06/01/2021 News & Commentary – National Security

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

1. Remarks by President Biden at the 153rd National Memorial Day Observance

2.  A Siege, a Supply Run and a Descent Into a Decade-Old Battle

3. Public swarms Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day for the first time since the pandemic

4. US special forces to train Taiwan soldiers after annual war-games

5. The U.S. Air Force Wants to Mothball Over 200 Aircraft. We Have the List.

6. QAnon conspiracy theories infect American churches

7. Former Trump advisor Michael Flynn said the US should have a coup like Myanmar, where the military overthrew the democratically elected government

8. The Future of Afghanistan Hinges on American Dollars, Not Troops

9. The Necessary Art of Talking to Other Nations By Max Hastings

10. Three Big Questions Biden’s National Security Strategy Has to Answer

11. Time for a ‘Semi-Quad’ Alliance

12. Biden’s US foreign policy commitment to democracy called into question

13. Facebook says U.S. is the top target of disinformation campaigns

14. Huawei ex-exec on trial, accused of spying for China

15. #Reviewing Exercise of Power (Book by Robert Gates, Review by Daniel Scheeringa)

16.  USSOCOM contracts Palantir for enterprise data management software

17. Sibling Rivalry: Military Services in High-Stakes Tussle Over Long-Range Fires

18. Kamala Harris’ Navy

 

1. Remarks by President Biden at the 153rd National Memorial Day Observance

Office of the President · May 31, 2021

Powerful remarks on democracy by the President.  

 

2. A Siege, a Supply Run and a Descent Into a Decade-Old Battle

The New York Times · by Thomas Gibbons-Neff · May 31, 2021

More powerful reporting form TM Gibbons-Neff.

 

3. Public swarms Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day for the first time since the pandemic

The Washington Post · by Tara Bahrampour and Annie Linskey · May 31, 2021

 

4. US special forces to train Taiwan soldiers after annual war-games

19fortyfive.com · by Ryan Pickrell · May 31, 2021

We should observe for the CCP propaganda (or other) response, if any.

 

6. QAnon conspiracy theories infect American churches

Axios · by Mike Allen

This is an unbelievable statistic. It is incredible that 15% of Americans agree with this QAnon belief. The revisionist and rogue powers cannot believe the effects of propaganda on such a large number of Americans. This simply emboldens them to even more aggressively execute influence operations.

That stunning window into the country’s congregations followed a major poll, out last week: 15% of Americans, the poll found, agree with the QAnon contention that “the government, media, and financial worlds in the U.S. are controlled by a group of Satan-worshipping pedophiles who run a global child sex trafficking operation.”

 

7. Former Trump advisor Michael Flynn said the US should have a coup like Myanmar, where the military overthrew the democratically elected government

Business Insider · by Kelsey Vlamis

I have no words.

Former Trump advisor Michael Flynn said the US should have a coup like Myanmar, where the military overthrew the democratically elected government

 

8. The Future of Afghanistan Hinges on American Dollars, Not Troops

warontherocks.com · by Dominic Tierney · June 1, 2021

All about the benjamins?

Conclusion: “A U.S. aid program to Afghanistan of around $4–5 billion per year is affordable — even indefinitely so. The figure equates to less than one percent of the U.S. defense budget. Indeed, to put the number in perspective, Washington spends over $300 million every year just on military bands. The aid program is also much cheaper than deploying U.S. troops. Washington can pay for around 50 to 100 Afghan soldiers for the same cost as stationing a single American soldier there (about $1 million per year). The aid program is only a tiny fraction of the expenditure in Afghanistan a decade ago.

Continuing aid to Afghanistan does not guarantee success, but curtailing aid guarantees failure. $4 billion is a lot of money. But it buys Washington a reasonable chance at creating military deadlock in Afghanistan, forcing the Taliban to make peace, and avoiding a repeat of Saigon 1975, with all the associated trauma and recrimination.

 

9. The Necessary Art of Talking to Other Nations By Max Hastings

Bloomberg · by Max Hastings · May 30, 2021

Excerpts: “A huge problem for big-power diplomacy is that, for it to work, the main actors must accept a stated dispensation as legitimate. Instead, in today’s Middle East, Iran seeks to achieve a regional hegemony which the U.S. and other Western nations find unacceptable. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is bent on forging a Greater Israel at the expense of the Palestinians, which only the U.S., among major powers, has (until this month, at least) appeared content to indulge. Meanwhile, China seeks to assert a supremacy in the Indo-Pacific to which few of its neighbors, never mind Washington, are prepared to acquiesce.

