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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Question: "What will YOU do about modernizing weapons systems.?"

At Republican leader and ag + ethanol businessman Bruce Rastetter's Agricultural Summit we heard from some Republicans what their position is on ethanol, genetically modified crops, immigration, and other agricultural issues. Before that we heard about gay marriage, abortion, and other social issues at Congressman Steve King's Freedom Summit.

Now we need to hear from them about their position on the future of American weapons systems and national defense at Dr. Politics (that's me) Future of the Military Summit which I am launching here. 

Many of you saw my column in the Ames Tribune and sent me "atta boy's."

Presidential candidates, here is the issue:

"... we are still basically using weapons from World War I, like barbed wire, tanks, rifles, ships, and airplanes"

Steffen Schmidt: Where is our ‘Enterprise’ when we need it?
By Steffen Schmidt, March 9, 2015, Ames Tribune

This week at the gym, I was watching an episode of “Star Trek.”

Kirk and crew take the Enterprise and end up in a life and death war with hostile Klingons. They were using a “directed-energy weapon.” 

It’s a weapon that emits energy in an aimed direction but without the need of a projectile like a shell. The weapon transfers energy to a target for a number of potential effects such as stun, heat, kill, or vaporize.

Of course as we all know, “Phasers were the most common and standard directed energy weapons in the arsenal of Starfleet. Most Phasers were classified as particle weapons and fire nadion particle beams. But some like the Ferengi hand Phasers were classified as plasma weapons and fired forced plasma beams.” See

We also know that Kirk, Spock, Bones, Scotty, Uhura, Sulu and others had amazing platforms from which to launch their operations, including the Enterprise or Constitution class Starships, Daedalus class vessels, and the Galaxy Class ship USS Venture which participated in the Battle for Deep Space 9, First Battle of Chin’toka, and Battle of Cardassia, part of Battle Group Omega sent to intercept Reman warship Scimitar.

These ships were instrumental to the Federation defending civilization and repelling the threats from a host of admirable adversaries like Klingon General Chang, a Vulcan named Sybok, the Gorn who are angry, hissing, lizard-men, and of course, the dreaded Borg, which is “… a teeming collective of countless cyborg drones, all ruled by a single hivemind.”

Since the TV series “Star Trek” launched in 1966, we have been introduced to existential moments when civilization hung in the balance and very bad aliens threatened its very existence. 

In the 1979 film, “Star Trek: The Motion Picture,” a mysterious and immensely powerful alien cloud called V’Ger approaches Earth, destroying everything in its path. Admiral James T. Kirk … assumes command of his previous starship — the recently refitted USS Enterprise — to lead it on a mission to save the planet and determine V’​Ger’s origins.

Throughout it all we came to expect and even “understand” the engineering and science behind the marvelous craft and weapons. For example, we all know that, “In the 2270s, phaser power systems of Federation starships were redesigned to channel power directly from the warp core.” We actually want to understand this engineering.

I believe that thousand of similarly technical specs on every aspect of “Star Trek” and also “Star Wars” raised our expectations about how to deal with real dangerous enemies here on Earth. The solution we learned is, you bring new technology and smart, brave heroes to bear on the threat, you fight mightily, and in the end, crush the enemy and neutralize the threat to civilization.

Today, we face a cruel and unusual adversary in ISIS, which could easily be a new interplanetary enemy in “Star Trek.” It even has a character, Jihadi John, who could be inserted into a science fiction episode as an unusually cruel and dangerous enemy from an incomprehensible planet.

As we anxiously wait for a solution to the Middle East crisis I believe we are despondent that there seem to be no answers to the threat. Our leaders are, on a daily basis, more and more confused and seem helpless in the face of this challenge.

We ask ourselves, why can’t we move one or more of our powerful Starships into place over the enemy and issue an ultimatum. When they refuse to surrender, we deploy our Transphasic torpedoes, Isokinetic Cannons, Trilithium resin, or if necessary the Varon-T disruptors and wipe out the enemy?

Instead, we are still basically using weapons from World War I, like barbed wire, tanks, rifles, ships and airplanes, which were first used in that terrible war almost 100 years ago. 

Oh sure, these old weapons systems have been “improved” and made shiny but at the core they are obsolete. Our enemies have the same weapons as we do. That’s a strategic disaster. 

A “Federation-level” power such as the United States must have new, game changing technology if it expects to win and survive.

If Congress can ever stop hyperventilating about irrelevancies maybe they can ponder losing the technology race in which we find ourselves. If we don’t, I guarantee that soon the new Klingons will rule the Earth.

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