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Target Inbound

December 10th, 2013 - 5:15 pm

Slate has called into question the wasteful government practice of providing Santa Claus with a fighter escort on Christmas eve. “First of all, NORAD needs to establish why Mr. Kringle warrants government protection. Has U.S. intelligence uncovered a credible threat against Santa Claus? If so, the chatter must’ve been dramatic to prompt such drastic action—despite being a high-value target, Santa has no known enemies.”

But now it can be revealed that the threat to Santa is real. Moscow has announced it is expanding its military presence in the Arctic. The Associated Press reports “Russia will restore a number of Arctic military air bases that fell into neglect after the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.”

Russia, the United States, Canada, Denmark and Norway have all been trying to assert jurisdiction over parts of the Arctic, which is believed to hold up to a quarter of the planet’s undiscovered oil and gas. In 2007, Russia staked a symbolic claim to the Arctic seabed by dropping a canister containing the Russian flag on the ocean floor from a small submarine at the North Pole.

However that Russian flag may have landed on a Canadian seabed. Canada has signaled its intention to claim the North Pole. “The country has made a formal submission to the United Nations covering 1.2 million square kilometers of territorial claims in the Atlantic. It follows a decade of surveying the country’s eastern and far north seabeds and gathering supporting evidence.”

The data gathered has been presented to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf for evaluation.

Foreign affairs minister John Baird said the filing mainly concerns the outer limits of Canada’s continental shelf in the Atlantic Ocean.

“We have asked our officials and scientists to do additional work and necessary work to ensure that a submission for the full extent of the continental shelf in the Arctic includes Canada’s claim to the North Pole,” he said.

However that claim may end up, the Russians and Canadians will have to live with American atomic submarines crawling all over the place. “Sometime apparently in August, the U.S. Navy’s nuclear-powered attack submarine USS Seawolf eased out of the port of Bremerton, in Washington State, on what was probably her fifth or sixth deployment since commissioning in 1997.”

A month later the U.S. Sixth Fleet, in charge of ships in European waters, posted a series of photos to the Website Flickr depicting the U.S. ambassador to Norway, Barry White, touring the 350-foot-long Seawolf pierside at Haakonsvern naval base … in southern Norway. Thousands of miles from Washington State.

How Seawolf got to Norway—and what she might have done en route—offer a rare and tantalizing glimpse into some of the most secretive quarters of the most poorly understood aspects of American naval power.

For it seems Seawolf traveled to Norway along a path rarely taken by any vessel: underneath the Arctic ice.

The highly capable Seawolf class of submarines, including the heavily modified USS Jimmy Carter, are all in the Bangor Annex of Naval Base Kitsap, Washington along with the big boomers. Nobody talks about what they do. But Vladimir Putin believes that whatever it is, they are altogether too good at it.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said this week that U.S. military capabilities in the Arctic Circle leave his government little choice but to maintain a strong foothold in the frigid north, where tensions between the former Cold War adversaries in recent years have heated up as the polar ice thawed.

The newly released DOD paper announces the debut of the United States Arctic Strategy. Secretary Hagel claims that Global Warming may open the area to “tourism, commercial shipping, migrating fish stocks and energy exploration” and therefore the Navy stands ready to protect the Arctic environment and incidentally detect, deter, prevent and defeat threats to the United States, and continue to exercise U.S. sovereignty in and around Alaska.

The Chinese, who have limited access to the Arctic, are thinking about claiming the moon, where presumably there are no American atomic submarines.

Under the headline PLA dreams of turning moon into Death Star, says expert, the report cites “experts in China” who are wargaming how the moon, “Can be transformed into a deadly weapon. Like the Death Star in Star Wars, the moon could hypothetically be used as a military battle station and ballistic missiles could be launched against any military target on Earth.”

“Various weapons testing sites could also be established on the moon,” the article adds, noting that the launch of the Long March-3B rocket is the start of “a more ambitious program.”

But Russia is not so sure. “The United States is moving toward the militarization of space and this will change the face of war in the near future, an academician with the Russian Academy of Engineering Sciences has warned.”

