03/19/2021 News & Commentary – National Security

News & commentary by Dave Maxwell. Edited and published by Daniel Riggs. 1.

Testy Exchange in Alaska Signals a More Confrontational China 2. How to deal with China 3. FDD | The Sprint to Field the Army Force of the Future

4. The Reality of War Should Define Information Warfare 5. Humility in American Grand Strategy 6. Beyond Colossus or Collapse: Five Myths Driving American Debates about China

7. An Irregular Upgrade to Operational Design 8. Former Green Beret, whom Trump pardoned for alleged murder, won’t get Silver Star or SF tab back, Army rules 9. How SecDef Austin Can Make the Most of His India Visit

10. China brings six lies to Anchorage 11. China Hates This: Could Disbursed Bases Help America Win the Next Big War? 12. This could be Army Futures Command’s moment of truth

13. Secret Plans Detail Failures of U.S. Commandos in Africa 14. Pacquiao intends to run for president, says Lacson

15. Ex-Special Forces soldier charged with assaulting cops in Capitol riot 16. Book Review: Scott Anderson – The Quiet Americans – Four CIA Spies At The Dawn Of The Cold War – A Tragedy In Three Acts 17. Exclusive: New GOP Bill Hits Back against Chinese Funding of U.S.

Think Tanks 18. National Security Professionals Call for Action on Hate Crimes and Racism Against Asian-Americans 1. Testy Exchange in Alaska Signals a More Confrontational China

The New York Times . by Steven Lee Myers . March 19, 2021 It would have been great to be a fly on the wall in the closed session yesterday and today.

But I think this is good to allow China to expose its strategy and put its true nature on public display. 2. How to deal with China The Economist .

March 20, 2021 The subtitle says it all. We are going to name our grand strategy: “The Epic Global Contest” (autocracy versus liberal values). So rather than Great Power Competition (GPC) we will have Epic Global Contest (EPC).

3. FDD | The Sprint to Field the Army Force of the Future fdd.org . March 17, 2021

You can view the event at the link and read the transcript here.   4. The Reality of War Should Define Information Warfare usni.org . by  Mike Dahm.

March 18, 2021 Conclusion: “Information warfare capabilities, both offensive and defensive, must be integrated with traditional warfare areas to realize success in the modern battlespace. Information warfare’s power to enable and drive offensive operations while denying or manipulating enemy perceptions of the battlespace is unlikely to conjure victories in isolation.

Information warfare capabilities defined as combat capabilities will only be effective in the context of consequences. As a weathered senior chief once pointed out, when all is said and done, those real-world consequences involve killing people and destroying things. It is an unpleasant reality, but one that must be acknowledged when giving priority to information warfare in the information environment.

For all the information challenges facing the U.S. military–from data management to winning foreign hearts and minds to recruiting the next generation of warriors through social media–information warfare will be a critical core competency in future armed conflict. DoD should define its terms, develop operational concepts for information warfare, and shift leadership and resources to enable its forces to fight and win in the information age.” 5. Humility in American Grand Strategy

warontherocks.com . by Mathew Burrows and Robert A. Manning  . March 17, 2021

Conclusion: “U.S. strategy thus must begin with a new mental map, to align means with ends in a pluralistic world. It means transitioning from a model of primacy to primus inter pares, a sharing of both power and responsibility. Polling data shows Americans want the United States to remain engaged, but also want others to do their fair share.

This suggests that to the degree partners demonstrate burden-sharing, the U.S. public would see not just the costs but also the benefits of global engagement. A starting point is the reality that international systems work to the degree major powers are invested in them. A grand strategy guided by this mentality would, for example, seek a balance of interests with China.

It would use smart diplomacy to test the proposition that Beijing’s aspirations and its bottom lines may be different, and thus, Chinese interests may not always be incompatible with U.S. ones. Washington should not just assume all differences are set in stone, but also identify areas with some overlap. In the latter case, the United States would enhance its leverage both by its military and technological strength and building coalitions to counter-balance China.

