Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Can't muster the interest to watch. I may comment on some of the specific proposals.


70,000 new Math and Science teachers.


Great idea as a concept. We sure could use them but market incentives for high level math and hard science skills trend heavily against this ever coming to pass. Engineering careers and computer fields absorb most of our native math talent. This isn't the same thing as Clinton's 100,000 cops - the human resource here is not as fungible , hence the shortage. We can't even import enough immigrants with math degrees to fill our research programs in private industry and at universities, much less the k-12 public schools.

Why teach fresh out of college for $ 22 -29k when someone with a math degree can go to work in the computer industry for twice that and make a salary in four or five years with a Bachelor's degree what they couldn't make after 30 years in the public schools with a Ph.D ? I'm not certain how we can have brilliant math and science teachers who are also strangely unaware of basic economics.

Hat tip Rough Type:

Here is an interesting declassified DoD document from 2003 outlining " Information Operations" a rubric under which the Pentagon has placed PSYOPS, Strategic Influence, Disinformation, Electromagnetic weapons of mass disruption, IT network defense, Cultural Intelligence, Public Diplomacy and some netwar analysis capability. Parts of the PDF are redacted but it doesn't take too much imagination to fill in some of the blanks.

On the positive side, if you read between the lines you can see a growing familiarity with Boyd's OODA loop on an institutional level as the Pentagon attempts to craft a coherently strategy to influence a battlespace composed of multiple audiences - elite, mass, Arab, American and European - all of whom filter media delivered information through different cognitive frames. Another positive is that obvious deficits in terms of cultural intelligence and the subsequent impact on PSYOPS are frankly admitted.

On the negative side, the document reads too much like the Pentagon is still trying to get a handle on the nature of IO itself and isn't quite certain of the parameters here. IT network defense and cyberwarfare in general, or at least its technical and operational aspects would probably have been better served as the focus of a separate document.

Wonder what the classified follow up looks like. Particular after Titan Rain.
Monday, January 30, 2006

A good NSA wiretapping debate sparked by the Bobbitt article can be found at Prometheus6.

In a tactical diplomatic coup, the Bush administration has secured the consent of Russia and China to refer Iran's suspected violations of the NPT to the UN Security Council. Previously, many experts expected that Russia - Iran's major trading partner - and China would balk at such a move or threaten the use of their veto power.

Iran has done much of the heavy lifting in terms of isolating itself by using belligerent rhetoric, wanton obstructionism and the gratuitously offensive behavior of their fanatical president, but the Bush administration merits praise today.

Let's see which of Bush's habitual critics are big enough to admit it.

Prediction: Zero.


Critic # 1


Bill Petti weighs in at Duck of Minerva

Falling out as Dr. Barnett wargamed it ( or NewMapgamed it).

Dr. Philip Bobbitt, author of The Shield of Achilles, on NSA eavesdropping and terrorism in his NYT op-ed (hat tip Memeorandum):

"In the debate over whether the National Security Agency's eavesdropping violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, we must not lose sight of the fact that the world we entered on 9/11 will require rewriting that statute and other laws. The tiresome pas de deux between rigid civil libertarians in denial of reality and an overaggressive executive branch seemingly heedless of the law, while comforting to partisans of both groups, is not in the national interest.

...Furthermore, not only are there presumably conspirators within the United States, but conversations between two foreign persons could be routed, via the Internet, through American switches to give the appearance of a domestic-to-international connection. It is difficult to imagine getting warrants now in such situations, because the standard of probable cause to conclude that the target is a terrorist cannot be met."

Read the whole thing.

Members of paramilitary networks are not merely a random collection of individuals but are connected to an evolving, organizational entity with an institutional life that, while different in many ways, are not unlike states and corporations which have long had special status in both domestic and international law. Even members of organized crime, a less dangerous grouping than al Qaida, are subject to RICO prosecution.

Policies, laws and attitudes must change to reflect this reality.


The esteemed Colonel Austin Bay has weighed in as well.
Sunday, January 29, 2006

Some well crafted pieces of blogging today. Some controversial, some commonsensical.

Marc Schulman at American Future - " Surveillance and the eyes of al Qaeda "

Dan of tdaxp for his series on Liberal Education ( open up several Coronas) and read Part I, Part II, Part III and Part IV.

Ralph Peters in The Weekly Standard - " The Counterrevolution in Military Affairs "

William Lind at DNI continues his series critiquing 4GW's critics with " The Ugly "

Curzon at Coming Anarchy - " Scary China Part 1. Chirol and the Sino-Japanese War and 'Saving Face'" " and " Scary China II. and " Sacry China Part 2: Rationality Will Not Save You.

Blogfriend Stuart Berman has started a new IT security blog, aptly named - Security

From SEED - the Bush administration's "New Federalism" in Big science and From New Scientist - a Robot to pour you a beer.

That's it.

Google, currently facing a firestorm of criticism for voluntarily abetting the Chinese government in its campaign of censorship and repression of dissent, is now crying foul at attempts by the EU to regulate content by extendng regulations regarding broadcast television to the internet.

Don't get me wrong, I'm glad Google is using its deep pockets to fight back rather than just rolling over.It is completely true that the EU TV regs would, in the words of one minister opposed to the proposal, be completely destructive toward innovation and protective of politically connected rentier elites:

"There is no benefit to the consumer that justifies this move. This increased scope could mean significant regulation of the internet and stifle the growth of new media services. That would raise prices for consumers and deprive them of potential new services.

...in 10 years our successors will bemoan the handicaps we gave to European industry and the restraints we put on free speech".

Which is not a side effect of these regulations but their central intent. They are intended to stifle growth in the information and media sector and monitor speech content.

But the irony to this battle over the EU regs is that Google's moral position vis-a-vis the Eurocrats in Brussells would be far stronger were they not already in bed with China's secret police.


It just occurred to me after I posted the above comments that a very important question needs to be asked of Google's CEO:

" If you have agreed to censor what information can be accessed in China in return for greater market opportunities, have you also agreed to censor what information can be accessed about China by the rest of us ?"

Is the integrity of megasearch engines and their susceptibility to the secret influence of foreign governments a national security question as well as one of free speech and human rights ?


Dave at The Glittering Eye has more

Bruce reports Google is called to testify before Congress
Friday, January 27, 2006

Nasty, Brutish and Short. This is almost drive-by linking :o)

Matt at Conjectures & Refutations on " The Neuroscience of Cognitive Biases". Matt also has had an article published in the online journal The New Libertarian. Congrats !

Penraker rakes the shills at the NYT for push-polling the NSA wiretap story and engaging in blatant factual misdirection and omission. Having looked at the wording of the questions on the survey he's quite correct.

The NYT has lost its vaunted credibility status not through virtue of being partisan - they have always been the official newspaper of the power structure of the elite liberal establishment - but by being dishonest, arrogant and just plain sloppy.
Thursday, January 26, 2006

Curtis takes on many, many threads and weaves a tapestry....

I would like to comment on this as well as Dan's series ( which has another part coming) but I must hold off a bit. First, I'm buried today at my real place of work and secondly, my critique of 4GW isn't going to write itself unless I ruthlessly clear my desk and actually do it ! ( Anyone else have this problem ??) .

Lastly, I wish to congratulate Whirledview's authors Patricia, Cheryl and Patricia on their nomination for the Koufax award in the category of " Deserving Wider Recognition". Amen to that !

I encourage all Zenpundit readers to give Whirledview your vote !


