04/05/2021 News & Commentary – National Security

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

1. Do Russia or China Have ‘Limited’ or ‘Unlimited’ Political Goals?

2. Warning: Scrutinize Any Underlying Assumptions for China in the New National Security Strategy

3. U.S. and Its Allies Must Focus on Access Denial Against China’s Military

4. Changes to Special Ops Firing Ranges Appear to Reduce Lead Levels in Soldiers, Study Shows

5. Special Operations News Update – April 5, 2021 | SOF News

6. Nations Begin to Shape Post-Covid-19 Economy Amid Diverging Fortunes

7.  The Death of a Grand Strategist

8.  Why slashing the Pentagon budget would be a disaster

9. PH-China dispute over Julian Felipe Reef does not yet warrant US intervention: analyst

10. FDD | How to Protect America’s Heartland from Global Corruption

11. Modi is right about indigenous defence doctrine. Army staff colleges can’t keep studying US

12. The Quad’s continuing maturation

13. China’s Claims of Exoneration on Covid Ring Hollow

14. Options to Build U.S. Army Headquarters Elements for Large Scale Combat Operations

15. New Marine Corps manual offers template for reimagined force

16. Spratly Islands, Diaoyu, Bay of Bengal: is a storm brewing in Asia-Pacific waters?

17. The International Far-Right Terrorist Threat Requires a Multilateral Response

18. China launches musical in bid to counter Uyghur abuse allegations

 

1. Do Russia or China Have ‘Limited’ or ‘Unlimited’ Political Goals?

19fortyfive.com · by James Holmes · April 4, 2021

A very interesting thought experiment from Professor Holmes. As he concludes: “the answer matters.”

 

2. Warning: Scrutinize Any Underlying Assumptions for China in the New National Security Strategy

All students of strategy know sound assumptions are key and they must be continuously assessed and re-evaluated and when assumptions change (determined either to be fact or in error) the balance among ends, ways, and means may have to be adjusted.

Conclusion: “Strategic assumptions overly focused on demographics, economics, and societal expectations, but missing other looming issues like a Chinese leadership transition or American domestic politics are troubling. Further examination of each of these assumptions is needed. No strategy is without risk, but to frame the next few years or longer on these assumptions is hazardous. That is not to say that these strategies or their logic collectively should be shelved. Quite the opposite, these strategies provide a variety of thoughtful analyses and commentaries on a pressing and much-needed debate over the future of American national security strategy vis-à-vis China. Policymakers and strategists should seek a positive, reciprocal, and mutually beneficial relationship with China to the extent that one is achievable.

As some strategies elucidate, it is worthwhile to leverage a slew of whole-of-government responses in order to impose costs or confront unacceptable Chinese behavior. And pursuing ideas like a novel “defensive diplomacy” with like-minded nations may very well alleviate friction points leading to confrontation or even conflict.[40] But the U.S. must get its strategic suppositions with China right in any new national security strategy given the trail of U.S. strategic missteps premised on faulty assumptions, in southwest Asia and elsewhere. If it does not, the U.S. will be disappointed once again at some future point when the stakes may be much higher.

 

3. U.S. and Its Allies Must Focus on Access Denial Against China’s Military

The National Interest · by John Rossomando · April 4, 2021

Interesting analysis and recommendations.

Excerpts: “Japan and the United States should counter Chinese drills near Taiwan with ones of their own to send the message that any attempt to seize Taiwan by force would go badly for China.

The United States, Japan, Australia, and possibly the British Royal Navy, Indonesia, and Malaysia should consider having a major naval exercise in Japanese waters near Taiwan and sink a target ship to show Beijing that its fleet would be putting itself in peril. Considering that Beijing has invested considerable capital in its new aircraft carriers and amphibious assault ships, perhaps the U.S. Navy should consider towing the USS Bonhomme Richard to the area and sinking it as a target.

The U.S. Navy also needs to have regular submarine patrols through the deep waters of the Taiwan Strait and in the waters surrounding Taiwan, not unlike during the Cold War when U.S. attack submarines operated off Russia’s northern coast.

The threat of a vicious response to aggression on the part of Beijing must be real, imminent, and immediate. Otherwise, Beijing will take Taiwan and U.S. military dominance in the region will permanently end.”

