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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » America at War: Who's Up Next? (Page 1)

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Author Topic: America at War: Who's Up Next?
Jeff C.
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So the news has been saying that N. Korea is, as usually, being testy with the US. The President said a few days ago that he wouldn't stand for any type of aggression from NK, but he also said we should keep talking. It was all fairly obvious and has been said a dozen times, but it got me thinking.

Given the fact that we're done with Iraq, and we have plans to get out of Afganistan by the end of the year (supposedly), what do you think will happen next? Are we destined to forever war with other nations? If so, what's next on the list? North Korea seems the most likely, but you never know where things will take us in the next few years. Still, with over ten years of constant war, it's hard to imagine not fighting anyone.

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Foust
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Seoul, a city with a population of 10,421,782, is within artillery range of NK guns. It's a democratic first world country that probably designed your phone or your computer. There's a lot to lose here, and everyone knows it. The U.S. is not going to start a war with NK.
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Kwea
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Nope. We won't start it. But I bet this time we will win it if it happens, as much as anyone wins a war in the first place.

I hope we can keep talking, but I don't think they negotiate in good faith either.

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Jeff C.
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Being in the military, you hear a lot of things. One of those things is that at some point in the next decade, after we've pulled out of Afghanistan, we're going to start closing down our European bases and building new ones all over Asia.

Of course, there's no telling if that is true or if it will even happen, but it's a pretty big rumor and most people seem to think it's going to happen (a friend of mine in S. Korea has been hearing the exact same things), so I have to take it a little seriously.

The general consensus is that this is going to happen because of China and N. Korea, but nobody knows for sure. I guess we'll see.

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Samprimary
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The artillery trained on seoul is a problematic 'advantage' for them. The DPRK knows that if they use it, they are absolutely, squarely, wholly done as a country.
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Foust
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
The artillery trained on seoul is a problematic 'advantage' for them. The DPRK knows that if they use it, they are absolutely, squarely, wholly done as a country.

Yes, but not before they destroyed my favorite bar and probably me along with it.
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Rakeesh
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Here's the thing: while I agree it's very unlikely NK would use its weapons, conventional and otherwise, so bluntly...I'm leery of relying on the rationality of North Korean leadership. Now I can understand how someone might say, "This is the way things are, and there's really no wriggling out of it for the forseeable future." But when folks start saying, "They wouldn't use 'em, that'd be crazy!" I just wait for people to say, "Oh, yeah. They are kind of freaking nuts."
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Foust:
quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
The artillery trained on seoul is a problematic 'advantage' for them. The DPRK knows that if they use it, they are absolutely, squarely, wholly done as a country.

Yes, but not before they destroyed my favorite bar and probably me along with it.
Another thing to be happy about: north korea's moldering encampments aren't very, uh, entrenched. or safe. nor have they moved their old artillery around very much and uh
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Samprimary
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Basically the second there's any message to the artillery line saying 'bomb the south' or any of them start to light up, the whole thing is bomb food.
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Rakeesh
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Who imagines a potential NK first strike would come from conventional artillery?
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Samprimary
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doesn't have to be, it's just for the second the artillery starts doing what it has been meant to do for decades, stuff happens
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Jeff C.
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
doesn't have to be, it's just for the second the artillery starts doing what it has been meant to do for decades, stuff happens

Also, don't they periodically fire on nearby countries? I remember hearing about how they recently fired on the South.

I think the biggest worry right now is that they're going to start using nukes. If that ever happened, the world would have a serious problem, obviously.

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Dogbreath
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quote:
Originally posted by Jeff C.:
Being in the military, you hear a lot of things. One of those things is that at some point in the next decade, after we've pulled out of Afghanistan, we're going to start closing down our European bases and building new ones all over Asia.

This is more than just a rumor for the Marine Corps. We're in the process of restructuring our whole mission to focus on SE Asia and the Pacific in general. This includes new bases in Guam and Australia that are already under construction, and probably quite a few other ones are being planned.

Of course, this is more of a return to status quo for us since we *are* an amphibious strike force, and are trained as such. The fact we've spent the past 10 years in the desert and mountains is a little awkward. Like a frog out of water, so to speak.

