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Yesterday at 7:43 AM
Congress Is Concerned About Who Gets to Launch Nuclear Bombs
me too
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sorta related:
Retired US General Says Nuclear Launch Order Can Be Refused
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A retired
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general told the Senate on Tuesday that an order from President Donald Trump or any of his successors to launch nuclear weapons can be refused by the top officer at U.S. Strategic Command if that order is determined to be illegal.

During testimony before the Foreign Relations Committee, retired Gen. Robert Kehler said the U.S. armed forces are obligated to follow legal orders, not illegal ones. Kehler, who served as the head of Strategic Command from January 2011 to November 2013, said the legal principles of military necessity, distinction and proportionality also apply to decisions about nuclear weapons use. The command would control nuclear forces in a war.

Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, the committee's top ranking Democrat, asked Kehler if that means Strategic Command can deny the president's order if it fails the test of proportionality and legality.

"Yes," Kehler responded, adding such a situation would lead to a "very difficult conversation." It might prompt a president to put a new general in charge to carry out his order, said Brian McKeon, a former acting undersecretary of defense for policy during the Obama administration, who testified alongside Kehler.

Bruce Blair, a former nuclear missile launch officer and a co-founder of Global Zero, an international movement for the elimination of nuclear weapons, said that even if a four-star commander of nuclear forces believed a presidential launch order to be illegal, he could not stop it because the order goes to him and to launch crews in the field simultaneously. The commander could try to override the order by sending a launch termination order, Blair said.

"But it would be too late," he said.

The hearing comes as the threat of nuclear attack from North Korea remains a serious concern and Trump's critics question his temperament. Trump's taunting tweets aimed at Pyongyang have sparked concerns primarily among congressional Democrats that he may be inciting a war with North Korea.

"Let me pull back the cover for a minute from this hearing," said Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., a consistently vocal critic of Trump. "We are concerned that the president of the United States is so unstable, is so volatile, has a decision-making process that is quixotic, that he might order a nuclear weapons strike that is wildly out of step with U.S. national security interests."

But if a president's order to fire nuclear weapons, even pre-emptively, is determined to be sound and legal, there's
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Not the Congress. Not his secretary of defense. And by design, not the military officers who would be duty-bound to execute the order.

As then-Vice President Dick Cheney explained in December 2008, the president "could launch a kind of devastating attack the world's never seen. He doesn't have to check with anybody. He doesn't have to call the Congress. He doesn't have to check with the courts."

And the world has changed even more in the decade since, with North Korea posing a bigger and more immediate nuclear threat than had seemed possible. The nature of the U.S. political world has changed, too, and Trump's opponents — even within his own party — question whether he has too much power over nuclear weapons.

Some aspects of presidential nuclear war-making powers are secret and therefore not well understood by the public. The system is built for fast decision-making, not debate. That's because speed is seen as essential in a crisis with a nuclear peer like Russia. Unlike North Korea, Russia has enough nuclear weapons to destroy the U.S. in minutes.

Russia's long-range missiles could reach the U.S. in about 30 minutes. Submarine-launched missiles fired from nearer U.S. shores might arrive in half that time. Given that some of the U.S. response time would be taken up by administrative steps, the president would have less than 10 minutes to absorb the information, review his options and make his decision, according to a December 2016 report by nuclear arms specialist Amy Woolf of the Congressional Research Service.

A president who decided to launch a nuclear attack — either in retaliation for a nuclear strike or in anticipation of one — would first hold an emergency conference with the defense secretary, the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman and other advisers. The commander of U.S. Strategic Command, now Air Force Gen. John Hyten, would brief the president on strike options, and the president would make his decision.

The president would communicate his decision and transmit his authorization through a device called the nuclear football, a suitcase carried by a military aide. It's equipped with communication tools and a book with prepared war plans.

If the president decided to order a strike, he would identify himself to military officials at the Pentagon with codes unique to him. These codes are recorded on a card known as the biscuit that is carried by the president at all times. He would then transmit the launch order to the Pentagon and Strategic Command.
the first time I heard of him was ... Nov 3, 2017
I inadvertently clicked on Land section of DefenseNews and ... this is quite interesting:

"... to ask Esper if the Army was ready to fight combined arms maneuver warfare against a near-peer competitor.

