Sunday, November 30, 2014

N. Korea seen to unveil new political, economic model in 2015

Putting lipstick on a pig?

Will they be able to move away from Byungjin - the current plan for simultaneous nuclear weapons and economic development?  Unfortunately this is the catch 22 - for there to be a chance for economic improvement, the regime would have to shift resources from its nuclear weapons development to economic development but the regime is highly unlikely to give up any aspect of its nuclear weapons program as it deems the program key to survival and its blackmail diplomacy.

Legalizing some of the market activity may be significant but I would imagine that any new political and economic policies are still going to be designed to protect the survival of the Kim Family Regime as that is the vital national interest.  

N. Korea seen to unveil new political, economic model in 2015

2014/11/30 10:26
SEOUL, Nov. 30 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's Kim Jong-un regime may announce a new policy vision for politics and the economy next year as the country intensifies efforts to open up a new era of the new leader, a report by a local institute showed Sunday.
"There is a possibility that North Korea may propose a new set of governing norms and power structures as it opens up the era of Kim Jong-un next year, in which the three-year mourning period for (late leader) Chairman Kim Jong-il will have been ended," said the report by the Institute for Eastern Studies at the Kyungnam University.
The elder Kim died of a sudden heart problem in December 2011, bequeathing power to his third son, Kim Jong-un.
The current leader is expected to come up with policies that distance him from the late leader, as well as Kim Il-sung, founder of the communist country. Those new policies may be announced sometime before or after the country's much-celebrated workers' party founding day on Oct. 10, the report noted.
"(The country) could suggest a new power structure that suits the Kim Jong-un epoch as the National Defense Commission system was (introduced) for the Kim Jong-il era and the premier system for the Kim Il-sung era," according to the report.
On the economic front, the North is expected to push to legalize a set of new economic measures the country has experimented with in recent years, the report said, adding homegrown market forces have been pressing for economic reform.
"North Korea's efforts to lure in foreign investment to its special economic and economic development zones may continue into the (following years)," it noted.
The North's push for new Kim Jong-un era policy may also include efforts to mend ties with neighbors, the institute said.
"As part of efforts to show off the consolidated power of the Kim Jong-un regime next year, when the country marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Workers' Party of Korea, Chairman Kim Jong-un could visit China and Russia," according to the report.
The North is also speculated to be seeking to revive the long-stalled six-party denuclearization talks with neighbors, as well as seeking more cooperative projects with Seoul as part of fence-mending efforts, it said.
Still, it is unclear whether the North could be able to resolve the nuclear and human rights issues the country is facing, the report added.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The U.S. Army Has Quietly Created a New Commando Division 1st Special Forces Command brings together thousands of Green Berets

At this link to the web site at Ft Benning you can download 14 charts from BG Rogers (the commander of the 1st Special Forces Command) that explain the ground truth to this article.  (note also that nowhere on the charts does he use the term "commando.")

As you can see what this does is to reorganize the units of US Army Special Operations command in order to provide the Theater Special Operations Commands and the Geographic Combatant Commanders for whom they work with an integrated and holistic approach to employment of Special Warfare Capabilities equal to the level of effort of our Surgical Strike capabilities.  Or another way to describe this is to provide capabilities to operate in the "missing middle" between diplomacy and war.

So on this Thanksgiving Day I am thankful for the rise in stature of our nation's Special Warfare organization and capabilities.

Wish we could get the commando word out of the press and the pundit's vocabulary at least as it applies to Special Forces, Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations which is what this new command consists of.  And the Special Forces (Green berets) have always been "together" assigned to the US Army Special Forces Command.  Now that command has been redesignated as the 1st Special Forces Command


But from the 1940s into the 1990s, the Special Forces mostly practiced unconventional warfare—indirect action, if you will, and the focus of the new 1st Special Forces Command. In that way, the new HQ brings Special Forces “back to its roots,” said Newson, a SEAL officer who served in Afghanistan, Iraq and Yemen.
This indirect method of warfare is ideal in situations where an American presence could be “too costly or be counter-productive,” Newson explained.
A return to the roots for a vision of the future (that was the title of my first master's thesis in 1995).