The president is very interested in increasing our military presence in Asia, though, and I think this is a excellent goal. Despite 3 major wars, our military is still somewhat trapped in a cold war mindset - over bloated, poorly deployed, and structured for large scale battles. There's no need to waste billions of dollars stationing troops in Europe because the chances of war breaking out in Europe at the moment are negligible.

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Jeff C.
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Dogbreath, you are totally correct. The Air Force is making major cuts right now, especially with personnel. I just read in the Air Force Times that they are cutting 10,000 airmen (there are less than 300,000 in the branch, mind you). I wouldn't be surprised if the Marines see similar cuts to their numbers. This really does feel like a transitional period for the military, where we move from being a large (and as you said, bloated) desert-based military to something else entirely.

It makes me happy that I'm getting out in two years, to tell you the truth. My job isn't secure (I was told recently that I'll have to pick a new career field if I stay in because there are too many people in my job), and nothing in the foreseeable future tells me otherwise. Hopefully once I'm out I can use the skills I've learned to find something more secure, like a teaching job. Hopefully things will get better for the people who stay in once this whole thing is done and in place. I guess only time will tell.

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Dogbreath
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We're cutting 30,000. That's 15% of our current manpower.

My job is pretty secure. I'm highly proficient at it, and it's a rapidly growing field. (which means our numbers are staying consistent while everyone else drops dramatically)

In some ways the Marine Corps will handle this transition better than the other branches because we're already small, and already designed for rapid deployment and small conflicts. (which is incidentally why we were so grossly overused in the past 2 wars. We're 4% of the DOD budget but have compromised 34% of all troops actually in combat, because we're far superior at actually getting our men where they need to go)

It's definitely time for fresh leadership and fresh ideas. Our current top leadership were in their respective Service Academies during the Vietnam War, which ended 14 years before I was born. The world simply isn't the same place, and we're bankrupting the country trying to pretend like it is.

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Jeff C.
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You have some solid points, definitely.

I think the reason the Air Force is downsizing so much is the opposite of what makes the Marines so useful. We're mostly operators, pilots, technicians, and mechanics (sure, we've got cops, too, but that's not our primary function), which is completely different from a strike force. Because of this, I honestly wouldn't be surprised if the Air Force, at some point, completely disappears or merges back into the Army (which is where it started out in the first place). I mean, other than handling cyberspace, we don't really do anything that the other branches don't already.

Furthermore, right now, even as I write this, technology is getting better, more proficient, and less reliant on human hands. Pretty soon we won't even need pilots, just people to fix the remote-controlled aircraft when they break down.

It also doesn't help that we now have missiles that can hit anywhere in the world, all from within our borders. It's all so very different from the way wars have always been fought. Who knows where we'll be in forty years? Or even ten? I think in five years we'll see some big changes in the military as their focus shifts to something new.

The whole thing is very daunting, but it makes for an interesting thought.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Jeff C.:
Also, don't they periodically fire on nearby countries? I remember hearing about how they recently fired on the South.

The Yeonpyeong shelling wasn't from the artillery that the DPRK has situated and sighted on Seoul. It also resulted in the resignation and replacement of south korea's defense minister, the adoption of a immediate massive response policy (basically, if the north shells the south again anywhere, whether in seoul or a border island or anywhere, it's on).
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Dogbreath
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Jeff, the existence of the Air Force has always baffled me too.

I mean, as Marines we're distinct from the Navy due to our traditions, appearence, ethos, and role, but we are also almost completely dependent on the Navy for logistical support and completely dependent for medical services, and we're pretty heavily integrated in other respects as well. It'd be an absurd waste of resources for us to build our own ships or train our own corpsmen when when we already have that infrastructure in place. And yet, the Air Force seems to have done exactly that.

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Jeff C.
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quote:
Originally posted by Dogbreath:
Jeff, the existence of the Air Force has always baffled me too.

I mean, as Marines we're distinct from the Navy due to our traditions, appearence, ethos, and role, but we are also almost completely dependent on the Navy for logistical support and completely dependent for medical services, and we're pretty heavily integrated in other respects as well. It'd be an absurd waste of resources for us to build our own ships or train our own corpsmen when when we already have that infrastructure in place. And yet, the Air Force seems to have done exactly that.

