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Cyrano4747
Sep 25, 2006



Awesome OP. Thanks for taking the time to get that done. And getting it done on time for a 1991 end to the last thread.

New thread under budget and on time. Cold War thread procurement success story.

It's OK, we'll subcontract the next one out to Irving and Bombardier

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Cyrano4747
Sep 25, 2006




BRB buying a panel van to have that airbrushed on

Cyrano4747
Sep 25, 2006



ulmont posted:

It ultimately boils down to if you trust the same kind of people who joke about fooling the government regulators* in charge of making sure people don't die with the ability to make nuclear-grade fuckups or not. A lot of people have chosen "not."

*Boeing 737 MAX. Articles all over but here's https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/09/business/boeing-737-messages.html

Do you trust those same people to run coal ash dumps?

edit: I was in Germany when Fukishima went down. Things got so stupid, so fast.

Cyrano4747
Sep 25, 2006



AlexanderCA posted:

Should the old thread be Goldmined or something?

Sure. Report a post in it or make a QCS thread or something so I remember.

Cyrano4747
Sep 25, 2006



MikeCrotch posted:

Sorry, should have clearer - I'm talking about places like Britain or Germany which no longer have native nuclear industries and therefore starting a nuclear building program now just doesn't make a lot of sense considering the time and expense, so the argument against nuclear is not just "NUCLEAR BAD".

Obviously if you already have a lot of investment in nuclear already (like the countries countries you mentioned) it makes a lot more sense. I also don't know anything about environmental movements in India and China and their attitudes to nuclear either though so

You're not wrong, but what I saw in Germany post-Fukishima wasn't "oh, this isn't really economically feasible because we don't have the native industry spooled up." I mean, sure, probably a few policy wonks were going off about that but at the level of what you saw the media reporting and the protesters doing and the politicians saying it was 100% about mushroom clouds blotting out the sun. The better end of it talked about Chernobyl and the worst-case predictions in the immediate aftermath of Fukishima.

IIRC Germany at the time actually had some nuclear plants which were immediately brought offline in the aftermath, kind of ignoring that, unlike the Japanese plants, they weren't located on the coast in a very seismically active part of the world. I'm sure they were old and probably needed retiring anyway, but it wasn't like they had zero experience.

Cyrano4747
Sep 25, 2006



I'll add that Germany really likes to tout how strong it is in renewables and they've made a hell of a push. They're over a third of total generation being done via renewables at this point, which is really commendable. They're also one of the world's largest consumers of coal, generating 40% of their electricity with it at the moment (The US is 27% electrical generation via coal, to put things in perspective, also iirc US coal is significantly cleaner burning). They've promised to shut down all their coal-fired power plants in the next 20 years as part of their climate change commitments, but what they're going to replace it with is a big, open question. I think the smart money is on LNG, but while that's better than east german brown coal it's still not exactly a long term solution from a climate change perspective.

Full disclaimer: I'm a huge fan of nuclear power for baseload. I'm insanely skeptical about our ability to ween our societies off of our insane power consumption before we reach an absolute crisis point, and baring that the answer is to provide as much energy as cleanly as possible. Nuclear has a ton of problems, from cost to complexity to dealing with the waste. It's still better than every other baseload option we have at the moment. Maybe we'll have something way better in 20 years, but we need to start curtailing emissions today, not 20 years in the future. Renewables are going to be a huge part of that, but right now they're not a sufficient answer to get us off of fossil fuels.

Cyrano4747
Sep 25, 2006



Dante80 posted:

IIRC, Germans have had a pretty huge anti-nuclear movement during the cold war. I think that it still informs their psyche as far as peaceful use of nuclear power is concerned. It is almost a taboo subject for them. They don't see plants, but bombs ticking.
Fukushima was indeed a catalyst for pushing Merkel over the top on this, and closing the plants early. But I think that nuclear energy for that country was going to die, one way or the other.

Yeah. Being anti-nuclear (weapons or bombs, you're right that there isn't really a distinction in the way it's talked about) has become a generic kind of respectable, consensus, middle class opinion.

Cyrano4747
Sep 25, 2006



It’s that way with all kinds of things. People can comprehend the inherent risk in driving a motorcycle but they’ll stay 30 lbs overweight for decades.

Cyrano4747
Sep 25, 2006



zoux posted:

I wonder how much American nukophobia stems from the fact that TMI happened less than 2 weeks after The China Syndrome premiered. I imagine the reporting around that was calm and measured.

