Sunday, March 30, 2014

Is American democracy headed to extinction?

The United States is not simply a democratic experiment.  Democracy is only one third of our system.  We are a democratic federal republic.  I actually worry more about our republican form of government and I think we should keep in mind Philip Pettit's summary description of what republicanism is all about.  I would say that we need think hard about these seven points and in particular number seven below because I think that is where we are really falling down on the job.  The founding fathers knew well the lessons of democracy over the previous 2000 years and designed a truly exceptional form of government to try to prevent the failings of the past.  

The most constant points of emphasis, familiar ideas due to the influence of the tradition, are these:
    1. the importance of having a constitution, written or unwritten, within which government has to operate;
    2. the desirability of those in government being selected -- usually elected -- in such a way that different parts of the populace have their rival interests represented;
    3. the ideal of limiting the tenure of those in executive office, say by requiring their selection to be regularly renewed, as under periodic elections;
    4. the need for government to rule by law, not in a case-by-case fashion, and to ensure that its laws apply to everyone, legislators included, and are general, clear, well-understood, and so on;
    5. the indispensability of dividing up power, so that each authority is subject to checks and balances, and in particular the indispensability of separating out judicial power from executive and legislative power;
    6. the requirement that whatever decisions are made by government are backed up by reasons deriving from purportedly common interests, so that the relevance and strength of those reasons can be challenged in the legislature, the courts, or other forums;
    7. the inevitable reliance of this whole system on the existence of an active, concerned citizenry who invigilate the exercise of government power, challenge its abuses and seek office where necessary.

I mention number seven specifically because I think we have given way to "factions" as Madison would say and today we would call special interests.  His words in No. 10 of the Federalist Papers are also worth recalling:

"By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community"

Of course he goes on to discuss the methods of removing the causes of factions and I would suggest we review Federalist No. 10 once in awhile to refresh ourselves about American political theory and philosophy.
 

And lastly we should remember the famous works of Benjamin Franklin in response to the question of what form of government do we have, a Republic or a Monarchy: "A Republic, if you can keep it."  I hope we are not at the time when we no longer heed that warning.

V/R
Dave




Is American democracy headed to extinction?

By Stein Ringen, Published: March 28

Stein Ringen is an emeritus professor at Oxford University and the author of “Nation of Devils: Democratic Leadership and the Problem of Obedience.”
Behind dysfunctional government, is democracy itself in decay?
It took only 250 years for democracy to disintegrate in ancient Athens. A wholly new form of government was invented there in which the people ruled themselves. That constitution proved marvelously effective. Athens grew in wealth and capacity, fought off the Persian challenge, established itself as the leading power in the known world and produced treasures of architecture, philosophy and art that bedazzle to this day. But when privilege, corruption and mismanagement took hold, the lights went out.
It would be 2,000 years before democracy was reinvented in the U.S. Constitution, now as representative democracy. Again, government by popular consent proved ingenious. The United States grew into the world’s leading power — economically, culturally and militarily. In Europe, democracies overtook authoritarian monarchies and fascist and communist dictatorships. In recent decades, democracy’s spread has made the remaining autocracies a minority.
The second democratic experiment is approaching 250 years. It has been as successful as the first. But the lesson from Athens is that success does not breed success. Democracy is not the default. It is a form of government that must be created with determination and that will disintegrate unless nurtured. In the United States and Britain, democracy is disintegrating when it should be nurtured by leadership. If the lights go out in the model democracies, they will not stay on elsewhere.
It’s not enough for governments to simply be democratic; they must deliver or decay. In Britain, government is increasingly ineffectual. The constitutional scholar Anthony King has described it as declining from “order” to “mess” in less than 30 years. During 10 years of New Labor rule, that proposition was tested and confirmed. In 1997 a new government was voted in with a mandate and determination to turn the tide on Thatcherite inequality. It was given all the parliamentary power a democratic government could dream of and benefited from 10 years of steady economic growth. But a strong government was defeated by a weak system of governance. It delivered nothing of what it intended and left Britain more unequal than where the previous regime had left off.
The next government, a center-right coalition, has proved itself equally unable. It was supposed to repair damage from the economic crisis but has responded with inaction on the causes of crisis, in a monopolistic ­financial-services sector, and with a brand of austerity that protects the privileged at the expense of the poor. Again, what has transpired is inability rather than ill will. Both these governments came up against concentrations of economic power that have become politically unmanageable.
Meanwhile, the health of the U.S. system is even worse than it looks. The three branches of government are designed to deliver through checks and balances. But balance has become gridlock, and the United States is not getting the governance it needs. Here, the link between inequality and inability is on sharp display. Power has been sucked out of the constitutional system and usurped by actors such as PACs, think tanks, media and lobbying organizations.
In the age of mega-expensive politics, candidates depend on sponsors to fund permanent campaigns. When money is allowed to transgress from markets, where it belongs, to politics, where it has no business, those who control it gain power to decide who the successful candidates will be — those they wish to fund — and what they can decide once they are in office. Rich supporters get two swings at influencing politics, one as voters and one as donors. Others have only the vote, a power that diminishes as political inflation deflates its value. It is a misunderstanding to think that candidates chase money. It is money that chases candidates.
In Athens, democracy disintegrated when the rich grew super-rich, refused to play by the rules and undermined the established system of government. That is the point that the United States and Britain have reached.
Nearly a century ago, when capitalist democracy was in a crisis not unlike the present one, Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis warned: “We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.” Democracy weathered that storm for two reasons: It is not inequality as such that destroys democracy but the more recent combination of inequality and transgression. Furthermore, democracy was then able to learn from crisis. The New Deal tempered economic free-for-all, primarily through the 1933 Banking Act, and gave the smallfolk new social securities.
The lesson from Athens is that success breeds complacency. People, notably those in privilege, stopped caring, and democracy was neglected. Six years after the global economic crisis, the signs from the model democracies are that those in privilege are unable to care and that our systems are unable to learn. The crisis started in out-of-control financial services industries in the United States and Britain, but control has not been reasserted. Economic inequality has followed through to political inequality, and democratic government is bereft of power and capacity. Brandeis was not wrong; he was ahead of his time

