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, April 15, 2014

THE RISE AND FALL OF MAJOR JIM GANT by Joseph Collins

I know people are tired of reading reviews of this book. However, this on is worth reading as it is the most balanced objective review and analysis of Jim Gant's story. Please go to War on the Rocks to read the entire essay: http://warontherocks.com/2014/04/the-rise-and-fall-of-major-jim-gant/

The Rise and Fall of Major Jim Gant

THE RISE AND FALL OF MAJOR JIM GANT

April 15, 2014 · in 
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Whether you are interested in an unusual love story or in how the United States fights protracted wars, Ann Scott Tyson’s American Spartan is an important  book.. It artfully tells the story of the author and her now-husband, Major Jim Gant, a tough warrior-hero-thinker, who not only was one of the authors of the theory of Village Stability Operations in Afghanistan but became a pioneer practitioner, living among the Afghans in Konar Province for nearly two years.   In the end, the Taliban tried very  hard to kill him, and none other than Osama bin Laden identified Gant and his 2009 article, “One Tribe at a Time,” as a threat to the global jihad, at least according to the author. In the estimation of General David Petraeus and others, Major Jim Gant was the “perfect counterinsurgent.”
Major Gant, however, was also a psychologically wounded warrior and not fit for combat.   A multi-tour combat veteran, he had severe and apparently untreated PTSD before his final deployment, the result of too much close combat on previous tours in Afghanistan and Iraq.  How long can one ride on the hood of a Humvee, drawing sniper fire and scouting for and finding IEDs?  He was well into drug and alcohol dependence before he deployed.  His condition became worse as his tour progressed.  Indeed, he increasingly became the centerpiece of battles against his twin demons:  the Taliban and his superior officers.  His attitude about war and warfare went off the deep end, and he imagined himself a reincarnated Spartan.  He told his often mystified soldiers:
Who am I?  I am a warrior. My physical, emotional, and spiritual self revolves around being a warrior.  I believe war is a gift from God…. I am not a patriot or a mercenary.  I fight to fight…. I believe if you want to kill, you must be willing to die. I am willing to do both … I pray for a worthy enemy…. I believe in the wrathful God of combat.  I believe in Hecate (pp. 139-40).
On one occasion, Gant stood in front of a troop formation and ritually cut himself to remember his unit’s dead.  One soldier described him as “Dances with Wolves meets Charles Bronson…” (p. 140).  In relation to the Afghan tribe with whom they lived, the author concluded:  “The message was clear.  Jim was fighting not for his country but for his family, his men, and his tribe” (p. 212).  (This old soldier found the vision quest, Sparta-babble to be misdirected, dysfunctional, and more than a bit weird.  Fighting to fight is not cool or macho; it’s feckless. Uncle Sam pays soldiers to fight for their country, not the love of battle.)
While Gant might have seen his superior officers as an impediment to his warrior quest, the rest of the world should see them as dedicated, decorated Special Forces officers, who, in the main, have walked a mile in Gant’s shoes.  Unlike Gant, they remained interested in the general orders that prohibit drinking and sexual relations in the field.  They were concerned with the reputation of their storied regiment.   They were also interested in spreading Village Stability Operations, and not hunkering down in one area, Gant’s apparent preference.
Gant for his part encouraged his future wife to come to his area of operations, and from time to time, clandestinely engage in combat operations.  This is both unethical gonzo journalism and a violation of the laws of war.  Gant artfully deceived his superiors about the presence of his lover in the combat zone.  For her part, Ann Scott Tyson admitted entering Afghanistan on valid visa, but not one for the work she then set out to accomplish.  This grand, lovers-against-the-world escapade enabled her to write this book.  The Gant-Tyson affair was stopped when a supporting infantry officer, suspicious of Gant from the beginning, turned him in for smelling of alcohol.  Investigators descended on the compound, took Gant into custody, and the author exited, stage left.
The resulting investigation reveals the steamy side of being a “perfect counterinsurgent”: whiskey bottles, pills, and a cozy container-for-two in the middle of an Afghan village.  Gant’s case appeared headed for a general court martial, but was wisely downgraded to non-judicial punishment.  Still fighting a ghost from the end of the Vietnam War, his superiors wanted to protect the Special Forces Regiment from the reputation of being a rogue outfit.  The fate of the Village Stability Operations also hung in the balance.  They believed strongly that Special Operations did not mean special ethics or legal shortcuts.
In the end,  Major Jim Gant was severely reprimanded, removed from the Special Forces Regiment, stripped of his Special Forces tab, retired from the Army at the rank of Captain, and charged a six-figure fine that will be extracted over a lifetime of smaller retiree paychecks. Major Gant — sick, worn out, charismatic, and crazy brave — ultimately defeated himself with the help of loyal junior officers and NCOs, who would follow him anywhere, but could not tell him where to stop.
Major Jim Gant, however, had more enablers than those brave souls who fought with him.  The commanders who seized on his fresh ideas, skill, and reputation did not look out for his welfare.  I wondered, over and over, how he could pass a pre-deployment physical and maintain a security clearance.  In a 22-month tour, why were there no visiting lawyers, medical officers, Inspectors General, or no-notice command inspections to catch Gant in the act of being Gant?  His post was visited many times, even by Senators.  But no one looked into how the people really lived there.  Gant conducted his own Potemkin Village Stability Operations tour, and the VIPs saw what they wanted to see.
(Continued at the link below)

