Sunday, July 2, 2017

Joint Statement between the United States and the Republic of Korea

Some good news here.  Many positive statements in this joint statement. I hope both the ROK and US national security practitioners can take this as strategic guidance for the alliance and use this in policy, strategy, and campaign plan development.  It will be interesting to see when President Trump will travel to Korea.

Seems like we may be seeing the foundation laid for a good cop-bad cop strategy with the ROK taking the lead on engagement (which I fully support if it is supporting a strategy of influencing the Korean people living in the north and the 2d tier leadership and the elite to change the Kim Family Regime - and you are free to interpret change any way you like as long we are are influencing and supporting internal change).

The key statements I was looking for made it into the statement are on unification (with recognition of a ROK lead) and the human rights of the "Korean people living in the north" - I would have preferred use of that phrase recognizing one Korea people rather than "the DPRK's people" but I will take this as an excellent start.

President Trump supported the ROK’s leading role in fostering an environment for peaceful unification of the Korean Peninsula.

The two leaders expressed deep concern about the well-being of the DPRK’s people, particularly in light of the egregious human rights violations and abuses committed against them by the government, and noted their intention to ensure sanctions have minimal impact on the DPRK’s vulnerable populations. President Trump expressed support for President Moon’s aspiration to restart inter-Korean dialogue on issues, including humanitarian affairs. The two leaders reaffirmed the importance of cooperating with the international community to hold the DPRK accountable for substantial progress on the deplorable human rights situation in that country.
...
The two leaders shared the view that strong and dynamic ties between our two countries are the foundation of the United States-ROK Alliance.They decided to advance future-oriented cooperation through high-level consultations in the areas of economy and trade, renewable and nuclear energy, science and technology, space, environment, health, and defense technology. President Trump and President Moon affirmed that the United States and the ROK will work together to support and uphold the rules-based order in the Asia-Pacific region. The two leaders affirmed that the strength of the United States-ROK Alliance serves as testament to the power of freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law, and acknowledged that the future of the two countries is linked through people-to-people ties, with more than 1.7 million Korean Americans in the United States, hundreds of thousands of Americans visiting and working in the ROK each year, and close ties created through cultural programs and student and professional exchanges. President Trump and President Moon heralded the exemplary nature of the United States-ROK Alliance, from strengthening our security by deterring and defending against the DPRK threat, enhancing strong regional relations, and advancing our economic relationship and expanding our global partnership. Both leaders expressed their expectation that the friendship and partnership between the two countries will continue to strengthen and grow for many decades to come.
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/06/30/joint-statement-between-united-states-and-republic-korea
For Immediate Release

