Friday, December 28, 2007

Why I don't believe in Manmade Global Warming

*Al Gore is not a scientist

*I am not interested in "global Salvationism".

*Environmentalism is usually an excuse for more government control over your life. Has it ever been an excuse for less?

*Leading "greens" oppose affordable energy.

*Environmentalists want to prosecute those who disagree with them.

*Climate is always changing.

*The sun's activity correllates more closely to global temperatures than CO2 levels do.

*Global warming likely will be a net past warmings have always been.

*Many climate experts doubt the media-proclaimed global warming alarmism.

*It is the greens who seek to censor science and intimidate dissent and debate.

*The South Pole is getting colder.

*Most polar bear populations are thriving even if Al Gore falsely says they cannot swim).

*Not a single hurricane hit the USA in 2006.

*Enron lobbied Gore and worked with green groups in support of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change.

*Those "responsible" businesses happen to stand to profit from otherwise ineffective environmental laws.

*Green groups get millions from major corporations.

*Many journalists proclaim a duty to present only one side in climate debates

*The media have alternated between global cooling scares and global warming for a century.

*Gore warns of 20-foot sea level rises, but the UN says sea level will continue its slow and steady rise, anywhere from 4 inches to under three feet in the next century.

*Carbon dioxide taxes and rationing schemes are regressive: they disproportionately affect poor people and seniors.

*Renewable fuels cannot meet today's demands, let alone the world's growing needs.

*Global sea levels have been rising for centuries.

The modern environmentalist movement is generally "anti" something, and that something is typically related to growth: economic growth, population growth, physical development, or simply the individual property rights necessary for growth. It is also extremely anticapitalist (communism anyone?) as well as anti-human and anti-American. Sadly, their motivation is not a love of biological diversity or horticulture, nor a desire to expand animal habitats and so on. We have been taught by the government to be very, very afraid, successively, of AIDS, Saddam Hussein, BSE, terrorists, SARS, bird flu, and now global warming, and I just ain't buying it, folks.....

And then there are their own quotes:

"Every time someone dies as a result of floods in Bangladesh, an airline executive should be dragged out of his office and drowned." George Monbiot

"We should have war crimes for these bastards--some sort of climate Nuremberg." David Roberts

"Scientists who want to attract attention to themselves, who want to attract great funding to themselves, have to find a way to scare the public....and this you can achieve only by making things bigger and more dangerous than they are." Petr Chylek

So, finally, the "settled" theory of catastrophic Manmade global warming is that it is not catastrophic, Manmade, nor global. The entire Southern Hemisphere as a whole is not experiencing any statistically significant warming and Al Gore utterly ignores the real reasons for increases in various weather-related damages--more people and more wealth situated in more flood-prone or storm-prone areas. The sea levels around the globe have been rising, for the last 8,000 years and will continue to do so at varying rates until the next ice age. CO2 levels have nothing to do with temperature levels across the planet but it will increase the biodiversity of the planet by extending animal and plant ranges. In fact, according to the fossil record, over 450 million years ago CO2 levels were over ten times higher than they are today, but the planet was in the depths of the absolute coldest period in the last half billion years.

So there you have it....


NATO, Arabs, and China

NATO Plans To Invade
The Russian parliament has approved the suspension of the 1990 Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty. This treaty was a Cold War effort, hammered out after years of negotiations in the 1980s, that limited the size and composition of Russian armed forces in western Russia (and thus able to threaten Western Europe.)

The Treaty became moot about a year after it was signed, and is a largely useless relic of the Cold War. But now Russia is threatening to build up combat forces on its Western borders, in response to a government approved conspiracy theory that NATO is planning to eventually invade Russia. Senior Russian officials openly talk about this, and many Russians believe it as well.

Fatal Jealousy
One thing that keeps the Islamic world favorably disposed towards Islamic terrorism is widespread fear and hatred of the Western world. Opinion surveys continue to show that Moslems hate and fear the West, more than Westerns hate and fear Moslems (despite the growth of Islamic terrorism.)

