Informal Institute for National Security Thinkers and Practitioners



Quotes of the Day:


“Wrong does not cease to be wrong because the majority share in it.”
- Leo Tolstoy

"May we think of freedom, not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right."
- Peter Marshall



“We fight not for glory, nor for wealth, nor honour but only and alone for freedom which no good man surrenders but with his life.”
- Robert the Bruce





1. RUSSIAN OFFENSIVE CAMPAIGN ASSESSMENT, JULY 19 (Putin's War)

2. Kissinger Warns Biden Against Endless Confrontation With China

3. China Warns U.S. Against Nancy Pelosi Visit to Taiwan

4. Putin’s Iran trip shows how isolated Russia has become - White House

5. Russia’s Mass Abduction of Ukrainians Explained

6. FDD | U.S. Standards Body Reaches Critical Milestone for Mitigating the Quantum Threat, But More Work Is Needed

7. China's 4th Aircraft Carrier: What the Experts Think About It

8. Senate Armed Services Committee questions Navy's future role, contribution to cyberspace operations

9. Vital Russian Gas Supplies to Europe Aren’t Expected to Restart, Says European Commission

10. Nominee for top VA benefits job withdraws, restarting search

11. Korean War Veterans Memorial Mural Wall Designer Louis Nelson Talks About His Inspiration

12. Nuclear strategy and ending the war in Ukraine

13. What to read to understand modern warfare

14. US Colonel: Americans lie about Armed Forces' of Ukraine situation in Donbass

15. US plans to reroute $67 million in aid toward Lebanon’s armed forces

16. Ayman al Zawahiri is alive; Taliban and Al Qaeda “remain close,” UN reports

17. Who Cares About Context? The Case for Getting Serious in the Civil Environment

18. Air Force Chief Seems to Back Sending Western Fighter Jets to Ukraine

19. Whose Version of the War on Terror Won?

20. EXCLUSIVE China seeks to stop UN rights chief from releasing Xinjiang report - document

21. Is a Military Coup Expected in Russia?

22. Maurer Delivers the Real Stuff in “The Good Afghan”

23. US to send more HIMARS precision rocket systems to Ukraine in latest package

24. 



1. RUSSIAN OFFENSIVE CAMPAIGN ASSESSMENT, JULY 19 (Putin's War)

.

Maps/graphics: https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign-assessment-july-19


RUSSIAN OFFENSIVE CAMPAIGN ASSESSMENT, JULY 19

Jul 19, 2022 - Press ISW


understandingwar.org

Karolina Hird, George Barros, Katherine Lawlor, Layne Philipson, and Frederick W. Kagan

July 19, 7:30 pm 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.

Calls among Russian nationalist and pro-war voices for Russian President Vladimir Putin to expand Russia’s war aims, mobilize the state fully for war, and drop the pretext that Russia is not engaged in a war reached a crescendo on July 19. Former Russian militant commander and nationalist milblogger Igor Girkin presented an extensive list of military, economic, and political actions that he argues the Kremlin must take to win the war in Ukraine; first among this list is abandoning the rhetoric of the “special military operation” and defining the official goals of the war in Ukraine.[1] Girkin advocated for expansive territorial aims beyond the Kremlin’s stated ambitions in Donbas, including the reunification of the entire territory of “Novorossiya” (which Girkin maintains includes Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Mykolaiv, Odesa, Zaporizhzhia, Kherson, Donetsk, and Luhansk oblasts as well as Kryvyi Rih) with the Russian Federation and the creation of a Malorossiya state (all of Ukraine up to the Polish border), which Girkin claims should be reunified with Russia through the Russia-Belarus Union State. Girkin also called for the Kremlin to shift the Russian economy fully to a war footing and to carry out extensive mobilization measures including forced conscription and the (further) suspension of Russians’ rights.[2] Girkin has often criticized what he views as a lack of ambition and decisive action in the Kremlin’s handling of the war in Ukraine through his calls for maximalist objectives and measures to support territorial gains. His newest list of demands adds to the growing discontent within the Russian pro-war nationalist zeitgeist.[3]

While Girkin’s July 19 post is an acerbic critique of the Kremlin’s intentions in Ukraine, other Russian milbloggers sought to shape a narrative favoring Putin while advancing the same maximalist aims by suggesting that the Kremlin has been purposefully setting conditions for a protracted war in Ukraine since the war began. Russian milblogger Yuri Kotyenok claimed that Russia has been pursuing the “Syrianization” of the war in Ukraine by never articulating specific deadlines or goals for operations in Ukraine.[4] The explicit invocation of protracted Russian operations in Syria suggests that certain Russian nationalist voices are setting conditions for a long war in a way that saves face for the Kremlin given Russia’s failure to secure its military objectives in Ukraine in the very short period that the Kremlin initially planned.

Putin could simply ignore the milbloggers, although he has shown concern for their positions in the recent past, or he could play off their narratives in several ways.[5] He might wait and see what resonance their calls for full mobilization and broader war aims have within the portions of the Russian population he cares most about. He might hope that their semi-independent calls for more extreme measures could fuel support for an expansion of aims and mobilization that he desires but feels Russians remain unprepared to accept. He may instead reject their calls for grander ambitions and greater sacrifices, thereby presenting himself as the moderate leader refraining from demanding too much from his people.

US officials reported that Russia plans to annex occupied Ukrainian territory as soon as autumn 2022, confirming ISW’s May 2022 assessment. US National Security Council Spokesperson John Kirby announced that the Kremlin is beginning to roll out a version of its 2014 “annexation playbook” in Ukraine and is “examining detailed plans” to annex Kherson, Zaporizhia, and all of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, citing newly declassified intelligence.[6] Kirby confirmed ISW’s long-running assessment that the Kremlin has installed illegitimate proxy officials, forced use of the ruble, replaced Ukrainian telecommunications and broadcast infrastructure with Russian alternatives, and forced Ukrainians to apply for Russian passports to accomplish basic tasks in occupied territories.[7] As ISW wrote on May 13, Putin’s timeline for annexation is likely contingent on the extent to which he understands the degraded state of the Russian military in Ukraine.[8] He may intend to capture the remainder of Donetsk Oblast before annexing all occupied territories, which would likely force him to postpone annexation. Russia’s degraded forces are unlikely to occupy all of Donetsk Oblast before Russia’s September 11 unified voting day for local and gubernatorial elections across the country, the most likely date for annexation referenda to be held.[9] The Kremlin could also postpone these Russian regional and local elections to limit expressions of domestic dissatisfaction with the Russian invasion of Ukraine—independent Latvia-based Russian language newspaper Meduza reported in May that members of Russia’s Federal Security Service and National Security Council were lobbying to postpone the September 2022 elections.[10]

Putin could leverage nuclear threats to deter a Ukrainian counteroffensive into annexed Kherson, Zaporizhia, Donetsk, and Luhansk oblasts.[11] After annexation, Putin may state, directly or obliquely, that Russian doctrine permitting the use of nuclear weapons to defend Russian territory applies to newly annexed territories. Such actions would threaten Ukraine and its partners with nuclear attack if Ukrainian counteroffensives to liberate Russian-occupied territory continue. Putin may believe that the threat or use of nuclear weapons would restore Russian deterrence after his disastrous invasion shattered Russia's conventional deterrent capabilities, although previous Russian hints at Moscow’s willingness to use nuclear weapons have proven hollow. Ukraine and its Western partners may have a narrowing window of opportunity to support a Ukrainian counteroffensive into occupied Ukrainian territory before the Kremlin annexes that territory.[12]

Russian milbloggers are increasingly openly criticizing the Russian military for failing to address structural problems with Russian Airborne Forces (VDV), highlighting the VDV’s failure to fight the war as it had trained in peacetime, a failing that played no small role in the general Russian failures during the initial invasion. Russian milblogger Military Informant stated that Russian VDV has not adopted force structure and tactics reforms that the Russian military already knew were necessary prior to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.[13] Military Informant stated that lightly armored Russian VDV vehicles (such as BMD and BTR-D) are too heavy to enable effective airborne mobility—especially in contested airspace—and too light to provide sufficient protection in maneuver warfare. Russian milblogger Alexander Sladkov similarly noted that Russian VDV forces‘ structural reliance on a small number of lightly armored fighting vehicles is a liability.[14] Military Informant praised how the Russian VDV previously practiced using light unarmored vehicles for higher mobility in three consecutive years of annual capstone command staff exercises (Tsentr 2019, Kavkaz 2020, and Zapad 2021) but noted that these adaptations did not have time to “take root” before the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.[15]

The Russian military’s failure to implement lessons learned—or to learn the right lessons—from previous exercises or combat is an ongoing trend that ISW has observed.[16] The most prominent example of this phenomenon was the Russian military’s failure to create a cohesive command and control system for the amalgamation of approximately 120 Russian battalion tactical groups (BTGs) assembled for the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine after experiencing successes operating smaller numbers of BTGs in Ukraine in 2014 and in Syria in 2016.[17]

Key Takeaways

  • Calls made by Russian nationalist and pro-war voices for the Kremlin to officially define operations in Ukraine as a war, conduct general mobilization, and pursue expanded territorial goals reached a crescendo on July 19 with some criticizing the Kremlin and others claiming that Putin has been preparing for the “Syrianization” of the war all along.
  • The Kremlin will likely attempt to illegally annex occupied Kherson, Zaporizhia, Donetsk, and Luhansk oblasts into Russia as early as September 11, 2022.
  • Russian milbloggers highlighted the Russian Airborne Forces (VDV) failure to fight as they had trained—a critique that helps explain the general Russian failures during the initial invasion of Ukraine.
  • Russian forces continued efforts to resume offensive operations toward Slovyansk from southeast of Izyum and around Barvinkove.
  • Russian forces continued ground attacks to the east of Siversk and had partial success in ground attacks to the east of Bakhmut.
  • Russian authorities are continuing to leverage unconventional sources of combat power to avoid general mobilization.
  • Russian occupation authorities are escalating law enforcement measures to protect administrative control of occupied areas.


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
  • Mobilization and Force Generation Efforts
  • 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 continued offensive operations northwest of Slovyansk from the southeast and southwest of Izyum on July 19.[18] The Ukrainian General Staff stated that Russian forces are trying to create conditions to resume the offensive toward Slovyansk, which is consistent with ISW’s observations that Russian forces are preparing to advance on Slovyansk from positions around Izyum and Barvinkove (further southwest of Izyum).[19] Russian troops reportedly conducted an unsuccessful reconnaissance-in-force operation in Dmytrivka, north of Barvinkove, and continued to shell settlements northwest of Slovyansk along the Kharkiv-Donetsk Oblast border, including Dibrovne, Dolyna, Adamivka, and Bohorodychne.[20] Russian forces also continued to strike Slovyansk directly in order to continue to set conditions for eventual advances on the city.[21]

Russian forces continued ground assaults to the east of Siversk on July 19.[22] Ukrainian and Russian sources reported that Russian troops engaged in fierce positional battles in Hryhorivka, Spirne, Ivano-Darivka, Serebryanka, and Verkhnokamyanske, all within 10 km east of Siversk.[23] The Russian Ministry of Defense also claimed that Russian forces engaged in counterbattery actions that destroyed Ukrainian equipment concentrations in and around Siversk, indicating that Russian forces are continuing to prioritize ground attacks under the cover of artillery strikes on Ukrainian positions around Siversk to prepare for direct advances on the city.[24]

Russian forces made incremental gains east of Bakhmut and continued efforts to advance toward Bakhmut from the south on July 19. The Ukrainian General Staff reported that Russian troops successfully entrenched themselves in the southern outskirts of Pokrovske, about 5 km directly east of Bakhmut, which will open up westward advances toward Bakhmut along a local road.[25] Russian forces additionally continued limited ground assaults to the south of Bakhmut around Vershyna, Semihirya, and the Vuhledar power plant.[26] Russian forces continued to fire on Ukrainian positions in and around Bakhmut to support ongoing ground attacks toward the city.[27]

Russian forces did not make any confirmed ground attacks around Donetsk City and focused on firing along the Avdiivka-Donetsk City frontline on July 19.[28]


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 conducted combat operations to maintain occupied lines in the Kharkiv City direction on July 19.[29] Ukrainian officials reported that Russian forces retreated after an unsuccessful reconnaissance in force attack on Udy on July 19.[30] The Ukrainian General Staff also reported that Russian forces continued air, artillery, and missile strikes on settlements to the north, northeast, and southeast of Kharkiv City.[31]


Supporting Effort #2—Southern Axis (Russian objective: Defend Kherson and Zaporizhia Oblasts against Ukrainian counterattacks)

Russian forces continued focusing on equipping existing defensive lines, developing secondary defensive lines, and firing at Ukrainian positions along the Southern Axis on July 19.[32] Ukraine’s Southern Operational Command noted that Russian forces are using S-300s to strike ground targets on agricultural land in Mykolaiv Oblast.[33] Russian forces continued to focus on firing on Ukrainian positions along the Kherson-Mykolaiv Oblast border in order to prevent Ukrainian counterattacks in this area.[34] Russian forces additionally conducted rocket and missile strikes against areas in Dnipropetrovsk and Odesa Oblasts.[35]

Ukrainian forces reportedly used high mobility artillery rocket systems (HIMARS) to strike the Antonivskyi Bridge over the Dnipro River, east of Kherson City, on July 19, doing little visible damage to the structure.[36] A Ukrainian partisan-affiliated Telegram channel noted that this bridge is a major supply route for the Russian grouping on the right bank of the Dnipro, indicating that Russian logistics are increasingly under threat of high-precision Ukrainian weapons.[37]


Mobilization and Force Generation Efforts (Russian objective: Expand combat power without conducting general mobilization)

Russian authorities are continuing to rely on unconventional sources of combat power in order to circumvent the need for general mobilization by placing the onus of force generation on marginalized enclaves of Russian domestic society.[38] A report released by the Russian human rights organization “Rus Sidyashchaya” (Russia Behind Bars) on July 14 confirmed ISW’s previous observations that Russian authorities are conducting recruitment drives within Russian prisons to support operations in Ukraine.[39] The report cited evidence that penal colonies in Russia’s Leningrad, Nizhny Novgorod, Novgorod, and Vladimir oblasts and Mordovia, Adygea, and other regions received deployment offers for convicts.[40] Other independent Russian sources previously reported that the Wagner Group Private Military Company (PMC) was actively recruiting from penal colonies in St. Petersburg.[41] These recruitment efforts likely emphasize quantity over quality of recruits in favor of expediting deployment efforts with minimal training and are therefore very unlikely to provide a decisive combat advantage in hostilities in Ukraine.[42]

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 occupation authorities continued efforts to strengthen administrative regimes in occupied Ukraine on July 19. The Ukrainian Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR) released a document reportedly originating from the Kherson occupation administration that authorized a general intensification of law enforcement measures in occupied parts of Kherson Oblast in anticipation of Ukrainian actions that may hinder the work of occupation organs.[43] The GUR also released a document signed by the Russian-backed head of Kherson’s Kakhovskyi district that grants law enforcement the discretion to detain and search residents.[44] The Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) Internal Ministry similarly reported that LNR law enforcement is escalating measures to prevent “extremist” activity in Lysychansk and Severodonetsk.[45] These data points indicate that Russian occupation authorities are responding to the perceived threat of Ukrainian partisan actions by strengthening regime control on the administrative level through the use of localized law enforcement.

[5] https://www.understandingwar.org/backgrounder/russian-offensive-campaign... ru/politika/14901453?utm_source=google.com&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=google.com&utm_referrer=google.com; https://russian dot rt.com/russia/news/1014071-putin-pmef-zhurnalisty; https://tj dot sputniknews.ru/20220617/video-putin-pmef-1049266833.html; .” https://www dot mk.ru/politics/2022/06/20/simonyan-zayavila-chto-putin-vstretilsya-s-voenkorami.html; https://t.me/margaritasimonyan/11618; . https://tvzvezda dot ru/news/202261808-coM8d.html

[9] https://sprotyv.mod.gov dot ua/2022/07/18/na-luganshhyni-rosijski-vchyteli-provodyat-pidgotovku-do-referendumu/ ; https://gur.gov dot ua/content/rosiya-ne-dosyahla-svoyeyi-holovnoyi-mety-okupuvaty-ukrayinu-i-hotuyet-sya-do-pryyednannya-vzhe-zakhoplenykh-terytoriy.html ; https://sprotyv.mod.gov dot ua/2022/07/13/okupanty-znovu-planuyut-perenesty-referendum-na-pivdni/ https://www.rbc dot ua/ukr/news/kirill-budanov-voyna-zakonchitsya-sleduyushchem-1656837517.html ; https://www.facebook.com/okPivden/videos/1459994497781797/ ; https://w... ua/ukr/news/vadim-skibitskiy-gur-minoborony-putin-ponimaet-1656102050.html ; https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=462265935735111 ; https://meduza dot io/feature/2022/06/09/kak-utverzhdayut-istochniki-meduzy-kreml-hochet-ob-edinit-okkupirovannye-territorii-ukrainy-v-novyy-federalnyy-okrug-v-sostave-rf

[10] https://meduza dot io/en/feature/2022/05/17/we-re-flying-blind-now

[17] https://www.benning.army.mil/armor/earmor/content/issues/2017/spring/2Fi... https://informnapalm dot org/en/russian-medal-standing-military-operation-syria-part-2/

[39] https://www.currenttime dot tv/a/edinstvennaya-vozmozhnost-trudoustroitsya-/31943395.html; https://zona dot media/news/2022/07/08/kolonii; https://zona dot media/news/2022/07/06/zk; https://zona dot media/news/2022/07/04/zaklyuchenny; https://t.me/NetGulagu/2927; https://t.me/istories_media/1293; https:/... com/istories/reportages/2022/07/04/chvk-vagner-verbuet-zaklyuchennikh-kolonii-peterburga-dlya-poezdki-na-donbass-idti-v-avangarde-pomogat-obnaruzhivat-natsistov/index.html; https://twitter.com/RALee85/status/1545508811657682946; https://twitter... com/istories/reportages/2022/07/04/chvk-vagner-verbuet-zaklyuchennikh-kolonii-peterburga-dlya-poezdki-na-donbass-idti-v-avangarde-pomogat-obnaruzhivat-natsistov/index.html

[40] https://www.currenttime dot tv/a/edinstvennaya-vozmozhnost-trudoustroitsya-/31943395.html

[41] https://storage.googleapis dot com/istories/reportages/2022/07/04/chvk-vagner-verbuet-zaklyuchennikh-kolonii-peterburga-dlya-poezdki-na-donbass-idti-v-avangarde-pomogat-obnaruzhivat-natsistov/index.html

[42] https://www.currenttime dot tv/a/edinstvennaya-vozmozhnost-trudoustroitsya-/31943395.html

[43] https://gur.gov dot ua/content/na-okupovanykh-terytoriyakh-khersonskoyi-oblasti-posylyuyut-politseyskyy-rezhym.html

[44] https://gur.gov dot ua/content/na-okupovanykh-terytoriyakh-khersonskoyi-oblasti-posylyuyut-politseyskyy-rezhym.html


understandingwar.org



2. Kissinger Warns Biden Against Endless Confrontation With China



Comments on China, also Ukraine, and what foreign leader would make the best US president. (I think Kissinger has hardline leader envy)


Excerpts: 


Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said geopolitics today requires “Nixonian flexibility” to help defuse conflicts between the US and China as well as between Russia and the rest of Europe. 
While warning that China shouldn’t become a global hegemon, the man who helped reestablish US-China ties in the 1970s said that President Joe Biden should be wary of letting domestic politics interfere with “the importance of understanding the permanence of China.”
“Biden and previous administrations have been too much influenced by the domestic aspects of the view of China,” Kissinger, 99, said in an interview Tuesday in New York with Bloomberg News Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait. “It is, of course, important to prevent Chinese or any other country’s hegemony.”
...