Joint Statement between the United States and the Republic of Korea

President Donald J. Trump hosted President Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea (ROK) at the White House on June 29 and 30 in order to advance the comprehensive strategic Alliance between the United States and the ROK and to deepen the two countries’ friendship. Since its founding, the Alliance has served as a linchpin for security, stability, and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula, in the Asia Pacific region, and increasingly around the world. As we mark the 67th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War, the commitment of the United States to the ROK’s defense remains ironclad. President Trump reaffirmed that the United States will defend the ROK against any attack and both presidents remain committed to jointly addressing the threat posed by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). Built on mutual trust and shared values of freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law, the United States-ROKpartnership has never been stronger, and the two leaders pledged to build an even greater Alliance going forward.
Strengthening the United States-ROK Alliance
The two leaders affirmed the Alliance’s fundamental mission to defend the ROKthrough a robust combined defense posture and the enhancement of mutual security based on the United States-ROK Mutual Defense Treaty. President Trump reiterated the United States commitment to provide extended deterrence to the ROK, drawing on the full range of United States military capabilities, both conventional and nuclear. Regular dialogue channels, such as the Security Consultative Meeting and the Military Committee Meeting, are instrumental in deepening our Alliance. The two leaders decided to continue the Alliance’s work to expeditiously enable the conditions-based transfer of wartime operational control of ROK forcesThe ROK will continue to acquire the critical military capabilities necessary to lead the combined defense, and detect, disrupt, destroy, and defend against the DPRK’s nuclear and missile threats, including through interoperable Kill-Chain, Korean Air and Missile Defense (KAMD), and other Alliance systems.
The two leaders reaffirmed the Alliance’s commitment to counter the growing threat to peace and security posed by the DPRK’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs. To increase coordination on Alliance issues, the leaders committed the foreign affairs and defense agencies of the two countries to regularize a “2+2” ministerial meeting, as well as a high-level Extended Deterrence Strategy and Consultation Group to employ all elements of national power to strengthen extended deterrence.
Maintaining Lock-Step Coordination on our Policy regarding the DPRK
President Trump and President Moon pledged to continue to coordinate closely to achieve our shared goal of complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner. The two leaders called on the DPRK to refrain from provocative, destabilizing actions and rhetoric, and to make the strategic choice to fulfill its international obligations and commitments. The two leaders affirmed that the DPRK’s nuclear tests and unprecedented number of ballistic missile tests constitute direct violations of multiple United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs) and highlight the accelerating threat the DPRK’s missile programs pose to international peace and security. They affirmed their commitment to fully implement existing sanctions and impose new measures designed to apply maximum pressure on the DPRK and compel Pyongyang to cease its provocative actions and return to sincere and constructive talks. The two leaders also urged all UN member states to swiftly and fully implement UNSCR obligations and took note, with appreciation, of constructive actions by some countries around the world to exert diplomatic and economic pressure on the DPRK to return to credible negotiations on denuclearization. They noted the important role China could play to this end. In addition, the two sides committed to enhance cooperation to combat the DPRK’s dangerous and destabilizing malicious cyber activity.
Noting that sanctions are a tool of diplomacy, the two leaders emphasized that the door to dialogue with the DPRK remains open under the right circumstances. In reaffirming that resolution of the nuclear issue is a top priority for both countries, the two leaders emphasized that the United States and the ROK do not maintain a hostile policy toward the DPRK and, together with the rest of the international community, stand ready to offer a brighter future for the DPRK, if it chooses the right path. The two sides will closely coordinate on a joint the DPRK policy, including efforts to create conditions necessary for denuclearization talks, through a high-level strategic consultation mechanism.
President Trump supported the ROK’s leading role in fostering an environment for peaceful unification of the Korean Peninsula.
The two leaders expressed deep concern about the well-being of the DPRK’s people, particularly in light of the egregious human rights violations and abuses committed against them by the government, and noted their intention to ensure sanctions have minimal impact on the DPRK’s vulnerable populations. President Trump expressed support for President Moon’s aspiration to restart inter-Korean dialogue on issues, including humanitarian affairs. The two leaders reaffirmed the importance of cooperating with the international community to hold the DPRK accountable for substantial progress on the deplorable human rights situation in that country.
The two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to promote regional relations and enhance United States-ROK-Japan trilateral cooperation. The two leaders affirmed that trilateral security and defense cooperation contributes to enhanced deterrence and defense against the DPRK threat. They decided to further develop this cooperation, using established bilateral and trilateral mechanisms. They also underscored the importance of leveraging the United States-ROK-Japan trilateral relationship to address global challenges such as cancer research, energy security, women’s empowerment, and cybersecurity.President Trump and President Moon decided to discuss further ways to enhance trilateral cooperation together with Prime Minister Abe of Japan at the upcoming United States-ROK-Japan Trilateral Summit on the margins of the G20 in July.
Advancing Fair Trade to Promote Economic Growth
President Trump and President Moon committed to foster expanded and balanced trade while creating reciprocal benefits and fair treatment between the two countries. In that regard, the two sides further committed to fostering a truly fair and level playing field, including working together to reduce the global overcapacity of such basic materials as steel and non-tariff barriers to trade.
Both sides pledged to work together, as part of the process of the Commercial Dialogue, to promote investment, support entrepreneurs, and facilitate cooperation between the United States and the ROK to boost economic growth and job creation in both countries.
Enhancing Bilateral Cooperation on Other Economic Opportunities
Both sides also committed to work together through the Senior Economic Dialogue to promote and expand cooperation on other economic issues and to explore the enhancement of economic opportunities through a joint public-private forum. Given the roles of science, technology, and innovation in driving economic growth, the two countries will enhance cooperation in cybersecurity, information and communication technology, and civil space technology.Highlighting the important economic role women play in their societies, the two sides pledged to launch a bilateral partnership to advance women’s economic empowerment.
Actively Collaborating as Global Partners
President Trump and President Moon affirmed that United States-ROKcooperation on global issues is an indispensable and expanding aspect of the Alliance. With respect to global health security collaboration, the two leaders affirmed their support in helping partner countries prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease threats. The two leaders condemned the grave human suffering and violence in Iraq and Syria caused by ISIS, and reaffirmed the strong United States-ROK partnership in the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.President Trump welcomed the ROK’s commitment to increase humanitarian assistance to countries most affected by terrorism and violent extremism, including its pledge to provide 10 million United States dollars for Iraq this year.The two sides underscored the importance of joint efforts by the international community, including the United States and the ROK, to rebuild peace and stability in Afghanistan, and pledged to continue to work together to support the Afghan people and government.
Future of the Alliance
The two leaders shared the view that strong and dynamic ties between our two countries are the foundation of the United States-ROK Alliance. They decided to advance future-oriented cooperation through high-level consultations in the areas of economy and trade, renewable and nuclear energy, science and technology, space, environment, health, and defense technology. President Trump and President Moon affirmed that the United States and the ROK will work together to support and uphold the rules-based order in the Asia-Pacific region. The two leaders affirmed that the strength of the United States-ROK Alliance serves as testament to the power of freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law, and acknowledged that the future of the two countries is linked through people-to-people ties, with more than 1.7 million Korean Americans in the United States, hundreds of thousands of Americans visiting and working in the ROK each year, and close ties created through cultural programs and student and professional exchanges. President Trump and President Moon heralded the exemplary nature of the United States-ROK Alliance, from strengthening our security by deterring and defending against the DPRK threat, enhancing strong regional relations, and advancing our economic relationship and expanding our global partnership. Both leaders expressed their expectation that the friendship and partnership between the two countries will continue to strengthen and grow for many decades to come.
President Moon invited President Trump to visit the ROK in 2017; President Trump gladly accepted the invitation. The two leaders will continue to discuss issues of mutual interests on various occasions, including during international multilateral conferences.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