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Prepare for War in 2015, Kim Jong-un Tells Officers

I think the regime may be on a significant propaganda campaign directed at both internal and external audiences because of all the focus on Ukraine and Crimea, the South China Sea, the ROK, Japan, and US meeting, recent Chinese rhetoric about red lines in north Korea.  

Prepare for War in 2015, Kim Jong-un Tells Officers

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has mentioned the possibility of a war breaking out on the Korean peninsula in 2015, it was revealed Tuesday. According to a source, Kim told military commanders earlier this year that an "armed confrontation could take place on the Korean peninsula in 2015" and ordered them to stock up on strategic supplies and remain combat ready.
The comments were made at about the same time that Kim spoke about improving relations with South Korea during his New Year's address.
At a loyalty rally in Pyongyang on Feb. 25, Kim also spoke about an "all-out war with the enemy in the name of revolution and final victory." Last year, Kim told key officials his aim of "reunification through force within three years."
The source said, "Since he came to power in late 2011, Kim Jong-un has often said that his aim is reunification 'through force' and that he would personally drive a tank and advance into Seoul."
Intelligence officials here were given the information and are monitoring possible provocations.
"Even amid its peace gestures, North Korea continues to harbor ambitions of reunification through force," a government official said. "We're doing everything to prepare against additional provocations including a missile launch and fourth nuclear test."
The year 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of North Korea's Workers Party and the division of the Korean peninsula.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and military politburo chief Choe Ryong-hae (far left) watch a shooting competition at a military school in Pyongyang, in this March 12 file photo from the Rodong Sinmun. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and military politburo chief Choe Ryong-hae (far left) watch a shooting competition at a military school in Pyongyang, in this March 12 file photo from the Rodong Sinmun.
◆ Committed to Revolution
Revising its founding principles last year, the Workers Party places the top priority on reunification based on the "juche" doctrine of self-reliance and "nationwide victory." Those words appear to refer to reunification through force.
The South Korean government is on the alert for intensifying provocations from North Korea in recent months. Over the last two months alone, the North fired 88 short- and mid-range missiles and on Tuesday shot two medium-range ballistic missiles into the East Sea.
The official KCNA news agency in August 2012 reported that Kim issued an order to troops to carry out an offensive to achieve “the great task of reunification."
"Marking his third year in power, Kim Jong-un is seeking to rally the military behind him in order to deal with inter-Korean and international relations," said Nam Sung-wook at Korea University. "We may even see further provocations."
North Korea is annoyed by increased discussion in South Korea about reunification. The North Korean propaganda website Uriminzokkiri on March 2 accused the South of harboring ambitions to "absorb" North Korea.
◆ Tactics
The North Korean military is under orders to familiarize itself with South Korean terrain. The Chosun Ilbo obtained a copy of a handbook that advises soldiers to get to know the landscape of the South. It details mountains, rivers, lakes, roads, railways and coastlines in South Korea and how they can affect combat conditions.
The handbook also explains how to change South Korean coordinates into figures and measurements used by North Korea as well as instructions on how to use GPS receivers.
A source said, "A mountain in South Pyongan Province contains a compound modeled on Cheong Wa Dae and surrounding terrain, where special forces troops train during summer and winter months."
englishnews@chosun.com / Mar. 26, 2014 13:05 KST

Park wins Germany's promise to provide support for Korean unification

Now if we can get US support for unification (of course we have stated the alliance joint vision as peaceful unification since 2009 but I think most Americans and many policy makers and strategists are unaware of that and the question should be what are we doing to support the ROK as it develops its plan for unification?).

Park wins Germany's promise to provide support for Korean unification

http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2014/03/26/31/0301000000AEN20140326008752315F.html

2014/03/27 07:27
By Chang Jae-soon
BERLIN, March 26 (Yonhap) -- South Korean President Park Geun-hye and German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed Wednesday to work closely together to share lessons of German unification as Seoul tries to chart a course for its own unification with North Korea.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye and German Chancellor Angela Merkel hold a joint news conference in Berlin on March 26. (Yonhap)

South Korean President Park Geun-hye and German Chancellor Angela Merkel hold a joint news conference in Berlin on March 26. (Yonhap)

How to share Germany's experience of ending decades of national division and promoting unity in a unified nation were among the main topics for talks between Park and Merkel, along with North Korea's nuclear program and economic cooperation between the two countries.
"For us, Germany is a model for peaceful unification on the Korean Peninsula because the country has gone beyond unification and achieved national unity," Park said during a joint news conference with Merkel. "We agreed to share Germany's experiences in an effective manner."

