All posts in “blogs”

If ‘Code is Poetry’…


This is some butt-ugly free verse we’re up to our elbows in…

We “updated” to WordPress 2.7 and, of course, not everything is working (over in the sidebar, admin page, etc), so bear with us – we’re working it


  If you have “WP Automatic Upgrade” installed as one of your plugins, deactivate it.  That should do the trick.

Announcements, announcements…

As promised we have a couple of announcements that will impact the frequency of posts here over the coming year.

Naval Institute Blog:  We were asked to join a panel consisting of several other bloggers – some we knew and served with on active duty, others from milblogs and other venues since, that will be posting at a new, maritime-centric blog over at the Naval Institute.  Naturally we said ‘yes’ you’ll find the blog here.

Book project: We have also joined a multi-author effort for a text tentatively titled “Securing Freedom in the Global Commons.”  Our part is to write the chapter on missile defense.  More details will follow as possible, but there is an aggressive writing schedule that, perforce,  will co-opt more of our time.  Additionally, we may have to scale back our postings on missile defense during that effort to avoid any  potential conflicts of interest; we’ll see.  The prospect is exciting and hopefully will inform our individual effort on a much more ambitious project we’ve been examining these last few months.

So what, dear reader, might you expect as a result?  While frequency of posts may drop some (say every other day vice every day), we’ll keep up the regular features (Flightdeck Fridays, Reflections, the MIA return series, etc.) and most assuredly will keep up the drumbeat on the maritime strategy and NOC (whenever it is finally released).  In fact, the intent on the Naval Institute blog is to follow the model of milblogs — short, to the point articles that will, when necessary, wrap back to here for extended analyses and discussion, exactly the sort of CONOPS the MarStrat and NOC, for example, require.

Welcome USNI Blog Visitors

If you’ve arrived from the USNI Blog (or not…), welcome and please take some time to look around.  At the top you’ll find some of the major topics we cover here — Flightdeck Friday, which focuses on the lesser known aspects of all matters related to naval aviation, Reflections – which is an ongoing recollection of a flying and naval career, 9/11 Remembered – memories of that day and shipmates lost in the attack on the Pentagon.  Scroll down the right margin for a tags list, search function and more.  Welcome aboard and hope to see more of you! – SJS

Cumulonimbus Tags

Fun with another WP plugin (WP-Cumulus) – just roll your cursor over the cloud:



Not quite a shutdown, but definitely light posting for a few.  Why?  Just check the most recent headlines (and a few still to be written).  Will endeavor to get Flightdeck Fridays up and catch up on the weekend – if not otherwise occupited…


Change – You Can Be Part Of…

At present there is a slanderous attack underway over at a certain blog (we won’t link directly to it for obvious reasons, rather, Galrahn has assembled a good summary and parry over here). We call it slanderous because it is an attack, by name, on a current CO in an operational billet was undertaken with a vehemence and purpose that is unclear as to origin and rationale – unless it is just to gain attention; condemnant quod non intellegunt? This, and perhaps more importantly, the ongoing discussion at The Castle re. l’affaire Kaboom () surface a topic worth pondering – i.e., blogging in general and milblogs in particular. We have been asked on more than one occasion why we take the effort (e.g., SWMBO – “and you’re not getting paid for it…?!”) and why in a field wherein potential traps and mines lay aplenty.

So – why take the risk?

It’s about contributing, in a meaningful way, to “the dialogue” and perhaps having an opportunity to effect change – real change – to an issue or condition that one holds near and dear. When the new Maritime Strategy came out last fall, there was a very thoughtful, passionate discussion that took place in the blogsphere with the insight typically accorded to the dead tree press and academia, but with immediacy they lack. Said discussion brought in the Navy’s team lead on the topic who provided an altogether too rare POV from Big Navy in the rationale and development of the MS that further influenced the debate. The how and why this rather extraordinary matter came to be lay in the tone of debate, centered as it was on the principled discussion and disagreement on items within the MS – not unprincipled and unseemly ad hominem attacks on the author or team that drafted the MS. We would like to think that climate is what led to the even more extraordinary blogger’s panel hosted by OSD with the current N3/5, VADM Morgan, who took the opportunity to talk to several milbloggers, of which YHS was but one participant. It was a very good give and take session with all participants, including VADM Morgan, taking away ideas for further pondering.

