Page 4 of 4 FirstFirst ... 234
Results 61 to 78 of 78

Thread: Strategy in the 21st Century

  1. #61
    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Hiding from the Dreaded Burrito Gang
    Posts
    3,096

    Default

    Bloomberg Q&A with Hugh White, a former top Australian official who feels Beijing has already filled the U.S. leadership void.

    White put these thoughts to paper and pixel with a much-debated essay in the Australian publication Quarterly Essay. "Without America" envisions a Situation Room scene where a fictitious U.S. president decides that, even with America's superior conventional military, the risk of a confrontation with China just isn't worth it. Even if the U.S. prevailed, all China would need to do would be to inflict a couple of glancing blows and it would, politically, have triumphed.

    For context, White is no raging left-wing academic. He has worked for Bob Hawke, a former Australian prime minister, and Kim Beazley, Hawke's defense minister. Both politicians were among the most pro-American figures in the Australian Labor Party. Beazley subsequently served as Australian ambassador to Washington from 2010 to 2016.

    White's opinions have not gone unchallenged -- among others, frequent Bloomberg View contributor Hal Brands took a few shots.
    Link to Q&A:https://www.bloomberg.com/view/artic...he-u-s-in-asia
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 02-06-2018 at 12:59 PM. Reason: Fix link
    A scrimmage in a Border Station
    A canter down some dark defile
    Two thousand pounds of education
    Drops to a ten-rupee jezail


    http://i.imgur.com/IPT1uLH.jpg

  2. #62
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    13,115

    Default Australian doubts

    There has been a series of articles on WoTR over Hugh White's views and I have read a few. See:https://warontherocks.com/index.php?s=hugh+white

    From this faraway spot I rely on this website for Australian input on strategy and to say the least there is an exchange there - a development I expect accelerated by President Trump holding office.
    Link:https://www.lowyinstitute.org/issues/defence-security
    davidbfpo

  3. #63
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    3,167

    Default Question Convention

    Seems much of our strategy and planning frameworks are informed by legacy thinking and doctrine, and have little to do with the real world. Strategies, campaign plans, and contingency plans take months to years to develop unless their a crisis, and then we develop uninformed responses based on limited understanding of the environment and the second, third, etc. of our actions.

    I'm not overly concerned with our strategy framework of ends, ways, means, and risk mitigation if they're not taken to literally. Whether we're implementing strategy during competition or war, we're interacting with competitors or adversaries, while simultaneously shaping and responding to changes in the strategic ecosystem. The most important element of strategy is developing a holistic understanding of the strategic ecosystem so our leaders can make informed decisions.

    What about ends? We need aim points, otherwise we are simply treading water, but the ends can't be overly specific. Rather they need to be broad goals, and for the most part national level strategies address ends broadly. Another consideration for ends is clearly articulating what we can't accept, because it presents a significant risk to our national interests. Ends combined with strategic understanding enables decision makers to better recognize challenge and opportunities; thereby, enable them to direct responses more intelligently than say quickly flexing military forces to every location where some crazy is waving a black flag.

    Ways and means should provide a broad view of we envision competing or fighting, but not be overly prescriptive. The world is changing too fast, but our thinking on strategy is overly informed by the historical aberration of the Cold War, where we were locked into a bipolar competition for decades that informed our strategic decisions. That myopic focus caused us to either miss or ignore the rise of radical Islam which started on industrial scale in 1979, while our recent focus on terrorism blinded us to the threat of Russia and China's gray zone strategies. Our current focus on Russia and China could blind us to other threats, which is why ends should be focused on interests, not adversaries. Ways should be focused on protecting interests from multiple challenges based on our evolving understanding of the strategic ecosystem. Otherwise we once again engrain the political and military-industrial bureaucracy to develop the wrong means. Agility at the strategic level is as important as agility at the tactical level.

    Our outdated campaign and contingency planning construct as described in joint pub 5-O is most concerning. The changes the Chairman is trying to inject to fix very real problems he and others have identified, has mostly resulted in additional staff work that simply distracts from the deep thinking required to clearly define the problem and appropriate response. Clearly this wasn't the intent, but new planning guidance doesn't replace the old, rather it is additive, so it simply piles on more requirements upon existing requirements this is the unavoidable result. The result is planners must produce more and more within the same timeframe, so planners cut and paste from old plans and color between the lines. Developing deep understanding and creative solutions takes time, often our most precious resource.

