentagon’s New Map” fame, writes in the latest GOOD Magazine: A significant portion of our national-security establishment wants desperately to cast China as an inevitable long-term threat. Why? Part of it is simply habit, as most who argue [...]

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