Monday, April 14, 2014

TWE Remembers: NSC-68

Here is an interesting interpretation of events in 1950:

The debate over NSC-68 might have sputtered out and the memo might have become nothing more than a historical footnote if not for North Korea’s invasion of South Korea on June 25, 1950The attack by Moscow’s ally seemed to confirm what NSC-68 had argued, the Soviet slave state was on the march and only American military might could stop it. Truman’s nearly immediate decision to order U.S. troops to come to South Korea’s aid guaranteed a major jump in U.S. defense spending. (Truman had proposed a $13 billion defense budget for FY 1951; it ended up ballooning to $58 billion.) With cost no longer an obstacle, NSC-68 became official policy. As Acheson later observed, “Korea saved us.”

Historians might debate Acheson’s claim—and some have. They might also debate whether NSC-68 correctly gauged Soviet intentions and actions, or exaggerated the Soviet threat and exposed the United States and the rest of the Free World to needless conflicts and crises. What isn’t in dispute is that the blandly named “United States Objectives and Programs for National Security” set the basic guidelines that would govern U.S. national security policy for four decades.

TWE Remembers: NSC-68

by James M. Lindsay
April 14, 2012
The cover of NSC-68. (Harry S. Truman Library and Museum)The cover of NSC-68. (Harry S. Truman Library and Museum)