   Park laid out a series of measures the two sides agreed on for experience sharing, including building cooperative networks between financial authorities and economic think tanks in order to study how to raise the funds necessary for unification.
Merkel also said Germany will provide full support for Korean unification.
"Discussions on unification are under way between the foreign ministries of South Korea and Germany, and we will provide support so that unification will be realized in Korea," she said. "Germany was divided for 40 years and Korea has been divided for almost 70 years. I think it is our obligation to help South Korea achieve unification."

   Park arrived in Berlin on Tuesday night from The Hague, where she attended an international anti-nuclear terrorism conference and held a series of meetings on its sidelines, including trilateral talks with U.S. President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Unification is the main theme of the four-day visit to the European nation. Park could also unveil a new vision for unification when she visits the former East German economic center of Dresden later this week. She will be the first South Korean president to visit a city in former East Germany.
South Korean leaders have sometimes used trips to Germany to announce new proposals or policies on North Korea. In 2000, former President Kim Dae-jung issued the "Berlin Declaration," calling for the end of the Cold War on the Korean Peninsula and lasting peace between the two sides.
In recent months, Park has made strong pitches for unification, saying it would be an economic "bonanza" for the two Koreas as well as a blessing for neighboring countries. She also ordered the creation of a presidential committee to prepare for unification.
Merkel said Wednesday that German unification was also a bonanza (glucksfall in German).
"I would say that I myself am a product of unification," said Merkel, Germany's first East German-born chancellor. "I spent my childhood in former East Germany, and the event of the Berlin Wall falling changed the lives of 17 million people in former East Germany."

   Merkel also said unification would become easier if sufficient economic preparations are made.
North Korea's nuclear program was also a key topic for Park's talks with Merkel.
"With regard to the North Korean nuclear issue, the two countries agreed to work together to get North Korea to become a responsible member of the international community based on the stern and consistent principle that a nuclear North Korea is unacceptable," she said.
Park praised Germany for winning trust from neighboring countries with thorough repentance for its wartime wrongdoing, saying the European nation is a good example for three Northeast Asian nations mired in a row over history issues.
Merkel said it was because history issues were settled that the European integration was realized. She also said it takes courage and a forward-looking attitude to resolve history issues, according to Seoul's senior presidential foreign affairs secretary Ju Chul-ki.
The two leaders also agreed to further expand trade and investment while noting that last year's bilateral trade volume reached an all-time high of US$27.2 billion. On the sidelines of the summit, five memorandums of understanding were signed to call for greater cooperation on industrial technologies.
Park and Merkel have forged a personal bond since they first met in 2000 when Park visited Germany as the leader of the then-opposition party. Merkel was also the first foreign head of state to call Park to congratulate her on winning the 2012 presidential election.
Wednesday's talks were their fifth meeting.
Unification was also a main topic for Park's talks with German President Joachim Gauck earlier Wednesday.
"As in the case of German unification, our unification will never be easy, but I will make preparations one by one with a firm conviction that unification will surely come," Park said. "I firmly believe that there will come a day when our cease-fire line will fall."

   Also Wednesday, Park visited the Brandenburg Gate, a symbol of German unification, in a move underscoring her commitment to unification. She visited Berlin City Hall for a meeting with Mayor Klaus Wowereit and laid a wreath at the Neue Wache war memorial before holding talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel.
During the meeting with the mayor, Park said that Berlin has become the center of Europe after unification and is a city that gives hope for South Koreans. She also said she is very much envious of Berlin citizens freely coming and going between the formerly divided city.
"I hope a day like this will come on the Korean Peninsula as soon as possible," she said.
(END)

Ann Scott Tyson's astonishing new account of an SF officer in Afghanistan

I take very strong exception to this comment.  There are many, many soldiers today (and in the past) conducting FID extremely effectively who have not gone native. In fact for FID to be effective you cannot go native or you will lose your perspective and be unable to accomplish the mission for the United States.

It seems to me that we need people like Gant to do real foreign internal defense. But do we have a military that can live with its officers "going native"? If not, can we really do FID?

Ann Scott Tyson's astonishing new account of an SF officer in Afghanistan




You can work alongside someone for years and not really know them, what they think, what is going on inside their lives.
That thought hit me repeatedly as I read the first 30 pages of Ann Scott Tyson's American Spartan: The Promise, the Mission and the Betrayal of Special Forces Major Jim Gant. I didn't know about her deep depression, her marriage breaking up, or her romance with and marriage to a Special Forces officer. (BTW, she is the third journalist who is a female graduate of Harvard I know who wed an SF officer. They should form a special society.) Nor did I know that she took solace in the works of Homer, as I did a few years earlier when trying to figure out war and coming home from it. For a year, I drove to and from work every day listening and re-listening to The Odyssey, read by Ian McKellen.
I suspect this book will be read a lot longer than most books about the American war in Afghanistan. It especially will resonate with people interested in Special Forces.
(Continued at the link below)


American Commando Brought His Girlfriend to Afghanistan—And Armed Her

Another perspective on the new book about (a story about) Jim Gant.