But the talking must happen, the attempts be made to find common ground even on lesser issues if the big ones are intractable. I once met a diplomat who spent much of the 1960s representing Britain at international arms-control talks in Geneva. He argued that, while superficially the interminable meetings were futile, with the Soviets churning out position papers that never seemed to change, the very fact of the meetings helped to avert war.

I think he was right — the isolationists who seek simply to build walls and hide behind them put at risk any advance or even stability in human affairs. Fear has been the dominant motive in foreign affairs since the beginning of time. Dialogue — diplomacy — has a critical role to play in managing and dispelling it.

 

10. Three Big Questions Biden’s National Security Strategy Has to Answer

The National Interest · by James Jay Carafano · May 29, 2021

The three questions:

How to Handle Economic Relations with China?

How to Do Battle in the Gray Zones?

How to Balance Hard- and Soft Power?

 

11. Time for a ‘Semi-Quad’ Alliance

thediplomat.com · by Che-Jen Wang · May 28, 2021

“Semi-Quad”? Hope that is not the equivalent of “semi-pro” in international relations. (apologies for the attempt at humor).

Excerpts: “Therefore, it is clear that the U.S. government alone cannot stop China from advancing its semiconductor industry. Given the small portion of semiconductors made in the United States, the current U.S. policy neither limits China from the acquisition of high-sensitive chips and technology, nor outweighs Xi Jinping’s call for technology autonomy in semiconductor production. The governments of the U.S., Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea must coordinate efforts to respond to aggressive tactics from China.

Given that different semiconductor technologies are scattered among the U.S., Japan, Taiwan, and Korea, and the degree of technology protection among manufacturers may differ, it is difficult to fully prevent advanced semiconductor technology from entering China. If the Biden administration wants to fully contain the high-speed progress of semiconductor technology in China, further containment policies and multi-country coordination are needed. Unless the U.S. can form a “semi-Quad” alliance, a mechanism like Quad or Five Eyes, and coordinate policies with Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, fair competition and resilient trade in semiconductors will be difficult to realize.

 

12. Biden’s US foreign policy commitment to democracy called into question

Financial Times · by Katrina Manson · May 30, 2021

This was published before his Memorial Day address.

 

13. Facebook says U.S. is the top target of disinformation campaigns

Axios · by Sara Fischer

No surprise. The US must be the easiest targets in the world for disinformation campaigns.

Graphic at the link

 

14. Huawei ex-exec on trial, accused of spying for China

AP · by Monica Scislowska     

Excerpts: “The Pole is suspected of helping him establish contacts and providing him with documents. Some observers say the documents were public and not classified.

The trial is expected to take months and there is no date yet for the final verdict.

Huawei declined to comment because the case was ongoing. It has repeatedly denied the U.S. allegations but since the pair’s arrest, Huawei’s fortunes in Europe have tumbled because of the U.S. campaign. Countries such as Britain, Sweden and Bulgaria h ave banned Huawei equipment from their networks and others such as France say they favor homegrown rivals like Ericsson and Nokia for security reasons.

Huawei gear, which has been effectively blocked by the U.S. since 2012, has also been shunned by Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

 

15. #Reviewing Exercise of Power (Book by Robert Gates, Review by Daniel Scheeringa)

thestrategybridge.org · by Daniel Scheeringa · June 1, 2021

Another book for the “to read pile.”

Conclusion: Gates does an excellent job of examining the ways America can exercise power around the world, some coercive, most non-coercive. That examination forms the basis of Gates’ desire to see America compete with China and Russia through non-coercive means such as strategic communications and economic development aid. It is a common lament that America lacks a grand strategy, or even the capacity to form such a strategy. However, any strategy, no matter how brilliant, is only as effective as the means used to implement it. Whatever ends America chooses to pursue in the future, its leaders and strategists will be well served by reading Gates’ book.

 

16. USSOCOM contracts Palantir for enterprise data management software

army-technology.com

Excerpts: “Our partnership with USSOCOM was one of our first in the US military, and we are honoured to keep providing technology that gets the job done while we partner on the future of what is possible.”

The company’s technology enables real-time collaboration across USSOCOM and its allies.

It gives commanders a global scale situational awareness, bringing AI technology to the battlefield operations.

The technology also enhances the ability to respond to ‘near-peer threats’.

Palantir’s software is used from planning phase, to review coordination and approval stage, and runs through battle tracking of the execution of the actual mission.

