FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day February 12th through 15th 2018

Saying of the Day

You matter… Unless you multiply yourself by the speed of light … then you’re energy.

 

China Thinks US Is Insecure Regarding China

One of the missions of the US Navy is to keep lines of communication and transportation open throughout the world for all the world’s nations and economies.  It’s much easier to break or interfere with those lines of communication and transportation than it is to maintain them.  I saw this in Asia TimesThe United States has a sense of insecurity that is “beyond comprehension”, according to China’s foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang. He made that remark on Wednesday while refuting claims by the US National Intelligence director that the US faces multiple threats from China.  “I don’t know why the United States has such a strong sense of insecurity,” Geng said at a press conference. He said there was “no such thing as absolute security” and one country’s security could not be achieved at the expense of others.  Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Tuesday February 13 that the US is confronted with multiple threats by countries like Russia and China – cyber-threats, espionage, and weaponization of outer space.  He said Russia, China, Iran and North Korea posed the greatest global cyber-threats.  “Frankly, the United States is under attack,” said Coats (below left).  Coats noted that US adversaries and “malign actors”, including Russia and China, would use several tactics, including cyber and information warfare to challenge US influence around the world. But Coats devoted most of his remarks at the hearing to Moscow’s meddling in US elections.  The Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, in response, urged the US to discard its confrontational, zero-sum-game mindset and make concerted efforts with China, Russia and other members of the international community to “correspond with the trend of the times.”  Global conflict was higher than at any time since the end of the Cold War.  “The US is the No.1 major power in the world with unparalleled military might. If it constantly thinks that it’s threatened hither and thither, what would other countries feel? How could they even survive in that case?” Geng retorted.  Concerns about China in regard to security, however, have gained steam. FBI Director Christopher Wray also told the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday that Beijing has been aggressively planting spies on US campuses.  And last week, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida wrote to five Florida institutions and asked them to shut down joint programs with China’s Confucius Institute, a Beijing-funded exchange scheme to set up centers overseas to promote Mandarin and Chinese culture. The centers have come into a media glare in recent years amid suspicions of espionage and an erosion of academic freedom in host countries in the West.  So do we need to be concerned regarding threats from China.  You’re damn right we do!

Continue reading “FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day February 12th through 15th 2018”

FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day January 27th Through 31st 2018

Saying of the Day

In these days when each day we’re faced with remembering user IDs and passwords, I’ve simplified my on line security by having only one pin.  My pin is the last eight digits of pi.

 

Japan and France Plan Joint Naval Exercises In ‘Show of Strength’ Against China

In a move that supports US efforts and those of other countries in the region Asian Times is reporting Japanese government sources have told the Asahi Shimbun that Japan and France will conduct joint naval exercises in February in a “show of strength” against China’s activities in the South China Sea.  Asahi says an agreement on the maneuvers is expected to be made at a “two plus two” meeting of the Japanese and French foreign and defense ministers on January 26 in Tokyo. The two countries are said to be bolstering their security cooperation in the Pacific region due to China’s expanding naval presence and its policy toward the South China Sea.  The exercise between Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force and the French Navy would involve the French frigate Vendemiaire, which is charged with patrolling France’s overseas territories, the sources said. But there’s no indication on where the exercise will be held.  The sources stressed that France views itself as a “Pacific nation,” given that it controls territories in the South Pacific and the Indian Ocean, including New Caledonia and French Polynesia.  Japan reportedly wants to secure France’s support for its diplomatic strategy that seeks to maintain a “free and open Indo-Pacific region.”  The sources said the two nations are expected to issue a joint statement at the January 26 meeting that emphasizes the importance of freedom of navigation and other issues.  Japanese and French officials are also seeking a broad agreement on an Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement for the exchange of supplies such as ammunition between the Japan’s Self-Defense Force and the French military.  They are further expected to confirm plans to begin joint research on mine detection technology.  Cooperation with France is the latest move by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government to nurture new military ties and alliances as the balance of global power shifts.  Japan and Britain agreed in December to conduct joint naval maneuvers in the Pacific this year as part of a military cooperation pact. The pact also includes jointly developing a new air-to-air missile for the US F-35 stealth fighter used by both countries.S

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FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day November 3rd through 6th, 2017

