04/04/2021 News & Commentary – National Security

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

1. A Tribute to Charles Hill

2. Gray Is the New Black: A Framework to Counter Gray Zone Conflicts

3. Is China willing and able to invade Taiwan?

4. In The Shadow Of A Missile: Assessing The Armenian Military’s SS-26 Iskander Debacle

5. The word ‘radicalization’ has lost all meaning. That’s very dangerous

6. DoD to Spend a Quarter-Billion Dollars Reorganizing Its Data for AI

7. Rise of female militants poses challenge for war on terror

8. U.S. Looks to Build On Secret Portions of Taliban Deal to Reduce Violence

9. When Online Conspiracies Turn Deadly: A Custody Battle and a Killing

10. Human Rights Hypocrisy: Why Blinken Misses the Mark

11. Army advisers make first mission to the Maldives, a strategic area of the Indian Ocean

12. Army captain sets women’s world record for mile run in a bomb disposal suit

13. Philippines Accuses China Of Plans To Occupy More South China Sea ‘Features’

14. The Military Faces of COVID-19: 5 Stories of Lives the Community Lost to the Virus

15. Corruption in China: ex-boss of arms company Norinco placed under investigation

16. Marwa Elselehdar: ‘I was blamed for blocking the Suez Canal’

17. The Pandemic’s Wrongest Man

18. Panic Rooms, Birth Certificates and the Birth of GOP Paranoia by John Boehner (book excerpt)

 

1. A Tribute to Charles Hill

The National Interest · by Daniel Khalessi · April 3, 2021

A giant of a man who was not well-known as a national figure. I commend his biography and his book on Grand Strategies. 

 

2.  Gray Is the New Black: A Framework to Counter Gray Zone Conflicts

ndupress.ndu.edu ·  by Captain Bothwell

I am glad Captain Bothwell calls out the lack of doctrine for the gray zone and the problem with the use of the 6 phase phasing construct as applied to the gray zone. Fortunately Joint Pub 5-0 has eliminated that as a standard template. I think a standard phasing template lacks intellectual rigor (whether applied to the gray zone or for “traditional” campaign plans and stifles the necessary creativity required for campaign planning and execution.

Conclusion: “The gradual, ambiguous nature of gray zone conflicts requires increased understanding of aggression short of war and of new strategies to quell these challenges. Although current doctrine does not adequately address gray zone conflicts, existing planning models can be modified to emphasize shaping and incorporate activities that deter, signal, and, if necessary, coerce opponents into ceasing aggression. These activities will reduce uncertainty and communicate resolve to our adversaries, while setting the operational conditions to coercively stop them, if required. Early U.S. failure to recognize and respond to China’s gray zone actions in the South China Sea has facilitated additional incursions and emboldened Chinese forays into other arenas. New strategy options to mitigate China’s influence are required, and military planning efforts to address this and other gray zone conflicts should follow.

Gray zone conflicts are aspects of the new normal, part of the competitive operational environment that has developed in the post–Cold War era. Joint planning has not yet adequately addressed gray zone conflicts or the gradualist approaches by which they are characterized, allowing opponents—revisionist states—to incrementally achieve their objectives while avoiding military consequences. Unchecked, gray zone conflicts will slowly erode the status quo and undermine U.S. interests. However, the joint force can be more agile. By modifying existing planning models to incorporate countering activities—such as shaping, deterring, signaling, and, if necessary, coercing—the United States can check revisionist intentions. Only by reframing the problem of gray zone conflicts can the United States hope to retain positional advantage where national interests are at stake.

 

3. Is China willing and able to invade Taiwan?

asiatimes.com · by Grant Newsham · April 2, 2021

The $64,000 question – intent and capability.

The ominous conclusion which I am sure will create some debate and discussion: “All this is to say that it’s impossible to predict exactly when China may move on Taiwan. But with a high degree of confidence (as intelligence types say), this can be said: The PLA is coming.”

 

4. In The Shadow Of A Missile: Assessing The Armenian Military’s SS-26 Iskander Debacle

edam.org.tr · by Can Kasapoğlu · March 31, 2021

A variation of the Iskander has been developed, tested, and deployed by north Korea. Are there lessons for the ROK/US alliance?

 

5. The word ‘radicalization’ has lost all meaning. That’s very dangerous

Newsweek · by Simon Cottee · April 2, 2021

Excerpts: “So it wasn’t the violent lethality of the protesters that caused the freak-out among progressives, who wasted no time in calling them domestic terrorists. It was, rather, their dirtiness, which was then transformed into dangerousness, all the better for flushing them out. At the same time, the discourse of danger served to mask the imperious revulsion that the elite Democrats felt toward Trump’s seething, radicalized, dirty masses.

Despite the high-minded rhetoric, all the “reckonings” that are now going on in America are actually reckonings with dirt. No doubt some of Trump’s followers are dangerous. But the real throb which animates the progressive response to his disgruntled base isn’t really fear; it is disgust. It is the feeling of being contaminated and sullied by that which doesn’t belong, which Trump really was all along.

And one prominent casualty of this is the concept of radicalization, which has now, for many, become a signifier of dirt.

We should resist this degradation of the concept, for if we extend radicalization to include everything foul and odious we perilously risk losing sight of the really lethal threats in our midst.”