“I think with only one third of the brigade combat teams and 25 percent of the combat aviation brigades ready, engaging in such a conflict would be a significant risk,” Esper said.

He went on to say that he wanted to push more quickly toward a sustained readiness goal of having 66 percent of the force in a combat-ready status. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley previously estimated it would take the Army until 2023 to reach that goal."

Senate won't accept billion dollar failures from Army secretary nominee
21 hours ago
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Senate confirms Esper as Army secretary
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Senators confirmed on Wednesday former Raytheon executive Mark Esper as the new Army secretary, filling the service’s top civilian post after nearly a year of nomination turmoil for the White House.

Esper is a former Army lieutenant colonel who graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1986. He served for more than a decade on active duty, including a combat tour in Iraq during the first Gulf War.

He also served as deputy assistant secretary of defense under former President George W. Bush and as both a House Armed Services Committee staffer and director of national security affairs for then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist.

Esper was easily confirmed by the Senate, with a 89-6 vote.

But filling the post was far less smooth for the administration. Esper was President Donald Trump’s third pick for the job, with each of the first two withdrawing before confirmation hearings began.

In February, Vincent Viola withdrew his name from consideration for the post, citing strict Defense Department rules concerning his family businesses. He is the founder of digital stock trading firm Virtu Financial and owner of the National Hockey League’s Florida Panthers.

In May, Trump’s second nominee — Tennessee state Sen. Mark Green — withdrew his name from consideration after what he called “false and misleading attacks” concerning his past comments on gay rights and evolution.

Esper was nominated over the summer, but his confirmation hearings were delayed by congressional recesses and fighting between Pentagon and Senate officials over communications on policy and operational issues.

When his nomination hearing took place earlier this month, Esper said his top priority as Army secretary would be a focus on service readiness.

“This means recruiting and retaining the best our nation has to offer, ensuring these young men and women are well-trained and well-led, and equipping them with the best weapons and technology available,” he told senators. “Every unit must be prepared to deploy and accomplish its mission. These are the fundamental (job) duties of the secretary of the Army.”

Before Wednesday’s vote, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., praised Esper as a commendable pick for the post.

“We owe our young men and women in uniform leadership that fits their service,” McCain said. “I’m confident that (Esper) will provide our Army with that leadership. His record of service in the Army, in the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill provides the foundation for the leadership our soldiers deserve.”

The Army has only had a full-time secretary for a few months over the last two years. Army Secretary Eric Fanning was nominated to replace John McHugh in late 2015, but did not officially take over the job until May because of a lengthy confirmation fight with Congress. Deputy Assistant Army Secretary Patrick Murphy served in an acting role for more than four months.

Since Trump’s inauguration, the acting secretary post has been held by Robert Speer and Ryan McCarthy.
interestingly, Navy Only Interested in Stable 2-A-Year Attack Boat Build Rate Despite Congressional Authority to Buy More
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The Navy’s undersea warfare division is eyeing a stable two-a-year attack submarine rate to reach its ultimate goal of a 66-SSN fleet, despite calls from outside the service to build a larger navy faster.

Acting director of undersea warfare (OPNAV N97) Brian Howes told USNI News today that the service plans to build two Virginia-class submarines a year, which would allow them to reach a 66-boat force by 2048. Building two a year even in years when the Navy buys Columbia-class ballistic-missile submarines would be an increase compared to previous plans, which had just one Virginia sub in years when the Navy also bought an SSBN.

The increase in the attack boat requirement, which had previously been set at 48 SSNs, comes as part of the Navy’s push to build a 355-ship fleet. Various stakeholders have described vastly different timelines for reaching 355 ships in the 11 months since
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. Though
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would take 25 to 30 years, and the
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, others have suggested more aggressive timelines– the
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for reaching 66 attack submarines, Naval Sea Systems Command suggested a plan that shaves 10 to 15 years off in part by extending the life of current ships in the fleet, and lawmakers are pushing for higher SSN procurement rates. The Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act allows the Navy to buy 13 over five years, or three a year in non-SSBN years.