NYT article where experts weigh in on how realistic the movie was, published 10 days before TMI.

*tugs collar*

I don't know how much the china syndrome factored into it, but I do know my mom was turned hard core anti-nuclear by TMI. She lived in Oregon at the time and to hear her tell about it she thought there was a Chernobyl -like plume of radiation going down the east coast. I have distinct memories of standing in a field when I was like. . . 4 or so changing "hey hey ho ho nuclear power has got to go" at a protest against either building or expanding some PacNW plant. I think somewhere around Portland.

Yet at the same time she had no idea the Hanford Site existed until I told her a couple of years ago.

edit: "don't let your kids look at the microwave while it's cooking or they'll get brain cancer" was also pretty common advice I heard from a bunch of parents in my circle when I was a kid. Not just hippies, normal middle class educated people. There was a LOT of dumb, weird poo poo around nuclear or "nuclear" (in the case of loving microwaves) in the 80s.

Cyrano4747
Sep 25, 2006



Dante80 posted:

I have had Hanford described like that too, from some colleagues of my uncle (I have two living in the US, the one I'm writing about used to work in a NPP there).
I wonder how would anyone begin to describe something like Mayak.

I don't think there are word in the English language for that.

I mean that very literally. It seems like the sort of thing that only the most nihilistic of Russian idioms could convey.

Cyrano4747
Sep 25, 2006



BIG HEADLINE posted:

I was less impressed the second time around because so little (save for the Enterprise Pavilion on the fantail) had changed since said late-80s visit - which ironically is something that also bums me out about the A&S in DC.

You've been to Udvar Hazy, right?

Also Air & Space just started a big overhaul. Should be done in a few years. Still open but some exhibits are closed while they work on them.

Cyrano4747
Sep 25, 2006



Largely problems recruiting. Getting people to sign on for a service where you are probably going to be away from . . . well. . . everything for extended periods of time is a big ask. Doubly so once you start getting into the sort of people who want to make a career and maybe have kids vs. just learn a trade and bounce. Basically all of the problems you see with frequent deployments, only endemic to the branch because of its role rather than something that's not supposed to be the norm.

It was an issue in the late cold war too, and there were a few early attempts to decrease the number of sailors needed per ship. Really you see people start to squint hard at Navy staffing once the draft ends.

Cyrano4747
Sep 25, 2006



Did Imperial Japan recognize the Geneva conventions? A lot of their policies and practices re: POWs were pretty flagrantly in breach of it.

I don't think the Nazis ever issued a statement tossing it overboard, but their official policies re: Soviet POWs were also just way beyond anything that was considered remotely acceptable.

I mean, tons of nations have breached them at one time or another, but there are a few that stand head and shoulders above the others for having policies that just completely ignored it, even if they never officially issued a press release saying that they weren't abiding by it or something.

Cyrano4747
Sep 25, 2006



FuturePastNow posted:

Carrier names should be limited to battles, dead admirals and generals, and words like enterprise. Ships should never be named after politicians unless that person is also a dead admiral or general.

Traditionally dead admirals get destroyers too.

Cyrano4747
Sep 25, 2006



Traditionally (as in ca. WW1-WW2) it went:

Destroyers/Frigates/Other smaller ships: kinda whatever. Bias towards famous people, but sometimes small cities or counties or whatnot.
Cruisers: cities. Battles also sneak in, but most of them are also city names so whatever. USS San Francisco, etc. It feels like the CLs were smaller cities than the big CAs, but I don't know if that was ever a policy.
Battleships: states.
Submarines: ongoing debate between WW1 and WW2 over whether they were boats or ships. As boats the tended to just get serial numbers. Eventually you see fish names come to the forefront. USS Sturgeon etc.

Carriers: here's where poo poo gets weird. Technically they were seen as a form of cruiser (hence the "C" in "CV" - the V being a french word for flight or aviation or something.) So . . . . yeah. The first one was the USS Langley, named after a person. Made sense as he was a naval aviation pioneer iirc. Next followed Lexington and Saratoga, named after cities/battles. Those were all cruisers that were converted mid-construction. Then the first purpose built CV, the Ranger, named for older ships in the USN (the first one was a war of 1812 vintage armed schooner that was a privateer before being commissioned into the USN - CV4 was the 4th USN ship of the name). Note that there was supposed to be a battlecruiser Ranger but it was early enough in construction that it was scrapped rather than converted like Lexington and Saratoga. Then Yorktown (battle) Enterprise, Wasp, and Hornet (all 3 legacy names that were being reused), Essex (legacy name of a RN ship captured by the USN in 1814), Yorktown again, Intrepid (another legacy and another one we get via capturing a RN ship), Hornet again, Franklin (legacy - using the name dates to the Revolution as patriotic name of a privately commissioned vessel). The pattern basically continues. Mostly battles, some legacy names, and a smattering of people names here and there although most of those are also legacy names. There's a CVL named "Wright" after an auxiliary ship called "wright" in honor of Orvile, for example.