Excerpt:

Wood insists that the Foreign Internal Defense strategy in Afghanistan “ended badly” along with Gant’s career two years ago.
Only that’s not it at all. Even after firing Gant, the Pentagon still relied heavily on Special Forces to wage the Afghan counterinsurgency campaign. Since at least 2011, the military has planned to maintain thousands of Green Berets and other Special Operations Forces in Afghanistan past the late-2014 deadline for the withdrawal of conventional troops.
No, the Army was uncomfortable not with village-centric Foreign Internal Defense, but with Gant.
Of course, Wood would have you believe that Foreign Internal Defense is actually impossible without Gant … or someone just like him. “The iconoclasm and disdain for military protocol that enabled Gant’s success were instrumental in his eventual downfall,” Wood claims.
Then how is it that literally hundreds of Special Force soldiers have quietly rotated through FID assignments in Afghanistan in the two years since Gant’s implosion?
Most Green Berets don’t take their girlfriends, booze and drugs to war with them. They certainly don’t need lovers and gullible reporters to write elaborate defenses of their combat records.
I would just remind people that up until 2007 our Joint Foreign Internal Defense Doctrine outlined this concept of remote area operations.  This was not unique to One Tribe at a Time or ALP/VSO.  Below are basic Special Forces operations (but of course to be effective they have to fit into a larger coherent, comprehensive campaign plan and strategy - remote area operations are not going to be effective on their own)

Remote area operations are operations undertaken in insurgent-controlled or contested areas to establish islands of popular support for the HN government and deny support to the insurgents. They differ from consolidation operations in that they are not designed to establish permanent HN government control over the area. Remote areas may be populated by ethnic, religious, or other isolated minority groups. They may be in the interior of the HN or near border areas where major infiltration routes exist. Remote area operations normally involve the use of specially trained paramilitary or irregular forces. SF teams support remote area operations to interdict insurgent activity, destroy insurgent base areas in the remote area, and demonstrate that the HN government has not conceded control to the insurgents. They also collect and report information concerning insurgent intentions in more populated areas. In this case, SF teams advise and assist irregular HN forces operating in a manner similar to the insurgents themselves, but with access to superior combat support (CS) and combat service support (CSS) resources. (From FM 3-05.202 Foreign Internal Defense 2007.) 

American Commando Brought His Girlfriend to Afghanistan—And Armed Her

But Special Forces officer’s dangerous rule-breaking earns him glowing news profile


Let me be clear about what I’m writing here. This is not only a story about disgraced U.S. Army Special Forces major James Gant. This is also a story about a story about Jim Gant.
On March 24, David Wood at Huffington Post published a glowing profile of Gant that carefully, even elegantly, talks around the shocking reality of Gant’s rise and fall as a commando officer in the Afghanistan war.
Gant had invited his girlfriend Ann Scott Tyson, a Washington Post reporter, to accompany him and his team on secret missions in a remote province in eastern Afghanistan in late 2010. And according to Wood quoting Tyson, Gant armed Tyson, teaching her to use “almost every weapon” in the Special Forces inventory.
Gant and Tyson, who are now married, lived close together in Afghanistan while unmarried—a big no-no by Islamic standards. Gant also kept alcohol in Afghanistan, where drinking is illegal. And he had unauthorized drugs andunsecured classified documents.
This long list of violations got Gant fired, demoted and kicked out of the Army. Tyson wrote a hagiographic book about her disgraced husband calledAmerican Spartan. I have not read it.
In his Huffington Post profile, Wood helpfully promotes the book and attempts to rehabilitate a rogue officer who clearly possesses essentially zero regard for Islamic customs, military regulations and common sense.
Gant, Tyson and Wood’s combined tale is a cautionary one about military hubris, cultural insensitivity, unsafe firearms practices and, on top of everything, piss-poor journalism.
C-SPAN capture

‘I came here to kill’

Gant is by all accounts a brave and aggressive soldier. The Army awarded him the Silver Star—the nation’s third-highest honor—for his role in a brutal gun battle in Iraq in 2006. “I came here to fight,” Gant said at the award ceremony. “I came here to kill the enemy.”
He echoed that sentiment in an interview with Wood. “I am in a group of outliers that really, really, really enjoyed combat, to include killing—to hunt another human being down and shoot him in the face,” Gant said.
Deploying to Afghanistan after his stint in Iraq, Gant realized killing wasn’t enough. “If all you’re doing is killing, and you’re not gaining security, something is wrong,” he told Wood.
As commander of a Special Forces team in restive Kunar province near the border with Pakistan, Gant helped stand up local police units. That meant working alongside men who occasionally might align with the Pakistan-based Taliban.
(Continued at the link below)

Special Operations forces now to focus on “trust”

Although a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel and former Congressman, this essay is illustrative of those who do not have a deep appreciation for or understanding of special operations.  He would perpetuate the myth that special operations merely consists of direct actions raids and counterterrorism.