On Europe’s biggest crisis -- Russia’s war in Ukraine -- Kissinger said comments he made earlier this year about the starting point for a negotiated end to the war have been misreported. Saying he thinks the timing for talks is getting closer, he said discussions about Crimea’s future should be left for negotiations, not determined before the conflict is paused. Crimea was Ukraine’s territory before Russia seized it in 2014. 
...
Asked how the leaders portrayed in his book would fare in today’s world, Kissinger said Singapore’s Lee would be the best of the six to serve as US president, if such a thing were possible, and also the best at dealing with the long-term challenge of climate change. 
Pressed on who would be the strongest negotiator with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Kissinger opted for France’s de Gaulle, then added “Nixon would be quite good.” 
Nixon was “a very good foreign-policy president. He destroyed himself domestically,” Kissinger said. 
On a less weighty issue, Kissinger said Thatcher, the British “Iron Lady” who faced down labor unions at home and Argentina’s dictatorship abroad while becoming her nation’s longest serving prime minister of the 20th century, would be his pick for most interesting dinner companion. 



Kissinger Warns Biden Against Endless Confrontation With China

  • Nixon’s top diplomat, now 99, talks about US-China ties now
  • Says European leaders have lost continent’s sense of direction

ByCourtney McBride

July 20, 2022 at 6:36 AM GMT+9

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-07-19/kissinger-warns-biden-against-endless-confrontation-with-china?srnd=premium-middle-east&sref=hhjZtX76


Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said geopolitics today requires “Nixonian flexibility” to help defuse conflicts between the US and China as well as between Russia and the rest of Europe. 

While warning that China shouldn’t become a global hegemon, the man who helped reestablish US-China ties in the 1970s said that President Joe Biden should be wary of letting domestic politics interfere with “the importance of understanding the permanence of China.”

“Biden and previous administrations have been too much influenced by the domestic aspects of the view of China,” Kissinger, 99, said in an interview Tuesday in New York with Bloomberg News Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait. “It is, of course, important to prevent Chinese or any other country’s hegemony.”

But “that is not something that can be achieved by endless confrontations,” he added in the interview produced by Intelligence Squared US and How To Academy. He’s previously said the increasingly adversarial relations between the US and China risk a global “catastrophe comparable to World War I.”


Kissinger Warns Against Endless US, China Confrontation

Play

4:26


Kissinger Warns Against Endless Confrontation Between US, ChinaSource: Bloomberg

Former President Richard Nixon campaigned in the 1960s as a vehement anti-Communist, yet surprised many of his supporters by deciding to engage Mao Zedong’s China and visit Beijing in 1972 on a trip that became a historic turning point for both nations. 

Geopolitics and great-power relations are a central theme of Kissinger’s new book, “Leadership: Six Studies in World Strategy,” that focuses on six key leaders: Germany’s Konrad Adenauer, France’s Charles de Gaulle, Nixon, Egypt’s Anwar Sadat, UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Singapore’s influential first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. 

In his near-century of life, Kissinger has known all six of the leaders whose examples he cites, and through his advisory firm he continues to be a sought-out voice on global affairs from Beijing to Washington. 

Reviewing the performance of today’s European leaders from France’s Emmanuel Macron to Germany’s Olaf Scholz, Kissinger said it made him sad that current “European leadership does not have the sense of direction and mission” that previous heads of state, such as Adenauer and de Gaulle, brought to their roles. 

Kissinger Warns Biden of U.S.-China Catastrophe on Scale of WWI

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On Europe’s biggest crisis -- Russia’s war in Ukraine -- Kissinger said comments he made earlier this year about the starting point for a negotiated end to the war have been misreported. Saying he thinks the timing for talks is getting closer, he said discussions about Crimea’s future should be left for negotiations, not determined before the conflict is paused. Crimea was Ukraine’s territory before Russia seized it in 2014. 

Kissinger Doesn’t See China Invasion of Taiwan in Next Decade

And on the turmoil of Brexit, Kissinger said de Gaulle’s view -- that Great Britain “would never be a wholehearted member of the European community” -- has proven justified. 

Asked how the leaders portrayed in his book would fare in today’s world, Kissinger said Singapore’s Lee would be the best of the six to serve as US president, if such a thing were possible, and also the best at dealing with the long-term challenge of climate change. 

Pressed on who would be the strongest negotiator with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Kissinger opted for France’s de Gaulle, then added “Nixon would be quite good.” 

Nixon was “a very good foreign-policy president. He destroyed himself domestically,” Kissinger said. 

On a less weighty issue, Kissinger said Thatcher, the British “Iron Lady” who faced down labor unions at home and Argentina’s dictatorship abroad while becoming her nation’s longest serving prime minister of the 20th century, would be his pick for most interesting dinner companion. 

“Brave man,” responded Micklethwait. 

Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said geopolitics today requires “Nixonian flexibility” to help defuse conflicts between the US and China as well as between Russia and the rest of Europe. 

While warning that China shouldn’t become a global hegemon, the man who helped reestablish US-China ties in the 1970s said that President Joe Biden should be wary of letting domestic politics interfere with “the importance of understanding the permanence of China.”

“Biden and previous administrations have been too much influenced by the domestic aspects of the view of China,” Kissinger, 99, said in an interview Tuesday in New York with Bloomberg News Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait. “It is, of course, important to prevent Chinese or any other country’s hegemony.”

But “that is not something that can be achieved by endless confrontations,” he added in the interview produced by Intelligence Squared US and How To Academy. He’s previously said the increasingly adversarial relations between the US and China risk a global “catastrophe comparable to World War I.”


Kissinger Warns Against Endless US, China Confrontation

Play

4:26


Kissinger Warns Against Endless Confrontation Between US, ChinaSource: Bloomberg

Former President Richard Nixon campaigned in the 1960s as a vehement anti-Communist, yet surprised many of his supporters by deciding to engage Mao Zedong’s China and visit Beijing in 1972 on a trip that became a historic turning point for both nations. 

Geopolitics and great-power relations are a central theme of Kissinger’s new book, “Leadership: Six Studies in World Strategy,” that focuses on six key leaders: Germany’s Konrad Adenauer, France’s Charles de Gaulle, Nixon, Egypt’s Anwar Sadat, UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Singapore’s influential first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. 

In his near-century of life, Kissinger has known all six of the leaders whose examples he cites, and through his advisory firm he continues to be a sought-out voice on global affairs from Beijing to Washington. 

Reviewing the performance of today’s European leaders from France’s Emmanuel Macron to Germany’s Olaf Scholz, Kissinger said it made him sad that current “European leadership does not have the sense of direction and mission” that previous heads of state, such as Adenauer and de Gaulle, brought to their roles. 

Kissinger Warns Biden of U.S.-China Catastrophe on Scale of WWI

The latest in global politics

Get insight from reporters around the world in the Balance of Power newsletter.

Email

Sign Up

By submitting my information, I agree to the Privacy Policy and Terms of Service and to receive offers and promotions from Bloomberg.

On Europe’s biggest crisis -- Russia’s war in Ukraine -- Kissinger said comments he made earlier this year about the starting point for a negotiated end to the war have been misreported. Saying he thinks the timing for talks is getting closer, he said discussions about Crimea’s future should be left for negotiations, not determined before the conflict is paused. Crimea was Ukraine’s territory before Russia seized it in 2014. 

Kissinger Doesn’t See China Invasion of Taiwan in Next Decade

And on the turmoil of Brexit, Kissinger said de Gaulle’s view -- that Great Britain “would never be a wholehearted member of the European community” -- has proven justified. 

Asked how the leaders portrayed in his book would fare in today’s world, Kissinger said Singapore’s Lee would be the best of the six to serve as US president, if such a thing were possible, and also the best at dealing with the long-term challenge of climate change. 

Pressed on who would be the strongest negotiator with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Kissinger opted for France’s de Gaulle, then added “Nixon would be quite good.” 

Nixon was “a very good foreign-policy president. He destroyed himself domestically,” Kissinger said. 

On a less weighty issue, Kissinger said Thatcher, the British “Iron Lady” who faced down labor unions at home and Argentina’s dictatorship abroad while becoming her nation’s longest serving prime minister of the 20th century, would be his pick for most interesting dinner companion. 

“Brave man,” responded Micklethwait. 







3. China Warns U.S. Against Nancy Pelosi Visit to Taiwan


Can't back down now.l


China Warns U.S. Against Nancy Pelosi Visit to Taiwan

Beijing says its relations with Washington will be severely damaged if U.S. House speaker visits self-governed island

https://www.wsj.com/articles/china-warns-u-s-against-nancy-pelosi-visit-to-taiwan-11658233090


By James T. AreddyFollow

Updated July 19, 2022 5:01 pm ET


China warned that a Taiwan visit by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would deeply damage relations with the U.S., in what would be one of the highest-level U.S. trips to the island in years amid rancor between Washington and Beijing.

Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, told a Tuesday press briefing that such a visit would “have a severe negative impact on the political foundation of China-U.S. relations, and send a gravely wrong signal to ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist forces.” The Financial Times reported this week that Mrs. Pelosi plans to visit Taiwan in August.

The possibility of a Taiwan trip by Mrs. Pelosi is likely to complicate tentative efforts by the U.S. and China to steady strained relations and throws into doubt a possible virtual meeting between the U.S. and Chinese presidents, which their diplomats have been working to arrange as soon as this month.

Mrs. Pelosi’s office declined to comment on international travel, citing security protocols. A person familiar with the speaker’s plans said a trip to Taiwan had been discussed as a possibility as part of a broader Asia trip but wasn’t confirmed. The White House, via a National Security Council spokesperson, declined to comment on a trip that has yet to be announced. Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it hasn’t received information related to a trip by Mrs. Pelosi.

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Beijing claims Taiwan as part of China and says Washington’s support for Taiwan is the most sensitive issue in relations. But the island is self-governed, run by a democratically elected leadership, and the U.S. is required by law to assist Taiwan’s defense, including four arms sales deals this year.

Taiwan’s separate status is a legacy of the Chinese civil war in the middle of last century and is considered unfinished business for Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is seeking a norm-breaking third term as Communist Party chief. Over the past decade, Mr. Xi has promoted a sizable military buildup that defense experts say could be designed for an eventual assault on the island. Mr. Xi has said China won’t wait forever to gain political control over Taiwan.

Such worries took on new resonance this year when Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces invaded Ukraine with an aim to annex what he has said is his nation’s rightful territory. Beijing, which has an increasingly close partnership with Moscow, rejects such comparisons, saying Ukraine is a sovereign nation and Taiwan isn’t.

In their most recent interaction, shortly after Russia’s Ukraine invasion, Mr. Xi warned President Biden in a March video call that some in the U.S. are sending “a wrong signal” to pro-independence forces in Taiwan. “This is very dangerous,” Mr. Xi told Mr. Biden, according to China’s government.

Earlier

Watch: Biden Says U.S. Would Respond Militarily if China Invaded Taiwan

Watch: Biden Says U.S. Would Respond Militarily if China Invaded Taiwan

Play video: Watch: Biden Says U.S. Would Respond Militarily if China Invaded Taiwan

During his first trip to Asia as commander in chief, President Biden said the U.S. made a commitment to defend Taiwan militarily if China tries to take it by force. Biden also announced a new economic group linking the U.S. with a dozen countries in the Indo-Pacific region, in an attempt to counter China’s influence. Photo: Pool/Reuters

A visit by Mrs. Pelosi wouldn’t be unprecedented, and she had planned one in April before a positive test for Covid-19 scuttled her Asian tour. It would be the first by a House Speaker since Newt Gingrich traveled to the island in 1997. At that time, China was a much weaker power, and Sino-U.S. relations were on an upswing.

While members of Congress have made repeated trips to Taiwan over the years, as have some cabinet officials, Beijing would regard a trip by the person second in the line of succession to the U.S. presidency as a provocation and an indication of U.S. policy. That is particularly true just before Mr. Xi makes his bid to extend his leadership, which has been marked by a more assertive foreign policy and tensions in relations with the U.S. Beijing accuses the U.S. of fearing China’s economic rise, and enlisting allies to politically encircle it as part of a new Cold War.

On a nearly daily basis for months, Taiwan has reported incursions by Chinese military planes at the edges of its airspace. Such activity often rises in lockstep with Beijing’s anger at Taiwan or with moves taken by the U.S., military analysts say.

The Chinese government spokesman, Mr. Zhao, warned the U.S. government against assisting a visit to Taiwan by Mrs. Pelosi. “Should the U.S. side insist on doing otherwise, China will take strong and resolute measures to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity. The U.S. must assume full responsibility for any ensuing consequences.”

Beijing maintains deep distrust of Mrs. Pelosi. In 1991, she unfurled a pro-democracy banner in Tiananmen Square to mark Beijing’s 1989 crackdown on demonstrators.

Visits by U.S. political leaders to Taiwan and interaction with its leadership underscore fears in Beijing that U.S. policy over Taiwan, governed by several communiqués with Beijing signed since 1979, is veering toward direct support for the island’s formal independence.

Beijing sees numerous U.S.-Taiwan interactions as provocations and indications that Washington’s policy is changing, including talks on a free-trade agreement, efforts to include Taiwan in World Health Organization discussions and more strident efforts by some American politicians for the U.S. to forthrightly pledge defense of the island. Mr. Biden has three times suggested the U.S. would come to Taiwan’s aid in the event of an invasion by China, only to later back away by saying American policy hasn’t changed.

Eliza Collins contributed to this article.

Write to James T. Areddy at james.areddy@wsj.com




4. Putin’s Iran trip shows how isolated Russia has become - White House




Putin’s Iran trip shows how isolated Russia has become - White House

Reuters · by Nandita Bose

WASHINGTON, July 19 (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin's trip to Iran this week shows how Russia has become isolated in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine, John Kirby, the White House's chief National Security Council spokesman, told reporters on Tuesday.

Putin had talks with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Iran on Tuesday, the Kremlin leader's first trip outside the former Soviet Union since Moscow's Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine.

The United States last week said it has information that shows Iran is preparing to provide Russia with up to several hundred drones, including some that are weapons capable, and that Tehran is preparing to train Russian forces to use them. Iran's foreign minister denied that.

Kirby said on Tuesday that there is no indication yet that Iran has given drones to Russia.


Reporting By Nandita Bose and Jarrett Renshaw Editing by Alistair Bell

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Reuters · by Nandita Bose



5. Russia’s Mass Abduction of Ukrainians Explained


it may be explained but it certainly cannot be excused.


Excerpts:

There is finally one more detail worth noting; fundamentally, Russia is dying. It’s been well-established that Russia has suffered from a severe brain-drain in recent decades, but what is perhaps less obvious is that the nation’s population is declining at an alarming rate. Since the 1990s, Russia’s population has decreased by two million people, all while alcohol consumption, crime, and poverty rates have continued to skyrocket.
Since coming to power in 2000, President Vladimir Putin has been very vocal about his commitment to stemming the decline. The government has feverishly provided financial assistance and monetary enticements to Russian women willing to have babies. “Putin is obsessed with this demographic issue,” demographer Laurent Chalard told France 24 News “In his mind, the power of a country is linked to the size of its population. The larger the population, the more powerful the state.”
Whether it be for perceived historical justice or very real demographic concerns, Russia has concluded that in order to fully assimilate occupied Ukraine, it must first annihilate it culturally and politically. Ukraine, as a national identity distinct from Russia, cannot co-exist in the retro-czarist fantasy that Putin is pursuing. Instituting a national policy of mass-migration from their communities to foreign lands reflects his profound delusional obsession with resurrecting the Russian Empire. What is being done is not the extermination of a people, but of a people’s identity


Russia’s Mass Abduction of Ukrainians Explained | Geopolitical Monitor

geopoliticalmonitor.com · by Caleb Mills · July 19, 2022

Genocide; it’s a word that gets thrown around a lot these days. It’s an all-encompassing accusation, and leaves no room for discussion, negotiation, or debate. Its employment signals the end of civil discourse, and insists upon the acceleration of verbal hostilities. And why wouldn’t it? The word alone summons appalling imagery from the most tragic moments in our history. Through the years however, it’s true definition and effect have been warped through its constant politicization. What is occurring in Russian-occupied Ukraine subverts both our common understanding of what genocide means, and what it can look like in practice. There may not be extermination camps in Mariupol or killing fields outside of Kharkiv, but what Russia is attempting to accomplish through its occupation is nothing short of cultural and political genocide.

Back in March, as millions of people from around the world obsessed over hourly updates from the unfolding crisis in Ukraine, Moscow was already undertaking an intensive, albeit far less entertaining, effort at subduing their Slavic neighbors. Although it would not be public knowledge for another few months, the military was already kidnapping and deporting Ukrainian civilians back to Russia. While it may seem odd to us, it’s a surprisingly common tactic that Russia has used before. Perhaps the most infamous example of its usage would be the 1944 deportation of half a million Chechens to Central Asia, after Soviet leader Joseph Stalin accused the group of conspiring with Nazi Germany. While curious to us, the Ukrainians who have experienced this horrific abduction have a far darker view on the subject.

On March 18, Volodymyr Khropun was driving a school bus filled with injured civilians through hostile territory in an attempt to reach safety when his vehicle was stopped by Russian troops. Promptly detained, Khropun was dragged to the basement of a nearby townhouse where he, along with 40 others, were subjected to torture.

“We were beaten with rifles, punched, and kicked. They blindfolded me and tied my hands with duct tape. They used Tasers and kept asking for information about the military,” Volodymyr told the BBC. After a week, the Red Cross volunteer was forcibly deported to Russia, only escaping becoming a permanent resident thanks to a prisoner swap in Crimea. “We tried to support each other. Some days we couldn’t believe this was all happening. It felt like we had been transported to the 16th Century from the 21st Century,” he continued. It may be tempting to dismiss Mr. Khropun’s experience as particularly unique or novel, but since his seizure, a much clearer picture of the situation has become apparent.

On July 14, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken accused Russia of forcibly extracting over 1 million civilians from occupied Ukraine. “The unlawful transfer and deportation of protected persons is a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention on the protection of civilians and is a war crime,” Blinken told reporters during his press conference. Shockingly, U.S. intelligence showed that Russian officials were even kidnapping Ukrainian children and subsequently putting them up for adoption back in Russia. In all, an estimated 260,000 Ukrainian minors have gone missing since the invasion.

Since the beginning of hostilities, Russia has made it clear that it does not consider the conflict to be of a traditional nature in terms of sovereignty. As with their 2014 seizure of Crimea, Moscow recognizes the ongoing struggle as an effort to reabsorb Ukraine back into the Russian fold. The consolidated opinion among Russian leaders is that Ukraine is not being invaded, but restored back into its ancestral home. “The Ukraine that you and I had known, within the borders that used to be, no longer exists, and will never exist again,” Kremlin spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters on June 17. Despite all evidence to the contrary, Russia has continued to maintain that the mass-exodus of Ukrainian civilians is for safety purposes.

