03/20/2021 News & Commentary – National Security

News & commentary by Dave Maxwell. Edited and published by Daniel Riggs. 1. Antony Blinken’s Finest Hour

2. Americans are not unanimously war-weary on Afghanistan 3. Vaccine fears: Why inoculating the force will be difficult 4. On The Mindless Menace of Violence – Robert F.

Kennedy 1968 5.  Perspective | Bipartisan political rhetoric about Asia leads to anti-Asian violence here 6. Special Ops Aren’t A Substitute For Strategy

7. Slandering the U.S. Military . . . Again

8. The British Army has a Blackbelt in ‘Bullshito’ 9.  Command Senior Enlisted Leader Assignment (JSOC MI Bde  to SOCKOR) 10. Good Climate Policy Should Fight Corruption and Organized Crime

11. The federal government faces ‘wicked problems.’ It needs more expertise, a new report says. 12. Drones Could One Day Make Up 40% of a Carrier Air Wing, Navy Says 13. New Pentagon No.

2 warns China’s “aggressive” actions pose threat 14. European spies are alarmed after a scientist with top security clearance was caught working for China, sources say 15. Will the Biden Administration Shine Light on Shadowy Special Ops Programs?

16. India, US to expand military engagement, defense ties 17. Bitter Alaska Meeting Complicates Already Shaky U.S.-China Ties 18. Russian Interference in 2020 Included Influencing Trump Associates, Report Says

19. Strengthen Media Literacy to Win the Fight Against Misinformation (SSIR) 20. Behind America’s Botched Vaccination Rollout: Fragmented Communication, Misallocated Supply 21. Foreigners in their own country: Asian Americans at State Department confront discrimination

1. Antony Blinken’s Finest Hour Bloomberg . by Eli Lake . March 19, 2021

And China showed its true colors.  I am surprised we didn’t see a shoe banging incident like Khrushchev at the UN. 2. Americans are not unanimously war-weary on Afghanistan The Brookings Institution . by Madiha Afzal and Israa Saber .

March 19, 2021 A provocative essay. Conclusion: “The American public is unsure about the next steps to take in Afghanistan, and for good reason: The decision is a very difficult one, with downsides to both staying and leaving.

The public seems to be partly ambivalent, partly divided on the correct course of action. Veterans groups are also divided on the right policy decision. What’s clear is that the common refrain in policy debates that “Americans want out” is not accurate and should not be presented as the driving force for efforts to withdraw from Afghanistan.”

3. Vaccine fears: Why inoculating the force will be difficult militarytimes.com . by Geoff Ziezulewicz . March 15, 2021

This is really troubling on so many levels.  And if COVID 19 persists I fear this could have long term consequences for the military to be able to “fight through” this virus as well as possible future biological attacks. 4. On The Mindless Menace of Violence – Robert F. Kennedy 1968

On The Mindless Menace of Violence A timely reminder from 1968 that we still need to reflect upon in 2021. Video at the link and text below.  I think the video of the speech is longer with more remarks than in the text below and in any copy of the speech I have found on the internet (which differ among sources – I have posted two versions below).

I think it is best to spend 20 minutes listening to the speech. 5. Perspective | Bipartisan political rhetoric about Asia leads to anti-Asian violence here The Washington Post .  by Viet Thanh Nguyen and Janelle Wong .

March 19, 2021 Conclusion: “Still, history tells us something important: The experience of racial discrimination does not happen for any group in isolation; white supremacy depends on pitting people of color against one another so they do not see their shared cause. Racial profiling does not stem from the same stereotypes for Asian Americans, Black people, Muslims and other groups, but it serves a common purpose — to define who is essential and who belongs to the nation.

The case of Asian Americans shows the varied ways in which the boundaries of belonging are enforced through old ideas that circulate over generations. The best way to keep Asian Americans safe is for the United States to improve its economy and promote global equality for everyone, without fearmongering about the countries their ancestors left.” 6. Special Ops Aren’t A Substitute For Strategy

breakingdefense.com . by Stewart Parker CT versus irregular warfare is not either/or  but both/and. (and as we know CT is one of the five mission areas of IW per the DODD 3000.7 and the new Irregular Warfare Annex to the NDS).  What the article focuses most on is the national mission force conducting CT. 

This is because the primary CT force is the national mission force and it is not a force that should be shifted to other areas of IW – it is not an appropriate force for FID on a large scale, for UW, for COIN or for stability operations).  The conventional military is the most appropriate force for stability operations (which is required both in the IW context but also in the post conflict phase of major theater or state on state warfare).  Special Forces, Civil Affairs, Psychological Operations, certain SEAL teams (not 6), Marine Special Operations Teams, and selected AFSOC units (6th SOS, STS, CCT,  and certain air units) are the appropriate forces for FID and UW (and support to UW), the two most important missions in IW or the gray zone. We need to be able to compete with the revisionist and rogue powers of China, Russia, Iran, and north Korea in the political warfare space which must be a national effort of statecraft (or irregular statecraft  – See LTG Cleveland’s work on an American War of Irregular Warfare, page 217, “…there is a need for the United States to formalize and develop what might be best called irregular statecraft.

Irregular statecraft is a form of competition in which state and nonstate actors employ all means, short of war, to support friends and allies and erode the influence, legitimacy, and authority of adversaries and is the modern equivalent of what George Kennan described, in 1948, as political warfare.” https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/perspectives/PEA300/PEA301-1/RAND_PEA301-1.pdf).   Irregular Warfare is the military contribution to political warfare or irregular starcraft. And as I have written, SOF makes an important contribution to political warfare through its three trinities: Irregular Warfare, Unconventional Warfare, and support to political warfare and its comparative advantages of influence, governance, and support to indigenous forces and populations.  At the same time elements of SOF will focus 100% effort on the no fail missions of CT and CP. 7. Slandering the U.S.

Military . . . Again National Review Online . by Mackubin Thomas Owens .

March 20, 2021 A difficult critique. Regarding trust within the force, what is the rank-and-file soldier to think when both politicians and

8. The British Army has a Blackbelt in ‘Bullshito’ wavellroom.com . by Ryan Noordally . March 19, 2021

We are going to have to use the  new term we learned for martial arts – “bullshito.”   This is an interesting critique of the British military but applies well beyond. 9. Command Senior Enlisted Leader Assignment (JSOC MI Bde  to SOCKOR)

defense.gov . March 19, 2021 10. Good Climate Policy Should Fight Corruption and Organized Crime

thedispatch.com . by Emanuele Ottolenghi . March 19,2021 Conclusion: “The president’s instincts to tackle climate change and reverse the tide of global corruption and crime are correct.

What the administration needs to emphasize is that the two policies are not separate, but integral to one another. Punishing those who, through their greed and crime, compound the threat of climate change, should become a priority of the Biden Administration.” 11. The federal government faces ‘wicked problems.’ It needs more expertise, a new report says.

The Washington Post . by Eric Yoder . March 18, 2021 Although not necessarily the focus of this report It needs personnel who can understand, plan, orchestrate, and conduct political warfare, irregular statecraft and irregular warfare. 

Perhaps Congress recognized the military needs a capability to deal with “wicked problems”  of irregular warfare in the current 2021 NDAA (SEC 1299L below).  What we really need is a national level center for all of the US government agencies to be able to focus on political warfare and irregular statecraft.  I believe by definition political warfare and irregular statecraft focus on “wicked problems.” And I think Congress recognized the wicked problems we must address when it defined irregular warfare this way in the 2018 NDAA: “Irregular Warfare is conducted “in support of predetermined United States policy and military objectives conducted by, with, and through regular forces, irregular forces, groups, and individuals participating in competition between state and non-state actors short of traditional armed conflict.” 12. Drones Could One Day Make Up 40% of a Carrier Air Wing, Navy Says

defenseone.com . by Patrick Tucker Where will the pilots for these UAS be located? On the Carrier or ashore?

13. New Pentagon No.

2 warns China’s “aggressive” actions pose threat NBC News . by Dan De Luce . March 19, 2021

DEPSECDEF makes news at the National War College. 14. European spies are alarmed after a scientist with top security clearance was caught working for China, sources say Business Insider . by Mitch Prothero

Excerpts: “A third intelligence official from a NATO country said that the Estonian case — where Chinese agents used the cover of conference trips and academic settings to recruit, debrief and even reward Kouts — was typical of the Chinese playbook. “They love the academic settings,” said the official who cannot be named in the press. “China heavily emphasizes collection of intellectual property, scientific research, and industrial techniques as opposed to the Russians who focus more on traditional hard government intelligence collection.

“This means the work is often done in more casual conference settings where it’s easier to recruit. And the rewards are easy to cover up… Luxury trips disguised as academic conferences, fine dining or prostitutes at the legitimate conferences, it’s pretty easy to work assets this way.”

European spies are alarmed after a scientist with top security clearance was caught working for China, sources say.” 15. Will the Biden Administration Shine Light on Shadowy Special Ops Programs? The Intercept . by Nick Turse .

March 20, 2021 Turse’s anti-military, and specifically anti-SOF agenda, is on full display.  He even dredges up the JCET reporting from Dana Priest in the 1990s. 16. India, US to expand military engagement, defense ties

AP . by Sheikh Saaliq . March 20, 2021 Excerpts:

“Austin is making the first visit to India by a top member of President Joe Biden’s administration. His visit follows a meeting last week between leaders of Australia, India, Japan and the United States, which together make up the four Indo-Pacific nations known as the Quad. The Quad is seen as a counterweight to China, who critics say is flexing its military muscle in the South China Sea, East China Sea, Taiwan Strait and along its northern border with India.

China has called the Quad an attempt to contain its ambitions. Austin’s Indian counterpart, Singh, said the talks were focused on “expanding military-to-military engagement.” “We are determined to realize the full potential of comprehensive global strategic partnership,” Singh said.”

17.  Bitter Alaska Meeting Complicates Already Shaky U.S.-China Ties WSJ . by William Mauldin Excerpt: “Beyond that, foreign policy specialists said, the acrimony shows shifting perceptions that each has about the balance of power between the two nations, increasing the likelihood of miscalculation and conflicts over hot spots like control of critical technologies and China’s claims against Taiwan and Japan and in the South China Sea.”

18. Russian Interference in 2020 Included Influencing Trump Associates, Report Says useful idiots? The New York Times . by Julian E.

Barnes . March 16, 2021 19. Strengthen Media Literacy to Win the Fight Against Misinformation (SSIR)

ssir.org . by Kristin M. Lord & Katya Vogt The words of the 2017 NSS should still apply:

“A democracy is only as resilient as its people. An informed and engaged citizenry is the fundamental requirement for a free and resilient nation. For generations, our society has protected free press, free speech, and free thought.

Today, actors such as Russia are using information tools in an attempt to undermine the legitimacy of democracies. Adversaries target media, political processes, financial networks, and personal data. The American public and private sectors must recognize this and work together to defend our way of life.

No external threat can be allowed to shake our shared commitment to our values, undermine our system of government, or divide our Nation.” Media literacy is an important concept. As I peruse social media and listen to the critiques of CNN and FOX (as well as others) what I notice is the critiques that are echoed are those of FOX critiquing CNN and those of CNN critiquing FOX.

People are not conducting their own analysis but instead are simply parroting the critiques they hear in their own echo chambers. I like to conduct my own media experiment. Whenever I hear a critique of FOX on CNN I switch the channel to FOX and watch it.

Whenever I hear a critique of CNN on FOX I switch to CNN. As I add up the time spent on each channel I find that I spend more on CNN because there is more criticism of CNN on FOX than there is of FOX on CNN (though the amount of criticism of FOX on CNN is increasing quickly since the change of administrations). More importantly, what I have found is that the criticisms are more often than not based on misinterpretations and/or spin that on objectively analysis though one network does this more than the other.

And few people actually watch both to make their own judgments, they take what they hear on their preferred media outlet as gospel. 20. Behind America’s Botched Vaccination Rollout: Fragmented Communication, Misallocated Supply WSJ . by Sarah Krouse, Brianna Abbott and Jared S.

Hopkins A useful initial AAR. 21. Foreigners in their own country: Asian Americans at State Department confront discrimination

Politico . by Ryan Heath . March 16, 2021 ————–

“To sin by silence when we should protest, Makes cowards out of men.” – Ella Wheeler Wilcox “Silence becomes a kind of crime when it operates as a cover or an encouragement to the guilty.”

-Thomas Paine “There are times when you have to speak because silence is betrayal.” -Ursula K.

Le Guin

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