25 June 2019

A Common Problem With A Tragic Result

The daughter and granddaughter of a dear family friend were murdered in their home on Friday. The narrative of the evidence provided by police is all too familiar. Maybe we can cure our culture so this doesn't happen, or maybe that is for all practical purposes impossible and we need a better way for our society and legal system to respond to clear warning signs.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Jesus Cartagena Jr., 20, has turned himself in to an El Paso police station in connection to the murder of Shanta Hanish, 19, and her mom, Laura Hanish, 58. 
According to the criminal complaint, Cartagena said he had "done something bad in Albuquerque."... 
Police said they believe Cartagena – Shanta's ex-boyfriend – stabbed her and her mother to death. She had broken up with Cartagena about two weeks before she was killed.

Cartagena and Shanta had lived together for about a year before the break-up. She had just moved back in with her mom.

The mother and daughter had been found dead Friday morning at their home in southeast Albuquerque.

According the complaint, her friends and family told police that Cartagena wouldn't leave Shanta alone. 
He had been following her to work and calling her dozens of times. They also said he had been in and out of the hospital after making suicidal threats.

Cartagena is now facing charges for two open counts of murder. Albuquerque police are traveling to El Paso to meet with detectives. 
From here. More details here and here.

Laura was a long time employee of the public defender's office. Shanta was head lifeguard at a local recreation center and an education student at the University of New Mexico.

Before There Was Federal Rule of Evidence 612 . . .

Federal Rule of Evidence 612 governs the permissible means of refreshing the recollection of someone on the witness stand in a court proceedings. But, before Rule 612 was adopted, the Romans had a somewhat different approach:
During Roman time, in court, a witness would be pulled by the ear by a person saying "memento!" to help the witness to remember what happened better.
From here.

Quote of the Day

From Lavender Jack.

The runner up which is repeated in two different strips of the same comic is this one:

20 June 2019

Why Do People Continue To Farm?

Why anyone chooses to be a farmer is a mystery to me, and indeed, few people not born to this life do so.

Your income varies wildly from year to year due to factors beyond your control like weather and prices for farm products which vary tremendously. Hail storms, tornados, floods, droughts and wildfires destroy crops and farm facilities with some regularity, and far less notable weather events can seriously impair how well your crops turn out. You are particularly subject to the weather if you are a dry land farmer in the arid high plains, as many of my relatives in Colorado are, who can't depend upon reliable crop irrigation from high priority water rights.

Climate change, eroding supplies of top soil, and increased prices for equipment fuel and petroleum based fertilizers and pesticides as we march every closer to peak oil (that has been staved off temporarily with fracking at a high environmental cost) will make reliably producing ample harvests even harder for the next generation.

You have to be extremely productive to be competitive, and will see your income decline unless you can keep up with this productivity growth. You are directly competing in a national and oftentimes international marketplace against literally everyone else in the industry. And, increased productivity in the industry from technological advances (also e.g. GPS guided self-driving tractors) means every generation somebody's children has to get out of farming and your small towns continue to depopulate a little bit more. 

With current farming technology as actually practiced in the United States about 10 acres of land (40,000 square meters) is used to produce food for each average person. Globally, we use about a third as much land to product the same amount of food as we did fifty years ago, and agricultural productivity per land area has increased steadily year in and year out.

This represents are remarkable improvement in agricultural productivity in the last half century or so. Between 1950 and 2000, during the so-called "second agricultural revolution of modern times", U.S. agricultural productivity rose fast, especially due to the development of new technologies. For example, the average amount of milk produced per cow increased from 5,314 pounds to 18,201 pounds per year (+242%), the average yield of corn rose from 39 bushels to 153 bushels per acre (+292%), and each farmer in 2000 produced on average 12 times as much farm output per hour worked as a farmer did in 1950. 

This isn't a new trend. The number of people employed in farming as a whole has declined every decade since the United States was established to less than 2% of the workforce today. In 1820, 72% of of U.S. workers were engaged in farm occupations; in 1840 it was 69%; in 1860 it was 59%, in 1880 it was 57%, in 1900 it was 38%, in 1920 it was 27%, in 1940 it was 17%, in 1960 it was 6%, in 1980 it was 3%, by 2000 it is a little over 2%. The actual number of people in farm occupations has declined from about 2.9 million in 1820 to 2.1 million in 2000. 

Populations in farm counties have steadily declined as well. For example, according to forecasts from the state demographer in Colorado (as of 2007), every rural front range county except Morgan (county seat Fort Morgan) and Logan (county seat Sterling) will see its share of the state's population decline in the census in 2010, 2020 and 2030. The same forecast applies to most of the San Luis Valley. Most of the state's growth is expected to occur in the I-25 corridor (although Denver, Jefferson County, Boulder and Arapahoe County, all home to many landlocked central cities and first ring suburbs, will also decline in their share of the state's population), and in countries with tourism and mining driven economies.

It is challenging to be sufficiently productive even though your enterprise is exempt from a host of government regulations, including environmental laws (e.g. clean water, clean air and toxic waste disposal), safety regulations, land use regulations (including parts of some zoning laws and building codes), and labor laws (e.g. child labor law exemptions, worker's compensation exemptions for migrant workers and self-employed workers, overtime regulation exemptions, small employer anti-discrimination law exemptions, and family leave act exemptions).

You need an immense investment in land and machinery and annual consumables like seed, fertilizer, pesticides and fuels for the machinery, but do to the irregularity of your income, financing these purchases with debt is very risky. And, many of these investments could secure safe, steady returns that are quite respectable in non-agricultural industry investments.

You need a journeyman skilled tradesman level of expertise in multiple fields like engine repair and welding, you need a working knowledge of futures trading in the commodities markets and sometimes international trade as well (e.g. mink farmers I represented once sold most of the furs they produce in South Korea and Russia), you need enough accounting and business management knowledge to be self-employed, and you need a firm command of botany and zoology. You have to understand water law. You need to establish stable relationships with traveling migrant farm worker crews and specialized equipment providers that are hard to track down and can be impacted by immigration sweeps. You need to plan at least several years in advance (to make crop rotation decisions and figure out when to buy equipment). All of these skills and traits can command very good compensation in alternative careers in the non-agricultural work force.

You are likely to have to serve in elective office at some point because the number of elected officials per capita in rural areas is so high and a large share of all agriculture industry businesses are organized as consumer or produce cooperatives. 

You have to work long hours some of the year and to rise very early often. You usually have to work whether you are sick or hurt or not. A huge share of your days are lonely ones. Almost no other industry has higher rates in work related accidents that cause injury or death, and work related illnesses from chemical exposure.