Normalization of Deviation Within Seventh Fleet Led To Collisions At Sea

I spoke to some of findings of the Navy’s investigation into the recent collisions of the USS Fitzgerald and the USS John S. McCain in the last edition of FOD.  Acceptance of deviations or the normalization of deviation from standards of training led directly to the shortfalls in the core functions of basic ship operations at sea in the case of the recent collisions at sea.  Defense News is reporting in one of the most remarkable U.S. Navy documents in recent memory, the service is admitting to widespread failures and training shortfalls at the core of its most basic function: safely operating ships at sea.  A comprehensive review of the Surface Navy conducted by the Navy’s Fleet Forces Command found that both the Japan-based 7th Fleet headquarters leadership and its ship commanders allowed training and proficiency to erode as they sought to keep ships underway to meet operational requirements.  “The risks that were taken in the Western Pacific accumulated over time and did so insidiously,” according to the report released Thursday. “The dynamic environment normalized to the point where individuals and groups of individuals could no longer recognize that the processes in place to identify, communicate and assess readiness were no longer working at the ship and headquarters level.”  The problems became easy to ignore because, prior to the mishaps, they were still getting the job done, the report argues.  The comprehensive review, led by fleet boss Admiral Phil Davidson, found that the issues in 7th Fleet were in some ways unique to the pressures and demands in the Pacific region, the Navy’s most fast-paced and dangerous operating environment, but in other ways pointed to serious lapses in training and evaluation of its officers and sailors.  The review raised troubling questions about the ability of surface warfare officers in today’s fleet and their ability to act under pressure.  In a detailed analysis of the four major accidents in 7th Fleet this year — two deadly collisions, a grounding and a minor collision with a fishing boat — the review found that officers and enlisted sailors performed poorly when faced with a dangerous situation.  The review ascertained that in all four incidents this year, when the crews were faced with an extreme situation, they delayed actions, froze and did not alert their crews of imminent danger.  “Incorrect actions in extremis were a contributing factor to the chain of errors that resulted in the incident[s],” the report reads.  The report also found that teamwork was at times non-existent between the bridge and the ship combat information centers, the place that displays and synthesizes the information from a ship’s sensors and weapons systems.  Furthermore, the review determined that sailors had routinely failed to use the tools available to them to increase awareness of their situations.  In the review, the Navy also acknowledges that its surface warfare officers lacked sufficient navigation and seamanship skills, and recommends creating an “objective, standardized assessment program to periodically assess individual seamanship and navigation skills over the course of a surface warfare officer’s career.”  The review details steps, including new evaluation processes, to correct the issues.  In regards to the issues at 7th Fleet, the review argues that leaders in the region were blinded by operational commitments and that cutting corners became the norm in order to fulfill commitments.  “Evidence of skill proficiency on ships and readiness problems at headquarters were missed, and over time, even normalized to the point that more time could be spent on operational missions,” the document reads. “Headquarters were trying to manage the imbalance, and up to the point of the mishaps, the ships had been performing operationally with good outcomes, which ultimately reinforced the rightness of trusting past decisions.  “This rationalized the continued deviation from the sound training and maintenance practices that set the conditions for safe operations.”  The collisions of the destroyers John S. McCain and Fitzgerald this summer led to the relief of both commanding officers and several other crew members, as well as the destroyer squadron commander, the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group commander and the 7th Fleet Commander.  And that’s why we had changes of command without bands.

Continue reading “FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day November 3rd through 6th, 2017”

FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day October 31st through November 2nd, 2017

A Great Game 7, A Great World Series

Astros pitcher Charlie Morton got Corey Seager to send a weak ground ball to second baseman Jose Altuve, shifted into shallow right field, who made the throw to first baseman Yuli Gurriel to clinch the World Series 5 – 1.

LOS ANGELES, CA – NOVEMBER 01: George Springer #4 of the Houston Astros celebrates with teammates after hitting a two-run home run during the second inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in game seven of the 2017 World Series at Dodger Stadium on November 1, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

They scored twice in the first inning and three times in the second against Yu Darvish, sustaining them over the remaining seven innings. No surprise here: Astros outfielder George Springer was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2017 World Series. A game seven for the World Series is always good.  It’s the last winner-take-all event and is the buildup of all the series games prior to that combined with the culmination of the 162 game regular season.

