Monday, July 27, 2015

Hertog Summer Study: Game A Turn 1 results

I may never be as cool as this guy, but I will certainly try!
Turn 1 of Hegemon: China Rising kicks off. While I may not have the smashing good looks of the Indonesians I am representing, I mentally don my beret and begin to prepare my strategy. I'm given a list of goals that I can accomplish (or not accomplish) in any particular order. So, first I prioritize them and write them down:

1. Go to war with any country that infringes on Indonesian sovereignty.
2. Prevent ASEAN members from developing WMD that Indonesia doesn’t also have.
3. Preserve ASEAN member state territorial integrity.
4. Prevent PRC from stationing more than one ground/air unit and missile unit in Spratlys AND prevent stationing of PRC Naval Units in Palawan Sea, Malay Sea, Sulu Sea and farther south.
5. Prevent US/PRC from implementing sanctions against each other and Indonesia AND prevent two ASEAN states and Australia from implementing sanctions against Indonesia.
6. Prevent hostilities between PRC, Indonesia, Japan, Russia and USA.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Hertog Summer Study: Turn 1

I'm out in not-so-sunny California on what is called the Hertog Summer Study. The program is run by John Hopkins University and this years focus is on China as a strategic actor. My boss nominated me earlier in the year (thank you sir!) and after writing an essay and sending in a package, I was picked to attend.

After enduring a terrible red-eye flight to arrive on Sunday, I sat through lectures on Monday and Tuesday to get all the participants up to the same understanding. The Chinese military lectures were old hat for me, but Chinese economics was more eye-opening. But the point of the seminar wasn't to receive briefs. Instead, we were going to play an online simulation, called Hegemon: Rise of China, to simulate what would happen in a South China Sea dispute.

Hegemon is designed as a game to get policy makers to understand the military consequences of a war. Military actions are written at the strategic level, so there is a lot of detail of military action that is auto-generated. The negotiations are done person to person, with different people playing different parts. On Tuesday we got our team assignments, and I was picked to play Indonesia. How about that! Unfortunately, because there are two different games ongoing, I have to play an Indonesian A and B team. That requires a bit more brainpower to keep everything straight, but I'm up for the challenge.

When we finally got our KMZ file (the game is played on Google Earth), the world looked like this.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Why we need technical leaders

Electromagnetic Maneuver warfare not important? Ask the Japanese, whose broken code was used to cue submarines. From National WW2 Museum.
It's World War Two in the Pacific.  The US is fighting a desperate battle against Japan.  US submarines coming home complain that their torpedos aren't working.  The torpedo manufacturers say they are fine.  You're in charge.  What do you do?

1. Tell your people to get er done? 
2. Tell your people to bring you "solutions, not problems."?
3. Quote "Message to Garcia?"

If you're Charles 'Swede' Momsen, you do none of these.  You take a bunch of torpedos, shoot them into a Hawaiian island, find one that doesn't work, dive in yourself to save it, and figure out that the firing pin wasn't igniting properly.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

DoD Integrated Lodging Program Pilot

A little late, but should be in effect now:

On June 15, 2015, the Department of Defense will launch a pilot of a new Integrated Lodging Program that will assist the Department in determining the best approach for providing quality government (DoD) and commercial lodging with the goal of achieving reduced rates, better services, and greater safety and security for the traveler.

As of June 15, the Joint Travel Regulations will require both Uniformed Service members and civilians on temporary duty travel to stay at government (DoD) or preferred commercial lodging facilities at select pilot locations. Quality standards and cost savings are primary considerations, and are intrinsic to this effort to ensure "duty of care" for travelers. Lodging reservations MUST BE made through the Defense Travel System or with a Commercial Travel Office when the Defense Travel System is not available. If travelers choose to stay in other lodging when government (DoD) or preferred commercial properties are available, reimbursement will be limited. The Defense Travel System will facilitate booking of these preferred properties at the select pilot locations.

Additional information including frequently asked questions is available on the Defense Travel Management Office website at:

Changes are scheduled to appear in the JTR dated 1 July 2015.