Everybody wants to know what kind of tank is in the picture. It’s a Merkava IV. It’s the main battle tank of the IDF – Israel Defense Forces – and it’s an incredible feat of engineering. I use the picture of the Merkava as an example of what it means not to retreat or surrender.
I know a lot about tanks and military tactics as I served in the Marines for six years; three years as a tank commander, and then I reenlisted and went into the Infantry. Yes. I went from riding on a tank to walking with a 60-pound pack on my back. What can I say? I’ve always been super motivated to do things. The bigger the challenge the better. I’ve also worked as a defense analyst and military contractor.
Tanks have been getting a bad rap lately because of how easy Ukrainian forces have been blowing up Russia’s tanks. Russia recently sent their most advanced tank currently in service, the T-90M to fight in Ukraine. It was destroyed by an American Javelin anti-tank missile within a few days of entering combat. Russia is in the process of building the T-14 Armeta but it will be months if not years before the tank is ready.
It won’t make a difference in Ukraine or on any other battlefield. Russia doesn’t know how to fight a conventional war. In fact, I think Russia has one of the most over-rated armies in the world for a variety of reasons like relying on conscripts, they lack a strong noncommissioned officer corps, Russia’s army does a lousy job of maintaining their vehicles and weapons systems, and most of all, Russia’s army has proven incapable of employing air assets (jets, bombers, helicopters), armor, infantry, artillery, mortars, and engineers in an integrated manner to win on the battlefield.
I continue to argue that NATO made a massive mistake in not sending troops, tanks and other equipment to Ukraine. American, British, and German forces would have destroyed Russia’s army in Ukraine within a matter of weeks. I know what some of you are thinking, “But Brittain, it would start a nuclear war.” No it wouldn’t. Here’s why. Putin’s inner circle would prevent it from happening. (I believe discussions have already taken place between Putin’s most trusted friends and advisors with members of NATO and the CIA, about how to remove Putin from power in the event Putin recommends the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine or elsewhere. I am confident that plans are underway for a coup against Putin, or extreme pressure is being put on Putin to get him to step aside with an understanding that if he doesn’t, he will be removed).
The U.S. Marines Corps has made the decision to get rid of all their tanks; even the tanks in the Marine Corps Reserve. The Marine Corps believes that China is becoming the biggest threat to the U.S., and the time has come to switch tactics. Instead of the Marines hauling tanks wherever they go, they plan on relying on the U.S. Army to provide tanks to support the Marines. This is supposed to allow Marine combat units to operate with increased speed and lethality.
I’m not sold on the idea.
There’s nothing worse in battle than having infantry suddenly confronted with unexpectedly large numbers of enemy troops, hastily or planned obstacles to block travel, or modified vehicles loaded with heavy weapons, firing on troops.
A review of the ill-fated U.S. military presence in Mogadishu, Somalia on October 3, 1993, that resulted in the downing of two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, reinforces the importance of armor during battle. In an attempt to rescue the pilots and crews in the downed helicopters, U.S. Army Rangers and Delta Force operators were forced to fight their way through the city of Mogadishu only to encounter a large number of armed fighters. In addition, streets were blocked off by tires and abandoned cars forcing the Rangers to seek an alternate route to the crash sites. Over the two-day battle, 19 soldiers were killed.
After reviewing the after action reports of the mission, I can state without hesitation that had the U.S. Army inserted just one platoon of tanks (there are five tanks in a platoon) into Mogadishu, the outcome of the battle would have been much different. The tanks would have easily gone through the blockades, the tanks would have fired their 120mm smooth bore cannons to eliminate armed vehicles, and the tanks would used their 12.7 Browning M2 .50 caliber and M240 7.62 mm machine guns to kill Somali fighters.
Before the U.S. Marine Corps eliminates tanks from their arsenal of weapons, I strongly suggest they review the events in Somali in 1993. Hoping that the Army can come to the aid of Marines in need of armor isn’t much of a strategy.
The Problem With Most Newsletters
This is my second issue of my newsletter that I’ve written, and I must admit that I enjoy writing it. However, with complete honesty, I hate the majority of newsletters that I read because most people who write newsletters are afraid to take a position. For example, the following comes from a newsletter that professes to provide “financial wisdom” and “recommendations that will save subscribers millions.” The author of the newsletter provided copious amounts of charts and graphs, and he warned over and over of a coming financial catastrophe. And then he wrote this:
“A recession may occur next week, next month, next year, or within a decade. I encourage you to be ready.”
