Informal Institute for National Security Thinkers and Practitioners


Quotes of the Day:

"We are choked with news but starved of history.”
- Will Durant

“Tiger, one day you will come to a fork in the road and you’re going to have to make a decision about which direction you want to go. He raised his hand and pointed. “If you go that way you can be somebody. You will have to make compromises and you will have to turn your back on your friends. But you will be a member of the club and you will get promoted and you will get good assignments.” Then Boyd raised his other hand and pointed in another direction. “Or you can go that way and you can do something- something for your country and for your Air Force and for yourself. If you decide you want to do something, you may not get promoted and you may not get the good assignments and you certainly will not be a favorite of your superiors. But you won’t have to compromise yourself. You will be true to your friends and to yourself. And your work might make a difference. To be somebody or to do something. In life there is often a roll call. That’s when you will have to make a decision. To be or to do? Which way will you go?"
- John Boyd

“In modern democracies, however, an ethos of public sacrifice is rarely needed because freedom and survival are more or less guaranteed. That is a great blessing but allows people to believe that any sacrifice at all—rationing water during a drought, for example—are forms of government tyranny. They are no more forms of tyranny than rationing water on a lifeboat. The idea that we can enjoy the benefits of society while owing nothing in return is literally infantile. Only children owe nothing.”
- Sebastian Junger, Freedom




1.  RUSSIAN OFFENSIVE CAMPAIGN ASSESSMENT, JUNE 30 (PUTIN'S WAR)
2. It’s Time to Designate Wagner Group as a Foreign Terrorist Organization
3. Helping the Leadership Lead
4. Vitaliy Kim, Master Motivator and Symbol of Ukraine’s Resistance
5. China lured graduate jobseekers into digital espionage
6. Why Gamers Will Win the Next War
7. FCC commissioner calls on Google and Apple to ban TikTok from their app stores
8. Fight With Information, Not Just Munitions, Marine Corps Tells Commanders
9. The IAEA Needs Access to Ukraine’s Nuclear Power Plant. Biden Can Help.
10. Ukraine Is Just the Beginning
11. Opinion | Biden’s answer to Russia is a new, improved NATO
12.  Driving the Dark Road to the Future: A Guide to Revitalizing Defense Planning and Strategic Analysis
13. 3 ways Vladimir Putin has already lost in Ukraine
14. Pentagon Agency Wants to Send Arms Monitors to Ukraine
15. China’s Vast Maritime Claims Are Becoming Reality
16. War fatigue in the West
17. China has a PR problem — and it’s not just over Hong Kong. Here’s why in three charts.
18. Biden: Additional $800M For Ukraine Coming ‘In The Next Few Days’
19. Randy George assigned as next Army vice chief, new leaders named in modernization offices
20. Army releases new details about San Diego helicopter fire
​21. ​Is China building a huge spy complex in US?
22. Opinion | Social media can be a weapon, and it’s time US troops get trained on it



1. RUSSIAN OFFENSIVE CAMPAIGN ASSESSMENT, JUNE 30 (PUTIN'S WAR)





RUSSIAN OFFENSIVE CAMPAIGN ASSESSMENT, JUNE 30
Jun 30, 2022 - Press ISW
Karolina Hird, Kateryna Stepanenko, Frederick W. Kagan, and Grace Mappes
June 30, 7:25pm ET
Click here to see ISW's interactive map of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This map is updated daily alongside the static maps present in this report.
Russian forces retreated from the Snake Island on June 30 following a Ukrainian missile and artillery campaign. The Russian Defense Ministry spun the retreat as “a step of goodwill.”[1] The Russian Defense Ministry claimed that the Kremlin does not interfere with United Nations (UN) efforts to organize a humanitarian corridor for agricultural export from Ukraine but did not acknowledge the Ukrainian artillery and missile campaign that had actually caused the retreat. The Ukrainian Southern Operational Command had announced elements of that campaign on June 21.[2] The Russian Defense Ministry has claimed that Russian forces defeated all Ukrainian drone and missile attacks leading up to their retreat despite considerable evidence to the contrary.[3] The Russian defeat on the Snake Island will alleviate some pressure off the Ukrainian coast by removing Russian air defense and anti-shipping missile systems from the island. The retreat itself will not end the sea blockade, however, as Russian forces have access to land-based anti-ship systems in Crimea and western Kherson Oblast that can still target Ukrainian cargo as well as the use of the remaining ships of the Black Sea Fleet.
Russian milbloggers overwhelmingly defended the Russian decision to withdraw troops and equipment from the island, claiming that Russian forces are prioritizing the “liberation of Donbas.”[4] Some said that Russian forces do not have enough capacity to destroy Ukrainian coastal troops and others claimed that Russian forces will be more successful striking Ukrainians when they attempt to deploy their own troops to the island. Milbloggers have previously criticized the Russian military command for failing to retreat to save equipment and manpower and are likely content with the Russian retreat from the Snake Island.[5] Milbloggers, following the Kremlin line, did not acknowledge the role Ukrainian strikes against the island played in compelling Russian forces to retreat.
Russian authorities continue to galvanize the support of proxy actors in order to support force generation efforts. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov announced on June 29 that another Akhmat special battalion, the Vostok (east)-Akhmat battalion, has been successfully formed and will shortly move to its point of permanent deployment and begin active service.[6] As ISW reported on June 28, Kadyrov stated he intends to form four new Akhmat special operations battalions and announced the formation of the Zapad (west)-Akhmat battalion early this week.[7]
Key Takeaways
  • Russian troops made limited gains within the Lysychansk Oil Refinery and around Lysychansk.
  • Russian forces continued offensive operations to the south and east of Bakhmut and to the north of Slovyansk.
  • Russian forces continued efforts to regain control of settlements north of Kharkiv City.
  • Ukrainian counteroffensives continue to force Russian troops on the Southern Axis to prioritize defensive operations.
  • Russian occupation authorities took measures to ensure further economic and financial integration of occupied areas into the Russian system.

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.
  • Main Effort—Eastern Ukraine (comprised of one subordinate and three supporting efforts);
  • Subordinate Main Effort—Encirclement of Ukrainian troops in the cauldron between Izyum and Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts
  • Supporting Effort 1—Kharkiv City;
  • Supporting Effort 2—Southern Axis;
  • Activities in Russian-occupied Areas
Main Effort—Eastern Ukraine
Subordinate Main Effort—Southern Kharkiv, Donetsk, 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)
Russian forces made limited gains within the Lysychansk Oil Refinery and continued offensive operations on and around Lysychansk on June 30.[8] The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces had “partial success” on the territory of the Lysychansk Oil Refinery and control the northwestern and southeastern portions of the refinery.[9] Geolocated footage posted by Russian outlet RIA Novosti showed Russian and proxy forces of the Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) within the plant.[10] Russian troops are likely trying to drive through the northeastern corner of the refinery in order to advance into Lysychansk proper from the refinery.[11] Head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov also claimed that Chechen Akhmat Special Forces and the 2nd Corps of the LNR advanced towards Lysychansk from the northwest and crossed the Siverskyi Donetsk river around Kreminna and Stara Krasnyanka, both within 10km northwest of Lysychansk.[12] Kadyrov claimed that Russian and proxy forces control half of Privillya, and will continue efforts to advance on Lysychansk through Novodruzhesk from these positions in the northwest.[13]

Russian forces continued offensive operations east of Bakhmut on June 30.[14] Deputy Chief of Main Operations Department of the Ukrainian General Staff Brigadier General Oleksiy Gromov noted that Russian forces around Bakhmut have a distinct advantage in terms of force and means.[15] Gromov stated that Russian forces are conducting operations towards Soledar, which lies just northeast of Bakhmut along the T0513 Bakhmut-Siversk highway, and suggests that Russian forces additionally seek to interdict Ukrainian lines of communication along the T0513.[16] Russian troops also unsuccessfully fought for control of Klynove and Novoluhanske, both southeast of Bakhmut.[17] The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Ukrainian forces repelled a series of Russian assaults on the Mykolaivka-Spirne, Volodymyrivka-Pokrovske lines northeast of Bakhmut and around Dolomytne and the Vuhledar Power Plant south of Bakhmut.[18] These limited gains around Bakhmut may indicate that Russian forces may soon seek to set conditions for an offensive operation towards Bakhmut itself, although they are likely more focused in the short term on interdicting and controlling lines of communication emanating from Bakhmut.

Russian forces continued attempts to advance southeast towards Slovyansk from the Kharkiv-Donetsk Oblast border on June 30.[19] The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian forces unsuccessfully attempted to advance from Dovhenke to Mazanivka, which as ISW has previously assessed is a likely attempt to drive on Slovyansk from the west side of a series of reservoirs that run parallel to the E40 highway.[20] Russian forces additionally fought in Bohorodychne and Krasnopillya, both northwest of Slovyansk along the E40 highway.[21] Russian forces conducted an airstrike on Tetyanivka, 20km directly north of Slovyansk, and targeted civilian infrastructure in Slovyansk itself in order to set conditions for further offensive drives on Slovyansk.[22]
Supporting Effort #1—Kharkiv City (Russian objective: Defend ground lines of communication (GLOCs) to Izyum and prevent Ukrainian forces from reaching the Russian border)
Russian forces continued limited ground assaults to regain positions north of Kharkiv City on June 30.[23] Russian Telegram channels claimed that Russian forces took control of Dementiivka (20km north of Kharkiv City) between June 29 and June 30.[24] Ukrainian sources disputed this claim and stated that fighting is ongoing in Dementiivka, indicating that the current frontlines in northern Kharkiv Oblast continue to be highly contested.[25] Russian and Ukrainian forces reportedly clashed near the international border and fought for control of Udy, Prudyanka, Pytomnyk, Tsupivka, and Velky Prokhody.[26] Russian forces additionally conducted air, artillery, and missile strikes against Ukrainian positions and civilian infrastructure throughout northern Kharkiv Oblast.[27]

Supporting Effort #2—Southern Axis (Objective: Defend Kherson and Zaporizhia Oblasts against Ukrainian counterattacks)
Russian forces continued to prioritize defensive operations along the Southern Axis on June 30.[28] Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command stated that Ukrainian forces have reestablished control over Potemkyne (northwestern Kherson Oblast) and that Ukrainian troops are continuing to gradually advance and place pressure on Russian forces to maintain defensive lines.[29] The Russian grouping in Zaporizhia similarly focused on defensive operations and fired on Ukrainian positions along the frontline in Zaporizhia.[30] Russian forces conducted a series of missile, artillery, and airstrikes across Mykolaiv, Dnipropetrovsk, and Odesa Oblasts.[31] The Russian Ministry of Defense claimed that the Russian grouping on Snake Island withdrew on June 30 as a gesture of ”goodwill” to the international community.[32]
The Ukrainian Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR) reported that Russian forces are conducting a wide-scale “agitation” to recruit men willing to sign military contracts in Transnistria.[33] The GUR stated that Russian actors are disseminating information on signing military contracts through Transnistrian media, mail brochures, and advertising in public spaces, as well as in meetings held with employees of industrial and agricultural enterprises.[34] Russian authorities likely hope to leverage pro-Russian sentiment in Transnistria to support “covert mobilization” efforts.

Activity in Russian-occupied Areas (Russian objective: consolidate administrative control of occupied areas; set conditions for potential annexation into the Russian Federation or some other future political arrangement of Moscow’s choosing)
Russian authorities continued measures to facilitate the economic and financial integration of occupied territories on June 29. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Marat Khusnullin met with the governors of Russian Oblasts that have established relationships with areas of the Donbas and discussed preparations for various infrastructure projects.[35] Khusnullin reported that Russian authorities are continuing to prepare to re-open the Port of Mariupol and that Russian authorities have already exported 7,000 tons of Ukrainian grain through the Port of Berdyansk.[36] Mayor of Enerhodar Dmytro Orlov additionally stated that Russian authorities in Enerhodar are spreading fake information that non-cash payment systems will no longer be making hryvnia payments in order to prompt residents to withdraw large quantities of hryvnias.[37]


2. It’s Time to Designate Wagner Group as a Foreign Terrorist Organization

Conclusion:
Where the United States leads, others are likely to follow. The goal of these sanctions, like similar sanctions against other terrorist groups, would be to deny the organization’s members the ability to travel internationally, destroy the group’s financing, derail its recruitment efforts, and discourage foreign governments from employing it. This is an important and necessary step toward ending Wagner Group’s utility to the Kremlin and, therefore, its existence.



It’s Time to Designate Wagner Group as a Foreign Terrorist Organization
By James PetrilaPhil Wasielewski Thursday, June 30, 2022, 10:01 AM
lawfareblog.com · by More Articles · June 30, 2022
International sanctions to punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine have overlooked a key component in the Kremlin’s toolbox for international terror and coercion: the private military company (PMC) Wagner Group, which is owned by Vladimir Putin confidant Evgeny Prigozhin.
In the months since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the international community has responded with a wide range of international sanctions intended to isolate Russia’s economy from the industrial world and punish individuals and institutions for their complicity in the war. Yet so far, the United States has missed an opportunity to designate Wagner Group as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA).
Wagner Group and its military leader Dmitrii Utkin have been subject to Treasury Department sanctions under the authorities of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) since June 2017. The specific designation of Wagner as an FTO under AEDPA would be an appropriate response not only for war crimes that Wagner Group has committed in occupied Ukraine from 2014 until today, but also for the documented crimes that it has committed throughout the Middle East and Africa. Crimes that have occured as Wagner has enriched the Kremlin and served as a covert instrument of Russian foreign policy in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
In addition to acting as an overt condemnation of the unlawful acts Wagner Group has already committed, the FTO designation would make it a crime under the U.S. material support to terrorism statutes to provide any form of material support to Wagner Group going forward. This would increase the risk of potential violation of U.S. law to the myriad financial institutions and logistics companies whose support is critical to Wagner Group activities throughout the Middle East and Africa. Treasury Department sanctions that list Wagner Group, Prigozhin, and Utkin as Specially Designated Nationals under IEEPA do carry a significant bite by freezing and blocking assets in the U.S., but designation as an FTO would bring a critical component of U.S. criminal law into play.
Wagner Group’s activities in Ukraine have been notorious since 2014, but they also have had a persistent presence in Syria, Libya, the Central African Republic (CAR), and—most recently—in Mali. In all of these countries, Wagner Group mercenaries have been linked to extrajudicial murders, torture, rape, and other war crimes. Most recently, credible reporting indicates that Wagner Group was involved in murdering Ukrainian civilians in Bucha, while other Wagner Group members were involved in a similar massacre against innocent civilians in Mali. Such persistent violations of the Geneva Conventions and the Law of Armed Conflict by Wagner Group have not resulted in any investigations or punishments by Russian authorities. This lack of enforcement indicates that these persistent violations are not the result of individual criminal actions. Rather, they represent a deliberate policy in which terrorism is used in order to enrich a handful of oligarchs and advance the foreign policy objectives of the Russian Federation.
In many cases, such as in the CAR and Mali, Wagner Group forces are better armed and equipped than any other force in the region. While ostensibly a Private Military Company (PMC), which are banned under Russian law, Wagner Group’s business activities align with the covert and overt foreign policy goals of the Kremlin. Wagner Group’s notoriety, however, is based not on its connection to the Kremlin, but on its use of violence to achieve influence through the intimidation and coercion of civilian populations. This fear-driven tactic allowed Wagner Group to obtain critical concessions for exclusive access to the mineral wealth of African states, for example–directly benefiting Wagner Group’s owners, as well as the Kremlin.
These activities, carried out by a self-described private actor that claims to have no formal tie to the Russian state, threaten the national security of the U.S. and its allies. These activities also pose a direct threat to U.S. nationals, such as in the case of Wagner Group’s threats to CNN reporters investigating the murder of three Russian journalists allegedly carried out by Wagner Group members in the CAR. While the group may claim no Russian affiliation, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has already designated Wagner Group as a “Russian Ministry of Defense proxy force.” And in September 2020, OFAC, which had already sanctioned Prigozhin for interference in the U.S. 2016 presidential elections, sanctioned eight individuals and seven entities directly involved in furthering Prigozhin’s operations in the CAR, assisting the activities of Russia’s Federal Security Service, or engaging in sanctions evasion activities.
Although OFAC added Wagner Group to its list of Specially Designated Nationals in 2017, which blocks U.S. residents from having business or financial dealings with the PMC, the designation of Wagner Group (and its related entities) as an FTO and the corresponding link to material support to terrorism statutes would constitute a stronger step that would further denigrate Wagner Group’s ability to operate overseas. Because of the broad reach of U.S. material support statutes, designation as an FTO would impede Wagner Group members’ ability to travel internationally, transfer money, and engage in commercial procurements whether these touch the United States or not. Moreover, these steps would be likely to deter mercenaries from joining the PMC’s ranks moving forward.
To effectively end the Kremlin’s use of Wagner Group as a covert tool of terror (while officially and persistently denying any connection with the group), the U.S. secretary of state should designate Wagner Group as an FTO. Under AEDPA, the secretary of state may designate an entity as an FTO based on a determination that: the entity is foreign; the entity engages in “terrorist activity” or “terrorism” as defined in the U.S. Code under 8 USC 1182(a)(3)(B)(iii); and the terrorist activity threatens the security of the U.S. or its nationals. The secretary may rely on both classified and unclassified information in making the designation.
The designation of Wagner Group as an FTO has four major consequences: First, the Department of the Treasury may freeze the FTO’s assets; second, FTO members are barred from entering the U.S.; third, those who knowingly provide “material support or resources” are subject to U.S. criminal prosecution; and finally, civil remedies are available to U.S. persons who are victims of a terrorist act committed by an FTO against both the FTO and any person or entity who knowingly provides substantial assistance to an FTO.
Wagner Group’s current designation under IEEPA means that these first two consequences already are in effect. The last two, however, are not. FTO designation would make international financial institutions and companies more reluctant to engage with Wagner Group because of the potential of criminal indictment under U.S. law. Indeed, the primary impact of such a designation–potential use of material support to terrorism statutes–would likely have a significant impact on the willingness of a variety of foreign companies to provide continued support to Wagner Group activities.
Traditionally, designations of FTOs have focused on Islamic terrorist groups and non-state actors. The closest analogue to Wagner Group, however, is the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which was designated as an FTO in April 2019– a designation that drew criticism for several reasons. As reported by the New York Times just a few days later, designation of a state entity as an FTO (as opposed to designating an entire country as a state sponsor of terrorism) was an unprecedented move directed against an organization that would potentially cover 11 million members of the Iranian group. Additionally, the IRGC was already sanctioned under IEEPA, and the U.S. military expressed concern that such a designation would encourage the IRGC to increase its targeting of U.S. personnel and interests in the Middle East. As discussed in a Lawfare article by Elena Chachko, the IRGC designation also appeared to be timed to give a boost to then-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the impending Israeli election. And further, this move was announced at the same time the Trump administration withdrew the visa of the chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court, a move that was widely denounced as an abuse of U.S. sanctions authority, particularly after the chief prosecutor was sanctioned under IEEPA in December 2020. (Note that those designations were lifted in April 2021 by the Biden administration.)
Would such criticism also apply to an FTO designation of Wagner Group?
We would argue, no. Unlike the IRGC, which is a significant component of the Iranian government, the Russian government consistently denies any formal link between itself and the group, even though reporting suggests otherwise. The group’s existence as a separate, ostensibly commercial entity actually enables the U.S. government to make this designation without creating the same diplomatic difficulties inherent in designation of a government entity. And unlike the case of the IRGC, which continues to be in a position to attack U.S. personnel and U.S. interests in the Middle East, Wagner Group’s potential ability to do the same is not as likely. Finally, such a designation would be a meaningful intervention towards degrading Wagner Group’s ability to engage in violence-enforced commercial activities in Africa and the Middle East.
While recognizing that Prigozhin, the group’s leader, and a number of entities that he owns or controls have been sanctioned under Treasury Department regulations, the designation of Wagner Group as an FTO, consistent with existing U.S. law, is an important additional step. Critically, this action would make any financial, logistical, or other support to the Wagner group subject to prosecution by the U.S. for material support to terrorism–thus imposing new difficulty on the group’s MENA operations. As such, this designation would be an important step to protect the U.S. and its allies from the violent and disruptive activities of one of the world’s most notorious organizations.
Where the United States leads, others are likely to follow. The goal of these sanctions, like similar sanctions against other terrorist groups, would be to deny the organization’s members the ability to travel internationally, destroy the group’s financing, derail its recruitment efforts, and discourage foreign governments from employing it. This is an important and necessary step toward ending Wagner Group’s utility to the Kremlin and, therefore, its existence.
James Petrila had a thirty-year career as a lawyer at the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency. He also served as a Deputy Legal Advisor at the National Security Council from 2013-2015. He currently is an adjunct professor of law at George Washington University School of Law. He has a JD from University of Virginia School of Law, an MA in Russian History from Stanford University, and a BA in Russian Studies from Knox College.