 

6. DoD to Spend a Quarter-Billion Dollars Reorganizing Its Data for AI

defenseone.com · by Mila Jasper · April 3, 2021

 

7. Rise of female militants poses challenge for war on terror

straitstimes.com · by Arlina Arshad · April 3, 2021

 

8. U.S. Looks to Build On Secret Portions of Taliban Deal to Reduce Violence

The New York Times · by Thomas Gibbons-Neff · April 4, 2021

Excerpts: “It is unlikely the United States and Taliban will reach a new deal before May 1, analysts say, unless U.S. officials are willing to make serious concessions to prevent a violent offensive this spring, one that seems to already have started given the series of large attacks and assassinations by the Taliban in recent days.

Some experts have criticized the United States’ narrow focus on a short-term reduction of violence as a distraction from the larger effort of reaching a political settlement between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

“I am hard pressed to see what payoff there’s been for the amount of effort that has been put into trying to get limited violence reduction front-loaded in the peace process,” said Laurel E. Miller, a former top State Department official who worked on Afghanistan and Pakistan diplomacy under the previous two administrations. “It might be helpful for political optics in covering for an American withdrawal. But what’s going to make this stick afterward if there isn’t a real settlement? Nothing.”

 

9. When Online Conspiracies Turn Deadly: A Custody Battle and a Killing

WSJ · by Georgia Wells and Justin Scheck

 

More QAnon whackjobs.

 

10. Human Rights Hypocrisy: Why Blinken Misses the Mark

The National Interest · by Russell A. Berman · April 3, 2021

Conclusion: Despite Blinken’s unwillingness to address the tension between deontological rights and utilitarian policy, his overall commitment to rights deserves applause, and not only because the substance of his remarks is largely consistent with the commission’s report. This overlap in rights thinking across the two administrations involves one other particularly salient point. The commission faced strident criticism specifically for grounding the United States’ obligation to a human-rights foreign policy in a distinctively American tradition, the notion since the Declaration of Independence that rights are “unalienable.” Opponents of the Commission complained that grounding rights in an American credo puts us on a slippery slope to cultural relativism, undermining aspirations to the universality of rights. It is therefore particularly noteworthy that in Blinken’s remarks he does not hesitate to justify U.S. rights advocacy explicitly in terms of a distinctive American tradition. “Standing for people’s freedom and dignity honors America’s most sacred values.” Amen.

 

11. Army advisers make first mission to the Maldives, a strategic area of the Indian Ocean

armytimes.com · by Kyle Rempfer · April 4, 2021

 

12. Army captain sets women’s world record for mile run in a bomb disposal suit

Stars and Stripes · by Joe Gromelski

Hooah.

 

13.  Philippines Accuses China Of Plans To Occupy More South China Sea ‘Features’

Barron’s · by AFP – Agence France Presse

Is China making a major move?

 

14. The Military Faces of COVID-19: 5 Stories of Lives the Community Lost to the Virus

military.com · by Patricia Kime · April 4, 2021

The impact on the military and families has not received much attention.

 

15. Corruption in China: ex-boss of arms company Norinco placed under investigation

SCMP · by Lauren Zhou · April 4, 2021

Corruption in China: ex-boss of arms company 

Norinco placed under investigation

  • Yin Jiaxu accused of ‘serious violations of discipline and the law’, 
  • anti-corruption watchdog says
  • Yin was Communist Party chief and chairman of China North 
  • Industries Group Corp until his retirement in 2018

 

16.  Marwa Elselehdar: ‘I was blamed for blocking the Suez Canal’

BBC News · by Joshua Cheetham

Yep. I saw her accused of this mishap on multiple social media platforms.

 

17. The Pandemic’s Wrongest Man

The Atlantic · by Derek Thompson · April 1, 2021

Misdirection. No one should fall for Berenson’s crap.

 

18. Panic Rooms, Birth Certificates and the Birth of GOP Paranoia by John Boehner (book excerpt)

Politico · by ON THE HOUSE

Regardless of your politics this is a fascinating read. I am sure this book by John Beohner will debut at the top of the best seller list.

 

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“Discipline, however, needs first and foremost leadership, and not regulations. The former can only be provided by example.”

– Jorg Muth

 

“Thus it has come about that our theoretical and critical literature, instead of giving plain, straightforward arguments in which the author at least always knows what he is saying and the reader what he is reading, is crammed with jargon, ending at obscure crossroads where the author loses its readers. Sometimes these books are even worse: they are just hollow shells. The author himself no longer knows just what he is thinking and soothes himself with obscure ideas which would not satisfy him if expressed in plain speech.”

– Major General Carl von Clausewitz

 

President Kennedy 1962 USMA gradation:

 “This is another type of war, new in its intensity, ancient in its origins – war by guerrillas, subversives, insurgents, assassins; war by ambush instead of combat; by infiltration instead of aggression, seeking victory by eroding and exhausting the enemy instead of engaging him. It requires – in those situations where we must encounter it – a whole new kind of strategy, a wholly different kind of force, and therefore, a new and wholly different kind of military training.”

 

President Obama 2009 USNA graduation:

“History teaches us that nations that grow comfortable with the old ways and complacent in the face of new threats, those nations do not long endure. And in the 21st century, we do not have the luxury of deciding which challenges to prepare for and which to ignore. We must overcome the full spectrum of threats – the conventional and unconventional; the nation-state and the terrorists network; the spread of deadly technologies and the spread of hateful ideologies; 18th century-style piracy and 21st century cyber threats.”

DanielRiggs
Sun, 04/04/2021 – 2:13pm

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