Very nice 4GW " Soft Power" post on Jihadi videos at Beacon
Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Not quite two weeks ago I requested some advice on books to give a good grounding on Iran, its society and politics. Raf, a compatriot of Collounsbury and a contributor to the MENA group blog 'Aqoul was gracious enough to put together a short bibliography for Zenpundit readers that includes a nice mix of Westerners and native speakers. I'll be picking up a few of these myself in the near future.

Without further ado - Raf's Recommendations:

1. Modern Iran: Roots and Results of Revolution by Nikki Keddie

This one was Raf's "absolute must read first" selection.

2. The Mantle of the Prophet by Roy Mottahedeh

Focus on Shiite Islam

3. In the Rose Garden of theMartyrs : A Memoir of Iran - Christopher de Bellaigue

4. Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir inBooks by Azar Nafisi

Already a best-seller and known to a general audience.

5. We Are Iran : The Persian Blogs by Nasrin Alavi

Once again, thank you Raf ! Please be sure to visit him at 'Aqoul or his home blog, raf* bey...the levantese

Ayn Rand, the novelist-philosopher had a deft explanation for why wealthy people who, presumably, would be against governmental intrusion into the economy and civil society out of self-interest, often were at the forefront of promoting such schemes. They wanted, Rand wrote, " ...an Aristocracy of Pull" where the well-born and the politically connected parvenu alike could make common cause to institutionalize their comparative advantages. The Supreme Court, reflecting the attitudes our elite law schools, has been increasingly friendly to oligarchical policies , as exemplified by the Kelo and McConnell cases, that cement insider positions and hedge against the rest of us. The issue is not Left or Right but In or Out - and most of us by definition are " Out" in terms of power.

And the Beltway political class aims to keep it that way. This trend is being driven by liberal Democrats in Congress and through various foundations and activist groups but they are being helped in no small measure by Republicans like John McCain and wealthy, GOP-supporting, corporations.

Bruce Kesler, who is dedicated to citizen activism, free speech and the spread of democracy, has pointed attention to this OpinionJournal piece " Shut-Up They Explained" by Brian C. Anderson that delves into the attempt to silence and regulate the blogosphere and citizen political activism in time for the next election cycle - if not 2006, then certainly by 2008, ratcheting back internet-based free speech by the unwashed by increments until elections become the scripted shadowbox domain of the insiders once again:

"Campaign-finance reform has a squeaky-clean image, but the dirty truth is that this speech-throttling legislation is partly the result of a hoax perpetrated by a handful of liberal foundations, led by the venerable Pew Charitable Trusts. New York Post reporter Ryan Sager exposed the scam when he got hold of a 2004 videotape of former Pew official Sean Treglia telling a roomful of journalists and professors how Pew and other foundations spent years bankrolling various experts, ostensibly independent nonprofits (including the Center for Public Integrity and Democracy 21), and media outlets (NPR got $1.2 million for "news coverage of financial influence in political decision-making")--all aimed at fooling Washington into thinking that Americans were clamoring for reform, when in truth there was little public pressure to "clean up the system." "The target group for all this activity was 535 people in Washington," said Mr. Treglia matter-of-factly, referring to Congress. "The idea was to create an impression that a mass movement was afoot--that everywhere they looked, in academic institutions, in the business community, in religious groups, in ethnic groups, everywhere, people were talking about reform.

...Campaign-finance reform now has the blogosphere in its crosshairs. When the Federal Election Commission wrote specific rules in 2002 to implement McCain-Feingold, it voted 4-2 to exempt the Web. After all, observed the majority of three Republicans and one Democrat (the agency divides its seats evenly between the two parties), Congress didn't list the Internet among the "public communications"--everything from television to roadside billboards--that the FEC should regulate. Further, "the Internet is virtually a limitless resource, where the speech of one person does not interfere with the speech of anyone else," reasoned Republican commissioner Michael Toner. "Whereas campaign finance regulation is meant to ensure that money in politics does not corrupt candidates or officeholders, or create the appearance thereof, such rationales cannot plausibly be applied to the Internet, where on-line activists can communicate about politics with millions of people at little or no cost.

But when the chief House architects of campaign-finance reform, joined bySens. McCain and Russ Feingold, sued--claiming that the Internet was one big "loophole" that allowed big money to keep on corrupting--a federal judge agreed, ordering the FEC to clamp down on Web politics. Then-commissioner Bradley Smith and the two other Republicans on the FEC couldn't persuade their Democratic colleagues to vote to appeal."

Read the whole thing.

Drafts that have emerged of proposed Federal regs for blogs [ Ed. note: " The Congress Shall Make No Law...] appear to be vague, highly arbitrary, convoluted and expensive to contest if a blogger is accused of expressing a political opinion -err...I mean wrongdoing. Initiating a complaint against a blogger, however groundless, would be simple and free. It would also attempt to give the discredited and widely distrusted mainstream media special legal prerogatives that do not exist in the Constitution. Or, as Chief Justice Warren Burger wrote:

“The Court has not yet squarely resolved whether the Press Clause confers upon the ‘institutional press’ any freedom from government restraint not enjoyed by all others.”

In my preemptive campaign of civil disobedience I hearby declare " Zenpundit" to officially be a newsmagazine and a journal of scholarly opinion. And as such, I shall report on the news and run op-eds all the way to election day.


This post was helpfully picked up by Topix.net. Thanks, guys !
Tuesday, January 24, 2006

From Dr. Michael Scheuer, author of Imperial Hubris, former head of the CIA Bin Laden Task Force writing in On Point:

"And there is much to be said for killing foreigners -- even in large numbers -- who are willing to host, hide, feed, fund, and pray for America’s enemies...

In a rational, historically aware country, U.S. leaders would have told Americans that the attack on Zawahiri was facilitated by U.S. intelligence officers and Special Forces who risked their lives to gather intelligence that seemed to fix Zawahiri in a specific place at a specific time. Because Washington’s most important duty is to protect Americans, they would have said, we acted on the best information available and, so to speak, let 'er rip. Unfortunately, we missed Zawahiri, but we killed four of his fighters and will keep trying to get him and bin Laden. As for the dead Pakistanis, they are foreigners not Americans and we have no responsibility to protect them. And, in any event, they were about to serve up sautéed goat steaks and curry to one of America’s most dangerous enemies. The lesson all Pakistanis should take from the incident is that we are not concerned with the lives of Zawahiri’s abettors, that they were lucky the village was not hit by B-52s, and that next time they may not be so fortunate.

Such a public articulation would have been neither callus nor irresponsible; it just would have been true. We are engaged in war against Islamic militants who fight as insurgents. These men wear no uniforms, and live -- and hide -- among a population in eastern Afghanistan and western Pakistan that overwhelmingly supports them because the insurgents are their coreligionists and because they are attacking the United States. The current problem for America is not last week’s near-miss on Zawahiri, but that there have been so few attacks on Zawahiri and bin Laden. Frankly, from an intelligence perspective, the more violence, the better chance to collect quality intelligence. Frequent, deadly bombings -- even if not always totally effective -- make the enemy nervous, force him to move about, and stimulate chattiness as he communicates electronically about his location and status. Our ability to collect intelligence pin-pointing the enemy increases exponentially when he is talking and moving. Thus, even a near-miss is a valuable stimulus to collection."

Read the whole thing.

One of the underutilized aspects of 4GW theory on moral conflict and violence is that while de-escalation is the preferred tactic of the State to accrue moral capital in the war with an insurgency, an abrupt use of extreme violence can also have a positive moral effect if the duration is very short with a particular lesson in mind rather than generalized mayhem. Wiliam Lind referred to the apocalyptic butchery unleashed by Hafez al-Assad against the Muslim Brotherhood at Hama for challenging the power of the Syrian Baath dictatorship as an example.

