Thought for the Day

"No matter how busy you are, you must find tome for reading, or you surrender yourself to to self-chosen ignorance." Confucius

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

OSS Primer and Manuals from USASOC

What an excellent resource.  Another great initiative from the US Army Special Operations Command (USASOC).  A very useful companion to the Assessing Revolutionary and Insurgent Strategies (ARIS) project.

See note from LTG Cleveland below.

About this Primer
Considered a legacy unit of U.S. Army Special Operations Forces, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) has assumed almost mythical stature since World War II. Several OSS veterans, among them Colonel Aaron Bank, Lieutenant Colonel Jack T. Shannon, and Majors Herbert R. Brucker and Caesar J. Civitella brought unconventional warfare (UW) tactics and techniques to Special Forces in the early 1950s. It should be remembered, however, that the short-lived OSS (1942 to 1945) had two basic missions: its primary one was to collect, analyze, and disseminate foreign intelligence; its secondary one was to conduct unconventional warfare. The first, executed primarily by the Research and Analysis branch (R&A), was considered the most important during the war.
It is the second mission of UW, however, that has received the most attention since WWII. It was this element of the OSS that provided the most exciting stories and which was cloaked by an aura of secrecy and mystery. This section is designed to serve as a primer on the UW elements of the OSS. It is not an exhaustive look at the OSS, nor does it address every OSS function or branch. Its intent is to provide the reader with a basic understanding of what missions the separate OSS branches had, what the main operational efforts were, and where they took place geographically.

Note from the USASOC Commanding General
Army Special Operations Soldiers,

 It is important to understand how the past has influenced Army Special Operations Forces.  One of America’s legendary paramilitary organizations during WWII was the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) whose field ranks were largely filled by detailed military personnel. As a wartime organization, it became a USASOC legacy unit because a number of their Army personnel played important roles during the formative years of Special Warfare after the war.
 The OSS was a complex intelligence organization with paramilitary capabilities that was given highest priority to recruit within the military services. Major General William J. Donovan, a WWI veteran and Medal of Honor recipient, reported to President Franklin D. Roosevelt as the chief of an independent agency under the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. The OSS functions most relevant to today’s ARSOF are:  Operational Groups (OGs); Maritime Unit (MU); Special Operations (SO); Morale Operations (MO); and Secret Intelligence (SI) Branches.

 This website features a primer on OSS wartime activities and functions and republished copies of the declassified manuals for each of the above elements. Although disbanded shortly after WWII, Army veterans assigned to the Psywar Center used their OSS manuals to create Special Forces units and to teach special operations tactics, techniques, and procedures. Individual training, group classes, and field exercises were conducted on Smoke Bomb Hill, Fort Bragg and Camp Mackall, NC, and in Pisgah National Forest, SC.  Knowledge about the connection of OSS to Army SOF is important to your professional development.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Combined Forces Command Could Stay in Seoul

The ROK/US Combined Forces Command has to remain in Seoul unless the ROK JCS is going to relocated Korean officers to Camp Humphreys (and of course no ROK/US CFC facilities have been built at Camp Humphreys).  It also needs to remain there because it falls under the control of the Military Committee.  My recommendation is to move EUSA and USFK to Camp Humphreys while leaving the ROK/US CFC in Seoul.  Once EUSA and USFK vacate Yongsan, the garrison should be returned to ROK military control and renamed.  US forces assigned to ROK/US CFC would remain in the former Yongsan garrison as tenants of the new ROK military installation.

Combined Forces Command Could Stay in Seoul

The U.S. Forces Korea are mulling the idea of keeping the Combined Forces Command in Seoul once USFK headquarters have been moved from Yongsan to Pyeongtaek south of the capital. 

USFK Commander Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti on Sunday said, "So that is under consideration, but again both nations work hard at this, and simply my intent is to come up with the best posture for the security of this country."

He was speaking to reporters after a ceremony marking the 61st anniversary of the armistice that halted the Korean War at the truce village of Panmunjom. "As we work through negotiations" on the transfer of full operational control of Korean troops to Seoul, "our governments are working together on what's the best posture for all of our command and control."

This was the first open suggestion from the USFK chief that the CFC could stay in Seoul even though forces are retreating further from the inter-Korean border.
North Korean soldiers take a photo of USFK Commander Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti in Panmunjom on Sunday. /NewsisNorth Korean soldiers take a photo of USFK Commander Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti in Panmunjom on Sunday. /Newsis
Under a bilateral agreement, the USFK headquarters will move to Pyeongtaek by 2016 and the CFC, which is also housed at the Yongsan garrison, was supposed to be disbanded when troop control is transferred to Seoul in December 2015.

But the two countries recently agreed to keep the CFC intact and delay the transfer of operational control. 

The U.S. side wants it to remain in Seoul, but the South Korean government and military are reportedly uncomfortable with the idea for fear of resistance from local administrations, including the Seoul city government, and some civic groups. / Jul. 28, 2014 11:58 KST

Saturday, July 26, 2014

N.Korean Elite 'Getting Restive'

We have seen a number of reports over the past few weeks that taken together indicate that there could be some significant problems within the regime. These include the "beans for leave" in the 5th Corps, the shooting of the Guards Corps cars in the north by military forces, and the defection of families of "senior" Army officials.  Now there is this significant report below.  We really need to be watchful and wary  - and we should wish we had been making all the preparations necessary since Robert Collins' published his seminal work in 1996, "Patterns of Collapse," also known as the "Seven Phases of Collapse" in which he describes the pattern or phases that the Kim Family Regime and the north Korean elite, military and security services, and the population might go through to reach the catastrophic collapse of north Korea.  The one thing he did not do is put a time estimate on this "process."  I have excerpted the definitions of each of the phases below for reference.  My assessment is that we are seeing the possible transition between Phase four "Suppression" and Phase five "Resistance"  but conditions could bounce back and forth between the two.  But if the regime is not able to continue effective suppression then we could see resistance grow and lead to Phase six, "Fracture."  This bears watching.

            a. Phase One: Resource Depletion - Economic collapse paradigm stresses across-the-board mistakes in domestic and foreign policies that contribute to inputs/outputs in a national  production model (nKorea emphasizes heavy industry over light industry at an 8:2 ratio).  Policy mistakes and subsequent failures in major components of the economy begin to impact infrastructure and economic sub-systems as major system-maintenance resources become unavailable.

            b. Phase Two: Prioritization - Quantity of resources becomes insufficient to supply/maintain each sub-system of infrastructure.  Administration employs one or both of two policies of selective provision:
                        - Selective provision policy one (SPP 1): Each sub-system receives proportionately less than minimum maintenance level; and/or:
                        - Selective provision policy two (SPP 2): Selected sub-systems receive no resources whatsoever in order to provide subsistance levels to the other sub-systems.

            c. Phase Three: Local Independence - Realization of lack of subsistence or perceived near-term lack creates localized independent motivation to acquire subsistence materials, either individually or collectively, through intentional circumvention of  established policy.  Sub-system types are collective farms, factories and administrative units that are integrated units whereby workers/citizens acquire social identification.

            d. Phase Four: Suppression - Empirically, localized independent economic activity implies a corresponding level of independent political intention.  This in turn is perceived by the Core Group as violation of state (read Core Group) policies and threatening to Core Group control.  National I/S assets will be employed with maximum, even indiscriminate, powers necessary to suppress actions that are in contradiction, or perceived to be in contradiction, of state policies.  This is the most pivotal of phases.  Successful suppression is critical to regime/Core Group survival and the continuation their policies. The lack of success in suppression  implies success in resistance.             e. Phase Five: Resistance - Based on success of suppression (or lack thereof), sub-system groups and/or individual leaders (as opposed to individuals) will elevate levels of resistance both horizontally and vertically, organizationally and violently.             f. Phase Six: Fracture - Progression to this phase is difficult without an extreme amount of violence occurring beforehand.  Increased and confident organizational resistance, from the local level upward, will move Core Group members (read military leaders with real power or influential civilians allied with real military power as opposed to mere influential leaders) to splinter into sub-groups.  These sub-groups splinter because of opposing views in dealing with the resistance.  The splinter process will be consistent with korean political socialization (loyalty based on family, association and/or classmate, regionalism).                       g. Phase Seven: Realignment - Should suppression fail and the fracture phase be reached, a realignment of national leadership will be unavoidable.  The elimination of the entire Core Group is not likely.  New national leadership will find it necessary to implement immediate reform consistent with its support base.  Realignment of the national leadership does not mean immediate peaceful unification with the Republic of Korea.
Also, below the article I have pasted some of the details of Phases four, five, and Six, Suppression, Resistance, and fraction for those who want to try to keep score.  The key question for the Kim Family Regime is whether it can maintain sufficient loyalty of the military and sufficient power to continue suppression.  Again, this bears watching.

N.Korean Elite 'Getting Restive'

Senior officials in North Korea's Workers Party and military are increasingly objecting to policies or ignoring orders from leader Kim Jong-un, leading to rumors that his grip on the country is weakening, sources said Tuesday.

A source said Kim Jong-un recently presided over a meeting on bolstering North Korea's power supply and called for more hydro-electric power plants, but senior officials claimed that the North's chronic power shortage can be resolved only by building nuclear plants. 

"Kim was furious and fired them on the spot, stripping them of their ranks," the source added.

As North Korea forfeited international support to build a light-water reactor after its nuclear test, Kim has been focusing on constructing large-scale hydro-electric projects like the Heecheon and Chongchon river dams. 