LOS ANGELES, CA – NOVEMBER 01: George Springer #4 of the Houston Astros hits a double during the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in game seven of the 2017 World Series at Dodger Stadium on November 1, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

It was fitting that Altuve made the final out for the Astros, as he was the most valuable player on the team and arguably in all of baseball. He finished the regular season batting .346/.410/.547 with 24 home runs, 81 RBI, 112 runs scored, and 32 stolen bases. He won the batting title and led the AL in hits. Aaron Judge led him in FanGraphs’ version of WAR (8.2 to 7.5). Baseball Reference’s version gave Altuve the edge (8.3 to Judge and Corey Kluber‘s 8.1). We’ll have to wait a couple weeks to find out if he won the AL MVP award.  While my vote would have been for Judge, after seeing Jose Altuve in action over the course of the World Series, I can see why the two players are in such a close battle for the MVP vote. So the AL MVP will either be 5’6” or 6’7”.  Yasiel Puig had a bad night. His Dodgers lost Game 7 of the World Series AND some yahoos broke into his house.  This is a least the second time thieves have broken into his house.  You think he could afford a security plan!  If he is the target of a future break-in at least they won’t be stealing his World Series Ring.  Catchers and pitchers report for Spring training on February 13, 2018.

Go Navy Beat Temple!  

Continue reading “FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day October 31st through November 2nd, 2017”

FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day October 23 through 29, 2017

Joe Girardi Will Not Return To The Yankees

David Kaplan of ESPN 1000 and NBC Sports Chicago reports that Yankees manager Joe Girardi will not return for the 2018 season.  It was the team’s decision to part ways. Girardi guided a youthful Yankees core to this year’s American League Championship Series, but there had been growing chatter that a change might be coming both before and at various points during that impressive postseason run. Girardi finishes up his 10-year tenure in New York with a 910-710 managerial record and one World Series championship (2009). He’ll be a hot name on the open market if he wants to jump right back into managing somewhere else. There are a few managerial candidates out there.  The Boston Red Sox hired the Houston Astros’ bench coach, Alex Cora, to be their manager on Sunday.  The Red Sox announced the hire a day after the Astros eliminated the Yankees in the American League Championship Series. With two days off before Houston opened the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Boston had a chance to hire Cora without running afoul of Major League Baseball’s ban on major moves during the Series.  He may end up being a good manager, but he has no managerial experience.  While there are some people who speculate he should have been a leading candidate for the job, I disagree.  You can’t come to the Yankees with no experience.  I like Don Mattingly for the job, but the Yankees will have to hire him away from the total rebuilding effort planned for Derek Jeter’s Miami Marlins.   Mattingly served as captain of the Yankees from 1991 through 1995.  Returning to the Yankees as a coach in 2004 for manager Joe Torre, he followed Torre to the Dodgers in 2008, and succeeded him as the Dodgers’ manager in 2011. The Dodgers and Mattingly mutually parted ways after the 2015 season, and he became manager of the Miami Marlins.  “Donnie Baseball” – where would you rather be – Yankees of Marlins?

 

 

World Series – Games 2, 3 and 4

A great comeback in the second game of the World Series on October 25th.by the Houston Astros to win the game in Los Angeles tying the Series

at one game apiece.  The great Vin Scully was in the audience and  I was reminded of another great World Series game finish in 1986, when  with one strike from defeat, the Mets tie the game on a wild pitch and then, thanks to Red Sox’s Bill Buckner’s error (let the ball go through his legs) (below right), win Game 6, knotted the Fall Classic at three games apiece. This event was selected as one of baseball’s 30 most baseball memorable moments.  “If one picture is worth a thousand words, you have seen about a million words, but more than that, you have seen an absolutely bizarre finish to Game 6 of the 1986 World Series.” – Vin Scully, describing the aftermath of the play after a long silence.  And of course the Mets went on to beat the Red Sox.  Game three showed the value once again of home field.  A good back and forth game with the Astros prevailing.  Game 4 was moving along with some really good pitching as you would expect until the eighth inning and then the train came off the tracks.  The Dodger’s first baseman Cody Bellinger‘s struggled through the first three games of the World Series. He went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts in Game 3, which ran his hitless streak up to 11 at-bats in the Fall Classic. Bellinger turned his fortune around in Game 4, helping the Dodgers even the World Series at two games apiece with a 6-1 victory at Minute Maid Park.  And we’re tied at two games apiece going into tonight’s game at publishing time.

Continue reading “FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day October 23 through 29, 2017”