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

25 March 2017

*** The U.S. Army May Have Prepared for the Wrong War

Daniel L. Davis

On February 7, Vice Chief of Staff for the Army Gen. Daniel Allyn stated that only three of fifty-eight combat brigades in the U.S. Army were sufficiently trained for wartime deployment, blaming the condition on sequestration. It is not the lack of money, however, that is behind the army’s inability to maintain ready forces. Rather, it is the obsolete force structure the army has maintained since World War II. Fortunately, modern thinking and a new organization for the army could reverse this trend—without requiring an increase in the budget.

Just four years earlier, then Army chief of staff Gen. Ray Odierno claimed that the United States only had two trained army brigades, also blaming the lack of readiness on sequestration. The army is by no means under a cash crunch with an annual budget of $148 billion.

It is more, by itself, than the entire defense budgets for Russia, Germany and Japan combined. Sequestration is not what is making the U.S. Army inadequately ready. It is how the money is spent and the way the service is organized that makes the difference. Russia and China have both recognized the changing nature of war and have abandoned the formations born during World War II. Their armies have materially improved as a result.

Beginning in 2010, Russia’s ground forces began eliminating the division structure it had used since the battle of Stalingrad in favor of smaller, more lethal combined arms formations. An analysis of Russia’s reformation in the U.S. Army’s Infantry magazine last year warned that “in Eastern Europe, Russia has been employing an emergent version of hybrid warfare that is highly integrated, synchronized, and devastatingly effective.”

Why Manohar Parrikar Failed In Defence BloombergQuintOpinion

Bharat Karnad

Few Defence Ministers began their tenure with such high expectations and ended it on such low key with almost nothing to show for the two-odd years spent as the military’s boss, as Manohar Parrikar. Returning to Goa without making the slightest ripple in a ministry crying out for hard political decisions and implementation of even harder solutions, may be something of a record. Even so, were we all wrong in hoping Parrikar would do big things differently, logically, with oodles of practical good sense? For one as a graduate of IIT, Mumbai, it was expected that he would bring an engineer’s approach and problem-solving methodology to issues of national security, especially those relating to the conventional forces that in many respects are mathematical in nature.

He started out promisingly. The Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) race was decided by the time the Manmohan Singh demitted office. It only remained for the incoming BJP government to sign on the dotted line of a contract for the Rafale aircraft that would enrich France, the French economy, the French aerospace sector, and specifically, Dassault Avions, without doing much for Indian Air Force's (IAF) fighting ability.

He did the unexpected, showing the greatest reluctance to sign a contract, Parrikar pondered more economical options in lieu of the Rafale. He came to the obvious conclusion that the entire ‘medium’ category in combat aircraft is a bit of a hoax perpetrated by IAF.

The doctor-heroes of war

D.P. Ramachandran

The popular image of a war hero is that of a rifle or machinegun wielding infantry soldier or a tank man or a fighter pilot. A gentle physician with a stethoscope or a surgeon with a scalpel doesn’t exactly fit in as a war hero in the general perception. No wonder then that many an awe-inspiring feats of courage under fire by a galaxy of officers and men from the Indian Army’s medical corps remain largely unknown.

When the Korean War broke out in 1950, India dispatched a medical unit, the 60 Para Field Ambulance, comprising 346 men, including four combat surgeons, two anesthesiologists and a dentist, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel A.G. Rangaraj. The unit and its commander had quite an illustrious combat record by then. Raised in Secundrabad in August 1942, 60 Para had seen action in Burma during the Second World War as part of the 2 Indian Airborne Division. Its Commanding Officer, Rangaraj, as a lieutenant in 1941 had the distinction of being the first Indian to make a parachute jump accompanied by Havildar Major Mathura Singh. He was then the Regimental Medical Officer of 152 Indian Para Battalion which, along with 151 British and 153 Gurkha Para Battalions and other support units, had formed the first-ever Indian airborne formation, the 50 Indian Parachute Brigade. He had his baptism of fire with the brigade during the Frontier Wars of the North-West and later saw extensive action with it in the Imphal Plains against the Japanese in 1944 before being promoted and taking over command of the 60 Para Field Ambulance.

