Informal Institute for National Security Thinkers and Practitioners

Quotes of the Day:

"Communism never sleeps, never changes its objectives, nor must we. Our first duty to freedom is to defend our own. Then one day we might export a little to those peoples who have to live without it."
-Margaret Thatcher

"You don't have to carry a sword to be powerful."
- Ahsoka Tano

"A man, as a general rule, owes very little to what he is born with — a man is what he makes of himself." 
- Alexander Graham Bell

1. RUSSIAN OFFENSIVE CAMPAIGN ASSESSMENT, MAY 7 (PUTIN'S WAR)
2. On World War Two anniversary, Zelenskiy says evil has returned
3. Putin believes he can't "afford to lose" in Ukraine, CIA chief says
4. Chinese calculations on Taiwan affected by Ukraine conflict, says CIA director
5. Forcing Design or Designing Force? The Reinvention of the Marine Corps
6. MARSOC: The US Marines Have Their Very Own 'Special Forces'
7. Nakasone says Cyber Command did nine 'hunt forward' ops last year, including in Ukraine
8. Biden’s trade team: RIP globalization
9. Opinion | The War Is Getting More Dangerous for America, and Biden Knows It
10. As war grinds on, the definition of victory remains murky
11. Biden Already Willing to Increase Recent Defense Spending Request
12. CIA director says China ‘unsettled’ by Ukraine war
13. Pentagon Seeks to Update U.S. Weapons Stocks Depleted by Ukraine Donations
14. We Need More Amphibs, and We Need to Buy Them Smarter
15. How Patton’s Unique Information Forces and Competitive Approach to Information Enabled Operational-Level Success in August 1944
16. Russian Armor Losses Validate Marines' Decision To Dump Their Tanks Says General
17. Russia Pummels Besieged Azovstal Steel Plant
18. 11th Airborne Division - To Be Based in Alaska | SOF News





1. RUSSIAN OFFENSIVE CAMPAIGN ASSESSMENT, MAY 7 (PUTIN'S WAR)
RUSSIAN OFFENSIVE CAMPAIGN ASSESSMENT, MAY 7
May 7, 2022 - Press ISW

Mason Clark, Karolina Hird, and Kateryna Stepanenko
May 7, 6:45 pm ET
The Ukrainian counteroffensive northeast of Kharkiv is making significant progress and will likely advance to the Russian border in the coming days or weeks. Russian forces may be conducting a limited withdrawal in the face of successful Ukrainian attacks and reportedly destroyed three bridges to slow the Ukrainian advance. Armies generally only destroy bridges if they have largely decided they will not attempt to cross the river in the other direction anytime soon; Russian forces are therefore unlikely to launch operations to retake the northeast outskirts of Kharkiv liberated by Ukrainian forces in the near future. Russian forces previously destroyed several bridges during their retreat from Chernihiv Oblast—as did Ukrainian forces withdrawing in the face of the Russian offensive in the initial days of the war.
This Ukrainian offensive is likely intended to push Russian forces out of artillery range of Kharkiv city and drive to the border of Russia’s Belgorod Oblast. As ISW previously forecasted, the Ukrainian counteroffensive is forcing Russian units intended for deployment elsewhere to redeploy to the Kharkiv front to halt Ukrainian attacks. Given the current rate of Ukrainian advances, Russian forces may be unable to prevent Ukrainian forces from reaching the Russian border, even with additional reinforcements. Ukrainian forces are not directly threatening Russian lines of communication to Izyum (and ISW cannot verify claims of a separate Ukrainian counteroffensive toward Izyum at this time), but the Ukrainian counteroffensive demonstrates promising Ukrainian capabilities and may set conditions for further offensive operations into northeastern Kharkiv Oblast.
By all indications, Russian forces will announce the creation of a Kherson People’s Republic or possibly forcibly annex Kherson Oblast in the near future and are intensifying occupation measures in Mariupol. Russian forces are reportedly increasing their security presence in both Kherson and Mariupol, including withdrawing personnel from frontline combat units to protect Russian dignitaries in Mariupol. Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) Leader Denis Pushilin arrived in Kherson on May 6, and local occupation officials stated the region will “strive to become a subject of Russia” and “will resemble something close to Crimea in terms of the pace of development,” echoing longstanding rhetoric used by Russia’s existing proxies in eastern Ukraine. As ISW has previously assessed, the Kremlin will likely form illegal proxy republics or directly annex occupied areas of southern and eastern Ukraine to cement its occupation administration and attempt to permanently strip these territories from Ukraine.
Key Takeaways
  • Russian forces destroyed several bridges to slow Ukrainian forces and may be conducting a limited withdrawal northeast of Kharkiv city in the face of the successful Ukrainian counteroffensive.
  • Ukrainian forces are making significant progress around Kharkiv and will likely advance to the Russian border in the coming days.
  • Ukrainian forces continued to repel Russian advances toward Barvinvoke and Russian forces have likely abandoned efforts to drive directly southeast toward Slovyansk. ISW cannot confirm claims of a Ukrainian counteroffensive toward Izyum at this time.
  • Russian forces claimed to capture Popasna on May 7 but remain largely stalled in eastern Ukraine.
  • The Ukrainian government confirmed the last remaining civilians trapped in the Azovstal plant evacuated on May 7, though the remaining Ukrainian defenders appear unlikely to surrender. ISW will likely be unable to report any discrete changes in control of terrain until Russian forces capture the plant as a whole due to the poor information environment in Mariupol.
  • By all indications, Russian forces will announce the creation of a Kherson People’s Republic or possibly forcibly annex Kherson Oblast in the coming weeks to cement its occupation administration and attempt to permanently strip these territories from Ukraine.
  • Russian forces continued to target Odesa with cruise missile strikes and conduct false-flag attacks in Transnistria over the past several days.

We do not report in detail on Russian war crimes because those activities are well-covered in Western media and do not directly affect the military operations we are assessing and forecasting. We will continue to evaluate and report on the effects of these criminal activities on the Ukrainian military and population and specifically on combat in Ukrainian urban areas. We utterly condemn these Russian violations of the laws of armed conflict, Geneva Conventions, and humanity even though we do not describe them in these reports.
ISW has updated its assessment of the five primary efforts Russian forces are engaged in at this time:
  • Main effort—Eastern Ukraine (comprised of one subordinate and four supporting efforts);
  • Subordinate main effort- Encirclement of Ukrainian troops in the cauldron between Izyum and Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts
  • Supporting effort 1—Mariupol;
  • Supporting effort 2—Kharkiv City;
  • Supporting effort 3—Southern axis;
  • Supporting effort 4—Sumy and northeastern Ukraine.
Main Effort—Eastern Ukraine
Subordinate Main Effort—Southern Kharkiv, Donetsk, and Luhansk Oblasts (Russian objective: Encircle Ukrainian forces in Eastern Ukraine and capture the entirety of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts, the claimed territory of Russia’s proxies in Donbas)
Ukrainian forces continued to repel Russian advances toward Barvinvoke (southwest of Izyum) on May 7, and Russian forces have likely abandoned efforts to drive directly southeast toward Slovyansk. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces launched an unsuccessful attack on Virnopillya (approximately 25 km southwest of Izyum) on May 7 and images on social media depicted several destroyed Russian armored vehicles and tanks.[1] Ukrainian forces likely repelled further Russian attacks directly west of Izyum in the villages of Zavody and Velyka Komyshuvakha, as evidenced by drone footage released by Ukrainian forces.[2] Satellite imagery depicted fires just northwest of Izyum on May 6 that may indicate ongoing shelling.[3] However, ISW has not observed any footage or imagery of Ukrainian advances, the Ukrainian General Staff has not claimed any Ukrainian attack toward Izyum, and we cannot confirm at this time if Ukrainian forces are conducting an offensive toward Izyum concurrent with the ongoing offensive around Kharkiv, as discussed below.[4] ISW will continue to monitor the area and provide updates if we obtain concrete indicators of a Ukrainian counteroffensive in this area.
Russian forces continued ground attacks against the same towns they have focused offensive operations on for several weeks—Rubizhne, Avdiivke, Oleksandrivka, Kreminna, and Shandryholove—and possibly captured Popasna on May 7.[5] Russian forces continued to shell along the entire line of contact in eastern Ukraine, reportedly attempting to interdict Ukrainian movements.[6] The LNR and pro-Russian Telegram channels claimed that Russian forces captured Popasna on May 7, though ISW cannot independently verify this claim.[7] Social media users previously reported likely elements of the 68th Tank Regiment (of the 150th Motor Rifle Division) amassing east of Popasna on May 6.[8] If Russian forces have successfully captured Popasna (or do so in the coming days), they will likely attempt to advance further west toward Bakhmut before pivoting north toward Siversk or Slovyansk, though Russian forces are unlikely to rapidly these settlements.

Supporting Effort #1—Mariupol (Russian objective: Capture Mariupol and reduce the Ukrainian defenders)
The Ukrainian government confirmed that the last remaining civilians trapped in the Azovstal plant evacuated on May 7, though an unknown number of Ukrainian defenders remain in the facility.[9] The DNR and Russian media falsely claimed that some Ukrainian defenders surrendered to Russian forces under white flags, but Ukrainian units inside the plant denied the claim and stated both sides raised white flags to mark the evacuation route for civilians.[10] The remaining Ukrainian units in Azovstal appear unlikely to surrender, and Russian forces continued assaults on the facility.[11] We will likely be unable to report any discrete changes in control of terrain until Russian forces capture the plant as a whole due to the poor information environment in Mariupol and lack of direct imagery or video of fighting inside the facility.
Ukrainian sources reported further Russian preparations for a Victory Day celebration in Mariupol, including increased security. The Ukrainian Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR) reported on May 7 that Russian commanders are removing officers from combat, including reportedly the command staff of the 71st Motor Rifle Regiment, to protect Kremlin officials and propagandists in Mariupol.[12] The GUR also claimed to have intercepted communications between Russian servicemen complaining of the stupidity of their commanders and the humiliation of being withdrawn for guard duty, but ISW cannot verify either of these claims. Advisor to the Mayor of Mariupol Petro Andryushchenko separately claimed on May 7 that the Russian occupation forces in Mariupol are distributing ribbons and invitations for a May 9 parade in the city center and Primorsky Park.[13] Andryushchenko further reported Mariupol residents are being forced to clear bodies and rubble in order to receive food from Russian forces.[14]

Supporting Effort #2—Kharkiv City (Russian objective: Retain positions on the outskirts of Kharkiv within artillery range of the city and prevent further Ukrainian counterattacks)
Russian forces destroyed several bridges to slow Ukrainian forces and may be conducting a limited withdrawal northeast of Kharkiv city in the face of the successful Ukrainian counteroffensive on May 7. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces recaptured Tsyrkuny, 22km northeast of the Kharkiv city center.[15] The Ukrainian General Staff additionally reported that Russian forces destroyed three road bridges in Tsyrkuny and Rusky Tyshky (the next town to the northeast that Ukrainian forces are advancing toward) to slow Ukrainian forces.[16] ISW cannot independently confirm Russian forces destroyed these bridges and withdrew, though Russian forces destroyed several bridges during the withdrawal from Chernihiv Oblast and are likely doing so around Kharkiv.
Ukrainian forces are making significant progress and will likely advance to the Russian border in the coming days, though some reports of advances 40km north of Kharkiv appear overstated. The Russian Ministry of Defense abnormally acknowledged that Ukrainian forces recaptured Tsyrkuny (as Russian military sources rarely acknowledge any setbacks), but falsely claimed that Ukrainian forces used civilians as human shields to advance to the outskirts of Borshchva—possibly in an attempt to justify Russian setbacks. Pro-Russian Telegram channels additionally reported that Russian forces withdrew to Lyptsi, past Borshchva and 40km from central Kharkiv, but ISW cannot confirm that Ukrainian forces have advanced this far and the Kharkiv Military Administration reported that Russian forces still control Ruski Tyshky, on the road to Lyptsi.[17] The Ukrainian General Staff reported on May 7 that Russian forces are deploying additional reserves to support the elements of the 20th Combined Arms Army and 1st Guards Tank Army fighting around Kharkiv.[18] ISW previously forecasted that the Ukrainian counteroffensive would force Russian forces to redirect units intended for the Izyum axis to defend the outskirts of Kharkiv. Given the current rate of Ukrainian advances, Russian forces may not be able to prevent Ukrainian forces from reaching the Russian border, even with additional Russian reinforcements.

Supporting Effort #3—Southern Axis (Objective: Defend Kherson against Ukrainian counterattacks)
By all indications, Russian forces will announce the creation of a Kherson People’s Republic or possibly directly forcibly annex Kherson Oblast in the coming weeks and possibly as soon as May 9, though the Kremlin is not bound to this date. The Ukrainian General Staff reported Russian forces are taking a number of unspecified measures to strengthen the Russian occupation regime in Kherson and increased the number of checkpoints and foot patrols throughout the city.[19] DNR leader Denis Pushilin arrived in Kherson on May 6.[20] ISW cannot confirm what he did during his visit, though it likely concerned establishing some form of Russian proxy republic. Ukrainian Ombudsperson Lyudmyla Denisova reported on May 7 that the Kremlin plans to grant Kherson residents possible Russian citizenship, as the Kremlin has previously done in the DNR and LNR.[21] Finally, Occupation Deputy Head of the Kherson Region Stremousov reportedly stated that occupied Kherson intends to “live as part of the Russian Federation and will resemble something close to Crimea in terms of the pace of development” and that the region will “strive to become a subject of Russia,” echoing longstanding rhetoric by the DNR and LNR on desired ties with Russia.[22] As ISW has previously assessed, the Kremlin will likely form illegal proxy republics or directly annex occupied areas of southern and eastern Ukraine to cement its occupation administration and attempt to permanently strip these territories from Ukraine.

Russian forces continued to target Odesa with cruise missile strikes and conduct false-flag attacks in Transnistria over the past several days. Ukraine’s Operational Command South reported that Russian aircraft launched four cruise missiles at Odesa Oblast on May 7 and two missiles late on May 6 to exert “psychological pressure” on civilians.[23] Ukrainian sources reported that Russian special services continued to conduct false-flag attacks at key sites in Transnistria in an attempt to frame Ukrainian forces, and Ukraine‘s Operational Command South stated the Moldovan-Ukrainian border is well protected by Ukrainian counter-sabotage groups.[24] Transnistrian sources falsely claimed that Ukrainian drones dropped four explosives on an airfield in Varancau, on the border of Transnistria and Ukraine, the night of May 6-7.[25]

Neither Russian nor Ukrainian forces made any confirmed advances on the Southern Axis in the last 24 hours, though sporadic fighting continued along the line of contact. Ukrainian sources reported continued fighting toward Mykolaiv, Kryvyi Rih, and Zaporizhia without any significant changes, as well as continued Russian shelling.[26]
Supporting Effort #4—Sumy and Northeastern Ukraine: (Russian objective: Withdraw combat power in good order for redeployment to eastern Ukraine)
There were no significant events on this axis in the past 24 hours.
Immediate items to watch
  • Russian forces will likely continue to merge offensive efforts southward of Izyum with westward advances from Donetsk in order to encircle Ukrainian troops in southern Kharkiv Oblast and Western Donetsk.
  • Russia may change the status of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, possibly by merging them into a single “Donbas Republic” and/or by annexing them directly to Russia.
  • Russian forces have apparently decided to seize the Azovstal plant through ground assault and will likely continue operations accordingly.
  • Ukrainian counteroffensives around Kharkiv City may unhinge Russian positions northeast of the city, possibly forcing the Russians to choose between reinforcing those positions or abandoning them if the Ukrainians continue to press their counterattack.
[6] https://t dot me/luhanskaVTSA/2382; https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/311567034489715https://www.facebook.com/GeneralStaff.ua/posts/311123487867403; https://t dot me/pavlokyrylenko_donoda/3323.
[9] https://t dot me/vereshchuk_iryna/1337.
[10] https://hromadske dot ua/posts/v-azovi-zaperechili-sho-grupa-ukrayinskih-bijciv-vijshla-z-azovstali-z-bilim-praporom-ce-buli-civilni; https://twitter.com/DonbassSegodnya/status/1522892724512464901; https://t dot me/polkazov/4468.
[13] https://t dot me/andriyshTime/713.
[14] https://t dot me/andriyshTime/706.
[21] https://hromadske dot ua/posts/okupanti-hochut-zminiti-gerb-hersonshini-i-proponuyut-miscevim-rosijske-gromadyanstvo-ombudsmenka.
[22] https://t dot me/dimsmirnov175/33163.
[25] https://t dot me/stranaua/40679; https://t dot me/tsvtiraspol/25245; https://t dot me/tsvtiraspol/25240; https://t dot me/tsvtiraspol/25238; https://t dot me/krepostpmr/33892.