We should keep in mind this fact:

Now, the Army’s new Special Forces structure doesn’t actually add manpower. In fact, the Green Berets will actually cut 1,000 people in order to stay within shrinking budgets, an official told War Is Boring.

The U.S. Army Has Quietly Created a New Commando Division

1st Special Forces Command brings together thousands of Green Berets

On Sept. 30, the U.S. Army unceremoniously stood up a new headquarters—
the 1st Special Forces Command—at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The division-level unit 
brings together more than 15,000 
Green Berets and other special troops in a single new organization.
Previously, the Army’s Special Operations Command had directly controlled all of these troops plus 
others on a wide range of missions. The idea behind the new HQ is to assemble a force specifically 
tailored for dealing with what the Pentagon calls “hybrid warfare.”

Simply put, hybrid warfare is a blend of straight-up traditional combat—with infantry, tanks and 
artillery—and secretive insurgency. Probably the biggest practitioner of hybrid warfare is Russia.
Just look at what’s going on in Ukraine, where Russian-supplied separatist insurgents are fighting 
alongside disguised Russian troops in an attempt to seize territory from the government in Kiev and 
bring it under Moscow’s sway.

Among other tasks, the U.S. Army’s new 1st Special Forces Command could help the ground combat 
branch counter hybrid warfare—by sending Green Beret advisers to train, advise and lead native troops 
in embattled countries.

“This is … a real requirement based on Russia’s hybrid warfare approach, as well as the need for partners 
in places like Libya, Syria and Iraq, where we want to help stabilize the chaos,” Navy captain Robert Newson, 
a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, said of the new Army HQ.
(Continued at the link below)

Monday, November 24, 2014

WarCouncil’s “Zero to Clausewitz”

Thanks to Zenpundit.

A good cheat sheet for terms of strategy.

This is testable. :-)

WarCouncil’s “Zero to Clausewitz”

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. “zen“]
The fine gents at have released the Cliff Notes of Strategy in their “ 300 Word Strategic Education” . It is excellent:
Can we educate a strategist in an hour?  Some would argue this task is impossible, that it takes a lifetime, or at least 10,000 hours
But what if we had to?  Imagine it were possible – how would you do it?  How would youaccelerate learning to strategic competency?  Note: I define competency as someone that would know, understand, and be able to apply a core set of strategic concepts to analyze and appraise modern war (see also “strategic understanding”).
One scientifically validated path would be the Pareto Principle, which holds, across many systems, that 80% of output comes from 20% of input.  How does this help us rapidly educate strategic practitioners?  We would first identify the critical 20% knowledge base that produces these outsize gains.  We would then leverage this 20% (or “minimum effective dose”) by proving a simple framework for use in any war.

(Continued at Zenpundit's blog at the link below)

The CrossFit Insurgency (application of UW principles)

People often ask me about the unconventional warfare approach.  Someone sent me this article from 2006 (thus the old definition of UW is used).  Controversy over CrossFIt philosophy aside, I am heartened to see how the guys at Torii Station used UW principles to conduct their insurgency.  The entire article can be downloaded in PDF at this link:  A UW approach has myriad applications.