Forrestal is where poo poo starts to break down. He was the first Secretary of Defense and the last SecNav when that was a cabinet level position. Still, that ship was commission pretty close to when he died so . . . if you want someone to glare at for having political figures on capital ship names this is him, although he's not quite what you'd call a politician. USS Kitty Hawk is an oddball around this time, technically a legacy name although the previous one was another auxiliary ship and it was named after the famous birth of flight location. Still, at least airplane adjacent and makes sense.

The USS JFK (CV-67, the last conventionally powered CV) is where poo poo really falls apart. Now, kennedy WAS a Navy vet and the whole PT-109 thing was kind of high profile after his presidency. Still, mostly it was because he was a president killed by an assassin. After that, though, the dam breaks. Following Kennedy you have the Nimitz, Eisenhower, and then the Carl Vinson. Carl Vinson was a congressman from Georgia who was a strong proponent of the Navy. With him you have just a politician who happened to like ships a lot. I mean, he's a big reason that the US had a two-ocean navy as policy before WW2, but still.

This is also significant because by the time you're laying down the CVNs the carrier is by far and away the prestige capital ship. The pride of place that used to be assigned to battleships has long since gone to the carrier, so putting the names of individuals on them is a much higher honor than it would have been twenty years earlier.

After that it's mostly presidents. Lincoln etc. Then we get the first just baldly political one, the USS John C Stennis. Stennis was an influential senator from Mississippi and one of the last of the old school Dixiecrats. As an aside he was also a huge loving segregationist and voted against every piece of important racial legislation that you care to name. When he retired then-President Reagan announced that the next CVN would be named after him in recognition of his long service to the senate. Thank loving god Strom Thurmond didn't retire under Reagan, I guess, or we could have a carrier named after him too. Note that when Reagan did that is about when the Republicans were pushing hard into courting the old school southern democrats so I've always suspected that it was part of reaching out to them to draw them away from the rest of the democratic party. Stennis is still in service, incidentally.

After Stennis we get the Truman, and then the current streak of nakedly political recent presidents: Reagan, Bush, Ford. There's still an un-named CVN-82 slated to be built after Dorris Miller, so we'll see what direction they dive with that.

What about some of the oddball classes that have emerged since WW2? Well, the destroyers mostly follow the traditional pattern. Frigates basically do the same thing, too. Assorted tenders and support vessels can vary a lot, although you'll find a lot of county names among them. Also some just small towns. There's a USS Presque Isle, which is a small town in northern maine most notable for being near the now-closed Loring AFB. Lots of mountains, rivers, and other geographical features as well. The LHA/LSD/other amphib assault ships have kind of taken over the battles, doubly so for the ones that carry out air operations as well. USS Iwo Jima etc. You also see a smattering of what I guess you could call patriotic landmarks, stuff like USS Mount Vernon. Still, they look the closest to the old carrier names as anything that we're currently using. The new LCS class seems to be dipping back into state names, USS Omaha and USS Detroit being good examples.

Now, as an aside, the submarines get super fun and weird too, for more or less the same reason that the Carriers do. As I alluded to before there was a bit of a tiff in navy circles about whether a submarine qualified as a dignified "ship" or merely as a "boat." For the curious, the official USN definition is that a boat is a small craft of minor importance that has to operate from a larger ship. Think the difference between a big troop ship and the small landing craft that they use to send marines ashore. Now, early submarines tended to have extremely limited range and not do well in rough seas. There were also some that were literally launched from larger vessels, although I don't know if the US used any of them. Either way, submarine tenders were pretty important to their operation. By that definition they were boats. But, as they improved and became capable of longer and longer operations it became harder to argue that they were mere boats. Eventually you see the difference between "submarine" and "fleet submarine" - with the "fleet submarine" being defined as larger ships capable of extended voyages and, most importantly, reaching a high enough top speed to keep up with the battleships. So, the idea being, those smaller craft were more like coastal defense boats and the larger ones were more akin to true fleet ships.

