Sunday, January 29, 2017

Last 6 NSC organizational directives to compare to Trump's NSC Organization

For comparison here are the NSC organizations from Reagan through Obama (Trump's that was released yesterday is pasted below).  I have put President Reagan's first since it is radically different than all the rest and of course if from pre-Goldwater-Nichols.  Compared to Reagan's and Bush 41's NSCs Trump's is huge but so were Clinton's Bush 43's, and Obamas.

One other point.  There is controversy over the fact that the Assistant to the President and Chief Strategist, Steve Bannon is a member of the Principals Committee I think it is interesting to note that the only NSC document that had the word "strategy" in it was Bush 43's with a reference only to "defense strategy."  Trump's has the word strategist (referring to Bannon) but also no mention of strategy.  So the question is where is strategy made and where is strategy done! - Who will be "doing strategy" if not the NSC (but I suppose since the Chief Strategist is on the PC he will be the one responsible for doing strategy).

Since there is already controversy about the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff not being a member of the Principals Committee I think it is interesting to note the language of the Trump's NSC directive is nearly the same as Bush 43's NSC and similar to Clinton's NSC.

George H.W. Bush's Principal's committee was the smallest and had the CJCS as a member.

1. President Reagan's NSDD2- National Security Council structure: https://fas.org/irp/offdocs/nsdd/nsdd-2.pdf and NSDD-1 National Security Directives: https://fas.org/irp/offdocs/nsdd/nsdd-001.htm 

2.  Here is President Obama's Presidential Policy Directive 1 (PPD1): https://fas.org/irp/offdocs/ppd/ppd-1.pdf

Excerpt:
The National Security Advisor shall serve as Chair, and its regular members will be the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Defense, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Energy, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, the Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations, the Chief of Staff to the President, the Director of National Intelligence, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor, the Deputy Secretary of State, the Counsel to the President, and the Assistant to the Vice President for National Security Affairs shall be invited to attend every meeting of the NSC/PC. When international economic issues are on the agenda, the NSC/PC's regular attendees will include the Secretary of Commerce, the United States Trade Representative, the Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, and the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy, who, at the discretion of the National Security Advisor, may serve as chair. When homeland security or counter-terrorism related issues are on the agenda, the NSC/PC's regular attendees will include the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counter-Terrorism, who, at the discretion of the National Security Advisor, may serve as chair. When science and technology related issues are on the agenda, the NSC's regular attendees will include the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy. The heads of other executive departments' and agencies, along with additional senior officials, shall be invited as appropriate. 

3. Here is President George W. Bush's National Security Presidential Directive 1: Organization of the National Security Council System: https://fas.org/irp/offdocs/nspd/nspd-1.pdf

Excerpt ref the Principals committee (almost identical language in the Trump directive except that DNI replaced DCI because the DNI did not exist then)

The Director of Central Intelligence and th~ Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff shall attend where issues pertaining to their responsibilities and expertise are to be discussed. 

4. Here is President Clinton's PPD 1-NSC, Organizations of the National Security Council: https://fas.org/irp/offdocs/pdd/pdd-2.pdf

Excerpt:

The NSC/PC shall have as its members the Secretary of State (if unavailable, the Deputy Secretary of State or the designee of the Secretary of State); the Secretary of Defense (if unavailable, the Deputy Secretary of Defense or the designee of the Secretary of Defense); the u.s. Representative to the United Nations; the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (Chair); the Director of Central Intelligence; the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff; and the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy, as appropriate. The Secretary of the Treasury, the Attorney General or other heads of departments or agencies shall be invited as needed. 

5. Here is George H.W. Bush's National Security Directive 1 (NSD1), Organization of the National Security Council System: https://bush41library.tamu.edu/files/nsd/nsd1.pdf 

Excerpt:

The NSC/PC shall have as its members the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (who shall serve as Chairman), the Director of the Central Intelligence, and the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as the Chief of Staff to the President.  Participation of the Secretary of the Treasury and the Attorney General, will be governed by the guidelines of para A.. 2. Above.  In consultation  with the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense, the Assistant to the President may invite heads of other Executive departments and agencies, the special statutory advisors to the NSC, and other senior officials to attend meeting of the NSC/PC where appropriate in light of the issues to be discussed.
The White House
https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/01/28/presidential-memorandum-organization-national-security-council-and
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Presidential Memorandum Organization of the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council