Phil Wasielewski is a former paramilitary case officer who had a 31-year career in the Directorate of Operations at the Central Intelligence Agency. He is a 2022 Templeton Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. He has an MA from Harvard’s Davis Center for Russian Studies, an MA in National Security Studies from the Army War College, and a BA in International Relations and European History from the University of Pennsylvania.
lawfareblog.com · by More Articles · June 30, 2022

3. Helping the Leadership Lead

Excerpts:
The services should also redesign the military promotion and assignment system to reward long-term strategic successes and make job performance the key factor determining eligibility for promotion. Young officers are often told, “bloom where you’re planted” after they don’t receive their dream assignment out of training. The military should embrace this principle to the fullest, particularly after officers reach O-3 (around four years of service). Rather than making an officer a commander for two years, the military should instead assign officers to command billets for indeterminate amounts of time. Then, to determine if a commander should be promoted, her superiors should determine if she did a good job in her current role, as performance as a mid-level commander is a likely the best indicator of potential for success in higher grades. This promotion strategy would incentivize officers to invest in long-term improvements in their units rather than rushing short-term changes to add points to the promotion scoreboard. They might think more critically about establishing strategic goals, finding the best people to accomplish these goals, and lowering costs. Furthermore, removing predetermined assignment lengths for commanders would break an essential aspect of the current promotion system because officers would no longer be able to hit assignment timelines and milestones that underpin the current schema. Once all officers stop hitting these milestones and timelines, these factors will no longer drive promotion decisions and leaders will be forced to look to other factors when evaluating an officer’s fitness for command.
The U.S. military should also implement comprehensive reviews of commanders after they have completed their tours to assess their suitability for higher grades. This can be done by distributing an anonymous survey to all members of the unit that commander led, as well as that commander’s peers at other units and their superiors. These surveys should, at minimum, ask all parties whether commanders clearly articulated priorities and a plan to accomplish them, how well that commander executed the plan, and how the commander reacted to challenges. This data should become a part of their record, thereby giving assignments teams and promotion boards substantially more insight into how they actually executed their mission. The result would be to make commanders that much more accountable to their units. Critics may worry this system would mean that bad leaders would spend more time in command. However, implementing longer command tours would mean that fewer officers ultimately serve as commanders, and thus potential commanders could be vetted more thoroughly.
America’s next war will likely be far more consequential than the war in Afghanistan. The United States will need adaptable and forward-thinking leaders to win that war, but a system to produce these leaders cannot be built overnight. Changing course now is the only way for the U.S. military to ensure that it is ready.



Helping the Leadership Lead - War on the Rocks
warontherocks.com · by Ben Buchheim-Jurisson · June 30, 2022
The U.S. military suffered more than 20,000 casualties in Afghanistan. Then America went home, leaving behind a tattered country with an uncertain future. The victims of this war were left with scars both physical and emotional, from American servicemembers who dedicated years to the conflict only to see the county fall in a few days, to Afghan soldiers who fought alongside American forces and were left behind on a crowded tarmac in Kabul.
Despite these failures, the officers responsible for leading the war were promoted. There are any number of reasons why the United States failed to achieve its objectives in Afghanistan, but a clear contributing factor lies with American military leadership and the way the Department of Defense structures, promotes, and incentivizes it. For two decades, American military commanders embarked on one-to-two-year rotations to plan and execute operations in Afghanistan. While deployed, each commander led as essentially every one of their predecessors did: by counting airstrikes, raids, and terrorists killed on the battlefield. Of course, the numbers always went up. America was “progressing towards victory,” or at least that’s the message commanders reported to civilian leadership. By so doing, these leaders abandoned their duty to provide best military advice and failed to inform elected leaders of the strategic reality that the war was unwinnable.
Their failure cost the United States dearly. And with tensions in the European and Pacific theaters higher than they have been in half a century, this is not something Washington can afford to repeat. This piece is not a critique of America’s servicemembers, but rather of the system in which they work. To win future wars, the U.S. military must overhaul its leadership structure to cultivate adaptable and accountable leaders who are incentivized to invest in long-term strategic success. Drawing on a wide range of examples and personal experiences from military service, Silicon Valley, and top research universities, we have identified several critical problems with the U.S. military leadership as well as two key changes that will help move U.S. military leadership into the modern era.
First, the U.S. military should end the careerism requirement for senior leadership roles. Skilled civilian leaders should be selected to lead some military organizations in order to bring fresh thinking and outside perspectives to the force while reducing the impact of poor promotion incentives on current career military officers. Second, the U.S. military should reward strategic success by promoting officers who actually perform well in command. Command tours should be made indefinite in length, and commanders should be evaluated based upon their units’ progress on strategic, rather than tactical, objectives.
A Homogeneous Leadership
Because of the minimal diversity among senior officers, today’s military leadership suffers from a dangerous degree of intellectual homogeneity. The only way to become a high-ranking military commander is to spend an entire career in uniform. As a result, leaders get minimal, if any, exposure to non-military ways of thinking. The literature is clear: Closed systems do not generally cultivate innovation.
The lack of diversity in job experience among senior leaders receives minimal attention outside the military. Of the top 27 Air Force leaders (major commands and Air Staff), 16 are pilots, while only 3.7 percent of all Air Force uniformed personnel and 19 percent of Air Force officers are. This might make sense for those that think the Air Force is just about planes, but the reality is that the fighter/bomber program has been one of the least operationally relevant parts of the Air Force’s mission for more than 20 years when compared to intelligence, space, and mobility.
Further, U.S. military leadership is neither racially nor ethnically diverse. This issue has received significant media attention because the problem is so egregious: Of the 27 highest-ranking officers in the U.S. Air Force, 93 percent are white and only three of them are women. For context, of the 1.3 million Americans in the military, 43 percent are people of color.
These factors combine to create a system that incentivizes groupthink. Most troubling, this system is self-perpetuating. Because leaders with new perspectives and backgrounds are not promoted, the Air Force has continued to promote the same kinds of thinkers and leaders into general officer roles.
Perhaps more alarming is how this groupthink, continuously reinforced by the perpetual lack of diversity, has stagnated novel thought in the execution of military campaigns intended to support U.S. foreign policy. Consider RAND’s 2011 Embracing the Fog of War, which examines how militaries, particularly the U.S. military during the Vietnam War, measure the effectiveness of counter-insurgency campaigns. The report highlights the failure of various metrics used to assess the “pacification” of the local populace, including the infamous “body counts” as well as surveys designed to measure each village’s support for insurgent forces. Embracing the Fog of War also includes several appendices, one of which is a transcript of a standard situation report sent by Gen. William Westmoreland to President Lyndon Johnson in 1967.
In 2018, one of the authors was tasked with providing situational reports to commanding generals in Afghanistan. These briefings recounted, in mundane detail, the previous seven days of operations and kinetic strikes the general had already approved. But they provided no assessment of the effects of these actions, nor recommended any follow-on operations in support of larger strategic objectives. In short, not much had changed across more than five decades: His command’s daily standard situation reports, sent to the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, read nearly identically to Westmoreland’s. A diversity of leadership, while not a guarantee of change, would help the United States broaden strategic thought and refocus the military towards more effective decision-making.
Short Commands
The second problem is that commanders cannot lead personnel to long-term success because they do not spend enough time in command. When officers take command of a unit or task force, they are generally limited to a single two-year term, with the caveat that members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff serve for four years. This structure exists to ensure that units regularly receive new leaders with fresh perspectives. However, the unintended consequence of this model is that commanders are incentivized to pursue short-term successes to improve their chances of further promotion, as they are neither held accountable nor rewarded for anything after their two-year stint. This standard contrasts starkly with executive retention across non-profits, industry, and even the political realm. In the United States, the average tenure for a CEO at one of the largest 2,500 companies is roughly five years. Moreover, outside of the military, executives have a dramatically different expectation of longevity, and thus incentives, when they take the helm. Executives rarely take a job knowing they will stay for a precisely predetermined amount of time, and therefore are more likely to focus on longer-term strategic objectives.
As it stands today, a new commander often spends a year learning the intricacies of an organization, then another six to 12 months trying to get some pet project off the ground. But truly meaningful changes require years of work. Too often, reforms are prematurely abandoned when a new officer accepts command, as new officers are unwilling to push through major initiatives before understanding an organization. From command to command, leader to leader, changes begin too late and end too early. Personnel become frustrated with the constant whiplash — the start and stop of meaningful action — and the organization remains stagnant. Ironically, while the two-year command tours were designed to reduce stagnation by bringing in new leaders, the opposite occurs: Units stagnate because leaders are not in command for enough time to invest in long-term change.
This is not speculation. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction does not mince words in his 2021 lessons learned report: “[S]hort tours of duty for both military and civilian personnel undermined institutional memory and programmatic continuity in Afghanistan. These tours limit the ability of staff to build a nuanced understanding of their role, their environment, and the Afghans they worked with. By the time they found their bearings and built important relationships, they began preparing to depart.”
Groupthink Incentivized
Finally, despite some promising changes, the officer promotion system continues to incentivize groupthink. As first revealed in 2016, then further examined in 2018, the Air Force’s confidential “high-potential officer” system determined which officers would be promoted to the general officers ranks based not upon their performance as colonels, but instead upon their performance as captains. Further, once a captain was designated a high-potential officer, it was exceptionally difficult for that officer to get “off track” from promotion to senior ranks, and similarly difficult for others not so anointed to get “on track.” This meant senior commanders were not selected based upon their performance. Instead, they were identified early, shuttled along a preset career path, and barring any scandalous conduct, were essentially promoted based on their initial performance — not their conduct in subsequent ranks and positions.
While the Air Force has since acted to improve its officer evaluations, the system continues to be self-sustaining. The reforms simply ensure that officers now compete for promotion only within their functional area — for example, intelligence officers compete against each other rather than against bomber pilots — but does nothing to dismantle the ingrained high-potential officer system. Officers currently in senior leadership positions are products of the system the Air Force is trying to change. These officers were identified early in their careers, and then-senior leaders ensured they followed the path to further promotion. Now in senior leadership positions themselves, it is immensely difficult to break the cycle, and despite attempts at reform, the system remains largely unchanged in practice. Officers assigned to promotion boards can be given instructions on how to select for higher grades, but ultimately a promotion package is what gets officers promoted, and the strength of that package is still primarily determined by the same legacy system. Officers reared in this system still comprise the majority of individuals promoting and mentoring young officers, and barring more radical change, seem likely to perpetuate the current system because it is the path of least resistance.
In Afghanistan, all three of the above problems coalesced into a perfect storm of myopic decision-making. A lack of diversity among senior leaders led to banal, overly broad, non-specific strategic guidance. Short deployments and leadership assignments led not to lessons learned, but lessons relearned — again, and again, and again. And an over-emphasis on the “right assignments” led to promotion boards over-emphasizing deployment performance, regardless of its strategic significance. One of these authors was involved with nearly a thousand kinetic strikes in Afghanistan, received exemplary praise on his performance report (as presumably many before him had) and yet ultimately brought America no closer to securing its strategic aims.
Ending Careerism
To begin solving these problems, the services should end the careerism requirement for senior leadership positions in the military. This requires recognizing several realities about executive leadership. First, executives do not have to be able to do the jobs of their subordinates. Second, merely installing advisors or civilians with different perspectives will not promote change: They should also be given the power to do so.
To this end, the Department of Defense should create viable pathways for seasoned and motivated executives, innovators, and leaders in the private sector to take on meaningful leadership roles in the military as civilian commanders. The Air Force should pilot this program by recruiting a small number of skilled civilian leaders, installing them as commanders to squadrons, groups, and wings, and assigning them an O-5 or O-6 from the military to serve as their deputy. These civilians would contract to serve for a four-year command tour and would (at least initially) be non-deployable. High performers might, if they so desired, be considered for promotion to higher grades after their contract ended.
Once in place, it is likely that these leaders would begin making meaningful changes rather than sticking to the status quo. Unlike career military officers who too often lead in accordance with their promotion incentives, these leaders would instead do what they signed up, and are empowered, to do: Make their units more effective and efficient by investing in long-term success. Moreover, unlike many career officers, they will have the ability to be truly vocal up the chain of command regarding the necessity for changes, because doing so will not put their careers at risk.
Perhaps most importantly, they will provide longer-term continuity for the unit and have the necessary time in the position to start and see significant initiatives through to completion. A civilian with the power to execute his or her vision across several years could place promising officers in a deputy position to advise and lead a military “novice” through the circuitous bureaucracy of the Department of Defense. This would not only shift what is desired for promotion, it would provide these officers with a different type of leader to emulate as they move upward through the ranks.
There will, of course, be objections. Some may say that these “outsiders” will lack the credibility to lead military personnel. Initially, this may be true. In time, however, personnel will quickly see that these individuals are creating the change that many of them want to see by initiating tangible policy reforms and following through with them. To be clear, we are not advocating for the U.S. military to start recruiting 55-year-olds as Navy SEALs, nor are we advocating for former business executives to command deployed personnel in combat operations. This is also not reiteration of the oft-repeated but usually wrong “businesspeople know how to lead better than government people” argument. Indeed, the Department of Defense has already tried this approach in the research and development realm with “innovation” initiatives which offer non-traditional career paths for officers. At a moment when a growing number of people have expressed a desire to do impactful work, the military should take advantage of it.
Reward Strategic Success
The services should also redesign the military promotion and assignment system to reward long-term strategic successes and make job performance the key factor determining eligibility for promotion. Young officers are often told, “bloom where you’re planted” after they don’t receive their dream assignment out of training. The military should embrace this principle to the fullest, particularly after officers reach O-3 (around four years of service). Rather than making an officer a commander for two years, the military should instead assign officers to command billets for indeterminate amounts of time. Then, to determine if a commander should be promoted, her superiors should determine if she did a good job in her current role, as performance as a mid-level commander is a likely the best indicator of potential for success in higher grades. This promotion strategy would incentivize officers to invest in long-term improvements in their units rather than rushing short-term changes to add points to the promotion scoreboard. They might think more critically about establishing strategic goals, finding the best people to accomplish these goals, and lowering costs. Furthermore, removing predetermined assignment lengths for commanders would break an essential aspect of the current promotion system because officers would no longer be able to hit assignment timelines and milestones that underpin the current schema. Once all officers stop hitting these milestones and timelines, these factors will no longer drive promotion decisions and leaders will be forced to look to other factors when evaluating an officer’s fitness for command.
The U.S. military should also implement comprehensive reviews of commanders after they have completed their tours to assess their suitability for higher grades. This can be done by distributing an anonymous survey to all members of the unit that commander led, as well as that commander’s peers at other units and their superiors. These surveys should, at minimum, ask all parties whether commanders clearly articulated priorities and a plan to accomplish them, how well that commander executed the plan, and how the commander reacted to challenges. This data should become a part of their record, thereby giving assignments teams and promotion boards substantially more insight into how they actually executed their mission. The result would be to make commanders that much more accountable to their units. Critics may worry this system would mean that bad leaders would spend more time in command. However, implementing longer command tours would mean that fewer officers ultimately serve as commanders, and thus potential commanders could be vetted more thoroughly.
America’s next war will likely be far more consequential than the war in Afghanistan. The United States will need adaptable and forward-thinking leaders to win that war, but a system to produce these leaders cannot be built overnight. Changing course now is the only way for the U.S. military to ensure that it is ready.
Ben Buchheim-Jurisson is a JD/MBA candidate at Harvard University and a former intelligence officer in the U.S. Air Force. You can find him on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Maj. Joseph Mellone is a U.S. Air Force intelligence officer. The opinions expressed here are his own and do not reflect the views of the Department of Defense or the U.S. Air Force.
warontherocks.com · by Ben Buchheim-Jurisson · June 30, 2022

4. Vitaliy Kim, Master Motivator and Symbol of Ukraine’s Resistance

Resistance. We need to study and understand resistance in all its forms: political and nonviolent to violent and revolutionary warfare.  

Note the Korea connection.

Excerpts:

Mr. Kim attributes his calmness to his father, a man of Korean descent who was a basketball coach and later a physiotherapist and who was “a bit strict, democratically strict, I would say.” Regular lessons in taekwondo, a Korean martial art, instilled discipline. “You have a program, results you need to achieve, and I believe this helps a child grow in the right way,” Mr. Kim said.
Mr. Kim’s paternal forebears, like many Koreans from the Communist North, had moved to the Soviet Union to find work, settling first in Kazakhstan. As a young man, Mr. Kim’s father moved to the Crimean capital of Simferopol to attend college. There he met Mr. Kim’s mother, and the couple later moved to Mykolaiv, where their son was born.
Mr. Kim had a successful career in construction, agriculture and catering before Mr. Zelensky appointed him regional administrator in 2020. Convinced of the need to eliminate corruption, overhaul the court system and reinforce the rule of law in Ukraine, he accepted the job, never imagining it would become military in character.




