Dec 22, 2014, Vol. 20, No. 15 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
The Scrapbook was thrilled to learn that the U.S. Navy finally has a fully operational laser—and, no, not the kind we’ve been using for years with guidance systems, but rather an actual laser weapon.
According to USNI News, “The U.S. Navy has declared an experimental laser weapon on its Afloat Forward Staging Base (AFSB) in the Persian Gulf an operational asset, and U.S. Central Command has given permission for the commander of the ship to defend itself with the weapon, the head of the Office of Naval Research (ONR) told reporters on Wednesday.”
This 30-kilowatt “asset” is known simply as LaWS, which stands for Laser Weapon System (although we would have preferred to call it a blaster). ONR rear admiral Matthew Klunder explained to USNI News that the laser “was installed aboard USS Ponce this summer as part of a $40 million research and development effort from ONR and Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) to test the viability of directed energy weapons in an operational environment.”
In a video provided by ONR, you can see the laser, which resembles a telescope, take aim and directly hit moving sea targets as well as a drone in midflight. There aren’t any massive explosions, just a sudden burst of smoke. In fact, the laser itself is not visible (unless, perhaps, it were fired in the midst of fog). And LaWS does not have the capacity to obliterate planetary systems. At least not yet.
You can watch the Navy’s video by going to www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0DbgNju2wE.
3:25 PM, Nov 3, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Vice Adm. Ted Branch, the director of naval intelligence, is denied access to classified material because, as David Lartner of Navy Times reports, he:
2:06 PM, Oct 22, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The Chinese want a modern and formidable blue-water Navy. Hard to be a serious global player without one. Equally difficult, it seems, to create one. Especially the aviation component, where the United State has no equals and, in fact, no other nation even comes close.
9:04 AM, Oct 18, 2014 • By PHILIP TERZIAN
The brief military career of 44-year-old Hunter Biden, Vice President Joseph Biden's younger son, seems to have ended after one month in the naval reserve. Biden is reported to have tested positive for cocaine use, and was immediately discharged. It was "the honor of my life to serve in the U.S. Navy," he has said in a statement, "and I deeply regret and am embarrassed that my actions led to my administrative discharge."
The misbegotten plan to shrink the U.S. submarine fleet. Oct 6, 2014, Vol. 20, No. 04 • By SETH CROPSEY
The U.S. Navy’s latest shipbuilding plan would see its attack submarine fleet diminish from 55 to 41 boats in the next decade and a half. That decision, confirmed in August, was eclipsed by the advance of ISIL, war in Gaza, and sedition in Ukraine. But the Navy’s announcement—the single-largest strategic consequence of this administration’s defense cuts—has the most far-reaching ramifications of the summer’s events.
7:31 AM, Sep 23, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
The U.S. Navy released this video of airstrikes being launched against ISIS in Syria:
"The U.S. Navy released video early Tuesday of missile launches from sea toward Islamic State militant group targets in Syria," reads the Associated Press's description.
Sharing carrier secrets is a bad idea. Sep 22, 2014, Vol. 20, No. 02 • By STEVE COHEN
The Obama administration very much wants a diplomatic success somewhere in the world. So when the president orders the head of the U.S. Navy to meet with his Chinese counterpart and find areas of cooperation, it is neither surprising nor inappropriate. But the possibility that the Chinese Navy will gain real insight into how our aircraft carriers operate is worrying our Pacific allies and could compromise our security.
8:03 AM, Apr 30, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The first question that national security types, including the president, supposedly ask in an international crisis is, “Where are the carriers?” Soon, that opening line will be rephrased to something like, “Where are the … oh, never mind.”
12:17 PM, Apr 24, 2014 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The time for building ships is when your nation is at peace. Once the shooting starts, it may be too late and playing catch-up is hard.
4:10 PM, Mar 17, 2014 • By SETH CROPSEY
Earlier in March, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus revised how to count the size of the U.S.’s battle force inventory. The battle force inventory is important because it measures the size of the U.S. combat fleet. The new definition will make the U.S.
A strategy to meet the challenges to the U.S. Navy.Jan 27, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 19 • By SETH CROPSEY
In 2007 the U.S. Navy published a new maritime strategy, “A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower,” known as CS-21. The Navy had already shifted from its Cold War focus on defeating the Soviet fleet at sea to projecting power from sea to shore, as challenges in such places as Iraq, Bosnia, and Somalia materialized. CS-21 continued this emphasis on projecting power ashore, but concentrated on multiplying the effect of U.S. seapower by increased association with friendly navies aimed at deterring and preventing crises. Deterrence is an old task for the United States.
Nov 25, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 11 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
Donald Rumsfeld, the implacable ex-defense secretary, sniffled through his remarks about President Ford. Former vice president Dick Cheney recalled Ford’s kindness in hiring him despite his having dropped out of Yale twice and been arrested two times. Henry Kissinger, whom Ford inherited as secretary of state from President Nixon, said Ford was “a president . . . whom I can say I loved, a feeling not every president inspires.”