Read the entire monograph.
Some aspects to keep in mind as we think about what it means to be a profession include among other things --- the special skills and expertise, the ethics that define our behaviors, a commitment to continued education and development, self-regulation, and in our particular case, subordination to civilian authority.
To serve as a initial catalyst for a discussion, I have posted an interview that I recently conducted with the Army Center of Excellence for the Professional Military Ethic who are profiling a number of Army leaders on "The Army Profession". By sharing this dialog with you, I hope to expand awareness and initiate a substantive dialogue on this important subject. I welcome you to view my interview at YouTube and below as well as encourage you to provide comments.Gen. Martin Dempsey discusses the Army profession, leader development and decentralization - Part 1.Gen. Martin Dempsey discusses the Army profession, leader development and decentralization - Part 2.Gen. Martin Dempsey discusses the Army profession, leader development and decentralization - Part 3.
I'm starting to think that I never will. The shortcomings that you cite seem, to me, to be not unique to COIN. But inability to "get" them seems to always be held up as evidence of not getting COIN.
Risk aversion, blind adherence to SOP, unwillingness to partner and embed, obsession with PowerPoint, excessive force protection, neglecting personal relationships, lack of coordination - it sounds to me like we don't get war. Of any type. I don't understand why our lack of knowledge is so often characterized as a more narrow deficiency of not getting COIN.
Much more at AEI's CDS.
1) Do we have the guts to enforce the new Iran sanctions?
2) Is Afghan development assistance making the problem worse?
Do we have the guts to enforce the new Iran sanctions?
Last month, U.S. President Barack Obama succeeded in pushing another Iran sanctions resolution through the U.N. Security Council. That resolution gives countries the right (but not the obligation) to inspect ships suspected of carrying military and nuclear items the Security Council has banned from Iran. On July 1, Obama signed into law H.R. 2194, a statute that will allow the president to impose sanctions on people or companies anywhere in the world who deal with Iran's petroleum exploration and refining businesses. H.R. 2194 was a very popular bill; it passed 408-8 in the House and 99-0 in the Senate.
Obama now has all the sanction authority he could have hoped for. But now that he has these powers, will he have the will to use them? Employing the new sanctions will require Obama and the United States to experience some unpleasant side effects. The next phase of the tussle with Iran could involve a global game of chicken, and it's not clear who will blink first.
On July 6, the Washington Post ran a story about Iran's preparations for a naval clash in response to the ship inspection provision of the Security Council resolution. The article discussed Iran's "asymmetric" tactics against the U.S. 5th Fleet which could involve anti-ship missile attacks supplemented with suicide speedboat and aircraft attacks on U.S. warships near Iran. U.S. commanders, informed by war-games and training exercises, claim to be ready for these tactics.
A naval clash would seem to play to the U.S. military's strong suit. An Iranian attack would allow U.S. air and naval power to punish a broad range of Iranian military targets. The United States would seem to possess "escalation dominance" in this scenario.
But Iran's strategy would be primarily political, not military. Even one minor hit on a U.S. warship, one photograph of gray smoke coming from a U.S. hull, would exceed expectations and would be an Iranian moral victory. More importantly, Iran would hope to turn its losses into a propaganda victory -- an example of the U.S. bully beating up a small country. From an economic perspective, the Obama team would likely ponder the implications for the global economy of a naval battle in the Strait of Hormuz. For all these reasons, it might be in Iran's interest to arrange a provocation over the ship-inspection provision, engage the United States in a game of chicken, and see whether or not the Security Council resolution will have any meaning.
Iran is not the only one that can play chicken over this issue. China's oil companies will soon be the dominant foreign player in Iran's energy sector.
Click through to read more ...
More at Middle East Report.
An easy choice for Gates. Mattis seemed otherwise headed for retirement, a waste given the requirement for a strong choice at Centcom. Mattis' most urgent task is Centcom's diplomatic duties - in particular, establishing and extending relationships with political and military leaders around the Persian Gulf. Gen. Petraeus will handle Afghanistan and Gen. Austin will handle Iraq. Mattis will handle everything else, with Iran likely his top concern. The first step for Mattis on Iran is establishing his relationships with the GCC countries.