There is finally one more detail worth noting; fundamentally, Russia is dying. It’s been well-established that Russia has suffered from a severe brain-drain in recent decades, but what is perhaps less obvious is that the nation’s population is declining at an alarming rate. Since the 1990s, Russia’s population has decreased by two million people, all while alcohol consumption, crime, and poverty rates have continued to skyrocket.

Since coming to power in 2000, President Vladimir Putin has been very vocal about his commitment to stemming the decline. The government has feverishly provided financial assistance and monetary enticements to Russian women willing to have babies. “Putin is obsessed with this demographic issue,” demographer Laurent Chalard told France 24 News “In his mind, the power of a country is linked to the size of its population. The larger the population, the more powerful the state.”

Whether it be for perceived historical justice or very real demographic concerns, Russia has concluded that in order to fully assimilate occupied Ukraine, it must first annihilate it culturally and politically. Ukraine, as a national identity distinct from Russia, cannot co-exist in the retro-czarist fantasy that Putin is pursuing. Instituting a national policy of mass-migration from their communities to foreign lands reflects his profound delusional obsession with resurrecting the Russian Empire. What is being done is not the extermination of a people, but of a people’s identity

It’s been nearly five months since Moscow launched its full-scale offensive against Ukraine, marking the inauguration of the first true European land conflict since the end of the Cold War.

In the decades that preceded this historic event, analysts and politicians alike bemoaned the

consequences of such a possible conflict, conjuring images on day-time television of the nuclear apocalypse that was barely avoided in the 1960s. But so far, the anatomy of the contest has proven to be entirely traditional. Moscow so far has utilized the conventional 20th century tools of conquest: aerial bombardment, naval blockades, and land-based assaults. While surely this reluctance to enhance the severity of these accepted methods of warfare is a relief, it has downgraded the sense of urgency in the West, and blinded too many people to what is perhaps the true motivation of the Russian attack. Because while the international community loiters, Russian-occupied Ukraine is experiencing nothing less than an exhaustive attempt at political and cultural genocide.

The views expressed in this article belong to the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect those of Geopoliticalmonitor.com

geopoliticalmonitor.com · by Caleb Mills · July 19, 2022




6. FDD | U.S. Standards Body Reaches Critical Milestone for Mitigating the Quantum Threat, But More Work Is Needed


Excerpt:


Today, security practitioners mainly use information-theoretic security as an additional layer rather than the main foundation of cybersecurity. However, with recent technological advances, creating information-theoretic secure states is more viable than in years past and provides a second avenue to achieving post-quantum security. Little effort, however, is being made to explore standards and guidance for developing information-theoretic secure states that could expedite the development of quantum-resistant encryption. As the United States races to match the growing offensive capabilities of adversaries, NIST needs to redouble its efforts to close the impending quantum gap by investing in secondary avenues to achieve immediate and long-term security.




FDD | U.S. Standards Body Reaches Critical Milestone for Mitigating the Quantum Threat, But More Work Is Needed

fdd.org · by Dr. Georgianna Shea CCTI and TCIL Chief Technologist · July 19, 2022

July 19, 2022 | Policy Brief

U.S. Standards Body Reaches Critical Milestone for Mitigating the Quantum Threat, But More Work Is Needed

Matthew Brockie

Research Assistant

July 19, 2022 | Policy Brief

U.S. Standards Body Reaches Critical Milestone for Mitigating the Quantum Threat, But More Work Is Needed

Dr. Georgianna Shea

CCTI and TCIL Chief Technologist

Matthew Brockie

Research Assistant

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced at the beginning of July the successful testing and selection of the first four algorithms that will become part of NIST’s post-quantum encryption standard. This is a critical milestone in the race to develop advanced encryption methods that can resist the code-breaking power of quantum computers that will become available over the next five to 10 years.

In its announcement, NIST explained that the four selected algorithms can “withstand the assault of a future quantum computer, which could potentially crack the security used to protect privacy in the digital systems we rely on every day — such as online banking and email software.” In encryption, algorithms are the mathematical formulas that protect data. To decrypt data, a computer needs to solve those formulas — a process that becomes exponentially faster with the superior computational power emerging via quantum computing. Google’s research has found that calculations taking 10,000 years to complete with current systems could be conducted in one second using quantum technology, making quantum 100 million times faster.

As the White House noted in a national security memorandum in May, “a quantum computer of sufficient size and sophistication — also known as a cryptanalytically relevant quantum computer (CRQC) — will be capable of breaking much of” the encryption used today. “When it becomes available, a CRQC could jeopardize civilian and military communications, undermine supervisory and control systems for critical infrastructure, and defeat security protocols for most Internet-based financial transactions.”

Identifying algorithms that can withstand the increased power of quantum computers is an essential first step. Within two years, NIST will take the next step and release the first technical standards and guidance for quantum-resistant encryption for all products and services currently using less advanced algorithms. Implementation of this standard will take another five to 15 years to protect all systems and data in use today.

Industry experts, however, expect quantum computing to be widely used within five to 10 years. What is more, companies such as IBM are developing hybrid models that merge classical and quantum computing to bypass some of the technical challenges with pure quantum computing so users can begin taking advantage of quantum computing power even sooner.

Thus, there is a need to move faster toward quantum-resistant security. NIST’s approach focuses on increasing the computational complexity of algorithms, but that is not the only way to achieve security. A second, less discussed strategy uses an “information-theoretic secure state.” Regardless of the computational power available for cracking the encryption, data stored in an information-theoretic secure state remains protected by ensuring the adversary never has enough information to break the security.

Today, security practitioners mainly use information-theoretic security as an additional layer rather than the main foundation of cybersecurity. However, with recent technological advances, creating information-theoretic secure states is more viable than in years past and provides a second avenue to achieving post-quantum security. Little effort, however, is being made to explore standards and guidance for developing information-theoretic secure states that could expedite the development of quantum-resistant encryption. As the United States races to match the growing offensive capabilities of adversaries, NIST needs to redouble its efforts to close the impending quantum gap by investing in secondary avenues to achieve immediate and long-term security.

Dr. Georgianna Shea is the chief technologist of the Center on Cyber and Technology Innovation (CCTI) at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), where Matthew Brockie is a research assistant. For more analysis from the authors and CCTI, please subscribe HERE. Follow FDD on Twitter @FDD and @FDD_CCTI. FDD is a Washington, DC-based, nonpartisan research institute focusing on national security and foreign policy.

Issues:

Cyber

fdd.org · by Dr. Georgianna Shea CCTI and TCIL Chief Technologist · July 19, 2022


7. China's 4th Aircraft Carrier: What the Experts Think About It


Excerpt:


China’s fourth carrier will be another example of the country’s designs to dominate its neighborhood and intimidate Taiwan. It will be a significant part of a larger maritime strategy that can project Chinese power throughout the world. The Type 004 is an attempt at matching America’s reliance on supercarriers to deploy modern aircraft that can fly far and wide. China has arguably the best and most prolific shipbuilders in the world, so a new carrier that builds on earlier successes is doable for the Chinese. Look for it to become a reality later this decade.



China's 4th Aircraft Carrier: What the Experts Think About It

19fortyfive.com · by ByBrent M. Eastwood · July 19, 2022

Details on the development of China’s fourth aircraft carrier remain scarce, so 1945 asked two experts to shine some light on the subject.

It appears that the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s, or PLAN’s, Type 004 carrier will have a flat top instead of a ski jump deck. It probably will not be nuclear-powered, although that is yet to be determined. The carrier air wing will have modern fighters, anti-submarine airplanes, and airborne early-warning craft.

The PLAN wants its fourth carrier to be a significant asset in executing China’s so-called distant sea strategy.

Will Type 004 Be Nuclear-Powered?

Brent Sadler is the senior fellow for naval warfare and advanced technology at the Heritage Foundation. Sadler believes the PLAN wants to emulate the United States in its use of aircraft carriers. “This fourth carrier indicates an intent to stick with the plan for building six carriers laid out over ten years ago,” Sadler said. “Whether it is nuclear-powered or not is not determined yet, but if it is, this indicates a continued progression to matching U.S. supercarrier capacities.”

Dean Cheng is the senior research fellow at Heritage’s Asian Studies Center. Cheng said the PLAN is moving away from ski ramps and toward more traditional catapult launches. “This goes to the reality that a catapult launch allows aircraft to carry much larger payloads (more bombs, more fuel or both), giving their air wing much more capability,” Cheng explained.

Sadler considered what it would mean if the Type 004 is nuclear-powered. “If the fourth carrier is nuclear it signals two things to me. One, a readiness to complete the final developmental step in matching U.S. supercarriers. Two, either confidence in the nuclear propulsion system for on-time delivery, or no urgency in developing it,” he said. “My thinking is the fourth carrier will be conventional, as the PLAN likely will focus on capacity or numbers at sea if 2027 is a culminating point in tensions over Taiwan.”

Sadler said the air wing of the fourth carrier could include fifth-generation naval fighters. But Cheng noted the mainstay warplane would be an older design.. “This will likely be the J-15, based on the Su-33 platform, itself derived from the Su-27 (and previously known as the Su-27K),” Cheng said. “The air wing will likely also include anti-submarine helicopters (likely Kamov-derived designs), and an airborne early-warning aircraft, either on a helicopter, or the KJ-600 airborne early-warning aircraft.”

China’s Methodical Plan to Project Power

China’s fourth carrier is part of a methodical effort to match American capabilities and keep Taiwan from aiming for independence. The Type 004 would epitomize China’s global ambitions, as it could steam into waters beyond the Indo-Pacific.

Cheng pointed out that China depends on the seas for its peacetime activities and economic success. Naval strategy will be part of a larger effort to control multi-domain battle spaces.

“Chinese writings note that navies operate in the ‘far seas’ in order to preserve national interests, signal potential adversaries, and engage in political and political-military diplomacy,” Cheng said. “The first task is also part of the ‘new historic missions’ of the PLA, first assigned in 2004 and still emphasized in Chinese writings. Said preservation entails the ability to control the maritime, outer space, and network/cyber space domains.”

China’s fourth carrier will be another example of the country’s designs to dominate its neighborhood and intimidate Taiwan. It will be a significant part of a larger maritime strategy that can project Chinese power throughout the world. The Type 004 is an attempt at matching America’s reliance on supercarriers to deploy modern aircraft that can fly far and wide. China has arguably the best and most prolific shipbuilders in the world, so a new carrier that builds on earlier successes is doable for the Chinese. Look for it to become a reality later this decade.

Now serving as 1945’s Defense and National Security Editor, Brent M. Eastwood, PhD, is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer. You can follow him on Twitter @BMEastwood.

19fortyfive.com · by ByBrent M. Eastwood · July 19, 2022



8. Senate Armed Services Committee questions Navy's future role, contribution to cyberspace operations



Quote a provocative headline.


Senate Armed Services Committee questions Navy's future role, contribution to cyberspace operations

fedscoop.com · by Mark Pomerleau · July 19, 2022

Written by

Jul 19, 2022 | FEDSCOOP

The Senate’s version of the annual defense policy bill raises the specter that the Navy should entirely get out of cyber operations for U.S. Cyber Command.

While the Senate Armed Services passed its version of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2023 June 16, the full text of the bill and its provisions were not released until July 18.

The latest version of the bill follows concerns from some quarters that the Navy does not have a dedicated military occupational specialty for cyber, which some believe is a direct result of the readiness issue.

One provision in the bill seeks to evaluate the way the Department of Defense trains, organizes and presents cyber forces. Under the current structure, the services provide a pre-determined number of cyber mission force teams to Cyber Command and are largely responsible for training them under joint standards developed by Cyber Command.

Given the cyber mission force was initially designed in 2013, many experts and members of Congress have sought a reexamination of these forces to see if there are the right number of forces, if they’re focused on the right set of threats, if they’re organized properly and if they have the right tool sets, to name a few.

The SASC bill, which still must be approved by the full Senate and then reconciled with the House version, requires a study on the responsibilities of the military services for organizing training and presenting the total forces to Cyber Command.

As part of this study, the committee is requiring the establishment of a new or revised model by the secretary of defense by December 31, 2024, which, among other aspects, determines whether the Navy should no longer be responsible for developing and presenting forces to Cyber Command as part of the cyber mission force. A force structure assessment was included in the fiscal 2021 NDAA and as a result, the cyber mission force is slated to grow.

Concerns regarding the organization and readiness of the Navy’s cyber teams has been ongoing for some time. A provision in the House NDAA is pushing the Navy to create a singular and special work role dedicated to cyberspace.

The Navy is currently the only service that does not have a dedicated military occupational specialty or, in Navy parlance, “designator” for cyber. Its cyber personnel are primarily resourced from its cryptologic warfare community — which is also responsible for signals intelligence, electronic warfare and information operations, among several mission sets — with additional roles resourced from information specialists and cyber warfare engineers. Cyber warfare engineers are not operators, but specialize in highly technical skills and development of tools.

Critics argue that this leads to a less proficient cyber workforce because personnel have to constantly cycle in and out to gain experience in the other aspects of the cryptology field, while proponents say they want to build a well rounded information force.

In a report accompanying the Senate bill, the committee notes that it is “concerned about continued readiness challenges with cyberspace operations forces, particularly with the Navy contributions to the Cyber Mission Force.”

Relatedly, another provision in the SASC bill requires a plan by the secretary of defense and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to develop a plan to correct readiness shortfalls of the cyber mission force.

Readiness has long been one of if not the top priority for Cyber Command.

“In terms of our priorities this year and going into next, a major priority that [Cybercom commander Gen. Paul Nakasone] has set for us is our force readiness — how do we look at our cyber mission teams and ensure that our operators and our analysts are the best qualified, most lethal cyber force in the world,” Dave Frederick, the command’s executive director, said at an online event in June. “Readiness is a big focus for us.”

In recent years, the command has sought various approaches to improve readiness and readiness oversight.

Additional aspects of the study on responsibilities for organizing training and presenting the total forces to Cyber Command include:

  • which services should organize, train, and equip civilian assets and military cyber forces to Cyber Command;
  • the organization of the cyber operations force and if the total forces or elements of the forces function best as a collection of independent teams or through a different model;
  • if a single military service should be responsible for basic, intermediate and advanced training for the cyber operations forces, or at a minimum for the cyber mission force;
  • whether or how the duties of the director of the National Security Agency and the duties of the commander of Cyber Command, which is currently the same person, enable each organization and if technical directors and intelligence experts of the National Security Agency should serve rotations in the cyber operations forces;
  • what work roles in the cyber operations forces can only be filled by military personnel, which work roles can be filled by civilian employees or contractors and which work roles should be filled partially or fully by civilians, and;
  • if the Department of Defense should create a separate service to organize, train and equip the cyber operations forces or at a minimum the cyber mission force, to name a few.

-In this Story-

Cyber Mission ForceNavyNavy cyberNDAASASCU.S. Cyber Command

fedscoop.com · by Mark Pomerleau · July 19, 2022


9. Vital Russian Gas Supplies to Europe Aren’t Expected to Restart, Says European Commission


Excerpts:


While German officials expect Nord Stream to restart supply, albeit at a lower volume, Germany’s government is also preparing for the worst-case scenario of the pipeline remaining permanently closed.
“It is impossible for us to predict how Gazprom is going to act. We already have 12 countries, or in certain cases companies within countries, that from one day to the next have experienced disruptions,” Mr. Mamer said. “Therefore what Gazprom is going to do tomorrow is your best guess as well as ours.”
Privately, EU officials also say they haven’t received any information from Gazprom or its clients on the energy giant’s plans.
Earlier, European Commission budget czar Johannes Hahn told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in Singapore that the EU is “working on the assumption” that the Nord Stream pipeline won’t return to operation. He gave no further details.
The Commission will release a plan tomorrow that is meant to help governments prepare for a possible halt in Russian gas supplies.


Vital Russian Gas Supplies to Europe Aren’t Expected to Restart, Says European Commission

European leaders have blamed Moscow for using gas as a weapon

https://www.wsj.com/articles/eu-expects-vital-russian-gas-supplies-wont-be-restarted-on-schedule-11658224803


By Jason DouglasFollow

 and Laurence NormanFollow

Updated July 19, 2022 11:55 am ET


SINGAPORE—The European Union is working under the assumption that Russia’s Nord Stream pipeline won’t return to operation when scheduled maintenance ends this week, officials said Tuesday, and are working through contingency planning even as they hold out hope the gas flows will resume.

Nord Stream, the main artery for Russian gas to Europe, closed on July 11 for annual maintenance that is expected to last 10 days. Many in the West fear that Moscow might prolong the closure, possibly permanently, and deprive Germany, Europe’s industrial powerhouse, of a key ingredient for its and its neighbors’ factories.

Even before the maintenance began, Moscow had cut deliveries on the pipeline to 40% of its capacity.

“What is the worst possible scenario—and this therefore has to be the assumption for our planning—that there will be a full disruption by Gazprom. Whether it will happen or not, we don’t know,” said Eric Mamer, chief spokesman for the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm.

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While German officials expect Nord Stream to restart supply, albeit at a lower volume, Germany’s government is also preparing for the worst-case scenario of the pipeline remaining permanently closed.

“It is impossible for us to predict how Gazprom is going to act. We already have 12 countries, or in certain cases companies within countries, that from one day to the next have experienced disruptions,” Mr. Mamer said. “Therefore what Gazprom is going to do tomorrow is your best guess as well as ours.”

Privately, EU officials also say they haven’t received any information from Gazprom or its clients on the energy giant’s plans.

Earlier, European Commission budget czar Johannes Hahn told reporters on the sidelines of a conference in Singapore that the EU is “working on the assumption” that the Nord Stream pipeline won’t return to operation. He gave no further details.

The Commission will release a plan tomorrow that is meant to help governments prepare for a possible halt in Russian gas supplies.

A draft version of the plan viewed by The Wall Street Journal said the commission wants to encourage consumers and governments to step up energy conservation efforts beginning this summer. Even if the flow of Russian gas doesn’t stop right away, the draft document said, reducing gas use now should help countries fill their storage tanks and reduce the chance of a shortfall during the winter heating season.

The plan will also lay out a set of criteria that governments can use to help determine which industries to give priority to if there isn’t enough gas to go around.


Mr. Mamer said that like all contingency plans, the Commission’s work is aimed at various scenarios including the worst-case possibility of a complete cutoff of gas.

The International Monetary Fund Tuesday said a halt to Russian gas supplies from mid-July would have a significant impact on European economies, with Hungary, the Slovak Republic, the Czech Republic and Italy suffering the largest losses. Across the EU as a whole, the IMF said lost output could exceed 2.5% of gross domestic product if supplies of liquefied natural gas weren’t available to cover much of the shortfall. With access to new supplies of LNG, the economic loss could be less than half a percentage point of GDP. For Germany, the IMF estimates a maximum loss of less than 3% of GDP, with a minimum loss around half a percentage point of GDP. By contrast, the Fund estimates Hungary could lose as much as 6.5% of GDP.