Vitaliy Kim, Master Motivator and Symbol of Ukraine’s Resistance
The New York Times · by Roger Cohen · June 30, 2022
Applying the lessons of taekwondo, the regional military leader has rallied the embattled southern city of Mykolaiv.
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Vitaliy Kim has worked to puncture the legend of Russia’s might. “It was important to convey that the enemy was not as scary as it seemed, and to tell the world that we are here, that we exist,” he said.Credit...Laetitia Vancon for The New York Times

By
June 30, 2022, 5:00 a.m. ET
MYKOLAIV, Ukraine — To win the war, says Vitaliy Kim, you need to love the war. “Love what you are doing, reconcile with the situation you are in, find something good in every circumstance, in small victories, in results.”
Mr. Kim, 41, the head of the regional military administration in the embattled southern city of Mykolaiv, offers the candid smile that has become the face of Ukraine’s resistance along the sweep of the Black Sea coast. It exudes a quiet confidence that says Russian missiles may hurt us, but they cannot dent the Ukrainian spirit.
Four months ago, Mykolaiv, a port that was once a hub of Soviet shipbuilding, was almost overrun as Russian forces surged out of annexed Crimea, taking the nearby city of Kherson. Mr. Kim responded, in daily video messages, with a phrase that became a watchword: “Good morning, we are from Ukraine!”
When you face a nuclear-armed power that is the largest state on Earth and is bent without regard for human life on your annihilation, unwavering belief in victory may be irrational. It is also essential to survival. Weapons alone, however urgently needed, will not turn the tide. Will is required.
“It was important to convey that the enemy was not as scary as it seemed, and to tell the world that we are here, that we exist,” Mr. Kim said in an interview conducted in a building close to the skeleton of the Mykolaiv regional administration building, which was hit by a Russian cruise missile in late March, killing 38 people.
The message worked. Mr. Kim quickly attracted almost half a million Instagram followers. Like Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president who first lured the former businessman into politics, Mr. Kim had a way of lifting spirits.
“In the first days of the war, everyone was in a panic,” Mr. Kim said “Communications were bad.” He thought for a moment. “You know, if you are calm, you make the right decisions.”
The Mykolaiv regional administration building, which was hit by a Russian cruise missile in late March, killing 38 people. Holding off Russia has exacted a high price on the city and its residents.Credit...Laetitia Vancon for The New York Times
Mykolaiv has held off Russia, but the price has been high, evident in blasted buildings and dead and wounded civilians and soldiers. More than half of its residents have fled. The mayor has advised those still in the city to leave, too.
Russian missiles, including 28 in a single night this week, cause periodic devastation. One hit a residential building early on Wednesday, killing at least four people, including a child. There is a lack of drinking water. Few of the estimated 230,000 people left in the city have work; most depend on food and clothes distributed by aid organizations.
Better Understand the Russia-Ukraine War
Yet the phrase perhaps most commonly heard in Ukraine — “We will win” — is a regular refrain on Mykolaiv’s ghostly streets.
Mr. Kim’s decisions, and the confidence he has conveyed, have helped turn back Russian forces, hold them at bay, frustrate their desire to seize the entire Black Sea Coast and rally a city that, like the northeastern industrial city of Kharkiv, has become a symbol of Ukrainian defiance.
The city, Mr. Kim said, is now “ready and prepared and the chances of Russia taking it are not very big,” though the bombardment continues.
As for a counterattack, it will require long-range weapons that Ukraine does not yet have, and more ammunition, he conceded. If Kherson were recaptured from Russia, the war would look different, but that will not happen tomorrow. Ukraine’s forces are badly depleted, but so are Russia’s, and resignation is not an option.
Waiting for food distribution in Mykolaiv this month. More than half of the city’s residents have fled and the mayor has advised those remaining to leave, too.Credit...Laetitia Vancon for The New York Times
A photograph of Mr. Kim, looking utterly relaxed with his shoeless feet up on his desk in multicolored socks, went viral. Memes multiplied. A doctored one showed him with his feet up at one end of the 20-foot-long anti-Covid table used by President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia in the Kremlin. Mr. Putin sits hunched and tensed at the other end, an autocrat reduced to a supplicant.
Mr. Kim has called the Russian Army “idiotic.” Alluding to the Russian coat of arms with its double-headed eagle, and the Ukrainian coat of arms with its three-pronged trident, he has said “a country with a chicken on its coat of arms will never defeat a country with a fork on its coat of arms.”
The mockery is relentless. It is also strategic. “I don’t say these things for fun, they are designed to make our military feel strong,” he said. “If you don’t care about something, that something no longer rules over you.”
Gera Grudev, a museum curator in Odesa whose partner, Bogdan Zinchenko designed a popular T-shirt with Mr. Kim’s image, said the “jokes and open-mindedness make Kim a perfect contrast to the Russian system, where nobody sits down with a leader for a casual chat.”
Mr. Kim attributes his calmness to his father, a man of Korean descent who was a basketball coach and later a physiotherapist and who was “a bit strict, democratically strict, I would say.” Regular lessons in taekwondo, a Korean martial art, instilled discipline. “You have a program, results you need to achieve, and I believe this helps a child grow in the right way,” Mr. Kim said.
Mr. Kim’s paternal forebears, like many Koreans from the Communist North, had moved to the Soviet Union to find work, settling first in Kazakhstan. As a young man, Mr. Kim’s father moved to the Crimean capital of Simferopol to attend college. There he met Mr. Kim’s mother, and the couple later moved to Mykolaiv, where their son was born.
Mr. Kim had a successful career in construction, agriculture and catering before Mr. Zelensky appointed him regional administrator in 2020. Convinced of the need to eliminate corruption, overhaul the court system and reinforce the rule of law in Ukraine, he accepted the job, never imagining it would become military in character.
Four months ago, Mykolaiv, a port that was once a hub of Soviet shipbuilding, was almost overrun as Russian forces surged out of annexed Crimea, taking the nearby city of Kherson.Credit...Laetitia Vancon for The New York Times
Now he wears an olive green T-shirt with “Chernobaivka” emblazoned on it — the name of a village where Ukraine has repeatedly inflicted heavy losses on Russia. He puffs from time to time on an electronic cigarette.
“The war will go on until our victory,” Mr. Kim said. “If, or rather when, we win, Russia will be stopped for a long time, and the Putin system will fall.” And what is victory? “Turning Russia back to the borders of Feb. 23, and in time, regaining all our territory and people.”
For Mr. Kim, Ukraine has a great future as a fully European country. Its problem is it has a bad neighbor. The war has made it clear that Ukraine and Russia are not linked in some mystical union, whatever the bonds of family and culture, but are dissimilar, imbued now with “different minds, different goals and different rules,” he said. Russia, he added, wanted this war to mask the failings of its own system.
“You know the Russian mentality is, ‘We don’t need to be better than our neighbor. It’s enough for our neighbor to be worse than us,’” Mr. Kim said. A thriving Ukraine would pose an overwhelming question to Mr. Putin: Why can Russians not have what Ukraine has? To that, the Russian leader would have no answer. Hence, according to Mr. Kim, the cruise missiles fired on Kyiv, Mykolaiv and countless other Ukrainian cities.
“Democratic and authoritarian countries are different,” Mr. Kim said. “In a democratic country, people have laws, aspire to live well, and criticize their leader. In North Korea and Russia, everyone lives badly but loves their leader very much.”
I asked about his wife and three children. They left; he has not seen them for three months. Did they go abroad? “Yes and no,” Mr. Kim says. He is not about to give anything away.
“I don’t care about situations or things that I can’t control or influence,” he said. “Only my zone of responsibility, and that I work on all the time. I can’t control whether Putin is alive or dead. What I know is that when he dies I will be happy.”
Mr. Kim, in camouflage clothing, at a ceremony for doctors and nurses in Mykolaiv this month. For Mr. Kim, Ukraine has a great future as a fully European country. Its problem is it has a bad neighbor. Credit...Laetitia Vancon for The New York Times
The New York Times · by Roger Cohen · June 30, 2022

5. China lured graduate jobseekers into digital espionage




China lured graduate jobseekers into digital espionage
Ars Technica · by Eleanor Olcott and Helen Warrell, Financial Times · June 30, 2022
Chinese university students have been lured to work at a secretive technology company that masked the true nature of their jobs: researching Western targets for spying and translating hacked documents as part of Beijing’s industrial-scale intelligence regime.
The Financial Times has identified and contacted 140 potential translators, mostly recent graduates who have studied English at public universities in Hainan, Sichuan and Xi’an. They had responded to job advertisements at Hainan Xiandun, a company that was located in the tropical southern island of Hainan.
The application process included translation tests on sensitive documents obtained from US government agencies and instructions to research individuals at Johns Hopkins University, a key intelligence target.
Hainan Xiandun is alleged by a 2021 US federal indictment to have been a cover for the Chinese hacking group APT40. Western intelligence agencies have accused APT40 of infiltrating government agencies, companies and universities across the US, Canada, Europe and the Middle East, under the orders of China’s Ministry of State Security (MSS).
The FBI sought to disrupt the activities of Hainan Xiandun last July by indicting three state security officials in Hainan province—Ding Xiaoyang, Cheng Qingmin and Zhu Yunmin—for their alleged role in establishing the company as a front for state-backed espionage. Another man mentioned in the indictment, Wu Shurong, is believed to be a hacker who helped supervise employees at Hainan Xiandun.
Western intelligence services also seek out prospective spies from universities, with applicants undergoing rigorous vetting and training before joining the likes of the CIA in the US or the UK’s GCHQ signals intelligence agency.
But Chinese graduates targeted by Hainan Xiandun appear to have been unwittingly drawn into a life of espionage. Job advertisements from the company were posted on university websites for translators without further explanation of the nature of the work.
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This could have life-long consequences, as individuals identified as having co-operated with the MSS through their work for Hainan Xiandun are likely to face difficulty in living and working in Western countries, a key motivation for many students who study foreign languages.
The FT contacted all 140 individuals on a leaked list of candidates compiled by security officials in the region to corroborate the authenticity of the applications. Several of those contacted initially confirmed their identities, but ended phone calls after being asked about their links to Hainan Xiandun. A few discussed their experience of the hiring process.
Their applications provide insight into the tactics of APT40, known for targeting biomedical, robotics and maritime research institutions as part of wider efforts to gain knowledge of Western industrial strategy and steal sensitive data.
Hacking on that scale requires a huge workforce of English speakers who can help identify hacking targets, cyber technicians who can access adversaries’ systems and intelligence officers to analyze the stolen material.
Zhang, an English language graduate who applied to Hainan Xiandun, told the FT that a recruiter had asked him to go beyond conventional translation duties by researching the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, with instructions to find out information on the institution, including the CVs of the directors on its board, the building’s architecture and details of research contracts it had struck with clients.
The APL, a big recipient of US Department of Defense research funds, is likely to be of significant intelligence interest to Beijing and the individuals who work there prime hacking targets.
The instruction document asked the job candidates to download “software to get behind the Great Firewall.” It warns that the research will involve consulting websites such as Facebook, which is banned in China and so requires a VPN, software that masks the location of the user in order to gain access.
“It was very clear that this was not a translation company,” said Zhang, who decided against continuing with his application.
Dakota Cary, an expert in Chinese cyber espionage and former security analyst at Georgetown University, said the student translators were likely to be helping with researching organizations or individuals who might prove to be fruitful sources of sensitive information.
“The fact that you’re going to have to use a VPN, that you will need to be doing your own research and you need good language skills, all says to me that these students will be identifying hacking targets,” he said.
Cary, who testified earlier this year to the US-China economic and security review commission on Beijing’s cyber capabilities, said the instruction to investigate Johns Hopkins was an indicator of the level of initiative and ability to acquire specialist knowledge that the translators were expected to demonstrate.
One security official in the region said the revelations were evidence that the MSS was using university students as a “recruitment pipeline” for its spying activities.
Antony Blinken, US secretary of state, has previously condemned the MSS for building an “ecosystem of criminal contract hackers” who engage in both state-sponsored activities and financially motivated cyber crime. Blinken added that these hackers cost governments and businesses “billions of dollars” in stolen intellectual property, ransom payments and cyber defenses.
Hainan Xiandun asked the applicants to translate a document from the US Office of Infrastructure Research and Development containing technical explanations on preventing corrosion on transport networks and infrastructure. This appeared to test prospective employees’ abilities to interpret complex scientific concepts and terminology.
“It was a very weird process,” said Cindy, an English language student from a respected Chinese university. “I applied online and then the HR person sent me a highly technical test translation.” She decided against continuing with the application.
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Adam Kozy, a former FBI official who worked most recently at cyber security company CrowdStrike, said he had not heard of western intelligence enlisting university students without them being given security clearance to collect intelligence.
“The MSS do everything very informally and they like the gray areas,” he said. “It’s interesting to see that they’re relying on a young student workforce to do a lot of the dirty work that may have those knock-on consequences later in life and most likely are not fully explaining those potential risks.”
The MSS did not respond to requests for comment.
Hainan Xiandun solicited applications on university recruitment sites and appears to have a close relationship with Hainan University. The company was registered on the first floor of the university library, home to the student computer room.
One job ad posted on the university’s foreign languages department website called for applications from English-speaking female students and Communist party members. The ad has been deleted since the FT’s queries regarding this story.
Several student applicants to Hainan Xiandun had won school prizes for their language skills and others held the added distinction of holding party membership.
According to the FBI’s indictment, MSS officers “co-ordinated with staff and professors at universities in Hainan and elsewhere in China” to further their intelligence goals. Personnel at one Hainan-based university also helped support and manage Hainan Xiandun as a front company, “including through payroll, benefits and a mailing address,” the indictment reads.
While the FBI accused the university of assisting the MSS in identifying and recruiting hackers and linguists to “penetrate and steal” from computer networks, it does not mention the university’s role in commandeering students to help the cause.
In response to the FT’s findings, Michael Misumi, chief information officer at Johns Hopkins APL, said that “like many technical organizations” the APL “must respond to many cyber threats and takes appropriate measures to continuously defend itself and its systems.”
Hainan University did not respond to requests for comment.
Applicants’ names have been changed to protect their identities
© 2022 The Financial Times LtdAll rights reserved Not to be redistributed, copied, or modified in any way.
Ars Technica · by Eleanor Olcott and Helen Warrell, Financial Times · June 30, 2022

6. Why Gamers Will Win the Next War
Excerpts:
What of the gamers? Well, they can help. If the last century was defined by the power of motion pictures and the moving image, the twenty-first century replaces these linear media experiences with the interactive power of gaming. Games generate powerful stories, experiences, and most importantly, data. There is enormous potential in gaming through the unfettered collection of learning data. Fight Club is pushing in this direction by crowdsourcing insights from games, to inform new ways of thinking and fighting. From strategic-level matrix games that examine ways to compete in gray zone warfare to simulating ways to defeat integrated air defenses, wisdom from the crowd helps identify anomalies worthy of further exploration. This is the way. This leads to discovery, learning, and adaptation—in peace and war.
Changing how we fight is as (if not more) important than buying new things to fight with. Games in the US Marine Corps found asymmetric advantages to offset the need for more heavy and expensive tanks. The US Air Force leverages a commercial game, Command: Professional Edition, to stress test concepts and inform procurement purchases. The United States Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity has researched how gaming can mitigate cognitive biases that affect decision-making and intelligence analysis. Studies show that games-based learning increases a gamer’s capacity for sensemaking. Clearly, leveraging gamers and introducing more gaming can improve strategic performance in defense and government, but will we allow a cultural change to take root? Or will institutional biases stand in the way?
The world’s leading military academies contain the portraits of history’s most storied leaders—to use Theodore Roosevelt’s words, those that were “actually in the arena.” But what if the future, with an emphasis on rapid judgment rather than physical example, demands that our leaders remain above the arena, not actually in it. That they exploit the cold, dispassionate vantage point of a spectator to orchestrate a clear strategy, rather than an emotive calculation influenced by the “sweat and dust and blood” of battle.
The idea that the generals of the future are the gamers of today will be anathema to institutions built upon practical example. Yet, if we cling to the past and remain fixed in the present, we will inevitably mortgage our future.



Why Gamers Will Win the Next War - Modern War Institute
Nick Moran and Arnel P. David | 06.30.22
mwi.usma.edu · by Nick Moran · June 30, 2022
A storm is brewing. Thousands of gamers are working to upend traditional models of training, education, and analysis in government and defense. This grassroots movement has developed across several countries, under a joint venture—Fight Club International—within which civilian and military gamers are experimenting with commercial technologies to demonstrate what they can do for national security challenges. But while technology is at the core of this initiative, its more fundamental purpose is to change culture—no easy feat in military organizations, with their characteristic deep sense of history and layers of entrenched bureaucracy.
A common obstacle to introducing transformational technology is the imagination of the user—or, put differently, the willingness of the user to be genuinely imaginative. Early testing with Fight Club, in a constructive simulation called Combat Mission, showed that civilian gamers with no military training outperformed military officers with years of experience. The military gamers were constrained in their thinking and clung dogmatically to doctrine. They discovered, to their frustration, that their speed of decision-making was lacking against gamers with greater intuition and skill.
At the NATO Allied Rapid Reaction Corps, this is beginning to drive change. Recently, alongside a traditional wargame, a Royal Marine major played Combat Mission to explore with greater fidelity what the potential reconnaissance fight in the wargame’s scenario would look like. In doing so, the officer illuminated a corps reconnaissance mismatch, which led to necessary changes to the corps plan. The study of war through experiential learning vis-à-vis games is enabling warfighters to become more adaptive.
Societal Change
Given vast budgets and direct access to world-leading science and technology, Western militaries are among the most empowered to capitalize on advancements in modern computing, data exploitation, and artificial intelligence. Yet, they face an equally significant obstacle: conservative institutionalism. The test these militaries face mirrors the greater societal challenge of retrofitting state services with transformational capabilities designed for a more efficient future.
Few institutions have a more profound sense of their past than the military. Young, aspiring military commanders consult their history books when developing an understanding of what it means to lead. Examples may vary but the themes are similar: physical presence on the battlefield, setting a personal example, inspiring followers with words and deeds, selfless commitment.
What if all that was to change? How would an institution with such deep historical roots adjust to the disruptive forces of modern technology? How do you embrace start-up culture when your DNA is bound by the past and immobilized by bureaucracy?
Modern militaries will pay institutional lip service to the disruptive capacity of technological advancement, incorporating terms such as “revolution in military affairs” into their professional lexicons. But how many military leaders will vote to make themselves (or the organizations they grew up in) obsolete? The individual fear of personal obsolescence is, collectively, an institutional obstacle to change. Unimpeded, technology will do to the military what Frederick W. Taylor did to US industry in the early twentieth century: if not vital to the enterprise, you are no longer required. Had that process not taken place in industry, the United States would have been left with an outdated and unviable industrial production model and, consequently, vastly diminished economic power. Likewise, if fear of obsolescence is allowed to stop it from occurring in the military, the result will be an outdated, overmatched force—too slow and too inefficient to keep pace with adversaries.
The human factor is technology’s greatest limitation. Pilotless fighter aircraft can outmaneuver piloted aircraft given respective G-force tolerances. Modern autonomous vehicles are by some estimation 70 percent safer than an average driver. Modern ground sensors will detect images and patterns better than a human. A $30 thousand drone can search more ground than a $12 million manned reconnaissance vehicle. Yet, there is a reluctance to adopt these technologies wholeheartedly, and it stems from the fact that humans like to be relevant—a subjective frailty felt keenly in institutions built on a foundation of human example. Witness the powerful narrative at play in Top Gun: Maverick.
Humans Still Matter
What of the human? It is not the value of the human to pull a trigger, but to exercise judgment over whether to pull the trigger at all. It is the human role to appreciate strategic context, appreciate consequences, and apply moral judgment. Technologies like AI demand that humans continue to do this, but more quickly and better. The Fight Club group in the UK, partnered with the UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, is exploring how games can improve human performance in a fast-paced war, where robots and unmanned platforms are changing battlefield dynamics. Early evidence shows that the military is not yet ready for this type of fight. It is fast and lethal, requiring new structures and capabilities to contend with a maelstrom of complexity.
Alongside better bots, the military needs better humans, capable of navigating complex adaptive systems with greater speed and wisdom. We need to discover and develop modern-day Ender Wigginses, capable of coordinating a symphony of capabilities to harmonize effects on a sensor-ridden battlefield.
What of the gamers? Well, they can help. If the last century was defined by the power of motion pictures and the moving image, the twenty-first century replaces these linear media experiences with the interactive power of gaming. Games generate powerful stories, experiences, and most importantly, data. There is enormous potential in gaming through the unfettered collection of learning data. Fight Club is pushing in this direction by crowdsourcing insights from games, to inform new ways of thinking and fighting. From strategic-level matrix games that examine ways to compete in gray zone warfare to simulating ways to defeat integrated air defenses, wisdom from the crowd helps identify anomalies worthy of further exploration. This is the way. This leads to discovery, learning, and adaptation—in peace and war.
Changing how we fight is as (if not more) important than buying new things to fight with. Games in the US Marine Corps found asymmetric advantages to offset the need for more heavy and expensive tanks. The US Air Force leverages a commercial game, Command: Professional Edition, to stress test concepts and inform procurement purchases. The United States Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity has researched how gaming can mitigate cognitive biases that affect decision-making and intelligence analysis. Studies show that games-based learning increases a gamer’s capacity for sensemaking. Clearly, leveraging gamers and introducing more gaming can improve strategic performance in defense and government, but will we allow a cultural change to take root? Or will institutional biases stand in the way?
The world’s leading military academies contain the portraits of history’s most storied leaders—to use Theodore Roosevelt’s words, those that were “actually in the arena.” But what if the future, with an emphasis on rapid judgment rather than physical example, demands that our leaders remain above the arena, not actually in it. That they exploit the cold, dispassionate vantage point of a spectator to orchestrate a clear strategy, rather than an emotive calculation influenced by the “sweat and dust and blood” of battle.
The idea that the generals of the future are the gamers of today will be anathema to institutions built upon practical example. Yet, if we cling to the past and remain fixed in the present, we will inevitably mortgage our future.
Lieutenant Colonel Nicholas Moran (British Army) and Colonel Arnel David (US Army) are members of the NATO Allied Rapid Reaction Corps. They have advocated for and delivered purposefully disruptive experimentation examining how AI and machine learning can advance the processes and planning methodologies of targeting, wargaming, and decision-making across land headquarters. Thanks to Shashank Joshi and Nicholas Krohley for an early read and review of this article. Any errors or issues are the authors’ own.
The views expressed are those of the authors and do not reflect the official position of the United States Military Academy, Department of the Army, or Department of Defense, or that of any organization the authors are affiliated with, including the British Army, or NATO.
Image credit: Tech. Sgt. AJ Hyatt, US Air Force
mwi.usma.edu · by Nick Moran · June 30, 2022


7. FCC commissioner calls on Google and Apple to ban TikTok from their app stores

Wow. This could cause an uprising from the Tik Tok addicted.


