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News Every Day |

Today's US National Security Headlines and Commentary @ SWJ

Today's US National Security Headlines and Commentary @ SWJ

News & commentary by Dave Maxwell. Edited and published by Daniel Riggs.

1. Opinion | How Russia and China are attempting to rewrite cyberworld order

2. The U.S. system created the world’s most advanced military. Can it maintain an edge?

3. SOCOM is committing itself to attracting more women and people of color

4. China’s disinformation on Xinjiang is political warfare, not diplomacy

5. US Army Ready to Roll Out Futuristic Goggles to Larger Force

6. The Longest Telegram: A Visionary Blueprint for the Comprehensive Grand Strategy Against China We Need

7. Opinion | The Cold War's Lessons for U.S.-China Diplomacy

8. Can Myanmar’s Protesters Win?

9. US Ambassador Makes First Visit to Taiwan in More Than 40 Years

10. Dissidents shudder at China's attempt to challenge US concept of human rights

11. National Security Needs Both Futurists and Traditionalists

12. FDD | Russia and China Seek to Tie America’s Hands in Space

13. Russian Troop Movements on Ukraine Border Test Biden Administration

14. DHS chief lays out actions to strengthen cybersecurity in wake of major hacks

15. Top Attack: Lessons Learned from the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War

16. Learning to Fly: How the US Military can Fix the Problems Plaguing Aviation Advising Missions

17. Should USSOCOM be its own military branch? A Navy SEAL weighs in

18. Intel Owns Red: How Red Teaming Can Prepare the Fleet for the Fight Ahead

19. Former Intelligence analyst pleads guilty to disclosing classified information to reporter

 

1. Opinion | How Russia and China are attempting to rewrite cyberworld order

The Washington Post · by David Ignatius · March 30, 2021

Quite a conclusion: “Largely thanks to our efforts, information security has become an item on the U.N. General Assembly’s agenda,” Putin boasted in a statement to Russia’s Security Council. “We believe it is necessary to conclude universal international legal agreements designed to prevent conflicts and build a mutually beneficial partnership in the global cyberspace.” That language is chilling, when you realize he’s talking about rules written largely by China and Russia.

It’s breathtaking, really. The nations that have subverted the Internet most aggressively now want to police it, setting their own standards. Fighting back in this case requires patience and persistence — and a willingness to sit through endless meetings where the order that the United States and its global partners created a generation ago is under slow, relentless attack.

 

2. The U.S. system created the world’s most advanced military. Can it maintain an edge?

The Washington Post · by Missy Ryan · April 1, 2021

Excerpts: “Experts point to bright spots for the military, including Special Operations forces’ ability to partner with the private sector via a separate procurement system, or the rapid development of explosive-resistant vehicles to protect troops at the height of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Those conflicts, which have consumed military attention for two decades — with little relevance to today’s competition with China — represent another aspect of the challenge.

“We’re sort of a victim of our own success coming out of the unipolar moment, not feeling particularly stressed or challenged for a long period of time,” said Ryan Hass, a former White House official who is now a China expert at the Brookings Institution.

“For a lot of senior military leaders, feeling that strategic stress from an adversary that’s a near-peer competitor is not a place that they have spent a lot of their career,” he said. “So there probably hasn’t been the same sense of urgency and alarm.”

 

3. SOCOM is committing itself to attracting more women and people of color

militarytimes.com · by Meghann Myers · March 31, 2021

 

4. China’s disinformation on Xinjiang is political warfare, not diplomacy

aspistrategist.org.au · by Jake Wallis · April 1, 2021

Politics is war by other means (or as Mao said - war is politics with bloodshed and politics is war without bloodshed.)

Key points: “The CCP doesn’t need to win over the West. It just needs to convince the rest of the world that democracy is in decline and that their future is best served in Beijing’s strategic orbit.

Democratic states must understand that when the party-state’s officials, state media and covert propaganda operate in coordination with economic coercion and sanctions to suppress and pre-emptively censor international criticism, they are not dealing with diplomacy but are facing a salvo in the political warfare being waged by the CCP.”

