You Can’t Fight In Here! This Is The War Room!


It seems our friends at the Pentagon have either finally gotten around to watching Die Hard 4.0 or their kids have been twittering long enough that the message (via sheer electronic osmotic pressure) has finally penetrated their cold war mindset.  Either way, there have been many of us on the sidelines who have been trying to point out that another carrier group or silo full of nukes ain’t going to win against our upcoming superpower adversaries…

The Pentagon sponsored a first-of-its-kind war game last month focused not on bullets and bombs — but on how hostile nations might seek to cripple the U.S. economy, a scenario made all the more real by the global financial crisis.

The two-day event near Ft. Meade, Maryland, had all the earmarks of a regular war game. Participants sat along a V-shaped set of desks beneath an enormous wall of video monitors displaying economic data, according to the accounts of three participants.

“It felt a little bit like Dr. Strangelove,” one person who was at the previously undisclosed exercise told POLITICO.

Give the entire article a read – it’s worth it.

7 thoughts on “You Can’t Fight In Here! This Is The War Room!

  1. No offense, this is a great idea for a blog site – and there are a lot of smart people who post here. However, I think there should be more way more than one contribution a month. Yes, we’re all busy but if this is ever going to gain momentum it needs more attention. Just my 2 cents.

  2. Eric, your comment is no cause for offense. The reason our postings have dropped off differ for each one of us varies (in my case, a combination of current job and creation of a new (non-space) company have kept me pretty well occupied as of the first of the year).

    However, in my case (I won’t speak for my fellow Cynics) there’s another, more basic reason – after awhile it just gets repetitive and somewhat boring to keep calling bullshit over and over again when the kool-aid gets released by the tragics. But every now and then I see a somewhat new angle on a topic and get motivated to post about it – hence the two postings in the past week (this one and the newer one on budget deficits and its implications for the government space sector).

    One thing I may suggest, if readers here are interested: if you have a particular post you’d like to put up as a “guest Cynic”, and are willing to let us review it first to see if it meets our admittedly ill-defined and wholly arbitrary guidelines for guest posting, please let me know. There are many more cynics out there than just the four of us, and your voices should be heard, too.

  3. Thanks Shubber, I’ve listened to you on The Space Show and it lead me to this site. I can honestly say you’ve saved me an enormous amount of time (anguish?) by informing me of what’s real and what’s fantasy.

    I’ve had to adjust my ways but it hasn’t been too painful. Nowadays, I follow other space interests like the Kepler mission and the upcoming LRO. At least missions like this are happening in the real world and it’s something I can look forward to. Heck, they still have working rovers on Mars, that’s a remarkable achievement by any standard!

    Good things are happening in space, hopefully other people realize this as well.

  4. Late responding I know but I was ‘lead’here by several other routes so…

    First let me offer that I’m not a ‘carrier-task-group’ fan at all and in fact I think Navy should have gotten the ‘hint’ when the first proposed “super-carrier” was shot down in the 1950s. (USS United States, interesting story that :o)

    But War Nerd seems to invest a HUGE amount of word space from a single sentence of the cited article. An incorrect single sentence in the cited article.
    “Ships currently have no defense against a ballistic missile attack.”

    Taken at “face” value this has been ‘true’ since the inception of (not ballistic missiles as War Nerd implies however) ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads. It should be noted that Navy ships, especially those assigned to carrier task forces DO have defensive measures against even a hypersonic manuvering ballistic warhead. They just are not “perfect” defenses, based as they must be on a layered system that includes several range variations of anti-air missile systems, (including the most recent upgrades this would be atmospheric interface, high-altitude, medium/low-altitude) electronic counter measures, decoys, and lastly the medium altitude detonation of task-force launched low-yeild warhead as ‘cover’ while the task force scatters.

    The cited system IS worrisome due to the combination of factors that the US and USSR did NOT have since attacking even a group the size of a super-carrier battle group with a nuclear warhead was difficult at best without a dedicated missile with a dedicated manuverable warhead which would have ‘displaced’ a more generalized attack missile and warhead.

    The sentence prior to the cited one states:
    “If operational as is believed, (and it’s capabilities actually live up to the Chinese are saying it can do, that should probably be noted also) the system marks the first time a ballistic missile has been successfully developed to attack vessels at sea.”

    This is also incorrect since both the US and USSR tested and refined similar ballistic missile manuverable warhead systems that would have allowed the ability of attacking task forces or even single ships at sea with ballistic missiles and nuclear warheads. The issue was that any such attack would immediatly escelate any conflict between the parties into a full scale nuclear exchange. While the cited missile system IF as capabile as stated would be capable of dealing any single carrier task force a crippling blow IF it got through the layered air defense system, (those capabilities would be seriously degraded if not outright destroyed by the “terminal” defense nuclear detonation as the suggested “command-and-control” system for the warhead would be cut off by the EMP of the blast (UAV’s are almost impossible to mount EMP defenses of the required hardness an exo-atmosphereic communications between the warhead and satillite guidance would impossible due to EMP and ionization effects of the atmosphere) while any on-board guidance systems for the warhead would be hampered by radiation, EMP and blast effects as to render passive guidance useless and any active guidance systems on the warhead would simply make it an easier target for a functional knock-down by anti-air defenses. (Knowing when the bomb is going to go off gives the defending ships the ability to SAVE their electronic defensive and offensive systems by shutting down the systems a critical second before the blast.)

    What China has to weigh, (and War Nerd seems to be ignoring) is the very high risk that such an attack on an American Carrier Group will engender an escelated response by the US military and civil government which has not actually changed since the Cold War.

    To the point: Any nuclear, chemical, or biological attack on US military forces automatically generates a “response” in kind. They launch a nuclear (or even a techniclaly purely knietic attack system which War Nerd impplied) We launch a ‘response’ attack on the launching Nation. Supposedly against the launcher that attacked our assets but given the system is considered a ‘mobile’ launch platform, our strike options exand to consider ANY “in-kind” facility such as a known Naval facility or base or other military asset target.


  5. Randy, I’m not sure what article you’re responding to, but the lead in for this thread was about ECONOMIC warfare. To my mind, it’s about time the Pentagon started taking a heads up view of how regional and world economic instabilities could trigger actual shooting wars.

    There was a docudrama made for TV some 20 years ago called “Countdown to Looking Glass” which proposed just such a scenario based on the geo-political situation of the time. I would hate to see something similar happen today, especially in the real world.

    As well, given that lesser nations who don’t have the muscle to take on the Big Boys have been more likely to use the round-about route of funding and supporting, if not actually directing terrorist groups, it stands to reason that they would also be looking at many other possible ways of trying to level the playing field.

    The article from Politico didn’t say it, and I doubt that if such scenarios were considered that we’d hear about it, but coordinated actions, both economic and physical by such outside forces could potentially land a devastating blow against American interests. This is especially true when you consider how vulnerable several forms of critical internal infrastructure are.

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