Tuesday, July 24, 2018

An American Way of Political Warfare A Proposal

The PDF of this report can be downloaded at this link: https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/perspectives/PE300/PE304/RAND_PE304.pdf

American combat experiences since 2001 have revealed stunning military capabilities and repeated tactical successes. Yet the United States has failed to achieve acceptable and durable political arrangements that serve and protect its interests, suggesting that there are fundamental flaws in its approach to modern warfare. This approach has emphasized conventional models and tools, making little accommodation for a changing adversary and its evolution toward nonconventional means, and the United States has proven unprepared for what the National Security Strategy has recognized as "fundamentally political contests" combining political, economic, cyber, and military means.
The authors propose the establishment of an American political warfare capability to orchestrate all relevant elements of U.S. national power in response to these nonconventional threats, both in war and in peace. This capability must be jointly funded and supported by both the Department of Defense and the Department of State, because of the requirement to operate in contests with and without armed conflict, with vital roles for the Intelligence Community and the United States Agency for International Development. Given political warfare's deliberate whole-of-government nature, the establishment of this capability would require support from both the President and Congress.
Critical to the success of this capability is the establishment, alongside the requirement for the capability itself, of a national political warfare center for studying, understanding, and developing whole-of-government concepts of action (policy, strategy, and campaigns) for responding to nonconventional threats. This center would provide the United States a needed venue to study and prepare for warfare in this space between peace and war.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Aspen Security Forum: Peace on the Korean Peninsula?

An hour and 20 minute video on the Korean Peninsula with the first part featuring a discussion between GEN Brooks in Seoul via video and Gordon Chang followed by a panel discussion with some critical commentary.

GEN Brooks' remarks are an example of a general officer who knows how to speak to the media.  They should show this video at the Capstone course for new general officers.  He faced one of the most complex problems to discuss in public and I think he was masterful.

3:30 – 4:50 PM MDT
Peace on the Peninsula?
Is peace at hand on the Korean Peninsula? Denuclearization and reunification, miraculously, now seem possible. Is this prospect real or a mirage?
Vincent Brooks, Commander, United States Forces Korea; Commander, United Nations
Command; Commander, ROK-US Combined Forces Command
Suzanne DiMaggio, Senior Fellow and US-Iran Initiative Director, New America Foundation
Woongsoon Lim, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of South Korea to the United States
Michael McCaul, Chairman, House Committee on Homeland Security
Sue Mi Terry, Senior Fellow and Korea Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies
Moderator: Gordon Chang, Columnist, The Daily Beast

Monday, July 16, 2018

Eight Points of Special Warfare

Eight Points of Special Warfare:
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.
If there is an indigenous solution or an indigenous contribution to the solution for a complex political military problem conduct special warfare – the essence of which is “through, with, and by” as developed by Mark Boyatt

1.  Instead of an end state must determine the acceptable, durable, political arrangement that can achieved. (per LTG James Dubik) Without this clearly articulated and understood there is no way to achieve unity of effort or to judge mission success. I think Congress must demand this from the Administration.

 2. Eliot Cohen & John Gooch: Military Misfortune:  All military failures are a result of a failure learn, failure to adapt, and failure to anticipate. We must learn to anticipate and that is done through thorough and ongoing assessments and heeding the expert practictioners on the ground. Look at Mali and Yemen.  Did we anticipate the Turegs and the Houthis?  I would submit that SOF on the ground reported on the growing threats to Mali and Yemen yet our myopic focus on CT blinded us at the strategic level.

3. Larry Cable (the discredited COIN theorist who wrote Conflict of Myths) The three P’s: Presence, Patience, Persistence.  You have to be present to make a difference.  You have to be patient because it takes a long time to influence indigenous forces and develop indigenous capabilities. You must have cultural respect without going native and you must have an aptitude and desire for living and working in a foreign culture.  It takes persistence because mistakes will be made, every operation will include discovery learning and we will have to learn and adapt.

 4. Assessment - must conduct continuous assessment to gain understanding - tactical, operational, and strategic.  Assessments are key to developing strategy and campaign plans and anticipating potential conflict.  Assessments allow you to challenge assumptions and determine if a rebalance of, ways and means with the acceptable, durable, political arrangement  is required. Understand the indigenous way of war and adapt to it.   Do not force the US way of war upon indigenous forces if is counter to their history, customs, traditions, and abilities.

5.  Assure US and indigenous interests are sufficiently aligned.  If indigenous and US interests are not sufficiently aligned the mission will fail.  If the US has stronger interest than the indigenous force we can create an “assistance paradox” - if indigenous forces believe the US mission is "no fail” and the US forces will not allow them to fail and therefore they do not need to try too hard.  They may very well benefit from long term US aid and support which may be their objective for accepting support in the first place.

 6. Employ the right forces for the right mission. US SOF, conventional, civilian agency, indigenous forces.  Always based on assessment and thorough understanding of the problem and available resources and capabilities.  Cannot over rely on one force to do everything.  

7.  Learn how to operate without being in charge.  If we usurp the mission indigenous forces will never be successful on their own.  You cannot pay lip service to advising and assisting.  This is why operations in Colombia and the Philippines achieve some level of success. This is not “leading from behind.”  This is the appropriate understanding of the relationship between USSF/SOF and indigenous forces in a sovereign nation or indigenous forces seeking self-determination of government.

 8. Campaigning  - We have to develop the campaign plan based on Design thinking to determine the resources and authorities - and then execute the campaign - we have to get good at campaigning and it has to be more than a military campaign. (USSOCOM Design: Appreciate the context, understand the problem, and develop an approach). While disrupting terrorist attacks and attacking terrorist networks and their finances and auxiliaries are important they are not a strategy. They can be part of a strategy and campaign but they are not sufficient.  We have to campaign beyond counter-terrorism with a campaign focused on attacking the enemy’s strategy.  This requires deep understanding to include especially understanding the enemy’s political objectives.  Once we understand the enemy, ways and means can be employed to counter the enemy’s strategy and his political objectives. Campaigning is important because it will orchestrate all the activities to achieve the strategic objectives or the acceptable, durable political arrangement we seek.   Campaigns identify the resources necessary (forces, bases, funding).  Campaigns identify the authorities necessary.  Although many in the military and government desire blanket authorities that is not the right way to operate.  However, establishing programs and funding lines such as 1206, 1207, 1208, and 1209 and now 127E are not effective either.  Authorities need to be specifically applied to each campaign. And with an approved campaign plan Congress can more effectively provide oversight rather than managing funding programs.  Campaigns must also account for transitions (and demobilization in UW) when working with indigenous forces because we cannot advise and assist and provide support indefinitely. Focusing on effective campaigning can discipline the application of the military instrument of power.  Of course it would useful for other elements of national power to be able to “campaign” as well.  We perhaps need to take another look at the 1997 PDD 56 which was for the management of complex contingency operations in the interagency – a disciplined process to orchestrate US government agencies and harmonize the instruments of power.

·      A Principle of Special Warfare: "Go early, go small, go local, go long”  LTG(R) Charles T. Cleveland remarks at NDU November 30, 2015
·      Understanding indigenous forces:  ”Potential allies always start as at least unproven.  It is hard work that starts with assessments and making the best of who you have, seeking to improve your position (and your partners’) over time.”  LTG (R) Charles T. Cleveland, email January 18, 2016  (Note:  This can apply to resistance in nK)

·      Frank Hoffman's Principle of Understanding. I am a supporter of Dr. Frank Hoffman’s idea that we need a new principle of war called understanding.  Although that seems like a no-brainer – as far back as Sun Tzu we have be told that we must know our enemies and know ourselves to be victorious.   We all know we need to understand war and warfare, the conditions that give rise to conflict, and the politics that lead to and end conflict.  Yet even though the need for understanding is so obvious that we think we do not need to even mention it, it is surprising how so many of our failures can be traced to our lack of understanding.  SOF, through its various assessment capabilities and engagement with indigenous populations can make a key contribution to understanding.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

North Korea says talks with Pompeo were ‘regrettable’

As I wrote in March and posted on my blog here on June 6, the bar for success of the Singapore summit was pretty low: http://maxoki161.blogspot.com/2018/06/thoughts-on-possible-us-north-korea.html

​However, despite the above I think the summit will likely occur and success is a low bar with three simple objectives: 

 1. “Meet and greet” to look KJU in the eye and allow the POTUS and Kim to lay out positions.
 2. Agree to allow expert representatives to meet and work on a process for dismantlement of the north's nuclear program without ending sanctions until there is substantive and verifiable action by the north.
 3. Agree to a follow-up meeting to discuss results of expert representative meetings (perhaps in 3 to 6 months)

If we examine the June 12th Summit and the SECSTATE-nK meeting this weekend we are still on track.

Basically what happened this weekend (assuming the reporting is accurate) is point two above. The establishment of the working groups may allow the experts to really work on hammering out  a process.  we could see the initial results of the working group process in September if KJU comes for the UN General Assembly Meeting.

Lastly I would recommend everyone continue to keep these questions in mind as we move forward and try to assess or determine the answers.  We should have asked these going into the summit and we should continue to ask them.

There are two sets of questions we should be asking going into the summit:

First,  we need to think deeply about this:  Has Kim Jong-un given up the foundational strategy of unification of the peninsula under the north's control through subversion, coercion, and use of force in order to ensure regime survival?  Has Kim given up the key supporting objective to split the ROK/US alliance to get US forces off the peninsula so that it can achieve unification? The answer to these questions should guide our strategy.

Second, what do we want to achieve in Korea? What is the acceptable durable political arrangement on the Korean peninsula and in Northeast Asia that will serve and protect US and ROK/US Alliance interests?  Again the answer to these questions should guide our strategy.

Personally, I have seen no evidence that Kim has given up on the Kim Family Regime strategy. Therefore unfortunately my personal assessment remains this: 

The only way we are going to see an end to the nuclear program and threats and to the crimes against humanity being committed against the Korean people living in the North by the mafia-like crime family cult known as the Kim family regime is through achievement of unification and the establishment of a United Republic of Korea that is secure and stable, non-nuclear, economically vibrant, and unified under a liberal constitutional form of government determined by the Korean people.

The only way we are going to achieve a unified Korea is through a ROK led effort with the full support of the United States.  And for every scenario short of unification from addressing provocations, deterring North Korean attack, to defeating an attack, to dealing with the myriad contingencies that will arise from North Korean instability and regime collapse a strong ROK/US alliance is necessary for a successful outcome.

De Oppresso Liber

David S. Maxwell
Twitter: @davidmaxwell161

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: David Maxwell <David.Maxwell@georgetown.edu>
Date: Sat, Jul 7, 2018 at 10:00 AM
Subject: North Korea says talks with Pompeo were ‘regrettable’

Not a good sign.  Two different views of the talks from the north and from SECSTATE.  Of course the north does not want to unilaterally denuclearize.  Anyone who believed they would is either delusional or does not understand the nature of the Kim Family Regime.

That said I would not give up all hope. This remains typical north Korean negotiating strategy.  Until they extract the political and economic concessions they demand they are not going to provide any substantive concessions on their part. I think that the only way we will hear about substantive agreements will be when they are agreed to by both POTUS and KJU and are announced jointly.

The fact that SECSTATE did not meet KJU should not be a surprise.  Now that he has met with POTUS and has been legitimized as POTUS' "equal" he is not going to meet with lesser personnel to include the SECSTATE. He probably also did not want to receive the Elton John CD.

I will bet that what is not being reported are discussions of possible preparations for KJU to come to New York for the UN General Assembly and a possible follow-on White House visit.  The positive spin I would put on all this is that with the establishment of the working groups to work on the "nitty gritty" I can imagine that some agreements might be worked out behind the scenes.  Both sides probably want to negotiate in private and then make public announcements and not publicly discuss ongoing negotiations before agreements are reached.  I could see some kind of joint announcement about the work done by the working groups and an agreement on some issues.

If I was a reality TV producer I would say this meeting helps to build the suspense as the end of the season with this "cliffhanger" - are the negotiations going to fail?   When the new season opens in the fall we will see the resolution of the cliffhanger with some agreement that will propel the negotiations (and reality TV series) forward and the timing of such an announcement in September could be useful for the mid term elections.  The timing would be better then than if it occurred right now with this meeting.  And again if we spend the rest of the summer thinking the negotiations are on the ropes when a "breakthrough" occurs in September it will be heralded as a big win and the result of a great diplomatic effort by the two leaders (the only win-win acceptable in this negotiations - both leaders can mutually benefit with positive news at the right time).  This process being extended over time with ups and downs and periodic successes correctly timed could be the gift that keeps on giving.  Extended negotiations could be beneficial to both until the point when the threat to the American homeland is sufficiently reduced so that POTUS can bring home American troops and leave Korea to Koreans (and the Chinese and Russians).

North Korea says talks with Pompeo were ‘regrettable’

Friday, July 6, 2018

Radical Proposal for SOF

Here is my radical new proposal.

Disband USSOCOM in Tampa.  Make JSOC a stand alone combatant command (4 star).

Establish a new HQ for SOF (less JSOC) in DC with a Secretary of SOF (civilian SECSOF) and a Chief of Special Operations (CSO - uniformed 4 star).  Have the new SOF HQ exercise its service like HQ responsibilities and give the new Chief of SOF a seat in the tank with the Chairman (i.e., add him to the Joint Chiefs).  I think that would realize Congress' vision in Nunn-Cohen and it would take the new Section 922 of the 2018 NDAA to its logical conclusion.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Voice of America: [Washington Talk] North Korea slows to follow up ... Impact of China and Russia on denuclearization

On June 30, 2018,  VOA broadcast journalist Connie Kim hosted Frank Jannuzi and myself for the weekly talk show Washington Talk for broadcast into Korea to including the target audience of the Pyongyang elite.  you can access the 20 minute video at the link below.

[Washington Talk] North Korea slows to follow up ... Impact of China and Russia on denuclearization


Washington tackles a weekly analysis of North Korean hot issues with Washingtonexperts. This week, we will look at why North Korea slows down its response to the follow - up promises made at the US - North Korea summit and the impact of China and Russia on the denuclearization process in North Korea. Progress: Connie Kim Dialogue: Frank Jannuzi, President, Mansfield Foundation, David Maxwell, ICAS Senior Researcher.

10/24/2019 Korean News and Commentary

Access Here:  https://conta.cc/2PpSUX9 1. U.S., N. Korea could hold more working-level talks this year: think tank 2. The Cornerstone a...