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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

PAT versus the SEA-BASED X-BAND RADAR

I relish in deprecating Hawaii's giant floating golf ball, also known as the Sea-Based X-Band Radar (SBXBR), designed by Boeing, and do this at least annually.  But even The Los Angeles Times called it a floating flop.  But who am I to cast aspersions, as the SBXBR or GFGB has worked.  Not once has Hawaii been threatened since 2006 when this Alaska-based protector came to us.  It's highly probable, though, that this golf ball would not have detected the Japanese planes attacking Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 until it was too late, for it is known as a powerful soda straw radar, meaning that the field of vision is so narrow that it can only see what you tell it to view.

It would be almost impossible to compare two more disparate entities on Planet Earth:  SBXBR versus me.  First, though, we do have a few things in common:
  • Looks like a golf ball, and I golf once or twice per week.
  • Is home-based in Hawaii, and so am I.
  • It goes on long vacations, and even when at work doesn't do much.  Sounds like me.
William Cole is the local Military-Industrial-Complex writer.  He said this radar is so all-seeing that it can  detect a baseball 2,500 miles away.  After cataract surgery, I can now observe a golf ball rolling on the green 200 yards away.  Cole indicated that the system cost $2.2 billion.  I'm almost worthless.  

The Los Angeles Times, though, reports that $10 billion has been sunk into the SBXBR and related family of non-starters.  According to L. David Montague, former president of missile systems for Lockheed Corp, and now at Stanford University, this radar should never have been built.  Not referring to the media but defense officials, retired Air Force General Eugene E. Habiger, former head of the U.S. Strategic Command, said "They are totally off in la-la land."  In counter-attack, Henry Obering, retired director of the Missile Defense Agency blamed the Obama administration for not doubling down with more spending.  There are  almost always two sides to everything about war, especially when jobs are at stake.

Interestingly enough, I noticed a June article by Malia Zimmerman of Fox News touting the success of Hawaii's X-band radar.  In August she was implicated in one of those untruths involving Fox News, the White House and the Russian government.  I thought, gee, that name sounds familiar.  Turns out that in 1991, while she was reporting for Environment Hawaii, a monthly newsletter which still publishes, she had what she called an expose' of the Pacific International Center for High Technology Center, and specifically mentioned me by name.  There were some facts combined with general ignorance and an embarrassing lack of understanding on how things work in Hawaii.  Story went nowhere, but makes for interesting historical reading.  

Patricia Tummons, a philosopher, who helped start the company, was interviewed in 2015 on their (Environment Hawaii) 25th year, and indicated that the newsletter:
  •  In 1993 shut down the Hawaii spaceport effort and former admiral Tom Hayward in particular.  He was such a fine gentleman.  Too bad.
  • Then they picked on the Western Pacific Regional Management Council about turtles and tuna.  Good effort.
  • They did a number on Charles Chidaic and the Hawaiian Riviera Resort.  Met him.  He promised building a research center on the Big Island for my support, which I distanced myself from as fast as possible.  Later, everything crashed and he fled Hawaii.  
Environment Hawaii has done some good work.  Wish them well.

So what about defending Hawaii from Kim Jung-un's nuclear-tipped missiles?  It would take only 20 minutes for an ICBM to reach this state.  Former Hawaii Congressman Charles Djou in July indicated:
  • We are the most vulnerable target because of key military installations.
  • Recommends the Congress allocated funds for
    • a permanent Aegis Ashore system with SM-3 interceptors
    • a truck mounted THAAD system with AN/TPY-radar
  • The U.S. has already quickly armed Israel and South Korea...what about Hawaii?
  • Cost?  THAAD is available only for $1.6 billion.  There is already an Aegis Ashore test system on Kauai (above right), but is not operational with no missiles.
The state government is taking a calmer approach, indicating that it did not want to cause undue stress for the public, so Vern Miyagi, a former Lieutenant General, and now administrator of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, advises us, if the worst approaches, get inside, stay there and follow TV/radio instructions.  That's it?  Well, what more do you want or can you do?  The tourism industry is already unhappy with this campaign to spook tourism.  A more complete plan is being developed.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average again broke its all-time record, up 42 to 22,413.

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Super Hurricane Maria is causing havoc over Puerto Rico at 140 MPH, but will then mostly stay in the Atlantic:



However, that median white line will not just stop there.  Puerto Rico has a population of 3.4 million, has been in a recession for the past decade, experienced its first Category 4 hurricane in 85 years and at this writing had no power.

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