Saturday, November 30, 2013


On Wednesday, I boarded the Pentalina and began an aggressive day of travel. After a brisk ferry voyage, a long bus ride, and making the connecting train ride by about thirty seconds, I arrived in Aberdeen. With an agenda of seeing people and doing a few things, my primary goal was to complete a task I'd spent the better part of four years preparing for: graduating from the University of Aberdeen with an MSc in Strategic Studies... with distinction (Summa Cum Laude for my American readers out there). I originally set this goal on a slow day at work in Virginia all the way back in March of 2010, at the urging of my "Aunt" Jo. It took me a long time, and a lot of thankless hours of hard work and sweat in the Middle East to put all of the pieces together. I was pre-emptively reading the textbooks before I even left the Middle East, and continued reading while I was back home waiting to leave. When I finally arrived, I got down to work, and despite trips to places like Orkney, Shetland, Dumfriesshire, and Paris, most of my year was spent hard at work... Mostly. On Thursday, it was time to complete the goal I'd fixated on for more than three and a half years of my life. It was time to graduate.

Those of us who were able to make it - myself, Ness, GBU-16, Warden, Sister, Homeboy, Slapshot, Vlad, and Chatti - assembled near the location of the courses we had taken with The Director, in some of Aberdeen's most ancient and hallowed classrooms, in the shadow of the "crown" over King's College Chapel. It's a place with which I've become intimately acquainted, outside of which I've spent many an hour waiting on buses and marveling at where I was and what I was doing at that moment in my life. I made a point of savoring it as much as I humanly could - of recognizing that this time was a season of my life, one that I could enjoy and look back upon, but one that would not last forever. We assembled, with those whom I'd worked, laughed, and lived beside for months on end, and received briefings on how the ceremony would unfold. Eventually, it was time to file into Elphinstone Hall - ironically, the site of our last examination back in May - to savor a ceremony conducted mostly in Latin, which inducted us into a fraternity of Aberdeen graduates reaching back more than five centuries.

And finally, the ceremony itself was over, and it was time to revel in our hard work. We spent a good hour trying to ride the line between celebrating as a group, and celebrating with the well-wishers who had come to share in our celebration. For me, that was my old friend Captain John, Kilgore (the curator of the Gordon Highlanders Museum), Constable, Silex, and Gin Aficionado, all of whom I was extremely pleased to have in attendance. We all congregated to have our pictures taken with The Director - an amazing instructor and mentor with whom I'd begun corresponding in mid-2010, and whose intervention likely got me past a significant bureaucratic hurdle which I would have been otherwise unaware of. We had pictures taken together, pictures taken individually, and eventually dispersed. Captain John and Kilgore having made early exits, the rest of us returned my rented gown, hood, and cap, and went to the Machar to end the evening.

It's hard to believe that it's all over, and it's also a bit of a challenge not to let it become an existential crisis. Then again, existential angst isn't really my style. There's too much yet to do. And now, after three and a half years of preparation and work, and a well deserved evening of respite and revelry, it's time to get on with it.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Scottish Secession: Finally, A Plan?

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond and his allies have finally released their plan. I haven't had a chance to read it; and since it's nearly seven hundred pages long, I'll probably have to just read synopses and reactions from experts. I've already seen several biting critiques of it from friends on Facebook who are familiar with such matters.

My Strategic Intelligence instructor, E, has been following the matter very closely over the years. The highlights of his various reactions have been, after about an hour of reading it:
"I downloaded it and have begun reading. 3 blatant lies spotted so far."

"[E] is reading The 'white paper' and is utterly appalled by the stupidity of it. It's total nonsense."
A friend from school works for members of the Scottish Parliament from the Liberal Democrat party. Although I don't put much stock in the Lib Dems themselves, one of their posts that she's shared is worth sharing with you:
The Scottish Government’s Independence White Paper has left voters in the North East none the wiser over what leaving the UK would mean after the document failed to address fundamental questions over currency and other issues according to Scottish Liberal Democrat MPs Sir Robert Smith and Sir Malcom Bruce. Speaking after the First Minister launched the paper in Glasgow this morning, the MPs warned that by failing to give Scots the answers that had been promised the SNP are asking people to take a leap into the dark. Sir Robert Smith, the MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine added: “A fundamental issue that should underpin the success of any independent country is the currency it will use to run its economy. By assuming that Scotland will continue to use the pound backed by the Bank of England the white paper fails to address this fundamental issue. As part of the UK we currently get a say in how the pound is managed. By voting yes under these plans we would have no say in how our currency would be managed.” Commenting, Sir Malcolm Bruce, the Gordon MP said: “Having been promised clear answers from the SNP’s White Paper on independence, I for one am confused as to why one of the SNP’s central pledges for independence is to offer extended childcare later when they have the power to do so now, matching the steps that Liberal Democrats have already taken in government to boost free care. The message from the SNP seems to be that they will not give children the support they need until they get the result they want at the referendum.” Sir Malcolm added: “The United Kingdom is a significant player in the world with a seat at the top tables of the EU, UN, NATO etc. If independent, Scotland would be outside the room and not part of that decision making.”
These are some of the very questions that I've raised on the blog over the course of the last year, and apparently the white paper fails for provide answers for these fairly simple and direct concerns on the part of Scotland's politicians and constituents. Meanwhile, the Holyrood has fallen prey to renewed outrage from Orcadians, as the lifeline ferry service (about which I've written previously) is set for a renewed disruption. According to BBC Radio Orkney:
Serco Northlink has confirmed that the Hamnavoe route will be covered by the Helliar during the refit period. The freight vessel can carry up to 12 passengers and will deputise on the route from the 6th to the 23rd of January. The company has also confirmed that the cost of travelling on the north boats will rise from the start of the year by 2.7%. But they've announced that - following customer feedback - a third return sailing across the Pentland Firth will be reintroduced for the majority of August.
For those who are unaware, MS Helliar is a freight vessel, as opposed to the MV Hamnavoe, which is a dedicated car and passenger ferry. The reintroduction of a third sailing for the "majority of August" is sort of a slap in the face to Orcadians, particularly when one considers that the first sailing is at a fairly inconvenient time. (As evidence of this, I'm not even entertaining the prospect of taking the Hamnavoe's 06:30 sailing when I go to Aberdeen for graduation; instead, I'll be taking the 07:45 sailing aboard the Pentalina.) One commentator on the Radio Orkney Facebook posting noted the following, which I can only assume to be from the contract between the Scottish Government and Serco:
3. To limit the extent of the impact of Scheduled Unavailability suffered by Orkney
i. The Operator shall carry the anticipated demand between the Scrabster and Stromness ports during periods of Scheduled Unavailability of Vessels for Lot A. A suitable replacement vessel shall be provided to undertake the Services being provided by Ropax Vessel(s) for Lot A. The suitability of any additional vessel proposed will be subject to the approval of and at the discretion of Scottish Ministers.
In short, as the Scottish Government rolls out their questionable plan for independence, the Orcadians are being given reason to question the Holyrood's competence with their current amount of authority as a ferry operator whose acquisition of the contract was questioned by the Islanders prepares to disrupt their service for a second time in under a year. It doesn't particularly inspire confidence, particularly at a time when authority and services are being centralized in Edinburgh and, to a lesser degree, Glasgow, rather than distributed to the periphery. Interestingly enough, not only are Scotland, Shetland, and the Western Isles lobbying the Scottish and United Kingdom governments for greater powers to determine their own destiny (specifically relating to the use of their own resources), but Northern Isles MP Alistair Carmichael has recently been promoted to become the UK's Secretary of State for Scotland. Given the Northern Isles' independence skepticism, I think this is a fairly shrewd move by the UK's coalition government, who would rather not see nor preside over Scotland's secession from the United Kingdom.

That doesn't exactly inspire super awesome feelings. What might help with that is a special Song That Reminds Me. I'm not sure whether Scottish recording artist Amy Macdonald is a Scots nationalist or not, but she's got a great, patriotic song about singing Scotland's anthem at sporting events. It's called Pride.

I remain skeptical of the proposed Scottish secession referendum, but I'm also willing to be convinced that the SNP has a plan and a justification for secession. Despite the release of their white paper, the wait continues.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Interim Content: Craig Ferguson and the Vortex of Scottish Charm

I graduate on Thursday. As such, the rest of this week will be pretty chaotic. So, what kind of Scottish greatness can I bestow upon you, my valued readers, during my absence? Well, there's a bloke by the name of Craig Ferguson, who was once on the Drew Carey Show on ABC, and now hosts The Late Late Show on CBS. He's awesome, and he used to be Scottish, but - spoiler alert! - we get to claim him as one of our own now. Since 2008, I think. And you know what? Beyond just being a hilarious Scottish-American guy, he's also pretty smart, and seems to be fairly genuine. So, this post is literally a bunch of my favorite Craig Ferguson videos. Enjoy, and watch out for those last three - they're beautiful tear-jerkers.

There's another sketch he was in on his show, but I don't have the foggiest idea what the actual content was or what sort of search string might turn it up, so you'll just have to do without. Enjoy, and check back in a few days. I've even hired all of the bits and bobs to wear my kilt properly. There will be pictures. This is going to be epic.

The Dissertation: Mapping the Dhofar Rebellion

As my time in Scotland wanes, I've been both busy and distracted. I've noted some of my projects in some of my recent posts. I'm not done with the Operation Highlander blog by any means, but my posts will probably be lean over the course of the remaining weeks.

One of the projects I've worked on during Operation Bold Brigand, that I haven't really spoken of until now, has been an effort to use some of my favorite open source geographic information systems to map some of the locations of the Dhofar Rebellion. Most notable among these has been the Hornbeam Line, which I've mentioned previously. The first six of eight outposts were fairly easy to find, while the remaining two gave me a bit of trouble until I started thinking outside the box. I was able to find the remainder this weekend, and assembled a slide deck of the satellite imagery to use as a work sample. Pictured is the Reef patrol base, which is described thusly...
Location: PB Reef
Decimal Coordinates: 17.005118° N, 53.743272° E
MGRS: 39QYU9208782167
URL: (click)
Remarks: Displays distinct square seen elsewhere at PB Killi Candidate Site #1 and PB Bole.
... and posted primarily because it's the best photo from the various photos of the outposts in question. I've also been able to locate a couple of the small outposts from the accompanying Damavand Line (here and here), as evidenced by the adjacent helipads.

So, between mapping the Dhofar Rebellion, applying for jobs, enjoying my time in Orkney, preparing for graduation, finally getting around to adjusting to Google Reader's premature demise, working (slowly) on post-master's degree professional certifications, the Orcadian Gordon Highlanders Accountability Project, additional writing, and Arabic study, I've had less time for blogging than I'd prefer. I should have a few surprises for the next few weeks, though. Stay tuned.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Demobilization Packing Test

As I recently pointed out to Lady Jaye, I'll be leaving Scotland in a matter of weeks. That means packing up all of my stuff - well, some of my stuff. I brought plenty of stuff with the expectation that it would be left behind upon my return to America, but I also had the expectation that I'd pick up a few items to take back home with me. Being the superior personal logistician that I am, I'm sorting through all of my stuff to figure out what I have room for.