In LEO/Mil
July 01, 2006
PDF Article
This is the story of how a small group of soldiers used “unconventional warfare” (UW) to bring CrossFit to 1st Battalion 1st Special Force Group, Torii Station, Japan.
Insurgency is a condition of subversive political activity, civil rebellion, revolt, or insurrection against a duly constituted government or occupying power wherein irregular forces are formed and engage in actions, which may include guerrilla warfare, that are designed to weaken and overthrow that government or occupying power.
Unconventional warfare is a broad spectrum of military and paramilitary operations, normally of long duration and conducted predominantly by indigenous or surrogate forces that are organized, trained, equipped, supported, and directed in varying degrees by an external source. It includes guerrilla warfare and other direct-offensive low-visibility, covert, or clandestine operations, as well as the indirect activities of subversion, sabotage, intelligence activities, and evasion and escape (E&E).
There are three prerequisites that must exist for an insurgency to be successful. The first is a vulnerable population. The second is a leadership element that can direct the frustrations of a dissatisfied populace along the lines drawn by the overall insurgent strategy. And the third is a real or perceived lack of government control. The greater control the government has over the situation, the lower the chances for insurgent success. The opposite is also true: the less control the government has, the greater the likelihood of insurgent success.

U.S. SPECIAL FORCES TRAIN FOR NORTH KOREA MISSION Is a popular, partisan revolt inside the Hermit Kingdom possible?

My two favorite subjects: unconventional warfare and north Korea. Alas, this article does not add anything substantive or positive to those two subjects.   It  is based on and inspired by  the Special Warfare magazine article on a ROK and US Joint training Exercise from 2013.  It is amazing how many articles the Special Warfare magazine article has spawned.  In the last paragraph of the postscript (yes this piece is so long it has a postscript)  the author credits Special Warfare magazine for the inspiration of this article.

However, readers should be forewarned.  This is a long and hugely sensational article that brings in many disparate issues on the Korean peninsula (from WMD to OPCON Transfer to China to north Korean culture, i.e., Songbun, to rebellion theory of Ted Gurr to quotes from GEN Sharp and Leon Panetta to ISIS and the 2008 RAND study on how terrorist organizations are defeated to the US Army Operating Concept and more) .  But to give you a hint of why this is so far-fetched is that the author was influenced by David Hackworth (whom he calls "a visionary Special Forces operator" who also founded Delta Force - perhaps the names Hackworth and Beckwith are easily confused)  who supposedly asked the author to write a white paper in 1999 for unconventional warfare in Korea (and the author now knows Hackworth was thinking outside the box in 1999.  He also cites the influence"mercenaries."  Unfortunately he also claims influence by a great American and  someone for whom I do have a lot of respect: the late COL Carl Bernard (of Task Force Smith and later Special Forces fame).

But this article is all over the map and written by someone who can pull together many different sources, articles, concepts, current events, and a smattering of doctrine to weave a sensational tale.



Is a popular, partisan revolt inside the Hermit Kingdom possible?

