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Old 10-31-2016   #21
Bill Moore
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Default Other articles of interest

Other articles of interest in the OCT 16 JFQ

Fast Followers, Learning Machines, and the Third Offset Strategy

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It is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be. . . . This, in turn, means that our statesmen, our businessmen, our everyman must take on a science fictional way of thinking.

—Isaac Asimov


A perfect quote to sag way into a discussion on strategy for the remainder of the 21st Century.

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In 1993, Andrew Marshall, Director of Net Assessment, stated, “I project a day when our adversaries will have guided munitions parity with us and it will change the game.”2 On December 14, 2015, Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work announced that day’s arrival when arguing for a Third Offset during comments at the Center for a New American Security.
The article gives a good run down on what the 3rd Off Set Strategy is all about (whether one agrees or disagrees with it logic). Unlike other articles I have seen, it also presented a list of risks associated with this strategy. One that I found compelling, but not compelling enough to stop the forward march of technology is:

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A New Fog of War. Lastly, the advent of learning machines will give rise to a new fog of war emerging from uncertainty in a learning machine’s AI programming. It is a little unsettling that a branch of AI popular in the late 1980s and early 1990s was called “fuzzy logic,” due to an ability to alter its programming that represents a potential loss of control and weakening of liability.
The article ends with:

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However, pursuit of game-changing technologies is only sustainable by breaking out of the increasingly exponential pace of technological competition with Fast Followers. A Third Offset Strategy could do this and could provide the first to adopt outsized advantages. Realistically, to achieve this requires integrating increasing layers of autonomy into legacy force structure as budgets align to new requirements and personnel adapt to increasing degrees of learning machine teaming. The additive effect of increasing autonomy could fundamentally change warfare and provide significant advantage to whoever successfully teams learning machines with manned systems. This is not a race we are necessarily predestined to win, but it is a race that has already begun with strategic implications for the United States.
The next article starts to address the missing link in the 3rd Off Set Strategy, which is how will we employ all these capabilities? The author makes a strong argument for leveraging wargaming.

Wargaming the Third Offset Strategy

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It is not only technology but also how new capabilities are employed that produces military power.13 A new capability is more than just a new technology. It requires new concepts for employing the systems and training on how to operate them as part of a larger joint fight. The strategy is unlikely to reach its full potential until the joint community develops new operating concepts.
In conclusion:

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Officers should take an active role and imagine future battlefields as part of their JPME experience and field exercises, learning to analyze the art and science of military practice. The joint community can work with the individual Services and integrate Third Offset wargames with JPME curriculum. Officers and the civilian academics who work in JPME should be incentivized to research and critique alternative operating concepts that emerge from the wargames.

Pursued along these lines, the net benefit of wargaming the Third Offset could well be to empower a new generation of military leaders to take ownership of intellectual development in the profession of arms.
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Old 10-31-2016   #22
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Default One more

The other article worth considering for future strategy from the JFQ OCT 16 is:

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Global Power Distribution and Warfighting in the 21st Century
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The U.S. national security community needs to focus more on the driving forces and likely associated consequences that will influence warfighting in the 21st century. A disproportionate amount of effort is spent by national security experts on narrow problem and solution spaces without an adequate appreciation of broader trends and potential shocks that could dramatically change U.S. national security perspectives. By largely ignoring these longer term factors, the U.S. military is unlikely to develop the needed national defense capabilities to deal effectively with critical threats in this emerging environment.
I agree with the argument, the focus on the 4 + 1 is too narrow in scope, and the assumption that if we can deter/defeat these threats we'll be capable of managing other threats may prove to be dangerously misleading.

The author identified four crucial threat concerns.

1.
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trend toward a more disorderly world, should it happen, would be largely driven by the rise of malevolent nonstate actors, reduced authority and legitimacy of nation-states in many regions, and decreased ability to provide effective global governance.
2.
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the further rise of regional hegemons of revisionist powers such as China, Russia, and Iran, whose objectives often clash with U.S. national interests
3.
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super-empowered” individuals and groups capable of levels of violence formerly only within the purview of nations
.