January 28, 2017
MEMORANDUM FOR THE VICE PRESIDENT
               THE SECRETARY OF STATE
               THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY
               THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
               THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
               THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE
               THE SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
               THE SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION
               THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE
               THE SECRETARY OF ENERGY
               THE SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY
               THE ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT AND CHIEF OF STAFF
               THE ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT AND CHIEF STRATEGIST
THE DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET
               THE REPRESENTATIVE OF THE UNITED STATES TO THE
                  UNITED NATIONS  
               THE UNITED STATES TRADE REPRESENTATIVE
               THE CHAIR OF THE COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS
               THE CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD OF GOVERNORS OF THE
                  FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM
               THE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE
               THE DIRECTOR OF THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY
               THE CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF
               THE ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT FOR NATIONAL
                  SECURITY AFFAIRS
               THE ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT FOR HOMELAND
                  SECURITY AND COUNTERTERRORISM
               THE ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT FOR ECONOMIC
                  POLICY
               THE ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT
                  FOR TRADE AND MANUFACTURING POLICY
THE ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT FOR
                  INTRAGOVERNMENTAL AND TECHNOLOGY INITIATIVES
               THE Deputy Assistant to the President and
                  National Security Advisor to the Vice President
               THE COUNSEL TO THE PRESIDENT
               THE ADMINISTRATOR OF THE UNITED STATES AGENCY FOR
                  INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
               THE ADMINISTRATOR OF THE NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND
                  SPACE ADMINISTRATION
               THE CHAIRMAN OF THE NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
               THE DIRECTOR OF THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF
                  INVESTIGATION   
               THE DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE OF SCIENCE AND
                  TECHNOLOGY POLICY
               THE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL DRUG CONTROL POLICY
               THE CHAIRMAN OF THE PRESIDENT'S INTELLIGENCE
                  ADVISORY BOARD
               THE ADMINISTRATOR OF THE FEDERAL EMERGENCY
                  MANAGEMENT AGENCY
               THE ARCHIVIST OF THE UNITED STATES 
Organization of the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council
As President, my highest priority is to ensure the safety and security of the American people.  In order to advise and assist me in executing this solemn responsibility, as well as to protect and advance the national interests of the United States at home and abroad, I hereby direct that my system for national security policy development and decision-making shall be organized as follows:
  1. The National Security Council, the Homeland Security Council, and Supporting Staff
The National Security Act of 1947, as amended, established the National Security Council (NSC) to advise the President with respect to the integration of domestic, foreign, and military policies relating to the national security.  There is also a Homeland Security Council (HSC) -- established through Executive Order 13228 of October 8, 2001, and subsequently codified in the Homeland Security Act of 2002 -- that has the purpose of advising the President on matters pertaining to homeland security.  Each Council is also responsible for the effective coordination of the security-related activities and functions of the executive departments and agencies.
The security threats facing the United States in the 21st century transcend international boundaries.  Accordingly, the United States Government's decision-making structures and processes to address these challenges must remain equally adaptive and transformative.  Both Councils are statutory bodies that the President will continue to chair.  Invitations to participate in specific Council meetings shall be extended to those heads of executive departments and agencies, and other senior officials, who are needed to address the issue or issues under consideration.  When the President is absent from a meeting of either Council, the Vice President may preside at the President's direction.
The Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (National Security Advisor) and the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism (Homeland Security Advisor) shall be responsible, as appropriate and at the President's direction, for determining the agenda for the NSC or HSC, respectively, ensuring that the necessary papers are prepared, and recording Council actions and Presidential decisions in a timely manner.  When international economic issues are on the agenda of the NSC, the National Security Advisor and the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy shall perform these tasks in concert.
The NSC and HSC shall have as their regular attendees (both statutory and non-statutory) the President, the Vice President, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Defense, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Energy, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the National Security Advisor, the Homeland Security Advisor, and the Representative of the United States to the United Nations.  When international economic issues are on the agenda of the NSC, the NSC's regular attendees will include the Secretary of Commerce, the United States Trade Representative, and the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy.  The Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as statutory advisers to the NSC, shall also attend NSC meetings.  The Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff, the Assistant to the President and Chief Strategist, the Counsel to the President, the Deputy Counsel to the President for National Security Affairs, and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget are invited as attendees to any NSC meeting. 
In addition to the NSC and HSC, there is also a single NSC staff within the Executive Office of the President that serves both the NSC and HSC.  The staff is composed of regional, issue-focused, and functional directorates and headed by a single civilian Executive Secretary, pursuant to 50 U.S.C. 3021, who is also the Chief of Staff.  All policy and staff activity decisions will be transmitted to the Executive Secretary for appropriate distribution and awareness.  The purpose of the NSC staff is to advise me, the National Security Advisor, the Homeland Security Advisor, the NSC members, the HSC members, and others in the White House; to facilitate the implementation of Administration policy; and to help coordinate the national-security-related activities of the executive departments and agencies. 
  1. The Principals Committee
