Wednesday, April 26, 2017

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 the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea to assist the President with themes and messages in 140 characters.  There are few other organizations that have as much understanding of the target audience as HRNK.



By George Hutchinson and Robert Collins


Mr. President, 

April 25th was “Military Foundation Day” in North Korea. Experts from the U.S. to China believe there is a strong likelihood we’ll see another nuclear or ballistic missile test, or possibly both, soon. Bad news for all, since the North Korean threat no longer only pertains to South Korea, but now includes neighboring countries where U.S. forces are stationed. Soon, even the U.S. mainland will be threatened due to the regime’s ICBM development. 

On May 9th, the Republic of Korea (ROK) will hold a snap presidential election to fill the void left by the impeached Park Geun-hye. Simply put, the next two weeks are not only critical for achieving a successful deal regarding North Korea, but decisions made and policies formulated during this window will dramatically impact the fate of the Korean Peninsula. 

Over the past 20-plus years, previous administrations have tried just about every possible tactic, short of war, to coerce North Korea to cease its illegal nuclear and missile programs—none have worked. The only constant among these failed policies is North Korea’s commitment to not give up its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. 

To be sure, the national security of the American people and that of our allies is incredibly important and certainly your number one responsibility. However, human rights for the North Korean people are important as well. 

In the Art of the Deal, your closing words include, “In my life, there are two things I’ve found I’m very good at: overcoming obstacles and motivating good people to do their best work.” You have also demonstrated a mastery of highly effective and spontaneous communications. Your unconventional communication and problem-solving talents are sorely needed, now. 

Much like you have reduced the influence of the conventional news media by communicating with the American people directly through your Twitter account, an approach to North Korea’s problem sets is needed to blast through the traditional conventions that have not worked. 

So beyond thumbing through the playbook of failed engagement and negotiation strategies, or placing over-reliance on an unreliable China, do what you do best—communicate directly to the people through Twitter. Use this venue to talk directly to the 25 million North Koreans who suffer under a brutal, multi-layered system of repression. Yes, North Koreans do not have access to your Tweets, but nearly everybody else does and numerous human rights groups have ways of sending those tweets into North Korea through surreptitious means. 

Through your Twitter account, lead the world in a campaign that tells the North Korean people, “We have no beef with you, the people of North Korea—it’s the repressive system that imprisons you that we despise.” Call out those who disingenuously ignore the repressive Kim family regime’s abhorrent crimes against humanity (China). Call out North Korea for what it is—a human rights disaster...an uncaring, despotic regime set up entirely for the benefit of its elites who ruthlessly prevent the North Korean people from realizing any potential. 

You face numerous challenges as you approach completion of your first 100 days in office this week. The North Korea problem may be chief among them. No administration has succeeded yet. But you’ve spent a life successfully overcoming obstacles and motivating people. You’re up to the task. 


Respectfully, 

George Hutchinson and Robert Collins 


George Hutchinson is a board member of the International Council of Korean Studies (ICKS). A U.S. Air Force veteran and former advisor to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, Hutchinson served as the Joint Duty Officer for the United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission. Hutchinson is a Korean linguist trained at Yonsei University and the Defense Language Institute, Monterey, California. 


Robert Collins is the author of HRNK’s reports “Songbun” and “Pyongyang Republic” and numerous articles in publications including the International Journal of Korean Studies and HRNK Insider. A 37-year veteran of the U.S. Department of the Army, he completed his career as Chief of Strategy, ROK-US Combined Forces Command.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

What would happen if Trump went to war with North Korea?

Ms. Darden misquoted me slightly (but I am sure it was the editor in order to cut down on words and to use a standard naming convention vice the subtle message I always try to get across).  I specifically said "Korean people living in the north" and not "north Korean people." Please consider the difference.

What would happen if Trump went to war with North Korea?

