Tag Archives: Neptunus Lex

Flying Club

By lex, on March 11th, 2011

The California Air National Guard is not exactly burnishing their reputation at the top these days:

Four pilots who are under criminal investigation for receiving possibly illegal payments of public funds have been appointed to key leadership posts in the California National Guard’s 144th Fighter Wing based in Fresno. Two former commanders, also targeted in the probe, previously were relieved of their command.

Guard officials recently acknowledged that the pilots who assumed the top jobs last fall – Wing Commander Col. James McKoane, Vice Commander Lt. Col. Victor S. Sikora, Squadron Commander Lt. Col. Sean Navin and Operations Commander Lt. Col. Douglas Weskamp – are subjects of the criminal probe and have been grounded indefinitely.

Now, being charged is not the same as being convicted. But as recent events have proven, in Navy we fire commanding officers and then conduct careful investigations.

I’d heard it said before that the Air National Guard was a pretty chummy collection of old boys. Looks like the FANG is out to prove it.

Times being hard all around and FY12 just around the corner, that seems like a pretty poor strategic choice to make.

Back To The Index 

Leave a comment

Filed under Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Military

Half Cocked

Posted by lex, on September 25, 2009

The administration’s much ballyhooed plan to close the detainee center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba is in something of a shambles:

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Carroll "Lex" LeFon, GWOT

Sanctions that Bite

Posted by lex, on September 25, 2009

A second, heretofore hidden Iranian nuclear plant, a defiant, nutjob Iranian president and a case of breathtaking naïveté:

“So I think Iran is on notice that when we meet with them on October 1st,” Obama said, “they are going to have to come clean” and make a choice on whether to give up “the acquisition of nuclear weapons” or “continue down a path that is going to lead to confrontation.” He added: “The international community, I think, has spoken. It is now up to Iran to respond.”

Mr. President, they already did.

Back To The Index 

Leave a comment

Filed under Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Iran


Posted by lex, on September 24, 2009

Sometimes it is exactly as strange as fiction:

Yarynich is talking about Russia’s doomsday machine. That’s right, an actual doomsday device—a real, functioning version of the ultimate weapon, always presumed to exist only as a fantasy of apocalypse-obsessed science fiction writers and paranoid über-hawks. The thing that historian Lewis Mumford called “the central symbol of this scientifically organized nightmare of mass extermination.” Turns out Yarynich, a 30-year veteran of the Soviet Strategic Rocket Forces and Soviet General Staff, helped build one.

The point of the system, he explains, was to guarantee an automatic Soviet response to an American nuclear strike. Even if the US crippled the USSR with a surprise attack, the Soviets could still hit back. It wouldn’t matter if the US blew up the Kremlin, took out the defense ministry, severed the communications network, and killed everyone with stars on their shoulders. Ground-based sensors would detect that a devastating blow had been struck and a counterattack would be launched.

The Sovs kept the program secret, unfortunately. Quite contrary to good game theory.

After all, in the immortal words of Dr. Strangelove, “The whole point of the doomsday machine is lost if you keep it a secret! Why didn’t you tell the world?”

Back To The Index 

Leave a comment

Filed under Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Military

Failed to sail

Posted by lex, on September 21, 2009

Bummer for the Bonnie Dick *:

Problems with its steam service turbine generators are delaying Friday’s planned deployment of amphibious assault ship Bonhomme Richard, Navy officials confirmed late Wednesday.

Maintenance crews were determining the repairs needed so Bonhomme Richard, carrying nearly 3,000 Marines and sailors, can begin its scheduled deployment to the Western Pacific and Persian Gulf regions. The turbine generators convert steam into electricity, which in turn feeds energy into the ship’s power supply.

“The ship received an inspection advisory for the ship’s service turbine generators,” said Cmdr. Greg Hicks, a U.S. 3rd Fleet spokesman in San Diego. “Issues were discovered that are best corrected pierside before commencing deployment.”

