14 May 2009

RPG? What RPG, I'm holding that for a friend...

Naval forces of CTF 151 make a significant capture of a pirate mothership off the Somali coast. In this action it was the response to an Egyption ship which led embarked helos from teh USS GETTYSBURG and ROKS MUNMU THE GREAT (what a cool name) to discover the pirates' floating base. It should also underscore how tought this operation will be to sustain in an ongoing basis. The mothership was not much more than a small fishing vessel with a few small arms aboard. The pirates will turn out to be unemployed youth seeking to make a quick buck at the behest of some higher headman.
We can not employ guided missile cruisers to stop pirates. We need to deploy a small squadron of light craft centered around an amphibious ship, preferably an LHD. This would provide a platform for embarked helos, critical for identifying these vessels, and a base for high speed vessel response. With MARPAT (Maritime Patrol) overflights, we could provide sufficient deterrent for the far offshore operations of pirates. Additionally, the Rules of Engagement (ROE) should be modified to permit the use deadly force in defense of any civilian vessel under current attack.

From: American Forces Press Service
Sent: Thu 5/14/2009 11:39 AM
Subject: Combined Task Force Makes First Suspected Pirate Capture

Combined Task Force Makes First Suspected Pirate Capture
Thu, 14 May 2009 11:16:00 -0500

Combined Task Force Makes First Suspected Pirate Capture

American Forces Press Service

ABOARD USS GETTYSBURG AT SEA, May 14, 2009 - Ships from Combined Task Force 151 prevented a piracy attack in the Gulf of Aden, which resulted in the apprehension of more than a dozen suspected pirates aboard an alleged "mothership" yesterday.

The South Korean destroyer ROKS Munmu the Great and guided missile cruiser USS Gettysburg responded to a distress call from the Egyptian-flagged motor vessel Amira, which reported being attacked about 75 nautical miles south of Mukalla, Yemen.

Several assault rifle rounds and a rocket-propelled grenade round struck the Amira, causing little or no damage. A rope was thrown from the skiff in an attempt to board, but the attempt failed and the suspected pirates abandoned their attack.

Gettysburg and Munmu the Great launched their embarked helicopters which flew immediately to Amira's location. During its flight, the SH-60B helicopter assigned to Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron Light 46 located a small boat suspected of serving as a pirate mothership.

A Gettysburg visit, board, search and seizure team boarded the boat along with members of U.S. Coast Guard Legal Detachment 409 and apprehended the suspected pirates after finding eight assault rifles, a rocket-propelled grenade launcher and a rocket-propelled grenade. All 17 of the passengers were brought on board Gettysburg for further questioning.

"This is another clear example of how coordination between the Combined Maritime Forces resulted in the successful disruption of pirate activity," said Royal Navy Commodore Tim Lowe, deputy commander of the Combined Maritime Forces. "It is imperative that all maritime forces continue to synchronize their efforts to deter and disrupt these unlawful and aggressive acts."

Gettysburg and Munmu the Great are operating in support of CTF 151, a multinational task force established to conduct counterpiracy operations under a mission-based mandate throughout the CMF area of responsibility to deter, disrupt and suppress piracy and secure freedom of navigation.

(From a Combined Maritime Forces news release.)

Related Sites:
U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. 5th Fleet/Combined Maritime Forces

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13 May 2009

Hey Washington DC, don't panic...

Well, in order to insure that the nation doesn't get all panicky, the Department of Defense has issued a press release about some exercises over Washington, DC. This is to avoid embarrasment to the administration over the Air Force one photo op over New York City. The military is often involved in very complex operations and takes great pains to analyze and avoid "blue on blue" incidents. These are events where friendly forces engage one another in unintentional combat. There are a host of famous examples of "friendly fire" incidents. But the military considers the level of risk at much earlier levels. For example, erroneous identification of aircraft are a real risk for blue-on-blue actions. As such, the nation exercises routinely to avoid this type of error - for once an engagement takes place, the results are usually irreversibly lethal.
As a public service, I put forth the attached press release. No doubt this has been forwarded to the media, who are bombarded by the DoD with numerous press releases daily. Hopefully this will not be lost in the shuffle. However, given the proximity to its occurrence, the exercise initiaties on 15 MAY, we may be in for some panic.