The World's Arms Exports

by Dyfed Loesche

This was the highest volume for any five-year period since 1990. The total for 2016 stood at $ 31 billion. The biggest exporters by far are the United States and Russia.

This chart shows worldwide arms exports (in SIPRI trend-indicator value, US $ million) and major exporters (in %).

Assessing the Third Offset Strategy


On October 28, 2016, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) hosted a daylong conference, including senior defense and intelligence policymakers, military leaders, strategists, regional experts, international and industry partners, and others, to discuss the Defense Department’s Third Offset Strategy. In order to understand what the Third Offset Strategy is, it is first necessary to understand the challenges and trends it is addressing. Technological superiority has been a foundation of U.S. military dominance for decades. However, the assumption of U.S. technological superiority as the status quo has been challenged in recent years as near-peer competitors have sought a variety of asymmetric capabilities to counter the overwhelming conventional military advantages possessed by the United States. This report summarizes the discussions and analysis of the Third Offset that took place at CSIS.

Keep Your Eye on the Balkans

By Robert E Hamilton

“All wars result from conflicts of one kind or another, but not all conflicts lead to war”1

Renewed war in Bosnia-Herzegovina is not something that Western policymakers may wish to consider, but it is a distinct possibility unless the international community acts to assist the country in addressing its problems. These problems are similar to those which were a major cause of the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina that began in 1992. In short, the country’s post-Dayton constitution institutionalizes identity divisions among Bosnia-Herzegovina’s people, in much the same way that the Yugoslav constitution did.

Institutionalized identity divisions occur when states label people according to ethnic, religious, or other objective criteria, and then apportion benefits based upon these labels. In a state with institutionalized identity divisions, a shock or crisis can catalyze conflict among identity groups, since leaders will use these identities as potent and readily available means of mobilizing followers. This escalating conflict inside a state often invites intervention by other states, further escalating the conflict.

Drone Proliferation and the Use of Force: An Experimental Approach


As more countries acquire drones, will their widespread availability lead to greater military adventurism and conflict? Will countries be more willing to put a drone in harm’s way? If so, how will other nations respond? Would they be more willing to shoot down a drone than a human-inhabited aircraft? And if they did, are those incidents likely to escalate?

To help answer these questions, in 2016 the Center for a New American Security conducted a survey experiment to better understand how experts and the general public viewed the use of force with drones. The survey evaluated expert and public attitudes about the willingness to use force in three scenarios: (1) deploying an aircraft into a contested area; (2) shooting down another country’s aircraft in a contested area; and (3) escalating in response to one’s own aircraft being shot down. For each scenario, half of the survey respondents read questions where a drone was used and half of the survey respondents read questions where a human-inhabited aircraft was used.

This experimental design was intended to better understand how the introduction of drones into militaries’ arsenals might change expert and public attitudes about the use of force relative to human-inhabited aircraft. Given the continuing integration of robotics into national militaries, as well as the proliferation of drones, this is a critical question for global politics. Moreover, while several studie sapproach the topic by looking at public opinion in the United States, we know less about how communities of foreign policy experts view drones.

24 March 2017

5 Ways Russia and China Could Sink America's Aircraft Carriers

Robert Farley

Aircraft carriers have been the primary capital ship of naval combat since the 1940s, and remain the currency of modern naval power. But for nearly as long as carriers have existed, navies have developed plans to defeat them. The details of these plans have changed over time, but the principles remain the same. And some have argued that the balance of military technology is shifting irrevocably away from the carrier, driven primarily by Chinese and Russian innovation.

So let’s say you want to kill an aircraft carrier. How would you go about it?

Torpedo

On September 17, 1939, the German submarine U-29 torpedoed and sank HMS Courageous. Courageous was the first aircraft carrier lost to submarine attack, but would not be the last. Over the course of World War II, the United States, the UK and Japan lost numerous carriers to submarines, culminating in the destruction of the gigantic HIJMS Shinano in 1944.