'There is not an intelligence service in the world that can tells us what he will do' AFP
“Now that we possess mighty nuclear power to protect ourselves from US nuclear threat, we will respond without the slightest hesitation to full-out war with full-out war and to nuclear war with our style of nuclear strike, and we will emerge victor in the final battle with the US.”
That is just one of the latest statements from North Korea’s interior ministry as tensions continue to rise over its continued missile tests and nuclear weapons programme. while today the ruling Workers' party newspaper said the country's forces were "combat-read to sink a US nuclear powered aircraft carrier with a single strike". The editorial further likened USS Carl Vinson to a "gross animal".
From sending new inter-continental ballistic missiles rolling through Pyongyang in a huge parade to threatening an “annihilating strike” on its American enemies, there’s little sign of Kim Jong-un’s government responding to international pressure.
Donald Trump has attempted to strike a tough tone, threatening to “properly deal” with North Korea if China is unable to rein in its ally and sending what he described as an “armada” of warships to the region.
His orders to destroy a cave system used by Isis militants in Afghanistan using the “mother of all bombs” – which had never before been deployed – and attack a government airbase in Syria were seen as warning signals to Pyongyang.
But the attacks have raised questions over whether the President would be prepared to take the same step in North Korea and risk all-out nuclear war.
David S Maxwell, a retired US Army special forces colonel who served in Korea and Japan, said an even more powerful bomb known as the Massive Ordnance Penetrator (Mop) had been developed for American forces with North Korea’s underground facilities in mind.
“There are many targets in the world buried deeply underground and the Mop was developed for that,” he told The Independent.
“But I think you have to ask the question: Can a military action against North Korea not result in a catastrophic response by the North?”
Mr Maxwell, who is now the associate director at the Centre for Security Studies at Georgetown University, warned that if Pyongyang felt the existence of its regime was threatened it could launch a nuclear attack.
“They would not win a war with South Korea and the US, but they might believe that’s their only option,” he added.
“Even if it’s a pre-emptive strike to take out missile and nuclear capabilities, North Korea may feel it has to respond… this is the dilemma that strategists and policy makers.”
The decorated former Special Operations Command Korea policy director warned that even an isolated air strike could trigger a “catastrophic response”, necessitating the evacuation of large parts of South Korea and deployment of American forces in preparation of a ground war.
Dr John Nilsson-Wright, a senior research fellow in the Asia programme at Chatham House, believes the probability of military intervention by the US is “very low”.
“The risk of provoking a conventional conflict or worse with huge casualties in South Korea militates against such a course of action,” he told The Independent.
“Washington cannot risk alienating Seoul and Tokyo, and Trump himself appears more interested in using the bully pulpit of calculated ambiguity and rhetorical provocation than any serious commitment to full blown military action.”
Mr Trump dialled down his rhetoric on Friday, calling China the “economic lifeline to North Korea” after discussing the issue with Xi Jinping.