But officials insist that will not be enough to solve the chronic electricity shortage.
North Korea leader Kim Jong-un inspects a rural orchard in these photos released by Rodong Sinmun on Thursday. /NewsisNorth Korea leader Kim Jong-un inspects a rural orchard in these photos released by Rodong Sinmun on Thursday. /Newsis
On another recent occasion Kim watched a football match at a military base, and after he left the players beat up the referee to vent their anger at his decision while lower-ranking soldiers in the football squad assaulted senior officers, suggesting that discipline is fraying everywhere. 

A growing number of soldiers are disgruntled over being roped into labor in construction projects like a ski resort in Masikryong which is one of Kim's pet projects.

Another source said, "One high-ranking military officer was caught complaining about several new construction projects Kim Jong-un proposed in his New Year's address and was punished."

North Koreans are apparently disaffected because Kim was spotted flashing broad grins in public after a high-rise apartment collapsed in Pyongyang in May, killing around 400 members of the elite.

One foreign businessman who visited Pyongyang early this month said, "When Kim Jong-il was in power, North Koreans of all ranks parroted the same opinions, but this time it was different. There were quite a lot of North Koreans who complained about Kim Jong-un and senior party and military officials." / Jul. 26, 2014 08:16 KST
            d. Phase Four: Suppression - Both the incorporation of local internal security elements into independent activity and the activity itself are perceived as direct challenges to the authority of Kim Chong-il and the Core Group.  The Core Group will respond to such challenges in both indiscriminate and calculated manners.  This phase must be successful to prevent the further breakdown of the regime’s control.  The regime’s full energies will address whatever the regime itself perceives as threats.  nKorea’s track record at suppressing isolated incidents is well established.  Again, success here is paramount to the survival of the regime and world public opinion will not be an effective deterrent.

                        1/ Internal Security systems (even paramilitary units) will be mobilized to employ indiscriminate force to make examples of groups of citizens or entire sub-system(s). Entire sub-systems, such as collective farms deemed collectively guilty of independent (read politically disloyal) activity, will be instantly converted into political crime camps guarded by military or paramilitary units.

                        2/ Local active-duty company and battalion-level military units will be mobilized to employ indiscriminate violent force for the most severe cases.  A severe case would be organized demonstrations (of any kind, but food riots would be an eminent example) against the local or national government.
                        3/ Suppression operations could be streamlined to improve overall effectiveness in dealing with dissidence and/or independent activity.  An example of this streamlining would be the establishment of local “civil order” commands which consolidate local internal security and military assets.  (Inter-agency sharing of information and planning is indeed uncommon to the nKorean political structure.  However, the severity of the situation most likely would be perceived as justification to consolidate.) This inter-agency cooperation would facilitate both detection of and response to increased dissidence and/or independent activity.  The command function could vary.  Two proto-types would be a local ministry of state security official obtaining operational control of a military quick reaction force provided by the local military commander for the purpose of immediate countermeasure.  A more likely proto-type would be the requirement for local security officials to report not only up their chain of command but laterally or even directly to the local military commander.  The commander then acts on this information and, armed with the authority of the “local civil order command,” orders his troops to suppress the reported dissidence with whatever force necessary. 

                        4/ Mass arrests and purges. nKorea has a long history of this activity.  Political reasons are invariably cited as justification, even when activity is clearly not political but civil crime.  The nKorean regime has already divided the nKorean populace into 51 distinct categories of loyalty or disloyalty.  Those arrested and their families are reclassified to disloyal categories.  Arrests and purges become indiscriminate when local authorities feel personally threatened when pyongyang’s intended impact is not delivered to the expected extent.  

                        5/ Show trials and public executions.  These are employed to demonstrate regime’s resolve and demand for adherence to political guidelines.
            e. Phase Five: Resistance - This phase presupposes that the supression phase failed to meet its intended goals.  Local groups, even new sub-systems evolving out of independent activity, will gain confidence in their ability not to succumb to the government’s suppression attempts either through open resistance or manipulation of reporting that forwards false data.

                        1/  Refusal to obey government directives.  These directives will be ignored because those that resist perceive enforcement is unlikely.

                        2/ Usurpation of government assets, such as storehouses or competing sub-systems.  This will enhance the power of local resistance activities, whether economically or politically based.

                        3/ Threats and violence employed against internal security representatives to either win their culpability or simple elimination.  Resistance groups will lose their fear of internal security forces and either eliminate them, beginning at the basic level, or incorporate them into their local sub-system to assist in their activity.

                        4/ The more successful local resistance becomes, the more likely a resource-denied sub-system (which is already a paramilitary unit within the nKorean social system) will begin to employ counter-force against the regime’s mobilized military units.  Such an incident will become a central issue dominating the attention of the Core Group.