Assessing the Third Offset Strategy


On October 28, 2016, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) hosted a daylong conference, including senior defense and intelligence policymakers, military leaders, strategists, regional experts, international and industry partners, and others, to discuss the Defense Department’s Third Offset Strategy. In order to understand what the Third Offset Strategy is, it is first necessary to understand the challenges and trends it is addressing. Technological superiority has been a foundation of U.S. military dominance for decades. However, the assumption of U.S. technological superiority as the status quo has been challenged in recent years as near-peer competitors have sought a variety of asymmetric capabilities to counter the overwhelming conventional military advantages possessed by the United States. This report summarizes the discussions and analysis of the Third Offset that took place at CSIS.

ANY FOOL CAN OBEY AN ORDER

Michael Symanski

“In war the first principle is to disobey orders. Any fool can obey an order. He ought to have gone on, had he the slightest Nelsonic temperament in him.” So wrote First Sea Lord Jacky Fisher in angry critique of Capt. H.M. Pelly, a cruiser captain under Adm. Beatty at the Battle of Dogger Bank in 1915. Beatty had signaled, “Attack the enemy’s rear” and then lost communication with his four cruisers pursuing the German rear contingent of four cruisers, one of which was already disabled. “That poltroon Pelly” joined a pile-on against the three functioning Germans instead of defying Beatty’s signal and forging ahead to hunt any undamaged German. But Adm. Jellicoe, the commander of the British Grand Fleet, had established a command culture of centralized control with inflexible doctrine. He issued orders without guiding concepts and rejected requests for changes. Pelly and all other British officers at Dogger Bank had been taught to strictly obey orders and so fumbled away a decisive victory.

Ironically, since 1805 the model for British sea fighting was Horatio Nelson, who at Copenhagen put a telescope to his blind eye and announced that he could not see any signal to retreat from his senior commander. Nelson’s own battle orders were clear that his prime instruction was to resolutely engage and defeat enemy ships. In Nelson’s mind, the winner would be the first commander to observe, orient, decide, and act. Nelson was audacious and unorthodox and a winner, but Jellicoe’s command culture banned intrepid action and could not produce a clear win.

Conventional Warfare: Not Dead Yet

By James M. Dubik

Numerous voices have claimed that the day of conventional war is over. For years, these voices have predicted that “war amongst the people,” or “hybrid war,” or “gray zone operations,” or “distributed security missions,” are the new face of war. But conventional war—however it may be changing—may not be as dead as some believe. Danger is already emerging from the confluence of several unfolding trends. 

THE INFORMATION AGE

The industrial age occurred roughly from 1760-1950 to replace the agricultural age. The world of 1950 didn’t look anything like that of 1760. The factory system changed the way people lived, how families related, and how money and fortunes were made. These changes affected religions, governance, and economies. Citizens of 1950 got their information differently from those of 1760, traveled differently, and fought their wars differently. Demographics shifted, ecologies changed, as did education and almost every other aspect of social and political life. Just as the domestic landscape changed, so did the international environment. The late 18th century international system did not look like that of the mid 20th century.

The American, French, Russian, Mexican, and Turk revolutions were fought in this period as were the American, Russian, Spanish, and Chinese civil wars. The War of 1812, the Boer War, in addition to both World Wars, and the Korean War were also fought in this period—and these are only the major wars. The point is that tectonic shifts of this magnitude create upheaval. The world is at the beginning of just this kind of major shift, one that will last for some time. All should expect that competition, conflict, and war—even conventional war, though it will surely be fought and wage differently than anyone expects—will increase in likelihood, and the U.S. and its allies should prepare accordingly.

National Military Strategy Development—Time for a Revolutionary Approach

By John Kummer, Brenton RamseyMichael Padgett

There have been many National Security Strategy (NSS) development efforts over the past decades. But it appears we have not had a traditional, thorough, objective national strategy review and update since 9/11. As taught in our military education system, force structure determination must begin with a review of the NSS. The last two NSS products were issued by the Obama Administration in 2010 and 2015. The 2010 strategy was cited as a significant departure from previous strategies, with one point being the elimination of reference to Islamic radicalism.