The fear comes largely from the poor economic, political and scientific performance of the Moslem, especially the Arab, world when compared to the West. It's a perverse expression of jealousy and resentment. There are practical reasons for this lack of progress. For example, the Arab world didn’t adopt printing until two centuries after it became common in the West. This was partly due to the complexities of written Arabic. There are thousands of rules governing how Arabic letters are joined, and it was difficult for typographers to make it work. A further complication was resistance from the Islamic religious establishment. Printed Arabic had to be very much like written Arabic, otherwise one was defaming the language of the Koran, which is God’s word. This is one of the reasons the Arab world publishes books at a tenth the rate of the rest of the world. The lack of books leads to knowledge being transmitted more slowly.

That brings up another obstacle. For a thousand years, there has been a struggle between a large segment of the Islamic clergy, and Moslem scientists and engineers. In a pattern that persists to the present, Islamic conservatives condemned many things that are “new” as “un-Islamic.” Thus the al Qaeda enthusiasm for this attitude is nothing new. The price paid for this attitude has been enormous. Moslem countries contain a disproportionate number of the illiterates on the planet. Arab college students are much less likely to study science and engineering than are non-Moslem students. The West produces more than a hundred times as many Nobel prizes in science, per million people, than does the Islamic world.

The education shortage results in less wealth. GDP of all Islamic countries is a fifth of the European Union and the United States (which contain half as many people.) Unemployment rates are much higher in Islamic countries, and most are ruled by dictators or monarchs. Without science, education and democracy, you find that science and economic progress cannot flourish. It’s only recently become fashionable among Moslems to attribute this to internal conditions. The Arab Reform Movement tries, with limited success, to overcome this “blame the outsider” attitude. Even the Saudi royal family is behind the Arab Reform Movement, and the need for the Islamic world to invest more in education and economic freedom. But thousand year old habits are difficult to erase quickly. This is why Westerners can speak with educated Moslems and come away thinking that friendly relations between the Western and Islamic world are more likely than not. But among the vast majority of poorly educated, and often illiterate, Moslems, the West is feared and hated. Moslem tyrants play on this, as they have for centuries, to blame the misery the tyrants have created on infidel (non-Moslem) foreigners.

This instinctive Islamic ill-will towards the West changes very slowly, and until it changes a lot, easily recruited Islamic terrorists will feel compelled to kill Westerners.

Hot Line With America
China and the United States have agreed to establish a hot line between the Pentagon and the Chinese Defense Ministry. This would make it easier to defuse any accidental (or intentional) confrontations between U.S. and Chinese military forces. Such a hot line has been under discussion since early 2001, when a Chinese fighter collided with an American patrol aircraft off the Chinese coast.

Taiwan recently revealed that it was manufacturing longer range (over a thousand kilometer) cruise missiles, and aiming them at China. The United States was alarmed at this, fearing it was now easier to get dragged into a Taiwan-China war. In response, Taiwan promised to notify the U.S. before any of these new missiles were fired at China. Taiwan is building up its missile force in response to the 988 ballistic missiles China has aimed at Taiwan.

Although Taiwan and China are quite hostile to each other, the same cannot be said about Taiwanese and Chinese. Some 400,000 Taiwanese (out of a population of 23 million) live in China. Each year, Taiwanese make 46 million visits to China, and Chinese make 1.56 million visits to Taiwan.

Russia and China have established an informal "free trade for weapons" alliance. Basically, both nations support each other in selling weapons to anyone who can pay. This includes international pariahs like Burma, North Korea, Iran and several African dictatorships. The Western custom of not selling to those perceived as evil is not a factor here. The ability to pay is. The only nation China opposes weapons sales to is Taiwan, and that's only because China believes it may one day have to fight Taiwan in order to annex it. Think of it as free trade free of any moral constraints.

