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Razven #21 Posted Nov 05 2011 - 05:53


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How does one "interrogate" IED's?

ToothDecay #22 Posted Nov 05 2011 - 05:57


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View PostFreeFOXMIKE, on Nov 05 2011 - 02:47, said:

1975 101st cleaned ya'lls clocks we had 75% casualties but completed all missions

and during the Golden Lion 88-89  exercise we had to stop the FTX 48 hours so they could reposition forces as they had nothing to stop 3/36    later 5/5 CAV from pushing to Frankfurt and we were part if that D.I.P. mission to (Die In Place)

Right... 1975.... The year AFTER I left..LOL...


Gets cold there, Don't it ?

Rager_Beater #23 Posted Nov 05 2011 - 05:59


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View PostKona, on Nov 05 2011 - 04:48, said:

I know from pictures that the Canadian Army Leopards in Afghanistan have mine plows mounted, I have no idea how they are using them though :-) BUT I am amused by the image generated by the thought of route clearing with mine ploughs

hey there Kona, same thing as any mine plows do, clear the way of course! now in reality i'm not entirely sure about why we have mine plows after our Leopards, i do kow that our new Leopards don't as they're fitted for combat only and not mine clearing then again i may be wrong as i'm not a Armored crewman. I didn't go to Afghanistan but aw allot of mine clearing vehicles like the husky and the buffalo, two great vehicles in which our combat engineers use. almost two stories high if it isn't the case.

chainer2150 #24 Posted Nov 05 2011 - 06:06


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Probably just me, and I'm sorry for how off topic this is but the second picture down, on the original post by The_Chieftain featuring the tank 532. Aren't those tanks painted with incorrect camouflage for that type of terrain? If i was an enemy pilot I might get suspicious when I saw a set of square bushes that big in the middle of the desert.

Back to the main topic of this thread can I ask what I think is the real question here? Why is force on force training needed if there are no countries that anyone is at war with at the moment, that could deploy a force to which that training would be required?

Rager_Beater #25 Posted Nov 05 2011 - 06:27


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View Postchainer2150, on Nov 05 2011 - 06:06, said:

Probably just me, and I'm sorry for how off topic this is but the second picture down, on the original post by The_Chieftain featuring the tank 532. Aren't those tanks painted with incorrect camouflage for that type of terrain? If i was an enemy pilot I might get suspicious when I saw a set of square bushes that big in the middle of the desert.

Back to the main topic of this thread can I ask what I think is the real question here? Why is force on force training needed if there are no countries that anyone is at war with at the moment, that could deploy a force to which that training would be required?

to answer both of your questions: In the begining we werent really prepared for desert warfare, we had the wrong camo, for one, and for two the enemy didnt have any airforce and their optimal Anti-Tank weaponry was RPGs excluding IEDs. so in fact we didnt see the need for desert camo. later on tho we learned the importance of staying undetected from the enemy for ambushes, man detonated IEDs (identified with markers), ect.

i dont know if those are CF troops tho.

again there, i am speaking for the CF. but ièm pretty sure its the same with the US army.

Force on Force Training is still essential and needed, we need to be constantly prepare to defend our land, our allies land, or helping allies in assaulting the enemy. if we aren't prepared for modern combat, we are a useless force.

yukonjack_ak29 #26 Posted Nov 05 2011 - 06:33


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Now, I'm not knocking the course itself, but that's a couple of months that an armor lieutenant in his most important formative years is not learning the tank. For a while, LTs were getting promoted to CPT after 36 months time in service. Two months (plus admin time) of Ranger school may not seem like much out of 36, but don't forget also that you also have five months of Basic Officer's Course in there, and, oh yeah, probably a year's deployment. And any other courses that he may happen to attend, plus dwell time. The amount of time that a Lieutenant is on steel (if he's in a heavy unit) suddenly starts looking pretty slim and call me narrow-minded, but I think the best tank officers are likely those who spent the most time on their tanks, which tends to happen at the LT level.