You usually have to live in rural areas or small towns where you have inferior access to health care, poor entertainment and shopping options, and very limited and cash strapped options for educating your children. You don't have easy access to, or much time to spend in, the dating scene to find a spouse. Small towns tied to the agricultural industry have depopulated so greatly that few rural school districts can field full sized football teams any more because their schools are too small. Most rural school districts in Colorado have already resorted to teaching classes only four days a week.

Even so, many aspects of your life are subsidized by urban people (in policies that have a long history). The state pays an unusually large share of your children's K-12 education. Your postal service and phone service are provided at less than cost. So is law enforcement. Your property taxes are artificially low. The roads you use a subsidized by urban people who rarely use them. In some farm industries (e.g. corn farming) the average farmer receives half of his income (and farmers are overwhelmingly men) from government subsidies, farm loan bailouts, and government managed price supports (although this is slow tapering off), tariffs limiting competition, and crop insurance payments (in some more productive recent years this has been as low as 15%). Inertia and the structure of water law makes the marginal cost of water for farming much lower than for other uses in the arid West, which causes farmers to use water to grow crops and support livestock that they wouldn't if the marginal price of water was similar across industries.

I have little doubt that, but for these subsidizes the number of farms in the United States would plummet through consolidation, and the amount of farming done in marginal circumstances (like dry land farming in the arid West) would decline tremendously, and the first hints of this are underway. 

The writing is on the wall. Western water use is divided between high cost/high return urban water users, and low cost/low return irrigated farmers (many of whom wouldn't even make any profit without a combinations of crop subsidies, cheap water and off season jobs in the city). Where it has been possible to overcome the transaction costs involved in sales of water rights in the arid West, buy and dry plans have virtually ended farming entirely in these areas. As I noted at dkospedia, citing figures from sources current when I wrote it in October of 2004:
Urban users of water pay tens times a much per gallon as agricultural water users for water. . . . [I]n Colorado, 90% of water goes to agriculture, 7% to residential users, 2% to industrial uses, 1% to "stock water" and less than 0.5% to commercial users. . . . The two biggest demands that municipal water users in the arid West place on water are lawn watering (54% of residential water use goes towards landscaping) and watering golf courses (1 golf course used the same amount of water as 750 residential households, which is more than 2,000 people). Major industrial and commercial users (factories and car washes mostly) use a significant share of the rest of urban water. Other domestic and commercial uses (dish washing, showers, drinking, toilets, etc.) are a fairly small share of total water use in urban areas in the arid West. . . . [I]n many Western states the tourism value of fishing and canoeing exceeds the economic contribution to the state that comes from irrigated farming, the dominant use of water in the West. For example, in Colorado, agriculture contributes $700 million of net income each year to the state's economy, while boating, fishing and hunting contribute $1,050 million of net income each year to the state's economy.
In Colorado, as of 2004, fishing and boating were worth more to Colorado's economy than all of its horticulture combined. Farming and ranching combined accounted for just 0.6% of the state's personal income

There were just over 2.2 million farms in the U.S. in 2007 with an average size of 418 acres. But, most of them are marginal and account for only a tiny percentage of all U.S. agricultural productions. About 59.8% of farms sold less than $10,000 worth of agricultural products in 2007, and only 16.2% sold more than $100,000. Keep in mind that these sales numbers are gross, before the costs of seeds, fertilizer, pesticides, labor, fuel for farm vehicles, equipment, or land. Fewer than 400,000 American farms, each of which is much larger than the national average (although small farms do use a significant share of all farm land in the U.S.) are capable of supporting even a single full time farmer at much more than a poverty level.

The hard question is whether the old farmers are running mostly small unproductive operations (74% of farms produce just 3% of U.S. farm products on 31% of U.S. farm acreage and about 57% of all U.S. farm production comes from just 4% of U.S. farms on 19% of U.S. farm acreage), that will be easily absorbed into a corporate farming complex with more normal demographics, or whether the industry as a whole is careening towards demographic collapse. A large share of all U.S. farms fit into the first category and produce little of the nation's food. I don't know the answer to that question.

Even then, most farmers need to have at least one family members who has a permanent non-agricultural job to provide a baseline income and often health insurance, and most farmers without livestock are employed temporarily in the city (often in the construction trades) during the comparatively slow times when planting and harvesting aren't underway. Many farmers also supplement their income by making their land available for oil and gas wells, wind farms, and cell phone towers.

It is probably no coincidence that the vast majority of farmers are continuing family businesses started by their parents and grandparent, etc., benefitting from inherited land, inherited water rights, and some inherited equipment, skills learned as a child from family members and neighbors, and a non-economic emotional commitment to being a farmer that become part of your identity. And, indeed, in light of these circumstances, fewer people are becoming farmers:
In 1978, the percentage of farmers age 65 and over, and under age 35 were about the same, 16% or so each. By 2007, the percentage of farmers age 65 and over has nearly doubled to about 30%, and the percentage of farms aged under 35 has declined by about two-thirds to about 5%. The trend measured at five year intervals by the University of Iowa has been steady and unbroken since 1978 (and probably earlier). Just in the past five years [ed. from 2002 to 2007] the average age rose to 57 (from 55) and the ranks of the 75-and-up set increased by 20 percent from 2002 to 2007. The number of those younger than 25 has dropped by nearly a third.
There have been some bright spots for the agricultural industry. In the last decade or two (i.e. since the 2000 census) there has been a rare increase in the total number of farms as new organic farms and marijuana and hemp industry grows have started essentially new industries in parallel to the existing agriculture industry. But, those numbers aren't huge in the overall scheme of things.

Yes, everyone on Earth does need to consume agricultural products on pretty much a daily basis to survive. So, we will always need someone to farm and market prices for agricultural goods will always rise enough to keep enough farmers producing those agricultural products. But, that doesn't explain why particular people in particular economic situations continue to do so.

19 June 2019

The Populations Of Leading Global Cities Over Time

For what it's worth some of the color distinctions are challenging to make for me without the context of knowing what the relative size of some of these cities should be. The populations appear to be urbanized area populations.

Also, to be clear, it isn't a comprehensive list of large cities in the world (this UN publication is also the source for the maps below). The chart above omits, for example, Tokyo, Sao Paulo, Mexico City, Cairo, Beijing, Osaka and Kinshasa. The blog in question is focused on South Asian and nearby Central Asian affairs and culture. The others are chosen mostly for familiarity.

Wikipedia also has a list of the largest cities in the world that uses a somewhat more uniform definition of a city's population than the U.N. list, and on that list which Tokyo is 1st in the world, Seoul is 5th, New York City ranks 9th, Osaka is 16th, Los Angeles is 18th, Moscow is 23rd, London is 29th, and Paris is 34th. No place other than these eight cities in the "developed world" make it into the top 40 on that list.