The collective weight of, say, the United States, European Union, Japan, and Australia on World Trade Organization reform is likely to roll back Beijing’s predatory industrial policies on subsidies and state-owned enterprises. But the United States must be prepared to compromise with the European Union, Japan, and Australia to achieve a common position, not assume they will always follow dictation by Washington. In practical terms, it means that alliances are an important base line, and that power is situational.

Ad hoc multilateralism is increasingly the key to problem-solving — a variable geometry of shifting issue-specific coalitions (e.g., the P5+1 on Iran, the Six-Party talks on North Korea, a major emitters group on climate). There remains a desire for credible U.S. leadership. This approach, with the United States enfranchising partners in decision-making to pool power tailored to specific global problems, would foster a wider sense of inclusion, legitimizing U.S. power, and would be more likely to sustain domestic support.”

6. Beyond Colossus or Collapse: Five Myths Driving American Debates about China warontherocks.com . by Evan S. Medeiros and Jude Blanchette .

March 19, 2021 I expect Evan will be taking a senior position in the administration in the coming years.He has to be part of the deep bench that will be necessary to sustain foreign policy over the entire term. Excerpts:

“Based on these and other well-informed assessments of Chinese capabilities and its calculus, U.S. strategy needs to reflect an evolving mixture of security balancing, institutional binding, and dialogue and engagement. U.S. strategy toward China needs to do a better job of connecting the problem and the solution and rejecting a “one size fits all” approach driven by generic ideas like competition, pushback, or regime change. While there is consensus that the United States needs to make deep investments in its own domestic capabilities, there should be a more vigorous debate about where — and how — it confronts and competes with China internationally.

Some highly competitive policies will be needed to blunt and degrade Chinese capabilities, such as in the military and cyber realms. In other domains, U.S. strategy should focus on deterring coercion and aggression, delimiting options, and, where possible, shaping China’s choices. Yet at the same time, dialogue and engagement are essential to managing competition and preventing crises, while also ensuring strong and consistent international support for such a variegated strategy.

Regardless of where one comes down on the precise mix of policies that the United States and its allies should adopt, the first step is for debate to be based on a cleareyed assessment of China that rejects popular myths and accepts unpopular realities about the country’s capabilities, intentions, strengths and weaknesses. Tilting at windmills is not now, nor has it ever been, the appropriate foundation for good strategy.” 7. An Irregular Upgrade to Operational Design

warontherocks.com . by Brian Petit, Steve Ferenzi, and Kevin Bilms . March 19, 2021 Brian Petit is one of our very best thinkers in the Special Forces Regiment.

I use his book in my class as a core text. Conclusion: “These five alternative and additive operational design elements can help the military optimize operational approaches throughout all stages of competition.

Irregular warfare is not a “special operations thing” — it’s a joint responsibility. Just as some of us in the policy world have made the case for rethinking how we describe irregular warfare activities, the military should reconsider how to plan for them. As emphasized earlier, these new elements are evolutionary, not revolutionary.

There is no need to cast aside traditional concepts. Existing operational design remains useful when thinking about large armies colliding on the battlefield with the purpose of destroying each other. Building on well understood and timeless principles will help new approaches gain acceptance across the joint force.

A radical manifesto may be admired but it is more likely to be cast aside. Now these new ideas should be codified into doctrine. Doctrine isn’t sexy — no argument there.

But almost everyone in uniform can agree that unless codified, ideas will rarely translate into professional military education and joint planning efforts. This is what “institutionalizing irregular warfare” means in practice. An irregular upgrade for operational design will aid the United States in competing indirectly and asymmetrically to advance its interests without a catastrophic military confrontation.”

8. Former Green Beret, whom Trump pardoned for alleged murder, won’t get Silver Star or SF tab back, Army rules armytimes.com . by Todd South . March 18, 2021

What is troubling is not so much the merits of the argument or the decision but of the timing of the release of the decision (just like the 2 new 4 star combatant commanders just announced).. This shows the severe civil-military relations problem that has developed over the past four years. This must be corrected. Excerpts: “Although the Army reached the decision not to restore the SF tab or the Silver Star to Golsteyn in June, it did not announce the decision in the final months of Trump’s presidency, USA Today reported.