It's silly, I agree. In fact, I've noticed that a lot of what happens in the military is extremely redundant. I attribute this to a lack of communication, although I'm sure there are other reasons.
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Blayne Bradley
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The airforce is important to keep separate and distinct to have an objective ability to analyze the overall strategic and tactical situation on a theater and theater to sector to sector basis to strategically choose where to best allocate resources as well as final say over the tactical or theater use of strategic weapons.

Essentially for as long as there is the possibility of conventional wars between nation-states you need an independent air arm.

Additionally if we ever manage to successfully make the leap into being a space faring civilization the airforce not the navy, is the one most intuitively suited for the foundation of such a service.

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Dogbreath
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quote:
Originally posted by Blayne Bradley:
The airforce is important to keep separate and distinct to have an objective ability to analyze the overall strategic and tactical situation on a theater and theater to sector to sector basis to strategically choose where to best allocate resources as well as final say over the tactical or theater use of strategic weapons.

You're talking to someone who has a pretty strong working knowledge of military strategy, and I can't make heads or tails of what the heck you're talking about.

quote:
Essentially for as long as there is the possibility of conventional wars between nation-states you need an independent air arm.
Why?

quote:
Additionally if we ever manage to successfully make the leap into being a space faring civilization the airforce not the navy, is the one most intuitively suited for the foundation of such a service.
Again, why?
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Lyrhawn
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I'm not well-schooled enough to answer the first two (though I think the argument for an independent air arm is highly questionable given military history and the problems inherent in interservice cooperation).

But I've seen enough Stargate to know that Blayne's right on the money about the Air Force being in charge of our space forces.

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Jeff C.
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
I'm not well-schooled enough to answer the first two (though I think the argument for an independent air arm is highly questionable given military history and the problems inherent in interservice cooperation).

But I've seen enough Stargate to know that Blayne's right on the money about the Air Force being in charge of our space forces.

Right now, they are. The Air Force is the organization that handles Space in the military, but it currently doesn't really do as much as you might think. Space is mostly left to missiles and UAV's. NASA has typically been in charge of manned missions, so until they get back on the ball we're very unlikely to see any progress. Furthermore, the AF's primarily function right now is cyberspace operations, which is something that no other branch really takes part of, so I'd chalk that up to their reason for still existing.

Stargate always struck me as odd, given that when going through the gate, they weren't piloting anything; they were just a strike force. As a small group of soldiers, the Seals or Marines would probably have been a better choice, but the producers/writers probably wanted to cement the idea that they were "in space".

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Dogbreath
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
I'm not well-schooled enough to answer the first two (though I think the argument for an independent air arm is highly questionable given military history and the problems inherent in interservice cooperation).

Obviously, when you're planning an operation you're going to want some way to distinguish your FW aircraft, and furthermore give them some autonomy from ground troops and RWs. However, the Navy and Marine Corps fly more planes on a daily basis than the Air Force and we do a excellent job - we keep our air forces (and their support personnel) in "wings", which are distinct from divisions and have some autonomy, but without the bulkiness of a separate chain of logistical/administrative support.

Blayne (and our military leaders) seems to think it's imperative to have an entire branch of service dedicated to the Air Force, which is just an overkill. I wouldn't mind seeing the Air Force being integrated back into the Army and maintaining a distinct role, but complete independence costs way too much for no apparent purpose.

I haven't seen much Stargate, but how often do they actually fly aircraft/spacecraft in that show?

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Lyrhawn
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About halfway through the series, spacecraft become a pretty major facet of the plot. Once the US Air Force starts to build their own aircraft, there are a lot of space battles, and ferrying people around my spacecraft all becomes important.
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Jeff C.
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
About halfway through the series, spacecraft become a pretty major facet of the plot. Once the US Air Force starts to build their own aircraft, there are a lot of space battles, and ferrying people around my spacecraft all becomes important.

Lol, I forgot about that. I could see the AF heading up something like that, but right now we just aren't at that level. Hopefully one day, though, things will change. I'm a huge advocate of space travel and the like. It's too bad the boys in charge don't agree.

