06/07/2021 News & Commentary – National Security

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

1. C.I.A. Scrambles for New Approach in Afghanistan

2. The Psychic Toll of Killing With Drones

3. Are We Waiting for Everyone to Get Hacked?

4. Biden and the Afghan Translators

5. Let’s educate service members on professional ethos, not just extremism

6. Supreme Court asked to review men-only draft registration law

7. The Science Suggests a Wuhan Lab Leak

8. Putin questions U.S. prosecution of Capitol rioters, saying mob carried only ‘political requests’

9. Taliban demand ‘remorse’ from fearful Afghan interpreters

10. Philippine Navy Plans Use of Hanjin Subic Shipyard

11. US senators took a military aircraft to Taiwan to announce vaccine donation. To Beijing, that is a major provocation

12. Biden says he will ‘rally the world’s democracies’ this week in reset for US foreign policies

13. How Beijing shot itself in the foot with its trade war with Australia

14. EXCLUSIVE: Biden not seeking to add countries to Quad to counter China

15. ‘Do We Need to Be in Hong Kong?’ Global Companies Are Eying the Exits

16. US asks Taiwan to fill void as Confucius Institutes close

17. Opinion | Something appears to be ‘simply, simply wrong’ at the Biden Justice Department

18. Assessing U.S. Army Diversity Efforts in the Context of Great Power Competition

19. The Cost of Being an ‘Interchangeable Asian’

20.  Once a Bastion of Free Speech, the A.C.L.U. Faces an Identity Crisis

21. Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion – Global SOF Foundation Imperatives

22. How the I Ching informs China’s harmonious pursuit of geopolitical strategy

23. Special Operations News Update – Monday, June 7, 2021 | SOF News

 

1. C.I.A. Scrambles for New Approach in Afghanistan

The New York Times · by Mark Mazzetti and Julian E. Barnes · June 6, 2021

Excerpts: “Recent C.I.A. and military intelligence reports on Afghanistan have been increasingly pessimistic. They have highlighted gains by the Taliban and other militant groups in the south and east, and warned that Kabul could fall to the Taliban within years and return to becoming a safe haven for militants bent on striking the West, according to several people familiar with the assessments.

As a result, U.S. officials see the need for a long-term intelligence-gathering presence — in addition to military and C.I.A. counterterrorism operations — in Afghanistan long after the deadline that Mr. Biden has set for troops to leave the country. But the scramble for bases illustrates how U.S. officials still lack a long-term plan to address security in a country where they have spent trillions of dollars and lost more than 2,400 troops over nearly two decades.

Some American officials said that negotiations with Pakistan had reached an impasse for now. Others have said the option remains on the table and a deal is possible.

 

2. The Psychic Toll of Killing With Drones

WSJ · by Wayne Phelps

Excerpt: “If the target is a high-value individual, it’s a certainty that he isn’t a boy scout. Brett Velicovich was an intelligence analyst for the Army Special Forces who used RPAs to help hunt HVIs throughout Iraq, including some top-tier targets. He wrote the book “Drone Warrior” to describe his operations. In an interview with Vox he described how it felt to watch bad people do normal things:

“You’re watching these guys and they’re totally normal. You see them dropping their kids off at school. You see them having tea or coffee at a local market. You see them doing normal things. It’s almost like People magazine or something. You always have these ‘the stars are just like us’ type of feelings. You see terrorists doing stuff that anyone else would do. It’s what they’re doing in the shadows that we’re trying to find. When you find that, then you know you’ve got him.”

 

3. Are We Waiting for Everyone to Get Hacked?

The New York Times · by Nicole Perlroth · June 5, 2021

Excerpts: “So, what is it going to take to keep Americans safe? It’s a big question.

The answers, though, can be small. The kindling for these digital infernos is buggy and out-of-date software nobody bothers to patch. It’s companies that don’t back up their data or have a security plan for ransomware attacks, despite their ubiquity. It’s the failure to use different passwords and turn on two-factor authentication. The hackers who tried to contaminate Florida’s drinking water exploited the fact that employees shared the same password and ran a decade-old version of Windows software. At the pipeline, it came down to the lack of multi-factor authentication on an old employee account.

It’s “cyberhygiene,” the accumulation of day in, day out investments and inconveniences by government, businesses and individuals that make hackers’ jobs harder. And some are very low tech.

Among the few high-profile organizations that was not actually hacked last year was the Democratic National Committee. Going into 2020, Bob Lord, the D.N.C.’s first chief information security officer, employed a novel approach to help ensure that hackers stayed out of D.N.C. emails this time. He posted signs over the urinals in the men’s room and on the wall in the women’s room reminding everyone to run their phone updates, use the encrypted app Signal for sensitive communications and not click on links.

Mr. Panetta, watching from afar, has his own simple solution for staying safe — and specifically making sure his internet-connected Lexus isn’t hacked. A few years ago, he fixed up his dad’s old 1951 Chevy truck, and that is what he uses to get around.