A very meandering post:

I have been reading and re-reading for the critique of 4GW which has impacted my blogging time somewhat and this process is likely to result in lighter, shorter, postings this week. I had hoped to finish everything by Sunday but I was hit by a nasty cold on Friday, aggravated by an extended bout of snowman building and snowball fighting with The Firstborn and the Son of Zenpundit on Saturday. The virus impacted my general energy level for writing and much of that which remained was consumed by designing a powerpoint presentation for work as well as a frank and very interesting exchange with John Robb over the "Lind Review " of Dr. Barnett's ideas. A discussion picked up by others as well.

Dan of tdaxp is off on a controversial tangent about liberal education, which at this point, I think still requires further clarification and expansion. Liberal education can be subversive of established orders that rest on static assumptions. Dynamic societies require liberal education - or some other process that approximates the same cognitive result in a plurality of the population - in order to retain their dynamism and creativity. As Dr. Chet Richards suggested to Dan:

"You raise an interesting point, and you are right that there are states that would be weakened by liberal education. But for us - the US and the democracies - what's the alternative? Illiberal education?

If exposing people to a wide range of ideas and teaching them to think for themselves is causing us to be vulnerable to 4GW, then we have problems much deeper than even Bill Lind's fertile imagination can conjure.

Any state that is vulnerable to a liberal educational system deserves to disappear (take a glance around the Middle East ...) After all, a state is just a human construct - it serves us, not the other way around, or at least that's the way it's supposed to work."

A fair question would be how liberal is American education these days ? A liberal education is certainly available in the sense of being possible for those students who take some intiative, if you accept a broad definition of the term, but even so there has been, at all levels of education, a retreat from that ideal in the public sphere. There we see movement toward required indoctrination of multicultural-leftist attitudes or rote mastery of facts without a concomitant critical analysis ( in some schools, both at once). And of course some private institutions of education have always explicitly rejected that model in favor of indoctrinating rival, usually authoritarian, philosophical values. Students receiving this kind of education represent a tiny fringe of the population, even amongst those educated privately or homeschooled.

Ninety percent of all Americans are educated in the public schools. What happens there matters a great deal.
Monday, January 23, 2006

An interesting web-exclusive piece from Foreign Policy on internal French policy toward terrorism. While a judicial rather than military policy in nature - French anti-terror magistrates have been granted a set of extraordinairy powers that differ from the common Anglo-American understanding of the descriptor " judicial":

" France was caught largely unprepared when a series of deadly attacks shook Paris in the mid-1980s. The new terror wave, allegedly ordered by Iran and Syria, involved a geopolitical dimension that the antiquated French police and justice systems were in no position to counter. That prompted the adoption in 1986 of a comprehensive antiterrorism law, which set up a centralized unit of investigating magistrates in Paris—led by Marsaud and later by judge Jean-Louis Bruguière—with jurisdiction over all terrorism cases. Unlike normal French criminal proceedings, terrorist trials in France are judged only by panels of professional magistrates, without the participation of juries.

In the French system, an investigating judge is the equivalent of an empowered U.S. prosecutor. The judge is in charge of a secret probe, through which he or she can file charges, order wiretaps, and issue warrants and subpoenas. The conclusions of the judge are then transmitted to the prosecutor’s office, which decides whether to send the case to trial. The antiterrorist magistrates have even broader powers than their peers. For instance, they can request the assistance of the police and intelligence services, order the preventive detention of suspects for six days without charge, and justify keeping someone behind bars for several years pending an investigation. In addition, they have an international mandate when a French national is involved in a terrorist act, be it as a perpetrator or as a victim. As a result, France today has a pool of specialized judges and investigators adept at dismantling and prosecuting terrorist networks."

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Chirol has finished Part III of his series on PNM Theory and British domination of Egypt:

"According to Barnett’s criteria for the effectiveness of a military intervention, creating enough security to attract substantial FDI, the British occupation was successful. In terms of increasing the flows of globalization (relevant to that time), it also succeeded. However, as soon as the English finally left, the country succumbed to a coup in 1952 which has lasted to this day. Whether the British can be blamed for that remains open because they did not truly aim to create the a constitutional monarch that would last but rather one that they could manipulate, ultimately leading to the nationalist backlash which ruined the country and doomed it to one man rule."

An interesting follow-up for Chirol would be the subsequent and bloody British intervention against the Mahdist state in Sudan, undertaken to punish the destruction of the force that had been commanded by Charles "Chinese" Gordon at Khartoum. A young Winston Churchill accompanied that expedition to watch the undaunted cavalry of the Mahdi, swords in one hand and Qurans in the other, charge headlong into the guns of Kitchener's army.

The well-regarded IR blog Duck of Minerva has been nominated for "Best New Blog" for the 2005 Koufax Awards. Yes they are liberals but they are also admirers of Machiavelli , so cast a vote for the Duck when the polls open.

Congratulations to Dan, Patrick, Rodger and Bill on the nomination - and good luck !

Here we go....

John Hagel at Edge Perspectives has pride of place for his post " Zero Sum Thinking"

Hagel is one of those extremely smart bloggers whom I wish posted more often. Understanding the implications of zero sum and nonzero sum dynamics is a critical one and it simply isn't all that common due to the often counterintuitive nature of nonzero sum thinking.

Rebecca MacKinnon at RConversation on the disturbingly cutesy, quasi-Pikachu, internet censorship initiative of the Chinese government in "China's Big Bro and Sis now have names and faces".

It as if the Gestapo had access to Japanimation ( Hat Tip: Mountain Runner).

Collounsbury posting at 'Aqoul on "US Diplo Service: Out into the Field She Says"

Col, who is not known for lavishing praise on Bush administration officials, is pleased with the reforms initiated by Rice ( as am I). Like the military, the foreign service needs a major overhaul of its personnel and promotion policies that have only been tinkered with ad hoc over the last century.

The Drs. Eide at The Eide Neurolearning Blog on "Aha! How We Learn Something New"

I often discuss horizontal thinking and have speculated that it plays the role of a catalyst in stimulating insight. Here the Eides discuss research demonstrating bilateral brain processing old old and new data - " novelty-seeking with a purpose" as a driver of innovation.

Simon of Simon World draws our attention to three Jamestown reports on China.

That's it.
Friday, January 20, 2006

William Lind has posted a scathing attack on the work of Thomas P.M. Barnett at Defense & The National Interest as part of a series of responses to critics and commenters on 4GW theory. Along with his reputation as a military theorist, Lind is known for his unvarnished prose and here he indulges himself:

"Among the critics and reinterpreters of Fourth Generation war, the bad is most powerfully represented by Thomas Barnett’s two books The Pentagon’s New Map and Blueprint for Action. What Barnett advocates is bad in two senses: first, that it won’t work, and second, that if it did work the result would be evil."

Evil : Attila the Hun, Ghengis Khan, Tamerlane, Adolf Hitler....Tom Barnett ?

"In both books, Barnett divides the world into two parts, the Functioning Core and the Non-Integrating Gap. This is parallel to what I call centers of order and centers or sources of disorder, and I agree that this will be the fundamental fault line of the 21st Century. Barnett’s error is that he assumes the Functioning Core will be the stronger party, able to restore order in places where it has broken down. In fact, the forces of disorder will be stronger, because they are driven by a factor Barnett dismisses, the spreading crisis of legitimacy of the state. By ignoring Martin van Creveld’s work on the rise and decline of the state, Barnett’s books end up anchoring their foundations on sand."

A legitimate point but a debatable one. Lind is betting on entropy and, as such, he's wrong for a variety of reasons but this is at least an argument bearing serious examination. Unfortunately, this was the brief high point of Lind's commentary.