The NSS serves as the basis for the National Military Strategy (NMS), the base document for the strategic aims of the services. The NMS is required by law to be developed not later than 15 Feb of each even numbered year. It is developed by the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) is one of the key documents enabling the development of an informed NMS. The QDR directs the Department of Defense to undertake a wide-ranging review of strategy, programs, and resources. Specifically, the QDR is expected to delineate a national defense strategy consistent with the most recent NSS by defining force structure, modernization plans, and a budget plan allowing the military to successfully execute the full range of missions within that strategy. The NMS describes the ends, ways, and means required to meet the strategy. Significant risks identified in the NMS lead to a force structure reassessment required to address the risks.

23 March 2017

** Military Personnel Bureaucracy Drives Out Talent: BPC

By SYDNEY J. FREEDBERG JR

WASHINGTON: Pouring hundreds of billions into pay and benefits has not and cannot solve the military’s personnel problems. Despite spending 50 percent more per servicemember since 9/11, the services are short everything from cyber specialists to pilots, medics, nuclear engineers, and Arabic speakers. Spending more and more isn’t just unsustainable: It’s ineffective.

Instead, argues a new study from the Bipartisan Policy Center, the armed forces can enjoy both higher morale and greater skills, without spending more money — if they stop the profoundly counterproductive personnel bureaucracy from actively turning away talent, kicking it out, or making its life sufficiently miserable that it quits.

“You can’t buy your way out of this problem, and we’ve been trying to buy our way out of the problem with bonuses and all the other things,” said Leon Panetta, co-chair of the BPC study team, in an interview with Breaking Defense. “Frankly that’s why personnel costs have gone up 50 percent in the last 15 years.”

“We didn’t start from the proposition of, how do we save money,” added retired Sen. Jim Talent, one of Panetta’s co-chairs, “(but) all of us believe that (reform) is going to make personnel much more affordable in the longer run. Why? Because at the same time it spends heavily to attract and retain talent, the military invests a great deal of effort in squandering it.

How space has revolutionized American warfare

By: Mark Pomerleau

Space assets flying hundreds of miles above Earth provide critical and essential capabilities to war fighters below, and if taken away would severely hinder operations.

As the Army develops concepts and doctrine for multi-domain battle, or seamless integration of operations across all the war-fighting domains, leaders have come to the realization that forces in future conflicts will be contested in every domain and will likely have to fight with some degraded capability.

These space capabilities enable the Army to conduct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions; perform mission command; and shoot with precision, according to Richard DeFatta, acting director of the Future Warfare Center at Army Space and Missile Defense Command, who spoke at the AUSA Global Force Symposium in Huntsville, Alabama, on March 15.

The Army’s space contribution to the joint fight includes globally deployed space forces that plan, coordinate, integrate and synchronize space capabilities to the war fighter, force tracking capabilities, theater missile warnings, space tracking, situational awareness, space superiority and military satellite communication, he said.

THE PROBLEM WITH HYBRID WARFARE

NADIA SCHADLOW

Europe is now a petri dish for hybrid war. Events of the past decade, not to mention the last few years, have reaffirmed the value of a concept that sought to explain a range of diverse, coercive instruments across the operational spectrum of war. Hybrid warfare is a term that sought to capture the blurring and blending of previously separate categories of conflict. It uses a blend of military, economic, diplomatic, criminal, and informational means to achieve desired political goals. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, has referred to these hybrid threats as an “inflection point” in modern war. Indeed, in the disordered post-Cold War world, hybrid warfare remains an excellent framework for understanding the changing character of war.