“This Is America. So Sue Me.”
We’ve been following the case of Joe Vento for some time, but for those of you who may not be familiar with it, here’s a brief history. Mr. Vento is the owner of Geno’s Cheesesteaks in Philadelphia. Vento started the restaurant in 1966 with just six dollars to his name. Today, Geno’s is a popular tourist stop and a thriving, multi-million dollar business. Through hard work and dedication, Mr. Vento has become a living example of the American Dream. In 2005, Mr. Vento put up a sign in his restaurant that read, “This is America. When ordering, please speak English.” Guess what happened next. Mr. Vento was slapped with a discrimination complaint by the bureaucrats at the Philadelphia Human Rights Commission.

Last week, he was grilled by the grand inquisitors of political correctness for six hours as he defended his First Amendment right to put up a sign in his own business and ask that his customers speak the language of our country. According to the Associated Press, “…a sociology professor at the University of Pennsylvania testified that Vento's signs harken back to the ‘Whites only’ postings of the Jim Crow era.” Asking customers to speak English is now being equated with racism. As outrageous as this is, it shouldn’t be a total surprise. In recent years militant homosexual activists have tried to insist that anyone who believes marriage is between a man and a woman is a bigot! Sadly, Vento may lose his business over this silliness, but there is a much bigger case looming on the horizon.

Although the overwhelming majority of the American people support making English our official language, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), an agency of our federal government, announced in April that it was suing the Salvation Army over its requirement that employees speak English on the job. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) attached an amendment to the EEOC’s budget that withholds funds for this lawsuit. On November 8th, the House narrowly approved a similar amendment on a vote of 218-to-186. (It should have been unanimous!) But, I’m sorry to say, this language was dropped from the omnibus spending bill by the majority party during closed door negotiations.

My friends, our nation is in deep trouble when normalcy is decried as bigotry; when common sense values that unite us are forced to give way to political correctness that divides us. Teddy Roosevelt once wrote: “We have room but for one flag, the American flag… We have room but for one language here and that is the English language, for we intend to see that the crucible turns our people out as Americans, of American nationality…; we have room for but one soul [sic] loyalty, and that is loyalty to the American people.” Roosevelt was right then, and, if this nation is going to remain free and prosperous, we must have the courage to boldly and unapologetically defend our values today

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Chopping Block

A very serious crisis is now looming in defense aquisition for the Defense Department. Skyrocketing costs in purchasing new weapons are now so absurdly high that only a few hundred or few dozen units of fighters and ships can now be bought without bankrupting the United States. Ridiculously priced aircraft like the F-22 (estimated cost of $200 million per airplane) to the new Littoral Combat Ship (price is $350 million and climbing) is seriously hampering the ability of the Pentagon to buy new weapons while replacing old and worn out equipment. The individual cost of nearly all new weapon systems have caused the total collapse of any new helicopter program and is primed to scuttle the US Navy from an all-important 600 ship fleet to below 300 vessels, which is clearly not enough warships to police the seas.

Part of the problem is former US military officials being hired by defense companies to lobby the Department of Defense and Congress, a clear violation of ethics and defense preparedness standards. These lobbyists work the corridors of Congress and the Pentagon, trying to get officials in those hallowed halls to buy any and all their projects, even if they are not needed. This costs the US taxpayers billions of dollars in unnecessary waste and threatens the financial stability of the DOD.

Second, the overall scheme of defense contracting needs to be re-evaluated. The current trend in military spending has basically gutted the defense industry, leaving just a few ultra-large companies vying for defense dollars. This is a very serious problem because if just one or two companies can build the planes that the US military desperately needs, these companies apparently have no qualms about adding cost overruns that grow to hundreds of millions of dollars. For example, the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) was a brand new series of vessels (corvette-sized) that were intended to be cheaper than destroyers and frigates plus do more jobs that both of those ships could do. Estimated costs were less than $200 million per warship but under Lockheed Martin's disastrous construction and oversight, the cost of the first LCS ballooned to over $350 million per vessel, almost double the original estimate, which caused the US Navy to pull the plug on this important program.