Published: 11 hours ago
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Soldiers of 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) and the Republic of Korea 11th Special Forces Brigade, provide security for their fellow members during training near Gwangyang, South Korea, April 1, 2009. The two forces trained together during the annual springtime exercises Key Resolve and Foal Eagle.
Soldiers of 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) and the Republic of Korea 11th Special Forces Brigade provide security for their fellow members during training near Gwangyang, South Korea, April 1, 2009. The two forces trained together during the annual springtime exercises Key Resolve and Foal Eagle. (Photo: U.S. Army)
Another famine grips North Korea. Morale is low. Elite U.S. Special Forces, having trained for years for this archetype scenario, enter North Korea from South Korea, via submarines off the coast and from mainland China.
They have deployed with a singular mission – that being to lead the North Korean people in a popular revolt against their oppressive, multigenerational Stalinist hereditary cult.
Several North Korean slave labor camps are liberated. North Korea’s elite intelligentsia advising dictator Kim Jong-un is whisked away, leaving him isolated.
China stands down and announces it won’t step in to save the regime in Pyongyang.
‘The Interview’ is a new Hollywood film about two journalists recruited by the CIA to assassinate the leader of North Korea
The race is on to secure North Korea’s vast stockpile of biological and chemical weapons, while America prepares to use tactical nuclear weapons in the Korean theater in a fight to the finish.
While the aforementioned scenario sounds like fiction, it’s not as far-fetched as many might believe.
More specifically, various news reports state U.S. Special Forces have been training alongside Republic of (South) Korea Special Forces in mock scenarios in which they would be inserted into North Korea (also known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or “DPRK”). Their mission would involve launching, growing and leading a partisan movement, or “indigenous resistance organization,” of North Korean citizens against the ruling regime.
Even Hollywood is now entertaining the thought of regime change in North Korea. Through the new comedy film, “The Interview,” which presents a plot about an assassination to be carried out by journalists on a covert CIA mission, Hollywood appears to be engaging neophyte North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. This motion picture has unsettled North Korea to the point of the country filing a formal protest at the United Nations, saying it amounts to “an act of war.”
As these ancillary cultural products from reel life blend with real life, the long-running struggle between the U.S., South Korea, Japan and North Korea shows no signs of resolution, and it could very well escalate in the future with or without advanced notice.
Concerning the training of the U.S. Special Forces and South Korean Special Forces, in April of 2013, under the “Foal Eagle” venture, “Balance Knife 13-1″ saw U.S. Special Forces from the 3rd Battalion of the 1st Special Forces Group train alongside the 7th and 11th South Korean outfits. Alphas 1333 and 1336 belonging to Charlie Company were involved on the U.S. side.
North Korea watchers may well ask if North Korean society would survive such an incursion. Is the broad operational, tactical, strategic, cognitive and cultural architecture of such planning both rational and actionable? What are the conditions under which a population might rebel – such as in Romania in 1989? Can America’s elite Special Forces effectively plan and lead a successful partisan rebellion? If so, then how? Would North Korea’s regular army, militia and/or ordinary citizens really join in with such a revolt? If so, how many would join in with this rebellion?
When North Korean leader Kim Jong-un visited an all-female North Korean military unit, he was met with tremendous adulation. North Korea’s ‘juche’ philosophy of ‘self-reliance’ requires citizens and soldiers to at least outwardly display patriotism toward the ruling regime
Consider that when the boy-dictator Kim Jong-un visited an all-female North Korean military unit, he was greeted with near-hysterical tears and hero worship. Along those lines, Kim Jong-un has also been the subject of much speculation since he vanished from the public eye after Sept. 3, 2014, only to re-emerge sporting a cane in October.
Moreover, would North Korean allies and long-time benefactors such as China (which recently stated it would not intervene to save North Korea if the regime falls apart) and Russia stand down if U.S. Special Forces (and South Korean Special Forces) destabilized the regime inside North Korea? Could a regional or even a global and nuclear war be unleashed?
The U.S. Army’s Concept Development and Learning Directorate – which carries out research for possible future conflicts – claims it would take 56 days and 200,000 U.S. troops to get into North Korea and secure that nation’s nuclear stockpile. More recently, Leon Panetta, the former U.S. secretary of defense, stated in his new memoir, “Worthy Fights,” that U.S. war plans against North Korea include the use of nuclear weapons.
According to Newsweek, Panetta recalled a 2010 meeting with Gen. Walter Sharp, then-commander of U.S. forces in South Korea. He explained to Panetta, “If North Korea moved across the border, our war plans called for the senior American general on the peninsula to take command of all U.S. and South Korea forces and defend South Korea – including by the use of nuclear weapons, if necessary.”
Cultural power
(Continued at the link below)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

N.Korea's Young Entrepreneurs Embrace Capitalism

Some good news for unification planning here.  Also good for those who seek to undermine the legitimacy of the regime.  And most importantly this type of activity can lead to the development of resistance potential that if harnessed (organized and led) can become a significant threat to the regime.  If I were developing a UW strategy and campaign plan I would be focusing some effort on nurturing this with both virtual and actual assistance.  One thing that makes me somewhat suspicious of this report is the assertion that this entrepreneurship includes selling real estate.  Given state (Party) control of the land I find this a little difficult to believe though perhaps there are remote areas in which the Kim Family Regime has lost central governing effectiveness which is one of the conditions necessary for eventual regime collapse.  Thus this bears watching.