How U.S., South Korean Special Ops Would Join Forces in a New Korean War

Of course it would not be a new Korean War but a continuation of the current one that was temporarily suspended by the 1953 Armistice.  But we do not always get to choose the titles of our articles.

How U.S., South Korean Special Ops Would Join Forces in a New Korean War

thecipherbrief.com · June 18, 2017
June 18, 2017 | COL David Maxwell


Tensions are rising on the Korean Peninsula. There is fear that the Korean War could restart, since there has only been a temporary suspension of hostilities since the 1953 Armistice. Although this fear is not new and we have experienced high tensions many times over the years, given the global security situation, with two new administrations in Washington and Seoul and the uncertainty of Kim Jong-un’s future actions, some fear that the chances for some form of conflict are greater than ever. There is great focus on North Korea’s nuclear and missile capabilities, continuing North Korean provocations to gain political and economic concessions, and the potential for a conventional war. But there is little focus on the combined special operations forces of the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the U.S., except for occasional rhetoric.
There were a number of ad hoc special operations units led by the U.S. during the Korean War. They went by such names as the UN Partisan Infantry Korea, the 8240th Army Unit, the White Tigers, the Combined Command Reconnaissance Activities Korea, and Joint Advisory Commission Korea. The combined special operations capability today has built on this history and has evolved to a quite capable force, the Combined Unconventional Warfare Task Force, and it will provide critical support to the Commander of the ROK/U.S. Combined Forces Command (ROK/US CFC).
There are two important points to keep in mind about special operations forces (SOF) in Korea. First is that all the legislated U.S. SOF activities specified in U.S. Code will be conducted during conflict. Although there is focus on weapons of mass destruction (WMD) since the transfer of the counter-WMD mission from U.S. Strategic Command to U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) in 2016, there are many more SOF requirements to support the ROK/US CFC.
The second point is that ROK special operations forces are among the most capable forces with which the U.S. partners. Although they are not the same as U.S. SOF, they share a long history of training and working together not only in Korea but also in Iraq, Afghanistan, and even in places such as the Horn of Africa with ROK Navy SEALs supporting anti-piracy operations. The combination of ROK and U.S. SOF provide a powerful capability to the Commander of ROK/US CFC.
To provide context for the type of operations SOF will conduct it is important to understand the “Big 5” of the Korean strategic challenges:

(Continued at the link below)

