Saturday, October 31, 2015

WoW!!

WoW - the Watchers Council- it's the oldest, longest running cyber comte d'guere ensembe in existence - started online in 1912 by Sirs Jacky Fisher and Winston Churchill themselves - an eclective collective of cats both cruel and benign with their ability to put steel on target (figuratively - natch) on a wide variety of topictry across American, Allied, Frenemy and Enemy concerns, memes, delights and discourse.

Every week these cats hook up each other with hot hits and big phazed cookies to peruse and then vote on their individual fancy catchers.

Thusly sans further adieu (or a don"t)

Council Winners


Non-Council Winners



See you next week!

Friday, October 30, 2015

The Strategic Tradition of Sunni Jihadism


Tiny Battles Gazette has a killer bit on the Sunni Way of War - or rather the Sunni Strategic tradition.

Here's a few money shots...

The three waves of jihadi military strategy have been ever increasing in their totality. Qutb envisioned a small group of jihadi cells that would seize control from regional Arab government leaders. Bin Laden and al-Suri envisioned more popular revolutions, both regional and global, led by a jihadi vanguard. Naji and ISIS leadership envisions a movement: the mobilization of the entire population towards the singular goal of establishing and expanding the Islamic State.

This is demonstrated by repeated calls from ISIS to Muslims of any kind, including administrators, engineers, and doctors as well as fighters to join their banners.[xlviii] This vision is no less than a repetition of the French Revolution’s somewhat successful attempt to mobilize the entire nation of France to further the goals of the Revolution and thus is a significant change in the stream of jihadi military thinking.

For Clausewitz, the total mobilization of French society was the political change that spurred an advancement in warfare towards his theoretical concept of absolute war which Napoleon came the closest to reaching. Like the revolutionary cockades of France, the Islamic State fastens its black flags to anything it can: police cars, ambulances, traffic cops, bureaucrats, even in its nursing homes.[xlix] The Revolutionaries rewrote history, designing a new calendar and outlawing legacy institutions like the Church. The Islamic State recently destroyed a local, older version of France’s arc de triomphe, rewriting history with bombs rather than laws. ISIS is not a vanguard of eventual societal revolution as is al Qaeda. It is the revolution.

This trend towards an attempted application of absolute war along with the apocalyptic vision of the Islamic State (a vision shared by, among others, Abu Musab al-Suri) is a worrying development. ISIS has taken jihadi military strategy the along the spectrum towards absolute war. They have adopted ideas of their predecessors and rejected others while learning from their mistakes and failures.

Whether the Islamic State ultimately succeeds or fails, they have pushed the envelope of jihadi military strategy to heretofore unprecedented heights and those that come after them will go even further. The overriding concern for policymakers then must be that the Islamic State and similar groups do not under any circumstances acquire weapons of mass destruction as their rationality after such an acquisition is unpredictable.

Furthermore, a simplistic strategy of attrition- whether of Islamic State fighting cadres or their leadership- will be ineffective due to both the decentralized nature of their organization inherited from al Qaeda and the obvious fervor of their adherents, exemplified by their self-professed “love of death.”

Lastly, it is no mystery that a central pillar of jihadi strategy is their goal of drawing the United States into intractable conflicts that expend its blood and treasure. Why the United States has walked into this trap is the only mystery.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Amphibious Ready Groups

More amphibiousness please!

A capability area that epitomizes the challenges facing the U.S. military is the Navy-Marine Corps’ amphibious warfare force. Today the Navy-Marine Corps have a requirement for 38 amphibious warfare ships – sufficient to deliver two Marine Expeditionary Brigades across a hostile shore – but are forced by budget limitations to plan for only 33. The number of deployable amphibious ships tends to hover around 29.

The size and character of the amphibious fleet also are critical to the Sea Services’ ability to maintain an adequate number of Amphibious Ready Groups/ Marine Expeditionary Units (ARGs/ MEU). The MEU/ARG is unique in the world due to its ability to operate from international waters, the breadth of its capabilities and its overall flexibility.

The MEU portion of the team consists of a reinforced infantry battalion with its own command and control, combat support, logistics, vehicles, indirect fires and aviation elements. The ARG half of the combined capability typically consists of three ships – a LHD, LPD and LSD – which not only provide transportation for the MEU’s air and ground elements but can serve as a sovereign base at sea with advanced medical care, intelligence capabilities and support facilities.

The demand for ARG/MEUs exceeds the supply. In 2014, the former Commander of U.S. Pacific forces, Admiral Samuel Locklear III, warned that there were not sufficient amphibious forces to meet worldwide demand. “I’m not the only combatant commander that desires amphibious shipping or the Marines that are on them. So there is a global competition among us as the world situation kind of moves around. [And] the global demand signal today is … greater than what we can resource.”

As a result, combatant commanders have taken to breaking up these units, sending individual ships on different missions. In addition, the Marine Corps has established a Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force, an ARG/MEU without the ships, in Moron, Spain to provide a crisis response capability in the Mediterranean.

The Sea Services need both more and better amphibious ships. In particular, the Navy needs to procure the LX(R) to replace the aging LSDs. Based on the proven LPD-17 design, these new ships will have greater space for critical equipment, a well deck for the movement of forces and material from ship to shore and enhanced command, control and communications. Commonality with the LPD-17 will reduce the construction and life cycle costs of the LX(R).

The United States should build a larger amphibious fleet. Given events in the Middle East and North Africa, there needs to be an ARG/MEU regularly deployed in both the Mediterranean and the Arabian Sea. These plus two forward deployed in the Western Pacific means a requirement for no fewer than 38 amphibious ships.

 The unraveling of the post-World War II international order fairly cries out for a larger and modern U.S. amphibious warfare capability.