2. On World War Two anniversary, Zelenskiy says evil has returned


Excerpts:

"The evil has returned. Again!" Zelenskiy said. "In a different form, under different slogans, but for the same purpose."
...
"No evil can escape responsibility, it cannot hide in a bunker," he added.
On World War Two anniversary, Zelenskiy says evil has returned
Reuters · by Natalia Zinets
KYIV, May 8 (Reuters) - Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Sunday evil has returned to Ukraine as he gave an emotional address for Victory Day, when Europe commemorates the formal surrender of Germany to the Allies in World War Two.
The life that soldiers fought for in that war came to an end on Feb. 24 when Russian forces invaded, he said in a video message.
"The evil has returned. Again!" Zelenskiy said. "In a different form, under different slogans, but for the same purpose."

But he said Ukraine and its allies will win.
"No evil can escape responsibility, it cannot hide in a bunker," he added.
Nazi leader Adolf Hitler spent the last days of his life in a bunker in Berlin where he committed suicide in the final days of the war.
Moscow calls its actions since Feb. 24 a "special military operation" to disarm Ukraine and rid it what it calls "Nazis" and anti-Russian nationalism fomented by the West. Ukraine and the West say Russia launched an unprovoked war of aggression.
The invasion in Ukraine has killed thousands and displaced nearly 10 million people. It has left Russia in the grip of tough Western sanctions, and has raised fears of a wider confrontation between Russia and the West.
In Russia, Victory Day on May 9 is one of the country's most important national events - a remembrance of the enormous sacrifices made by the Soviet Union in defeating Nazi Germany.

Writing in Melbourne by Lidia Kelly Editing by Frances Kerry
Reuters · by Natalia Zinets


3. Putin believes he can't "afford to lose" in Ukraine, CIA chief says

Excerpts:
What to watch: Burns believes that the second phase of the Russian military assault on Ukraine that focuses on the east and south of the country could be "even riskier" than the first eight weeks part of the war, CBS News notes.
  • "Putin has staked a lot on this second phase of what is an incredibly ugly and brutal offensive against the Ukrainians" and was trying "to adapt to some of the lessons from the failures of the first phase," he added.
Putin believes he can't "afford to lose" in Ukraine, CIA chief says
Axios · by Axios · May 7, 2022
Russian President Vladimir Putin is "convinced" that his forces "doubling down" in their assault on Ukraine will enable them to progress, CIA director Bill Burns said Saturday, per AFP.
Between the lines: "He's in a frame of mind in which he doesn't believe he can afford to lose," said Burns, a former U.S. ambassador to Moscow, at the FT Weekend Festival in D.C. ahead of Russia's annual Victory Day on Monday, which analysts warn could mark a pivotal moment in the invasion of Ukraine.
Russian Sukhoi Su-25 jets release smoke in the colors of the Russian flag while flying over Red Square during rehearsals for the Victory Day military parade in central Moscow on May 7. Photo: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty Images
Yes, but: "We don't see, as an intelligence community, practical evidence at this point of Russian planning for the deployment or even potential use of tactical nuclear weapons," Burns said, according to AFP.
  • "Given the kind of sabre-rattling that … we've heard from the Russian leadership, we can’t take lightly those possibilities."
Worth noting: Burns said Chinese President Xi Jinping was "a little bit unsettled by the reputational damage that can come to China by the association with the brutishness of Russia’s aggression against Ukrainians [and] unsettled certainly by the economic uncertainty that's been produced by the war," the Financial Times reports.
  • "I don't for a minute think that it’s eroded Xi's determination over time to gain control over Taiwan," but it's "affecting their calculation," Burns added.
What to watch: Burns believes that the second phase of the Russian military assault on Ukraine that focuses on the east and south of the country could be "even riskier" than the first eight weeks part of the war, CBS News notes.
  • "Putin has staked a lot on this second phase of what is an incredibly ugly and brutal offensive against the Ukrainians" and was trying "to adapt to some of the lessons from the failures of the first phase," he added.
The big picture: Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said Wednesday that Russian forces were behind schedule in the Donbas and in the south after being met with "stiff Ukrainian resistance" at every turn.
  • State Department spokesperson Ned Price said this week it "would be a great irony" if Moscow used the Victory Day holiday, during which Russians commemorate victory over the Nazis in World War II, to officially declare war on Ukraine.
  • It "would allow them to surge conscripts in a way they're not able to do now, in a way that would be tantamount to revealing to the world that their war effort is failing, that they are floundering in their military campaign and military objectives," Price added.
Axios · by Axios · May 7, 2022




4. Chinese calculations on Taiwan affected by Ukraine conflict, says CIA director

It seems the Director of the CIA is getting a little more press than usual.

Chinese calculations on Taiwan affected by Ukraine conflict, says CIA director
Reuters · by Reuters
May 7 (Reuters) - U.S. Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns said on Saturday that China is closely monitoring Russia's conflict in Ukraine and that it is affecting Chinese leaders' calculations over Taiwan, the self-ruled island claimed by Beijing.
Burns, speaking at a Financial Times event in Washington, said the Chinese government had been struck by Ukraine's fierce resistance to Russia's invasion and by the economic costs Russia is bearing.
"I think the Chinese leadership is looking very carefully at all this – at the costs and consequences of any effort to use force to gain control over Taiwan," Burns said.

He cautioned, however, that it would not shift Chinese leader Xi Jinping's long-term goals over Taiwan.
"I don't for a minute think that this has eroded Xi's determination over time to gain control over Taiwan," said Burns. "But I think it's something that's affecting their calculation about how and when they go about doing that."
China has refused to condemn Russia's war in Ukraine and has criticized Western sanctions on Moscow.
Beijing and Moscow declared a "no-limits" strategic partnership several weeks before the Feb. 24 invasion, and have been forging closer energy and security ties in recent years to push back on the United States and the West.
But Burns said the United States believed China was unsettled by the reputational damage of being associated with the "brutishness" of Russian President Vladimir Putin's military action.
"I think what the bitter experience, in many ways, of Putin's Russia in Ukraine over the last 10 or 11 weeks has done is demonstrate that that friendship actually does have some limits," Burns said.

Reporting by Michael Martina and Christopher Bing in Washington Editing by Daniel Wallis and Matthew Lewis
Reuters · by Reuters




5. Forcing Design or Designing Force? The Reinvention of the Marine Corps


Forcing Design or Designing Force? The Reinvention of the Marine Corps
By Will McGee 
Under Commandant Berger, the United States Marine Corps has embarked on a once-in-a-generation reinvention to prepare it for the next few decades of conflict. Over the last three years, the Corps has made dramatic changes to the structure of its operating forces and the equipment with which they will fight. It has jettisoned its tanks and is slashing its conventional tube artillery, amongst other significant changes. These changes, known as Force Design 2030, include the development of new operating concepts it believes will prepare it to win the next conflict.
A response to this criticism has been that the current Marine Corps must adapt for the next generation of combat, like every other generation of the Service. But are these changes premature? What are the Corps’ new operating concepts, and how do they hold up when compared to the tactics used in the Russian invasion of Ukraine?
Context
The 2018 National Defense Strategy called for the Department of Defense to prepare for a return to great power competition as a result of revanchist Russian behavior and increasingly assertive territorial claims made by China in the South Pacific.
           While the Department of Defense’s focus had been on the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Chinese military optimized its capacity to contest American military actions. The Department’s old ways of doing business, designed for counterinsurgency and nation-building in the Middle East, were not believed to apply to a maritime campaign against a conventional adversary. Thus, the designation of great-power conflict as the priority for the Department of Defense marked a significant shift for the military services and led to the articulation of new priorities for system development and acquisition, force structure, and operating concepts. 
The Marine Corps, a service whose sea-going roots formed much of its pre-9/11 role within the Department of Defense, morphed into a mid-weight force primarily focused on expeditionary ground operations due to the Global War on Terror. However, as the Corps pivoted from its service in Iraq and Afghanistan towards the new geopolitical reality, it, like the rest of the Department, found itself unprepared for what would be its role in a conventional conflict with a peer adversary.
History of Force Design
           The shift away from ground operations began under General James Amos’s2010-2014 tenure as Commandant of the Marine Corps. Amos called on the Marine Corps to return to its amphibious roots and emphasized partnership with the Navy on key shipping projects to ensure continued amphibious capability. His Expeditionary Force 21 called for the service to explore using expeditionary advanced bases, or military sites spread out across the potential battlefield, as a part of a broader naval campaign. This distributed approach responded to the Chinese development of anti-access/area-denial capabilities. These bases were intended complicate targeting by enemy forces by distributing American resources, weapons, and service members, as well as serving as a launchpad for Marine Corps aviation assets and anti-ship and anti-air systems.
           Amos’s successor, General Dunford, continued the focus on preparing the service for amphibious operations given the advent of new anti-ship missile technology that complicated the Marines’ traditional amphibious doctrine.  This entailed a service-level exercise plan to develop a greater understanding of joint integration capacity and a program of experimentation for new operating concepts to inform plans for force development.    
           When General Dunford was promoted to become the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, his replacement, General Neller, implemented the experimentation plan.  Recognizing that Chinese military developments threatened the service’s amphibious doctrine, Neller maintained his predecessor’s focus on naval integration.  This led to the development of a new Marine Operating Concept, published in 2016. This document called for the evolution of the Marines’ cornerstone formation, the Marine Air Ground Task Force, and continued experimentation to develop the force.  This experimentation took form in exercise SEA DRAGON 2025, resulting in relatively minor personnel and equipment changes to tactical units.  
           Significant changes were on the horizon for the Marine Corps, announced with the publication of General David Berger’s Commandant’s Planning Guidance in 2019. Berger announced that his top priority was preparing the Corps for great power conflict. To that end, this Guidance canceled all previous policy documents and announced that the Marine Corps would act as an extension of the naval fleet in a future conflict. In his view, adversary advances in long-range precision fires had made closer integration with the Navy “an imperative.” Thus, the Guidance called for the development of the force in response to this threat. In this document, Berger presented two conceptual advances, titled Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations and Stand-In Forces, and stated that the service would undergo significant structural changes in the coming years.
           These structural changes were addressed nine months later in Force Design 2030, published in March 2020, to provide an update on the sweeping changes he would institute. The document announced that the Corps would eliminate its tank battalions, divest three-quarters of its cannon artillery batteries while almost tripling the number of its rocket artillery batteries, and simultaneously shed a fifth of its infantry battalions and decrease the size of those that remain. Berger remained poised to shift the organizational structure of the force as well, highlighting experimentation around the Marine Littoral Regiment formation. Finally, the document continued calls for a mobile long-range anti-ship missile to procure a maritime strike capability that previously did not exist in the Fleet Marine Force. 
            Force Design 2030 provided an update on the first two phases of Berger’s Force Design process. The document states that these changes were based on reasoned assessments of the equipment sets and personnel structures most likely to succeed in a maritime amphibious campaign. The project’s third and fourth phases will focus on implementing these changes and experimentation to continue refining the operating concepts that outline how the Corps will fight the next war. 
Operating Concepts
           Operating concepts are the plans for how a military force will achieve its objectives. Every aspect of the service’s training, equipment procurement, doctrinal development, and personnel policies are intended to support these operating models. Thus, General Berger’s decision to make force structure decisions concurrent to the development of these operating models should highlight the urgency with which these changes occur and the speed with which they have been developed and implemented.
           General Berger’s Force Design 2030 is based on the two operating concepts he introduced in the Commandant’s Planning Guidance: “Stand In Forces” and “Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations.” Having outlined the history of Force Design, this paper will next describe and evaluate these operating concepts.
Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations
Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations seems little more than a twist on the Corps’ decades-old responsibility for the “seizure or defense of advanced naval bases,” except that the bases in this operating concept are intended to play an affirmative role in a maritime campaign rather than serve as supply or logistics site supporting fleet operations. While the advanced base concept is an old one, it appears to have taken form again in the late-2010s. First publicly outlined in Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations: Considerations for Force Development and Employment and later refined in the Tentative Manual for Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations, these documents outline the ideas and planning considerations for further experimentation with the operating concept. 
Driven by the assumption that China’s precision-strike regime imperils current permanent military facilities in the Pacific and thus that in the event of war, they would be destroyed, the expeditionary advanced base operations concept seeks to supplement or replace these capabilities. By spreading the force across a series of smaller bases rather than concentrating it at a few large facilities, the concept seeks to complicate its adversary’s targeting efforts and impose more significant resource costs during the initial stages of the projected war. These bases, in turn, could house anti-ship or anti-air missiles that would allow the United States to control key maritime chokepoints. 
Because these expeditionary advanced bases were intended to be emplaced within the range of China’s missile systems, these bases were designed to be as unobtrusive as possible, eschewing the equipment systems and logistics train to which the Corps became accustomed over the last two decades. The low signature of these bases would make them survivable; precision fires rely on an effective targeting complex, after all, and a target that cannot be located cannot be destroyed.
These bases are explicitly intended to provide military options to policymakers in the face of Chinese expansion in the Pacific, both before the outbreak of hostilities and during a naval campaign. For example, the Tentative Manual for Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations outlines a fictional possible use scenario: reinforcing a partner nation’s coast guard to contest a regional hegemon’s fishing fleet encroachment into their exclusive economic zone by creating a media narrative exposing their economic exploitation. 
Heady stuff for the Marine Corps, an institution whose raison d’etre and institutional identity are built on light infantry operations. The notion that the Corps would be able to sway the global narrative in its favor pervades the operating concept, but significant barriers to successfully doing so remain. Does the Marine Corps have the institutional sociocultural knowledge and language skills to tailor messages to international audiences successfully? In its first five years of existence, the Corp’s Marine Expeditionary Force Information Group—the command which houses the personnel responsible for generating EABO’s positive narrative—called Ted Cruz a “boomer” last year. Since this organization, stationed in North Carolina and writing in English to the domestic American audience, hasn’t been able to avoid insulting a sitting U.S. Senator in its first five years of existence, is it wise for the Corps’ new operating concept to depend on its ability to influence a foreign audience positively?
Limitations of the Corps’ Information Group aside, the idea of generating a supportive media narrative will be challenging to implement in China, as the Chinese government has spent the last twenty years controlling access to the internet.  In fact, the Russian invasion of Ukraine provides an example of how war will change access to the internet. Tiktok, the popular video-sharing application, has blocked all non-Russian content from view within Russia, effectively walling the country off into a separate information sphere. 
Yet, despite that this concept envisions placing American servicemembers in the territory of another sovereign nation, explicitly to contest Chinese expansionism and control key maritime venues in advance of conflict, its authors do not believe that these bases would be seen as an escalation during what would be increasing tensions. Whether this is actually the case remains an open question. Consider the Chinese reaction to revelations that Marine special operators were training Taiwanese forces. Why wouldn’t the emplacement of expeditionary advanced bases provoke any less of a response? China has consistently pushed back against American military actions that it deems provocative.
The concept acknowledges that successful employing these bases before the outbreak of hostilities is a public affairs effort as much as anything else and, despite notable failures to control its own domestic social media presence over the past decade, assumes that the Corps would be able to spin the international media narrative to its advantage. Because these bases would be emplaced inside the adversary’s weapon range, their continued survival relies on evading the adversary’s detection once conflict breaks out.  Whether this is plausible in the information age remains to be seen.
Stand In Forces
            Stand In Forces is the concept intended to work in tandem with Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations and describes the forces that operate from these expeditionary advanced bases. To deal with the problem of an adversary with a long-range precision-strike regime, Stand In Forces divides the battlespace into three zones of conflict. 
The first zone, closest to the adversary, will be operated in primarily by autonomous vehicles. The second, further from the adversary but within the range of its weapons, will be operated in by teamed manned and unmanned systems. The final zone is outside the range of the adversary’s weapons. This zone houses equipment systems and personnel requiring logistical and maintenance support. These will reside either on temporary facilities ashore or at sea, with the systems they support traveling forward into the contested zones.
The idea is that forces in the forward zones of conflict are responsible for identifying and tracking adversary assets. At the same time, those in the rear are responsible for servicing the assets forward. The separation of zones is conceptually nothing new—merely a defense in depth as has been Marine Corps doctrine for generations. 
However, what is new is the use of autonomous systems as the primary fighting assets. The increased role of unmanned systems in the last two decades of conflict was an advance in the way wars are fought; a service building itself around the idea that its primary fighting assets will be capable of making their own decisions, however, would be revolutionary. Perhaps by autonomous, the concept meant unmanned, in the way that two similar yet distinct words often blur together in the iridescent glow of a computer screen in a windowless Pentagon basement. There is a distinct difference between autonomous and unmanned vehicles. Crewless vehicles retain a link with a site from which manned operators control their movements. This requires a data link and thus a continuous electromagnetic signature. On the other hand, autonomous vehicles make all decisions, including, presumably, targeting assessments, on their own.
But the decision-making capacity of its vehicles aside, the Stand In Forces concept answers the threat of long-range firing assets by removing humans from the danger zone. The concept limits potential casualties by placing only equipment systems forward, supported by limited human-“autonomous” teaming. This has always been the benefit—and lure—of unmanned systems, a siren call belied by the military’s record of procuring advanced technology.  The Littoral Combat Ships, for example, originally intended to reduce manning through increased automationbut the program has been mired in cost overruns and technology shortfalls. Likewise, the Department of Defense’s plan to develop equipment systems based on yet-to-mature technology has not exactly covered itself in glory
The advances in unmanned ISR over the past two decades stand as a shining counterexample—but these systems are employed in clearly-defined operating parameters, well above the range of their adversary’s weapon systems. By contrast, Stand In Forces anticipates that these systems will operate well within the range of its adversary’s weapons and in a far more challenging operating environment than 25,000 feet above sea level. The concept envisions these systems operating at (or under) sea and in the littoral zone. Possible, certainly, but likely expensive and probably challenging to develop, test, and manufacture on the Commandant’s timeline of 2030. 
Like Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations, the Stand In Forces concept intends to persuade adversary decision-makers that the cost of continued aberrant behavior is not high enough to justify whatever benefits they intended to derive from it. Thus, the concept, as well, relies on generating a supportive media narrative to convince the adversary’s population and thus generate pressure on adversary decision-makers or persuading these decision-makers directly. 
This is a Clausewitzian approach to conflict because if war is politics, convincing your opponent not to fight is the same as defeating them outright.  It is also Clausewitzian in that, as Clausewitz himself said, “The fact that slaughter is a horrifying spectacle must make us take war more seriously, but not provide an excuse  for gradually blunting our swords in the name of humanity. Sooner or later, someone will come along with a sharp sword and hack off our arms.” War means fighting, and it is not clear whether the Marine Corps’ Force Design will prepare it to do so. 
Ukraine and Taiwan
            Force Design 2030 began in 2019, as the Commandant surveyed the possible range of future conflicts in which the Corps might find itself entangled in coming years. At that point, the last conventional campaigns conducted by a world-class military were the U.S. invasions of Iraq in 2003 and 1990.  The Commandant had limited information real-world data upon which to rest his changes of the Service. But, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has provided insight into how technological changes have affected conventional warfare. Although it is intended to prepare the Marine Corps for fighting in the Pacific, Force Design 2030 must be evaluated in light of these changes unless the Commandant does not anticipate that the Marine Corps would not contest threats to NATO allies. Any change to the Marine Corps’ doctrine or equipment that would weaken its ability to defend America’s partners must be reconsidered in light of the new threat to Europe.
The tactics on display in the Russian invasion of Ukraine lead one to doubt the wisdom of Force Design’s outcomes. The initial stages of the attack were characterized by heavy use of armor and artillery.  The first Russian units across the border were tanks. The Ukrainians have put up a heroic resistance, using American Javelin anti-tank missiles to destroy over 200 of them and leading some observers to conclude that the era of the tank is overBut, these tanks have generally been employed without integrated fire support or aviation and no infantry alongside—the opposite of American combined arms doctrine. While heavy armor will be used differently in the future than previously, the events in Ukraine demonstrate that the tank still plays a role on the battlefield.  And yet they have been removed from the Marine Corps inventory.
           Likewise, artillery has played a significant role thus far in Ukraine—and conventional artillery’s use will only increase as the Russians run low on precision-guided munitions.  Russian military doctrine emphasizes the role of artillery, relying on maneuver units to support fires rather than the reverse as in the American militaries.  Artillery has been crucial to the Ukrainian defense of Kyiv. In a conventional conflict with Russia, we would rely heavily on traditional artillery for counterbattery fire, at the very least. While the Corps’ precision rocket assets would be helpful in this effort, conventional artillery would be crucial against a force that emphasizes overwhelming firepower. 
For a conflict in which tens of thousands of rounds would be expended, the cost of precision rocket artillery would become prohibitive. The Marine Corps could afford over eighty high explosive tube artillery rounds for every rocket fired. Before conflict, how many $121,000 precision rocket rounds will the Marine Corps be willing to expend—in peacetime—to prepare its personnel? Each of these rounds is worth at least four times the annual salary of the Marine firing them. How many Marines will have the chance to train with live indirect fire before they go to war?
           It is not clear to what extent optimizing the force for an amphibious naval conflict would preclude its success in a ground campaign. But, it is worth considering that some of the fundamental assumptions of Force Design’s operating concepts remain true only in naval, not ground, conflicts. Integration into a naval fires network, for example, would not be possible. On land, any command node with an electromagnetic signature would likely be targeted, so a meaningful give-and-take with a fires network would be near-suicide. 
           Finally, it is also worth considering what the Force Design concepts do not include: ideas that specifically relate to the defense of Taiwan. This is odd given that with expertise in naval integration, the Marine Corps would be the service likely called upon to reinforce it. The concepts’ proponents could argue that expeditionary advanced bases could be used to defend the island. Generally speaking, establishing an expeditionary advanced base on Taiwan could contribute to the island’s defense.
           But it wouldn’t contribute very much. There are significant differences between establishing defensive positions in a semi-permissive environment in preparation to repel an amphibious assault, as would be required in the defense of Taiwan, and the uncontested establishment of small bases on key maritime terrain as the Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations concept envisions.
           A serious defense of Taiwan against a Chinese amphibious assault would mean establishing fixed defensive positions around possible landing sites to repel landing craft. This would require, at minimum, significant artillery assets and engineering units to build fighting positions that would survive the first round of indirect fire assets. This is a very different sort of effort than the lightly armed and mobile expeditionary advanced bases are designed for.
If one believes that Force Design was intended as a response to Chinese expansion, and if one follows the logic that the security relationship with Taiwan is the centerpiece of US credibility, what the failure to address the Taiwanese defense signals about the Corps’ expectations for how it will be employed in the Indo-Pacific is anyone’s guess.
           Organizational change is difficult. Choosing one option means not choosing others. Force Design is a bold step forward for the Marine Corps, but one which was based on experience born of thirty years of low-intensity conflict and an assumption that the Corps’ most pressing responsibility in coming years would be the effort to deter China. New challenges have arisen. The last several months have revealed more information about how two conventional militaries would fight than in the preceding several decades. 
            The operating concepts which Force Design intends to employ contain some sound ideas, some dubious assumptions, and some optimistic projections. There is much to like in the direction the Corps has chosen to march.  But, unvalidated assumptions lurk in the corners. Optimizing for naval amphibious conflict means shedding capabilities that would be useful in other contexts. And the gritty detail of those contexts have become a matter of public record since Russian tanks rolled across Ukraine’s borders.  No wonder Force Design 2030 has been rejected by every single former commandant and the vast majority of retired senior leaders.  For its project to continue, the Corps needs to explain how or, preferably, show that its post-Force Design units will be able to successfully contest Chinese aggression towards Taiwan and win a conventional fight with the Russian army.
 
