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The Military Mafia

Bravo for a wonderful article about the alleged need for more expensive toys designed more to keep the pork flowing than to actually fill a national need.  There is no other country with the means or the desire to build a massive fleet of ultra-expensive submarines to challenge US hegemony.  What few submarines being built seem to be small diesel-electric boats for use in the patrolling of sovereign waters. Why throw a few more billion in the pot for more Virginia subs?

Just like the V-22 Osprey, F-18E/F "Super Hornet", M1A2 SEP, and so many others you have exposed on your site, this latest boondoggle is proof of our wasteful ways.  How many kids could have health insurance for $2.5 billion? How many senior citizens (including many veterans who served their country with honor and valor) who have to choose between food and medicine each month could use an extra $100 million, which is the going rate for V-22's?  We have our priorities and perspectives so fouled up in this country, no wonder we give some rich spoiled chickenhawk fratboy like W the same respect as Churchill or FDR.

Anyway, thanks again for your continuing series on waste.  Maybe someday the Beltway Brass will take note.

                                                                                                        Name Withheld

Ed: Rumsfeld says he will cancel some of this stuff soon, but I fear Congress is so corrupted they will add it back in as we devolve in to a Soviet type military, massive and so broke down it can't do anything.  The Generals and Admirals deserve even greater blame because they refuse to present a reasonable budget plan, which would require cuts in their wish lists.  It's possible that Iraq will become America's Chechnya as the US Army is chased out of Baghdad on the first effort.

Scrap, then rebuild the sub force

The biggest concern with the sub force is not a lack of importance but a lack of relevance.  We need them to be performing missions for which they have no ability to perform anymore.  Much like the heavy armor crowd, they refuse to let go of Cold War ideologies and doctrines to adapt to modern realities.  But this doesn't mean that attack submarines are obsolete any more than the design flaws of the Abrams tank mean that tanks are obsolete.

We need to develop a new concept of the attack submarine.  As with most other military assets, we need to develop a design that is more flexible and multi-role than traditional designs.  In the past, intel capabilities have been a secondary role of the attack sub; today, it needs to play a major role.  In the past, land attack played either no role at all or a minimal role; today it needs to be at the forefront.  There is still a place for anti-ship and anti-sub roles, but realistically we need to look at a two-pronged force structure with one side emphasizing the traditional naval role and the second placing a stronger emphasis on intel, surface ops, and land attack.

To improve our capabilities in these new roles, we need to develop what I call a modular systems bay.  This would be something similar to what was used on the USS Parche as well as on the last of the Seawolf class.  What I envision is a bay that would open on the upper forward section of the hull when surfaced or at very shallow depths.  This design would not be used at extreme depths like those current attack subs are designed for.  The modules would be swappable in relatively short periods of time and could include a selection from the following:

1.  A dual cannon, 8-inch gun turret.
2.  A 32-cell VLS that could carry Tomahawk, LASM, SLAM, ASROC or AA missiles.
3.  An MLRS launcher with a number of reloads.  With this system, ATACMS would also be available.
4.  An open bay for stealth deployment of commandos or for boarding parties with zodiacs and smaller cannons.
5.  A deployable deep-water submersible to retrieve missile wreckage and accurately map underwater terrain.
6.  Weapons for use in mine clearing, such as an underwater mine clearing line charge.  These charges could be deployed in advance of a given force and then detonated at the appropriate time.  This provides mine-clearing
performance in a manner that the enemy cannot observe.
7.  Intel packages that could latch onto the hull of a ship and monitor communications on board.  Similar devices may be able to scan the interior for nuke or other weapons cargo.  Another option would be a listening device that would attach to the hull of a vessel to listen in on communications with an antenna that would float up to the surface.  Comms would be recorded and then transmitted in periodic bursts.  At a set time, the device would detach and fall to the sea floor.

A full blown transition is going to require tough, bold decision making and a reduction to 40 isn't that.  We're not talking about addressing a minor concern or adding a specific capability here, we're talking about replacing the current force.  I mean let's be fully honest here, you don't seriously support the concept of a 40 boat sub force of traditional design, I can tell that much from your other writings - you seem to be trying to reach a politically viable middle ground.  If the problem with the current subs is that the mission has changed (which is unquestionably the case here), then where is the need for 40 boats?  Personally, I can't legitimately justify more than a dozen, after all, where is the need?  It just isn't there. 