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“United States Objectives and Programs for National Security” is a rather bland title for a report. Especially one that turns out to help drive history. But that’s the formal name given to NSC-68, the foundational document for America’s Cold War strategy. It was issued by President Harry Truman’s National Security Council for review on April 14, 1950.*
To understand the origins of NSC-68, it helps first to know some background. The second half of 1949 had been a tough time for the Truman administration on the foreign policy front. In August, the Soviet Union detonated an atomic device for the first time, ending the U.S. nuclear monopoly far sooner than Washington thought would be the case. Then, in October, Mao Zedong declared the establishment of the communist People’s Republic of China. That set off a bitter debate in the United States over who “lost” China, a debate that helped set the stage for Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s famed Wheeling, West Virginia speech alleging that communists were running rampant at the State Department.
The Soviet A-bomb test and the victory of the Chinese communists helped prompt Truman to order a reevaluation of the country’s national security policy on January 31, 1950. The task of leading the review was handed over to a group of officials known officially as the State-Defense Policy Review Group. They were led by Paul Nitze, the director of the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff, and supported by Secretary of State Dean Acheson.
The participants in the review believed that the United States needed a tougher foreign policy, and they set out to use their report to convince the rest of government that they were right. Robert Lovett, a consultant to the project, said that the memo should use “Hemingway sentences” to make its points. “If we can sell every useless article known to man in large quantities,” Lovett argued, “we should be able to sell our very fine story in larger quantities.” Acheson thought along the same lines. “The purpose of NSC-68,” he later wrote, “was to so bludgeon the mass mind of ‘top government’ that not only could the President make a decision but that the decision could be carried out.”
NSC-68’s authors took Lovett’s and Acheson’s advice. The report came packed with more rhetorical ammunition than most other government memos. The dramatic tone started in the introduction:
The issues that face us are momentous, involving the fulfillment or destruction not only of this Republic but of civilization itself. They are issues which will not await our deliberations. With conscience and resolution this Government and the people it represents must now take new and fateful decisions.
So what were the momentous issues? The Soviet Union (and its satellites) stood diametrically opposed to everything that the United States (and by extension the rest of the “free world”) stood for:
(Continued at the link below)

Saturday, April 12, 2014

US unsettled by China's 'three warfares' strategy: Pentagon report

This could perhaps be described as unconventional and political warfare with Chinese characteristics.  I will have to find the Pentagon report.

For those that missed it I do think it is worth reviewing George Kennan's #269 Policy Staff Planning Memo from 1948.  The entire memo can be accessed here: http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/history/johnson/65ciafounding3.htm  

Excerpts from Kennan's memo:

1. Political warfare is the logical application of Clausewitz's doctrine in time of peace. In broadest definition, political warfare is the employment of all the means at a nation's command, short of war, to achieve its national objectives. Such operations are both overt and covert. They range from such overt actions as political alliances, economic measures (as ERP--the Marshall Plan), and "white" propaganda to such covert operations as clandestine support of "friendly" foreign elements, "black" psychological warfare and even encouragement of underground resistance in hostile states.  
...
3. This Government has, of course, in part consciously and in part unconsciously, been conducting political warfare. Aggressive Soviet political warfare has driven us overtly first to the Truman Doctrine, next to ERP, then to sponsorship of Western Union [1-1/2 lines of source text not declassified]. This was all political warfare and should be recognized as such.   
4. Understanding the concept of political warfare, we should also recognize that there are two major types of political warfare--one overt and the other covert. Both, from their basic nature, should be directed and coordinated by the Department of State. Overt operations are, of course, the traditional policy activities of any foreign office enjoying positive leadership, whether or not they are recognized as political warfare. Covert operations are traditional in many European chancelleries but are relatively unfamiliar to this Government. 

I am very cognizant of Frank Hoffman's warning to consider "Colin Gray's definitions of warfare as the physical act of fighting, which invalidates both words in "political warfare."  The actual definition, if one accepts Gray, makes the definition problematic since it entails everything short of going to war--and thus NOT warfare."

My purpose is not so much to introduce new terms, definitions and doctrine but to try to push us to think more strategically by trying to understand that everything is not terrorism and insurgency and by understanding that our opponents are executing forms of unconventional and political warfare for which we must develop strategies to counter.

And just to counter slightly Frank and Colin Gary unconventional warfare does 
include the physical act of fighting.  But if political warfare does not involve the physical act of fighting

perhaps a better term would be unconventional statecraft which is a term I believed coined by a JAG officer named Dru Wall (I read it in a draft of an article that he is writing.)

Maybe what we need to do is to have two concepts: unconventional warfare and unconventional statecraft.