                        5/ Successful armed resistance, though only at the sub-system level (company to battalion-sized paramilitary level) will lead the regime’s Core Group to employ combined arms operations against the resistance group.  Some military leaders receiving such orders will hesitate to employ maximum indiscriminate force against local citizens and will immediately be relieved if not executed on the spot.  Other leaders will execute the executioner.  The depth of the resistance phase can be measured by the rank of the officer who does not obey orders from Pyongyang.

                        6/ Low echelon border units, along both the northern border and the DMZ, will cross the border and the mdl while senior echelons are preoccupied with resistance suppression.   Platoon commanders will be capable of initiating a platoon level crossing of the border or DMZ for the purpose of avoiding punishment, chaos, or worse.  After eliminating the company’s single political officer, a company commander would be capable of taking a whole company across the DMZ.  The senior battalion commander would be forced to call for artillery fires into the DMZ or beyond to halt the platoon or company-sized defections across the DMZ.  He would do this knowing that he would probably be immediately executed for permitting it to happen in the first place.  This process would not likely end until the division or corps level.

            f. Phase Six: Fracture - This phase is the most unpredictable.  The current regime and its Core Group members must see the success of the suppression phase as critical to their survival.  Failure of the suppression phase likely results in a quick transition through the resistance phase to the fracture phase.  Fracture will likely result in violence.  The types of fracture are calculable but where the fissures begin is not.  This phase will be characterized by the following:

                        1/ Internal Security systems (regional or national)  will be unable to comply with directives due to ineffectiveness.

                        2/ Core Group members or sub-group(s) openly (as opposed to private consultation) oppose Core Group directives.

                        3/ Division-sized military unit commanders ignore Core Group orders.  They perceive the orders extraordinary and do not believe them or are so appalled (through Korean perception) by the orders they make a conscious decision not to obey.

                        4/ Public execution employed against core-group member or members.  This is an indication of severe disagreement within the Core Group.  However, successful execution of one of these Core Group members is also an indication of containment to a limited degree.

                        5/ Division-sized military unit commanders who oppose Core Group orders ally with one another to oppose counter actions.  This amounts to civil war.  If Kim Chong-il and the Core Group wait to this point before initiating a nKorean attack against the Republic of Korea (as
a means to put an end to resistance energies), it may be too late.  As other dictators have in the past, a wartime footing provides the opportunity for internal security apparati to eliminate military commanders previously perceived by the regime to as supporters of resistance.

                        6/ Internal security officers executed or neutralized within entire systems or numerous adjacent sub-systems.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Army Needs Balance, Interoperability, Odierno Says

I certainly hope that this is not what GEN Odierno thinks about special operations forces.  If the Army thinks SOF and drones are only good for one kind threat terrorism then perhaps we do need to revitalize the OSS.  I certainly hope he was misquoted and does not think that (of course there are some in the SOF community who might agree  and think that terrorism is now SOF's reason d'être which of course should not be true) 

The Army must remain a balanced force as it downsizes, he said. Drones and special operations forces provide the capability to go after just one kind of threat -- terrorists, the general said.

We are in a bad way if this is the view of the Army and the military writ large and if this is what is being communicated to opinion and thought leaders (e..g, key communicators) at the Aspen Institute.  Again, I certainly hope the General was misquoted or at least that his remarks were taken out of context.

07/24/2014 09:40 AM CDT

Army Needs Balance, Interoperability, Odierno Says

By Claudette Roulo
DoD News, Defense Media Activity

ASPEN, Colo., July 24, 2014 - In the debate about how large the Army should be as the Defense Department faces the return of sequestration spending cuts in fiscal year 2016, it's more important than ever to build a balanced force, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said last night.

"I've been very clear ... the president's strategy, that he built and we all signed up for in 2012, is a strategy that we think is sound," he said.

Under that strategy, the Army would shrink to about 490,000 soldiers, the general told the audience at the first day of the Aspen Security Forum.

"We believed that that size and the capabilities that come with that would allow us to execute that strategy," Odierno said. "Since then, we've had some things come in the way, such as sequestration."

Based on the current budget, the Army will instead go down to about 440,000 or 450,000 soldiers by 2016, he said.

"What we don't know is what's going to happen after '16," Odierno said.
"If it goes to full sequestration, we're going to go to 420,000," he added. "And I've been very clear that at 420,000, we cannot execute the current strategy. We will not have the capacity or capability to do it."

If full sequestration returns as scheduled, the general said, the national defense strategy would have to be rewritten. "For me, that is something that is somewhat concerning, because since 2012, the world has not become a safer place," Odierno said.

The Army must remain a balanced force as it downsizes, he said. Drones and special operations forces provide the capability to go after just one kind of threat -- terrorists, the general said.

"So if you believe that's the only threat we have, that's the way to build your force," he added. "I personally believe we have much more diverse threats that we're going to face."

Declining budgets and unstable security situations also put greater importance on interoperability with U.S. partners and allies, he said.

"Our NATO partners have significantly decreased their spending on security, so we have to better understand what all our capabilities are," the general said. "We have to understand what our strengths and weaknesses are. We have to work together to build multinational capability to solve these problems."