If you want to transition to a new style of force, we have to make a major break here.  Keep a small quantity of traditional boats but shift those to the strategic fleet - start over with an entirely new tactical force.  Anything less than this and you're defeating your own case - if this transition is so important, then why are we retaining so much of the old school?  These folks are not going to go quietly - you want them to grasp that they need a new type of boat?  Scrap the whole damn tactical fleet - not very subtle, but they'll get the hint.  And the enlisted folks that would've walked now have a future in a new style of boat by starting the transition immediately.

And realistically, this is actually a more politically viable option than a reduction.  Half of the sub mafia will back this because it means buying new subs and that means jobs and that means votes.  There are admirals that will fight it but there are others that will back it.  Especially if we're talking a new diesel boat, because we've got allies pushing for this as well.  The time for this move is ideal.


Ed:  You are right, I think 25 attack subs would be adequate, but I didn't want to sound too radical.  I didn't receive a single negative e-mail from sub mobsters.  No one even complained about calling submarine Admirals disloyal.  Here is a clear example as to why I am so critical:  

After the Soviet Union collapsed, everyone agreed that conventional forces should be cut.  The 1993 "Bottom Up Review" required mostly equal cuts.  Responsible officers could have made these cuts within a year, but after much whining and delay games everyone downsized to the require level by 1997, except the submarine force.  It was required to shrink from 18 to 14 SSBNs, and from 90 to 50 SSNs.  However, almost ten years later we still have 18 SSBNs in service, and 68 SSNs, which will now grow to 71.  As I stated in my editorial, the Navy has a serious problem with disloyal submarine officers who are undermining the Navy and the nation. 

LAV Gang

      You  mentioned that all the Armed Services have trouble with elements of organized crime.  Here is a picture of the Army's criminal syndicate posing in front of their Light Armor Vehicle (LAV) lemon.

                                                                                   Name Withheld

Ed. One RPG hit and that thing is toast.  And look at those tires, one spray from an AK-47 and the LAV is stuck for several days until new tires arrive.  This is why the US Marines only have them in reconnaissance units. The LAV I used by the Marines carries a 25mm chain gun, a 7.62mm machine gun, and weighs only 11 tons.  The massive LAV III pictured costs four times more, weighs 19 tons, doesn't even have a manned turret, and carries only a .50 cal machine gun.  I wouldn't be surprised if some of the men in green above don't retire and accept big salaries to work for LAV III makers General Dynamics and General Motors.  They've earned it.

Macgregor's Light Recon-Strike Group  

I first read Col. Macgregor's book, "Breaking the Phalanx" in 1999, when I was a freshman in college (ROTC Cadet).  I agree much with his premise that a "flattened" structure for the Army that had several "combat groups" of 5000 troops as opposed to large divisions with BCTs is a more efficient way of organizing the Army in light of new information-age technology. I also agree with your assessment that doing away with the divisional formations has been met with resistance from senior leaders in the Army; one of the reasons being that many soldiers/officers are hesitant to give up the esprit inherent in the divisional structure.

Your solution for this problem is to simply call Macgregor's "groups" divisions. If the "groups" were structured along the lines that Macgregor advocates in "Breaking the Phalanx" they would have all of the elements that a division has, just in a smaller form.  You state that these "divisions" of 5000 troops would be much more powerful then a WWII division. Furthermore, when current divisions go to war - you stated - they "leave the LD with 22,000 troops." This for all intents and purposes is a corps. Also interesting to note is that General Franks said that his VII Corps during Desert Storm was the same size as Patton's III Army - about 145,000 troops.

I agree that calling Macgregor's "groups" divisions will be looked favorably upon by the will allow  (if we go with your numbers) 24 two-star divisional commands...something that I think leadership would "jump at." Upon further research, I would like to share some ideas.

Colonel Macgregor has done several briefings of his ideas to many public policy groups in Washington. One such brief compares his "Light-Recon Strike Group" to Shinseki's new "Interim Armored Brigade." The briefing can be found at Macgregor notes that it would take more than 360 C-17 sorties to transport one Interim Brigade (3500 troops), but only about 150 C-17 sorties to transport a "Light-Recon Strike Group" (5000) troops. While I think that Macgregor's numbers concerning the number of vehicles in the Interim Brigade are inaccurate, I agree with notion that it will take more airlift than we have available to transport an Interim Brigade within Shinseki's goal of 96 hours.