I believe cost overruns like this are intentional since Lockheed Martin knows that the US Navy cannot just go down the hall to the their competitors and order the same ship. Such actions on the part of Lockheed are nearly criminal and should be stopped, and here's how:

The Chopping Block
My (simple) idea is that the top 100 leaders in a company will be listed with any new contract. If a ship or plane program goes over budget, then these 100 people cannot work on any new project for the entire US government, period. By holding the leaders of each company accountable, it will force them to avoid cost overruns like the plague and the US military will be able to afford the equipment it needs. As of now, the US Air Force wants to buy the F-22, but it can only afford around 200 of the planes. This is absurd and the defense contractors MUST be held accountable for all financial disasters in critically important programs like the F-22 and LCS.

A second idea is to break up all design groups in defense companies into small "think tank" like organizations. Each think tank would design a weapon system and individual companies would vie for the contract to build the item. If a specific defense contractor company went over budget, it could be handed off to another defense contractor for production instead.

After looking at the billions and billions of dollars wasted on programs like the Comanche and the Sergeant York, the US Congress and Pentagon needs to wise up and reshape how buying military equipment is done. After all, it's our money....

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Pro-Environment, Anti-Family?
While delegates from every corner of the globe are gathered in Bali to hammer out a new environmental treaty, there have been several reports in recent days casting some doubt on the science of global warming and the underpinnings of this new protocol effort. For example, researchers from the Universities of Rochester, Alabama and Virginia have found that observable measurements (i.e. reality) are not matching up to the predictions of computer-generated climate change models. They believe, according to their research, that “what’s causing the warming are changes in the sun.” They also note, “We have to remember that the climate has always been changing ever since we have records… We know that there have been huge climate changes on earth…” Moreover, Brazil’s MetSul Weather Center reports that snow and ice in the Arctic is within one percent of normal (winter hasn’t even started yet!), and ice on the southern polar ice cap has grown substantially compared to last year.

Now, we can reasonably and rationally debate the science and seriousness of global warming, but I’ve been arguing for some time that there is a hidden agenda lurking behind much of the hype. Cloaked in concern for the environment, it is becoming increasingly obvious that this movement is just another attempt by the Left to control our economy and your life. For years conservatives and pro-family advocates in this country have fought for family-friendly tax policies, such as the per-child tax credit. But the radical Left has something else in mind for your family – all in the name of saving the planet, of course.

Recently, a west Australian medical expert published an article calling for families with more than two children to pay a $5,000-plus “baby levy” at birth and an annual carbon tax of up to $800 per child to pay for enough trees to offset the carbon emissions generated over each child’s lifetime. It’s not a major leap to go from punitive taxation to a ban on childbearing, much like communist China’s one-child policy, which has led to forced abortions and sterilizations. But to prove just how extreme some in the environmentalist movement are, a heart-wrenching story appeared recently in the British media about women who have chosen not to have children because, as one woman put it, “…a baby would pollute the planet -- and that never having a child was the most environmentally friendly thing I could do.”

Sadly, another woman interviewed for the article was so brainwashed by this pro-environment/anti-family ideology that when she learned she was pregnant, she was so horrified she got an abortion and spent the next two years searching for a doctor who would sterilize her. The sacrifice of her child in the womb for the sake of the environment reminds me of the ancient civilizations whose people would ritually sacrifice babies on alters to appease pagan earth gods. While I do believe it is imperative that we are good stewards of the environment, I am mindful that we worship the Creator and not the creation. When our priorities become so grossly distorted, it is inevitable that public policy will become equally distorted.