Let's take shirts, to name but one example. I've written previously about my T-shirts. Although it'll cost me a bit of coin, my intent is to leave behind shirts that I can replace. For example, I get a lot of my shirts from Ranger Up. I can get a replacement for my black Saint Michael t-shirt, and I actually already own replacements for my Saint Michael Army, Saint Michael Marine Corps, and Live Free or Die shirts. However, Ranger Up's The Lord is a Man of War shirt has been discontinued. The guy who does one of my favorite webcomics has made some shirts. The Negotiator, which is derived from the comic of the same name, is still available, as is My Parents Never Taught Me Arabic, the latter of which I already have a replacement for; those will be left behind. However, Steam-Powered Heart has been discontinued, so I'll be hanging on to that one. Both the black and tan Major League Infidel T-shirts from Crye Precision are still available, so those will get left. My Don't Panic and Carry a Towel shirt from ThinkGeek is replaceable, so... Are you sensing a pattern yet?

I arrived in Scotland more than a year ago toting a 5.11 Rush Delivery Messenger Bag and a 5.11 Rush MOAB 10; the messenger bag got binned when I moved out of student housing in early September. I'm not confident that the MOAB 10 is going to make it back to America, either. I think it's entirely likely that Gray 3 will become the happy recipient of the gently-used MOAB 10, though I'll obviously reclaim the American flag and Jolly Roger patches that are currently velcroed to it. They were both great to have, and my initial misgivings about the messenger bag subsided during the summer when I was working on The Dissertation, and was able to carry papers and notebooks in lieu of my laptop.

Meanwhile, the seabag that Gus brought a year ago contained a Hydration Bladder Carrier by Voodoo Tactical, which they appear to have replaced with a new version that's unnecessarily fancy, only available in Multicam, and more expensive than the one I bought in March of 2012 for the last leg of my trip back home from the Middle East - my previous demobilization. It also contained an ancient Eddie Bauer backpack that I received as a high school graduation gift, that I'll obviously be holding on to. The packing test will likely include cramming a few things into both of these, although my entirely irrational hope is that much of the stuff that's currently crammed into the MOAB 10 and littered around my current digs will be expendable. I suppose we'll see.

The whole thing isn't without its challenges, though. For example, Gus is having me mule back some whisky from Glen Moray, and the Man of Steel wants me to bring him some IRN-BRU. I hope to bring back some Highland Park 18. I'm still not sure how I'm going to accomplish that, but I imagine that I'll figure something out. In the mean time, I'll be test-packing to figure out just how much wiggle room I have to work with. Let's hope that the laws of physics take a brief vacation while I'm packing and carrying all of this stuff back to America, huh?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Another Bold Brigand Update

Operation Bold Brigand continues, here in my island paradise. Here's an update on some of the things I've worked on this week.

* * *


I've been doing alright with the Arabic, with BBC Xtra listening exercises that teach me a couple of words each week. This week's gems are "المستمعين", which means "listeners", and "المشاركينا حوار", which means "Our Participants' Dialogue" - both of these phrases being endemic to a radio program like Xtra. I've been trying with slightly less luck to do regular study of the Emirati vocabulary, and I'm hoping to add some dialect additional vocabulary that I've studied before. I also tend to use flash cards, but they tend to be a bit cumbersome in circumstances as transient as my own; however, I've hit on an idea to use Excel to turn my Kindle into a digital flash card platform. More on that later.

Physical Training:

Moving right along...

Business Development:

One of my biggest efforts during my time here in Orkney is applying for jobs. Although I'm theoretically still on leave of absence with my company, the organization has gone through a lot of changes since I went on LOA - to include splitting into two independent entities. As a result, I've been actively seeking positions within both of the new branches of the organization, and I've also applied for jobs with eleven or twelve other companies and eleven governmental organizations of one sort or another. I've applied for positions back in the defense sector, in the private security sector, and for positions that have nothing to do with either. I have a handful of contacts and a number of potential employers that I have yet to reach out to. As one of my neighbors in Aberdeen, Kamloops Queen, pointed out: "All you need is one acceptance, though."

It's a frustrating process. For example, one of my buddies who's a recruiter pinged me about a position he was recruiting for, and I spent a good couple of hours putting together a fresh resume and cover letter. I was able to interview with two different representatives about the position, and although things seemed to go well, it sounds like they're likely to keep looking. It's tough to look at that as anything less than about four hours of my life that could have been better spent on other endeavours.

Nearly every job I apply for is through one online portal or another. The benefit of that is that once you have your information plugged into the system, you can usually apply for subsequent jobs with just a few mouse clicks. The drawback is that it's very impersonal, and you don't wind up getting feedback, or being able to get yourself across to the folks who are reading your resume in the first place - assuming that it even gets in front of a set of human eyes, ever. I also know from experience on the other side of the line that hiring managers and recruiters are literally overwhelmed with hundreds upon hundreds of applications for each and every position - I not-so-fondly remember digging through hundreds of resumes from grossly unqualified applicants to find six or eight qualified candidates for a single vacancy. Owing to the workings of the system and the state of the American and international job market, it won't surprise me if I hit four or five hundred applications before I land something... But I hope it happens before that.

Writing Projects:

I've done next to no writing in the last couple of weeks, as evidenced by the fact that I've barely posted anything to the blog in the last week. Fortunately, most of my current writing projects aren't time-sensitive.

World War I Research:

I've been trying to do a sort of final push on the Orcadian Gordon Highlanders Accountability Project. I've done two interviews this week (and a social call on one of my first sources). Contrary to prior projects on which I've worked, it's entirely likely that I won't wind up being the one to do the lion's share of the work, but there's also the digitalization aspect that could see me somewhat easily continuing my work in the coming weeks and months, regardless of my actual location. It's been a really fascinating project on which to work, and hopefully it will mean that my name lives on with some degree of fondness in both the Gordon Highlanders Museum and in Orkney.

Special Projects:

Just thinking about these exhausts me. Moving right along...

* * *

There's plenty more to cover, and there never seem to be enough hours in the day to either accomplish it, or even to write about it. I'm fond of the advice I received from the classic masterpiece, South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut...

... and I intend to keep implementing it, if for no other reason than it helps to maintain my sanity.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Scottish Secession: The Hits Keep Coming

I've given up on the prospect of receiving a post about the independence debate from CN Homeboy, both because I think he's had some other (entirely legitimate) priorities of late, and because it would be wholly unfair to give him a forum so long after he's been able to read Glaswegian Sensation's post - after all, it was meant to be two independent posts, rather than a sort of call-and-answer. At any rate, there have been two items that have come to my attention in the last couple of months, and I wanted to share them.

Being a strategist by training, I've repeatedly questioned the SNP's defense policies, which are sort of a giant, incoherent mess. About a year and a half ago - before I even got to Scotland - somebody wrote up an op-ed that I took some interest in. It's short and worth the read, but it essentially boils the SNP's stated defense policies down and compares them with reality to conclude the following:
All of the above basically put [...] Scotland wouldn’t have enough of an army to defend even Inverness.
I had a discussion with one of my Scots Nationalist friends a while back, in which he dismissed my concerns about Scottish defense by saying that an independent Scotland's strategic concerns would be "mostly internal", and that they could be dealt with by way of European Union cooperation. Putting aside for a moment the inconvenient fact that Scotland's post-secession membership in the EU would in no way be guaranteed, the position of the SNP is that they will rely more heavily on the post-secession United Kingdom for its defense, and to a greater degree the United States; and this would take place without Scottish input in terms of force provision or strategic planning. (That's also skimming over the fact that strategic concerns being "mostly internal" suggests that Scottish independence would lead to an internal insurgency, though that's not what my friend meant and I don't have any expectation that it would happen. that said, it does give an indication of the level of sophistication with which Scots nationalists have thought this whole thing through.) As the author goes on to say:
So, if they mess up this area of policy, what are the chances others are messed up?
As that article says, First Minister Salmond and his political allies are fond of comparing a notional independent Scotland to Norway. I continue to believe that it's an apples-to-oranges comparison, but be that as it may, my buddy Chops sent me this comic a few weeks ago. For the record, I don't get the impression that the English are actually prone to making fun of Scotland's proverbial hat, or that Scandinavian countries necessarily have much more than a passing affinity for their extremely distant Scottish cousins (Scots having actually come from Ireland, vice Orcadians and Shetlanders who actually have slightly more solid ethnic and cultural ties to the Nordic states.)

I remain skeptical of the proposed Scottish secession referendum, but I'm also willing to be convinced that the SNP has a plan and a justification for secession. The wait continues.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Island Paradise: St. Magnus Moonrise

I haven't posted in a few days, partly because I've been under the weather, and partly because I've been trying to catch up on some other projects. Anyway, as I was headed out for some dinner and a drink the other night, I happened to look up while the bells were ringing at St. Magnus Cathedral, and saw this beautiful scene. Unfortunately, I didn't have my good camera with me, but I was able to get this admittedly weak shot with my phone. It's really gorgeous, isn't it?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Songs That Remind You 14

It's that time again. As I've noted recently, I've had a number of projects to work on whle I've been up here in Orkney, which has seen me spending quite a few hours in coffee shops and pubs, drinking tea and whisky. One venue (which will be discussed soon, hopefully later this week) has some pretty good music, and I enjoy having two or three hours on a given day when I can work on one thing or another while sitting in relative quiet (save for that music).

One song that I hadn't heard before coming up here (apparently it's somewhat recent) is a song by James Blunt called Bonfire Heart.

As Blunt notes on his website, the video was filmed in Wyoming and Montana, and anyone who's been to that particular area of America will recognize from both the scenery and the warmth of the people with whom Blunt came into contact with. (Blunt's comment about it being "a mix between Top Gun and Brokeback Mountain" probably wouldn't be received well by the locals, but he's English so there's no accounting for tact or intelligence.)

CN GBU-16 is an ardent Oasis fan. I heard this next song, Sunday Morning Call, and enjoyed it, but had no clue what the title was or who sang it. I copied down a few of the lyrics and looked them up, andshared it with her (I think she'd already heard it), and I wanted to share it with you folks.

My enjoyment of Oasis' music is bittersweet, since Liam and Noel Gallagher are pretty loathsome individuals. They made some good music before flipping out and breaking up the band, though.

So, will there be more songs to remember? As usual, you'll just have to wait and see.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Go See Sunshine on Leith

As I've been working on a variety of projects lately (mostly applying for jobs - more on that later), I've been unable to write some of the longer posts that I've been intending. One post that doesn't require much time to write is a plug for Sunshine on Leith, the film that's based on a stage musical that's named after the classic album that is, in turn, named after the title track. Think Mamma Mia, but instead of Abba, the storyline is built around the songs of The Proclaimers. Here's the trailer.

The last time I was in Aberdeen (sheesh, that's pushing a month ago!), I met up with CN Homeboy (who was late) to go see the film. I'd wanted to see it, but it's sort of a Scotland thing, so I hadn't really expected to be able to find it down in England during my close protection course; and since Kirkwall only has one screen at the Pickaquoy Centre, I didn't expect to be able to see it there. So, when I was in town, the perpetually available (and chronically late) Homeboy and I met up to see it. Of course, Mark Kermode got to it before us...

