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Old 04-30-2017   #61
OUTLAW 09
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Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
I wouldn't worry about the confusion, don't define it, but describe it. The description will morph over time as its character changes. Army SF did more harm than good when it narrowly "defined" UW along organizational lines (underground, auxiliary, guerrilla force), which is basically nothing more than another weapon system to coerce. Political warfare is complex and many facets, that is just the way it is. If you do define it you'll have to limit your discussion to the narrow definition you applied to it. I know that is the army way, but then again the army is still trying to figure out how to use military force to achieve political objectives (different than political warfare) in the 21st Century.
Actually a very good thought as it then allows the description to morph as does the environment....

IMHO I am far more concerned about "how that political warfare looks....feels....thinks....acts"....as they are the elements that a country being "attacked" will see and need to counter......

I know I am on a soap box but we are in fact "losing" the "war" and in my daily world it is a "grind it out war" against cyber and information warfare which both drives and supports "political warfare"....

This confirms a lot of what I have been saying when I say the US is losing...on both fronts...cyber and info warfare...

The US Takes On the World in NATO’s Cyber War Games in Tallinn
https://www.wired.com/2017/04/us-tak...eshare#… via @WIRED

In this cyber war game, the Czechs won. The US came in 12th—a step up from last year's dead last.

Many readers here wonder why I keep repeating over and over..we are in fact losing to the Russian cyber and information war directed straight at the US..the above article answers that question in a very clear and concise way.

While we might have the greatest movers and shakers in Silicon Valley we have lost our tech edge and advantages in the cyber era long ago...as we do not focus on the younger generation and drive their tech learning/training/education opportunities as do a lot of other countries...who clearly recognize that value...

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Old 04-30-2017   #62
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Default A brief note on the UK's approach

Citing Outlaw09's last post in part:
Quote:
While we (USA) might have the greatest movers and shakers in Silicon Valley we have lost our tech edge and advantages in the cyber era long ago...as we do not focus on the younger generation and drive their tech learning/training/education opportunities as do a lot of other countries...who clearly recognize that value...
In the UK there has been an attempt to recruit young "techies" into government-run cyber roles in the last six years, which is reportedly hard to achieve. One explanation is the private sector pays better, shocking. Then there is the cultural aspect, are government, let alone military institutions in peacetime (as seen by them) places they would fit happily into.

A few years ago I attended a mainly British Army attendee conference on information operations; the vast majority of army attendees were either over-fifty or retirees on contracts. Hardly encouraging IMHO.

GCHQ and the Cabinet Office both have schemes, or are they plots underway to attract and educate talent. We shall see if they work.
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Old 04-30-2017   #63
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Originally Posted by OUTLAW 09 View Post

Many readers here wonder why I keep repeating over and over..we are in fact losing to the Russian cyber and information war directed straight at the US..the above article answers that question in a very clear and concise way.

While we might have the greatest movers and shakers in Silicon Valley we have lost our tech edge and advantages in the cyber era long ago...as we do not focus on the younger generation and drive their tech learning/training/education opportunities as do a lot of other countries...who clearly recognize that value...
I would argue that we will never win an information war with Russia because any attack on Russian information is futile. The government power is not based in popular support, so information given to the general population will be of no effect. As long as we think that information will beat a dictator, we will be on the losing end of the war.
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Old 04-30-2017   #64
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I am going to shift to "Political Hostilities." I want to be clear that what is happening does not include organized lethal violence. Discussions in the area are muddied enough. I would prefer some clear lines drawn in defining terms.

A political entity can engage in War Overtly, as in a declared war like Russia in Syria; Covertly, as in undeclared wars like Russia in the Ukraine; or via surrogates or proxies, like Russian support of the Taliban in Afghanistan. They can engage in Political Hostilities either independent of war or in conjunction with any of the three types of war.

The point of these terms are to identify WHAT is being conducted, not HOW it is being conducted. Terms like Irregular Warfare defines a HOW; a set of tactics used by the combatants.

This creates a quandary for me, as I see Terrorism as a HOW and not a WHAT. I my have to compromise on this one.
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Old 05-02-2017   #65
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Next Section:

III. Strengths and Weaknesses.

As an opponent in a battle of political wills, each of the three Political Systems has strengths and weaknesses.