N.Korea's Young Entrepreneurs Embrace Capitalism

North Korea is seeing the emergence of a class of young entrepreneurs who make hundreds of thousands of U.S. dollars from private businesses and spend them on bling much like their counterparts elsewhere. 

A source says North Koreans who were born in the 1980s and 90s are becoming more active making money as they were able to embrace a wave of changes caused by a nascent market-based economy there. They use smartphones and other gadgets to gather the information they need for their business and have formed nationwide sales networks. 

The source said in major cities like Pyongyang, Hamheung, Chongjin and Wonsan, these up-and-coming sell smartphones and real estate, run gas stations, lend money, and run coffee shops and retail stores -- a significant change from the pursuits of the older generation.

Young property developers buy new apartments, kit them out with materials imported from China, and sell them for a hefty profit. They also set up gas filling stations in major cities or open rest-stops along highways. 

One recent North Korean defector said mobile phone sales are particularly popular among young North Koreans. A trader buys up to several hundred mobile phones to sell them at retail prices. 

Others lend money for interest, which has also proven to be a lucrative business.

But another source said there are as yet few places where the nouveau riche can spend their money and the risk of getting stung by state security agents is always present. / Nov. 24, 2014 09:51 KST

Saturday, November 22, 2014

From the CIA Book reviews: Moles, Defectors, and Deceptions: James Angleton and His Influence on US Counterintelligence


This is the best assessment of James Angleton and his career ever produced.

You can watch the entire conference at this link:
 (I moderated the third panel :-))

We also have hard copies of the book at the Center for Security Studies at Georgetown since we sponsored this conference and co-hosted it with the Wilson Center.

Moles, Defectors, and Deceptions: James Angleton and His Influence on US Counterintelligence, edited by Bruce Hoffman and Christian Ostermann (Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 2014), 116 pp., photos, no index.
On 29 March 2012, The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars sponsored a seminar on James Angleton, his legacy, and his influence on counterintelligence. It was cochaired by the editors of this volume, which is a transcript of the proceedings. The 12 contributors were Tennent Bagley (CIA retired); Barry Royden (CIA retired); Carl Colby 
(Producer/Director and William Colby’s son); journalist/authors Edward Epstein, Ronald Kessler, David Martin and David Wise; historians Christopher Andrew (Cambridge), Loch Johnson (University of Georgia), John Prados (National Security Archive), and David Robarge (CIA); and Oleg Kalugin (KGB retired).

Each contributor made a presentation, and the overall result was an unusual summary view of Angleton and his CIA career. Only Bagley had had prolonged professional contact with Angleton. Johnson had interviewed him several times while on the Church Committee staff, and Epstein had interviewed him for 85 hours; both of these encounters occurred after Angleton had retired. The other journalists, authors, and historians had written books or articles about Angleton based on documents and interviews.

The varied views presented reflect the origins and functions of CIA counterintelligence as well as Angleton’s molehunt and other controversial elements of his career. There were brisk exchanges among the presenters and the audience. (36–37) Questions from the audience and the panelists’ answers are also included. This is the best assessment of James Angleton and his career ever produced.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Warrior Ethos at Risk: H.R. McMaster's Remarkable Veterans Day Speech (at Georgetown)

Yes this was a remarkable speech.  One of the best I have ever heard. We were very fortunate to have LTG McMaster give this speech at Georgetown on Veteran's Day.  I have to add that both Joel Meredith's (President of the Georgetown Student Veterans of America) and President DeGioia's speeches were excellent and complementary to the General's as well.  I am glad that Janine Davidson was able to get this and publish it because this needs to have wide distribution.
​  This is a foundational speech for anyone who studies war.​

The Warrior Ethos at Risk: H.R. McMaster’s Remarkable Veterans Day Speech

by Janine Davidson
November 18, 2014
Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster, director of the Army Capabilities an Integration Center and deputy commanding general of futures for the U.S. Army Training Doctrine Command, speaks at Georgetown University's Veterans Day ceremony. (Georgetown University Office of Communications)Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster, director of the Army Capabilities an Integration Center and deputy commanding general of futures for the U.S. Army Training Doctrine Command, speaks at Georgetown University's Veterans Day ceremony. (Georgetown University Office of Communications)