... and we absolutely agreed with him. There are plenty of things wrong with the film, and in the end, none of them matter. I was on the verge of tears, repeatedly. There's a scene early on when two of the ensemble characters arrive home from Afghanistan, and it reminded me of times when I've come home after long absences (to include my time in the Middle East) and surprised my mother. I couldn't figure out where I'd seen George MacKay (I later learned that he was in Defiance, but I'm not sure that I remember him from that), and I eventually figured out that he reminded me of my brother - except that my brother doesn't speak with a Scottish accent. (Yet.) Anyway, as some of you who keep track of these things will know, Homeboy and I don't agree on much, but we agreed throughout the film, and especially when it was over and done with, that we both loved it.

I'm reasonably sure that most of my regular readers are from the States, and I honestly don't know what the availability of this film in the States will be. That said, if there's any way for you to see it, please do. It's a great story, it feels great to watch it whether you're a fan of the Proclaimers or not, and I just can't say enough good things about it. It's worth the effort. Trust me, if you can find a way to see it, you'll be on your way from misery to happiness.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Remembrance Day 2013

Last year, Gus and I sort of stumbled across a couple of Remembrance Day observances in the city of Aberdeen, and on the lawn outside King's College Chapel. This year, I'm up here in Orkney, where the World Wars constitute a significant element of the local historical narrative. Given that one of my primary functions up here in Orkney is to do research on the First World War, I was relieved when my landlady told me when Kirkwall's Remembrance Day ceremony was - not only did I feel obligated to attend, but I wanted to attend. The ceremony had already begun by the time that I arrived outside St. Magnus Cathedral, but I was there for the majority of the brief proceedings. I'm not sure whom the officiant was - based on context clues from his speech, perhaps a vicar from elsewhere in the United Kingdom who's recently relocated to Orkney - but I was pleased when he followed his remarks about committing to be peacemakers with a reminder that one should not confuse peace with appeasement.

After the ceremony, I went to get something to eat, and when I was leaving the restaurant, I heard more bagpipe music. I was pleased to find myself on Castle Street as the parade that had marched from the British Legion Hall marched back. It was great to see how many of Kirkwall's residents not only participated in the ceremony, but also attended the observance as well. The entire experience was quite moving, and I was glad to have the opportunity to experience a Remembrance Day here in Kirkwall.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Getting to Know Alan Partridge

There's apparently a sort of cult character named Alan Partridge, who's played by actor Steve Coogan - one of several British comedic actors whom I used to mix up. This year, after years of speculation and development, Alan Partridge got the big screen treatment with Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa. Here's the trailer:

I went and saw it. I was really pleased that it featured Colm Meaney of Star Trek fame, but otherwise, I was pretty confused - there were a lot of details that really required you to be familiar with the source material, which wasn't top notch for the character's first feature film. What I enjoyed far more was a promotional bit that ran in theaters ("cinemas"). Have a look for yourself.

I probably found this bit at least as entertaining as the whole movie, because it offers an encapsulated view of what makes the character funny: being arrogantly out of touch with reality while trying to seem relevant, despite working at a radio station in Norfolk. Now that's comedy.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

More Fun With Whisky

Most of my experience with Scotch whisky is fairly recent. My first taste of whisky hails all the way back to 2004, during my first trip to Orkney, when Captain John offered me a dram on my last night in the archipelago. I wasn't really sure what to think of it at that point, and didn't pay it much more attention for a very long time. In 2009, the Cap'n and HH6 visited, and he asked if I needed anything from "Blighty" - apparently that's a nickname for the United Kingdom - so I requested a bottle of Scapa Single Malt (not knowing about Highland Park at the time, but that's alright!). The Cap'n graciously provided, and I saved that bottle for a special occasion - that occasion being a meeting with my dad in Wyoming as I road-tripped across America prior to heading to the Middle East. Dad's not a whisky drinker, but even he agreed that Scapa was nice and smooth. I continued to enjoy the bottle once I was back in the States in 2012.

A few months ago, I talked about Scotch whisky, mainly discussing a place called The Grill and a dram of whisky that my buddy Sergeant G implored me to seek out. While I've been in Scotland, I've made an effort to cultivate a taste for whisky. So, today, I thought I'd continue with this week's theme of alcohol by taking a few minutes to discuss my experiences sampling fine malt whiskies during my year (and some change) in Scotland.

First and foremost, let's get our terminology straight. This challenge is best summarized by an ancient sketch from Saturday Night Live...

For those of you who were unable to decipher Mike Myers' Scottish accent, he said:
"'Scotch' is a drink, 'Scots' are a people... But we're both quite tasty."
That having been said... Nobody in Scotland calls it "Scotch", but rather, "whisky". Scotch whisky can only be made in Scotland, although there are other places that make whisky (Japan being one noteworthy example). Last week, Fail Blog ran a feature that they titled "The More You Know: Bourbon Vs Whisky", but which should really have been titled "We're Advertising for Maker's Mark Today". Its own money quote was actually from the comments section, in which someone literally said:
"Shouldn't this be marked as an advertisement for Maker's Mark?"
And how! At any rate, it does give a few objective facts about whisky and how it's made. One of the things I found interesting was that the plural form of American and Irish "whiskey" is "whiskeys", while the plural form of Scotch, Canadian, and Japanese "whisky" is "whiskies". That's good information to have; the rest of it is pretty much just a bunch of shill for Maker's Mark, which isn't Scotch whisky, so who cares? So, all of that having been discussed, what are some of my experiences with various whiskies?

Ardbeg 10: I really, really like this malt. I do tend to go for the more peaty, smokey whiskies, and this is one is delicious. Lately, while I've been working on Bold Brigand projects, I've found myself enjoying a double of Highland Park 12, and then moving on to Ardbeg for something a bit more aggressive. It's fantastic.

Ardmore: One of my favorite malts is Ardmore. I've only ever found it at The Tippling House, which promptly ran out of it and took around a month to get more of it in. Oh, well, when it's available, it's fantastic.

The Dalmore: Early during my last night in Aberdeen, I found myself at The Tippling House while a representative from The Dalmore was making a visit. Between his visit and me knowing CN Constable, I was able to get a taste of The Dalmore, and really enjoyed it.

Edradour: As I noted in my previous post about whisky, Sergeant G implored me to seek out Edradour. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't especially memorable. On the other hand, I've come to the conclusion that you can't really enjoy whisky with any ice or water in it - you really need to drink it straight up. (Plenty of people will disagree with me on that, and that's fine, as drinking whisky is a fairly personal thing and everyone has their own preference.) Next time I'm in Aberdeen, maybe I ought to give it a try without the ice cube that I incorporated into the first sample I tried.

Highland Park 12: Both because of my love of Orkney, and because of its great taste, HP12 is my "old reliable" whisky. I tend to prefer smokey whiskies, but there's just no beating HP12's smoothness with just a touch of inexplicable honey flavor to it. Once I get back to America, one of my first orders of business will be to find out how I can get a hold of HP12 on a regular basis.

Highland Park 18: HP18 is an older malt, which means that it runs a bit steeper, which means that I save it for occasional enjoyment. I first tried it during my tour of the distillery, and absolutely loved it. Unlike HP12's confident smoothness, HP18 is slightly more aggressive - it requires careful enjoyment and respect.

Thor and Loki: Thor and Loki are higher end whiskies from Highland Park. I got my first taste of Thor back in Aberdeen, while I was trying to kill the St. Machar Bar's bottle of Thor in an effort to free up one of the Viking longship wooden cases for CN Sister. Thor's a good whisky. I had my first dram of Loki last week - for more than £12! - and while it was alright, I didn't think it was worth the equivalent of $18 for a dram. Like HP18, these are more costly drams that merit being saved for special occasions.

Scapa: What can I say? The tiny Scapa Distillery does a great whisky. It's smooth, it's delicious, and it's Orcadian. Outstanding!

One addendum to all of this. I tend to send a lot of post cards to remind my friends back in America that I'm still alive. Occasionally, I post an offer of a post card on Facebook. I did that on Tuesday, and my buddy Nicholas of Arabia struck on something that became popular...
Nicholas of Arabia: Tom, you know how women sometimes put perfume on letters? Can you send me a postcard and rub some scotch on one?
Tom's Cousin PJ: Ill take a scotch coated card.
The Garminator: I will email you, and I also want mine "scotch-coated"
In the end, I think I sent four "Scotch-coated" post cards, which is to say, post cards featuring a drop of whisky. Most of them got HP12, but Nicholas of Arabia was fortunate to get a drop of HP18. I hope he enjoys it even a mere fraction of the amount that I've enjoyed getting acquainted with whisky over the last year (and some change).

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Island Paradise: Highland Park Distillery

About this time last year, I wrote about my tour of the Orkney Brewery in Quoyloo. It was awesome. The thing is, the Orkney Brewery isn't the only place where Orcadians make delicious alcohol. In addition to the Orkney Brewery and the Highland Brewing Company, Orkney has two distilleries - within sight of one another! These are the tiny Scapa Distillery, and the larger Highland Park Distillery. During my 2012 trip, I learned that Scapa Distillery doesn't actually have a visitor center. Whaaaaaaaaat? Regardless, a few weeks ago, I headed out to the Highland Park distillery for a tour.

A few days earlier, I'd been riding up on the ferry and wound up chatting with a guy called James, who works at the distillery. He recommended that I come in on a Tuesday or a Wednesday, because those were the days when they were actually using fire to make whisky, and I'd be able to see it. So, I was in a couple of days later. True to his word, James was there, and one of the early stops on the tour was to see the peat being burned to dry and flavor the malted barley. Because the Orcadian peat gets its character from heather, Highland Park whisky is smoother than some of the other highland malts. (I'll get into some more thoughts about whisky later this week.) Highland Park is one of only six distilleries in Scotland that still does most of its own floor malting, as opposed to buying all of its barley from a third party malting company. So, the tour consisted of a tour of the malting floor, followed by an explanation of the peat-fired drying process, then a tour of the mash tun room, then another firing room (the two fires have different purposes in the overall process), then a tour of the stills.

Following the tour of the stills, we toured one of the warehouses where the casks are kept... For a long time. (We didn't tour it for a long time, the casks are kept there for a long time.) The casks are made from wood from Spain and the United States, and then they're sent to Spain (Portugal?) where they serve as port (brandy?) casks for several years in order to condition the barrels for whisky aging. For those who are unfamiliar with whisky, they age that stuff for ages. Most of your budget whiskies - other than some of the cheap blends - are going to be ten or twelve years old. The older the whisky is, the more you're likely to pay for it. It takes time, space, and attention to detail to make good, aged whisky.

That concluded the tour, which meant it was time for tasting in Highland Park's gorgeous tasting room. The tasting room's decor is built around planks from retired whisky casks, and it's awesome. We tasted twelve, fifteen, and eighteen year old malts, as well as a sample of (if I remember correctly) either Thor or Loki. I enjoyed all of them (though the run of the mill twelve year old stuff is tough to beat), but I think I most enjoyed the eighteen-year-old sample. It was sort of aggressive - you really had to respect and savor it.