So why, at a recent off-the-record Washington gathering of Baltic and Central Europeans concerned about Russia (it was not hard to fill the room) did a high-ranking Estonian with substantial experience working on Russian issues express his frustration with the concept? Indeed, why do many Estonians, as well as their Baltic neighbors and even some Poles, Swedes and Finns, dislike the phrase? These concerns are worth considering, particularly since Estonia and its neighbors are the prime targets of this form of warfare. There are two apparent reasons for their concern. First, many in the Baltic region view the concept as merely another mechanism by which the West can avoid decisive action against Russia, particularly because NATO has not developed, really, an operational concept to address hybrid threats. The concept, according to this Estonian official, allows NATO to avoid action because a range of activities – from the aggressive use of disinformation by Moscow, to economic pressure, to bribery and threats, to use of “locals” to stir up protests – become conveniently categorized as being under the threshold of war. Indeed as one expert, James Sherr, has observed, in the hands of Russia hybrid warfare could “cripple a state before that state even realizes the conflict had begun,” and yet it manages to “slip under NATO’s threshold of perception and reaction.” Sherr is right.

National Military Strategy Development—Time for a Revolutionary Approach

By John KummerBrenton Ramsey & Michael Padgett

There have been many National Security Strategy (NSS) development efforts over the past decades. But it appears we have not had a traditional, thorough, objective national strategy review and update since 9/11. As taught in our military education system, force structure determination must begin with a review of the NSS. The last two NSS products were issued by the Obama Administration in 2010 and 2015. The 2010 strategy was cited as a significant departure from previous strategies, with one point being the elimination of reference to Islamic radicalism.

The NSS serves as the basis for the National Military Strategy (NMS), the base document for the strategic aims of the services. The NMS is required by law to be developed not later than 15 Feb of each even numbered year. It is developed by the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) is one of the key documents enabling the development of an informed NMS. The QDR directs the Department of Defense to undertake a wide-ranging review of strategy, programs, and resources. Specifically, the QDR is expected to delineate a national defense strategy consistent with the most recent NSS by defining force structure, modernization plans, and a budget plan allowing the military to successfully execute the full range of missions within that strategy. The NMS describes the ends, ways, and means required to meet the strategy. Significant risks identified in the NMS lead to a force structure reassessment required to address the risks.

At a given point in time within the NMS, we cannot determine how many uniformed service members we will require, what types of weapon systems we will need, or the level of funding required to finance both until we have an updated and realistic military strategy. Considering the election of a new administration, the time is right for a complete review and update of our NSS, particularly given the next scheduled QDR in 2018.

22 March 2017

*** Eisenhower Was Right: The Military-Industrial Complex Poses A Real Threat ... And An Opportunity

by Elliott Morss

In the 20th and 21st Centuries, the US has been at war far more than any other nation. And recently, US wars appear to be increasingly unfocused and unproductive. Back in 1961, Eisenhower warned about the growing power of the military-industrial complex.

I quote at length from his speech given on January 17, 1961, three days before he left office:

My fellow Americans: 

We now stand ten years past the midpoint of a century that has witnessed four major wars among great nations. Three of these involved our own country. Despite these holocausts America is today the strongest, the most influential and most productive nation in the world. Understandably proud of this pre-eminence, we yet realize that America’s leadership and prestige depend, not merely upon our unmatched material progress, riches and military strength, but on how we use our power in the interests of world peace and human betterment. 

Crises there will continue to be. In meeting them, whether foreign or domestic, great or small, there is a recurring temptation to feel that some spectacular and costly action could become the miraculous solution to all current difficulties…. 

** Turnabout is fair play: A Marine officer interviews Tom about military leadership

BY THOMAS E. RICKS

Here is an exchange I had with Lieutenant Colonel Jeannette Haynie, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, who is working on her doctoral dissertation. I am running it here with her permission. Some of this is familiar stuff to longtime readers, but I am offering it because it is a pretty good summary of what I see as the core problems of the U.S. military. Newcomers to the blog may find it helpful.

1) Are there Services, or elements within the Services, that still exercise in some ways or at some points the kind of leadership that Marshall and Eisenhower exhibited during WWII? Or more generally, is the military as a whole as far from that template as it seems to be, with no outliers, after reading the book? 