U.S. Special Operations Troops Advising Philippines Forces on Insurgents

U.S. Special Operations Troops Advising Philippines Forces on Insurgents

thecipherbrief.com · June 16, 2017
June 16, 2017 | COL David Maxwell


While Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte remains at odds with the United States, the armed forces of the two countries have maintained a close working relationship that dates to 1951 and the signing of a mutual defense treaty. In recent years the primary mission of U.S. forces in the Philippines has been Foreign Internal Defense operations against the country’s many insurgent groups. As Philippine government forces continue to fight Islamist militants in the city of Marawi, U.S. Special Forces have served as advisors and U.S. aircraft have provided intelligence and reconnaissance in support of Philippine airstrikes and operations. The Cipher Brief reached out to Col. (ret.) David Maxwell, former commander of the Joint Special Operations Task Forces Philippines, about the mission of United States Special Operations Forces in the Philippines and its involvement in the ongoing battle for Marawi.
The Cipher Brief: U.S. special operations troops have been deployed in the Philippines for many years. Historically, what has been their mission?
David Maxwell: The traditional mission has been Foreign Internal Defense (FID) which consists of activities by joint U.S. military forces and civilian government agencies to advise and assist friends, partners, and allies in internal defense and development programs so that they can defend themselves against lawlessness, subversion, insurgency, and terrorism. U.S. special operations forces, to include Civil Affairs, Psychological Operations, SEALS, Marine Raiders, and Air Commandos as well as Special Forces (which has been the dominant force) have provided training, advice, and assistance for decades to assist the United States’ longest-standing treaty ally against a very complex combination of threats. They have helped the Armed Forces of the Philippines to develop a range of special operations skills from tactical counterterrorism operations, intelligence operations and civil military operations, to advanced aviation techniques to include night vision flying.
One of the unique aspects of the relationship is the U.S. special operations forces have always respected Philippines sovereignty and supported security forces through advice and assistance, while never conducting U.S. unilateral operations. The Philippines always remained in command, control, and in the lead on all operations.
TCB: What are some of the unique challenges to training against and combating the militant groups in the Philippines compared to other groups worldwide?
(Continued at the link below)

Monday, June 12, 2017

Retired US Army Lt. Gen. Sam Wilson dead at 93


It is with great sadness that I pass this on.  I am sure there will be complete obituaries telling his amazing story in coming days.

He of course retired just as I was entering the Army so I never served with him.  However, one of my bosses gave me a xeroxed copy of his 20 Characteristics of Special Operations, Special Operations Planning Suggestions, and Six Requirements of Special Operations in the 1980's and I have been carrying them around with me every since.  They can be read here on my blog: http://maxoki161.blogspot.com/2014/03/20-characteristics-of-special.html

Retired US Army Lt. Gen. Sam Wilson dead at 93

RICE, Va. — Retired Lt. Gen. Samuel Wilson, who had a long military and intelligence career and was president of Hampden-Sydney College from 1992 to 2000, has died, the college announced. He was 93.
Wilson, who was known as “General Sam,” died Saturday at his home in Rice, Virginia.
Wilson served as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and was known for coining the term “counter-insurgency” as well as for helping to create Delta Force, the U.S. Army’s special forces group.
Long before that, he joined the Army as a 16-year-old private in 1940. He taught guerrilla and counter-guerrilla tactics at the Infantry School at Fort Benning in Georgia in 1942 and 1943. He became a first lieutenant at the age of 19 and was chief reconnaissance officer for a unit known as Merrill’s Marauders, which operated behind enemy lines in Burma during World War II.
At the end of the war, he was assigned to the Office of Strategic Services, which was the forerunner of the Central Intelligence Agency, in Southeast Asia. He later worked as a CIA officer in West Berlin and a defense attache at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow during the Cold War.
Wilson retired from the Army in 1977 and became a political science professor at Hampden-Sydney while continuing to consult with officials in Washington.
Hampden-Sydney President Larry Stimpert says Wilson steered the college through a difficult period when enrollment growth slowed and the college considered whether to allow women. The governing board ultimately decided to keep college all-male, and under Wilson’s leadership, enrollment growth resumed and the endowment nearly doubled. Hampden-Sydney remains one of the nation’s few remaining private colleges for men.

Joint Statement between the United States and the Republic of Korea

Some good news here.  Many positive statements in this joint statement. I hope both the ROK and US national security practitioners can take...