The geographic distribution of all forty-five of the world's megacities with at least 10,000,000 as of the year 2018 or will have 10,000,000 by the year 2030, is shown above (Wikipedia counts 47 of them adding cities including Nagoya, Japan, Harbin, China and Rhine-Ruhr, Germany, while omitting a few others on the UN list).

For comparison sake, in the year 2000, there were only sixteen cities in the world with more than 10,000,000 people: Cairo, Beijing, Shanghai, Osaka, Tokyo, Dhaka, Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Moscow, Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Los Angeles, and New York City. All eight that in the Americas as of 2030 were there in 2000. Only one of the fourteen in Europe, Africa, West Asia or Southeast Asia (Cairo) was on the list. Four of the ten in South Asia were on the list in 2000. Four of the eleven in East Asia were on the list (but Japan's two are unchanged).

There were just nine of them in 1985. Probably less than half of those sixteen cities did not have more than ten million people when I was born. In 1950, during my parent's lifetimes, New York City was the only urban area with a population of over 10 million (it had a metro area population of 14.0 million people at the time). New York City's metro area probably crossed the 10 million threshold sometime between 1920 and 1930. Megacities really are something new under the Sun.

An interesting question is how long the great cities of today have continuously held major city status. In the New World, Mexico City and Lima were major cities even in the pre-Columbian era. Cairo is the oldest existing megacity in Europe, West Asia and North Africa; it has been a major city continuously for more than 5,000 years. Jericho is reputedly the oldest city on Earth (about 10,000 years old) but isn't now and hasn't for most of history been a major city. Paris became a major city in the Middle Ages, London has been a significant city for probably at least 3,000 years. Japan had no major cities more than 2000 to 2500 years ago, and realistically they're younger. China's oldest continuously major cities are older, by perhaps, a thousand years or so. Most of South Asia's major cities are less than 2500 years old, but Lahore and Karachi could be considerably older, it isn't clear to me if they were major cities back to the Indus Valley Civilization or not.

This map illustrates well the practical implications of the fact there are about 1.9 billion people who live in South Asia (mostly Pakistan, India and Bangladesh), and about 1.4 billion people who live in China. It also illustrates that most rapidly growing megacities are in Asia and Africa.

The eight megacities (or to be megacities as of 2030), with populations as of 2018, of North and South America are New York City at 18.8 million, Los Angeles at 12.5 million, Mexico City at 21.6 million, Buenos Aires at 15.0 million, Rio de Janeiro at 13.3 million, Sao Paulo at 21.7 million, Bogota at 10.6 million, and Lima at 10.4 million.

The six in Europe, West Asia and North Africa are Paris at 10.9 million, London at 9.0 million, Moscow at 12.4 million, Istanbul at 14.8 million, Tehran at 8.9 million and Cairo at 20.1 million.

The four in sub-Saharan Africa are Lagos at 13.5 million, Kinshasa at 13.2 million, Luanda (Angola) at 7.8 million, and Dar es Salaam at 6.0 million.

The four in Southeast Asia there are Jakarta at 10.5 million, Manilla at 13.5 million, Ho-Chi Minh City at 8.1 million, and Bangkok at 10.2 million.

The ten in South Asia are Dhaka at 19.6 million, Bangalore at 11.4 million, Chennai (Madras) at 10.5 million, Delhi at 20.5 million, Hyderabad at 9.5 million, Ahmadabad at 7.7 million, Kolkata (Calcutta) at 14.7 million, Mumbai (Bombay) at 20.0 million, Karachi at 15.4 million, and Lahore at 11.7 million.

The eleven in East Asia are Seoul at 10.0 million, Tokyo at 37.5 million, Kinki M.M.A. (Osaka) at 19.3 million, Tianjin at 13.2 million, Shenzhen at 11.9 million, Shanghai at 25.6 million, Nanjing, Jiangsu at 8.2 million, Guangzhou, Guangdong at 12.6 million, Chongqing at 14.8 million, Beijing at 19.6 million and Chengdu at 8.8 million.

In South Asia and East Asia megacities are so numerous that they start to bleed into each other (a bit like the major cities of the Northeast corridor in the United States).

Few examples in popular culture (with the notable example of the Netflix only series Sense8) convey any sense of how much of the world lives in new burgeoning cities around the world, many of which are so new that they aren't household names despite their size. For example: Luanda (Angola), Ahmadabad (India), Tianjin (China), Chongqing (China) and Chengdu (China).

The text accompanying the map above states:
In some cities, population decline occurred in response to a natural disaster. This has been the case, for example, in New Orleans, United States, which lost population after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and in Sendai, Japan, following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Economic contraction has also contributed to population decline in some places. For example, Buffalo and Detroit, both located in the United States, experienced population decline associated with the loss of industry and jobs. In most cases, however, declining or stagnating populations have been associated with persistent low fertility rates, particularly in Europe. The 52 cities with declining populations were home to 59 million people in 2018, down from more than 62 million in 2000.
The map above of the 52 cities with populations of 500,000 or more in the urbanized area as of 2018 (out of 1,146 such cities in the world) is even more telling.

The Northeast corridor and Rust Belt of the U.S., Europe, Korea and Japan are home to 44 out of 52 of them. Four more were in the Gulf of Mexico area, on was in Africa, one was in Central Asia, and two were in South Asia. This reflects not just the demographic transition associated with becoming a developed country, but the very late stages of that process.

The U.S., outside of the Northeast, and Australia, despite being developed, have thus far evaded this trend, as have "Asian Tigers" like Taiwan and Singapore.

A notable observation, the implications of which deserve more thought and analysis, is that almost all of the world's high speed intercity rail (outside of China most of which are just a few years old), and pretty much all of the leading intracity rail systems in the world, are located in areas where the populations of major cities is declining.

17 June 2019

Quote Of The Day

Only the future is certain. The past is constantly changing.
This is in reference to life in modern China's current regime which is very repressive and propagandistic with regard to political expression.

My source is from the comments to a Language Log post, but this is an allusion to an existing aphorism. It was apparently already an old Soviet joke at the time that it that inspired George Orwell to write the book "1984" in the year 1949.

12 June 2019

What Happens When A DA Commits Lots Of Brady Violations?

One of the dirty little secrets of the American criminal justice system is that when a prosecuting attorney violates his or her ethical duty to disclose all evidence that potentially exonerates a criminal defendant to the defendant's lawyer, often causing a wrongful conviction for a crime, the attorney rarely suffers any consequence for the lapse even though a court of law in the criminal case found that the attorney violated this ethical duty. 

A DA in rural Southern Colorado, Francis Ruybalid, didn't just violate this duty. He violated in more than 150 different cases, resulting in 15 of those convictions including convictions for child abuse, domestic violence and murder being thrown out.

What consequences did this DA suffer? 