Dr. Degioia, faculty, administrators, students, guests—and especially veterans.
On November 11, Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster, Director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center (ARCIC) of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, gave the keynote address at Georgetown University’s Veterans Day ceremony. His message was simple and powerful: the study of war should not be confused with its advocacy; today’s stakes are higher than ever; the warrior ethos is threatened by both tech evangelists (who believe all conflict might be resolved at a safe distance) and a growing gap between the U.S. military and civil society. It’s a remarkably lucid speech by one of the Army’s most energetic leaders. You can read the whole text below:
Good afternoon. It is a great honor for me to participate in this celebration. My thanks to Georgetown University and the Student Veterans Association and the Hoya ROTC battalion. It is a particular privilege to celebrate Veterans Day at an elite university that has both educated and been shaped by our nation’s veterans. I would like to begin by thanking, on behalf of all veterans, the university leadership for making Georgetown the top-rated college for veterans.
Our military is a living historical community and those of us serving today are determined to preserve the legacy of courageous, selfless service that we have inherited from the veterans who have gone before us. We might remember that we are commemorating Veterans Day in the year marking the 100th anniversary of the beginning of The Great War. We celebrate on this day because on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, World War I ended. Though much has changed in the character of armed conflict since the early twentieth century, there are also clear continuities in the nature of war and especially in the character, commitment, and ethos of those who have served in our Armed Forces.  I thought that we might consider two ways of honoring our veterans for which those connected to Georgetown University are particularly qualified. First, to study war as the best means of preventing it; and second, to help the American military preserve our warrior ethos while remaining connected to those in whose name we fight.
There is a tendency in the United States to confuse the study of war and warfare with militarism. Thinking clearly about the problem of war and warfare, however, is both an unfortunate necessity and the best way to prevent it. As the English theologian, writer, and philosopher G.K. Chesterton observed, “War is not the best way of settling differences, but it is the only way of preventing them being settled for you.” As George Washington, who addressed Georgetown students in August 1797 observed, “To be prepared for war is the most effectual means to promote peace.” One of the patterns of American military history is to be unprepared for war either because of wishful thinking or a failure to consider continuities in the nature of war—especially war’s political and human dimensions.
In Europe, Jan Bloch, Norman Angell and others believed in 1914 that war had become so irrational a means of settling disputes that sensible people would never again fight one. Orville and Wilbur Wright believed that the invention of the aeroplane would bring an end to war. Even Hiram Maxim, the inventor of the machine gun when asked if his invention would increase the human cost of war, replied that the weapon will “make war impossible.”
The experience of World War I, a conflict that took the lives of over sixteen million people, highlighted the need to understand the political and historical basis for violent conflict as critical both to preserving peace and ending wars. It was no coincidence that Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service opened in February 1919 with Edmund A. Walsh, the Jesuit priest for whom it is now named, serving as regent. Its charter was to help create and sustain lasting peace among nations. As we know, however, the “war that was to end all wars” was instead the first of two world wars that marked the bloodiest century in world history.
Constantine McGuire’s vision for the Walsh School was to promote peace through commerce and diplomacy. This vision was consistent with Immanuel Kant’s idea of humanity reaching ‘moral maturity,’ as international institutions helped to prevent war.
World War II highlighted that institutions inconsistent with the cultural dispositions or historical experiences of its members are doomed to failure. After Pearl Harbor, our nation mobilized. Georgetown was the first elite university to be incorporated into the Army’s plan to establish training centers on campus. As they had during World War I, Georgetown students and faculty answered the call to service. World War II involved all of America. The U.S. Army grew from an army of 190,000 to an army of almost 8.5 million—a 44 fold increase. A total of 16 million Americans served in uniform in WWII; virtually every family had someone in harm’s way, every American had an emotional investment in our armed forces.