As I said before, cyberspace is becoming the primary focus of the Air Force. Their new slogan is "Air, Space, and Cyberspace", and from what I have seen, Cyberspace is becoming much more dominant.

However, the branch as a whole is diminishing very quickly. My own leaders are saying that we'll probably lose about a sixth of the branch over the course of the next decade. That's about 50,000. It doesn't seem like a lot, but when you only have about 300,000 people in your entire organization, it's actually quite a bit. We've also switched our uniforms over to the ABUs, which are what the Army has been using for years, so it already feels like we're heading in that direction (also, our PT standards are back up to the Army's now, apparently).

I'm not saying that the Air Force doesn't have a place anymore, but with so few people and only a few specializations, it really doesn't seem like it needs to be its own branch anymore.

But who knows? With cyber-warfare becoming such a large and substantial form of combat, maybe the Air Force will find more of a reason to be its own entity. Right now, however, things aren't looking so good.

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Xavier
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I nearly joined the Airforce as an officer after college when the job market was terrible and I was something like 8 months without a (real) job.

I was told I'd likely end up being sent off to get my Master's in Meteorology and then used in that capacity. The existence of a branch of the military I could join where I could be reasonably sure I'd not be given a rifle and sent to shoot people was pretty important in their ability to recruit me [Wink] .

Of course in the end I went a different direction. Still, perhaps there is some benefit of having a military branch for those who prefer to push buttons than to pull triggers? Or maybe not.

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advice for robots
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quote:
Originally posted by Blayne Bradley:


Additionally if we ever manage to successfully make the leap into being a space faring civilization the airforce not the navy, is the one most intuitively suited for the foundation of such a service.

Many, many sci-fi writers seem to disagree with you here. According to all the space opera I've read, the navy would appear to be the branch most suited to running ships and fleets in space.
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Xavier
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quote:
Many, many sci-fi writers seem to disagree with you here. According to all the space opera I've read, the navy would appear to be the branch most suited to running ships and fleets in space.
To be fair, I think most space combat in fiction is pretty ridiculous. It's pretty much 18th century ship combat with energy weapons instead of cannons. It's exciting when you suspend your disbelief, something I can usually manage without issue.

I can't say what space combat will eventually look like, but I can almost guarantee it wouldn't look anything like the exciting stuff in most science fiction.

I think the Hyperion series did it fairly well. The enemy fleet would be destroyed pretty much before they even knew they were under attack. That tends to be anti-climactic on the big screen though.

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Jeff C.
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quote:
Originally posted by Xavier:
quote:
Many, many sci-fi writers seem to disagree with you here. According to all the space opera I've read, the navy would appear to be the branch most suited to running ships and fleets in space.
To be fair, I think most space combat in fiction is pretty ridiculous. It's pretty much 18th century ship combat with energy weapons instead of cannons. It's exciting when you suspend your disbelief, something I can usually manage without issue.

I can't say what space combat will eventually look like, but I can almost guarantee it wouldn't look anything like the exciting stuff in most science fiction.

I think the Hyperion series did it fairly well. The enemy fleet would be destroyed pretty much before they even knew they were under attack. That tends to be anti-climactic on the big screen though.

Well yeah, unless we actually develop some serious shielding technology there's no way you'd have a long-winded space battle. Still, anything's possible with Science! [Hail]
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advice for robots
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Well, yeah. IMO, space combat in sci-fi runs the gamut from ridiculous to somewhat realistic, depending on the author. I don't know how the ships would actually be armed and what a battle would be like, but for any ship with more than a pilot and copilot and a purpose other than a quick sortie from a base, I would think the navy would be better suited than the air force. Maybe there would never be a purpose for a ship manned like a battleship on earth taking extended voyages, much less a fleet of such ships. But if there were, isn't that right up the navy's alley?
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Dan_Frank
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What AFR said.

I'd read that the main idea behind navy-as-space-farers had very little to do with space combat, which is sufficiently different from anything we do here that it must be relearned anyway. It had more to do with space voyages, months upon months in tight confines with a small group of people. Evokes thoughts of battleships and submarines and so on.