    Finally, a short comment on so-called SMART objectives and assessments. SMART objectives are appropriate for business practices, but have limited application for strategy and plans. I don't want to overstate this, because some objectives can be SMART, but for our assessment process we need to inject more art than science. As stated above, we're interacting in an ecosystem, hopefully responding smartly to emerging challenges and opportunities as we attempt to navigate toward or desired goals or prevent what we need identified to be unacceptable. The military tends to cling to outdated measuring/assessing SMART objectives, while failing to realize we have in many cases lost our strategic position of advantage, and even if those objectives would change, our adversaries have developed strategic approaches that negate their value.

    Simply food for thought.

  4. #64
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    13,115

    Default Food for thought

    A commentary 'This Too Shall Pass: Remarks to the Camden Conference on The New World Disorder and America’s Future' by Ambassador Chas W. Freeman, Jr. (USFS, Ret.).

    Here is a taster:
    For more than two centuries, American exceptionalism had appealed to the angels of humanity’s better nature. But, as the 21st century advanced, foreigners began to see American claims to political privilege and demands for legal immunity as instances of assertive irresponsibility. The result is steadily reduced foreign support for the hegemonic privileges and double standards to which Americans had come to feel entitled. Today, the American conviction that other countries should be grateful to us and supportive of our continuing global primacy clashes with the preference of every other great power for a multipolar world order in which there is no single world policeman.
    The author's very slim bio:
    Ambassador Freeman chairs Projects International, Inc. He is a retired U.S. defense official, diplomat, and interpreter, the recipient of numerous high honors and awards, a popular public speaker, and the author of five books.
    Link:http://chasfreeman.net/this-too-shall-pass/
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 02-19-2018 at 09:09 PM. Reason: 58,533v
    davidbfpo

  5. #65
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    3,167

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    A commentary 'This Too Shall Pass: Remarks to the Camden Conference on The New World Disorder and America’s Future' by Ambassador Chas W. Freeman, Jr. (USFS, Ret.).

    Here is a taster:The author's very slim bio:Link:http://chasfreeman.net/this-too-shall-pass/
    Interesting article David, but it may be premature to claim American global dominion is receding into history. Maybe wishful thinking on my part, but he points to the very reality of what the world will look like if that happens. To sustain a rules based international order, America's allies and partners will have to stand with us to defend collective interests. An unstable international order, where war becomes the norm again is not in our interest. However, preventing this scenario from continuing to play out will require a concerted effort and more sacrifice. For that to happen we'll need credible political leaders that mobilize their countries to rise to the challenge.

    Now, as American global dominion recedes into history, we can begin to see some elements of what is to come. If the 20th century was America’s, the 21st will be nobody’s. We are witnessing a return to a world based on regional, not global, balances of power. “America First” invites “China first,” “India first,” “Japan first,” “Pakistan first,” “Russia first.” Maybe “Europe first,” if there is a Europe. Great power rivalries are back, some of them between nations with nuclear weapons. None wants to shoulder the burdens of global hegemony on the American model. None seeks to impose its own model on the world. But all are arming to preserve their sovereignty, often against the perceived threat of American attempts at regime change.
    War is back as an accepted means of adjusting the policies, borders, and international alignments of nations. Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria have been thrust into anarchy by foreign intervention. Israel is swallowing all of Palestine. Serbia has lost Kosovo; Ukraine has lost the Crimea. A Saudi-led Arab coalition is devastating Yemen. International law has been reduced to an instrument of accusatory diatribe. It no longer regulates national behavior.
    Like many other strategists he also points out what should be obvious, until we get our own house in order we will be ineffective in projecting power/influence on the world stage.

  6. #66
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    3,167

    Default

    Since the new Blog makes it difficult to start a conversation, the next two posts will be posts I published to the SWJ Blog. Following up here to hopefully see if others agree or disagree with my thoughts.

    First one.

    http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/cna...ship-contested

    CNAS Releases New Report “Building the Future Force: Guaranteeing American Leadership in a Contested Environment”

    My response:

    Special operations remain an afterthought in much of the Department of Defense and the services, and that shortfall is all too often reflected in papers like these. The utility of special operations doesn’t rhyme with America’s preferred way of war, which is seeking rapid victory through decisive battle. The military strategy this future force is designed to support is a strategy that emphasizes finding, fixing, and finishing faster than the adversary. These are capabilities we should desire and aspire towards, but it is hardly a holistic description of an ideal future force based on our current and projected threats.

    Since Dave Maxwell already addressed the special operations gap, I’ll focus my comments mostly on other areas. To clarify my position, the technical challenges this study addresses are very real and must be addressed. We haven’t seen the end of war, so like Dave, I am a supporter of rebuilding the readiness and capabilities of our conventional forces to prevail in future wars. However, what this paper fails to do in my view is one of the paper’s stated aims, “imagine ways of fighting that may defy conventional wisdom.”

    The focus on building a more resilient and faster find, fix, and finish (F3) capability and capacity, apparently at the expense of everything else, implies the underlying strategic assumption is that future wars will be fought according to U.S. morals, where every effort will be made by both sides to limit collateral damage to non-military targets. Yet, most of our adversaries throughout modern history (WII and beyond) have proven quite capable of deliberately committing atrocities to achieve their ends. Whether it was Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, or more recently Russia’s support of Assad in its deliberate targeting of medical facilities and conducting chemical attacks on civilians in Syria. The asymmetry is that we are focused on counter force targeting, while our adversaries are focused on counter force and counter value targeting as means to an end. Considering our adversaries have multiple means and ways, multidomain and multifunction if you will, to attack our homeland, then that must be a focus area. These means and ways range from cyber, space, conventional fires, special operations, to active measures in the human domain to undermine our political cohesion and national will. It would seem appropriate to address a substantial portion of any future force discussion on requirements to protect the homeland. It can no longer be considered a sanctuary when the boys march to fight a war on a foreign land.

    As we have seen with Crimea, the ability to F3 faster doesn’t overcome the challenges of interior lines our strategic competitors and North Korea enjoy. Even with state of the art ISR capabilities, decision space for leaders to respond will be limited, and adversaries will likely establish facts on the ground before we can generate the political will to act. At that point, gaining the political will needed to project enough force to conduct a military operation to reverse this situation will prove challenging due to the expense involved and the risk poised advanced anti-access / area denial capabilities. Would be worthwhile if the future force had other options to offer our national leadership? Unconventional warfare could be one such option.

    The feasibility of the 3rd Off-Set Strategy (3OS) is highly questionable. The assumption is our strategic competitors can keep pace with us, or in some areas even out match us in technical innovation, so the pursuit of the 3OS may prove more burdensome than our economy can bear over time. This begs the question, have we seriously imagined alternative ways of fighting future conflicts? The paper points out that technological innovation is happening quicker than anticipated. This shouldn’t be surprising, technology begets technology, each advanced technology is the son or daughter of previous technology, whether it is tying a stone to club, or interconnecting sensors with advanced weapon systems. It is the nature of technological evolution to increase in momentum.

    Finally, a hat tip to Dave Maxwell for calling out gray zone competition, which by description means our competitors are achieving war like objectives short of traditional armed conflict using innovative strategy more so than innovative technology. The take away from this point is that even if we did achieve the aims of the 3OS strategy, we would still be missing a critical piece of our future force design if we didn’t address how we intend to confront this challenge.

  7. #67
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    3,167

    Default

    http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/uni...ring-wrong-war

    The United States is Preparing for the Wrong War

    My response

    Max Boot is partially right, but a more accurate assessment would be our obsession with the war on terror for 15 plus years to no discernible end enabled our strategic competitors to become near-peer or peer competitors militarily. We lost numerous FID missions around the world, and it had little impact on U.S. security and prosperity over time. Losing a war with China or Russia could be devastating. Also Max got Vietnam wrong, but so does the majority of Americans who achieved their education in a liberal university. The U.S. won the small war in Vietnam, the insurgency was soundly defeated. A large and well armed conventional force from North Vietnam defeated South Vietnam, not hybrid warfare. I'm not down playing hybrid warfare, obviously the way the Russians are employing it today presents a strategic threat.

    Finally, his point of the Italian elections demonstrate a lack of understanding of what drove the Italian people to this point. The far left in Italy left its economy and security in shambles. The scale of the illegals that have moved into Italy from the Middle East and Africa present an existential threat to their culture, which understandably has generated a right wing backlash. Recent shootings of immigrants alarms me, this can quickly spiral out of control. The EU did little to help Italy with this challenge, even though it is a threat common to most countries in the EU, Italy was left with the bill. Not unlike recent U.S. elections, people had to choose the candidate(s) they disliked the least. Did this benefit Russia? Certainly, but if Max wanted to make a point, it should have been that EU created an opportunity for Russia due to their inability to manage these challenges. This resulted in a right wing backlash in many countries in the EU, and Russia is opportunistic.

  8. #68
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    13,115

    Default

    Bill,

    An attempt to reply to your two posts - before reading the linked articles (terrible I know).