A capability area that epitomizes the challenges facing the U.S. military is the Navy-Marine Corps’ amphibious warfare force. Today the Navy-Marine Corps have a requirement for 38 amphibious warfare ships – sufficient to deliver two Marine Expeditionary Brigades across a hostile shore – but are forced by budget limitations to plan for only 33. The number of deployable amphibious ships tends to hover around 29.
The size and character of the amphibious fleet also are critical to the Sea Services’ ability to maintain an adequate number of Amphibious Ready Groups/ Marine Expeditionary Units (ARGs/ MEU). The MEU/ARG is unique in the world due to its ability to operate from international waters, the breadth of its capabilities and its overall flexibility. The MEU portion of the team consists of a reinforced infantry battalion with its own command and control, combat support, logistics, vehicles, indirect fires and aviation elements. The ARG half of the combined capability typically consists of three ships – a LHD, LPD and LSD – which not only provide transportation for the MEU’s air and ground elements but can serve as a sovereign base at sea with advanced medical care, intelligence capabilities and support facilities.
The demand for ARG/MEUs exceeds the supply. In 2014, the former Commander of U.S. Pacific forces, Admiral Samuel Locklear III, warned that there were not sufficient amphibious forces to meet worldwide demand. “I’m not the only combatant commander that desires amphibious shipping or the Marines that are on them. So there is a global competition among us as the world situation kind of moves around. [And] the global demand signal today is … greater than what we can resource.” As a result, combatant commanders have taken to breaking up these units, sending individual ships on different missions. In addition, the Marine Corps has established a Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force, an ARG/MEU without the ships, in Moron, Spain to provide a crisis response capability in the Mediterranean.
The Sea Services need both more and better amphibious ships. In particular, the Navy needs to procure the LX(R) to replace the aging LSDs. Based on the proven LPD-17 design, these new ships will have greater space for critical equipment, a well deck for the movement of forces and material from ship to shore and enhanced command, control and communications. Commonality with the LPD-17 will reduce the construction and life cycle costs of the LX(R).
The United States should build a larger amphibious fleet. Given events in the Middle East and North Africa, there needs to be an ARG/MEU regularly deployed in both the Mediterranean and the Arabian Sea. These plus two forward deployed in the Western Pacific means a requirement for no fewer than 38 amphibious ships. The unraveling of the post-World War II international order fairly cries out for a larger and modern U.S. amphibious warfare capability.
- See more at: http://lexingtoninstitute.org/dangerous-international-environment-cries-out-for-larger-u-s-amphibious-fleet/#sthash.tP47eVYr.dpuf
A capability area that epitomizes the challenges facing the U.S. military is the Navy-Marine Corps’ amphibious warfare force. Today the Navy-Marine Corps have a requirement for 38 amphibious warfare ships – sufficient to deliver two Marine Expeditionary Brigades across a hostile shore – but are forced by budget limitations to plan for only 33. The number of deployable amphibious ships tends to hover around 29.
The size and character of the amphibious fleet also are critical to the Sea Services’ ability to maintain an adequate number of Amphibious Ready Groups/ Marine Expeditionary Units (ARGs/ MEU). The MEU/ARG is unique in the world due to its ability to operate from international waters, the breadth of its capabilities and its overall flexibility. The MEU portion of the team consists of a reinforced infantry battalion with its own command and control, combat support, logistics, vehicles, indirect fires and aviation elements. The ARG half of the combined capability typically consists of three ships – a LHD, LPD and LSD – which not only provide transportation for the MEU’s air and ground elements but can serve as a sovereign base at sea with advanced medical care, intelligence capabilities and support facilities.
The demand for ARG/MEUs exceeds the supply. In 2014, the former Commander of U.S. Pacific forces, Admiral Samuel Locklear III, warned that there were not sufficient amphibious forces to meet worldwide demand. “I’m not the only combatant commander that desires amphibious shipping or the Marines that are on them. So there is a global competition among us as the world situation kind of moves around. [And] the global demand signal today is … greater than what we can resource.” As a result, combatant commanders have taken to breaking up these units, sending individual ships on different missions. In addition, the Marine Corps has established a Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force, an ARG/MEU without the ships, in Moron, Spain to provide a crisis response capability in the Mediterranean.
The Sea Services need both more and better amphibious ships. In particular, the Navy needs to procure the LX(R) to replace the aging LSDs. Based on the proven LPD-17 design, these new ships will have greater space for critical equipment, a well deck for the movement of forces and material from ship to shore and enhanced command, control and communications. Commonality with the LPD-17 will reduce the construction and life cycle costs of the LX(R).
The United States should build a larger amphibious fleet. Given events in the Middle East and North Africa, there needs to be an ARG/MEU regularly deployed in both the Mediterranean and the Arabian Sea. These plus two forward deployed in the Western Pacific means a requirement for no fewer than 38 amphibious ships. The unraveling of the post-World War II international order fairly cries out for a larger and modern U.S. amphibious warfare capability.
- See more at: http://lexingtoninstitute.org/dangerous-international-environment-cries-out-for-larger-u-s-amphibious-fleet/#sthash.tP47eVYr.dpuf

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Rebuilding American Foreign Policy


Nat'l security experts, mostly academics and former official cats, hooked up to produce Choosing to Lead, a volume aimed at describing what a foreign policy for a new Republican administration in 2017 should look like.

All kinds of diplopolititary stuff is cussed and discussed and the bit about Rebuilding American Foreign Policy is pretty sweet stuff.

A strong United States is essential to the maintenance of the open global order under which this country and the rest of the world have prospered since 1945; that the alternative is not a self-regulating machine of balancing states but a landscape marked by eruptions of chaos and destruction. We recognize the failures as well as the successes of past policies, because to govern is to choose, and to choose in the world as it is, is necessarily to err. But while we believe that we must understand those failures and learn from them, we also believe that American power and influence has, on the whole, served our country and the world far better than American weakness and introversion.

The threats from hostile states include the persistence of a North Korea that is expanding its stockpile of nuclear weapons and which, if unchecked, will put them on missiles that can reach the United States. At the same time, non-state actors—most notably, jihadi movements of several stripes—vie with each other for primacy in waging holy war from Nigeria to Pakistan. After a period in which American leaders boasted that they had put al-Qaeda and analogous movements on the verge of strategic defeat, we now realize that they will continue to threaten our homeland, our people, and our interests abroad, and that such groups have the power to destabilize or even overthrow allied governments throughout the Middle East.