Speaking from my own personal experiences (not a tanker mind you but USAFSF) that is specifically what is wrong with 90% of the officers we had.  To little time with "boots on the ground".  That's why you didn't rely on the butter-bars in our unit - we sought out our Tech & Master Sergeants (E6 & E7's) and higher.  They were guys who were E3's and 4's during the first Desert Storm so they knew atleast what to expect from a combat deployment.  And that's where all the strength actually is - not in our officer corps but in a dedicated Enlisted corps which is unfortunately, slowly being depleted by the better pay in the private sectors.  (Not going to dive into that one.)  But the truth is, our senior enlisted NCO's pushed us to train DAILY and for every possible scenario cause once it's ingrained it becomes almost like instinct.  They just did this - OK, well we'll do that... without stopping to muddle it over.

And that gets me back to the OP - there ABSOLUTELY needs to be force-on-force training.  Not every operation from here on out will be counter-insurgency.  There are still plenty of "kids on the block" who have a decent sized mechanized army and they can't all be taken out with cruise missiles and LGBs.  Tank-on-Tank is as much a necessity as Fighter-on-Fighter or Man-to-Man.  It's been winning wars for over a century.

PanzerHale #27 Posted Nov 05 2011 - 07:03


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I've been in the Australian Army since 2004. We still spend the vast majority of our exercises (usually spending around 6 months of each year out bush) doing conventional warfare stuff. For me its Cavalry Recon type stuff, whether dismounted or mounted, mostly all against a conventional force. For our Tankies, they constantly train to fight other tanks.
In our Mission Readiness Exercises (MRE's) we go into specific training for Iraq or Afghanistan, spending around 6 months before a 6 to 8 month deployment specialising in the COIN aspect of our job and working bloody hard at it, with the majority of that 6 months out in the field.

The challenge I suppose, is to keep working towards fighting the next war and never letting yourself get so bogged down in fighting "The War" that you lose sight of your core skills. For all of us, the conventional training gives us the base level from where we can jump into different styles. I'm a Cavalryman by trade but essentially re-roled for my deployment to Iraq so as to operate in a PSD role, mounted in armoured SUV's. The jump wasnt hard though because of the training we do constantly as dismounted Cav Scouts, in the conventional role. You just need to step that base skill up a couple of notches.
Without that base level in conventional ops we cant make that jump. Its absolutely essential to keeping an Army sharp.

120mm_he #28 Posted Nov 05 2011 - 09:33


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COIN is the current doctrine because nobody is really anticipating a full fledged war like the past millenia or so has had.

Everyone is smart enough to realise that large scale armed conflict is a massive waste of life and materials and that small scale conflicts can generate the same type of change that used to take a national or even global conflict.

Instantanious global communication has had a large influance on this change from full scale war to limited aggression.

Just look to the coverage of the vietnam war to figure out how its fundamentally changed how we fight.

CBRNTANK #29 Posted Nov 05 2011 - 12:29


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I've always believed and trained for "The War" and not for a war...  

What I mean by that is training for High intensity war fighting, against a similarly equipped opponent. The mantra that was given to me back in the day was, that it was "easier to train down, than to train up". I'm not saying that COIN isn't difficult to do well, if you're not from a Infantry background. However, All  Arms multiphase operations such as a breach are as tough as it gets. Both in terms of lead up training for all of the units taking part and it's command and control throughout. A bit like herding cats... at times!?    

In terms of not training for The War. Skill fade is the biggest killer of any specialist trade, for those who are out of their role for a protracted period of time. It also leaves the up and coming Jnr officers and NCOs, with nothing to base their knowledge on other than COIN OPs. Not a good peg to hang your base knowledge or CVC off!

Also I recall the demise of the Tank has long been foretold, even as early as end of the First World War. Normally by those who only saw the need for it in terms of trench warfare. Developed by Engineers and crewed by the Infantry in the beginning, to close with the and destroy the enemy, whilst being protected from shell and rifle fire. So they crossed no man's land using good old, Firepower, Protection and Mobility and help win that war. In my book there hasn't been a better concept to achieve this so far? So looks like we'll just have to adapt our Tactic, Techniques and Procedures to best effect. No matter the environment, or threat.