"Barnett’s second error, manifested almost comically in Blueprint for Action, is that he thinks restoring the state in places where it has failed will be easy. According to a Washington Post review of Blueprint for Action by Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Barnett has a six-step plan to accomplish this: First, the U.N. Security Council acts as a grand jury to indict countries; second, the Core’s biggest economies issue “ ‘warrants’ for the arrest of the offending party”; third, the United States leads a “warfighting coalition”; fourth, a Core-wide administrative force (with the United States providing 10 to 20 percent of its personnel) puts things back together with the help of the fifth element, a new International Reconstruction Fund; followed by a sixth step, criminal prosecution of the apprehended parties at the International Criminal Court in the Hague. “That’s it, from A to Z,” Barnett notes cheerfully."

Dr. Barnett does not think such a task is easy, which is obvious to anyone who cares to read Blueprint For Action. If it were, he wouldn't be proposing an A-Z rule-set for processing failed states in the first place. In Barnett's view, the sheer magnitude of the problem represented by the Gap dwarfs the resources of even the United States to manage.

"A cynic might suggest that the United States can’t even do this in New Orleans much less in foreign countries. In fact, as the FMFM 1-A, Fourth Generation War, argues strongly, even if an outside force does everything right, the probability of success in such endeavors remains low. Why? As Russell Kirk wrote, there is no surer way of making someone your enemy than to announce you will remake him in your image for his own good. To many of the world’s peoples, what Barnett argues for in such blithe simplicity represents Hell, and they will fight it literally to their dying breath."

Where does Tom argue for remaking all countries in America's image ?

"This brings us to the third problem with Barnett: what his books advocate does represent Hell, or at least Hell’s first cousin, Brave New World. He would create an inescapable new world order that bears a remarkable resemblance to the one Aldous Huxley described in his short novel Brave New World, published in the 1930s – a “soft totalitarianism” where the first rule is, “you must be happy.” Happiness, in turn, is a product of endless materialism, consumerism, sensual pleasure and psychological conditioning. If that sounds like a good description of American popular culture, it is exactly that culture Barnett proposes to force down the throat of every person on earth, with the U.S. military serving as the instrument of coercion"

At best, this is a straw man argument. At worst, it is wacky. Neither The Pentagon's New Map nor Blueprint For Action called for an America to become McDonald's gendarme.

"What Barnett’s books end up revealing is the combination of moral blindness and international political hubris that characterizes the whole quest for American world empire, a quest initiated by the neo-cons. Like the (other?) neo-cons, Barnett sees the world and its cultures in Jacobin terms, as a combination of Rousseau’s natural goodness of man and Newtonian clockwork mechanism. Just twist a few dials here, throw a couple of levers there and presto!, Switzerlands spring up from Ouagadougou to the Hindu Kush."

While the invocation of "neo-con" as an perjorative is usually the mark of an ideological frame being substituted for analysis ( incidentally, the neoconservatives don't particularly like Barnett's ideas) I have a much simpler explanation for Lind's jeremiad.

I doubt he actually read Blueprint for Action.


DNI Review of Blueprint For Action by Dr. Chet Richards

"Contra Barnett" by John Robb at Global Guerillas

I note there is a nice discussion evolving in the comments section at John's official GG site


Thomas P.M. Barnett responds to William Lind

(Hat Tip to Younghusband)

Rob of the always informative BusinessPundit posted on cognitive bias in the strategic thinking for business the same time I was reviewing Art Hutchinson's thoughts on the subject.

There is a fairly significant crossover here between the military-political realm and the market-oriented business world when one deals with the principles and psychology of strategic thinking. Both fields must perforce deal with complexity and dynamic scenarios when setting objectives and planning how to reach them. Both fields must adjust to the systemic effects of decisions and are prone to blind spots and bias.
Thursday, January 19, 2006

Chirol of Coming Anarchy is looking at Victorian imperialism in Egypt through the lens of Dr. Barnett's PNM Theory; a nice interdisciplinary mix of political science and history.

"British Egypt and PNM Theory Part I"

"British Egypt and PNM Theory Part II"

An excerpt:

"According to [ British historian Niall] Ferguson, the similarities are as follow. Britain invaded Egypt to oust a Said Ahmed Arabiw, a military officer who’d seized power in a coup. He was no Saddam and the pretext for intervention was violence against European residents of Alexandria. The British government under Gladstone, like Bush, had also pledged not to engage in imperialism and nation building. In terms of strategic importance, the Suez canal was what oil is now. Over 80% of the canal’s traffic was British, 13% of their overall worldwide trade. Egypt was also heavilly in debt, largely to the British (not surprisingly, Gladstone himself held many such bonds). England intervened in Egypt against the will of the other great powers (France, Germany, Austria, Russia), which met to discuss international problems and as if almost on queue, the French protested. The British won a swift victory and remained there almost 80 years.

...First, let’s concentrate on the British economic reform of Egypt which was one of the primary reasons for the occupation. Egypt was heavily in debt, and had even sold a controlling share of the Suez to the British only a few years beforehand. Since the Egyptian government was filled with “patronage,” known to the developed world as corruption, structural reform of the various ministries was rather difficult and the money raised by shares of the Suez only provided a short lease on life for the Egyptian government, a few years. The British and French, Egypt’s main creditors, instituted a “stewardship” sending representatives to Cairo to take control of various ministries, already partial-colonization so to say. As Egyptians protested against their loss of sovereignty, unhappiness grew and a revolt finally broke out. When violence was directed against the European population there, the final line had been crossed.Prime Minister Gladstone, archliberal that he was ordered an intervention, despite international outcry against it. The French as usual did not participate,cried foul and resorting to their usual tactic of doing nothing."

Khedive Egypt had a short-lived moment of glory under Muhammed Ali - the last great Muslim conquerer, reformer and satrap under the Ottomans, after whom Cassius Clay was renamed. After that, decline.
Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Kingdaddy of Arms and Influence, who produced the high quality "Counterinsurgency is Hard" series that I featured here has begun a second, impressive, COIN series, " Counterinsurgency is Doable -Part I." and " Part II". Check it out

Also, at Opposed System Design we have insightful commentary on the war of words between the men of DNI and their critics in " 4GW, Pro or Con". An excerpt:

"We can avoid much of the angst associated with 4GW if we view it as a movement and not as a theory. The ranks of prominent 4GW thinkers include many of the “acolytes” of the late John Boyd. As such, they share an admirably tenacious desire to resist bureaucratic stupidity and a focus on the underlying challenges faced by our soldiers. Over the past fifteen years, they have identified non-state warfare as a challenge our military faces. The dynamics of state decline influence our national security in a significant way now, and they are dedicated to considering the consequences of these dynamics. But this is not where the controversy lies.

Where the conflict comes is when these 4GW thinkers attempt to create a historical framework for these dynamics of state power and non-state violence. By offering a simplistic model of the past four centuries of warfare, they ignore all of the variations and fluxuations the power of the state faced througout those four centuries and around the globe. In one breath Sayen acknowledges this “[the process of establishing states who possessed a monopoly on violence] did not end in the so-called “Third World” until the late 19th Century.” Yet in the next breath he avows that “…the [Westphalia] treaty’s key principles, which in essence gave states the sole right to wage lawful war, quickly spread throughout Europe and, through European colonization, the rest of the world” (emphasis added). He can acknowledge that “non-state actors have always been with us,” yet he can go on to assert that “non-staters are making a comeback,” implying that they must have be returning from somewhere."