    The Middle East has long been a focal point for US strategy, many argue that it has not been very productive when one considers the national resources committed. Plus the irregular comment that one opponent, Iran, has been the main beneficiary. I read the linked article below yesterday, which is the latest comment I've seen and the title 'The Fruits of Iran’s Victory in Syria'.
    Link:https://lawfareblog.com/fruits-irans-victory-syria

    I do wonder if we (US & UK) look too much at what we have done and not what our opponents have done.




    davidbfpo

  9. #69
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    3,167

    Default

    I do wonder if we (US & UK) look too much at what we have done and not what our opponents have done.
    David, I tend to think that is a given. Our assessments over the 15 past years for our operations in the Middle East generally indicate we're winning, and every year is the pivotal year that will result in an enduring victory. Of course that has proven to be complete nonsense, and now it is laughable when you hear it. Some assessments are dishonest, but in most cases they're simply focused on what we have done, and if you look at through that lens we're generally making progress. On the other hand, if you conduct a net assessment and compare our gains relative to our adversary's it paints a very different picture. It also paints a different picture if you assess strategic gains versus fleeting operational level gains, all too often disconnected from strategy, because either there is no strategy, or military campaigning no longer effectively achieves strategic ends for various reasons. One can argue, and you may be making this point, that our 15 plus years of tactical and operational success have resulted in a global strategic for us relative our more important strategic competitors, Russia and China. They have invested in developing advanced war fighting capability and made significant progress using so-called gray zone strategies while we're undermining our military readiness and ignoring what is really important because we're mired down in the Middle East. Only now we're beginning to see this, and even if our national leadership understands this we have a military culture that seems dependent upon continued rotations into the Middle East because that defines who we are.

  10. #70
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    3,167

    Default

    http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.o...d-rules-of-war

    Disruptive Technologies to Upend Rules of War

    New technologies promise an alternative. Robotics, cyber and space weapons can reduce the size of ground forces needed to wage war. They can withdraw human soldiers from the battlefield while making attacks more precise and deadly. They can allow nations to coerce each other without inflicting the same level of casualties and destruction as in the past. They can reach far beyond borders to pick out terrorists or selectively destroy WMD sites. They can reduce the costs that discourage western nations from stopping humanitarian disasters or civil wars. While armed conflict will continue as a feature of the human condition, it might now come at lower cost, for a shorter time, and with less violence.
    Maybe, but I suspect Colin Gray's argument about "Another Bloody Century" is more accurate. As the character of warfare changes based on automation and robotics, which arguably results in smaller military forces, do we really think these weapons will simply be directed against so-called legitimate military targets? It makes little sense, since destroying an adversary's robotic military would do little to compel a state or its population to bend to our will, or vice versa. For an opponent to impose one's will on another through this form of warfare would most likely require applying it against the opposing government and civilian population to force compliance.

    There seems to be a line of thinking in the high tech world that if my robot can beat our robot we win. I don't see how this form of warfare would result in achieving political ends with military power. It may serve as a deterrent, but most understand winning wars requires more than winning battles.

  11. #71
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    3,167

    Default

    https://nationalinterest.org/feature...rregular-29672

    The Future of Warfare is Irregular
    These realities suggest that competition between the United States and its main adversaries will likely be irregular—not conventional.
    by Seth Jones

    America’s adversaries are unlikely to compete with the United States directly in a series of set-piece battles. Instead, they will likely continue to engage in cyber, proxy and information campaigns. Thus far, the United States has failed to compete effectively in this field, except for some efforts by U.S. special operations forces. Washington has been far too reactive, defensive, and cautious—not to mention discordant among multiple U.S. government agencies. Russia, China, Iran and North Korea have embraced irregular warfare. But the United States has not. It isn’t too late to adjust course.
    It has been awhile since I provided an update to this, and Seth Jones’ recent article provides an opportunity to reopen the discussion. Jones argues our adversaries / competitors will likely continue to resort to irregular or more accurately non-conventional strategies to pursue their strategic aims, while our current focus on building a superior conventional and nuclear capability fails to address the gaps in our ability to protect our interests in competition short of traditional armed conflict, also known as the gray zone. He is not opposed to a conventional force build up and modernizing our nuclear forces, but correctly points out our adversaries can still defeat us (undermine our strategic interests) if we fail to address their use of what we call irregular warfare.

    While Jones did a good job of advocating for the U.S. to enhance its irregular warfare (IW) capabilities throughout the military (especially SOF), the CIA, and other government agencies, he fails to identify how these capabilities would be used to achieve desired ends. He clearly is talking about a much more comprehensive form of IW, than the narrow view of conceived in response to our protracted conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. He is focused on the full range of irregular or unconventional activities (what Kenan calls political warfare) that can be executed unilaterally and through proxies. Unfortunately, he fails to describe how these capabilities and ways would be employed to achieve strategic ends. While old time SOF operators would say it is obvious, the articles is focused on convincing conventional military leadership on the need to ramp up our IW capabilities, not downsize them.

