Category Archives: national security

A Darwinian world-AFJ

I think he is incorrect in giving future global influence credit to IGOs…if his argument is the economy, then it would be corporations and/or illicit corporations. IGOs will only give credibility to actions so that one nations actions are not perceived as one sovereign infringing on another sovereign.

At least we have conflict to look forward too.

Libya points to a new era of aggression and turmoil

As these words are written, U.S., British and French warplanes are striking Libyan ground forces along the Mediterranean littoral; American and other NATO troops are pounding out “fragile and reversible” gains in Afghanistan; and unrest continues to roil governments in Bahrain, Yemen and Syria. To our south, criminal cartels and violent gangs murder government officials, civilians and one another in Mexico and points south. Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, whose state policy protects cocaine production and smuggling, invites into his country the Iranian Republican Guard and Hezbollah, while, over the horizon, China continues its naval buildup.

Whatever happened to the “peace dividend” and the long rest the world was supposed to get after the end of the Cold War? Those days are long gone, obviously, in the tectonic forces moving the world forward into a century more unstable than many had predicted.

Three years from now will be the centennial of the 1914 disaster that set the 20th century careering down the road to two world wars and the mass murders of Hitler, Stalin and Mao. We can hope that the 21st century is more peaceful, but it’s not looking good. For all the hope that globalization and the communications revolution would bring people together — and they have — at least part of the result has been to make aggression and murder more practical.

via Armed Forces Journal


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Paying the piper-AFJ

I think his argument is that an aerospace centric strategy will allows us to bridge this period of fiscal constraint; however he continues to argue that airpower will not resolve our national security challenges and that airpower is expensive.


Paying the piper

An aerospace-centric defense strategy makes fiscal sense

BY GENE MYERS Defense in an uncertain world is vital, but ensuring national security involves far more than military prowess. We now find ourselves asking how we satisfy two conflicting requirements: frugality and security. And I find myself having concerns and making recommendations I would not have even a year ago.


I will start this discussion with the suggestion that we avoid putting ground forces in harm’s way if at all possible, as I think President Obama is trying hard to do in Libya, and that, when we must act, we maximize the use of our air power — Air Force, Navy, Army and Marine Corps. We are the world’s pre-eminent aerospace power. It’s our asymmetric advantage. Let’s use it.

via Armed Forces Journal

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The Leaderless Jihad’s Leader | Foreign Affairs

The headlines splashed across papers worldwide this past week said it all. The New York Times shouted that “Data From Raid Shows Bin Laden Plotted Attacks;” on Reuters, the news read “Bin Laden remained active in targeting U.S;” and El Pais asked “¿Quién dijo jihad sin líder?” Who Said Leaderless Jihad?. Information confirming bin Laden’s active role in al Qaeda continues to emerge, painting the portrait of a “micro-manager,” as an unidentified U.S. official quoted in ProPublica, called him. “He was down in the weeds [determining] best operatives, best targets, best timing.” And U.S. intelligence analysts pouring over bin Laden’s personal diary have concluded that he was involved in “every recent major al Qaeda threat.” He also remained involved in planning future attacks and urged his followers to recruit non-Muslims and minorities — especially African Americans and Latinos — for attacks on New York City, Los Angeles, and smaller cities on significant dates such as July 4 and September 11. As the world’s foremost expert on bin Laden, Peter Bergen, summed up, “OBL was the leader of the leaderless jihad!”

via The Leaderless Jihad’s Leader | Foreign Affairs.

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Bin Ladin Killed: Snap Threat Assessment

From the OSAC Global Security Unit

Overview Usama Bin Ladin (UBL) was killed yesterday in a raid by U.S. special operations forces on a fortified mansion approximately 30 miles north of Islamabad, Pakistan. Forensic testing of the remains confirmed his identity. The body was buried at sea within 24 hours of death, in accordance with Islamic traditions. In the immediate aftermath, many OSAC constituents have expressed relief in the knowledge of the death of the world’s foremost terrorist. At the same time, there has been a significant call for continued vigilance and recognition that this event does not diminish the overall worldwide terrorist threat. Outlook As President Obama stated in his address last night: The death of Bin Ladin marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat al-Qa’ida. But his death does not mark the end of our effort. There’s no doubt that al-Qa’ida will continue to pursue attacks against us. We must and we will remain vigilant at home and abroad. The historical significance of UBL’s death is certain, but it does not mean the end to al-Qa’ida (AQ) nor an end to the group’s affiliated networks. Most terrorism experts agree that for many years UBL has acted mostly as a symbolic and inspirational figurehead for global Islamic extremists, and has not been centrally involved in operational planning for AQ. Accordingly, his death does not represent a significant tactical blow to the organization; however, it is unclear how AQ Central will be able to replace his iconic charisma and leadership. Near-term Threat of Reprisal Attacks In response to the news of UBL’s death, leaders in Europe have quickly issued statements calling for increased vigilance for what they characterized as a heightened terrorist risk from AQ and its affiliated groups. However, one must note that European leaders have issued much more dire warnings of terrorist threats across the continent in the past year, thus this does not currently mark an exceptionally acute threat. The U.S. private sector’s greatest risk at this time is likely to be potential wrong place-wrong time exposure of staff to attacks aimed at soft targets in countries already associated with elevated terrorist threats. Pakistan is likely to face the most significant near-term threat of reprisal attacks by AQ. Following media reports of Pakistan’s possible complicity or participation with the U.S. in locating, monitoring, and killing UBL, that country’s political and security leadership are likely facing the most immediate and tangible threat of near-term attack by AQ elements. Cooperation with the U.S. may enrage militants and promote anti-American sentiments, especially following President Zardari statement that “this is a good and historic day for both of our nations.” Further Erosion of Ideological Support for AQ UBL’s death creates an important leadership vacuum at a time when the AQ ideology, or “brand,” is already suffering according to some analysts as a result of the popular uprisings across the Middle East and North Africa. Protests and activists in these uprisings have called for radical change in their countries


