Showing posts with label Military Matters. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Military Matters. Show all posts

28 April 2017

The Armed Forces Officer

By General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr., USMC

In 1950, the great Soldier-Statesman George C. Marshall, then serving as the Secretary of Defense, signed a cover page for a new book titled The Armed Forces Officer. That original version of this book was written by none other than S.L.A. Marshall, who later explained that Secretary Marshall had “inspired the undertaking due to his personal conviction that American military officers, of whatever service, should share common ground ethically and morally.” Written at the dawn of the nuclear age and the emergence of the Cold War, it addressed an officer corps tasked with developing a strategy of nuclear deterrence, facing unprecedented deployments, and adapting to the creation of the Department of Defense and other new organizations necessary to manage the threats of a new global order.

Now, in the second decade of the 21st century, our nation is again confronted with a volatile and complex security environment, and addressing the challenges of our time will place new demands on military leaders at all levels. We in the Profession of Arms will continue to adapt our training and education programs, as we have always done, to provide our officers with the intellectual and practical tools necessary to succeed in this unpredictable and unstable world.

Joint Force Quarterly 85 (2nd Quarter, April 2017)

By William R. Gery, SeYoung Lee, and Jacob Ninas

Major William R. Gery, USAF, is Program Manager for the U.S. Air Force Weapon System Evaluation Program at Air Combat Command. Major SeYoung Lee, Republic of Korea (ROK) Army, is a Student in the Military History Institution of ROK Army Headquarters. Lieutenant Colonel Jacob Ninas, USA, is a Branch Chief in the 704thMilitary Intelligence Brigade.

In the past week, how many devices have you used that were connected to the Internet or relied on an algorithm to accomplish a task? Likely, the number is upward of 10 to 15, and most of those devices are used daily, if not hourly. Examples may include a Fit-Bit, cell phone, personal computer, work computer, home monitoring system, car, Internet television, printer, scanner, maps, and, if you are really tech savvy, maybe your coffee pot or refrigerator.

27 April 2017

A First: India Successfully Tests BrahMos Supersonic Land-Attack Cruise Missile

By Ankit Panda

On Friday, the Indian Navy successfully carried out the first-ever test of a supersonic land-attack cruise missile (LACM). A “land attack version of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile was fired for the first time from an Indian Navy’s stealth frigate, off the eastern coast, at a land target,” an unnamed Indian Ministry of Defense source noted. To date, the only variants of the BrahMos tested by the Indian Navy were the anti-ship variants.

The Indian Navy released a video of the launch that shows the missile’s successful vertical launch ejection from the INS Teg, a Talwar-class stealth frigate, successful directional engine engagement, and, ultimately, successful boost and horizontal flight.

“The land-attack variant of BrahMos provides Indian warships the capability to precisely neutralize selected targets deep inland, far away from the coast, from stand-off ranges at sea,” an Indian Navy source told the Times of India. “The maiden firing significantly enhances the Navy’s prowess and places India in the club of a select few nations to have this capability. Majority of our frontline warships, like the Kolkata-class of destroyers and Teg-class of stealth frigates, are capable of firing this missile,” he added.

Appoint GOC-in-C/Corps Commanders on basis of merit, not ‘residual service’: MoD panel

Written by Man Aman Singh Chhina

The panel observed that litigation is pending before various benches of the Armed Forces Tribunal related to the non-grant of promotion/pay benefits to senior officers of the Army due to lack of residual service as per rules in vogue.

A panel on military reforms has recommended to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to review the current policy of appointing Army Commanders (GOC-in-C) and Corps Commanders on the basis of their ‘residual service’ in the Army which depends more upon the matter of chance and “fortuitous condition of the date of birth” instead of merit and capability.

The panel has asked the government to consider the feasibility of examining the issue in depth where a deserving officer misses the chance to command a Corps or an become the GOC-in-C of a command just because he falls short of the number of years of service that is left with him before retirement.

Report: Special Operations Forces Want to Do More Than Just Counterterrorism

By Vivienne Machi

Special operations forces and their capabilities could provide a boost in an expanding global competition between the United States and nations such as Russia and China, according to a recent report. 

Seeing situations play out, such as China's militarization of the South China Sea or Russia's 2014 annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea, has sparked a "vigorous conversation inside the SOF community" about how they can contribute to those types of national challenges, said Jonathan Schroden, director of the special operations program at CNA, an Arlington, Virginia-based think tank.