“While nothing is easy, if they want to solve the North Korean problem, they will,” the President added.
His tweet came after defence sources repeatedly briefed journalists that the US was not considering a military strike, with Mike Pence insisting a peaceful resolution was still possible.
“We truly believe that, as our allies in the region and China bring that pressure to bear, there is a chance that we can achieve a historic objective of a nuclear-free Korea peninsula by peaceful means,” the Vice President said on Saturday.
“We are encouraged by the steps that China has taken so far.”
The strike force, led by the USS Carl Vinson, is heading for the Korean peninsularPhoto by: AFP
Mr Pence insisted a strike group headed by the USS Carl Vinson, which had been completing a training exercise with the Australian navy when Mr Trump made his announcement, would arrive in waters off the Korean peninsula “within days”.
Like the strikes in Syria and Afghanistan, the move could merely “harden North Korean resolve” to increase its military capabilities, Mr Maxwell warned.
He said the “real wildcard” was Kim himself, who has brutally purged challengers from his inner circle in his six years of power, adding: “There is not an intelligence service in the world that can tell us what he will do.”
South Korea is on heightened alert for potential new weapons tests as the 85th anniversary of the Korean People’s Army approaches on Tuesday, with a large concentration of military hardware massed on both sides of the border.
Joseph Yun, the US’ special representative for North Korea policy, will be in Tokyo on the day for meetings with Japanese and South Korean representatives.
North Korea has previously launched missiles or conducted nuclear experiments to mark key dates, while next week also coincides with the conclusion of its winter military drills and huge joint exercises conducted by the US and South Korea.
Satellite imagery analysed by 38 North, a Washington-based monitoring group, found activity underway at the Punggye-ri nuclear test site, but it was unclear whether the site was in a “tactical pause” before another test or was carrying out normal operations.
Dr Nilsson-Wright said that while there have been calls for the US to destroy North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction, its stockpiles would be difficult to pinpoint and heavily reinforced, with sites dispersed across the secretive country.
He argued that the only way the US can hope to solve the crisis is via coordinated pressure with allies – and a willingness to negotiate.
Possible measures could include economic sanctions from China, offering political concessions in exchange for a freeze on testing and peace talks involving regional actors.
Mr Maxwell agreed, saying that although Kim’s government had learned to “get around” international banking after previous crackdowns, financial action was still the most effective.
He urged the US to mitigate uncertainty and lower tensions by refusing to rise to “every missile test and every military movement with rhetoric.
“Kim acts like a terrorist and one of the things terrorists want is notoriety,” Mr Maxwell added.
The world should instead focus on North Korea’s appalling human rights record, he said, which has largely fallen off the radar since a UN investigation revealed “unspeakable atrocities” in 2014.
“When we talk about human rights, it undermines the legitimacy of the regime,” Mr Maxwell said.
“There is a moral and strategic value to informing the North Korean people that we know they are suffering.”