These and other challenges (for example, America’s increasing estrangement from an authoritarian and illiberal Turkey, or the nascent competition for control of resources in the High North) require a first-order rethinking of American foreign policy. The threats will not be resolved by rousing speeches and a substantial increase in defense spending alone, welcome and necessary though both would be. Rather, they will require more resources and creative statecraft. A new American administration will require patience and perseverance in reversing the setbacks of recent years, and in refashioning a world order that the United States played the leading role in shaping some seventy years ago.

The entire piece is well worth checking out





Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Red Storm Rising II


Not to get all Commonweath Russia all the time tovarsich, yet one of the cool kids at The Committee on the Present Danger reduxes the Red Storm Rising and makes a great case that
fully funding defensive systems are key as Russian missile threats grow.

China militarized islands in the South China Sea, claiming sovereignty over ocean territory of Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei, and Taiwan. Free navigation of international waters and billions of dollars of sea-borne trade is menaced.

Aircraft, tanks and troops battle in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine, and Yemen. Terror attacks increase in Asia, Europe and across the Middle East. North Korea builds more nuclear weapons, and some experts believe Iran’s weapons cache already includes nuclear warheads.

The world teeters on the brink of Armageddon, and no nation is doing more to push it over the edge than Russia has already done by annexing Crimea, invading Ukraine, threatening Baltic and Eastern European nations, and by using major military assets to defend Syria’s dictator, Bashar al-Assad. Russia’s aggressive challenges to the established order in Europe and the Middle East, together with a demonstrated willingness to change borders with force, are direct threats to the United States and its allies. And, as it was during the Cold War, the backbone of those threats is Russia’s arsenal of strategic and battlefield missiles.

To insure that global perception of Russia’s missile power is crystal clear, Moscow routinely flies Tu-95 bombers, armed with cruise missiles, to the edge of American, Canadian, British and Scandinavian borders. New missiles are deployed and tested, and treaties are ignored. The most recent transgression was just last month, when the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty was again violated by the Kremlin.

On 2 September, Russia tested the SC-X-8 missile, a variant of the “Kalibr” nuclear cruise missile, with new capabilities that do not comply with the INF treaty. That test was followed by twenty-six SS-N-30 cruise missiles, launched on 7 October from Russian navy ships in the Caspian Sea. The previously unknown missile struck targets in Syria, 900 miles distant!

These events were foreshadowed in July, when General Joseph Dunford testified at the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on his nomination to chair the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He said Russia is the greatest national security threat faced by the United States today, adding, “And if you look at their behavior, it’s nothing short of alarming.”

Congress and the Pentagon got that message years ago, and Patriot, Aegis, and the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile-defense systems were funded and built. American allies, especially those directly threatened by battlefield and cruise missiles, got the message too. THAAD will be purchased by Oman and the United Arab Emirates; Aegis was bought by Japan; and Patriot, the most widely deployed missile defense system, now has a consortium of 14 partner nations: Germany, Greece, Israel, Japan, Korea, Kuwait, Netherlands, Poland, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Taiwan, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States.

Of all the Patriot consortium, no nation has greater reason to dread Russia’s missile arsenal than America’s NATO ally, Poland. Galvanized by Russia’s annexation of Crimea, Poland’s accelerated search for a missile defense system culminated with selection of the Patriot system. Polish president Bronislaw Komoroski called the creation of a missile shield to defend Polish airspace “the priority of priorities,” a requirement so urgent that Washington has agreed to deploy U.S. Army Patriot batteries in Poland until the first two of eight new Polish batteries arrive.

Now, more than ever, Eastern European nations and other allies desperately need reassurance that the United States will continue to provide them with the most advanced and modern missile defense systems in the world. That need means that the Senate must join the House and ensure full Patriot modernization as the two bodies complete work on their 2015 defense spending bills.

Any cuts to the Patriot funding as requested by the U.S. Army would not recognize today’s geo-political threats and advances in offensive missile technology, concerns that drive the Patriot consortium to continuously upgrade and modernize their existing Patriot systems long before new missile defense systems may become available to replace them.

If instead, Congress sends our allies a mixed message about America’s commitment to help them defend their territorial integrity, President Putin will get that message too.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Russia's Military Revolution


In case anyone missed it - check out Russia's military revolution...

 
The Russian military’s tactical and operational weaknesses became most blatantly apparent to the Kremlin during the 2008 Russo-Georgian War, when the U.S.-trained Georgian forces proved a much more agile and motivated adversary than expected.

As a consequence, Russia initiated the most far-reaching military (the “new look”) reforms since the 1930s divided up into three distinct phases, according to the ECFR study:

First, increasing professionalism by overhauling the education of personnel and cutting the number of conscripts; second, improving combat-readiness with a streamlined command structure and additional training exercises; and third, rearming and updating equipment.

The United States and Europe primarily focused on the third and still mostly incomplete aspect of these reforms, neglecting the substantial progress that was made in the first and second phases.

Almost unnoticed by observers, the Russian military addressed one of the biggest organizational weaknesses dating back to the Soviet and Czarist eras and introduced a new professionally trained non-commissioned officers (NCOs) corps dissolving the existing warrant officers system.

“For the first time, the Russian army had a pyramid structure, with few decision-makers at the top and more officers servicing the troops,” the study reads. Furthermore, officer salaries were increased five-fold and more modern management methods introduced. These reforms also resulted in substantial savings which were used to increase the percentage of professional soldiers within the Russian Armed Forces:

This allowed the troops to use more high-tech equipment (conscripts serve too short a period to be effectively trained on complex weapons systems) and increased the combat-readiness of elite forces (paratroopers, naval infantry, and special forces).

The military education system was also reformed – partially based on the systems of Switzerland and Austria—with the aim of introducing “state of-the-art (Western) leadership techniques.” Moreover, new uniforms and personal equipment were introduced boosting overall moral and confidence.