US unsettled by China's 'three warfares' strategy: Pentagon report

Date
April 11, 2014
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Asia Pacific editor for Fairfax Media

Photo: Alex Ellinghausen" v:shapes="Picture_x0020_8">
Tony Abbott greets Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the Boao business forum. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
The US and its military partners are reaching for new tools to counter an unconventional ''three warfares'' strategy that China is using to advance aggressive territorial claims, according to a Pentagon report.
It says the People's Liberation Army is using what it calls ''legal warfare'', ''media warfare'' and ''psychological warfare'' to augment its arsenal of military hardware to weaken the resolve of the US and its regional partners to defend islands and oceans in the East and South China seas.
''They have introduced a military technology which has not previously been considered as such in the West,'' says the report, China: The Three Warfares, which was commissioned by the Pentagon's most senior strategist, Andrew Marshall, and circulated to the US Pacific Fleet. This technology has ''sidestepped the coda of American military science,'' it says.

  
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The report's warnings of China's use of ''coercive economic inducements'' and other non-traditional methods underscores Prime Minister Tony Abbott's challenge in balancing economic and security interests, as he prepares to meet China's President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People on Friday night. This week Mr Abbott signed a landmark agreement to develop military technology with China's arch-rival, Japan, while Australian business leaders joined a forum at Bo'ao that was initiated by representatives of a PLA ''influence'' platform, as revealed last year by Fairfax Media.
The ''three warfares'' stratagem is rooted in ancient Chinese strategies of ''perception warfare'' as well as the Communist Party's origins as an underground and guerilla organisation.
It was modernised and codified a decade ago but appeared to escape serious Western military attention until China began to adopt a far more muscular stance over its contested borders from 2009.
Some well-placed Western defence strategists question the efficacy of Chinese ''three warfares'' and broader ''political warfare'' strategies, saying efforts to intimidate have been counterproductive and that military contests will continue to be determined by traditional capabilities.
But the lead author of the report, Stefan Halper, told Fairfax Media that Western military strategists had been slow to respond because they were unduly fixated with the PLA's traditional military hardware.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Lessons from the Post 9/11 Campaigns

With all due respect to the General I would have to push back on a few comments.

The first question when you are involved in any counterinsurgency is how do we marshal the right combination of our forces necessary to limit and shape the insurgency? 
...
So first is shape the insurgency, second is to move the host nation forces into the lead and the third is to build the kind of enduring capacities necessary within the institutions of the host state that permit, ultimately, for that nation to continue to deal with the insurgency and also to endure over the long term as a viable political entity. 

I would off the first task is to gain an understand of the situation before we think about marshaling the right combination forces.  As part of that detailed and thorough assessment we have to ask whether there is a viable political entity that can achieve a political solution.  We need to address all these issues before we think about committing forces.  In the General's defense he goes on to talk about Iraq and the Awakening and the importance of understanding the operational environment:

We had to understand the operational environment - the role of Al Qaeda, the relationships between the tribes and Al Qaeda, the inter-tribal relations, and the fact that Anbar in many respects was a closed Sunni environment that was distant from the Shia government in Baghdad. If we could understand the value systems of the tribes and how they related to Al Qaeda, then we would have the capacity to target weaknesses in those relationships

But I would offer another lesson to consider that offers a different perspective than this one:
 
 You cannot start the planning for capacity building as you are moving out of decisive operations into sustained operations. I think this is a major problem. In Afghanistan we knew we were going to purposefully destroy the Taliban government. That was our task. But I am not sure we fully understood just how little capacity there was in the human dimension of the Afghan society to create governance in the wake of the fall of the Taliban regime. Now, Colombia always had in essence an intact government. You may not agree necessary with the politics or the politics may have changed, but the government remained essentially intact. The same happened in other insurgency challenges, for example with El Salvador or the Philippines. So while we would have programmed assistance to help the Philippines government to improve itself, we didn’t have to build the Philippines government from the ground up. There was no need for national capacity building, but there was significant need to assist the Philippines government in internal defense operations and in training and advising its forces. The fundamental difference was that there was no phase three (decisive operations) to our operations. You’ve got to start thinking about and preparing for state-building during phase zero. We didn’t get much chance to have a phase zero in Afghanistan. Iraq was different. We had more time and we have to look very hard in retrospect why we didn’t do more to think what our post decisive operations activities should have been. All in all, there is a fundamental difference. El Salvador, Colombia, and Philippines governments remained intact. But there was no government left intact at the end of decisive operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that required a far different phase four.