Last November, the US Army chose Palantir Technologies to provide one of two prototype contracts for the Common Data Fabric and Data Security solution.

 

17. Sibling Rivalry: Military Services in High-Stakes Tussle Over Long-Range Fires

nationaldefensemagazine.org · by Jon Harper

If multiple services are developing long range precision fires it would seem we need a joint warfighting concept sooner rather than later. There would appear to be so many questions to ask about targeting, de-confliction, ISR capabilities for targeting – should various components and task forces or services have independent capabilities or should long range precision fires be under the control of a single operational HQ and authority (e.g., the JFACC/CFACC)? In my view long range precision fires will probably be among the most important concepts in conventional warfighting for the foreseeable future.

Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. John Hyten said it would be premature to conduct a review now.

“We’ll have the fruition of the Joint Warfighting Concept in the next decade. And then once we know how to do that and we’ve demonstrated that, we may not be organized correctly, we may not have the right roles and responsibilities,” he said in February during an event hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “But why the heck would you stop and try to figure that out when you actually don’t know the answer?”

 

18. Kamala Harris’ Navy

Washington Examiner · by Byron York · May 31, 2021

Strong criticism. I think most of the media focused on the joke that did not land in her speech rather than the substance.

Excerpts: “But Harris paid particular attention to “a very real threat to our national security” — climate change. “You are ocean engineers who will help navigate ships through thinning ice,” Harris said in her only acknowledgment that the Navy has any sort of relationship with the world’s oceans. “You are mechanical engineers who will help reinforce sinking bases. You are electrical engineers who will soon help convert solar and wind energy into power, convert solar and wind energy into combat power. And just ask any Marine today, would she rather carry 20 pounds of batteries or a rolled-up solar panel? And I am positive she will tell you a solar panel, and so would he.”

Left almost entirely undiscussed was the more basic mission of the Navy and the Marines. They fight wars. Heavily armed, they protect U.S. interests and shipping and project America’s power at sea and around the world. They have done it, with great valor and sometimes at enormous personal sacrifice for sailors and Marines, for more than 200 years. Harris mostly left the war-fighting core of the Navy and Marine mission out of her speech.

And so on. Biden and Pence framed their speeches differently, but each showed a deep appreciation for what the Navy and Marines do. Harris described a much different Navy and Marines, with missions in which fighting is done mostly in a figurative sense, against a threat like climate change. “Ms. Harris’ visit was meant to signal that the current White House’s relationship with the military had changed since the Trump era,” the New York Times reported after the vice president’s speech. Indeed it has.

 

—————–

 

“And on this Memorial Day, we honor their legacy and their sacrifice. Duty, honor, country — they lived for it, they died for it. And we, as a nation, are eternally grateful. You know, America has been forged in the battle and the fires of war. Our freedom and the freedom of innumerable others has been secured by young men and women who answered the call of history and gave everything in the service of an idea: the idea of America. It’s the greatest idea in the long history of humankind. An idea that we’re all created equal in the image of Almighty God. That we’re all entitled to dignity, as my father would say, and respect, decency, and honor. Love of neighbor. They’re not empty words, but the vital, beating heart of our nation. And that democracy must be defended at all costs, for democracy makes all this possible. Democracy — that’s the soul of America, and I believe it’s a soul worth fighting for, and so do you; a soul worth dying for. Heroes who lie in eternal peace in this beautiful place, this sacred place, they believed that too. The soul of America is animated by the perennial battle between our worst instincts — which we’ve seen of late — and our better angels. Between “Me first” and “We the People.” Between greed and generosity, cruelty and kindness, captivity and freedom.”

-President Joseph Biden, Arlington National Cemetery, Memorial Day 2021

 

“By and large, strategy comes into play where there is actual or potential conflict, when interests collide and forms of resolution are required. This is why a strategy is much more than a plan. A plan supposes a sequence of events that allows one to move with confidence from one state of affairs to another. Strategy is required when one might frustrate those plans.”

– Lawrence Freedman, Strategy: A History

 

“Without a word this uniform also whispers of freezing troops, injured bodies, and Americans left forever in foreign fields. It documents every serviceman’s courage, who by accepting this uniform, promises the one gift he truly has to give: his life. I wear my uniform for the heritage of sacrifice it represents and more. I wear my uniform with pride, for it represents the greatest nation of free people in the world.”

– Captain Karen Dorman Kimmel

 

DanielRiggs
Tue, 06/01/2021 – 9:31am

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *