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Thread: MG Flynn (on intell mainly)

  1. #121
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    Wilf:

    I think the exam question is misplaced. In irregular warfare, we find the enemy and neutralize them. I suspect that, for the most part, the enemy is known, as are the means to neutralize it.

    In this bizarre COIN world, however, what happens when you: (1) find the enemy, but they are the folks you are supposed to support; (2) see that enemy so closely intertwined with undefined externalities that neutralizing them is a separate problem in itself; and, (3) find that the enemy (who we are supporting) is opposed to any path within our resources/capabilities/interests?

    I remain concerned that, while the military intelligence community continues to do its thing in a very predictable way, it is missing the point in Afghanistan.

    The answers are outside of its analytical sphere, and are not filtering their way in to substantially inform solutions that can work to bring positive transformation.

    We can fill this site with answers on the tactics of success in a battle, but not on the strategies of success in a unique multi-dimensional war (or mission, or whatever we want to actually call this thing.

    Plenty of folks on this board understand the scope of their sphere---why what is in front of them is not working---and how to alternatively effect what is in front of them. But, at every turn, it is the externalities that limit their success.

    Something else is going to need to be developed or to occur. The traditional definitions are all wrong. The traditional questions asked are not the relevant ones. The traditional answers are not useful.

    The Graveyard of Empires looms only if the empire cannot adapt to this non-empirical environment. Success is somewhere else.

    How do we get at that?

  2. #122
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve the Planner View Post
    Wilf:

    I think the exam question is misplaced. In irregular warfare, we find the enemy and neutralize them. I suspect that, for the most part, the enemy is known, as are the means to neutralize it.
    Well once the enemy is defeated/neutralised, you've won! What's the problem?
    In this bizarre COIN world, however, what happens when you: (1) find the enemy, but they are the folks you are supposed to support; (2) see that enemy so closely intertwined with undefined externalities that neutralizing them is a separate problem in itself; and, (3) find that the enemy (who we are supporting) is opposed to any path within our resources/capabilities/interests?
    COIN is not a bizarre world. Irregular warfare is very simple. We just choose to ignore the facts.
    1. Then they are not the enemy! The enemy oppose you using violence. - so they CANNOT be supposed to support you! You cannot be half pregnant.
    2. Then you haven't got point 1.
    3. Then what are you trying to do?

    In A'Stan the only thing military forces can do is ensure that the Taliban do not take power via force of arms! That is all! What's so hard about understanding that?
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

  3. #123
    Council Member Ron Humphrey's Avatar
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    Question Good Point's

    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    Well once the enemy is defeated/neutralised, you've won! What's the problem?

    COIN is not a bizarre world. Irregular warfare is very simple. We just choose to ignore the facts.
    1. Then they are not the enemy! The enemy oppose you using violence. - so they CANNOT be supposed to support you! You cannot be half pregnant.
    2. Then you haven't got point 1.
    3. Then what are you trying to do?

    In A'Stan the only thing military forces can do is ensure that the Taliban do not take power via force of arms! That is all! What's so hard about understanding that?
    As long as the military are also having to fill in the blanks on non-mil stuff required as well then they will also tend to try doing what any good team does. Get actions and what not at all levels to work towards common cause.

    Supporting action's/narrative's/endstates/etc
    You want to pull a British East India Company, or US Organizations that used to exist at levels capable of supporting this sort of thing out of your back pocket ready to go great.

    Till then those there have to do the best they can with what they have.

    So although I understand your concern with the "lack" of military doing military only we're all there now, and those Orgs aren't at least in any where near large enough scale to be able to fulfill their roles at levels needed.

    So What is the answer you propose besides- We shouldn't be doin that stuff?
    Any man can destroy that which is around him, The rare man is he who can find beauty even in the darkest hours

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  4. #124
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    Wilf:

    Nail on the head.

    In Iraq in 2007/8 there was a simple mission with a simple objective (end our involvement/turnover to the Iraqis) pursued by two primary elements/people (Crocker/Petreaus) with a common purpose and objective.

    If someone believes that the US and West have a continuing governmental interest beyond just a "graceful withdrawal" from Iraq, I would invite them to demonstrate the evidence of that. Sure, we will have some substantial interests, maybe including going in again, but not now.