That the Army is experimenting with Incat/Bollinger's high speed catamaran "Joint Venture" and transporting Strykers with them ( is a clue that the interim brigade is now intended to be transported at least somewhat by sealift. Don't get me wrong, I support the high-speed sealift capability that is presented with the Joint Venture and I think that the Army should pursue the acquisition of these exciting new ships, but I also think that the leadership should recognize that it is doubtful that the Interim Brigade could be transported entirely by air, especially given that only 2 Strykers can fit into a C-17 and only one can fit into a C-130. Also, the Stryker can only fit into a C-130 after its weapons mount is completely lowered and the vehicle's suspension is lowered as well. A PFC that is working with the Stryker at Fort Lewis told me (at ROTC Advanced Camp this past summer) that it would take 15-20 minutes to get a Stryker off of a C-130 and ready to move.

While I agree with the medium weight initiative, I think that for a unit to be completely air-transportable within 96 hours, it has to have equipment that can fit into C-17s in large numbers. In his LRSG brief, Macgregor hints at a light armored vehicle. While he is not specific, I think that a six-wheel version of the Stryker would be appropriate. The Stryker is modeled after Mowag's wheeled armored vehicles. ( Mowag was bought by GM (the people building the Stryker - and is now a subsidiary. Mowag's 6X6 Piranha III vehicle weighs about 27000 lbs. or about 13.5 tons (combat weight). This is considerably lighter than the Stryker IAV, which weighs in at about 19 tons. This should allow for 6 vehicles per C17 sortie, as opposed to 2 Strykers per C17 sortie. I also think that it is unrealistic to think about transporting elements of the Interim Brigade from CONUS with the C130. First, it can only carry one Stryker, and second, it has a very limited range when compared to the C17.

The Piranha 6X6 can be built in a variety of configurations, just like the Stryker.  One has to keep in mind that the Interim Brigade is an Infantry-Centric formation, while the LRSG is a Cavalry formation. This is why I think a smaller 6X6 cavalry/recon vehicle would be appropriate as opposed to the larger Stryker infantry vehicle.  When looking at MacGregor's brief, it is also interesting to note that his LRSG has 40 MD500 helicopters organic to it. These small helicopters can be transported easily by C17 and, armed with hydra rockets and hellfire missiles, make an effective replacement for artillery. They can even be built with the NOTAR system, which should cure maintenance, safety, and tail rotor damage woes. Take a look at them at They also appear to be very inexpensive.

I think that we should transform our cavalry units into the LRSG and call it a cavalry division as you suggest. This unit could be transported readily by C17 much faster than the Interim Brigade. The scouts / troopers in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 11th Cavalry divisions could even arm themselves with a "thumper" - what an awesome concept! Take a look at or


Col. MacGregor's LRSG brief:

Mowag 6X6 LAV:

MD500 ultra-light fire support "flying artillery" helicopter:

*AWESOME* upper receivers for the M16/M4 to convert them into heavy-hitting
ultra big-bore "thumpers": or

*Awesome* SPAS 15 Combat Shotgun:

*Awesome* Incat high speed catamaran sealift for heavier formations:

                                                                                         Name Withheld

Too many Generals

I recently read your article about reorganizing the Army along Macgregor's lines and simply renaming the "groups" as "divisions". I generally agree with your assessments, but I have a few pieces to quibble with:
1.  Don't let generals command these things.  The rank-inflation currently prevalent in the military would be even worse.  This is an excellent opportunity to chop a chunk of un-needed generals out of the ranks.  If you insist on having stars in command, make them no greater than one-star generals.  You're right in that this is an excellent chance to whack a lot of useless brigade HQs (such as DIVARTY).  Let's not undo that by putting them all on a general's staff just so he feels important surrounded by a handful of colonels.
2.  The Cav units will insist on being called regiments, and I don't blame them.  There's something particularly historic about the cav, more so than any other branch.  2nd, 3rd, and 11th should remain regiments.
3.  10th Mountain "Division" should be at Ft. Carson.  It's closer to real mountains, it actually snows there, and Ft. Huachuca doesn't have enough space to add 5K of soldiers without a serious building binge. Also, Camp Roberts/Fort Hunter Liggett, CA have enough space for one of these "groups" that could easily be split between the two, with facilities appropriate to any type of group.  The airfield at FHL is C130-capable, but would need some limited upgrades to get to C5-capable.