The second part of the reforms dealt with streamlining command structures and re-organizing the Russian Armed Forces into smaller more agile units by reducing the nominal size of the military by 43 percent—out of 23 old divisions 40 “new look” brigades were formed.

The old Soviet-era practice of mobilization—calling up reservists to achieve combat strengths—was abolished and unnecessary administrative commands scrapped. “The [new] military districts were transformed into joint forces commands, and their number was reduced. This cut the levels of hierarchy as the military districts now have access to all land, air, and naval forces in their zone,” according to the ECFR paper.

Furthermore, the number of military drills was substantially increased and large-scale “snatch exercises” conducted continuously, testing the combat-readiness of airborne units and “new look” brigades. (New units should be able to deploy within 24 hours.)

“While such high readiness levels have not yet been achieved, one has to bear in mind that before the reforms some Russian divisions needed about a year of preparation before deploying to Chechnya,” the study notes.

The result of these reforms was that Russia was capable of maintaining a force of 40,000 and 150,000 men in full combat-ready formations along the Russian-Ukrainian border for months, while conducting military drills involving around 80,000 troops in other parts of the country.

The report does not note that the three phases of the grand military reform are far from complete—in particular the last phase dealing with the introduction of new equipment.

It is when analyzing the last phase that Western observes made the mistake of overemphasizing the difficulties of the Russian defense industry in delivering new military hardware and inferring a general failure of the reforms. “However, this is a misunderstanding of the nature of the reforms. The initial stages were not designed to create a new army in terms of equipment, but to ensure that existing equipment was ready to use, and to make the organization that uses it more effective and professional,” according to the ECFR paper.

This led to Western military analysts underestimating Russian military capabilities and neglecting new operational concepts such as Russia’s unique approach of merging conventional with unconventional warfighting methods, among other things.

Discussing military adventures in Syria, the report notes that it does not “not draw on the core strengths of the armed forces, or on Moscow’s military vision.” The report furthermore states that due to the limited logistical capabilities of the Russian military outside Europe and the post-Soviet periphery, operations –particularly those involving heavy Russian land platforms–would be fairly limited and cannot be sustained for a prolonged amount of time.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

WoW!!

WoW - the Watchers Council- it's the oldest, longest running cyber comte d'guere ensembe in existence - started online in 1912 by Sirs Jacky Fisher and Winston Churchill themselves - an eclective collective of cats both cruel and benign with their ability to put steel on target (figuratively - natch) on a wide variety of topictry across American, Allied, Frenemy and Enemy concerns, memes, delights and discourse.

Every week these cats hook up each other with hot hits and big phazed cookies to peruse and then vote on their individual fancy catchers.

Thusly sans further adieu (or a don"t)

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

First place with 3 votes!Mark SteynThe Clock Ticks On submitted by Joshuapundit


See you next week!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Small 5


Time for the This We'll Defend Cats to go with the "Small 5"?


The organization and capabilities of today’s Army have much to do with the success of a handful of modernization efforts known collectively as the “Big Five.” The Big Five consisted of the Abrams main battle tank, the Bradley fighting vehicle, the Apache attack helicopter, the Black Hawk utility helicopter, and the Patriot air defense missile system. Begun in the early 1970s, these systems proved their worth in Operations Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom. The Army’s current plan envisions all of these continuing in service, with some enhancements, for at least another 20 years.

Over the ensuing decades, the Army has sought to replicate the success of its Big Five strategy. In pursuit of this goal, it repeatedly tried to envision the future world and define the requirements for future capabilities accordingly. General Eric Shinseki, former Army chief of staff, envisioned a transformational modernization program involving lighter, faster, smarter and robotic air and ground systems; this morphed into the Future Combat System which cost the Army billions and produced exactly nothing.

Then there was the Ground Combat Vehicle, a miracle platform that would carry a nine-man squad, be virtually impervious to improvised explosive devices and rocket propelled grenades (RPGs), have a big weapon, weigh less than a tank and cost less than a Bradley. Whether it is combat vehicles, helicopters or something as simple as a new rifle, the Army’s record in this area since the Big Five is one almost entirely unblemished by success.

Today the Army is working on a 30-year modernization strategy to change equipment, weapons and vehicles, as if anyone could predict either threats or technology changes for next year much less three decades from now. The Army has no big, new weapons system or platform programs at this time primarily because it doesn’t have the money for them. But it sure wants them.

The Army would do better if it stopped looking so far ahead and high up, and instead developed what may be called the “small five” set of modernization programs that address serious operational and tactical weaknesses staring them right in the face or allow a smaller Army to punch above its weight.

Active Protection.

Fielded RPGs and anti-tank guided missiles are becoming increasingly lethal. It is virtually impossible to put enough passive protection on a vehicle to overcome this threat. The Army needs to invest now in an active protection system. After nearly a decade of work, the Israeli Defense Forces have deployed such a system, called Trophy. It proved its worth during last year’s conflict in Gaza. Why is the Army waiting?

Indirect Fire Protection (IFP).

As demonstrated by events in conflict zones from eastern Ukraine to Syria, the threat from rockets, artillery, mortars and even unmanned aerial systems (UASs) is becoming ubiquitous and more dangerous by the day. The Army has a development program underway, called Indirect Fire Protection Capability Increment 2, which is striving to fuse together existing command and control and radars with a new launcher and a version of the AIM 9X air-to-air missile for a projected 2019 initial operating capability. Ironically, Israel’s Iron Dome system could perform the same task today, not four years from now. By the way, much of the radar sensors for Iron Dome and Trophy are made in the U.S. In a few years, directed energy weapons may be available to supplement kinetic means for IFP.

Precision Munitions.

The Army is not going to increase the number of tanks, fighting vehicles, attack helicopters or artillery/mortars it fields. In fact, as force structure shrinks, the number of lethal weapons systems is likely to decline. Greater investment in precision munitions, particularly if they are less expensive than current rounds, have longer ranges and are not dependent on jammable guidance systems, just makes sense. Infantry Brigade Combat Teams would benefit from precision rounds for their mortars and even grenade launchers.

Electronic Warfare (EW).