Understanding Al Qaeda's True Center of Gravity
A Book Review of:
Militant Islamist Ideology: Understanding the Global Threat, by Commander Youssef H. Aboul-Enein, USN
Reviewed by: Malcolm Nance
What steels the heart of educated men to slaughter innocent passengers and fly
a jetliner full of people into a skyscraper? What power does a few minutes
internet chat with a dissident cleric hold that can make an officer of the United
States Army abandon his professional and military oath and gun down his fellow soldiers
in cold blood? What desire makes other terrorists physically ill with jealousy
that they themselves were not chosen to die in a suicide attack? Pondering
these questions gives one a glimpse of the dark heart and evil commitment of our
enemy, Al Qaeda.
The level of moral corruption necessary to abandon one's entire upbringing and
commit an overt act of murderous treachery as a form of worship is often beyond
comprehension of the common man. The question, Why Do They Fight? is often
asked but rarely answered with clarity. From soldier to flag officer, responses
range from measured to the dangerously xenophobic. Unfortunately, many of our warrior's
beliefs about the terrorists are misguided, ill-informed and too often openly racist.
Many of our citizens and soldiers alike, succumb to the habit of making assertions
about our enemy with no basis in fact or reality.
A new book from the US Naval Institute, Militant Islamist Ideology:
Understanding the Global Threat written
by Cdr. Youssef H. Aboul-Enein, USN has the answers necessary to recalibrate our
misperceptions of the present terrorist opposition. It is an excellent compendium
of historical, religious and ideological insights that reveals the terrific corruption
of Islam that makes up the Islamic militant worldview. It is a book well suited
to giving our warriors a grounded understanding of not only who we are fighting
but what belief system make them so desperate to engage in asymmetric combat at
the cost of their own lives.
rébellion".In order to avoid confusion and possible misunderstanding with our allies, the French word "contre rébellion" is translated as "counterinsurgency". Although the American and
British meaning of this term better corresponds to the French notion of "stabilisation" (stabilization phase), counterinsurgency in this document, should exclusively be understood as referring to the tactical level of operations.In the same manner, the French word "rébellion" which characterizes an armed
organization using guerrilla warfare and/or terrorism is translated as "insurgency".
Doctrine for Counterinsurgency at the Tactical Level.
Much more at Zenpundit.
The Army Capabilities Integration Center's Future Warfare Division is sponsoring a symposium entitled Grounded Projections for a Vision of Alternative Futures. The symposium will be Nov 3-4, 2010, in McLean, VA.
The symposium seeks to explore possible challenges facing the military and how they might affect the future. The symposium will seek to explore various alternatives of what the future may look like in light of what is known today and the implications of various factors on the Army.
As the military prepares for 2030 and beyond, what challenges lie ahead? Prior to the terrorist attacks of September 2001, national defense concepts were based on an assumption that conventional threats would come from hostile nations. In hindsight, it becomes apparent that the real and emerging threats to national security were coming from non-state actors. The military held the belief that surveillance, communications, and information technologies would allow the United States to dominate the battlespace against any opponent.
These erroneous assumptions brought to light the need to study and view all possible alternative futures in the context of history and contemporary knowledge. Recent conflicts and emerging trends need studied from all aspects to provide holistic views of alternative futures. Theories about the character of future warfare must be grounded in knowledge of emerging threats to national security.
A thorough study of contemporary conflict in an historical perspective is needed to correct flawed thinking about the character of conflict, help define future challenges to international security and build relevant military and civilian governmental capabilities to meet those challenges.
Potential areas for study could include expanded globalization and evolution of science, technology and engineering developments; advances in technology and their potential impacts on armed conflicts; where conflicts are likely to rise and where stability is likely to take root; social, economic or environmental trends likely to impact future armed conflicts; the changing global demographics and generational values and their impact on future conflicts and forces.
Ensuring conventional military forces are relevant to the contemporary security environment and capable of coping with threats from hostile states as well as non-state actors should begin with a thorough study to help identify implications for how forces ought to be organized, equipped and trained as well as how leaders ought to be educated.