The tensions between Ukraine and Russia are a "wake-up call" for NATO, he said, adding that "over the last several years, we've allowed our capabilities in NATO to slip." It's time to rebuild NATO's capacity, Odierno said.

"We have to start doing more exercises, more interoperability," the general said. "We have to have some reassurance of our eastern partners, and we have to make sure we are serious about those. I think we are doing that through small-level exercises today."

(Follow Claudette Roulo on Twitter: @roulododnews)

Army Gen. Ray Odierno
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Please go to War on the Rocks to read the entire essay:

Needless to say I cannot express my disagreement with this essay strongly enough. I  will just make a few brief comments.

First, US troops are in Korea now not simply because of the Mutual Defense Treaty but because it is in the US interests to contribute to the alliance to deter an attack by north Korea.  The author would do well to include an analysis of how US interests would be enhanced by removing US forces from Korea.

Second, an analysis of north Korean interests and strategy would be useful to understand how the north will react to what is in effect a key strategic objective it has been seeking since the Armistice and that is a split int he ROK/US alliance.  Although the author mentions some of the comments and concerns of ROK and US policymakers he does not conduct an analysis of what the north might do and how it will exploit this de facto split in the ROK/US alliance (although he mentions extended deterrence I do not think that will have the same deterrent effect as a combined ROK/US force).

Third, I am surprised that there is no discussion of the actual command relationship of the ROK/US Combined Forces Command.  We should keep in mind that the ROK US Combined Forces Command has no "Title 10" authority over ROK forces.  Just as US Title 10 authority is to provide organized, trained, and equipped forces to the ROK/US Combined Forces Command, the ROK JCS has the ROK responsibility to provide organized, trained, and equipped forces to the ROK/US CFC.

While continuously being forward-deployed to South Korea, U.S. forces also created the Combined Forces Command (CFC), led by an American four-star general. 
Under the current agreement, South Korean forces would be under this four-star’s command, and he would take the wartime OPCON and oversee the battlefield if a shooting war (presumably with North Korea) emerges. General Curtis Scaparrotti is the current commander of UNC/CFC/USFK and responsible for seamlessly leading, organizing, training, and equipping all forces on the peninsula under Title 10 authority.
This is the usual US perspective that illustrates the lack of understanding of the command relationship.  The ROK/US Combined Forces Command was established in 1978 by both the ROK and US governments in agreement.  The ROK/US/CFC is a completely combined command, with near equal distribution of ROK and US personnel through the entire command (the command. not the subordinate units of course).  But the important point is that the ROK/US CFC answers equally to both governments through the Military Committee. The ROK/US CFC is not a US Command (like most press. pundits, and the population in Korea the author makes the same mistake of equating the ROK/US CFC and US Forces Korea which is the Title 10 authority over US military forces in Korea but it has no relationship with the ROK/US CFC except as a force provider - just as the ROK Joint Chiefs of Staff is a force provider of ROK forces to the ROK/US CFC when it determines that it is in the ROK interests to commit forces to the command).  ROK forces are not under US "OPCON"  and as I have said there is no such thing as OPCON transfer - it is a myth - there is only the dissolution of the ROK/US CFC.  If we are going to have a discussion of OPCON transfer then all the key elements and relationships and processes and procedures should be discussed and analyzed.  This paper falls short of a thorough discussion of command relationships and instead relies on the popular talking points of the press and pundits and those who do not want to remain committed to the alliance (both in the ROK and the US).

There is much more to say on this but I will have to stop here.  The bottom line is I strongly disagree with the author's proposal.

Time for U.S. Forces to Leave South Korea


July 24, 2014 · in 
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American foreign policy towards the Republic of Korea (hereafter, South Korea) has focused on a substantial amount of military and economic support and is primarily based on the Mutual Defense Treaty between the United States and the Republic of Korea (1953). The mutual defense treaty continues to be the cornerstone of the security relationship between the two, which guarantees peace and stability by extended deterrence—28,500 United States Forces Korea (USFK) troops on ground and the U.S. nuclear umbrella.
The combined threats of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and conventional forces, as well as the specter of the collapse of the Kim Jong-Un family regime, compel the United States government to continue its strong military defense of, and economic devotion to, South Korea. The need to protect South Korea against its neighbor to the north also drives—in part—America’s ongoing “rebalance” or “pivot” towards Asia.
President Barack Obama recently reaffirmed America’s dedication to Seoul and the mutual defense treaty during his official visit to South Koreain April 2014. During that visit, the president promoted his “pivot” and pledged a continuing U.S. commitment to a strong alliance with South Korea. Obama reminded South Korean President Park Guen-Hye that recent developments in North Korea, such as significant increased activity at Punggye-ri nuclear test site coupled with multiple long-range missile tests, beckoned for fiercer efforts toward denuclearization.
Although the mutual defense treaty has secured the alliance for nearly six decades, transformations from both sides in the last decade suggest that a fundamental change is overdue. Based on new fiscal realities and Seoul’s proven ability to defend its national borders, the U.S. government should immediately conduct the transfer of the wartime operational control (OPCON) to South Korea. The country’s robust military force and its ongoing procurement of advanced military systems, combined with its first-rate economy, afford South Korea the ability to defend itself from most aggressors without substantial involvement of American conventional forces. The OPCON transfer would not change the security guarantee of extended deterrence under the United States’ nuclear umbrella. In addition to the transfer, President Obama should turn away from his status quo approach and implement a new security alliance toward South Korea—one that strongly cultivates an autonomous military without extended assistance from the United States.
Dating back to the Korean War, South Korean forces were under heavy scrutiny and control of the United Nations Command (UNC). U.S. forces played a significant role in establishing a democracy in South Korea. Even today, following this paradigm, U.S. troops and conventional weapons retain extensive control of Seoul. While continuously being forward-deployed to South Korea, U.S. forces also created the Combined Forces Command (CFC), led by an American four-star general. Under the current agreement, South Korean forces would be under this four-star’s command, and he would take the wartime OPCON and oversee the battlefield if a shooting war (presumably with North Korea) emerges. General Curtis Scaparrotti is the current commander of UNC/CFC/USFK and responsible for seamlessly leading, organizing, training, and equipping all forces on the peninsula under Title 10 authority.
Despite the substantial number of forward-deployed U.S. personnel in South Korea, both sides have been gradually working toward giving full autonomy to the South Korean military. In 1994, for the first time in nearly four decades, U.S. forces transferred the peacetime OPCON to South Korea. The next and final step in achieving full autonomy for the South Korean military is to solely take over the wartime OPCON. Nonetheless, there has been much controversy over the necessity and practicality of such a step. Scaparrotti, who endorses a cautious 2015 transfer of power, stressed to the Senate Armed Services Committee that “the South will have to meet a variety of benchmarks before any OPCON transfer can go through; it is important to note that the transition is conditions-driven.”
(Continued at the link below)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


These missives that identify "new" forms of warfare would do well to begin with the opening that "War is more than a true chameleon..."  lest we forget the enduring nature of war and the trinity that underpins it.  But the conclusion is wrong.  The nature of warfare is not changing.  The character may be but not the nature.

This essay does use the Latvian Defence Academy's analysis of Russian's new generation warfare.  But again at the risk of beating a dead horse this is unconventional warfare and political warfare that was defined by George Kennan in 1948.  What is old is new again.

I had some hopes for this article because it has a section of what the US should do.  However, it focuses on technology and equipment (e.g., the Osprey, the F-35, THAAD/Patriots, Iron Dome and modular, scalable forces) and not really on strategy (though it does touch on information operations and psychological operations). 

These weapons systems are nice but unless we are able to develop real strategies focusing on countering unconventional and political warfare we are not going to be able to prevail in this so-called 21st Century Warfare (and I am going to have to add that to my lists of "warfares")


2014-07-22  By Robbin Laird and Ed Timperlake
Rather than looking into Putin’s soul and figuring out our next step in the Ukrainian crisis, it would be better to look carefully at the emergence of the next phase of 21st century warfare.
War is always with us; but it mutates over time.
In an age of globalization, total war is not a strategic objective of any major global power.
Having said that, what kind of warfare do the adversaries of the United States see as sensible to roll back American power and to reshape the globe in their image?
At the end of 20th century we learned that bringing down the World Trade Center was a desirable objective seen as part of the broader picture of the Middle East regional conflict.  A similar effort was tried in France several years earlier, but was not recognized as such by analysts and policy makers.  The World Trade Center attack was simply a copy cat plan of the aborted effort to strike the Eiffel Tower.
What we have seen recently in Ukraine with the Malaysian airliner is the next strike in this decade’s reinvention of warfare. 
gor Girkin, aka Strelko, a Russian separatist leader in the Ukraine. Credit Photo: Reuters
gor Girkin, aka Strelko, a Russian separatist leader in the Ukraine. Credit Photo: Reuters
One could interpret this as an aberration requiring legal action, but this would miss the point of how it all started – the Russian seizure of Ukraine and the triggering the potential collapse of the Kiev government.
In a globally interconnected world, moves on one regional chessboard have consequences elsewhere, difficult to see at the time, but clearly happening nonetheless. 21st century warfare is about the use of hard power to gain advantage wrapped in the candy wrap of soft power.  The best moves are those that can allow one to move ones pieces on the global chessboard without losing your pieces nor providing an excuse to your adversary to up the ante dramatically.
The isolation of world events as factually separate based on the variable of time or t is how the media and policy makers and many analysts interpret a particular event.  The reality is that an event is always contextual, and that different actors operating in an event are working to shape an outcome to their advantage, the nature of which carries with it both past and future history.
When Putin seized Ukraine it was deliberate and seen as a relatively risk free opportunity to expand his energy empire and his place in the Mediterranean and the Middle East as well.  It has been risk free from the standpoint of what the West has done in reaction, for this event has been isolated and almost forgotten prior to the jetliner being shot down over Ukraine.
The opportunity for the West to re-engage in Ukraine and to stop Russian map making in its tracks is clearly there; and not taking advantage of the crisis will have its own consequences upon key actors in the region and beyond.
It is not an in and of itself CNN moment; it is part of the texture of 21st century re-shaping of Europe and a contributor to the next chapter of writing the book on 21st century warfare.