I absolutely agree with the General that you cannot compare Colombia, El Salvador, and the Philippines with Iraq and Afghanistan. But what I would offer is that the mistakes we made in Iraq and Afghanistan are the result of policy decisions and assumptions (and emotions) that caused us to not look at things from a traditional perspective.  Of course we cannot prove a negative so I accept the coming criticism for this. We failed to do something that we have done in most other wars.  We failed to take the surrender of the defeated force or government in each case.  We decisively defeated both Afghanistan and Iraq but instead of taking a surrender as we do in traditional war we took on the mindset of not only did you break it you buy it, we also developed the mindset that would could create whole governments, security forces, and societies out of whole cloth.  An alternative approach might have been to find whomever was left to offer the surrender, we accept it, and then we say we are going to conduct conflict stability operations and the remaining leaders of the country are going to be responsible for re-establishing their government and security.  Yes it will be ugly and difficult for them but I would submit (and again we cannot prove a negative) that it would not have been any uglier than it has been for the last nearly 13 years.  Again our assumption is that they could not have done it themselves and we had to do it for them. But is that a valid assumption?  Again I know we would not have been able to handle the criticism that we would be responsible for internal violence and strife (and we have to follow the "do something now" doctrine) but the fact remains we were not able to fully prevent it through our actions anyway.  We should think real hard about how our actions as an occupying force, trying to create something in our image that was not in accordance with the countries' customs and traditions, contributed to the rise of insurgencies and violence.  Rather than hold back Iraq and and Afghanistan (and later "return" their sovereignty as if it was ours to give back) we should have assured they maintained their sovereignty from the time of surrender and allowed them to figure out how to re-establish their country in their own image and not in ours.  Again I fully accept the criticism that this is a should have or could have and is not based on the reality of the situation on the ground at the time.  I would only counter with one question: did we really understand the reality on the ground at that time?  I think probably not and that might be the root of our problems because instead of understanding the reality we made assumptions, applied our ideology, and made decisions based on emotion and not practical reality.
 

Last excerpt from the conclusion:

The outcome in a COIN campaign will not be determined by military operations, they’ll be determined by the political stability and economic development which will emerge over time from the security purchased by the foreign intervention and indigenous security forces. Understanding that success in these endeavors is a function of a comprehensive, whole of government approach is essential to success over the long term. The question of whether we should educate military officers to that end isn’t the question. The question should be is how do we prepare members of the interagency … the whole of government … for the reality of what comprehensive COIN demands.

I would offer that the success of a COIN campaign (that should only be conducted and led by the nation threatened with insurgency and not by foreign intervention forces) comes from either the host nation defeating the insurgent forces militarily or the government reaching a political 
 accommodation
 that either satisfies the insurgent demands (such as between the MNLF and MILF in the Philippines) or undercuts the insurgent legitimacy (such as the Huk Rebellion) or some combination of both (El Salvador).  


I think we should consider the idea that the only country that defeat an insurgency is the country that is faced with the insurgency.  We may be able to provide support and advise and assist (i.e. FID) but if we try to do it for them then we are going end up being an occupying power conducting a Pacification campaign (e.g., the US in the Philippines more the 100 years ago).  As long as we believe we can do it for someone else I think we are going to face tremendous military and strategic problems.
 