This is all armchair theorizing, of course (not that Blayne's comments are anything else), but it makes a certain amount of sense.

Also yeah seriously Blayne the beginning of your post is pretty incomprehensible. Try dumbing it down for those of us that haven't played Total War or whatever it's called?

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Tullaan
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There are a couple missions that the AF has that are (somewhat) unique. Though, they could probably be easily integrated into the Army.

1. Massive airlift capacity
2. Mid air refueling


As far as space combat goes, the Honor Harrington series is somewhat based on science. At least it's entertaining.

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BlackBlade
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Does anybody else read the second part of the thread title and think of Tom Lehrer?
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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by Jeff C.:
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
About halfway through the series, spacecraft become a pretty major facet of the plot. Once the US Air Force starts to build their own aircraft, there are a lot of space battles, and ferrying people around my spacecraft all becomes important.

Lol, I forgot about that. I could see the AF heading up something like that, but right now we just aren't at that level. Hopefully one day, though, things will change. I'm a huge advocate of space travel and the like. It's too bad the boys in charge don't agree.

As I said before, cyberspace is becoming the primary focus of the Air Force. Their new slogan is "Air, Space, and Cyberspace", and from what I have seen, Cyberspace is becoming much more dominant.

However, the branch as a whole is diminishing very quickly. My own leaders are saying that we'll probably lose about a sixth of the branch over the course of the next decade. That's about 50,000. It doesn't seem like a lot, but when you only have about 300,000 people in your entire organization, it's actually quite a bit. We've also switched our uniforms over to the ABUs, which are what the Army has been using for years, so it already feels like we're heading in that direction (also, our PT standards are back up to the Army's now, apparently).

I'm not saying that the Air Force doesn't have a place anymore, but with so few people and only a few specializations, it really doesn't seem like it needs to be its own branch anymore.

But who knows? With cyber-warfare becoming such a large and substantial form of combat, maybe the Air Force will find more of a reason to be its own entity. Right now, however, things aren't looking so good.

Thank God at least one branch is finally taking a serious look at cyber combat. The creation of USCYBERCOM in 2009 was a big step in the right direction in a long neglected area of national defense. It's the future of combat, and we've already seen several nations both take it seriously and actually employ it, as Russia and China have done, one in an actual combat situation. And apparently Iran hacked one of our drones. The internet is a battlefield, and we've just begun to train our troops while potential enemies are already fielding digital special forces.
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Dogbreath
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quote:
Originally posted by Xavier:
Still, perhaps there is some benefit of having a military branch for those who prefer to push buttons than to pull triggers? Or maybe not.

I chose the Marine Corps for precisely the opposite reason. I understand your point, but it is called the military for a reason... I think it's naive to join any branch without accepting the fact that you may have to kill people.

AFR: I've spent long periods on time on a ship, and my first reaction to being on the inside of one was "holy crap, this looks just like a spaceship!" Of course, I then realized that spaceships look like Naval ships, not the other way around...

But many of the traditions and jobs associated with the Naval service would be easily transferable to space travel. Heck, even the internal hanger bays we kept the Harriers in could easily be modified for small space fighters. (BSG for example deliberately made the inside of their spaceships/hanger bays look as much like USN ships as possible)

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Wingracer
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In some sort of major space battle, the last thing I would want to be in is a big, massive, slow target. Give me the smallest, lightest, fastest craft you can possibly build and strap a high velocity guided nuke to it, game on.

Thrust to weight ratio is everything when there is no armor to stop nukes or kinetic penetrators going several thousand miles per hour. The only way I see a massive ship full of people being useful in space combat would be as either a carrier for the small fighters, or if shields that can stop nukes are developed but require massive amounts of machinery and energy to create.

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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by Jeff C.:
Stargate always struck me as odd, given that when going through the gate, they weren't piloting anything; they were just a strike force. As a small group of soldiers, the Seals or Marines would probably have been a better choice, but the producers/writers probably wanted to cement the idea that they were "in space".

Quick note: Marines were used everyone once in a while on Stargate Atlantis. Also, I think there are a couple of alternate realities where different branches of the military are in control of the Stargate programme.
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dansigal
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This has gotten wildly off topic, but in the interest of providing correct information, while the SG program was run by the AF and the SG1 was an airforce team, there were also marine teams, I believe SG3 was one of them.

