Maybe I Need To Write This Blog More Often
I got busy!
President Trump and Former Security Advisor Michael Flynn
There is ever increasing evidence against President Donald Trump supporting a case of obstruction of justice. It includes a tweet that he fired his former security adviser Michael Flynn because he knew Flynn had lied to both the Vice President and the FBI. If he knew Flynn had committed a felony; that of lying to the FBI, then one could draw a conclusion Mr. Trump obstructed justice when he told then-FBI director James Comey to go easy on Flynn the day after the firing of Flynn. On December 1, 2017, Flynn appeared in federal court to formalize a deal with Special Counsel Robert Mueller to plead guilty to a single felony count of “willfully and knowingly” making “false, fictitious and fraudulent statements” to the FBI. As part of his plea bargain agreement to avoid additional charges Michael Flynn is talking to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation team regarding Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election in order to avoid a prison sentence. Should we believe a retired United States Army Lieutenant General, a member of Trump’s inter-circle during the Trump presidential campaign, a member of the transition team and the National Security Advisor during the first days of the Trump presidency acted on his own in contacting the Russian ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak? And if he received guidance to contact the Russian government then its more than likely that guidance could only have come from Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, or President Trump. Tic, tic, tic, tic.
Continue reading “FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day November 27 through December 4, 2017”
This flag waves, because Veterans never wavered.
For 98 years, Americans have remembered those who served our country in uniform on 11 November – first as Armistice Day, and then, since 1954 as Veterans Day. In this 99th year of commemoration, the Department of Veterans Affairs is broadening that tradition of observance and appreciation to include both Veterans and Military Families for the entire month of November.
It coincides with other holidays, including Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, celebrated in other countries that mark the anniversary of the end of World War I; major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, when the Armistice with Germany went into effect. The United States previously observed Armistice Day. The U.S. holiday was renamed Veterans Day in 1954.
The Veterans Day National Ceremony is held each year on November 11th at Arlington National Cemetery . The ceremony commences precisely at 11:00 a.m. with a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns and continues inside the Memorial Amphitheater with a parade of colors by veterans’ organizations and remarks from dignitaries. The ceremony is intended to honor and thank all who served in the United States Armed Forces.
While the holiday is commonly printed as Veteran’s Day or Veterans’ Day in calendars and advertisements (spellings that are grammatically acceptable), the United States Department of Veterans Affairs website states that the attributive (no apostrophe) rather than the possessive case is the official spelling “because it is not a day that ‘belongs’ to veterans, it is a day for honoring all veterans.
World War I veteran Joseph Ambrose attends the dedication parade for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, holding the flag that covered the casket of his son, killed in the Korean War. This was a ceremony in 1982.
Continue reading “FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day November 10th and 11th 2017”
Navy Adopting Changes After Collisions At Sea
In the wake of the collision between the USS John S. McCain (DDG-56) (below left) with the Liberian-flagged Alnic MC off the coast of Malaysia east of the Strait of Malacca on August 21, 2017 and the earlier collision of the USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) (below right) with the Philippine-flagged merchant ship ACX Crystal, the US Navy is adopting some new as well as some old technologies to improve their crew’s situational awareness. Well actually their both pretty old techniques. The Navy has at now instructed commanders to use their Automatic Identification System, or AIS, as discussed in the 28 through 31 August edition of FOD. It has been around for some 20 years and has long been required aboard all commercial vessels. It is used to share vital information among ships, including the type of vessel, its name, speed, location and whether it might be on a collision course with another ship. “It’s important for situational awareness,” says John Konrad, an author who has also captained commercial vessels. “AIS is certainly not the only means to avoid collisions at sea, but it’s an important tool.” And the other tool is perhaps the oldest one out there – get some more sleep for watchstanders. On ships at sea, officers and senior enlisted leaders have ignored the fact that a lack of sleep jeopardizes individual performance and unit readiness. That ‘tradition’ unmarred by progress has extended itself from the days of wooden sailing ships when crews served 4 on and 4 off for months at a time because that was what was required to service a sailing ship at sea. Earlier this month, Vice Adm. Thomas S. Rowden, the commander of the U.S. Surface Fleet, issued an internal directive that ordered more predictable watch schedules and sleep periods for sailors. So it was welcome news when the Navy announced recently that the surface fleet would issue new sleep and watch schedule rules.
The NY Yankees beat the Twins in the AL Wild Card Game 8-4.
And congrats to the Arizona Diamondbacks who beat the Rockies 11-8.