Europe faces a potential economic crisis in the coming months if Moscow doesn’t restart deliveries soon after July 21. Without significant quantities of gas flowing through the pipeline, officials say, Europe won’t have enough fuel to heat homes and power factories through the winter.

U.S. Gas Producers Under Pressure as Russia Cuts Off Supplies in Europe

U.S. Gas Producers Under Pressure as Russia Cuts Off Supplies in Europe

Play video: U.S. Gas Producers Under Pressure as Russia Cuts Off Supplies in Europe

As Europe races to wean itself off Russian energy, American natural-gas producers are struggling to meet the demand and prices are rising. Factors including extreme weather and equipment needs have created a bottleneck amid the war in Ukraine. Illustration: Laura Kammermann and Sharon Shi

European industries are preparing to ration gas to allow enough fuel for heating as temperatures drop. As Europe’s biggest consumer of Russian gas, Germany is particularly vulnerable, its industrial base relies on Russian supplies as a source of energy and raw materials.

Mr. Hahn was in Singapore to promote an EU investment and recovery plan. The bloc is hoping to raise around 800 billion euros, equivalent to $812 billion, from domestic and foreign investors over the next few years.

Kim Mackrael, Paul Hannon and Bojan Pancevski contributed to this article.

Write to Jason Douglas at jason.douglas@wsj.com and Laurence Norman at laurence.norman@wsj.com



10. Nominee for top VA benefits job withdraws, restarting search


Jefferson was a Captain in 1-1 SFG in Okinawa in the 90's when he lost his fingers in training accident.


Nominee for top VA benefits job withdraws, restarting search

militarytimes.com · by Leo Shane III · July 19, 2022

Veterans Affairs officials on Tuesday restarted their search for a new executive to lead the department’s benefits operations after the previous nominee withdrew from the confirmation process.

The nomination of Ray Jefferson to be undersecretary for benefits had been stalled since late April, after senators raised concerns about his past work leading the Veterans Employment and Training Service during President Barack Obama’s administration.

The top benefits job has been without a Senate confirmed leader since early 2021. Veterans groups have raised concerns about the vacancy, noting that issues such as the ongoing disability claims backlog and education programs affected by the pandemic have been handled by a series of temporary administrators.

RELATED


Top VA medical post remains unfilled after latest Senate delay

A move to fast-track confirmation of the president's nominee was blocked by a Republican senator on Wednesday.

The post oversees all non-medical veterans benefits, delivering about $135 billion in services and payouts annually.

VA officials formally established a new commission on Tuesday to identify potential candidates for the job. In the interim, Senior Advisor to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs Joshua Jacobs has been designated to perform the duties of the Under Secretary for Benefits, starting July 25.

Jefferson formally withdrew his name last week, VA officials said. During his confirmation hearing in April, he outlined his goals for the job, to include reducing the backlog of disability claims and improving transition programs for veterans.

But multiple Republican lawmakers expressed concerns that Jefferson had been accused by subordinates at his Department of Labor post of contract impropriety, including allegations he steered a consulting contract to a personal friend.

The department’s inspector general initially substantiated that allegation, but the office reversed its ruling eight years later and said Jefferson should not have been asked to resign for the perceived infractions.

Jefferson, an Army veteran who lost five fingers in a training accident in 1999, said he spent a significant amount of his own savings to hire a legal team to clear his name “because I have hoped to one day have the privilege of serving our nation again.”

But the questions surrounding his actions were enough for lawmakers to stall his confirmation. Even as other nominees moved ahead in the process, Jefferson remained static for more than two months.

RELATED


VA overhauls patient wait time website, but not policies on other medical options

The data is designed to help veterans see which VA facilities have nearby medical appointments.

As the department restarts its search for its top benefits official, leaders at VA are also still waiting for a final Senate vote on the White House’s nominee for the department’s top healthcare official.

Dr. Shereef Elnahal was tapped by the White House in March to serve as VA’s undersecretary for health and received a favorable vote from the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee in May.

However, his final confirmation vote has been blocked for weeks by Republican lawmakers with concerns not over his qualifications but instead general objections to President Joe Biden’s personnel choices.

The top VA medical job hasn’t had a Senate-confirmed appointee since January 2017, when Dr. David Shulkin left the post to take over the VA secretary position.

About Leo Shane III

Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.




11. Korean War Veterans Memorial Mural Wall Designer Louis Nelson Talks About His Inspiration


An important event next week.



Korean War Veterans Memorial Mural Wall Designer Louis Nelson Talks About His Inspiration

military.com · by Blake Stilwell · July 19, 2022

Industrial designer Louis Nelson is an Army veteran, a helicopter pilot and the creative mind behind the Mural Wall at the Korean War Veterans Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Although he's designed everything from skis to the United Nations' Dag Hammarskjold Medal, the subject of memorials is his passion. His new book, "Mosaic: War Monument Mystery," is about his life, experiences and motivations. Central to that is the subject of war memorials, about which he is an expert.

"Memorials are important to a lot of people," Nelson tells Military.com. "It's important to the people who served because it's recognition from the country they served. They can go to the memorial and feel a sense of presence and belonging."

In creating the concept for the Mural Wall, Nelson was free to design anything he wanted. To start, he considered how individuals remember their lost loved ones. For individuals, he considered, one might build a statue, such as the Lincoln Memorial. To remember many people, one would memorialize their names, like the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall does.

There was only one other way he could think of to memorialize important people.

"I thought of my grandmother, and I remember she had a photograph of my cousin who was in military uniform," Nelson recalls. "She had it up on the mantel, and she had another one on her bed stand. He was stationed in Japan and had served in Korea. Of course, the only other way that you remember and honor somebody is, you have a photograph of them. So it just was important for me then that the wall would be a photograph."

The men and women who served in Korea became central to his design for the Mural Wall. The wall features 2,500 actual images of real service members in the Korean War, taken by military photographers and sandblasted in black granite.

It also shows the weapons, equipment and vehicles used in the war. Nelson wanted every branch of service, every job they performed and the tools they used to fight the war to be memorialized forever.

"Some of the faces would be life-size so that you would have eye-to-eye contact. Somehow or another, they would see that this is the face of America that we sent to war," Nelson says. "They look like the kids of today, and I think they will look the same 20 years from now."


Industrial designer Louis Nelson created the Mural Wall at the Korean War Veterans Memorial. (Courtesy of Louis Nelson)

Nelson worked closely with Frank Gaylord, designer of "The Column," 19 figures marching in a patrol, representing members of the Army, NavyMarine Corps and Air Force. When reflected into the wall, there appears to be 38 troops, representing both the 38-month duration of the war, as well as the 38th parallel, the dividing line between North and South Korea.

"Nobody told me what to do," Nelson says of his design. "But they told Frank [Gaylord] they wanted 38 figures. That was way too many for the space, so we did 19, thinking we could get the other 19 from the polished mural wall. They are beautifully reflected back."

When the Korean War Veterans Memorial was unveiled in 1995, Korean War veterans thought it was beautiful, too.

"A guy in a suit and tie came running up to me," Nelson says. "Somehow or another, he knew that I designed the mural. He told me that for the first time in his life, he could see it all. He had been there in the war, but he couldn't talk about it. From 1953 to 1995. Through tears, he said he could finally understand what he'd given up his youth for, and he wanted me to know what the mural meant to him."


(U.S. Marine Corps/Cpl. Raquel Barraza)

Nelson reflects on the full story of designing the Korean War Veterans Memorial in his book, because of all his works, it's the one about which he gets the most questions and letters. He also wrote it for another reason, which he explains by quoting one of the last lines of the book.

"The story is not about the Memorial, but it's about the people of the Memorial. Not about the stone and bronze, but about the blood. Not about the moment, but about endurance. Not of yesterday, but of tomorrow. Not of what had happened or why it happened, but how we have changed and grown because of it. For in struggle is growth."

To learn more about designer and Army veteran Louis Nelson, his work and his life, visit his website. His book, "Mosaic: War Monument Mystery," is on bookshelves now.

-- Blake Stilwell can be reached at blake.stilwell@military.com. He can also be found on Twitter @blakestilwell or on Facebook.

Want to Learn More About Military Life?

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military.com · by Blake Stilwell · July 19, 2022


12. Nuclear strategy and ending the war in Ukraine


Excerpts:

Therefore we concur with UN Secretary General Guterres, who said, “These weapons offer false promises of security and deterrence — while guaranteeing only destruction, death, and endless brinksmanship,” and with Pope Francis, who said, “[Nuclear weapons] exist in the service of a mentality of fear that affects not only the parties in conflict, but the entire human race.,” as well as with the late U.S. Senator Alan Cranston who simply said, “Nuclear weapons are unworthy of civilization.”
NATO’s nuclear arsenal failed to deter Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and has almost no utility as a weapon of war. But NATO’s nuclear weapons can still be put to good use, not by threatening to launch them and escalate the war, but by withdrawing them to make room for new negotiations and eventual peace.


Nuclear strategy and ending the war in Ukraine

BY OSCAR ARIAS AND JONATHAN GRANOFF, OPINION CONTRIBUTORS - 07/19/22 2:30 PM ET

THE VIEWS EXPRESSED BY CONTRIBUTORS ARE THEIR OWN AND NOT THE VIEW OF THE HILL

The Hill · · July 19, 2022

It is time for bolder efforts to make peace in Ukraine.

War, like fire, can spread out of control, and as President Putin keeps reminding us, this particular conflagration has the potential to start a nuclear war.

At a recent joint news conference with the President of Belarus, Putin announced that Russia would transfer Iskander M missiles to Belarus. Those missiles can carry nuclear warheads, and the move is apparently intended to mirror nuclear sharing arrangements the United States has with five NATO allies — Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, and Turkey.

U.S. nuclear weapons were introduced into Europe in the 1950s as a stopgap measure to defend NATO democracies whose conventional forces were weak. The number of nuclear weapons in those five countries peaked around 7,300 warheads in the 1960s, then dwindled to about 150 today, reflecting NATO’s growing conventional strength and its diminishing estimation of the military usefulness of nuclear weapons. But even 150 nuclear weapons could be more than sufficient to touch off a dangerous confrontation with Russia.

The world is as close to the nuclear abyss today as it was during the Cuban Missile Crisis. In fact, contemporary nuclear risks may actually be worse. Whereas Cuban Missile Crisis lasted just 13 days, the fighting in Ukraine will likely continue and tempt fate for many months to come.

Negotiations are therefore essential to defuse nuclear tensions. Even though it has no direct role in the Ukraine war, it’s appropriate for NATO to have a role in encouraging negotiations to end it.

Since NATO is an enormously strong military force — stronger even than Putin’s Russia — and since President Putin has said that the war in Ukraine is in part a response to NATO’s actions, NATO calling for peace negotiations would be fitting and carry some weight.

It would also be in keeping with NATO member states’ obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. NATO leaders meeting in Madrid recently reaffirmed that “The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is the essential bulwark against the spread of nuclear weapons and we remain strongly committed to its full implementation, including Article VI [the article that commits nuclear-armed states to pursuing nuclear disarmament].” This commitment includes, according to the Non-Proliferation Treaty’s 2000 Review Conference report, “a diminishing role for nuclear weapons in security policies to minimize the risk that these weapons ever be used and to facilitate the process of their total elimination.”

NATO traditionally maintains strong deterrence and defense, while it has also led the way toward detente and dialogue. NATO’s current commitment to deterrence and defense is clear. But to restart conversations, NATO must now also find a way to encourage détente and dialogue.

Bringing both sides back into dialogue will require a dramatic gesture. Therefore, we propose NATO plan and prepare for withdrawal of all U.S. nuclear warheads from Europe and Turkey, preliminary to negotiations. Withdrawal would be carried out once peace terms are agreed between Ukraine and Russia. Such a proposal would get Putin’s attention and might bring him to the negotiating table.

Removing U.S. nuclear weapons from Europe and Turkey would not weaken NATO militarily, since nuclear weapons have little or no actual usefulness on the battlefield. If they are truly weapons of last resort, there is no need to deploy them so close to Russia’s border. Under this proposal, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States would retain their national nuclear arsenals, and if the worst happened, they could still use them on NATO’s behalf.

Despite 70 years without a major war, it is not possible for nuclear deterrence to last forever. It only works as long as human beings make the right choices. Yet we know humans are flawed, and we all make mistakes.

Therefore we concur with UN Secretary General Guterres, who said, “These weapons offer false promises of security and deterrence — while guaranteeing only destruction, death, and endless brinksmanship,” and with Pope Francis, who said, “[Nuclear weapons] exist in the service of a mentality of fear that affects not only the parties in conflict, but the entire human race.,” as well as with the late U.S. Senator Alan Cranston who simply said, “Nuclear weapons are unworthy of civilization.”

Record heat has terrifying impacts The vanishing center of American democracy

NATO’s nuclear arsenal failed to deter Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and has almost no utility as a weapon of war. But NATO’s nuclear weapons can still be put to good use, not by threatening to launch them and escalate the war, but by withdrawing them to make room for new negotiations and eventual peace.

Nobel Peace Laureate Oscar Arias was the President of Costa Rica from 1986 to 1990 and 2006 to 2010.

Jonathan Granoff is President of the Global Security Institute, and a Nobel Peace Prize nominee.

The Hill · · July 19, 2022





13. What to read to understand modern warfare



From the Economist.


The Face of Battle. By John Keegan. Penguin Books; 384 pages; $18. Bodley Head; £16.99
Military Power: Explaining Victory and Defeat in Modern Battle. By Stephen Biddle. Princeton University Press; 352 pages; $39.95 and £30
The Tank Debate: Armour and the Anglo-American Military Tradition. By John Stone. Taylor & Francis; 210 pages; $62.95 and £46.99
Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War. By Paul Scharre. W.W. Norton; 448 pages; $18.95
Supplying War: Logistics from Wallenstein to Patton. By Martin van Creveld. Cambridge University Press; 328 pages; $39.99 and £29.99

What to read to understand modern warfare

Our defence editor picks five books that help make sense of how wars are fought today

The Economist

This article is part of our Summer reads series. Visit our collection to discover “The Economist reads” guides, guest essays and more seasonal distractions.

THE WAR in Ukraine is a curious mix of old and new. Soldiers crouch in trenches that would not be out of place in Verdun, were it not for the glimpse of a reconnaissance drone above. Some Ukrainian gunners receive orders via Elon Musk’s Starlink constellation of satellites. Others fire artillery pieces that pre-date the Cuban missile crisis. Chinese-made quadcopters drop 1940s-vintage grenades on unsuspecting Russian tanks. It has the feel of a steampunk novel by Tom Clancy. Making sense of all this can be tricky. Conscription has ebbed away in America and most big European countries, so military matters seem rarefied. The Western wars of the past 30 years have been waged largely against assorted insurgents and guerrillas; the sound of big guns once more pounding out duels within Europe is disorienting. How to understand it all? This selection of five books should help you brush up on modern warfare.

The Face of Battle. By John Keegan. Penguin Books; 384 pages; $18. Bodley Head; £16.99

A lot of military history is a snoozefest: hagiographies of generals and bloodless accounts of obscure engagements. So when John Keegan, a lecturer at Sandhurst, Britain’s military academy, published “The Face of Battle” in 1976, it was an instant classic. The book examines three seminal battles—Agincourt, Waterloo and the Somme—at the level of the individuals who fought them. “Inside every army is a crowd struggling to get out,” writes Keegan, “a human assembly animated not by discipline but by mood”. The line is sometimes barely discernible. In the first world war, entire battalions came into being “when a train load of a thousand volunteers was tipped out on to a rural railway platform in front of a single officer”. In Ukraine, conscripts have been thrown into the meat-grinder with little training. Keegan vividly describes how booze, religion, fatigue, honour, the promise of loot and raw coercion keep soldiers from fleeing. Men in close combat will eventually break, though, in little under a year in the case of the second world war. Modern battles have drones, artificial intelligence and hypersonic missiles. But their aim is the same—“for it is towards the disintegration of human groups that battle is directed”. (We reviewed another of Mr Keegan’s books, on the American civil war, in 2009.)

Military Power: Explaining Victory and Defeat in Modern Battle. By Stephen Biddle. Princeton University Press; 352 pages; $39.95 and £30

The battle for Kyiv was a powerful reminder that small armies can, and often do, frustrate larger and richer ones. But why? Stephen Biddle offers a compelling (if, in places, technical) explanation. By 1914 modern weaponry had become so lethal that infantry could not advance without being shredded to pieces. What broke the trench stalemate in 1918 was a complex bundle of new tactics that Biddle calls the “modern system”. The apocalyptic artillery barrages of Passchendaele gave way to shorter, sharper bursts designed to force defenders to hunker down, not obliterate them. Small, dispersed infantry teams, armed with machine guns and grenades, advanced under cover and concealment afforded by the terrain. Powerful armies that neglect these principles get unstuck—or, like Iraq in 1991, wiped out. Small ones that heed them can survive even against a blitz of advanced precision weapons, as al-Qaeda did in the Afghan mountains in the spring of 2002. There are vital lessons for armies, argues Mr Biddle: training and skill are more important than kit, boots on the ground remain vital and infantry will have the edge over heavy armour.

More Summer reads

• How Super Mario became a global cultural icon

• What if the Ottoman Empire had not collapsed?

• Hayek, Popper and Schumpeter formulated a response to tyranny

 Our Free Exchange columnist considers just how Dickensian China is

• Six guides to biology as seen at different scales

The Tank Debate: Armour and the Anglo-American Military Tradition. By John Stone. Taylor & Francis; 210 pages; $62.95 and £46.99

“Time after time during the past 40 years the highest defence authorities have announced that the tank is dead or dying,” wrote Basil Liddell Hart, the British military theorist, in 1960. “Each time it has risen from the grave to which they have consigned it”. Sure enough, when Egypt hammered Israeli armour in the Yom Kippur war of 1973, many were quick to write off the tank. The Israelis did not. They quickly realised that tanks needed infantry to protect them, and that the enemy squads wielding anti-tank missiles were themselves quite vulnerable. The point, as John Stone explains, is not that technology will make tanks obsolete; technology can help them adapt, too. It is that technology and tactics have to be in tune. Mr Stone argues that the current generation of American and British tanks, the Challenger and Abrams series, were first designed in the 1970s when armies anticipated close-up slugfests rather than the fluid manoeuvre warfare that came into fashion in the 1980s. They therefore prioritised heavy armour and big guns over mobility; Soviet-era tanks, by contrast, are cheap, light and quick. But, as we explained in a recent interactive piece, Russian tank crews in Ukraine proved so inept that these advantages counted for little.

Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War. By Paul Scharre. W.W. Norton; 448 pages; $18.95

My previous three suggestions all emphasise continuity in warfare: Keegan’s irreducible clash of human on human, Mr Biddle’s paean to century-old tactics and Mr Stone’s account of why tanks keep staging comebacks. In contrast, Paul Scharre, a former army officer and Pentagon official, considers a rupture: weapons that have increasing freedom to choose their own targets. Their antecedent is the acoustic homing torpedo of 1943, which could latch onto the sound of a ship’s propellers. The mature example is the loitering munition: a drone-missile hybrid, employed by both sides in Ukraine, which can be sent to wander an area until it detects a suitable target. Discussions on this topic are liable to get carried away in speculative visions of Terminator-like sentient weaponry; the value of Mr Scharre’s book, which we reviewed in 2018, is that it is grounded in history as much as futurology. He argues that important lessons might be gleaned from air-defence systems like America’s Patriot missiles and the ship-based Aegis. Such systems have long had to make complex decisions, at superhuman speed, about which incoming targets to engage—and they sometimes get it catastrophically wrong. “Humanity,” he concludes, “is at the threshold of a new technology that could fundamentally change our relationship with war”.