Friday, April 21, 2017

All Means, Short of War: Passive, Not Active, Regime Change in North Korea by Max Boot

Max is advocating a strategic strangulation campaign.  I would be happy to assist.

Excerpt:

We should not panic, any more than we panicked when Russia and China acquired similar capabilities many decades ago. In those cases, we relied on deterrence to prevent an attack, while, in the case of the Soviet Union, implementing a containment doctrine premised on the assumption that the dysfunctional Soviet state would eventually collapse. That strategy was amply vindicated by the peaceful end of the Cold War and could usefully be followed in the case of North Korea today.
...

From the U.S. perspective, our policy should be to hasten the regime’s demise by applying all possible sanctions, but not to risk an outright military confrontation with a state that possesses nuclear weapons and artillery zeroed in on Seoul. That seems to be the policy that H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser, was hinting at when he said on Sunday that the U.S. should “take action, short of armed conflict, so we can avoid the worst” in dealing with “this unpredictable regime.” If so, then the Trump administration is taking a responsible approach—ratcheting up the pressure but stopping short of war. Let’s hope that this is, in fact, the policy going forward.

All Means, Short of War

Don't neutralize the threat unless all other options are exhausted.

Passive, Not Active, Regime Change in North Korea

commentarymagazine.com · by Max Boot · April 17, 2017
As NBC News reported, based on who knows what sources, “The U.S. is prepared to launch a preemptive strike with conventional weapons against North Korea should officials become convinced that North Korea is about to follow through with a nuclear weapons test.” China seemed to respond to such reports by warning that if the U.S. and North Korea “let war break out on the peninsula, they must shoulder that historical culpability and pay the corresponding price for this.”
In the end, there was no sixth nuclear test. North Korea instead displayed missiles, including a purported ICBM, in a military parade through Pyongyang. When the North tried to test-fire a missile, whether because of American sabotage or North Korean incompetence, the rocket failed seconds after liftoff. Crisis averted.
The Trump administration thus did not have to show whether it is actually willing to intercept a North Korean missile test or even to bomb North Korea in retaliation for a nuclear test. The fact that there is some ambiguity and uncertainty about this question is, on the whole, a positive development, because it puts real pressure on China to try to curtail its clients in Pyongyang. But while the administration could not and should not rule out military action, it should realize that this would be, as John F. Kennedy said during the Cuban Missile Crisis, “one hell of a gamble.” It would also be one that would not be justified absent clear intelligence that North Korea is actually about to attack either one of its neighbors or us.
Echoing earlier words from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, on his weekend visit to South Korea, warned the North that “the era of strategic patience is over,” and that “if China is unable to deal with North Korea, the United States and our allies will.” That kind of tough talk sounds good, but as the administration is no doubt realizing, the U.S. has only limited leverage over North Korea.
By all means, the U.S. should step up sanctions, including secondary sanctions on Chinese companies doing business with the criminal regime in Pyongyang. But there is no overwhelming imperative to go beyond that and risk war, even if North Korea finally fields an ICBM with a nuclear warhead capable of reaching Washington.
We should not panic, any more than we panicked when Russia and China acquired similar capabilities many decades ago. In those cases, we relied on deterrence to prevent an attack, while, in the case of the Soviet Union, implementing a containment doctrine premised on the assumption that the dysfunctional Soviet state would eventually collapse. That strategy was amply vindicated by the peaceful end of the Cold War and could usefully be followed in the case of North Korea today.
Kim Jong-un is dangerous, but he is not suicidal. He is not even all that ambitious—unlike Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, or the Iranian mullahs, he does not aim to dominate his neighbors. All he wants to do is to survive. The reason why North Korea has acquired nuclear weapons is that the Kim family looks upon them as the ultimate life preserver; give them up, and they fear they will go the way of Muammar Gaddafi or Saddam Hussein. But as the experience of the Soviet Union showed, even having the ultimate weapon will not stave off regime collapse.
North Korea is one the poorest and most isolated countries on earth, and it is governed according to a weird “Juche” philosophy that is increasingly being undermined by the penetration of news from the outside world. The Kim dynasty has defied previous expectations of its collapse after the deaths of Kim Il-sung (1994) and Kim Jong-il (2011). Kim Jong-un, a third-generation tyrant, has done an impressive job of consolidating power by purging or killing his rivals. But a regime this illegitimate and impoverished cannot last forever. Sooner or later—whether in seven months or seventy years—it will collapse, and the Korean peninsula will be unified under a democratic, pro-Western government based in Seoul.
From the U.S. perspective, our policy should be to hasten the regime’s demise by applying all possible sanctions, but not to risk an outright military confrontation with a state that possesses nuclear weapons and artillery zeroed in on Seoul. That seems to be the policy that H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser, was hinting at when he said on Sunday that the U.S. should “take action, short of armed conflict, so we can avoid the worst” in dealing with “this unpredictable regime.” If so, then the Trump administration is taking a responsible approach—ratcheting up the pressure but stopping short of war. Let’s hope that this is, in fact, the policy going forward.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Hacking 4 Defense: The Future of Innovation in National Security

A great event last night led by Chris Taylor and Matt Zais who teach Hacking for Defense for our Security Studies Program.  I wish the Cipher Brief had captured GEN Selva's key closing comments on cyber and lethal targeting and the requirements for ethical leadership among those who will make life and death decisions executed through cyber attacks.  (My comments  - cyber is not simply a video game - it will result in real casualties).

The 90 minute video can be viewed here at this link on our Center for Security Studies You Tube page.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXZkClEyK9E  It is worth 90 minutes of your time to watch.

If you only watch part of this please see GEN Selva's comments toward the end at 1:34:30.  His comments about those who must inflict violence on our enemies are very important to keep in mind.