Then again, it could be all politics and it is easy to cherry pick from ADM McRaven's speeches and the operation concept to be able to support a political agenda.  Although he says that he understands special "operating" forces he should know that SOF that conducts special warfare possesses very lethal capabilities.  And I explained this to him when I testified before the subcommittee that he was a member of in 2012:

Special warfare is the execution of activities that involve a combination of
lethal and nonlethal actions taken by a specially trained and educated force
that has a deep understanding of cultures and foreign language, proficiency
in small-unit tactics, and the ability to build and fight alongside indigenous
combat formations in a permissive, uncertain, or hostile environment.

Special Operations forces now to focus on “trust”
Written by Allen West on March 24, 2014

Thanks to movies like “Lone Survivor” and “Zero Dark Thirty,” America has a greater and fuller appreciation of our elite warriors of US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). We know they are lethal shadow warriors who carry out dangerous and deadly missions.
But that may be changing.
According to a report from the National Review, there is a new mission statement for the unified Special Operations Forces: to achieve strategic outcomes by working with and through interagency and foreign partners to understand and influence relevant populations.
Say what?
The Special Operations Forces (SOF) Operating Concept captures the essence of the SOF heritage as it could be – as it should be in the year 2020 and beyond. The concept moves beyond the first decade of the 21st Century, when SOF primarily supported large-scale contingency operations by conducting counterterrorism operations to find, capture, or kill our adversaries. Although of great value to the nation, these operations were never intended to be decisive. Operating through the Global SOF Network in support of our Geographic Combatant Commanders (CENTCOM, PACOM, EUCOM, AFRICOM, SOUTHCOM, NORTHCOM) and Chiefs of Mission (State Department, US Embassies).
The National Review reports that at a special Council on Foreign Relations group presentation at the United States Special Operations Command in Tampa, Florida, famed Admiral William H. McRaven started the briefing with the new command motto, “You can’t surge trust.”
I wish I could decipher what all this means but it sure sounds like some political gobbledygook to me. So there you have it — operations to find, capture, and kill our enemies will have lesser value to our nation in the future. And I beg to differ that they are not decisive — killing bad guys is certainly decisive for that designated bad guy.
But now, rather than focusing solely on capturing or killing the bad guys, the new mission is also to shape public opinion.
The SOF Operating Concept includes a goal of “Elevating SOF non-lethal skills to the same level of expertise as lethal skills.” I understand the full compliment of mission sets that our Special Operating Forces train for and deploy to achieve. What I don’t want to see is a paradigm shift that elevates a certain “political” mentality over reality. I’m quite certain I’m not alone in preferring our elite warriors maintain a higher level of lethal capacity and capability than anyone else on the globe.
What’s next? We trade out that venerable 1966 song, “The Ballad of the Green Berets” sung by Army SSG Barry Sadler, for Katy Perry singing “Roar?”

Monday, March 24, 2014

FOLLOW-UP Video - Wisdom from John Collins, (COL, US Army RET), AKA The Warlord Emeritus

At this link you can view  John Collins' presentation to the students and friends of the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University on March 20, 2014.  The links to his written remarks and additional papers are at the links in the previous message below.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: David Maxwell <dsm62@georgetown.edu>
Date: Thu, Mar 20, 2014 at 3:43 PM
Subject: Wisdom from John Collins, (COL, US Army RET), AKA The Warlord Emeritus
To:


Today John Collins spoke to graduate students in the Security Studies Program  at Georgetown University.  The topic was National Security Career Choices.  Below are some links to the text of his talk as well as some other valuable documents he provided for students and national security practitioners alike.  (with the recent events in Russia, Ukraine, and Crimea his Intervention Checklist is worth reviewing)

1. Text of his presentation: National Security Career Choices: https://db.tt/07kfd3kY

2. Advice for writing and publishing:  Sharp Pens Sharpened Swords: https://db.tt/TK2rVw8S

3. The A-B-C's  of Military Intervention: A checklist of Key Considerations: https://db.tt/NHMF1TVp

4.  US Special Operations: Personal Opinions: https://db.tt/87rZ2Ue3

5.  Original Five SOF Truths: https://db.tt/aQVmdDiJ

As soon as we have the podcast complete we will post it on the Georgetown Center for Security Studies web site and I will provide the link.

A short summary of his biography:

John Collins enlisted as an Army private, May 1942 and retired as a colonel, May 1972. He served as a IX Air Force aircraft controller in Europe during World War II; arrived in Korea only a few days before that war ended; and was Chief of General Westmoreland's Campaign Planning Group in Vietnam. His culminating assignment was at the National War College as Director of Military Strategy Studies, 1968-71 and as Chief, Strategic Research Group, 1971-72. Awards for 30 years of active and reserve Army service included two Legions of Merit, a Bronze Star, and a Master Parachutist Badge.
 
Following his Army career, Colonel Collins worked in the Congressional Research Service (CRS) from June 1972 until January 1996 as a Senior Specialist in National Defense. Upon his retirement, he was awarded the Award for Distinguished Service to the Congress of the United States. In September 2003, he received a Public Service Award from the Secretary of the Army for his contributions to public understanding of national security affairs in general and of the Army in particular.
 
In addition to Colonel Collins' extensive output under the aegis of CRS, he is the author of numerous additional publications, including Grand Strategy: Principles and Practices (1973), U.S. Defense Planning: A Critique (1982), Green Berets, SEALs, and Spetsnaz (1987), America's Small Wars (1991), and Military Geography (1998). His memoirs, From Nowhere to Somewhere, were published by Vanity Press in 2012.
 