Supplying War: Logistics from Wallenstein to Patton. By Martin van Creveld. Cambridge University Press; 328 pages; $39.99 and £29.99

In the first half of the 17th century, writes Martin van Creveld, an Israeli military historian, an army going to war took with it 100 balls per artillery barrel. No barrel would be expected to fire more than five times a day. On an average day in Ukraine, Russian guns fire 400 times and eat through more than 7,000 rounds, on one estimate. Hauling that much ammo is a herculean task. Logistics is not sexy, but it is vital to modern warfare. Russia’s logistical woes contributed to its quagmire around Kyiv in February and March. Ukraine’s use of American rockets to blow up Russian depots this month is premised on gumming up Russian supplies. “Supplying War” is not the most up-to-date treatment of the topic—opt for “Military Logistics and Strategic Performance” by Thomas Kane if you’re a Russian staff officer trying to make amends—but it is the most readable. “A real revolution,” says Mr van Creveld, “will take place only when soldiers get tired of firing heavy metal projectiles at one another and start using weightless laser beams instead.” ■

____________

Our defence editor recently wrote a Technology Quarterly series of articles that assessed how defence tech is changing. (Listen to a podcast version on the same subject). He also has assessed the woeful state of Russia’s army in Ukraine, written in defence of the tank, and on the spread of autonomous weapons.

Do you have your own recommendations? Send them to [email protected] with the subject line “Modern warfare” and your name, city and country. We will publish a selection of readers’ suggestions.

More from The Economist reads:

Our correspondent in São Paulo recommends six books about Brazil

Five essential books about football

Our Africa editor chooses five books, and one album, about Africa

Our food columnist selects the seven essential cookbooks

The Economist



14. US Colonel: Americans lie about Armed Forces' of Ukraine situation in Donbass


I would make a snarky comment about a retired Lieutenant Colonel pitching Softballs to Prvda and Russian propaganda. But the real issue should be focused on is the Lieutenant Colonel's absolute right to free expression and his example is one of the hallmarks of democracy and something that cannot happen in Russia, China, Iran, and north Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, and etc., etc. He can criticize the US without fear of retribution (other than my and others' snarky comments).  


So Pravda, have at it. You are just reinforcing the fact we have freedoms and you do not.


US Colonel: Americans lie about Armed Forces' of Ukraine situation in Donbass

english.pravda.ru · by Petr Ernilin · July 19, 2022

РусскийDeutschFrançaisPortuguese



Russia World Society Science Incidents Opinion Business Archive



US Colonel: American generals lie about the situation of Armed Forces of Ukraine

19.07.2022 19:33

World

Western generals deliberately hide the real data on the situation of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the Donbass. This was stated by US Army Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Davis in an article for 19FortyFive.


He reproached high-ranking military men for lying. According to Davis, they give comments to various TV channels and media resources and talk about the state of affairs during the special operation in Ukraine. According to Davis, such “television generals" are confusing the public with false data.

The lieutenant colonel of the US Armed Forces also noted that the Russian army is much stronger both on the ground and in the sky, and the supply of HIMARS artillery systems did not give additional capabilities to the military of Ukraine, which still continues to suffer heavy losses.

“Ukraine is sorely lacking in howitzer ammunition while Russia continues to produce an almost unlimited supply of howitzer ammunition,” Davis said.

In conclusion, the US military said that at the G7 and G20 summits, Western countries did not promise Ukraine "any additional full-scale assistance", including with the supply of weapons. Russia, on the other hand, has all the material and technical base for the successful conduct of hostilities, the lieutenant colonel specified.

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Author`s name: Petr Ernilin




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Sohu: Putin stuns the West with two words about the Ukraine conflict

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english.pravda.ru · by Petr Ernilin · July 19, 2022



15. US plans to reroute $67 million in aid toward Lebanon’s armed forces



Livelihood support for the armed forces. This might raise some eyebrows and questions about what kind of livelihood support are we providing to the US military (and their families)? 


US plans to reroute $67 million in aid toward Lebanon’s armed forces

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2014206/middle-east


  • Washington is the biggest foreign aid donor to Lebanon
  • More than half of Lebanon’s 6 million people have fallen into poverty


WASHINGTON: The United States plans to reroute $67 million of military assistance for Lebanon’s armed forces to support members of the military as the country grapples with financial meltdown.

According to a notification sent to Congress, the State Department intends to change the content of previously appropriated foreign military funding for Lebanon to include “livelihood support” for members of the Lebanese military, citing economic turmoil as well as social unrest.

“Livelihood support for (armed forces) members will strengthen their operational readiness, mitigate absenteeism, and thus enable LAF members to continue fulfilling key security functions needed to stave off a further decline in stability,” said the notification to Congress, seen by Reuters.

Washington is the biggest foreign aid donor to Lebanon. US officials had pledged additional support in October.

The news was praised in Washington. “It is in the United States’ national security interest to help these servicemen make ends meet and continue supporting the Lebanese people, and I’m really glad to see the administration putting our security assistance dollars to Lebanon toward that goal,” Democratic Senator Chris Murphy said in a statement.

Sunni Muslim leader Saad Al-Hariri announced his departure from Lebanese politics this week, opening the way for the Shiite Hezbollah to extend its sway over the country.

Hariri’s departure opens a new phase in Lebanon’s politics, governed by a system of sectarian power-sharing, and adds to uncertainty in a country suffering a financial crisis that marks its biggest threat to stability since the 1975-90 civil war.

More than half of Lebanon’s 6 million people have fallen into poverty. The World Bank says it is one of the sharpest modern depressions, with the currency plunging more than 90 percent and the financial system paralyzed.

Discontent has been brewing in the security forces as Lebanon’s currency has slumped, driving down soldiers’ wages. Many have taken extra jobs, and some have quit.



16. Ayman al Zawahiri is alive; Taliban and Al Qaeda “remain close,” UN reports


Ayman al Zawahiri is alive; Taliban and Al Qaeda “remain close,” UN reports | FDD's Long War Journal

longwarjournal.org · by Bill Roggio · July 20, 2022

Ayman al Zawahiri, the head of Al Qaeda who served as Osama bin Laden’d deputy on 9/11, “is confirmed to be alive” and is “communicating freely,” according to a report from the United Nations’ Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team. Additionally, the UN said the Taliban-Al Qaeda alliance remains strong, as reported by FDD’s Long War Journal, and the leaders of Al Qaeda’s branches in North and East Africa have assumed roles in Al Qaeda’s line of succession.

While it is not news that Zawahiri is alive, well, and communicating comfortably, some terrorism analysts previously claimed Zawahiri was dead as recently as Nov. 2020. While not explicitly stated, Zawahiri is likely operating inside Afghanistan.

#exclusive #breaking

Ayman Zawahiri, al-Qaeda leader & Osama bin Laden successor, died a month ago of natural causes in his domicile. The news is making the rounds in close circles.

– I realize the issue wt such claims but corroborated it wt sources close to AQ (Hurras al-Din)
— Hassan I. Hassan (@hxhassan) November 13, 2020

“Member States note that al-Zawahiri’s apparent increased comfort and ability to communicate has coincided with the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan and the consolidation of power of key [Al Qaeda] allies within their de facto administration,” the United Nations Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team noted in its latest report on the status of Al Qaeda and its rival, the Islamic State.

Additionally, Al Qaeda’s “leadership reportedly plays an advisory role with the Taliban, and the groups remain close.”

Previously, in 2020, the United Nations Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team reported that the Taliban “regularly consulted with Al Qaeda during negotiations with the United States and offered guarantees that it would honor their historical ties.”

The most recent UN report went on to note that Al Qaeda is established in all areas of the country, as has been previously reported by FDD’s Long War Journal. “Fighters” from Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent, Al Qaeda’s branch in South Asia, “are represented at the individual level among Taliban combat units.” From the UN report:

Al-Qaida members reportedly remain in the south and east of Afghanistan, where the group has a historical presence. Some Member States noted a possible shift of core members further to the west to the Farah and Herat Provinces. One Member State reported that Al-Qaida intended to establish a position in northern Afghanistan, mobilize new fighters and generate increased resources.

Al Qaeda’s presence in northern Afghanistan is well known. The group operates through allied Central Asian jihadist groups such as the Turkistan Islamic Party and Ansarullah. Just this spring, Abdul Haq al Turkistani, the head of the Al Qaeda and Taliban-linked Turkistan Islamic Party, celebrated the Eid al-Fitr holiday in Afghanistan. Turkistani has previously been identified by the U.S. Treasury Department as a member of Al Qaeda’s central Shura, or executive committee.

The UN report also noted that Al Qaeda is better positioned to supplant the Islamic State and “to be recognized again as the leader of global jihad.”

The UN reported Al Qaeda’s “propaganda is now better developed to compete with ISIL as the key actor in inspiring the international threat environment, and it may ultimately become a greater source of directed threat.”

Finally, the UN report provided insight on Al Qaeda’s line of succession. Saif al Adel, the longtime Al Qaeda leader and veteran, is second behind Zawahiri. Next in line are Abdal-Rahman al-Maghrebi, Yazid Mebrak, the emir of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, and Ahmed Diriye, the leader of Shabaab, which is Al Qaeda’s branch in East Africa.

Al Adel has long been a top leader in Al Qaeda, and he is known to have sheltered in Iran along with other key terrorist leaders. He is now also believed to be inside Afghanistan.

Maghrebi, a native Moroccan, is Zawahiri’s son-in-law, and has served in a number of senior roles within Al Qaeda. The State Department has described him as the “longtime director” of As Sahab, Al Qaeda’s central media arm and the “head” of the group’s “External Communications Office,” where he “coordinates activities with” Al Qaeda’s “affiliates.” Maghrebi has also been Al Qaeda’s “general manager in Afghanistan and Pakistan since 2012,” a key role as top Al Qaeda leaders shelter in the region.

The presence of Mebrak and Diriye in the chain of succession should come as no surprise. Al Qaeda began diversifying its leadership and giving key leadership roles to its branch leaders as the U.S. stepped up its targeted killing of top Al Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan and Pakistan beginning in the mid-2000s. For instance, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula emir Nasir al Wuhayshi served as Al Qaeda’s general manager before he was killed in a drone strike in Yemen in 2015. Nasser bin Ali al Ansi, another key AQAP leader, served as Al Qaeda’s deputy general manager before he was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen in 2015. And Mebrak’s predecessor, Abdelmalek Droukdel, was Al Qaeda’s third in command before he was killed in a French raid in Mali in 2020.

The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan has been a boon for Al Qaeda and other allied terror groups. Afghanistan is now in the Taliban’s full control, and Al Qaeda has enjoyed the same spoils the group had before 9/11: safe haven, and with that the ability to regroup, rest and train its fighters, while they plot and plan to execute attacks against the West.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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longwarjournal.org · by Bill Roggio · July 20, 2022




17. Who Cares About Context? The Case for Getting Serious in the Civil Environment


Excerpts:


The core recommendation of this study paper is to prioritize within the impossibly broad mandate presently assigned to civil affairs and CIMIC. For these capabilities to improve their performance and stature, they must master a limited number of critical tasks. It is not realistic to achieve mastery across multiple disciplines within the limits of their resourcing. In the current strategic environment, the most valuable things that civil affairs and CIMIC can provide are understanding and insight. Without a focused understanding of the playing field, how can the US military and its NATO allies compete to win?
Within US military doctrine, this effort centers on civil reconnaissance (the process through which key civil considerations are identified and explored) and civil knowledge integration (the ensuing process through which such insights are integrated into broader decision-making processes). Within NATO doctrine, the preferred terms are civil assessment and civil factor integration (the latter being a new NATO CIMIC working term).
The call for specialization is a controversial opinion within civil affairs and CIMIC. Both capabilities have embraced a jack-of-all-trades identity for decades. But this approach is no longer tenable. Civil affairs and CIMIC’s attempt to provide all-encompassing support vis-à-vis all things “civil” in nature has stretched both capabilities far too thinly. As the saying goes, the jack-of-all-trades is the master of none.



Who Cares About Context? The Case for Getting Serious in the Civil Environment - Modern War Institute

mwi.usma.edu · by Nicholas Krohley · July 20, 2022

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Where, when, how, and why do civil dynamics matter to the military? How do the US military and its NATO allies identify and exploit relevant civil phenomena? To what extent should military commanders care about the overwhelming majority of a given operational environment that is not an enemy or adversary?

Despite two decades of intensive counterinsurgency (COIN) operations, in which the human terrain was declared “decisive” and the population “the center of gravity,” there is no serious, compelling answer to any of these questions. There is no coherent, consistent approach to the investigation of issues beyond enemy-centric intelligence and the military’s core focus on deterring and defeating armed adversaries. As a result—as showcased to the world in Iraq and Afghanistan—Western militaries remain deaf, dumb, and blind vis-à-vis broad swathes of any operational environment.

This presents a dangerous competitive liability. To address this situation, policymakers need to acknowledge and address two issues. First, Western militaries require a coherent investigative approach that examines enemies and adversaries as integral features of the human context in which competition and conflict occur. No such framework presently exists. Intelligence professionals focus narrowly on opposing forces, leveraging sophisticated tools, established processes, and abundant resources. The remainder of an operational environment, meanwhile, is managed separately. In theory, civil-oriented contextual insights are fused into the military’s primary, enemy-centric lens. In realty, they are treated as a peripheral afterthought. As analysis shifts away from an opponent’s military capabilities and into the civil environment, it typically becomes more inconsistent, uncertain, and unactionable—the inevitable result of systemic faults in the intelligence architecture of the US military and its NATO allies.

Second, the capabilities tasked to assess and engage with civil matters—civil affairs in the US military, and civil-military cooperation (CIMIC) forces across the rest of the NATO alliance—have been set up to fail. These capabilities are tasked to understand, engage, and manage all things “civil.” This is a wildly unrealistic mandate, due to the simple fact that they are asked to cover vastly more ground than their enemy-centric counterparts, with a miniscule fraction of the resources, training, and personnel. Presented with this fundamentally unreasonable tasking, civil affairs capabilities have been spread far too thinly and have consistently underwhelmed their customers. The result has been their steady marginalization. To break this cycle, policymakers must make hard choices about narrowing their focus and professionalizing their efforts.

Relevance in a New Reality

The latest NATO concepts (such as the 2022 NATO Warfighting Capstone Concept and the Concept for the Deterrence and Defense of the Euro-Atlantic Area) emphasize increasing complexity within the competition continuum, with respect to military and nonmilitary actors alike. They also highlight interdependencies of military and nonmilitary instruments of power. Nonetheless, the transition from COIN to the strategic competition paradigm has pushed civil dynamics even further to the margins of Western military thought. The US military and its NATO allies are overwhelmingly focused on their competitors and the conventional military threats they pose. This foe-centric orientation aligns neatly with organizational biases and cultural instincts. As warfighting institutions, they have met the end of the COIN era with relief: instead of grappling with the opaque complexity of foreign societies, they think they can now refocus on the core business of force-on-force combat.

The need to reorient priorities and posture for the post-COIN era is self-evident. That said, the speed and glee with which Western militaries are turning their backs on the contextual features of the competitive landscape creates dangerous blind spots. Civil considerations may not merit center stage in the new strategic reality, but they will comprise a critical feature of any operational context. The inability to understand and maneuver within the civil environment will prove a crippling competitive liability below the threshold of war, for example, while failure to understand, engage, and shape the civil environment will jeopardize any gains made via the application of force.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine offers important lessons on the criticality of civil considerations and contextual understanding. At the outset, the Kremlin made catastrophically inaccurate assumptions regarding the practical implications of eastern Ukraine being predominantly “Russian” in ethnic and linguistic terms. Russian leadership also grossly underestimated the Ukrainians’ will to fight, both within the Armed Forces of Ukraine and among the general population. And it remains unclear how Russian forces will control (not to mention govern) the territories they have seized, in the face of a growing guerrilla movement and civil resistance campaign.

Unseriousness in the Human Domain

Notwithstanding the lessons that should have been learned from failures in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the salutary warning of Russia’s ongoing struggles in Ukraine, indifference defines the US military and NATO’s current approach to civil dynamics. This is most vividly evident in the marginality of the capabilities tasked to assess, understand, engage, and liaise with civil matters. The US military tasks civil affairs forces with the vast bulk of this mission. In NATO, it falls to CIMIC. Both capabilities are assigned a staggeringly broad range of activities, from the assessment of civil dynamics, to the integration of contextual insight into planning and targeting processes, to liaison with nonmilitary actors and the development of civil networks, to the management of refugee flows and other humanitarian concerns. Each line of effort demands substantive expertise and dedicated resources. Yet, civil affairs and CIMIC are not staffed, trained, or equipped to consistently accomplish these tasks at scale. Put bluntly, they appear to be token, unserious efforts to grapple with complex and dynamic problem sets on behalf of organizations that would prefer to avoid such matters entirely.

This places civil affairs and CIMIC forces in an impossible position. Tasked to do far too much with far too little, they are ever the “eager amateurs.” They often achieve tactical and operational successes (thanks to raw talent and dedication on the part of individuals), yet inconsistent performance and inadequate resources limit their strategic impact. This creates a vicious cycle, wherein the uneven quality of civil affairs and CIMIC’s outputs validate their further marginalization by organizations that are instinctively skeptical of their utility.

The Bigger Picture: Integrating Context into Intelligence

The struggles of civil affairs and CIMIC are indicative of a broader problem: Western militaries pay lip service to the importance of civil dynamics, but they have no viable framework to investigate or operationalize them. As a result, military commanders do not know what to ask of capabilities like civil affairs and CIMIC, or how to leverage them effectively—because the investigation and analysis of civil dynamics is not adequately integrated into core military investigative and analytical efforts. This is a key root cause of civil affairs and CIMIC’s lack of focus and direction.

At present, the intelligence architecture of the US military and its NATO allies attempts to understand operational environments by cobbling together a disparate collection of analytical outputs: products that examine NATO foes and others that explore the context in which NATO confronts them. The prerequisite for actionable understanding and astute maneuver is to establish causal relationships among these reporting streams: for example, to understand why an enemy has adopted a certain course of action in response to specific contextual dynamics, or how a given facet of the civil environment can be leveraged to effect behavioral change among a particular target audience. US intelligence and planning processes, as currently executed, cannot reliably do this.

Consider the position of a military commander or planner presented with intelligence on the posture, capabilities, and recent actions of enemy forces, contextual reporting that examines various social, economic, and political issues, and data streams that track the trajectory of myriad indicators from the battlefield (including incidences of violence, the prices of commercial goods, illicit trade flows, and the movement of displaced persons). Are surges in violence indicative of an enemy on the rise, or of one in a panicked state of collapse? Is this violence a cause, or an effect, of economic fluctuations? Are corresponding population movements driven by fear or opportunism? What is the relationship between an opponent and the particular groups that have chosen to leave or remain? Who has the upper hand in the relationships that exist between our opponent and the various social, economic, and political entities present on the battlefield, and who is driving the behavior of whom?