"They see that as, one, important to the nation … but they also see this special capability that they have and how that could be useful," he said. "They're frustrated … that SOF has been sort of pigeon-holed into the counterterrorism role, and primarily viewed as a capability to address counterterrorism issues that the nation faces, as opposed to having a broader view that SOF can and should also be playing a role in the nation's efforts to try and counter state actors."

The CNA report, entitled "The Role of Special Operations Forces in Global Competition," which was produced in less than nine months, was motivated by a number of conversations with special operators over several years, he added.


by Mark Moyar.

In May 1980, British television was interrupted by a live broadcast of balaclava-clad Special Air Service men storming the Iranian Embassy in London to rescue hostages taken by an Iranian separatist group. Such operations were not perhaps a surprise for the baby-boomer generation. After all, we had been brought up with celluloid heroics in which Dirk Bogarde —it was nearly always Dirk Bogarde—snatched German generals from Crete or raided Rommel’s supply lines in North Africa. But for younger generations of Britons, the embassy raid had an enormous impact, spawning a new fascination with special-operations forces. Their growing mystique has led to a stream of often lamentable books with “SAS” on the cover as well as, more seriously, a misleading confidence in their superiority to conventional forces for many missions.

As Mark Moyar’s “Oppose Any Foe: The Rise of America’s Special Operations Forces” demonstrates, there has been a similar trend in the U.S. The various American special forces, which date from the formation of the Army First Ranger Battalion in 1942, now number 70,000 members. They have moved from being a secondary weapon to a primary weapon. Gen. Peter Schoomaker became the first special-forces officer to be Army chief of staff in 2003, and Gen. Stanley McChrystal the first special-forces officer to be given direction of an entire campaign—in Afghanistan—in 2009.


Maj. Amos C. Fox, Maj. Andrew J. Rossow

Russian warfare in the 21st century has ushered in a new paradigm—one in which states are in perpetual conflict with one another in a manner that best operates in the shadows. This model, known to Americans and most Westerners as hybrid warfare, is known to Russians as New Generation Warfare. Hybrid warfare, much like any nation’s or polity’s way of warfare, is

explicitly linked to the country from which it derives its power.

In the case of Russia, the hybrid warfare model seeks to operate along a spectrum of conflict that has covert action and overt combat as its bookends, with partisan warfare as the glue that binds the two ends together. This model seeks to capitalize on the weaknesses associated with nascent technology and therefore acts aggressively in new domains of war—such as cyber—while continuing to find innovative ways to conduct effective information warfare.

However, what is often lost in the discussion of the technological innovation of Russian hybrid warfare is that a conventional line of effort resides just below the surface. The Donbas campaign of the Russo–Ukrainian War (2014–present) highlights this idea. The Donbas campaign showcases innovations in Russian land warfare through the actions of Russian land forces—working in conjunction with separatist land forces—throughout the campaign. Most notably, these innovations include the development of the battalion tactical group (BTG)—a formation that possesses the firepower to punch at the operational level of war—coupled with a reconnaissance-strike model not seen on contemporary battlefields. Furthermore, the BTG and reconnaissance-strike model work in tandem to create siege warfare opportunities for the Russian and separatist forces, allowing them to generate high levels of destruction while operating beneath the notice of the international community.

CNA Report: Special Operations Forces Want to Do More Than Just Counterterrorism by National Defense

By Vivienne Machi, 

Special operations forces and their capabilities could provide a boost in an expanding global competition between the United States and nations such as Russia and China, according to a recent report.

Seeing situations play out, such as China's militarization of the South China Sea or Russia's 2014 annexation of the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea, has sparked a "vigorous conversation inside the SOF community" about how they can contribute to those types of national challenges, said Jonathan Schroden, director of the special operations program at CNA, an Arlington, Virginia-based think tank.

"They see that as, one, important to the nation … but they also see this special capability that they have and how that could be useful," he said. "They're frustrated … that SOF has been sort of pigeon-holed into the counterterrorism role, and primarily viewed as a capability to address counterterrorism issues that the nation faces, as opposed to having a broader view that SOF can and should also be playing a role in the nation's efforts to try and counter state actors."

26 April 2017

Govt. plea against military pay upgrade sparks unease

The personnel are yet to get salaries recommended by the Seventh Pay Commission. 