Autocratic Systems.

Strengths. An Autocratic System’s greatest strength is that all of the elements of national power are concentrated in a limited group of key players, including the entity's leader. This means that attacks on, or attempts to influence, other sources of power, like the population, are likely to be ineffectual. Depending on how repressive the regime is willing to be, even attempting to exploit cleavages in ethnic or religious segments of society may have little effect.

Weaknesses. In any medium to large size political entity, control cannot be effectively wielded by one person. This means that there will be a groups of close confidants or even family members, -- the Vassals -- who will have direct influence on the autocrat and some level of control. Some may even have aspirations to be the autocrat someday. Also, the autocrat’s ability to project power, both internally and externally, will be based on their security services, including their military. Finally, the autocrat needs to control the economy to be able to keep their Vassals happy and fund their military/security services. All of these are appropriate targets.

Democratic Systems.

Strengths. A Democratic System’s strength lies in its ability to distribute authority over a large number of people, who will act independently, but with a common purpose. Democracies tend to be wealthier, and because the population are not constrained by a centrally controlled market system, their economies will tend to be more diverse, which means that the economy itself is less likely to be effectively targeted.

Weaknesses. A Democratic System’s greatest weakness is its population, who can be fickle and easily influenced by demagogues. This makes coordinated action difficult to maintain over the long term except in times of direct threat (real or perceived). Also, ethnic or religious cleavages are easily exploited, as well as any other method that divides the unity of the group.

Ideological Systems.

Strengths. An Ideological System’s strength lies in its adherent’s dedication to the ideology. This devotion is individualized, which means that, unlike the Autocratic System, no single leader or group of leaders is likely to be critical to the group’s survival. This individualized devotion means that, like a Democratic System, authority to act can be distributed. It is also not dependent on a military or a security service to survive or even expand. A dedicated follower can always find a weapon to use against the enemy of the ideology.

Weaknesses. A purely Ideological System is a one-trick-pony. It is belief that the ideology is inevitably correct that keeps it alive. This presents an ideological group with two problems. First, if it wants to grow, it must gain (or conquer) new converts. Second, if it fails to meet the expectations of the followers, the ideology may lose its control over the population. This means that the two primary ways to defeat an ideology is either through discrediting the ideology or through exhaustion.
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Old 05-03-2017   #66
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Next Section. Not complete by any stretch,

IV. Strategy

Initial Questions. The PCoG can assist in designing a strategy to achieve your political goals. To do this, a few preliminary factors must be identified.

1. What is the political end-state you are trying to achieve?
2. How far are you willing to go to achieve this end-state (offensive and defensive)?
3. What is the primary type of political entity you are engaged with?
4. What are the secondary elements that support your adversary?
5. Other than the adversary, what other entities (friend or foe) will be involved?

First, we must know the political end-state we are seeking to achieve. Without that clearly identified, everything that follows will be the noise before the defeat. Second, is this something you are willing to go to Kinetic War over or are you just considering Political Hostilities?

The first two are standard questions. Next comes the question of identifying your adversary’s PCoG. In certain cases, like ISIS or North Korea, the answer is simple; ISIS is ideological and North Korea is autocratic. In others, like Iran, the answer is more nuanced, being a combination of ideology and autocracy. Still, Iran is primarily an autocracy, even though it is built on an ideological base. Iran also demonstrates why secondary elements are important. There are at least three that either offer targets to attack or serve as obstacles that should be neutralized as best as possible. First, there is the military, and in particular, the Revolutionary Guard. Second, there is the economy, dominated by oil production. Third, there is the Religion, which is a strong uniting factor in the country.

The fifth question deals with others who must be taken into consideration. Looking at Iran again, foes that must be addressed are Russia, who provides military support as well as state supported terrorist groups. Friends would be Israel and Saudi Arabia, as well as other Sunni Arab countries.

Aligning Strategy with the PCoG. Every situation is unique. Therefore, there is no cookie cutter answer. However, there are some general principles that might prove helpful with at least identifying where one’s efforts might be the most productive.