Judging by recent developments, the idea of formidable space weapons prowling the last frontier is no longer limited to the realm of science fiction.

The US has published tactical guidelines over the past three years on the use of force in outer space, while systems that may be used as orbiting weapons are undergoing rigorous test flights, said Yuri Zaitsev, Academic Advisor with the Russian Academy of Engineering Sciences.

In a security document released in October, the US Department of Defense (DoD) said that its space-related activities are designed to “maintain and enhance the national security advantages afforded by the use of outer space.”

These developments make it imperative that Santa, who was officially given Canadian citizenship in 2008 by Jason Kenny, the minister for Citizenship, get a fighter escort from NORAD, whatever the peaceniks may say. Canada is part of NORAD and it is almost certain that the United States will interpose no objection to precautions when he comes to visit the United States later this month.

The warlike preparations of the USAF for Santa’s arrival are shown below.

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Top Rated Comments   
The audience at the Smithsonian actually seems delighted by the "flash" concert rather than speed-dialing the Freedom From Religion Foundation (or whatever it calls itself). Good on the USAF.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Is Santa a D or an R?

He keeps lists, manages elves, performs logistcs, dresses professionally, cracks the whip, and he delivers. Santa's web site has never crashed. Santa I submit is a Republican.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Well, Wretchard, speaking on behalf of misanthropic adults everywhere who never got christmas presents, I say let old red-suit take his chances without fighter support. Stuff the bastard, and a bah, humbug to his elves and reindeer too.

On a more serious note, the actions of Russia and China clearly indicate great-power rivalry is by no means a thing of the past. The USN is going to need a lot more than 1915 numbers of warships to meet the threats. If Obama was smart or cared about the US remaining a great power, he would do all of the following:

1. Start a crash building program to rebuild the air force, navy and army. Reopen the production lines for the F-22, and B-2 for now, work on successors at the same time. Lay down 50 more Seawolf or Virginia class subs, 15 new carriers and a couple hundred other new ships. Build a new class of battleship for the littorial sea control role, with large missile batteries and rail guns for coastal control/bombardment. Rebuild the army and marines as well.

Establish a space control command, in peacetime give them the role of mapping, identifying and if necessary diverting or destroying asteriods and comets that might threaten earth. In wartime, they would assure US space control of earth and near earth orbit. If China is serious about moon bases, then we may need space commandoes (Space Marines?) to counter them as well.

Yes, I know. Obama wont do it. Perhaps we at Belmont club can lay the groundwork for the next president to do so, though. As for Obama, everything we really need to know about him was summed up quite nicely in that picture of Obama taking pictures of himself at Mandelas funeral: he is a narcissist interested only in himself.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (27)
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I recall hearing back in the 80’s that the USN was highly concerned about Soviet capabilities in the Arctic and so we were adding certain capabilities to out satellites to provide some assistance in that area. One of the issues was the difficulty in differentiating sea ice from clouds from on-orbit.

I also recall hearing in that same timeframe that the Canadians were very interested in building nuclear submarines for patrol of their maritime regions and were seeking US technology to support the effort. Sounded entirely reasonable to me, but for some strange reason the US Govt was opposed to it; I never understood why.

The US considered the possibility of using the Moon as a military base back in the 50’s. The problem was that in the event of a nuclear exchange, the missiles launched from the Moon would get to the targets on Earth something like 3 days later. Needless to say, this presents a significant TOT problem. I can imagine all kinds of discussions and meetings in which one country denies that the flashes and dust clouds seen on the Moon the day before had any significance whatsoever and were related in any way to the deployments of SLBMs and other indicators of a military exercise.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Never Mind. It got fixed while I was composing my complaints
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
What became of all the comments posted in the day and a half since this Target Inbound topic was first posted? And what became of the belatedly fixed font where the double ell's were legibly spaced further apart than the thickness of those skinny sans-serif letters themselves? Can't PJM or whoever runs the tech things for PJM show some competency and thoughtfulness half as good as the commentary that's contributed?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Interesting that Our Betters in DC get the performance of the USAF Band. The Obama political operatives in DoD harshly shut down the USAF Band of the Pacific along with a huge number of other military bands last year using the sequester as an excuse. The military has outstanding musicians, following in the tradition of JP Sousa and the US Marine Band and the Naval Reserve Bands a century ago. Cheers -
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Joy to the world, the Lord has come. Let earth receive her King" The lefties in the audience probably thought it was about Obama.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
How Seawolf got to Norway—and what she might have done en route—offer a rare and tantalizing glimpse into some of the most secretive quarters of the most poorly understood aspects of American naval power.