    He recommendations include the need to educate our public on how our adversaries use irregular warfare. Presumably this will enhance our resilience and generate the political will to counter it once it is recognized as a strategic threat. Second, professional education at military schools need to add more irregular warfare topics to the curriculum. In my view, most military education in this area is tied to faulty strategic approaches for counterterrorism and counterinsurgency. One is focused on the non-strategic tactical approach of find, fix, finish to defeat terrorism, where we have 17 plus years of tactical success and strategic failure, and the other naively assumes the center of gravity is always the local populace to defeat an insurgency. That view was questionable during Cold War, and even more so now when various external actors can continue to leverage proxies strategically regardless of the populace’s leanings. For great power competition, the educational curriculum needs to address unconventional warfare, foreign internal defense, cyber, and other topics at the strategic level, which was actually his third recommendation (reduce the focus on counterterrorism).

    It is a good article, but one that I hope he follows up on with an article on how the U.S. government and military would employ irregular warfare to achieve strategic ends in the 21st Century. We can’t repeat the Cold War, the strategic environment has changed too much. We’re now in a multipolar world that is increasingly interdependent economically, which results in more limitations, but perhaps also more opportunities.

  12. #72
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    3,167

    Default The Weaponization of Everything

    https://www.defenseone.com/ideas/201...seone_today_nl

    This short article is the most concise, yet comprehensive description of the gray zone or competition short of armed conflict that I have seen.

    augmenting their substantial political, economic, military, and commercial capabilities, Beijing and Moscow are mastering the “weaponization of everything” to achieve exploitable hypercompetitive advantages vis-ŕ-vis the United States. Their “hammers” range from political coercion, predatory economics and strategic extortion, to information warfare and subversion, covert action, and overt disregard for international norms.
    We need to expand our view of multi-domain warfare to address other domains beyond the doctrinal ones and compete in those domains short of armed conflict. These strategies are hardly new in the historical sense, but the U.S. has become an astrategic nation. As the article states, we have failed to adapt to a post U.S. primacy world. I would add we subconsciously cling to the "End of History" myth and over emphasize the value of soft power as a means and way to an end.

    Our adversaries decisively and deliberately maneuver and compete in domains beyond maritime, land, space, air, and cyber to achieve their policy aims over time (extended battles that require strategic patience). In contrast, the U.S. military national defense strategy narrowly focuses on improving lethality in the doctrinal domains, while our adversaries execute sophisticated whole of society campaigns to achieve their ends that largely neutralize our conventional military power.

    The article accurately points out we are not even on the defense, much less the offense. However, once we wake up to the growing threat presented by these competitors to our way of life and internal stability, I believe we have the ability to prevail in this competition, yet time is not on our side.

    As warlike behavior migrates into new competitive spaces – strategic influence, commerce, culture, domestic politics, cyberspace, space, and the electromagnetic spectrum — the U.S. government and private sector must recognize the far-reaching and growing hazards of hypercompetition and rival gray-zone strategies. The boundaries between war and peace, battlefield and market, and adversary and competitor are dissolving. If the United States is to effectively compete for position and influence in this turbulent and dangerous environment, it requires an urgent meeting of the minds to bring a more collaborative stance to hypercompetitive great-power rivalry.
    Last edited by Bill Moore; 09-15-2018 at 05:17 PM.

  13. #73
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    13,115

    Default Can we please learn from history?

    This is an article by Professor Anatol Lieven, Kings War Studies, which appeared in my electronic reading list today, but was published pre-Xmas in The National Interest, so some may have read this before.
    The sub-title says:
    In their enthusiasm for a new cold war against China and Russia, the western establishments of today are making a mistake comparable to that of their forbears of 1914.
    He opens with:
    This year saw the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, in which some 16 million Europeans died, two great European countries were destroyed, and others crippled. This year may also be seen by future historians as the last year of the period between the cold wars, when after 29 years of relative quiet, the world's major powers once again moved into positions of deep and structural mutual hostility.
    Link:https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/anatol-lieven/can-we-please-learn-from-history? or The National Interest:https://nationalinterest.org/feature...522?page=0%2C1
    davidbfpo

  14. #74
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    3,167

    Default WTF Over?

    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    This is an article by Professor Anatol Lieven, Kings War Studies, which appeared in my electronic reading list today, but was published pre-Xmas in The National Interest, so some may have read this before.
    The sub-title says:
    He opens with:
    Link:https://www.opendemocracy.net/can-europe-make-it/anatol-lieven/can-we-please-learn-from-history? or The National Interest:https://nationalinterest.org/feature...522?page=0%2C1
    David,

    I read this guy's bio and it is impressive, but his article is a bunch of hyperbole that suggests we bury our heads in the sand. The U.S. has no enthusiasm for a new Cold War, and I suspect Western Europe would prefer to avoid one also. In fact, both the U.S. and Western Europe went out of their way to accommodate China. The Russia situation is more complex, but the U.S. extended multiple olive branches. Based on Xi's increasing aggression, and Russia's military aggression and increasing gray zone interference in the internal affairs of western nations, we had to respond. To do otherwise would be to repeat the same mistake Chamberlain made prior to WWII.