As for keeping the combat team mine clearance role and skills alive. I believe the British have a good answer, in having a dedicated Armoured Engineer role. Probably left over from 79 Armour Division(Hobart's Funnies)?

Finally, as my soap box is wearing thin!? The last time I completed a All Arms Breach, was earlier this year in a M1A1. However I must admit I did cheat a little... I've done it once or twice before in  Chieftain , as well as Challenger I and II. To name drop a few!  ;)

many TANKS

UrbanUK #30 Posted Nov 05 2011 - 13:08


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It seems to me the big difference between "Then" and "Now" is the nature of the threat. From the 60's, and maybe even earlier, through to the 90's, the NATO nations in general were focused almost entirely on the Soviet Union. We knew, or thought we knew, what the threat was, where it would be coming from, and what manner, and worked almost exclusively on how to contain and repel, or at least bring to a stalemate, that threat.

Now the nature of the threat is much more diverse; we're not sure where the next big threat will come from, or what manner it will take, and that means we're pretty vague on what this threats aims will be. Combine that with the Force Reduction that has been taking place across almost all branches of western armed forces and we have a situation where we have less boots to deal with the threat while having only limited understanding (read: guesswork) on what the threat will be.

Units are touring, RTB, going on leave, RTB, and warning orders are issued again, leaving less and less time for training. The nature of the Cold War was that, as we did not have continous operations ongoing, we could train hard. Currently we do not have that luxury. Budgets back in the day allowed for the various branches to train and be kept ready for what may happen, now we are training for what is happening, and then doing it, with less thought given to what may happen.

With operations in Afghanistan being slowly wound down, hopefully there will be more time allocated for training the core skills.. but who knows how long that breathing space will last?

Sarge18 #31 Posted Nov 05 2011 - 14:25


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Having been in Armor my entire career, an enlisted Tanker for 10, and moving to the "dark side" for the last four, it's nice reading this article.  In 2006, the Armor School did a short study that generated a white paper on the four core competencies that we believed Armor and Cavalry branches would need to focus on, both in the school house and in the training regimen.  I've got the article around somewhere, I know there was a shortened version in Armor Magazine, can't remember them off the top of my head.  But all four were not directly tied to the current fights, nor were they tied to previous wars.  They were generally applicable of all locations, regardless of the setting.  The firm conclusion is that if we focus on these as our fundamental building blocks, any additional skills could be trained, but that we could jump into any combat situation as needed with out extra training if necessary.

Lots of caveats to that concept, and it implies learning on the fly.  One of the competencies that I remember is maintenance - covering the broad spectrum of supply, physical fitness, PMCS, services, emergency conditions, etc.  One of the notes that the Chieftain made was the small number of officers that have conducted a Table VI (new term for the old Table XIII) from the newer HBCT gunnery manuals.  It is ludicrously small.  It is similar in the NCO Corps.  But - when you ask the same pool of leadership how many have conducted a planned two or three week semi-annual services, as the unit's only focus during that period, on the average you *might* see one or two hands raise per class - not the 1/3rd for gunnery.  They are all used to the "as needed" rotational services that do not really focus on the vehicle, but get it back in the fight.  Gone are the in depth reviews of ancillary equipment, spotless hulls, or the week eating the steam cleaner blow-back.  And it may not be necessary to come back, but it will be necessary to build maintenance as a central focus of combat operations - you can't shoot something that doesn't run.  

One of the others was basic tactics.  You query most new Privates, new Sergeants out of Warrior Leader's Course (PLDC for you old goats), Advanced Leader's Course (ALC) and Senior Leader's Course (SLC) (BNCOC and ANCOC to those who remember the Rocker and the short stumble to the barracks), and they do not speak in terms like Assault By Fire, Support By Fire, Breach, Battle Position, Refuel on the Move, or Unit Maintenance Collection Point.  At best, they are brief memories when the NCO was a Private in the very early 2000s.  One of the points made in the study is that all of these skill sets and knowledge bases are directly applicable to our current fights, but we've chosen to use new lingo and call them new concepts - effectively building a cultural climate permissive to the loss of core competence.