To be sure, these are new waters Navy, and DOD, are navigating as many of the old paradigms that held for the traditional media do not apply with the new media. The blogsphere is indeed noisy, pushy, raucous and in some areas, decidedly profane. Not unlike The Mall when several protest groups converge on a muggy summer afternoon. That, however, does not mean that one must adopt those same methods, if, that is, one’s intent is to contribute. If one merely intends to throw rocks through (virtual) windows, then there is little to stop that from occurring. And you may get your 15 minutes that way, if it so pleases you. But a few months down the road, when the self-induced cheers in your ears recedes and you survey the dismal status of your domain, ask yourself – did I make a difference? Of course, for the hopelessly deluded/narcissist, there is little hope or chance of rational self-examination. In which case, the self-policing nature of the blogsphere will have taken hold, your virtual reputation well cemented in place.

It is possible to be passionately dispassionate about an idea, a policy – a mission. Over the course of our former journeys on active duty, we had several different fora to practice this concept, be it as a junior branch officer before a reluctant department head, a CO to a skeptical commodore even as an action officer to the most senior leadership in the Service. One can be passionate (indeed, it is a must) without foaming at the mouth or playing the role of self-appointed anarchist.

Our motivation lies in a couple of areas – emphasize our Service’s heritage (and we call it “our” because even in retirement, we still consider ourselves part of the bigger Service) and inform/influence the debate discussion on such critical matters as formulation of national and military strategy – the latter of which was something we carried over from our last decade or so on active duty. Such interest drives the tenor and tone of the postings here, not the desire to drive up the hit count. We hope that has inclined and developed a certain readership and feedback to date (informal and formal) is tending to support that thesis.

Because after all, it is the thought that counts.

Munged (II)

Well, Repair 5 reports fire is out, the space de-watered and all gear re-stowed after this weekend’s, um, issues.  You will notice (we hope) that the original theme is back, with a few fine-tuning tweaks and we appear to be OPS normal, for now…



Well, sometime last evening Finagle’s Law was operationalized and our Cutline theme got munged.  Whether it was malicious or not remains TBD (examination of the  logs tends toward the former).  So, for now, we’ll run with WordPress’ “Classic” theme until we can figure out what went wrong.  It will mean some earlier posts are a little awkward in their formatting, but they are still readable.

Of course, the fact we are TDY merely facilitated Finagle… 😕

Be Prepared

Maybe it was growing up in Nebraska with tornadoes as part of our springtime ritual. Maybe it was time spent in Boy Scouts and Civil Air Patrol. Perhaps it was coming of age in the shadow of SAC headquarters, knowing there was a big red “X” on some Soviet targeting map. Whatever the reason, we have always planned for the day when something wicked our way came. Seems there is a kindred spirit out there too:

Disaster is bearing down on all sides of late. A ravaging cyclone in Burma. A killer earthquake in China. Even the United States hasn’t escaped unscathed, with tornadoes ripping across the heartland and Southeast and floods rising in the mid-Atlantic.

Still, most Americans have been watching the devastation in Asi

a from relative safety and, if I had to guess, with a certain sense of complacency, a feeling that disaster on that scale isn’t likely to happen to them. But it could. And if it did, our country might face the same sort of crisis as our Asian cousins. A major reason: The American public isn’t prepared.

Even after Sept. 11, 2001, even after Hurricane Katrina, a Red Cross survey last year found that 93 percent of Americans aren’t prepared for a major calamity — a natural disaster, a pandemic or a terrorist attack. This is troubling, because the more prepared a population is, the more effective the response to and recovery from a catastrophe will be.

Preparation (and we don’t mean the last minute panic buying that seems to go down at every grocery and hardware store as a storm bears down on the populace) is vitally important, even more so in this post-9/11 world. Have a family emergency plan handy? No?…

1. Make public preparedness a priority, or it won’t happen. Last year, Foresman asked a ballroom full of state first responders how many of them had made a family emergency plan. Of 300 people, nine raised their hands. If many of the folks promoting civilian preparedness aren’t following their own advice, it’s no wonder that the rest of us aren’t, either. “It needs to be a national imperative,” says Joseph F. Bruno, New York City’s emergency management commissioner.

2. Make preparedness part of 21st-century citizenship. Being prepared may be the most significant contribution many citizens can make to their nation’s security. Not only are civilians likely to be the first first responders at any disaster scene, but the nation’s response will also be only as strong as that of the weakest link. And a new commitment to public preparedness would give the country a nonpartisan, substantive way of re-tapping the reservoir of post-9/11 goodwill. “We don’t ask enough of people,” says one city emergency manager. “Everyone asks me, ‘How are you going to take care of us in a disaster?’ You have a big role in taking care of you.”

Read the rest of the article here. If you’ve never been caught up in a major event – well, count your blessings. It certainly doesn’t have to be of nature’s making either as those who found themselves caught-up in an impromptu evacuation of DC and New York found out one autumn day.

BTW, we’ve added the link to the author’s blog, “In Case of Emergency, Read Blog” over in the blogroll.

Gotta say it – the Boy Scouts have it right. Be Prepared…