"Wiggins" the Wohlstetterian blogger at OSD has challenged me to throw my hat into the ring on the question of the validity of the 4GW school's historical case for their theory, which as Lind himself recently wrote, has to do with the van Creveldian premise " ...At the core of 4GW is a crisis of legitimacy of the state".

Challenge accepted.


Military theorist John Robb at Global Guerillas weighs in:

"My take: the state vs. state generational framework of the 4GW theory has run its course. It is extremely useful as a method of describing the state's use of proxies to fight other states. It accurately describes the rise of the use of proxy guerrilla wars by cold war opponents and proxy terrorism by developing nations as a means to achieve objectives without conventional/nuclear conflict. We've gone beyond the proxy model and therefore beyond the 4GW generational framework. "

Read John's post in full.

I'm taking this debate with the seriousness it deserves and I will lay out a comprehensive critique in the near future.
Tuesday, January 17, 2006

From the Small Wars Council - I have to say this SSI monograph by Dr. Daniel Byman is well worth the time you will invest to read it. Byman reviews the difficulties of counterinsurgency warfare and counterterrrorism operations conducted through or in conjunction with client state security forces and evaluates most of the strengths and weaknesses of the "player" states in the War on Terror.

And it is free.

Art Hutchinson of Mapping Strategy had a superb post the other day entitled" Mental Maps, Assumptions, Predictions and Complexity: Crichton Speaks" which analyzed aspects of the talk " Fear, Complexity, & Environmental Management in the 21st Century"
given by uber-novelist Michael Crichton at the Washington Center for Complexity and Public Policy. Crichton's address is worth a post in itself, particularly the graphics, but I would like to concentrate on the concepts Hutchinson is drawing our attention toward. Art writes:

"...But it causes one to consider the influence that authority (of all types) can have on the perception of facts. The implications of that idea for how leaders lead and how organizations set strategy in an uncertain world are profound "

Very true.

Leaders play a critical role in the operation of John Boyd's OODA loop both for the decision-makers and the mass, whether a society, subculture or formal organization. Leaders, so long as they retain the intiative, usually have the advantage of framing most questions or data points under discussion, thereby determining the parameters of debate. Framing not only influences the " orientation" part of the OODA loop where information is integrated into the worldview but it can also effect "observation" as well. In his talk, Crichton detailed how authoritative definitions drive subsequent human perceptions, creating self-fulfilling prophecies and blind spots.

Leaders can do a number of things to corrupt the OODA loop:

1. React to uncertainty by attempting to impose ever higher degrees of control over a complex system.

2. Act in unconscious obliviousness to self-referential aspects of data when dealing with systemic questions.

3. Accept only the data as valid that comports with ideological preconceptions when making systemic decisions.

4. Deliberately attempt to isolate themselves from feedback ( in terms of volume not just ideologically) or " kill the messenger" policies.

5. Rely on static assumptions in a dynamic system when making decisions with longitudinal implications.

Ideology, I must note, is not a bad thing per se. In fact, it is a constructive force when used as a guide for outcomes -i.e. the value-set that leads us to setting strategic objectives that result in accomplishing nonzero-sum results. Mankind can hardly live without an ideology because it serves as a psychological simplifier for the overwhelming systemic complexity of reality. When ideology becomes a filter for incoming data or a litmus test that substitutes for reality, a psuedo-reality that leaders forcibly impose on society, then ideology becomes supremely irrational and monumentally destructive.

What are we to do ? Hutchinson suggests:

"In other words, predicting the future is hard. In many cases its virtually impossible - intrinsic to what we're attempting to predict and the precision we're seeking in predicting it - i.e., not simply a failure of our tool-set. Which does not mean we shouldn't try to better understand and 'pre-think' a range of possibilities for how the future might turn out in a certain domain. It's just that many of the tools people employ in doing it (e.g., modeling) should be taken for what they are and nothing more: ways to run more assumptions faster. We should not forget that they're still assumptions." [ Emphasis in the original]

I strongly favor the mentally active, strategic, approach to cognition that Art counsels; frequently we receive information passively and do not bother to examine the premises. Not only do we allow ourselves to be unduly influenced by others and the background " conceptual noise" of the culture but we miss opportunities that are unlooked for - to say nothing of the possibilities that extend, in decision tree fashion, from the road not taken.

Or the connections between the roads. Life is Non-linear.

At Beacon.

More up later tonight.
Monday, January 16, 2006

The intermittently issued newsletter of Dr. Thomas P.M. Barnett features an article by noted defense intellectual H.H. Gaffney whose policy insights I have enjoyed periodically on H-Diplo and in the recent NIC 2020 papers.

Quite bizarrely, I lost the rest of the post after linking to a CIA doc. file of a paper written by Dr. Gaffney. And I am too tired to rewrite....well then...umm..talk amongst yourselves ! LOL !

Many, many, many good things. Sometimes, less is more. But not today.

Dr. Von - " Reasons why U.S. Should Stay Away from an Exam Meritocracy"

Just for the record, Von's correct. The standards movement is primarily about moving failing students and schools into acceptable mediocrity through national standadization of the curriculum. While that's not a bad thing in itself, high stakes testing is not, regardless of what its advocates maintain, about excellence or maximizing intellectual outcomes for top tier students. Or even middle of the road students. It's about reversing the growth of the educational underclass which was reaching crisis proportions in the 1990's. Unfortunately, the hamfisted and draconian provisions, which is what failing bureaucracies needed to start moving, are now poised to deconstruct the good school districts and dumb down their education level to a low national mean.

Bruce Kesler at The Democracy Project- " Cool Tools for Tyrants", "Congress vs. China's Censorship Abettors" and "No 'Right" of Unrestricted International Trade"

This issue may become the " Jackson-Vanik Amendment" of Sino-American relations and Bruce caught on first.

Kobayashi Maru on " Iran, China and North Korea: Why is Kim Jong Il in China Now?"

Chester at The Adventures of Chester on " Interview: army Officer who studied in India"

Brad Plumer interviews Marc " Abu Aardvark" Lynch at Mother Jones.

Paul D. Kretkowski at Beacon on " Arvind Virmani and “National Power Potential” ''

Paul quite usefully is raising the issue of quantifying " Soft Power".

Austin Bay in his column at StrategyPage on " Kennedy and Robertson: Burned by Hot Buttons "

The Colonel dissects two of the least useful humans in the public sphere.

Nathan at Registan on the wisdom of the Kok Turk empire ( Rene Grousset would be proud).

New Blogs Worth Checking Out:

Ideas by Dr. David Friedman - Best described as high quality, counterintuitive, libertarian economics blog. Up there with Becker and Posner.

Mountain Runner - not sure who "Matt" is but this is a damn fine international security and foreign affairs blog.
Sunday, January 15, 2006

Helpfully, Marc Schulman at American Future has done a one-man round-up on posts on Iran's nuclear program and it's confrontation with the West. Plus subsequent posts on the IAEA chief and the EU Foreign Commissioner ( or whatever the title is - regardless, it is Javier Solana, the former NATO Secretary-General).

My post on Iran from last week ( I'm always ahead of the curve here at Zenpundit). Dave Schuler's range of options post is here. T.M. Lutas has his post here and Dr. Barnett's grand strategic commentary is here.