It is increasingly evident that this is no longer an area of U.S. technological advantage. It is time to play catch up. But now is a good time as our adversaries invest in precision weapons, advanced sensors and networks. In some ways, our adversaries often have fragile kill chains because they have so few high quality sensors and networks and rely more on centralized command and control. EW can be employed to defeat hostile guided weapons and sensors and even platforms such as UASs. The Army needs to make battlefield EW a core competence.

Advanced Tactical Sensors.

 The U.S. military has been very successful at exploiting long-range sensors and weapons, particularly against platforms and fixed targets. Tactical units have not benefitted the same way from advances in sensors, battle management systems and command, control and communications capabilities. Yet, miniaturization of electronics could allow the creation of what two defense experts call “the modern binocular.”[1] This would rely on combinations of miniature high resolution radars, advanced electro-optical/infrared/laser sensors and short-range communications intelligence receivers connected through distributed tactical networks to portable devices. These sensors could be man-portable, deployed on land and aerial platforms, on fixed towers and even on buildings and other infrastructure in urban environments.

Even as it searches for the best weapons systems of the next 30 years, the Army needs to invest now in “small five” capabilities — not in five or ten years.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Mein Land




No one ever said Rammstein is psychic yet one of their last releases "Mein Land" is eerily prophetic.

Sangen im die alt Deutsche, it truly evokes an attitude many Deutschers may feel about all these invading migrant refugees chomping at the bit to enter the Reich.

English trans follows... 
 
Where are you going, where?
I'm going from East to South

Where are you going, where?
I'm going from South to West

Where are you going, where?
I'm going from North to West

As he comes running With the flag in his hand
 My Country, My Country

You’re here in my country
My Country, My Country

You’re here in my country
My country

Where are you going, where?
I go with me from North to East

Where are you going, where?
I go with me from East to West

Where are you going, where?
I go from country to country alone

And nothing and nobody
ever invites me to stay
My Country, My Country

You’re here in my country
My Country, My Country

You’re here in my country
My waves and my beach
Yes!

A voice from out of the light falls down from heavens face
Tears the horizon in two Wherever you go, there’s nothing left free

This is my land This is my land This is my land

My Country, My Country
You’re here in my country

My Country, My Country
You’re here in my country
My wave and my beach
My country

expelled (from), My Country
Banished (from), My Country
Forgotten, My Country
Nowhere can I stay
My country

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Moral Equivalence Myth


Anydobby watching the Knife Infatada on telly may be struck with the term dispproportionate" - essentially - i.e., knife wielding attackers shot down down by bullets via guns.

It speaks to deterrence, disproportionate force and moral equivalence.

Under the canons of the last 2,500 years of Western warfare, disproportionality was the method by which aggressors were either deterred or stopped. Deterrence — which alone prevented wars — was predicated on the shared assumption that starting a conflict would bring more violence down upon the aggressor than he could ever inflict on his victim. Once lost, deterrence was restored usually by disproportionate responses that led to victory over and humiliation of the aggressive party.

The wreckage of Berlin trumped anything inflicted by the Luftwaffe on London. The Japanese killed fewer than 3,000 Americans at Pearl Harbor; the Americans killed 30 times that number of Japanese in a single March 10, 1945, incendiary raid on Tokyo. “They have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind” was the standard philosophy by which aggressive powers were taught never again to start hostilities. Defeat and humiliation led to peace and reconciliation. The tragic but necessary resort to disproportionate force by the attacked not only taught an aggressor that he could not win the fight he had started, but also reminded him that his targeted enemy might not be completely sane, and thus could be capable of any and all retaliation.

Unpredictability and the fear sown by the unknown also help to restore deterrence, and with it calm and peace. In contrast, predictable, proportionate responses can reassure the aggressor that he is in control of the tempo of the war that he in fact started. And worse still, the doctrine of proportionality suggests that the victim does not seek victory and resolution, but will do almost anything to return to the status quo antebellum — which, of course, was disadvantageous and shaped by the constant threat of unexpected attack by its enemies.

Under the related doctrine of moral equivalence, Westerners are either unwilling or unable to distinguish the more culpable from the more innocent. Instead, because the world more often divides by 55 to 45 percent rather than 99 to 1 percent certainty, Westerners lack the confidence to make moral judgments — afraid that too many critics might question their liberal sensitivities, a charge that in the absence of dearth, hunger, and disease is considered the worst catastrophe facing an affluent Western elite.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Balochistan Pakistan War

The Bloodiest War You've Never Heard Of

Roughly the size of Germany, it is Pakistan’s biggest and poorest province. And it’s also home to a long and bloody civil war that has been going on for decades. On one side there’s the central Pakistani government. On the other are the Baloch nationalists who have fought for independence since the year after Pakistan’s 1947 birth. They are organized in insurgent groups with names like the Balochistan Liberation Army and the Balochistan Liberation United Front. And while the government labels the Baloch as “terrorists,” the Baloch accuse the army of ethnic cleansing. According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies:

Since the start of this forsaken conflict, 11,375 people have died and thousands of others have gone missing.
 
The Baloch are an ethnic minority with their own language, traditions and culture. They are also present in Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan but feel strongly deprived and alienated by the government in Islamabad. The intensity of the conflict has been ebbing and flowing for decades. It had slowed down after the imposition of martial law in the country in 1977, but it broke out anew in 2005 after a Baloch doctor was raped, allegedly, by a military officer. That triggered a wave violence and retaliatory attacks on both sides, including two attempted assassinations of then-President Pervez Musharraf during visits to Balochistan.

The Baloch feel no loyalty toward the central government. “Pakistan has already lost Balochistan, but it won’t let it go,” says Burzine Waghmar from the Center for the Study of Pakistan at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. That’s because despite being the poorest, most scarcely populated region of the country, it is also rich in natural resources like oil, gas and minerals and strategically valuable — with three borders, access to the Arabian Sea coast and a deep-sea port.