As the historian Rick Atkinson has observed, the wars of the twentieth century also teach us that victory in war is only possible through sacrifice. In World War II alone, the U.S. military sustained almost 300,000 battle deaths and about 100,000 deaths from other causes. The war lasted 2,174 days and claimed an average of 27,600 lives every day, or 1,150 an hour, or nineteen a minute, or one death every three seconds.
After World War II, the U.S. accepted that military power was necessary not only to the establishment, but also to the preservation of peace. However, many thought that strategic bombing capability and the atomic bomb was all that was needed to deter and, if necessary, prevail in war. The U.S. Army was unprepared to respond effectively to the North Korean invasion of South Korea in June 1950, anther bloody war in that bloodiest of centuries.
Georgetown graduates continued to serve our nation in the Korean War, the Vietnam War and across the Cold War. Prominent among them is Joseph Mark Lauinger for whom the library is named and who made the supreme sacrifice and received the Silver Star Medal for gallantry in action.
It was during the divisive Vietnam War that many universities confused the study of war with advocacy of it and tended to view military forces and weapons as propagators of violence rather than protectors of peace. Some saw war as the cause rather than the result of international tensions and competitions.
As the new world order associated with the end of the Cold War was thought to usher in an era of peace, the U.S. military and many Georgetown graduates were again in armed conflicts in Panama, the Persian Gulf and the Balkans. I had the great privilege of serving in the 1991 Persian Gulf War with Lieutenant Mike Petschek who served with great distinction and received the Silver Star Medal for gallantry in action at the Battle of 73 Easting.
The American military experience of the twentieth century was consistent with President Barack Obama’s observation, “To say that force is sometimes necessary is not a call to cynicism – it is recognition of history; the imperfections of man and the limits of reason…”
It was Aristotle who first said that it is only worth discussing what is in our power. So we might discuss how to prevent particular conflicts rather than eliminate all conflict, and when conflict is necessary, how to win. And in the pursuit of victory, how to preserve our values and make war less inhumane.
And we might discuss war to understand continuities its nature and changes in its character. It was a misinterpretation of the lopsided military victory in the 1991 Gulf war that gave rise to what would become the orthodoxy of the Revolution in Military Affairs, the belief that American military technological advantages would shift war fundamentally from the realm of uncertainty to the realm of certainty. The language was hubristic. The United States would use dominant battlespace knowledge to achieve full spectrum dominance over any opponent. The U.S. military would shock and awe opponents in the conduct of rapid decisive operations. War would be fast, cheap, and efficient. The thinking betrayed what Elting Morison warned against in 1967 when he wrote the following in Men, Machines, and Modern Times.
What I want to suggest here is the persistent human temptation to make life more explicable by making it more calculable; to put experience into some logical scheme that by its order and niceness will make what happens seem more understandable, analysis more bearable, decision simpler….
The orthodoxy of the Revolution in Military Affairs aimed to make war more explicable and calculable. This fundamentally flawed thinking about future war set us up for many of the difficulties we would encounter in the long wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
So we should discuss war in places like this great university because we have much to learn and because the stakes are high.
The stakes are high because we are engaged today, as previous generations were engaged, against enemies that pose a great threat to all civilized peoples. As previous generations defeated Nazi facism, Japanese imperialism, and communist totalitarianism and oppression, we will defeat these enemies who cynically use a perverted interpretation of religion to incite hatred and violence.
The murder of more than 3,000 of our fellow Americans on September 11, 2001 is etched indelibly in all of our memories. Since those attacks, our nation has been at war with modern day barbarians. It is our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who have volunteered for military service in time of war who will continue to stand between us and these terrorists who rape women, abuse children and commit mass murder of innocents.