He resigned as DA, and in exchange for admitting to more than 24 ethical violations, his law license was placed on probation. The Colorado Supreme Court, in a case of first impression, denied him reimbursement for the $223,000 of attorneys fees and litigation costs that he incurred defending himself against the ethics charges, because they involved reckless or knowing conduct which the Court held was not within the scope of his official duties as a DA.

Additional details and a photograph can be found in an article at the Colorado Sun.

Then, this bad lawyer became someone else's problem. He was hired by the state of New Mexico to be an attorney for the Children, Youth & Families Department, where he will presumably be charged with bringing lawsuits on behalf of the state to terminate the parental rights of parents whom investigators believe have committed serious child abuse and neglect. 

So, he was out $223,000 and he had to move and take a new job with what was probably a modest pay cut and a huge drop in authority and prestige from head of a District Attorneys' office for more than one county supervising other prosecutors, to a job as a rank and file lawyer handling individual cases and probably having no more supervisory authority than he might share with other lawyers and managers in the department over a secretary, paralegal and the investigators involved in particular child abuse and neglect cases. He could conceivably also be called upon to handle juvie jail discipline cases and probation revocation cases for juveniles sentenced after committing crimes as minors.

He didn't lose his license to practice law or even have it briefly suspended. New Mexico didn't decline to let him have a law licenses as a result and he probably received reciprocity in admissions to the practice of law in New Mexico despite his disciplinary record. 

And, because prosecutors have "absolute immunity" for their judicial system conduct (although not for investigative matters), none of the criminal defendants who received unjust punishment because exculpatory evidence was withheld, and none of the victims who had crimes committed against them go unpunished because the DA screwed up can sue him. Some of those unpunished criminals are on the streets and may commit further crimes as a result. On the other hand, even if he could have been sued by the injured parties, realistically, he was probably virtually judgment proof once he had paid his lawyers (who are probably going to get stiffed for some part of his legal bill themselves).

It is worth noting, however, that if a DA isn't entitled to indemnification from the County for this conduct because it didn't fall within his official duties, perhaps his absolute immunity from civil liability for his official conduct in judicial proceedings (as opposed to investigative proceeding where the immunity is merely "qualified") doesn't apply either. There are lots of cases in other jurisdictions that hold that Brady violations do not impair a DA's absolute immunity, but those cases, unlike future cases in Colorado, would not have had the foundation of this case defining in advance the scope of an attorney's official actions, upon which to build a case. 

The resulting rule, which would allow District Attorneys to be sued only when they had been adjudicated to have committed ethical violations in a manner that was outside the DA's officials duties, would actually be a very management and reasonable way to balance the need to limit collateral litigation against prosecuting attorneys by convicted criminals, while remedying legitimate wrongs where liability is basically established independently before the case begins. The same rule could even be applied to judges who generally have absolute immunity.

So, all in all, while this bad lawyer's ethical violations, unlike so many prosecutors who commit similar violations (although rarely so pervasively) did have quite meaningful consequences, they weren't all that severe either in proportion to the harm he did.

Now, in his defense, this incident arguably looks like a classic case of the Peter Principle, "which observes that people in a hierarchy tend to rise to their "level of incompetence". In other words, an employee is promoted based on their success in previous jobs until they reach a level at which they are no longer competent, as skills in one job do not necessarily translate to another." 

As a lawyer its his job to know how to do that and get it done, and if he didn't know that he wasn't getting that part of his job done, he should have known. So it really wasn't as he argued in Court, mere negligence (although the Court could very easily have reached the opposite conclusion and found that while he did his job unethically that he was still doing his job). More likely, he wasn't confident enough to make the waves and direct people in a manner to make sure that this bureaucratically very cumbersome obligation was fulfilled.

Basically, it is certainly possible that he was competent enough to do the job of a junior prosecutor, but once he was elected to be the DA, everyone discovered that he was an incompetent manager whose failure to establish proper office procedures, which was his job, led to widespread and systemic violations of the constitutional rights of criminal defendants. So, perhaps, now that he has returned to his previous more humble level of responsibility, he may do just fine.

Also, assistant district attorneys in Southern Colorado are hardly the best paid attorneys admitted to the bar. According to Zip Recruiter:
[A]s of Jun 5, 2019, the average annual pay for an Assistant District Attorney in Colorado is $65,363 a year. While ZipRecruiter is seeing annual salaries as high as $84,284 and as low as $47,825, the majority of Assistant District Attorney salaries currently range between $53,033 (25th percentile) to $79,549 (75th percentile) in Colorado.
The high is probably in the Second Judicial District which is Denver, which has a high cost of living. The Third Judicial District probably has below average pay for its assistant district attorneys' overall, although this would have been balanced out somewhat by seniority. Still, it is safe to say that immediately before being elected DA, Francis Ruybalid was probably earning $75,000 a year or less, and he would have made less in the earlier years of his career. This is enough to live comfortably in rural Southern Colorado, but it almost means that paying for $223,000 of legal fees out of his own pocket probably wipes out a very large share of his entire net worth.

Since this is a contactual debt owed to his attorneys to the extent it hasn't already been paid, it can surely be discharged in bankruptcy, but bankruptcy may very well be in his future if he can't work out a payment plan for any unpaid balances with his ethics defense lawyers who still, at least, left him employable.

Flying My Otaku Flag

So, I'm watching an anime on Hulu called "Samurai Harem", which as the name suggests is totally frivolous piffle. But, even this can make you think.

* One of the characters speaks in archaic Japanese which is translated into English with words like thee, thou, and dost. I wish I knew the Japanese language well enough to figure out what is being done in the original to convey this archaic sense.

* Episode 3 has a scene where a new transfer student (Tsubame) to a reasonably ordinary urban high school is asked all sorts of questions from kids in the class to get acquainted to which the transfer student who has lived all of her life in strict training to be a martial artists in the remote mountains can't answer, defeating her earnest hopes of finally living life as a "normal" girl.

She can't tell them which school she transferred from because she's always been home schooled in solitary study. She can't tell them what her parents do or where she lives because she's been raised in a shadowy underworld in the mountains. She can't tell them her interests because it would seem strange to explain that she hasn't been allowed to have any because her entire life has been devoted to being trained to be a martial artist successor to her family's school of martial arts techniques for her entire life whether she likes it or not. She doesn't have a favorite sweet because she's never been allowed to eat them. She doesn't have a favorite TV show because they didn't have a TV and doesn't have any kind of popular music that she listens to because she hasn't been allowed to have a radio or music players.

From there is departs into plot specific directions, but as someone who has a nephew who has been entirely home schooled, and two nieces who have been almost entirely home schooled (one of whom has also had sustained very disciplined violin training), and having raised my own children when they were younger with limited access to sweets and very little television, it strikes a cord.

* There are little aspects of Japanese culture that are also fascinating. 