not in the name of AQ or radical Islam, but in the name of freedom, opportunity, and democracy. Demonstrators have almost without exception ignored AQ’s ideological call to use violence in opposition to secular or “apostate” regimes in Muslim lands.


While AQ has been calling for violent overthrow of regimes for more than two decades without success, largely peaceful demonstrators have already toppled regimes in Tunisia and Egypt in a matter of weeks and are currently threatening the rule of unpopular leaders in Libya, Syria, and Yemen. As a result of these successes, observers have noted an apparent decline in popular support for AQ in Arab and Muslim countries as the organization has been largely sidelined by local activism in the Arab revolutions and protest movements. Even regional media such as


al-Jazeera have noted that the “Arab Spring” has also gone far in invalidating the AQ ideology of violence in rebellion.


Possible Rise of AQ Affiliates


The jihadist community has vowed to exact revenge, describing UBL as “the number one martyr for AQ because he is stronger dead than alive.” However, attention should be paid to the activities of franchise groups, primarily al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), as they have been the most successful AQ offshoot of late. One of AQAP’s most notable leaders,


Anwar al-Aulaqi, has been the most public face of any AQ-affiliated group in recent years and stands to possibly rise to greater prominence in assuming a more notable leadership mantle for the global terrorist movement following the death of UBL.


Al-Aulaqi, in conjunction with AQAP’s media campaign through its Inspire magazine, has been a strong advocate in favor of small-cell and lone wolf “do-it-yourself” terrorism. This tactical ideology may rise in prominence along with al-Aulaqi’s greater stature

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How Osama bin Laden died

So, in the end it was not a cold, dank Afghan cave that sheltered the world’s most wanted man, Osama bin Laden. It was a huge million-dollar enclave in Abbottabad, Pakistan, with far too much security and 18-foot high walls, way taller than necessary to protect the two couriers who allegedly lived there alone.  That in the end is what brought the sudden end to Bin Laden’s life with a U.S. bullet into his head, among other places, after a circuitous 10-year hunt for the spiritual leader of the global Al Qaeda terrorist franchise and the master plotter of the 9/11 attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people.  From the LA Times

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Risk Management


Fareed Zakaria describes the planning Petraeus and Panetta should demand in the Washington Post.

The goal should instead be preparedness. Government agencies should be readying policymakers and bureaucrats for sharp changes in international, regional and national patterns. They should be imaginative about the possibilities of sudden shifts and new circumstances and force policymakers to confront the scenarios in advance.

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Deviant globalization

The international organs, drugs, malware and weapons trades (among others) have been growing and flourishing, and the reason is globalization says Nils Gilman a consultant and scenario planner. Well, not regular old Thomas Friedman-style World is Flat type globalization, but deviant globalization. Gilman outlined his concept at the 2008 European Futurists Conference in Switzerland. Watch him describe how the global illicit economy works alongside — and expands with — the licit economy in an era of globalization 

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New Wrinkle for Gates’ Successor – Defense News

New Wrinkle for Gates’ Successor – Defense News.

Both the Pentagon’s Quadrennial Defense Review and State Department’s Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review identify weak or failing states as one of the core security challenges facing the United States. For this reason, the Pentagon now considers building the security capacity of partner states to be a top Defense Department objective.

However, the Pentagon’s expansion into this area has taken security assistance out of the context of U.S. foreign policy and placed it into an operational one, Adams said. By default, foreign policy decisions are increasingly being made by the military, he said.

In the foreign countries where the United States is providing security assistance, it often means military capacity is being strengthened without equal strengthening of the government’s other institutions.

The current setup “de-links support for security forces from the need for effective, efficient, and accountable governance,” the report says.

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Why failed states shouldn’t be our biggest national security fear – The Washington Post

Only a handful of the world’s failed states pose security concerns to the United States. Far greater dangers emerge from stronger developing countries that may suffer from corruption and lack of government accountability but come nowhere near qualifying as failed states.

via Why failed states shouldn’t be our biggest national security fear – The Washington Post.

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Porter and Mykleby give us a non-partisan blueprint for understanding and reacting to the changes of the 21st century world. In one sentence, the strategic narrative of the United States in the 21st century is that we want to become the strongest competitor and most influential player in a deeply inter-connected global system, which requires that we invest less in defense and more in sustainable prosperity and the tools of effective global engagement.

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