Still, Howes said the OPNAV staff and N97 specifically are committed to two a year.

“All of the divisions in N9 are working on how to establish the right industrial base sustaining rate to build to the levels we need. We talked about at the Sub League Symposium that that’s two per year for us, SSNs. If you stay on two per year you end up at the force objective, which is 66. It’s in the out-years, but it’s stability, and it allows us to maintain the industrial base and not have peaks and valleys in the profile,” Howes said in an interview today.
“There’s value in having that stable production profile. There may be opportunities to increase that profile, but it’s over and above a stable profile. The surface community, the expeditionary community, the aviation community are also looking at similar stable profiles. Where’s our objective? What should the profile be to achieve that objective over time?”

“Now as we are building up slowly, as we get above 48, we also have to make sure that we have the total ownership cost in our budget to sustain those additional ships,” he continued.
“The man, train and equip, all of those pieces have to be accounted for when you go above your current force structure levels. We have to make sure that we have sufficient funding for that as our force increases. We’re identifying what those values are, we’re communicating those.”

Howes said some of the funding to build two SSNs a year and sustain the larger force will come through efficiencies and the rest will have to come through an increase in topline Navy spending. He said N97 is focused on “reform and process so we can get the most savings out of our programs as possible and we can self-fund this increase in our force. When we achieve the limit of that, we need to go to Congress and say we need additional resources to fund the navy the nation needs.”

Howes made clear “we’re not saying no” to building more than two attack submarines per year, but for now the emphasis is on a predictable and stable build rate for industry.

“If we say we’re going to do three a year, we need to give [industry] a signal to do it, and then have them build out their facilities” for a higher build-rate, he said, but an increase to three a year would be dependent on proven industrial base capacity and additional resources – which would likely involve a repeal of the Budget Control Act and its strict spending limits, he said, so the Navy would have a topline to support not only buying more subs but also buying more ships, aircraft, people, and other things needed for a balanced larger force.

Howes comments are the second this month on the Navy’s commitment to building two attack subs a year and no more.
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it could reliably maintain a 60-month build cycle during two-a-year acquisition before the Navy would consider buying three a year. Those comments were made from a program and industrial base health standpoint, whereas Howes’ comments speak to the Navy’s requirements and funding intentions.


Lieutenant General
Registered Member
In the weapons bays possible ASW weapons ? torpedoes i think too long

General Atomics MQ-9 Used in Successful Anti-Submarine Warfare Demonstration

The remote detection and tracking of submerged contacts, such as submarines, was demonstrated using an MQ-9 Predator® B Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) during a U.S. Naval exercise on October 12th. General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) participated in this successful demonstration of new maritime patrol capabilities that included anti-submarine warfare.
Sonobuoys were deployed by U.S. Navy helicopters and acoustic data gathered from the sonobuoys were used to track underwater targets. The data was transmitted to the MQ-9 and processed onboard, then relayed to the MQ-9’s Ground Control Station (GCS) several hundred miles away from the target area. The event successfully paired sonobuoy receiver, supplied by Ultra Electronics, and data processing technology, provided by General Dynamics Mission Systems-Canada, onboard the MQ-9. A track solution was calculated and transmitted from the aircraft to the Ground Control Station (GCS) via SATCOM. This technology will provide long-range patrol and relay capabilities to the MQ-9 to augment maritime mission sets.

“This test demonstrated the ability of our RPA to detect submarines and provide persistent tracking of submerged targets,” said Linden Blue, CEO, GA-ASI.

The MQ-9 was also equipped with GA-ASI’s Lynx® Multi-mode Radar. The Lynx radar featured its Maritime Wide-area Search (MWAS) mode, which detects maritime surface targets over a wide area with Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar (ISAR) for target classification. The aircraft’s Electro-optical/Infrared (EO/IR), high-definition Full-motion Video (FMV) camera supports the identification of surface vessels. These sensor contacts are correlated with the Automatic Identification System (AIS) to verify target identity. Additionally, the MQ-9 can be fitted with a centerline pod that can house a longer-range, 360-degree field of regard maritime surface search radar for enhanced surveillance over water.

The flight test was conducted over the Southern California Offshore Range (SCORE) west of San Clemente Island.