Signed
A Nerd

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Lyrhawn
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By the end of the show, the Air Force isn't in control. They create a separate branch of the military for Space Command.
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Dogbreath
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Then at some point do that let the people of Earth in on what's happening? I remember that being a major plot point in the first few seasons.
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Blayne Bradley
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http://www.projectrho.com/rocket/prelimnotes.php

This site works basically has a massive resource for people who wish to write hard scifi space opera's and is very detailed and awesome. Reading through it it becomes very clear that how we would consider "space warfare" to act like under ideal realistic circumstances will have more in common with how the airforce fights and is organized than how the navy is.

Now it could evolve into a "navy" but only after a few centuries have passed and space travel becomes very cheap and needs to better take into account civilian traffic and a civilian economy.

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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by Dogbreath:
Then at some point do that let the people of Earth in on what's happening? I remember that being a major plot point in the first few seasons.

They talked about it for the plot for the third made for TV movie. But it's on extended hiatus.
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Jeff C.
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
quote:
Originally posted by Dogbreath:
Then at some point do that let the people of Earth in on what's happening? I remember that being a major plot point in the first few seasons.

They talked about it for the plot for the third made for TV movie. But it's on extended hiatus.
Which means it will probably never happen [Frown]
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Lyrhawn
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It's extremely unlikely at this point. Continuum was barely made and released. A lot of the actors have moved on, RDA is pretty much retired at this point.

They were talking about perhaps doing an Atlantis movie that covered the same ground, and that's a little more likely since the actors are slightly more available and the studio has shown a willingness to consider it.

But not for some time.

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rivka
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Another SG movie is not going to happen. Alas!
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
Does anybody else read the second part of the thread title and think of Tom Lehrer?

No! Just you!
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Kwea
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quote:
Originally posted by Dogbreath:
We're cutting 30,000. That's 15% of our current manpower.

My job is pretty secure. I'm highly proficient at it, and it's a rapidly growing field. (which means our numbers are staying consistent while everyone else drops dramatically)

In some ways the Marine Corps will handle this transition better than the other branches because we're already small, and already designed for rapid deployment and small conflicts. (which is incidentally why we were so grossly overused in the past 2 wars. We're 4% of the DOD budget but have compromised 34% of all troops actually in combat, because we're far superior at actually getting our men where they need to go)

It's definitely time for fresh leadership and fresh ideas. Our current top leadership were in their respective Service Academies during the Vietnam War, which ended 14 years before I was born. The world simply isn't the same place, and we're bankrupting the country trying to pretend like it is.

[Big Grin]


Believe it or not, that's in part because of my aunt. My aunt was in charge of rapid mobilization protocols for the Corps during desert storm and desert shield, and not only helped write those protocols but actively trained officers and NCO's at Quantico to ensure they worked.

She's a full-bird, one of the first women to make it to that rank, and only missed her star because she had health issues. Still got 100% on every PT test, but was overweight because they had to remove her thyroid.

She was a graduate of the very first class at OCS that allowed women, and spent 35+ years in the Corps, including almost 15 years active duty, 8 of them during (and between the Iraq wars.

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
Does anybody else read the second part of the thread title and think of Tom Lehrer?

No! Just you!
It has an extra word.

So your attempt to instill an earworm in my brain has UTTERLY FAILED!

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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by rivka:
Another SG movie is not going to happen. Alas!

Something to keep in mind is that the movie franchise fell apart right around the time that MGM entered bankruptcy, and they've been there ever since. That's not really the time to funnel millions of dollars into moderately successful direct to dvd movies. MGM has finally gotten out of it with a new financing deal that was just announced in the last couple weeks, and they're pushing ahead with a lot of new money for film and television development.

Does that mean Stargate is coming back tomorrow? No, but it means that the biggest block in the way of new Stargate material was just removed. It still might not happen, but now it just requires someone at MGM to pick up the ball, whereas before there simply wasn't any money for it.

I think what's more likely is, after a hiatus of a few more years, someone will suggest a reboot.

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