Lessons from the Post 9/11 Campaigns

by Octavian Manea

Journal Article | April 8, 2014 - 7:58am
Lessons from the Post 9/11 Campaigns: Small Wars Journal Discussion with General John R. Allen
Octavian Manea
General John R. Allen, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.) is a distinguished fellow in the Foreign Policyprogram at Brookings, working within the Center on 21st Century Security and Intelligence. Prior to joining Brookings, Allen commanded the NATO International Security Assistance Force and United States Forces in Afghanistan from July 2011 to February 2013.
“The outcome in Afghanistan was not going to be decided by military operations alone. It was to create the security platform operating in the hard end of the hard-power spectrum that then permitted us to leverage those outcomes in governance, economic development and civil society, which was going to deliver the knockout blow to the Taliban.”
SWJ: In the past, the US military trained for high-end maneuver warfare and intensive firepower - historical key ingredients of the American way of war. Since 9/11 we’ve seen a totally different approach. What has changed, in your experience, in the nature and the character of war, in how you wage war? 
General John R. Allen: War is fundamentally a human endeavor; the character of war may change, but not its nature. Conflict may be characterized by high intensity firepower and maneuver dominated operations and campaigns or we may find that the character of war is dominated by counterinsurgency operations, or even cyber operations. But the nature of war still continues to remain the same, a human endeavor. What was unique about Iraq and Afghanistan was what we undertook after the decisive phase of the campaign, because both of them were seen as part of a paradigm that emphasized the traditional application of the American way of war. In the aftermath of those campaigns we ultimately undertook the kind of capacity building and nation-building that would be necessary for that state to endure. We wanted to make sure that what emerged after the destruction of both central governments is something that we could live with. That required and caused us fundamentally to change the manner in which we conduct operations in both theaters.
SWJ: What are the core questions a military commander needs to answer and guide his decisions in a counterinsurgency battlefield?
General John R. Allen: I think there are three very large questions.
The first question when you are involved in any counterinsurgency is how do we marshal the right combination of our forces necessary to limit and shape the insurgency? Being involved in a counterinsurgency campaign would seem to indicate that the host nation at its core has limited or no capacity ultimately to address fundamental issues. So the foreign intervention has to be one that shapes the insurgency while you are doing the next thing which is extraordinarily important, building the capabilities and capacities of the indigenous force to take over from the foreign expeditionary force. Frankly, recognizing when this moment has come and orchestrating the rebalancing of the foreign forces, with moving the indigenous forces into the lead to take over operations is critically important. The commander needs to recognize that moment and be prepared to reshape and rebalance the foreign force from an essentially conventional unit into a force with strong advisory and support capabilities. This is a very significant undertaking.
So first is shape the insurgency, second is to move the host nation forces into the lead and the third is to build the kind of enduring capacities necessary within the institutions of the host state that permit, ultimately, for that nation to continue to deal with the insurgency and also to endure over the long term as a viable political entity. All three of those things have to occur in a counterinsurgency campaign. How do I keep insurgency from winning, how do I get the indigenous security forces into the fight so they become a credible solution to the problem and how do we shape and build endurance in the national institutions so they can bring an end to the insurgency at the political and economic level supported by its own credible and capable security forces and has a hope of enduring beyond the departure of the foreign forces.
One of the challenges with foreign interventions and insurgencies, especially in the kind of interventions where we are investing a lot in capacity-building, is ensuring we are building or developing capacities that are culturally, socially, economically feasible to endure over the long term.  One of the things that I told to my staff, very early on when I have arrived in Afghanistan was that I didn’t want any more big ideas.  As I conveyed to my leadership, I wanted to stop trying remake Afghan institutions into Western institutions. Afghanistan, Iraq, El Salvador, Colombia each of those countries has a unique social environment, history, and faith - the combination of which over time shaped its institutions for governance and government. When we seek to create them in our own image we may well be creating a social dynamic that is unnatural. What I said to my staff was there would be no moratorium on good ideas. What I wanted was to have a good understanding of what works from the context of Afghan solutions. Stop trying to impose unique Western solutions to their unique Afghan problems and needs. Within their own capabilities, we needed to understand Afghan needs and requirements and invest in giving them the capacity to solve their problems or invest in their own capability to build capacities. But if we impose a Western solution and then provide insufficient or no sustainment we can’t expect anything other than collapse of those capabilities once we leave.
SWJ: Is it reasonable to expect military commanders to acquire enough grass-root understanding and insight to influence the local social fabric?
General John R. Allen: This is an important question. I felt very comfortable when I went into Iraq, that I understood the history of the tribes of the Euphrates River and the western desert. I understood, in essence, that if I was to accomplish anything it was going to require very close personal relationships with the sheiks, with the tribal leadership, and understanding how Iraq would govern itself at the civil level. I spent months studying to prepare myself to exist in this environment of an Arab, Muslim, tribal society. At the same time I understood Saddam Hussein, the emergence of modern Iraq. Unfortunately, I didn’t have anything like the same amount of time for my preparations to command in Afghanistan. The enormously complex cultural environment of Afghanistan was far more multifaceted than what I experienced in the Al Anbar Province of Iraq - the ethnicity, the religious and the tribal issues, the fact that the country had been at war non-stop for over 30 years and each phase or segment of that war was different. Each segment had its own unique effect on Afghanistan, the institutions of country, and the Afghan people themselves. These were the Communist uprising, the Soviet invasion, the post Soviet Afghan state against the mujahedin, the civil war, the rise of the Taliban and then the U.S. and Western invasion. Each of these stripes of conflict was different - each one shaped the Afghan society in a very different manner and each deserved to be understood.
(Continued at the link below)

