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Old 12-12-2017   #41
Bill Moore
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Bob,

Where we sometimes disagree is over the following statement.

Quote:
The nature of war is not much changed by the modern strategic environment, but as power shifts to populations relative to governments it is highlighting that political conflict within a single system is not the same as that between two or more systems. War is the final argument of Kings; but revolution is the final vote of the people.
Some the VEOs are waging a war within a single political system, many are waging a global jihad with ambitions to change political systems external to their country. To your point about power shifting between states, and power shifting to super empowered individuals and groups, I agree. Some of these non-state groups are waging war against the U.S. and our allies. Attempting to solve this challenge by addressing local governance issues will not work. We have to recognize the type of conflict we're in, and not confuse everything with traditional Cold War COIN/FID models. At the same time, we can't paint with too broad of brush, because not every group employing terrorism if part of this global jihad movement.
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Old 12-12-2017   #42
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Default Notable Responses to "Can’t Kill Enough to Win? Think Again"

Moral Repugnance: A Response to ‘Can’t Kill Enough to Win? Think Again’ Foreign Policy (December 11, 2017)

By Lt. Col. Dan Sukman, U.S. Army

Source: http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/12/11/...n-think-again/

Introduction:
Quote:
There are multiple ways to describe retired Lt. Cols. David Bolgiano and John Taylor’s article in the December issue of Proceedings magazine. Rather than call a spade a spade in an ad hominem-type attack, it is worth the time to deconstruct their argument bit by bit, and then to offer an alternative position.
Key Points:
  • Bolgiano and Taylor blame JAG advisors for overly restrictive ROEs, but the ROEs are the responsibility of commanders, the staff leads are J3 and J5, and staff JAGs merely assist. The authors provide no evidence of JAG incompetentence but rely upon “ad hominem attack” and “wholesale slander”.
  • Comparing conventional past inter-state warfare with present operations against non-state actors is a logical fallacy
  • Bolgiano and Taylor ignore that precision-guided munitions were not available in the 1940s-1950s, necessitating indiscriminate strategic bombing with an added objective of demoralization. Ironically, civilian morale was only bolstered by the bombing of Germany, Japan and Britain.
  • The authors attribute high PTSD and suicide rates among veterans to a lack of victory parades; again, without any evidence.
  • The authors refer to Luttwak’s 1999 essay, “Give War a Chance”, without reflecting on its logical conclusion that, “nations would be part of a never-ending global conflict lasting for centuries until one nation prevailed above all others.”
  • Bolgiano and Taylor make “bizarre” claims that the Cold War was won entirely by the U.S. defeating the Soviet Union, despite many “competing theories as to why the Soviet Union collapsed”, and dismiss humanitarian missions as “new missions to justify force structure”, when in fact, “these types of missions have been a staple of the U.S. military” e.g. the Berlin Airlift.
  • Quote:
    The authors’ insistence that the way to win wars is through attrition lacks an intellectual foundation. It is understood that conflict is about achieving a political aim. The well-known strategic theorist Sun Tzu wrote that the ultimate skill for a general is to win without fighting. Moreover, another well-known theorist named Clausewitz wrote, ‘As War is no act of blind passion, but is dominated by the political object, therefore the value of that object determines the measure of the sacrifices by which it is to be purchased.’ People who are serious about warfare understand that war, although characterized by violence, is about attaining a political objective. Nations can achieve this through ways and means other than attrition.

Conclusion:
Quote:
Wars are not lost because a nation does not kill enough people, or kill enough of the enemy. Wars are lost when nations find themselves in strategic drift. Wars are lost when nations send men and women into combat without any clue to why they are sending them there. Without any clear strategic objectives or end state, nations will fight endless wars with nothing to show for it. Finally, we lose wars when we lose our moral compass. The instant we become a monster to slay a monster, war is lost.
No, We Can’t Kill Our Way To Victory Despite What 2 Misguided Lieutenant Colonels Might ThinkTask & Purpose (December 8, 2017)

By Adam N. Weinstein, U.S. Marine Corps. (Reserves)