The Principals Committee (PC) shall continue to serve as the Cabinet-level senior interagency forum for considering policy issues that affect the national security interests of the United States.  The PC shall be convened and chaired by the National Security Advisor or the Homeland Security Advisor, as appropriate, in consultation with the appropriate attendees of the PC.  The Chair shall determine the agenda in consultation with the appropriate committee members, and the Executive Secretary shall ensure that necessary papers are prepared and that conclusions and decisions are communicated in a timely manner.  Invitations to participate in or attend a specific PC shall be extended at the discretion of the National Security Advisor and the Homeland Security Advisor, and may include those Cabinet-level heads of executive departments and agencies, and other senior officials, who are needed to address the issue under consideration.
The PC shall have as its regular attendees the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Defense, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff, the Assistant to the President and Chief Strategist, the National Security Advisor, and the Homeland Security Advisor.  The Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff shall attend where issues pertaining to their responsibilities and expertise are to be discussed.  The Counsel to the President, the Deputy Counsel to the President for National Security Affairs, and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget may attend all PC meetings. 
The Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor (Deputy National Security Advisor), the Deputy Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor to the Vice President, and the Executive Secretary (who shall serve as the Executive Secretary of the PC) shall attend all of the meetings of the PC, and the Representative of the United States to the United Nations and the Assistant to the President for Intragovernmental and Technology Initiatives may attend as appropriate.
When international economic issues are on the agenda of the PC, the Committee's regular attendees will include the Secretary of Commerce, the United States Trade Representative, and the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy (who shall serve as Chair for agenda items that principally pertain to international economics).\
  1. The Deputies Committee
The Deputies Committee (DC) shall continue to serve as the senior sub-Cabinet interagency forum for consideration of, and where appropriate, decision-making on, policy issues that affect the national security interests of the United States.  The DC shall be convened and chaired by the Deputy National Security Advisor or the Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Homeland Security Advisor (Deputy Homeland Security Advisor), as appropriate.  The Chair shall determine the agenda in consultation with the regular DC members, and the Executive Secretary shall ensure that necessary papers are prepared and that conclusions and decisions are communicated in a timely manner.  Invitations to participate in or attend a specific DC meeting shall be extended by the Chair to those at the Deputy or Under Secretary level of executive departments and agencies, and to other senior officials, who are needed to address the issue under consideration.
The DC shall have as its regular members the Deputy Secretary of State, the Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, the Deputy Attorney General, the Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, the Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget, the Deputy Director of National Intelligence, the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,  the Deputy Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor to the Vice President, the Deputy National Security Advisor, the Deputy Homeland Security Advisor, and the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development.
The Executive Secretary shall attend the DC meetings.  The Deputy Counsel to the President for National Security Affairs may attend all DC meetings.  The relevant Deputy Assistant to the President for the specific regional and functional issue under consideration shall also be invited to attend.  Likewise, when and where appropriate, the Deputy Assistant to the President for Strategic Planning, the Deputy Assistant to the President for Strategic Communication, the Deputy Assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs, the Deputy Assistant to the President for Transnational Issues, and the Deputy Representative of the United States to the United Nations, shall also be invited to attend.  Other senior officials shall be invited where appropriate. 
The DC shall review and monitor the work of the interagency national security process, including the interagency groups established pursuant to section D below.  The DC shall help to ensure that issues brought before the NSC, HSC, and PC have been properly analyzed and prepared for decision.  The DC shall also focus significant attention on monitoring the implementation of policies and decisions and shall conduct periodic reviews of the Administration's major national security and foreign policy initiatives.  The DC is responsible for establishing Policy Coordination Committees (PCCs) and for providing objectives and clear guidance.
  1. Policy Coordination Committees
Management of the development and implementation of national security policies by multiple executive departments and agencies typically shall be accomplished by the PCCs, with participation primarily occurring at the Assistant Secretary level.  As the main day-to-day fora for interagency coordination of national security policies, the PCCs shall provide policy analysis for consideration by the more senior committees of the national security system and ensure timely responses to the President's decisions.
Regional and issue-related PCCs shall be established at the direction of the DC.  Members of the NSC staff (or National Economic Council staff, as appropriate) will chair the PCCs; the DC, at its discretion, may add co-chairs to any PCC.  The PCCs shall review and coordinate the implementation of Presidential decisions in their respective policy areas.  The Chair of each PCC, in consultation with the Executive Secretary, shall invite representatives of other executive departments and agencies to attend meetings of the PCC where appropriate.  The Chair of each PCC, with the agreement of the Executive Secretary, may establish subordinate working groups to assist that PCC in the performance of its duties.
An early meeting of the DC will be devoted to establishing the PCCs, determining their memberships, and providing them with mandates and strict guidance.  Until the DC has established otherwise, the existing system of Interagency Policy Committees shall continue.
  1. General
The President and the Vice President may attend any and all meetings of any entity established by or under this memorandum.
This document is part of a series of National Security Presidential Memoranda that shall replace both Presidential Policy Directives and Presidential Study Directives as the instrument for communicating relevant Presidential decisions.  This memorandum shall supersede all other existing Presidential guidance on the organization or support of the NSC and the HSC.  With regard to its application to economic matters, this document shall be interpreted in concert with any Executive Order governing the National Economic Council and with Presidential Memoranda signed hereafter that implement either this memorandum or that Executive Order.
The Secretary of Defense is hereby authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.
                              DONALD J. TRUMP