The stakes are high because what see in the Greater Middle East is a humanitarian catastrophe of colossal scale. And battlegrounds overseas are inexorably connected to our own security. As the historian Margaret MacMillan has observed, “new technologies and social media platforms provide new rallying points for fanatics.” Enemy organizations like Al Qaeda and ISIL seek to perpetuate ignorance, foment hatred, and use that hatred as justification for the murder of innocents. They entice masses of undereducated, disaffected young men with a sophisticated campaign of propaganda, disinformation, and brainwashing.
As President Obama observed “a non violent movement could not have stopped Hitler’s armies. Negotiations cannot convince al Qaeda’s leaders to lay down their arms.” America, he observed has used its military power, “Because we seek a better future for our children and grandchildren, and we believe that their lives will be better if other peoples’ children and grandchildren can live in freedom and prosperity.”  Ultimately, it will fall today, as it fell then, on the shoulders of American servicemen and women to stop mass murderers who threaten all of us, our children, and our grandchildren.
It is for this reason that American veterans are both warriors and humanitarians.
And because the stakes today are high as they were then, we must preserve our warrior ethos while remaining connected to those in whose name we fight.
The warrior ethos is a covenant between the members of our profession comprised of values such as honor, duty, courage, loyalty, and self-sacrifice. But our warrior ethos also depends on our military’s connection to our society. That is because when we are valued by others we value ourselves. Ultimately, as Christopher Coker has observed, it is the warrior ethos that permits servicemen and women to see themselves as part of a community that sustains itself through “sacred trust” and a covenant that binds us to one another and to the society we serve. The warrior ethos is important because it is what makes military units effective. It is also important because it is what makes war “less inhumane.”
The warrior ethos is at risk because fewer and fewer Americans are connected to our professional military. Separation from our society is consequential because warriors depend on respect for what they do to maintain their self-respect.
The warrior ethos is at risk because fewer and fewer Americans understand what is at stake in the wars in which we are engaged. How many Americans could, for example, name the three main Taliban organizations we are fighting in Afghanistan and Pakistan?
The warrior ethos is at risk because some argue that victory over an enemy or winning in war is an old idea that is no longer relevant in today’s complex world.
The warrior ethos is at risk because some continue to advocate simple, mainly technologically based solutions to the problem of future war, ignoring war’s very nature as a human and political activity that is fundamentally a contest of wills.
The warrior ethos is at risk because popular culture waters down and coarsens the warrior ethos. Warriors are most often portrayed as fragile traumatized human beings. Hollywood tells us little about the warrior’s calling or commitment to his or her fellow warriors or what compels him or her to act courageously, endure hardships, take risks, or make sacrifices.
So I suggest, in honor of our veterans, that we build on the work of Georgetown University and embark on a renewed effort to understand war and warriors. And we might ensure that we do not take for granted the important role that Georgetown and other universities play in keeping our military connected to those in whose name we fight.
Understanding war and warriors is necessary if societies and governments are to make sound judgments concerning military policy. It is our society’s expectations that allow our military to set expectations for ourselves and our fellow soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines.  And in our democracy, if society is disconnected from an understanding of war or is unsympathetic to the warrior ethos, it will become increasingly difficult to maintain the fundamental requirements of military effectiveness and to recruit young men and women into military service.
I would like to end with a quotation from George Washington’s speech to Connecticut Troops before their enlistment ran out during the Siege of Boston in 1775. It is apt in connection with the service of our men and women today as well as the relationship between them and our society in time of war.
 Your exertions in the cause of freedom, guided by wisdom and animated by zeal and courage, have gained you the love and confidence of your grateful countrymen; and they look to you, who are experienced veterans, and trust that you will still be the guardians of America. More human glory and happiness may depend upon your exertions than ever yet depended upon any sons of men. He that is a soldier in defense of such a cause, needs not title; his post is a post of honor, and although not an emperor, yet he shall wear a crown—of glory—and blessed will be his memory!
Veterans. Blessed will be your memory. Thank you.
Hoya Saxa and God Bless the United States of America.

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