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LCS PORK, I guess
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can build the 355-ship fleet both
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and the
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want, three former Navy Secretaries said
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. We can even build it a lot faster than
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, but there are a lot of IFs. If we start using small shipyards that currently don’t build warships. If we
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, and, of course, If Congress can finally bust
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on spending. Those three obstacles, of course, have defied
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for years.

And after we do all that, we still might not have the right 355 ships, two of the secretaries warned. Those small yards can build small vessels like the
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, but they will struggle to build large, complex combatants like destroyers. They definitely can’t build nuclear-powered
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, the crucial capital ships of modern naval warfare.

If we mainly want a fleet for
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, that bottleneck doesn’t matter much because we can do that job with low-end warships. If we want to
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with their rapidly modernizing militaries, however, we need high-end ones. The Chief of Naval Operations,
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, has called for a stunning
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in the attack submarine fleet in particular. What
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we need ultimately depends on our strategy — and, so far, we don’t have one.

“We can build it and we can build it fast,”
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, Reagan’s hard-charging Navy secretary, said of the 355-ship fleet. “Of course, we can get there. In World War II…. we ended up building 5,000 ships in three-and-a-half years.” Hasn’t American manufacturing deteriorated since? No, said Lehman, an investor in the shipbuilding industry himself. “I think we have a better industrial base.”

That base is broader than the “Big Five” shipyards, all owned by either
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, which Lehman called an uncompetitive “duopoly.” Lehman’s own firm has bought four small shipyards over the years, all onetime warship builders that got out of the business. All four could build warships again, he said, if they could count on sustained funding from Congress and less bureaucracy from the Pentagon. Of course, attaining either of those things is not easy.

“One of the main reasons yards like that don’t bid is because they know the Pentagon system is out of control,” Lehman said, “(but) all of this is fixable.”

How? I asked him after the three ex-secretaries’ public remarks at the
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. “You need leaders that are supported and backed up and given the authority to say ‘no,’ just ‘no'” to the bureaucracy, Lehman told me. (Lehman has a particular loathing for “the insane
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” created by the 1986 Goldwater-Nichols Act, which he fought). It was bureaucratic meddling, he argued, that led to early overruns on the Littoral Combat Ship program. Intended to bypass the usual procurement process by using Other Transaction Authority and R&D funding, LCS ran afoul of traditionalists who rejected the use of private-sector construction standards and imposed stricter naval rules, he argues. (Traditionalists argue the civilian standards made the ship too vulnerable to battle damage).

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to this day, but it’s a vital test case for Lehman, because it’s built by pair of smaller yards that entered the warship business in the last 20 years:
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in Alabama and
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in Wisconsin. The problem with applying this model more widely, however, is that the LCS is cheaper, smaller, and less complex than any other warship. You can build a 355-ship fleet more affordably with lots of Littoral Combat Ships, but is that the right fleet?

... goes on below due to size limit
continuation of the post right above:
Danzig & O’Keefe: Wait A Minute

If you go to small yards for small ships in large numbers, you’ll short-change the big ships needed for a big war, argued
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, Navy Secretary under Clinton. “Fundamentally, the rationale for the Navy, the importance of the Navy to this republic, is the ability to fight even when we get into a major conflict…. If you raise the flag of 350 or 355 ships as the measure of our well being.. we will motivate people to build more and more at the low end and less and less at the high end, and it’s the high-end capability that we need.”

“350 ships or any number you choose is a bumper sticker,” agreed
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, who served as Navy Secretary under George W. Bush (and ran NASA for H.W.). The right number and mix of ships needs to derive from some kind of strategy, he said, “which has yet to be really articulated in this administration.”

Can industry ramp up to build 355 ships? Sure, Danzig and O’Keefe agreed. But if you’re asking that, “you’re asking the wrong question,” O’Keefe told me. A better question, is “what kind of ships you’re looking for?

“It really does begin with the proposition of what is it you’re trying to scale to and what are the capabilities you’re looking for…which you don’t know,” O’Keefe said, because there’s no strategy. “When you get merely a numeric target, that doesn’t tell you much of anything.