For example, light hearted "harem" anime are a fairly established genre in manga and anime, which will almost certainly never go "mainstream" in American culture because it crosses lines that Puritan influenced American's sensibilities aren't comfortable crossing, either on grounds that is is immoral (e.g. playfully and in jest sexualizing characters in their early teens) or anti-feminist.

Similarly, characters who are forced to carry on a family business or legacy or occupation or to marry someone to whom they were engaged by their parents as children or in connection with a business deal, are a cliche trope in Japanese fiction and while the characters sometimes fight against it and more often submit in their own fashion, it doesn't come across as outrageous and shocking and absolutely unacceptable in the same way that it does when American fiction puts an American character in a situation like that (which it does far less often). Attitudes about the social acceptability of imposing major life decisions on young adults, and about the socially acceptable and honorable ways to respond to those kinds of impositions is very different.

Note, to be clear, I am not making the inference that the way things are depicted in Japanese popular fiction are the way that they actually are in Japan, any more than one could assume that U.S. popular fiction depicts the way that things really are in the U.S. 

Instead, I am suggesting that one can look at each of them in a meta way to illustrate ways that certain key values and attitude differ, at least in degree. 

A lot of comedy, both in Japan and the U.S., is funny because the characters do things that cross boundaries of social acceptability and proper conduct in small and big ways. You learn about a culture from comedy not by assuming that people in real life will act like the fictional characters, but by learning that acting the way a character does when laugh tracks are triggered would be something that in real life would be considered terribly awkward and embarrassing. 

Similarly, when an issue that would be very sensitive in U.S. culture that would trigger strong emotions, perhaps embarrassment, perhaps fury, perhaps pride at having succeeded in some respect in living up to social pressures is just no a big deal or has no real emotional valence in Japanese fiction, its fair to infer the line of acceptability or emotional trigger point that a situation would involve in U.S. life isn't located in the same place in Japanese culture.

Another theme that runs across all kinds of Japanese fiction very heavily, is a very strong Japanese conviction that almost no one, even a villain, is truly irredeemable, while it is quite common place, and even routine to the point of almost being a default assumption in U.S. fiction, that some people are just plain evil, irredeemably. Japanese fiction certainly has villains, people who do bad things, and bad people, but it has far fewer people who are inherently evil though and through and are incapable of being persuaded otherwise in any way.

There are also some prosaic details about life in Japan that can fairly be assumed to somewhat reflect actual Japanese life after seeing it repeated as basically background material over and over again while consuming lots of Japanese fiction and a smattering of non-fictional accounts of Japanese life.

* Japanese high schools publicly display everyone's academic performance and class rank, something that federal educational privacy laws in the U.S. largely prohibit.

* The curriculum in Japanese high schools typically includes fairly advanced math, some science instruction, pretty intensive and detailed Japanese history, classic Japanese literature, English, and PE. On average, high school is more academically intense and rigorous in Japan than in the U.S., although the reverse is true to some extent at the higher educational level in Japan.

* Extra-curricular after school clubs are an important part of high school life in Japan and students with initiative can usually form their own clubs.

* Flower arranging and tea ceremonies are hobbies with a real following among both high schoolers and adults.

* Manga and anime are quite widely consumed by young adults and even older audiences.

* Japanese school children carry out a lot of the cleaning tasks on a rotating chore basis within each homeroom class that would usually be done by professional janitors in U.S. schools.

* Japanese high school typically have an annual cultural festival in which each class has to put on democratically agreed to event or presentation such as a play, dance performance or pop up theme restaurant.

* Japanese people travel within major cities and between cities via train to a much greater extent than U.S. people do, and buses are used in rural Japan far more than they are in the rural U.S.

* Natural outdoor geothermal hot spring bath resorts are a fairly popular field trip/getaway vacation in Japan.

* Canned drinks from vending machines that aren't soda are quite common in Japan.

* Most elementary and secondary school students where school uniforms to school, often with summer and winter versions, and with the uniform for girls usually including a blouse and skirt. the designs distinguish one school from another.

* The structure of student government in Japan from class representatives up to a school wide set of student government officers seems to be quite similar from school to school in structure and responsibilities. Enforcing minor discipline on fellow students and organizing school wide festivals are a couple of the things it handles.

* At the beginning of the school year there is usually a big assembly, for incoming students at least, at which it is customary for the academically best incoming student to give a speech.

* Good academic performance is viewed more positively and is more salient in how one is viewed in Japanese schools than in U.S. schools.

* Japanese high schools usually arrange one or more sessions with what we would call a guidance counsellor in the U.S. where each student personally discussed after graduation plans for further schooling or work or career paths based upon a sheet submitted to the guidance counsellor in advance of the meeting. Guidances counsellors aren't particular pushy in these sessions but will prod a student a little to see if the plan is really realistic or appropriate and will offer some insights to the student on what the student has to do in order to continue on that path.

* Most Japanese elementary and secondary students walk, bike or take a train (or a mix of the above) to school. Taking a dedicated school bus to school, as opposed to on a school activity, is quite uncommon.

* Japanese school students have cell phones at least as often as American students do and use them in fairly similar ways.

* Japanese school student usually remove their shoes and leave them in a shoe cubby near the entrance and change into slippers when indoors. Someone's shoe cubby is also a convenient place to leave someone an anonymous or not so anonymous note.

* Japanese homeroom classes in elementary school and high school typically have a two character code with the first being a number identifying the year of the student at the school (e.g. second year students), and the next identifying which academic track the class is in ranked from highest at the beginning to lowest at the end. The fact that classes are tracked isn't hidden from students.

* Late in high school, college bound kids tend to spend long hours in cram school preparing for high stakes, content heavy, college entrance exams that everybody in the country takes at more or less the same time.

* While Japanese high schools sometimes have formal dances, there aren't as many school sponsored dances as there would be in a U.S. high school, the format is a bit more flexible, and the dances aren't closely tied to the athletic calendar for major sports.

* Cheer leading is not as much of an institution in Japan as it is in the U.S.

* Elementary and secondary school students in Japan don't play football or lacrosse with any frequency, but do play basketball and soccer. Competitive track and field, swimming, archery and kendo are fairly common individual sports in Japanese schools.

* Japanese schools almost always have a nurses office staffed with a nurse and are quite lax about allowing students to go there for woes that would typically not be sufficient to allow a U.S. student to go to a nurses office.

* While Japan has nudity taboos, they aren't quite as strong as in the U.S. in terms of media presentations of nudity.

* Japanese people utilize hospital care much more frequently than Americans do and it doesn't cost a lot to the user at the time, if it costs anything.

* Japan has some prestigious private schools at the elementary and secondary level. But, elementary and at least some secondary education are pretty much universal, although not everyone pursues higher education and some people pursue trade schools rather than working or higher education.

* While there are some single sex schools in Japan, they aren't common, and in mixed sex schools in Japan boys and girls interact with each other pretty much as freely as they would in a U.S. high school (except, often, for PE).

* The kinds of foods that people have for various meals at home and eating out, respectively, seem to be not terribly different from what people actually eat. For example, hot pot is often seen as a celebratory group food, rice balls are often one of the first things someone learning to cook learns to make, omurice is something of a comfort food, and bento boxes are pretty common for lunch (often with childish designs for younger children). Lots of Japanese food is some combination of rice and fish or some other sea sourced food (e.g. nori, octopus, etc.). Watermelons are considered something of a summer celebratory/prosperity food. People in hard economic straights and students living on their own often give up chicken and beef. Lamb is rare in Japanese food and leavened Western style bread is fairly rare in Japan although that is changing. Japanese portion sizes tend to be small by American standards although this is changing somewhat over time.

* Not many Japanese people strive for sobriety. Drinking various kinds of alcohol is a normal part of life.

* Lots of people in Japan use sleeping mats rather than full fledge beds with mattresses and box springs.

* Bleaching or dying one's hair is a pretty common form of teen and young adult low key rebellion against conformity in Japan, as are piercings, but even individuals who visibly are defiant or different in this way in Japan are far more polite and respect social norms and expectations more than a person with a comparable appearance in the U.S. or Western Europe.

* Japanese people consider themselves superior to Koreans and distrust white people and black people as well as foreigners in general. All non-Japanese people are considered to be elevated crime risks.

* Japanese people in current and recent generations are much taller than Japanese people were in my parent's generation and are now within more or less the same range of heights as Americans and Europeans, although with fewer really high extremes.

* Smoking is more common and more acceptable for middle class and above people in Japan than in the U.S.

* The Japanese drive on the left side of the road.

* People in the Southern islands of the Japanese archipelago, like Okinawa, have a distinct Japanese accent who roughly corresponds to a "hick" or "country" accent in American English, and come across to people from one of Japan's big cities as country rubes to some extent. 

* Divorce is fairly rare in Japan and carries more of a stigma, but does not tend to involve a protracted and involved legal fight. Children in a Japanese divorce are typically assigned entirely to one parent or the other with  the other parent having no parental rights at all and typically almost no contact. Siblings are sometimes split between parties and completely separated from each other. Alimony doesn't really exist after the divorce process is over, but there are sometimes fairly modest child support payments. Japanese women who are unhappy in their marriages face strong peer, family and community social expectations pressure to suck it up and continue in the marriage in all but the most dire circumstances.

* Unmarried childless women in the workforce are treated fairly comparably to men, and there are a significant number of women (mostly unmarried and childless, but not entirely) in important managerial and professional positions in the work force. A more stereotypical career path for an upper middle class Japanese woman is to attend college, get a job as an "office lady" at a big firm which involves a mix of administrative/clerical and hospitality responsibilities while living either with parents or in an apartment (often with roommates), then dating and marrying, quitting the job and having kids and raising them for many years.

* Japanese full time jobs often involve substantial expectations of after work socializing with work colleagues.

* Most places in Japan have rather elaborate trash collection rules with different kinds of recycling and trash require to be sorted and placed in the appropriate receptacles at the right places at the right times.

* There isn't a lot of litter in most places in Japan by U.S. standards.

* Politeness and using the proper honorifics when talking with someone in Japan is a big deal. 

* There are a number of festivals that are a big deal in Japan including a cherry blossom festival, festivals specific to a particular local area, and activities in and around Golden Week. At night, a typical festival has long rows of stalls with games, trinkets, live fish, and street food on offer. Often women and not infrequently men as well, will wear traditional kimono style Japanese dress to a festival. Festivals frequently end with evening fireworks. Another activity during many festivals, especially around the Asian New Year, is to go to a shrine, and while there to offer prayers and hopes, and perhaps to have one's fortunes told.

* Access to guns in Japan is very had to get unless you are in the military or are in law enforcement.

* Residual organized crime Yakuza are still a thing that exists in Japan.

* The Japanese monarchy, which is largely symbolic, is widely popular and there is not much agitation to replace it with a pure Republic. 

* Christianity is known but uncommon and considered a bit odd although Christians are often seen as rather earnest. Muslims, Jews, Hindus and Zoroastrians (a.k.a. Parsis) are exceedingly rare to the point of basically being absent. Japanese life isn't particularly religious and includes a mishmash of Shinto (which has elements similar to Chinese folk religion and ancestor worship and animism), Buddhism, a touch of Taoism, and a heavy dose of Confucian personal and daily life values. Lots of people live fairly secular lives. Religious institutions aren't very monolithic or centralized.

11 June 2019

What Should The U.S. Military Prepare To Do?

The U.S. military wastes money in all sorts of ways. It overpays defense contractors and mismanages defense contracts once they are entered into. It has a money is no object philosophy of purchasing. It is a massive bureaucracy with little financial accountability.

Hammers Looking For Nails

But, probably the biggest problem with our military's organization and procurement is that our military does not have a clear idea of what missions it should be prepared to carry out. So, instead of determining what jobs it has to carry out, and then based upon those jobs, deciding what personnel and equipment resources it needs to accomplish those goals, it is a parade of solutions looking for problems and manufacturing the need to address the problems its tools are best suited to solving, whether those are the actual problems it needs to solve or not. 

Further, the set of tools that are contending for resources are heavily influenced by inertia. The number of fighters the Air Force asks for is driven largely by the number of existing fighters that are getting past their due date. The Navy operates the same way, trying to match retiring ships with new ships to replace them.

The Air Force's elite ranks are disproportionately made up of fighter pilots who trained to engage in air to air combat, and so those are the missions it focuses on preparing the Air Force to carry out, whether that is really what we need to carry out the foreseeable missions the military might be called upon to carry out. Never mind that the U.S. military has had only about two instances of air to air combat in the last twenty years. Other missions have atrophied. The Air Force has again and again tried to shirk its responsibility to provide close air support to ground troops. The Air Force has underinvested in transport aircraft and failed to coordinate with other services to make sure that the planes that carry troops and weapons systems are optimized to the needs to the troops and weapons systems that they carry and likewise ground troops have insufficiently tailored their resources to the aircraft available to carry them. 

Naval air isn't necessarily much better even when it is integrated within a single department and military service. For example, the Marines had to reinvent the WWIII Jeep because none of its other vehicles was small enough to be carried on an MV-22 Osprey.  Notwithstanding the fact that D-Day was an Army operation, the Marines see massive amphibious assaults in the image of D-Day as core to their mission and acquire ships, amphibious armored vehicles, landing craft, helicopters, STOVL fighter aircraft and more to carry out that mission. Never mind that the last time that a large scale amphibious assault was important to the outcome of an armed conflict for the U.S. military was more than sixty years ago during the Korean War. And, neither has anyone else.