Basic Book Recommendations:

Oddly, outside of the university press type monographs and studies there's not a whole lot that's good and also written for a popular audience on Iran compared to, say, Iraq, China or Russia. I'm sure the general rarity of Farsi as foreign language of study in the U.S. and limited commercial relations betwen Iran and the U.S. account for much of the absence. Then again, I don't recall much of an Iranian studies cottage industries during the Shah's time either. So, with some hesitation, I give you:

The Persian Puzzle by Kenneth Pollack

Pollack was the former Clinton NSC man and CIA analyst for Iraq and Iran and author of The Threatening Storm. He does not speak Farsi, if I recall correctly - or at least not with any fluency, he has a caveat in the book which I read when it first came out- but he had years of classified intel crossing his desk on a daily basis. I found Pollack was more guarded this time around but that's to be expected. The book also has a good description of poor CIA-SAVAK relations and why that was the case. A point that was independently confirmed to me by one of the CIA officers who had been assigned in Teheran at the time ( and who was, if I may add, understandably bitter).

The Iranians: Persia, Islam And The Soul of A Nation by Sandra Mackey

Mackey is the more general intro but is very readable. I thought her book on the KSA was less informed in terms of historical accuracy than Robert Lacey's but that is part and parcel of the journalistic approach to books on other nation's history or cultures.

Perhaps Collounsbury, Marc Lynch or Juan Cole will come up with something better. Or readers can nominate some book choices of their own in the comments section.
Saturday, January 14, 2006

Myke Cole, an analyst at CACI and one of the more interesting and thoughtful up and coming writers on security policy, has a noteworthy article on terrorism profiling in On Point:

"The Taxonomic Obsession: Profiling as a 4GW Tactic" by Myke Cole

Cole argues that the standard counterintelligence practice of profiling for al Qaida or Islamist terrorists based on a model that represents Salafi-Jihadi characterisics is a serious and potentially dangerous error given what we know about 4GW opponents like al Qaida. The evolutionary adaptability of such loosely organized, networked opponents makes, in Cole's view, the use of standard profiling tactics an effort in self-imposed blindness. ( Dan of tdaxp, in his review, offers a counterpoint).

On the evolutionary margin - where operatives for the next catastrophic terrorist attack are likely to be found - Cole is in my view quite correct. Not only for Muslims who do not fit the Arab Salafi-Jihadi profile such as Western converts, SEA nationalities, Women, Black Africans or Bosnian Slavs but those terrorists who are non-muslims altogether. Future strategic partnerships at the operational level between radical Islamists and Neo-Nazi racial extremist groups in Europe and the United States ( who often express admiration for al Qaida) or the radical Left should not be preemptively ruled out, as slavishly adhering to profiling would have us do.

On the other hand, the inchoate nature of the Salafist-Jihadi demographic means that the itinerant, amateur, self-trained, Islamist terrorist who acts out from inspiration gathered largely from the internet or the downtrodden immigrant who becomes radicalized in the ghetto mosques will fall largely into the standard profile. We need to watch the mediocre quintiles of the terrorist bell curve as well as for the superior ones.

I would like to highlight Cole's perceptive observation though, because the implications run deeper than just profiling:

"The western cultural tendency to rely on taxonomy to classify everything it encounters, from cuisine to terrorists, greatly weakens our position to combat the threat.

... The western desire to fit things into neat boxes works against us as we attempt to gain an understanding of how terror groups organize command and control. 4GW theory, supported by our experiences in and , enforces the idea that the sub and transnational opponents we face today operate in cellular fashion; loose networks that move independently guided mostly by an understanding of the overarching strategic goal.

Given this understanding, it seems odd that we attempt to impart a corporate, hierarchical structure to terrorist organizations from the outside. Confused by the fact that they do not function as we do, we attempt to picture them functioning as we do anyway, and the result is debilitating to our national counterterrorism effort."


As difficult as it is to step into another man's shoes it is impossible if you begin your thought experiment with a visualization of the other man wearing one's own boots. What appears to be a logical potential move for your opponent from your perspective is not the most probable course of action if you are ignoring the opponent's internal logic. Our national security bureaucracy needed almost two decades after the end of WWII to get a reasonably nuanced, accurate and widespread " rough sketch" comprehension of the Soviet strategic decision-making process. I hate to say this, but our understanding of the internal dynamics of Islamist terrorism stands at a point equivalent not to 1949 but to 1917.

Our governmental experts and linguists are too few and are generally not of a background that emphasizes experience gained from long cultural immersion but knowledge gained from a point of scholarly removal of the most reductionist, compartmentalized, vertical thinking kind. As a result, expertise in Islamism at the higher reaches of the IC is not only relatively scarce but most likely to suffer from the blindness of "Educated Incapacity" and a lack of imagination. Our taxonomic, model-based, extrapolative, thinking process is a legacy of Aristotle, Bacon, Descartes and Newton and has been a tremendous boon to the West. In terms of mental efficiency, specialization, accumulation of knowledge and creative invention it is a robustly dynamic culture of cognition but it has a few drawbacks.

First, we Westerners tend to naturally underrate interconnectivity and are psychologically intolerant of paradox and ambiguity. Secondly, while much of the world has been forced to adapt this Western cognitive model in science, commerce, diplomacy and so on, it does not mean that " the other" naturally thinks in such a way as to arrive at similar perceptions of events, much less to the same conclusions, that we do. Abandoning our accustomed cultural thinking patterns, in order to emulate a foreign ones for the purposes of analysis, is an exceedingly difficult enterprise.

Yet, it must be done.
Friday, January 13, 2006

This post is a continuation of Part I. and I find myself in greater disagreement with the author here; particularly in regard to DHS. Without slamming any individual employee or alphabet agency of that vast department, the whole concept needs to be rethought with a clear focus on counterintelligence and counterterrorism with an eye toward radical streamlining.

Foreign Policy Research Institute
50 Years of Ideas in Service to Our Nation
1955-2005 www.fpri.org


by Frank G. Hoffman

January 6, 2006

Continued from Part I.


The recently retired Chief of Naval Operations (CNO),
Admiral Vernon Clark, admitted the Navy is neither balanced
nor optimal for the ongoing GWOT or against future irregular
adversaries. The capabilities found in today's 300 ship
fleet makes it extremely potent for conventional fights in
deep "blue water." America's carriers can threaten four
times as many deep strike aim points than a decade ago, and
the strike potential of the total fleet has increased three
times over. Yet,the Navy continues to add to its combat
punch. The fleet has too much strike capacity, paid for at
the expense of expeditionary and littoral combat assets that
are more relevant againstá irregular maritime threats.The
outgoing CNO was right, we do not have a balanced fleet.

The Navy's Mahanian lusting for a future Trafalgar or Midway
is reflected in its devotion to large, expensive ships.
This creates an unaffordable shipbuilding plan with a new
$14Bá aircraft carrier, the CVN-21, and Virginia-class
submarines estimated at $2.5B each, and a DD-X destroyer
that costs around $3B.á The Navy's new Littoral Combat Ship
(LCS) fits the bill with innovative hull designs, modular
mission packages, and superior speed (up to 50 knots). Just
as important, theLCS or Street Fighter provides the
requisite capability packages to á deal with irregular
threats, at one-tenth the cost of a DD-X. Accordingly, in a
world withoutá a blue water opponent, this analysis leans
towards the LCS as the new platform of choice. The DD-X
however, is retained as the sole frame for surface

The Navy should reduce its focus on aviation-based power
projection andá emphasize littoral and expeditionary forces.
Reducing carrier battle groups from 11 to 9, while
preserving a robust amphibious force as a maneuverable form
of presence and cooperation is a good way to posture U.S.
forces for irregular contests.It should also increase the
number of LCS and other innovative hull forms for "green
water" operations against irregular forces increases the
utility of the Navy.

