04/06/2021 News & Commentary – National Security

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

1. The Future of QUAD in Indo Pacific Security Order

2. The true story of Xi Jinping

3. China Creates its Own Digital Currency, a First for Major Economy

4. Air Force JTACS training Syrians to help call in helo airstrikes raises questions

5. Visa program for Afghan military translators needs to be overhauled, Brown University report says

6. House Lawmakers Want Pentagon to Rethink Global Force Deployments

7. PSYOP, Cyber, and InfoWar: Combating the New Age IED

8. U.S. Space Command strengthens ties with Japan

9. Blinken, Sullivan stand up to China

10. China Looms Large in Biden Infrastructure Plan

11. Surviving the Crackdown in Xinjiang

12.  China Tells Japan to Stay Out of Hong Kong, Xinjiang Issues

13. Lacson, Hontiveros say PH needs help of allies, int’l community vs Chinese incursions

14. FDD | America and its military need a blockchain strategyTrevor Logan

15. China Tests Biden With South China Sea Tactic That Misled Obama

16. Active-duty suicide numbers level off after summer spike, but reserves soar

17. The Pandemic’s Tornado Phase

18. ‘Wolf warrior’ Chinese envoys again set up a howl

19. Why the U.S. Military Will Think Twice Before Invading China

20. After A Major Hack, U.S. Looks To Fix A Cyber ‘Blind Spot’

21. Peace is On the Line: The Women, Peace and Security Agenda Must Be Fulfilled

22. Fake News, Real Problems

23. One-Third of U.S. Troops Opted Out of the COVID-19 Vaccine. Here’s Why That Is Dangerous for National Security

24. Taiwan’s COVID-19 Success Is Worryingly Smug

25. I Thought I Knew How to Succeed as an Asian in U.S. Politics. Boy, Was I Wrong.

26. Navy Seabees Build VP Kamala Harris a Desk Out of Wood from USS Constitution

 

1. The Future of QUAD in Indo Pacific Security Order

usanasfoundation.com · by Codingest · April 3, 2021

Summary below and the video is at this link

 

2. The true story of Xi Jinping

The Hill · by Mark C. Storella · April 3, 2021

Excerpts: “Beijing’s one-sided depiction of the U.S. as bent on undermining China threatens to become a self-fulfilling prophecy, as Americans read China’s narrative as unfounded hostility toward the U.S. Moreover, anti-U.S. animosity stoked by Chinese leaders among the Chinese people may prove hard to control.

A new cold war between the U.S. and China is not inevitable. But false PRC narratives about U.S. behavior toward China will only contribute to a further souring of relations.

The U.S. must look critically at the stories it tells itself about its own past. But so too must China compare its narrative of America’s role in the “Century of Humiliation” with the facts.

Just as Mao Zedong admired Chinese writer Lu Xun, Xi Jinping does too. Xun’s famous work “The True Story of Ah Q,” highlights foreign abuse of a hapless China. While it is tempting for Chinese leaders to cast the U.S. as a tormentor of China, that characterization is demonstrably false.

The true story of Xi Jinping should reflect the more complex realities of the U.S.-China relations, for the good of both China and the U.S.

 

3. China Creates its Own Digital Currency, a First for Major Economy

WSJ · by James T. Areddy

A game changer?

I do think FED Chairman Powell provides an interesting response:

“China’s digital strides draw attention to how the U.S. needs to modernize its own financial infrastructure, according to Kevin Warsh, a former Fed governor now at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. “If we wait 5 or 10 years, we may well end up with some very bad policy choices,” he said.

More than 60 countries are at some stage of studying or developing a digital currency, according to research group CBDC Tracker. Digital currencies hold some of their biggest potential for the 1.7 billion people globally who the World Bank says lack a bank account. The Bahamas has already issued a digital currency to address financially underserved populations. Some central banks say such currencies would come in handy for families of migrant laborers who make tiny fund transfers that are cumbersome and expensive.

The senior European central banker noted that international person-to-person money transfers can take days and worried that speed and efficiency could eventually make the digital yuan a preferred currency for remittances as countries deepen financial ties with China.

China, with a working model, is offering a ready way for managing digital cash. President Xi last year called for China to seize opportunities to set international rules for digital currencies, much as Beijing has sought to influence and dominate an array of advanced-technology standards such as for 5G telecommunications, driverless cars and facial recognition.