Source: http://taskandpurpose.com/no-cant-ki...s-might-think/

Introduction:
Quote:
Back in 2008, Adm. Michael Mullen, then the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made what seemed like a self-evident observation, seven years into the Afghanistan war and five years into Iraq: “We can’t kill our way to victory.” Nine years and nearly 2,000 U.S. combat deaths later, the U.S. Naval Institute has published Can’t Kill Enough to Win? Think Again, an op-ed by two retired lieutenant colonels who charge that Mullen was dead wrong, in thrall to a culture of weakness that has permeated and hamstrung the U.S. military. The USNI is a serious outlet for professional military thought; the authors of this particular piece, David Bolgiano and John Taylor, are former paratroopers and JAGs. This article is serious but sorely misguided, another reminder that the military is slow to adapt and has never fully adjusted to counterinsurgency.
Key Points:
  • Quote:
    Consider the war in Afghanistan. Kabul still can’t control large swaths of its territory and doesn’t even enjoy legitimacy. The biggest impediment to defeating the Taliban, a fractious and far-flung enemy, has never been an inability to kill its fighters, which U.S. forces still excel at; the problem has been figuring out what comes next, after the killing. The Afghan National Army is still plagued by rampant corruption and ethnic cleavages in Afghan society still hinder a strong national identity. All of these obstacles are compounded by the fact that Pakistan, Iran, and India all have interests in Afghanistan that clash with those of the United States…Despite these complexities, Bolgiano and Taylor assume that overwhelming death and destruction will fix it.
  • Quote:
    The urge to have a clear, massive victory is understandable — but it’s never proven effective in a battlespace where multiple insurgencies are occurring at once and in competition with one another…it requires the building of central governments with legitimacy…The U.S. military has vastly superior firepower compared to its enemies, but insurgencies can still kill with ease and relative efficiency.

Conclusion:
Quote:
It is important never to confuse tactics with strategy or the immediate firefight for the desired long-term outcome. What could have been an interesting critique of U.S. military tactics at the operational level by Bolgiano and Taylor instead became a disjointed bravado-filled tirade that reeks of a longing for a time when war was simpler. The U.S. Naval Institute can do better.
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Old 12-12-2017   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
Bob,

Where we sometimes disagree is over the following statement.



Some the VEOs are waging a war within a single political system, many are waging a global jihad with ambitions to change political systems external to their country. To your point about power shifting between states, and power shifting to super empowered individuals and groups, I agree. Some of these non-state groups are waging war against the U.S. and our allies. Attempting to solve this challenge by addressing local governance issues will not work. We have to recognize the type of conflict we're in, and not confuse everything with traditional Cold War COIN/FID models. At the same time, we can't paint with too broad of brush, because not every group employing terrorism if part of this global jihad movement.

Bill, I suspect we disagree less than you might imagine on this. Obviously we do not live in a black and white world. Rare is the conflict that is purely "within" or "between." Most are a fusion of both. And yes, this new breed of VEO that the core groups for ISIS and AQ are prime examples of, conduct global UW campaigns in very state-like ways (but without the burden of state-like vulnerabilities).

Many in recent years have conflated these UW campaigns by slapping AQ or ISIS prefixes onto dozens of disparate revolutionary movements around the globe. That totally confuses the nature of those individual movements, as well as the character of the overall campaign. That is why I have long advocated for abandoning the reactive, symptomatic logic of CT and adopting a C-UW approach that focuses on the strategies, campaigns and alliances of these organizations.

By recognizing that the drivers of resistance insurgency are unique from the nature of the drivers of revolutionary insurgency it allows us to design more comprehensive campaigns that recognize that distinction and are designed to address both from the top down (as well as dealing with the UW efforts of state and VEO actors seeking to leverage both to their advantage).

Many have argued in places like Afghanistan that the problem must be solved from the bottom up. The problem is, that at the "bottom" there is no way to know the motivations of the fighter before you. Also, most of these places are broken from the top down through bad policies and poor governance.

Historically, when state power could routinely trump and suppress popular power, there was little need to make a distinction between revolution and resistance. After all, the "win" was defined as the state remaining uncoerced and the insurgent defeated. That was no true win then, and is even less of a win today. Time to put a finer point on our thinking.
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"The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

Last edited by Bob's World; 12-12-2017 at 09:09 PM.
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Old 12-13-2017   #44
Bill Moore
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Azor View Post
Moral Repugnance: A Response to ‘Can’t Kill Enough to Win? Think Again’ Foreign Policy (December 11, 2017)

By Lt. Col. Dan Sukman, U.S. Army

Source: http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/12/11/...n-think-again/

Introduction:

Key Points:
  • Bolgiano and Taylor blame JAG advisors for overly restrictive ROEs, but the ROEs are the responsibility of commanders, the staff leads are J3 and J5, and staff JAGs merely assist. The authors provide no evidence of JAG incompetentence but rely upon “ad hominem attack” and “wholesale slander”.
  • Comparing conventional past inter-state warfare with present operations against non-state actors is a logical fallacy
  • Bolgiano and Taylor ignore that precision-guided munitions were not available in the 1940s-1950s, necessitating indiscriminate strategic bombing with an added objective of demoralization. Ironically, civilian morale was only bolstered by the bombing of Germany, Japan and Britain.
  • The authors attribute high PTSD and suicide rates among veterans to a lack of victory parades; again, without any evidence.
  • The authors refer to Luttwak’s 1999 essay, “Give War a Chance”, without reflecting on its logical conclusion that, “nations would be part of a never-ending global conflict lasting for centuries until one nation prevailed above all others.”
  • Bolgiano and Taylor make “bizarre” claims that the Cold War was won entirely by the U.S. defeating the Soviet Union, despite many “competing theories as to why the Soviet Union collapsed”, and dismiss humanitarian missions as “new missions to justify force structure”, when in fact, “these types of missions have been a staple of the U.S. military” e.g. the Berlin Airlift.

Conclusion:

No, We Can’t Kill Our Way To Victory Despite What 2 Misguided Lieutenant Colonels Might ThinkTask & Purpose (December 8, 2017)

By Adam N. Weinstein, U.S. Marine Corps. (Reserves)

Source: http://taskandpurpose.com/no-cant-ki...s-might-think/

Introduction:

Key Points:


Conclusion:
I would have been surprised if there wasn't a self righteous backlash to the think again article. The think again article was partially flawed by comparing the war against Japan and Germany with the war on terror. Despite this error there were a lot of uncomfortable truths in their thought piece that didn't settle well with critics, yet the counter arguments they presented are not supportable. See follow on post for examples.
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Old 12-13-2017   #45
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First, the Moral Repugnance response in Foreign Policy. The author's argument that commander's own the ROE, therefore, it wasn't the lawyers who hampered operations. Partially true, but commanders at what level? The tactical commanders slugging it out with the jihadists had the overly restrictive ROE imposed upon them by higher echelons of command far removed from the fight, who developed ROE based on their COIN Zen readings. I could provide multiple examples, but will simply remind those of the ridiculous escalation of force ROE for challenging a suspicious vehicle approaching your vehicle. First use a laser to get their attention, then small arms warning shots, and then if you're not destroyed by the IED, employ your 50 cal. There were certainly times when this was permissible and prevented innocents casualties, yet when a vehicle charges across the medium at you, and you have seconds are less to act, you won't survive the escalation ROE proscribed.

Second, I agree with the critique that comparing today's conflicts with WWII and even DESERT STORM is false argument. However, the author's argument weakens when he asserts without any supporting evidence that the military can achieve its political object without attrition. That may be true sometimes, but it does apply in all cases. Going back to the false comparison as an example, the Japanese and Germans during WWII were hyper-nationalistic, and to break their will it was necessary to kill and destroy in large measure. Bringing it back to the reality of civil wars, insurgency, and countering terrorists, it still depends upon multiple factors. When the interests of both belligerents are so strong that political settlement is not feasible, then one side must apply sufficient force/violence to compel the other side to bend to their will. One relatively case in point was the civil war in Sri Lanka, the Tamils and Singhalese were not going to comprise with one another, and the war dragged on for years due to the West pushing the Sri Lankan government to take half steps. When the Sri Lankans were resourced (by the Chinese) and they took the gloves off, they finally defeated the Tamil Tigers. They were condemned by the Western media for so called war crimes, yet there was no context, such as was the peace that followed for both sides worth it, or would it be better to drag the fighting for an additional decade?

The author's point about Vietnam and Afghanistan were also flawed. While we certainly killed a lot of people in Vietnam, we didn't sustain the pressure (I'm not arguing that we should have, just questioning the author's assertion that killing doesn't work). In Afghanistan, we haven't killed that many, but more importantly the Taliban production factory in Pakistan is seldom ever touched, so we're not killing them at a sufficient sustained effort to break their will. Again, that may or may not be the preferred the course of action, but it is misleading to assert that killing our way doesn't work based on that example.

To his point about Iraq, having been there in 2007, where the strategy was to kill our way out of the seemingly uncontrollable chaos, it actually worked at the tactical and operational level. However, we didn't tie the killing to a political object beyond buying time for some magic to happen at the political level, which of course never materialized. The author is correct that we were strategically adrift.

To his final comment, "The instant we become a monster to slay a monster, war is lost." That is an opinion, arguably a nave one that has no historical support whatsoever. War is repugnant period, but allowing war to drag on endlessly with no end in sight because we think we can win it with half measures is a sin.
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Old 12-13-2017   #46
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The Task and Purpose critique was better, I think the author hit the nail on the head with this comment.

Quote:
The biggest impediment to defeating the Taliban, a fractious and far-flung enemy, has never been an inability to kill its fighters, which U.S. forces still excel at; the problem has been figuring out what comes next, after the killing.
So even we do apply sufficient violence to clear an area of the Taliban, we can consolidate our tactical win into a political win. The reason in my view is our failure to understand the local dynamics, and we attempt to impose a Western idea solution that will never work, or at least for the foreseeable future. We need to adjust our ends, or we'll be in Afghanistan forever.

Quote:
Long-term success in places like Afghanistan and Iraq requires a credible alternative to insurgency and sectarian conflict; it requires the building of central governments with legitimacy. This feat that has so far eluded the United States and its allies in Iraq and Afghanistan. Killing many, and often, hasn’t helped.
This feat will continue to elude the U.S. and its allies, so is it really a feasible course of action to achieve a win (however we ultimately define that)? This is simply COIN Kool-Aid, one size fits all, no analysis on feasibility required. All we have to do is establish a democratic government, provide some economic aid, and presto we'll achieve our ends.

However, this critique was much better argued than the previous one. It is unfortunate that the authors of the "Think Again" piece weakened a needed argument that questioned the conventional wisdom with unneeded bravado.
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Old 12-13-2017   #47
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Ultimately, I do not desire to dilute this thread with an argument on whether we're applying enough violence to compel an adversary to bend to our will, but if we're going to honestly relook strategy in the 21st Century, it is important to challenge existing beliefs to see if they're enduring myths or facts, or more likely if they're applicable in one situation and not in another. In that case we confuse appropriate behavior in one situation as a principle that applies to all situations.
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Old 12-13-2017   #48
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Strategy is rooted in principles and framed by human nature. That is why Sun Tzu, Thucydides and Clausewitz endure to serve as strategic guides. Good strategic understanding is the Appreciation of what makes different types of political conflict distinct; and equally what the common elements are within those types.

To skip or disavow this step is to be forever mired in the emotion and character of the moment, where one has no idea where they are going, but often draws comfort from the fact that they are making good time...
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"The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)
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Old 12-13-2017   #49
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Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
Strategy is rooted in principles and framed by human nature. That is why Sun Tzu, Thucydides and Clausewitz endure to serve as strategic guides. Good strategic understanding is the Appreciation of what makes different types of political conflict distinct; and equally what the common elements are within those types.

To skip or disavow this step is to be forever mired in the emotion and character of the moment, where one has no idea where they are going, but often draws comfort from the fact that they are making good time...
Well said, and it isn't so much the COIN or FID mindset that matters as much as our tendency to reflexively apply doctrinal recipes for UW, COIN, FID, or high end war without gaining understanding first of the strategic ecosystem and identifying achievable politic objects, and how the military can be employed to help achieve those objects. We're enamored more with 12 step programs, or process over substance. Since 9/11 we have repeatedly failed to align our ends, ways, and means effectively.
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Old 12-13-2017   #50
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Default The Merge Happened!

IMO The larger problem since we entered the nuclear age at the end of ww2 is that no one talks about the fact that strategy and policy have merged into a new and distinct entity! The world was changed forever that day, but our thinking and our framework concepts have not. So in the end our judgement is flawed......And we fail.

Just look at the nuclear proliferation that is all around us but we spend unbelievable amounts on so called counter terrorism. One of the primary directives of the Constitution is to preserve a "Future" for our next generation, that flat out requires some type of plan! Where is it? We have lost our since of priorities,which in someway is a key component to any future plan.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #51
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IMO The larger problem since we entered the nuclear age at the end of ww2 is that no one talks about the fact that strategy and policy have merged into a new and distinct entity! The world was changed forever that day, but our thinking and our framework concepts have not. So in the end our judgement is flawed......And we fail.

Just look at the nuclear proliferation that is all around us but we spend unbelievable amounts on so called counter terrorism. One of the primary directives of the Constitution is to preserve a "Future" for our next generation, that flat out requires some type of plan! Where is it? We have lost our since of priorities,which in someway is a key component to any future plan.
We all tend to have negative views of the world based on the "if it bleeds, it leads" media news standard; however, I think we would be hard pressed to make a case that the U.S. has not relatively consistently improved the standard of living for its citizens since the end of WWII. There will of course be cyclic ups and downs in the economy, but the overall trend remains positive. Whether by plan or by chance we seem to be something right despite the bitter divides in our political system.

Critical to sustained improved standard of living for the next generation is revamping our education system, fixing the infrastructure that our economy is dependent upon, and forcing the extreme right and left elements in our political structure out of the system, so the real politicians can work on solving problems through the age old and tested compromising process that is the foundation of a democratic system.

The one issue we concern ourselves most with on SWJ is national security. I'm eager to see the final National Security Strategy, and the subordinate strategies developed to implement it. The new administration has hit the refresh button, but I do have concerns that it may be excessively focused on preparing to go to war with near peer state actors at the expense of other threats we face now and will face in the 21st Century.

You pointed out one, the proliferation of WMD. The proliferation of WMD probably can't be stopped any more than the illegal drug trade, but it can disrupted, degraded, delayed, or pick your other D word. The insurmountable problems are the expanding black, gray, and white globalized markets where the components of WMD systems can be purchased, and the inability to prevent WMD knowledge proliferation via the internet. Assuming I'm right, where does that leave us? On one hand, if we modernize our nuclear force, we can probably deter so called rational state actors from using WMD, just as they can deter us. On the other hand, it is unlikely that suicidal jihadist organizations can be deterred from using WMD, which will most likely be the use of chemical weapons in the near term. How do we adapt to manage that challenge?

Moving back to the threat of state actors challenging our interests globally. This threat undermines both our economic and security interests, but they are doing this now in the gray zone, so are we addressing the gray zone gap? While we certainly need a military that can prevail in a high end conflict in case we stumble into one, does it make any difference if we have a compelling conventional and nuclear military advantage if our adversaries are still achieving war like objectives short of war, and we have no idea of how to counter it? Are we hamstrung by outdated concepts and laws that do not hinder our adversaries? Do we have the wherewithal to change, or will we slowly retreat?

Back to your original point, we won't preserve a future for the next generation with outdated ideas and concepts. We have to adapt or strategy to deal with the world we have, not the one we want. We seem to want a world where a large conventional force can ward off the evils that threaten us. I for one, think that is an outdated idea that has already been proven to have no legs. It is one leg of a three legged stool at best.

You also point out the disconnect between policy and strategy, an argument I partly follow, but hope you can expand upon it a little to clarify. Another issue is we live in a world of programs and programming, and programs are what the services compete for, not war winning strategies. How do we fix this legacy mindset?

The good news is we're, at least in theory, an open society that is willing to identify, expose, and then fix our problems. That is a competitive advantage that is hard to beat when we come together as a nation to meet the challenge of the day. Hopefully we can do so before the next Pearl Harbor or 9/11 attack.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #52
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Default Is today's CT strategy repeating an imperial era one?

I spotted this WoTR article awhile ago and kept it back: 'The War on Terrorism as Imperial Policing' by Joshua Rovner.

It struck me that it has application here, although the USA has been wary of being labelled an imperial power and following British practices - in this context the imperial era tactic of air policing.

Citing the last two paragraphs:
Quote:
Great Britain’s imperial grand strategy ended when it could no longer afford an empire. Two world wars and a series of postwar economic disasters forced it to retrench. The United States is much wealthier than pre-war Britain, and its relative advantages are enduring, even after the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Moreover, there is little sustained domestic opposition to a strategy focused mainly on intelligence, special operations, and drone strikes. As long as there are no serious economic or political pressures to exercise restraint, we can expect more of the same: an imperial-style counterterrorism campaign waged by a country without imperial aspirations.
Link:https://warontherocks.com/2017/11/th...rial-policing/
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #53
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Default U.S. National Security Strategy 2017

The President released his National Security Strategy on 18 December 2017, and it is largely consistent with previous strategies with some key differences.