The Left’s Hatred
Americans were shocked this week when news broke that a gunman had opened fire on a Christian missionary center and a mega-church in Colorado, killing four and wounding several others. It was even more disturbing to learn that the shooter was motivated by a bizarre hatred of Christians, as were the Columbine killers and the Virginia Tech murderer. Where does such hatred come from? Here’s one example.

Our staff regularly monitors the websites of the radical Left – just to know what the opposition is up to. This morning we were stunned to find a post on the site of a homosexual blogger (who has been on a crusade to “out” Republican members of Congress) that reads, “It’s official!!!! Democrats are a bunch of [expletive] wimps.” His ever-so-tolerant post provided a link to a roll call vote taken in the House of Representatives this week. What could lead a homosexual activist to level such invective at the Democrats? Needless to say, we were very curious. Had the new majority suddenly reversed course and passed the marriage protection amendment or banned homosexual adoptions? What earth-shattering news had we missed? Are you ready for this? On Tuesday, the House overwhelmingly voted in support of a resolution recognizing the importance of Christmas and the Christian faith in the founding of the United States and formation of Western Civilization. Amazingly, the rage of this militant homosexual activist was focused on the fact that only nine Democrats voted against the resolution recognizing Christmas and Christianity.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Behind the Kitty Hawk Spat

US, Chinese hold military talks amid strains over port calls
by Andrei Chang
Hong Kong (UPI) Dec 3, 2007

Senior US and Chinese defense officials opened two days of security talks here Monday amid strained relations over Beijing's denial of US naval visits to Hong Kong. The Chinese government late last week formally notified the Pentagon that it is refusing a request for a port call in Hong Kong over the New Year's holiday by the guided missile frigate USS Reuben James, a Pentagon spokesman said. "It is hard to believe that is not a topic of ongoing discussion," spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters, referring to the naval visits.

Top US military officials expressed surprise and anger last week after China abruptly cancelled a long-planned Hong Kong port call over November 21-24 by the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk and its battle group. Officials said Beijing also turned away two minesweepers seeking refuge from a storm and a US military flight to resupply the US consulate in Hong Kong, sparking one of the sharpest diplomatic rows since 2001. Whitman said the defense consultative talks had long been scheduled, and the fact that they are being held shows that the Defense Department wants good military relations with Beijing. "The United States Defense Department values this relationship and are only going to try to strengthen it through dialogue with their Chinese counterparts," he said. Agenda items include US-Chinese military relations, global and regional security issues, the war on terror, and missile defense, he said. Eric Edelman, the undersecretary of defense for policy, is leading the US delegation.

The Chinese delegation is led by Lieutenant General Ma Xiaotian, the People's Liberation Army's deputy chief of general staff for foreign affairs. US Defense Secretary Robert Gates visited Beijing in early November, and called for greater US-Chinese military contacts and a longer term strategic dialogue to avoid misunderstandings and miscalculation. Relations between the two powers have been colored by a Chinese military buildup that the Pentagon believes is aimed at thwarting US intervention in a conflict over Taiwan, and ultimately challenging its access to the region. US suspicions intensified in January after a Chinese anti-satellite test in which a ballistic missile was used to destroy a Chinese weather satellite in low Earth orbit. Top Pentagon officials have warned that China will be able to disrupt US military satellites in a regional conflict within three years.

Ever since former Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui put forward his two-state theory in 1996 -- implying that Taiwan and China were separate states -- the U.S. aircraft carrier battle group has quickly made an appearance in Hong Kong whenever tensions arose in the Taiwan Strait. The appearance of the USS Kitty Hawk has marked particularly significant occasions, compared with visits by other aircraft carriers. On March 6, 2004, ahead of Taiwan's presidential election and a referendum on whether the island should acquire anti-missile weapons to defend itself against mainland China, it was the same Kitty Hawk that visited Hong Kong.

There are strong signals that Beijing's refusal to permit the Kitty Hawk to enter Hong Kong for the Thanksgiving holiday had to do with the U.S. decision to sell Taiwan an upgrade to three sets of Patriot II ground-to-air missiles, with a price tag of approximately $930 million. The decision was announced by the U.S. administration right after Defense Secretary Robert Gates' visit to Beijing on Nov. 5.