FCC commissioner calls on Google and Apple to ban TikTok from their app stores
"TikTok is not just another video app. That's the sheep's clothing"
By Rob Thubron June 29, 2022 at 5:19 AM 29 comments
techspot.com · by Rob Thubron · June 29, 2022
What just happened? Brendan Carr, a commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission, has called on Apple and Google to remove TikTok from their respective app stores following new reports that users' data is being accessed by the Chinese-based employees of its parent company ByteDance.
"TikTok is not just another video app. That's the sheep's clothing. It harvests swaths of sensitive data that new reports show are being accessed in Beijing," Carr tweeted.
The already-popular TikTok saw an uptick in users during the pandemic and now boasts over 1 billion MAUs (monthly active users). This is despite long-held privacy and national-security concerns over China-based ByteDance accessing sensitive information about those who use the short-form video platform.
The new reports that Carr mentions comes from BuzzFeed News. The publication writes that leaked audio from more than 80 internal ByteDance meetings confirmed that engineers had repeatedly accessed nonpublic data about US TikTok users between September 2021 and January 2022. The report was published a few hours after TikTok said it had migrated 100% of US user traffic to a new Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.
TikTok is not just another video app.
That's the sheep's clothing.

It harvests swaths of sensitive data that new reports show are being accessed in Beijing.

I've called on @Apple & @Google to remove TikTok from their app stores for its pattern of surreptitious data practices. pic.twitter.com/Le01fBpNjn
— Brendan Carr (@BrendanCarrFCC) June 28, 2022
Carr included in his tweet a copy of the letter he sent to Apple boss Tim Cook and Google CEO Sundar Pichai asking for TikTok to be removed from the companies' respective app stores. He states that the app "poses an unacceptable national security risk due to its extensive data harvesting combined with Beijing's apparently unchecked access to that sensitive data."
"TikTok is not what it appears to be on the surface," Carr wrote. "It's not just an app for sharing funny videos or memes. That's the sheep's clothing. At its core, TikTok functions as a sophisticated surveillance tool that harvests extensive amounts of personal and sensitive data."
The Trump administration fought a long-running battle with TikTok, including a threat to ban the app if a US buyer did not purchase it. Microsoft and Oracle seemed interested but neither company made a move. The deadline to buy eventually passed without the government implementing a ban.
Masthead credit: drserg
techspot.com · by Rob Thubron · June 29, 2022

8.  Fight With Information, Not Just Munitions, Marine Corps Tells Commanders


My question:
Are we going to learn to lead with influence?
What is the major difference in the views of conflict, strategy, and campaigning between China, Russia, Iran, nK, AQ, and ISIS and the US?
The psychological takes precedence and may or may not be supported with the kinetic
Politics is war by other means
For the US kinetic is first and the psychological is second
War is politics by other means
Easier to get permission to put a hellfire on the forehead of terrorist than to put an idea between his ears
Napoleon: In war, the moral is to the physical as three is to one
In the 21st Century the psychological is to the kinetic as ten is to one
The US has to learn to put the psychological first
Can a federal democratic republic “do strategy” this way?
Or is it only autocratic, totalitarian dictatorships that can “do strategy” this way?
An American Way of Political Warfare: A Proposal  https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/perspectives/PE300/PE304/RAND_PE304.pdf

Fight With Information, Not Just Munitions, Marine Corps Tells Commanders
A new doctrinal document asks Marines to consider information warfare as they build their battle plans.
defenseone.com · by Lauren C. Williams
The Marine Corps wants commanders and service members to start thinking about how information fits into warfighting operations. And it all starts with a new discussion document that aims to illustrate how information, and the systems used to transmit it, are used in conflict.
The 126-page document, called Marine Corps Doctrinal Publication 8, explains concepts like the "information environment" and "prevailing narratives" and how these fit into military objectives.
"By elevating information as a warfighting function, we're making it a prominent consideration for commanders in their planning process from the beginning, so that we don't have a situation where they're developing our plan, and then bringing in our information professionals, like our [information operations] folks, sort of at the tail end to try and resolve that issue," Eric Schaner, the Marine Corps' senior information policy and strategy analyst, told reporters June 28.
The goal is for the concepts laid out in the doctrinal document to eventually make their way to training, be incorporated into wargaming efforts, and help determine what capabilities gaps exist – particularly with respect to command and control systems, officials said. Additionally, the authors want marines to become more familiar with how competitors, in particular Russia and China, view information warfare.
"If we view the information environment as a contested space, we need to be able to sense and understand that space. And so battlespace awareness in the information environment is crucial," Schaner said. "And the Marine Corps is contributing to the joint force, we must close gaps and resolve our command and control architectures and make them as seamless as possible so that we can coordinate action across large distributed areas using joint forces in every domain."
Lt. Gen. Matthew Glavy, deputy commandant for information, told reporters the commandant was intimately involved in the document's editing process, particularly when it came to incorporating examples from ongoing conflict in Ukraine amid Russia's invasion, including the Biden administration's push to "preempt" Russia's pre-invasion narratives with the release of satellite images and other intelligence information, and commentary on Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky's "masterful use of digital media and inspirational messaging."
"Those were near-real-time updates, as we were going into final editing, on the document editing, adding and updating, because we thought those lessons were critical," Glavy said.
Said Schaner: "If you take a look at the Ukraine scenario, and you try to look at it through the lens that we provided in MCDP-8 the three types of advantages that we describe—systems overmatch, prevailing narrative and resiliency—you can see those at work and at play in the Ukraine scenario."
For example, Zelenskyy "has been able to maintain communications channels, even thwarting attempts by Russia to deny that form of communication through Starlink terminals"—an example of systems overmatch, he said.
"So you combine the ability to continue to communicate, to generate support and to inspire your people to stand and fight. You're now building the idea of resiliency within Ukraine. And we see that combined with some of the problems that Russia has had and we're seeing a persistent, and resilient Ukraine stand and fight," Schaner said.

defenseone.com · by Lauren C. Williams


9. The IAEA Needs Access to Ukraine’s Nuclear Power Plant. Biden Can Help.

Excerpts:
President Biden is in a difficult spot: He is focused on fortifying Zelenskyy’s fighting forces against Russia, but Putin’s control of the ZNPP could lead to a safeguards or safety crisis in Ukraine. Biden should urge Ukraine to approve an IAEA visit. He should also insist that Russia stop its intimidation and violence against ZNPP workers and return the plant to Ukraine.
At the same time, the Biden administration should ensure that the IAEA sticks to a clear public line that the agency is there to assist Kyiv. The disruption of the remote safeguards data is a troubling sign reinforcing the urgency of the situation.
At the IAEA’s June board meeting, Grossi did not conceal his obvious frustration: “This mission is going to take place, sooner or later. And better, sooner.” He continued, “If this agency doesn’t care when we have the biggest nuclear power plant in Europe disconnected from the safeguards systems, then we better do something else.”
It goes without saying that Russia must end its unlawful aggression against Ukraine. Until then, Biden must urge Kyiv to let in the IAEA. Ensuring the safety and security of the plant and its nuclear material does not legitimize Putin’s unprovoked war.


The IAEA Needs Access to Ukraine’s Nuclear Power Plant. Biden Can Help.
Jun 30
thedispatch.com · by Anthony Ruggiero
(Photo by Andrey Borodulin/AFP/Getty Images.)
“Untenable.” That’s how Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), last week described the situation at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant (ZNPP), which Russia seized in March. He said that every day “the independent work and assessments of Ukraine’s regulator are undermined,” the “risk of an accident or a security breach increases.” Grossi asserted he wants to send an IAEA mission to the ZNPP, which is Europe’s largest nuclear power plant. In a twist, however, Ukraine’s atomic energy regulators, presumably at the direction of Kyiv, have rejected Grossi’s request.
Ukraine believes an IAEA visit to the ZNPP would legitimize Russia’s control of the complex. Grossi has rejected that characterization, emphasizing that “it is absolutely incorrect. When I go there, I will be going there under the same agreement that Ukraine passed with the IAEA, not the Russian Federation.” President Joe Biden urgently needs to convince Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to let the IAEA in to ensure the ZNPP is safe and secure.
The ZNPP, located in east Ukraine, is a facility with six light water reactors, and it produced up to one-fifth of Ukraine’s electricity production before the war. To gain control of it, Russia shelled the area with missiles, sparking a widely reported fire. The missile attack spurred fears that Moscow could further damage the facility and cause a nuclear radiological incident that could harm Ukrainian civilians and neighboring countries.
Ukrainian authorities brought the fire under control, but Russia installed officials from its atomic energy agency, Rosatom, to oversee day-to-day work of Ukrainian personnel. The State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine warned in a statement that life at Zaporizhzhia has become intolerable under Moscow’s direction: Russia’s military and representatives of Russia’s Rosatom and its subsidiary Rosenergoatom “constantly terrorize and directly threaten the lives of the plant personnel.”
The Wall Street Journal reported this month that Russian military officers have been interrogating ZNPP employees to assess their loyalties to Moscow and reprimanding “workers who speak in Ukrainian rather than Russian and screening their cellphones for evidence of allegiance to Kyiv.” The Russians have also abducted, tortured, or shot workers. Russian officials at the plant have told workers that they intend to connect the ZNPP to Russia’s electricity grid, which would be costly and take years to accomplish, reinforcing Kyiv’s concerns that Moscow is preparing for long-term control of the facility.
Russia has not publicly opposed an IAEA visit. Grossi claimed in a June 6 statement to the IAEA Board of Governors that Ukraine had requested an IAEA mission to the plant and that the agency was ready to go. The day after Grossi’s statement, however, Ukraine’s atomic agency, Energoatom, wrote in a Telegram post that it had not invited the IAEA to visit. “We consider this message from the head of the IAEA as another attempt to get to the (power plant) by any means in order to legitimise the presence of occupiers there and essentially condone their actions,” the post stated.
In March, Grossi said that seven pillars of nuclear plant safety and security were at risk at the ZNPP. Those pillars include: maintenance of physical integrity; functional safety and security systems and equipment; freedom of operating staff to fulfill their safety and security duties and without undue pressure; a secure off-site power supply from the grid for all nuclear sites; uninterrupted logistical supply chains and transportation to and from the site; effective on-site and off-site radiation monitoring systems backed by emergency preparedness and response measures; and reliable communication with regulators and others. In his June 6 statement to the IAEA board, Grossi declared that five of seven pillars had been compromised. “This is why IAEA safety and security experts must go,” he said.
Moreover, the ZNPP stopped transmitting safeguards information to the IAEA on May 30, meaning the agency could not ascertain whether there had been theft or loss of nuclear material. “The Ukrainian regulator has informed us they have lost control of the nuclear material,” Grossi told the board.
The IAEA said in a June 12 statement that the ZNPP’s Ukrainian personnel and the agency had together restored remote transmission of safeguards data and that the agency was downloading images for analysis from surveillance cameras.
Grossi yesterday reported that the IAEA had again lost its safeguards connection with the ZNPP: “The fact that our remote safeguards data transmission is down again—for the second time in the past month—only adds to the urgency to dispatch this mission.” He previously warned that inspectors’ activities could not be done remotely and if they are not soon dispatched to the ZNPP “the implementation of safeguards in Ukraine will be compromised.”
President Biden is in a difficult spot: He is focused on fortifying Zelenskyy’s fighting forces against Russia, but Putin’s control of the ZNPP could lead to a safeguards or safety crisis in Ukraine. Biden should urge Ukraine to approve an IAEA visit. He should also insist that Russia stop its intimidation and violence against ZNPP workers and return the plant to Ukraine.
At the same time, the Biden administration should ensure that the IAEA sticks to a clear public line that the agency is there to assist Kyiv. The disruption of the remote safeguards data is a troubling sign reinforcing the urgency of the situation.
At the IAEA’s June board meeting, Grossi did not conceal his obvious frustration: “This mission is going to take place, sooner or later. And better, sooner.” He continued, “If this agency doesn’t care when we have the biggest nuclear power plant in Europe disconnected from the safeguards systems, then we better do something else.”
It goes without saying that Russia must end its unlawful aggression against Ukraine. Until then, Biden must urge Kyiv to let in the IAEA. Ensuring the safety and security of the plant and its nuclear material does not legitimize Putin’s unprovoked war.
Anthony Ruggiero is senior director of the Nonproliferation and Biodefense program at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and served as National Security Council senior director for counterproliferation and biodefense in the Trump administration. Andrea Stricker is the deputy director of the program. Follow Andrea and Anthony on Twitter @StrickerNonpro and @NatSecAnthony. FDD is a Washington, D.C.-based, nonpartisan research institute focused on national security and foreign policy.
thedispatch.com · by Anthony Ruggiero

10. Ukraine Is Just the Beginning

note: Charles Bartles (who translated this article) is one of the nation's authorities on the so-called "Gerasimov doctrine" and has debunked some of the myths about it.

Conclusion from Konstantin Sivkov:

Russia will most likely be forced to take radical economic measures against the EU, up to a complete shutdown of energy supplies and other raw materials, while simultaneously resolving the tasks of parrying the threats posed by the Western coalition, paying special attention to the military ones. China, subject to a weakening U.S. position in the world and the decrease in the integrity and economic potential of the NATO bloc will be the result of sanctions on Russia, can opt for a forceful solution to the Taiwan problem. Against this background, one should expect a sharp increase in military tension around Iran. In Latin America and Africa, conflicts between countries that are on the periphery of opposing coalitions are also likely to escalate.

In terms of duration, this period of the third world war can range from one to three years. It will end with the formation of opposing coalitions and the emergence of clear zones of armed confrontation, where conditions will be created for the start of direct armed confrontation between the armies and navies of the leading world powers. The beginning of this period will put the world on the brink of nuclear war.

And it can be assumed with a high probability, that with the emergence of a more or less large-scale precedent of conflict between the armed forces of the United States, China, and Russia, steps will be taken to prevent further escalation by all conflicting parties. At the same time, this stage of the third world war may end in connection with the withdrawal from the Western coalition of the world’s leading center of power—the United States. This is possible as a result of an internal conflict that is growing in American society, expressed in the confrontation between the national and globalist elites. It may enter an acute phase after the autumn elections, when the U.S. will plunge into solving internal problems, which may lead to a decrease in international tension and the beginning of a de-escalation of the confrontation between Russia and the Western coalition.




Ukraine Is Just the Beginning
The Geopolitical Consequences of the Special Operation Will Change the Entire View of the World
 
Konstantin Sivkov
Translation and Foreword by Lt. Col. Charles K. Bartles, U.S. Army Reserve

Konstantin Sivkov (Photo courtesy of Reporter, en.topcor.ru)
The below article, authored by Konstantin Sivkov, “Ukraine is just the beginning: The geopolitical consequences of the special operation will change the entire view of the world,” was published in the March 28, 2022, edition of Voyenno-Promyshlennyy Kuryer, which, until it closed in March, was a prominent, conservative weekly newspaper focusing on military and defense issues.1 Sivkov is a retired naval officer and General Staff Academy graduate who served in the Center for Military-Strategic Research of the General Staff from 1995 to 2007. He is also a Doctor of Military Sciences, and member of Russian Academy of Missile and Artillery Sciences, who has published over 200 articles dealing with the processes of armed struggle, the nature of modern wars and armed conflicts, and the organizational development of the Armed Forces. In addition, he is a cofounder and first vice president of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems, an independent non-governmental scientific organization specializing in military analysis.
It is important to note that Sivkov comes from the influential military-scientific community, which includes elements of the General Staff, the Russian Academy of Military Science, portions of academia, and Russian think tanks. This community is not only concerned with the research and development of militarily useful technologies; but also has a role in the development of Russian military strategy, operations and tactics; and understanding, and developing policy recommendations for geopolitical issues. Consequently, given Sivkov’s background, close government ties, and the severe penalties for criticizing Russia’s military or spreading “fake news” in Russia, it can safely be assumed that Sivkov’s article accurately reflects the Kremlin’s inner circle view in what is depicted as ‘big picture’ explanation of the ramifications of Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine in the context of a “global war” against the West led by the United States.
Sivkov starts by laying out the argument that Russia is opposed by a coalition of mostly Western client states, led by the United States. This understanding is certainly in line with other comments from the Russian leadership, as they view only a few states as truly sovereign, such as Russia, China, and the United States, maintaining that smaller and/or weaker states must inevitably fall into the orbit of a greater power. Sivkov further posits that Russia is not just opposed by this coalition, but it has in fact been long at war, albeit a “hybrid” war, of economic and information means, though it has not yet entered a “shooting” war. Therefore, the Kremlin does not see the 2022 invasion of Ukraine as a local conflict between two nations, but as just a front of a larger war between Russia and the West, with Ukraine simply a Western proxy. This is the thinking behind cynical Russian statements such as “NATO will fight to the last dead Ukrainian.”
Perhaps most salient within Sivkov’s article is the explanation of the conflict between the West, Ukraine’s role in it, and the consequences for Russian success or failure of Russia’s current campaign. In general, the Kremlin sees its conflict with the West as between two competing worldviews. The Western view (from the Kremlin’s perspective) is one of globalism with weaker nation states, global elites, and universal values. The Kremlin proffers a very different view, with a multipolar system (not dominated by the United States) that emphasizes state power, national elites, and traditional values. These positions are mutually exclusive—the success of one means the failure of the other. Sivkov explains that what happens in Ukraine will do much to strengthen one of these narratives, and weaken the other. Furthermore, the success of this campaign will just not result in the imposition of Russia’s will on Ukraine but will also further its narrative on the world. Therefore, the Ukrainian campaign is of paramount importance for the Kremlin and it will not be easily dissuaded from its objectives in Ukraine by either international or domestic pressure. Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the article is that the Kremlin does not believe that the conflict will stop after the Ukraine situation is resolved. Instead, Ukraine is seen as just the beginning of possibly a much larger conflict between Russia and the West.
—Lt. Col. Charles K. Bartles, U.S. Army Reserve, U.S. Northern Command
 
Ukraine Is Just the Beginning: The Geopolitical Consequences of the Special Operation Will Change the Entire View of the World
The special operation of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in Ukraine continues to develop. Serious shifts are taking place in the nature of the operational use of the Russian group of forces, indicating a qualitative change in the course of the armed struggle. Under these conditions, the question arises: what will happen next, will the West stop its pressure on Russia and start negotiations, as many Russians hope, or vice versa—will the pressure become even more fierce, will new armed conflicts arise?
Special Operation as Part of the Third World [War]
To answer these questions, one must turn to a military-political analysis of the situation, focusing on its key aspects, which make it possible to accurately identify relations between Russia and the united West.
First, it is noteworthy that the West acts as a single system. This is expressed by the fact that there is consistency both in actions and in time of all NATO countries led by the United States, as well as their allies in the Pacific Ocean—Japan and Australia, to exert a complex of measures to pressure the Russian Federation. This gives the basis to assert that Russia is opposed by a coalition of states, including one global center of power—the United States, and a number of regional centers—Japan, Germany, and France. Thus, there is an open confrontation of the coalition at the head of one global center of power against another global center, the partners of which are not so numerous—Belarus is Russia’s open ally so far, but it tends to expand.

Great efforts are being made ... to achieve a split in the emerging Russian-Chinese alliance.

Second, the set of measures taken by the West in confrontation with Russia can be attributed to open economic warfare. The EU has imposed almost the full range of the most serious sanctions that it can implement. This was openly announced by Josep Borrell, President of the European Parliament. That is, there is a pressure, a characteristic of war, of all possible resources of the participating countries. So far, Russia has not really responded, excluding symmetrical and ineffective actions. However, Western sanctions have already inflicted serious economic losses on the EU and the United States, which threaten to turn into social problems in the future. Nevertheless, the expansion of sanctions pressure on secondary areas continues. This testifies to the extreme determination of the Western coalition, which is also one of the signs of war.
Third, the West is pursuing an extremely active foreign policy toward those countries that have a relatively neutral position to get them to join its coalition or at least prevent them from supporting Russian policy. Particularly great efforts are being made in the Chinese direction in order to achieve a split in the emerging Russian-Chinese alliance.
Fourth, the struggle of the Western coalition against Russia in the information sphere has all the characteristics of a period of war: bitterness, disregard for all norms of morality, massive influence, the use of short-term fakes that have operational or tactical significance but are not designed to have long-term consequences. Plus, the unity of the information plan in all of the media in the United States and NATO countries.

Russia is currently at war with the united West. This is a war of a different nature than those that took place in the 20th century. It cannot be declared, because in essence it is a classic hybrid one, from the side of the West.