Like in all wars, both sides accuse each other of inhumane acts. Human Rights Watch has reported a growing number of kidnappings of Baloch activists. Dead bodies are often dumped on empty lots or alleys — 116 in 2013 — and there have been widespread accusations against the Pakistani military and security agencies of extrajudicial executions, torture, displacement and excessive use of force against protesters. In January 2014, three mass graves were found in Balochistan. The Asian Human Rights Commission claims that the hundreds of bodies found belonged to members of pro-Baloch organizations who had been abducted by Pakistani forces. But a judicial commission absolved the army and intelligence agencies of any responsibility.

To be sure, the armed militant groups (that Islamabad accuses New Delhi of funding) are no strangers to indiscriminate violence either. While the U.S. doesn’t label the Balochistan insurgents as terrorists, they too have been accused of myriad human rights violations, such as killing civilian Pashtun “settlers” — from doctors to construction workers — and intimidating and even murdering journalists. Yet most accusations are hard to corroborate precisely because of how dangerous reporting is in this area.

The Pakistani military does not allow any foreign journalists to Balochistan. Since 2006, several correspondents, including New York Times reporters Declan Walsh and Carlotta Gall, were kicked out of the country for secretly going into Balochistan to report. And local reporters are also too afraid to try: “There is an unwritten understanding that those reporting on Balochistan are going against the greater ‘national interest,’” says Malik Siraj Akbar, a Pakistani journalist exiled in the U.S. after being a newspaper editor in Balochistan.

But whether or not it makes headlines, the death count continues to grow. As Waghmar points out, a shot at peace would require political will on both sides, and after more than six decades of conflict, no one is rushing to the negotiation table.
 

Monday, October 19, 2015

A Path Out of the Middle East Collapse

The avuncular HK busts out of his sarcophogus with a guide out of the Middle East Collapse...

Too much of our public debate deals with tactical expedients. What we need is a strategic concept and to establish priorities on the following principles:

• So long as ISIS survives and remains in control of a geographically defined territory, it will compound all Middle East tensions. Threatening all sides and projecting its goals beyond the region, it freezes existing positions or tempts outside efforts to achieve imperial jihadist designs. The destruction of ISIS is more urgent than the overthrow of Bashar Assad, who has already lost over half of the area he once controlled. Making sure that this territory does not become a permanent terrorist haven must have precedence. The current inconclusive U.S. military effort risks serving as a recruitment vehicle for ISIS as having stood up to American might.

• The U.S. has already acquiesced in a Russian military role. Painful as this is to the architects of the 1973 system, attention in the Middle East must remain focused on essentials. And there exist compatible objectives. In a choice among strategies, it is preferable for ISIS-held territory to be reconquered either by moderate Sunni forces or outside powers than by Iranian jihadist or imperial forces. For Russia, limiting its military role to the anti-ISIS campaign may avoid a return to Cold War conditions with the U.S.

• The reconquered territories should be restored to the local Sunni rule that existed there before the disintegration of both Iraqi and Syrian sovereignty. The sovereign states of the Arabian Peninsula, as well as Egypt and Jordan, should play a principal role in that evolution. After the resolution of its constitutional crisis, Turkey could contribute creatively to such a process.

• As the terrorist region is being dismantled and brought under nonradical political control, the future of the Syrian state should be dealt with concurrently. A federal structure could then be built between the Alawite and Sunni portions. If the Alawite regions become part of a Syrian federal system, a context will exist for the role of Mr. Assad, which reduces the risks of genocide or chaos leading to terrorist triumph.

• The U.S. role in such a Middle East would be to implement the military assurances in the traditional Sunni states that the administration promised during the debate on the Iranian nuclear agreement, and which its critics have demanded.

• In this context, Iran’s role can be critical. The U.S. should be prepared for a dialogue with an Iran returning to its role as a Westphalian state within its established borders.

The U.S. must decide for itself the role it will play in the 21st century; the Middle East will be our most immediate—and perhaps most severe—test. At question is not the strength of American arms but rather American resolve in understanding and mastering a new world.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

WoW!!

WoW - the Watchers Council- it's the oldest, longest running cyber comte d'guere ensembe in existence - started online in 1912 by Sirs Jacky Fisher and Winston Churchill themselves - an eclective collective of cats both cruel and benign with their ability to put steel on target (figuratively - natch) on a wide variety of topictry across American, Allied, Frenemy and Enemy concerns, memes, delights and discourse.

Every week these cats hook up each other with hot hits and big phazed cookies to peruse and then vote on their individual fancy catchers.

Thusly sans further adieu (or a don"t)

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners



See you next week!

Friday, October 16, 2015

China's Long Range Precision Strike Bomber


Xian H6!

People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) has extended her all-weather, long-range precision strike capabilities with a wickedly updated old school Soviet Tupolev Tu 16.

The H-6K is a derivative of the Soviet-era Tupolov Tu-16 twin-engined jet strategic bomber. However, the latest Chinese version of the bomber, first flown in 2007, has undergone major upgrades including new fuel efficient D-30-KP2 turbofans, lighter weight composites, and modern electronics.

Without refueling, the maximum range of the H-6K bomber  is 1,900 miles; however, it can be extended to 3,100 miles with two mid-air refuels, according to War is Boring, while carrying a payload of up to 12 tons. There are currently around 36 H-6K strategic bombers in service with the PLAAF.

The H-6K, which lacks stealth capacity, can carry up to seven YJ-12 supersonic anti-ship missiles (six on wing pylons plus one in the bomb bay) or CJ-20 subsonic land-attack cruise missiles with an estimated range of 250 and 1,500 miles respectively. “It can also carry a wide range of new precision-guided munitions available from four Chinese weapon manufacturers,” according to IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly.

The principal weakness, according to some military analysts, remains the targeting system of the H-6K, as well as the PLAAF’s overall targeting acquisition network. Not to mention her unstealthy assets.