I greatly enjoyed your article.

                                                                                       Brant Guillory

Ed: Even if the Army doesn't adopt Macgregor's smaller unit concept, they should embed the division artillery headquarters into the Division G-3 to shed 200 desk bodies and improve control.  I was told Fort Huachuca had room for a brigade, although the facilities may be old.  Perhaps they could move the Intel school away from the "frontlines".  If the Marines are smart, they will try to move out of the urban park called Camp Pendleton to Fort Liggett.

Groups vs Divisions

I've been a fan of your research portal for some time. As an ROTC Cadet, I take much interest in the current affairs as well as the future direction of the Army. I read and agreed with Macgregor's "Breaking the Phalanx" in 1999 and upon reading it, I came to a similar conclusion. Having today's "legendary formations" broken up into reinforced "combat groups" will be met with resistance. I also thought that they should just name the groups after divisions...but upon reading your interesting article, I would agree that they should just be called divisions. Put them under a 2-star staff and treat them as divisions. 

The thing that I think is missing, however, is that Macgregor wants these units to be optimized for joint fighting. This is where most of the troop numbers above what a normal BCT is today seem to come from (increased C4ISR and logistics).  A couple things that would be solved: Eliminate a number of unneeded HQ 1st Army, 5th Army, 8th Army, and so on and flatten the Army structure. 

However, I disagree with a couple things. First, I would give make the infantry divisions like the current Stryker brigades that we have at Fort Lewis. They can use the new LAV III and similar equipment. They could be a versatile force. Second, Macgregor calls for 7-8 Airborne-Air Assault groups in his "group-based Army," while you only have three. I tend to lean more toward 4-5 Airborne-Air Assault groups, but I don't think that these formations should get the emphasis or attention that they currently get.

I also think that the Joint Venture catamaran is very promising. Infantry and Armored divisions could deploy via fast sealift. The Airborne-Air Assault groups would obviously deploy via air, and the Cavalry Divisions, which would use the smaller LAV II or even the LAV I, would also deploy by air. The Airborne-Air Assault Groups would be relatively small...maybe 3500-4000 troops. The Cavalry Divisions, due to their need for operational speed would also be smaller...maybe 4000 troops. The Armored and Infantry divisions would be larger; close to 6000 troops.

As for your concept of an infantry division, I would just form the National Guard into 6000-man "divisions" for the purposes that you describe for your infantry division.  Interesting concepts, though...and I haven't even touched on the independent EAD brigades.

                                                                     Name Withheld

Better Guns

A couple of correspondents mentioned the H&K 9x90mm rifle. This weapon only ever existed as a prototype and was still undergoing development when the project was cancelled in the mid-1990s. The fire control system in particular does not seem to have been finalised.

WSG2000-The Long Range Rifle System That Never Was.

        The 9x90mm lost out to the .338 Lapua round, and weapons using the latter round are already in service in Afghanistan with the British forces. All current .338 Lapua weapons are bolt actions, but Browning makes a .338 Winchester Magnum self loader. It may be possible to adapt military autoloaders such as the FAL, M14 or BAR M1917 to larger calibre rounds.

        Another suggestion was to re-introduce rifles using the 7.62x51mm round. If this was done a suggestion for improving their versatility further can be found here.  The weight of ammo could be reduces somewhat if during active service soldiers were issued with ammo with disposable Aluminum cases rather than heavier re-useable brass. This would reduce the weight of both 5.56mm and 7.62mm rounds.

        Using a weapon chambered in the .300 Whisper round has also been suggested. In its highest velocity loading the .300 Whisper has similar ballistics to the AKM 7.62x39mm round, including a bullet a little light for its calibre. Heavier bullet weights are on offer but at much lower velocities -which means a longer flight time and a corresponding lower hit probability.  One might also suggest that if you are willing to accept 7.62x39mm performance why not issue weapons in this chambering? On this page I've suggested that such a weapon might find many uses in the US's Inventory.