Yes, I have occasionally seen elements within the services that remind me of the U.S. military leaders of World War II. Indeed, the current defense secretary, James Mattis, seems to come from that mold. He is, as you know, a retired Marine. I think the Corps has more of these sorts of leaders than the other service, but even there, they strike me as a small minority. Anthony Zinni was another one. They are not necessarily easy to work for, but they tend to be seen as fair and rigorous, and attract subordinates who like that approach.

I also see these sorts of leaders in Special Operations. Stanley McChrystal may be one such — I have not watched him in the field, and so don’t know.

** An Army Program That Helps Officers Become Critical Strategic Thinkers

BY THOMAS E. RICKS

During his multiple command tours in Iraq, Gen. Ray Odierno developed the sense that there was a shortage of military officers who could think strategically, and who could put together plans appropriate for the challenging environment the Army faced there. 

In 2012, as chief of staff of the Army, Odierno directed the establishment of the Advanced Strategic Planning and Policy Program (ASP3). The vision of the program is to develop “field-grade officers as strategic thinkers through a combination of practical experience, senior-level professional military education, and a doctoral degree from a university in a field of study related to strategy in order to produce broadly networked future senior officers with strategic acumen, credentials, and skills.” Institutional instinct might have led Army leadership to create a new military professional education program at the War College. Instead, Odierno chose to look outside the system of the Army for ideas and energy. 

ASP3 is evidence that the Army is seriously working to improve the strategic thinking capacity of the organization. From start to finish, the highly competitive officers selected to participate in ASP3 can expect to spend as many as six years earning their degree and working in strategy-related developmental jobs; following graduation, they are then expected to provide a return on the Army’s investment with a minimum of three years served in an additional utilization tour anywhere the Army has the need for their capabilities. Many of these officers will then continue to serve long after their utilization tours, as general officers or well-placed thinkers within the national security policymaking community. 

The New NATO-Russia Military Balance: Implications for European Security

Richard Sokolsky

Twenty-five years after the end of the Cold War, the military balance between NATO and Russia, after years of inattention, has again become the focus of intense concern and even alarm in some Western quarters. From NATO’s vantage point, Russia poses a serious military threat to its eastern flank—and to Euro-Atlantic security more broadly—for three reasons. First, a military reform and modernization program launched in 2008, combined with significant increases in defense spending over the past several years, has improved the capabilities of Russia’s armed forces. Second, in the past decade, Russia has demonstrated an unprecedented willingness to use force as an instrument of its foreign policy, as well as an improved capacity to project military power beyond its immediate post-Soviet periphery. Third, the Kremlin has been conducting a far more aggressive, anti-Western foreign policy, significantly ratcheting up provocative military maneuvers near NATO members’ borders with Russia, intimating nuclear threats, and deploying nuclear-capable missiles in the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad. As a result, there is a growing perception in the West that Russia has reemerged as a revanchist, neo-imperialist, expansionist, and hostile power bent on dismantling the post–Cold War European security system and dividing the continent into spheres of influence.

The Kremlin has a dramatically different perspective. It maintains that it is threatened by the West and by instability not only around Russia’s periphery but also at home. With NATO’s expansion, the alliance’s border with Russia has shifted much closer to the Russian heartland. These fears, however unjustified they seem from the West’s point of view, have prompted the Kremlin to launch a national mobilization effort to thwart what it perceives as a direct Western threat to Russian security. As seen from the Kremlin, over the past twenty years, the United States and NATO have undertaken numerous initiatives that underscore the threat from the West: NATO expansion into Eastern Europe and the Baltics; NATO partnership programs with states throughout the former Soviet Union; improvements in conventional, missile defense, and nuclear capabilities; support for antigovernment uprisings and regime change around Russia’s periphery; and assistance to opposition movements and parties inside Russia. Specifically, Russian officials have argued that the U.S.-led campaign in the Balkans in the 1990s, the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, NATO’s military intervention in Libya in 2011, and U.S. support for the opposition in Syria and for the Arab Spring have threatened Russia’s security environment.1