How can this be stitched together? The significance of each individual reporting stream vis-à-vis another has not been systematically captured at the point of collection. Policymakers know that various things are happening, but they lack the why and the because to explain them. As a result, they must infer those answers after the fact. This effort is sufficiently fraught as to be compromised from the outset on the sparse terrain of eastern Syria or southern Afghanistan. Consider the prospect of undertaking such a sense-making exercise in the midst of large-scale urban combat in Ukraine, or in a hybrid contest for position and influence in the Baltics or the South China Sea.

This is a structural fault in Western militaries’ approach to understanding. Decision makers are fed disparate, siloed reporting streams. The primary view examines an opponent and its kinetic capabilities, with little to no regard for the ground upon which conflict and competition occur. Contextual reporting is generated separately, addressing a breadth of issues that may or may not hold relevance in a given time and place. As these analytical raw materials are being fed into the intelligence cycle without an understanding as to their connectivity, causal relationships must be ascribed retroactively (by individuals who may or may not have firsthand, current knowledge of the subject matter in question). This opens a Pandora’s box of distortion and errors arising from mistaken assumptions, biases of varying types, political manipulation, the urge to tell superiors what they want to hear, and hubristic bluffing. It is a nearly hopeless attempt to reverse engineer something that our intelligence architecture should have established in the first place: an understanding of opponents as integral features of the broader operational environment.

Simplify, Simplify

In recognition of the challenges facing civil-oriented military capabilities in the West, the NATO-accredited CIMIC Centre of Excellence recently commissioned a study of US civil affairs and NATO CIMIC doctrine. This document compares and contrasts the two capabilities’ doctrinal tasking and highlights shared challenges. Most importantly, it also charts a potential path forward, through which civil affairs and CIMIC might make an evidence-based case to the forces they support for the value of their outputs and their worthiness for better integration and resourcing.

The core recommendation of this study paper is to prioritize within the impossibly broad mandate presently assigned to civil affairs and CIMIC. For these capabilities to improve their performance and stature, they must master a limited number of critical tasks. It is not realistic to achieve mastery across multiple disciplines within the limits of their resourcing. In the current strategic environment, the most valuable things that civil affairs and CIMIC can provide are understanding and insight. Without a focused understanding of the playing field, how can the US military and its NATO allies compete to win?

Within US military doctrine, this effort centers on civil reconnaissance (the process through which key civil considerations are identified and explored) and civil knowledge integration (the ensuing process through which such insights are integrated into broader decision-making processes). Within NATO doctrine, the preferred terms are civil assessment and civil factor integration (the latter being a new NATO CIMIC working term).

The call for specialization is a controversial opinion within civil affairs and CIMIC. Both capabilities have embraced a jack-of-all-trades identity for decades. But this approach is no longer tenable. Civil affairs and CIMIC’s attempt to provide all-encompassing support vis-à-vis all things “civil” in nature has stretched both capabilities far too thinly. As the saying goes, the jack-of-all-trades is the master of none.

The Key Ingredients

Ongoing introspection and innovation within civil affairs and CIMIC are important steps in the right direction. Civil affairs and CIMIC are exploring new investigative methods and frameworks. At present, this is a glaring weakness: neither civil affairs nor CIMIC possess a fit-for-purpose investigative approach to structure the examination of civil factors and the production of consistent, focused insight. Additionally, both capabilities must offer compelling “signature deliverables” that capture the attention of the commanders they support and create a steady demand for reporting on civil concerns. Consistent, conspicuous excellence in these two endeavors offers civil affairs and CIMIC a path toward proper relevance and integration.

The primary signature deliverable that is suggested in the NATO CIMIC Centre of Excellence study also offers a framework through which the above-noted architectural faults might be resolved. This is through the production of a structured analytical product that captures the roots of an enemy or adversary within the wider operational environment. Where, when, how, and why has the enemy mobilized local support, absorbed local resources, and shaped public opinion? Conversely, where, when, how, and why has it failed to do so? What actions, capabilities, and narratives have given rise to its successes and failures? This analytical process would map an opponent’s root structure within the contours of the human terrain, as an integral feature of the operational environment. The ensuing root maps would be a signature intelligence product.

Consider the actionable utility of a standardized product that mapped the roots of Russian influence in the Balkans, or Chinese influence from one country to the next across sub-Saharan Africa. Looking to a kinetic environment, consider such a product mapping the localized, community-level roots that have been established by the regional franchises of the Islamic State in the Sahel, or by Russian forces in eastern Ukraine. In all such cases, these products would provide an essential intermediate connection between the traditional enemy-centric lens of Western militaries and their contextually oriented capabilities, and likewise between lethal and nonlethal targeting processes.

Having mapped an opponent’s root structure within the human terrain, civil affairs and CIMIC could further broaden their analytical lens by investigating the social, economic, political, and cultural dynamics that explain the growth of said roots. Why has an opponent targeted certain demographic cohorts in specific ways? Why have certain individuals and groups adopted particular courses of action? What explains the varied resonance of an opponent’s narratives, and what local narratives have emerged in response? Which segments of the populace are particularly vulnerable, and to which specific threats?

Building from the concept of root maps, contextual investigation would be framed, from the outset, by an understanding of the opposition as an integral feature of the operating environment. This guarantees the relevance of subsequent contextual reporting. Equally importantly, it would fuse that reporting into the military’s understanding of an enemy or adversary. This, in turn, would give rise to a truly integrated approach to targeting, enabling the development of integrated campaigns that disrupt and degrade an opponent—while simultaneously uprooting them from the operational environment.

Dr. Nicholas Krohley is the founder of FrontLine Advisory, and proprietor of www.civilreconnaissance.com.

Lieutenant Colonel Stefan Muehlich is the branch chief of Concepts, Interoperability, Capabilities at the NATO-accredited Civil-Military Cooperation Centre of Excellence.

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 NATO-accredited CIMIC Centre of Excellence and the German Armed Forces.

Image credit: Staff Sgt. Sean Carnes, US Air Force

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mwi.usma.edu · by Nicholas Krohley · July 20, 2022



​18. Air Force Chief Seems to Back Sending Western Fighter Jets to Ukraine


Wow. Stop the presses. Game changer.


Is this testing the waters? A trial balloon. Let's see what kind of rhetorical blowback occurs.


Air Force Chief Seems to Back Sending Western Fighter Jets to Ukraine

No decisions yet, but U.S. and partners, looking at many options.

By PATRICK TUCKER and JACQUELINE FELDSCHER

JULY 20, 2022 03:56 PM ET

defenseone.com · by Patrick Tucker

Ukraine may get Western fighter jets and pilot training to aid in its conflict with Russia, U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr., said, but he doesn’t know precisely what kind of fighter jets they would be.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Mark Milley—in a separate engagement on Wednesday—emphasized that no decisions have been made.

At the Aspen Security Summit in Aspen, Colorado, on Wednesday, Brown hinted strongly that the idea of getting Western jets into Ukraine is now on the table.

“There's US [jets], there's Gripen out of Sweden, there's the Eurofighter, there's [the French] Rafale. So there's a number of different platforms that could go to Ukraine,” he said in response to a question on if the U.S. might be willing to sell or provide Ukraine with U.S. fighter jets. “I can't tell you exactly what it's gonna be,” he said.

The comments come on the heels of remarks Brown made to Reuters on the possibility of training Ukrainians on Western jets.

“I do believe that we have an aspect and a responsibility, like we do with all our allies and partners, to be prepared to train them in various capabilities and capacities,” Brown said on Wednesday in Aspen.

Brown said he met with officials from partner militaries at an event sponsored by the U.K.’s Royal Air Force last week. The group “had a lot of time to talk about how we train together for our common defense. And it's no different with Ukraine. And so part of this is understanding where Ukraine wants to go and how we meet them where they are, and then look at capabilities not only from the United States but [from] many of our allies and partners [who] have an interest in ensuring that Ukraine can provide for its own security,” he said.

Ukraine currently flies Soviet-era aircraft like MiG-29s. In March, a senior U.S. defense official said that they were flying approximately 56 fighters five to ten hours a day.

The Ukranians have been seeking more fighters to challenge Russia, but talks between the United States, Poland, and Ukraine to send F-16s to Poland and then Polish MiGs to Ukraine fell apart in March. New MiGs aren’t a good long-term choice, as it will be increasingly difficult to get replacement parts in the future, Brown said.

Asked during a Pentagon press conference whether the military will start training Ukrainian pilots to fly Western jets, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the DOD’s focus now is providing troops the weapons systems they need and making sure those systems can be integrated to work together effectively in combat.

“We’re looking at a lot of things, everything, but in terms of predicting where we’re going to be with pilot training in months or years, I won’t venture to do that,” Austin said. “I will say that the Ukrainians, their air force does have a capability as we speak, and they’re using some of that capability on a daily basis.”

Milley said “there’s been no decisions” on whether to train Ukrainian pilots on Western fighter jets, but that officials are considering “a wide variety of options, to include pilot training.”

Austin also said the U.S. military is training Ukrainians to maintain the equipment sent by Western nations, and to increase the ability to predict what sort of maintenance will be needed soon on different systems. Conversations about increasing Ukraine’s ability to service and fix the platforms it received got a lot of attention during Wednesday’s virtual meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, he said.

“Sustainment is a key part of any military operation, and when you’re in combat, it’s really, really important. So it’s not good enough just to provide a piece of equipment,” Austin said Wednesday at the Pentagon. “As we discussed with our partners and allies today on what Ukraine’s needs are going forward, these are the kinds of things we talked about.”

Austin also said the next weapons package for Ukraine, which is expected to be announced this week, will include four HIMARS systems, bringing the total sent to Ukraine to 16.

“The Ukrainians have made excellent use of HIMARS and you can see the impact on the battlefield,” he said.

defenseone.com · by Patrick Tucker


19. Whose Version of the War on Terror Won?


Excerpts:


As U.S. foreign policy slowly transitions from terrorism to great power issues like the war in Ukraine, it is crucial to understand the tangled history of the Global War on Terrorism not just as a matter of foreign affairs but a battle over ideas, culture, and politics.


President Biden is an establishment leader with establishment foreign policy advisors who supported the Iraq War. However, he has developed a skeptical streak toward nation-building and counter-insurgency, particularly in Afghanistan. He has framed the war in Ukraine as a defense of global democracies against rising authoritarianism. In doing so, he appears to cast this crisis as the foreign policy establishment’s chance to redeem itself by addressing a more conventional menace, without putting boots on the ground or trying to transform a foreign society.


Members of the anti-interventionist consensus do not necessarily oppose military aid to Ukraine. But they fear the United States being dragged into a hot war and often blame the United States for the crisis, citing NATO expansion as another case of U.S. overreach. More concerningly, many on the nationalist right openly admire Putin, in large part because they believe he embodies their value system.


Two decades on, the failures of the Global War on Terror continue to hang over U.S. policy in Ukraine. Many in the establishment hope that they can rebuild bipartisan support for the exercise of U.S. power by distancing it from the overreach of Iraq. For critics on both the left and right, however, conflicting understandings of what went wrong have created a deeper public skepticism that constrains Biden’s options today. Squeezed between these poles, the establishment now operates on a much shorter leash as it fights to restore the legitimacy it forfeited in its response to terrorism.



Whose Version of the War on Terror Won? - War on the Rocks

warontherocks.com · by Joseph Stieb · July 20, 2022

With the Global War on Terror so widely discredited in Washington, it is striking that the city still can’t agree on why. Was the mistake simply thinking that the United States could shape foreign societies by force, or was it an overly ambitious conception of the country’s role in the world?

In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, neoconservative and liberal narratives built bipartisan support for a highly interventionist response. Despite their differences, these narratives converged in concluding that the solution to terrorism was transforming the countries from which it emerged, specifically through the application of U.S. military power in the Middle East. But when the war in Iraq turned into a violent quagmire, anti-interventionist critics from the nationalist right and progressive left got a new hearing for their ideas. Both sets of critics rejected the idea of transforming foreign societies, and were more skeptical of military intervention in general.

Become a Member

Indeed, the larger crisis of the U.S. political establishment is linked to the failure of the interventionist visions of the Global War on Terror. Support for the Iraq War became a political liability, as figures like Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush discovered in the 2016 primaries. Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders both gained political momentum from their once-marginal critiques of an elite that had misconceived and misled the response to terrorism while neglecting domestic problems. Former interventionist intellectuals now focus on defending liberal democracy against assaults from within and without rather than on efforts to democratize the world.

In short, the constituency for post-9/11 dreams of global transformation has collapsed. In response, the Obama, Trump, and Biden administrations have all sought to limit U.S. interventions. Now, as President Biden seeks to rally political support for his policy in Ukraine, it remains to be seen just how much the Global War on Terror and its backlash have transformed debates over U.S. foreign policy.

The Neoconservative and Liberal Interventionist Consensus

At first, the dominant view of the war on terrorism came from the right. Neoconservatives in the Bush administration, the Republican Party, and the conservative intelligentsia saw terrorism as a problem of state sponsorship. Groups like al-Qaeda could not operate without protection from sovereign states, and they could become much deadlier if states offered them resources like unconventional weapons. Thus, their war on terror targeted both terrorist groups and state sponsors like Afghanistan and Iraq.

The demonstration of U.S. power and resolve also lay at the heart of the neoconservative conception of counter-terrorism. Since the Vietnam War, conservatives had proclaimed that the image of the United States as a declining, vacillating power invited abuses ranging from Soviet cheating on détente to terrorist attacks. In Scooter Libby’s words, terrorists and rogue states believed that “the Americans don’t have the stomach to defend ourselves. … They are morally weak.”

The solution was the resolute use of force to crush foes and re-establish generalized deterrence. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld explained this concept on 9/11 itself: “We need to bomb something else [other than Afghanistan] to prove that we’re, you know, big and strong and not going to be pushed around by these kinds of attacks.” Removing Iraq’s Baathist regime with overwhelming military power would scare other state sponsors into changing their behavior.

Crucially, the neoconservative Global War on Terror also embraced moral universalism and political transformation. President Bush rejected clash-of-civilizations rhetoric, declaring that “Islam is peace” and that the hijackers were “traitors to their own faith.” His universalism was on display in June 2002 when he asserted: “The peoples of the Islamic nations want and deserve the same freedoms and opportunities as people in every nation.”

According to this view, modern jihadist terrorism was a product of radical Islamism, which became the ultimate target of the Global War on Terror. Neoconservatives viewed Islamism as a broad political movement that sought to take power in the region, erase Western influences, and impose its strict ideology. Radical Islamism, in turn, drew strength from the stagnancy and authoritarianism of the Middle East, as well as from many Muslims’ resentment of Western power and influence.

Following this logic, neoconservatives called for the political transformation of Middle Eastern societies as the long-term solution to terrorism. Liberal democracies, as Bush and others asserted, did not breed extremism because they gave people peaceful means of seeking change and expression. Democratizing Iraq could transform the entire region and eradicate the roots of terrorism. A belief that Western political values were universally applicable and that the Iraqi people were modern and pro-Western facilitated the embrace of this transformational project.

In response to this approach, liberals offered their own distinct counter-vision. Thinkers like George Packer, Michael Ignatieff, Thomas Friedman, and Paul Berman argued that Bush was too unilateral and jingoistic and that his pursuit of global hegemony would provoke more anti-Americanism. Yet, their vision was still an interventionist and transformational one.

Building on the humanitarian interventionist doctrines of the 1990s, these liberals envisioned a Global War on Terror that would affirm human rights, multilateralism, and international law, not erode them. They agreed that the Middle East’s democratic deficit was one key cause of terrorism, but they also saw economic inequality and the disruptions of globalization as causes. Many of these liberals supported regime change against hostile states, but they were more eager than their conservative counterparts to pressure allies like Saudi Arabia and Egypt to democratize in order to attack terrorism’s roots. They also believed that the United States had to offer a vision of social and economic justice to the world. This meant challenging neoliberal economics and fostering reforms, including environmental regulations, alternative energy, women’s rights, labor rights, progressive taxes, and limits on capital flows.

The post-9/11 interventionist consensus built on a longstanding bipartisan commitment to U.S. global power that began in the early Cold War and was reinvigorated with the fall of the Berlin Wall. In the 1990s, many Americans saw an opportunity to use unparalleled U.S. power to promote apparently universal values. After 9/11, they concluded, spreading these values was a matter of direct national security, not just the cultivating of a friendlier global system.

As a result, it remains hard to fully disentangle the neoconservative and liberal conceptions of the Global War on Terror. They both treated radical Islamism as the enemy and embraced moral universalism and political transformation. In 2003, Packer proclaimed that “a liberal foreign policy starts with the idea that the things U.S. liberals want for themselves and for their own country … should be America’s goal for the rest of the world.” Friedman stressed the importance of political transformation in undercutting terrorism: “The only way to begin defusing that threat is by changing the context in which these young men grow up — namely all the Arab-Muslim states that are failing at modernity.” And, of course, many prominent liberals supported the Iraq War, viewing it as a humanitarian intervention and a way to, in Berman’s words, “foment a liberal revolution in the Middle East.”

Importantly, many neoconservatives and liberals also viewed the Global War on Terror as an opportunity for transformation at home, albeit in different ways. On the right, cultural critics like William J. Bennett hoped the conflict might reverse moral decline by reasserting old-fashioned patriotism, traditional values, and confidence in the superiority of the American way of life. Liberals, in contrast, sought to use the conflict to forge a newly patriotic and self-confident liberalism that could reverse the conservative political ascendency of the previous three decades and provide purpose to the faltering Democratic Party.

As a result, for both mainstream liberals and conservatives, the Global War on Terror was about more than just protecting the homeland and defeating al-Qaeda. It was a project of global and domestic transformation with U.S. interventionism as the main tool.

Nationalist and Leftist Anti-Interventionism

Despite its dominance in the early 2000s, the interventionist consensus would prove short-lived. The Iraq War quickly bogged down in insurgency and civil war, ultimately helping to spawn the Islamic State and a new wave of global terrorism. Today, Freedom House rates Iraq as “not free.” The war in Afghanistan remained inconclusive for years, and in 2021 the country relapsed into Taliban rule. Meanwhile, controversies over surveillancewar powers, and other counter-terror measures roiled domestic politics. As the Global War on Terror faltered, alternative visions that had remained marginal at first gained credence and bolstered broader critiques of the U.S. political establishment.

Nationalist criticism of the Global War on Terrorism stemmed from the traditionalist, paleo-conservative right. It was led by politicians and thinkers like Patrick BuchananSamuel Huntington, and writers at The American Conservative, which was founded in 2002 largely to oppose the pending war with Iraq. The nationalists focused on securing the homeland rather than changing the world. Like the neoconservatives and liberals, nationalists exhorted the United States to hunt down terrorists and instill fear in foes. Unlike the interventionists, however, they rejected nation-building efforts post-regime change.

The nationalists rejected the hegemonic interventionism and universalistic pretensions of the interventionists on philosophical and cultural grounds, not just strategic ones. They faulted the policy elite for thinking that the United States could transpose its values to the Islamic world. In their view, principles like democracy, religious freedom, and constitutional government were inescapably Western. Like some on the left, they argued that U.S. intervention provoked extremist backlashes. Buchanan argued: “9/11 was a direct consequence of the United States meddling in an area of the world where we do not belong and where we are not wanted.” Angelo Codevilla, an international relations scholar associated with the far-right Claremont Institute, stated that victory against terrorism does not require Arab nations to “become democratic, free, or decent. … We have neither the power nor the right to make such changes.”