Anyways, this is part of why you see a strange smattering of actual names and just hull numbers. Some named submarines had those striped when the letter/number classification system came around in the early 1900s (USS Plunger became A-1). The fish names started early. The first USS Barracuda was renamed F-1, and then by the time she was scrapped they had come back around to maybe submarines needing real names and V-1 (later SF-4) was renamed to USS Barracuda (SS-163).

Through the 30s and WW2 it's wall to wall fish names with the occasional nautical mammal sneaking in. Still, wildlife that lives in the ocean. Straightforward enough. This keeps on trucking happily along well into the SSN era.

Then, boomers happen and like all boomers, they ruin nice things. The first SSBN gets named George Washington, starting a trend of naming them after important historical figures. Mostly presidents, but loving Robert E Lee sneaks in early on. You also see Ethan Allen, Sam Houston, and Thomas Edison. By the time you get into the mid 60s dead presidents are thin on the ground for naming SSBNs after and it's just a string of people who are important in US history, including people like Tecumseh and Kamehameha who would have probably been horrified to have a USN ship named after them. Oh, and the oddball USS Lewis and Clark which is named after two people because I guess splitting that between two ships wasn't an option? This is the same era where we get a USS Will Rogers for gently caress's sake (and I checked, it's named after the humorist not Will Jr. who fought in WW2 and became a politician).

Then politician names start to intrude into the SSNs. About the same time as the JFK was commissioned we get SSN-680. It was originally supposed to be USS Redfish, but congressman William Bates died in 1969 and got the ship named after him. Now, he was a big proponent of nuclear propulsion in the Navy so it's more of a Forrestal situation than anything else, but still. Not too long after him we get the USS Glenard P. Lipscomb, which is just named after a congressman from California who died the year before it was laid down.

At this point fish names are dead. Thankfully we don't go full idiot with naming them after dead congressmen, although a couple more sneak in. With SSN-688 we get the USS Los Angeles and a gear shift over to the old cruiser naming convention. Honestly this actually makes sense. The cranky old man in me wants there to be a USS Sturgeon in the USN, but I can recognize that a nuclear powered submarine is a full fledged capital ship these days. If we go back to the old boat/ship debate we're well into them being some of the most capable and deadly ships afloat. The USS Rickover sneaks in with SSN-709 but it's kind of hard to complain about that one. He's the sort of super-influential person for a single narrow service that I can see making an exception.

Of course if an SSN is basically the modern cruiser it makes sense for the boomers to be the modern battleship. Starting with the Ohio we see the old BB naming scheme applied to SSBNs. Then I guess we decide SSBNs are too expensive to have that many, and I guess some states feelings were getting hurt, so we downshift and start naming SSNs after states too, starting with SSN 774, USS Virginia. We get Rickover II with SSN-795, but again, loving Rickover. Coming up we've got a new class of submarine under design, which will be the USS Colombia, marking the first ship named after DC. We won't give the citizens of the nation's capitol representation in congress, but hey we'll name a ship after them.


. . . . hooooly gently caress that went longer than I intended.

Anyways, point being that USN ship names are a giant clusterfuck of bespoke rules and exceptions to them that become new rules. It's ugly and dumb and chaotic but if you stare long enough into that abyss patterns emerge and you start to get an intuitive sense for what kind of ship a thing is if you know when it was in service and what the name is.





. . . of course now we just named a CVN after an enlisted man who won the navy cross so time to add another set of exceptions and see whether this becomes a whole new thing or if it becomes a new parenthetical where we have to explain the hyper-partisan political scene in 2020, the Trump administration, and growing discomfort with naming carriers after recent presidents who happen to only be from one party.

Cyrano4747
Sep 25, 2006



Oh, and if you want some added insanity, at one point there were people very, very concerned over whether airplanes in naval service needed serial numbers, hull numbers, or names. Remember, this is pre-WW1 when they were still a novelty and no one really had any idea how many we'd have. There was a push to have them recognized as literal ships of the air and get "hull numbers" (rather than the mere serial numbers a common piece of equipment might receive) and actual names.

This was also part of a dick waving contest between the Army and the Navy over who should have command of the airplanes. Is an airplane basically a scouting apparatus, the logical extension of the hard charging cavalry tradition? Or is it a ship of the skies, part of the noble tradition of seafarers and explorers pushing into spheres of creation not made for man? A man or a horse are terrestrial creatures operating in their native habitat, but a man in a boat or airship (emphasis on "ship") is a daredevil dependent on the ingenuity of man to not drown/fall to his death.

This inter-branch dick waving is also a sneak preview of what happens later when missiles happen. Is a missile just very long range artillery or a pilot-less airplane? If it's artillery then the Army should get it, but if it's an airplane it's more of a USAF thing or maybe USN too I guess.

THEN some rear end in a top hat realizes that helicopters can be used for combat and we have the whole argument about whether it's an airplane (domain of the USAF) or basically a fancy truck / horse / cavalry analog. (Army). We already have airborne soldiers, but if they ride helicopters to where they're going should the pilots be USAF? Oh and technically we still have cavalry . . . what if an army guy rode a helicopter into combat and shot at his foes from it? Basically like horseback harassing of a larger formation, right?

Cyrano4747
Sep 25, 2006



ThisIsJohnWayne posted:

USS Robert E. Lee

Already exists.

Also a ship named after a prominent segregationist.

See the wall of text above for those tidbits.

Cyrano4747
Sep 25, 2006



McNally posted:

Dorie Miller didn't get the Medal of Honor, he got the Navy Cross.

My bad. Of loving course they gave him a navy cross.

I’m surprised it wasn’t revisited sometime since then.

Cyrano4747
Sep 25, 2006



I was at an event with lech Walesa as a speaker and he drew the exact opposite sentiment. He was stoked about Europe and Russia being more friendly (this was ca 1999 or so) because Poland was tired of being where the Russians and Germans hashed their poo poo out.

Cyrano4747
Sep 25, 2006



That Works posted:

I'm jealous. I read his biography (autobiography maybe?) about 10 years ago and enjoyed it quite a bit. Seemed a very interesting person.

Yeah, he was a supremely interesting and very funny guy.

He told an extended joke by way of introducing us to the historical problems of polish statehood. I'm going to mangle the gently caress out of it, but it basically went "Poland is a wonderful country. We have lots of good farm land, many beautiful rivers, and wonderful plains. Just beautiful countryside, the sort that farmers want to grow food in and lovers want to picnic in. It's so wonderful that everyone loves to come to Poland! The Germans come, the Russians come . . . and we're happy to have visitors! We just ask that you clean up after yourselves and leave eventually."

Cyrano4747
Sep 25, 2006



If you say lindybeige three times while looking into a mirror Hey Guns appears and stabs you with a pike.

Cyrano4747
Sep 25, 2006



Captain Log posted:

Watching Man in the High Castle, I'm hoping to ask a question about WWII that I'd like a little more information about. My academic studies ended in 2006 and I'm far from an expert.

I've always figured Germany lost the war with the invasion of Russia. If I had to pinpoint it, I'd say the start of Operation Barbarossa on June 22nd, 1941 was the moment Germany sealed their fate. Two fronts, one them of them being Russia, was not going to end positively.

But, I've always questioned if they could have fought Russia to a stalemate and possibly reached an Armistice with Britain if America hadn't joined the war. Who knows, I guess.

Would the Attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese be a similar moment to Operation Barbarossa? Would that count as the moment that forced America into the war, making the European front a losing battle for the Axis as well?

I'm here to learn, not argue. I don't have a stance, just a desire to know a little more.

Eh, history doesn't do well with what-ifs. We can kind of make educated guesses, but ultimately we don't have predictive tools. It's an analytical discipline, not a predictive one.

That said, Lend Lease is the thing that really hosed the Germans on the eastern front. The statistics on how much American aviation gas the Soviets went through alone are staggering. If the US never enters but lend lease still happens historically it's hard to imagine the Germans winning. Without it? Who knows.

Also Pearl Harbor didn't force the US into Europe. Hitler decided to declare war on the US the day after Japan attacked. Why he felt the need to honor an alliance with Japan's Pacific war when Japan wasn't exactly chomping at the bit to get stuck into the Soviet far east has always mystified me. The Nazi declaration of war was actually a HUGE benefit for FDR. The European war is the one he always wanted, but another war in Europe is exactly what the isolationists wanted to avoid at all costs. When Japan bombed Pearl Harbor a war in the east was a done thing, but getting the US into a second war with Europe would have been a huge ask at that point. Germany's declaration followed by a bunch of ships getting torpedoed within sight of the east coast was a massive gift for FDR.

Now, the US was already materially supporting the European war, but there's a huge difference between the US sending arms and supplies to Europe and American soldiers actually fighting in it.

Cyrano4747
Sep 25, 2006



That Works posted:

It's a play on words not a statement of fact.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Run_Silent,_Run_Deep_(film)

Sure, but it's also a pretty OK description of WW2-era anti-ASW tactics for subs. Run as silent as you can to avoid detection by hydrophones and run as deep as you can to try and get under the thermal layer to gently caress with enemy sonar.

Cyrano4747
Sep 25, 2006



Pontius Pilate posted:

Kiwis stopped reading On the Beach halfway through or something and held a (mostly) collective belief that they’d be (mostly) spared from nuclear armageddon. A major paper, in the 80’s I think, ran an article to the affect of “no we’d still be hosed, and not because of Shute’s radiation, but because we depend so heavily on imports that there’d be immediate famine. And our agriculture is also dependent on things like petrol imports so that’d collapse and would revert to, like, early modern agriculture so more famine. And maybe some radiation too.”

mostly cobbled together from vague memories and my boyfriend’s kiwidad so this could all be false idk

I have no idea about the specific example of New Zealand, but food security and reliance on imports is a big deal for a ton of countries across the world. It's one of the big things that would gently caress a ton of people up if there was ever a disaster (natural or man made) that impacted just one of the big net-exporters badly enough that they had to conserve resources for themselves.

To put this into perspective: the shift towards making corn into gas in the US caused noticeable spikes in the price of food in a lot of other countries, and some major problems in countries that extensively subsidize grains for their poor. I forget the details, but IIRC the last time this came up in a big way was when a drought cut back on the US/Canadian corn crop pretty heavily during Obama's administration and there was pressure to relax the ethanol fuel mandates because rising corn prices were loving up a lot of things abroad.

Cyrano4747
Sep 25, 2006




quote:

One of the major sources of problems with the F-35 program is the Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS)—the software that drives maintenance and logistics for each F-35 aircraft. ALIS is supposed to intelligently drive the flow of maintenance parts, guide support crews in scheduling maintenance, and ensure the right parts get stuck in the right places. Aircraft health and maintenance action information is sent by the ALIS software in each aircraft out to the entire distributed logistical support network.

But ALIS has had some problems—including the fact that the software was not complete when Lockheed Martin began shipping aircraft, and each group of the 490 aircraft already delivered arrived with one of six different versions of the software. All of them will require extensive software retrofits when the seventh is complete, along with the other 510 or so that are expected to have been delivered worldwide by that point.

Man, I hope people have at least learned a lesson about concurrent design from all of this.

Like, this ALIS thing sounds neat and useful as gently caress. But why develop it as part of this program? It sounds like the sort of neat feature that you could put on the latest block of F18s or whatever and have it as a neat extra on a system that is already known to work. Once the inevitable kinks get worked out then put it in your next gen super fighter.

Cyrano4747
Sep 25, 2006



Carth Dookie posted:

30% listening devices by weight.

And 15% dud car bombs.

Cyrano4747
Sep 25, 2006



There's more to intelligence work than just stealing technology or finding out their nefarious plans. Beyond all the secret poo poo, there's also a heavy component to just knowing your adversary, knowing what they value, and knowing the personalities working for them. A lot of the work that analysts do id fueled by the raw materials collected by intelligence agencies (in addition to other sources) and when synthesized give policy makers a much better view of what's going on than they would have had otherwise.

Having an intelligent answer for when the president turns and asks "so what's this glasnost stuff? Are they serious, is this a real thing, is this some kind of internal consumption only propaganda thing?" is invaluable in and of itself, and getting that answer involves a lot of very mundane, very un-sexy intel work.

Cyrano4747
Sep 25, 2006



The dude they dinged had a secret clearance. Dunno if his laptop had anything but the way he lied about his foreign travel is seriously no bueno in that situation.

Cyrano4747
Sep 25, 2006



The other thing to keep in mind with espionage and foreign influences is that the top predictors for someone doing bad poo poo are financial stress and major life problems (infidelity, drug problems, etc) , in that order. If someone’s going bankrupt they’re a huge goddamn risk and if they have ugly poo poo going on that they don’t want their wife knowing about they’re susceptible to blackmail. The two can overlap as well, as once someone does something a little bad (say PII) that can be leveraged for worse stuff (actual classified documents) via blackmail.

Thats way, way more common than the ideological true believers. Some of it is incredibly petty too. I recall one example where a dude was busted selling a flash drive to undercover FBI agents full of SSNs he got from having access to unclassified but sensitive stuff. He was going to get something really dumb like $500. Iirc he thought he was selling to credit card scammers.