    We are waging a competition as a distraction from our internal troubles, and the one thing Anatol got right is we have a lot of internal troubles that have resulted in significant economic, social, and cultural insecurity leading to a higher death rate and addictions. This is exactly the reason we don't desire a new Cold War, they're expensive and distract from the work we need to do at home. If it was a distraction it certainly failed, because both Americans pay little attention to this competition. Many American college kids can't identify where the U.S. is on a globe, but they'll tell you white males destroyed the world, yet be unable to defend their position in a debate.

    Here are some of his hyperbole comments:

    Murderous Filipino populists? I suspect many Filipinos would take issue with this broad characterization. The Philippines has had insurgencies and high crime for the past 150 years, but they have also made significant progress and the vast majority of the population are good people.

    Apparently according to the author, India is ruled by Hindu Fascists. I'm amazed that India exists as a country at all with 13 official languages and its various ethnic groups, insurgencies, separatists groups, economic disparity, etc., the fact that it does is admirable.

    Millions of people from Central America fleeing to the U.S., millions? Really?

    Unfortunate, but not surprising that another academic is polluting our youth's minds with with anti-Western, anti-democratic, and the West is always wrong diatribe.

  15. #75
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    3,167

    Default The national defense strategy a year later

    From the SWJ Journal: THE NATIONAL DEFENSE STRATEGY A YEAR LATER: A SWJ DISCUSSION WITH ELBRIDGE COLBY

    https://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/ar...elbridge-colby

    Principled realism focuses through a realist lens on building a free, open, and dignified political order within the international system. The logic is that America needs to play power politics so that we don’t live in a power politics world. Principled realism accepts that power and especially the agglomeration of power determines international outcomes. But it seeks to adapt that reality in service of positive ends.
    Throughout the interview, he limits his view of power to brute military force, both conventional and nuclear. While these elements will remain relevant for a nation-state vying for power on the world stage, other actors, including non-state actors that Colby largely dismisses, have demonstrated they have considerable power to influence states and their populations.

    What’s wrong with the “international rules-based order” language is that rules per se do not define international order. “Rules based order” sounds like conceiving of or attempting to turn the international environment into a domestic environment. But a domestic environment requires the preponderance of power by a sovereign, which is incompatible with the preservation of meaningful state sovereignty. The other problem with the “rules-based order” phrase is that it tends to focus people on violations of the “rules” rather than the real issue, which is power. My favorite example is the South China Sea. If the Chinese could create artificial features, militarize them, and achieve military dominance in the South China Sea – and do this all legally – we would still have a problem with it.
    I don't see how you can have a free and open international system that isn't based on rule and norms. Those that adhere to the rules and norms develop a shared trust in these rules and processes, that equates to a higher degree of stability in the international system. Those who violate the rules and norms destabilize the system, and it is the violation of these rules that give us some degree of legitimacy to act.

    Generally, the NDS emphasizes that we need to have a theory of victory that is able to beat their theory of victory. Their theory of victory is the rapid seizure of allied territory that presents the perception through nuclear or conventional coercion that the costs and risks of ejecting the them from their seizure would be too great and too daunting to be contemplated because such action could split the alliance or at the minimum tame our response sufficiently to negate its effectiveness.
    Colby is viewing the world through one soda straw instead of a more holistic kaleidoscope. He fails to adequate address competition short of armed conflict, or gray zone competition when he refers to China and Russia seeking to expand their territory and shift the preponderance of power through small, limited wars. This implies that China and Russia must conduct strategic preparation of the environment to set conditions for quick, decisive wars to achieve limited objectives. A recent example is Russia's aggression against Crimea. After seizing the territory, Russia and China will then attempt to normalize it politically in hopes that others, especially the U.S., will not seek to dislodge their military and paramilitary forces. In many ways, while Russia still controls Crimea, it was a loss for Russia strategically. In the far east, the Chinese using a strategy of incrementalism have achieved a degree of success in the South China Sea. Their activites change the facts on the ground, or blue soil, without triggering a military response. However, it now viewed as naked aggression and coercion by many countries, so this strategy is gradually backfiring.

