Microliberations Newsletter #1 May 2022: Beginnings
Trying something new, a monthly newsletter sharing a few articles related to the impact of military technology on strategy, with a particular focus on ballistic missile defence in a UK context. I'll also feature more esoteric content coming from my interest in philosophy and books.
In this month's digest:
- Royal Navy Type 45 Destroyers to receive anti-ship ballistic missile defence capability
- Defence Space 2022: Working Together to Operationalise Space
- US MDA plans to turn on Polish Aegis Ashore site in June, after years of delay
- A few cool looking books I've favourited on Twitter
- 1984, Bradford Playhouse
- Read and Relax: Wuthering Heights
Royal Navy Type 45 Destroyers to receive anti-ship ballistic missile defence capability
This isn't a capability to be able to defend the UK itself from ICBM nuclear missile attack, it's about the defence of a group of ships at sea (maritime theatre defence), but it's certainly a step in the direction of homeland defence.
Defence Space 2022: Working Together to Operationalise Space
This was a conference organised by the UK Ministry of Defence bringing together "international partners, allies and industry" to discuss the evolution of the UK's Space Command, the UK's National Space Strategy, and how the war in Ukraine was demonstrating the operationalisastion of space as a theatre of conflict. I've only just realised this but I've just registered to watch a free recording of the conference, I'll feed back on it. There's still time until the 12th of June if you want to register and watch it yourself.
US MDA plans to turn on Polish Aegis Ashore site in June, after years of delay
Yeah, some aspects of this delay can be seen in this article in the EurAsian Times dated 29 March 2022. The article claimed that US Missile Defense Agency Director Vice Adm. John Hill said that the United States was on schedule to begin testing Poland’s Aegis Ashore combat system in April. This didn't seem take to place and at the time I wondered if it could be down to the war in Ukraine and not wanting to inflame things?
However, on 24th May Janes reported that according to the aforementioned MDA Director Vice Admiral Jon Hill, "The US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) is planning for a 5 June ‘light-off' to turn on and test its long-delayed Aegis Ashore missile interceptor system in Poland', will this involve an actual interceptor test launch?
Report to Congress on Navy Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense
Wonder if this foreshadows the release of the Missile Defence Review 2022? Interesting points considered. 1. the role of the Aegis BMD program in a new missile defense system architecture for Guam; 2. whether to convert the Aegis test facility in Hawaii into an operational land-based Aegis BMD site. 3. the potential for ship-based lasers to contribute to Navy terminal-phase BMD operations.
A few cool looking books I've favourited on Twitter
1984, Bradford Playhouse
Last Thursday I went to see an amateur production of my favourite book, 1984. It was 1984 that first turned me on to politics, especially questions around what I would come to know as political philosophy; freedom of thought, individualism and collectivism, etc. The set was minimal, as you can see below, but used to great effect. The players gave a great performance and I found it really powerful to hear the words from the page spoken out loud. The passage where Symes is delighted by the aesthetics of a hanging, "at the end, the tongue sticking right out, and blue a quite bright blue. That's the detail that appeals to me”: chilling. Also the scene where Julia bumps into Winston and passes him that note brought tears to my eyes: those three words “I love you”, in the face of that desperation for some human warmth.
Read and Relax: Wuthering Heights
I've been continuing with my Read and Relax sessions almost every Saturday at 4pm UK time. I sit quietly and live stream myself reading books that I feel I should read but probably wouldn't read for pleasure. I've been doing it for over 2 years now and so far I've read War and Peace and Moby Dick. I don't know who they are but a few people seem to view it each week.
I'm currently reading Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights, and man, it's brutal. In recent chapters Heathcliff's been raising Hareton, the son of his deceased and despised adoptive step-brother Hindley. Except that instead of raising Hareton, Heathcliff delights in trying to stunt and degrade Hareton as much as possible in a form of twisted revenge against Hindley: "he was never taught to read or write; never rebuked for any bad habit...never led a single step towards virtue, or guarded a single precept against vice".
Furthermore, when Heathcliff's estranged son, Linton, is brought back up to Wuthering Heights from the south of England after 13 years when Linton's mother and Heathcliff's wife, Isabella, dies, Heathcliff is disgusted by the sight of his son due to the memories he brings up and his sickly appearance. Nonetheless, Heathcliff decides he will raise the boy properly, if only as some twisted experiment to further get back at Hindley: "one [Hareton] is gold put to the use of paving-stones, and the other [Linton] is tin polished to ape a service of silver. Mine has nothing valuable about it; yet I shall have the merit of making it go as far as such poor stuff can go. His had first-rate qualities, and they are lost".
Heathcliff's often portrayed as an anti-hero: he just seems downright despicable.
There're several more weeks of reading left in Wuthering Heights. Next up I'm going to read The Bible.
"There is an artist imprisoned in each of us. Let him loose to spread joy everywhere." Bertrand Russell