.. “Clearly, we have seen military departments obey the direction of the Commander in Chief in other cases and, inexplicably, the Army defied the President,” Golsteyn said. “It shouldn’t be a surprise the findings of the Army Board were released in November 2020 and not mailed to me for 2 more months, after President Trump left office, so my case could languish in the quagmire of Presidential transition.” 9. How SecDef Austin Can Make the Most of His India Visit

defenseone.com . by Vikram J. Singh and Joe Felter Excerpts:

“For two decades, the U.S.-India defense relationship has deepened ties between the world’s oldest and largest democracies. Shared security concerns ranging from terrorism to Chinese military modernization and aggression remain the strategic basis for the partnership. With foundational defense agreements for deeper cooperation on logistics, secure communications, industrial cooperation and geospatial information sharing now in place, the potential for substantive and concrete action has never been greater.

Secretary Austin and Minister Singh are well positioned to lead efforts that can deliver on the promise of building even stronger US–India ties and greater Indo-Pacific stability through more robust military cooperation. Beyond these two major defense partners, it is in the interests of all states sharing a similar vision for the region that they succeed.” 10. China brings six lies to Anchorage

Washington Examiner . by Tom Rogan . March 18, 2021 Excerpt:

“Finally, the Global Times says that “If the U.S. is willing to coexist and cooperate with China in peace, China welcomes that and will work hard to make that relationship work. If the U.S. is determined to engage in confrontation, China will fight to the end.” Put another way: Kneel to our rules or face our force.

Blinken and Sullivan might have their work cut out for them.” 11. China Hates This: Could Disbursed Bases Help America Win the Next Big War? The National Interest . by Robert Beckhusen .

March 19, 2021 What is the proper balance? 12. This could be Army Futures Command’s moment of truth

Defense News . by Bradley Bowman and Maj. Jared Thompson . March 19, 2021

Excerpts: “So what is AFC’s secret so far? It begins with a clear goal of rapidly fielding new combat capabilities in the next few years.

To accomplish that goal, AFC is successfully using flexible acquisition authorities provided by Congress. The command and its eight CFTs have also adopted a soldier-focused, prototype-driven acquisition approach that incorporates feedback from the field and leverages middle-tier acquisition processes and nontraditional other transaction authorities. Where possible, the CFTs are baselining new capabilities from mature technologies, and then incrementally developing new capabilities.

If AFC continues these practices, it may be able to avoid past failures and convert promising R&D programs into fielded combat capabilities that America’s service members urgently need to deter potential aggression from Beijing.” 13. Secret Plans Detail Failures of U.S. Commandos in Africa

Vice . by Nick Turse Although you have to take Nick Turse’s spin with a grain of salt, this is not a good look for AFRICOM and SOCAFRICOM, which of course fits with Turse’s anti-military and aunty-SOF agenda. 14. Pacquiao intends to run for president, says Lacson

news.abs-cbn.com . by ABS-CBN News . March 19, 2021 This will be interesting.

16. Book Review: Scott Anderson – The Quiet Americans – Four CIA Spies At The Dawn Of The Cold War – A Tragedy In Three Acts hotpress.com . by Pat Carty 17. Exclusive: New GOP Bill Hits Back against Chinese Funding of U.S.

Think Tanks National Review Online . by Jimmy Quinn . March 17, 2021

18. National Security Professionals Call for Action on Hate Crimes and Racism Against Asian-Americans defenseone.com . by Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders in National Security . March 17, 2021

—————– “Don’t think of knocking out another person’s brains because he differs in opinion from you. It will be as rational to knock yourself on the head because you differ from yourself ten years ago.”

– James Burgh Mental horsepower doesn’t guarantee mental dexterity. No matter how much brainpower you have, if you lack the motivation to change your mind, you’ll miss many occasions to think again.

Research reveals that the higher you score on an IQ test, the more likely you are to fall for ste-reotypes, because you’re faster at recognizing patterns. And recent experiments suggest that the smarter you are, the more you might struggle to update your beliefs. – Adam Grant in Think Again

“There are four kinds of people in this world: those who make things happen; those who watch things happen;

those who wonder what happened; those who don’t know that anything happened! I knew from a very early age that I wanted to be first on that list.” 

– Mary Kay Ash

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