Colonel Collins is the founder and operator of the Warlord Loop, a by-invitation-only email forum whose influential members have covered the full national security spectrum and engaged in voluminous, freewheeling, unclassified exchanges since 1998.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Pyongyang Booms at the Expense of the Rest of N.Korea

I have often seen the analogy that north Korea is like a human body with hypothermia.  When faced with this "threat" the body does everything it can to keep the core (e.g., Pyongyang, regime elite, the military) warm.  The core stops circulation (food and supplies) to the extremities (the provinces, people. industry) that do nothing to support keeping the core warm.  The extremities eventually get frostbite and worse unless they are somehow warmed and circulation is returned.  The real problem is when the regime can no longer provide circulation to segments of the elite and the military and they have to be "de-prioritized."

Pyongyang Booms at the Expense of the Rest of N.Korea


High-rise apartment buildings, streets lined with stores selling expensive products and high-end restaurants are cropping up in Pyongyang since North Korean leader Kim Jong-un focused state spending on the capital. But that modernizing drive has come at a heavy cost to the provinces, which are languishing in backwardness and poverty. 

"In December of 2011, after he just came to power, Kim Jong-un issued an order to populate Pyongyang by the end of 2012 with the cream of North Korean society in terms of political and ideological beliefs," a source recalls. 

Residents of Pyongyang and provincial areas were given different identity cards as the regime ensured that only the most fervent supporters of the young leader could stay in the capital. 

Divisions have existed since the 1970s, when nation founder Kim Il-sung parceled the population into three categories -- core (10-20 percent), basic (60-70 percent) and complicated (20 percent) -- and implemented discriminatory policies in terms of housing, party membership, schooling and employment. 

Those living in Pyongyang are apparently banned from marrying people from the provinces to prevent supporters of the regime from mixing with those with weaker ideological beliefs.
An undated file photo of the Pyongyang skyline /Rodong SinmunAn undated file photo of the Pyongyang skyline /Rodong Sinmun
◆ Building Boom

The regime has spent heavily to beautify the capital, planting grass and building high-rise apartments. A water park, amusement park and equestrian club were built to win over the elite. A government source here said, "In recent years, we’ve witnessed the rise of a socialist aristocracy. They live in apartments that cost between US$30,000 to $100,000 filled with imported home appliances and furniture and they have maids to do the cleaning, spending between $500 and more than $1,000 a month."

One home in a high-riser currently under construction in Pyongyang recently sold for some $350,000. The cream of North Korean society feed their babies South Korean formula and drink imported coffee and bottled water, keeping dogs and working out at the gym. Stores in the capital sell luxury goods, where the wealthy can buy Chanel and Dior clothes and handbags. They eat at restaurants in the newly-opened swish Haedanghwa shopping mall in Pyongyong where a dish costs more than $50. 

An intelligence official here said around one percent of North Korea's population, or 240,000 people, are believed to own between $50,000 and over $100,000 in assets. Most of them live in Pyongyang.

◆ Neglect in the Provinces

But most other parts of North Korea have stopped receiving state rations of food and supplies, forcing local party officials to prey on the population there. Ordinary North Koreans have to resort to side jobs to make ends meet, but their hardships have only grown worse due to the various bribes they need to pay, according to sources. The vast majority of North Koreans outside of Pyongyang live in shabby flats or share small houses between several families.

Some analysts believe the North Korean regime has practically given up on supporting the provinces. In a front page editorial on Tuesday, North Korea's state-run Rodong Sinmun daily said the all counties "must adhere strictly to the principle of self-sufficiency." The regime's mouthpiece is openly telling people in the provinces to fend for themselves. A government official here said, "They say the number of cars, stores and mobile phones in North Korea has increased, but that is restricted to Pyongyang. There is a huge divide between Pyongyang and other parts of North Korea."
englishnews@chosun.com / Mar. 20, 2014 12:07 KST

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Wisdom from John Collins, (COL, US Army RET), AKA The Warlord Emeritus

Today John Collins spoke to graduate students in the Security Studies Program  at Georgetown University.  The topic was National Security Career Choices.  Below are some links to the text of his talk as well as some other valuable documents he provided for students and national security practitioners alike.  

1. Text: National Security Career Choices: https://db.tt/07kfd3kY

2. Advice for writing and publishing:  Sharp Pens Sharpened Swords: https://db.tt/TK2rVw8S

3. The A-B-C's  of Military Intervention: A checklist of Key Considerations: https://db.tt/NHMF1TVp

4.  US Special Operations: Personal Opinions: https://db.tt/87rZ2Ue3

5.  Original Five SOF Truths: https://db.tt/aQVmdDiJ

As soon as we have the podcast complete we will post it on the Georgetown Center for Security Studies web site and I will provide the link.

A short summary of his biography:

John Collins enlisted as an Army private, May 1942 and retired as a colonel, May 1972. He served as a IX Air Force aircraft controller in Europe during World War II; arrived in Korea only a few days before that war ended; and was Chief of General Westmoreland's Campaign Planning Group in Vietnam. His culminating assignment was at the National War College as Director of Military Strategy Studies, 1968-71 and as Chief, Strategic Research Group, 1971-72. Awards for 30 years of active and reserve Army service included two Legions of Merit, a Bronze Star, and a Master Parachutist Badge.
 