When he does drive the Lexus, he has careful instructions for his passenger: “I tell my wife, ‘Now be careful what you say.’”

 

4. Biden and the Afghan Translators

WSJ · by The Editorial Board

A difference between Vietnam and Afghanistan is Afghans will not have the opportunity to take to boats to escape.

Excerpts:Congress has a role to play. It likely will include legislation for more visas for the SIV program in this year’s National Defense Authorization Act. But President Biden as Commander in Chief can press Congress to simplify the visa rules or order an evacuation.

 

“The United States has no obligation to evacuate one, or 100,001, South Vietnamese,” then-Sen. Biden said in 1975 as the U.S. withdrew from Vietnam. The result was the exodus of the “boat people,” many of whom died in the open ocean, that was a stain on America. Mr. Biden has an opportunity—make that an obligation—to do better by thousands of Afghans.

 

5. Let’s educate service members on professional ethos, not just extremism

The Hill · by Kelly E. Atkinson and Marybeth P. Ulrich· June 6, 2021

You cannot go wrong with a focus on the professional ethos.  

Excerpts:Civilian and military leaders alike must increase the emphasis and energy devoted to educating and training service members on the expectations of a professional ethos, in line with the oath. Cadets at the Air Force Academy have spearheaded such an effort with the founding of The Oath Project this spring, through which a dozen cadets created a comprehensive program to reinvigorate education on the oath of office. This program is a model for other military educational institutions and units to emulate.

The Department of Defense must clarify guidance and reaffirm expectations that any and all acts of extremism that threaten the constitutional order are in direct violation of our professional military ethos. We must understand the lifelong obligations that the oath asks of us: to protect and defend the Constitution; uphold democratic processes and the constitutional rights of our fellow citizens to participate in them; and refrain from partisan political activities in alignment with existing civil-military norms. If we fail to delineate, educate and train military members on clear expectations for this professional military ethos, our military institutions risk internal fracturing that may threaten the democracy they are sworn to defend.

 

6. Supreme Court asked to review men-only draft registration law

militarytimes.com · by Jessica Gresko· June 6, 2021

Excerpts: If the court agrees to take the case, arguments wouldn’t happen until the fall at the earliest, after the court’s summer break. The court already has high-profile cases awaiting it then. They include a major challenge to abortion rights and an appeal to expand gun rights.”

 

7. The Science Suggests a Wuhan Lab Leak

WSJ · by Steven Quay and Richard Muller

Conclusion: The presence of the double CGG sequence is strong evidence of gene splicing, and the absence of diversity in the public outbreak suggests gain-of-function acceleration. The scientific evidence points to the conclusion that the virus was developed in a laboratory.

 

8. Putin questions U.S. prosecution of Capitol rioters, saying mob carried only ‘political requests’

The Washington Post · by Isabelle Khurshudyan · June 4, 2021

The insurrectionists have Putin’s support. Go figure.

 

9. Taliban demand ‘remorse’ from fearful Afghan interpreters

24matins.uk · June 7, 2021

I fear remorse is code for confession prior to execution.

 

10. Philippine Navy Plans Use of Hanjin Subic Shipyard

Bloomberg · by Cecilia Yap · June 7, 2021

The US was forced to give up Subic. A Korean firm builds modern facilities. Now the Philippine Navy will lease part of the facility.

 

11. US senators took a military aircraft to Taiwan to announce vaccine donation. To Beijing, that is a major provocation

CNN · by Nectar Gan and Ben Westcott

Excerpts:When delivering his welcoming remarks to the US visitors on Sunday, Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu again criticized Beijing. “While we are doing our best to import vaccines, we must overcome obstacles to ensure that these lifesaving medicines are delivered free of trouble from Beijing. Taiwan is no stranger to this kind of obstruction,” he said.

But the biggest poke in the eye to Beijing is perhaps not Wu’s comments or the vaccine donation deal itself, but the US military aircraft parked on the runway.

The American delegation arrived at Taiwan’s Songshan Airport on a US Air Force C-17 Globemaster III freighter — a primary strategic lift aircraft for the US military.

Previously, US officials and politicians had flown to Taiwan on the C-40, a military version of the Boeing 737 commercial airliner, according to Taiwan’s Central News Agency.

 

12. Biden says he will ‘rally the world’s democracies’ this week in reset for US foreign policies

The Hill · by Mychael Schnell · June 6, 2021

 

13. How Beijing shot itself in the foot with its trade war with Australia

ABC.net.au · June 6, 2021

As Bonaparte said: never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.

 

14. EXCLUSIVE: Biden not seeking to add countries to Quad to counter China

washingtontimes.com · by Guy Taylor

We should not be pushing countries to join the Quad. The Quad+ will be stronger if countries determine it is in their best interests for national prosperity and national security to align with it.

 

15. ‘Do We Need to Be in Hong Kong?’ Global Companies Are Eying the Exits

WSJ · by John Lyons and Frances Yoon

I am not nor ever have been a businessman. But I do not see how any business could afford to remain in such a politically troubled country (or city such as Hong Kong).