“If you’re saying there’s a fixed number of low-(end) vessels, there are any number of different yards that can scale in relatively short order to accommodate that,” he said. “If you’re looking at the high end” — such as an
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, let alone a nuclear-powered vessel –“you have a much smaller number (of yards).”

“You would need to invest in transforming it (the industrial base),” Danzig told me. “That’s something I think we can do.” You’d need not only to expand the capabilities of the smaller yards, but diversify the bigger ones.

“I’m not saying we ought to make this huge investment,” Danzig hastened to say. “I’m just saying, if you want to go down the path that John is urging, (it’s possible). If you’re talking about a long-term building program — as inevitably you are — you can ramp up the industrial base.”

The industrial base isn’t the problem, Danzig and O’Keefe agreed. It’s everything else. In particular, it’s the money. Even if the Navy gets the funding for 355 ships of whatever kind, it also needs money to
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them, or else you get a large but low-quality “hollow force.”

Crews must be
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between deployments. Ships must be
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, all requiring significant time between deployments. And all these bills must be paid year after year after year, for 25, 30, 40, or 50 years (for LCS, submarines, destroyers, and carriers respectively) after the initial, crowd-pleasing contract to build the ship is signed.

The Experts: Strategy & Budget

After the three ex-secretaries spoke, I sought comment from a wide array of sources in and out of government. What I learned: Speeding up shipbuilding is a lot harder than Lehman made it look. Smaller yards can build smaller ships or the less-complex components of bigger ones, freeing up the major yards for the hardest tasks. But there will still be chokepoints in production, particularly of nuclear-powered vessels, and we still need a strategy to make sure we buy the right ships.

“I do agree with the use of non-big five yards,” said
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, a retired naval officer now with the
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. “The only way to get going fast is to engage the entire industrial base.

“We are not yet close on the strategy, though,” Hendrix continued. “The Navy really hasn’t engaged in a true strategy review since the Maritime Strategy appeared during the Reagan administration, (and) we need a new comprehensive review of our naval strategy prior to really going full force into a large shipbuilding program.”

“Secretary O’Keefe got it exactly right,” agreed
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, a retired Navy officer now with the
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. “The administration has not made the case for a larger Navy than we have today, though that case is eminently makeable.”

“I think there was some serious hand-waving by all three panelists (about how) the industrial base could flex to meet the requirements of the larger Navy,” McGrath went on. Lehman’s comparison to World War II is particularly misleading, he said. Not only did the US of 1941 have a vastly larger commercial shipbuilding industry, those commercial shipbuilders could convert to military production relatively easily because warships of the time were much less complex.

“Smaller yards can do
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or the LCS,” a congressional staffer told me. “The real bottlenecks…are submarines and carriers. We cannot easily, quickly, or cheaply certify another yard to build these ships, so I think that is a non-starter.”

Ultimately, the real limiting factor is simply money, the staffer said: “This is far and away more about
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than anything else.”
source is BreakingDefense
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Air Force Brat

Super Moderator
Good Lord! now I visited NavyTimes and saw a headline saying the Pentagon will pay for changing gender of some Creature
(I left NavyTimes right after)

Now that is assnine! I believe the President means to eliminate this stoopidity, this too is more Barack Hussein Obama destruction of the military and the culture in general,, just to pull in a few more votes you understand, more honestly money from "liberal socialist elitists"..

in my opinion if you go into the military as a man or woman, and you change your mind, they should muster you out to take care of your own emotional issues,,, look at Bradley Manning,,, this nonsense led him to become a traitor to his country, and still that idiot "pardoned him"! Traitor's
Navy recruits will have to pass a run test prior to boot camp starting in January
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"A mile and a half will have to be covered, for men, in under 16 minutes and 10 seconds ..."
gosh it's something like a quarter of an hour of jogging! a young guy who can't do it needs to go to a Lifestyle Consultant and/or to a Doctor, not to the Navy!!

says who? I used to run on recreational level until my mid-thirties, for example could
  • do two hours road run: about twenty kilometers (weather-dependent)
  • keep 100 seconds a lap pace at 5 km (twenty minutes range, I said recreational level LOL)
my favorite was 3 km (11 minutes range)
so I would've done that one mile and a half in 9 minutes easily