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of Defense or the U.S. Government.

About the Author(s)

Will McGee is a 2013 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, a 2014 Nolan Scholar to the University of Cambridge, and a current student at Yale Law School. He served on active duty for eight years as a ground intelligence officer and continues to do so in the Marine Corps Reserve. He is from Beaufort, South Carolina.












6. MARSOC: The US Marines Have Their Very Own 'Special Forces'


MARSOC: The US Marines Have Their Very Own 'Special Forces'
19fortyfive.com · by BySandboxx News · May 5, 2022
What exactly is MARSOC and what is their role in the US Marine Corps? Marine Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC) is the Marine Corps’ special operations component of the U.S. special operations community.
The organization is comprised of the Marine Raider Regiment, Marine Raider Support Group, and Marine Raider Training Center.
MARSOC was activated on February 24, 2006, as the Marine Corps’ contribution to the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM). The history behind MARSOC’s creation is full of the pride and stubbornness that has characterized the Marine Corps since the beginning.
Although established in the early 2000s, MARSOC has a rich lineage stretching back to the Second World War and the Marine Raiders and Alamo Scouts who conducted special operations against the Imperial Japanese forces in the Pacific theater of operations.
Today’s Marine Raiders specialize in direct action, special reconnaissance, foreign internal defense, unconventional warfare, and counterterrorism.
MARSOC is born
When the rest of the U.S. military branches started creating their special operations commands in the wake of Operation Eagle Claw, the failed attempt to rescue the American hostages from Tehran, Iran in 1980, the Marine Corps refused to follow suit.
The rationale was that “every Marine is special,” so there is no need to create a dedicated special operations unit. To be sure, there were some commando units in the Marine Corps, for example, Marine Recon and Force Recon, but they were used for more restricted purposes and essentially as specialized infantry rather than special operators.
But the terrorist attacks of September 11 changed everything. The Department of Defense quickly saw that this would be a low-intensity war well suited for special operations forces. As a result, the U.S. military would need as many special operators as it could have. And this time around, every branch would “play.”
In the closing months of 2002, the Marine Corps finally relented—under pressure from the then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who has a big proponent of special operations—and created the Marine Corps Special Operations Command Detachment (Det One) as an experimental unit to determine if the branch should have a dedicated special operations organization and if the organization could be incorporated into SOCOM.
However, the Marine Corps only acquiesced to the creation of Det One in an effort to stall the process and prevent SOCOM from taking any Marines. Det One deployed to Iraq soon after the invasion in 2003 and quickly made a name for itself. As a result, the Marine Corps created MARSOC.
To man the new organization, the Marine Corps disbanded the 1st and 2nd Force Recon Battalions redistributing most of their operators to the newly activated 1st and 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalions.
According to retired Marine Raider Major Fred Galvin, MARSOC initially started out with a unique organizational structure and capabilities that no other special operations unit in the U.S. military had. Neither the Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) nor the Naval Special Warfare Command (NSW) had similar capabilities and structure. To be sure, special operators from several units, including the Navy SEAL Teams and Delta Force, helped MARSOC stand up.
“Those specifically were a Task Force organization with a 45 Marine & Corpsmen Direct Action and Special Reconnaissance Platoon, a 42 Marine & Corpsmen Security Platoon, and a Headquarters Platoon with significant full spectrum intelligence capabilities,” Galvin told Sandboxx News.
These direct action, special reconnaissance, and infantry security capabilities gave MARSOC a very robust structure that not even the tier 1 special missions units didn’t have. For example, a Delta Force squadron would rely on a Ranger platoon to cordon an objective and provide security; similarly, a Naval Special Warfare Development Group—the unit formerly known as SEAL Team 6—assault force would rely on Rangers to provide security on a mission. But MARSOC achieved both within the organization, thus forgoing the need to outsource capabilities.
Galvin is the author of “A Few Bad Men,” a non-fiction account of the first Marine Special Operations combat deployment to Afghanistan and how they overcame attacks from all sides. It is an inspiring story with something for everyone who is seeking to overcome impossible odds and optimize their performance.
The organization kept growing, and a third Marine Special Operations Battalion was activated as the Global War on Terror went on. But MARSOC kept getting more capable, adding logistical and joint warfare capabilities.
“In 2008 MARSOC divested of the Marine Infantry Security Platoons (which in my opinion reduced organic capabilities) and on a positive aspect, MARSOC listened to the recommendation made from Fox Company’s first deployment and added a significant logistical and administrative support staff that provide tremendous advantages enabling the Marine Special Operations deployable elements to sustain themselves and focus on their mission,” Galvin told Sandboxx News.
“Additionally, MARSOC accepted the recommendations from our initial MARSOC deployment and invested in Joint Special Operations courses to enhance MARSOC’s organic intelligence and communication abilities as well as expanding their capabilities through integration, training and relationships with other Joint Special Operations Forces, conventional forces and Space, Cyber, Electronic Warfare, Psychological Operations and Civil Affairs organizations which previously MARSOC didn’t have at their inception,” Galvin added.
As a result, today MARSOC has better and more diverse combat capabilities with more assets across the spectrum of warfare to provide Marine Raiders on the ground with better support.
Joining MARSOC
To become a Marine Raider, one must first enlist in the Marine Corps. Unlike other branches that allow citizens off the street to try out for a special operations unit, the Marine Corps requires one to serve in a conventional Marine unit before applying to MARSOC.
A Marine can enter MARSOC in two operational roles: Special Operations Officer (SOO), the Marine Raider officers, and Critical Skills Operator (CSO), the Marine Raider enlisted. Depending on which path one chooses, the requirements change. MARSOC also has some direct support and logistical positions.
To become a Special Operations Officer, a Marine must meet the following requirements:
  • Be eligible to obtain and maintain a secret clearance
  • Have a minimum GT/GCT score of 110
  • Have a minimum PFT of 235
  • Be able to pass the MARSOC swim assessment
  • Meet the MARSOC medical screening criteria.
  • Have no more than 24 months’ time in grade (TIG) as a captain (O-3) upon attending the Individual Training Course (ITC)
  • Make a lateral move to the special operations officer MOS upon selection
The requirements for the Critical Skills Operator are the following:
  • Be eligible to obtain and maintain a secret clearance
  • Have a minimum GT score of 105
  • Have a minimum PFT of 235
  • Have no more than two NJPs on current enlistment
  • Be able to pass the MARSOC swim assessment
  • Be eligible to reenlist
  • Meet the MARSOC medical screening criteria.
  • Have no more than 18 months’ time in grade (TIG) as a sergeant (E-5) upon attending the Individual Training Course (ITC)
  • Make a lateral move to the critical skills operator MOS upon selection
These are only the requirements to try for a spot in MARSOC and don’t guarantee that one would become a Marine Raider. Indeed, meeting these requirements is the easy part. Success in what follows next determines who becomes one of the few Marine Raiders.
The Marine Raider pipeline
Once a Marine has received a slot, then real selection begins. The pipeline to becoming a Marine Raider is broken into two parts. Assessment & Selection (A&S) and the Individual Training Course (ITC).
Assessment and Selection, which runs three times a year in North Carolina, is further broken down into two phases.
Phase One lasts three weeks and pushes candidates to their physical and mental limits to weed out those who aren’t physically prepared or mentally committed. Candidates are evaluated on the following criteria:
  • Personal fitness test
  • Abandon ship drill
  • 300-meter swim
  • 11-minute water tread
  • 12-mile ruck in set amount of time
  • Physical in-test
Phase Two of Assessment & Selection pushes the candidates to their absolute physical, mental, and emotional limits while evaluating their ability to work in a team. During this phase, the Marine Raider cadre will determine if a candidate’s attributes are compatible with MARSOC’s mission and esprit de corps.
“The MARSOC A&S is challenging to many as the candidates are uncertain of what will happen next on the schedule, how they are being evaluated, what the standards of performance are, and if they will be injured and be capable of enduring the rest of A&S. The instructor Cadre are extremely professional and stoic which leaves mystery in the minds of candidates of how much the candidates are enduring and how simple and effortlessly the Cadre describe the next task to be executed,” Galvin said.
Historically, Assessment and Selection has had an attrition rate of 46 percent. Those who manage to pass both phases graduate to the Individual Training Course.
“MARSOC seeks mature, responsible, moral leaders who are capable and strategic problem solvers. The ideal candidate can anticipate and resolve multiple dilemmas before they impact the mission,” Galvin added.
Lasting seven months, the Individual Training Course is broken into four phases that seek to train those who have the necessary physical, mental, and intellectual attributes and make them Marine Raiders. The phases are designed to build on each other as the course progresses.
Phase One goes over basic field skills, including Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) and Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC). Candidates also master basic communications.
Phase Two focuses on tactical skills. Candidates go over mission planning, patrolling, fire support training, small boat operations and scout swimming, and heavy infantry weapons. Candidates also master photography and intelligence gathering. Two exercises, Operation Raider Spirit and Operation Stingray Fury, respectively evaluate the patrolling and small unit tactics and urban and rural reconnaissance skills of the candidates.
Phase Three teaches close-quarters battle, marksmanship, urban warfare, and demolitions. Candidates will spend hours upon hours shooting guns and drilling procedures. The phase ends with an exercise, Operation Guile Strike, that simulates direct action missions against urban and rural targets.
Phase Four is where the candidates learn the dark arts of irregular warfare through a realistic exercise called “Derna Bridge.” Similar to “Robin Sage,” the culminating exercise Army Special Forces students go through, in Derna Bridge the candidates work with a fictional partner force for several weeks and complete progressively more difficult tasks.
“A&S is tough on many as each student has spent significant time and effort in preparation, and the psychological impact of highly regarded candidates dropping can easily demoralize other candidates, especially their friends in their A&S class,” Galvin added.
Throughout the Individual Training Course, candidates continue to refine their physical stamina and endurance. The course has an attrition rate of 28 percent.
“The best preparation is not only physical but through conditioning the mind and the body to endure significant shock and endure extremely stressful events in preparation of dealing with unavailable setbacks and losses. Some of the seemingly most fit candidates often don’t make it because they prepared in an environment where physical injuries and psychological hurdles were not included in their regime and as they are injected those candidates swiftly become demoralized which can be much more impactful than other physical injuries,” the retired Marine Raider said.
Marine Raiders can attend several special operations courses, including Advanced Linguist Course (ALC), MARSOF Advanced Sniper Course (MASC), Hostile Forces Tagging Tracking Location (HFTTL) course, Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) course, Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Operator course, Tactical Acquisition Exploitation course, MARSOF Close Quarters Battle Level course.
Upon graduation, the new Marine Raiders are assigned to a Raider battalion and join a team in its pre-deployment workup.
Stavros Atlamazoglou is a Greek Army veteran (National service with 575th Marines Battalion and Army HQ). Johns Hopkins University. You will usually find him on the top of a mountain admiring the view and wondering how he got there.
19fortyfive.com · by BySandboxx News · May 5, 2022