Cyrano4747
Sep 25, 2006



I feel bad for them, but it's still a solid reason not to give them a security clearance.

Cyrano4747
Sep 25, 2006



They have the same problem as all the procurements from that era: f35, Ford, LCS. They crammed every bit of high tech next gen into the platform as they could and like and behold some of it was wonky and needs more work so they’re troubleshooting ten almost-prototype technologies at once in a full production vehicle rather than individual test beds

Concurrent design is so, so loving stupid.

Cyrano4747
Sep 25, 2006



priznat posted:

We'll probably end up buying Bombardier Challenger jets that are somehow less capable and more expensive than P-8s in the final tally

Don't despair, I hear the RAF has a fixer-upper they want to sell

large hands posted:

Anybody got a pickup and room in their garage? An RAF base is offering their gate-guard Victor for free to a loving home. One of the coolest looking cold war jets imo, has that British post war Buck Rogers look turned up to 11.

Cyrano4747
Sep 25, 2006



Holy loving


Crypto AG, a Swiss cryptographic communications gear company that got its big break building code-making gear for the US Army in World War II, has been a provider of encryption systems for more than 120 countries. And according to a report by The Washington Post and German broadcaster ZDF, the company was owned outright for decades by the Central Intelligence Agency and Germany's intelligence agency, the BND—allowing the CIA, the National Security Agency, and German intelligence to read the most sensitive communications of practically everyone but the Soviets and Chinese.

Apparently 80-90% of Iran's communications during the Iran-Iraq war might as well have been in plain text as far as US intelligence was concerned.

Cyrano4747
Sep 25, 2006



Top Hats Monthly posted:

I don’t understand why with cryptological functions you would ever rely on a foreign manufacturer that you can’t directly oversee, even if it’s your ally.

Mostly because once you get to a certain level of sophistication you need to have some heavy duty specialists working on it. Imagine you're Portugal or Jordan. If you try to home brew a cryptography solution using only domestic resources, is it really going to stand up to cracking by the US or USSR? Or do you find what you hope is a trusted outside source and have the best cryptography you can buy, even if you don't have the experts to make it yourself?

It's the same basic problem that a lot of countries have with high tech products. Is a Portugese domestic air superiority fighter ever going to be able to go toe to toe with what the French or Brits are making, much less the US or Russia? Is it better to have an inferior domestic version or find a hopefully trustworthy major power to buy some last gen fighters from?

Cyrano4747
Sep 25, 2006



Sure, but that's more a testament to the design and it's ability to be upgraded than what it was spec'd out for. I mean, gently caress, the P-51 was originally a ground attack aircraft. Great fighter, but it didn't have much to do with the original goals of the project.

Cyrano4747
Sep 25, 2006



I also suspect it's one of those things where the tooling is there, it's a well known design, and it's good enough for pretty much anything from air to air to ground support. It's not that it's an amazing design, it's a well understood design that you can get support for anywhere on the globe and that has low-ish production costs due to the volume it's made in.

Cyrano4747
Sep 25, 2006



Flikken posted:

Going by just American deaths, how many Americans died due to proxy wars with the USSR?

I agree with the broader point you're making (that ~100k+ between Korea and Vietnam is a hell of a lot more than Al Quaeda ever managed) but just to play the devil's advocate, I'll ask this:

Going just by American civilian deaths, how many more died due to terrorist attacks than poo poo the USSR pulled?

Killing some soldiers in a foreign country is sad and makes people angry at politicians, but it's nothing like the existential sphincter clench when you see 3k+ civilians die in office buildings an airplanes right here in the US. A war on the other side of the world isn't a direct threat to anyone who isn't in the military. It's not like people sat awake at night worrying that the VC were going to kill them while they were walking their dog in Ohio.

But think back on how poo poo went down post 9/11. Hoooooly gently caress there was a metric fuckload of paranoia. Just everyone worried that Osama bin Laden was going to jump out of a bush and make a beheading video featuring their toddler. We're still seeing the effects of that today. It's died down a bit, but you still don't have to look too hard to find someone who is willing to talk to you about how parts of Detroit are under Sharia law or whatever.

So, for the average rear end in a top hat eating a hamburger in the US, I'd argue that they see terrorism as a clearer threat than any actual state level actor. Which is kind of the point of terrorism.

Cyrano4747
Sep 25, 2006



Chamale posted:

The phrase "existential threat" means a threat to existence, and there's no way al-Qaeda could end the existence of the American state except possibly in a roundabout way by causing the government to slide into fascism and civil war. The USSR made every American for forty years fear that they'd destroy the United States, by the straightforward means of killing the entire population. The tweet is ridiculous and there's no need to defend it with technicalities.