I was aboard the USS Independence in 1990 when Cat 3 went down. All alert launches were from the waist catapults, and the embarked F-14s couldn’t launch off Cat 4 with Phoenix missiles aboard. The flag wouldn’t cross the Bear Box without Tomcats, so the ship was delayed about a week undergoing repairs.

A lot of people got very excited at the news.

** 01-27-21 Link gone; no replacement found (was Navy Times)

Back To The Index 

Leave a comment

Filed under Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Navy

Raising Hell

Posted by lex, on September 22, 2009

When I was a junior officer, and one or another policy that we’d perceived as idiotic came down the pipe, we used to dream of some theoretical flag officer that would throw his stars on the table in protest. The Stan Arthur case comes to mind, a damned fine warfighter tossed overboard for political purposes. Feelings were running high in the early 90s, and it was the opinion of many of us that CNO Jeremy Boorda ought to have stood up to the witch hunt, and placed his own career on the line. I think he might have felt that way too before he took his own life. For other reasons, ostensibly.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Carroll "Lex" LeFon, GWOT, Neptunus Lex, Politics

Just Politics

Posted by lex, on September 22, 2009

That whole “Iraq is a bad war, Afghanistan is a good war” thing?

That was all just funnin’ around, according to Digby:

The Democrats backed themselves into defending the idea of Afghanistan being The Good War because they felt they needed to prove their macho bonafides they called for withdrawal from Iraq. Nobody asked too many questions sat the time, including me. But none of us should forget that it was a political strategy, not a serious foreign policy.

It was all just a means to an end – sabotage the war effort, sacrifice the troops, suffer national disgrace and leave the Iraqis twisting in the wind was nothing but a way to political power, and single payer health care and so on.

Just don’t, you know: Question anybody’s patriotism.

Back To The Index 

Leave a comment

Filed under Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Politics and Culture


Posted by lex, on September 18, 2009

In 2001, intelligence estimates said that Iran was five years away from being able to assemble the components for a nuclear weapons program. The 2003 National Intelligence Estimate doubled that figure to ten years, “early next decade” at the soonest, more probably not until 2015.

In the summer of 2003, national media outlets took heart at the news that the intelligence community was re-assessing the products it had developed asserting the presence of WMD in Iraq – an important, but by no means exclusive rationale for going to war there. There were murmurings here and abroad that, rather than cautiously balanced assessments with footnoted caveats intended to inform policy makers, the intel had been “sexed up *” at the direction of politicians – a crucial distinction.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Military, Politics

Drones Gone Wild

Posted by lex, on September 16, 2009

UAVs are pretty slick when it comes to long-dwell ISR and plausible denial. But there are certainly drawbacks to beyond-line-of-sight command and control:

A drone pilot’s nightmare came true when operators lost control of an armed MQ-9 Reaper flying a combat mission over Afghanistan on Sunday. That led a manned U.S. aircraft to shoot down the unresponsive drone before it flew beyond the edge of Afghanistan airspace.

The U.S. Air Force stated that a manned aircraft took “proactive measures” to shoot down the Reaper, which ended up crashing into the side of a mountain. Reaper drones have typically engaged in hunter-killer missions over Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan by targeting enemies on the ground with Hellfire missiles.


Back To The Index 

Leave a comment

Filed under Afghanistan, Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Military

Business Opportunity

Posted by lex, on June 16, 2009

Learjet Repo man

Someone misses a few payments. The bank wants to recover its plane. There will be an attempt to set up some kind of debt payment plan. Failing that, collateral has to be ponied up. If there is none, then an account executive reaches out to (Nick) Popovich. But Jumbo Jets are expensive — a 747 will run you anywhere from $125 million to $260 million — and people who try to acquire such toys are loath to give them back. If the deadbeat gets wind that the bank is sniffing around his plane, he’s likely to spirit it away before anyone has a chance to grab it, and then it becomes a cat-and-rat game that can take months to complete.

Sounds like the money’s pretty good. But I could do without spending time in a Haitian prison.

Back To The Index 

Leave a comment

Filed under Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Flying