Monday, January 16, 2017

Restoring American Power by Senator John McCain

The 33 page report can be downloaded at the link below.  I have pasted the table of contents as well as the three paragraphs on SOF since that is my focus (along with north Korea of course and I am even happy to see that north Korea is mentioned even in the SOF section.  Although the first and third paragraphs focus on SOF and counterterrorism for the most part the second paragraphs address special warfare.  I am gratified to see Senator McCain address that aspect of SOF since so many in government overlook it.  It is in keeping with my major talking points on Special Operations:


1. The future is characterized (not exclusively of course)​ by states and non-state actors conducting UW (exploiting revolution, resistance, insurgency, terrorism, and civil war (RRIT & CW)) and thus there is a requirement to conduct​ Counter-UW. ​SOF is organized, educated, trained, equipped and optimized for both (but does not conduct them unilaterally or in a vacuum but as one element of the means in support of a joint campaign and national strategy)​

2. We have the greatest Surgical Strike capability in the world but we need to prioritize and resource correctly (but not necessarily equally) our Special Warfare capabilities.  - But we have to be careful of Anthony Cordesman’s “Strategic Tokenism.”

3. We need Strategists and Policy M​akers who have a deep (or at least sufficient) understanding of and value the strategic options of  offered by ​UW and Counter-UW. 

4. Effective Special Warfare (which includes UW and counter-UW and supports Political Warfare)​ is counter-intuitively characterized by slow and deliberate employment – long duration actions and activities, relationship establishment, development, and sustainment. 

5. SOF will have always have a role in hybrid conflict and major combat operations.
V/R

Dave​


RESTORING AMERICAN POWER

Recommendations for the FY 2018-FY 2022 Defense Budget By Senator John McCain, Chairman, Senate Armed Services Committee



Executive Summary 2 
The Failure of the Budget Control Act 3 
A Better Defense Strategy 5 Beginning to Rebuild the Military 8 
Navy 9 
Marine Corps 11 
Air Force 12 
Army 14 
Special Operations Forces 15 
Nuclear Forces 16 
Missile Defense 17 
Space 17 
Cyber 18 
Force Posture 18 
New Technologies 19 
Actions for Congress 20 
Appendix 22

Special Operations Forces.