You can’t be serious? That’s the best you can do? A recession may occur within a decade? Anyone can make such a prediction. Why read a newsletter unless the author is willing to share their opinion and take a position on different topics? No one with an ounce of intelligence should subscribe to any newsletter unless the author is willing be bold instead of playing it safe.
My newsletter is different. I have no fear. Zero. I am comfortable taking a position on a myriad of topics, and I gladly share my opinions regardless of the criticism I may receive. Everyone who reads my newsletter has a right to criticize me. What I’ve learned, however, is that I’m rarely criticized because of the amount of research I conduct before I write articles, posts, or this newsletter.
What separates me from other newsletter authors is that I also encourage subscribers and casual readers to send me topics they want me to write about. It’s your newsletter. Let me know what interests you the most and I’ll write about it.
TOPICS OF THE WEEK
I’m enjoying watching the drama of Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, and I agree with Musk’s insistence that Twitter prove the exact percentage of fake accounts before the deal moves forward. If the number of fake accounts is above 5% as I suspect (I believe the real number is between 12% to 20%), Musk should force Twitter’s board to renegotiate the share price.
What’s certain is this: If Musk acquires Twitter, he will have to fire over 50% of the company to change the culture. Musk can send a clear message by also selling Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters, and opening a new headquarters in Austin, Frisco, or Prosper, TX.
It’s also certain that growing Twitter and making the company profitable won’t be easy. My advice to Musk if he does acquire Twitter is also to acquire the encrypted messaging app, Signal, and the banking/payment platform Chime. In addition, I strongly advise Musk to partner with Palantir to identify how best to leverage their current and future software capabilities with Twitter and Tesla. Yes, it’s only a matter of time before Tesla’s cars can Tweet and also do banking. And Twitter is the platform that will make it happen.
Finally, a partnership with ByteDance, the owners of TikTok, should be assessed.
GoPuff Is Becoming A Theranos Clone
News that goPuff is bringing on former Disney CEO Bob Iger as an investor and advisor isn’t a surprise. I stated on a live interview three months ago that I was growing concerned with goPuff’s lack of performance, and that I anticipated the company would steal a page from the playbook of Theranos, by bringing on well-known former executives and politicians to give the appearance that goPuff is such a special company, the best and brightest minds are beating a path to join the company. (Theranos intentionally targeted famous and powerful politicians and business executives to serve on their board to give the appearance of stability and exclusivity. I knew goPuff would eventually do the same thing.)
No. GoPuff is not like Theranos in any other way. GoPuff has an incredible future. Theranos should have never become a company in the first place.
“It’s been exciting to spend time with Gopuff leadership learning about the company, the founders, and their aspirations,” Iger stated in a press release on the investment. “I am excited to advise, mentor, and support the executive team as they continue building a company uniquely designed for how consumers are changing and growing. I believe consumer commerce will be very different in the near future and Gopuff is building the platform to power it.”
Serious? Bob Iger said all of that?
It’s a smokescreen. GoPuff is faltering based on comments made to me by current and former executives and managers. Just as Theranos failed because CEO and Founder Elizabeth Holmes was allowed to run the company for far too long, I’m convinced that goPuff will struggle or fail the longer founders Yakir Gola and Rafael llishayev run the company. I’m not picking on GoPuff. Under Armour, Go Pro, Peloton, and many other companies, have struggled when inexperienced founders and executives run the companies. I’d prefer to see goPuff avoid such troubles.
The best way to utilize Bob Iger at goPuff isn’t having him just mentor and advise anyone. Bob Iger should become CEO, and Gola and llishayev should become consultants to Bob. Once the issues at goPuff are corrected, and goPuff is better positioned for growth, Iger can step down and a replacement CEO can be hired. Also, depending on how much llishayev and Gola dedicate themselves to learning from Bob and other executives, it’s entirely possible that either llishayev or Gola can be named CEO. I do not like the idea of having two CEOs at goPuff.
I truly want goPuff to succeed.
Harnessing the Power of the Moon
I’m always coming up with ideas. In all honesty, my brain never shuts off. I rarely sleep because of it.
An interesting idea came to me a few days ago when I was researching marketing and advertising. What if the power of the moon could be harnessed for marketing? Specifically, what if a company could superimpose brand logos and words against the backdrop of the moon and do so in different languages? For example, imagine looking up at the moon and seeing goPuff’s logo. Or Tesla or any other major brand.
I’m sure it can be done somehow but I don’t know the technology or science required. What I am certain of is this: The company that can leverage the moon for marketing will become one of the most valuable companies in the world.
Until next week,