Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Tuesday Morning Readings

Good article from Michael.  Finally a scholar and foreign policy adviser who writes about and understands special operations.

Some good recommendations.  In addition to the resurrection of the LIC Board from the Reagan era I would also consider the Special Operations Policy Office (SOPO) which might be especially important for special operations support to political warfare.

My summary of Michael's thesis from a paper I am working on:  SOF (surgical strike and special warfare) is not either/or, it is both/hand and must have a yin/yang relationship. Just as good strategy requires balance and coherency among ends, ways, and means (and this is a constantly adjusting relationship - thus the requirement to "do strategy") there needs to be the proper balance and coherency among the disciplines of special operations, surgical strike and special warfare.

Michael's conclusion:

Surgical strike-oriented SOF will remain key pieces for countering terrorism and conducting other critical assignments in both war and peace. But the recent Russian practices of using political and unconventional warfare in Ukraine, the situations in Syria and Iraq, and conflicts elsewhere show that special-warfare SOF supported and enabled by non-SOF military forces and other interagency partners will also be very busy for the foreseeable future. Again, both are valuable instruments in the United States’ toolkit of capabilities, but are best used when the circumstances dictate their use. Policymakers and the public should not become too enamored with their being a panacea for providing perfect solutions to difficult problems.

The Seductiveness of Special Ops?


March 3, 2015 · in 

UN watchdog ‘seriously’ worried by North Korea nuclear program

By  on Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

U.S. spy chief says he got a mixed reception in North Korea

WASHINGTON Mon Mar 2, 2015 7:42pm EST


“There’s a distinction to be made between the tactical/operational effect and the strategic one,” Leed said. As a deterrent to aggression and a tripwire triggering US commitment, a small force can have a strategic impact out of proportion to its size.

This is an important change for obvious reasons and is good to see.


Not to discredit Aquino, but more credit goes to social media. The democratic country is rich in competing interests and free speech. Now with the surge in smartphone cameras and mobile devices, an opponent who sees someone in office take money or drive a bling-y new car can send a tweet or post the dirt to Facebook. “Right now everyone in government and outside government is monitoring each other,” Manila-based Banco de Oro UniBank chief market strategist Jonathan Ravelas says. “Social media are there to ring the bells, so people try to be very careful in how they do things.” Graft remains, he says, but “it has gone down significantly.”

FORBES ASIA 3/02/2015 @ 9:00PM 1,068 views

Why Graft Is Declining In The Notoriously Corrupt Philippines

Does not appear to be a pretty picture.  Excerpt:

Most of the losses in the Afghan Army over the past year appear to be due to desertion, the coalition said in a written response to questions about the newly declassified data. Smaller percentages came from ordinary discharges and, more worryingly, from deaths in combat, of which there were more than 1,200 last year, a record for the army.
But no matter the reasons, the numbers cast a harsh spotlight on one inescapable fact: The army, the centerpiece of the American-led campaign to stabilize Afghanistan, is losing people far faster than it can replace them. The rate of decline, if not reversed, could leave the army effectively incapable of fighting the Taliban across much of Afghanistan within the next year or two, according to some American military officials and analysts.

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The 70 Year Consensus

Congressman Mac Thornberry's conversation at the Foundation for defense of Democracies Center for Military and Political Power Confer...