Several examples of this are just simple translations.  A patrol is done in a column formation - but we don't discuss it that way.  A Cordon and Search is really several Support By Fire positions (with the applicable SOSRA tasks - frequently overlooked) in conjunction with an Attack and/or Attack By Fire group that conducts a Breach.  FOBs are UMCPs, BSAs, and other "old school" concepts.  Even the COIN interaction can be looked at in the same mentality - talks and discussions with a Tribal leader are their own form of maneuver warfare that requires the key players to understand how their interactions create a mutual fire support as they go through the iterations of Attack, Defend, Breach or Refuel On the Move (A buddy jokingly described a sheik meeting as a ROM, for the amount of food provided in the short amount of time before they moved out on the patrol).  

What has been coming about over the last two years or so is what can be seen as a fundamental shift in the focus within the Armor and Cavalry community.  Prior to deployment earlier this year, most of the Squadron Commanders in one of the Divisions focused heavily on fundamental knowledge, rather than COIN interaction.  The National Training Center ran a hybrid rotation in March - combining all pieces of the fight, and more were coming.  The elasticity of our brain trust is still flexible and we are going to see a changes in the next several years that will surprise many - we are not going back to "Old Skool", nor will we be "New Skool", but rather something in between as we have an opportunity to look at what we have missed in the last decade of warfare.  

The Agility and Adaptability that was encouraged by GEN Schoomaker in 2006 are still strong.  We will still be "changing the oil while the motor is running", the changes in mentality of our Soldiers in the last 10 years still applies.  We will just need to consolidate our identity and utilize the opportunity provided.  Strong leaders are grown, shaped, and developed by other strong leaders.  The refreshing part of this is that identifying and quantifying those strong leaders, both tactically, techinically, and competently are some of the focuses of our senior leadership.

Valkeiper #32 Posted Nov 05 2011 - 14:47


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Your article actually scares me.

The Israelis are not exactly new kids on the block when it comes to combat of any sort. For they to have this trouble just raises all sorts of mental alarms.

This needs to be looked into and seen to immediately.

MGElwood #33 Posted Nov 05 2011 - 15:14

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Well, Now ya got me all riled up.....

Let us start of with this comment..

"To a very large extent, the only thing a gunnery table will prove you can do is hit pieces of plywood in a controlled environment, but it is an indicator as to just how much time was being spent on steel as of three years ago."

I joined the US army in 1983 as an armor crewman on the M60A1. I went to Airborne school,then to the 3/73 Armor (ABN) at Ft Bragg. Then to Germany on the M60A3, then the M1A1/A2 before retiring.
The tank tables are a controlled environment I agree...BUT the US army Tank Tables have changed to make them Combat tables. If you can pull out an old copy of the FM 17-12 and compare the tank tables in the current version of the manual, you will see the tables are WAY different.

You know FIGHT the tank.You have to do your berm drills, you have to be able to react. They are tough compared to the good old days.

Besides just hitting plywood targets, the crews are evaluated on how they work together. Are they trained? You can put anyone in a tank, but will they be able to function as a crew/team?

Gunnery provides a standard of training so that any tanker can jump into another crew and be on the same page. They will know what to do in whatever position they are in. It is the lilttle nuances of the particular crew that they will need to adapt too.

I was on the 1991 Canadian Army Trophy Team (CAT-T) and that training was tough. But a skilled crew can do alot and even in a controlled environment, seeing what they can do, combine them with the rest of the platoon of company and you are rockin.

As for doctrine...The government is screwing us over all the time. OPTEMPO is a killer as they take from us but require us to to the same, if not more with less. Then, when we do successfully complete the mission, they take more still.

Who needs sleep anymore?

Doctrinally, we fight as a combined arms team. In a tank company, a platoon goes to the infantry, an platoon of infantry come to us, we are a mixed bunch. They are/were talking about integrating infantry with armor as a company whole...don't know where  that one is anymore.  In Europe when we were training we used the infantry, we used the arty, we used the asest that we had to their fullest extent. Fix Flank F%*k them up!

I wrote doctrine my last few years before I retired and you knwo what I found? Regardless of the war..the Doctrine is the same. It still works, we just had to update manuals to current vehicles and such. We would show these Generals that this suck butt leutenant or captain who is selling thei "New and Wonderful" idea has actually been done before. Nobody seems to look at historical documents anymore.

Good example was the movie "We were Soldiers Once"

You know, historically, that all things are documented as much as possible for future reference. You can look at a battle, regardless of era, and by applying modern day applications, and adapt it to work for you.

The Iraqi war is another Vietnam only in different terrain. If the Russians could not do it in their 13+ years, what makes you think we can?

The real problem we will see in the military is that these guys have gotten promoted way too fast. They do not have the buidling blocks they should to be good leaders. Oh there are some, but the experience is retiring or already left. They have not had the time to pass ontheir wisdom, or they just don't want to pass it on to the up and coming leaders.

Officers..I only knew a few good ones.Leutenants with fresh bars on their shoulders who try to come in thinking they know more than that NCO with 15 years experience is going to fail. I had one LT in particular that when he came to our unit, he told me straight up that he does not know shit and looks to us for guidance. THAT made him a GREAT officer and he was one too (with our help of course)!!

We will always fight as a combined arms team regardless of how they phrase it using the same Breech, Defend, Attack strategies no matter the current name some slicky boy officer sold those in charge to get that medal or good rating, the tactics are the same regardless of the verbage or translation they are hidden under.

Seen it.

Elwood - M1A2/A2 Master Gunner

M256 #34 Posted Nov 05 2011 - 15:51


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Wow, talk about degrading capabilities..I went through the AOBC in 1984 and spent the next few years living in the field with my platoon. Reforger, 2 NTC rotations and a out of country FTX with the Canadians and Brits. We ate and breathed Warsaw Pact doctrine and Air/Land Battle, shoot, move, and communicate. We put a lot steel down range and despite getting our asses handed to us by the OPFOR at Ft Irwin all that training paid off during Gulf 1 (by which time I had already ETS'd)

I get the fact that COIN warfare requires a entirely different set of tactics and principles but what the heck are Armor units doing as part of that in the 1st place?? And when you factor the economic realities of this era the question is at what force mix do we need to have in the Army of the 21st century? How important is heavy armor going to be? and how likely will we even see a significant conventional Mech heavy force on force engagement?  

The leadership has a lot of questions to answer as they look beyond SW Asia towards whatever the next 20 years hold but if we learned anything from the last 20 years is that there is never any substitute for training.

Zipzag #35 Posted Nov 05 2011 - 16:12


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From this ol soldier , way too much to read .

The_Chieftain #36 Posted Nov 05 2011 - 16:19

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%$^&^@^!% computer ate my long reply twice.

I'll be back in the late afternoon, got to head out to the community gathering.

kaosrains #37 Posted Nov 05 2011 - 17:00


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Im a 22 year retired army. 43E10,62E20,21E20...I served in the first gulf war and OIF3... my rank is SSG when I retured....SQD LEADER...
I read your Soapbox story and here is how I see it. Train you mean to win in any enviroment...Take care of them first and any mission that they throw at you will be yours to own. if you have to different tasks to train on, combine them so you absorb both. it is better to be good at both than be bad at one and not the other. when we where deployed we did more MP, 88mike and mostly grunt work than being the engineering role. I know that my role was combat support but it seemed like i was in the shit everyday. so prepare for the worsed and you will go far...I hope this helps. and for the elephants. When they step away from the battlefield , they sometimes forget about the fighting soldier.

18AC leads the way....

havocovah #38 Posted Nov 05 2011 - 17:06


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On a side note....

Really? World Nut Daily? Really?

I come to WOT to get away from religious nutbags and conspiracy mongers. You're getting information on tank deployment from the same guy who still claims Obama isn't eligible to be POTUS. Joseph Farah wouldn't be able to find his ass if you hung from the coax and pointed it to him with an IFF.

If WOT is really going to rely on World Nut Daily for information, then maybe it's time to find a different game before we find out that it's unGodly for TDs and light tanks to be in the same platoon together.

jdtherocker #39 Posted Nov 05 2011 - 17:18


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View PostThe_Chieftain, on Nov 05 2011 - 01:32, said:

Ideally it doesn't detonate them as it damages the plough. On average it can take about three mine explosions before it's beyond use. What it should do is just scoop them up and push them to one side to be dealt with later. The fun bit, though, is that in case the mines do detonate, you have to swing the gun over the left hand side to protect it from explosions. Which then means that you no longer have heavy armour between you and the nasty enemy. Hence you are reliant on supporting elements for survival, part of the reason that a breach is so complicated.

The thing streaking from the turret is a Mine Clearing Line Charge. (The 'tank' is actually an Assault Breacher Vehicle of the US Marines).
Oh thats cool thanks.

SeaApe #40 Posted Nov 05 2011 - 17:40


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First I want to thank you for your well crafted articles as I enjoy reading them almost as much as decimating my opponents with my King Tiger. Secondly, I have to state that I was never a Tanker and that I was a US Navy Sailor (HT2, 2003-2009). My experience with ground forces in the real world is limited to a 6 month detachment to a US Marine Security Force Company, some Independant Duty in Africa and supporting amphibious operations (several in fact) during the GWOT.

My peers, friends and family serving in all the branches of the US armed forces the last few years have been complaining of the same degradation of force capabilities as you stated above. For those not familiar with real military applications, I must explain the importance of maintaining core skills. Any military that allows core skills to be set aside becomes weaker in general. Countries that become weaker, become easier targets and other nations are not as hesitant to enrage or attack them. Case in point, in the 1930's, Hitler's Germany was not seen as the greatest threat in Europe. Almost all of the world thought that his government would collapse and their military was too weak to pose a threat, despite the build up. As late as 1938/39, countries like Great Britain, France, and the US still considered Stalin the greatest threat in the world with his massive army and reviled political system. In June of 1941 the Axis invaded the Soviet Union and in the first phase alone, incapacitated 600,000 Soviet tropps. The Soviet Union had a 4:1 advantage in tank numbers on the frontier the day of the invasion. But disorganization, poor training and a purge of the Soviet Officer Corps led to almost all Soviet tanks on the Western frontier being destroyed or disabled (info). Now that expresses the point I was trying to make why we should train to be great in our core competancies. My career and passion is being a firefighter, you wouldn't want me to not worry about training to save you from a burning building because it's a rare event, would you?

As far as MY military experience, the US Navy fleet operations is in the same 'boat' as it were as the Army's Armor Units. The Navy is focusing on 2 major priorities, 1) Anti-piracy operations in sea shipping lanes and 2) Weapons/Drug interdiction. Neither program really uses the major core competancies of modern Naval combat. I was riding a Cruiser out of Mississippi on a drug interdiction mission in the Caribbean. We were having a successful operation so far until a submarine surfaced about 100 yards on the starboard (right) side of the ship. Needless to say, I lost my cigarette over the side in the chaos that ensued. It turned out to be a Peruvian (and therfore allied) sub but there was no warning from the sub (a flare launched before surfacing) or from ship's sonar. That's when I found out the cruiser's sonar had not be functional for a couple of YEARS! Fleet didn't consider it important since the ship was delegated to anti-drup ops in Central/South America. Since then, I have performed work on or ridden numerous ships with non-functional air-defence systems, anti-submarine systems, anti-surface systems or with crews that didn't even know how to adequately perform in their assigned roles. In fact, it was 22 May 2008 when the USS George Washington suffered a catostrophic fire onboard during an Underway Replenishment. This fire, while preventable, also showed the investigation team (including me) that the US Navy is not capable of dealing with shipboard emergencies, let alone combat damage!(Info)

In closing, I believe that the US military is vulnerable to many conventional avenues of attack. Even Admiral Mike Mullen stood before congress before his promotion and called for hearings on the state of the Navy today. We may not see the next big threat coming, but a skilled opponent never lets you see him until it is too late!


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