From: DoD Advisories
Sent: Wed 5/13/2009 11:20 AM
Subject: NORAD Flight Exercise Planned for Washington, D.C.

NORAD Flight Exercise Planned for Washington, D.C.
Wed, 13 May 2009 11:17:00 -0500

No. 039-09 May 13, 2009
cellspacing="5" cellpadding="0" width="100%" bgcolor="#ffffff" border="0">
NORAD Flight Exercise Planned for Washington, D.C.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command and its geographical component, the Continental United States NORAD Region, will conduct exercise Falcon Virgo 09-07, on May 15 and 19 between midnight and 6:00 a.m. in the National Capital Region (NCR), Washington, D.C.
The exercise comprises a series of training flights held in coordination with the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Capital Region Command Center, the Joint Air Defense Operations Center, the Continental U.S. NORAD Region (CONR), Civil Air Patrol, U.S. Coast Guard and CONR's Western Air Defense Sector.
Exercise Falcon Virgo is designed to hone NORAD's intercept and identification operations, as well as procedural tests of the NCR Visual Warning System. Two Civil Air Patrol Cessna aircraft, two Air Force F-16s and one Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin helicopter will participate in the exercise. Residents may see these aircraft approaching and flying in the vicinity of the Washington D.C. area as part of this exercise during the late night and early morning hours from midnight through 6:00 a.m. on May 15th and the 19th .
For more information on the Falcon Virgo exercise, please contact CONR Public Affairs at (850) 283-8080, or the NORAD Public Affairs Office at (719) 554-6889.

U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)

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06 May 2009

Another one bites the skirt...

A lifetime ago I worked in early satellite radio.  Not the current slick XM / Sirius hegemony we have today, but rather the content delivered via satellite to small stations (mainly AM) across the nation.  The format was news/talk with some feature and sponsored programming.  We hosted folks like Sonny Bloch, Gary Null, Jack Ellery, Chuck Harder, and others.


Suffice to say I quit when I discovered the network had been bought and was being run by Nazis.


True story.


Thus my fascination with the media was truly ignited.  I note today, while perusing Ad Age, that one of my few favorite cable outlets is changing its “branding”.  SciFi is becoming SyFy.  With all reference to syphilis aside, the rebranding is the result of the niche channel’s success.  The company, in a terse March 16, 2009 press release poses the usual reasons for making the switch.  Most importantly to allow for unique, and enforceable, brand identity as well as a growth towards imagination based programming.


I suspect we will see a change from solid, science fiction / horror / fantasy programming to one more skewed and demographically focused towards females 25-54.


It already is touting more reality shows, Quantum Leap / X-files like programming in its cable guide glossy section in the May 4, Ad Age.


I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.  It’s where the money is, and after all, not everyone like Lifetime, Oxygen and every other “niche” cable outlet.






05 May 2009

The Doctors Sheds its Last Vestige of Credibility...

CBS, in a desperate bid for ratings, on its medical equivalent to The View, The Doctors, is planning to put vaccine denialist Jenny McCarthy on its show. It will be interesting to see if any of the paid medical performers are willing to counter any of her non-science rhetoric.

The press release on the event is here. The show has been roundly criticized in serious medical circles and the show itself is as staged as any “reality” TV production. Each of the medical pundits wears a variety of lab coast, scrubs or standard “doctor casual” clothing. They all look great and present a beautiful multi-cultural front which continues to support their presumed godlike powers.

I think I will tune in to XM’s ReachMD, a serious channel with real topics on medicine and science.