Asked during a recent Senate appearance whether the dollar could be digitized to help the U.S. defend its supremacy, the Fed’s Mr. Powell said researching that question is a “very high-priority project.”

“We don’t need to be the first,” he said. “We need to get it right.”

 

4. Air Force JTACS training Syrians to help call in helo airstrikes raises questions

airforcetimes.com · by Kyle Rempfer · April 5, 2021

Oops. Not a quote the military would like to see in print from a Master Sergeant (though you can always count on an NCO to provide the unvarnished truth):

“As long as our people are deployed somewhere they are going to push to do whatever they can — yet with no strategic oversight or guidance from Washington,” Bryant said. “Or, really bad strategic guidance.”

Excerpts: “Heras thinks the message behind the March photos is two-fold. On the one hand, they’re intended to show that the counter-ISIS mission isn’t over and it’s being taken so seriously that JTACs are offering more training to the SDF.

“The more subtle message, which is to Russians and particularly [Syrian President Bashar] al-Assad, is ‘don’t test us,’” Heras added.

U.S. support to Syrian proxies has been controversial, especially when weaponry wound up in the hands of Al-Qaida-linked militants. But the training offered by JTACs isn’t of much use without U.S. aircraft, since the SDF don’t have an air force of their own.

Heras said Congress should still exercise its oversight role to learn more about the efficacy of the program.

“This particular type of support and training that the coalition provides the SDF actually does not have a lot of public debate,” Heras noted.

“If this is going to be part of a new American way of war,” he added, “where we allow non-state actors the benefit of a kinetic partnership that we would usually only reserve for closely vetted state actor partners, what does that mean about how we think about U.S. engagement in a future conflict and, in particular, in the so-called gray zone?”

 

5. Visa program for Afghan military translators needs to be overhauled, Brown University report says

Stars and Stripes

Excerpts: “The report makes recommendations beyond the need for more visa allowances and calls for a series of reforms. He said the administration’s review must examine the process holistically, such as how it impacts people who are denied visas due to challenges of understanding and gathering the necessary paperwork or finding a supervisor to write a letter of recommendation.

The government review must look for ways to better define the terms “threat” and “service” to support those in the most need of protection. Coburn said the threats that individual translators and other contractors face are not equal. Some contractors work in secure office jobs, while others put their lives at risk daily through military service.

About 100,000 Afghans have worked as contractors in support of the U.S. government. However, the actual number of Afghans could be as many as 300,000, Coburn said. It’s unclear because the U.S. government does not have a centralized database to track government contractors.

 

6. House Lawmakers Want Pentagon to Rethink Global Force Deployments

news.usni.org · by Mallory Shelbourne · April 5, 2021

Excerpts: “Put plainly, regular circumvention of the GFMAP is leaving the services scrambling at a time when they need to rebuild the health of the force. At this rate, the desire to solve every immediate problem, regardless of its strategic prioritization, may hollow the force for the next generation,” they continue. “It is imperative that the [combatant commands] accept and share the appropriate amount of risk required to balance their needs against the chiefs’ requirement to recruit, train and modernize the services in the long term.”

Signatories of the letter include Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.), the vice ranking member of HASC and the ranking member of the seapower and projection forces subcommittee, and several other subcommittee ranking members. Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), the ranking member of the readiness subcommittee; Rep. Michael Turner (R-Ohio), the ranking member of the HASC strategic forces subcommittee; and Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), the ranking member of the HASC cyber, innovative technologies and information systems subcommittee, also signed the letter. Democratic signatories include Reps. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) and Kaiali’i Kahele (D-Hawaii).

 

7. PSYOP, Cyber, and InfoWar: Combating the New Age IED

mwi.usma.edu · by Chaveso Cook and Liam Collins · April 6, 2021

“influencers.”

Excerpt: Finally, to conduct irregular warfare an influencer must understand the art and science of influence regarding human behavior and its structure and development. The art and science of influence has two key aspects. First, it is rooted in a consistent drive to understand the global information environment from the perspective of all sources of influence including human psychological and social functioning, media, technological, and others. Second, it is rooted in focusing one’s experience, training, and education on leveraging this understanding to initiate actions that change people’s attitudes, values, and beliefs, which ultimately underscore and drive behavior. As essential precursors to any influence campaign, within or outside of the cyber domain, nonkinetic activities and change efforts require an understanding of human behavior in the context of the environment and cross-cultural competence. Arguably PSYOPers are their own influence platform. They are a highly effective human weapons delivery system, when appropriately equipped. If influence is the projectile and the PSYOPer is the delivery system, then psychology and human understanding is the gunpowder behind the digital, print, or radio bullet. A concrete understanding of human behavior and an expert competency in foreign cultures clearly differentiates the PSYOPer from the cyber practitioner.