Fifth, the provision of full-scale military assistance, taking into account only critically important restrictions, to Ukraine, which is conducting an armed confrontation with Russia. In fact, the West cannot offer any other weapons than those that are currently supplied to Ukraine—only small-sized portable weapons systems. It does not make sense to supply larger and more complex items, since they will be quickly identified and destroyed, and the soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine simply do not have time to master them—the size of the country’s territory and the pace of advancement of Russian troops and police units of the LPR [Luhansk People’s Republic] and DPR [Donetsk People’s Republic] do not permit it. At the same time, it is impossible to provide military assistance to Ukraine through the direct intervention of the armies of NATO countries in the Russian-Ukrainian armed confrontation due to the extremely high risk of the conflict going nuclear, or at least resulting in large losses of the alliance’s troops. Even the introduction of a no-fly zone can lead to unacceptable losses of NATO and U.S. aircraft due to the peculiarities of the operational-strategic situation and military-geographical conditions. Moreover, even with the obviously low effectiveness of the current range of weapons, they continue to build up, indicating the desire of the West to prevent the complete defeat of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the current Nazi Ukrainian government at any cost. Thus, the nature of the actions of the Western coalition fully corresponds to a period of war.
Sixth, it should be noted what are the decisive goals of the parties. The Western coalition pursues the goal of defeating Russia by initiating a coup in the country to eliminate the current government headed by President Putin, not ruling out the possibility of his physical destruction, and establishing undivided control of Russia by global and Western elites. On the part of Russia, the goal of the campaign is to disrupt attempts of the West and other world players to expand into the post-Soviet space. The elimination of the Nazi regime in Ukraine, which is the most immediate source of military and ideological threat in this context, is only part of the strategic task. The resoluteness of the opposing sides’ goals is an important sign of the state conflict between them.
Seventh, regardless of the outcome of the confrontation between the Western coalition and Russia, there will be a radical reshaping of the system of regional relations, and even the geopolitical picture of the world, which is also a sign of war, and a large-scale war at that.
Finally, one cannot fail to mention the unprecedented activity of the “fifth column,” which began to act almost openly, condemning and sabotaging the actions of the president and the Russian Armed Forces. Suffice it to recall the escape from Russia under various pretexts of various “stars” and “outstanding businessmen,” as well as the “The Expert Dialogue on NATO-Russia risk reduction: a joint appeal for a ceasefire and risk reduction” dated March 2–3 this year, wherein the first paragraph explicitly stated, “All parties should immediately and unconditionally agree to a ceasefire, take coordinated measures to de-escalate the situation, and negotiate a political settlement.” [In reference to https://www.europeanleadershipnetwork.org/group-statement/the-expert-dialogue-on-nato-russia-risk-reduction-a-joint-appeal-for-a-ceasefire-and-risk-reduction/] Under the current conditions, this is actually a demand for Russia’s surrender to Ukraine and the united West behind it.
Thus, we can safely say that Russia is currently at war with the united West. This is a war of a different nature than those that took place in the twentieth century. It cannot be declared because in essence it is a classic hybrid one, from the side of the West: Russia in Ukraine, conducting a special military operation, has not yet begun a large-scale application of measures typical of a hybrid war. After all, even gas continues to flow to Europe, including through the GTS [gas pipeline] of Ukraine. The scale of this hybrid war with the West suggests that it has all the hallmarks of a world war: the presence of opposing coalitions led by global centers of power that have entered directly into a military confrontation, albeit it just in the economic and information spheres, the resoluteness of goals, the use of all possible means of confrontation, refusal to comply with peacetime legal norms with the transition to the principle of military expediency practically on a global scale, drawing most countries of the world into the conflict according to the principle “if not with us, then against us.” That is, we are talking about the beginning of the third world war, which is still taking place in a refined hybrid form—the Western coalition conducts armed confrontation using its proxies—the Armed Forces of Ukraine, in a limited TVD [theater of operations] within Ukrainian territory, while conducting full-scale global economic and information warfare against our country.

The defeat of Nazi Ukraine will mean the collapse of the entire strategy built by the West and the globalists over the last 20 years. The consequences of this defeat could be catastrophic for the globalists and have a geopolitical scale.

One may object that it is too early to talk about a world war. Well, let’s compare the current world situation with the beginning of World War II. It began on September 1, 1939, with the attack of Nazi Germany on Poland. France and Great Britain immediately declared war on the Germans, bound by an agreement with Poland. However, having declared war, they did not lift a finger to attack Germany from the West, where Hitler did not have combat-ready troops. Poland fought alone, without any help from its Western allies, even in the form of arms supplies. The only thing the British and French did was start an economic blockade of Germany. Doesn’t it remind you of anything? In fact, the situation in the autumn of 1939 is structurally identical to the current one: the three leading geopolitical centers of that time officially entered the war—Germany on the one hand, and Great Britain and France on the other, battles took place only in Poland, where the Wehrmacht was opposed by the Polish Armed Forces, which can be considered as a proxy for Western powers. Only the interests differed: at that time, France and Great Britain were interested in defeating Poland so that their higher-level proxies—Hitler could attack the USSR, and so today for the united West, the defeat of Nazi Ukraine would mean a heavy strategic defeat. So, February 24, 2022, military historians of the future may well recognize the date of the start of the third world war.
What’s Next?
Based on such an understanding of the essence of the current historical moment, it is possible to predict the development of the world geopolitical situation and the direction of the strategic efforts of the warring parties. It must be stated that if we consider the purely military aspect of the special operation in Ukraine, then the defeat of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the entire Nazi government is predetermined in a fairly short time. There are many signs of this. Among them are changes in the way Russian aviation is employed; the appearance of fairly high-ranking prisoners of war who voluntarily laid down their arms; the actions of Western elites that are completely meaningless from a military and economic point of view, such as the supply of S-300 air defense systems to Kiev from Slovenia or demands for Turkey to give S-400 air defense systems to Ukrainians; the frankly decadent speeches of the leadership of Ukraine and a number of others. Under these conditions, only political betrayal can prevent the complete defeat of the Ukrainian Nazi regime, if the “fifth column” manages to achieve a cessation of hostilities before the Armed Forces of Ukraine are utterly defeated and compelled to complete and unconditional surrender.
However, regardless of the outcome of the special operation in Ukraine, the war of the Western coalition against Russia will continue to escalate—the Western and global elites cannot stop without defeating Russia or suffering a final defeat in this war. After all, at stake is the shape of the future world, of which there are only two variants. One proclaimed Klaus Schwab—the mouthpiece of the globalists. It has no place for states and national elites—the world is controlled by transnational corporations and is actually privatized by them. An alternative to it is the concept of a multipolar world proclaimed by our president last year at the Davos forum and subsequent key international summits, where states remain the subjects of world politics, and there is no place for the global power of transnational corporations and the corresponding elites.
These two options are mutually exclusive. The victory of one of them means the inevitable collapse, death, at least political and economic sense, and the disappearance of the bearers and beneficiaries of the alternative option into history. Therefore, the struggle has an extremely tough character, when all means are used that can be used without risking their own immediate death. For Western and global elites, the central task on this path is the defeat and subjugation of Russia since it is so far the only leader who has proclaimed an alternative world agenda to globalism. Russia has a nuclear potential capable of physically destroying the global elites and the entire Western world. Without the unification of Russian and American nuclear potentials under the control of the globalists, it is impossible to bring China to its knees. Therefore, the defeat of Russia by initiating a revolution in it in the next few years (two to three years) is a vital task for the globalists and the current Western elites.

Within the framework of this stage, the Western coalition will focus its main efforts on solving the problem of the final defeat of Russia by initiating an unconstitutional change of power with the subsequent control of it.

The defeat of Nazi Ukraine will mean the collapse of the entire strategy built by the West and the globalists over the last twenty years. The consequences of this defeat could be catastrophic for the globalists and have a geopolitical scale. Signs of this are already manifesting themselves today in the emerging rapprochement between the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia with Russia, China’s tough position on the Ukrainian issue, Venezuela’s demand to recognize Maduro as the country’s legitimate president as a condition for starting negotiations with the United States on oil supplies, and a number of other similar manifestations that indicate a loss of authority of the U.S. and the West in the general world order. The result of the defeat of Nazi Ukraine will be a sharp drop in American and, in general, Western influence in the world, which will have the most severe consequences for the economy. Under these conditions, revenge for the Ukrainian defeat may become the main leitmotif of U.S.-European geopolitics.
In turn, the termination of the special operation with the preservation of the current regime, even with a host of various treaty guarantees, will mean a military defeat for Russia. And the consequences of this will be very severe, primarily in the domestic socio-political situation. Such a step will have a negative impact on the international position and status of our country.
Therefore, further escalation of tension in the world, especially military, will increase, and we can expect the next stage of the initial period of the third world [war]. Its main content, most likely, based on the expected global balance of power following the results of the special operation in Ukraine, will be the final division of the states of the world into opposing coalitions, economic and information confrontation, as well as the creation of zones of armed confrontation between irregular formations and regular armed forces of countries that are proxies of the leading centers of power. In each of the coalitions, a core will be clearly identified, which will include the leading centers of power with their closest allies, who strictly pursue a common policy and actively participate in the struggle, and the periphery—countries that support this coalition but only participate in its actions to a limited extent. The core of the Western coalition will be the United States and Britain, and probably France, Germany, and Turkey. The periphery will be made up of the rest of the EU countries, oriented toward Western civilization or the states of Latin America, the Middle East and Africa dependent upon them. The core of an alternative coalition could be Russia, Belarus, and China, and probably North Korea and Iran. The periphery can be made up of the rest of the CSTO countries, as well as the countries of the regions mentioned above, oriented toward Russia and China, in particular Syria.
Within the framework of this stage, the Western coalition will focus its main efforts on solving the problem of the final defeat of Russia by initiating an unconstitutional change of power with the subsequent control of it. To this end, an unlimited economic and information war will continue, combined with attempts to create centers of internal and external armed conflicts and even local wars on the territory of our country or near its borders. Possible areas where the Western coalition may try to initiate military conflicts may be in Russia, in the areas adjacent to Ukraine; in the North Caucasus; in depressed regions, as well as in the regions of the Russian Federation with a significant Islamic population. Possible zones of external military conflicts that our country could be drawn into could be Ukraine, where the West will try to deploy and support the Bandera movement; Central Asian countries with unstable regimes or territorial claims to their neighbors, as well as those bordering Afghanistan. Under certain conditions, the most important of which may be the termination of the special operation without achieving the stated goals, one cannot rule out U.S. attempts to push Japan toward a military solution to the problem of the northern territories.

This is possible as a result of an internal conflict that is growing in American society, expressed in the confrontation between the national and globalist elites. It may enter an acute phase after the autumn elections.

Russia will most likely be forced to take radical economic measures against the EU, up to a complete shutdown of energy supplies and other raw materials, while simultaneously resolving the tasks of parrying the threats posed by the Western coalition, paying special attention to the military ones. China, subject to a weakening U.S. position in the world and the decrease in the integrity and economic potential of the NATO bloc will be the result of sanctions on Russia, can opt for a forceful solution to the Taiwan problem. Against this background, one should expect a sharp increase in military tension around Iran. In Latin America and Africa, conflicts between countries that are on the periphery of opposing coalitions are also likely to escalate.
In terms of duration, this period of the third world war can range from one to three years. It will end with the formation of opposing coalitions and the emergence of clear zones of armed confrontation, where conditions will be created for the start of direct armed confrontation between the armies and navies of the leading world powers. The beginning of this period will put the world on the brink of nuclear war.
And it can be assumed with a high probability, that with the emergence of a more or less large-scale precedent of conflict between the armed forces of the United States, China, and Russia, steps will be taken to prevent further escalation by all conflicting parties. At the same time, this stage of the third world war may end in connection with the withdrawal from the Western coalition of the world’s leading center of power—the United States. This is possible as a result of an internal conflict that is growing in American society, expressed in the confrontation between the national and globalist elites. It may enter an acute phase after the autumn elections, when the U.S. will plunge into solving internal problems, which may lead to a decrease in international tension and the beginning of a de-escalation of the confrontation between Russia and the Western coalition.
Note
1. Konstantin Sivkov, “Украина—только начало: Геополитическим последствием спецоперации станет изменение” [Ukraine is just the beginning: The geopolitical consequences of the special operation will change the entire view of the world], Voyenno-Promyshlennyy Kuryer, 28 March 2022, https://vpk-news.ru/articles/66370.
 
Konstantin Sivkov is a retired Russian naval officer and General Staff Academy graduate who served in the Center for Military-Strategic Research of the General Staff from 1995 to 2007. He holds a Doctor of Military Sciences degree and is a member of Russian Academy of Missile and Artillery Sciences. Sivkov has published over two hundred articles dealing with the processes of armed struggle, the nature of modern wars and armed conflicts, and the organizational development of the armed forces. In addition, he is a cofounder and first vice president of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems, an independent nongovernmental scientific organization specializing in military analysis.


11. Opinion | Biden’s answer to Russia is a new, improved NATO

Conclusion:

The greatest imponderable for NATO is the ultimate outcome of the war in Ukraine. Experience so far shows that Russia’s designs can at least be blunted, and possibly thwarted, given sufficient allied resolve under U.S. leadership. Mr. Biden should act on that lesson as long as he is president — and his successors should, too.


Opinion | Biden’s answer to Russia is a new, improved NATO
The Washington Post · by Editorial Board · June 30, 2022
Whatever else happens in President Biden’s tenure, and no matter how long that tenure lasts, the events this week in Europe will ensure that his presidency is a consequential one. Russian aggression in Ukraine posed a historic challenge, both moral and geopolitical. Mr. Biden responded by pursuing the revitalization and growth of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the very institution whose purported expansionism had been the pretext for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity. The just-concluded NATO summit in Madrid produced both approval for the accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO and stepped-up U.S. troop deployments to Europe, including a first-ever presence in Poland. Instead of backing down or cracking up, as the Russian leader no doubt hoped and quite possibly expected, the alliance has stood up, with unprecedented military assistance to Ukraine. And now it has been further extended geographically and solidified politically.
What a difference it made to have a confirmed believer in transatlantic solidarity in the White House — and bipartisan support for it in Congress as well — at the moment of Mr. Putin’s attack. It’s far from clear that Mr. Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, a frequent apologist for Mr. Putin and critic of the NATO allies’ alleged freeloading, would have responded this way. In the short term, NATO’s fortification on Mr. Biden’s watch is a strategic defeat for Mr. Putin and a strategic win for the West. The long-term impact is harder to gauge, in part because that will depend heavily on the NATO member states’ follow-through over the coming years. Early indications are encouraging, however: NATO member nations are increasing defense spending, with 10 now above the guideline level, 2 percent of gross domestic product, and with the crucial nation of Germany committed to reaching that target after years of neglected defense. Public opinion appears likely to support greater military outlays. A recent Pew Research Center survey of public opinion in 11 NATO member nations found a median support level for the alliance at 65 percent, with approval trending up in seven of the 11.
The stark realization that NATO has not outlived its mutual-protection purpose — that, to the contrary, its members recognize a common enemy — has been galvanizing. Risks to the alliance still loom. One is Turkey’s authoritarian and nationalist shift under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Mr. Erdogan ultimately dropped his objections to Sweden’s and Finland’s membership based on their alleged softness toward Kurdish separatists, but still presents a troubling exception to the alliance’s democratic values. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s announcement of plans for a 300,000-troop rapid reaction force surprised some alliance members. NATO’s updated “strategic concept” document name-checked China as a source of concern for the first time and promised to address “the systemic challenges” it poses; but there were few specifics on how to back up that new commitment with tangible resources.
The greatest imponderable for NATO is the ultimate outcome of the war in Ukraine. Experience so far shows that Russia’s designs can at least be blunted, and possibly thwarted, given sufficient allied resolve under U.S. leadership. Mr. Biden should act on that lesson as long as he is president — and his successors should, too.
The Washington Post · by Editorial Board · June 30, 2022


12. Driving the Dark Road to the Future: A Guide to Revitalizing Defense Planning and Strategic Analysis

Rather than driving in the dark I was thinking of Springsteen's Dancing in the Dark as relevant here as well:

You can't start a fire
You can't start a fire without a spark
This gun's for hire
Even if we're just dancin' in the dark


As an aside, if I were king for a day, I would be tasking all of the advanced military studies programs (SAMS, SAW (a good example as noted in the article), and SAAS) to require each of their students to write a strategic analysis monograph for critical threats for all the combatant commands. When I was at SAMS I wrote my second monograph on the Catastrophic Collapse of north Korea and then was sent to Korea as a planner. My friend and mentor, Bob Collins, had written the Patterns of Collapse and the Seven Phases of Regime Collapse as part of his graduate studies in Korea and we partnered to write the first ROK JCS/UNC/CFC CONPLAN 5029 for north Korean instability and regime collapse. Bob's seven phases of collapse served as the basis for the intelligence estimate and my monographs served as the basis for the strategic estimate. We were well prepared to write the CONPLAN based on our academic research. We have a huge resources of human and intellectual capital in our PME institutions who could be directed to conduct in depth strategic analysis to support defense planning. And then send those students to assignments where they have to implement and live with their analyses. 

Excerpts:
Strategic analysis will only become a more critical enterprise that balances art and science if the stewards of the profession know how to design and evaluate competing propositions about the future force. To use Daniel Kahnmann’s framework in his new book, Noise, the goal is to design decision-making processes that reduce noise and lend themselves to adaption. The military professional will almost certainly get their prediction about the future wrong, so judge analysis based on the analytical process more than its accuracy. It is only by honing the ability to craft predictive processes that we ensure strategic analysis and defense planning evolve as disciplines.
This logic has significant implications for how we teach military professionals and the relationship between the schoolhouse and the military. Learning to drive in the dark requires taking intellectual risks, debating counterfactuals, and testing hypotheses. The classroom cannot be a lecture hall or list of great commanders and great campaigns absent critical analysis and exploring alternatives.
Second, in line with the original vision of J.C. Breckenridge, schoolhouses need to directly connect to current and future operational challenges and teach officers complex problem solving rather than rote memorization or tired historical epiphanies. Too often, classrooms are disconnected from the needs of the force in modern professional military education. While students need time to learn foundational ideas, they also need exposure to the uncertainty and complexity at the core of defense planning and strategic analysis. More importantly, they need to be empowered to make predictions, test hypotheses, and organize wargames and other analytical tools that help shape the future force and grow them professionally.