The Attack on Ukraine as 21st Century Warfare

In a seminal piece on the Ukrainian crisis by a Latvian researcher, new ground has been laid to shape a clearer understanding of the evolving nature of 21st century military power.
Neither asymmetric nor convention, the Russians are shaping what this researcher calls a strategic communications policy to support strategic objectives and to do so with a tool set of various means, including skill useful of military power as the underwriter of the entire effort.
The Russian Approach to 21st Century Military Operations. Credit: Janis Berzinš
The Russian Approach to 21st Century Military Operations. Credit: Janis Berzinš
According to Janis Berzinš, the Russians have unleashed a new generation of warfare in Ukraine. The entire piece needs to be read carefully and its entirety, but the core analytical points about the Russian approach and the shaping a new variant of military operations for the 21st century can be seen from the excerpts taken from the piece below:
The Crimean campaign has been an impressive demonstration of strategic communication, one which shares many similarities with their intervention in South Ossetia and Abkhazia in 2008, while at the same time being essentially different, since it reflects the operational realization of the new military guidelines to be implemented by 2020.
Its success can be measured by the fact that in just three weeks, and without a shot being fired, the morale of the Ukrainian military was broken and all of their 190 bases had surrendered. Instead of relying on a mass deployment of tanks and artillery, the Crimean campaign deployed less than 10,000 assault troops – mostly naval infantry, already stationed in Crimea, backed by a few battalions of airborne troops and Spetsnaz commandos – against 16,000 Ukrainian military personnel.
In addition, the heaviest vehicle used was the wheeled BTR-80 armored personal carrier. After blocking Ukrainian troops in their bases, the Russians started the second operational phase, consisting of psychological warfare, intimidation, bribery, and internet/media propaganda to undermine resistance, thus avoiding the use of firepower.
The operation was also characterized by the great discipline of the Russian troops, the display of new personnel equipment, body armor, and light wheeled armored vehicles. The result was a clear military victory on the battlefield by the operationalization of a well-orchestrated campaign of strategic communication, using clear political, psychological, and information strategies and the fully operationalization of what Russian military thinkers call “New Generation Warfare”…..
Thus, the Russian view of modern warfare is based on the idea that the main battlespace is the mind and, as a result, new-generation wars are to be dominated by information and psychological warfare, in order to achieve superiority in troops and weapons control, morally and psychologically depressing the enemy’s armed forces personnel and civil population.
The main objective is to reduce the necessity for deploying hard military power to the minimum necessary, making the opponent’s military and civil population support the attacker to the detriment of their own government and country.
By seizing Crimea, Russia set in motion internal pressures aided by direct support to continue map writing in Ukraine and to reduce the size of the territory under the country of the government in Kiev.  The Crimean intervention was destabilizing, and the enhanced role of Russian “separatists” aided and abetted by Moscow within the remainder of Ukraine is part of the Russian 21st century approach to warfare.
The problem is that as the Russian’s shape a new approach, others are learning as well.
With a swift destruction of a Malaysian airliner by the use of a sophisticated surface to air missiles shot from Ukrainian territory, a new instrument of terror in the hands of those who wish to use it has been clearly demonstrated. And in the world of terrorists, imitation of success is a demonstrated way forward.
Putting the entire civil aviation industry at its feet is a distinct possibility. When terrorists slammed into the World Trade Center and stuck the Pentagon, the effect on the civil aviation industry was immediate. With ground missiles in the hands of terrorists the same dynamic can easily be unleashed.
Unfortunately, this might not be a one off event, even though the specific context is clearly unique. For example, the loss of thousands of manpads from the Odyssey Dawn intervention has been a lingering threat overhanging global aviation or evident in threats directly against the state of Israel. By conducting air strikes against Libya in March 2011, the stockpiles of manpads were not destroyed. The decision to NOT put boots on the ground to secure the KNOWN Libyan manpads stockpile, but to strike without any real consideration of the OBVIOUS consequences of thousands of manpads escaping destruction or control.
One or simultaneous manpad attacks against civil airliners are possible.
Much like slamming into the World Trade Center was a new chapter in warfare, this current Ukrainian development could be as well.
The proliferation from Libya to Egypt and Lebanon has already been reported.  If a group associated with the former Libyan regime, based in Lebanon or Egypt sought to bring further focus on the crisis in Libya, attacking European airliners coming into Egypt would be plausible.
The initial reaction to such a manpad attack would clearly be to focus on the source of the attack.  Intelligence sharing would be crucial to determine who and where the source of the threat lies.  And there should be an immediate concern with copycat activities of other groups who might see an advantage from disrupting specific countries and to try to isolate them by using pressure to shut down airline based travel and commerce.
Within countries like Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and ISIS, there are distinct advantages by outsider groups to use such tactics to shape the political process. In the wake of such an attack, Europe and the United States and Asia would go back to planning underway when the Bush Administration was in power.  The need to introduce defensive measures on airliners must be debated.
The threat of manpads now seen in terms of its more sophisticated brother has become a reality chilling the global aviation industry and providing a new chapter in the Russian-Ukrainian crisis
Which terrorists – whether state-sponsored, state-supplied or even worse able to gain access to lethal weapons and training to pop a civil airliner – remains to be determined, and that is an unacceptable strategic intelligence failure.