To the American state?

No. But to your typical American who is afraid of random violence? Yeah. Again, it's hard to over emphasize just how badly 9/11 broke people. The idea of being killed in your home city as opposed to fighting on some foreign field had a deep impact on a lot of people, and for the individual worried about their continued existence it's existential as gently caress. Al Quaeda was never going to threaten the American state, but it sure as poo poo worried Americans about their continued good health.

Now, all that's irrational as hell. If you lived in New York in the 80s Soviet nuclear weapons were a waaaaay bigger threat to your existence than terrorist were to any individual new yorker on 9/10/2001. Still, we never had a nuclear detonation in a major American city to drive that home. Nuclear war was the big threat that never happened, while terrorists talking down sky scrapers was the smaller threat that people watched live on TV.

Cyrano4747
Sep 25, 2006



Shooting Blanks posted:

Seems like the Navy is dodging the FOIA request for whatever reason. I doubt there are any significant damages unless gross negligence was involved and can be proven, so it's probably a combination of closure for the families and a reminder to DoD of why FOIA exists.

I worked adjacent to a Navy FOIA office for a few years. I doubt it's anything malicious. If I had to guess it's one of the following.

1) The documents people want are still classified. Frankly this is by far the most likely scenario, especially since loving EVERYTHING attached to Navy Nuclear is classified out the rear end. To the degree that actual USN historians have a hard time doing their jobs because of what they can put in official histories. I'm not just talking secret squirrel poo poo but even just basic reactor stuff that you can find out by opening up a high school textbook or using google. Plus, with subs in particular, individual patrols are often classified as hell. Supposedly those classifications should have an end date, but with those in particular that never happens.

2) The FOIA claims were somehow improperly filed. Stuff like someone looking for the deck logs for the day a helicopter accident hosed up his back, but the sailor can't remember the day so they just request all the logs for 1968. The FOIA office absolutely can shut down a request if it is too broad. Usually they will contact the person who issued the request to find out what they are looking for specifically and narrow it down, but they also get some frequent fliers that clog up the system. There is one academic who was notorious at the office I was adjacent to for making insanely huge requests. Like. . . . entire fleets worth of files for entire decades. FOIA isn't your personal research department and they're not going to mail you an entire archive's worth of files. If it's declassified stuff buy an airplane ticket, make an appointment, and the archivists will help you get your research done.

3) The documents aren't held by Navy any more. This is very unlikely because the files are probably classified, but if it's unclass and more than a few years old (I think 20?) they're supposed to transfer them to the National Archives. A lot of requests for Vietnam era stuff in particular were ended with a quick phone call and instructions on how to contact the Archives. Now, this wans't great for the people looking for the documents, because FOIA materials get copied and mailed to your house, while the National Archives requires someone to come in. Open access, but they won't just mail you a box of photocopies. If you're a guy in Ohio trying to document something for a VA request it's a lot easier if the USN still has your documents, otherwise you need to either hire a researcher in DC or make the trip yourself.

4) the documents being claimed have to somehow be scrubbed. Usually this involves PII. If you request deck logs that, in particular, can involve someone having to read through them all, redact personal info, and then send them on to you. For a very long time (up until IIRC 1970) the navy used SSNs (edit: as in social security number, not nuclear sub) as the identifying thing in pretty much everything. So you'd see "PO3 John Smith, SSN 11-11-1111 was injured when he slipped and fell" in between all the other random deck log poo poo. Supposedly they stopped that in the early 70s but I've seen SSNs right there in the log all the way up through the late 90s.* So if it's a lengthy delay it might have a lot to do with PII in the accident investigation reports etc.

All that said, I'd bet that it's #1. "Nuclear sub" and "FOIA request" is pretty much an automatic " I'll check but you loving KNOW it's classified out the rear end."

*Fun fact, those same SSNs are in the deck logs you can find at the National Archives and they straight don't give a gently caress.

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Cyrano4747
Sep 25, 2006



Captain von Trapp posted:

I've never seen DoE classified information, but apparently unlike even the most secret squirrel DoD or IC compartments, DoE classification doesn't expire even in theory. It's pretty

I don't know the specifics, but I heard a lot of grumbling in Navy historical circles about the DoE when it came to nuclear poo poo classification. Apparently it's a giant pain in the rear end for them and the classification status isn't entirely up to them.

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