While sporting a modern air-to-ground radar in the its large solid nose as well as a new electro-optical targeting pod, it remains unclear whether the H-6K (or the PLAAF as a whole) has the ability to collect accurate targeting information and process it quickly enough for bombing raids far away from the Chinese coast.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Persia's Weapons Shopping Spree

 
Iran has been stepping up the amount of military hardware it purchases from Russia and China in the weeks since the nuclear accord with world powers, according to a new report that has tracked the Islamic Republic’s procurement of advanced weapons and technology.
As it gears up to receive more than $100 billion in sanctions relief under the deal, Iran has already begun to ink lucrative arms contracts with the Russian and Chinese governments, according to a new report by the American Foreign Policy Council (AFPC).
Iran’s defense budget, some $14 billion annually, is set to grow by at least a third as a result of the sanctions relief, which experts worry could also be used to fund the fledgling nuclear programs of other nations.

While the administration has touted the deal’s ability to rein in Tehran’s rogue nuclear work, experts tapped by AFPC continue to express concern that Iran will use its newfound international legitimacy to hide a clandestine nuclear weapons program in a proxy country, such as North Korea.
“In anticipation of the sanctions relief flowing from the [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action], Iran’s leaders are preparing for a period of sustained strategic expansion,” according to the AFPC’s report. “In the Islamic Republic’s Sixth Development Plan, formally unveiled on June 30, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei outlined plans for a number of martial measures.”
These priorities include the “expansion of the national defense budget to five percent of GDP, as well as an upgrade of defense capabilities as a hedge against ‘all forms of external threats,’ with a particular emphasis on the strengthening of the Iranian regime’s ballistic missile arsenal,” according to the report.
Iran violated international resolutions barring its test of a ballistic missile in just the past few day. Iranian officials have insisted that such behavior, while barred by United Nations resolutions, does not violate the JCPOA.
Iran is most focused on growing its defense budget via lucrative arms deals with the Chinese and Russians, the report found.

“There are indications that the Islamic Republic has already begun to ramp up its defense expenditures,” the report states. “In recent weeks, it has initiated major new procurement talks with arms suppliers such as Russia and China and is now poised to acquire new aircraft, air defenses, and components.”
Over time, these arms deals will spark “a significant strengthening of Iran’s ability to project power into its immediate periphery, as well as its capacity to threaten and/or challenge its strategic rivals,” according to the report. “Even before then, however, the perception of growing Iranian military power will begin to have pronounced effects on the geopolitical balance of power in the greater Middle East.”
This is already being seen in countries such as Yemen and Syria, where Iranian-backed militia and military advisers are working to advance Tehran’s strategic interests.

Additionally, “multiple private entities involved in Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs continue to operate within the People’s Republic of China, and have been estimated to provide as much as 90 percent of the necessary ‘goods and technology’ for both,” according to the report, which warns that these relationships are likely to grow as a result of the deal
Perhaps most concerning, according to the AFPC, is Iran’s newfound ability to fund its rogue allies.
“Although it has received comparatively little attention to date, one of the most significant consequences of the economic windfall inherent in the JCPOA will be its impact on the foreign allies and strategic partners of the Islamic Republic,” the report states.
Iran will be better placed to finance terror proxy groups and expand its influence to Latin American countries such as Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador. Other international pariahs, such as Sudanese warlord Omar al-Bashir, could benefit from increased support by the Iranians.
“Iran will shortly have the ability to strengthen those alliances significantly, with major adverse effects on international security,” according to the report.
“By allowing Iran to keep a large enrichment program, the JCPOA increases the risk that Iran could transfer enrichment technology and materials to other states or even non-state actors,” it states.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Future Violence

‘As a thought experiment,” write Benjamin Wittes and Gabriella Blum, “imagine a world composed of billions of people walking around with nuclear weapons in their pockets.”



From drone warfare in the Middle East to digital spying by the National Security Agency, the U.S. government has harnessed the power of cutting-edge technology to awesome effect. But what happens when ordinary people have the same tools at their fingertips? Advances in cybertechnology, biotechnology, and robotics mean that more people than ever before have access to potentially dangerous technologies—from drones to computer networks and biological agents—which could be used to attack states and private citizens alike.

In The Future of Violence, law and security experts Benjamin Wittes and Gabriella Blum detail the myriad possibilities, challenges, and enormous risks present in the modern world, and argue that if our national governments can no longer adequately protect us from harm, they will lose their legitimacy. Consequently, governments, companies, and citizens must rethink their security efforts to protect lives and liberty.

In this brave new world where many little brothers are as menacing as any Big Brother, safeguarding our liberty and privacy may require strong domestic and international surveillance and regulatory controls. Maintaining security in this world where anyone can attack anyone requires a global perspective, with more multinational forces and greater action to protect (and protect against) weaker states who do not yet have the capability to police their own people.
Drawing on political thinkers from Thomas Hobbes to the Founders and beyond, Wittes and Blum show that, despite recent protestations to the contrary, security and liberty are mutually supportive, and that we must embrace one to ensure the other.

The Future of Violence is at once an introduction to our emerging world—one in which students can print guns with 3-D printers and scientists’ manipulations of viruses can be recreated and unleashed by ordinary people—and an authoritative blueprint for how government must adapt in order to survive and protect us.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Countering Putin


Da Tovarisch!

One can hear the disbelief in capitals from Washington to London to Berlin to Ankara and beyond. How can Vladimir Putin, with a sinking economy and a second-rate military, continually dictate the course of geopolitical events? Whether it’s in Ukraine or Syria, the Russian president seems always to have the upper hand.

Sometimes the reaction is derision: This is a sign of weakness. Or smugness: He will regret the decision to intervene. Russia cannot possibly succeed. Or alarm: This will make an already bad situation worse. And, finally, resignation: Perhaps the Russians can be brought along to help stabilize the situation, and we could use help fighting the Islamic State.

The fact is that Putin is playing a weak hand extraordinarily well because he knows exactly what he wants to do. He is not stabilizing the situation according to our definition of stability. He is defending Russia’s interests by keeping Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in power. This is not about the Islamic State. Any insurgent group that opposes Russian interests is a terrorist organization to Moscow. We saw this behavior in Ukraine, and now we’re seeing it even more aggressively — with bombing runs and cruise missile strikes — in Syria.