 

4. Changes to Special Ops Firing Ranges Appear to Reduce Lead Levels in Soldiers, Study Shows

military.com · by Patricia Kime · April 2, 2021

 

5. Special Operations News Update – April 5, 2021 | SOF News

sof.news · by SOF News · April 5, 2021

 

6. Nations Begin to Shape Post-Covid-19 Economy Amid Diverging Fortunes

WSJ · by Yuka Hayashi

Excerpts: “One big question, which is common to all economies, is how quick should the withdrawal of the stimulus be, and what happens when they are withdrawn and whether you’ll see an increase in bankruptcies,” said Odile Renaud-Basso, president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, in an interview. She added that so far, the global economy has shown enormous resilience.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has said he doesn’t anticipate changing the central bank’s easy monetary policy soon. Even so, the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note was 1.72% late last week, up from 0.91% at the end of last year, on signs of an accelerating economic rebound. It remains low by historical standards.

Rising U.S. yields have drawn capital away from emerging markets, putting downward pressure on their currencies while fueling both inflation and future inflation fears. Last month, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ousted the country’s central-bank governor, who had raised interest rates repeatedly in an effort to tame inflation.”

 

7. The Death of a Grand Strategist

Politico · by Molly Worthen · April 4, 2021

Professor Worthen wrote her biography of Charles Hill as an undergraduate after participating in Yale’s Grand Strategy program. I highly recommend it.

And I agree with her and the subtitle. There is so much we can learn from him and his statesmanship.

 

8. Why slashing the Pentagon budget would be a disaster

Defense News · by Dov S. Zakheim and Elaine McCusker · April 5, 2021

Excerpts: “What clearly stands out in the Department of Defense’s annual report to Congress — “Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China” — is that China already leads the U.S. in shipbuilding, land-based conventional ballistic and cruise missiles, and integrated air defense systems.

Public discourse and debate on federal spending is crucial when it comes to the nation’s decisions on where to apply taxpayer funding, particularly to ensure security and competitiveness. Defense spending, which is 16 percent of the entire federal budget and includes billions of dollars in nondefense activities, should not be used arbitrarily as an offset for other priorities. We should carefully consider what we are asking our military to do and what levels of risk we are placing on the force as it sustains recovered readiness lost during years of budget declines, while maintaining modernization momentum.

Our elected officials should do better than mislead us with political rhetoric when discussing that most fundamental of federal responsibilities: that of providing for the common defense of its citizens.

 

9. PH-China dispute over Julian Felipe Reef does not yet warrant US intervention: analyst

news.abs-cbn.com · by Gillan Ropero

But is the Philippines laying the groundwork for eventually calling on the US to come to its aid under the Mutual Defense Treaty?

 

10. FDD | How to Protect America’s Heartland from Global Corruption

fdd.org · by Elaine K. Dezenski · April 1, 2021

Excerpts: “Through the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, we have shown that we can monitor improper foreign control of key American industries and technologies. It is time to recognize that our critical assets include not only advanced technology and cutting-edge military hardware, but America’s critical industrial core, from our steel plants, to our skyscrapers and the workers employed there.

If we don’t revitalize America’s expansive industrial base, we risk our economy, our national security, our political stability, and our values. Recent experience shows that when workers are left behind, we feed electoral populism and foment political extremism.

America’s heartland deserves better than an investment of dirty money. Through a coordinated effort with our allies, we can strengthen the Midwest, save jobs, improve transparency, and invest in a sustainable future.

 

11. Modi is right about indigenous defence doctrine. Army staff colleges can’t keep studying US

theprint.in · April 5, 2021

An interesting critique. Per the subtitle does any military ever receive sufficient political guidance?

My opinion when dealing with friends, partners, and allies: Understand the indigenous way of war and adapt to it. Do not force the US way of war upon indigenous forces if it is counter to their history, customs, traditions, and abilities

But sometimes our friends, partners, or allies want our doctrine and want to adopt US ways of warfare (which are always too expensive for their military forces.)