For the last 15 years, U.S. special operations forces (SOF) have been a critical component of the fight against global terrorist groups. These highly innovative and agile units are organized with a global outlook and able to conduct operations in austere and complex environments with a relatively small footprint, making them a logical leading element of the global counterterrorism mission. SOF have increasingly been optimized for that mission over the past 15 years, while high operational tempo and repeated deployments have put real strains on SOF operators and units, despite the growth in their ranks that has occurred in recent years. Because the global counterterrorism mission shows no sign of diminishing in the foreseeable future, SOF will continue to play an outsized role in that effort. 

At the same time, SOF must increasingly perform critical missions within the broad discipline of irregular warfare beyond counterterrorism. China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea are increasingly competing with the United States below the threshold of major conflict in what has been called “hybrid warfare” or “gray zone” operations. These threats across Europe, the Middle East, and Asia are aimed at challenging U.S. interests and partnerships and destabilizing regional order. Put simply, SOF has an indispensable role to play in great power competitions and global counterproliferation. This reality demands a greater employment of the broad spectrum of U.S. special operations capabilities. SOF’s ability to conduct low-visibility, special warfare operations in politically sensitive environments makes them uniquely suited for this mission

An even greater reliance on SOF beyond counterterrorism will likely require further investments in new special operations capabilities and some additional force structure. The challenges posed by militarily advanced great powers, in particular, will require the development and employment of new technologies and capabilities. At the same time, the readiness of the force should remain a priority, which will likely necessitate additional capacity. The growth in SOF end-strength called for in the 2010 and 2014 Quadrennial Defense Reviews never fully materialized because of budget constraints. Any growth now will depend on increases in the size of our conventional forces, since they will be the sources from which SOF operators are assessed and selected, as well as the dominant providers of enabling support.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

SPECIAL REPORT: The Military Loves the Obama Doctrine. Can It Survive Trump?

I have to wave a huge BS flag on the "Obama Doctrine." 

First, Obama does not deserve credit for "through, with, and by."   That phrase belongs to COL (RET) Mark Boyatt who used it in 1994 to describe the essence of Special Forces operations in unconventional warfare and foreign internal defense. (see Mark's 1994 Special Warfare Magazine article on Unconventional Operations, https://www.dvidshub.net/publication/issues/8288  as well as his recent 2016 book, Special Forces: A Unique National Asset Through, With and By  here at Amazon)

Second, the concept of "through, with, and by" is NOT a silver bullet and should not form the basis of a doctrine or a strategy. It has taken on a life of its own starting with GEN Odierno's 2008 guidance to the force in Iraq (here in 2008when he issued his guidance to the force there and the 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance.

"Through, with, and by" is an important concept but when it is adopted as a single strategic method it loses its value and undermines its own legitimacy when it is used as the "main effort."  The idea that we are going to use indigenous, surrogate, or forces of another country to protect US national security interests and NOT commit US forces to protect those interests is simply wrong.  The use of "though, with, and by" creates a paradox and a dependency among those forces.  While they are grateful for all the training, advising, assisting, and equipping, they come to believe that if there mission is so important to the US then they become "too big to fail" so to speak and know they will always be bailed out when they are in trouble and that the US will come to their rescue because it is in the US interests to do so.  These forces are smart and they are in their own way learning to "live to fight another day" for their own interests - happy to take US assistance and careful not to over extend themselves so as to husband the resources they have been provided so that they have improved capabilities when the US eventually tires of supporting them and realizes that they cannot really support US interests. The underlying premise of working through, with, and by as we help those who seek self determination through political resistance and insurgency by our application of unconventional and political warfare or who help those to develop the capabilities to defend themselves against lawlessness, subversion, insurgency, and terrorism is that we will help them to help themselves but we will NOT do it for them.  Once we do start doing it for them we they have lost and we now own the problem.  Until we learn this and ween ourselves from the myth that "though, with, and by" is a substitute for strategy and should only be applied in specific circumstances (based on the principle of understanding that rests on comprehensive and continuous assessment) by specific forces we are going to continue to experience strategic failure as we rely on "though, with, and by" as the foundation for our strategy.  The concept has great utility but only when correctly applied in the appropriate conditions for which it is suited.