Continue reading “FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day October 1 through 4, 2017”
What Our President Did and Didn’t Say
While many in President Trump’s administration have since spoken out against the hatred and violence of groups like white supremacists, the KKK and neo-Nazis, during the events in Chancellorsville, Virginia this past weekend, it is what President Trump did not say that is concerning. These extremist hate groups have no place in the American debate and by not condemning them, you allow them a voice. The President needed to condemn those groups. As Dante Alighieri said in his Divine Comedy, “The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.” I am encouraged by President Trump’s statement on the morning of 14 August 2017 where he did call racism evil and where he did explicitly denounce KKK and neo-Nazis organizations and stated they would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Woulda, coulda, shoulda is the operative line here. As a consequence of the President’s comments, the African-American CEO of pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co Kenneth
Frazier (below right) resigned from President Donald Trump’s American Manufacturing Council Monday after Mr. Trump failed to condemn white nationalists for deadly violence at a weekend rally in Charlottesville, Va. “Our country’s strength stems from its diversity and the contributions made by men and women of different faiths, faces, sexual orientations and political beliefs. America’s leaders must honor our fundamental values by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy, which run counter to the American ideal that all people are created equal,” Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier said in a statement announcing his departure from the council. “As CEO of Merck and as a matter of personal conscience, I feel a responsibility to take a stand against intolerance and extremism,” Frazier added. Less than an hour after Merck released Frazier’s statement, Trump slammed the exec in a tweet. I don’t see where alienating this individual adds positive value to the discourse. In a similar manner I don’t see how lashing out at his own party’s Majority Leader of the United States Senate Mitch McConnell (left) benefits the President’s agenda on issues such as increasing the debt ceiling, tax reform, infrastructure improvements, and of course health care reform and gets worse with every tweet. Hey, there are daunting budget related deadlines coming with the end of the fiscal year, September 30th. Comments appreciated!
Continue reading “FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day 11 through 15 August 2017”
Friends of FOD
I’ve been travelling and working on the ’31 Chevy and as a result new editions of FOD have been delayed. Photos in the next edition. Congrats to Friend of FOD Rickey on his retirement from Boeing. Rickey, all I can say is that retirement is good!
Navy Asking For New FFG Design Inputs
Contrary to the existing LCS platform designs, the U.S. Navy is looking for inputs from industry on a new multi-mission guided-missile frigate adapted from existing ship designs, a major departure from its modular littoral combat ship, according to a Request For Information (RFI) released Monday and covered by Defense News. The RFI lays out a ship that opens the door to almost any existing design that can be adapted to the Navy’s needs, which extends beyond just the two LCS hull forms being built by Lockheed Martin and Austal USA (left). The Navy is looking to avoid “sticker shock,” said Rear Adm. Ronald Boxall, the service’s director of surface warfare, said in a Monday telephone interview, and engage with ship builders about what trade-offs the Navy would have to make to get the most capability from the ship. Boxall (right) did not say how much the U.S. Navy is willing to spend but said the RFI was intended to draw out what the U.S. Navy could get for its shipbuilding dollar. In order to get the ship to the fleet as fast as possible, the U.S. Navy wants builders to adapt from existing designs, the RFI said. “A competition for FFG(X) is envisioned to consider existing parent designs for a Small Surface Combatant that can be modified to accommodate the specific capability requirements prescribed by the US Navy,” it reads. The U.S. Navy wants a frigate that can keep up with the aircraft carrier — a nagging problem with the current classes of small surface combatants — and have sensors networked in with the rest of the fleet to expand the overall tactical picture available to the group. “The FFG(X) will normally aggregate into strike groups and Large Surface Combatant led surface action groups but also possess the ability to robustly defend itself during conduct of independent operations while connected and contributing to the fleet tactical grid.” The U.S. Navy would like for the ship to be able to: Kill surface ships over the horizon
- Detect enemy submarines
- Defend convoy ships
- Employ active and passive electronic warfare systems
- Defend against swarming small boat attacks
The U.S. Navy is looking to limit the number of ground-breaking technologies that go into the ship, looking for engineering and combat systems that are already common in the fleet. The U.S. Navy lists several capabilities, among the most important including:
Other capabilities in “tier two” include various sonar equipment such as variable-depth and towed-array sonar, Cooperative Engagement Capability to be able to share target data with other ships and aircraft in the fleet, rigid-hull inflatable boats, Next Generation Surface Search Radar, and a MK 110 57mm gun and related systems. The U.S. Navy wants the ship to be used for surface and anti-submarine warfare — traditional frigate roles — and to take on lower-level missions, such as security cooperation, that don’t require multibillion-dollar warships. It also must be hardened against electronic warfare attack. The U.S. Navy is also particularly interested in having the frigate be a platform for deploying unmanned systems “to penetrate and dwell in contested environments, operating at greater risk to gain sensor and weapons advantages over the adversary.” The frigate should be able to establish a complicated picture of a tactical environment with its on-board sensors, unmanned systems and embarked aircraft and beam that information back to the fleet through secure communications. The U.S. Navy intends to award the contract for the first FFG(X) in 2020. It will buy one in 2020 and one in 2021, followed by two each year after that. The U.S. Navy’s requirement is for 52 small-surface combatants, the bulk of which will be LCS.
Continue reading “FOD Fireball’s Observations of the Day July 10 through 13, 2017”