The symposium will seek to explore possible alternative future views of armed conflict in light of the current environments. Conclusions drawn from the presentations will be used to help guide Army training and leadership development through the next 20 to 30 years. Following the symposium, papers will be posted online.
The symposium will take place Nov. 3-4, 2010, in McLean, VA. Some travel funding may be available. For further details, call Dr Robert Wood at (757) 788-2148 or email abstracts to: email@example.com no later than Sept. 1, 2010.
Read the entire monograph at Rand.
Mr. Haider Ali Hussein Mullick is a fellow at the U.S. Joint Special Operations University and the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding. Additionally, he consults with government organizations and advises on security, diplomacy, governance and development issues in South Asia. In the past he has conducted research at the Brookings Institution's Foreign Policy Studies (U.S.-Pakistan Relations), the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (Pakistan's Political Economy and Reviving Failed States), and the Hudson Institute's Center on Islam, Democracy, and the Future of the Muslim World (Madrassa Education and Links to Islamist Militancy). He is the author of "Pakistan's Security Paradox: Countering and Fomenting Insurgencies".
Please mark your calendars and pass this announcement along to those who you think may be interested. More details will follow for subsequent presentations.
Resources and information pertaining to this lecture series are also available at the MES at MCU website at the following link: http://www.mcu.usmc.mil/Pages/Middle%20East%20Studies.aspx.
Should you have any questions, or wish to RSVP for the event, please contact Adam Seitz at (703) 432-5260 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ethos by Bing West at National
Interest online. Hat tip to Carl for sending this along:
Bing West wrote a very good article/book review dated June 28, 2010.
Like all his stuff it is very insightful.
Here is the
This is a review / comparison at the National Interest of a triple threat of
recently published and painfully relevant books, from an author who knows it when
he sees it:David J. Kilcullen,
Valley of Death: The Tragedy at Dien Bien Phu That Led America into the Vietnam
WarMegan K. Stack,
Every Man in This Village is a Liar: An Education in War
Our June beg-a-thon
has come to a graceful conclusion. With the generous support of a
committed core group of Small Warriors, we raised almost $10,000 -- $9,695 to be
precise. On the one hand, it's a tangible vote of encouragement an impressive
response to a couple of blog posts. On the other hand, it amounts to 20%
of our goal of $50,000 to close the resourcing gap to support plans for a lot of
the content, responsiveness, and community support improvements we want to make
in the fall.
We have more work to do to resource our efforts and attain our goals.
In SWJ as well as Afghanistan and the world. ;)
Our site renovation efforts are already budgeted and underway. We're
looking forward to rolling out those enhancements later in the summer. We'll
then run as far and as fast with those new capabilities as our resources allow.
Thanks again to all our supporters, financial and otherwise -- your
engagement with the site and your active participation in this small wars
community of interest enriches us all. There are many ways to
support us, and we hope
we are helping you as you work to advance the field of practice.
Gen. Petraeus Assumes Command of ISAF - SFC Matthew Chlosta , ISAF Public Affairs Office
U.S. Army Gen. David H. Petraeus emphasized the continuity of the counterinsurgency strategy as he assumed command of the International Security Assistance Force in front of the ISAF headquarters building, here.
Framed by towering pine trees, Petraeus was introduced by Germany Army Gen. Egon Ramms, the commander of NATO Allied Joint Force Command Headquarters Brunssum, in the Netherlands.
"As President Obama and NATO Secretary General Rasmussen have noted, my assumption of command represents a change in personnel, not a change in policy or strategy," Petraeus said. "To be sure, I will, as any new commander should, together with ISAF, Afghan, and diplomatic partners, examine our civil-military effort to determine where refinements might be needed."
"I feel privileged to be joining this critical effort at such a pivotal time," Petraeus said. "We are engaged in a tough fight. After years of war, we have arrived at a critical moment. We must demonstrate to the Afghan people, and to the world, that Al Qaeda and its network of extremist allies will not be allowed to once again establish sanctuaries in Afghanistan from which they can launch attacks on the Afghan people and on freedom-loving nations around the world. And with the surge in ISAF forces and the growth of our Afghan partners, we have a new opportunity to do just that...
Remarks by Gen. David H. Petraeus Upon Assumption of Command - Transcript
Petraeus Assumes Command of ISAF - Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 - Footage
Petraeus Calls for United Effort to Win Afghan War - Voice of America
In Kabul, Petraeus Stresses 'Unity of Effort' - Washington Post
Petraeus Seeks Unity in Afghan Effort - New York Times
Petraeus, Eikenberry Stress Unity - Los Angeles Times
Petraeus: 'We Are in This to Win' in Afghanistan - Associated Press
Afghan War At Critical Stage, Says Petraeus - Reuters
Afghan War's No. 2 Readies His New Boss - Stars and Stripes
Petraeus Takes Command of Afghan Mission - New York Times
Petraeus Takes Command in Afghanistan, Pledging Victory - Washington Post
Petraeus Takes Command of the Afghanistan War - Christian Science Monitor
Petraeus on Afghanistan: 'We are in this to Win' - Voice of America
Winning is NATO's Mission, Petraeus Says - American Forces Press Service
Petraeus Takes Over Afghan Fight, Vows 'to Win' It - Associated Press
Gen Petraeus Formally Takes Over Afghanistan Campaign - BBC News
Petraeus Advisor Predicts Changes in Afghan Strategy - Los Angeles Times
Afghans See Change in Command as a Threat to Safety - Los Angeles Times
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has ordered top military officials to inform the Pentagon before giving interviews to news media.
The new policy announced Friday comes little more than a week after the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, was forced to resign because of a published article. The U.S. magazine Rolling Stone last month published mocking comments McChrystal and his staff made about the Obama administration.
Pentagon officials say Secretary Gates was working on the new policy before that scandal. They added that the policy was not intended to restrict information or media access to officials.
Some reporters have expressed concern after the McChrystal episode that military officials will be wary of communicating with them.
Gates Tightens Rules for Military and the Media - New York Times
Pentagon Issues New Rules for Engaging the Press - Wall Street Journal
Gates Wants Military Interviews with Press Cleared - Associated Press
Gates Tightens Military's Media Rules - BBC News
Pentagon Tightens Media Rules for U.S. Military - Agence France-Presse
We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
-- U.S. Declaration of Independence
I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure it will cost us to maintain this declaration, and support and defend these states. Yet through all the gloom I see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is worth all the means. This is our day of deliverance.
-- John Adams
They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
-- Benjamin Franklin
Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition.
-- Thomas Jefferson
1) The Pentagon's entitlement spending problem,
2) The U.S. is a spectator at Afghanistan's end game.
The Pentagon's entitlement spending problem
A recent report from the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA) explained the dismal trends that are bogging down the Pentagon's budget. Over the past decade, the budget, after subtracting out inflation, has almost doubled. Yet during that time, the number of aircraft and warships has declined and those that remain have gotten older. Funding has expanded at Reagan-like levels. But compared to the Reagan years, there has been relatively little modernization resulting from all of that spending.
The operational costs of fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are a large part of the problem. According to the CSBA, 20 percent of defense spending (including supplemental budgets) between 2001 and 2010 went to operational costs of those two wars. But the remaining 80 percent of the spending doesn't seem to have produced much new capability.
The rapid escalation in the cost of new weapons -- partly caused by frustrating mismanagement in research and procurement practices -- has resulted in a bleak return on investment for taxpayers. In 1985, during the peak of the Reagan defense buildup, the Pentagon bought 338 new tactical fighter aircraft and 23 new warships, among other items. In 2008, procurement spending was 33 percent higher after adjusting for inflation, yet the department could afford only 56 new airplanes and 7 new warships. One wonders whether the increases in weapons quality have been worth the inflation in unit costs.
But it is the Department's personnel costs that will pose the biggest headache in the future. Just like entitlement spending in the domestic budget, salaries, health care, and family services benefits granted today compound into the future and are politically impossible to retract. In order to reduce stress on ground troops making repeated deployments to the war zones, Defense Secretary Robert Gates expanded Army and Marine Corps headcounts by 92,100 immediately after taking office in late 2006. Meanwhile, Congress has consistently upped the ante on the Pentagon's salary requests. Just like everywhere else in the economy, the Pentagon's health care bill has run wild, tripling the rate of inflation in the rest of the economy since 2001 -- it now consumes nearly a tenth of the Pentagon's base budget. And in order to retain experienced personnel constantly separated from their families, Congress has expanded a variety of family benefits.
The result has been a growth in inflation-adjusted personnel costs from $73,300 per head in 2000 to $126,800 in the 2011 budget. When it comes time for Congress to roll back defense spending, this compensation will be untouchable. Training, maintenance, and equipment modernization will suffer the cuts.
Gates has rightly made the preservation of the all-volunteer force his top budget priority. Military success depends first and always on the quality of the soldiers in an army. That requires competitive compensation.
But just like any other enterprise struggling under financial pressure, the military will soon have to examine whether there are new paradigms that might allow one soldier to make the same contribution to security that ten or a hundred previously did.
Click through to read more ...
Read the entire article at Proceedings.
While the United States has focused on the role of Pakistan in Afghanistan, the role of India has remained largely overlooked. Since 2001, India has restored diplomatic relations with Afghanistan, invested heavily in reconstruction projects, and increased bilateral trade. As a result, Pakistani-based terrorist groups who initially planned attacks on Indian soil, now also increasingly target Indian workers and diplomats in Afghanistan. How can the United States better work with its fellow democratic ally? What opportunities can Afghanistan pursue with India?
Please join the Center for Naval Analyses for a workshop on India's role in Afghanistan: Security, Politics, and Trade, on Monday, 12 July, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.
Panelists include: Ashley Tellis, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (confirmed); Steve Coll, President of the New America Foundation (confirmed); Ali Jalali, Distinguished Professor at NDU's Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies (invited), S. Frederick Starr, Chairman of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute Silk Road Studies Program Joint Center (confirmed); and moderator Dr. Jerry Meyerle, Research Analyst at CNA (confirmed).
The workshop will be held in the Gold Room of the 2168 Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill. Please RSVP to email@example.com or 703.824.2436 by Friday, 9 July.
Read the entire interview.
Voice of America
The change in the US military command in Afghanistan has brought to the forefront yet again the controversy over President Obama's July 2011 deadline in Afghanistan. Is it a deadline for the US to begin actually withdrawing its troops? Or is it a deadline to assess the progress made in breaking the Taliban's momentum in Afghanistan, in order to determine the future course of action.
President Obama set the deadline in December of last year, as he announced his decision to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan. "These additional American and international troops will allow us to accelerate handing over responsibility to Afghan forces," he said. "And allow us to begin the transfer of our forces out of Afghanistan in July of 2011".
But hours after the announcement, officials like Defense Secretary Robert Gates began downplaying the deadline, amid fears that it might send a wrong message to the Taliban and also to the Pakistanis and Afghans.
The controversy came up again as the U.S. Senate was confirming General David Petraeus to replace ousted General Stanely McChrystal.
Continue on for the entire story...
An excerpt:President Obama will soon have to face the realization that the sanctions strategy against Iran has fared no better than his bid to engage Iran's leaders in direct negotiations. Iran's strategy of patiently playing for time, generating diplomatic support from the developing world, and convincing China and Russia to dilute sanctions at the Security Council is working. The United States and its allies have not been able to develop sufficient leverage to disrupt Iran's strategy.Short of war, the only course remaining for the United States and its allies is containment and deterrence. A key component of such a strategy would be a security guarantee, explicitly extending the U.S. nuclear umbrella over its Arab allies around the Persian Gulf. Compared to the prospect of war, and with the other strategies having failed, an explicit U.S. security guarantee may look appealing. In July 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton mentioned the possibility of extending a "security umbrella" over the Middle East and repeated the idea in February 2010.But a security guarantee protecting the Persian Gulf allies from Iran will not be easy. It will be difficult to define, tough to credibly implement, and contain its own risks and costs. Before agreeing to a security guarantee, U.S. policy makers need to consider these costs and risks. They should prepare programs that will increase the chance of such a strategy's success. Perhaps most important, U.S. policy makers need to be open with the American public about what a commitment to a security guarantee will mean. As was the case during the Cold War, broad public acceptance is necessary if a security guarantee is to be credible and sustainable.
Click here to read the essay.
More from Joint Force Quarterly.