7. Nakasone says Cyber Command did nine 'hunt forward' ops last year, including in Ukraine

Excerpts:

Mandiant CEO Kevin Mandia appeared at the Vanderbilt conference as well, and said in an interview with CyberScoop that he believes “there was a decision made somewhere in Russia to not escalate outside of the immediate theater of Ukraine with cyber. And because of that, nobody knows what will trigger an escalation, or what the escalation will be.”
Mandia said he worries about a “pretty broad zone of potential outcomes to that.”
He dismissed the possibility that Russian cyberattacks against the West have been muted because the Russians aren’t as skilled as their reputation suggests.
“Speaking as a victim of a SolarWinds breach the one domain I know they’re good at is the cyber domain — maybe their tanks aren’t doing really well,” Mandia said. “We’re not seeing their most skilled intruders doing anything out of the ordinary right now. I hate saying that, because somewhere, those guys will be like, ‘Oh, they’re not seeing us right now. We are seeing them.’”
Nakasone says Cyber Command did nine 'hunt forward' ops last year, including in Ukraine
cyberscoop.com · by Suzanne Smalley · May 4, 2022
Written by Suzanne Smalley
May 4, 2022 | CYBERSCOOP
National Security Agency Director and U.S. Cyber Command Gen. Paul Nakasone said Tuesday that Cyber Command conducted nine “hunt forward” operations in different countries last year, a data point he shared to illustrate why the command’s use of persistent engagement is critical to its success.
“These are countries that have asked for our assistance, deploying our defensive teams for being able to identify malware and tradecraft our adversaries were using and then sharing that broadly with a commercial provider,” Nakasone said in prepared remarks delivered at Vanderbilt University.
U.S. Cyber Command’s use of persistent engagement — defined as the need to constantly interact with adversaries in cyberspace and the importance of speed and agility to success — and what Nakasone calls a “defend forward” strategy has been a topic of discussion recently amid reports that the Biden administration had planned to pare back cyber authorities given to the Department of Defense under National Security Presidential Memorandum-13 (NSPM-13).
Nakasone told the Vanderbilt audience the American approach to the conflict in Ukraine has been informed by a philosophy of “continual action,” which was articulated in the 2018 Department of Defense strategy that NSPM-13 enabled.
The nine hunt-forward operations conducted last year are an example of the persistent engagement model of cyber operations which grew out of the 2018 DOD strategy, Nakasone said.
Cyber National Mission Force Commander Maj. Gen. William Hartman said in a March speech that the command had deployed defense-oriented, hunt-forward cyber protection forces to foreign nations seeking support in strengthening their cyber defenses 27 times in the last four years.
Russia and Ukraine
Nakasone also spoke about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, saying those who are scoffing at the relative lack of Russian cyber aggression outside of Ukraine are speaking too soon.
“We don’t necessarily believe that by any means this is done and so we have, obviously, a completely vigilant approach to what’s going on,” Nakasone said in an on-stage interview after his speech.
Nakasone said that in the past couple of weeks he has gleaned more intelligence on what’s happened in Ukraine, and that the cyberattacks there have been severe.
“This idea that nothing has happened is not right,” Nakasone said. “There have been destructive attacks, a series of infrastructure attacks [where] satellite communications have been targeted.”
He said a Cyber National Mission Force hunt-forward team traveled to Ukraine in December to help build resilience against cyberattacks.
“There was a decision made somewhere in Russia to not escalate outside of the immediate theater of Ukraine with cyber. And because of that, nobody knows what will trigger an escalation, or what the escalation will be.”
Kevin Mandia, CEO OF Mandiant
National Security Agency Director of Cybersecurity Rob Joyce, speaking at the same Vanderbilt event, agreed with Nakasone, saying “there was some really, extra-unethical cyber pressure brought to Ukrainian internet networks by Russia. You know, don’t be dismissive that just because that didn’t come directly at the U.S. as much as it did Ukraine that we didn’t have a major event.”
Mandiant CEO Kevin Mandia appeared at the Vanderbilt conference as well, and said in an interview with CyberScoop that he believes “there was a decision made somewhere in Russia to not escalate outside of the immediate theater of Ukraine with cyber. And because of that, nobody knows what will trigger an escalation, or what the escalation will be.”
Mandia said he worries about a “pretty broad zone of potential outcomes to that.”
He dismissed the possibility that Russian cyberattacks against the West have been muted because the Russians aren’t as skilled as their reputation suggests.
“Speaking as a victim of a SolarWinds breach the one domain I know they’re good at is the cyber domain — maybe their tanks aren’t doing really well,” Mandia said. “We’re not seeing their most skilled intruders doing anything out of the ordinary right now. I hate saying that, because somewhere, those guys will be like, ‘Oh, they’re not seeing us right now. We are seeing them.’”
Vanderbilt University provided CyberScoop’s travel to the event.
cyberscoop.com · by Suzanne Smalley · May 4, 2022


8. Biden’s trade team: RIP globalization

Conclusion:
The looming November elections mean that Biden and Democrats only have a few months to enact their trade agenda before a likely wave of opposition stalls it. But no matter the outcomes of the next few elections, trade veterans say there’s no going back to the free-trading days before Trump and the pandemic.
“Investors, C-suites, boards of directors need to be fundamentally relooking at all the assumptions that they had about how the world would be organized,” Turpin said. “That doesn’t mean no trade, it just means that trade will likely be reformed over time … and we’ll look back at the heady days of the 2000s and the early 2010s and ask ‘what were we thinking of then?’”
Biden’s trade team: RIP globalization
05/08/2022 07:00 AM EDT
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine accelerates the administration’s efforts to find a path between global free trade and Trump-like protectionism.

Illustration by Giulio Bonasera
05/08/2022 07:00 AM EDT
President Joe Biden came into office hoping to chart a third way on trade — away from the economic nationalism of Donald Trump and the free-wheeling globalization that preceded him.
But by the start of 2022, that agenda was on life support.

Biden’s pledge to rebuild U.S. manufacturing seemed dead when Congress scuttled his Build Back Better proposal and its lucrative tax breaks for domestic factories late last year. His promises for a smarter, tougher China policy were dragged down by internal White House arguments over tariffs and investment restrictions. And allies around the world were reluctant to join Biden’s calls to gang up on Beijing, keen to protect their commercial interests in the world’s second largest economy.

Then, Russia invaded Ukraine, and China refused to condemn Moscow — seemingly confirming Biden’s thesis that the 21st century would be defined by a struggle between democracy and authoritarianism.
Now, Congress is rushing to pass tax credits for American-made computer chips, considering new investment rules for companies in China and, potentially, making a push for broader manufacturing incentives soon. Biden’s proposed Asian economic pact has new momentum, with key ally South Korea signing on, and European allies are taking a harder line on Beijing. The White House economic team, meanwhile, is united in its plans to sanction the Chinese economy if and when it helps Russia in Ukraine.
The flurry of activity reinforces a shift in the conventional wisdom in Washington — one emerging before Russia’s invasion, but accelerated by Vladimir Putin’s aggression.
Biden’s State of the Union captured the mood. Outside of his declarations of support for Ukraine, the biggest applause line came when the president pledged to rebuild domestic manufacturing to decrease American reliance on China, Russia and other adversarial regimes.

“Instead of relying on foreign supply chains, let’s make it in America,” Biden said, to cheers from both sides of the aisle.
That agenda is a stark departure from American trade policy of the last 40 years, when both parties enacted policies that led American firms to move production abroad. The hope was globalization would lead to lower prices for Americans and democratic reforms in countries like China and Russia. But the invasion, along with the supply chain crunches of the Covid-19 pandemic, have challenged both narratives.
“We believed that the arc of history guaranteed the primacy of our free and open societies over closed authoritarian systems, and of course, we thought great power rivalry was a relic of the past,” H.R. McMaster, Trump’s former national security adviser, said during a recent media appearance with Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “Well, we know for sure now, because of the suffering of the Ukrainian people, that is not the case, and that China is the key enabler of Russia in this horrible war.”
Whether Biden and Democrats can harness the momentum to change U.S. trade policy, however, is uncertain. While united on Beijing’s role in Ukraine, his economic team is still beset by squabbling over what to do with the tariffs on China imposed by the Trump administration and how much to restrict U.S. firms that operate there. They still must fill in the details of the proposed Indo-Pacific pact, which remains more of a vague concept than an actual economic deal. And they will have to find ways to use the president’s executive authority to encourage domestic manufacturing if Senate leaders can’t find a way to placate centrist Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), whose opposition killed the Build Back Better bill last year.
But there’s no denying that history is giving Biden an opening to change the paradigm on free trade. Trump’s election in 2016 transformed a pro-globalization GOP and shocked Democrats into refocusing on working class voters hurt by trade deals. Then, shortages of masks and medical gear early in the Covid pandemic revealed the danger of America’s reliance on China. The supply chain crunches and inflation of the late pandemic disproved the thesis that free trade always lowers consumer prices. And then Russia destroyed the postwar European peace that all the free trade was supposed to support — ushering in a new era of world politics.

“We are in the midst of a historic era of uncertainty, driven by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which is imposing global supply shocks on an already supply-constrained global economy. And Covid remains an acute risk to global supply chains, particularly with what we’re seeing in China right now,” Brian Deese, director of the National Economic Council, told the Economic Club of New York in late April. “So given this evolving landscape, I think the most pertinent question for all of us is how do we re-underwrite the case for a modern American industrial strategy?”
It’s an enviable position for a president who, after riding the free-trade fervor of the past 40 years, says he now wants to rethink the paradigm. Biden has filled his team with officials who’ve been at the forefront of the debate over what a post-globalization world economy should look like, from Deese and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, to trade chief Katherine Tai, national security adviser Jake Sullivan and his deputies. But it also includes some supporters of the old free trade order, like Raimondo.
The White House insists those officials are all on board with the president’s agenda to promote more domestic manufacturing at home and push for higher labor and environmental standards in other nations — a platform they like to call “worker-centered” trade.
But even if that’s true, the team has often disagreed about how to achieve those goals, particularly vis-a-vis China, leading to policy disputes and personality clashes that have hamstrung their biggest efforts. If they are to seize the moment, trade veterans say they will first have to settle on a new approach for handling Beijing’s state-led economy.
“Is the U.S. government in a posture to deal with it? I think they’re coming around,” said Liza Tobin, China director at the National Security Council from July 2019 to November 2021, during a recent panel discussion. “But the U.S. government just doesn’t have — nor should it have — the same leverage over our private sector that Beijing has over their quasi-private sector. … So I think we are really looking for new ideas and new models of how the U.S. government can partner with the private sector.”

The new conflict with Russia and China is exactly what Joe Biden and other globalization optimists were trying to prevent when they pushed those nations into the international trading system.
Back in 2000, then-Sen. Biden predicted at a congressional hearing that, “getting China into the World Trade Organization, a rules-based organization, will subject China to multilateral pressures on trade and, over time, enhance their respect for the rule of law, or they will not be in.”
Ten years later, President Barack Obama would strike a similar tone when he welcomed Russia’s application to enter the WTO, saying it would allow the U.S. and other nations to “hold the Russian government accountable to a system of rules governing trade behavior, and provide the means to enforce those rules.”
That perspective reflected the unchallenged primacy of American-style capitalism and democracy at the end of the Cold War — the “end of history” that Francis Fukuyama outlined in his 1992 book. Under that belief, capitalism and democracy not only went hand in hand, but reflected the almost inevitable pinnacle of human development, unchallenged by the nationalism and class conflicts of centuries before.

But history, it turns out, hadn’t ended. The West’s capitalistic “shock therapy” for Russia did little to benefit regular Russians, whose life expectancy actually fell during the 1990s after the Soviet Union dissolved. But it did create a class of mega-rich oligarchs that Putin, a former Soviet intelligence agent, would co-opt to run the nation like his own corrupt, medieval fiefdom.
China followed a similar path into authoritarian capitalism. After taking power in 2012, Xi Jinping pulled back on democratic reforms and instead used China’s growing wealth and technological prowess to solidify the Communist Party’s control over society, and his dominance over the CCP itself. Instead of joining the liberal world order in earnest, Xi sought to challenge it, bullying trading partners that dared to defy its diplomatic preferences and building a coalition of economic allies with its Belt and Road Initiative. And he embarked on his own ethnocentric campaign at home, detaining millions of Uyghurs and other minorities in an attempt to — in Beijing’s terms — “sinicize” the populations, or make them more like the ethnic Han Chinese.
“We’re coming to the end of our vacation for history — this idea that we live in this overwhelmingly normative world in which the rule of law and international norms were the underlying organizing principle, and everything could be resolved through normative systems,” Matthew Turpin, the NSC China director from 2018 to 2019, who previously served as vice chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said during a recent panel discussion. “We probably should have gained that impression back in 2008, when the Russians invaded Georgia, or 2014 when they first invaded Ukraine, or when the PRC laughed off island building in the South China Sea, or made explicit threats to use force against Taiwan or Japan. … But we actually are beginning to realize it now, and we’re organizing for that.”
American elites were also unprepared for the domestic blowback to their embrace of globalization, which came to the fore in the 2016 election, upending the trade agendas of both political parties.
In the run-up to the election, public opposition to trade deals led the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, to disavow the Trans-Pacific Partnership — a pact she touted as Obama’s secretary of State — and helped propel Trump to the Republican nomination.

To this day, Tai tells her colleagues that TPP is a key reason why Clinton lost to Trump in 2016, and the failure of the trade pact still influences her thinking today.
In an appearance before the Senate Finance Committee in late March, she said the Biden administration would not pursue lower tariffs as a priority in its Indo-Pacific Economic Framework largely because traditional free trade agreements have led to “considerable backlash … from our own people about concerns regarding the offshoring and outsourcing of American jobs.”
“I take very seriously lessons that we have learned in the last five to seven years,” Tai added, “around trade agreements that we have pursued that have been so big — and have been so uneven in terms of the wins and losses they’re going to deliver for our economy — that they have collapsed under their own weight,” Tai said in another reference to the abandoned pact.
Though Tai heads a relatively small agency compared to the likes of Treasury and Commerce, her perspective appears to command an outsized influence on Biden’s trade policy, particularly toward China. Notably, the administration last year aligned behind her plan to engage the Chinese government on the Phase One deal it signed with Trump, rather than one pushed by the NSC to slap higher tariffs on Beijing’s most heavily subsidized industries.
“There is a very fundamental reluctance on this version of USTR to do anything that involves any amount of risk-taking,” an administration official told POLITICO earlier this year.

The anti-trade electoral shock, along with the pandemic and China and Russia’s backsliding toward authoritarianism, pushed many progressive economists into a wholesale reappraisal of the global economic situation long before Putin’s troops crossed the Ukrainian border. That includes many of Biden’s advisers.
Tai provided a preview early in Biden’s tenure, when she ruffled free-trading feathers in the Senate by announcing that the guiding principle of American trade policy would no longer be to encourage the elimination of tariffs and other trade barriers overseas — bucking a longstanding commitment to expanding market access for U.S. firms abroad.
“Having gone through four years of Trump administration trade policies, the previous efforts to negotiate the TPP, and the last year of living in a pandemic world, I think our trade policies need to be nuanced and take into account all the lessons that we’ve learned,” she told arch free trader Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), leading him to declare himself “deeply disturbed” by the policy shift.
The administration’s “more nuanced” approach would come to be called “worker-centered” trade and include three key elements: rebuilding domestic manufacturing lost to decades of globalization, aligning allies to apply economic pressure to China and rewriting global trade rules to encourage higher wages and more environmental protection.

“The free market dogma or logic did not contemplate being up against a competitor like China and did not contemplate the particular problems of climate change,” said a senior National Security Council economic official, granted anonymity to discuss sensitive matters. “That’s going to, I think, require us to look on the trade side for new, different approaches in order to ensure that Americans rightfully reap the benefits” of economic growth.
Quite intentionally, that approach doesn’t prioritize lowering costs for American businesses and consumers — a value that had been a central tenet of American economic policy since the early 1980s. That belief forms the foundation of what political theorists call the neoliberal paradigm of economics — that the government should seek, above all, to promote a good business climate that will spur economic growth and lower consumer costs.
To Biden’s officials, the last four decades of neoliberal economic policy — pursued through tax cuts, weaker regulations and pro-globalization trade deals — are largely to blame for today’s spiraling inequality and economic nationalism, not to mention the fragility of global supply chains exposed by the pandemic.

“In the past 40-odd years, you have seen a kind of narrowing of the economic values that we should be shaping markets to serve down to really a singular focus on efficiency, to the exclusion of things like resilience, which previously, we had a much more robust accounting for,” said the NSC economic official.
Biden’s team sees their worker-centered trade policy offering a new path — one that not only begets new manufacturing jobs, but supports working families by promoting unions and the right to organize, so that workers themselves can demand higher wages and better benefits.
That involves a “really a full throated reembrace of organized labor and unions,” said the economic official, and a realization that markets are “guided by power dynamics, whether its economic or political power, and those are the things that shape market outcomes.”
Key to that agenda is rebuilding an industrial base in the U.S. economy — lost to generations of American policies that encouraged firms to find cheaper labor overseas to deliver cheaper goods to consumers. From the Commerce Department to NSA, Treasury and USTR, that goal unites an administration often at odds on trade policy. Even Raimondo, arguably the most pro-corporate of the economic policymakers, bases her stump speech around the story of her father’s watchmaking job moving overseas when she was a child.
That unity in vision largely stems from the shock of the 2016 election. And perhaps consequently, the aims of the two presidents who have entered the White House since then are strikingly similar. Back during the Trump era, trade chief Robert Lighthizer used to talk about Americans being willing to pay a dollar more for a T-shirt if they knew it supported jobs stateside. In layman’s terms, that’s the same as saying pure economic efficiency is no longer the priority, and veterans of both administrations say the continuity is notable.
“Five years ago the term industrial policy was a bad word in Washington, and now it kind of makes sense,” said Ivan Kanapathy, who served on NSC staff as director for China, Taiwan and Mongolia from 2018 to July 2021. “But truthfully, if you go back before the postwar era, we did a lot of this. We just need to sort of flex those muscles, and it’s not as much about China as it is going back to our own history.”
Biden’s trade agenda is not just for domestic consumption, but export as well. In a reimagination of the aims of American trade deals, the White House team hopes to use commercial pacts to persuade other nations to increase wages and environmental regulations, flipping the script on decades of U.S. policy that sought cheap labor and lax rules.
They see the U.S.-Mexico-Canada deal — the renegotiated NAFTA that Tai herself shepherded through the House as a Ways and Means Committee staffer — as a model. And in some of Tai’s first actions under the deal, she moved to support unionization campaigns at three auto part factories, a novel use of trade enforcement to protect the right to organize in a foreign country. The action, USTR officials said at the outset, signified how the administration is “putting workers first and foremost in how we think about trade.”
If the White House ever ends its self-enforced moratorium on new trade negotiations, Biden’s team wants to use the principles of the USMCA to build a network of like-minded nations that agree to support higher wages, tougher climate and environmental rules, and digital economy rules. Countries that don’t live up to the rules — China, and now Russia — would be subject to higher tariffs and other trade enforcement, in an attempt to persuade American companies to choose more responsible business environments. In that way, the team hopes to end the “race to the bottom” in global trade where firms endlessly seek lower wages and looser regulations abroad.
But that’s a big “if.” Chastened by Obama’s TPP experience and eager to demonstrate his focus on American pocketbooks, Biden publicly paused all new trade negotiations at the beginning of his presidency. That moratorium continues to today, limiting Biden’s trade team to cleaning up Trump’s old disputes, such as striking steel and aluminum tariff deals with the European Union, Japan and the United Kingdom. Even Biden’s major Asia policy initiative — the proposed Indo-Pacific Economic Framework — is conspicuously unambitious from a commercial perspective. It’s “not a trade deal” the White House has repeatedly messaged, and will be narrow enough not to require congressional approval.
That skepticism of new trade deals has frustrated many corporate interests, who expected more of a change between Trump and Biden on trade, particularly when it comes to China. Many of them don’t buy into the idea that the age of unfettered globalization is coming to a close, and want to see tariffs removed and new market access negotiated for American firms abroad. But Tai’s recent visit to the Senate Finance Committee gave free traders little hope for a change in direction, sparking ire from even some in her own party.
“I’m for labor rights, I’m for enforcement, I’m for capacity building. But why can’t we be for opening market access right now and getting rid of tariffs?” asked Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wa.), whose state is a major exporter. “The biggest economic opportunity for the U.S. is to sell things outside of the United States. That means you have to have trade.”

The Ukraine crisis, however, presents a chance for the Biden administration to win over new converts, both at home and abroad.
Already, Russia’s invasion has pushed many U.S. allies closer to Washington. Germany canceled the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia and Europe is preparing to import more American gas. South Korea, on the heels of electing a pro-America, anti-China president, said it would join the Indo-Pacific pact. And dozens of nations coordinated with the Commerce Department to block export of American tech components to Russian firms, demonstrating to Beijing that the West can unite quickly to exact economic consequences, even short of war.
And at home, the invasion has breathed new life into an economic agenda that seemed stalled at the end of last year. Top of the list is a bill to confront China economically, centered around $52 billion in incentives for domestic semiconductor manufacturing.
“The crisis of Ukraine makes it all more apparent how vulnerable a country is when they are very dependent on other countries for critical supplies, particularly semiconductors,” Raimondo said after a meeting with the Senate Finance Committee on the bill. “The situation in America now is urgent, and if we’re going to increase our national security, we have to decrease our dependence on other countries, including Taiwan, for chips, and the way to do that is to make more chips in America.”
Even leading Republicans say that the crisis has hammered home the importance of making more of the critical computer chips at home, rather than relying on other nations. In 2020, the U.S. had about 12 percent of global semiconductor manufacturing capacity, while China accounted for 15 percent and other Asian nations had 58 percent.
“The need was there solidly before, but the Russian invasion just puts an exclamation point on it,” said Sen. Mike Crapo, the lead Republican on the Finance Committee, whose home state of Idaho is a hub for U.S. semiconductor companies.

Leading Democrats are also preparing a final push to revive at least some of the incentives for new American factories that were proposed in the Build Back Better legislation — a package of $320 billion in incentives for domestic manufacturing of clean energy products that forms the foundation of Democrats’ plans to revive industrial jobs stateside.
The program includes a thicket of sector-specific initiatives, such as tax credits for domestic solar and battery factories, as well as broader incentives for new energy projects to use American-made metals and components. Taken together, they amount to the most ambitious attempt at government-guided industrial policy since the Great Depression, when the feds poured billions into the Reconstruction Finance Corporation to help reignite American businesses.
Those tax provisions could do more to boost American manufacturing than the rest of Biden’s agenda combined. Just the domestic content incentives could boost consumption of American steel as much as 20 percent, the bill’s backers estimate. But the incentives, like the rest of Build Back Better, ran aground last year when Manchin objected to the overall package’s price tag.
Administration officials and congressional trade leaders hope those incentives could still see the light of day. Democrats are preparing for one last push to secure support from Manchin for a scaled-back spending bill that still includes at least some of the domestic manufacturing incentives, but time is short. “You either do it before Memorial Day or you’re not going to do it,” Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), who is close to Manchin, told POLITICO at the start of April.
As Democrats look to regroup in Congress, some are growing tired of the Biden administration’s infighting on trade and want a more unified agenda. At the Senate Finance hearing, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said she was concerned that both Tai and Raimondo were leading negotiations on the Indo-Pacific Framework and warned that the Commerce secretary’s approach “will boost profits for giant corporations, the ones that offshore jobs and squash small businesses.” Less than a month later, Finance Chair Ron Wyden told reporters during a trip with Tai to his home state of Oregon that the trade chief would be the lead on resolving the House and Senate trade language, highlighting the divide on trade policy between the agencies. Throughout it all, the agencies insist they are working hand-in-hand to enact the president’s agenda.
“Secretary Raimondo agrees with Ambassador Tai that USTR is appropriately leading the trade pillar and Ambassador Tai has been a great partner throughout this process,” said a Commerce Department spokesperson. “Secretary Raimondo is fully aligned with President Biden’s approach to these issues and is committed to expanding America’s global competitiveness, creating good jobs for America’s workers and bringing jobs back from overseas.”

Even if Congress refuses to pass Biden’s tax breaks for domestic factories, there are still ways for the president to advance his trade agenda without them.
First, Biden’s economic team will have to decide how aggressively to enforce its tech export controls against Russian firms. The sanctions are supposed to bar any company around the world from transferring American technology or software to Russian firms, so they could hit Chinese companies if they try to assist Moscow in evading sanctions.
“If [a sanction] is going to be meaningful, it has to apply to the Chinese, who could be major suppliers to the Russians, or indirect suppliers to the Russians,” said Derek Scissors, a fellow at AEI and member of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. “So we may be hitting or threatening the Chinese with serious sanctions.”
Looking forward, Biden and his team could finally issue the new tariff investigation on China they’ve been contemplating for the better part of a year, easing tariffs on a variety of consumer goods while raising them on select industries such as solar equipment, batteries and other technologies that receive the most subsidies from Beijing. Doing so could help alleviate inflation tied to the tariffs, boost domestic tech producers competing with the Chinese and fulfill Biden’s campaign promise to stay tough on China.
The push for tariff relief appeared to gain momentum in recent weeks, when both Yellen and deputy national security adviser Daleep Singh suggested in late April that easing duties could help combat inflation. But Tai has taken a different perspective, telling lawmakers during her March hearings that cutting tariffs would cost her leverage at the negotiating table with the Chinese. USTR has so far declined to comment on what appears to be a persistent policy divide in the administration.
They could also use the moment to push for a new alternative to the WTO. Congress directed the White House to push for Russia’s removal from the global trade body in its legislation to end normal trade relations with Moscow, further weakening an institution already paralyzed by the Trump administration’s refusal to appoint new dispute resolution judges. Yellen hinted at a an alternative in mid-April, when she floated a “network of plurilateral trade agreements” with friendly countries “to achieve free but secure trade.”
In the event of a serious trade crisis, like a pandemic resurgence in Asia or Chinese trade retaliation, Biden has other emergency authorities that he could use to boost domestic manufacturing. He could use the Cold War-era Defense Production Act to direct American factories to make certain goods, similar to action he took in late March to stimulate production of battery components for electric vehicles and the power grid.

Biden’s team could also use the pending China competitiveness bill to advance their trade agenda beyond the $52 billion in semiconductor incentives. The House version of the bill includes aggressive trade provisions targeting Beijing, from boosting tariffs on small-value imports to screening U.S. investments in China to strengthening the Commerce Department’s authority to go after serial trade offenders, like Beijing’s favored industries.
That bill is set to go to a conference committee in the coming weeks, and White House support could help get those controversial House provisions in the final package. Already, Tai has thrown her support behind one component — the Leveling the Playing Field Act — that would strengthen the Commerce Department’s authority to hit repeat trade offenders with antidumping and countervailing duties.
But debate on the bill has also highlighted policy divides in the administration. In recent weeks, the Treasury Department circulated language that would weaken a provision in the House’s China package to allow the federal government to review — and potentially deny — American investments in the Chinese economy. Treasury’s proposal for a fact-finding pilot program is far less restrictive than the approach envisioned by Congressional China hawks and the NSC, but it remains to be seen which will win out during the legislative negotiations.
Regardless of the China competitiveness bill, the Biden administration knows it will need more help from Congress to rebalance the trade relationship with China and other economies. In her appearances before lawmakers in late March, Tai called for a more expansive trade policy that goes beyond tariffs and sanctions and embraces “rebuilding our industrial base” through the tax credits in Build Back Better.
“It is absolutely a call to Congress, and a desire to work with Congress going forward on an agenda where trade policy is incorporated into a bigger picture, and all of these policy areas are pulling in the same direction,” Tai told POLITICO about the comments after the hearings.
The looming November elections mean that Biden and Democrats only have a few months to enact their trade agenda before a likely wave of opposition stalls it. But no matter the outcomes of the next few elections, trade veterans say there’s no going back to the free-trading days before Trump and the pandemic.
“Investors, C-suites, boards of directors need to be fundamentally relooking at all the assumptions that they had about how the world would be organized,” Turpin said. “That doesn’t mean no trade, it just means that trade will likely be reformed over time … and we’ll look back at the heady days of the 2000s and the early 2010s and ask ‘what were we thinking of then?’”



9. Opinion | The War Is Getting More Dangerous for America, and Biden Knows It

I think Freidman and President Biden are right:

As a journalist, I love a good leak story, and the reporters who broke those stories did powerful digging. At the same time, from everything I have been able to glean from senior U.S. officials, who spoke to me on condition of anonymity, the leaks were not part of any thought-out strategy, and President Biden was livid about them. I’m told that he called the director of national intelligence, the director of the C.I.A. and the secretary of defense to make clear in the strongest and most colorful language that this kind of loose talk is reckless and has got to stop immediately — before we end up in an unintended war with Russia.
...
Vladimir Putin surely has no illusions about how much the U.S. and NATO are arming Ukraine with material and intelligence, but when American officials start to brag in public about playing a role in killing Russian generals and sinking the Russian flagship, killing many sailors, we could be creating an opening for Putin to respond in ways that could dangerously widen this conflict — and drag the U.S. in deeper than it wants to be.
It is doubly dangerous, senior U.S. officials say, because it is increasingly obvious to them that Putin’s behavior is not as predictable as it has been in the past. And Putin is running out of options for some kind of face-saving success on the ground — or even a face-saving off ramp.



Opinion | The War Is Getting More Dangerous for America, and Biden Knows It
The New York Times · by Thomas L. Friedman · May 6, 2022
Thomas L. Friedman
The War Is Getting More Dangerous for America, and Biden Knows It
May 6, 2022, 7:02 p.m. ET

Credit...Sarahbeth Maney/The New York Times
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If you just followed news reports on Ukraine, you might think that the war has settled into a long, grinding and somewhat boring slog. You would be wrong.
Things are actually getting more dangerous by the day.
For starters, the longer this war goes on, the more opportunity for catastrophic miscalculations — and the raw material for that is piling up fast and furious. Take the two high-profile leaks from American officials this past week about U.S. involvement in the Russia-Ukraine war:
First, The Times disclosed that “the United States has provided intelligence about Russian units that has allowed Ukrainians to target and kill many of the Russian generals who have died in action in the Ukraine war, according to senior American officials.” Second, The Times, following a report by NBC News and citing U.S. officials, reported that America has “provided intelligence that helped Ukrainian forces locate and strike” the Moskva, the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet. This targeting assistance “contributed to the eventual sinking” of the Moskva by two Ukrainian cruise missiles.
As a journalist, I love a good leak story, and the reporters who broke those stories did powerful digging. At the same time, from everything I have been able to glean from senior U.S. officials, who spoke to me on condition of anonymity, the leaks were not part of any thought-out strategy, and President Biden was livid about them. I’m told that he called the director of national intelligence, the director of the C.I.A. and the secretary of defense to make clear in the strongest and most colorful language that this kind of loose talk is reckless and has got to stop immediately — before we end up in an unintended war with Russia.
The staggering takeaway from these leaks is that they suggest we are no longer in an indirect war with Russia but rather edging toward a direct war — and no one has prepared the American people or Congress for that.
Vladimir Putin surely has no illusions about how much the U.S. and NATO are arming Ukraine with material and intelligence, but when American officials start to brag in public about playing a role in killing Russian generals and sinking the Russian flagship, killing many sailors, we could be creating an opening for Putin to respond in ways that could dangerously widen this conflict — and drag the U.S. in deeper than it wants to be.
It is doubly dangerous, senior U.S. officials say, because it is increasingly obvious to them that Putin’s behavior is not as predictable as it has been in the past. And Putin is running out of options for some kind of face-saving success on the ground — or even a face-saving off ramp.
It is hard to exaggerate what a catastrophe this war has been for Putin so far. Indeed, Biden pointed out to his team that Putin was trying to push back on NATO expansion, and he’s ended up laying the groundwork for the expansion of NATO. Both Finland and Sweden are now taking steps toward joining an alliance they’ve stayed out of for seven decades.
But that is why U.S. officials are quite concerned what Putin might do or announce at the Victory Day celebration in Moscow on Monday, which marks the anniversary of the Soviet Union’s defeat of Nazi Germany. It is traditionally a day of military parades and celebration of the prowess of the Russian Army. Putin could mobilize even more soldiers, make some other provocation or do nothing at all. But no one knows.
Alas, we have to be alive to the fact that it’s not only the Russians who would like to involve us more deeply. Have no illusions, President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine has been trying to do the same thing from the start — to make Ukraine an immediate member of NATO or get Washington to forge a bilateral security pact with Kyiv. I am in awe of Zelensky’s heroism and leadership. If I were him, I’d be trying to get the U.S. as enmeshed on my side as he is.
But I’m an American citizen, and I want us to be careful. Ukraine was, and still is, a country marbled with corruption. That doesn’t mean we should not be helping it. I am glad we are. I insist we do. But my sense is that the Biden team is walking much more of a tightrope with Zelensky than it would appear to the eye — wanting to do everything possible to make sure he wins this war but doing so in a way that still keeps some distance between us and Ukraine’s leadership. That’s so Kyiv is not calling the shots and so we’ll not be embarrassed by messy Ukrainian politics in the war’s aftermath.
The view of Biden and his team, according to my reporting, is that America needs to help Ukraine restore its sovereignty and beat the Russians back — but not let Ukraine turn itself into an American protectorate on the border of Russia. We need to stay laser-focused on what is our national interest and not stray in ways that lead to exposures and risks we don’t want.
One thing I know about Biden — with whom I traveled to Afghanistan in 2002 when he was a senator heading the Foreign Relations Committee — is that he is not easily romanced by world leaders. He has dealt with too many of them over his career. Ask the Afghans. He’s got a pretty good sense of where U.S. interests stop and start.
So where are we now? Putin’s Plan A — taking Kyiv and installing his own leader — has failed. And his Plan B — trying just to take full control of Ukraine’s old industrial heartland, known as the Donbas, which is largely Russian speaking — is still in doubt. Putin’s freshly reinforced ground forces have made some progress, but it’s still limited. It is springtime in the Donbas, meaning the ground is still sometimes muddy and wet, so Russian armor still has to stay on roads and highways in many areas, making them vulnerable.
As America navigates Ukraine and Russia and tries to avoid being ensnared, one bright spot in the effort to avoid a wider war is the administration’s success at keeping China from providing military aid to Russia. This has been huge.
After all, it was just Feb. 4 when China’s president, Xi Jinping, hosted Putin at the opening of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, where they unveiled all sorts of trade and energy agreements, and then issued a joint declaration asserting that the friendship between Russia and China “has no limits.
That was then. After the war started, Biden personally explained to Xi in a lengthy phone call that China’s economic future rests on access to the American and European markets — its two largest trading partners — and should China provide military aid to Putin, it would have very negative consequences for China’s trade with both markets. Xi did the math and has been deterred from helping Russia in any military way, which has also made Putin weaker. The Western restrictions on shipping microchips to Russia has begun to really hobble some of his factories — and China has not stepped in, so far.
My bottom line echoes my top line — and I can’t underscore it enough: We need to stick as tightly as possible to our original limited and clearly defined aim of helping Ukraine expel Russian forces as much as possible or negotiate for their withdrawal whenever Ukraine’s leaders feel the time is right.
But we are dealing with some incredibly unstable elements, particularly a politically wounded Putin. Boasting about killing his generals and sinking his ships, or falling in love with Ukraine in ways that will get us enmeshed there forever, is the height of folly.
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The New York Times · by Thomas L. Friedman · May 6, 2022


10. As war grinds on, the definition of victory remains murky

Whenever I hear about "public support" I am reminded of Giap and Dau Tranh and the political struggle.

Victory? What is the acceptable durable political arrangement that can serve, protect, and advance our interests?


Dau Tranh Strategy: Integrated Political and Military Struggle
Political Struggle:
Dan Van - Action among your people - total mobilization of propaganda, motivational & organizational measures to manipulate internal masses and fighting units

Binh Van - Action among enemy military - subversion, proselytizing, propaganda to encourage desertion, defection and lowered morale among enemy troops.

Dich Van - Action among enemy's people - total propaganda effort to sow discontent, defeatism, dissent, and disloyalty among enemy's population.

Military Struggle:

Phase 1: Organizations and Preparation - building cells, recruiting members, infiltrating organizations, creating front groups, spreading propaganda, stockpiling weapons.

Phase 2: Terrorism - Guerrilla Warfare - kidnappings, terrorist attacks, sabotage, guerrilla raids, ambushes, setting of parallel governments in insurgent areas.

Phase 3: Conventional Warfare - regular formations and maneuver to capture key geographical and political objectives.

As war grinds on, the definition of victory remains murky
Public support in the United States and allied countries is critical to the outcome on the battlefield, officials say
By Karen DeYoung
Dan Lamothe and 
Yesterday at 5:00 a.m. EDT
The Washington Post · by Karen DeYoung, Dan Lamothe and Ashley Parker Today at 5:00 a.m. EDT · May 7, 2022
As the war in Ukraine grinds through its third month, the Biden administration has tried to maintain a set of public objectives that adapt to changes on the battlefield and stress NATO unity, while making it clear that Russia will lose, even as Ukraine decides what constitutes winning.
But the contours of a Russian loss remain as murky as a Ukrainian victory. And as the conflict heads into what is likely to be a protracted fight, the need to manage allied cooperation unity and public opinion here and abroad — balancing the probable with the possible — has become as much a priority as what is happening on the battlefield.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who said late last month that Ukraine “can win” the war against Russia, and the Biden administration would do “everything we can” to support that goal, sounded less bullish in congressional testimony this week.
“We hope that, at the end of this, that Ukraine will be a … sovereign state with a functioning government that can protect its territory,” Austin told the Senate Appropriations Committee. Austin and other senior officials, however, have declined to specify their idea of what that government will look like, and what territory it will include.
Whatever outcome it would eventually like to see, the administration has quickly walked back statements that went beyond the bounds of an end to the war with a sovereign Ukraine still in existence. When President Biden said in late March that Russian President Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power,” he and the White House rushed to explain it as a presidential expression of “moral outrage” rather than a policy of regime change in Moscow.
When Austin drew attention last month by saying the United States sought a “weakened” Russia, administration officials quickly added that the goal was specific to military conflict, and was to ensure Putin would think twice about invading another country.
Ukrainians themselves have been clear about their definition of winning. Their goal, President Volodymyr Zelensky has said repeatedly, is restoration of full territorial integrity, pushing the Russians back from recently claimed territory in the south and east, as well as ultimately from Crimea, annexed by Moscow in 2014, and parts of the eastern Donbas region that was grabbed by Russia-backed Ukrainian separatists at the same time.
“I was elected as president of Ukraine. Not as president of mini-Ukraine,” Zelensky said in remarks to the Chatham House think tank in London on Friday, “What matters is Ukraine’s victory,” he said, “and by Ukraine’s victory I mean something that belongs to us.”
Serious negotiations with Russia would only begin when Moscow pulls its troops back, or they are pushed from territory occupied since the invasion began Feb. 24. He also listed the return of refugees, Ukraine’s admission to the European Union, and the prosecution of Russian military leaders for war crimes as elements of any postwar landscape.
“I think we shouldn’t underestimate the view of the Ukrainian people, which is never to accept anything” a European diplomat said. Even if direct Russia-Ukraine negotiations, now in abeyance, resume, “there is no way politically Zelensky can settle with the Russians” unless it includes the broad elements the Ukrainian president has articulated. The diplomat was one of several U.S. and foreign officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal calculations.
Within NATO, some have outlined more definitive goals than others. In a rousing video speech on Tuesday to the Ukrainian parliament, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson moved beyond Austin’s possibility of victory, assuring that “Ukraine will win.”
British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has been even more specific. Britain was “doubling down” on its aid to Ukraine, she said last week at the Mansion House, an annual London venue for delivery of a major foreign policy address. Calling Russian forces a “cancerous growth,” she said “we will keep going further and faster to push Russia out of the whole of Ukraine,” including Crimea and Donbas.
Ukraine’s combat success so far has surprised and heartened the administration. Before the war began, the administration released an unprecedented amount of classified information indicating that amassed Russian forces would invade. But it did not reveal the expectation of the U.S. intelligence community that Ukraine would fall in short order — with Kyiv succumbing within three to four days — according to a person familiar with the matter.
NATO unity and a rapid response, with U.S. and allies rushing troops to NATO’s eastern border and weapons to Ukraine, were gratifying, even more so when Ukrainian forces not only held Kyiv but drove the Russians out of the north.
The current phase of the fight is likely to be much harder and more protracted. Russia, in apparent retreat from its initial objective of taking most, if not all, of Ukrainian territory, has massed its forces in the eastern part of the country along a line parallel to its own border. There, its existing control of significant territory will likely temper the logistical problems it suffered around Kyiv. In the southeast, Russian forces are crushing remaining opposition along swaths of the Black Sea coast.
Miles to the west of the Russian lines, tens of thousands of Ukrainian troops — up to half of its 126,000 prewar army — face them. The U.S. military assesses that Russia’s tactical objective is to send more of its own forces in behind the Ukrainians from the south and from the northeast border area and encircle them. Across the flat, farming territory, a massive ground battle of attrition is expected to ensue, fought with long-range artillery and airstrikes, and armored vehicles.
In response, the United States and its allies are rushing heavy artillery, air defense and surveillance equipment, armed drones, and armored vehicles to the Ukrainians. Biden has asked Congress for an emergency $33 billion in weaponry and other support, in addition to the massive amounts already sent.
“Russia’s changing objectives would certainly indicate that all this effort is having a strong effect,” a senior administration official said. “But as we have laid out many times, this conflict will likely be long and hard, and the next few months are critical, so Congress needs to move quickly.”
U.S. and allied staying power will be crucial. One of the sustaining challenges, beyond the focus on the “now” of what Ukraine needs, is maintaining public unity and support among and inside the countries backing Ukraine, another U.S. official said.
“Public support is a key variable in the outcome on the battlefield” and “we have to continue to make a compelling case,” this official said. “Failure or stalemate equal discouragement,” while success on the ground “equals unity.”
As the war continues, especially if it drags into next winter, some European governments may face shortages of heating fuel in addition to gas and consumer goods. For Biden, facing his own economic difficulties, the perception of Russia as having lost, or at least losing, could make a difference during midterm elections in November — as could the perception that his administration “lost” Ukraine.
Some are more optimistic about Ukraine’s chances for continued, or even early, progress in the current phase of the war. Retired Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove, a former supreme allied commander of NATO, said it is too early to celebrate, but there are “good signs” that the Russians may not be able to accomplish everything they want in the east. Some “very smart people,” he said, believe that Russia will “culminate” its next operation within two to four weeks, effectively running out of military capability to press on.
That would open the door to a larger Ukrainian offensive to take back land that Russia has seized.
“Then we have the confirmation about what winning looks like,” Breedlove said. “Other people in the world are starting to set expectations that maybe winning is actually retaking all of Donbas and eventually expelling Russia from Crimea,” he said. “I don’t know if that’s realistic right now or not, but it’s certainly out there.”
The Pentagon is reluctant to publicly rate Ukraine’s chances of regaining all of its territory.
“We are careful in the way we talk about progress in the war, especially when it comes to Ukrainian capabilities and efforts,” a senior U.S. defense official said. “We have an obligation to speak to what we are providing them, but we never want to provide so much information that we violate their operational security or make it harder for them to conduct their operations. It’s a balance we strive to maintain every day.”
As to the administration’s definition of winning, “I think the ambiguity is not accidental,” the European diplomat said. “Sometimes if you’re very specific about your aims, it makes it easier to stop those aims. … I always find myself wanting to defend the Americans on this, because if I were the Americans, I’d be more careful, too, because they’re the superpower, they’re the ones the Russians care most about.”
When asked Wednesday about whether the United States would be satisfied if Ukraine agreed to Russia remaining in Crimea and parts of the east, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki repeated what has become an administration mantra: “The Ukrainians are going to define what a successful outcome looks like for them.”
Besides, Psaki said, Russia has already lost by not having achieved its initial goals of taking over much, if not all, of Ukraine or dividing NATO.
Another U.S. official put it a different way. “A lot of people have read too much into Austin’s comments” this official said, noting that the United States has from the start sought “a strategic defeat for Russia — meaning that Russia wouldn’t be able to project power like this again … to threaten Ukraine or other neighbors again.”
At the end of the day, this official said, “accountability can come in many forms. It’s up to Ukraine to decide the contours of any peace agreement, but we also have tools that we put in place in terms of sanctions, export controls that can be removed or not, depending on how things look at the end of this.”
Olivier Knox and Cleve R. Wootson Jr. contributed to this report.
The Washington Post · by Karen DeYoung, Dan Lamothe and Ashley Parker Today at 5:00 a.m. EDT · May 7, 2022

11. Biden Already Willing to Increase Recent Defense Spending Request

Excerpts:

Hicks urged Congress to pass a budget ahead of the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, saying that passing the department’s higher budget request is better than locking in spending at the 2022 level, especially with inflation on the rise. Lawmakers in recent years have often debated the annual defense spending authorization bill well into the fall or winter, months past the fiscal deadline, by funding the federal government via a series of continuing resolutions, or CRs.
“The best inflation buster we have is on-time appropriations,” she said. “That 4 percent is 4 percent more than we would get if we stay on a CR, and I think we all know we’re going to be on a CR.”
Biden Already Willing to Increase Recent Defense Spending Request
Just six weeks after requesting $773 billion for 2023, the Pentagon’s No. 2 acknowledges the military may need more money, due to inflation.
defenseone.com · by Jacqueline Feldscher
The Biden administration is willing to increase the president’s defense spending request sent to Congress just six weeks ago to mitigate inflation’s impacts on the military, said the Pentagon’s No. 2 civilian leader.
Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks’ remarks come amid intense criticism from Republicans who have already pressed the president, senior administration, and military leaders to increase the defense budget to meet the rising costs of the Russia-Ukraine conflict and compete with China’s military buildup.
“We are concerned that the Department is not taking a proactive stance to mitigate the harmful effects of inflation,” Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., and Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., the ranking members of the Senate and House Armed Services Committees said in a statement this week. “It doesn’t seem that the department has a good grasp on how inflation is hurting our service members and their families—and how this is in turn impacting recruiting and retention.”
The Defense Department requested $773 billion for fiscal 2023, an 8 percent increase over the administration’s request for the previous year and 4 percent more than Congress approved for the military in the 2022 omnibus. But with inflation reaching as high as 8.5 percent in March, and uncertainty about the economy’s future, lawmakers are worried how far that money will go.
Hicks said the Pentagon is ready and willing to work with Congress on an updated budget number that reflects the most accurate inflation estimates.
“We don’t know what that inflation number will be,” Hicks said in an interview Friday with Roger Zakheim, director of the Ronald Reagan Institute and former Republican senior staff member of the House Armed Services Committee. “The inflation number we used last fall…is always just a forecast. Where inflation will be in September, let alone this time next year, we don’t know, but we want to work with Congress on the ‘23 budget to make sure we have the purchasing power for this program.”
Despite the Pentagon’s and Congress’ best estimates, Biden administration leaders may ask Congress for more money in supplemental budget requests next year if inflation costs soar more than anticipated, she said.
“If at the end of the day, it’s this program with an inflation factor that is again going to be a projection by the United States Congress that we all feel is closer to accurate, and then we work on through supplementals next year anything where we’re off…I think that’s a really good outcome for us,” she said.
Inflation typically hits defense harder than other economic sectors, according to a McKinsey & Company report in March. Currently, the Pentagon’s budget is expected to increase to $810 billion by 2026, excluding military construction. If the inflation rate stays at 7 percent annually and the budget isn’t increased to reflect the rising costs, that would decrease the Defense Department’s purchasing power—the money it spends on new weapons, equipment, suppliers, and other items—to $578 billion in 2026, according to the report. The cumulative lost buying power between 2021 and 2026 could be about $480 billion, or the equivalent of about 6,000 F-35 fighter jets.
Hicks urged Congress to pass a budget ahead of the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, saying that passing the department’s higher budget request is better than locking in spending at the 2022 level, especially with inflation on the rise. Lawmakers in recent years have often debated the annual defense spending authorization bill well into the fall or winter, months past the fiscal deadline, by funding the federal government via a series of continuing resolutions, or CRs.
“The best inflation buster we have is on-time appropriations,” she said. “That 4 percent is 4 percent more than we would get if we stay on a CR, and I think we all know we’re going to be on a CR.”
defenseone.com · by Jacqueline Feldscher


12. CIA director says China ‘unsettled’ by Ukraine war

CIA director says China ‘unsettled’ by Ukraine war
Financial Times · by James Politi · May 7, 2022
The director of the CIA said that Chinese president Xi Jinping has been “unsettled” by the war in Ukraine, which had demonstrated that the friendship between Beijing and Moscow had “limits” at a time when western allies were moving closer together.
Speaking at the FT Weekend Festival in Washington on Saturday, Bill Burns said the “bitter experience” of the first 10 to 11 weeks of the conflict had come as a surprise to the Chinese leadership and may be affecting its calculations with respect to Taiwan.
“It strikes us . . . that Xi Jinping is a little bit unsettled by the reputational damage that can come to China by the association with the brutishness of Russia’s aggression against Ukrainians [and] unsettled certainly by the economic uncertainty that’s been produced by the war,” Burns said, adding that Xi’s “main focus” was on “predictability”.
He added that China was also dismayed by “the fact that what Putin has done is driving Europeans and Americans closer together” and was looking “carefully at what lessons they should draw” for Taiwan.
“I don’t for a minute think that it’s eroded Xi’s determination over time to gain control over Taiwan,” although it was “affecting their calculation”, Burns said.
Burns said Xi’s China was the “biggest geopolitical challenge we face over the long term as a country”, even though the threat from Putin’s Russia could not be underestimated.
“[Putin] demonstrates in a very disturbing way that declining powers can be at least as disruptive as rising one,” Burns said.
Burns spoke after Biden administration officials sought to play down reports that US intelligence officials had helped Ukraine target and kill Russian generals on the battlefield and sink the Moskva, a Russian ship in the Black Sea.
“It is irresponsible, it’s very risky, it’s dangerous when people talk too much. Whether it’s leaking in private or talking in public about specific intelligence issues,” Burns said.
The CIA director, a former senior diplomat in previous US administrations, added that it would be a “big mistake” to underestimate Ukraine’s own intelligence capabilities.
“This is their country. They have a lot more information than we do and a lot more intelligence than we in the US and amongst our allies do,” he added.
Burns said Putin remained undeterred from pressing ahead with the war, saying the second phase of the conflict as it shifted to the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine was “at least as risky” or “even riskier” than the first phase where Russia failed to gain control of Kyiv, the capital.
“[Putin] is in a frame of mind in which he doesn’t believe he can afford to lose; so the stakes are quite high in this phase,” Burns said. “I think he’s convinced right now that doubling down . . . will enable him to make progress.”
The CIA director said that even though US intelligence did not see “practical evidence” that Russia was planning to deploy tactical nuclear weapons, “we can’t take lightly those possibilities” given Russia’s sabre-rattling.
Financial Times · by James Politi · May 7, 2022



13. Pentagon Seeks to Update U.S. Weapons Stocks Depleted by Ukraine Donations

Learn, adapt, and anticipate.

Excerpts:
On the U.S. side, the Pentagon is beginning to shift to a continuous stockpile, to try and avoid the munitions shortfalls it experienced in Afghanistan and Syria, LaPlante said.
“The idea behind the fund … [is] basically almost a working capital replenishment fund, that we can have a continuous stockpile, because we can't predict exactly which weapons are going to be needed,” LaPlante said. “So it's a way to hopefully build up a little bit of a buffer for the next time.”
The Pentagon also must decide whether to buy the current version of the popular Javelin anti-tank missile or a newer version.
“[The] plan all along, before Ukraine, was to transition to a next generation of Javelin [with a] better seeker, better range, etc. Called the G model,” LaPlante said. “One of our decisions to make when we replenish it, we want to replenish it [and] probably we will, with the G model, so it's not quite a one for one replacement.”
Pentagon Seeks to Update U.S. Weapons Stocks Depleted by Ukraine Donations
Defense Department's top acquisitions exec says Ukraine war is changing the way the U.S. thinks about stockpiles.
defenseone.com · by Marcus Weisgerber
The U.S. military wants to update its stockpiles with newer weapons to replace some of the missiles and rockets it gave to Ukraine, the Pentagon’s top acquisition official said Friday.
Speaking to reporters for the first time since being sworn into the position last month, Bill LaPlante, defense undersecretary for acquisition and sustainment, said the plan is to gradually replenish U.S. stockpiles of the weapons given to Ukrainian forces who have been battling Russia since late February.
“The intent is to eventually go to a one-to-one replacement but … the reason it may not be directly one-to-one in the first tranche is just depends on when the system was bought,” LaPlante said during a Friday afternoon briefing at the Pentagon.
Some of the weapons the U.S. has given to Ukraine, such as Stinger shoulder-fired rockets and M777 howitzers, are no longer in production. Pentagon officials are evaluating the appropriate replacement for these types of weapons, LaPlante said.
“We're going through all of these calculations right now,” he said.
The Pentagon is also reviewing the assumptions it previously made about the ideal size of its current stockpile, because of the pressure the U.S. now finds itself under to maintain necessary levels of defense equipment.
“This is pretty unprecedented, the amount of munitions that are being used right now … so I'm sure we're all going to be re-examining our assumptions. ” LaPlante said. NATO partners are going through the same exercise, he said. “Everybody's going through this calculation.”
On the U.S. side, the Pentagon is beginning to shift to a continuous stockpile, to try and avoid the munitions shortfalls it experienced in Afghanistan and Syria, LaPlante said.
“The idea behind the fund … [is] basically almost a working capital replenishment fund, that we can have a continuous stockpile, because we can't predict exactly which weapons are going to be needed,” LaPlante said. “So it's a way to hopefully build up a little bit of a buffer for the next time.”
The Pentagon also must decide whether to buy the current version of the popular Javelin anti-tank missile or a newer version.
“[The] plan all along, before Ukraine, was to transition to a next generation of Javelin [with a] better seeker, better range, etc. Called the G model,” LaPlante said. “One of our decisions to make when we replenish it, we want to replenish it [and] probably we will, with the G model, so it's not quite a one for one replacement.”
defenseone.com · by Marcus Weisgerber


14. We Need More Amphibs, and We Need to Buy Them Smarter

Excerpts:

The Biden administration’s latest long-range shipbuilding plan nodded to the value of a multi-ship buy to the health of the supplier base, noting that “reduced procurement levels, inefficient profiles and production gaps could impact specific portions of the shipbuilding industrial base.” But the plan would also push acquisition of the next generation of LPD ship—LPD(X)—to 2041, leaving a 16-year gap between the construction of amphibious warships. As Lt. Gen. Karsten Heckl, Deputy Commandant for Combat Development and Integrated told Congress last week, “Amphibious warfare ships are being decommissioned faster than they are procured, delivered, and eventually available for employment.”
...
Earlier this year, the Amphibious Warship Industrial Base Coalition surveyed shipbuilders and their suppliers; nine out of 10 said multi-ship purchases are important to the health and future of their company. Eight out of 10 suppliers said extended intervals between builds would significantly increase product and service prices, and almost half said this would mean they would have to reduce their workforce. Therefore, the industrial base understands the value of multi-ship buy.
Congressional members who have voiced concerns about the Administration’s shipbuilding plan now have the opportunity to replace it with a better one if they understand the value of multi-ship procurement. So, now the real question remains: will they?


We Need More Amphibs, and We Need to Buy Them Smarter
Buying amphibious warships one at a time has left us with too few, and little prospect of closing the gap
defenseone.com · by David Forster
Amphibious warships are like no other ships in the U.S. Navy. By law, they are the nation’s “9-1-1” force, to be most ready when the nation is least ready. From crisis response and disaster relief to defending allies and deterring adversaries, amphibious warships are the “Swiss Army Knives” of our fleet. They can launch a variety of aircraft and landing craft, can carry a full contingent of battle-ready Marines anywhere in the world, and are the ideal first responders in humanitarian crises due to their expansive cargo space, water-production capabilities, and unmatched hospital and trauma facilities.
But unfortunately, we have too few. This was demonstrated in February, as Russia prepared to invade Ukraine and the head of the U.S. European Command asked for an amphibious ready group to deploy a few weeks early. The U.S. Navy and Marine Corps could not meet this request—and could not even deploy by its original date.
If the Navy is going to expand its amphibious fleet from the current 28 to the 31 that the Marine Corps says it needs, the administration and the Pentagon must buy more and at a faster rate. This will require, among other factors, the administration to drop its reluctance to order multiple warships at once.
We see the benefits of bulk buying in our daily life—such as grocery shopping, where we find it is always more economically savvy to buy a carton of eggs, not 12 individual eggs at separate times. But when it comes to warships, administrations and lawmakers have generally purchased just one at time, preferring, as the Congressional Research Service recently put it, to retain “flexibility for making changes – especially reductions – in procurement programs in future years in response to changing strategic or budgetary circumstances.”
This preference has made the industrial base more fragile and undermined our nation’s ability to deter adversaries.
By contrast, multi-ship purchases enable companies to plan for the future; to hire, train and retain a skilled workforce; to invest in new equipment, facilities, and technology; and maximize the material procurement savings benefited through economic order quantity, procurement, and materials. Ship production lines perform best and with far less risk when they follow a steady line of production. For example, the Navy saved $700M by buying 10 destroyers at one time, rather than buying these ships individually.
The Biden administration’s latest long-range shipbuilding plan nodded to the value of a multi-ship buy to the health of the supplier base, noting that “reduced procurement levels, inefficient profiles and production gaps could impact specific portions of the shipbuilding industrial base.” But the plan would also push acquisition of the next generation of LPD ship—LPD(X)—to 2041, leaving a 16-year gap between the construction of amphibious warships. As Lt. Gen. Karsten Heckl, Deputy Commandant for Combat Development and Integrated told Congress last week, “Amphibious warfare ships are being decommissioned faster than they are procured, delivered, and eventually available for employment.”
The Marine Corps’ requirement remains 31 amphibious ships – 10 big-deck LHAs and 21 LSDs or LPDs – which industry experts say should be constructed on four-year and two-year centers falls short of that. From 2023 to 2027, the Navy has requested money for exactly one amphibious ship. Decommissionings will shrink the amphib fleet to 25 ships.
Earlier this year, the Amphibious Warship Industrial Base Coalition surveyed shipbuilders and their suppliers; nine out of 10 said multi-ship purchases are important to the health and future of their company. Eight out of 10 suppliers said extended intervals between builds would significantly increase product and service prices, and almost half said this would mean they would have to reduce their workforce. Therefore, the industrial base understands the value of multi-ship buy.
Congressional members who have voiced concerns about the Administration’s shipbuilding plan now have the opportunity to replace it with a better one if they understand the value of multi-ship procurement. So, now the real question remains: will they?
Capt. David Forster, a retired U.S. Navy captain, is chairman for the Amphibious Warship Industrial Base Coalition (AWIBC), which represents businesses that build, make parts for, and service U.S. amphibious warships.
defenseone.com · by David Forster

15.  How Patton’s Unique Information Forces and Competitive Approach to Information Enabled Operational-Level Success in August 1944


Gaining the Advantage 
How Patton’s Unique Information Forces and Competitive Approach to Information Enabled Operational-Level Success in August 1944 

Maj. Spencer L. French, U.S. Army

In late July 1944, with Allied forces bogged down in the Norman hedgerows, Berlin and victory seemed nowhere in sight. Lt. Gen. George S. Patton Jr.’s Third Army was earmarked as an exploitation force tasked with the seizure of the port of Brest. Allied planners intended the supplies flowing through Brest to fuel a long, systematic campaign across France, which, even if all went well, was forecasted to take at least another year to reach the German border.1 Yet less than a month later, Third Army was on Germany’s doorstep, over five hundred thousand German troops were killed, wounded, missing, or captured, and the vast majority of German war materiel in France was in Allied hands.2 From the moment it became operational on 1 August until it reached the Moselle River in September, Third Army was always one step ahead of the Germans. Throughout August, Third Army overran unprepared German defenses and outmaneuvered German attempts to counterattack. Despite the challenges posed by immature technology, logistical constraints, a new and difficult operational environment, and a peer enemy, Patton found a way to generate advantage.

Patton derived his success in large-scale combat operations on the continent from his dynamic approach to warfare and his special units, purpose-built to aid Third Army in managing information. Specifically, Patton strove to generate what twenty-first-century U.S. concepts define as information advantage, “a condition when a force holds the initiative in terms of relevant actor behavior, situational understanding, and decision making.”3 Patton sought to seize the initiative and continually take his following action before the enemy could react to his previous one. The effect became cumulative as Patton gained a further advantage in each successive decision cycle. Rapid exploitation disintegrated the enemy in depth, while speed compensated for security, allowing Patton to economize his force and concentrate combat power. Generating this information advantage over the German forces allowed Third Army to gain and maintain the initiative, manage prudent risk, anticipate decisions, and extend its operational reach t​hroughout the pursuit across France. 





16. Russian Armor Losses Validate Marines' Decision To Dump Their Tanks Says General


My snarky response is that I guess it does validate the decision if you plan to fight like the Russians. While I am all for learning all possible lessons from Putin's War I am not ready to say a lesson is that tanks are no longer necessary or effective.

On the other hand, I do not think the Marine Corps is the U.S.'s second army and I strongly believe that we need to use the right forces for the right missions.  


Russian Armor Losses Validate Marines' Decision To Dump Their Tanks Says General
If the Marine Corps should find itself in need of support from tanks, their plan has a familiar ring. Send in the Army.
BY
MAY 6, 2022 5:39 PM
thedrive.com · by Howard Altman · May 6, 2022
The three-star general overseeing the Marine Corps’ effort to reinvent itself was blunt in his assessment of why the Corps divested itself of tanks.
“I just don’t see any need" for tanks in the Indo-Pacific region, Lt. General Karsten Heckl, the Marine Corps’ Deputy Commandant for Combat Development and Integration, said Wednesday. “And when you look at an operating environment like the Indo-Pacific, where do you see tanks playing out? Taiwan? OK. Where else?"
Taiwan is probably the only place in the Pacific where tanks will play a role, says Marine Lt. Gen. Karsten Heckl. (Photo by Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Heckl, the Marine Corps’ Deputy Commandant for Combat Development and Integration, is the point man for Commandant Gen. David Berger’s controversial Force Design 2030 plan. First developed in March, 2020, it calls for a realignment of the Corps away from the land force it had been used as during the past 20 years in Afghanistan and Iraq back to its naval warfare roots.
You can read our full report on those changes here.
The idea is to be able to better counter China in the vast Pacific, by deploying small, nimble forces able to hop from remote island to remote island or operating in highly contested sensor-rich littorals without being easily spotted and targeted. Yet one of the biggest criticisms of Force Design 2030 has been the elimination of the Marine tank forces.
But Heckle told a virtual panel held by the Center for International and Strategic Studies and the U.S. Naval Institute that the current situation in Ukraine justifies Berger’s decision.
Hundreds of Russian tanks have been obliterated or captured by Ukraine forces. Many more simply ran out of gas because of poor Russian logistics.
“You know, the cathartic event for the Marine Corps was when we got rid of tanks,” Heckl said. “Tanks are – as you saw with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, any armor is a massive consumer of fuel. We learned long ago in Iraq and Afghanistan that fuel trucks on the road immediately became the target. We got to find ways to lessen our dependence because it is now a weakness, right? It has become a significant vulnerability.”
A man looks at a Russian T-72 tank destroyed during Russia's invasion of Uktaine, Ivanivka village, Chernihiv area, Ukraine, April 20, 2022 (Photo by Maxym Marusenko/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
So not having to rely on gas-guzzling, easy-to-find tanks is part of what makes a forward-deployed, light and agile, 'stand-in' force concept work, said Heckl. Especially when it is designed to operate in small numbers, in austere areas, across vast swaths of the Pacific to frustrate Chinese operations.
Instead, the Marine Corps’ plan for tanks relies heavily on the Army for support.
"We have sufficient evidence to conclude that this capability, despite its long and honorable history in the wars of the past, is operationally unsuitable for our highest-priority challenges in the future," Berger wrote in his initial Force Design 2030 document. "Heavy ground armor capability will continue to be provided by the U.S. Army."
The Marine Corps plan for tanks? Send in the Army. (Photo by PATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP via Getty Images)
The Marines’ prior use of tanks, Berger noted, was part of capabilities “designed with different assumptions regarding threat and environment.”
Those capabilities - tanks among them – were something the Marines “over-invested in,” Berger wrote.
During his talk on Wednesday, Heckl noted that “even in our heyday our tank force was dwarfed by the Army.”
And moving to the future, as the Marine Corps examines its role in the joint force, there are better options.
Berger, said Heckl, “openly acknowledges that within a joint force, how does the Marine Corps fit? And I wholeheartedly agree with him that tanks isn’t part of it.”
That’s what the Army is for, he intimated.
“I’m not a grunt, right?,” he said. “So when you talk to infantry officers, several have told me that you really want a tank in an urban fight. OK. Blows holes in walls, right? If we get into a scenario like that, again, within the joint force, when armor is needed it’ll be there.”
Besides, he said, the Marines developed their own vehicle that can make things go boom. It’s the 8x8 wheeled amphibious combat vehicle, designed to replace the ill-fated Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV). The aging AAV’s were banned from going into the water in the wake of a July 30, 2020 mishap that resulted in the deaths of eight Marines and a Navy sailor.
The Marine Corps' Amphibious Combat Vehicle is more survivable than its predecessor, said Lt. Gen. Karsten Heckl. (U.S. Marine Corps photo)
“The ACV is much more – very survivable,” said Heckl. “You know, very mobile. We’re looking into the possibilities of making something called a Mod 30, with a 30-millimeter cannon on it. I think that will blow a pretty good hole in walls.”
That, combined with the long-range precision fires that “we can use to strike in an urban environment, could change the calculus a little bit,” said Heckl.
But the debate over the Marine Corps’ tank divestiture is not over. Whether the Army can provide the armor support the Marines may one day require remains to be seen.
Nor is the role of the tank on the battlefield writ large yet settled.
A thorough after-action examination of all the factors that went into Russia’s tank troubles will help provide a clearer picture.
Was it Russia’s lack of combined arms coordination, poor logistics, aging countermeasures, and bad training and maintenance the main reason why hundreds of its tanks are out of action?
Was it the skill of Ukrainian defenders, taking advantage of narrow kill zones, drones, and thousands of anti-armor systems flowing into Ukraine, like the shoulder-fired Javelin, that made the tank a bad place to be for Russians in Ukraine?
Some combination?
We will be exploring this and the Marines' decision to dump their heavy armor in the near future.
Stay tuned.
Contact the author: howard@thewarzone.
thedrive.com · by Howard Altman · May 6, 2022


17. Russia Pummels Besieged Azovstal Steel Plant


Excerpts:

In response to a query delivered over a social media app on Thursday, Bohdan Krotevych, a major in the National Guard of Ukraine and chief of staff of the Azov Regiment, described the defense of Azovstal.
“Hard,” he told The War Zone.
...
In an exclusive interview with The War Zone on April 29, Krotevych said about 2,000 Ukrainian troops and about 300 civilians were holed up in the complex warren of underground bunkers and connecting tunnels below the plant. Among them are some 60 children, ranging in age from four months to 15 years, Krotevych said.
Russia Pummels Besieged Azovstal Steel Plant
Ukraine’s last bastion in Mariupol is a deep labyrinth of tunnels and bunkers that makes assaulting the complex extremely treacherous.
BY
MAY 5, 2022 8:39 PM
thedrive.com · by Howard Altman · May 5, 2022
The battle for the besieged Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol rages on as Russian forces continue their assault on the sprawling industrial facility.
Meanwhile, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres told the United Nations Security Council that a third wave of evacuations was underway.
“The assault on Azovstal continues!,” the Azov Regiment said on its Telegram channel Thursday morning. “Defenders keep the plant under the heavy fire. The enemy uses aircraft, artillery and infantry.”
The Pentagon Thursday afternoon said the plant was still being defended by Ukrainians.
"We still see Mariupol under siege from bombardment, through airstrikes predominantly," Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told reporters Thursday afternoon. "We still assess that Ukrainian soldiers are still at that plant- they've said it themselves - and are still resisting."
Most of the Russian ground forces that had been committed to the siege of Mariupol have left and moved to the north, Kirby said.
However, "a small number - roughly the equivalent of a couple of battalion tactical groups - are still in and around Mariupol," he said. "At this time, predominantly, the activity is largely through airstrikes in and around Mariupol and certainly at the Azovstal plant."
The Azovstal plant is being pummeled by Russian aircraft and artillery fire. And while Ukrainian defenders have reported Russian ground incursions into the plant, its maze of underground tunnels - designed to withstand a nuclear attack - make such attempts a dangerous gambit.
The Russians were able to enter the plant because a staff member tipped them off, Anton Gerashchenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s Internal Affairs Ministry, said on his Telegram channel.
“A staff member at Azovstal betrayed Ukraine and told russians [sic] about underground tunnels that lead to the plant,” he wrote Wednesday. “That's why they launched their attack yesterday and currently the russians [sic] are trying to force their way onto Azovstal territory.”
But the Azovstal defenders were able to push them back, Gerashchenko wrote Thursday.
“According to Olexiy Arestovych, the defenders of Azovstal in Mariupol have pushed back and restored the integrity of their defense,” he wrote. “The situation, however, is critical.”
Maxar satellite imagery closer view of the Azovstal Steel Plant in Mariupol, Ukraine. (Satellite image (c) 2022 Maxar Technologies).
Azovstal, he wrote, “still shelters many civilians and has about 500 wounded soldiers in the field hospital on the premises.”
Arestovych “added that President Zelenskyy uses all the diplomatic leverages to stop the assault,” Gerashchenko wrote.
A doctor treating patients inside the plant called for help evacuating civilians and the wounded military personnel, he wrote.
“The doctor that helps wounded people on 'Azovstal' recorded a video message regarding the situation on the plant,”
wrote Gerashchenko.
"I've never seen death before the war. I worked in an ambulance. But now, in 2022, it's painful to see how people die on our hands from festering wounds due to the lack of antibiotics - says the doctor.”
Gerashchenko also said the doctor “addressed Turkish authorities with an urge to help take out civilians and military.”
Earlier in the day, Captain Sviatoslav Palamar, Deputy Commander of the Azov Regiment, called on the “world community to evacuate civilians.”
In the message, also posted on the Azov Regiment’s Telegram page, Palamar called on "the Supreme Commander-in-Chief" [Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky] to “take care of the wounded soldiers who are dying in agony from improper treatment.”
Palamar asked for “the opportunity to pick up the bodies of soldiers so that Ukrainians can say goodbye to their heroes. Respond appropriately to a critical situation in which the enemy does not adhere to any ethical norms, conventions or laws, destroying people in front of the whole world, guided by permissiveness and impunity!"
In response to a query delivered over a social media app on Thursday, Bohdan Krotevych, a major in the National Guard of Ukraine and chief of staff of the Azov Regiment, described the defense of Azovstal.
“Hard,” he told The War Zone.
Bohdan Krotevych, a major in the National Guard of Ukraine and chief of staff of the Azov Regiment, in the Azovstal steel plant. (Photo courtesy of Borden Krotevych).
On Wednesday, he told The War Zone that “Russians are assaulting Azovstal.”
In an exclusive interview with The War Zone on April 29, Krotevych said about 2,000 Ukrainian troops and about 300 civilians were holed up in the complex warren of underground bunkers and connecting tunnels below the plant. Among them are some 60 children, ranging in age from four months to 15 years, Krotevych said.
You can read that interview here.
A third evacuation effort was underway Thursday.
“A third operation is underway – but it is our policy not to speak about the details of any of them before they are completed to avoid undermining possible success,” U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres told the United Nations Security Council on Thursday.
Guterres met with Russian President Vladimir Putin last week and “stressed the imperative of enabling humanitarian access and evacuations from besieged areas, including first and foremost, Mariupol.”
He “strongly urged the opening of a safe and effective humanitarian corridor to allow civilians to reach safety from the Azovstal plant.”
A short time after that meeting, Guterres said he received confirmation of an agreement in principle.
“We immediately followed up with intense preparatory work with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) along with Russian and Ukrainian authorities,” he said.
The objective was to “initially enable the safe evacuation of those civilians from the Azovstal plant and later the rest of the city, in any direction they choose, and to deliver humanitarian aid.”
The efforts had “some measure of success,” said Guterres.
“Together, the United Nations and the ICRC are leading a humanitarian operation of great complexity – both politically, and in terms of security.”
It began, he said, on April 29 “and has required enormous coordination and advocacy with the Russian Federation and Ukrainian authorities”
So far, “two safe passage convoys have been successfully completed,” said Guterres.
The first was May 3, in which 101 civilians were evacuated from the plant along with 59 more from a neighboring area.
The second, completed on May 4, evacuated more than 320 civilians from the city of Mariupol and surrounding areas.
Many thousands more are thought to still be in the demolished city. As for the souls still holding out in the depths of the giant industrial complex that is the Azovstal plant, only time will tell their fate. But based on the factors at hand, that time looks increasingly limited.
Contact the author: howard@thewarzone.com
thedrive.com · by Howard Altman · May 5, 2022

18. 11th Airborne Division - To Be Based in Alaska | SOF News


11th Airborne Division - To Be Based in Alaska | SOF News
sof.news · by SOF News · May 8, 2022

The Army is thinking of bringing back the 11th Airborne Division. Two brigades and other units currently based in Alaska could be renamed as part of a historical paratroop unit with an extensive history during World War II and extending into the Vietnam era. The reactivation of the 11th Airborne Division would bring back a unit that was deactivated almost 60 years ago.
Soldiers may be wearing their new patch as early as this summer. US Army Alaska (USARAK) headquarters would form up the divisional staff and provide support units. Much of the future unit is based in Alaska and is part of the 25th Infantry Division base in Hawaii. Currently the members of these units are wearing the “Tropic Lightning” patch.
The news of the reactivation came during a hearing with the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday (May 5). Army Secretary Christine Wormuth and Army Chief of Staff General James McConville delivered the news.
The missions and training for the division in Hawaii and the brigade elements based in Alaska are very different. This will forge a ‘new identity’ for those Alaska-based 25th ID members. The two brigades currently in Alaska would be designated as the 1st and 2nd Brigade Combat Teams of the 11th Airborne Division. One of the brigades, 4-25th ID, is already airborne. The division would be the twelfth operational division headquarters in the Army.
The division was first activated in 1943 at Camp Mackall, North Carolina. It took part in battles against the Japanese in New Guinea and the Philippines. It then was part of the occupation of Japan. Later, elements of the division fought in Korea in the early 1950s. The division later became a training and test unit in the United States for air assault and airmobile operations before being disbanded in 1965 at Fort Benning, Georgia.
Currently the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg and the 173rd Airborne Brigade based in Italy are the Army’s only airborne units – along with the 75th Ranger Regiment and the many airborne units of the United States Army Special Operations Command (USASOC). The 101st Airborne Division is actually airmobile, focusing on air assault and air mobility, but keeps its historical name.
The Department of Defense, including the U.S. Army is looking at increasing its presence and capability in the Arctic region. Climate change is having an effect on the north region – the opening up of sea lanes, new mineral resources being discovered, and recent access to oil fields among other factors. This makes the region an area of competition among nations in the region – including Russia.
The Army, looking forward at the Arctic region as an area of competition, announced a new Army Arctic strategy in March 2021 with the publication of a document entitled Regaining Arctic Dominance. The special operations community is also paying increased attention to the Arctic region and conducts periodic training exercises like Arctic Edge to refine and develop their Arctic capabilities.
*********
References:
11th Airborne Division – Wikipedia
sof.news · by SOF News · May 8, 2022






V/R
David Maxwell
Senior Fellow
Foundation for Defense of Democracies
Phone: 202-573-8647
Personal Email: david.maxwell161@gmail.com
Web Site: www.fdd.org
Twitter: @davidmaxwell161
VIDEO "WHEREBY" Link: https://whereby.com/david-maxwell
Subscribe to FDD’s new podcastForeign Podicy
FDD is a Washington-based nonpartisan research institute focusing on national security and foreign policy.

V/R
David Maxwell
Senior Fellow
Foundation for Defense of Democracies
Phone: 202-573-8647
Personal Email: david.maxwell161@gmail.com
Web Site: www.fdd.org
Twitter: @davidmaxwell161
Subscribe to FDD’s new podcastForeign Podicy
FDD is a Washington-based nonpartisan research institute focusing on national security and foreign policy.

If you do not read anything else in the 2017 National Security Strategy read this on page 14:

"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."
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