Archive of Apr 2009

30.04.09
Army Critical Thinking Tackles the “Vortex of Violence”

“One night I got a call as a squadron commander to provide a QRF for a force the next morning that was going to go into a southeast province [sic] of Baghdad called Madaiin,” Army Colonel Michael Johnson recalls: Went down about 9:00, 2100, met with the commander, had no real idea of his key [...]

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30.04.09
World Politics Review: U.S. Navy Fights to Save West African Fisheries

In his civilian clothes, Dr. Augustus Vogel stood out among the khaki, green and blue uniforms of Nashville‘s military crew. As the U.S. Navy’s science liaison for the amphibious ship’s six-month “smart power” mission delivering training, humanitarian and scientific assistance to six West African nations, Vogel’s responsibilities were as unusual as his dress. On April [...]

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29.04.09
Google, Radio Mix for Pirate Early Warning

These days the U.N. requires all large commercial ships to broadcast their location and identity using the Automated Identification System beacon technology. In developing countries with poor maritime enforcement, especially in West Africa, the local coast guard can compare AIS tracks to a radar picture to figure out if any ships are trying to sneak [...]

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29.04.09
Kyle’s Links 4/29/09

* Russian military to shed 110,000 * Pakistan’s army stages air assault into Buner * Singaporean navy heads off pirates * Iraq-war first-person-shooter game canned * USAF drones unable to land themselves = higher losses

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29.04.09
World Politics Review: Military Could Mobilize to Battle Swine Flu

The World Health Organization on Monday raised its alert level for swine flu, edging the body closer to declaring a flu pandemic, while the death toll in Mexico, where the disease originated, neared 150. Half a dozen countries, including the United States, have identified swine flu cases, likely vectored by air travel. Governments across the [...]

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28.04.09
As with Iraq, Brits Losing Afghanistan?

When I was in Basra in late 2007, at the main British base near the airport, construction workers were building a brand-new, massive dining hall. Since British forces were reducing their presence, I asked why bother building new facilities. The reason, I was told off the record, was that new American troops would be moving [...]

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28.04.09
Africa Handshake, Part Ten: Smart Power’s Long History

With two expensive land wars draining the treasury, the Pentagon wants to prevent future conflicts without spending a lot of money. Two years ago the Navy launched its first, roughly annual Africa Partnership Station, sending ships on solo cruises up the West African coast to deliver training and humanitarian aid. The idea: to win new [...]

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28.04.09
“It’s a Major Award”

A story I wrote in April last year for the U.S. Naval Institute’s Proceedings has won a Society of National Association Magazines award for feature writing in the 50,001-to-100,000 circulation category. The award comes with a $4 million cash prize. Brad Pitt hosts the ceremony in Washington, D.C., in June, which I will be attending [...]

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28.04.09
Brits Ape Yanks: Will “Re-Think” Defense

It’s funny how closely our cousins across the pond follow our own military fads. In early April, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates outlined sweeping changes to weapons plans, promising to “re-balance this department’s programs in order to institutionalize and enhance our capabilities to fight the wars we are in today and the scenarios we are [...]

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27.04.09
Pirates Smarter, More Dangerous, More Numerous

Until last week, to protect against Somali pirates, it was enough to have a warship escorting your commercial ships. In two years of escorts by NATO, the E.U. and various Western navies acting alone, not a single U.N. food ship was captured off the Somali coast. But pirates have evolved. Last week a swarm of [...]

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27.04.09
South Park Goes Pirating

You know the American public discourse on Somali piracy has bottomed out when the animated show South Park features the most balanced treatment of piracy on TV. While supposedly legitimate pundits call for land invasions and summary executions to wipe out seaborne “terrorists,” in last Wednesday’s episode South Park called piracy for what it is: [...]

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27.04.09
Kyle’s Links 4/27/09

* Russia building six subs for Vietnamese Navy * British SAS set for expansion * Turkey, Syria holding first ever joint exercises * Norman Polmar on the Chinese Navy * The tech behind Future Combat Systems

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