 

5. US Army Ready to Roll Out Futuristic Goggles to Larger Force

defenseone.com · by Patrick Tucker · March 31, 2021

 

6. The Longest Telegram: A Visionary Blueprint for the Comprehensive Grand Strategy Against China We Need

warontherocks.com · by C. Lee Shea · April 1, 2021

Conclusion: “The task today in this respect is both clear and straightforward. It is to compete with China without rivalry, to treat Beijing as an adversary bent on our destruction without regarding it as an enemy, to mobilize against the greatest-ever threat to America’s existence while keeping the proper sense of proportion, and to embrace cooperation while carefully avoiding, for lack of a better term, cooperation.

As distinguished students of Chinese civilization appreciate, the Mandarin character for “crisis” is the same word for “opportunity.” Indeed, for the United States, the China crisis is also an opportunity — a chance to crack open the proverbial fortune cookie that providence has delivered to Washington alongside the potluck of great-power competition, and to reflect on the whispers of wisdom within. In this respect, there can be little question that Washington and Beijing are now taking the first steps on what could prove to be a long, happy journey. In doing so, both must remember that success is not a destination but the journey itself — and that every flower blooms in its own sweet time.”

 

7. Opinion | The Cold War's Lessons for U.S.-China Diplomacy

Bloomberg · by Hal Brands · March 31, 2021

Excerpts:This history has important implications for American strategy today. Expect a period of danger in the near-term, which may — if the U.S. holds its ground against Chinese tests and provocations — eventually yield the sobriety that enables more constructive diplomacy. In the interim, it won’t pay to chase resets or grand bargains; better to focus on narrow but important areas, such as climate change, where transactional cooperation may be possible. By fortifying alliances and investing in the tools of geoeconomic and technological competition, the U.S. can create positions of strength that can pay diplomatic dividends in the future.

Most important, diplomacy should be considered a competitive tool in its own right — a way of managing critical diplomatic and political coalitions, keeping the costs and risks of rivalry manageable, and helping the U.S. stick with a fundamentally competitive strategy long enough for it to work.

The frosty exchange in Alaska need not spell the end of Sino-American diplomacy. But it is a reminder that diplomacy must be viewed as ruthlessly and realistically as any other aspect of the U.S.-China rivalry.”

 

8. Can Myanmar’s Protesters Win?

thediplomat.com · by Tom Fawthrop · April 1, 2021

And how can we help them?

We have "pilot teams" in the form of selfless NGOs operating in Burma. Can we capitalize on their great work?

Excerpts:In just two months it is hardly surprising that the protest movement, despite massively successful boycotts and a general strike, has yet to topple one of Asia’s most entrenched and feared armed forces. But what they have achieved is the isolation of the regime, which is now floundering in a post-coup quagmire and hoping to somehow shoot their way out of the crisis.

No one knows if there are army captains or colonels who enjoyed Myanmar’s period of opening up and the economic growth of the last decade from 2011 until the coup – and are now seething with a secret anger. Are they quietly calculating the right moment to join the Spring Revolution, either as defectors or leaders of a mutiny?

What will be the end-game in Myanmar? It’s too soon to tell, but history has taught us not to count out the determination of the people, whether in Myanmar, the Philippines, or Timor-Leste. It could still be that Min Aung Hlaing is the one left scrambling for an exit strategy when all is said and done.”

 

9. US Ambassador Makes First Visit to Taiwan in More Than 40 Years

thediplomat.com · by Eleanor Albert · April 1, 2021

Excerpt: "As expected, the official line from Beijing emphasized the one-China principle as the foundation of ties between Beijing and Washington, adding that the Taiwan question is the most sensitive issue in the bilateral relations. In light of the U.S. ambassador to Palau’s visit to Taiwan, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian offered a more pointed rebuke: “It must stop any official interaction with Taiwan, refrain from sending any wrong signals to Taiwan independent forces, stop any attempt to cross the bottom line, and properly handle Taiwan-related issues with prudence, lest it should damage China-U.S. relations as well as peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait.” Still, it seems clear that the Biden administration is set on a course to reinforce and elevate its partnerships in part to stymie moves by Beijing that it perceives as coercive."