Following his Army career, Colonel Collins worked in the Congressional Research Service (CRS) from June 1972 until January 1996 as a Senior Specialist in National Defense. Upon his retirement, he was awarded the Award for Distinguished Service to the Congress of the United States. In September 2003, he received a Public Service Award from the Secretary of the Army for his contributions to public understanding of national security affairs in general and of the Army in particular.
 
In addition to Colonel Collins' extensive output under the aegis of CRS, he is the author of numerous additional publications, including Grand Strategy: Principles and Practices (1973), U.S. Defense Planning: A Critique (1982), Green Berets, SEALs, and Spetsnaz (1987), America's Small Wars (1991), and Military Geography (1998). His memoirs, From Nowhere to Somewhere, were published by Vanity Press in 2012.
 
Colonel Collins is the founder and operator of the Warlord Loop, a by-invitation-only email forum whose influential members have covered the full national security spectrum and engaged in voluminous, freewheeling, unclassified exchanges since 1998.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

20 Characteristics of Special Operations by LTG Samuel V. Wilson

I think it is worth reviewing LTG (RET) Sam Wilson's (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_V._Wilsonwise words on special operations -  in particular the 20 Characteristics of Special Operations (pay attention to numbers 11, 14 and 17 highlighted below) as well as the planning suggestions, 7 principles and 6 requirements for special operations.  I received a xerox copy of these as a young SF officer in the 1980's and have been carrying them around with me ever since.


20 Characteristics of Special Operations
by LTG Samuel V. Wilson

Special Operations is a root term/generic euphemism covering a wide gambit of special activities outside of conventional operations; examples are UW, PSYOP, Terrorism, Counter-Terrorism, Direct Action (raids, snatches, heists), Diversions, and Deceptions,  Special Operations is a form of military judo -
NOT A GENTLEMAN'S GAME;  NO HOLDS BARRED.

1. Special Operations are POLITICAL in nature.
Special Operations are, by their very nature, more political than conventional operations.  The National Command
Authorities will surely be calling the shots.

2. Special Operations normally involve Three Steps:
            A.  Getting to the location of the operation.
            B.  Accomplishing the operation.
            C.  Returning from the operation.

3.  Joint in Concept, Execution, and Interdepartmental, as well.
Nearly always under the lead agency concept, the State Department will be controlling the situation.  State will exercise authority over the military options.

4.  Special Operations are strategic in impact and nature.

5.  The limitations for Special Operations are not the same as the limitations for Special Operations Forces:
That is, individual force capabilities usually exceed the operational capabilities which can be supported by logistics, OPSEC, INTEL, and POLITICAL concerns.

6.  There must be an upper limit on Special Operations mission force size.
Increasing the size of the forces involved in a Special Operations compromises many aspects of support and OPSEC capabilities.  Almost always a small vs. large force structure must be decided upon.  One must be careful not to see bogeymen behind every bush and go for largest of all available forces to stifle every contingency.  The smallest force to do the job makes possible many more operational alternatives.

7.  Special Operations are  HIGH RISK/HIGH GAIN.

8.  Special Operations are multi-disciplined, multi-environmental, and highly complex.

9.  Special Operations are characterized by centralized planning and decentralized execution.

10.    Special Operations are INTEL driven and INTEL dependent.
Historically, the most serious deficiencies have occurred with the requirements for complete, timely, accurate INTEL.  If there is a shortfall it will occur in this area.  Commonly, HUMINT is unavailable.

11.  Special Operations Forces have a limited number of DIRECT roles:
Special Operations Forces are trained for specific missions.  They are the most highly trained and proficient forces that the US possess but they are not the answer for every small contingency mission that comes along.  Many conventional forces are more proficient at conventional type missions than the SOF.  Even more specialized units exist and they should not be used outside their primary mission.  Just because a select force is in being, does not automatically mean that it is the BEST to use.  Politics will play in this decision, the HIGH RISK/HIGH GAIN nature of the specific operation may cause the political leaders to make this choice, even if better alternatives are available, i.e., such as have SEAL TEAM SIX do a routine beach recon.

12.  Special Operations Forces play at the leading edge of operational and technical art.
SOF may need/develop new tactics.  They frequently need to acquire new and specialized equipment outside normal service/procurement channels.

13.  Special Operations pose the frequent requirement for extraordinary effort from both men and machines.

14.  In war, Special Operations are supplemental to the main issue.

15.  Special Operations, in peacetime, are politically costly if failures, but politically useful nonetheless.

16.  Special Operations Forces are CHEAP.

17.  Special Operations and LIC should not be confused.
Special Operations are activities, LIC is an environment; wherein Special Operations may operate but many conventional units may as well, LIC is not exclusively a Special Operations environment.

18.  Special Operations people are PECULIAR.

19.  Special Operations Forces are perceived differently:
SOF are often viewed by the conventional commanders as a thorn in their side.  They are thought of as threatening because of the political liabilities attendant with Special Operations.  They are seen as "Cowboys, Rambos" etc.  The State Department perceives SOF as "knuckle draggers,"  the military option is one of last resort and when necessary, it is seen as a failure of negotiation and diplomacy, State's primary tools.