Armed Forces Tribunal cannot take sweeping decisions

Setting off widespread discontent among military personnel, the Centre on Friday moved the Supreme Court against the judgment of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT), which grants Non-Functional Upgrade (NFU) to the armed forces.

The Special Leave Petition (SLP), filed by the Centre, came even as the military personnel are yet to receive their new salaries recommended by the Seventh Pay Commission.

According to a Ministry of Defence official, the decision to challenge the ruling of the AFT to grant NFU was prompted by its legal stand that the tribunal has no authority to take such a sweeping decision. The source, in fact, argued that the government was not against NFU for services.

Core anomaly 

NFU has been one of the core anomalies raised by the services in the Seventh Pay Commission recommendations, which are yet to be implemented for military personnel. There have been some reports, quoting Army chief General Bipin Rawat, saying that the issues would be sorted out by the end of April. The NFU entitles all officers of a batch, including those not promoted, to draw the salary and grade pay that the senior-most officer of their batch would get after a certain period. For instance, batch mates of a Secretary to the Government of India, who have not been promoted, will be entitled to the same pay after a certain period of time.

The Sixth Pay Commission had granted NFU to most Group ‘A’ officers but not the military and paramilitary officers. Since then, the armed forces had been demanding a one-time notional NFU to ensure parity.

New Joint Doctrine – but who will walk the talk?

ByLt Gen Prakash Katoch

Anything to do with defence, and there is plenty electronic excitement. So this time, the media is agog with headlines of “New defence doctrine to ensure Army, Navy, IAF can tackle entire spectrum of conflicts”.

…who will execute this joint doctrine? Where are the command structures and the organizations that would implement this joint doctrine?

Reportedly, this new doctrine is to be released shortly. The obvious choice will be the Defence Minister to release the 80-page doctrine. Perhaps it has also been signed by the Defence Minister, as was Army’s Sub-Conventional Doctrine signed and released by AK Anthony as Defence Minister few years back even though the latter was quite inadequate; focusing on application of combat power to enhance ‘civil control’ in affected areas, that too on own side of the border – in sharp contrast to meet the borderless settings of hybrid warfare.

As for the new joint doctrine, media quoting MoD sources says it underlines the need for “application of military power” in an integrated manner to enhance operational efficiency as well as optimize utilization of resources for a greater military punch from limited budgetary funds. It also charts out a broad framework of principles for joint planning and the need to build integrated land-air-sea-cyberspace war-fighting machinery, but also “signals” the intent of the military to the world at large.

How Desert Storm Destroyed the US Military


The US military that won Desert Storm or Gulf War I in 1991 was a spectacular military, a gargantuan industrial age military with high tech weaponry and well trained personnel, that when called upon, achieved victory with the speed of Patton and the elan of Teddy Roosevelt.

Overlooking the vast eight mile carnage on the Highway of Death in Kuwait, destruction that was caused by a US Air Force and Navy that bore almost no resemblance to the two services now, a sergeant in the 7th US Cavalry remarked, “America sure got its money’s worth from those Joes.”

In 44 days, the largest military force assembled by the US and its allies since Normandy destroyed the world’s fourth largest army in a brilliantly led, fabulously executed air and ground war in the sands of the Middle East.

The ghosts of Vietnam were vanquished by men who had experienced the horrors and strategic errors of that war and who inculcated those lessons to the personnel they led.


A strong American military is still vital to guard against conventional security threats, but many of the emerging threats to global stability cannot be checked with military power alone. The threats posed to the United States have changed. The global challenges the United States faces have transformed. Our adversaries have adapted. Given this changed world order, why does America refuse to rebuild its foreign policy toolkit? Why has America’s foreign policy not adapted too? 

This document lays out the blueprint for rebuilding U.S. power with a kit of foreign policy tools to match the world we live in now. It contains specific, targeted recommendations for how to get the most return out of every dollar for American security and prosperity. It spends money on smart power—investing in diplomacy, economic development, and humanitarian assistance—to head off conflicts before they require costly military interventions.

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright offered praise for the report, stating, “Rethinking the Battlefield is a comprehensive blueprint for how America can protect its citizens, build our prosperity, and defend our way of life in the 21st century. Senator Murphy recognizes that now is not the time for America to retreat from the world, and that we should be doing more, not less, to deal with challenges abroad before they affect our security and prosperity at home. After the reckless and misguided cuts to national security institutions proposed by the Trump administration, it is more important than ever to have a real conversation about how and why we engage globally. Rethinking the Battlefield provides a good basis for such a discussion."