    If we define the mission in Afghanistan as simply to keeping the Taliban from gaining power by force of arms, perhaps we are on track---persistent, continuous deployments, drones, and "village" battles (Marjah, etc.---every six months, a new village to mow the grass in). (Note that that is a far step beyond defeating/destabilizing AQ)

    Question is: Whether we can find a "sustainable" and cost-effective approach that is not grounded in huge deployments, great peril and loss of life, billions of effort, and, creates an enduring foundation for self-generated sustainment of an Afghan civilian system that does not invite support (from some population areas) for continuing Taliban-related conflict and destabilization, protects its (sometimes ill-defined) borders, and substantially "controls" its ungovernable spaces?

    The confusing mission "leap" (not creep) into defining the above solution as somehow or another springing from, and dependent on, the Karzai regime, and our ability to make them a modern, effective governing regime with a full and complete "writ of government" extended down to the relevant districts, seems to be the Achilles Heel in the latest chapters in western engagement in Afghanistan.

    Are there other definitions, solution boxes? Yes.

    Are they in the analytical works?

  5. #125
    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Humphrey View Post
    So What is the answer you propose besides- We shouldn't be doin that stuff?
    I would propose seeking to fix the problem, by understanding the limits of the solution - not my place to create policy. That's for the elected official. - but using an Army to do something other than what it was created and designed for is not symptomatic of sound thinking.
    I absolutely understand that we are where we are, but that does not forgive the stupidity of how we got there.
    Last edited by William F. Owen; 04-06-2010 at 07:38 AM.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

  6. #126
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    Ron:

    Right. The agencies/organizations needed to effectively engage the non-military issues simply don't exist.

    For all the talk of reform/change at USAID, there is no actual proof of that being in the works, let alone accomplished.

    There is a CFR interview with Ambassador Herbst (DoS), who heads the SRCS. It is rather sad actually. No adequate resources over a five year period to actually create or deploy much, and most of the early days appear to have ben spent on turf wars (still unresolved). Instead, they have minimal planning and coordinative staffing and resources---enough to field, on average, short-term deployments for 20 or so people to Afghanistan for planning/coordinative activities, mostly in and around the "whole of government" activities.

    As Ambassador Herbst pointed out, they just don't have the staff or resources to effectively engage in Iraq or Afghanistan.

    I keep looking at the reality versus concept of civ-mil, whole of government, etc... and keep coming back to the same realization as many folks here have. This entire spectrum of activities (civ, mil, stabilization, nation-building, reconstruction), for better or worse, is in the military's hands. Doing it as an accidental or of-necessity quick fix is chaotic and ineffective.

    I was reading the recent intel lament on Kandahar (we just don't know enough about the place, who's in charge, what's going on). At some point, the military is going to have to grasp the basic and critical civilian information needed to discharge its default full-spectrum obligations, or it will just continue to mow the grass in a new place every few months.

    Frankly, I find the current civilian governance outcomes over the last few years to be the almost inevitable result of the efforts applied. There is just no mystery to this stuff. If you want to create what is there, do what we have done/are doing, add several billion dollars, and wait a few years. (Bad government in a box)

    My concern, especially as more soldiers move to a real complex urban challenge environment where intel and effort (at the higher levels) is ineffective, is for them.

    God bless the soldiers in the field.

  7. #127
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    Default Flynn and the Prospects for Defense Intelligence Reform

    Flynn and the Prospects for Defense Intelligence Reform

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  8. #128
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    Default Update on MG Flynn

    The progress of MG Flynn is noted in an April 2012 SWJ article: http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art...ligence-reform

    The report on Afghanistan, the subject of this thread, was his first public appearance - well certainly for over here.

    A man to watch IMO.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 08-11-2012 at 11:42 AM.
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  9. #129
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    Default Flynn interview: a mixture is best

    Well that is my take-away thought, from a short interview of MG Flynn, DIA and just one Q&A to whet the appetite:
    Defense One: Given what we know of the National Security Agencyís massive signals intelligence gathering as a result of the leaks of former contractor Edward Snowden, is there a danger that the human intelligence side of the equation has gotten shortchanged?

