20 August 2009

Today's "Holy Crap!" Story

Soldiers' Angels Germany: The needs of the one...

In late July, a British Soldier deployed in Afghanistan sustained life-threatening wounds to the abdomen and chest. I alluded to him in this post, but his identity has not yet been made public.

The article quoted below describes the extraordinary (and to my knowledge unprecedented) efforts made to save his life. It is a testimony to the advancements made in the technological, logistical, and medical fields. But most of all, it is a testimony to the commitment of the many to care for the needs of the one.

Here is a summary of the medical, logistic, and air assets involved in this incredibly complex mission. It is almost certainly incomplete.

- One C-17 aircraft to get the medical team and equipment from Germany in place at the hospital in Afghanistan.
- One C-130 aircraft to fly a pulmonologist from a different hospital in Afghanistan to the Soldier's location.
- A second C-17 aircraft to fly the patient from Afghanistan to Ramstein Air Base in Germany.
- LifeBird German civilian medevac helicopter to fly the patient from Ramstein Air Base to Regensburg University hospital.

- Three C-17 aircrews; four sorties
- LifeBird helicopter aircrew

Medical Teams:
- British, Danish, US surgical team at the hospital in Afghanistan.
- A pulmonologist from a different hospital in Afghanistan flown to the facility where this Soldier was located.
- The Landstuhl Acute Lung Rescue Team (Specialized Critical Care Air Transport Team)
- The LifeBird medevac team in Germany
- The thoracic surgical and ICU teams at Regensburg University hospital in Germany, for the highly specialized treatment developed and available there.

Logistics Teams:
- Combined Air and Space Operations Center (SW Asia)
- Joint Patient Movement Requirements Center (within the CAOC above, SW Asia)
- Global Patient Movements Requirement Center (Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, USA)
- 618th Tanker Airlift Control Center (Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, USA)
- Landstuhl DWMMC (Deployed Warrior Medical Management Center)

A Story Worth Sharing

Soldiers' Angels Germany: The needs of the one...

Don't Say This Like It's a Bad Thing

CIA hired Blackwater in plan to kill militants: report - Yahoo! News
The CIA in 2004 hired contractors from the private security firm Blackwater USA as part of a secret program to track and assassinate senior al Qaeda figures, the New York Times reported on Wednesday.
Blackwater helped with planning, training and surveillance in a program on which the Central Intelligence Agency spent several million dollars without capturing or killing any militants, the newspaper reported, quoting former and current U.S. officials.
The Times said it was not clear whether the CIA had planned to use Blackwater executives to capture or kill al Qaeda operatives or limit the contractors to help with training and surveillance.

And what's the problem with killing Al Qaeda leaders? Does it really matter who's pulling the trigger?

14 August 2009

Upcoming site news

We're going to start our slow and steady reboot with some looks some future scenarios, and ask for some more audience interactions. As we gaze into our crystal ball, we're going to ask you to tell us what you think, and link us to why you think it. We're prepping some stuff over the weekend, but look for the details to start surfacing next week, as GrogNews starts taking a look into the future to see what the next wave of conflicts holds.

We're also going to be cleaning up a lot of site categories to minimize the number of tags/labels we've got out there.

By: Brant

08 August 2009

Great Quotes in Military Training

"It's an exercise artificiality that's created by the real world circumstances downrange."

07 August 2009

Rearranging the Org Chart, Rearranging the Deck Chairs, etc.

So the Air Force has decided to rearrange their org chart with regards to nukes. Why? I don't know. Maybe they'd rather do this than fire people? Seems unlikely since they've sent folks packing before.

The US Air Force on Friday launches a new Global Strike Command responsible for nuclear forces after two major mishaps raised doubts about the supervision of the country's atomic weapons.
The opening of the command marks a shake-up that followed the botched handling of nuclear weapons and the subsequent sacking of the air force's top civilian and military leaders last year.
The command, located at Barksdale Air Force base in the southern state of Louisiana, will combine nuclear-capable B-52 and B-2 bombers as well as the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) force -- which had previously been under the Air Force Space Command in Colorado.
'We needed to refocus on the nuclear mission and not lose sight of that,' Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley told reporters ahead of Friday's ceremony.
He said there had been some 'painful lessons' but the new command would 'reinvigorate our nuclear enterprise.'