    This is largely about deterrence, not assurance. The point is to develop combat-credible forces forward (whether American or allied) that can blunt the adversary’s aggression so that they cannot consummate the fait accompli, so that they cannot seize territory or hold on to it. Ideally the alliance will deny the adversary their attempt at localized aggression so the adversary cannot achieve the fait accompli.
    People tend to bifurcate political influence and military force. Of course, the real objective of having a military advantage is to develop political influence without having to use military force or using it in a very efficient way. Influence comes from the understanding that if you challenge the other side you will lose. If the states of the East are under the shadow of Russian power, including their A2/AD capability, and they perceive that the U.S. and the rest of the Alliance don’t have a credible and plausible way of defending them, then they will face strong pressure to defer to or even bandwagon with the Russians.
    Deterrence hinges on a favorable balance of power, and for us that requires allies and partners who are assured we will honor our commitments before they commit to theirs. To do otherwise could prove suicidal.

    This interview sidesteps the reality of gray zone competition, although it is addressed in the National Defense Strategy. Simply relying on an improved conventional and nuclear force posture will not deter these sophisticated political warfare tactics. It is not a lesser threat either, assuming a national interest is worth fighting for based on our expensive forward posture, then it is a logical assumption if that interest is threatened short of traditional armed conflict and we do not have a strategy to counter it, then we have a significant gap in our strategy. A significant gap that the Chinese have effectively exploited much more effectively than the Russians.

  16. #76
    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Hiding from the Dreaded Burrito Gang
    Posts
    3,096

    Default

    Ongoing Conflicts as of 2019 (source unknown)
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 03-14-2019 at 05:50 PM. Reason: 80,915v today
    A scrimmage in a Border Station
    A canter down some dark defile
    Two thousand pounds of education
    Drops to a ten-rupee jezail


    http://i.imgur.com/IPT1uLH.jpg

  17. #77
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    3,167

    Default

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUNm852We0o

    The Sublime: Is it the same for IBM and Special Ops?


    The enclosed link is to a YouTube video where LTC Grant Martin shares his view on design. It may seem out of place in a forum focused on Strategy in the 21st Century, but in my view, we need hybrid strategy/campaign plans that facilitate learning and adaption. Design thinking even the Army /Joint Operational design process that some seem to look down their nose at, is a process to facilitate this type of strategy/campaign development and continuing refinement.

    My response to the YouTube video follows:

    An interesting presentation and I admire Grant’s passion. You can’t move mountains or create what Kun refers to as a Paradigm Shift without passion and the continuing accumulation of evidence that our current processes and beliefs are no longer adequate. My thoughts on this presentation are both supportive and critical. I wouldn’t dismiss the term design but focus on what you’re ultimately trying to achieve. In my opinion, it is creating a process to facilitate continuous learning and adaption, and ultimately develop a learning organization.
    MDMP and JOPP do not facilitate effective learning and adaption to an ever-evolving ecosystem. As you stated, linear military processes are O.K. for short duration operations with limited objectives. However, beyond short duration operations, this linear process has limited utility. It partly explains why the American way of war is apolitical, acultural, ahistoric, and non-strategic. In response to some comments by the attendees, MDMP/JOPP didn’t get us to where we are with Syria or China. Those were policy decisions well above the military planning level. The military develops strategy and operational approaches to achieve policy aims, and if we’re in a state of policy confusion, then obviously our plans/designs will fall short. Place the issue squarely where it fits.

    Design thinking could lead to gaining a greater understanding over time as we interact with multiple variables (not just the adversary) in the strategic ecosystem. To be effective, it needs to facilitate a common understanding, but not groupthink, from the NSC to tactical formations. I have met several very creative Generals and Admirals (older gentlemen), but their staffs frequently resist change, most commonly at the O-6 and GS-15 levels. Why? Their bureaucratic expertise is in the current system, and they fear they’ll lose influence if they expand into new territory. Age is a variable, but it is only one variable, so judge each individual on his or her individual merit, not their age, color, religion, education, etc.

    I hope this idea of design thinking will bring back the art of war and reintegrate into policy. Even the old dogs you frequently criticize would value this. Clausewitz fully recognized we cannot reduce the complexity of war to a scientific method, so in some respect, there is already buy-in from some noted experts in the study and practice of war. I valued Grant’s comments on our deeply flawed assessment process where we foolishly attempt to apply business metrics to great power competition, counterinsurgency, and traditional war as though we can reduce it a math problem. McNamara pushed this on DOD during the Vietnam War, and it continues to have toxic effects to this day. The feedback we need for our OODA loop (tactical through strategic) differs depending upon our aims, but it is nonsense that every objective must be scientifically measurable. Very few objectives will fall into this realm. I think there is an awakening across the force that our current assessment processes need to change. Assessments are critical, but the most valuable assessments are more art than science. It is not about measuring whether we have increased our earning fiscal quarter to fiscal quarter.