And it will remain secretive (as it should), until such time as Joe Biden decides to spill the beans like he did with SEAL Team Six.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
@ Battle of pointy things,
This sailor appreciates the concept of a stouter navy, but disagrees with a 'Crash Building' idea. I believe we start a long term program that ramps us up at a pace that stretches the Chinese and Russians.

There are practical reasons as well. Crash building means block obsolescence, static technology and boom-bust cycles in the manufacture as well as manning and training establishments.

Reading blogs-a-bunch has convinced me that many, many people misunderstand force structure and use, especially Naval forces. A steady, ever improving Navy based on the concept developed by the RN centuries ago works, that is, build and maintain a Navy capable of soundly defeating the combined force of the next two largest/ best out there. It still works.

Oh yeah, in addition to Sun Tsu and Clausewitz, a trip through Mahan is still valuable.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Mind you, Moonbase Alpha (or something like it) would be a good thing in its own right, and a wonderful 51st state as well. Given a small fraction of what we will spend on Obamacare and the national will, it could be done. Nuclear reactors and solar collectors would provide the necessary power, hydroponic gardens and careful recycline would provide the necessary food. water and oxygen could be brought up and/or mined from lunar materials. Perhaps eventually asteriod or comet mining would provide ample supplies of hydrogen, oxygen, and other needed elements.

In addition to the strategic advantages, a moon base would provide massive scientific opportunities. Edward Teller proposed a moon base with a supercollider for advanced particle research. The remoteness of the moon would make it ideal for experiments too dangerous for any earth lab. Eventually, we could have a moon command dedicated to defending earth from asteroids and other threats. And Helium-3 mined from the moon might make nuclear fusion energy possible.

A lot could be done on the moon and I am sure a lot us or by the Chinese is the question.

However, could we please skip the unisex 1970's clothes, this time around. No offense to the late, great Gerry Anderson, but geez, those uniforms were nuts.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment

Around 5 or 6 BC some wise men saw a strange sight in the northern sky, and followed it. What did they see? Was it a supennova? A comet? No one knows. But it must have been very, very unusual, for these wise men were astronomers, used to charting the heavens. I submit what they saw was a curious, wheeless conveyance, pulled by animals that bore little resemblance to horses. And in that wheeless conveyance they beheld a fat man in curious red garb. When they calculated the trajectory they determined it had come from the North Pole, and its parabola indicated a landing near the little town of Bethlehem. But what was the strange looking man carrying in that strange conveyance?

They found the sleigh empty
By a manger it stood
In front of a window
And a door made of wood
And peering inside
The wise men then saw
A sight that caused trembling
And quaking with awe
For there by a baby
Sat a fat man in red
And a saintly young woman
Kissing her baby’s head
Surrounding the tableau
Shone light soft and low
That lighted the window
With a soft golden glow
As the Magi stood awestruck
They heard voices sing
From inside the manger
They heard the word “King”
The baby then smiled
And the fat man did grin
And legions of angels
Filled the spaces within
The door of the manger
Then swung open wide
And the fat man in red
Stepped quickly outside
“Good night, little fella
A night this has been”
He hopped to the sleigh
And when he was in
He turned to the Magi
And bade them to stay
Saying, “Know who that is?
Do you know what’s today?”
With that he was off
His night rounds to make
While inside the manger
The infant did wake
The Magi then entered
With incense and gold
And knelt by the babe and said
“Hail the foretold
For thine is the kingdom
Thy father says so”
And from off in the distance
Came a hearty "Ho Ho"

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
WA the last minstrel,
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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