 

8. U.S. Space Command strengthens ties with Japan

donga.com

Reported in the Korean press (Donga Ilbo).

 

9. Blinken, Sullivan stand up to China

Taipei Times ·  by Joseph Bosco

 

10. China Looms Large in Biden Infrastructure Plan

WSJ · by Gerald F. Seib

Excerpts: “There won’t be bipartisan agreement on all the specifics of the Biden R&D proposal, particularly its hefty allotment of research funds for climate-change initiatives, but the idea has broad support. In a sense, this proposal marks the final reversal of a budget process called “sequestration” that kicked in a decade ago to enforce caps on federal spending, a process that compelled some federally funded labs to lay off researchers and, in some cases, close facilities.

—Creating a new office in the Commerce Department, with a $50 billion budget, to work on bringing supply chains back to the U.S. from abroad. The coronavirus pandemic shocked Americans in many ways, including by revealing the extent to which the U.S. depends on medical supplies made in China. Health supplies are just one area in where that is the case.

So, use some federal incentives to prompt companies to bring those supply chains back home—which, again, represents a new bipartisan impulse for 2021.

 

11. Surviving the Crackdown in Xinjiang

The New Yorker · by Raffi Khatchadourian · April 5, 2021

A long read. A tragic story.

 

12. China Tells Japan to Stay Out of Hong Kong, Xinjiang Issues

Bloomberg · by Isabel Reynolds · April 6, 2021

Excerpts:When asked about other countries’ sanctions at a Tuesday news briefing in Tokyo, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said “the goal is to improve the human rights situation. Each country will decide from its own point of view whether that is effective.” He added Japan should constantly evaluate the need for its own sanctions law.

The U.S., Canada, the EU and the U.K. have all imposed penalties on China over human rights abuses against the Uyghur ethnic group in the far west region of Xinjiang, spurring lawmaker groups to call for Japan to follow suit.

 

13. Lacson, Hontiveros say PH needs help of allies, int’l community vs Chinese incursions

news.abs-cbn.com · by ABS-CBN News

Is this where it will begin???

 

14. FDD | America and its military need a blockchain strategyTrevor Logan

fdd.org · by Trevor Logan and Theo Lebryk · April 5, 2021

Conclusion: For a technology that is billed by enthusiasts as the next internet, it is imperative that America act now to ensure that Russia’s prediction that “the blockchain will belong to us” does not come to fruition. To be sure, there is no guarantee blockchain will achieve this level of influence. However, if there is chance that blockchain is even a fraction as revolutionary as the internet, America cannot afford a wait-and-see approach.

 

15. China Tests Biden With South China Sea Tactic That Misled Obama

Bloomberg · by Andreo Calonzo · April 5, 2021

Excerpts: “One big problem is how to calibrate the response. China’s use of commercial fishing boats amounts to a “gray zone” tactic that allows Beijing to deny anything is amiss. Sending an aircraft carrier or other warships near the reef risks appearing like an overreaction that would make the U.S. look like the aggressor.

On the other hand, doing nothing could look weak. Over the past few years the U.S. has stepped up challenges to Chinese sovereignty in the waters, increasing the frequency of so-called freedom of navigation operations around disputed territory. The Biden administration also reaffirmed that the U.S.-Philippine defense treaty covers any attacks in the South China Sea, a clarification made under President Donald Trump that came after decades of official ambiguity.

 

16. Active-duty suicide numbers level off after summer spike, but reserves soar

militarytimes.com · by Meghann Myers · April 5, 2021

One is too many and “leveling off” is not a good metric. But note the reserves.

 

17.  The Pandemic’s Tornado Phase

defenseone.com · by Alexis C. Madrigal · April 5, 2021

 

18. ‘Wolf warrior’ Chinese envoys again set up a howl

asiatimes.com · by Beiyi Seow · April 6, 2021

Perhaps scorpion would be a better descriptor. I can’t help it, it is my nature.