Monday, April 7, 2014

S. Korean military vows to step up anti-drone measures

I hope people will think this through.  These small UAS/RPVs (or drones) are difficult to detect by anyone.  I remember the difficulties we had for year detecting the AN-2 Colts (canvas covered bi-plane that is a main nKPA SOF infiltration platform).

I think the most important thing the north might have done was to fly over the ROK and observe the action of the ROK military in response to the recent provocations.  But based on the photos that have been released it looks like all they are taking are rudimentary low quality still photos.  I do not think they were capable of streaming real time video.

The alleged photos of the Blue House were also of poor quality.  I compared them with Google Earth and Google Earth had much better resolution.  I wonder if the nKPA UAS/RPV operators are substituting Google Earth images for their images when they show them to Kim Jong-un.  I wonder if these overflights are for internal north Korean propaganda or perhaps the result of Kim Jong-un saying he wanted the "advanced capability" like modern nations have.  (Maybe they will halt their long range missile and nuclear weapons programs and shift to UAS/RPVs so they can move from these airplane toy systems to something more sophisticated).

On the other hand this could very well be psychological operations directed against the ROK.  It is easy to see the effects they might want to achieve - political problems for the President, undermining of confidence in the ROK military capabilities, a rapid shift of resources to develop the capabilities try to detect and defend against these systems.  

I think we should spend some time trying to understand the north Korean strategy (and in particular the psychological operations strategy) before we go overboard chasing these toy systems around.  And yes I know people fear that these will be loaded with explosives to attack target but they could probably carry perhaps a kilo of C4 and while that would do some damage it would be relatively minor and certainly have little military effect (so we again have to consider the psychological operations strategy of the north).

But the best immediate reaction to this is to prevent overreaction (which I know is difficult to prevent among ROK politicians and of course any politicians for that matter).

(2nd LD) S. Korean military vows to step up anti-drone measures


2014/04/07 17:30
By Kim Eun-jung
SEOUL, April 7 (Yonhap) - South Korea's defense minister ordered tighter vigilance against new threats of small unmanned aerial vehicles on Monday as a recent discovery of suspected North Korean drones has sparked concern over the nation's air defense system.
Kim Kwan-jin issued the order at a meeting of top military commanders convened to discuss anti-drone measures after South Korea collected three drones in less than a month near the western and eastern front and on a border island.
One was found in late March in Paju, just south of the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, and the other was retrieved from the front-line island of Baengnyeong during the North's live-fire drills near the western maritime border last week.
Most recently, the military on Sunday revealed a third drone similar to the other two drones, which a local resident found in a mountain on the east coast in early October.
"If (North Korea) developed the small unmanned aerial aircraft for reconnaissance purposes to enhance its relatively weak surveillance capability, it is expected to develop drones for secret infiltration and terrorism purposes in the future," Kim said during the video conference held at the Joint Chiefs of Staff headquarters in Seoul.
South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin convenes a meeting of top commanders to discuss anti-drone measures at the Joint Chiefs of Staff headquarters on April 7, 2014. (Yonhap)