    Flynn: Well, I will just tell you that the best signals intelligence I have ever seen -- and I have seen an awful lot -- was enabled by human intelligence. The very best signals intelligence is usually the result of someone capable and brave enough to develop access that we otherwise would not have had. And that has led to a lot of successes.
    Link:http://www.defenseone.com/management...ation%20Report
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  10. #130
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    Default Cyber, intell in 'infant stages' of cooperation

    A very short report on a speech @ Brookings, made this week by LG Flynn:
    It's important that we leverage the technology in a smart way to understand what it is that's happening at the [tactical] edge and make, to a degree, the edge the center....Cyber is a new domain, and over a third of the world is connected somehow. Five hundred million people on Twitter, a billion people on Facebook, all this volume of activity -- [there is] a lot of noise. Inside the military, there's still a tendency to think of intelligence and cyber as the same. It's not like that at all.
    Link:http://fcw.com/articles/2013/11/21/c...operation.aspx
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  11. #131
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    Default Flynn & his No.2 exit DIA

    I am sure "over the water" there is more reporting than this, but this FP article appears to be a reasonable explanation:http://complex.foreignpolicy.com/pos...r_rocky_tenure
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  12. #132
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    Default Disruptive, sage and now former soldier

    The last official interview given by MG Michael Flynn:http://breakingdefense.com/2014/08/f...ith-a-warning/
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  13. #133
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    Default Out of Uniform and Into the Political Fray

    A FP comment as Mr Flynn comments on policy and for some comes close to a "chalk line". For me viewable:https://foreignpolicy.com/2015/06/19...litical-fray/?
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  14. #134
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    Default Drones Create More Terrorists Than They Kill, Iraq War Helped Create ISIS

    Nothing like a headline to catch one's attention and yes again ret'd General Flynn sallies forth. This time in a 'Head to Head' interview on Al-Jazeera, due to be broadcast 31st July 2015. Meantime here is a "taster":http://pr.aljazeera.com/post/1242308...ood-al-jazeera

    Asked if drone strikes tend to create more terrorists than they kill, Flynn replied:
    I donít disagree with that..I think as an overarching strategy, itís a failed strategy. What we have is this continued investment in conflict....The more weapons we give, the more bombs we drop, that justÖ fuels the conflict. Some of that has to be done but Iím looking for the other solutions.
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  15. #135
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    Default Flynn on Head to Head

    His interview is now available, 47 mins long (yet to be watched here) after yesterday's broadcast:http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/...080342288.html
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    For us folks in the U.S. this is the video link to the interview.

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

    Interesting interview, I always liked Flynn, but don't always agree with him. There is some truth to his comments that we invest in more conflict instead of strategic solutions. However, his claim that we could end these conflicts if just invest in developing a new economy in the region is a bit simplistic. Clearly, a growing youth bulge will need economic opportunity, but focusing on economic transformation ignores two key points. First, we don't have the power to transform their economic systems, we can only assist if they want to change. Second, it ignores the fact that these conflicts are being promoted by state and non-state actors seeking power, they're not interested in our efforts to help economically.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
    For us folks in the U.S. this is the video link to the interview.

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

    Interesting interview, I always liked Flynn, but don't always agree with him. There is some truth to his comments that we invest in more conflict instead of strategic solutions. However, his claim that we could end these conflicts if just invest in developing a new economy in the region is a bit simplistic. Clearly, a growing youth bulge will need economic opportunity, but focusing on economic transformation ignores two key points. First, we don't have the power to transform their economic systems, we can only assist if they want to change. Second, it ignores the fact that these conflicts are being promoted by state and non-state actors seeking power, they're not interested in our efforts to help economically.
    In some aspects he is correct--the original arguments of the supporters of the expansion of globalism in fact promised us exactly that--but in fact globalization only benefited the Top Global 1000 and the super rich and did nothing for a majority of the countries.

    If one looks at the Arab Springs and the color revolts---outside of the standard demands of rule of law and good governance and pushing back on corruption was the not so subtle demands for economic development and financial security of the various civil societies.

    I keep going back to a very long debate I had in Abu Ghraib with a 50 year old Iraqi supporter of AQI-- a shoe manufacturer that complained bitterly to me that the US should stop the importation into Iraq of "cheap Chinese sandals" as he with his 50s shoe manufacturing equipment and very cheap Iraqi labor could not match the actual cost of 1.50 USD in the local markets.