4.
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greatly increased level of nuclear proliferation beyond the gradual erosion of the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons that we see today.
Closed with this:

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A properly designed, bifurcated military approach that is employed effectively in coordination with other components of national and international power would support these objectives. Focusing on major power wars and treating other national security challenges as lesser included cases, however, would not. U.S. decisionmakers in charge of developing an effective military approach to counter the emergent threats outlined herein need to choose wisely—U.S. national security and global international security in the 21st century could depend on it.
Unfortunately, in my view the rest of the article pretty much promoted what is already happening with the 4+1 (how to deal with state and non-state actors) within DoD circles; however, the author did make one clear distinction that I agree with, and that is non-state actors must be treated with the same level of effort as state efforts. While the author didn't write it, I'll expand the argument that our focus on non-state actors must move beyond VEOs or Islamic extremists. Non-state actors come in all forms, and can wage various forms of warfare at the strategic level, increasing so with the proliferation of technology.
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Old 05-06-2017   #23
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Default Paradigms a changing

As this thread matures I want to further explore the impact of changes in policy, technology, adversary stratagems, and environmental factors that will, or should, drive changes in our national strategy. Starting 2017 with an excellent study by Hal Brands that addresses the reality of the impact of our allies and partner's decline relative to our competitors, and his proposed changes to mitigate the negative impact of this trend.

It is important, because we too readily assume allies and partners will share more of our collective security burden, but as he points out they are increasingly unable to do so. One of the few bright points is Australia's increasing contributions, while one of the darker points is the special relationship between the UK and U.S. is risk based on UK's lack of defense capacity. The reality of these changes mandate changes in our assumptions, which in turn will change our strategy.

The first link is an article that summarizes the report (shamelessly stolen from the news roundup on SWJ today)

http://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2017...adjust/137608/

America’s Allies Are in Decline. Here’s How the US Should Adjust

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Times change, however, and so has the global distribution of economic and military power. America’s closest and most powerful allies have seen their shares of global GDP and military power fall since the mid-1990s, due to slow or stagnant growth and—in Europe especially—prolonged disinvestment in defense. More broadly, U.S. allies in both Europe and the Asia-Pacific have seen their economic and military power decline relative to Russia and China, America’s most prominent rivals.
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To be clear, this decline is no reason to abandon or deliberately undercut America’s alliances. Given the vital role that those alliances have long played in U.S. statecraft, this “cure” would be far worse than the disease. What the United States must do, rather, is to adapt its approach to alliance management in ways that mitigate the geopolitical effects of allied decline and bolster the global order that Washington has long used those alliances to uphold.
The article summarizes several key points, but I still recommending reading the entire report for those interested in the topic. It can be found at this link:

http://csbaonline.org/uploads/docume...NE_FINAL_b.pdf
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Old 07-17-2017   #24
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Default Old wisdom increasing effete

http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art...l-internationa

After reading Octavian's interview of the author who wrote, The Case for a Grand Strategy of Responsible Competition to Defend the Liberal International Order, on the SWJ Journal at the link above it invoked more thoughts on the relevance of assumed truths when it comes to strategy thought. The argument that follows is based on the assumption that a rules based international order is essential for maintaining an acceptable level of security and opportunity for continued prosperity for most of the developed world.

If the above assumption is valid, then it calls into question the wisdom of the adage of, he who defends everything, defends nothing. This is certainly true for the military at the tactical and operational levels; however, at the strategic level a violation of international law anywhere is a threat to the international order everywhere. Failure to defend the international order in the so called areas of peripheral importance creates an environment for revisionists and anarchists create a norm where it is acceptable for a growing number of actors to challenge the order without paying a price for their transgressions. Furthermore, in an increasingly interconnected, hype globalized world local threats are increasingly transnational and often transregional.

Challenges to the international order do not include every internal issue between a populace and its governance, but it does include state aggression upon another state that fails to meet the generally accepted reasons to wage war. It does include significant transnational crime, such as cyber crime, human and other illicit trafficking, China's production of counterfeit medication to sell to developing countries, terrorism, illicit/illegal expansion of one's territory, major environmental crimes (such as China's overfishing of areas well outside of China's EZZ, crimes against humanity such as genocide, etc. Failure to ignore these and allow them to fester and expand creates a world where a rules based international order exists in name only.

This does not imply that the U.S. military needs to respond to every violation, that is simply not sustainable, but it does beckon back to a recent past prior to the attacks on 9/11 where the U.S. did a respectful job of helping others help themselves, and supporting coalitions of the willing to address threats to instability and the rules based international order. Whether we were left of bang, or at the early stages of bang, these actions helped shape the world overall in a positive direction. It is past time to determine how we can return to an acceptable balance of effort, an effort that recognizes the U.S. military has important roles outside of the Middle East that have been neglected too long. That neglect has empowered actors intent on reshaping the world order in a way that will only benefit regional hegemons, which in turn will lead much greater instability, as nations will resist falling under their sway.
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Old 07-19-2017   #25
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Default 'Fight or Flight: How to Avoid a Forever War against Jihadists

An article by Dan Byman & Will McCants 'Fight or Flight: How to Avoid a Forever War against Jihadists' (11 pgs) in The Washington Quarterly and here is a selected passage that makes me think it fits here!
Quote:
We argue, however, that this fear of safe havens and the politics that under gird it are misplaced. Safe havens can be dangerous, and at times it is vital for the United States to use force, even massive force, to disrupt them. Yet not all safe havens and not all the groups in the havens are created equal.
Their new rules:
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First, no militant group should be allowed to build a foreign operations cell that targets the United States....Second, no militant group should be allowed to take over a major city in acountry vital to American interests. Third, no militant group should be allowed to ethnically cleanse an entire people.
Link:https://twq.elliott.gwu.edu/sites/tw...an-McCants.pdf
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Old 07-21-2017   #26
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Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
An article by Dan Byman & Will McCants 'Fight or Flight: How to Avoid a Forever War against Jihadists' (11 pgs) in The Washington Quarterly and here is a selected passage that makes me think it fits here!
Their new rules:Link:https://twq.elliott.gwu.edu/sites/tw...an-McCants.pdf
He makes an important and needed argument, but I disagree that we should publically debate our red lines on when we should intervene. That gives VEOs freedom of movement in the area below the red line. At the same time we can't afford to chase every terrorist that raises a black flag somewhere. Decisions on responding must be based on threats to our priority interests.
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Old 09-18-2017   #27
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Default Awaiting the National Security Strategy

http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art...re-and-entropy

The New Era of Non-State Actors: Warfare and Entropy by Jason Thomas

This article appears to be identical to the one that SWJ published on 12 SEP 17, and in sum it argues that the West must prepare for a significant increase in threats posed by non-state actors, to include states actors sponsoring non-state actors to threaten our national interests. Of course this isn't new, but perhaps the means and ways that state actors can leverage non-state actors has changed enough to warrant serious reflection.

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The difference now is that instead of seeking to overthrow the established authority of Western governments, the modus operandi has shifted to penetrating deep within all layers of a Western country’s government, economic, cyber security, media and civil society in order to subvert and influence.
Unfortunately, the author didn't explain why these threats would expand and more importantly he didn't offer suggestions on how the West should prepare. Instead he provides a list of non-state actors and then various legacy theoretical frameworks for consideration that are largely based on COIN theories developed during the Cold War. However, his reference to how Clausewitz's writings may have limited the West's view of strategy. An assertion worth exploring as the Trump Administration works on its first National Security Strategy (NSS). However, with McMaster as his National Security Advisor, I see little hope that the strategy team will look far beyond the influence of Clausewitz. Furthermore, it isn't Clausewitz's writings that are limiting our imagination and strategic theory, it is our interpretation of them and what the West has chose to focus on. Principally the deeply flawed center of gravity construct.

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One of the most modestly insightful military-academics, Dutch Air Commodore Dr Frans Osinga (2006), argues that “the current Western mode of thinking and waging war, which is founded on Clausewitzian principles, is giving rise to non-Clausewitzian styles of warfare, with obvious consequences for the state of strategic theory.” An attachment to Clausewitz has not benefitted Western strategic approaches to what William Lind (1989) described as “fourth generational warfare” against technologically weaker, non-state actors. This Clausewitzian mindset may have resulted in the slow recognition by governments of alternative conflict paradigms, whereby the predominant game has been the physical destruction of the enemy.
It seems the administration's national security team is focused largely on state-actors, and have limited their focus on non-state actors to ISIS. There are a lot of significant non-state actors that threaten our interests beyond ISIS, and strategy should not focus on the only on the current shinny object, but that is the nature of how we do strategy in the U.S. since the 9/11 attacks. The issue is identifying how the world is changing and what changes we want to promote, and what changes threaten our interests we need to defend ourselves from. It is a complex task, and based on the rate of change, one that is bound to produce a flawed product, yet a strategy is still needed to drive unity of effort across the whole of government and ideally unify the West (loosely defined) in a way that the West cooperates to defend common interests. This will require policy founded on empirical data and critical thinking, not simply stating China is a threat or ISIS needs to be defeated. Everything is increasingly connected (see next post), and these challenges cannot be viewed in isolation. How we approach them will impact other strategic factors that will impact our longer term security.
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Old 09-18-2017   #28
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https://www.brookings.edu/research/c...matter-anyway/

Crafting Trump’s first National Security Strategy: What it could be—and why it might not matter anyway by Tarun Chhabra

Quote:
In the White House’s rosiest scenario, Trump truly embraces the core elements of his NSS—but probably not for long. The impulsiveness that defines his highly personalized style also defies the essence of policy, which generally consists of depersonalized, empirically-informed principles for guiding deliberate decisions and rational outcomes.
The article goes on to discuss trade, Russia, China, Asia, Middle East, Technology Trends, and the international order. I'll only touch on a couple of the topics. First off Asia, the global economy depends upon stability in the region and it is increasingly at risk due to China, North Korea, Russia, and increasingly ISIS. One can add climate change, food and water security, major natural disasters, etc. if they want a greater appreciation of all the significant factors impacting the region and our interests.

Where are we in regards to strategy in the region?
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The White House has yet to offer a major statement of its Asia policy. In fact, the only significant administration statement to date has been Mattis’ apologetic “bear with us” speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue in June, which promised continuity with Obama’s Asia policy, and promised to “reinforce the international order” and “maintain stability”—commitments that many leaders in Asia have yet to hear from the White House.
Actions and rhetoric to date have done little to dissuade or deter China's regional coercion or North Korea's provocations. To be fair, neither have the actions of previous administrations. The question though is do we intend to continue to underwrite regional security or do we pull away and let Asia drift into a new order without our influence?

Closer to home and sadly not often considered a national security threat is our own internal stability. Beyond universities becoming a breeding ground for a new breed of fascist, which Americans are increasingly aware of, there are significant threats to our economy posed by emergent technology. This is the first time in history that new technology has resulted in less jobs.

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Reports by two of the world’s leading management consulting firms have warned their clients in unusual terms that current technology trends, coupled with stagnant social policy, could undermine the social contract in Western democracies.
One report argues:

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“fears of unequal gains and potential job losses” cannot be “answered … with historical analogies purporting to demonstrate that everything will work itself out in the end,” and concludes with a dark warning that “it does not require a degree in modern history to imagine the ends that await us” if economic dislocation and deepening political polarization become “the new normal.
The vast areas of challenges, both internationally and domestically, calls for a national security strategy that accurately describes the collective challenge to our national security interests, and prioritizes those interests based on a longer view than the 24 hour news cycle or two year election cycle. While some argue we should prioritize threats and take them in order, I think this argument is deeply flawed. First off, we can't afford to neglect any significant threat, while we focus on defeating another (ISIS for example). Furthermore, this approach assumes we actually defeat a threat, when instead our the most likely and best reasonable outcome is to effectively manage that threat. This leads to the second issue, any strategy must be fiscally sustainable (dropping million dollar missiles on pick up trucks piloted by terrorists is not sustainable) and politically sustainable (U.S. leaders must promote a narrative that explains why we must continue to engage that resonates with the American people. Third, since prioritizes threats is probably a fools errand in the long run, we need to develop a strategy and associated capabilities that enable the U.S., the West, and its allies / partners elsewhere in the world to defend our interests against wide range of threats.

This wouldn't be an easy task if we had political unity, it may be an impossible task without it. Leadership that unites will be decisive.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #29
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Default The emerging U.S. National Security Strategy

The Reagan National Defense Forum has been annual event for the past few years where several leaders in national security come to share their ideas. This year NSA McMasters provided an overview of the tenants of President Trump's emerging National Security Strategy (NSS), which is anticipated to be signed and published within the new few weeks.

The following article captures some of the key points that LTG McMasters shared with the audience.

https://www.defense.gov/News/Article...rity-strategy/

National Security Advisor Hints at Basis of Trump’s National Security Strategy

He drew an interesting parallel to President Reagan vision of renewing America's confidence to address our national malaise after the Vietnam War, and subsequent retreat from the world stage under President Carter (my view). McMaster asserts the Trump administration will do the same, and the NSS will enable this moral factors recovery.

Quote:
Confidence in the United States and the nation’s influence abroad were at a low point, McMaster said. “The Soviet Union appeared to be on the rise and America, it seemed, was in decline,” he said. “President Reagan ushered in a dramatic rethinking of America’s role in the world and a dramatic renewal of American confidence. America would not only triumph in the Cold War and beyond but reach a new height of influence and prosperity.”

It was also fitting to discuss the Trump administration’s national security strategy, which will be released shortly, since Reagan signed the first national security strategy in 1987, the general said.
The key threats identified in McMaster's speech were the existing 4+1 (China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, and Violent Extremists), and he emphasized that North Korea was the most immediate threat to U.S. interests.

As during Reagan's time, McMaster emphasized the need to dramatically rethink national security based on these threats and our core interests.

He identified the four core national interests as:

1. Defending the homeland (traditionally this includes U.S. citizens overseas and our allies, not sure if that will be the case in this NSS)
2. Prosperity (you can't be a superpower without super economy, he emphasized fair trade)
3. Preserving peace through strength (ensuring a rules based international order, it is also worth noting we can't sustain economic growth without a rules based international order.)
4. Increasing U.S. influence (discussed the importance of our values, but not imposing our way of life upon others).

I like that he addressed the importance of understanding the dynamic and competitive nature of the security environment. He also noted that with competition comes interaction and change, so we must be prepared to change. That tells me we need to shed some our legacy views of the world.

This introduction to the draft NSS leaves many questions, and it appears it will continue to cling to the key tenants of previous NSSs, but pursue our aims more aggressively than President Obama's approach, but not as idealistically based as the Bush administration. In short, we'll regain our confidence to the shape the world, and in so doing, our allies and partners will be assured that we intend to protect our core interests (which more often than not are shared interests with our allies).

It still begs the question how we can afford this? Even in the unlikely event the proposed tax cuts generate more tax income for the government due to greater productivity of the U.S. economy we still have a massive and growing national debt. We are still facing a government shut down this month if Congress doesn't pass a budget or a continuing resolution. DoD is challenged to address force modernization due to budget uncertainty. The military requires a significant increase in its budget to rebuild its force, and simultaneously it will have to sustain it global war on violent extremists. How we continue to wage this war and how we modernize the force both need to be relooked if we're going to arrive at feasible solution for resourcing the NSS.

The rebuilding of the defense force can't simply consist of repairing broken legacy equipment (tanks, plans, helicopters, vehicles, etc.). Instead, DoD must build a 21st century force that can defend our interests from 21st Century threats. These threats range from cyber, WMD, and advanced weapons systems that may neutralize many of our current capabilities. Does more ships for the Navy matter if our adversary increasingly has the means to put them at the bottom of the ocean? Can a J35 defend us against an UAV swarm? Do we really have the means and policies to protect ourselves from sophisticated cyber attacks against our infrastructure? A cyber expert earlier in this thread points out we don't.

Developing what we hope will be a feasible strategy is extremely difficult, and implementing it will be harder. Rice bowls will need to be broken, bureaucratic processes re-wickered, the budget must be aligned to support the strategic means, and many people in key positions who can't adapt to the new strategy will need to be sidelined.

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Old 1 Week Ago   #30
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I Think #4 is questionable. That needs to be refined or eliminated. Spot on As far as we need To Redesign our National Weapon Systems based upon today's threats.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #31
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I Think #4 is questionable. That needs to be refined or eliminated. Spot on As far as we need To Redesign our National Weapon Systems based upon today's threats.
Slapout,

You have a lot of company in this belief, but I think it is essential. I'll debate it with you later, but food for thought now. We have allies and partners, which shapes the balance of power to shape the international order because most nations and most people in the world generally agree with our values (not all of our values, but broadly speaking). Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea do not have allies, because they all pursue self interests at the expense of others. If we fall into that camp, we'll find our effort to increase our prosperity and security much more challenging, if not impossible. Furthermore, our values define who we are as a nation, as a people, it provides us the necessary moral factors to sustain the fight. We can differ on this view, but I don't see how we could increase our influence without them?
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Old 1 Week Ago   #32
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Default Re: Nss 2018

Thanks for the posting, Bill.

Here are my thoughts…

McMaster:
Quote:
The Soviet Union appeared to be on the rise and America, it seemed, was in decline…President Reagan ushered in a dramatic rethinking of America’s role in the world and a dramatic renewal of American confidence. America would not only triumph in the Cold War and beyond but reach a new height of influence and prosperity.
The operative term here is: “appeared”. This perception was not shared in the Soviet Union, which became concerned by the late 1970s that the “correlation of forces” were advantaging the United States and disadvantaging them. Reagan certainly accelerated improvements in U.S. conventional capabilities that had begun under Carter, but overall he was the beneficiary of events beyond his control, in sharp contrast to Carter. The “dramatic renewal of confidence” that McMaster refers to was domestic, and did not have any bearing on the Soviet Union’s decline and eventual collapse. We cannot mistake popular or lay American perceptions with geopolitical reality. In fact, under Carter, the U.S. was far more confident in confronting the Soviet Union than it had been under Nixon and Ford.

McMaster:
Quote:
We would no longer confuse activity with progress [in South Asia]…Our military efforts and operations in the region combined with the efforts of our partners would focus on what brought us to Afghanistan in 2001 -- to deny terrorists safe havens that they could use to threaten America and threaten our allies.
Yet this trend had begun during Obama’s tenure, during which comprehensive state construction and a permanent presence were jettisoned for containment and attrition.

The most intriguing part of McMaster’s discussion was his focus on “fair” economic competition. Although it is true that the U.S. has permitted certain allies and partners to hold unfair trading advantages, the fact is that only American advances in innovation and productivity will enable the U.S. to expand its share of total world trade. Moreover, as Adam Smith noted, if countries use subsidies and tariffs to grow and protect their own industries, this only saps those countries’ national wealth by imposing costs on consumers. What the U.S. truly requires is greater public investment in R&D (military and civilian), K-12 education, STEM higher education, and infrastructure (including telecommunications such as Wi-Fi).

Having said this, the U.S. effectively leads the OECD in terms of gross and net national income, and has a very high share of GDP devoted to R&D (2.8%). Although Chinese industrial espionage is a persistent problem, China’s share of R&D has expanded from 0.73% of GDP in 1991 to 2.10% in 2015, meaning that the Chinese are using their own resources to fuel innovation and productivity (Source: OECD). I would like to see Federal R&D spending rise to above 1.20% of GDP to late 1970s/early 1980s levels (https://www.aaas.org/sites/default/files/RDGDP;.jpg).

CORRECTION: in terms of R&D spending as a share of GDP PPP, Israel is 1st, the U.S. is 11th (still the largest spender in absolute terms), and China is 17th (2nd-largest absolute spender).

Bill Moore:
Quote:
It still begs the question how we can afford this?
The American want public goods and services, but do not want to pay for them. It is that simple. All Reagan did was borrow instead of raising taxes.

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Old 1 Week Ago   #33
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Default Muddled Thinking

Excellent article from OTH we lack of understanding in our language. Nobody knows what anybody is talking about anymore.


https://overthehorizonmdos.com/2017/...fense-debates/
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Old 1 Week Ago   #34
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Excellent article from OTH we lack of understanding in our language. Nobody knows what anybody is talking about anymore.


https://overthehorizonmdos.com/2017/...fense-debates/
A good article, but perhaps misplaced here. I didn't hear McMasters use any buzz phrases, and the ideas he promoted for this NSS are built around enduring principles in U.S. strategy. McMasters, perhaps more than anyone else I heard speak, is believer in the enduring nature of war.

It is refreshing to hear an Air Force officer address the limitations associated with clinging to new technology as a replacement for strategy. Our adversaries have already developed new gray zone strategies to negate our technical advantages. If we end up getting in a high intensity conflict, it is doubtful that any of these technologies will be decisive.

The former SecDef and his deputy were the advocates the 3rd Off-Set Strategy, not the current regime. Although I suspect the 3d Off-Set effort will continue. As I noted earlier in this thread, after WWII strategy was no longer focused on winning, it became focused on deterrence. That lead DoD to focus on programs to develop the means to deter adversaries. We see the services compete for funding for their latest toy, often with little idea of how it will enable execution of a viable strategy to win. Of course, if you only want it for deterrence, I guess winning is a secondary thought?

Having read Boyd's biography, I think his initial ODAA loop was about decision speed to determine the out come of a dog fight between fighter aircraft. However, as Boyd moved beyond tactical to strategic he adapted the ODAA loop, and the article provides a good description of the strategic ODAA loop. Arguably a weakness in our ranks.

Quote:
But what Boyd was getting to with his actual OODA loop diagram – which is considerably more nuanced than the simple one referred to in most instances – was that there is not just one cognitive process in play here, and that it does not just work on one direction since orientation also influences observation. Competitive advantage is gained by leveraging all of the mechanisms available to you across the physical, mental, and moral levels of interaction, but first, you have to understand what they are, and improve your orientation while seeking to influence the cognitive processes of your adversary.
This understanding is critical to strategists. Without it we simply react.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #35
slapout9
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A good article, but perhaps misplaced here. I didn't hear McMasters use any buzz phrases, and the ideas he promoted for this NSS are built around enduring principles in U.S. strategy.


I thought the thread is about 21st Century Strategy. The article seemed to fit that General discussion, but it's your thread if you don't like it ask David to move it somewhere else.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #36
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I thought the thread is about 21st Century Strategy. The article seemed to fit that General discussion, but it's your thread if you don't like it ask David to move it somewhere else.
You're right, I thought it was specifically in response to the NSS comments, so my response was a crude way of asking for clarification. It is very relevant to the thread. Actually one of the more relevant ones.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #37
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The author asserted he was going to challenge or clear up the imprecise language, unqualified assumptions, and outright myths that muddles DoD's thinking. That is an ambitious agenda for a short article.

For the most part he makes traditionalist arguments tied to the enduring nature of war. The author also revisits the frequent critique of DoD (especially the civilian leadership) trying to hyper rationalize war and the folly of this tye of thinking. Then he points out we generally tend to use buzzwords to describe what appears new to us. This comment is interesting and has merit. A lot of things in our security ecosystem appear new because we have embraced an ahistoric view of war and competition. This is true, but an argument can be made that the use of buzzwords can help illuminate areas we have been blind too. It doesn't mean they are identifying anything new, but they are identifying areas we have neglected like irregular warfare. Clearly not new, but to long neglected in favor of a preferred war (Desert Storm) scenario that is more predictable.

The idea of multidomain battle isn't really new either, but it does possibly offer a corrective to the situation we find ourselves in. Our services through their various programming efforts have created functional stove pipes by domain that had little to do with the reality of war, but everything to do about protecting rice bowls. If the concept of multidomain battle facilitates greater functionality and jointness I am a fan.

Sometimes muddling has a purpose, paraphrasing Bruce Lee, "When I first started martial arts training a punch was just a punch, then the more I practiced it became a complex series of moves, and when I mastered it, a punch once again was just a punch." In sum, much of what we're doing is relearning the basics that we somehow lost.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #38
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Default Can't Kill Enough to Win? Think Again

Source: https://www.usni.org/magazines/proce...in-think-again

By Lts. Col. Bolgiano and Taylor (Ret.), Proceedings Magazine, December 2017, U.S. Naval Institute

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Those given the awful task of combat must be able to act with the necessary savagery and purposefulness to destroy those acting as, or in direct support of, Islamic terrorists worldwide. In 2008, then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Navy Admiral Michael Mullen said, “We can’t kill our way to victory.” Ever since, many have parroted his words. But what if Admiral Mullen was wrong? The United States has been at war with radical Islamists four times longer than it was with Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in World War II. And those previous enemies were far more competent and aggressive than the terrorists. It is time to kill a lot more of them.
Key Arguments:
  • U.S. ROEs are too restrictive and JAGs are incompetent
  • "It takes killing with speed and sustained effect to win wars"
  • The First Gulf War was bloody, but for the Iraqis
  • The Civil War was a war of attrition
  • The U.S. used strategic bombing against civilians and combatants in Germany and Japan, including the use of nuclear weapons
  • Edward Luttwak was right in 1999 ("fighting must continue until a resolution is reached. War brings peace...")
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Old 6 Days Ago   #39
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Azor,

Thanks for posting, I was going to do so this weekend. The oft repeated phrase that you can't kill your way to victory is another example of misguided group think. People simple repeat these quotes as though they're facts that can't be challenged. If we opt to use military force to achieve an object, then we must use sufficient force to compel a decision. Failure to do so will result in prolonged conflicts with no winner.

Other group think quotes that should be considered assumptions instead of fact include: by, with, and through is always the best strategy; the center of gravity in COIN is always the population; all politics are local; it takes a network to defeat a network; it is the lack of economic opportunity that creates terrorists; and so forth. Any of the above may be true in a specific instance, but they are not universal laws.
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Old 5 Days Ago   #40
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Certainly one can kill their way to victory in war, it just depends on what type of victory one seeks.

But if the war is an internal one, this is likely to be a pyrrhic victory.

The "American Way of War" remains a valid model for state on state warfare. Defeat the military, government and population of one's opponent completely; and then be generous in peace with broad reconciliation in peace, avoiding overly corrupting the perceived self-determination of the new governance that emerges, and remember that the defeated state will tolerate much more "influence" over their future if one is perceived as lessor of two evils (i.e., US presence in Germany, South Korea and Japan prevented much harsher occupations from impacting those places and people. We tend to forget that).

When one stops the war when the opposing government capitulates, but their military and population are not defeated, it is still a win, but not one that validates treating the affected nation and people as "defeated" (i.e., Germany post WWI, and equally Russia post-Cold War).

What Luttwak advocated for in "Give War a Chance" was the importance of letting political conflicts play out. When an external power intervenes to force a winner through the application of their power, it corrupts the legitimacy of the victory. The loser will always rationalize "but for...". This is when external power comes in as arbitrator. I believe increasingly external power should come in as mediator. Not to pick winners and losers; but to use their power to force the internal parties to the table and address issues that the current government would prefer to ignore. Like mediation in a failing marriage, terms developed and agreed to by the parties are more palatable and durable than those imposed by a judge.

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.
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