Hacking 4 Defense: The Future of Innovation in National Security

In a world where globalization makes it possible for adversaries to compete with American technologies, the United States must consistently innovate and adopt new tools and methods to stay ahead in the national security space. 
That was the message at a special panel held at Georgetown University on Monday, called “The Future of Innovation in National Security.” It featured five panelists across the security space from the Pentagon, the Intelligence Community, and the private sector.
The panel discussion was an extension of a course at Georgetown University called “Hacking 4 Defense” – for which The Cipher Brief is a media sponsor – which aims to use new methodology to find solutions to real national security challenges identified by U.S. government agencies.
The key question of this endeavor was: “how we do gain advantage by not playing the same game that has been played before” and “force [the enemy] to engage with a different set of rules,” said Milo Medin, Vice President of Access Services at Google and a member of the Defense Innovation Board, an initiative set up by former Defense Secretary Ash Carter in 2016.
General Paul Selva, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, took it a step further, saying “innovation is about ideas that answer a problem that scales into the culture or the organization.”
“It’s not enough to have bright ideas; you have to be able to operationalize,” he added.
In order to do that, all sectors of society will have to be tapped, said Andrew Hallman, CIA Deputy Director For Digital Innovation, a Directorate launched in 2015, and tasked with reinventing the CIA for the big data era.
“We have to be able to be embrace whole-of-nation approaches…the commercial sector, the private industry, startups and innovation hubs, to dominate our adversaries” and “mobilizing that grassroots, local innovation.”
Part of that is developing a culture that allows for innovation, said Soraya Correa, Chief Procurement Officer at the Department of Homeland Security.
“We are constantly talking about how do we improve, how do we protect the Homeland, what are the technologies out there that [we] can bring in to enable us to do our mission much better? Because we do have to stay ahead of the threat that’s out there,” she said. “So everyone is talking about innovation and we’re trying to find ways to integrate that into our culture.”
That would involve leaders with “an appetite for failure” because “we can learn a lot from those mistakes,” she added.
Medin, however, argued that “we all make mistakes, the question is, are we making new mistakes? We shouldn’t be making the same old mistakes. There are things that are known not to work, and we should just not do those, right?”
Panelists also discussed recruiting the best talent into innovation offices, with competition between the private and public sectors. Medin acknowledged that the private sector can generally pay much more than government. But, he said, “government has all kinds of of interesting sets of problems and systems that industry does not. The challenge is how do you get people to go into [the] security space in the government for permanent careers? That is something we really should think about.”
Effective Inter-Department Information Sharing
With multiple innovation offices across government agencies and departments – from from In-Q-Tel to DARPA, for instance – panelists were asked whether there was enough done on sharing information and coordinating innovation.
Erin Simpson, CEO for Archer Avenue Consulting, a company that develops data strategies for clients in the security space, said it was a challenge because “unless you make it your business to spend a fair amount of time talking to people on the government side, on the vendor side, on the academic side, you have no idea what’s going on,” she said. “It’s a fantastic challenge but not one that the government seems particularly interested in.”
But Hallman differed in his view. “We have room to grow, we have to align more in that space, but I don’t think it’s quite that bleak.”
Correa agreed. “I’m not saying we’re perfect, but we are reaching out,” she said.
“One of the things DHS has done is that we do reach to the other agencies, we do talk to the Intelligence Community, the Department of Defense, and we try to understand what they’re working on and share ideas,” said Correa. “The other thing we’ve been doing – especially over the past two years – is talking to industry more.”
Gen. Selva added that not all innovation was meant to be shared across agencies. “There’s a whole stream of research and development inside the defense department on things that are unique to defense. We have to subdivide why we do that research because nobody else will do it.”
Given the billions of dollars spent on Research and Development (R&D), panelists were asked when they believed the investments paid off - to which Selva responded bluntly “the place we get the return is combat effectiveness - the survival of our forces in the modern battle space - if that’s an adequate return for that investment. I would argue it is.”
Artificial Intelligence
With Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin recently commenting that Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other technologies purported to displace humans were 50-100 years away – even as a core pillar of the Third Offset strategy – panelists were asked when it was appropriate to discuss AI.
Medin said it was important to define what type of AI was being discussed. “General purpose AI is not just around the corner. On the other hand, in his view, machine learning AI is already available - “and should be used in the operational context today.”
General Selva agreed, defining AI into two categories: “narrow AI” as in “teaching machines to do tasks” and “general AI” where machines are “self-aware.”
“What we can do is employ narrow AI to empower humans to make decisions faster in an ever increasingly complex battlespace.” That, in turn, would “change the dynamic in a battle space.”
Asked if foreign technology could be leveraged to add to U.S. security purposes, Hallman said “the reality is that with the globalization of technology, even if you look for U.S.-only solutions, you’re probably not getting U.S.-only solutions.”
He said it was important to think more broadly about the concerns and make a “risk-based decision.”
“How do we do this in a way - with counter-intelligence concerns, dependency concerns - that doesn’t leave us so far behind technologically that we miss the boat entirely?”
Leone Lakhani is an executive producer and reporter at The Cipher Brief. Follow her on Twitter @LeoneLakhani.
Callie Wang contributed to this report.

BBC Panorama - North Korea's Nuclear Trump Card - North Korea Documentary (Video)

Chun In Bum, Bruce Klingner, Kim Kwang Jin, Curtis Melvin, and yours truly begin at about the 21 minute mark. All the big names are in the ...