Codevilla supported the invasion of Iraq mainly to demonstrate U.S. power, not to spark a political revolution. Many other nationalists opposed the invasion as a foolish form of overreach or a futile quest to sow Western values in infertile soil. Nationalists took the Iraq War’s failure and the stalemate in Afghanistan as confirmation of the bipartisan foreign policy establishment’s incompetence. Many of a more libertarian bent, like Buchanan and Ron Paul, resented how the Global War on Terror had led to a massive expansion of the federal government.

In keeping with this anti-universalism, nationalists often cast the fight against terrorism as a clash of civilizations in which the United States must defend its unique civilization against a hostile Muslim world. Trump speechwriter and Claremont fellow Michael Anton put this starkly in a 2016 apologia for his future boss: “Islam is not ‘a religion of peace’; it’s a militant faith that exalts conversion by the sword and inspires thousands to acts of terror.” Repudiating Bush’s rhetoric, he argued that “Islam and the modern West are incompatible.” The problem was not radical Islam, authoritarianism, or inequality, but Islam itself. Ordinary Americans, largely imagined as white, had seen their children bleed in pointless wars while the same elite hollowed out the middle class with free trade and a “ceaseless importation of Third World foreigners.” “A million more Syrians, anyone?” Anton mockingly asked, linking immigration and terrorism.

Nationalists rallied to Trump in part because he echoed these criticisms of the Global War on Terror and blasted policy elites for their botched wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. His denigration of Muslims and efforts to reduce Muslim immigration reflected the nationalist belief that they were uniquely prone to terrorism and unfit for U.S. citizenship. Trump’s declaration that “I’m a nationalist, okay!” and his promises to revive waterboarding and “bomb the shit out of ISIS” were fodder for those who wanted the war on terror to defend Americans by any means necessary, not become “an open-ended mission of global social reform.”

From entirely different starting points, leftist anti-interventionist criticism of the Global War on Terror became prominent in academia, activist circles, and the Democratic Party’s progressive wing. In this interpretation, 9/11 was not an unprovoked attack on an innocent nation. Rather, as Susan Sontag argued, it was “an attack on the world’s self-proclaimed superpower, undertaken as a consequence of specific American alliances and actions.” The United States had bombed various peoples, fomented coups, backed autocrats, and spread inequality. Now it faced predictable if regrettable “blowback.”

The leftist interpretation treated a vengeful United States as a greater threat to world peace than any terrorist group. Building on longstanding critiques of U.S. foreign policy, leftists protested the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as racist imperial ventures that would provoke more terrorism. They opposed the expansion of the national security state, which they argued was being used against protest movements and vulnerable populations. They defended whistleblowers who exposed controversial programs. They believed the Global War on Terror fueled Islamophobia and facilitated the rise of nativist politicians like Trump. Leftist critics particularly faulted Obama for failing to reduce executive powers and expanding the War on Terror in some ways, including the use of drones.

Leftists, like the liberals, envisioned justice as crucial for stopping terrorism. But to them, achieving justice required withdrawing much of U.S. power from the world, not reasserting it. Dismantle the worldwide network of military installations, remove support for Israel and allied dictatorships, cease military interventions in the Global South, end neoliberal trade policies, and the root causes of terrorist anger would abate.

Despite key differences, the nationalist and leftist critiques of the interventionist consensus overlap in important ways. Both are skeptical of moral universalism to different degrees, the nationalists because of the presumed superiority of U.S. civilization, the leftists out of the conviction that a deeply flawed United States had no moral standing to reform the world. The nationalists were more comfortable with the use of force, but both groups held that the bipartisan elite had overextended U.S. power with negative consequences at home and abroad.

Finally, leftists, like nationalists, viewed the failed Global War on Terror as an indictment of the political establishment as a whole, which they believed should no longer be trusted with power. They rallied to Sanders, who had opposed the Iraq War from the outset. As a presidential candidate in both 2016 and 2020, he promised a break from the interventionism of his primary rivals, Hillary Clinton and Joseph Biden, respectively, who, he claimed, represented a liberal foreign policy elite still fixated on “benevolent global hegemony.” Without dismissing the threat of terrorism, Sanders labeled the Global War on Terror a “disaster for the American people and for American leadership.” His campaigns pledged to dismantle much of the national security state and “dramatically de-emphasize military power” in foreign policy.

Ukraine in the Shadow of the Global War on Terror

As U.S. foreign policy slowly transitions from terrorism to great power issues like the war in Ukraine, it is crucial to understand the tangled history of the Global War on Terrorism not just as a matter of foreign affairs but a battle over ideas, culture, and politics.

President Biden is an establishment leader with establishment foreign policy advisors who supported the Iraq War. However, he has developed a skeptical streak toward nation-building and counter-insurgency, particularly in AfghanistanHe has framed the war in Ukraine as a defense of global democracies against rising authoritarianism. In doing so, he appears to cast this crisis as the foreign policy establishment’s chance to redeem itself by addressing a more conventional menace, without putting boots on the ground or trying to transform a foreign society.

Members of the anti-interventionist consensus do not necessarily oppose military aid to Ukraine. But they fear the United States being dragged into a hot war and often blame the United States for the crisis, citing NATO expansion as another case of U.S. overreach. More concerningly, many on the nationalist right openly admire Putin, in large part because they believe he embodies their value system.

Two decades on, the failures of the Global War on Terror continue to hang over U.S. policy in Ukraine. Many in the establishment hope that they can rebuild bipartisan support for the exercise of U.S. power by distancing it from the overreach of Iraq. For critics on both the left and right, however, conflicting understandings of what went wrong have created a deeper public skepticism that constrains Biden’s options today. Squeezed between these poles, the establishment now operates on a much shorter leash as it fights to restore the legitimacy it forfeited in its response to terrorism.

Become a Member

Joseph Stieb is an assistant professor of national security affairs at the U.S. Naval War College. He is the author of The Regime Change Consensus: Iraq in American Politics, 1990–2003. He has published articles in Diplomatic History, Modern American History, The International History Review, War on the Rocks, The Washington Post, Foreign Policy, American Purpose, and elsewhere.

Commentary

warontherocks.com · by Joseph Stieb · July 20, 2022




20. EXCLUSIVE China seeks to stop UN rights chief from releasing Xinjiang report - document


Of course. Would anyone expect otherwise?


EXCLUSIVE China seeks to stop UN rights chief from releasing Xinjiang report - document

Reuters · by Emma Farge

  • Summary
  • Report on human rights in Xinjiang promised for months
  • Chinese letter expresses 'grave concern' about report
  • U.N. rights chief set to leave office next month

GENEVA, July 19 (Reuters) - China is asking the United Nations human rights chief to bury a highly-anticipated report on human rights violations in Xinjiang, according to a Chinese letter seen by Reuters and confirmed by diplomats from three countries who received it.

United Nations High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet has faced severe criticism from civil society for being too soft on China during a May visit and has since said she will refrain from seeking a second term for personal reasons. read more

But before she leaves at the end of August, she has pledged to publish a report into the western Chinese region of Xinjiang. Rights groups accuse Beijing of abuses against Xinjiang's Uyghur inhabitants, including the mass use of forced labour in internment camps. China has vigorously denied the allegations.


The letter authored by China expressed "grave concern" about the Xinjiang report and aims to halt its release, said four sources - the three diplomats and a rights expert who all spoke on condition of anonymity. They said China began circulating it among diplomatic missions in Geneva from late June and asked countries to sign it to show their support.

"The assessment (on Xinjiang), if published, will intensify politicisation and bloc confrontation in the area of human rights, undermine the credibility of the OHCHR (Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights), and harm the cooperation between OHCHR and member states," the letter said, referring to Bachelet's office.

"We strongly urge Madame High Commissioner not to publish such an assessment."

Liu Yuyin, a spokesperson for China's diplomatic mission in Geneva, did not say whether the letter had been sent or respond to questions about its contents.

Liu said that nearly 100 countries had recently expressed their support to China on Xinjiang-related issues "and their objection to interference in China's internal affairs under the pretext of human rights".

This support was voiced through public statements at the last U.N. Human Rights Council session, which ended on July 8, and through the "joint letter", Liu added, using a term denoting China and the other signatories.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson told Reuters that Bachelet would have witnessed a "real Xinjiang with a safe and stable society" when she visited the region during her May trip to China.

The spokesperson said attempts by some countries to "smear China's image" using the Xinjiang issue would not succeed.

It was not clear whether Bachelet had received the letter, and an OHCHR spokesperson declined to comment on the matter.

The Xinjiang report is being finalised prior to public release, he added, saying this includes the standard practice of sharing a copy with China for its comments.

The report is set to address China's treatment of its Uyghur minority. A team of rights experts began gathering evidence for it more than three years ago but its release has been delayed for months for unclear reasons.

Reuters was not able to establish how many signatures the letter received. One of the four sources, a Geneva-based diplomat, replied to the letter positively giving his country's support.

Another version of the letter also seen by Reuters was more critical of Bachelet's actions, saying that the Xinjiang report was done "without mandate and in serious breach of OHCHR duties", and would undermine her personal credibility.

It was not clear who edited it or why. The diplomat who signed the letter said the softer version was the final one.

DIRECT LOBBYING

China, like other countries, sometimes seeks to drum up support for its political statements within the Geneva-based rights council through diplomatic memos which others are asked to support.

These can sometimes influence decisions at the 47-member Council, whose actions are not legally binding but can authorise investigations into suspected violations.

Two of the Geneva diplomats said China's letter represents a rare example of evidence of Beijing seeking to lobby Bachelet directly. Sometimes, they say, countries find it hard to say no to China on human rights issues, given close economic ties.

The memo comes at a critical juncture for the U.N. rights body in the last few weeks of Bachelet's term, with no successor yet nominated. Bachelet, 70, is due to leave office on Aug. 31.


Additional reporting by Yew Lun Tian in Beijing Writing by Emma Farge Editing by Mark Heinrich

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Reuters · by Emma Farge





21.  Is a Military Coup Expected in Russia?


If so, are we ready for what might come next? And what happens when Russian leaders are willing to "stick it out to the end" in Ukraine?


Excerpts:


If eight years ago Strelkov’s position seemed marginal, today, other Russian propagandists warn that, if Russian authorities “do not stick it out to the end” in the seizure of Ukrainian territories, as well as in the cardinal economic and political restructuring of the country, they will lose the people’s support. Pro-Kremlin “experts” muse that “the initiative of the people, which was awakened during the special operation … will be impossible to contain” if victory is not complete (YouTube, July 8).
As mentioned previously, for the time being, waging a protracted war is beneficial for Putin (see EDM, June 30), and thus, in the near future, Russian authorities will most likely be able to meet the expectations of the growing radical minority in this aspect. However, in terms of economic achievements and restructuring a system based on total corruption, prospects for the Kremlin are remarkably dimmer. As such, these radicals nurtured by Russian government propaganda may sooner or later turn on their creators.


Is a Military Coup Expected in Russia?

Publication: Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 19 Issue: 108

By: Kseniya Kirillova

July 19, 2022 05:53 PM Age: 23 hours

jamestown.org · by Kseniya Kirillova · July 19, 2022

Pro-Kremlin sociologists record an extremely low level of protest activity in Russia against the background of the Ukrainian war. In particular, the Social Opinion Fund notes that only about 15 to 25 percent of citizens are inclined to express open disagreement in today’s Russia (Media.fom.ru, July 8). Telegram channels loyal to the Kremlin connect this tendency to social disapproval with protests in time of war, sanctions from the authorities and the elimination of nonsystemic opposition from the internal Russian information space (Tgstat.ru, July 10).

However, an influential group is informally forming in the country that has authority among the “pro-Putin majority” and simultaneously allows itself to criticize the government at times. These are those who directly, or indirectly, engage in the Russian-Ukrainian war on the Russian side: war correspondents, the most odious propagandists, leaders of pro-Russian “militias,” volunteers, and the like.

They are of a wholly radical character, demanding that the war be “conducted to a victorious end” and vowing loyalty to the Russian army (Komsomolskaya pravda, April 1). These are the people the Kremlin bets on in its militaristic propaganda, portraying them as “heroes of contemporary Russia” (Novorosinform.org, March 4). However, in recent months, this group is beginning to strongly criticize Moscow’s actions.

For example, following Russian-Ukrainian negotiations in Istanbul on 29 March, many propagandists began a massive information campaign accusing participants in the talks of “treason” and “surrendering national interests” (The Insider, March 29). The extent to which this was a government-coordinated effort is unknown, but, in large part, it became the primary justification for ending the negotiations (Regnum, March 29).

Several war correspondents have gone even further and threatened the Kremlin with a “coup” over “unjustified bans” on war coverage (EADaily.com, May 3). Some Kremlin political scientists have expressed concern that, soon, overly freedom-loving correspondents will be “forced into obedience,” as they become overly popular to “new Russian politicians” in expressing the interests of ordinary people; and, ultimately, the system does not like “upstarts” (Tgstat.ru, July 10).

As early as 2014, Moscow officials began addressing the potential risk of a radical Russian minority from the war with Ukraine returning home and becoming problematic. In this regard, Ukrainian experts declared that the Russian special services were behind the murders of the “heroes of the Donbas militia” and the leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, Alexander Zakharchenko, attempting, in the process, to place people more loyal to the Kremlin in those positions (DSNews, August 31, 2018).

Indeed, Russian authorities preferred to “ignore” these deaths and did not investigate the murders (Gazeta.ru, October 17, 2016). At the time, militaristic propaganda had not yet reached its zenith, and the number of Russians personally involved in the events in Donbas was comparatively small. Now, the war has a comparatively greater impact on Russian society, and the Kremlin is trying to involve as many people as possible in its aggressive policy.

This goal is achieved through a “covert mobilization” and promised incentives. In March 2022, a law was passed recognizing participants of the “special military operation in Ukraine” as war veterans and providing them with extra bonuses, including pensions, assistance in buying homes and tax privileges. (Kommersant, March 26). In July 2022, the Federation Council (Russian senate) approved a bill under which civilian specialists working in the zone of the “special military operation” would also receive war veteran status along with the corresponding privileges (Parlamentskaya gazeta, July 8).

Meanwhile, a law was recently passed to abolish the age limit for finishing one’s first contract of military service, which was previously age 40 (RIA Novosti, May 28). The next change was a law permitting the army to enter into contracts with 18-year-old school graduates who had never served in the military (Bbc.com/russian, June 25). Furthermore, although general mobilization has not been officially announced, human rights activists have highlighted that cases of sending reservists for medical examinations and efforts to attract volunteers and contract soldiers to the war have both become more frequent (Сurrenttime.tv, May 11).

In addition to the military, the Kremlin authorities are trying to actively involve civilians in the events in Donbas—not only doctors and first responders but also students from Russian regions are being encouraged to move to the Russian-occupied territories (Izhevsk-news.net, June 8). Teachers, if they agree to relocate to the disputed regions, are being promised a double salary and impressive per diem payments (Еspreso.tv, July 10). Moreover, in a recent meeting with the heads of Russia’s parliamentary factions, President Vladimir Putin personally supported an initiative for a visit by the deputies to the occupied regions of Ukraine (Kremlin.ru, July 7).

This level of public involvement in the war creates the prerequisites for people who “passed through Donbas” to have special credibility with the Russian majority. Indeed, several of them are already speaking in harsh terms regarding the authorities in Moscow. Former Federal Security Service (FSB) officer Igor Girkin (Strelkov), who unleashed the initial invasion of Ukraine in 2014, has, for all these years, consistently criticized Putin personally. Today, Strelkov outright predicts the same fate for the Russian president as deceased Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi if he once again “shamefully surrenders” in the war with Ukraine. The former FSB officer also demands the replacement of at least part of Putin’s team of “thieves, scoundrels and traitors” (YouTube, June 14).

If eight years ago Strelkov’s position seemed marginal, today, other Russian propagandists warn that, if Russian authorities “do not stick it out to the end” in the seizure of Ukrainian territories, as well as in the cardinal economic and political restructuring of the country, they will lose the people’s support. Pro-Kremlin “experts” muse that “the initiative of the people, which was awakened during the special operation … will be impossible to contain” if victory is not complete (YouTube, July 8).

As mentioned previously, for the time being, waging a protracted war is beneficial for Putin (see EDM, June 30), and thus, in the near future, Russian authorities will most likely be able to meet the expectations of the growing radical minority in this aspect. However, in terms of economic achievements and restructuring a system based on total corruption, prospects for the Kremlin are remarkably dimmer. As such, these radicals nurtured by Russian government propaganda may sooner or later turn on their creators.

jamestown.org · by Kseniya Kirillova · July 19, 2022



22. Maurer Delivers the Real Stuff in “The Good Afghan”




Maurer Delivers the Real Stuff in “The Good Afghan”

By Brett Allen

July 19, 2022


https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2022/07/19/maurer_delivers_the_real_stuff_in_the_good_afghan_843313.html

When I was asked to read and review Kevin Maurer’s new novel, I agreed with much enthusiasm. Maurer can easily be described as a subject-matter expert on the U.S. military’s Special Forces community and the war in Afghanistan, and he has authored or co-authored a long list of titles on both subjects, including the New York Times bestselling No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden, which he co-authored with Navy SEAL Mark Owen. I’ve also seen several photographs where Mr. Maurer is sporting a first-class “Special Forces Beard,” which I’m automatically jealous of and gives him a fair amount of “street cred” in my book.



Maurer’s latest, The Good Afghan (Permuted Press, 2022), takes place circa 2010 in Afghanistan. The action is set in and around Kandahar Airfield, and follows the intertwining stories of an aging Taliban Commander, a career Special Forces soldier, a local interpreter-turned-contractor, and an overzealous U.S. Air Force Special Investigator. Each character brings to the page a unique view on the war as they seek to fulfill their own agendas, while simultaneously keeping a recently discovered Russian “suitcase nuke” out of the hands of Taliban forces and, ultimately, Al-Qaeda.


On a macro level, Maurer does an excellent job weaving together his various storylines and giving the reader a strong sense of who his characters are and what they represent early in the narrative. Maurer’s descriptions of people and places in Afghanistan lend the novel authenticity, one clue to the author’s own extensive experience. He paints a vivid picture of what it was like to deploy and serve in Afghanistan in those middle years of America’s “Forever War.” As a former Captain in the U.S. Army, I served in the Logar Province of Afghanistan in 2009 and though I was no Special Forces guy, I felt a striking familiarity with many of Maurer’s descriptions, especially the way he wrote about Kandahar Airfield. I spent the better part of a month living on Bagram Airfield during my deployment and couldn’t help but feel the similarities with its corporate chain restaurants, snarky civilian contractors, and legions of lax personnel who lived a life of relative comfort while the war simmered and popped just miles outside their fences.