In World War II, the U.S. Navy fought a lot of battles in which one blue sea warship tried to sink another blue sea warship. You can count on your fingers the number of times that has happened since then with any military force in the world. But, the U.S. still has a fleet of blue sea warships designed to dominate and vastly outnumber of handful of blue sea navies in the world that still exist. Never mind that aircraft and submarines and cruise missiles and long range missiles and sea mines are almost always better at sinking warships than other warships, which are to a great extent sitting ducks that have avoided catastrophe mostly because no one has wanted to be so definitively at war with the nuclear armed United States. The Navy, like the Air Force, has not given as much attention as it should to sealift, sea basing and coastal firepower support for coastal ground troops.

Another important role of the U.S. Navy is anti-piracy, smuggling interdiction, for which billion dollar destroyers, are expensive overkill, but littoral combat ships may not be very effective.

The Army, which has had more actual combat action than any other military force in raw person hours, has finally come to terms with the fact that a 70 ton M1-A1 Abrams tank can't be delivered to the battlefield promptly, is too heavy for many roads and bridges, is too wide for many narrow old world city streets and mountain passes, requires epic supply lines at 0.5 mpg diesel fuel efficiency, and still have some vulnerability to IEDs, light and mechanized infantry with anti-tank weapons, and enemy aircraft and artillery with guided weapons. It also turns out that just as warships aren't necessarily the optimal means of destroying enemy warships, that heavy tanks aren't the optimal means of destroying enemy tanks. Thirty-five ton Bradley "Infantry Fighting Vehicles" armed with small anti-tank missiles, a variety of fighter and bomber aircraft with "smart bombs" and air to ground missiles, and even infantry with anti-tank weapons all proved to be just as effective at destroying enemy tanks (which largely turned out to be sitting ducks) as 70 ton M1-A1 heavy tanks. 

The Army ended up consigning hundreds, if not thousands of heavy tanks to the bone yard and replacing them with wheeled Stryker armored personnel carriers and wheeled MRAPs (mine resistant ambush protected) vehicles in a variety of sizes, many from foreign military suppliers who wouldn't have been able to get a U.S. military contract at all if U.S. suppliers had been ready to deliver vehicles in that class. The new vehicles 

The ubiquitous Humvee meanwhile, while it was arguably had the greatest off road capabilities of any off road light wheeled military vehicle every built, also proved to be a dud that had to be almost entirely replaced. The broad, low design that was great for traversing hills and gullies made it vulnerable to IEDs. The size and off road maximized engine and transmission meant it guzzled gas when pushed into service driving on paved roads in cities and highways and on military bases where the vast majority of vehicular traffic ended up going anyway. Finally, despite being a military vehicle, it offered no meaningful protection from enemy small arms fire, without being up armored. And, when it was up armored, the vehicle was too heavy for a chassis and transmission designed to carry less weight.

The heavy tank and the Humvee both ended up failing not because they were old designs. Both were mid- to late- 1980s vintage when their problems developed in the 1990s, while the Air Force continued to fly B-52s and A-10s, the Navy continued to operate Vietnam era ship designs, and nuclear forces presided over our nuclear arsenal with 5.25" floppy disks inserted into 1970s era computers with CRT screens. They failed because they were designed by teams that were divorced from the needs of troops in a modern active combat zone, and redesigned when experience made their failures obvious.

Still, the Army has its own woes. It has too much artillery given its modern accuracy. It has too few tip of the spear soldiers and can't deploy many of them very quickly. It has weak language and culture resources and weak nation building capabilities. It is still not comfortable with its counterinsurgency role and has shed a lot of highly experienced veteran NCOs and junior officers whose hard won skills may not be available when needed.

What Wars Have We Fought?

The United States had predominantly participated in peace keeping and counterinsurgency missions, and asymmetric warfare in every conflict it has participated in since the Vietnam War. Beirut. Panama. Yugoslavia. The Gulf War. Afghanistan. The Iraq War. Kosovo. Counterinsurgency operations in Somalia. Intervention in a civil war in Libya. Syria and Norther Iraq against ISIS. It has tried to stay out of sub-Saharan Africa but has had a few engagements with small units supporting local forces. The Gulf War and Iraq War did have conventional warfare components, for less than a month each, after which inferior tank heavy ground forces were annihilated

The U.S. Navy has scuffled ever so lightly with Iran and terrorists in the Persian Gulf, with pirates on Middle Eastern sea routes, and with North Korea. It us employed paramilitary forces, mostly Coast Guard, to take on drug smugglers. Most of that has been asymmetric deployment of forces as well.

We have declined to engage nuclear armed Russia in the Ukraine and Black Sea. We have declined to take the bait in the face of aggressive action from Russian and Chinese naval and air forces.

Nobody with the power to really disrupt bureaucratic inertia in the most expensive military force in the world is in a good position to seriously realign our mix of forces and resources to reflect our contemporary needs.

The U.S. has no reason to fear conventional military invasions over land from either Canada or Mexico. The prospect is laughable. There are only a handful of potentially hostile and threatening navies in the world, but the ones most likely to engage us in anger, Iran, Pakistan, and North Korea, have essentially no capacity to cross  either the Pacific Ocean, or the Indian and then Atlantic Oceans to deliver hostile ships to U.S. shores or anywhere close. There are really only two naval forces that are a potential threat to U.S. territory, Russia and China. And, even of those two, the threat that China poses to Hawaii or Guam, for example, is really modest. China is far more of a threat to our East Asian allies Japan, South Korea and Taiwan than it is to the U.S. itself.

Russia does have a blue sea navy, although it is a mere shadow of the Soviet Union's navy at its peak or the U.S. Navy today. It could seriously interfere with global shipping, make naval warfare with our European allies (as it did with Ukraine in attacks that went unanswered), it could bomb Hawaii and Guam and even U.S. coastal areas, it could menace U.S. warships, and it could even conceivably retake control of some largely uninhabited land in Alaska. But, to do so it would have to risk a global nuclear war between two nations easily capable of not just obliterating each other but destroying most human life on the planet. Russia also has long range bombers and missiles that could destroy any U.S. city or military installation anywhere in the world if they more likely than not got at least some of their forces past U.S. defenses, but with the same risks of all out nuclear war.

But, not many other countries that could conceivably be hostile to the U.S. even have long range bomber or missile capabilities that pose any serious threat to U.S. based fighters and air defense resources. There is really not a single country in Latin America that does. There is no country in the Middle East, Africa or South Asia or Southeast Asia that does. Australia and New Zealand are our friends and always will be. There might be a country or two in Eastern Europe that has those capabilities, but they'd have to go through Western European allies or conspire with Russia to do so.

Iran couldn't manage it. Neither could North Korea. China might conceivably have that kind of capability, but it is marginal at best as a threat to the U.S., it risks the same mutual assured destruction threat that Russia does, and China, to a much greater extent than the U.S., needs sustained trade with the U.S. and other countries to provide its own prosperity. China might be able to squash the Philippines or North Korea or Vietnam or Laos or even Nepal or Mozambique or even Taiwan. But, a Chinese war with Japan or South Korea or the U.S. would be catastrophic to its economy.

This analysis should lead to a conclusion that has long been obvious to anyone paying attention. The U.S. military is not primarily or even significantly a self-defense force (nor for that matter is it a force designed to put down domestic insurgencies).

What missions make sense?

I've broken the missions of the U.S. military into two main categories. The first involve lots of genuinely personnel and equipment. The second involve very small forces or paramilitary forces.

Major Military Missions

* Aid key allies against invading or attacking hostile national military forces, usually as part of an international coalition. Some of the key allies to potentially include in international coalitions or to defend against hostile nations include Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, Thailand, India, Israel, Turkey, and Western Europe. The invading or attacking forces could be North Korea, China, Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Russia or certain Eastern European allies of Russia.

Obviously, not all potentially hostile nations are concerns in all locations. In Western Europe, Russia and its Eastern European allies (and perhaps the stray Iranian long range missile) are the only concerns and other threats can be ignored in those areas. Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Eastern European allies of Russia aren't a concern in East Asia or Southeast Asia. Taiwan is worried pretty much exclusively about China. India is worried pretty much exclusively about Pakistan at the near peer level. Israel isn't worried about North Korea, China, Sudan or Eastern Europe and not really even Russia, instead it nears to bear Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other neighbors. Focusing on only plausible conflicts between potential enemies and likely allies can greatly focus training and procurement decisions.

* Deter and interrupt threats to shipping (such as blockades) and commerce from a handful of nations with dangerous, short range, coastal navies (e.g. North Korea, China, Pakistan, Iran), and the only other hostile nation with a blue sea navy (i.e. Russia), often as part of an international coalition.

Again, these are very discrete, predictable, potential conflicts that can be addressed one by one with a focused response to a non-hypothetical adversary.

* Depose genocidal or aggressive regimes, usually as part of an international coalition and then build a successor state.

This is one of the harder scenarios to plan for and is likely to include a shorter heavy conventional weapons phase followed by an asymmetric mostly ground warfare phase.

* Assist friendly regimes, usually as part of an international coalition, in asymmetric counterinsurgency, anti-terrorist and peace keeping operations.

These are ranked from most to least intense/most to least near peer in character.

Almost all major military missions are likely to be part of international coalitions (at a minimum of a key ally's own military and the U.S. supporting it, and often a broad multi-national coalition with varying levels of support from different participants), but our military does almost nothing to integrate this reality into its planning regarding the size of the forces it needs, it operational organization, or its logistics needs. Thought should be given in advance to what part of forces defending against a hostile invasion or attack should be provided locally by the country at risk and what forces should be provided by the U.S. in support. For example, heavy ground systems should probably be pre-placed. Defending islands against tanks makes no sense and defensive tanks on islands should be anti-personnel oriented.

Disarmament treaties involving the most threatening naval and air/missile weapons with a handful of potential threat nations could dramatically reduce the global need for military expenditures by the U.S. and its allies.

A great deal of this involves predominantly asymmetric warfare and dispersed forces in small, unplanned engagements or planned raids. Large, conventional, set piece battles are largely obsolete and where they occur are likely to be brief.

The more near peer conflicts at the top of the list will typically call for very rapid responses before there is a fait accompli.

Military training and military equipment can and should be tailored for the bulk of the military that is devoted to these kinds of missions to a very small number of potential opponents in a quite modest range of locations, especially for the more near peer conflicts. Especially in the case of asymmetric missions procurement decision making should be supervised as much as possible by veteran military officers and NCOs with experience in the kind of conflicts in question.

Military Missions That Are Less Personnel/Equipment Intensive

* Maintain an offensive nuclear missile/bomb arsenal and anti-missile/anti-bomber defenses for a strategic nuclear warfare capability and defense against non-state actors and rogue nations with small nuclear weapons arsenals.  Also defense of space based resources.

This might be a dozen ballistic missile submarines, two or three dozen nuclear bombers, a number of fixed missile bases, some fighters/anti-missile aircraft to interdict enemy aircraft and bombers, some point defense anti-missile/anti-air batteries, and some anti-missile cruisers that would operate close to rogue nations intended to intercept missiles not long after they are launched. This force as a whole might have 50,000 or less active duty military personnel.

* Put down non-state piracy and smuggling (mostly of people, drugs, and weapons), often as part of an international coalition, via lighter naval forces in distant seas.

This might be dozens of small, fast naval ships, associated aircraft (patrol aircraft and helicopters), air based drones, and unmanned surface craft, plus small units for boarding parties. It might have less than 10,000 active duty military personnel. A critical part of this mission is being more cost effective in carrying it out for sustained missions so that there isn't loss via attrition and expense.

* Rescue U.S. citizens abroad and citizens of allied nations.

Marine amphibious ships have taken a lot of this role, but it should be accentuated more clearly. This might have a few thousand active duty military personnel and possibly civilians as well.

* Training and arming allies.

* Protect U.S. trade and business interests and those of our allies abroad from asymmetric opponents and terrorists.

* Protect U..S. embassies.

This involves a few thousand Marine guards who might also be involved in some of the three previous missions.

These missions, while calling for fewer personnel, are still very important and should have integrated forces with specialized training and equipment designed to carry out these missions.

* Provide international aid in all manner of disasters, chaos, outbreaks and violent occurrences, such as providing hospital ships, food and clean water.

This could be done with a few thousand active duty personnel and a civilian aid worker corps.

Domestic Paramilitary Missions

* Respond domestically to rogue aircraft attacks such as 9-11, air piracy, hijackings and attacks with armed aircraft (when small in number, rather than an all out large fleet of near peer aircraft or modern bombers) via the Air National Guard.

This should involve purpose built equipment for this cost sensitive, low level opponent capability mission, such as homeland defense interceptors with no air to ground capability, no stealth, less extreme speed and maneuverability, smaller complements of offensive weapons, if possible non-lethal weapons, lower operating costs and training costs, also anti-missile/anti-aircraft capabilities.

* Put down non-state piracy and smuggling (mostly of people, drugs, and weapons), domestically via the Coast Guard.

This is largely in place.

* Respond to domestic disasters, wild fires and SAR needs via the Air National Guard, National Guard and Coast Guard.

This is largely in place. Also hurricane chase planes.

* Respond to riots and uprisings via the National Guard and Air National Guard.

The National Guard should be specially equipped and trained for these missions rather than for near peer conventional warfare of second or third string round out troops. The Air National Guard should provide short distance transportation of forces and reconnaissance.