20.  INTEGRITY, HONESTY, AND LOYALTY.

            A.  Need to take a moral bath.
            B.  Special Operations are very decentralized in execution and conducive to improprieties.
Improprieties, because of the political sensitivity of SO mission, cause long term mistrust within the command structure that take hard work and many years to overcome.

Special Operations Planning Suggestions
by LTG Samuel V. Wilson
(staffs at the OSD, CINC, MACOM level with an interagency perspective)

1.  [To the chief of staff or staff director]  Make sure someone is in charge, the mission is well defined, and everyone knows it.  Give him a deputy, and name a number 3, as well. [Unity of Command]

2.  Use a BIGOT list:  limit the number of players - keep a list of who knows and who needs to know about the operation.

3.  Someone needs to work the response to the press.
            a.  Name someone to handle this area.
            b.  Do not let the media force the action.
            c.  Use a PAO that you can trust with the media.
            d.  Have a MEDIA avoidance plan - never leave out.
            e.  Need a "How to avoid spotlight at end" plan.

4.  DO NOT FORGET THE MAN AT THE END OF THE LINE (Almost invariably the President gets involved), the poor guy holding the dike at the scene gets lost - do not leave him twisting in the wind - get info to him.  Get the troops moving towards the objective, give then advanced warning, move them closer.

5.  Make sure the requisite skills are contained within the planning cell, from the beginning!
            a.  Communicators
            b.  Logisticians
            c,. Political Advisors
            d.  Intel (DIA, CIA, etc.)
            e.  PSYOP
            f.  Legal advisor
            g.  Fiscal officer
            h.  Medical officer
            i. weather officer
Bring in INTEL at the beginning, followed in lockstep by communications and logistics types.  Make them part of the planning process at every juncture.  Then, if they are smart, they will often see what you need before you can articulate your requirement. In this connection, take care in short circuiting the system to get immediate answers to your INTEL questions.  Therein lies the danger.

6.  Start planning in a detailed and complex manner - Categorize--Parse--Mensurize--Simplify.  Get the Vital essence.  Special Operations planning of necessity will be complex in the beginning.  Better to start complex and then simplify, rather than to start simple and evolve to complex levels.

7.  Review existing contingency plans.
            Do not throw out the 1st game plan and reinvent the wheel.

8.  REMEMBER THE LESSONS OF PAST OPERATIONS.
            We cannot afford to not know history and repeat our own or anyone else's' failures.  Use OLD HEADs to review and challenge.

9.  By its very nature, Special Operations planning places a high emphasis on initiative, intuition, and daring. 
Get a WILD thinker, a nut, and let him brainstorm.  The 19th or 20th time around he will have something of value.

10.  Operational Security for Planning
            a.  Sin qua non
            b.  Do not carry OPSEC to extremes, use BIGOT list
            c.  Within the planning circle share everything
            d.  Be sensitive to time zones, especially east (grave yard shifts are work zones in east)         
            e.  Apply/ practice strictest OPSEC with outsiders.

11.  In planning, allow for initiative but include it in the plan.  Cover every conceivable exigency.

12.  Avoid excessive recall and abort points, it invites meddling from above.

13.  Plan to avoid micromanagement from the top.  The tendency to meddle and micromanage is clearly present, plan to overcome it.  Block out/head off opportunities for senior-level micromanagement.

14.  Have someone keep a log of events and decisions for the obvious inquisition.

15.  War gaming is important especially in Risk Assessment of "worst-case" scenarios.  wargame your plans.  Test over and over again.  Find the weak points and shore them up.

16.  Line up all the possible viewers of the event and understand the perceptions of all in a "what-if" environment.

17.  Haste makes waste-- "Pace" rest your people.
            a.  Tell people when you don't know something.
            b.  Don't cause your subordinates problems by pressuring them for answers.

18.  Avoid last minute changes LIKE THE PLAGUE.

20.  Those who write Special Operations plans for contingencies should do the same for exercises, train like you fight.

21.  REST.  Plan for it and see that people get it.

Six Requirements of Special Operations
by LTG Samuel V. Wilson

1.  The requirement for Elite Forces with Multiple Capability.
2.  The OVERWHELMING requirement for security, cover, and deception.
3.  The requirement for force protection capabilities.
4.  The requirement for Highly Secure, Redundant, Lightweight Communication Equipment and Capabilities.
5.  The requirement for Special Weapons and Equipment, often non-standard.
6.  The requirement for a High-level Patron.  Need strong personalities capable of providing effective influence for SOF in both the senior executive and legislative branches.

Seven Principles of Special Operations
by LTG Samuel V. Wilson

1.  Principle of the Initiative.
            The initiative is not reactive.
2.  The Principle of Security.
3.  The Principle of Surprise.
4.  The Principle of Intelligence.
5.  The Principle of Speed/Mobility.
            Operations to be executed quickly and violently.
6.  The Principle of Coordination and Training.
7.  The Principle of Delegation and Authority.
            The plan is centralized, execution must be decentralized.

An Open Letter to President Donald Trump (on north Korea) By George Hutchinson and Robert Collins

Some very innovative thinking here by George and Bob.  It would not be hard to put together a team (led by George and Bob of course) from t...