The Navy's new shipbuilding plan for 333 ships is like the
Army's plan, too conventional and completely unaffordable.
The alternativeá outlined here is fleet is achieved, and
better shaped for littoral warfare, countering anti-access
threats, interdicting criminal activity and suppressing
piracy and interference toá sea lines of communication. It
provides both the green and blue water platforms the United
States needs to counteract irregular warfare at sea. Just
as important, this fleet provides both persistent and
periodic forms of presence, maneuvering at sea, without
absorbing the political and military vulnerabilities of
fixed ports and airfields.


One of the most cost effective and relevant capabilities in
America's arsenal is the elite "quiet professionals" of U.S.
special operations forces (SOF). While the U.S. SOF
community has been augmented, much more can be done. Its
current optempo is too high. We currently have 80% of our
assets iná two countries, Iraq and Afghanistan, which former
SOF veteran Mike Vickers calls "a two-country solution to a
60 country problem."To address the lack of robust
capability, we should:

* Increase the SOF by three battalions

* Increase SOF's organic intelligence and UAV assets

* Increase SOF's HUMINT resources by 33%

* Increase SOF's organic stealthy aviation assets

In world of persistent conflict, we should consider
further institutionalizing SOF as a distinct Service-the
Special Operationsá Force (SOF). Creating a Service, to
include JCS representation, would further strengthen its
representation in key planning circles in Washington. Most
importantly, it would give SOF ownership of the personnel
policies, career patterns, promotion paths, and other
incentives within its own unique culture. SOCOM's
headquarters could be better used as a regional command for
Africa (AFCOM).


It is patently obvious since Hurricane Katrina that many
homeland security deficiencies remain. The Department of
Homeland Security's (DHS) requires significant and dedicated
resources. Its budget of roughly $30B has to be increased
twenty percent. It also needs to be reinforced by
transferring the National Guard to DHS (less 15 Guard combat
brigades). This would provide DHS with the leadership,
command and control, transportation, medical and manpower
assets to prepare and respond to both man-made and natural

The Coast Guard also needs to be retooled.Its aging ships
and helicopters are not up to the task posed by new modes of
warfare.The Integrated Deepwater System, the Coast Guard's
modernization program,á should be accelerated. This program
will provide modern cutters, aircraft, and refurbished
helicopter fleet. The program should be funded at $1.25B
per year to accelerate its achievement in 10 vice 20 years.
The Coast Guard's end strength should be increased from
38,000 to 55,000.


Complex Irregular Warfare presents a mode of warfare that
contests America's overwhelming conventional military
capability. It attacks the hubris behind the notion we
could "redefine war on our own terms." The impact of the
9/11, 3/11 and 7/7 attacks have not gone unnoticed by
tomorrow's enemies. Nor has our bloody experiences in Iraq
which offered a rich laboratory for their education.
Because of their success, protracted irregular conflicts
will not be a passing fad nor will they remainá low-tech
wars. Our opponents eagerly learn and adapt rapidly to more
efficient modes of killing.We cannot continue to overlook
our own vulnerabilities or underestimate the imaginations of
our enemies. In a world of Complex Irregular Wars, the
price for complacency only grows steeper.


A good article from FPRI via Younghusband that I am posting in its entirety after my friend and former FPRI man Bruce Kesler helpfully pointed out that I should read the distribution rights fine print :o)

I am breaking this in two parts. I disagree with some of the author's normative choices but think, in general, that he has a very solid point. Given that he is surveying the spending priorities of all the services, some quibbling could hardly be helped.

Foreign Policy Research Institute
50 Years of Ideas in Service to Our Nation

by Frank G. Hoffman

January 6, 2006

Frank G. Hoffman is a Researchá Fellow at the Center for
Emerging Threats and Opportunities (CETO) in Quantico, VA,
and is a non-resident Senior Fellow of the FPRI.The views
represented here are the author's alone and
do not represent the views of the Department of Defense or
the U.S. Marine Corps.

The U.S. National Defense Strategy identifies
irregular challengers as an increasingly salient problem.
The ongoing Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) was expected to
shape America's capacity to deal with nonlinear and
irregular warfare, as well as balance the Pentagon's
overdrawn checkbook But like the last two evolutions, this
QDR will probably be a dud.It is mired by major programs
the Services cling to, despite their high costs and
irrelevance in an era of intra-state warfare and global
insurgency. OSD's leadership cannot convince the Services,
Congress, or swarming army of lobbyists that we need to
shift the Pentagon's budget towards more irregular threats
and away from a rigid focus on conventional warfighting.

This essay outlines the emergence and implications of
Complex Irregular Warfare.This mode of warfare builds upon
and exploits nontraditional modes of warfare.The rise of
Complex Irregular Warfare is the natural reaction to
America's overwhelming military superiority. The United
States has pushed future opponents to alternative means that
are purposely designed and deployed to thwart Western
societies. This mode of warfare exploits modern
technologies and the tightly interdependencies of globalized
societies and economies. A more appropriate alternative to
America's current overall security architecture and its
national security investment portfolio is offered to shape
America's military against this threat.

The nature of tomorrow's irregular wars is not completely
clear. Most likely it will evolve into "War Beyond Limits"
as described by a pair of Chinese Colonels in a volume
entitled "Unrestrictedá Warfare." It certainly will not
break out as described in the Pentagon's strategy, with
enemies choosing discrete options between conventional,
irregular, catastrophic or disruptive strategies.We will
face hybrid forms purpose built to exploit U.S.
vulnerabilities. This would include states blending high-
tech capabilities like anti-satellite weapons, with
terrorism and cyber-warfare directed against financial
targets or critical infrastructure. They will surely
involve protracted and extremely lethal conflicts like the
insurgency in Iraq. Such wars will be neither conventional
nor low intensity. Above all, the enemy will be protean.

The posture of U.S. military forces under such a strategy
requires greater nuance and more of an indirect approach
than yesterday's Garrison Era. Forward presence will be
costly but invaluable, shifting rather than fixed, depending
on the current context. Forces will have to be designed to
maintain American interests across a broader array of
missions and against more adaptive enemies.The following
constitutes an outline sketch of the changes needed.

The evolution of the Division-based Army to one centered on
modular BrigadeáCombat Teams (BCTs) is spot on. These are
more self-contained,cohesive, and faster to deploy. But
the Army's plan to transition the Army's 10 Divisions, (33
BCT equivalents)into 43 smaller BCTs needs reexamination.
Creating the overhead costs for theá new BCT cuts out real
combat power, and the proposed mix of Heavy (armor), Medium,
and Infantry á brigades (19/6/18) is too conventionally

The "modularity" concept offers less than meets the eye.
The claim that the proposal increases combat power by 30
percent measures only a 30 percent increase in the number of
brigades, and not true combat power. The Army plan
decreases the number of Total Force maneuver battalions from
201 to 161. More thaná 20,000 "trigger pullers" have been
sacrificed to produce larger number of arguably weaker
units until the Future Combat System is fielded. In theory
the FCS will use better computers, sensors, and networks to
compensate for traditional firepower, but the program will
not deliver anything until at least 2015.

To rebalance the Army for an era of Complex Irregular War, 7
heavy brigades should be traded for more medium and infantry
BCTs. Adding 3 Stryker Brigades and third infantry
battalion to the 18 IBCTs provides more balance for
irregular warfare. In effect, by reversing the shift to
create additional brigades and their overhead, a net total
of 13 maneuver battalions can be created, within the Army's
current manpower totals.This would represent a significant
increase in true combat power, adding "boots on the ground,"
and enable "full spectrum operations" and the ability to win
the peace as well as the fighting phases.