Putin is not a sentimental man, and if Assad becomes a liability, Putin will gladly move on to a substitute acceptable to Moscow. But for now, the Russians believe that they (and the Iranians) can save Assad. 44 and Secretary of State John F. Kerry say that there is no military solution to the Syrian crisis. That is true, but Moscow understands that diplomacy follows the facts on the ground, not the other way around. Russia and Iran are creating favorable facts. Once this military intervention has run its course, expect a peace proposal from Moscow that reflects its interests, including securing the Russian military base at Tartus.

We should not forget that Moscow’s definition of success is not the same as ours. The Russians have shown a willingness to accept and even encourage the creation of so-called failed states and frozen conflicts from Georgia to Moldova to Ukraine. Why should Syria be any different? If Moscow’s “people” can govern only a part of the state but make it impossible for anyone else to govern the rest of it — so be it.

And the well-being of the population is not the issue either. The Russian definition of success contains no element of concern for the dismal situation of the Syrian people. Refugees — that’s Europe’s problem. Greater sectarianism — well, it’s the Middle East! Populations attacked with barrel bombs and Assad’s chemicals, supposedly banned in the deal that Moscow itself negotiated — too bad!

Putin’s move into Syria is old-fashioned great-power politics. (Yes, people do that in the 21st century.) There is a domestic benefit to him, but he is not externalizing his problems at home. Russian domestic and international policies have always been inextricably linked. Russia feels strong at home when it is strong abroad — this is Putin’s plea to his propagandized population — and the Russian people buy it, at least for now. Russia is a great power and derives its self-worth from that. What else is there? When is the last time you bought a Russian product that wasn’t petroleum? Moscow matters again in international politics, and Russian armed forces are on the move.

Let us also realize that hectoring Putin about the bad choice he has made sounds weak. The last time the Russians regretted a foreign adventure was Afghanistan. But that didn’t happen until Ronald Reagan armed the Afghan mujahideen with Stinger missiles that started blowing Russian warplanes and helicopters out of the sky. Only then did an exhausted Soviet Union led by Mikhail Gorbachev, anxious to make accommodation with the West, decide that the Afghan adventure wasn’t worth it.

So what can we do?

First, we must reject the argument that Putin is simply reacting to world disorder. Putin, this argument would suggest, is just trying to hold together the Middle East state system in response to the chaos engendered by U.S. overreach in Iraq, Libya and beyond.

Putin is indeed reacting to circumstances in the Middle East. He sees a vacuum created by our hesitancy to fully engage in places such as Libya and to stay the course in Iraq. But Putin as the defender of international stability? Don’t go there.

Second, we have to create our own facts on the ground. No-fly zones and safe harbors for populations are not “half-baked” ideas. They worked before (protecting the Kurds for 12 years under Saddam Hussein’s reign of terror) and warrant serious consideration. We will continue to have refugees until people are safe. Moreover, providing robust support for Kurdish forces, Sunni tribes and what’s left of the Iraqi special forces is not “mumbo-jumbo.” It might just salvage our current, failing strategy. A serious commitment to these steps would also solidify our relationship with Turkey, which is reeling from the implications of Moscow’s intervention. In short, we must create a better military balance of power on the ground if we are to seek a political solution acceptable to us and to our allies.

Third, we must “de-conflict” our military activities with those of the Russians. This is distasteful, and we should never have gotten to a place where the Russians are warning us to stay out of their way. But we must do all that we can to prevent an incident between us. Presumably, even Putin shares this concern.

Finally, we need to see Putin for who he is. Stop saying that we want to better understand Russian motives. The Russians know their objective very well: Secure their interests in the Middle East by any means necessary. What’s not clear about that?

Monday, October 12, 2015

Hail Columbia!

Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue way back in 1492.

This delightful ditty firmly places the date of the discovery of the New World into the minds of saavy kids everywhere in Great Satan.


Later on, CC get's dissed in crash courses for introducing alien concepts like slavery, STD's, baby Jesus and advanced weaponry to hapless, childlike human sacrificing races in places from South America all the way to Alaska.

What ev.

What was the motivation for CC to split sail from Europa and head west?

Easy!

Find a short cut to India.

The real quiz is quite significant. Why?

After all, Europa was the centre of the world for the tech saavy Europeans - India's locale was well known since Alexander the Great's era and thanks to Prince Henry (the cat who put the 'gator' in navigator) sealanes and land routes could have sweetly hooked up to provide the fastest transport times circa 1500 anywhere on earth.

Check out a World map from 1500 AD and the answer is prett obvious.

Critical portions of any route to and from India were totally beseiged by totalitarian monarchies like the Ottomans, Safavid Persia and an unhealthy mix of sundry and "...various m"Hammedist states..."

Plus, a newly reconstituted Xian Spain had just fought an expensive, bloody reconquista against 7th century time traveling control freaks and all of Europa wanted to get as far away as possible from said jerks and creeps.

Amazing that the reason for the season of Columbus Day is traced back to probs that kicked off Great Satan's very 1st regime change and are facing the world today.

Unfun, unfree and unhinged regimes built, cruelly maintained and by their very design expansionist, feature intolerance, nonegalitarian and misery projection with all the trimmings like slavery, pitiful lit rates and of course - violence.

Detours allowing the avoidance of such 'tardist, backward civs were in high demand, thanks to Columbus - Europa turned her back on the faux, played league of failed states - and concentrated her efforts on the "New World"

Pic - "Admiral of the Ocean"
 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

WoW!!


WoW - the Watchers Council- it's the oldest, longest running cyber comte d'guere ensembe in existence - started online in 1912 by Sirs Jacky Fisher and Winston Churchill themselves - an eclective collective of cats both cruel and benign with their ability to put steel on target (figuratively - natch) on a wide variety of topictry across American, Allied, Frenemy and Enemy concerns, memes, delights and discourse.

Every week these cats hook up each other with hot hits and big phazed cookies to peruse and then vote on their individual fancy catchers.

Thusly sans further adieu (or a don"t)

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners



See you next week!