Download Rethinking the Battlefield, or read the full report below.

America’s Dangerous Love for Special Ops


An American Special Forces soldier in Afghanistan in 2014. CreditDiego Ibarra Sanchez for The New York Times

As the North Korean Army slashed its way down the Korean Peninsula in 1950, 15-man units inflitrated South Korean lines to ambush convoys and demolish bridges. America sought to respond in kind, forming Ranger units with skills like low-altitude parachuting and sabotage. Americans fell in love with these elite warriors. One reporter wrote that each Ranger “is a one-man gang who can sneak up to an enemy sentry, chop off his head, and catch it before it makes noise by hitting the ground.”

The country, and its presidents, have been enamored with special operations forces ever since Franklin Roosevelt created the first unit in 1942. John F. Kennedy expanded the Army Special Forces from 2,000 to 10,500 soldiers and founded the Navy SEALs. Under George W. Bush and Barack Obama, special operations forces grew from 38,000 in 2001 to 70,000 in 2016.

Will President Trump follow suit? He has already used special operations forces in several Middle Eastern countries. And the units seem custom-made for a president intent on both combating terrorism and avoiding large-scale war.

But the history of America’s special operations forces recommends caution. They are primarily tactical tools, not strategic options. Nor, for all the talent and training, can they always beat the odds.

Logistics and the strangling of strategy

By David Beaumont.

Logistics has long been recognised as vital to a force, but when inefficient a constraint on that force’s freedom to manoeuvre. However, the impact of logistics on strategy is just as significant and ultimately more profound. The modern fixation on high-velocity, nominally ‘efficient’, and usually ‘globalised’ supply chains have introduced significant operational challenges that many strategists fail to fully realise. Indeed, it was recently argued that the Australian Defence Force has yet to fully understand the consequences of an approach to logistics that now permeates its methods of sustaining capabilities and operations. This is for two reasons. One, it is hard to ascertain where single points of failure are in global supply chains for the purposes of creating and sustaining combat capabilities. Two, the nature of these supply chains makes securing them increasingly more important to operational success than the defence of lines of communication has ever been.

25 April 2017

Russian offer of MiG LMFS, F-16, etc. as India faces a troubled world

Persons in the know say Russia is offering India the co-development of the MiG 1.44 in the updated LMFS configuration with a conformal bomb bay. Some years back, as noted in this blog, IAF then in the throes of the MMRCA decision had rejected the 1.44. The Russian Air Force is streamlining its inventory to two types of combat aircraft — the “super” Su-30 and the MiG LMFS, Su plus a new generation strategic bomber to replace the Tu-160 Blackjack. The US Air Force is likewise restricting itself to the one type, all-purpose fighter plane — F-35 and its service variants.

If IAF is planning on a similar exercise as it should be doing then, as yet, there’s no hint of it. In any case, for the combat complement one type of aircraft, if anybody has any sense, has to be the indigenous Tejas LCA and its future variants, like the AMCA. It is the other type that will prove to be headache for the country. Just too many aircraft manufacturers are chasing down that slot, and have selected their Indian commercial partners in this venture with an eye firmly on the proximity of these partners to prime minister Modi. Dassault has tied up for its Rafale with Anil Ambani’s Reliance Aerospace and the Sweden’s SAAB for its Gripen E with the other A in the business world — the Adani’s. Neither Ambani nor Adani have done any aircraft production and have no production wherewithal ecen of a rudimentary kind set up by Mahindra. The only industrial engineering firm that has the resources, if not the actual experience, is L&T which, incidentally, dithered when asked in late 2014 to set up a Tejas production line to compete with HAL. This to say the country faces a nearly bare cupboard where the private sector manufacture of complex fighter aircraft is concerned.

Mr Modi, please heed loss of morale in armed forces

'The non-implementation of the Seventh Pay Commission, almost a year after it was implemented for civilians, is gradually beginning to hurt morale in the armed forces,' says Brigadier Gurmeet Kanwal (retd).

A salient trend line in the emerging character of conflict points to the fact that future wars on land, sea, in the air and in space and cyber-space will be increasingly fought by machines.

However, military history bears out that ultimately it is the man behind the gun who carries the day.

This is unlikely to change no matter how many robotic vehicles are fitted with weapons and programmed to operate autonomously on the battlefield.

And since he is a thinking human being, the man behind the gun has emotions and feelings. He gets angry and upset, or goes into a shell, or loses his sense of discipline or sulks.