First of all, from Beijing's perspective, the timing of the announcement was sensitive. The U.S. approval of the sale ahead of Taiwan's March presidential election and referendum on joining the United Nations sends Taipei the wrong signal, in Beijing's view.

Second, the upgraded Patriot II technology is intended to boost Taiwan's capability to intercept ballistic missiles, and Beijing thinks this procurement will undermine strategic stability in the Taiwan Strait. Beijing is consistently sensitive to such arms sales to Taiwan.

Thirdly, the U.S. decision to sell arms to Taiwan immediately following a top-level military visit to China is out of line with the traditional Chinese mindset. To Beijing, this was a serious betrayal and a huge loss of face.

Some have speculated that President Bush's meeting with the Dalai Lama was a factor in China's decision to block the Kitty Hawk from Hong Kong. Beijing is taking an increasingly hysterical stance on the danger of simultaneous crises over independence erupting in Tibet and Taiwan. Nonetheless, this doesn't appear to be the root cause of Beijing's decision. China's behavior has been consistent over the past 10 years of U.S.-China interactions. Ever since former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping introduced the strategic principle of reducing friction with the United States, Beijing has held that political tensions should be handled by political means, economic conflicts should be resolved through economic means, and the Taiwan issue should be treated as a regional security matter. Tibet has never been an issue in the U.S.-China military and strategic relationship. Japan also received the Dalai Lama this month, and yet the PLA navy's No. 167 guided-missile destroyer visited Japan last week as originally scheduled.

Why would Beijing then change its mind and grant last-minute permission for the Kitty Hawk to enter Hong Kong, and why did the United States respond by refusing this offer?

The relationship between major powers is sometimes like that between a man and a woman; there is a constant struggle for dominance. The USS Kitty Hawk had already arrived in Hong Kong waters when Beijing denied berthing permission. Beijing's message was simple: The United States cannot take its welcome for granted; it should not forget that China holds decision-making power in this part of the world. Having sent that message, it could then allow the ship entry on "humanitarian grounds."

On the other hand, Washington's decision not to anchor the Kitty Hawk after this reversal sent the message that the United States is not to be trifled with. The United States then retaliated against Beijing's snub by sailing the aircraft carrier group through the Taiwan Strait on the way to its home port in Japan. Since the beginning of this year, this writer has warned on several occasions that the situation in the Taiwan Strait is at its highest risk since the end of the Cold War; it is relaxed on the surface but extremely tense underneath.

It happened that the Kitty Hawk's appearance in the area coincided with large-scale joint exercises between the Chinese air force and navy in the vicinity of Taiwan. The People's Liberation Army's air force was conducting an unprecedented fighter transfer exercise with the East and South China Sea Fleets, the largest such war games so far this year. As many as nine airports, including those in Shanghai and Guangzhou, were under military aviation control from Nov. 18-25. Nearly 10,000 passengers were stuck in airports across the region as hundreds of commercial flights were postponed during the exercises.

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It is worth noting that these exercises were conducted simultaneously in both the Nanjing and Guangzhou military regions, obviously aimed at practicing coordinated combat operations between the two commands. Almost all the crack air force units of the two regions were involved. Controlling such a large fleet of aviation units with a traditional Soviet-style ground-based command system would be virtually impossible. Thus, it was no surprise that Chinese Internet bloggers claimed they saw KJ200 AWACS in the air space over Shanghai, Nanjing and Wuxi, which would have allowed effective coordination and command from the air.

Also in mid-November, the PLA navy's South and East Sea Fleets held a large-scale joint exercise involving guided-missile destroyers and frigates and at least three Type 022 missile boats in a series of concerted operations. The fleet comprised the navy's crack systems and the exercises called for coordinated use of its best weapon systems. The navy's new-generation battleships are fitted with tactical data link systems, giving them an improved ability to coordinate combat operations.