 

10. Dissidents shudder at China's attempt to challenge US concept of human rights

Washington Examiner · by Joel Gehrke · March 31, 2021

Universal human rights is not a solely US concept. It is an international concept as described in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights

This should not be a contest between the US and PRC. It is a "contest" of right versus wrong.

 

11. National Security Needs Both Futurists and Traditionalists

warontherocks.com · by Zachary Kallenborn · April 1, 2021

Excerpts: “Technology as an Element of National Power-Technology is clearly at the core of most military power. Technology enables the acquisition, improvement, and sustainment of military capabilities. A dirigible fleet might have made some sense in 1921, but states have fighter aircraft, bombers, and helicopters now. These capabilities matter for hard power-based strategies too. Deterrence requires a state to have the capability to follow through with a threat. Nuclear deterrence is the ultimate expression of how technology shapes military power and strategy because it revolves around the possession of nuclear weapons enabled by submarines, missiles, bombers, and other supporting systems. Whether a particular technology actually matters is an important question, but technology is still central.

Better technology also means more demand for and impact in foreign military assistance. States benefit more when they are provided with cutting-edge weapons. Military assistance can also help the United States and others improve and build relationships with weapon recipients and exercise influence. After the success of the Turkish Bayraktar TB2 drone in the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, Ukraine bought the system from Turkey too. Providing drones and other weapons to a state creates a level of dependency for future maintenance, parts, and upgrades.

Technology also enables diplomatic power in other ways. In 2010, I lived in a poor neighborhood in Damascus, Syria, and yet I could easily buy the latest Hollywood blockbusters from a shop down the street. The film was bootlegged, to be sure, but computers, the internet, and DVDs made possible its presence in a Damascus slum. More broadly, American and Soviet Union battles over propaganda, news, and culture during the Cold War were only possible because of the radio. The voice of America needs a megaphone to be heard across the globe.

Technology also helps build and transform economies. Computers and the internet are a particularly extreme example. In 2018, Apple became the first publicly traded company worth $1 trillion and crossed $2 trillion in market value in 2020. Microsoft hit the $1 trillion mark in April 2019 and Alphabet, Google’s parent company, followed in January 2020. That wealth helps enable specific levers of influence like economic sanctions.

Conclusion: "Technology is just one element of national power. The American government must consider how technology best serves its objectives in conjunction with other capabilities. That means the government needs folks to think about the implications of emerging technology, just as it needs folks to think about global changes in trade regimes, international organizations, and military strategy. Creating an artificial divide between emerging technology and everything else is a mistake."

 

12. FDD | Russia and China Seek to Tie America’s Hands in Space

fdd.org · by Bradley Bowman · March 31, 2021

Excerpts: “Washington should also advance nascent efforts to establish rules of the road in space. “There are really no norms of behavior in space,” Gen. John Raymond, the chief of space operations at U.S. Space Force, said this month. “It’s the wild, wild West.”

In a notable and positive step, the U.N. General Assembly passed a British-introduced resolution in December that seeks to establish “norms, rules and principles of responsible behaviours” in space, which could reduce the chances for dangerous miscalculation.

The vote was 164 in favor, including the United States—and a mere 12 opposed.

Any guesses regarding who voted no? You guessed it: China and Russia. They were joined by their friends Iran, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, and Cuba.

So much for a Chinese and Russian desire to pursue constructive and peaceful policies in space. Their duplicity continues.”

 

13. Russian Troop Movements on Ukraine Border Test Biden Administration

WSJ · by Thomas Grove in Moscow and Alan Cullison

Excerpts: “In Moscow, the Kremlin blamed Ukraine for the uptick in violence. Mr. Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, said Russia fears Ukraine could trigger renewed fighting between Kyiv forces and Russian-backed separatists.

“We express our concern over growing tensions and the possibility that Ukraine may take provocative actions which could lead to war,” he told journalists during a briefing Wednesday.

A Russian news presenter and one of the Kremlin’s chief propagandists, Dmitry Kiselyov, accused the U.S. of using Ukraine as an excuse to create a new conflict with Russia, ratcheting up anti-American rhetoric to levels heard during the 2014 conflict.