By: Brant

A Mind is Like a Parachute

“A mind is like a parachute. If it doesn't open, you're fucked!” -- Don Williams, Jr

Occasionally I get an email or comment from someone telling me that I take wargaming way too seriously. It’s just a hobby after all. Maybe they’re right. Nevertheless, as one of those people who is easily bored, I find that what isn’t taken seriously is frequently rather dull.

Take Facebook for example. I’ve got about 50 friends there, and I check in most days to see what folks are up to. It seems a good way to stay in touch with people I’d otherwise never speak with. In fact, thanks to Facebook, I’m once again in contact with my sister, whom I hadn’t spoken to in 20 years prior. But still, browsing the conversations my mind often casts itself to the scene in Impromptu where Franz Liszt is on stage mocking his patrons, complaining that their “conversation is not witty.” Why does anyone think I care if they have a hangnail, or if they’re about to go home from work?

The novelty of the thing wears off quickly; rapidly settling into the mundane as the deeply ingrained narcissistic tendencies we all share rear their head for all to see and approve with a friendly thumb’s up. Not that I’m any better; take this blog for instance. The irony doesn’t escape me. But most of the time I exert a fair amount of effort suppressing my Asperger’s like tendency to lack empathy for people’s obsession with the least interesting things in their life.

Yeah, that’s an analogy. Wargaming is exactly the same. The novelty wore off a long time ago, now we’ve settled down to the mundane as those narcissists I mentioned above, eager to put the “designer” tag next to their name on BGG, lift systems from their favorite game designs and cobble together new titles to the acclaim of those who don't really know any better anyway.

So yeah… I take wargames seriously.

We often think of someone who is not receptive to new ideas as having a closed mind. I’m not certain we have a word or phrase for a mind that’s not open to ideas at all, but we should invent one. I spend a fair amount of my time casting about for new ideas and new ways of conceptualizing things. It’s why I’m often found reading books on physics, or French post modernism, or just lying on my back on the floor staring at the ceiling.

Like most people, I have a job. Like a somewhat lesser number of them, I like my job. Like even fewer, I consider it a profession. Saying that it’s also a practice and intellectual pursuit reduces the number still further. Almost everything I do in life I do to enhance my performance at the work that I do. I suspect now, most folks would start considering that abnormal. But I would guess that there are several others here who will read this blog entry and know exactly what I’m talking about. We’re obsessed. Our wives, if we’re lucky enough to have one, know it, and some of them even tolerate it. We are defined by what we do, and without it, we are nothing.

Wargaming (professionally) is part of what I do, and yes, I take it very seriously. As a result, I’m very critical of the commercial end of it (see my latest installment of Groping for the New Paradigm in the latest ATO). I fully admit that my own early contributions do not live up to my own standards. Yet, they were part of the process of finding those standards. Such is life.

So when someone tells me to lighten up and not to take wargames so seriously, I may smile and nod, but inside I’m conceiving of a mind without a parachute. Sure, it’s a hobby. Sure, there’s no harm in some good clean fun. The point of this pile of words is simply to say that if you think I take it too seriously, I’m not really talking to you. Enjoy yourself.

Oh, and if someone finds what I’m saying incites anger or fury, then we’ll need to figure out that word or phrase I mentioned earlier. It’s also fairly likely that having that parachute would be of little help. After all, one still needs to know how to open it.

By: Jon Compton

05 August 2009

Russians Screwing India over Carrier

The Russians are holding India's aircraft carrier ransom.
India has agreed to Russia's demand to re-negotiate a $1.6 billion contract for an old aircraft carrier, a government minister said on Tuesday, in a deal that has become a thorny issue in relations.
Under the deal signed in 2004, the Soviet-era Admiral Gorshkov would be refurbished and delivered to the Indian navy by 2008.
But delays have pushed back the delivery to 2012. The 44,570-tonne ship's price has since nearly doubled to $2.8 billion, causing anger in New Delhi which was unwilling to pay the extra money.
But on Tuesday the government said it had no option but to restart price talks with Russia, as the navy urgently needed the carrier.

And who starts 2 consecutive paragraphs with "but..." ?
By: Brant

Just what the US needs: More deployments!