As tensions remain high in the region, China is readying itself for any challenge. Under these circumstances, the military spat between the United States and China sends a warning from each side to the other not to act rashly.

US Soldiers, Weapons, and Boeing

Anti-War Radicals Attack US Soldiers via Mail
According to television news today, the US Post Office at the request of the Pentagon is no longer accepting holiday packages for "Any US Soldier" during the holiday season. This ban includes cards as well, all of which will either be returned to the sender or thrown away. Why is this happening? Last year, the Pentagon received numerous complaints by soldiers within the US military that stated that anonymous packages sent from the US included vile and hate-filled messages to the random US military personnel that received them. Also, tainted products like cookies, mouthwash, and toothpaste were also sent using this system. Urine filled mouthwash bottles and toothpaste with hot sauce and mace inside were sent to random soldiers using the popular "To Any US Soldier" system and hate-filled left-wing anti-war activists were to blame. While the Pentagon said that it also wanted to avoid Al Qaeda being able to send US military personnel lethal Christmas gifts, the real effort behind the ban was to stop vicious anti-war activists from trying to hurt or discourage US military personnel during the holiday season. These sorts of left-wing attacks are just despicable and unjustified, but something we are now coming to expect from the radical leftist haters here in America.

Finish First, Fix Later
Does the Navy need a lesson from its own history? Cancellation of the second General Dynamics Littoral Combat Ship, "LCS-4," on November 1st points up a problem that has plagued innovative American military technology development programs since the 1950s. The ship was cancelled because of "cost overruns." The original estimated cost per LCS was $220 million, but it kept rising as the first General Dynamics ship, the USS Independence (LCS-2), began construction. In response, the Navy tried to get General Dynamics to change the contract from "cost plus" to "fixed cost." In a "cost plus" contract, the Navy pays whatever the ship costs, plus a profit to the builder, while a "fixed cost" contract has the Navy pay a set amount, and any the cost over that has to be eaten by the builder. General Dynamics refused. Meanwhile the rose to $350 million, and kept going; When it hit $375 million the Navy pulled the plug.

Why did the costs rise? Well, one reason is that the General Dynamics design is pretty innovative. Among other things, it's an aluminum trimaran, a three-hulled vessel with a whole lot of new ideas and technologies. But that's only part of the problem. The main problem with the LCS, and with most post-1950s innovations in military equipment, is that the military keeps changing the specs. Even small changes may have "cascading" effects, as existing plans have to be changed. In some cases completed work may have to be modified or even ripped out, to accommodate the new idea. Sometimes changes follow on changes, and work may have to be redone several times, to insure that the latest nifty innovations are included in the ship. Naturally this costs money, in labor and materials, and also takes time, so that the ship is delivered later than planned.

There's a simple solution to this problem, one that worked very well during World War II, when the Navy was buying ships in huge lots. It was simply this; no new idea gets put into a vessel already under construction. During World War II the Navy determined that it was easier to complete a ship, even an aircraft carrier, to the original design, rather than interrupt work to allow changes. Once completed to the original design, a ship could be sent to a shipyard for the modifications needed to adapt it to the new, improved design (unless she was desperately needed with the fleet, and then her "boring old design" was probably perfectly suited to the mission anyway). Experience proved that doing things this way took less time and less money than trying to introduce modifications during construction. After the war, unfortunately, this intelligent approach was quickly forgotten.

Other examples of the services' penchant for shoving more and more nifty new stuff into a design, thereby causing the costs to go out of control, and often leading to the cancellation of a project: American tank development since the 1950s, ditto aircraft, etc., etc. Sometimes old ideas work best.