America's airpower dominance will have to be reshaped to
provide relevant strategic and operational effects. This
will require the Air Force to expand its missions in space
and cyberspace, as well as provide a modernized strategic
strike capability. The $200 million F-22 "Raptor" may be a
technological marvel, but it's an investment that reflects a
misappropriation of funds for an irregular world.Thus, it
should be cancelled with its funding shifted to new long-
range bombers. A bomber with a range in excess of 2,000
miles is needed. The Air Force buy for the Joint Strike
Fighter can be cut in half, and those funds shifted towards
investments in the Unmanned Combat Air Vehicles.


To adapt for the 21st century, the Marines should shift its
orientation from major combat operations and amphibious
assaults to focus on protracted Small Wars. They should
achieve more modularity by shifting away from the separate
Marine Division and Aircraft Wings to standing Expeditionary
Maneuver Brigades,with roughly 15,000 Marines each. Each
of these would be supported by new units for Information
Warfare, Special Operations, andá Security
Cooperation/Foreign Military Training tasks.

Considering the nature of a second Small Wars era, the Corps
should terminate or sharply reduce plans for the V-22 Osprey
and the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV). The tilt-rotor
Osprey is too expensive and too fragile for expeditionary
employment. The Marines are making too many operational
compromises in their ground systems to get around the
limitations of the $80 million V-22. The $8 million EFV
affords seamless high-speed transition from sea to deep
inland objectives for forcible entry operations. It is too
optimized for very rare ship-to-shore maneuver, and is not
adequate for tactical maneuver of Marines during Small Wars.
The resources allocated to the V-22 and EFV programs should
be applied to simpler, less vulnerable, and more rugged
modes of air and ground mobility.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

This blogger knows a quality look when he sees it :o)

From Memeorandum:

The New York Times has an article discussing the increasing clashes between Sunni nationalist insurgent groups and the well-funded Islamist terrorist group, al Qaida in Mesopotamia, run by Musab al-Zarqawi.

While we should not overestimate this, the story is highly plausible given the extremist ideas of Zarqawi which are far more takfiri-Kharijite oriented than even the ideology of the main branch of al Qaida run by bin Laden and al-Zawahiri. The predominance of Saudis and Saudi money in al Qaida Iraq squares with the earlier analysis by the Jamestown Foundation and a more recent one.

A point which indicates that the Saudi security services are either tasked beyond their means by the magnitude of pro-Jihadi sentiment in the population that their own Wahhabi-Salafist ideology has stoked or very little effort is going to stem the flow of volunteers and cash northward (most likely because, as with the previous exodus to Afghanistan, Saudi authorities are happy to see the troublemakers go. Some won't be coming back).

Carl Conetta, co-director of the Project On Defense Alternatives contacted me in regard to a complilation of articles covering the debate on " Exit Strategies" for Iraq from across the political spectrum. They have their own point of view ( running left to centrist) but they did a good job collecting a wide sampling of analysis and documentation.

Much to look at on this site.
Wednesday, January 11, 2006

DNI is rebutting learned critics...British generals are waving rhetorical swagger sticks....my head is spinning ;o)

Here they are boys and girls:

"4GW – Myth, or the Future of Warfare?A Reply to Antulio Echevarria" by Lt. Colonel John Sayen

"Critics of the Fourth Generation: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly" by William Lind

"Changing the Army for Counterinsurgency Operations" by Brigadier Nigel Aylwin-Foster, British Army ( Hat tip to Rodger at Duck of Minerva )

There's also an excellent FPRI email distribution going around entitled " Complex Irregular Warfare", helpfully brought to my attention by Younghusband, which I cannot post without permission. You may, however, contact FPRI yourself to get on their distribution list.

On polar opposite ends of the political spectrum no less - Austin Bay and Crooks and Liars - much thanks for linking to Zenpundit. Particularly since N.Z. Bear changed his algorithim recently and sent my ranking out the window, the new traffic is greatly appreciated.

I'd also like to welcome the new readers, right or left, and hope that you'll find enough here that's pleasing (or annoying) enough to merit a return visit.

Here's a good question for the ME area specialists and Iran watchers out there. Could the loon who serves as Iran's President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, be attempting to provoke a military conflict with the United States or Israel in order to provide a pretext for Ahmadinejad to move against his rivals in the power structure, notably Rafsanjani's faction ?

Marc Schulman, in a post about Iran's nuclear program, highlighted some interesting language by Ahmadinejad:

"Some politicians think we had a revolution so that some could hit others in the head and have one party ruling for some time and another party in opposition for some time. But we had a revolution to achieve a lofty goal, on the basis on the Expectation of the Return. Our interpretation is that the hand of the Almighty is putting every piece of the jigsaw puzzle of the future of the world in place in line with the goals of Islam."

Quite neatly, an assertion of his own revolutionary and religious legitimacy and an implication that his rivals lack those credentials.

On the nuclear issue, Iran has in recent months gone out of its way to spurn the IAEA, the Europeans and even Iran's economic partner and nuclear benefactor, Russia. Ahmadinejad, for his part, has been at pains to antagonize and threaten Israel using the most baiting, emotively activating language possible - though this rhetoric also plays to an Iranian constituency back home that Ahmadinejad seeks to cultivate.

Ahmadinejad does not need a military clash with America to solidify the regime's grip but to loosen it. Having recently escaped an assassination attempt and seen his radical loyalists blocked from important posts by the Majlis, the extremist President, like his reformist predecessor Khatami, is being stymied by the corrupt clerical camarilla around "Supreme Guide" Khameini in the Guardian and Expediency Councils and in the parliament. Holding a weak hand in a rigged game, Ahmadinejad can only strengthen his position by upsetting the pieces on the board and finding an excuse - an emergency - to rewrite the rules.

Comments,as always, are welcome.

UPDATE: I see this post was picked up by our British friends at The Spectator - always an honor. They have also linked to William Lind as well.

UPDATE II. The Christian Science Monitor looked at President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's millenialist religious ideology last month.
Zenpundit - a NEWSMAGAZINE and JOURNAL of scholarly opinion.

My Photo
Location: Chicago, United States

" The great majority of mankind are satisfied with appearances as though they were realities" -- Machiavelli

Determined Designs Web Solutions Lijit Search
02/01/2003 - 03/01/2003 / 03/01/2003 - 04/01/2003 / 04/01/2003 - 05/01/2003 / 05/01/2003 - 06/01/2003 / 06/01/2003 - 07/01/2003 / 07/01/2003 - 08/01/2003 / 08/01/2003 - 09/01/2003 / 09/01/2003 - 10/01/2003 / 10/01/2003 - 11/01/2003 / 11/01/2003 - 12/01/2003 / 12/01/2003 - 01/01/2004 / 01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004 / 02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004 / 03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004 / 04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004 / 05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004 / 06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004 / 07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004 / 08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004 / 09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004 / 10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004 / 11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004 / 12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005 / 01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005 / 02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005 / 03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005 / 04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005 / 05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005 / 06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005 / 07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005 / 08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005 / 09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005 / 10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005 / 11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005 / 12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006 / 01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006 / 02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006 / 03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006 / 04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006 / 05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006 / 06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006 / 07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006 / 08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006 / 09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006 / 10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006 / 11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006 / 12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007 / 01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007 / 02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007 / 03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007 / 04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007 / 05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007 / 06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007 / 07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007 / 08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007 / 09/01/2007 - 10/01/2007 / 10/01/2007 - 11/01/2007 / 11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007 /

follow zenpundit at http://twitter.com
This plugin requires Adobe Flash 9.
Get this widget!
Sphere Featured Blogs Powered by Blogger StatisfyZenpundit

Site Feed Who Links Here
Buzztracker daily image Blogroll Me!