Before I left, James ended up wandering into the tasting room, and I asked if he wouldn't mind posing for a picture with me (promising and/or threatening that it was going to wind up on the Internet). He happily obliged, and I ended up doing a bit of a pub crawl with him, some of his mates, and CN Ness a couple of weeks later. I'm really pleased that Highland Park was the first distillery I ever toured. There are a handful of other distilleries I wouldn't mind visiting during my remaining time here in Scotland... But that's a matter for later this week. I have a feeling that's not my last visit to Highland Park Distillery, though - something tells me that the Connoisseur Tour just isn't going to do it, and I'll need to go back for either the Viking Tour, or even the Magnus Eunson Tour.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Bold Brigand Update

Operation Bold Brigand continues, here in my island paradise. Here's an update on some of the things I've worked on this week.

* * *


I got a lot of Arabic done early in the week, and lapsed a bit after that. I did three reviews of my Emirati vocabulary, and listened to a podcast and a half from BBC Xtra. I'm writing this post late Sunday morning, so hopefully by the time I actually post it, I'll have completed a third listening exercise.

Physical Training:

Moving right along...

Business Development:

This week's big accomplishment was to submit around thirty-five job applications. The job market being what it is, I find myself forced to cast a fairly wide net, both geographically and professionally. It feels really tedious, but it's necessary. I'm also recording some more tracks for some more honesty trace work.

Writing Projects:

I spent a lot of time on writing projects last week. I made some major progress on my dissertation follow-up by getting a tentative outline made out; then distributing stuff from what I call the "Weasel Bin" - stuff I didn't use in the final product - into that outline; and finally, by reverting my finished product back into a sort of manuscript format (mainly to make the citations easier to work with), and then distributing that into the outline as well. In doing the last bit, I discovered a few errors with some of my citations, so I painstakingly back-checked them and fixed the errors so that I now have what I believe to be an error-free manuscript to use as a writing sample. My tentative outline is as follows:







So, I'll continue to work on that and other projects this week, preferably with less anal retentive obsession than I found myself demonstrating last week.

World War I Research:

I sort of slacked on the World War I research last week. I have a couple of E-mails and calls to return and some data farming to do this week, so I may try to spend a couple of mornings focused on that in order to feel a bit "caught up". This project is really important to me, but it's also one for which there's less of a deadline or coherent end state, which gives me a bit of flexibility.

Special Projects:

I have yet to do a Demobilization Packing Test. I'll likely do laundry on Monday, and then do a packing test later Monday or Tuesday - it doesn't make sense to do the test without the stuff with which to do the test. One project I did some work on was to put some new clothes into online shopping carts through Amazon, Carhartt, and 5.11. At the moment, all three seem to be out of most of the clothes in my size and my preferred colors, so that'll be sort of interesting if I can't get them lined up before I come home.

* * *

One thing I did that wasn't on the list was to take the night time bus out to St. Margaret's Hope. It's the first time I'd ever crossed the barriers at night, and what I could see was beautiful, although the lights on the bus made it difficult to see very much. I've tended to stay in Kirkwall for most of my stay in Orkney, but I need to make a point of going to see some other sights - and some other islands - over the next few weeks. My big goals are North Ronaldsay and Westray, and the Scapa Flow Visitor Centre and Museum at Lyness on Hoy. Perhaps I'll do one of those this week.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Island Paradise: Reflections on Orcadian Ethnography

Ethnographically speaking, Orcadians are an interesting lot. Most people associate Orcadians with Scotland, and they've undoubtedly been subject to multiple centuries of integration with Scottish culture. However, Orcadians are only politically "Scottish" by a sort of accident of feudal history. Orkney was ruled by Norway from 875 AD to 1472 AD, and was only re-annexed by Scotland because the dowry for James III's bride went unpaid (with Orkney being the collateral).

Not only can you still detect the Norse influence - particularly in bits and pronunciation of the local dialect - to this day. Orcadians are fond of pointing out that, geographically speaking, Orkney is (allegedly) closer to Oslo than it is to London. In many ways, Orcadians seem to feel every bit as much affinity to their Scandinavian forebears as they do with their British countrymen.

It's also been interesting to see what impact that unique background has had on Orkney's role in the Scottish secession debate. Orkney, Shetland, and the Western Isles have already petitioned Holyrood for greater say in the use of their own resources - essentially, an indicator of low confidence in the Scottish government's stewardship of the Western and Northern Isles' resources, and an indicator of disapproval at the Scottish Government's treatment of the Isles in general. Folk who are critical of the Yes(!) campaign are fond of pointing out that the SNP's designs on becoming a petrostate don't stack up, because "Scotland's oil" is actually, drumroll please... Shetland's oil! And, since the SNP has made such a big deal of self-determination in its secession campaign, they would lack credibility should they tell Shetland in particular, and the Northern and Western Isles generally, that they can't determine their own destiny. This is all background to preface the observation that I have yet to meet a single Orcadian who supports the secession referendum, and they even talk about remaining part of the United Kingdom should Scottish voters vote to secede. I suppose there's a certain irony that the descendants of Norsemen living in the Northern Isles put more stock in the idea of remaining politically connected with their extremely distant Norman cousins, than with being independent with their Picto-Irish neighbors.

Beyond politics, it's interesting to see what survives of the old Nordic culture. Orcadians still give their children names like Magnus and Sigurd. Orkney's flag is intentionally similar to the Norwegian flag. Instead of being named for figures from Scottish history, the Highland Park distillery names some of its finest creations - in the "Valhalla Collection" - after Norse gods Thor and Loki. It's things like these that make Orcadian culture so distinct from the Scottish culture I enjoyed during my year in Aberdeen, and it's a real treat to be able to experience it for more than just a few days at a time.

Last Sunday, the United Kingdom came off of daylight savings time. With the early darkness, the locals' dialect and accent, St. Magnus Cathedral dominating the Kirkwall landscape and skyline, and my favorite table at my favorite pub overlooking what the old Norse inhabitants referred to as "Kirkjuvagr" ("Church Bay"), the idea that I'm wandering the streets of an ancient Viking outpost isn't so inconceivable.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Around Aberdeen: The Tippling House

I tend to become a regular at places where I go. It's sort of a double-edged sword, because I'll end up going places in order to be around people, but not to be social, and I'll wind up becoming good friends with the staff, and sometimes some of the regulars. (Don't get me started on a particular Aberdeen Starbucks location.) One of the places where I wound up being a regular while living in Aberdeen was a relatively new pub called The Tippling House. Aberdeen has a lot of great pubs, but when all was said and done, The Tippling House wound up being my favorite.

I first discovered The Tippling House on the day of one of my favorite Aberdeen experiences: Batman @ The Belmont. I posted a couple of status updates on Facebook, and my good buddy CN Constable sent me a message (or a text?) informing me that he worked at a pub down the street from the theater, and that I ought to come down there at intermission for a drink. What I discovered was a classy basement pub, with Constable working behind the bar. Constable explained that the bar was designed to look like a sort of New England setting, with a vaguely nautical theme. Nice.

The Tippling House ended up being a great spot for me. As I got to know the fetching floor staff, I was able to get in to have a dram at the bar, even when the place was pretty well packed. CN GBU-16 and I went in there several times - including right after her fight with the Finn! - and also, while we were slogging through the composition of our respective dissertations. I could walk in, and Constable or any of his compatriots knew that I wanted to drink whisky, and the smokier, the better. On any given late Summer evening, I'd go to Lionel's for a kebab, followed by The Tippling House for a dram. Awesome.

And, as I ended my tenure in Aberdeen, The Tippling House was (almost) my last stop. Because of the Offshore Europe 2013 convention, I was unceremoniously abducted on my way back for one last night in my digs and forced to continue my pub crawl; but even then, I still ran into one of the fetching young floor staff from The Tippling House. Ironically, and to bring things full circle, I regularly ran across that same young lady as she'd walk past "my" Starbucks on her way to work on any given afternoon. (And, truth be told, one of my good buddies has a giant crush on her, but I'm not going to say who!) The Tippling House absolutely improved an already great year in Aberdeen.

Writing Sample: SND Term Paper #1

This is the first of two essays I wrote for Strategic Nuclear Doctrine. I ended up finishing this one and writing one on a different topic and submitting that one instead. Even so, I'm still fairly proud of this one.

* * *

"Assess the value of tactical
nuclear weapons in NATO’s deterrent
strategy since the end of the Cold War."

1 Introduction: History, Geography, and Security

The Cold War's end seemed to provide an unprecedented opportunity to establish a lasting international security condition. In fact, the reality is less conciliatory. Both NATO and Russia continue to forward deploy significant arsenals of tactical nuclear weapons (TNWs) along their borders. This reveals continued underlying tensions.

Russia remains the actor of primary interest to NATO members. To understand NATO's TNW posture, one must understand Soviet and post-Soviet Russian history. Subsequently, one can build an understanding of NATO's recent history, its continued concerns with Russia, and the ensuing impact on NATO's doctrine pertaining to TNWs.

2 Russia, 1980 to Present

The Red Army's reputation was first tarnished during the Soviet-Afghan War, when the Soviets withdraw after ten years of stalemate against Afghan guerrillas. The 95% Hepatitis infection rate among Afghan-deployed troops betrayed poor field conditions, discipline, and organization.[001] Also noteworthy was the Iran-Iraq War, in which Soviet-equipped and trained Iraq fought a nine year stalemate. Shortly thereafter, in the only post-Korean force-on-force conflict between Western forces and Soviet-equipped counterparts, Iraq surrendered in a matter of hours. Although a notional conflict between NATO and the Red Army may have been a closer match, the failure of Soviet doctrine and kit undermined alleged Soviet quantitative advantages and qualitative strengths.[002]

Post-Soviet forces fought noteworthy engagements in the restive Russian republic of Chechnya from 1994 to 1996, and from 1999 until the unilateral Russian victory declaration in 2009. Volumes can and have been written about the Chechen Wars, particularly the spectacular Russian failure in the Battle of Grozny. Russian troops encountered the most brutal urban environment since 1945. The Chechens employed innovative tactics:
Dudayev... created avenues of approach for the enemy to move along, stockpiled food and ammunition, organized his men into small bands of 20-50 armed with light weapons, and prepared them mentally to be cut off.[003]
Many Chechens fought as conscripts in Afghanistan, and were familiar with Russian capabilities - knowledge they exploited to devastating effect. For example, the Chechens drew Russian armor down the narrow Grozny streets, then attacked the front and rear vehicles from windows too high to be engaged by the main guns of the Russian vehicles, hemming in the remaining vehicles and infantry:
While waiting for RPG gunners to engage a target, Chechens would spray the tops of vehicles with machine gun fire, keeping infantryman buttoned-up. RPGs and Molotov cocktails were used to disable Russian vehicles, causing their occupants to dismount, usually dying nearby in a hail of machine gun fire.[004]
By contrast, the Russians were grossly unprepared for their task.
Each strike force consisted of a motorized rifle brigade. In actuality, after taking into account that units were operating at only about 30-50 percent strength, each strike force was approximately the size of a reinforced motorized rifle battalion, comprised of roughly five hundred soldiers. Most were conscripts who had a year or less of service in the Russian Army[...] It is interesting to note that the Russians had no maps of the city, and their main strategy seemed to be to simply charge forward, to get in and drive toward the center of the city[...] Only one of the four strike groups reached its objective, a few hundred meters north of the Palace. All four groups were essentially annihilated. The 131st Maykop Motorized Rifle Brigade was particularly hard hit, with all of the brigade’s officers killed in action, 20 of 26 tanks destroyed, and 102 of 120 BMPs destroyed. Most of the Spetsnaz troops surrendered to the Chechens, "... after wandering about hopelessly for three days without food, let alone any clear idea of what they were supposed to do."[005]
Echoing the Soviet dysfunction in Afghanistan, Russian field sanitation, discipline, and organization were so poor that diseases such as Hepatitis, Diptheria, and Cholera were common.[006]

Poor urban warfare performance in Grozny was of particular concern, given the memory of defensive operations in Moscow (1812) and Stalingrad (1942-1943), and the high profile Soviet victory in the Battle of Berlin. The campaigns highlighted the army's inability to police internal conflicts - the obvious implication being that Russian conventional forces could neither defend Russia, nor threaten her neighbors. Far from showcasing Russia's resurgence, it betrayed an unanticipated conventional force decay.