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US jet intercepts ballistic missile for first time
Dec 4, 2007
A US F-16 fighter used an air-to-air missile to destroy a sounding rocket in its boost phase for the first time this week in a test of a new missile defense concept, US spokesmen said Tuesday. The system -- named the Net-Centric Airborne Defense Element (NCDE) -- breaks new ground in that it would arm fighter aircraft or drones with missiles fast enough to intercept a ballistic missile as it lifts into space. The aircraft would have to get to within a 100 miles of the launch site to catch the ascending missile in the first two to three minutes after launch. But it could be very useful in a short range combat situation against short and medium range missiles, said Rick Lehner, a spokesman for the US Missile Defense Agency.

The Pentagon has two other better known boost phase intercept systems under development -- the Airborne Laser and the Kinetic Energy Interceptor -- but those are still years away from being ready, he said. "So it does give us an initial boost phase capability even though it is a much shorter range missile, and you have to be in the area of the missile launch to be effective," Lehner said. The test Monday at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico involved an F-16 fighter that fired two modified AIM-9X missile at an Orion sounding or research rocket. The first destroyed the rocket and the second recorded the interception, the Pentagon's missile defense agency said.

The missile seekers' relayed images of the rocket at close range, demonstrating the capability to acquire and track the target, the Pentagon's missile defense agency said. "Although not unexpected, the subsequent intercept destroyed the target," it said. "A second AIM-9X launched during the test observed through its seeker the intercept of the target by the first and was also on a trajectory to intercept the target," the agency said. Besides special seekers, AIM-9X and AIM-20 AAMRAM are fitted with a new liquid propellant second stage to give it the burst of speed needed to catch a ballistic missile in its boost phase.

Lehner said the missiles were heavily instrumented during the test, but otherwise conditions were "pretty realistic."

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Boeing Installs High-Energy Laser On Laser Gunship Aircraft
St. Louis MO (SPX) Dec 11, 2007
The Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL), which Boeing is developing for the U.S. Department of Defense, will destroy, damage or disable targets with little to no collateral damage, supporting missions on the battlefield and in urban operations.

Boeing has installed a high-energy chemical laser aboard a C-130H aircraft, achieving a key milestone for the Advanced Tactical Laser (ATL) Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration program. Boeing completed the laser installation Dec. 4 at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M. The laser, including its major subsystem, a 12,000-pound integrated laser module, was moved into place aboard the aircraft and aligned with the previously-installed beam control system, which will direct the laser beam to its target.

With the laser installed, Boeing is set to conduct a series of tests leading up to a demonstration in 2008 in which the program will fire the laser in-flight at mission-representative ground targets to demonstrate the military utility of high-energy lasers. The test team will fire the laser through a rotating turret that extends through the aircraft's belly.

"The installation of the high-energy laser shows that the ATL program continues to make tremendous progress toward giving the warfighter a speed-of-light, precision engagement capability that will dramatically reduce collateral damage," said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of Boeing Missile Defense Systems. "Next year, we will fire the laser at ground targets, demonstrating the military utility of this transformational directed energy weapon."

The program achieved two other major milestones earlier this year. "Low-power" flight tests were completed in June at Kirtland; the ATL aircraft used its flight demonstration hardware and a low-power laser to find and track moving and stationary ground targets. The flight demonstration hardware includes the beam control system; weapon system consoles, which display high-resolution imagery and enable the tracking of targets; and sensors.

The low-power laser, a surrogate for the high-energy laser, hit its intended target in each of more than a dozen tests. Also, in late July, the high-energy laser concluded laboratory testing at the Davis Advanced Laser Facility at Kirtland, demonstrating reliable operations in more than 50 firings.

ATL, which Boeing is developing for the U.S. Department of Defense, will destroy, damage or disable targets with little to no collateral damage, supporting missions on the battlefield and in urban operations. Boeing's Advanced Tactical Laser industry team includes L-3 Communications/Brashear, which made the laser turret, and HYTEC, Inc., which made various structural elements of the weapon system.

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In journalism, there has always been a tension between getting it first and getting it right. Ellen Goodman