South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin convenes a meeting of top commanders to discuss anti-drone measures at the Joint Chiefs of Staff headquarters on April 7, 2014. (Yonhap)

"We should strengthen our military readiness to be able to monitor, detect, identify and strike (the drones) with existing military assets along the border."

   The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Choi Yun-hee, talked with the commander of U.S. Forces Korea, Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, via the video conference system to discuss ways to cooperate in dealing with North Korean drones, as well as threats posed by its missile and nuclear weapons, his office said. Scaparrotti is now in the U.S. to attend a congressional panel meeting on security situations on the Korean Peninsula.
Rudimentary drones have existed for almost as long as aircraft themselves for reconnaissance and surveillance missions have, but the drone incursions have raised concerns over more sophisticated, armed UAVs that can launch attacks on military assets and major facilities.
Seoul officials have discussed anti-UAV measures in the past years, but so far, defenses against drones mostly consist of signal jamming, radar detection and conventional counterattack used against other types of aircraft.
In light of the drone incursions, Seoul's defense ministry said it is considering purchasing advanced low-altitude surveillance radars and anti-aircraft guns to better guard against infiltration by small aircraft.
With an in-depth analysis current underway, the three sky blue drones equipped with cameras, which crashed either due to engine failure or lack of fuels, showed Pyongyang's UAV technology to be at a rudimentary level.
In light of the drone discovery made by reports from local residents, military units across the country began searching for other drones that may have crashed in South Korea.
During the meeting, the defense chief also pledged to cooperate with related government agencies and civilians to better spot the small aircraft, which are hard to detect with the existing radars.
As part of the measures, the military is considering giving a monetary reward to any informant who reports the existence of a drone, according to officials.
The latest details from the investigation showed that the drones found in Paju and Samcheok may have extended their flight range by having had their glow engines modified to run on a more effective gasoline fuel, said a military official with knowledge of the ongoing investigation. The glow engine is a small internal combustion engine typically used in model aircraft.
While the triangle-shaped drones with an average speed of 100-120 km per hour are believed to have flown as far as 200 km, the Samcheok drone was discovered 130 km south of the military demarcation line. It is a strong indication that the engine may have used more cost effective gasoline fuel as it is designed to fly a round trip covering a distance of over 260 km, the official said.
"The joint investigation team has assembled the drones to look into engines to figure out whether they were modified to gasoline engines to extend their flight range," the official said. "An in-depth analysis of the engine structure would provide (knowledge about the North's) technology to make drones that can fly according to prearranged coordinates unaffected by wind."

   If the North successfully modified the glow engine to run on gasoline mix, it could conduct spy missions farther south, he added.
Experts say North Korea is believed to have deployed about 100 attack drones it unveiled last March during military drills, which was lauded by leader Kim Jong-un.
The range of the drones is estimated at up to 800 kilometers, sufficient to strike major South Korean and U.S. military targets in South Korea.
The North on Saturday derided the discovery of the drones that flew undetected over key areas in Seoul that tarnished the image of the South Korean forces, but made no mention of its involvement.
If the ongoing probe confirms that the drones were sent by the North, the spokesman for Seoul's defense ministry said it would constitute a violation of the Armistice Agreement of the 1950-53 Korean War and international regulations, and vowed to take "relevant actions" without elaborating on the details of potential measures.
The JCS said Sunday it will take necessary "military and legal actions" over the North's violation of its airspace if the drones are found to have come from the country.