Driving the Dark Road to the Future: A Guide to Revitalizing Defense Planning and Strategic Analysis - War on the Rocks
warontherocks.com · by Benjamin Jensen · July 1, 2022
The Secretary and I rely on robust analysis to inform strategic decisions on policy, risk management, and options for the future force. We need analysis to explore key assumptions, variables, and uncertainty in the future environment, ideally within the context of multiple future scenarios. Organizations seeking strategic decisions must provide the Secretary and I with options to consider and highlight key assumptions and limitations. We expect that the underlying analytic work is robust, well-socialized and that the data, methodology, and findings are credible.
-Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks, Feb. 2, 2022
There is a dirty secret at the heart of defense planning. Plans, force design debates, and budget analysis all hang on arguments, assumptions, and analysis that would receive a failing grade in an undergraduate research methods seminar. The underlying logic tends to be deductive absent sufficient analytical mechanisms to evaluate alternatives much less consider the challenge of uncertainty. Following the classic deductive reasoning exemplar that Socrates is man, all men are mortal, therefore Socrates is mortal, defense strategy too often is reduced to my widget is lethal, lethality wins war, my widget will win the next war. Context, obstacles, and competition are wished away. Complex historical cases are reduced to mythmaking and trends divined into simplistic scenarios to justify predictions derived from deduction. According to Anthony Cordesman, analysis becomes ritual. As a result, policymakers find themselves driving in the dark.
How can the military professional escape this trap? While previous work has focused on principles, we propose a practice-oriented approach that involves iterated wargaming and sensemaking combined with best practices from data science where the player is radically empowered and central. Building better plans, force designs, and concepts starts with enlightened soldiers and cultivating Bildung, the German Enlightenment concept of education, character, intellect, and professional development to create more reflective practitioners at the center of Peter Perla’s cycle of research. Strategic analysis is not a sterile, abstract process where manuals and reports alone will save the republic from losing the next war. It is the quest to make the future, not respond to it. Seen this way, the selection of methods and holding each to their own standard by the people who will sacrifice the most in the making of the future is the best light to help navigate the dark road to the future.
Below we outline an unclassified experiment conducted over the last year to empower operational planners from the School of Advanced Warfighting at Marine Corps University to design and develop wargames testing force design propositions in collaboration with the U.S. Marine Corps Warfighting Lab. Contrary to the sweeping attacks emerging across the retired general officer community, force design is not without merit. It illuminates larger opportunities and challenges on the horizon for a joint force set to prioritize active campaigning, integrated deterrence, and building enduring advantages when the new National Defense Strategy is finalized. More importantly, the experiment points to an approach for overcoming the methodological challenges inherent in defense planning and competitive strategy. Treating professional military education more like Montessori for warriors is the best way to revitalize strategic analysis.
How Do I Know What I Know?
The military professional has long wrestled with both epistemic and aleatory uncertaintyEpistemic uncertainty, also referred to as systematic uncertainty, concerns questions about whether or not a model, parameter, or process is an accurate representation of a future state. It assumes you can generate a correct answer to questions like, “What is the optimal force design for deterring China and reassuring Europe partners standing up to Russian aggression?” If the military professional gets the model right, they can see the outlines of an unfolding future. Aleatory uncertainty is the domain of random processes. Black swans and unrepeatable processes cast a shadow over any attempt to divine the future. The military professional cannot answer the question about deterrence and assurance posed above. It is impossible to know the right answer because it is random. The only viable planning option is to hedge and make a lot of small bets in search of a big payoff.
Too often, the existential dread of uncertainty leads to a search for false idols preaching certainty. Overtime a collection of bureaucratic processes — organizational alchemy — codified defense strategic analysis activities such as the Planning, Programmatic, Budgeting and Execution System, the Joint Strategic Planning System, and Support to Strategic Analysis. After 2018, the prevailing view was that the existing model of strategic analysis was insufficient to prepare for a new era of great power competition. Thus the Department of Defense started using the Joint Force Operating Scenario framework, which supported — among other things — the analysis and evaluation process that produced the new U.S. Marine Corps force design and stand-in force concept.
All of these processes — new and old — rest on an impossible task: predicting the future. Even more vexing, defense planning involves timelines that are often five (the future years defense program) to 30 years (the shipbuilding plan) into the future, making the task even more challenging. The longer the forecast horizon, the larger the predictive interval and the larger the range of possible outcomes. There is no single future, but an endless unfolding of alternative pathways and timelines.
The Least Bad Answer
Over the last year, faculty at the School of Advanced Warfighting embarked on an experiment. What if instead of the traditional continuum of planning exercises, classroom instruction, and lectures, students were introduced to different analytical methods and wargame designs as a means of empowering them to answer vexing questions of increasing complexity and uncertainty such as the optimal future force design? The intent was to give students the ability to wrestle with uncertainty and struggle with the impossible task of describing (and testing) paths to the future. There were four intermediate objectives associated with this larger purpose, oriented around graduating an operational planner able to: first, sponsor a wargame associated with force design, operational plans, and emergent concepts of operation; second, participate in combatant command and service-level wargames; third, understand how to design an analytical wargame; and fourth, interpret wargame results to adjust and improve a force design, concept, or plan. The yearlong vision was designed to culminate with three student-designed and student-led operational-level wargames related to the U.S. Marine Corps Warfighting Lab’s campaign of learning evaluating force design concepts.
The design of the experiment emerged from previous reform effortswargames, and a desire to connect defense strategic analysis and combat development to the schoolhouse. Students were introduced to historical cases, decision games, and seminars that allowed them to explore how to apply wargaming to current and future operational problems of varying and increasing complexity. These seminars moved from post-World War II analytic wargaming by RAND and service-level initiatives like the global series and Unified Quest to debates about modern battle networks and the concept of stand-in forces. In addition to classroom instruction on advanced planning techniques, the curricula also included red teaming to help students employ alternative analysis techniques alongside traditional wargaming and social science methods.
The mix of seminars, games, and students knowing they had to create a process to answer questions about the future of the U.S. Marine Corps created a classroom that was more laboratory than lecture hall. Students explored how to combine modeling and simulation with wargaming, how to test assumptions as hypotheses, how to approach wargaming through the lens of the scientific method, and how to potentially include automated wargaming processes such as machine learning and artificial intelligence. Throughout, the students anchored on the necessity of human decision-making as the basis for wargaming, applying Sid Meir’s mantra that “games are a series of interesting decisions.” This approach reinforced the school’s vision of forging operational planners through honing and cultivating Bildung through complex problem-solving, self-reflection, and professional growth. The focus was less on what a student knows and more on how to learn and create knowledge that addresses emerging problems in the profession of arms.
Seminars were punctuated with hands-on gaming and decision-making. First, the school adapted the game Axis and Allies and its opensource variant, Triple A, to create a dynamic game environment where students could fight each other and analyze force posture, design, and modernization efforts in relation to ongoing campaigns. The students made strategic decisions on a worldwide scale to balance ends, ways, means, and risk but more importantly were engaged in a competitive wargaming environment with other free-thinking participants and multiple pathways to victory. Called Strategy Lab, the forum served as a vehicle to help students discuss what types of analytical wargames they would design based on the course of the game.
Second, the faculty introduced best practice digital and table-top wargaming tools, such as the Operational Warfighting Series, to the students in both planning exercises and short, seminar-length wargames and decision exercises. Each of the curriculum planning exercises ended with an actual wargame where students fought their plan against a thinking enemy using a mix of Matrix Game commercial-off-the shelf offerings from Operational Art of War IV for historical counterfactual games to Command for modern air and naval operations. Historical counterfactual games helped students explore joint principles of war as an analytical tool to evaluate how their plans for joint forcible entry operations unfolded in contact with a thinking enemy. Modern games helped students gain an appreciation for battle networks, salvo exchanges, and critical information effects ranging from cyber and electronic warfare to deception. In other words, the games served as ideal types that encouraged reflection, learning, and experimentation while helping students think about how they might build their own games around interesting military decisions.
Third, after exposing the students to a range of historical games and gaming methods, faculty adapted the capstone planning exercise to empower students to design and execute unclassified analytical wargames for the Warfighting Lab. The capstone planning exercise focused on Marine stand-in forces in the Indo-Pacific in support of the joint force in competition and in the escalation from competition to crisis with a peer adversary. This two-week exercise helped students apply their understanding of planning and adversary doctrine, military theory, and capabilities to develop viable military options for campaigning beneath the threshold of armed conflict and the transition from crisis to conflict. While the exercise focused on a theater-level challenge, it did so in a manner that stressed naval campaigning and the employment of Marine littoral regiments at the core of the emerging force design concept.
Against this backdrop, students were organized into three planning teams that spent a month designing, executing, and assessing the Marine littoral regiment and its ability to contribute to a naval campaign along three lines of inquiry: first, the extent to which the formation and associated employment concepts provide a credible force to assure allies and deter adversaries; second, whether the new formation provides viable military options for the naval campaign in the transition from competition to crisis; and third, whether or not the formation is cost effective overtime. While the school faculty and Warfighting Lab provided advisors and subject matter experts, the goal was to radically empower the students to design analytical wargames and evaluate the results independently as a means of practicing empowerment and cultivating Bildung.
In other words, revitalizing strategic analysis starts with giving military professionals space to teach themselves to drive in the dark and evaluate tradeoffs in the making of the future force. The end state is the reflective practitioner, not the power point brief, white paper, or near-term bureaucratic debate. If the schoolhouse can graduate thinkers who embrace uncertainty, complexity, and develop novel and rigorous methods to answer hard questions for senior leaders, it increases the ability of the military to out-adapt and out-innovate rivals. Winning the next war starts with cultivating more intellectually curious and analytically astute planners.
What did the students find? While a series of publications will detail insights over the next year in Proceedings, some top line observations standout. First, the wargames that tested the deter and assure aspects of force design as they relate to naval campaigns illustrated that network connectivity is more important than individual weapon lethality in modern war. Deterrence is not just about capabilities. It also involves questions of resolve (credibility) and signaling (communication). The more a modern battle network connects services and partners, the more credible it is as a signaling mechanism. Services need to be more deliberate in factoring these aspects into their force design and ensuring partner interoperability across the battle network to create deterrent effects. In this respect, integrated deterrence and Joint All Domain Command and Control show promise, but the devil will be in the details and ensuring that services don’t produce overly stove-piped systems incapable of communicating with one another and that partners are allowed to plan together. Interoperability is not just technical. It has human and procedural components.
Second, there are tradeoffs at the operational level in how to sustain future naval campaigns that require additional scrutiny. The current debate about force design is too narrow and doesn’t consider operational-level logistics and how (or if) new platforms like the light amphibious warship will connect with existing amphibious ships and pre-positioned stockpiles to create the depth required to provide viable options to geographic combatant commanders in a crisis. Understanding the costs to move resources and ensure operational reach as well the likelihood the constellation of lift assets, bases, and partner access can survive contact is a central question for future study.
On to the Next Experiment
Strategic analysis will only become a more critical enterprise that balances art and science if the stewards of the profession know how to design and evaluate competing propositions about the future force. To use Daniel Kahnmann’s framework in his new book, Noise, the goal is to design decision-making processes that reduce noise and lend themselves to adaption. The military professional will almost certainly get their prediction about the future wrong, so judge analysis based on the analytical process more than its accuracy. It is only by honing the ability to craft predictive processes that we ensure strategic analysis and defense planning evolve as disciplines.
This logic has significant implications for how we teach military professionals and the relationship between the schoolhouse and the military. Learning to drive in the dark requires taking intellectual risks, debating counterfactuals, and testing hypotheses. The classroom cannot be a lecture hall or list of great commanders and great campaigns absent critical analysis and exploring alternatives.
Second, in line with the original vision of J.C. Breckenridge, schoolhouses need to directly connect to current and future operational challenges and teach officers complex problem solving rather than rote memorization or tired historical epiphanies. Too often, classrooms are disconnected from the needs of the force in modern professional military education. While students need time to learn foundational ideas, they also need exposure to the uncertainty and complexity at the core of defense planning and strategic analysis. More importantly, they need to be empowered to make predictions, test hypotheses, and organize wargames and other analytical tools that help shape the future force and grow them professionally.
Benjamin Jensen, Ph.D., is a professor of strategic studies at the School of Advanced Warfighting and a senior fellow for future war, gaming, and strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Michael Rountree is a Marine officer serving as the Operational Planning course director at the School of Advanced Warfighting.
The views expressed are their own and do not reflect the views or positions of the U.S. Marine Corps, the Department of Defense, or any part of the U.S. government.
Image: Creative Commons via Flickr user Ian Livesey
warontherocks.com · by Benjamin Jensen · July 1, 2022


13. 3 ways Vladimir Putin has already lost in Ukraine


Excerpts:

If Ukraine survives as an independent state — something that was very much in doubt in February but now looks likely — it will almost certainly be a nation more uniformly opposed to Russian influence and more eager to assimilate into the West than ever before. That will be true even if Russia continues to occupy Ukrainian territory or declare new “people’s republics” in the regions it controls. It may even prove more true, given that the Russia supporters who remain — and they do exist — are more likely to be in these areas.
Putin’s expansionist vision is meeting opposition in other parts of the former Soviet Union. After Putin used his speech at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum to make the claim that all former Soviet territory was part of “historical Russia,” he was mildly but unmistakably rebuffed by Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the president of Kazakhstan. Tokayev restated his government’s refusal to recognize the “quasi-state entities” in Luhansk and Donetsk, referring to the sanctity of territorial integrity as defined in the U.N. Charter. The remark was all the more noteworthy given that Tokayev was sharing the stage with Putin, and that just five months ago he had welcomed a Russian military intervention into his country in order to put down anti-government demonstrations.
The invasion of Ukraine has not only accelerated that country’s departure from Russia’s sphere of influence, it seems to have other post-Soviet countries warily eyeing the exit. Whatever you call that, it’s not a victory.


3 ways Vladimir Putin has already lost in Ukraine
How Putin’s fear of losing Ukraine to the West became a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Global Security Reporter
July 1, 2022
grid.news · by Joshua Keating
After months of optimism, the Ukrainian resistance to Russia’s invasion is in a very dark phase right now.
The fall of the key city of Severodonetsk last week has left the eastern province of Luhansk — one of two provinces that make up the contested region known as the Donbas — almost entirely under Russian control. After multiple missteps at the beginning of the war, Russia’s forces have settled on a strategy that more or less works: a slow grinding advance that leverages their advantage in artillery and ammunition. And while Ukraine’s strategy now appears to make the Russians pay dearly for every inch of territory, Ukrainian officials say they are losing as many as 100 troops per day.
This war has continually frustrated attempts to predict its trajectory, but at the very least, we can say that a recent debate over whether Ukraine should settle for pushing the Russians back to where they were in February, or fight to fully liberate areas that have been occupied since 2014, now looks like it was premature. There’s a real chance Russia will continue to occupy much of eastern Ukraine for the foreseeable future.
But to define this as “victory” for Russian President Vladimir Putin would be to allow him to rewrite history, ignoring his justifications for launching this war in the first place. Yes, Putin talked specifically about liberating Russian speakers in the Donbas, but his emphasis — including in his Feb. 24 speech announcing the start of the “special military operation” — was on larger-scale geopolitical grievances. He told the Russian public that it was a “matter of life and death” to counter the “further expansion of the North Atlantic alliance’s infrastructure, or the ongoing efforts to gain a military foothold of the Ukrainian territory.” This expansion, Putin said, was part of a U.S.-led “policy of containing Russia, with obvious geopolitical dividends,” and the perceived Western encroachment into countries bordering Russia was what made it necessary to “demilitarize and denazify Ukraine.”
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By Putin’s own criteria, his war has been accomplishing the exact opposite of its aims. Economically, militarily and culturally, the Russian invasion has pushed Ukraine out of the Kremlin’s sphere of influence and further into the embrace of the United States and Europe.
On Europe’s doorstep
Speaking at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on June 17, Putin said that the prospect of Ukrainian membership in the European Union was not a concern for him “because the EU is not a military organization.” If only Putin had come to this realization nine years earlier, a whole lot of trouble might have been avoided.
While Russia’s objections to NATO expansion get more attention, it was actually Ukraine’s aspiration to join the EU that set the decadelong Russia-Ukraine crisis in motion. In 2013, the Ukrainian government had been preparing to sign an association agreement with the EU — a preliminary step toward membership — but after a sustained pressure campaign from Moscow, including threats of trade sanctions and energy cutoffs, President Viktor Yanukovych abruptly shifted course, announcing that he was abandoning the EU agreement and signing a new economic pact with Russia instead. This reversal sparked the massive “Euromaidan” protests in Kyiv and led to Yanukovych’s ouster; that unrest was followed closely by Russia’s annexation of Crimea and invasion of the Donbas.
The association agreement was eventually signed after Yanukovych’s overthrow in 2014, but EU leaders still viewed Ukraine’s aspirations somewhat warily, regularly castigating its leaders for high levels of political corruption and economic dysfunction.
Then came war.
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Just last week, Ukraine was granted EU candidate status, along with Moldova — another country with a Russian-backed enclave on its territory. Ukraine had applied for this status only a few days after the Russian invasion, and its approval was granted with record speed (provoking understandable frustration among a number of Balkan countries that have spent years waiting for progress on their EU bids). Beyond the major vote of confidence in Ukraine from its counterparts in Europe, it’s also a step made possible by Russia’s invasion and Ukraine’s resistance.
“In the short term, if not for the war, the candidate status would probably not have been in reach,” Marie Dumoulin, a former French diplomat now with the European Council on Foreign Relations, told Grid. “Some bigger [EU] member states were totally allergic to even discussing a potential European perspective for Ukraine, not to mention candidate status. What the war changed is the public perception of Ukraine. There is a very strong empathy for Ukrainians all around Europe. Ukraine is now perceived as part of the European family because it’s fighting for its freedom and its right to be, not an ideal, but a democratic state.”
Putin may downplay EU membership today as a mere economic alliance, but it was the dream that brought Ukrainians to the streets in 2014, and one that Putin himself has now made achievable.
When NATO weapons head east
In insisting that Russia’s influence be extended westward, Putin certainly wanted NATO’s military presence pushed away from Russia and the former Soviet republics. Here, too, his war has had the reverse effect.
The war has driven home a reality about today’s border between “the West” and the former Soviet bloc: It’s as much about hardware as it is economics or politics. From the difference in railway gauges inhibiting the shipment of grain out of Ukraine to the common power grid that leaves the Baltic countries vulnerable to Russian energy disruption, the legacy of the Soviet Union is hardwired into countries’ infrastructure in a way that’s very difficult to remove.
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Right now, the piece of hardware that’s most consequential for the war is probably the artillery shell. At the outset of the war, the Ukrainian military relied on Soviet-era artillery systems, which fire Soviet-gauge ammunition. NATO systems use a different type of shell. Unfortunately for the Ukrainians, the bulk of the world’s supply of Soviet-gauge ammunition is in the country they’re fighting against. As Mark Cancian, a senior adviser with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, recently told Grid, “The U.S. has now literally bought the world’s supply of Soviet-standard artillery ammunition. … There just isn’t very much of it out there. So that’s one of the reasons that they’re now moving to NATO-standard.”
As Ukrainian leaders concede, the country probably isn’t joining NATO any time soon. But their new military gifts from NATO — HIMARSHarpoonsCAESARs, and Panzerhaubitzes — mean they are ever more tied into NATO supply chains, as well as NATO training on how to use and maintain these systems. The war is “Westernizing” Ukraine’s neighbors as well: As former Eastern Bloc countries Romania, Poland and Slovakia have shipped what’s left of their Soviet military equipment to Ukraine, their arsenals are being backfilled by new NATO systems.
Taken together, the staggering quantity of U.S. military aid, the unofficial but very apparent role of U.S. spies and commandos in coordinating this aid on the ground in Ukraine, and the bolstering of NATO forces with more U.S. troops elsewhere in Eastern Europe make clear that Putin’s warnings of U.S. military power moving ever closer to Russia’s borders are becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.
New language
One Russian-speaking resident of Kharkiv recently told the Washington Post that after she was awakened by a rocket barrage one morning, she had a revelation: “That very instant, and all that stress, served to make me reject the Russian language — completely.” After the Russian invasion, she said, she decided she had “no right to use any language other than Ukrainian.”
Putin often refers to the idea of a “Russian world,” which “extends far from Russia’s geographical borders and even far from the borders of the Russian ethnicity,” but is united by a common culture, history and — especially — language. The Kremlin has invested heavily in efforts to promote Russian language and culture in other countries in the region. He openly rues the fact that the “Russian world” is now divided by post-Soviet borders and has used the supposed persecution of Russian speakers in Ukraine as a justification for military intervention in both 2014 and 2022.
It’s certainly true that the Russian language is a prominent part of Ukraine’s public life and culture. About a third of Ukrainians speak Russian as their first language — including President Volodymyr Zelenskyy — and a majority speak it fluently. And the cultural-linguistic lines between the two countries are sometimes a little blurry. For instance, some of “Russian” literature’s most celebrated writers, including Nikolai Gogol and Mikhail Bulgakov, were actually born in what is now Ukraine.
In recent years, the Ukrainian government has made a number of efforts — many of them controversial — to mandate the use of Ukrainian in public settings. But perhaps nobody has done more damage to the Russian language in Ukraine than Putin himself.
Since the war began, Ukrainian-language clubs have cropped up throughout western Ukraine to help Russian speakers who have fled the East, an effort to help them make “the switch.” Online Ukrainian courses are reportedly very popular as well.
Ukraine’s linguistic divide was once a political one as well. The map of areas that went for the “pro-Russian” Yanukovych and his “pro-European” rival in the 2010 presidential election is nearly identical to a map of areas where Russian is more widely spoken. But there are signs this division is fading away. A Wall Street Journal-NORC poll this week found that “support for Mr. Zelensky among people who primarily speak Russian or the Russian-Ukrainian patois known as surzhik was nearly as high as among people who primarily speak Ukrainian, suggesting that the invasion has unified the nation more than it has exacerbated its cultural divisions.”
Some 79 percent of those who primarily speak Russian said they had come to view the Russian people more negatively, only slightly below the number of Ukrainian speakers who felt that way. Seventy-seven percent of Ukrainians now oppose teaching Russian in schools and universities, and 73 percent oppose allowing it to be spoken in courts and government institutions.
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As Zelenskyy, who switched to speaking Ukrainian before running for office, put it, “Russia itself is doing everything to ensure that de-Russification takes place on the territory of our state.”
The shrinking “Russian world”
If Ukraine survives as an independent state — something that was very much in doubt in February but now looks likely — it will almost certainly be a nation more uniformly opposed to Russian influence and more eager to assimilate into the West than ever before. That will be true even if Russia continues to occupy Ukrainian territory or declare new “people’s republics” in the regions it controls. It may even prove more true, given that the Russia supporters who remain — and they do exist — are more likely to be in these areas.
Putin’s expansionist vision is meeting opposition in other parts of the former Soviet Union. After Putin used his speech at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum to make the claim that all former Soviet territory was part of “historical Russia,” he was mildly but unmistakably rebuffed by Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the president of Kazakhstan. Tokayev restated his government’s refusal to recognize the “quasi-state entities” in Luhansk and Donetsk, referring to the sanctity of territorial integrity as defined in the U.N. Charter. The remark was all the more noteworthy given that Tokayev was sharing the stage with Putin, and that just five months ago he had welcomed a Russian military intervention into his country in order to put down anti-government demonstrations.
The invasion of Ukraine has not only accelerated that country’s departure from Russia’s sphere of influence, it seems to have other post-Soviet countries warily eyeing the exit. Whatever you call that, it’s not a victory.
Thanks to Lillian Barkley for copy editing this article.
grid.news · by Joshua Keating


14. Pentagon Agency Wants to Send Arms Monitors to Ukraine

This is a helluva way to build trust with our friends and partners. We will not send advisors or enabling capabilities but we will send "monitors" to check up on our equipment.  