All subalterns and young captains are taught to keep a close eye on the morale of the soldiers.

If their morale is down, they lose their motivation to fight well.


Talking about hybrid threats—the toxic cocktail of force, money, propaganda and spycraft—is one thing. Actually doing something about them is another. So the new center on hybrid warfare being set up in the Finnish capital Helsinki is a welcome, if belated and modest development.

So far Britain, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Sweden and the United States have signed up to the Finnish initiative. So have the European Union and NATO. (Oddly, neighboring Estonia has not—sparking a political row in Tallinn.)

The Finnish foreign minister, Timo Soini, said at the signing ceremony last week that hybrid threats are a European and a transatlantic priority. That is true, but would be news to most people.

Western efforts against hybrid warfare have so far been low-key to the point of invisibility. There is a little-known EU Hybrid Fusion Cell within the (also low-profile) EU Intelligence and Situation Centre (EU INTCEN) of the European External Action Service. It liaises, apparently, with its (unnamed) NATO counterpart. In most countries, efforts against Russian hybrid warfare are run by the intelligence and security agencies.

What It Would Really Take To Sink A Modern Aircraft Carrier

Robert Farley

Pre-Commissioning Unit Gerald R. Ford heads out to sea for the first time under its own power for builder’s trials. The future USS Gerald R. Ford is the first in a new class of American supercarriers. Photo credit: United States Department of Defense

The modern aircraft carrier is a global symbol of American dominance, hegemony, peace, even empire. But at over 1,000 feet long, and displacing more than 100,000 tons, is it a sitting duck? Is the massive emblem of American greatness just an obsolete, vulnerable hunk of steel?

There’s a lot of consternation about whether or not the United States should even have massive supercarriers anymore. Obviously, the answer here is “depends on how much explosives you’ve got.” But while sinking an aircraft carrier is difficult, it’s not impossible. The key is what it’s used for, and who it’s used against. But if you wanted to sink one, here’s what you’d have to do, and what you’d be up against.

(Professor Robert Farley is a specialist in military diffusion, maritime affairs, and national security at the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce at the University of Kentucky. He took exception toour original piece on carrier vulnerability, and seeing as how he’s an expert, we offered him a chance to do us one better. – M.B.)

Organizational Agility: Winning in Today’s Complex Environment

Zayn Knaub

What does it take for militaries to win in today’s interconnected, interdependent, and complex environment? I would argue that in contrast with the battlefield of the past, today’s environment demands much more organizational agility. I define organizational agility as the degree to which a team or company is resourceful and adept at flexing in response to both internal and external factors. An agile organization has the ability to be radically innovative, adapt, and institute process improvement with grace in a rapidly changing, complex environment. The following three factors are crucial to instituting a high degree of organizational agility: 
Empowerment: Empowering leaders with shared purpose at all levels of the organization 
Resilience: Building learning and adapting into the team’s identity and fabric 
Innovation: Implementing innovation architecture to support constant and creative disruption 

On today’s battlefield, the higher the degree of agility, the higher chance of success. Pose the question, “What does it take to win?” One hundred years ago, the answer would have been efficiency. This makes intuitive sense when you think about the simple, linear processes that characterized the industrial revolution and the concept of mass production. Robert Kanigel’s One Best Way does a phenomenal job characterizing the role of efficiency in the success of large industries. Likewise, efficiency can equal success when the problem is linear and predictable. Today, simply being efficient is no longer enough. Today organizations face wicked problems that by their nature are vast, nonlinear, and unpredictable. Success, whether it is defined by a small business, large corporation, military, or other government organization has not necessarily changed in the past century, but the environment in which those organizations operate is exceedingly complex, interconnected, and uncertain. 

The upside and downside of swarming drones

The US and Chinese militaries are starting to test swarming drones – distributed collaborative systems made up of many small, cheap, unmanned aircraft. This new subset of independently operating or “autonomous” weapons is giving rise to new strategic, ethical, and legal questions. Swarming drones could offer real advantages, including reducing the loss of both human life and expensive equipment in battle. But they also come with potential dangers. There is already great international concern about deploying weapons without “meaningful human control.” Proliferation is another danger, and a problem that could be particularly acute in the case of swarming drones. The risks posed by swarming drones should be considered sooner rather than later, before their destructive potential reaches maturity. Read this free-access article from the subscription journal.