The NSS summary can be found at the following link:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings...cas-interests/

Quote:
Strategic confidence enables the United States to protect its vital national interests. The Strategy identifies four vital national interests, or “four pillars” as:

I. Protect the homeland, the American people, and American way of life;
II. Promote American prosperity;
III. Preserve peace through strength;
IV. Advance American influence.

The Strategy addresses key challenges and trends that affect our standing in the world, including:

•Revisionist powers, such as China and Russia, that use technology, propaganda, and coercion to shape a world antithetical to our interests and values;

•Regional dictators that spread terror, threaten their neighbors, and pursue weapons of mass destruction;

•Jihadist terrorists that foment hatred to incite violence against innocents in the name of a wicked ideology, and transnational criminal organizations that spill drugs and violence into our communities.
The entire NSS can be found at this link:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-conten...017-0905-2.pdf

Somewhat surprising after the campaign rhetoric, the new NSS still upholds our values, and describes the increasingly competitive strategic environment as fundamentally contests between those who value human dignity and freedom and those who oppress individuals and enforce uniformity.

Will revisit this the NSS later.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #54
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Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
I spotted this WoTR article awhile ago and kept it back: 'The War on Terrorism as Imperial Policing' by Joshua Rovner.

It struck me that it has application here, although the USA has been wary of being labelled an imperial power and following British practices - in this context the imperial era tactic of air policing.

Citing the last two paragraphs:
Link:https://warontherocks.com/2017/11/th...rial-policing/
David,

Think the following paragraph contrasts the difference between the British and U.S. approach at the strategy level.

Quote:
The air policing analogy is far from perfect. Great Britain was pursuing an imperial grand strategy, supported by an imperial service. The United States does not have imperial aims or an imperial constabulary. Instead, its grand strategy is meant to sustain a liberal international order backed by a conventional military capable of rapid power projection. Washington seeks to solidify its power position by spreading American values, especially free trade and democracy, while ensuring that it can respond quickly in the event of regional instability.
We focused on sustaining the liberal international order and spreading our values, while the Imperial British focused on sustaining its power by using air power as a weapon of terror. Regardless of how you use air power, the promises associated it have always proven to be false promises. Furthermore, employing air power today is not a cheap option, a single bomb could cost over a million dollars. The Air Forces has priced themselves out business in many respects.

To the author's point of the necessity of developing a sustainable approach to our war on terror, I agree strongly. We don't need to employ 2 and 3 star headquarters and the associated staff to manage these security challenges in most cases. We certainly don't need high end aircraft designed to fight against a peer competitor. However, the lighter approach comes with its own risks as we saw in Niger.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #55
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Default What roles does public trust in politicians play?

Could the difficulty over strategy not also reflect public trust in the USA? I found this New Yorker article fascinating; it starts with and my emphasis added:
Quote:
Gallup has been polling Americans annually about their confidence in their country’s institutions—the military, the Supreme Court, Congress, the Presidency, organized religion, the health-care establishment, and public schools, among others. Over all, the project describes a collapse in trust over time, even though the surveys started amid the disillusionment of Watergate and the failed war in Vietnam. In 1973, more than four in ten Americans had “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in Congress. This year, the figure was twelve per cent. Trust in churches and other religious institutions has fallen from sixty-five per cent to forty-one per cent in the same period. Confidence in public schools has dropped from fifty-eight per cent to thirty-six per cent. The loss of faith in the “medical system” has been particularly dramatic—a decline from eighty per cent in 1975 to thirty-seven per cent this year. There are a few exceptions to the broad slide. Confidence in the police has held steady at just above fifty per cent. Confidence in the military has increased, from fifty-eight per cent in the aftermath of the Vietnam War to seventy-two percent this year.
Link:https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily...p-relies-upon?

I had not seen such figures on the decline in trust in public and other institutions for the USA.

There is a recent opinion poll on trust in the professions here and that found 'Government Ministers and politicians are again the least trusted', with 19% trust Ministers and 17% trust politicians more generally. Alas the armed forces are not included and I would expect trust in them to be high.
Link:https://www.ipsos.com/ipsos-mori/en-uk/politicians-remain-least-trusted-profession-britain
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