        After 39 years in military service and two incarnations the terminal ballistics of the 5.56mm still seem to be, at best, "variable", or at least it is in FMJ configuration.  A quick and effective fix would be to fit 9mm barrels to all M16s and M4s. These already exist as a component for the Colt 9x19mm SMG, although rifling rate may need changing.  With these weapons would be issued two varieties of round, both using the same brass as the 5.56x45mm.

  • One would be a heavy subsonic flat nosed 9mm round of around 240-260gr. This would be used for suppressed shooting, CQB and use in short barreled SMG versions of assault rifles.
  • The second would be a saboted 7mm round of around 140gr. This would have a good ballistic characteristics, a flat trajectory at battle ranges, high sectional density and good penetration. It also makes a bigger hole in the target and is less likely to be deflected.
        This increased flexibility and performance can be gained just by the simple expedient of issuing new barrels and ammunition. All other parts currently in service can be used.

        As far as the M9 pistol goes (or rather the 9x19mm round), you can't turn a tabby into a tiger. The US army should buy .45 Glock automatics. The military model can hold 13x .45 ACP rounds and there are even compact and slimline models for special applications.  These are a proven design that are actually mechanically simpler than M1911A1s and M9s and have a double action trigger that is as light as a single action.  Operation is about as simple as you can get too. Insert magazine, chamber round –pull trigger. Insert new mag when empty and release slide.

Improving Fire-Team Armament
        The same concept proposed for assault rifles can be used to improve the performance of the M249. Since the 7mm saboted round uses the same brass as the 5.56mm all the Minimi needs is a new barrel. Magazines and feed belts would remain the same.  There is an alternate idea for a better SAW. In World War Two the USMC, Rangers and Devil's Brigade all used the 30-06 M1941 and M1944 Johnson LMG. Later the IDF used the same design in 7.92mm and .303.

        Using 1940s materials this weapon weighted the same unloaded as a modern 5.56mm Minimi, so a light SAW in 7.62x51mm is entirely feasible.  Would this require an entirely new weapon with years of development? Not necessarily.

  • Take a proven selective fire weapon such as the M14 and fit it with a heavier/fluted barrel. This is going to be a fire team/squad level weapon, not a replacement for the M240 GPMG, so it doesn't need a long barrel for 1000m+ accuracy. Keep an overall length of around a metre.
  • A cyclic rate of around 600rpm should be suitable
  • Fit a light bipod and remove the wooded furniture and replace it with lighter synthetics. A forward handgrip would be good, so would a folding stock. Give the weapon a straight line configuration to handle recoil more effectively.  
  • Fit a belt feed mechanism so the weapon can use the same belts as the M240. Ciener made a belt feed conversion for the M16, so this device could be scaled up -they may make such a device already.
        I've suggested the M14 since there are plenty of these in storage. Designs such as the FAL and SR-25 would need less adaptation. The latter has the same manual of arms as the M16, which is no bad thing.  This site lists the weight of the FAL-HB as 6kg. Many armies have used this as a squad automatic.  The Russians found that AGLs were very useful for demolishing afghan rock sangars. Trouble is that the Mk-19 is not something you really want to lug up a mountain, and being a battalion weapon is often not available to small units. This could partially be redressed by the issue of revolver grenade launchers, as are currently in service with several armies including those of South Africa and Russia. Three shot underbarrel grenade launchers would also be useful. Both these types of launcher have the advantage over the single shot M203 in that they can walk shots onto a target. Issuing riflemen with rifle grenades would also be a sound move.

I'm pretty certain that there are .45 Colt SMGs (AR-15 based) -quick check of Jane's will tell you.  A sound moderator/supressor/silencer IS a muzzle brake -see
British army uses platoon .338s There is also SSK's  Peacekeeper "The 50 Peacekeeper is  about 88% of the velocity of the 50 BMG with 650 API and weighs 13-14 pounds.  In urban warfare it will do anything the 50 BMG will and can be easily moved and shot offhand.  JD" (personal comm)   US army worked with 6mm bullets in a x45 case in Vietnam -see Russians looking at similar ideas.  Also see update on

                                                                               Phil West

Norway uses 7.62mm rifles

I always thought the Norwegian army had been left behind since we still carry our old H&K G3 rifles in 7.62mm and never adopted the 5.56mm.  We even learned the 5.56mm was superior to the 7.62mm because the 7.62mm was a single-shot-killer while the 5.56 gave horrible injuries and kept the enemy busy treating their wounded. After reading the letters I've changed my mind.

Anyway, here's a link for you: The Swedish army have adopted the 5.56mm as their basic round, but kept the 7.62 for their urban infantry battalions due to the superior performance of
the 7.62!  Wise guys!

Ed:  When I was in Norway for "TEAMWORK 88", I shocked that so many spoke perfect English, and that their military skills were better than US Marines.  I was embarrassed at one meeting when I had to explain "Zulu" time to one Marine Captain.

Gun Concepts  

      I have studied the U.S. small arms tradition, and learned some interesting things.  One result I came up with was that the U.S. Army/Marines might could stand to incorporate a heavier battle rifle, 8.6 or 9.8 lbs. unloaded, like the M14 or M1, but in a caliber around .25 or .26, to make the full-auto fire smooth and manageable.  This idea is nothing new: one small arms commentator I read said that "in retrospect" the U.S./NATO should have adopted .26 instead of .223.  Then Phil West noted in one of his pages that the Marines have had a long- standing dream of a heavier assault rifle, from 6.5mm to 7mm.

    Thought I would say something about your 10mm rifle stuff.  10mm is .40 caliber, right between .30 (7.62mm) and .50 (12.7mm).  Not going to prove it here, but basically weapons scale in weight cubically with respect to caliber for a given design, chamber pressures and muzzle velocities remaining the same.  So since a reduction from .50 to .40 involves the factor 0.8, cubically the factor becomes 0.8 * 0.8 * 0.8 = 0.512.  This means that any useful item you find in .50 caliber will be half the weight in .40 caliber, this includes ammunition/bullet weights and recoil forces.  Therefore, the M82 in 10mm will be 18 lbs loaded instead of 35.  The Model "95" bolt-action .50 will be 13 lbs instead of 25, and so on.  Weight could be further reduced because likely just a muzzle brake and stock pad would suffice to manage the recoil (I think the M82 also uses a recoil mechanism, check me on that).  Bofors puts out conventional AP in 5.56mm and 7.62mm that can penetrate 12mm and 15mm plate, respectively.  This penetration scales up linearly with respect to caliber, so a 10mm AP in this category should penetrate 20mm of plate.  And a 10mm SLAP should have about 80% the penetration of a .50 cal-SLAP. 

    The M2HB scaled down to 10mm would be 43 lbs instead of 84, the mount would be ~20 lbs instead of about 40.  Maybe there's an idea for a more economical, but possibly still heavy, base-of-fire.  .40 caliber is a completely untapped firepower niche in the high-velocity category.  Machine gun calibers basically stop at about .30, and don't start up again until .50 caliber, I think.

    One thing I have thought about for some time: if U.S. military decision-makers are as corrupt as you say they are, and maybe they are, and maybe that is partly because they are overly complacent in depending on our "smart"-based air-superiority, so that they think no real land force is necessary, then why does your forum flesh out land combat ideas that America's enemies could use, and even be more likely to use, given that they may be more determined and resourceful than the U.S. forces?  Somewhere I think you noted that your tank article had been posted on a Russian site.  Is that something to be proud of?  A mouse-click to G2MIL from Moscow, Beijing, or Baghdad could sooner or later find a good idea being used to shoot up Americans while the Pentagon laughs it off.  What is the point of that? 

    Just thought I would throw that up for your consideration, maybe you can answer that satisfactorily.  Until then I hope we don't see eastern and middle-eastern armies with .40 caliber snipers and machine guns all over the place while the Pentagon comes up with multi-million dollar "smart" weapons to counteract them!

                                                                                   Rosser Melton

Ed: There has always been concern in professional military journals about openly discussing weaknesses.  However, it is always been concluded that openness is the often the only way to discuss and correct problems.  Nevertheless, I was shocked at an article in the December 2001 issue of Naval Proceedings describing how to field an effective air defense system using the latest Russian technology.

Phillip Park didn't address body armor, and none of the G2mil experts know of any body armor studies.  The Los Angeles SWAT team learned during that big bank shoot-out a few years back that their M-16s are almost useless against heavy body armor.

The US military assumes today's Third Worlders will not have modern body armor.  However, I was watching a PBS documentary about the Russian-Chechnya war.  Many of the "primitive" guerillas wore the latest US military gortex parkas.  This was shocking since they were introduced just a few years ago.  However, you can order them from catalogues or over the internet, as you can with body armor.  I assume that wealthy Saudis purchased them from the US and donated them to the Muslim cause.

The US military may soon run into a nasty surprise with their M4 pop guns "Mini M-16s".   Even if  SLAP/sabot rounds can penetrate body armor, the projectile strikes with the impact of an ice pick.  It will hurt, but the "casualty" will keep fighting.

Whisper Ammo

     Apparently the 6MM, 6.5 MM, 7 MM, 300, Whispers® has escaped or not be of interest to you.  The 300 Whisper for example from a 10" suppressed M-4 carbine does 2200 FPs with a 125 grain, 2000 with a 147 grain AP, 1750 with 175 grain and 1050 for a 240 grain subsonic round achieving at least the accuracy of the standard M-4 carbine with all of these ammunitions.  It uses all standard M-16 parts except the barrel and gas system which is adjustable.  (in hunting--animal control it has proven effective on animals around 500 pounds) 

     Larger caliber Whispers® such as the 338 are adapted to the armalite AR-10 and can be used in the SR-25. as can the 300 WSM.  Basic information can be seen at

                                                                                       J D Jones

A Modern Lightweight M-14

And the reason we got rid of the M-14 is? How about knocking a pound off the M-14, using aluminum cases like CCI, and 30 round mags? We already have the tooling for the 14, and a million of them in storage.  I'm sure there's a factory out there that can stamp all the magazines we would ever want in a month or two.  CCI already has developed and put the aluminum case technology into production several years ago and is more reliable than traditional brass cases.

Why are we just fooling around with this when we know it's a serious problem and there are answers available?

                                                                                Michael Fordyce

Ed: This quote is from the 1967 US Army handbook: "Vietnam Primer":  

"...the M16 bullet lacks knockdown power, a criticism of it often heard from combat- experienced NCO's. The VC winged but only wounded by an M16 bullet, then diving into the bush, makes a getaway three times out of four, leaving only his pack and a blood trail.

As to effectiveness over distance, until recently the data basis deriving from 6 major and approximately 50 minor operations contained not one episode of VC or NVA being killed by aimed fire from one or more M16's at ranges in excess of 60 meters."

Surface to Air Radar Aiming System

I suggest the SARAS units be linked with IVIS - and a master SARAS (all units capable of being a master) serve as a coordinator - each radar, in a semi-random sequence, would come up for say 3 sweeps and shut down. All units would share the returns via IVIS and a PK would be derived for each unit - the highest PK units would be designated to engage the target. Also IR search and track would be efficacious - I used IRSTS in the USAF and even in 1963 it was very good indeed. An advanced IR missile with a boost-glide-boost motor would tend to be not easily detected - no mid-course smoke trail. An acoustic missile should work for helicopters but would be useless against jets and fast props. Whether SARAS should be CW or pulse-doppler is something for the boffins. Note that multiple radars acquiring a target from different angles afford a decent capability against jamming, chaff and maneuvering. BTW the radar antennas should be on an elevatable mast - not on the vehicle's hull. Use of a non-rotating planar array antenna assembly would aid camouflage.

                                                                                                 Bjorneby Walter

The Dangers of Invading Iraq

I am following the run up to war with Iraq with intense interest.  The question I have is after Iraq, then what next?  I do believe that we are more that capable of eliminating Saddam, but I think what occurs afterward will depend on the method and speed of his elimination. 

If the U.S. invades Iraq with little or no provocation, especially if the perception is that the U.S. short-circuited diplomacy, then the invasion had better meet it's objectives quickly.  If not, each day will bring more and more resentment from the militant factions that exist throughout the region.  These resentments will only intensify if the perception is seen that U.S. forces aren't concerned with civilian casualties.

This is the big IF, will the Iraqi military fight?  If they do fight and if they  fight in the urban areas, then civilian casualties will occur.  These casualties will be even greater if the US forces are reluctant to dig out the Iraqis, but insist on using air, artillery and missile fire to try to destroy these forces.  If what occurred in Jenin [on the West Bank], also occurs in Baghdad, but on a larger scale, then I believe the following three countries are in real danger of imploding: Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.  In all three, there is a large undercurrent of anti-American resentment.  If this resentment explodes due to circumstances in Iraq, all three countries could face massive rioting and possibly overthrown regimes.  Pakistan is probably the most fragile. 