Author’s conclusion:To learn from others is laudable, but it prevents clarity on our innate strengths and capabilities. For instance, re-evaluate how the Himalayas remained India’s true frontier for decades. Using it as an advantage could translate into a series of airfields to quickly bring up men and material, while removing roads altogether. Let the enemy battle it out in the forests. Our advantage is in bringing forces to bear against a China with incredibly long logistics lines. It may be oversimplification; but the point is think with along with your history books. Think also of limitations in terms of what our defence budget will ever permit. Large plans need large purses. Stop the roads, and spend more on in-depth surveillance.

Finally, the Prime Minister’s Office can hardly blame the forces for soldiering on however they could. After all, they’ve been working without any form of political guidance for years. It’s the PMO that needs to set the ball rolling by deciding on a doctrinal paper that examines all of the questions identified above, and more. Such a large mapping requires civilians, military and academics to sit together and decide in the simplest language what India was, and what it is now, what worked for us, and what didn’t. No, it’s not that convenient ‘Vision’ document with great English. This is hard reality. But as PM Modi says, it also needs you to look at the whole issue through a Made-in-India lens. He’s right. Now just get on with it.

 

12. The Quad’s continuing maturation

asiatimes.com · by Michael Tkacik · April 5, 2021

The next thing that needs to be done on the path of maturation is rebranding and coming up with a new name, especially if the organization is going to receive new members.

 

13. China’s Claims of Exoneration on Covid Ring Hollow

Bloomberg · by Eli Lake · April 2, 2021

 

14. Options to Build U.S. Army Headquarters Elements for Large Scale Combat Operations

divergentoptions.org · by Justin Magula · April 5, 2021

 

15. New Marine Corps manual offers template for reimagined force

washingtontimes.com · by Mike Glenn

 

16. Spratly Islands, Diaoyu, Bay of Bengal: is a storm brewing in Asia-Pacific waters?

SCMP · by Maria Siow· April 4, 2021

A tempest in a teapot.

Spratly Islands, Diaoyu, Bay of Bengal: 

is a storm brewing in Asia-Pacific waters?

  • The US-China rivalry has fuelled maritime maneuverings by Asian and 
  • European countries in regional waterways such as the South China Sea
  • China’s new coastguard law has also been blamed, but an analyst says 
  • Beijing has historically never used lethal force in its operations at sea

 

17. The International Far-Right Terrorist Threat Requires a Multilateral Response

lawfareblog.com · by Jason M. Blazakis and Naureen Chowdhury Fink · April 4, 2021

Conclusion: “Countering far-right extremist violence will require a multilateral approach that mirrors the international nature of the threat. Attacks by far-right ideologues are increasing in frequency and prominence. However, there is no need to start from a blank slate, given the counterterrorism tools that have been developed over the past two decades, though they will require some fine-tuning. Policymakers should not wait for another mass casualty event to take action. It’s time to take the lessons learned from disrupting the financing of jihadist terrorism and terrorism prevention and apply them to the violent far-right extremist threat.”

18. China launches musical in bid to counter Uyghur abuse allegations

The Guardian · April 3, 2021

A Chinese soft power attempt.

 

————–

 

Unconventional Warfare:

 

Old: “UW is a broad spectrum of military and paramilitary operations, normally of long duration, predominantly conducted by indigenous or surrogate forces who are organized, trained, equipped, supported, and directed in varying degrees by an external source. UW includes guerilla warfare (GW) and other direct offensive low-visibility, covert, or clandestine operations, as well as the indirect activities of subversion, sabotage, intelligence collection, and evasion and escape (E&E).  

JP1-02 DoD Dictionary of Military Terms and FM 31-20 Special Forces Operations, 1990

 

New (and current): UW is defined as “activities conducted to enable a resistance movement or insurgency to coerce, disrupt or overthrow an occupying power or government by operating through or with an underground, auxiliary or guerrilla force in a denied area” (JP 1-02 and JP 3-05)

 

2017 NDAA: “Irregular Warfare is conducted in support of predetermined United States policy and military objectives conducted by, with, and through regular forces, irregular forces, groups, and individuals participating in competition between state and non-state actors short of traditional armed conflict.” 

 

 

 

 

DanielRiggs
Mon, 04/05/2021 – 9:24am

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