    I’ll refute Grant’s point that SOF was first to human domain. In WWII conventional forces used anthropologists to gain an understanding of different populations because they realized it was critical to achieving strategic effects. The Navy used anthropologists throughout the SW Pacific, and MacArthur understood the necessity of working within Japanese cultural norms to achieve our political ends. That may have been the last time that the U.S. truly integrated the military to achieve strategic political ends instead of standalone military objectives. If SOF continues to pursue its aim to make all SOF global instead of maintaining its deep regional expertise, SOF will no longer have a competitive advantage in the human domain over conventional forces or our adversaries.

    Finally, comments about the young being more creative or equally unsubstantiated we need to recruit and put kids with noserings in charge of the information domain because they know how to operate in the Cyber domain get a little tiresome because they are meaningless. They are little more than statements expressing frustration. Even if the cupcake with a nose ring is a great hacker, he or she won’t make any more difference than a great rifleman if they operate in a strategic void. Furthermore, studies prove these are false assertions. A recent study shows young people today want more precision than previous generations. They’re not comfortable operating in gray areas or complexity. The study is ongoing to further examine why, but it points to the likely factor being the impact of the digital age and how it shapes their thinking (or lack of). Another study states physicists today make their most significant discoveries at 48 and explains why this wasn’t true a century ago. The bottom line is it is more personality dependent than age dependent. I have met several very creative Generals and Admirals, but their staffs effectively resisted change, most commonly at the O-6 and GS-15 levels. Age is a variable, but it is only one variable. When I asked a variety of people to review a non-doctrinal plan I received significant pushback from those under 35 and general support from those over 35. Why? The young know what they learned in school and probably don’t have the confidence to buck the system yet. The older ones know our current processes are falling short based on hard-earned experience.

  18. #78
    Council Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    3,167

    Default Grand Strategy Alternatives 2019

    https://nsiteam.com/social/wp-conten...l-16Mar19R.pdf

    Grand Strategy Alternatives 2019

    This study focuses on Great Power Competition with China, and less so with Russia. Since it is competition the grand strategy focuses on developing a strategy to build a better future short of traditional armed conflict. The author states grand strategy includes diverse means (DIME), adds building the means, and has expansive ends. He provides readers with what he calls a diversity of strategic options for consideration. Grand strategy focuses on building a better future based on relationships with specific states and non-state actors conceived in terms of an international order,
    John Ikenberry useful defines as: “a political formation in which settled rules and arrangements exist between states to guide their interaction.” Types of international order possible include balancing, a concert of powers, democracy, economic interdependence, and hegemony.
    He provides an admittedly simplistic way to frame our view of a grand strategy to help policymakers think about grand strategy in broader terms while avoiding cognitive overload.

    There are three fundamental ways of changing an existing relationship between two or more entities: stopping another doing something, working with another, or trying to change anotherÂ’s mind. Adding international relations theoretical perspectives then leads to a grand strategy typology of denial, engagement, and reform.
    He goes on for 16 pages of easy, yet informative reading on the varying aspects of each of the three grand strategy typologies to include their pros and cons, plus feasibility considering the actors involved. If you're interested in grand strategy, then you find this a valuable read.

    A couple of personal thoughts. I think he makes a hollow argument when he states national interests are astrategic because they only address one country in a bilateral or multilateral situation. That is only true if the strategist only considers one view; most strategic analysis I have seen include convergent and divergent interests of all known actors involved. Yet at the end of the day, we do have interests that we're pursuing.

    Nowhere in his writing did he state we can only use one grand strategy, but he also didn't point it out. In fact, we generally use denial (balance of power, hegemonic stability, etc.), engagement (interdependence, institutionalist, etc.) and reform (build more favorable norms, change minds) grand strategies simultaneously with the same actor to ultimately get to the desired relationship. We can put resources into the approach that gains the greatest traction.

    He argues, probably correctly, that both Russia and China fear color revolutions so much that have dedicated considerable resources to prevent them, so it is infeasible we could generate one. Yet it is helpful for them to believe we can because the resources dedicated to internal security diverts resources from conventional military build-ups. For Russia, he argues if Putin shifts more resources to focus on improving the lives of individual citizens he become less aggressive. Yet, this is China's focus, and it has made them more aggressive because global expansion is critical to sustaining their economic growth.

    It is the nature of American strategy to myopically focus on major threat while managing others, but I wonder is that approach is sustainable in a post-American world that is increasingly multipolar. We need new models for assessing risk and opportunity that are global in perspective and not narrowly focused on one of our two known adversaries.

Similar Threads

  1. Security In The 21st Century
    By selil in forum The Whole News
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 12-01-2006, 07:32 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •