MilSats: Afghan Nat’l Army Technicals

A Technical is, per Wikipedia, ” light improvised fighting vehicles, typically a civilian or military non-combat vehicle, modified to provide an offensive capability similar to a military gun truck. It is usually an open-backed civilian pickup truck or four-wheel drive vehicle mounting a machine gun, light anti-aircraft gun, anti-tank weapon, or other support weapon.”


DELARAM, Afghanistan–Afghan National Army soldiers conduct a patrol in western Afghanistan. (ANA photo by Sergeant Fathe Noori)

MilSats – May Day and the Russians

Monday is May Day and the Russians will hold their traditional parade in Red Square – which, by the way, is not so named because of communism. Here is a picture of some Spetsnaz (Russian Special Ops soldiers) in the snow.


In the course of the surprise combat readiness inspection units of the separate Airborne Spacial Task Force brigade is providing tactical assault and blocking the Severomorsk-3 airfield (Severomorsk, Murmansk region)

Drop off at the LZ

See you on Monday!


CV-22 Osprey deploys a tactical air control party
A CV-22 Osprey deploys a tactical air control party onto the ground of Grand Bay Bombing and Gunnery Range at Moody Air Force Base, Ga., Mar. 4, 2016. Multiple aircraft within Air Combat Command conducted joint combat rescue and aerial training that showcased tactical air and ground maneuvers as well as weapons capabilities. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Brian J. Valencia)

Books I Read in 2015

I’m a little late on this one – Usually I put it up in January, but never late than never!

It seems like I read less this year than in previous years, but a lot of what I was doing was working through coding exercises.  Also, we moved in the middle of the year, and a whole lot of bad stuff happened too.  At one point I was working two jobs.  So, life happening plus less time to read combined with working through coding textbooks meant this year was anemic when it came to books.  Still, I hope you find some value in the list below. There are books on history, international affairs, religion, mathematics, epidemiology, and of course, many fiction books.


3.) Vengeance (Rogue Warrior #12) – Richard Marcinko
9.)  GIS for Dummies – Michael N. DeMers
11.) There Will Be War Volume 1 (Castalia House ebook version) – Jerry Pournelle, Editor
14.) Blowback (Vanessa Pierson #1) – Valerie Plame and Sarah Lovett
15.) Men of War: There Will Be War Volume II (Castalia House ebook version) – Jerry Pournelle, Editor
16.) The Spread of Nuclear Weapons: A Debate – Scott D. Sagan & Kenneth N. Waltz
17.) The Art of War: A History of Military Strategy (Castalia House ebook version) – Martin van Creveld
19.)  El Borak and Other Desert Adventures – Robert E. Howard
21.) There Will Be War: Volume III Blood and Iron (Castalia House ebook version) – Jerry Pournelle, Editor
23.) GIS: A Visual Approach – Bruce E. Davis
25.) Rough Justice (Sean Dillon #15) – Jack Higgins
27.) A Darker Place (Sean Dillon #16) – Jack Higgins
28.) Wesley for Armchair Theologians – William J. Abraham
32.) Full Force and Effect (Jack Ryan #10) – Mark Greaney (Tom Clancy)
34.) There Will Be War Volume IV: Day of the Tyrant  (Castalia House ebook version) – Jerry Pournelle, Editor
35.) Why Homer Matters – Adam Nicolson
39.) Founders (The Coming Collapse) – James Wesley, Rawles
44. The Martian – Andy Weir
45.) Treasure of Khan (Dirk Pitt #19) – Clive Cussler and Dirk Cussler
46.) Finding Zero – Amir D. Aczel
48.) End of the Earth: Voyaging to Antarctica – Peter Matthiessen

Thursday the…Thirteenth!

13 for 13 on my NaBloPoMo!  Sweet!

I’m struggling with what to write about today.  I wrote an essay today on identifying the aggressor in international conflict and why it does or does not matter.  I started with Thucydides, drew on Aquinas (Just War theory) and then referenced several UN treaties and articles.  I wrote about whether or not the advent of so-called fourth generation warfare would have any effect on these criteria, since for the most part they refer to nations as the primary actors.  My paper hasn’t been graded yet; I’ll put it up once it is.  I was, however, disappointed to find that Wikipedia is still not regarded as a valid source, despite the fact that it has been shown to have no more errors than the Encyclopedia Britannica.

In other news, we gave my son Minecraft for his birthday.  However, for the last few nights we haven’t been able to download it because we keep getting a message that they are updating their servers.  As you can imagine, this is quite frustrating.

Other than that, nothing new and exciting!

U.S. Strategy and the New Medievalism

I’ve noted before that I’ve done some work with the Matthew Ridgway Center for International Security Studies at the University of Pittsburgh.  Dr. Phil Williams, a noted scholar on transnational security threats, was the director, and was also a visiting scholar at the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College, and for them he wrote several monographs.  One in particular that caught my eye was “From the New Middle Ages to a New Dark Age: The Decline of the State and U.S. Strategy“.  At the time (two years ago) I toyed around with the possibility of a book-length expansion on this, going as far as working up a table of contents and listing some extra things that the book could cover that the monograph did not.
Real life intervened, as it often does, and I found myself back at work as an engineer, so I never got much further with the book.  Still, I think Dr. Williams’ paper deserves more consideration, and I’d still like to explore some of the ideas in the monograph in further detail.  Given the Arab Spring, Ukraine, and Syria, as well as the situation in the South China Sea, I think Dr. Williams foresaw a lot of things in this publication.  At the end of it, he gives some recommendations which are interesting in light of the cutbacks to the U.S. military that we are seeing.
I’ll explore different areas over the next few weeks – I’m aiming for one blog post per week.  For today, here is a synopsis of the monograph taken from the SSI website.  I encourage you to download and read it.
From the New Middle Ages to a ... Cover Image
“Security and stability in the 21st century have little to do with traditional power politics, military conflict between states, and issues of grand strategy. Instead they revolve around the disruptive consequences of globalization, declining governance, inequality, urbanization, and nonstate violent actors. The author explores the implications of these issues for the United States. He proposes a rejection of “stateocentric” assumptions and an embrace of the notion of the New Middle Ages characterized, among other things, by competing structures, fragmented authority, and the rise of “no-go” zones. He also suggests that the world could tip into a New Dark Age. He identifies three major options for the United States in responding to such a development. The author argues that for interventions to have any chance of success the United States will have to move to a trans-agency approach. But even this might not be sufficient to stanch the chaos and prevent the continuing decline of the Westphalian state.”