Wow. It's a good thing we've got a ton of forces laying around to send to South America during their off-rotations from the war. Too bad they're not hanging out at the beaches chasing women.
US President Barack Obama's national security advisor said Tuesday Washington will give a 'good explanation' for plans to deploy US military units to bases in Colombia, after unease expressed in Latin America.
Retired general Jim Jones told reporters after meeting Brazilian Defense Minister Nelson Jobim in Brasilia that the goals of the agreement being negotiated allowing the use of the bases would be detailed.
The matter 'will have a good explanation and a satisfactory outcome,' he predicted to reporters as he began two days of talks with Brazilian officials on that and other defense issues.
Brazil and other Latin American nations, including Venezuela, Ecuador and Chile, expressed alarm at the announcement last month that the United States military would use and expand bases in Colombia.

By: Brant

Maybe we should send them a bill?

The Russians are still trying to rewrite history to justify their invasion of Georgia. No doubt their native mythology will include the story of US 'provocations' on the Georgian side...
A top Russian general says Russia has no intention of returning U.S. Humvees that Russian soldiers seized during the brief war with Georgia a year ago.
Deputy chief of the General Staff Anatoly Nogovitsyn says Russia considers the four Humvees to be war trophies and thus has no obligation to give them back.
Nogovitsyn told reporters Wednesday that Russia considered the subject closed.
The U.S. vehicles were seized in western Georgia. They had been used in joint military exercises in which U.S. trainers were preparing Georgian troops for deployment in Iraq.

02 August 2009

Trading Bases over Central Asia

Looks like the "Cool War" is is still on out in Central Asia, and both participants brought their pocketbooks.

Kyrgyzstan allowed Russia to open a second military base on its territory on Saturday, expanding Moscow's military reach to balance against the U.S. presence in the Central Asian country.
The struggle for influence in the region intensified last month -- days after U.S. President Barack Obama completed his visit to Moscow -- as senior Russian officials traveled to Bishkek to press for the creation of a new Russian base.
The pressure from Moscow came after Kyrgyzstan allowed the United States to keep its air base at Manas, which is vital for supplying U.S. forces fighting in Afghanistan.
Kyrgyzstan had said in February that it was closing down the U.S. air base after receiving a promise of $2 billion in crisis aid from Russia earlier in the year. But Washington responded with a payment of $180 million to keep the base open.
On Saturday, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev laid out the framework for the new base's creation in an agreement that will be valid for 49 years with a possible 25-year extension.
The agreement, posted on the Kyrgyz president's Web site, said up to one battalion of Russian troops and a training center for Russian and Kyrgyz personnel will be housed at the base.
But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who traveled to Bishkek with Medvedev, suggested that these parameters may change when a more detailed agreement is hammered out by November 1.
"The total numbers will be decided by military specialists based on what is needed to ensure security in the region," Lavrov said, Interfax reported.
He added that the two sides had agreed on "the expansion of the Russian military presence mainly in the southern regions of Kyrgyzstan."
Russia's existing base lies in the town of Kant in Kyrgyzstan's far north, near the border with Kazakhstan. The U.S. air base in Manas is also in the north of the country, near the capital, Bishkek.
Saturday's agreement comes three days after Medvedev endorsed Bakiyev's re-election last week in a poll that caused opposition protests and was condemned by Western observers as undemocratic.
Getting Bishkek to reverse its February decision to close the Manas air base was a crucial victory for Washington, which is seeking to more than double its presence in Afghanistan by year's end to fight the Taliban insurgency.
Manas serves as a key refueling point for aircraft used in Afghanistan, and supply routes through Pakistan have proven less secure due to persistent militant attacks.
Moscow has denied being behind the initial decision to close Manas, though it has made no secret of seeking to check U.S. interests in the former Soviet Union, which it regards as its sphere of influence.
During Obama's first visit to Moscow as president last month, defense issues were at the top of the agenda, and a deal was reached to let U.S. troops and military hardware fly across Russia to Afghanistan.
Medvedev and Bakiyev signed the deal in the Kyrgyz resort of Cholpon Ata during an informal summit of the Russian-dominated Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), whose members also include Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Armenia.
Lavrov said the new military training facility would be available to all members of the CSTO, which is also known by its Russian acronym as ODKB.

By: Brant