Expanding on this, Maurer gives the reader a broader sense of how fat and stagnant the war had become by that point in time. This point of view was especially poignant from the eyes of Charlie, the Special Forces Warrant Officer who serves as one of the primary protagonists in The Good Afghan. Charlie is in the latter stages of his career but was present in the beginning when the first Special Forces teams deployed to Afghanistan after 9/11. He remembers when operations were conducted with extreme efficiency and limited oversight—and usually a much higher success rate. Flash forward nine years and the war has been hamstrung for too long, taking a backseat to the priority of the Iraq War and losing almost all momentum. Charlie feels this stagnation as soon as his boots hit the ground and the sentiment is reiterated by his direct supervisor, stressing to him “we need a win” in their area of operation. In fact, all of the characters in the novel share this feeling, including the enemy. After decades of war, Razaq, the aging Taliban Commander, has grown tired of violence and is terrified by the prospect of “death by drones.” He’s ready to be done with it all. And so, when an old Russian nuke is found, Razaq sees it as an opportunity to get out. He recruits his America-loving, contractor nephew, Wali, to help him strike a deal with the Americans.

Maurer does an excellent job capturing how the military, bloated and cumbersome from years of sustainment operations, often stumbled over itself due to so many moving pieces working contrary to one another. This is highlighted in the storyline of Air Force Tech Sgt. Canterbury. Like Charlie, Canterbury has recently arrived in the country, and he’s quickly duped by a crooked Afghan Army General trying to grease his own wheels through lucrative logistics and security contracts. The General tricks the green Special Agent Canterbury into launching an investigation on Wali, who is his main competitor in business. As the stakes rise throughout the book, Canterbury’s relentless investigation serves on numerous occasions as a stumbling block for Charlie and his CIA counterpart, Felix, as they make their quest to recover the Russian suitcase nuke.

On a micro level, Maurer inserts many small details that might slip past someone who never deployed but is likely to delight those who have. One such detail happens when the main character arrives in country and goes to his B-hut to get some sleep. B-huts were wooden buildings that often contained rows of bunks serving as barracks or temporary holding sites for transient soldiers. Whatever the case, it wasn’t unusual for there to be soldiers sleeping in these buildings at all hours of the day due to varying work schedules. As Charlie leaves the hut for the first time, he instinctively reaches behind him and catches the swinging door so as to shut it gently and prevent the door from slamming and waking any sleeping soldiers. This may not seem significant to most, but I immediately flashed back to a similar holdover hut in Kuwait on my way back from leave where several sleepy sergeants would rain holy terror on any soldier inconsiderate enough to let the hut door slam when they came or left. There were several other instances in The Good Afghan that brought similar memories snapping back into place, which speaks volumes about Mr. Maurer’s ability to paint a vivid picture in his scenes.


The pages of The Good Afghan are a testament to Maurer’s intimate knowledge of the military’s Special Operations community, too, its cross-branch dynamics and the intricate ways in which the military fumbles over itself in a never-ending quest to create efficiencies by making things more complicated. Throughout the book, Maurer makes many astute observations regarding the motivations of not only friendly forces but enemy forces and those who live perpetually in the gray areas. Like the war itself, not all characters in the book are quickly recognized as friend or foe, leaving the reader with a satisfying, tension-building sense of foreboding that at any moment one of them might prove to be someone they’re not.

The Good Afghan was a great read and will be enjoyed by both those who served and those who didn’t. The narrative is clean and quick, without an overload of military jargon or an alphabet soup of acronyms, which can often be a hindrance in many military works. Where jargon and acronyms are used, Maurer is quick to clarify their meaning and does so in an organic way so as not to pull the reader from the story. Scene transitions and point-of-view transitions flow smoothly into one another, creating a fast-paced, enthralling story that will keep any reader captivated from start to finish. Go out and get a copy as soon as it hits the shelves!

Brett Allen is a humor writer and author of the Afghanistan war novel, Kilroy Was Here. He is also a contributing writer for Task and Purpose as a member of their Gear Review team. Follow him on Twitter at @hogwashwriting.




23.  US to send more HIMARS precision rocket systems to Ukraine in latest package




US to send more HIMARS precision rocket systems to Ukraine in latest package

Defense News · by Joe Gould · July 20, 2022

WASHINGTON ― The US will send four more high-mobility artillery rocket systems to Ukraine as part of the next military aid package to strengthen Kyiv in what’s become a grinding long-range fires duel, Pentagon officials said Wednesday.

The new M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, will bring the total number committed to Ukraine to 16. The light, wheeled multiple rocket launcher allows Ukraine to strike at ranges of 85 kilometers, or 53 miles, and with more precision than previously sent artillery.

The added HIMARS would be included in its upcoming 16th package of equipment from U.S. military stockpiles, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said as he hosted a virtual meeting of the Ukraine-focused contact group with allies. The package will also include rounds for guided multiple-launch rocket systems, or GMLRS, and artillery.

“As this fight rages on, the contact group will keep finding innovative ways to sustain our long-term support for the brave men and women of the Ukrainian armed forces, and we will tailor our assistance to ensure that Ukraine has the technology, the ammunition and the sheer firepower to defend itself,” Austin said.

Austin also spoke alongside Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at a Pentagon press conference, where Milley said the five-month-old invasion has evolved into a battle of attrition, waged through long-range fires and in which Russian forces are expected to continue using heavy artillery bombardments.

This week Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu ordered the military to prioritize the destruction of Ukraine’s long-range missiles and artillery, while Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday that Russia’s objectives now extend beyond the eastern Donbas region.

RELATED


US will send HIMARS precision rockets to Ukraine

The Biden administration announced Wednesday it will send Ukraine a $700 million in new military aid that includes high-tech, medium-range rocket systems, a critical weapon that Ukrainian leaders have been pleading for as they struggle to stall Russian progress in the Donbas region.

Pentagon officials say the Donbas isn’t securely in Russian hands. Ukrainian forces are challenging Russian front and rear areas, while Russian forces ― despite their manpower and stocks of equipment ― are expending resources rapidly without securing much ground, according to Milley.

“There is a grinding war of attrition that is occurring in the Luhansk-Donbas region … No, it’s not lost yet,” Milley said. “The Ukrainians are making the Russians pay for every inch of territory that they gain. Advances are measured in literally hundreds of meters on some days ― you might give a kilometer to the Russians, but not much more than that.”

To prepare for a long conflict, Kyiv, the U.S. and allies at the meeting focused efforts to train Ukrainian forces to maintain and repair donated equipment. The training is already underway outside Ukraine, and the group wants ways to track donated equipment so it can anticipate Ukraine’s logistical needs, Austin said.

“It’s not good enough just to provide a piece of equipment. We need to have that piece of gear, plus spare parts, plus tools to repair it ― at the operational level, down at the forward edge of the battlefield,” Austin said.

Will the US send even longer-range missiles to Ukraine?

When asked whether the U.S. will eventually send longer-range weapons, such as Army Tactical Missile System, which has a 140 mile range, Austin and Milley would not rule it out, but they said that the current systems have been working well.

Milley said that in his meetings with Ukraine’s top general, he’s hearing that the current mix of weapons and launch systems they have are “very, very successful.”

Weeks after the Pentagon’s inspector general in June launched an evaluation of Pentagon efforts to replenish stockpiles, Milley said Pentagon officials are looking closely at rates of ammunition consumption, which he said will be a decisive factor in the conflict.

“As we project forward into the next month or two or three, we think we’re gonna be okay,” Milley said, adding that Pentagon leaders are talking with the defense industry about how to continue to produce weapons used in the fight.

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In addition to training on artillery systems, the Pentagon has weighed whether Ukrainian pilots would also benefit from U.S. training. The question came after the U.S. House approved $100 million in funding to train Ukrainian pilots to use U.S. aircraft last week as part of its version of the annual defense policy bill.

“So we’re looking at a lot of things, everything. But in terms of predicting where we’re going to be with pilot training, in months or years, I won’t venture to do that,” Austin said. “At this point. I will say that the Ukrainians do have – their air force does have a capability, as we speak, and are using some of that capability on a daily basis.”

How many HIMARS systems does Ukraine need?

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said Tuesday that Kyiv needs more long-range, high-precision weapons, and more flying drones to aid reconnaissance and precision strikes. To protect Ukraine’s massive borders and launch an effective counter-offense against advancing Russian forces, would take many more HIMARS, he said.

“We would need at least 100. I think that would become a game-changer on the battlefield,” Reznikov, who participated in Wednesday’s meeting, said at the Atlantic Council on Tuesday.

Ukraine used the first eight HIMARS systems to destroy 30 command stations and ammunition storage facilities, which has dramatically decreased the intensity of Russian shelling and slowed Russia’s advance, according to Reznikov.

“Saving the lives of our people is of crucial importance to us, and that’s why we’re using HIMARS systems precisely, like scalpel of a doctor, surgeon,” Reznikov said, adding that he’d assured western defense chiefs that Ukraine won’t copy the imprecise “meat grinder” tactics Russia’s employed against civilian targets.

The Biden administration last pledged HIMARS to Ukraine as part of a $450 million military aid package announced last month. The U.S. has sent $6.1 billion in military aid to Ukraine since Russia invaded in February, though allies have also donated long-range fires, as well as other arms and equipment.

Austin hailed the UK’s provision of M270 MLRS, Poland’s transfer of 155mm self-propelled howitzers and Norway’s cooperation on the recent U.S. transfer of the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System, or NASAMS. He said Ukraine’s use of donated Harpoon missiles allowed it to reclaim Snake Island in the Black Sea from Russian forces.

About Joe Gould and Meghann Myers

Joe Gould is senior Pentagon reporter for Defense News, covering the intersection of national security policy, politics and the defense industry.

Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at Military Times. She covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership and other issues affecting service members. Follow on Twitter @Meghann_MT

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Defense News · by Joe Gould · July 20, 2022



24. How an Unqualified Sex Worker Allegedly Infiltrated a Top Air Force Lab

Some stuff you just cannot make up. What a story.





How an Unqualified Sex Worker Allegedly Infiltrated a Top Air Force Lab

Yahoo · by Justin Rohrlich


Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty

A senior research scientist working on advanced propulsion technologies for the U.S. Air Force duped a contractor into hiring an unqualified sex worker he had paid using a government charge card because he thought she was “really hot,” according to the feds.

The man then allegedly threatened to kill the sex worker’s supervisor and himself when the scheme fell apart—but not before shifting the bulk of the project’s funding elsewhere to pay for her salary at a different defense firm.

That’s according to a newly unsealed search warrant application obtained by The Daily Beast, which accuses Dr. James Gord, a highly decorated civilian Air Force employee, of installing the 32-year-old sex worker on a highly technical research project even though she did not have a college degree or any expertise in the field.

The woman “did not fully understand how to use basic word processing…software,” and “struggled to formulate coherent interoffice emails,” the warrant states. In 2019, Gord tapped the woman to co-chair a scientific panel for unsuspecting photonics researchers designing turbine engines, detonation engines, scramjets, and rockets.

No charges had yet been filed against Gord prior to his death last September of unspecified causes. The woman, whose identity The Daily Beast is withholding, has not been charged with a crime either, according to court records. She did not respond to voicemails left at a number listed under her name, or to an email seeking comment on Monday.

The warrant says Gord first came to the attention of Air Force investigators in March 2019, after the CEO and chief research scientist of a company that provided the Air Force Research Lab in Ohio with laser imaging for turbine engines reached out with a raft of highly troubling allegations.


Dr. James Gord.

U.S. Air Force

The company, Spectral Energies, has received millions of dollars in government contracts and had been contracting for the lab, located on the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio, for the past 17 years, the warrant states. Spectral Energies CEO Sukesh Roy and Gord, who oversaw the technology Roy’s company supported and was responsible for doling out the contract’s funding, had become good friends during that period, according to the warrant.

But Roy had become alarmed by Gord’s behavior, and contacted the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI), saying Gord “was engaging in unethical government contract negotiations, had communicated threats of violence, and was regularly soliciting prostitution while on the installation and while traveling on official U.S. Air Force business,” the warrant states.

In 2017, Gord, whose research the Air Force says “has produced myriad fundamental technology breakthroughs in burst-mode laser measurement systems that enable scientists and engineers to better understand the performance of real-world air breathing and rocket engines,” lost his father to suicide and “experienced extreme depression as a result,” the warrant explains.

“Shortly thereafter, in October 2017, Roy shared with Gord he was looking to hire an administrative technician at Spectral Energies,” says the warrant. “Gord recently met a young professional while on a flight to Washington, D.C…. and was very impressed with how she presented herself.”

Gord told Roy he thought she would be “a good fit” at Spectral, and gave Roy a copy of her resume, the warrant says. It said she was a certified EMT and firefighter with a biochemistry degree from the University of Tennessee, and had attended medical school at the University of Cincinnati.

“Gord highly encouraged Roy to hire [her], speaking highly of [her] technical expertise,” the warrant explains. “He then finished by stating, ‘She’s also really hot.’”

Roy hired her the following month, on Gord’s recommendation.

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However, Roy “quickly became frustrated with [her] lack of capability in the position,” according to the warrant.

“Over her first few months on the job, Roy stated [she] was not timely with her [expenses], did not fully understand how to use basic word processing and document creation software, and struggled to formulate coherent interoffice emails,” the warrant goes on. “[She] also failed to provide her college transcripts as requested.”

Roy then confronted Gord, who came clean and disclosed that she was “a prostitute he met in Cincinnati,” according to the warrant. Gord allegedly told Roy that he kept an Excel spreadsheet on his government-issued laptop with the names and details of various sex workers around the country he saw while on official trips for the Air Force. He didn’t want his wife or kids to know about his “relationships with these women,” and took out cash advances against his government travel card “so that the family finances were not visibly affected,” the warrant states.

Yet, Gord, who allegedly told Roy he paid the woman $400 an hour for her services, claimed to be in love with her and said she felt the same about him. Still, the woman “engaged in acts of prostitution” around Wright-Patterson with other scientists from the Air Force Research Laboratory, the warrant says. One, identified in the filing only as “Dr. I.K.,” paid the woman “approximately $20K a year to clean his residence in the nude and then perform oral sex on him,” according to the warrant.

I.K. was unable to be reached for comment.

U.S. Servicemen Guarding Nukes Took LSD on Missile Base

Although the woman had not gone past high school and lacked any knowledge whatsoever about the field, Gord allegedly urged Roy to more deeply involve her in the technical research Spectral Energies was performing under the contract Gord oversaw. He asked that her name be included as a contributor to future white papers, and told Roy that he wanted her to represent Spectral Energies on official trips, the warrant says.

Roy, who declined to discuss the case when contacted on Monday by The Daily Beast and hung up the phone when pressed for details, refused Gord’s demands. Not only was the woman lacking knowledge of the science, Roy told Gord that his relationship with her was unethical and asked him to “cease all contact” with her, the warrant says. This “angered Gord,” who abruptly stopped talking about the woman to Roy altogether.

Bothered by what was happening, Roy met with a lawyer to inquire about firing her but, according to the warrant, was told to wait until her one-year review to limit any potential liability.

But Gord found out and confronted Roy, allegedly telling him that if anyone found out about the “true nature of his relationship” with the woman, he would know Roy was responsible.

“Gord then stated he would come to Building 5 with one of his many guns to ‘end it all,’” the warrant says. “Roy perceived this to mean that Gord would kill Roy and then himself. During the conversation, Gord also reminded Roy, of Bangladeshi ethnicity, that Gord was a senior research scientist at AFRL, and that as Roy was an immigrant the ‘old boys club’ at AFRL would never believe Roy if he disclosed the information about a scientist as well respected as Gord.”

In October 2018, two weeks before Roy was set to fire her, the woman told Roy she was resigning to take a job at Spectral Energies’ main competitor, Innovative Scientific Solutions Incorporated (ISSI), the warrant says.

Around this same time, the Air Force Research Lab was set to renew a $250,000 research grant Spectral Energies. Gord was responsible for allocating the funds, the warrant states. But instead of the full $250,000, Spectral Energies only got $100,000 this time. So Roy asked the contracting office at Wright-Patterson AFB, which informed him that the grant had been split between Spectral Energies and ISSI, which got the remaining $150,000.

It was the first time in years that Gord didn’t allocate the full amount to Spectral Energies, the warrant states, adding, “The timing of Gord’s decision corresponded to [the woman’s] new position at ISSI.” Investigators later uncovered evidence in a search of Gord’s electronics, telling the woman that the funds would cover her salary at ISSI, according to the warrant.


U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio

Roy told investigators he then began to hear from colleagues around the industry that Gord was introducing the woman “around professional circles” as a research assistant and had arranged for her to chair a scientific panel, the warrant says.

On April Fool’s Day 2019, a pair of AFOSI special agents attempted to confirm the woman’s backstory. None of the schools on her resume had any record of her, the warrant states. About a week later, an AFOSI team armed with a search warrant raided Gord’s office at the Air Force Research Laboratory, seizing electronic devices as well as a box of Trojan condoms, a pair of women’s underwear, and an empty bottle of Viagra.

A search of Gord’s government email account turned up correspondence between him and the woman in which he described himself as her “mentor” and advised her on creating a believable “backstory,” the warrant alleges.

Gord told her to tell prospective employers that they met on a flight in 2017 when she noticed Gord working on his laptop. She was then to say she had withdrawn from medical school after a difficult divorce put a squeeze on her finances. Gord at one point referred to several meetings during which he taught her about the lab “and how to interact with scientists,” according to the warrant.

In one message, he shifted the conversation to “playtime,” the warrant states. He first asked her to “bring the ‘Screaming O,’” which the warrant says is “a request that [she] orgasm during sex,” then said that intimacy is very important to him.

In another, he allegedly said he would be comfortable meeting up after she was done servicing another client before discussing the organizational structure of the lab’s Combustion and Laser Diagnostics Research Complex.

In August 2019, AFOSI agents say they conducted a forensic review of Gord’s cellphone, discovering texts between Gord and some 27 sex workers in assorted U.S. cities. One, in which Gord and a female escort worked out the details of a rendezvous at a hotel in Chicago, allegedly occurred while Gord was on an official trip to the Argonne National Laboratory, which is focused on nuclear research. They also reviewed the spreadsheet Gord previously revealed to Roy, according to the warrant.

“Many of the 27 women listed on the Excel document were foreign nationals from countries considered U.S. National Security concerns,” it states.

The warrant was unsealed Monday in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, and seeks access to Gord and the woman’s email accounts for evidence of false, fictitious, or fraudulent claims, embezzlement/misuse of government property, extortion of officers or employees of the United States, ethnic intimidation, and aggravated menacing.

The woman was being investigated on charges of prostitution near military and naval establishments, and false, fictitious, or fraudulent claims, according to the warrant.

The Air Force and Gord’s widow did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s requests for comment.

With additional reporting by Josh Fiallo.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Yahoo · by Justin Rohrlich










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

VIDEO "WHEREBY" Link: https://whereby.com/david-maxwell

Phone: 202-573-8647

email: david.maxwell161@gmail.com


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

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

"A democracy is only as resilient as its people. An informed and engaged citizenry is the fundamental requirement for a free and resilient nation. For generations, our society has protected free press, free speech, and free thought. Today, actors such as Russia are using information tools in an attempt to undermine the legitimacy of democracies. Adversaries target media, political processes, financial networks, and personal data. The American public and private sectors must recognize this and work together to defend our way of life. No external threat can be allowed to shake our shared commitment to our values, undermine our system of government, or divide our Nation."

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