"Through, with, and by" has been hijacked by those outside of SOF and in particular Special Forces.  It has great strategic value in helping others to seek self-determination (though UW) and to defend themselves against lawlessness, subversion, insurgency, and terrorism (through FID) but it cannot be the foundation for protecting US interests.  It can play a supporting role in achieving US interests but it cannot be a substitute for US forces conducting operations to protect US interests.  This great doctrinal and strategic folly that has been in place since the 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance (http://archive.defense.gov/news/Defense_Strategic_Guidance.pdf ) unless we never forget that caveat "whenever possible" which seems to have been translated to use in every situation in place of US troops:

Whenever possible, we will develop innovative, low-cost, and small-footprint approaches to achieve our security objectives, relying on exercises, rotational presence, and advisory capabilities.





SPECIAL REPORT: The Military Loves the Obama Doctrine. Can It Survive Trump?

Commanders say they’re already fighting ISIS the right way: “by, with, and through” local forces.
defenseone.com · by Read bio
ERBIL, Iraq – There’s no welcome sign at this U.S military base discreetly tucked into the corner of the Kurdistan International Airport in northern Iraq. It doesn’t even have a name. But it’s here. Thousands of troops are here, including Americans, Germans, Italians, Finns, and Brits. And this time, it seems the U.S. military is in Iraq to stay.
The temporary tents and dining hall erected to house American forces — including special operators, CIA agents, and private military contractors who hunt, kill, and interrogate for America — are being replaced with permanent buildings. At least five types of U.S. military helicopters criss-cross the bright September skies over Kurdistan’s peaceful, bustling capital city, some ferrying generals up from Baghdad, others heading north into Syria with bearded special operators’ feet dangling from Black Hawk doors, or banking west toward Mosul, bringing Americans to the front lines of war.
It sounds busy and feels familiar, but today’s war in Iraq is a far cry from the mammoth effort of a decade ago. Gone are the hundreds of thousands of American troops and contractors occupying hundreds of sprawling bases and outposts across the country. Gone is the Bush administration’s total war and total occupation of a country. In its place is the Obama Doctrine.
What’s that? In his 2008 campaign, Barack Obama pledged to keep American troops out of unnecessary fighting while helping local populations defend and govern themselves. In short, it was his reaction to the Iraq War and over-extending America in the Middle East, explained Jeff Goldberg in his blockbuster article in Defense One’s sister publication, The Atlantic, after spending hours with the commander in chief. “Obama generally does not believe a president should place American soldiers at great risk in order to prevent humanitarian disasters, unless those disasters pose a direct security threat to the United States,” he said.
But ISIS’ rise in Iraq and Syria has confronted this vision with shocking reality. The unmitigated slaughter of Syrian civilians has provoked heavy, if not quite universal, condemnation of Obama’s and other Western governments. It angered an American electorate tired of wars in the Middle East but increasingly fearful of Islamic extremist terrorism reaching Europe and America. And it fueled perceptions that Obama was keeping the mighty American military on the sidelines, instead of just taking out what looked like nothing more than a savage band of pickup-driving psychopathic murderers. (One 2016 frustrated presidential candidate made the ridiculous suggestion of “carpet-bombing” Iraq.) Obama and U.S. generals have vowed to “destroy ISIS” — but he will this week be replaced in office by a candidate who said he could do it more quickly.
But what does the military want? In dozens of interviews with U.S. officials and coalition military commanders — from the White House to America’s war room in Tampa, the command in Baghdad, forward control centers and training grounds in Kurdistan, defense minister meetings in Paris, and NATO headquarters in Brussels — one thing was clear and consistent. On the whole, America’s military leaders do not want to be here any longer than they must. It also is clear that they wanted to “accelerate” the campaign against ISIS, as Obama has been doing already for more than a year with success, but they do not want America to own this fight. They do want Iraqis to fight and a functioning Iraqi government to take control when the Islamic State is gone. They don’t want to defeat ISIS only to become an occupying force of sitting ducks.
What they want is what Obama wants: patience. It’s a word I hear over and over, talking with special operators tasked to train local forces to fight terrorism and with the faraway policy makers they support. Like the outgoing president, they believe an enduring effort and a long view are key to winning the conflicts in the Middle East and halting the spread of global terrorism. But will Trump have the same patience as Obama? Will Trump have the same patience as his generals?
(Continued at this link)

Sunday, January 8, 2017

We know what Russia did. But what we really need to understand is why. by Fareed Zakaria