While Singapore would appear to be a good alternative, is Shanghai? Seems to be by going to Shanghai the CCP will benefit from its actions in Hong Kong.

 

16. US asks Taiwan to fill void as Confucius Institutes close

asia.nikkei.com · by Nick Aspinwall

 

17. Opinion | Something appears to be ‘simply, simply wrong’ at the Biden Justice Department

The Washington Post · by Fred Ryan · June 6, 2021

This is why we need separation of powers and checks and balances as well as a fourth estate to hold the government accountable.

Excerpt: “Unfortunately, new revelations suggest that the Biden Justice Department not only allowed these disturbing intrusions to continue — it intensified the government‘s attack on First Amendment rights before finally backing down in the face of reporting about its conduct.”

Conclusion: “The inconsistency between presidential words and Justice Department deeds dictates the need for full accountability and transparency regarding the actions taken by the exiting Trump Justice Department and those of the incoming Biden administration. A full accounting should be produced and released for the American public to see.”

 

18.  Assessing U.S. Army Diversity Efforts in the Context of Great Power Competition

divergentoptions.org · by Louis Melancon · June 7, 2021

The author argues the Army needs a deliberate effort to shape heuristics to keep up with diversity initiatives.

Conclusion: “The U.S. Army has not been as effective in breaking and replacing old heuristics in conjunction with the active steps to increase diversity. Anecdotal evidence is emerging that new heuristics are naturally emerging within the force that will slow down the efforts to improve diversity; this is a result of not deliberately seeking to replace heuristics at pace with new diversity initiatives. As an example, rather than focus on matching skills needed for a position with a candidate, some units are seeking out personnel whose career trajectory closely matches previous concepts of a successful soldier. Preferring a concept of what makes a good soldier over recognized skills needed for mission success goes against what the U.S. Army desires with talent management. There is no maliciousness here, humans rely on heuristics and so older, flawed concepts are tweaked on the margins if nothing is provided to replace them. The units are seeking to do the right thing, but are limited by what the individuals within them know. Without a deliberate effort to shape heuristics that support new policies, the ones which emerge in the force will inevitably and inadvertently buttress the old biases.

Senator Cruz provided a teachable moment. His constituents will decide with the ballot if he will have to pay a price for having outdated and flawed heuristics. Were the U.S. Army to share Senator Cruz’s outlook, the price paid in both competition and conflict with peer competitors will be much higher for soldiers if the issue of heuristics is not addressed now.

 

19.  The Cost of Being an ‘Interchangeable Asian’

The New York Times · by Brian X. Chen · June 6, 2021

Excerpt:But as a first step, what many Asian American professionals need is simple. They want their colleagues to bother to learn their names.

Yes, it’s probably happened to all of us, no matter our identity: An acquaintance or colleague mistakes you for another person with the same hairdo or a similar name. But for people of Asian descent, it happens without question when there are a few other Asians in the office, even when they look and sound nothing alike.

In nearly two dozen conversations with professionals of Asian descent in recent weeks, and in 15 years of my own experience in the workplace, the consensus was clear: It happens again and again, from one job to the next. While the problem is prevalent in the United States, the mix-ups also frequently happen in other countries where people with Asian heritage make up a minority, like Canada. There’s even a term for it: the interchangeable Asian.

 

20. Once a Bastion of Free Speech, the A.C.L.U. Faces an Identity Crisis

The New York Times · by Michael Powell · June 6, 2021

Please focus on freedom of speech (press, religion, etc) . It is an American issue, not a progressive issue.

 

21. Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion – Global SOF Foundation Imperatives

gsofimperatives.org

 

22.  How the I Ching informs China’s harmonious pursuit of geopolitical strategy

SCMP · by Lub Bun Chong · June 7, 2021

Harmony (as defined by the CCP I am sure).

How the I Ching informs China’s harmonious pursuit of geopolitical strategy

  • The Chinese dream, belt and road, Taiwan policy and vaccine diplomacy all seek to preserve harmony, a key notion in the I Ching
  • The US would do well to realise that China’s growing clout necessitates an accommodating shift, not a breakdown, in the global balance

 

23. Special Operations News Update – Monday, June 7, 2021 | SOF News

sof.news · by SOF News · June 7, 2021

 

———————

 

“A man who has the knowledge but lacks the power clearly to express it is no better off than if he never had any ideas at all.”

 – Thucydides, The History of the Peloponnesian War

 

“Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.”

– Voltaire

 

” …there was no point in seeking to convert the intellectuals. For intellectuals would never be converted and would anyway always yield to the stronger, ‘and this will always be the man in the street.’ Arguments must therefore be crude, clear and forcible, and appeal to emotions and instincts, not the intellect. Truth was unimportant and entirely subordinate to tactics and psychology…Hatred and contempt must be directed at particular individuals.   

– H. Trevor-Roper (ed), The Goebbels Diaries

 

 

DanielRiggs
Mon, 06/07/2021 – 9:37am

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