The next critical event was the August 2000 Kursk disaster. During a naval exercise, the Project 949A/Oscar II class submarine K-141 Kursk suffered a series of catastrophic explosions, sinking the vessel and killing its entire crew - a major blow to the morale and prestige of the submarine force. This impacted Russian nuclear confidence, as the guided missile submarine was capable of launching P-700 Granit[007] cruise missiles with nuclear warheads. This loss of confidence in

Russia's deterrent underscored the need for Russian nuclear weapons to remain on the western periphery.

These events compounded the diminished post-Cold War Russian ballistic missile submarine fleet, which currently consists of only two commissioned vessels: a Project 941 Typhoon/Akula class (TK 208 Dmitri Donskoy)[008]; and the lead Project 955/Borei class vessel (K-535 Yuriy Dolgorukiy).[009] Two additional 941 boats are allegedly being overhauled, while additional 955 boats are undergoing lengthy sea trials. While these are complimented by several antiquated Delta III and IV class boats, the inability to reliably deploy more than two modern ballistic missile submarines falls well short of the minimum four submarines needed to maintain a credible continuous at sea deterrent (CASD) posture.

The rest of Russia's submarines have also fallen on hard times. Notably, Russia is unable to deal with the hulks of her decommissioned submarines, as evidenced by the accidental sinking of the Project 627A November/Kit class K-159 in 2003.[010] Russia has been reduced to taking subsidies from international partners to fund submarine disposal efforts[011][012][013][014][015] - a national embarrassment, and reminiscent of the provisions of the Nunn-Lugar Global Cooperation Initiative.[016][017]

In 2008, an accident aboard K-152 Nerpa - a vessel due to be leased to India - took twenty lives.[018][019][020][021] In 2009, Project 791 submarines deployed off the coast of North America, but were detected - a "mission failure" according to some analysts.[022][023] Another 791 patrolled the Gulf of Mexico in 2012 before being spotted.[024] These incidents followed 2008 comments by President Dimitry Medvedev calling for submarine fleet renewal.[025][026]

Russia's surface fleet fares better, but its successes betray its inferiority compared to even the modest naval assets of some NATO members. Despite plans to expand fleet capabilities[027], Russian shipyards fail to produce new ships in appreciable numbers. Russia currently possesses a single small "heavy aircraft-carrying cruiser", the Admiral Kuznetsov; as well as a single, unreliable Kirov-class battlecruiser, the Peter the Great.[028][029] 2008 plans to recommission another Kirov, the Admiral Nakhimov, by the end of 2010 were met with skepticism by American analysts[030], and have yet to materialize.[031]

Russia has continually struggled with strategic sealift and aircraft carrier production - evidenced by the Riga/Varyag/Liaoning saga.[032] In 2011, Russia signed a deal with France to procure Mistral class assault ships.[033] This move likely aimed to cause dissent within NATO, and to procure sensitive NATO technology.[034] However, this betrayed Russia's inability to effectively build or refit warships.[035] Even the fleet's successes - for example, anti-piracy task force participation near Somalia[036], and the Kuznetsov battle group's 2011 deployment - have revealed weaknesses. Russia deploys only one warship at a time to support Combined Task Force 150, compared to multiple American warships. The Kuznetsov battle group's deployment drew only a single Royal Navy escort when transiting British waters, and the flotilla was forced to shelter near the Moray Firth due to inclement sea conditions.[037]

Russia's aging aircraft have fared slightly better, taking on renewed importance. In 2007, Tu-95 bombers flew renewed patrols in the vicinity of the American base in Guam.[038][039] Russia later resumed deterrent patrol flights, prompting escort by British and Norwegian interceptors.[040][041][042] In 2008, Tu-95 and Tu-160 aircraft participated in their largest exercise in decades, with Tu-95 aircraft launching their first live cruise missiles since 1984.[043] In 2009, Russia resumed Tu-95 patrols to bases in Cuba and Venezuela, prompting a Pentagon spokesman to remark: "That would be quite a long way for those old planes to fly."[044] Later, Il-38 maritime patrol craft overflew US Navy training exercises.[045] Despite occasional Russian proclamations about new aviation assets - for example, an "undetectable spy plane"[046] - Russia fails to field new nuclear, conventional, or dual use aircraft in sufficient numbers for credible life cycle management.

In recent years, several developments - for example, the sale of real estate to recoup funds[047], and the cancellation of new uniforms[048] - have betrayed insufficient Russian ground force resourcing. Also noteworthy is the declining quality and reliability of Russia's armored forces, in which even new tanks are believed to be qualitatively inferior to their Western counterparts.[049][050]

Many Russian units still use the T-72, despite the availability of the newer T-90.[051][052] After the 1994-1996 Chechen campaign, Russian's only major ground operation was the 2008 Georgian campaign. Although the campaign was a Russian victory, detailed analysis revealed that Russian forces relied upon "overwhelming force"[053] to overcome the volume of armored vehicles which broke down en route - a development painfully reminiscent of Chechnya.[054]

Other internal conflicts have also embarrassed the Russian army. Aside from frequent Caucasian skirmishes and occasional terrorist attacks in Russian cities, two high profile incidents - the 2002 Nord-Ost theater siege in Moscow, and the 2004 Beslan school hostage crisis in North Ossetia - resulted in conspicuously violent government responses. The inability to pacify internal disputes has both undermined the conventional threat against NATO, and motivated other aggressive policies - for example, its energetic diplomatic opposition to NATO's efforts in the Balkans.

And what of Russia's strictly nuclear systems? Although Medvedev announced a plan in 2008 to revitalize Russia's entire nuclear arsenal[055], Russian submarines are frequently incapable of successfully test launching the new Bulava ballistic missile[056][057][058][059][060] - to include a failed 2004 launch observed by President Vladimir Putin.[061] Despite several successful tests[062][063], Russia's submarine-based deterrent's overall reputation has suffered, forcing greater emphasis on Russian TNWs and intermediate range ballistic missiles (IRBMs).

Russia exports arms as an tool of both foreign and economic policy.[064][065] Although Russia exports prolifically, some recipients are conspicuous for being either rogue states, such as Iran[066] and Syria[067][068]; or else, regimes on the periphery of the international community, such as Vietnam[069][070], Venezuela[071][072] and Libya[073][074][075][076][077][078]. In several cases, such as Syria[079] and Libya[080], this practice stems both from Cold War era relationships, and from Russian attempts to secure overseas bases[081] - notably, in the Middle East.[082] These regimes are conspicuous for being pariahs to whom Western nations refuse to sell arms - in fact, they buy Russian kit because it is it the only kit available to them.

However, in addition to the incident aboard K-152, other questions have arisen regarding Russian arms export quality. In 2008, Algeria cancelled an order for MiG-29 aircraft due to poor quality control[083][084]. A 2009 Russian bid to provide Il-78 tankers to India lost to Airbus over maintenance concerns.[085] In 2008, Russia pledged to provide MiG-29 fighters to Lebanon as "military and technical assistance"[086], leading one commentator to remark, "Beware Russians with gifts".[087] Russia enjoyed record post-Soviet arms sales in 2008[088], and increased this by $800 million in 2009.[089][090] However, the condition of arms exported by Russian companies betrays more challenges than opportunities for Russia's own arsenal.

These developments reveal a Russian military - both conventional and nuclear - that falls well short of its NATO rivals. In fact, headlines discussing the state of Russia's military machine often read "The Woes of the Great Russian Army Continue"[091][092], "Red Square bash masks military ills"[093][094], "Russia's weaponry shows signs of age"[095][096], or "Russian military's roar is hollow"[097][098]. At best, Russia's military effectiveness is questioned[099][100]; at worst, then-President Medvedev expressed frustration with the state of Russia's arsenal.[101] Optimists suggest that the only solution is for the Russian military to contract in both size and ambitions[102]; pessimistic analysts suggest that the situation has "put the Kremlin on the defensive".[103]

Russia has announced rearmament plans in recent years.[104][105][106][107] These include previously noted systems, a "Russian GPS"[108], and even a new space/air-defence missile system.[109] Russia has strengthened ties with neighbors and marginal states, notably China[110], and founded an apparent rival to NATO (the Collective Security Treaty Organization[111][112]) - intending in part to exert more influence on its own neighbors.[113] Russia has attempted to influence new regions, such as the Middle East and Africa.[114] The Duma also bolstered a law governing

Russia's ability to deploy abroad.[115] These are all efforts to revive its superpower status.[116]

Russia's embarrassing inability to police internal conflicts, deploy troops abroad, or reliably launch ballistic missiles, undermines its conventional and unconventional deterrent posture. Russia's neighbors view it with suspicion, rather than fear[117]; for example, following the Georgia War, despite warnings against Georgian re-armament[118], Georgia made efforts to re-arm anyway.[119] Without the bulwark of a formidable Red Army, and without the buffer provided by the Soviet republics, nuclear weapons took on new importance as the guarantors of security and influence - particularly those peripheral weapons threatening NATO members.

3 Russia's Impact on NATO's Tactical Nuclear Assets

These factors directly influenced NATO's post-1991 strategy regarding TNW deployment. The public decay of the Red Army and the poor performance of Soviet doctrine and kit during the 1980's and early 1990's, and the perceived opportunity to end the Cold War standoff forever, was used to justify the drawdown of NATO's conventional forces. Russia's continued conventional decay underscored the desire of NATO member states' politicians and electorates to reduce force strength in favor of increased - and politically expedient - domestic spending.[120]

NATO's experience illustrates the potential drawbacks of the invisible hand of the Clausewitzian Trinity.[121] The Cold War's end convinced the non-military parties to the Clausewitzian Trinity that the international risk calculus had changed, justifying a "peace dividend" and drawdown by NATO member states' forces. By necessity, this required a greater reliance on TNWs as insurance against the unlikely event of a Russian attack. This impacted NATO's doctrine, procurements, and force strength, all of which would come to impact NATO's TNW posture.

The late 1990's saw the development of such American operational concepts as Rapid Decisive Operations[122], Objective Force[123], From the Sea[124], and Forward... From the Sea[125], which adjusted American military doctrine for a post-Cold War environment. In 1999, United States Atlantic Command was reorganized into United States Joint Forces Command and tasked with guiding the transformation of the American military into a synergistic joint force. In 2003, NATO restructured Allied Command Atlantic into Allied Command Transformation in order to adjust itself alongside its American pillar. Future expectations drew from lessons learned in the Gulf War, Somalia, and the Balkans. These operational strategies combined under the banner of "Military Transformation", itself a continuation of the late 1970's concept of a "Revolution in Military Affairs" (RMA). Transformation focused on the promise of joint and coalition interoperability to create a small, light, agile force, optimized for precision strike and low-intensity conflicts.[126]

With the Red Army marginalized, and later, Russia's conventional forces struggling, NATO member states procured less robust equipment, and less of it. During the 1990's, procurement reflected a mix of Cold War legacy purchases, and equipment optimized for Transformation. These systems also emphasized interoperability, efficiency, and enterprise-wide cost minimization, with a particular focus on maximizing NATO's C4ISR advantage. In America, this included such platforms as the F-22 Raptor; the Stryker LAV; the Seawolf class attack submarine and Littoral Combat Ship; and the M777 Howitzer.

Perhaps most notable were force reductions enacted by most NATO members. For example, the Royal Navy was nearly one hundred warships strong at the time of the Falklands War, but less than forty strong in 2011; the American Navy boasted 529 ships in 1991, compared to 285 in 2011.[127] These examples mirror enterprise-wide trends in other military branches, and in other NATO member states. As NATO welcomed new members, its area of responsibility grew; however, since 1991, most NATO members consistently fail to spend even the mandated 2% of GDP on defense.

In his 1981 BBC Reith Lecture, nuclear strategist Sir Laurence Martin remarked:
This task returns me, finally, to the American request that Western Europe and Japan reconsider their military abstention from Third World affairs. America’s allies are understandably nervous. They fear the costs of a military role: costs that would be both economic, military and, if the Soviet Union took reprisals, at best expensive in terms of the so-called dividends of détente in Europe and, at worst, raising the danger of a conflict spreading to Europe itself. Many Europeans also doubt the appropriateness of American prescriptions for the Third World and cling to the hope and belief that military intervention is neither necessary nor efficacious. Nevertheless, Europe is inevitably involved, not merely because the stakes, particularly oil, affect it but because, in a European nightmare that has been recurrent ever since the Korean War, the forces that the United States needs elsewhere may be bled from its European garrison. And never will the Europeans miss those forces more than if some Third World crisis both draws them away and raises the tension simultaneously in Europe itself.[128]
Sir Laurence's 1981 proclamations remain uncomfortably and counterintuitively relevant today; indeed, they were uncomfortably prescient, as the proverbial "elephant in the room" is the September 2001 al Qaeda terrorist attacks. With the 2001 invocation of Article 5 of the NATO charter[129], NATO forces of diminished strength were called upon both to assist their security guarantor, and to do so outside the anticipated European theater.

The fallout from 9/11 revealed NATO's own post-1991 weakness. Most publicly severe was disunity over the decision to invade Iraq, which left NATO and its aspirant members divided into supporters, neutrals, and opponents. Simultaneously,

Article 5 obligated NATO members to support the Afghan campaign, revealing operational weaknesses. Most conspicuous were the Germans, who: deployed the Kommando Specialkrafte regiment to Afghanistan for three years without sending them on a single mission[130]; consumed approximately one million liters of alcohol per year among 3,600 troops (a vice forbidden to other coalition troops)[131]; and were deemed overall "too fat to fight" once deployed.[132] In one prominent incident, elite French troops were slaughtered[133] in a formerly Italian-controlled area the BBC had referred to as "an Italian oasis" less than six months before.[134] Indeed, the French Mirage 2000D is also reputed to be the least effective combat aircraft in Afghanistan:
In all, about fourteen types of aircraft fly topcover, including American, Belgian, British, Dutch and French. JTACs here say the least desirable aircraft of those fourteen are the French M2000D. A package of two jets carries no cannon, no downlink and a total of only 4 GBU 12s. The optics aboard the aircraft are not good, and the trail aircraft spots targets with binoculars like the Red Baron.[135]
Notably, newer members of NATO, such as Lithuania[136], Romania[137], and Poland[138] have been conspicuously steadfast and effective in their support for the campaign. However, post 9/11 conditions have seen more challenge than triumph for NATO.

4 Conclusion: The Equalizing Power of the Atom

Deterrence is built upon a theoretical triad of capability, communication, and credibility. A credibility deficit is particularly dangerous in the case of a nuclear standoff. While theoretically possible, the proposition of initiating an exchange of strategic nuclear weapons based on violation of a regional "tripwire" is implausible. In order to restore credibility, the nuclear threshold must be lowered. TNWs lower the nuclear yield to a point at which nuclear weapons could conceivably be employed against conventional targets, leaving theoretical room for escalation. As the threat of early resort to nuclear weapons could lead to further escalation once salvos have been exchanged, this lower threshold reinforces credibility. As Sir Laurence notes:
The device NATO relies upon to replace this dangerous imprecision with deterrent certainty is the nuclear weapon. For the last 15 years the official doctrine for linking nuclear weapons to European security has been the so-called ‘flexible response’ employing the ‘NATO triad’ of conventional, tactical nuclear and strategic nuclear weapons. The first line of Allied resistance to conventional attack is to be conventional resistance; if that fails, tactical nuclear weapons used on the battlefield are both to reinforce the defence and raise the spectre of escalation; finally, if all else fails, weapons are to be employed more widely and ultimately ‘strategically’ against the Soviet Union.[139]
Notes John Weltman:
It should be understood, furthermore, that the revolutionary character of the nuclear weapon was not recognized at the time. Rather, use of the new weapon must be placed in the context of contemporary ideas. In the summer of 1945, the nuclear weapon was seen only as a more powerful means to carry out what had become a conventional military operation: strategic bombing directed against urban centers.[140]
Popular perception of nuclear weapons places them in a category so horrific as to separate them from conventional weapons. Despite their unique attributes, nuclear weapons represent a significant incremental advance in the progression of the implements of warfare. In essence, TNWs offer incremental capabilities beyond those of conventional assets. Owing both to their potential capabilities against conventional targets, and to their additional utility in underscoring the credibility of deterrence, TNWs require civil and military policy makers to formulate coherent plans governing their use.

One must also consider that TNWs act as a hedge against conventional attack, particularly when facing a conventionally superior enemy. The "equalizing power of the atom" allows TNW holders to deter by denial, even against overwhelmingly superior conventional forces, by rendering them theoretically irrelevant by way of "limited assured destruction". Although one party may possess unprecedented conventional assets, an opponent's ability to obliterate that capability with a handful of TNWs, without bringing conventional combat (even if the first party possesses nuclear weapons itself), deters both conventional and nuclear aggression. In fact, these were the conditions NATO faced during the Cold War.
To take tank forces as the most frequently cited index of strength, crucial to the success of a modern invading force, the Warsaw Pact’s advantage over NATO on the Central Front has risen from a superiority of 16,000 tanks to NATO’s 6,000 in 1972, to a margin of 20,000 to NATO’s 7,000 today. At the same time the Soviet Union has reversed the traditional pattern in which each new technical sophistication has usually appeared first on the Western side. Thus the Soviet Union introduced the so-called ‘fourth generation’ tank — that is, the one after the Chieftain-Leopard generation — before NATO did. Indeed, the Soviet Union produced 2,500 of these new tanks in 1980 alone, and already has more of this generation deployed than NATO plans to have by the mid-Eighties.[141]
As Sir Laurence noted, NATO forces typically enjoyed a qualitative advantage compared to the Soviets, while the Soviets matched with a quantitative advantage that NATO was never able to surmount. Nor, indeed, did the NATO members possess sufficient political will to spend national treasure to match Soviet conventional capabilities. This forced NATO to formulate a deterrent posture known as "flexible response" employing the "NATO Triad" of conventional, tactical nuclear, and strategic nuclear weapons. NATO refused to adopt a "no first use" policy, as doing so would have allowed the Soviets to invade Europe with relative impunity given the two parties' significant conventional dissimilarity. As such, NATO's doctrine involved locating TNWs as close to Warsaw Pact territory as possible:
The decision to station the Thor and Jupiter missiles overseas has been our principal public response to the Russian advances in rocketry, and perhaps our most plausible response. Because it involves our ballistic missiles it appears directly to answer the Russian rockets. Because it involves using European bases, it appears to make up for the range superiority of the Russian intercontinental missile. And most important, it directly involves the NATO powers and gives them an element of control[...] My previous comments have suggested that warning against both manned bomber and ballistic or cruise missile attack is most difficult overseas in areas close to the enemy. But this is related also to a fourth problem, namely that of active defense. The less warning, the more difficult this problem is. And the problem is a serious one, therefore, not only against ballistic missile attacks but, for example, against low altitude or various circuitous attacks by manned aircraft.[142]
This proximity was critical in 1958, and remains critical today. Moscow stations TNWs within close proximity to its borders with the NATO states, and NATO responds in kind. One reason, of course, is that this posture mirrors Moscow’s posture - a typical element of strategies on both sides of the Iron Curtain, and now the border. Another reason was noted by Wohlstetter: deploying TNWs on the border undermined the Soviet warning systems, increasing the risks tied to potential Soviet/Russian aggression. Finally, positioning NATO TNWs near the NATO members' eastern borders provided sufficient proximity to lend credibility to a theoretical TNW attack against Soviet/Russian conventional assets within minutes of an attack against a NATO member. (Noteworthy in this respect were the Jupiter IRBMs that were stationed in Turkey in 1962, which precipitated the Cuban Missile Crisis.)

Since 1991, this juxtaposition puts NATO in a paradoxical quandary. Russia's conventional decay forces it to lean heavily on its deployed TNW arsenal, forcing NATO to do the same; and, indeed, NATO's conventional drawdown necessitates this posture, as do its Afghan commitments and their corresponding revelations of NATO weaknesses. Conversely, if Russia's conventional forces regained regional or international prominence, they might exceed NATO's capabilities, forcing NATO to rely on TNWs as both a force equalizer and guarantor of nuclear escalatory credibility. In theory, greater quality control and professionalism in the submarine force could build confidence in Russia's submarine-based arsenal, allowing for redeployment of the land-based TNW arsenals. However, given Russia's goal of great power resurgence, this outcome seems unlikely.

As TNWs serve as a bulwark against conventional forces, any reduction in their importance would require investment in conventional assets, and the manpower to operate them. Between the invisible hand of the Clausewitzian Trinity, fatigue over 21st Century counterinsurgency campaigns, and recent economic conditions, the prospect of NATO member states reconstituting their atrophied conventional arsenals is, for all intents and purposes, a fantasy. The result, of course, will be a continued reliance on nuclear weapons, and the escalatory credibility of TNWs, as a force equalizer. As Sir Laurence notes:
To one persuaded like me of the need for vigorous defensive efforts, the most obvious price exacted by a strong pacifist movement is the detraction from military preparedness. But unjustified optimism about the strategic world can actually encourage policies that the disarmers themselves should condemn. The crowning example of this, I suppose, is the tendency for parsimony in military spending to drive strategy towards cheap and dangerous nuclear solutions in the way that was typified, above all, by the doctrine of Massive Retaliation.[143]
In fact, given that the lion's share of Sir Laurence's remarks continue to ring true more than three decades later, one could reasonably ask whether the value of TNWs to NATO's deterrent strategy has changed fundamentally, or merely incrementally, since 1991. Russian history before the Bolshevik Revolution, and following the Cold War, make it obvious that while Marxist ideology served as a catalyst for Soviet aggression, Soviet aggression derived from the same Realist concerns that motivated both Nicholas II and Boris Yeltsin, and which continue to motivate Vladimir Putin to this day.

NATO has endeavoured to distance itself from its TNW reliance, as evidenced by the 2010 Strategic Concept's "goal of creating the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons"[144]. As noted in the 2010 United States Nuclear Posture Review:
The United States has reduced its non-strategic (or “tactical”) nuclear weapons dramatically since the end of the Cold War. Today, it keeps only a limited number of forward deployed nuclear weapons in Europe, plus a small number of nuclear weapons stored in the United States, available for global deployment in support of extended deterrence to allies and part-ners. Russia maintains a much larger force of non-strategic nuclear weapons, a significant number of which are deployed near the territories of several North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries and are therefore a concern to NATO.[145]
A strategic dialogue with Russia will allow the United States to explain that our missile defenses and any future U.S. conventionally-armed long-range ballistic missile systems are designed to address newly emerging regional threats, and are not intended to affect the strategic balance with Russia. For its part, Russia could explain its modernization programs, clarify its current military doctrine (especially the extent to which it places importance on nuclear weapons), and discuss steps it could take to allay concerns in the West about its non-strategic nuclear arsenal, such as further consolidating its non-strategic systems in a small number of secure facilities deep within Russia.[146]
However, as Weltman notes:
The "nuclearization" of the strategic relationship between the Soviet Union and the United States was the consequence, not the cause, of the cold war.[147]
Despite numerous changes, the situation remains fundamentally similar to that which Sir Laurence discussed in 1981, and which Wohlstetter discussed in 1958. Though weakened since the height of communism, Russia remains a formidable economic and political rival to the United States and its NATO allies, largely due to its legacy possession of nuclear weapons. NATO's TNW arsenal will, then, remain an important asset reinforcing the stability of mutual deterrence for the foreseeable future.


[001] BACK Grau, Lester W. and Jorgensen, MAJ William A.; Medical Support in a Counter-guerrilla War: Epidemiologic Lessons Learned in the Soviet-Afghan War; U.S. Army Medical Department Journal, May-June 1995 issue; Foreign Military Studies Office; Fort Leavenworth, KS.; 1995;

[002] BACK Environmental Exposure Report: Depleted Uranium in the Gulf (II), Tab H: Friendly-fire Incidents; Office of the Secretary of Defense; 13-Dec-00;

[003] BACK Reed, 1LT James; The Chechen War: Part II; Red Thrust star, July 1996 issue; S-2, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment; Fort Irwin, CA; 1996

[004] BACK Reed, 1LT James; The Chechen War: Part II; Red Thrust star, July 1996 issue; S-2, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment; Fort Irwin, CA; 1996

[005] BACK Orr, Michael J.; The New Year's Eve Attack on Grozny; Red Thrust star, July 1996 issue; S-2, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment; Fort Irwin, CA; 1996

[006] BACK Grau, Lester W. and Jorgensen, William A.; Viral Hepatitis and the Russian War in Chechnya; U.S. Army Medical Department Journal, May/June 1997 issue, and Center for Army Lessons Learned Publication #98 23; Foreign Military Studies Office; Fort Leavenworth, KS; 1997;

[007] BACK P-700 3m-45 Granat SS-N-19 Shipwreck; Global Security;

[008] BACK RIA Novosti; No plans to retire Typhoon class subs soon - Russian military; RIA Novosti; Moscow; 30 September 2011;

[009] BACK Russia Today; Finally flying colors: Yury Dolgoruky nuclear sub joins Russian Navy; Russia Today; Moscow; 10 January 2013;

[010] BACK Medeiros, Joao; Grounded submarine photographed with sonar;; N/A; 01 April 2010;

[011] BACK Staff Writers; Japan to give 40 mln dlrs to dismantle Russian submarines: report; Agence France-Presse; Tokyo; 01 May 2009;

[012] BACK Sinitsyna, Tatyana; Living Among Dead Submarines; RIA Novosti; Moscow; 14 July 2008;

[013] BACK Sinitsyna, Tatyana; Outside View: Nuke sub disposal Part 1; United Press International; Moscow; 15 July 2008;

[014] BACK Sinitsyna, Tatyana; Outside View: Nuke sub disposal Part 2; United Press International; Moscow; 16 July 2008;

[015] BACK Staff Writers; Russia To Scrap All Decommissioned Nuclear Submarines By 2012; RIA Novosti; Severodvinsk; 24 November 2008;

[016] BACK N/A; DTRA USSTRATCOM Center for Combating WMD; Defense Threat Reduction Agency; Fort Belvoir; N/A;

[017] BACK N/A; NNSA Announces Equivalent of More Than 15,000 Nuclear Weapons of Russian HEU Eliminated; National Nuclear Security Administration; Washington, D.C.; 23 September 2009;

[018] BACK Staff Writers; Russian nuclear sub accident kills 20; Agence France-Presse; Vladivostok; 09 November 2008;

[019] BACK Dana Lewis; System Failure on Russian Nuclear-Powered Submarine Suffocates 20; Fox News; New York; 09 November 2008;,2933,449121,00.html

[021] BACK Parfitt, Tom; Gas leak kills 20 on Russian nuclear submarine; The Guardian; Moscow; 10 November 2008;

[022] BACK Staff Writers; Detected Russian subs 'failed' their mission: report; Agence France-Presse; Moscow; 13 August 2009;

[023] BACK Mazzetti, Mark and Shanker, Thom; Russian Subs Patrolling Off East Coast of U.S.; New York Times; Washington, D.C.; 04 August 2009;

[024] BACK Oliva, Leandro; Everyone Is Asking About The Russian Sub Spotted In The Gulf Of Mexico; Business Insider; N/A; 22 August 2012;

[025] BACK Kramnik, Ilya; Outside View: Russia's sub fleet plans; United Press International; Moscow; 06 October 2008;

[026] BACK Staff Writers; Russia begins construction on new nuclear sub: reports; Agence France-Presse; Moscow; 24 July 2009;

[027] BACK Oxford Analytica; Russia To Expand Naval Capabilities;; N/A; 16 April 2008;

[028] BACK Axe, David; Coming to a Sea Near You: Giant Russian Nuke Cruiser;; N/A; 11 September 2008;

[029] BACK RIA Novosti; Russian Warship Tests Missile Defense Capability; RIA Novosti; N/A; 20 September 2012;

[030] BACK Galrahn, NFN; Return of the Battlecruiser?; Information Dissemination; N/A; 10 September 2008;

[031] BACK RIA Novosti; Russia to refit Admiral Nakhimov nuclear cruiser after 2012; RIA Novosti; N/A; 03 December 2011;

[031] BACK RIA Novosti; Russia to refit Admiral Nakhimov nuclear cruiser after 2012; RIA Novosti; N/A; 03 December 2011;

[032] BACK Chang, Felix K.; Making Waves: Debates Behind China's First Aircraft Carrier; Foreign Policy Research Institute; Oct-12;

[033] BACK Staff Writers; Russia plans purchase of French warship: military chief; Agence France-Presse; Moscow; 26 August 2009;

[034] BACK RIA Novosti; Mistral talks stumble over sensitive technology; RIA Novosti; Moscow; 06 May 2011;

[035] BACK Axe, David; Russia Scopes Fancy Imports in Window-Shopping Weapons-Buying Spree;; N/A; 28 September 2009;

[036] BACK Helmer, John; Oh Boy, Russian Navy Gives Hell To Somali Pirates; Business Insider; N/A; 06 May 2010;

[037] BACK N/A; York completes a week shadowing Russia’s biggest warship around the British Isles; Royal Navy; N/A; 22 December 2011;

[038] BACK N/A; Russia sparks Cold War scramble; BBC World Service; N/A; 09 August 2007;

[039] BACK N/A; UK jets greet Russian bombers; CNN; London; 22 August 2007;

[040] BACK N/A; UK Typhoons shadow Russian bomber; BBC World Service; N/A; 21 August 2007;

[041] BACK N/A; UK jets shadow Russian bombers; BBC World Service; N/A; 06 September 2007;

[042] BACK N/A; Royal Air Force Jets Shadow Russian Bomber Near British Air Space; Associated Press; N/A; 22 August 2007;,2933,293958,00.html

[043] BACK N/A; Russia revives Cold War aircraft; Washington Times; N/A; 30 October 2008;

[044] BACK Staff Writers; Pentagon mocks Russian military moves in Latin America; Agence France-Presse; Washington; 16 March 2009;

[045] BACK Mount, Mike; Russian planes again fly over U.S. Navy ships; CNN; Washington; 19 March 2009;

[046] BACK Staff Writers; Russia working on undetectable spy plane: air force chief; Agence France-Presse; Moscow; 05 August 2009;

[047] BACK N/A; Property sell-off by Russian army; BBC World Service; N/A; 12 March 2008;

[048] BACK Eke, Steven; Russian army scraps new uniforms; BBC World Service; N/A; 01 May 2009;

[049] BACK Zaitsev, Yury; Outside View: Russia's tank woes Part 1; United Press International; Moscow; 31 March 2008;

[050] BACK Zaitsev, Yury; Outside View: Russia's tank woes Part 2; United Press International; Moscow; 01 April 2008;

[051] BACK Sieff, Martin; Packing A Punch With The T-72 Part One; United Press International; Washington; 28 August 2008;

[052] BACK Sieff, Martin; Packing A Punch With The T-72 Part Two; United Press International; Washington; 02 September 2008;

[053] BACK Axe, David; Old Russian Tanks Relied on ‘Overwhelming’ Force;; N/A; 02 September 2008;

[054] BACK Isachenkov, Vladimir; War reveals Russian military might, weakness; Associated Press; Moscow; 18 August 2008;

[055] BACK N/A; Russia to upgrade nuclear systems; BBC World Service; N/A; 26 September 2008;

[056] BACK N/A; Russian Ballistic Missile Test Fails; Associated Press; N/A; 16 July 2009;,2933,533204,00.html

[057] BACK Staff Writers; New Russian sea-based missile fails again in test: report; Agence France-Presse; Moscow; 23 December 2008;

[058] BACK Staff Writers; Russia stunned by missile failure setback; Agence France-Presse; Moscow; 17 July 2009;

[059] BACK Staff Writers; Russia interncontinental missile test fails again: ministry; Agence France-Presse; Moscow; 16 July 2009;

[060] BACK Staff Writers; Russian missile designer quits after test failures; Agence France-Presse; Moscow; 22 July 2009;

[061] BACK N/A; Day at sea turns sour for Putin as Russia fails to launch missile; Agence France-Presse; Moscow; 17 February 2004;

[062] BACK Staff Writers; Russia test fires strategic missile: navy; Agence France-Presse; Moscow; 01 August 2008;

[063] BACK Staff Writers; Russian sub test fires ballistic missile: navy spokesman; Agence France-Presse; Moscow; 17 December 2007;

[064] BACK Sieff, Martin; A Growing Edge In Russian Military Sales Part One; United Press International; Washington, D.C.; 14 December 2007;

[065] BACK Sieff, Martin; A Growing Edge In Russian Military Sales Part Two; United Press International; Washington, D.C.; 17 December 2007;

[066] BACK Staff Writers; Iranian defence minister in Russia on missile quest; Agence France-Presse; Moscow; 17 February 2009;

[067] BACK Staff Writers; Russia Says Ready To Supply Syria With Defensive Weapons; RIA Novosti; Moscow; 27 August 2008;

[068] BACK N/A; Russia eyes new Syria arms deal; BBC World Service; N/A; 21 August 2008;

[069] BACK Staff Writers; Russia to build 12 fighter jets for Vietnam: report; AFP; Moscow; 14 May 2009;

[070] BACK N/A; Vietnam Orders Fleet of Russian Subs, Sending Message to China; Fox News; N/A; 07 May 2009;,2933,519341,00.html

[071] BACK Staff Writers; Chavez announces Russian missile purchase; AFP; Caracas; 12 September 2009;

[072] BACK Hodge, Nathan; Venezuela’s ‘Shop ’til You Drop’ Deal with Russia;; N/A; 14 September 2009;

[073] BACK N/A; Vladimir Putin Found Substitute for Algeria; Kommersant; Moscow; 16 April 2008;

[074] BACK Staff Writers; Kadhafi to visit Russia, arms on the agenda: report; AFP; Moscow; 20 October 2008;

[075] BACK Staff Writers; Libya eyes new Russian jet fighters; UPI; Tripoli; 19 October 2009;

[076] BACK Staff Writers; Libya Negotiates Weapons Deal With Russia; AFP; Moscow; 31 July 2008;

[077] BACK Staff Writers; Russia Set To Modernize Libya's Soviet-Era Tanks; RIA Novosti; Moscow; 18 August 2009;

[078] BACK Staff Writers; Russia selling surface-to-air missiles to Libya, Syria: report; AFP; Moscow; 26 December 2008;

[079] BACK N/A; Russia to use Syrian ports; UPI; Tartus; 19 September 2008;

[080] BACK Staff Writers; Libya offers to host Russian military base: report; AFP; Moscow; 31 October 2008;

[081] BACK Sieff, Martin; Russia May Revive Yemeni Naval Base; UPI; Washington, D.C.; 21 October 2008;

[082] BACK Petrov, Nikita; Russian Weapons In The Middle East; RIA Novosti; Moscow; 28 August 2008;

[083] BACK Staff Writers; MiG probe undercuts Russia's arms push; UPI; Moscow; 21 September 2009;

[084] BACK Petrov, Nikita; The Algeria MiG Row And Russian Quality Assurance; UPI; Moscow; 26 February 2008;

[085] BACK Staff Writers; India Rejects Russian Aerial Tankers Over Poor Maintenance; RIA Novosti; New Delhi; 29 May 2009;

[086] BACK N/A; Russia 'to give' Lebanon war jets; BBC World Service; N/A; 17 December 2008;

[087] BACK Salhani, Claude; Analysis: Beware of Russians with gifts; UPI; Washington, D.C.; 22 December 2008;

[088] BACK Staff Writers; Russia 2008 arms sales post-Soviet record: Medvedev; AFP; Moscow; 10 February 2009;

[089] BACK Staff Writers; Russian Arms Exports Grow By 800 Million Dollars In 2009; RIA Novosti; Moscow; 28 May 2009;

[090] BACK Sieff, Martin; Russia Expects To Export $7B In Arms During 2009; UPI; Washington, D.C.; 04 May 2009;

[091] BACK Petrov, Nikita; The Woes Of The Great Russian Army Continue Part One; UPI; Moscow; 12 September 2008;

[092] BACK Petrov, Nikita; The Woes Of The Great Russian Army Continue Part Two; UPI; Moscow; 15 September 2008;

[093] BACK Staff Writers; Red Square bash masks military ills: analysts; AFP; Moscow; 05 May 2008;

[094] BACK N/A; Experts Say Red Square Parade Masks Weakened Russia Military; AP; N/A; 05 May 2008;,2933,354245,00.html

[095] BACK N/A; Russia's weaponry shows signs of age; PR Inside; Moscow; 18 July 2008;

[096] BACK N/A; Russia still has an aging arsenal; Associated Press; Zhukovsky; 20 July 2008;

[097] BACK Staff Writers; Russian military's roar is hollow: analysts; AFP; Moscow; 14 February 2008;

[098] BACK Sieff, Martin; Russian Military Machine Running On Fumes Part Two; UPI; Washington, D.C.; 20 October 2008;

[099] BACK Katz, Mark N.; Is Russia Strong Or Weak; UPI; Washington; 10 July 2006;

[100] BACK Rodgers, James; Problems beset Russia army reform; BBC World Service; N/A; 17 August 2009;

[101] BACK Staff Writers; Medvedev unhappy with quality of Russian weapons; Moscow; AFP; 26 October 2009;

[102] BACK Cohen, Ariel; Reforming The Russian Military Machine Means A Smaller Army; UPI; Washington; 11 December 2008;

[103] BACK Arnold, Chloe; Russia: Crumbling Military Puts Kremlin On The Defensive; Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty; N/A; 25 February 2008;

[104] BACK N/A; Russia announces rearmament plan; BBC World Service; N/A; 17 March 2009;

[105] BACK N/A; Russia announces major arms buildup; CNN; Moscow; 17 March 2009;

[106] BACK Staff Writers; Russia Spends Up On Rearmament, Eyes News Missiles, US Not Worried; AFP; Moscow; 17 March 2009;

[107] BACK Harding, Luke; Russia announces new arms race; The Guardian; Moscow; 17 March 2009;

[108] BACK N/A; Russia Launches 3 Satellites to Expand its Space Navigation System; Fox News; N/A; 25 December 2007;,2933,318266,00.html

[109] BACK Staff Writers; Russia building new 'star wars' missiles: air force; AFP; Moscow; 11 August 2009;

[110] BACK N/A; In pictures: Russia-China war games; BBC; N/A; 17 August 2007;

[111] BACK N/A; Post-Soviet nations to form military force; CNN; Moscow; 04 February 2009;

[112] BACK Staff Writers; Ex-Soviet states meet for 'Russian NATO' summit; AFP; Cholpon-Ata; 31 July 2009;

[113] BACK N/A; Russia keeps close watch on neighbours; BBC World Service; N/A; 05 August 2009;

[114] BACK Filatova, Irina; Russia's plans for Africa; The Guardian; N/A; 26 June 2009;

[115] BACK Staff Writers; Russia to bolster law on using military abroad: Kremlin; AFP; Moscow; 10 August 2009;

[116] BACK N/A; Q&A: The return of the Russian superpower?; CNN; Moscow; 18 May 2009;

[117] BACK Kendall, Bridget; Russia's neighbours go their own way; BBC World Service; N/A; 21 August 2008;

[118] BACK Harding, Luke; Russia says it will take 'concrete steps' over any US attempt to rearm Georgia; The Guardian; Moscow; 23 July 2009;

[119] BACK Staff Writers; Georgia rearming to prepare new 'aggression': Russia; AFP; Moscow; 05 August 2009;

[120] BACK Dorman, Dr. Andrew; Overstretch: Modern Army's weakness; BBC News; 16-Jun-05;

[121] BACK von Clausewitz, Carl; On War, Book I: On the Nature of War, Chapter 1: What is War?, Item #28;

[122] BACK Bohnemann, MAJ Edward T., USA; Rapid, Decisive Operations: The Execution of Operational Art by a Standing Joint Task Force; School of Advanced Military Studies, United States Army Command and General Staff College; Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; 24 June 2005;

[123] BACK N/A; Operational Army: Objective Force; United States Army; N/A; 25 June 1905;

[124] BACK N/A; From the Sea; Department of the Navy; N/A; 14 June 1905;

[125] BACK N/A; Forward... From the Sea; Department of the Navy; N/A; 17 June 1905;

[126] BACK Sloan, Elinor; Modern Military Strategy; Routledge; New York; 04 July 1905; Chapter 4, Joint Theory and Military Transformation

[127] BACK N/A; U.S. Navy Active Ship Force Levels, 1886-present; United States Navy; N/A; 04 July 1905;

[128] BACK Martin, Sir Laurence; The Two-Edged Sword, Lecture 4: Conflicts of the Third World; Reith Lecture Series; BBC; 1981

[129] BACK The North Atlantic Treaty; Washington, D.C.; 04-Apr-49;

[130] BACK Starkey, Jerome; They came, they saw, then left the Afghan war without a single mission; The Scotsman; N/A; 08 October 2008;

[131] BACK Connolly, Kate; Troops' beer allowance a headache for Germans; The Guardian; Berlin; 15 November 2008;

[132] BACK N/A; German Soldiers Deemed 'Too Fat to Fight'; London Times; N/A; 03 December 2008;,2933,460905,00.html

[133] BACK Yon, Michael; The Road to Hell; Michael Yon Online Dispatches; Afghanistan; 13 October 2008;

[134] BACK Leithead, Alastair; An Italian oasis in Afghanistan;, BBC World Service; BBC World Service; Sarobi, Afghanistan; 26 May 2008;

[135] BACK Yon, Michael; Bad Medicine; Michael Yon Online Dispatches; Helmand Province, Afghanistan; 24 August 2009;

[136] BACK Yon, Michael; Searching for Kuchi & Finding Lizards; Michael Yon Online Dispatches; Ghor Province, Afghanistan; 13 July 2009;

[137] BACK N/A; Romanian President to Send More Troops to Afghanistan; Associated Press; N/A; 10 August 2006;,2933,207796,00.html

[138] BACK N/A; Polish Military Congingent in Afghanistan; Polish Ministry of Defense; N/A; N/A;

[139] BACK Martin, Sir Laurence; The Two-Edged Sword, Lecture 3: Shadow Over Europe; Reith Lecture Series; BBC; 1981

[140] BACK Weltman, John J.; World Politics and the Evolution of War; The Johns Hopkins University Press; Baltimore, Maryland; 1995; p. 141

[141] BACK Martin, Sir Laurence; The Two-Edged Sword, Lecture 3: Shadow Over Europe; Reith Lecture Series; BBC; 1981

[142] BACK Wohlsetter, Albert; The Delicate Balance of Terror; RAND Corporation; Santa Monica, CA; 1958;

[143] BACK Martin, Sir Laurence; The Two-Edged Sword, Lecture 6: Who's Moving the Goal Post?; Reith Lecture Series; BBC; 1981

[144] BACK Active Engagement, Modern Defence: Strategic Concept for the Defence and Security of the Members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation adopted by Heads of State and Government in Lisbon; 19-Nov-10;

[145] BACK 2010 United States Nuclear Posture Review, p. 27;

[146] BACK 2010 United States Nuclear Posture Review, p. 28-29;

[147] BACK Weltman, John J.; World Politics and the Evolution of War; The Johns Hopkins University Press; Baltimore, Maryland; 1995; p. 136