As Frank Hoffman has been trying to hammer home to us the first principle is to understand.  There have been a number of scholars and experts advocating that we understand where Putin and Russia are coming from and why they are acting the way they do. Perhaps pundits such as Fareed Zakaria will wake people up with his article below.  Yes, the democracy movements around the world are a threat to Russia and democracy overall is a threat to Putin and Russia.  I think this is the fundamental reason why Gerasimov created his so-called Gerasimov doctrine (see Charles Bartles) that has come to be known as non-linear warfare or new generation warfare which in my opinion is modern unconventional warfare with Russian characteristics that is a holistic approach designed to influence political action at all levels from non-violence influence operations to political mobilization, to sabotage and subversion, support to terrorist activities to the integrated activities of all the elements of national power to the select application or threat of application of violence by the full range of military forces (both special and conventional) to achieve national objectives. Unconventional warfare is the most political of all forms of warfare since the focus is on exploitation of resistance movements that seek to coerce, disrupt, or overthrow...

Russia is a revisionist power seeking to undermine the legitimacy of opposing political systems and undermine the dominant international systems and institutions and make them function in its favor and interests in order to protect himself and the Russian leadership from the loss of political power at home and abroad.  China is another revisionist power.   And of course AQ and ISIS are revolutionary who seek to destroy the international system and replace nations with their ideological systems.  The question for the US and like minded nations of the world is whether it is in our interest to protect the international system that we have created since WWII and whether we will the will to commit to the defense of that system or should we let the revisionist and revolutionary powers to have their way?

I would commend everyone to read Charles K. Bartles' Military Review article on "Getting Gerasimov Right" from January 2016. (and we should all learn from the discussion of "foresight" in his article on page 31).

For U.S. readers, Gerasimov’s linking of the Arab
Spring and “color revolutions” (and in later comments,
the Maidan Movement) with military capability development
may seem odd. In order to put his comments
in context, it is necessary to look at the Russian view of
warfare and forced regime change as it has developed
since the end of the Cold War.
...
In the Russian view, the pattern of U.S.
forced regime change has been as follows:
deciding to execute a military operation;
finding an appropriate NATO’s Yugoslavia intervention is one of military
action to prevent mass genocide, Russia has a much different
view. Most Russians generally view the NATO
bombing campaign as having been illegal because it was
conducted without the approval of the UN Security
Council and believe that Serbia was simply being
punished for engaging in counterterrorism operations,
albeit with some excesses. The most egregious sin, from
the Russian view, was the partitioning of Yugoslavia.
This action set a precedent for external actors to make
decisions about the internal affairs and territorial integrity
of sovereign nations alleged to have committed
some wrong. It is important to note that Russia was
dealing with its own Islamic insurgency at the same
time in the North Caucasus. This may have caused
Russian concern about a similar NATO action taking
place inside Russia. One consequence of Western
intervention resulting in the destruction of Yugoslavia 
pretext such as to prevent genocide or seize weapons
of mass destruction; and finally, launching a military
operation to cause regime change (figure 1).


We should also go back to Anthony Cordesman's CSIS report on the "Color Revolutions" written in 2014.

Here is a summary of Russia's new generation or non-linear warfare from the Latvian Defence Academy.
Russian New Generation Warfare and the Future of War (link to the full report below - and the Poles and Finns have produced some excellent analysis of Russia's UW as well): 

As a result, it follows that the main guidelines for developing Russian military capabilities by 2020 are:
i. From direct destruction to direct influence;
ii. from direct annihilation of the opponent to its inner decay;
iii. from a war with weapons and technology to a culture war;
iv. from a war with conventional forces to specially prepared forces and commercial irregular groupings;
v. from the traditional (3D) battleground to information/psychological warfare and war of perceptions;
vi. from direct clash to contactless war;
vii. from a superficial and compartmented war to a total war, including the enemy’s internal side and base;
viii. from war in the physical environment to a war in the human consciousness and in cyberspace;
ix. from symmetric to asymmetric warfare by a combination of political, economic, information, technological, and ecological campaigns;
x. From war in a defined period of time to a state of permanent war as the natural condition in national life.

