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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
Bill Moore
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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.
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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
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super-empowered” individuals and groups capable of levels of violence formerly only within the purview of nations
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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!
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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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Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-19-2017 at 03:52 PM. Reason: 34,807v
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Old 07-21-2017   #26
Bill Moore
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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 1 Day Ago   #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 1 Day Ago   #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

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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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