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FSA DS Mission Control... Take Us to DEFCON 3


WarGames Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Are you following along this week? If so you know that yesterday the FSA Directeur Sportif Submission Deadline Threat Level went to DEFCON 4. Today, it is my solemn duty to report that we have reached...

DEFCON 3. As in, you have THREE DAYS left to submit your team for the 2021 FSA DS by 11:59pm CET Saturday.

Things are getting serious. We are at yellow now. YELLOW! Do you not see how serious this is? I’ll tell you how serious it is. In the movie War Games, which this week’s countdown is derived from, the that-guy general from Northern Exposure moved the NORAD team to DEFCON 3 when he found out that Joshua, the cyberperson who seemed to be living inside the U.S. missile defense computer system, was still playing the fun-sounding game Global Thermonuclear War, even after Ferris Bueller told him he didn’t want to play anymore.

If you have somehow read this far and still don’t know what on Earth I am talking about, let me just divert your attention to this post here which kicked off the 2021 FSA Directeur Sportif. Or send you straight over to the game page to get working on your team.

DEFCON numbers indicate threat levels, and for reasons that make sense to literally nobody, the lower numbers reflect higher threat levels. We covered DEFCON 5 (ho hum) and DEFCON 4 (ears perked up) over the last two days. DEFCON 3 is a major step up/down (I know). While DEFCON 4 indicated heightened awareness and intelligence, DEFCON 3 is when things actually start happening and troop readiness goes to a new level. DEFCON 3 requires the Air Force to be ready to mobilize in 15 minutes.

The most recent DEFCON 3 was 9/11, and there are two other known or admitted events that took us to DEFCON 3. One was Operation Paul Bunyan, which applied to NATO forces in South Korea. Two US troops were trimming a tree in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea when North Korean troops showed up and ordered them to stop. The US soldiers knew the NK commander and there is a history of back and forth shenanigans in the zone. Anyway, they ignored the order, so the NK troops attacked them with hatchets the Americans had been using, killing both men.

Korean War : The Demilitarized Zone, 50 Years After the War
View from the murder scene
Photo by John van Hasselt/Sygma via Getty Images

The American forces responded a few days later by sending a convoy of 23 vehicles of US and South Korean troops out to cut down the tree, as a show of determination. They were accompanied by security forces, a SK special forces unit, and demolition teams ready to blow bridges. Oh and 27 helicopters, a bunch of fighter jets, and a B-52 bomber, with the USS Midway parked not far offshore. North Korea mobilized 200 troops in buses, who hopped out and took up machine gun positions, but then watched as the tree was cut down. Things de-escalated from there.

The other DEFCON 3 was probably a bigger and much less obscure event: the 1973 Yom Kippur War, when Egypt and Syria launched ground attacks on Israel from opposite ends of the country, Egypt into Sinai and Syria into the Golan Heights, both areas that Israel had captured in 1967. The two aggressors made quick gains, but eventually Israel halted the offenses and began pushing back, first in Syria to within shelling range of Damascus, then eventually repulsing a second offensive from Egypt before dividing the Egyptian army. This wasn’t fully resolved until the 1978 Camp David Accords, which returned Sinai to Egypt. The threat level went to DEFCON 3 because the Soviet Union, Egypt’s ally, had reportedly sent a ship to Egypt with nuclear weapons on board. What happened to those weapons is classified still.

Tired of military stuff? Let me put it to you in terms of the Ronde van Vlaanderen. DEFCON 3 is when the peloton is over the first climb of the Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg, headed for the Koppenberg and the quick succession of climbs that follow before the fateful final circuit. Your top guy and his henchmen need to be well placed and protected, ready to blast out the effort that will separate them from the competition. It’s go time.

103rd Tour of Flanders 2019 - Ronde van Vlaanderen Photo by Peter De Voecht-Pool/Getty Images

Like I said, it’s serious. And so is the 2021 FSA Directeur Sportif. Don’t miss out.