Thus, the Russian view of modern warfare is based on the idea that the main battlespace is the mind and, as a result, new-generation wars are to be dominated by information and psychological warfare, in order to achieve superiority in troops and weapons control, morally and psychologically depressing the enemy’s armed forces personnel and civil population. The main objective is to reduce the necessity for deploying hard military power to the minimum necessary, making the opponent’s military and civil population support the attacker to the detriment of their own government and country. It is interesting to note the notion of permanent war, since it denotes a permanent enemy. In the current geopolitical structure, the clear enemy is Western civilization, its values, culture, political system, and ideology.



We know what Russia did. But what we really need to understand is why.

The Washington Post · by Fareed Zakaria · January 5, 2017
I’m glad that Donald Trump will finally get a briefing on the unanimous conclusion of America’s intelligence agencies that the Russian government was behind the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman. But he should also request and receive a political briefing on Russia that can shed light on the backdrop to Russia’s actions. We need to understand why Russia behaved the way it has.
It all started with the Arab Spring. The sudden mass demonstrations and demands for democracy took most of the world by surprise. In particular, they rattled Moscow at a precarious moment. The Kremlin was in the midst of managing the country’s political future and worried about opposition at home. Parliamentary elections were scheduled in less than a year, to be followed by a presidential election. Vladimir Putin was not then president, having stepped aside in keeping with the Russian constitution, allowing Dmitry Medvedev to ascend to the office.
Roland Dannreuther of the University of Westminster in London points out that the “crises in both Libya and Syria coincided with the rise of opposition to the re-election of Putin, with unprecedented large opposition rallies in Moscow and other cities in Russia during 2011-12.” He argues that the Kremlin watched these countries as street protests morphed into broader opposition, created instability, and then attracted the attention and intervention of Western powers. Moscow was determined that no such scenario would play out in Russia or in any of its close neighbors, such as Ukraine.
In fact, there was a rare disagreement between Putin and Medvedev on how to respond to Libya. Putin bitterly attacked his own president for not vetoing a U.N. Security Council resolution sanctioning an intervention in Libya and lambasted the West for launching a “crusade” against a Muslim country. Medvedev, who was technically in charge of foreign policy, flatly contradicted him, calling his rhetoric “inexcusable.” Some Russia hands believe that this disagreement might have sealed Medvedev’s fate, ensuring that he served just one term and then made way for Putin’s return to the presidency. In any event, as Dannreuther writes, “for conservative Russian elites, the evidence of the Arab Spring confirms that such factional divisions in the guise of democracy promotion only lead to internal disorder, societal conflict and the loss of the sovereign integrity of the state.” (The fact that Clinton encouraged Russian democracy protesters at this sensitive moment branded her an archenemy in the eyes of the Kremlin elite.)
About a year later, in 2013, the chief of staff of the Russian Armed Forces, Gen. Valery Gerasimov, wrote an article suggesting that Russia’s key challenge was responding to the underlying dynamics of the Arab Spring and North Africa’s “color revolutions.” He urged that these not be viewed as non-military events because “a perfectly thriving state can, in a matter of months and even days, be transformed into an arena of fierce armed conflict, become a victim of foreign intervention, and sink into a web of chaos, humanitarian catastrophe, and civil war.” He advocated that Russia better understand and develop the non-military and asymmetrical methods, including special operations, information warfare and the use of internal opposition to cripple a society.
Since then, Moscow has made information and asymmetrical warfare central to its foreign and military policy. When asserting itself in Georgia and Ukraine, Russia has used a hybrid strategy that involves the funding of local politicians and militias, fake news and cyberattacks. Leading German and Polish politicians assert that Russia has engaged in some such activities in their countries as well. And now there is the apparent involvement in America’s election.
The idea of information warfare is not new. The Soviet Union developed and practiced a strategy of “disinformation” throughout the Cold War, complete with fake news and the penetration of Western political parties and media organizations. But the revival of this approach and the aggressive and sophisticated manner in which it is now being used in a social media landscape mark a new and dangerous trend in geopolitics.
This is the political backdrop behind the technical evidence that Russia interfered in November’s election. It needs to be moved out of a partisan framework and viewed in a much broader context. Since the end of the Cold War, no major country has challenged the emerging international system. But now, a great-power strategy, designed to work insidiously, could well succeed in sowing doubt, division, discord — and ultimately destruction — within the West.

Joint Statement between the United States and the Republic of Korea

Some good news here.  Many positive statements in this joint statement. I hope both the ROK and US national security practitioners can take...