What Can the United States Do?

Simply asking Putin to man up and take responsibility is not going to get the job done.  The United States needs to shape its own capabilities for 21st century warfare.
We could start by trying to actually engage in the information war which the Russians are conducting.  Clearly, leveraging intelligence assets and putting the story into the Western press in DETAIL is crucial to position oneself for an effective information war engagement.
This is not about feeling good; it is about defeating the Russian information war gambit, which is holding the West responsible to trying to take advantage of the crisis for political advantage.  We may feel privately that his position is less than credible; but it can be clearly believed worldwide.
But we need a hard power response to go with the diplomatic kabuki dance in which we are not engaged.  And one clearly is at hand.
We argued in our book with Richard Weitz on Pacific strategy, that U.S. military power needed to be rebuilt around a modular, scalable force that could be effectively inserted in crisis.  We also argued for the economy of force, that is one wants to design force packages appropriate the political objective.
If this was the pre-Osprey era, an insertion might be more difficult, but with the tiltrotar assault force called the USMC a force can be put in place rapidly to cordon off the area, and to be able to shape a credible global response to the disinformation campaign of Russia and its state-sponsored separatists.   Working with the Ukrainians, an air cap would be established over the area of interest, and airpower coupled with the Marines on the ground, and forces loyal to Kiev could stop Putin in his tracks.
In other words, countering Russian 21st century warfare creativity is crucial for the United States to do right now with some creativity of our own.
Again it is about using military force in ways appropriate to the political mission.

Emerging Capabilities to Reinforce the Approach

The approach described here only gets better with the coming of the F-35 to US and allied forces.  The multi-mission capabilities of the aircraft means that a small footprint can bring diversified lethality to the fight.  An F-35 squadron can carry inherent within it an electronic attack force, a missile defense tracking capability, a mapping capability for the ground forces, ISR and C2 capabilities for the deployed force and do so in a compact deployment package.
In addition, an F-35 fleet can empower Air Defense Artillery (ADA), whether Aegis afloat or Patriots and THAAD Batteries, the concept of establishing air dominance is moving in a synergistic direction.  An F-35 EW capability along with it’s AA and AG capability will introduce innovate tactics in the SEAD mission. Concurrently, the F-35 will empower U.S. and Allied ADA situational awareness.  The current engagement of the IDF employment of their Irion Dome in conjunction with aviation attacks is a demonstration of  this type of emerging partnership being forged in battle.
To get a similar capability today into the Area of Interest would require a diversified and complex aerial fleet, whose very size would create a political statement, which one might really not want to make.
A squadron F-35B seen at Yuma on July 16, 2014. Credit Photo: Second Line of Defense
A squadron F-35B seen at Yuma on July 16, 2014. Credit Photo: Second Line of Defense
With an F-35 enabled ground insertion force, a smaller force with significant lethality and flexibility could be deployed until it is no longer needed for it is about air-enabled ground forces.  A tiltrotar enabled assault force with top cover from a 360 degree operational F-35 fleet, whether USMC, USN, USAF or allied can allow for the kind of flexibility necessary for 21st century warfare and operational realities.
Lt. Col. Boniface in forecasting a “tsunami of change” to come, understood without even saying so the evolving nature of warfare, and in this case was talking about the Osprey and the coming of the F-35B:
I sort of think of it like a game of chess….. If you have ever played chess it sometimes take a while to engage your opponent. 
We now have the ability to move a knight, bishop, or rook off of this same chessboard and attack 180 degrees towards the rear of our enemy.
We can go directly after the king.
Yes, it’s not really fair, but I like that fact.
Our politicians and strategists need to understand the changing nature of warfare and how to engage our assets for strategic advantage.  Our adversaries are certainly not waiting around for Washington to get smarter.