Excerpt: Here are five things to know as the wolf warriors once more bare their teeth:

When did it start?

Why did the wolves return?

Attack mode

What’s next?

 

19. Why the U.S. Military Will Think Twice Before Invading China

The National Interest · by Kris Osborn · April 6, 2021

Before we think about invading what would be the political and military objectives of such an “invasion?”  

 

20. After A Major Hack, U.S. Looks To Fix A Cyber ‘Blind Spot’

NPR · by Greg Myre · April 6, 2021

Excerpts: “The White House says President Biden will respond soon to the SolarWinds hack, but has not provided details.

The Biden administration also says it’s working on ways for the government and the tech industry to better share critical information. But the administration stresses that it’s not currently seeking increased legal authority for domestic digital surveillance.

 

21. Peace is On the Line: The Women, Peace and Security Agenda Must Be Fulfilled

msmagazine.com · by Corey Greer · April 5, 2021

Excerpts: “In the coming years that it will take to recover from the coronavirus pandemic at home, we must keep the world’s women at the fore because our security at home is intricately linked to the equality and security of women around the world.

For example, the disempowerment of women at the household level is strongly associated with terrorism. As Dr. Valerie Hudson explained to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, “Train men to terrorize women, and you train them in terrorism.”

We must keep the world’s women at the fore; our security at home is intricately linked to the equality and security of women around the world.

 

22. Fake News, Real Problems

crispin.substack.com · by Crispin Burke

 

23. One-Third of U.S. Troops Opted Out of the COVID-19 Vaccine. Here’s Why That Is Dangerous for National Security

TIME · by Seth Moulton and Tammy S. Schultz

My wife and I received our first vaccinations yesterday. I hope all military personnel who are avoiding it will reconsider.

Excerpt: The first step is for our military leaders to simply convince their troops to get the vaccine. America will be safer and stronger once they do.

 

24. Taiwan’s COVID-19 Success Is Worryingly Smug

Foreign Policy · by Hilton Yip · April 5, 2021

Beating the pandemic is not the same as beating China!

 

25. I Thought I Knew How to Succeed as an Asian in U.S. Politics. Boy, Was I Wrong.

Politico · by Jeffrey Le

Excerpts: “It’s not clear which party will benefit more from a new AAPI awakening. Because AAPI voters are so diverse, given their breadth of income, age, history and connection to the American experience across 50 ethnicities and over 100 languages, painting the AAPI tent with one brush isn’t just intellectually lazy, it’s dangerous for political parties. Some Chinese Americans and Japanese Americans have family lineages in the United States going back farther than most European-Americans, while newer AAPI communities arrived to the United States as refugees, and have fewer economic opportunities and shorter life expectancies than other communities of color. We’re diverse, not guaranteed to caucus with any one party.

We are, however, on the lookout for parties who will target, listen and cater to us. Just 30 percent of Asian American voters surveyed nationally last September said they had had at least some contact from the Democratic Party in the past year. Only 24 percent said they had had contact from the Republican Party. If parties can reach AAPIs with in-language tools, and speak to their problems, AAPI voters will respond. AAPIs, on the other hand, need to believe that they can dictate the terms.

If the hundreds of text messages I’ve gotten in recent weeks tell me anything, it’s that many of my Asian American friends are ready for a change. Even the most politically disengaged AAPIs are suddenly willing to fight. White peers and other communities of color are also starting to support AAPIs in their struggle to be seen as equal Americans.

For this energy to last, though, AAPIs need to reimagine who they are, what they want and what they’re capable of—to bet on themselves. It was only after I did so that I began to feel like I belonged.

 

26. Navy Seabees Build VP Kamala Harris a Desk Out of Wood from USS Constitution

Military.com · by Gina Harkins · April 5, 2021

Photo and video at the link: 

Very cool and well done Seabees.

Note this project began during the previous administration and includes a desk for SECNAV as well.

 

—————

 

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” 

– Margaret Mead

 

“The soldier who fights to death never dies, but the soldier who fights for existence never truly exists.”
– Admiral Yi Sun-shin

 

War is the province of uncertainty; three-fourths of the things on which action in war is based lie hidden in the fog of uncertainty.

– Carl von Clausewitz

DanielRiggs
Tue, 04/06/2021 – 10:34am

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