If the current Pakistan government were to fall and if a regime that is sympathetic to the militant cause was installed, I believe this will touch off a war with India.  I don't believe India would tolerate such a regime.  A war hasn't occurred yet, only because of the lip service Pakistan has been giving to the 'War on Terrorism'.  If there isn't even lip service, then India would feel no choice but to try to remove this new government.  Most experts believe such a war could quickly escalate to nuclear exchange.

The second most fragile is Saudi Arabia.  If rioting breaks out, I don't believe the Saudi police and military will be able to quell the rebellions.  This might then lead U.S. intervention to stop the fall of the Saud government.  The US cannot afford to let this government fall.  Such an intervention is sure to cause even more resentment in the region and would surely be followed by increased attacks against U.S. targets.  The perception will be that the U.S. is keeping it's puppet government in power.

The third is Egypt.  If the current government falls to a regime that is openly hostile to the U.S., then there does exist the potential for a future Arab-Israeli/US war in the region.  Control of the Suez is important to the U.S. and I would expect there to be an attempt for our military to control it.  Such an occurrence will result in conflict, which I believe
will escalate into warfare with Israel.  I surely hope that such future scenarios are being examined by our military/political leadership before invading Iraq and that solutions have evolved.

                                                                                              Skisics Surus

Ed:  The proxy armies will not fight Saddam if they know American troops are on the way.  They are weak and will not squander their men fighting the Republican Guard.  They need to build their power for the post-Saddam game, just like the Chinese powers who held back during World War II.  One of the "dissident" groups the US in backing financially is the Islamic Revolutionary Front, also backed by Iran.  If you read recent news reports closely, you'll learn that the few al Qaeda terrorists in Iraq are in areas controlled by Kurds and protected by American airpower.

Here are the five basic scenarios if the US invades Iraq from Kuwait, which is the only viable route.

1. A coup is engineered as US troops cross the border and secure Iraq within 30 days with little bloodshed.

2. Most Iraqis and Republican Guardsmen realize resistance is futile.  However, a few thousand of Saddam's best put up a good fight in Baghdad.  The US wins within 60 days with 200 American dead and 2000 wounded.

3. The US inspires the Iraqis to fight with weeks of senseless bombings.  The Iraqis mine roads, blow bridges, and hide from airpower in their cities.  The US offensive stalls outside Baghdad after 90 days as a result of mines and bridge problems, officer incompetence, bad weather, and a supply shortage due to extreme distances.  A few minor chemical attacks also cause panic and hesitation by US forces.  Heavy casualties demoralize the Army as its lack of discipline leads to massive desertions in the USA when replacements are ordered overseas.  Anti-war protests break out around the world and the US must commit everything it has to a siege of Baghdad. The US wins after a year of fighting with 10,000 dead and 100,000 wounded.

4. #3 occurs, but Arab revolts lead to disaster.  This is more likely if Iraq can attack Israel to encourage counterattacks.  A long war builds anti-American hatred until millions of Arabs led by Mullahs overthrow their dictators and seize US military bases in the Gulf.  The Suez canal is shut down and small boats attack US ships in the Gulf.  The US Navy flees the Gulf leaving 200,000 GIs stranded in Iraq.  They are forced to conduct a fighting retreat into Jordan to link up with an Israeli rescue force; which Israel provides only after securing a $30 billion grant from the US.

5. #2 or #3 occurs, and Iran realizes it is next on the list of "evil empires" to be overrun.  Iran seizes Kuwait and closes access to the Persian Gulf  while five US divisions are tied up in Baghdad.  The US calls upon NATO for help, but the Europeans just laugh and say: "We warned you not to play with fire."  Iranians pour across the border while the Iraqis join in and slaughter 50,000 GIs and bag 150,000 US prisoners within 30 days. They seize body armor from American troops, but give the M-16s to farmers to kill rabbits and try to determine why the M1A2 tanks don't work.

Scenarios #1 and #2  are the most likely outcome, and the only ones allowed on American television news.  However, you can see the danger here and why military men are worried.  The Middle East is stable at this time, so why destabilize it?