In offensive operations, identify and exploit weaknesses in your adversary’s PCoG. In an Autocratic System, determine which is the weakest of the Vassals, the economy, or the military. A specific attack less than Kinetic War may be sanctions on the economy, as were used against Iran to get them to negotiate on nuclear weapons. In a Democratic System you want to directly influence the population, as in the al Qaeda terrorist bombings in Spain prior to their elections. In an Ideological System you could wear it down until it collapses from exhaustion and is discredited, as in the case of communism. In defensive operations, your adversary will seek to exploit your weaknesses, so you must prepare to defend against such actions.

Strategic Mismatch. Until now, most of this probably seems intuitive. This next part may sound like heresy. If you do not align your operations with the appropriate PCoG, you will either spend far more time than necessary to achieve your objectives, or you will fail. For example, in Iraq American Counterinsurgency (COIN) doctrine stated that the people were the Center of Gravity. That would be true if Iraq was a Democratic System. It was not. We had toppled one large autocracy, which was eventually replaced with a multitude of smaller autocracies operated by local leaders. Intuitively, we realized this, and worked with Key Leaders to influence events. But our overall strategy of holding elections to legitimize a system that, in reality, was not the PCoG, was doomed to failure. We wasted a lot of time trying to influence the wrong PCoG, and left our mission unfulfilled.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #67
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Hello all,

After several months of deliberation, I think I've settled on a dissertation subject. I'm still working out the particular question(s) to address. I've jotted down notes here and there but this my first time really flushing out the idea, so bear with me. I definitely appreciate any further conversation on this matter.

As many of you are aware, I'm primarily interested in the relationship between the political system and military practice. The long-accepted paradigm, especially in the West, is the Clausewitzian paradigm where "war is diplomacy by other means"; in other words, the goal of military operations is to achieve some politically defined objective on behalf of the state. "Military revolutions" or "transformations" occur within this paradigm, which raises the question of whether they are revolutions or transformations at all. Scale and conduct may change but the principle remains the same. Linking a state's politics to its military practice therefore becomes an exercise in country studies. The Clausewitz paradigm defines the acceptable norms, practice, infrastructure, language, and architecture of the military apparatus in a way specific to it.

My research focus will therefore be on military paradigms - not 'revolutions' or 'transformations' or 'reform' or 'modernization', all of which mean different things. As I see it, there are four kinds of war:

The First Kind: intra-paradigmal conflict. This is conflict between actors of the same military paradigm; i.e. two nation-states.

The Second Kind: transitional paradigmal conflict. This is conflict between actors of the same military paradigm with transition to a new paradigm as a consequence of the war itself. The 'total war' nature of the world wars probably fit in this category, since in my reading, total war is when the object of the war itself subjugates the political object sought, and thus is a different paradigm than Clausewitz.

The Third Kind: cross-paradigmal conflict. This is when actors of different paradigms come into conflict. The Mongol invasion of Japan is a good example, when the large hordes of the Mongols met a Japanese practice focused on single combat. The European wars against the native Americans is another example.

The Fourth Kind: meta-paradigmal conflict. This could be called 'thinking about thinking about warfare'. That is, when an actor deliberately integrates components of other military paradigms into its own practice and is able to fight across paradigms. Good examples of this are probably limited to localized adaptations of practice.

Some other terms:

'military revolution' - sudden change from one paradigm to another

'military transformation' - change from one paradigm to another

'military reform' - deliberate change from one paradigm to another

'modernization' - improving one's capabilities, not paradigm specific, and usually limited to making one's forces more capable within the established practice

'domain' - land, sea, subsurface, air, sub-orbital, space, cyber (and, depending on the paradigm, cultural, political, social, economic, environmental)

Thoughts on identifiable paradigms:

Clausewitz - limited war to achieve political ends established by the state

Total war - conflict in which victory supersedes all other considerations

Revolutionary - overthrow of the current political system

Marxist - seizure of a political system's means of production

Humanitarian - conflict to protect, uphold, or establish human rights

Genocidal - war to eliminate in whole or in part another people

Eschatological - war to bring about the 'end of the world' or 'judgment' according to religious belief

Commercial - war for profit

Honor - war to defend or improve reputation, honor, etc
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