A more effective approach might be to send actual combat advisors to offer real advice and assistance and have them report the ground truth to provide situational awareness. As a secondary mission they can track US provided equipment and provide reports on its maintenance and effectiveness and make recommendations for additional systems and replacement of combat losses or inoperable systems.

But this article makes us seem that we are more concerned with bureaucratic processes and monitoring than we are on providing substantive advice and assistance. The irony is we can do both if we deploy the right people. But if our only concern is "arms monitoring" and bureaucratic processes we will undermine our trust with the Ukrainians.

As an aside it was a condition of the program when we provided $2.1 million in military aid to the Philippines to stand up their national counterterrorism forces (vision of the late Ambassador Michael Sheehan) that our Special Forces advisors reported on the status and accountability of the US equipment provided to the Light Reaction Company. This can be done in such a way to enhance trust rather than undermine it if good relationships are established and sustained.

Another benefit to this is that advisors can learn from the Ukrainians as they adapt our weapons and perhaps use them in ways we have not foreseen and achieve effects we did not anticipate. This can have a positive impact on doctrine and training as the Ukrainian innovate out of necessity. Amr control monitors will not be able to observe these effects. Only combat advisors with operational units and resistance forces can do that.


Pentagon Agency Wants to Send Arms Monitors to Ukraine
The defense officials would make sure U.S. weapons are being used and stored properly.
defenseone.com · by Marcus Weisgerber
Pentagon leaders should consider sending weapons inspectors to Ukraine to monitor the billions of dollars’ worth of U.S. arms flowing to the country, a top Defense Department official said.
All U.S. officials can do now is review receipts of the arms transfers from other locations in Europe and take Ukrainian officials’ word that the weapons are being properly used and stored.
“Over time, we would like to be able to extend our insights with greater presence on the ground,” said Jed Royal, deputy director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, the arm of the Pentagon that oversees U.S. arms sales.
Royal spoke as U.S. lawmakers push to create a new U.S. government watchdog to oversee the more than $6 billion in security assistance sent in the wake of Russia’s February invasion.
Royal said senior administration officials, outside of DSCA, will decide if and when weapon inspectors enter Ukraine.
If such teams are sent in, they would not be “some kind of operational detachment or anything along those lines,” he told reporters on a Thursday conference call.
“What I'm talking about is a security cooperation office, appropriately the right size given the mission set for Ukraine, that would fall under chief of mission authority like we have in other countries,” he said.
The Pentagon’s “end-use monitoring” mission typically involves inspectors physically reviewing weapons and checking serial numbers. That is “just harder to do that without a robust presence on the ground,” Royal said.
Without one, “we are somewhat limited in our ability to get the kind of insight that we would like to have.”
Royal said his organization is working closely with Ukrainian officials.
“[C]ommunication with the Ukrainians has been extremely robust and the assurances that we have received from the Ukrainians about how they are handling these systems and protecting them, I will say, has been very robust and satisfactory,” he said.
Typically, arms monitoring officials “actually go open up warehouses and bunkers and actually check by serial number, these systems of highest interest to make sure that the accounting is what we think that it is, or is as it is being reported,” he said.
If U.S. arms inspectors go to Ukraine, “we should be in a position to actually go and do more physical validation verification,” Royal said. Officials are “going to have to get creative” about how they go about their inspections since Ukraine is a war zone.
Obviously, investigating on the ground in Ukraine would be difficult at present. During a roundtable discussion with reporters on Thursday, Sean O’Donnell, acting inspector general for the Defense Department, said that the office will send a senior auditor to Germany this month to meet with European Command officials. O’Donnell said that there are many ways, from video-conferencing to careful analysis of reports, for oversight professionals to do their work outside of the country. He added that the State Department might have a presence in the country and if the Defense Department were to establish a presence there then an IG presence might be something “worth considering.”
Patrick Tucker contributed to this report.
defenseone.com · by Marcus Weisgerber


15. China’s Vast Maritime Claims Are Becoming Reality


No surprise here.

Conclusion:

The bottom line here is that China is engaged in a long-term power play. Its mouthpieces will continue to muddy the rhetorical waters, believing that while Beijing cannot win the debate on the legal merits, it can keep its intimidated rivals off-balance while strengthening its military position until such time as it no longer matters what the law says.



China’s Vast Maritime Claims Are Becoming Reality
Recent comments from Chinese officials highlight how Beijing purposefully conflates existing legal terminology with its own extralegal claims.
thediplomat.com · by Raymond Powell · June 29, 2022
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On June 13th, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin held an extraordinary press conference in which he made a series of audacious statements about the sprawling reach of Beijing’s territorial sovereignty and administrative authority. Placed in the context of China’s other recent actions and statements, the incredible size and shape of its regional ambitions are brought into sharp relief.
In simple terms, Beijing is determined to thoroughly dominate its region.
Wang began by addressing Canada’s protests over China’s harassment of its reconnaissance aircraft, which were enforcing United Nations sanctions of North Korea. It was China, Wang countered, that had reason to be “threatened” by “the Canadian military aircraft that flew thousands of miles to harass China at its doorstep.”
This is patent nonsense, of course. China voted for the U.N. sanctions in question, together with the “enhanced vigilance” against illicit petroleum transfers the unarmed Canadian plane was deployed to ensure. This wasn’t about threats to China. Rather, it was part of a brazen pattern designed to deter and intimidate foreign ships and aircraft from operating legally in China’s rapidly growing sphere of influence – specifically the international sea and airspace that China wants the world to accept as its own sovereign territory.
And make no mistake, that claimed territory is massive, including well over 3.5 million square miles of the maritime commons and the skies above it. Of course, China has not yet gained complete control over all this space, but its effective control is growing and its ambitions are increasingly clear.
Just ask the crew of the Australian P-8A Poseidon patrol aircraft that on May 26th was buzzed by a Chinese fighter jet near the Paracel Islands. The Chinese fighter also released flares near the Australian plane, followed by aluminum strips called chaff, some of which were dangerously ingested into the Poseidon’s engines.
Again, Beijing’s military spokesperson was quick to pin the “dangerous and provocative” label on the target of its aggression, declaring that the unarmed Australian plane “threatened China’s sovereignty” because it “approached China’s territorial airspace” over the Paracels. It is noteworthy that China did not claim the aircraft actually violated its (already exaggerated) territorial claims in the Paracels, but disinformation is central to its rhetorical strategy.
This strategy begins by effectively nullifying the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, or UNCLOS, which China signed in 1996 and has never formally abrogated. While still giving occasional lip-service to this agreement, Beijing pivots to claim “historic rights” within the entirety of its baseless nine-dashed line around the South China Sea. Under this formulation, this vast maritime commons is unilaterally reclassified as China’s domestic territory, ostensibly marking it outside of UNCLOS’ purview.
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China’s government then embarked on a bold campaign to back up its claim by sheer force of overwhelming presence. It did so by building out its occupied rocks and reefs into bases capable of sustaining both forward-deployed military assets and — more immediately — its rapidly expanding maritime militia.
Thus, when a U.N.-mandated tribunal ruled in 2016 that its claims were nonsense, Beijing could simply shrug its shoulders. Having already changed the facts on the reclaimed ground to ensure its smaller neighbors would dance to its tune, China has determined that might will eventually make right in the South China Sea.
Further north, China’s claims rely on a somewhat different obfuscation, as evidenced by Wang’s June 13 comments. Referring to the Canadian flights, he said that “none of the relevant Security Council resolutions mandated any country to deploy forces for surveillance operations in the sea or airspace under the jurisdiction of another country” (emphasis added).
Where specifically was this alleged violation of China’s “jurisdiction”? Wang didn’t elaborate, but we know that China has increasingly expansive views on this, and makes liberal use of smoke and mirrors to justify these claims as somehow consistent with international law.
We need only to look at another of Wang’s June 13 assertions to see this phenomenon in action: “According to UNCLOS and Chinese laws, the waters of the Taiwan Strait, extending from both shores toward the middle of the Strait, are divided into several zones including internal waters, territorial sea, contiguous zone, and the Exclusive Economic Zone. China has sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the Taiwan Strait.”
Wang’s device here is to conflate the definition of the territorial sea, which extends a mere 12 nautical miles from a nation’s coastline, with that of the 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone. While UNCLOS does grant a degree of sovereignty over the former (and even that does not prohibit straight-line innocent passage), the latter grants the coastal state only the right to exploit maritime resources, while explicitly retaining the uninhibited freedom of navigation and overflight for “all nations.”
The bottom line here is that China is engaged in a long-term power play. Its mouthpieces will continue to muddy the rhetorical waters, believing that while Beijing cannot win the debate on the legal merits, it can keep its intimidated rivals off-balance while strengthening its military position until such time as it no longer matters what the law says.
thediplomat.com · by Raymond Powell · June 29, 2022


16. War fatigue in the West

We passed the "compassion test." Good. But we have to sustain our support. By showing our initial compassion and helping the Ukrainians to defend themselves we prevented the successful occupation and domination by Russia. But the sustained fighting has led to a huge cost in Ukrainian blood and treasure as they fight for their freedom. That would not have been expended had Russia won a quick victory (of course the people would suffer in many possibly worse ways). But now that so much blood and treasure has been expended because of our help, I would argue we have a moral responsibility to see this through to the end which is a Ukrainian victory. For us to abandon Ukraine before victory is achieved will not only be the height of irresponsibility and moral bankruptcy, it could have huge implications for foreign affairs and national security in the future and around the world.



War fatigue in the West
BERMET TALANT
The democratic world passed the compassion test for Ukraine. Now it faces the real challenge.
lowyinstitute.org · by Bermet Talant
Ukraine’s heroic fight against the Russian invasion sparked a powerful response from the democratic world, not only in the trans-Atlantic neighborhood but also from Asia-Pacific nations – Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. Governments imposed sanctions, businesses halted their operations in Russia, and Ukrainian refugees were welcomed.
The international public opinion echoed far and wide in its unanimity. According to the 2022 Lowy Poll, Russian foreign policy is viewed as a top threat to Australia, bigger than climate change. And Japan, not known as a country offering sanctuary to refugees and asylum seekers, accepted 1,300 Ukrainians fleeing the war.
Now in its fifth month, the war has turned into a complex, protracted slog with no clear outcome or end in sight. A rare story about Ukraine these days goes without mentioning the war fatigue that has set in or is setting in in Western countries.
Political leaders have warned that fatigue could undermine the West’s aid to Ukraine. Social media interactions on Ukraine stories have dropped. Journalists on the ground say it has become harder to sell stories as Western audiences’ attention shifted toward domestic issues and grappling with the rising cost of living.
This is frustrating but not surprising.
As the media spotlight moves away from the battleground, people who are the most exhausted with the war – Ukrainians – continue to suffer facing the uncertainty of the future.
People’s attention can take in only so many horrors. After Russia’s failed blitzkrieg on Kyiv and regional capitals and the shocking exposure of Russian atrocities in Bucha, Irpin, and Mariupol, the war has settled into a battle of attrition that has largely unfolded around villages and smaller cities in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region. Elections, summer (or winter) holidays, and skyrocketing prices for food and energy have taken over the list of priorities in people’s minds in Europe, Australia, and elsewhere.
What matters more is whether political leaders are ready to overcome internal disagreements and domestic discontent, not only for the sake of Ukraine, but also for the world.
While Russia hasn’t achieved its goal of a swift military victory, it has succeeded in occupying 20 per cent of Ukraine’s territory. International sanctions on Russia and Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian Black Sea exports are leading to huge inflation in food and energy prices. The UN World Food Program has raised the alarm over the resulting threat of worldwide hunger and unrest.
European support has been mixed. Last week, European Union members unanimously backed candidacy to join the bloc, in a symbolic expression of solidarity. But they have been less united on the question of sanctions and supplies of weapons.
The United Kingdom, Poland, and Baltic states have been the most vocal in calling for more support for Ukraine. In a recent op-ed for Politico, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki called for the United States and Europe “to intervene more forcefully” because “a protracted war could mean not only Ukraine’s downfall but – in the long term – the rise of a new global hegemony, which will be able to marginalise the Western world.” In contrast, Hungary has been stalling new sanctions on Russia and pushing for a ceasefire negotiations.
Two high-profile meetings this week will be key tests of Western unity on Ukraine, and of whether the usual pledges of support will be matched by material increases in economic and military aid for Ukraine and tighter financial pressure on Russia. Moscow has managed to weather the economic pressure so far, despite defaulting on some external sovereign bonds earlier this week.
The meeting of the G7 leaders in Bavaria includes discussions aimed at ramping up this pressure, by establishing a price cap on Russian oil exports and banning Russian gold imports.
A NATO summit in Madrid is promised to be “transformative,” according to the alliance’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg. The bloc will discuss more weapons assistance to Ukraine as well as the new security concept to address Russia’s threat and China’s growing influence. Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and South Korea have been invited to join.
As the media spotlight moves away from the battleground, people who are the most exhausted with the war – Ukrainians – continue to suffer facing the uncertainty of the future. Although the active fighting is concentrated in the country’s east, nowhere is safe from Russian missile strikes.
On June 27, when G7 leaders issued a statement pledging “to continue to provide financial, humanitarian, military and diplomatic support and stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes,” Russian missiles hit a busy shopping center in Kremenchuk, a city in central Ukraine. Sixteen people have been confirmed dead so far and dozens were injured. A day earlier, a missile hit an apartment block in the capital of Kyiv.
lowyinstitute.org · by Bermet Talant

17. China has a PR problem — and it’s not just over Hong Kong. Here’s why in three charts.




China has a PR problem — and it’s not just over Hong Kong. Here’s why in three charts.
A new survey shows more and more people in advanced economies hold unfavorable views of China.

China Reporter
June 29, 2022
grid.news · by Lili Pike
On Friday, Chinese President Xi Jinping will preside over an elaborate celebration of the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to the Chinese mainland, a return that he has said “ended past humiliation and marked a major step forward toward the complete reunification of China.” Perhaps in an attempt to preserve that narrative, the government has warned activists not to protest and blocked several media outlets from attending. Meanwhile, on another side of the world, during this week’s G-7 and NATO summits, Western leaders are casting China as a rising challenge that must be countered.
These are just the latest examples of China’s efforts to shape and spread a positive narrative about its place in the world — and other countries’ attempts to push back. And according to a new Pew Research Center survey released Wednesday, it’s clear that — in several parts of the world — China is losing the battle of narratives. The data from more than 20,000 respondents in 19 advanced economies reveals highly critical views of China on a range of issues, as well as a shared view that China’s influence is growing.
As tensions rise between the West and China, the survey results offer insights into the depth of the division and what is driving negative views of China.
A dark view of China and President Xi
Pew has conducted this survey since 2002. This latest iteration finds that perceptions of China are at historically negative levels. Critical views of China spiked in 2020, after the outbreak of the covid pandemic, and have remained at similar levels since. Of the 19 countries surveyed, the middle-of-the-pack view was 68 percent unfavorable toward China, with Japan holding the most negative level at 87 percent. The U.S. was close behind at 82 percent. European countries and South Korea were also found to have widely negative views, while Singapore and Malaysia — countries closer to China’s orbit — had a warmer outlook.
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For most countries, this level of disapproval has risen well above pre-pandemic levels. Year to year, the most pronounced increases in negative views came in the U.K., U.S. and Greece. And for 10 of the countries surveyed, including the U.S., unfavorability was at an all-time high.
Better news for China came in questions about bilateral relations. Across the board, people held more positive views about bilateral relations between China and their own countries, suggesting that these relationships are relatively well managed and offering some reasons for optimism.
The survey also probed global views of Xi’s leadership as he prepares to begin a third term. Here the survey revealed a divide in opinion. When asked about their “confidence in Xi to do the right thing regarding world affairs,” Western nations as well as Japan and South Korea had highly negative to mostly negative views, while Malaysia and Singapore maintained a much friendlier position. At the high end, 85 percent of people in Sweden had “no or not much confidence at all” in Xi, whereas 69 percent of Singaporeans expressed some to a lot of confidence.
The dim view of Xi in Western nations may owe in part to his cozy relationship with Russia. Xi met Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the Beijing Winter Olympics just prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a meeting that established a “no limits” partnership between the two countries, and China has continued to toe the Kremlin line on the war. China’s relationship with Russia was highlighted as the top concern in a separate survey Pew published in April looking in greater depth at U.S. opinions toward China.
What’s driving such critical views?
More than any other issue, China’s human rights record stood out as the highest concern for those surveyed — and these concerns were closely associated with overall negative views of China.
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Laura Silver, a senior researcher at Pew who co-authored the report, told Grid that economic issues had previously been more salient for respondents, but human rights have emerged as a sharper issue in recent years. This coincides with China’s increasingly harsh repression of the Uyghurs and other minorities in Xinjiang, and the crackdown that followed the 2019 protests in Hong Kong.
In the U.S., bipartisan attention to China’s human rights violations in Xinjiang — including a sweeping new law passed last week — has raised the profile of these issues in the American public, Silver said. Notably, in the U.S. and other Western nations, respondents said that addressing human rights issues should be prioritized above building economic relations with China. This suggests that there is public support for measures like the new Xinjiang law, which may cause economic disruption between the U.S. and China.
Fears about China’s military ambitions were also reflected in the survey. Nearly three-quarters of the countries said it was a serious issue, with the sharpest concern coming from some of China’s neighbors in the Pacific — Japan, South Korea and Australia.
The consequences
Beijing has been dismissive of past Pew surveys. Zhao Lijian, a foreign ministry spokesperson said in response to a recent U.S.-specific Pew survey that “unscrupulous and despicable” attacks on China by U.S. politicians, media and think tanks were to blame for negative views of China. “These anti-China forces, driven by ideological bias and selfish political interests, flagrantly provoked confrontation and division, disseminated political viruses, and poisoned the public opinion atmosphere in both countries.”
Not surprisingly, the Pew results are unlikely to find a wider audience in China. A separate survey conducted by the Carter Center in September found that the vast majority of Chinese people believe their country is seen in a positive light abroad, which researchers attributed to the success of China’s censorship. “The public opinion bubble within China that insulates Chinese people from information about China’s image abroad could be potentially dangerous, as China’s risky and provocative diplomatic and military endeavors overseas may face relatively little domestic constraint,” wrote Jian Xu, an assistant professor of political science at Yale-National University Singapore.
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Economically, China’s declining image has also come with consequences. Its human rights violations in Xinjiang led to the collapse of a major trade deal with the EU, and the recent Xinjiang import bans in the U.S. have already hit the region’s significant cotton industry.
However, across much of the Global South, China has worked to burnish its image through its increasing media influence. It’s difficult to say whether those efforts are paying off. Most of the countries eligible for this latest Pew survey were advanced economies, largely in Europe, because the pandemic has disrupted research in poorer countries where online surveys aren’t feasible. The 2019 Pew survey, the last to capture a greater set of low-income countries, showed generally more positive views of China in those nations. But Silver said those results might not be repeated today, in particular, because China’s response to the pandemic may have changed countries’ views.
Joshua Kurlantzick of the Council on Foreign Relations recently wrote that when it comes to the West, China seems set on a more aggressive approach to foreign policy despite its sinking image. The Pew survey suggests there are costs to that approach.
Thanks to Lillian Barkley for copy editing this article.
grid.news · by Lili Pike