“The West is preparing for nothing less than war with us,” he said in a dramatic interlude during his News of the Week program on state television Sunday.

 

14. DHS chief lays out actions to strengthen cybersecurity in wake of major hacks

The Hill · by Maggie Miller · March 31, 2021

Excerpts:Bloomberg News reported Wednesday that the order will require companies doing business with the federal government to disclose if they were hacked within days of an incident, and increase federal agency security through enhanced encryption and multifactor authentication.

Anne Neuberger, President Biden’s deputy national security advisor for cyber and emerging technology, said in a statement provided to The Hill by the White House on Wednesday that details around the order will be shared “soon.”

“We will have an executive order shortly that will make fundamental improvements to national cybersecurity,” Neuberger said. “We are consulting with the private sector extensively in developing the executive order and have set our goals for cybersecurity improvements to be aggressive and achievable. Many of the measures in the executive order will be long overdue and we look forward to sharing them with the American people soon.”

 

15. Top Attack: Lessons Learned from the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War

madsciblog.tradoc.army.mil · April 1, 2021

 

16. Learning to Fly: How the US Military can Fix the Problems Plaguing Aviation Advising Missions

mwi.usma.edu · by Tobias Switzer · April 1, 2021

Excerpts: “As a start, the military services should give aviation advisor commanders executive-level courses on contracting and international arms sales. Tailored briefings on security cooperation, acquisitions, and defense contractor management must follow. Combatant and component commands also should design future aviation advisor organizations to include more robust contracting oversight as well as foreign area officers. These changes would help shore up the personal and organizational deficiencies commanders face.

The term that came up consistently in my interviews was “ad hoc.” Across the Department of Defense, there is no proven method for building a partner nation’s aviation forces in the middle of an insurgency. Until there is one, commanders will both lead an improvised team of military advisors and defense contractors and employ their own inventive and enterprising approach to the mission.

For us, there was an upside to the uncertainty and complexity of commanding an aviation advisor organization—license. As Brad Bridges describes it, “It was up to me to figure it out. Despite all of its frustrating elements in getting support, it was the most autonomy I had in my career. I was given latitude to make it happen, which was refreshing.” Almost all of the former aviation advisor commanders I interviewed expressed similar sentiments. I also embraced the freedom. But considering the ad hoc nature of the way the US military organizes its advisors and resources to conduct aviation security force assistance, dysfunction and failure are never far away.”

 

17. Should USSOCOM be its own military branch? A Navy SEAL weighs in

sandboxx.us · by Frumentarius · March 31, 2021

Another "maintain the status quo" view. Nothing to see here. SOCOM can and should evolve. It can do so effectively without becoming another service. But it needs new authorities and of course as Congress has noted. improved civilian oversight.

18. Intel Owns Red: How Red Teaming Can Prepare the Fleet for the Fight Ahead

cimsec.org · by Christopher Blake and Lieutenant Grace Jones · March 30, 2021

As a side note the Army is closing its University of Foreign Military and Cultural Studies (UFMCS) in September. This where the best red team education occurs in the Army.

 

19. Former Intelligence analyst pleads guilty to disclosing classified information to reporter

CNN · by Caroline Kelly

Excerpt: “The release from the Justice Department did not specify who the reporter was or what outlet they worked for. The indictment also did not name the reporter or news organization, but information included in the document appeared to refer to Jeremy Scahill, a co-founder of the investigative news outlet The Intercept.”

 

------------

 

"Assessing China’s growing power incorrectly has always proved to be hazardous. US policymakers have underestimated China’s power at least twice since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, once catastrophically and another time with serious consequences for US credibility. . . Accurately assessing the power of China is still a critical task today, especially with renewed tensions on the Korean Peninsula and continuing volatility in the Taiwan Straits "

- David Lampton, Johns Hopkins, 2010

 

“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.”

-Theodore Roosevelt, Strenuous Life

 

“There is a big difference between motion and action. Just because you get out of bed doesn't mean you are making progress. Taking action requires decisiveness, dedication, and clear direction.”

-Farshad Asl

DanielRiggs Thu, 04/01/2021 - 12:10pm




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