    That is when the negative effects of globalization come home.

    An American in Iraq hearing complaints from an Iraqi Sunni AQI business supporter about Chinese underpriced sandals being imported and we the US should do something about it.

    But again just how many Americans ever get the chance to see those effects up close and personal in other countries?

    How much of the US Top 500-1000 have billions parked in overseas accounts because they do not want to pay US taxes for their overseas business---lets say if they invested say just 25% of that into overseas verifiable business/job creation then X amount off their US taxes and the government does not get stuck with development.

    It is those Top 500-1000 that have greatly profited from globalization so why cannot they reinvest into return?

    If one really looks at that massive amount of migration these days it is from;
    1. wars, civil unrest etc
    2. economic migration--simply people looking for work and a better economic life

    So does it not behoove us to stem the flow of economic migration simply by investing in their future?

    In the long run it is probably cheaper that all the wars we have been in -in the last say 15 years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OUTLAW 09 View Post
    In some aspects he is correct--the original arguments of the supporters of the expansion of globalism in fact promised us exactly that--but in fact globalization only benefited the Top Global 1000 and the super rich and did nothing for a majority of the countries.

    If one looks at the Arab Springs and the color revolts---outside of the standard demands of rule of law and good governance and pushing back on corruption was the not so subtle demands for economic development and financial security of the various civil societies.

    I keep going back to a very long debate I had in Abu Ghraib with a 50 year old Iraqi supporter of AQI-- a shoe manufacturer that complained bitterly to me that the US should stop the importation into Iraq of "cheap Chinese sandals" as he with his 50s shoe manufacturing equipment and very cheap Iraqi labor could not match the actual cost of 1.50 USD in the local markets.

    That is when the negative effects of globalization come home.

    An American in Iraq hearing complaints from an Iraqi Sunni AQI business supporter about Chinese underpriced sandals being imported and we the US should do something about it.

    But again just how many Americans ever get the chance to see those effects up close and personal in other countries?

    How much of the US Top 500-1000 have billions parked in overseas accounts because they do not want to pay US taxes for their overseas business---lets say if they invested say just 25% of that into overseas verifiable business/job creation then X amount off their US taxes and the government does not get stuck with development.

    It is those Top 500-1000 that have greatly profited from globalization so why cannot they reinvest into return?

    If one really looks at that massive amount of migration these days it is from;
    1. wars, civil unrest etc
    2. economic migration--simply people looking for work and a better economic life

    So does it not behoove us to stem the flow of economic migration simply by investing in their future?

    In the long run it is probably cheaper that all the wars we have been in -in the last say 15 years.
    Faced with rising wages and mounting costs at home, Chinese textile manufacturers opening mills in South Carolina (!) http://nyti.ms/1KIKHVT

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    If one really looks at that massive amount of migration these days it is from;
    1. wars, civil unrest etc
    2. economic migration--simply people looking for work and a better economic life

    So does it not behoove us to stem the flow of economic migration simply by investing in their future?

    In the long run it is probably cheaper that all the wars we have been in -in the last say 15 years.
    I don't think migration had much to do with our recent events in Iraq and Afghanistan. Furthermore, all the unicorns and rainbows talk about fixing the global economic system, much less a particular country's economic system, is well beyond our capacity UNLESS that country desires to commit to those reforms.

    The issues in Iraq and Afghanistan are tied to the ancient reasons people fight: fear, honor, and interests. The key interest is one group desires to have power, and no they're not going to fix the underlying issues related to economic systems that only favor a few, they'll just shift the system so it benefits them.

    Globalization is having both negative and positive impacts on the world, and the negative impacts are quite severe. Those impacted by it, like the Iraqi Shoe salesman you referred to would disagree that globalization is neutral. Interestingly enough, Australia, among other rejected the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement recently. I'm not convinced that the globalization we see today is irreversible. When states recognize it is hurting their interests, they'll establish protective barriers. Overtime that could lead to war.

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    Default Lieutenant General (Retired) Michael Flynn and the Iranian Nuclear Agreement

    Lieutenant General (Retired) Michael Flynn and the Iranian Nuclear Agreement

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