18. Biden: Additional $800M For Ukraine Coming ‘In The Next Few Days’





Biden: Additional $800M For Ukraine Coming ‘In The Next Few Days’
The latest aid package will include Western air-defense systems as well as more ammunition and radars.
defenseone.com · by Jacqueline Feldscher
The White House will announce that it will approve an additional $800 million in security aid to Ukraine “in the next few days,” President Joe Biden said Thursday at the conclusion of the NATO summit in Madrid.
The Biden administration has sent $7 billion in military, economic, and humanitarian aid to Ukraine since the president took office in January 2021. The latest tranche is expected to include some advanced Western military equipment that has been a top priority for Ukraine, Biden said.
“In the next few days, we intend to announce nearly $800 million more including new advanced Western air-defense systems for Ukraine, more artillery and ammunition, counter battery radars, additional ammunition for the HIMARS multiple launch rocket systems we’ve already given Ukraine, and more HIMARS coming from other countries as well,” Biden said during a press conference.
Ukraine’s priority in recent weeks has been getting longer-range ground artillery to combat Russian forces in the Donbas. Two Ukrainian pilots told reporters last week that getting modern, Western military equipment was their top need to be able to counter Russian cruise missiles, which have been pelting Ukraine from Lviv to Kyiv to Odesa.
National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters Monday that the administration was working on a security assistance package that would include advanced air defense capabilities.
Other nations also announced more aid for Ukraine on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Madrid, where leaders approved a new strategy that focuses on Russia as the top threat to the alliance. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Thursday that Canada was finalizing a deal to send 39 armored combat support vehicles to Ukraine. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also said the United Kingdom will provide another 1 billion pounds to help support Ukraine.
“The United States is rallying the world to stand with Ukraine,” Biden said.
Last month, Congress overwhelmingly approved more than $40 billion in supplemental funding for military, humanitarian, and economic aid, as well as replenishing American weapons stocks that have been raided to help Ukraine, despite some Republican criticisms that Biden was prioritizing foreign aid over domestic issues like inflation or supply chain shortages. Since then, the administration has announced nearly $1.5 billion in additional weapons shipments to Ukraine.
At the press conference, Biden was asked how long politics and other priorities will allow big-ticket aid packages like this to continue.
“We are going to support Ukraine as long as it takes,” he said. Russia is “paying a very, very heavy price for this. Just today, Snake Island is now taken over by the Ukrainians. So we are going to stick with Ukraine, and all of the alliance is going to stick with Ukraine as long as it takes to in fact make sure that they are not defeated.”
defenseone.com · by Jacqueline Feldscher

​19. Randy George assigned as next Army vice chief, new leaders named in modernization offices



Randy George assigned as next Army vice chief, new leaders named in modernization offices - Breaking Defense
breakingdefense.com · by Andrew Eversden · June 30, 2022
Lt. Gen. Randy A. George, then-I Corps Commanding General at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, speaks with Army medical Soldiers. (U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Laurie Ellen Schubert)
WASHINGTON: The US Army formally assigned Lt. Gen. Randy George to be the service’s next vice chief of staff, according to a lengthy announcement of new assignments that included changes in leadership across the service’s acquisition offices.
George will succeed Gen. Joseph Martin has vice chief and will receive his fourth star. The three-star currently serves as senior military assistant to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. He previously served as the commander of I Corps and led the 4th Infantry Division. While the Senate confirmed George’s nomination by voice vote with little fanfare on April 28, this week’s announcement makes the move official.
The June 28 announcement from the office of the Army chief of staff also included other four-star assignments. Lt. Gen. Gary Brito will receive his fourth star and be the next commanding general of Training and Doctrine Command, a command with a central role in developing the Army’s multi-domain operations strategy.
Brito currently serves as deputy chief of staff for the G-1, focused on personnel issues. According to the Senate nominations website, Brito’s nomination for a fourth star was confirmed by the Senate by voice vote on June 23. Brito will succeed Gen. Paul Funk.
The announcements also included already publicized assignments for Gen. Chris Cavoli to lead US European Command and Supreme Allied Command Europe, and Gen. Darryl Williams, currently the superintendent of West Point, to command US Army Europe and Africa.
As for the modernization portfolio, Maj. Gen. Richard “Ross” Coffman, currently the director of the Next-Generation Combat Vehicle Cross-Functional Team, will head down to Austin, Texas to join Army Futures Command as deputy commanding general. Coffman is heading out of the door of NGCV-CFT just after completing the prototyping phase of the Army’s new light tank modernization priority, called Mobile Protected Firepower.
Army Futures Command, which is a major player in the Army’s broad modernization effort, is still without a nominee to be its commanding general. Its first leader, then-Gen. John Murray, retired at the end of last year, and Lt. Gen. James Richardson is currently serving as acting commanding general. Futures Command recently saw its role in Army acquisition narrowed by Army Secretary Christine Wormuth, which has led House Armed Services Committee members to ask questions about what authorities the command has and who is in charge.
Coffman will be replaced by Brig. Gen. Geoffrey Norman, who currently serves as deputy commanding general for support of the 1st Infantry Division in Fort Riley.
Brig. Gen. Samuel Peterson, a deputy director at Army’s Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies, will move to Warren, Mich. to head up Program Executive Office Combat Support and Combat Service Support. And Col. (Promotable) Francisco J. Lozano will be the next leader at PEO Missiles and Space, which is developing a suite of new missiles and fires systems for the Army. Lozano is currently chief of staff to Army acquisition chief Doug Bush.
Additionally, Brig Gen. James Isenhower, commander of the service’s first Multi-Domain Task Force in Washington state, will join the 1st Armored Division as commanding general. He will be replaced by promotable Col. Bernard Harrington, currently a deputy commanding officer of the 101st Airborne Division. The Army has three MDTFs, two Pacific-based and another in Europe, which will house long-range fires, cyber and electronic warfare capabilities as part of multidomain operations.


​20. Army releases new details about San Diego helicopter fire




Army releases new details about San Diego helicopter fire
sandiegouniontribune.com · by Andrew Dyer · June 30, 2022
The U.S. Army special operations helicopter that caught fire last week at Naval Air Station North Island in Coronado was an MH-47G Chinook, the Army said in a statement Thursday.
The service declined to specify the model of the helicopter last week. The four soldiers on board when the fire ignited were able to escape the aircraft uninjured, the Army said. NAS North Island fire crews extinguished the fire.
The helicopter is attached to the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), which was in San Diego for training.
Col. Roger Waleski, the commander of the 160th SOAR, credited the crew with reacting quickly to the fire.
“We are proud of the quick reaction of our crew, which prevented injury and additional damage,” Waleski said in a statement. “And we are thankful for the assistance from NAS North Island officials and Naval Aviation units who have helped us in our recovery efforts.”
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The dual-rotor helicopter had landed after routine flight operations when the fire began in the rear of the aircraft, the statement said. The cause of the fire has not been determined and is under investigation.
While Chinook helicopters date back to the Vietnam War, the special operations variant is “highly modified” for special operations, according to the command’s website.
The fire came amid a spate of crashes in Southern California involving Marine Corps and Navy aircraft. Those crashes remain under investigation.
sandiegouniontribune.com · by Andrew Dyer · June 30, 2022

21. Is China building a huge spy complex in US?


​:-)

Is China building a huge spy complex in US?
americanmilitarynews.com · by Liz George · June 30, 2022
Lawmakers are raising the alarm over a Chinese company’s purchase of more than 300 acres of farmland just 20 minutes from an Air Force base in North Dakota. The intelligence community believes the Chinese company’s proposed location is optimal for spying on the U.S. military.
The U.S. subsidiary of FuFeng Group – based in Shandong, China – purchased hundreds of acres of farmland near Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota to supposedly build a corn-milling plant, Grand Forks Region Economic Development announced last year. Lawmakers and the intelligence community are concerned the location would give China unprecedented access to U.S. military operations.
CNBC reported Thursday it obtained a memo composed by Air Force Major Jeremy Fox earlier this year, which asserted that the Chinese plant would pose an intelligence threat.
“Some of the most sensitive elements of Grand Forks exist with the digital uplinks and downlinks inherent with unmanned air systems and their interaction with space based assets,” the memo warned.
Likewise, the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission said in a report that “the location of the land close to the base is particularly convenient for monitoring air traffic flows in and out of the base, among other security-related concerns.”
Construction for the project is set to begin in Spring 2023.
Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) also spoke out against the project.
“I think we grossly underappreciate how effective they are at collecting information, collecting data, using it in nefarious ways, and so yeah, I’d just as soon not have the Chinese Communist Party doing business in my backyard,” he said.
FuFeng USA COO Eric Chutorash pushed back on the accusation that China would use to the facility to spy on the U.S. military.
“We’re under U.S. laws. I’m an American citizen. I grew up my whole life here and I’m not going to be doing any type of espionage activities or be associated with a company that does,” he said.
Grand Forks Mayor Brandon Bochenski said the $700 million plant is the “largest single investment in the city’s history,” adding that “the FBI didn’t say there was any immediate concerns.”
“We are extremely excited to make Grand Forks our North American home,” Chutorash said in a statement praising the project last year. “From the very beginning, we felt that Grand Forks was a great place to be located. It was evident early on that there was strong collaboration between the local and state government as well as with non-governmental partners and this became even more apparent as our evaluation process went on. They all really stepped up to make sure our project’s needs were met and the manufacturing site would be successful now and for the long-term.”

americanmilitarynews.com · by Liz George · June 30, 2022

​22. Opinion | Social media can be a weapon, and it’s time US troops get trained on it




Opinion | Social media can be a weapon, and it’s time US troops get trained on it
Leaders need to be taught the risks and rewards of social media in a new era of information warfare.
BY HANNAH SMITH | PUBLISHED JUN 30, 2022 9:00 AM
taskandpurpose.com · by Hannah Smith · June 30, 2022
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On a Saturday evening, the Twitter handle @DogFaceSoldier tweeted, “Enjoying a beautiful fall day with family in Amana Colonies, Iowa.” Five days later another tweet goes out – this time,“Moderna booster in the right. Flu shot in the left,” noting that his wife, Connie, received the same. The tweet reached 406 likes. Minutes later, @broadcastmike jokingly suggested an arm workout the next day. Within twenty-four hours @DogFaceSoldier posted “WOD dB upright rows and curls. Feeling great! In other words, get the shot.” By the following Saturday, @DogFaceSoldier is back to typical content, posting a successful trip to a newfound Korean BBQ restaurant.
Over the course of a week, @DogFaceSoldier seamlessly wove a pro-vaccination narrative through a relatable twitter diary of Americana references and images. @DogFaceSoldier’s 21,400 followers experienced the comfort of the American Midwest, the satisfaction of toughing out a workout, and the joy of finding a new restaurant, all while also consuming pro-vaccination messaging. @DogFaceSoldier is not an influencer or public affairs specialist by trade, but the content he produces and the routine interaction with followers presents a transparent and trustworthy image. This is particularly significant since @DogFaceSoldier is Gen. Robert Abrams, a retired four-star general in the United States Army.
General Abrams’ intuitive navigation of social media is an essential component of his effectiveness as a leader. Through one-on-one interactions coupled with social media amplification, Abrams authentically promotes professional ethics and Army values outside an institution that is typically rigid and hierarchical. Through social media, Abrams reaches an audience, both civilian and military, who might not otherwise have the opportunity to engage with senior military leaders. Gen. Abrams is not alone in his pivot to social media and #MilTwitter as a tool of leadership. Service members from all branches and ranks convene on social media to contribute to what Peter Singer calls “the new war college seminar room, military journal, and officers’ club barroom rolled into one.”
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Albert Valdez, a motor transport operator assigned to the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 143rd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, Connecticut Army National Guard, works on a computer at the State Commodity Warehouse, New Britain, Connecticut, March 8th, 2022. (Sgt. Matthew Lucibello/U.S. Army)
Despite the evolution of the military profession online, for many practitioners, social media entails potential career-ending pitfalls, self-promotion, and partisanship. Lt. Col. Joe Byerly and Capt. Dan Vigeant highlight that social media users who dismiss the significance and permanence of social media often, “share emotionally charged posts, fight trolls, or, specifically, express outrage over a hot button social or political topic.” To avoid these pitfalls, Byerly and Vigeant recommend that military leaders self-censor their messaging or refrain from using social media altogether. To be sure, these online interactions are damaging to the nonpartisan ethic and military values. Nevertheless, avoiding social media is unsustainable.
In the era of disinformation and declining institutional trust, rather than leave ‘Tweetership’ to the discretion of individual users, the DoD should establish a more comprehensive social media literacy education program. The armed forces must reframe perceptions and applications of social media from risk aversion to risk awareness. Social media will remain an essential part of society, irrespective of DoD use. By avoiding this space, military leaders miss out on critical opportunities for connection, information gathering, and leadership. A culture of risk aversion over the last two decades has inhibited the effective, innovative, and safe delivery of digital defense communications initiatives. By instrumentalizing and operationalizing the various platforms through social media literacy education, leaders will be better equipped to navigate the online space.
To ensure the armed forces are prepared for the contemporary operating environment, the Department of Defense should move beyond an ad hoc approach to online engagement and implement proactive social media literacy education at both the unit level, as well as throughout professional military education. In a 2011 HASC Hearing on Strategic Communication and Information Operations, strategic communication is defined as, “Focused United States Government efforts to understand and engage key audiences to create, strengthen, or preserve conditions favorable for the advancement of United States Government interests, policies, and objectives through the use of coordinated programs, plans, themes, messages and products synchronized with the actions of all instruments of national power.” By more effectively nesting social media literacy under a broader discussion of strategic communication, leaders will be better equipped to engage productively and authentically online with key audiences.
Key Audience Engagement
The information revolution has transformed social interactions the world over. Through responsive algorithms, social media platforms are retrofitted to ameliorate the user experience by facilitating communication and interaction within communities of interest. Individuals from vastly different backgrounds and physical locations can coalesce online around shared beliefs or experiences. As a microcosm of civil society, the U.S. Military is no exception. Groups such as #MilTwitter have emerged to foster community cohesion and facilitate discussion. Here, General Abrams and others use social media as a conduit to connect with the Armed Forces and understand the operating environment. Social media use by service members has become so routine and commonplace that, according to Sarah Maltby and Helen Thornham, it is “part and parcel of a wider host of unconscious, mundane and quotidian actions” in military life. By expressing the desired core military values through social media, leaders are able to integrate strategic messaging into the everyday lives of service members.
Using the aforementioned case as an example, Gen. Abrams’ appeals to popular images of American life create a relatable and accessible narrative. By establishing a connection with followers, Abrams is able to convey critical messages, such as the need for vaccination, interspersed with lighthearted content. Scrolling through Abrams’ thousands of followers, the reach of social media for modern military leaders becomes apparent. Accounts range from fellow generals to junior enlisted service members, curious civilians, and bots. For this reason, the messages published on social media by senior leaders and service members more broadly are elements of strategic communication, whether or not this is done intentionally. Unlike the traditional applications of monologue, dialogue, and collaboration in public diplomacy, social media allows the user to bypass the bureaucratic and structural obstacles of strategic communication. This is particularly important in a traditionally hierarchical organization such as the military. Social media flattens the chain of command, to the extent that a cadet can direct message (DM) a colonel for advice and likely not think twice about it.
Soldier with the 105 Engineer Battalion, relaxing and chatting with friends on social media prior the mission to support the 59th Presidential Inauguration in Washington DC. (Sgt. Abraham Morlu/U.S. National Guard)
Facebook is now 18 years old. That means the youngest recruits have only known a world where social media is ubiquitous. From a recruiting standpoint, this makes social media an essential tool to reach the next generation. Younger social media users seek out what are known as “parasocial” relationships with social media influencers. Scholars of social network development have observed that Generation Z is “accustomed to endless messages and multiple information sources around them.” For this reason, Gen Z values authentic engagement and realness or “parasocial” relationships with other users. While the military branches run official social media pages, the lack of dialogue and understanding of the audience diminishes the effectiveness of mass broadcast. The value add of social media for the purpose of recruiting is not the content quantity, but the return on content, meaning engagement and dialogue. For this reason, an individualized approach to social media, where senior leaders are empowered to curate and personalize their pages, would more effectively reach potential recruits.
This same logic can also be applied to the civil-military dimension. The impact of social media literacy in the context of civil-military relations is twofold. Firstly, the military has a complex culture and unique culture that, according to a 2019 RAND report “can be “very inaccessible to nonmilitary audiences.” In a 2013 survey for Warriors and Citizens, Kori Schake and Jim Mattis found high levels of unfamiliarity with the military among young adults. Historically, the services have struggled to craft content that is relevant and interesting to civilian audiences. Individual users such as General Abrams, break down the civilian-military barriers and demystify the life of a senior officer. By practicing radical transparency — or what some call oversharing — Abrams establishes credibility and trust with audiences.
In an era of declining institutional trust, consistent messaging is critical to the continued support and trust of the military. According to Capt. David Harrell, social network analysis “would add a layer of understanding to a readily available representation of a civil populace’s concerns and thoughts.” Secondly, social media literacy education is critical to maintaining the military’s nonpartisanship. In a 2017 study, Dr. Heidi Urben found that “over one-third of respondents reported their active-duty military friends used or shared insulting, rude, or disdainful comments on social media directed against elected leaders, including the president.” Social media literacy education and mentorship are essential to maintaining professional ethics online. By establishing digital communities as an extension of traditional engagement, the armed forces will be able to make clear what is tolerable behavior.
Recommendations
The heightened relevance of social media for the armed forces necessitates an integrated solution. A visit to the DoD CIO website for social media is indicative of the low prioritization of social media literacy. “How to Tweet” guidance was last updated in 2010. To effectively tap into the benefits of social media, the DoD must shift from a policy of risk aversion to risk awareness. The best strategy to avoid the pitfalls of social media is preemptive education and mentorship. In doing so, individual leaders will understand the risks of social media, as well as the tools for successful communication. Military-centered social media groups have evolved to become epistemic communities, where the convergence of identities, assumptions, and opinions has a disproportionate impact on policy. To account for this shift, a comprehensive social media education program should encompass everything from individualized mentorship to Professional Military Education (PME).
Within PME, the Directorate for Joint Force Development (J7) is best situated to integrate social media literacy into the curriculum. By nesting social media within Joint Learning Area 1, Strategic Thinking and Communication, officers will be better equipped for future strategic challenges such as recruitment and retention. JLA 1 language requires officers to, “demonstrate advanced cognitive and communications skills employing critical, creative, and systematic thought “ and to “persuasively communicate on behalf of their organizations.” These outcomes should be expanded to social media use, where the operationalized use of strategic communications has just as significant if not greater reach. Moreover, the J7 should establish social media literacy as a special area of emphasis. By integrating social media literacy into all levels of education, from entry to senior level PME, the armed forces will bring leaders into the more complex landscape of modern communications.
Social media is not a passive tool. Leaders need to be able to produce content while also balancing operational security in domestic and global media ecosystems that are constantly evolving. Capt. David Harrell accurately notes that “Social media is no longer a new and untested medium of war but is rapidly becoming a pillar in which insurgency groups, revolutions, or anti-government movements are built on.” A comprehensive social media literacy program generated by the J7 would teach leaders how to communicate their desired goals and messages in the fluidity of social media. This is critical for a connected force, both current and future, as well as for the restoration of institutional trust.
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Hannah Smith serves as a Program Specialist for the College of International Security Affairs at the National Defense University. She is a graduate student at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service in the Security Studies Program.






De Oppresso Liber,
David Maxwell
Senior Fellow, Foundation for Defense of Democracies
Senior Fellow, Global Peace Foundation
Senior Advisor, Center for Asia Pacific Strategy
Editor, Small Wars Journal
Twitter: @davidmaxwell161
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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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