25 December 2012

India, Russia ink military deals

Sandeep Dikshit

AP Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with Russian President Vladimir Putin before a meeting in New Delhi on Monday.

India and Russia on Monday moved to strengthen their economic ties by inking a pact on a Kremlin-backed $2 billion investment fund and agreeing to open talks on a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement that will also involve Belarus and Kazakhstan.

After talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Vladimir Putin at the twelfth straight annual summit, the two countries finalised 10 agreements. Among them were two military contracts, worth about Rs. 20,000 crore that had been in the works for some time.

However, there was no substantial progress on issues of discord — delay in commissioning aircraft carrier Gorshkov, stalemate on clinical trials in Russia, applicability of the Nuclear Limited Liability Act on six new reactors to be put up by Russia at Kudankulam, inability of Russian companies Sistema and Severstal to move ahead with their investment plans in India and the tax imposed on Imperial Energy, an Indian company operating in Russia.

On the positive side, despite the setback suffered after the Supreme Court cancelled all 2G licences, Sistema indicated its faith in the country with Glonass, its sister company, signing two agreements in the satellite segment. India has already signed the military side of the contract with Glonass, a constellation of 34 satellites, last year.

India and Russia also agreed to take the first steps towards operating a “ranging station” that will help accurately fix the location of satellites. A military side agreement on receiving precision signals from Glonass was signed last year, following active interest shown by National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon.

Pakistan welcome to withdraw from Siachen, says India's Northern Army Commander

A blog that primarily looks at the world of security, defence & strategic affairs with an open mind, eyes wide open, ear to the ground. Asia and the Indian sub-continent is of special interest. Also focuses on cinema, cricket and travel whenever possible!

SUNDAY, JULY 29, 2012


NDTV: 13 years ago, it was this month, when the last of the Pakistani intruders were evicted from this area, Dras and Kargil. You are back here for the 13th Anniversary celebration of the Kargil Vijay Divas in Dras. It is also fortunate we have with us the Northern Army Commander, Lt General KT Parnaik here in Dras-Kargil sector to celebrate and join the troops in the celebrations of Vijay Divas. In that busy schedule he has found time to talk to NDTV, and answer some of the questions. Sir, Thank you for your time. You are here in Dras. When you look back to 1999 and the situation in the last 13 years, what is your assessment of the current situation in this sector?

Lt General KT Parnaik: I would say there is a marked improvement in the situation that exists today, because in the wake of the Kargil war, a large number of steps were taken by the Army to ensure we never have a situation like this. And amongst them was our ability to guard these borders in a much more determined and deliberate manner. So you are aware that the additional troops that came here, to fight and reclaim and regain these areas, continued to stay here. So today, the defensive posture in the Dras-Kargil sector is very formidable. And I don't think that any repeat of Kargil can really take place here. To that extent the situation has improved considerably. We have continued to have the similar population with us. And they helped us during the Kargil war and at the same time suffered because of heavy shelling here. So we have ensured that their families and people are looked after, and we continue to take care of their means, because they are far away from civilisation here, so they are being looked after. So the situation is fairly in control as to what we are doing here. And the situation has highly stabilised here.

No partner left

Yubaraj Ghimire : Tue Dec 25 2012

Delhi’s role in Nepal is seen as a failure. Thus the criticism of President Yadav’s India trip

The Maoist headquarters in Kathmandu are under siege by its guerrillas, and no central office bearer, including party chairman Prachanda, has been able to get inside or hold meetings for the past two weeks. The former guerrillas — often called “disqualified combatants” — are angry that they were unfairly treated by the party high command and were pushed towards an uncertain future despite playing a major role during the years of insurgency. But the government headed by Maoist vice-chairman Baburam Bhattarai has chosen not to deploy force. A group of labourers, affiliated to the Maoist-led trade union and allegedly loyal to the anti-Prachanda faction, ransacked the office of NCELL, a private telecom company, asking the management to reveal the actual names of the share holders. There are allegations that Prachanda has a benami investment in the company.

On Friday, Bhattarai walked out of the UCPN-M’s extended central committee meeting as members objected to the “extra-constitutional” status and “corruption” he is allegedly indulging in. Bhattarai sensed that the group, which wants him to resign to pave the way for a “national unity” government, was in a majority. Walking out was a way to stall the move. On Sunday, on the occasion of the birth anniversary of former PM late K.B. Bhattarai, the PM said he would not quit until elections. Angry with his obstinacy, the Nepali Congress (NC), Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) backed by Maoist chief Prachanda, have asked the president to take stern action against Bhattarai.

The initiative taken by President Ram Baran Yadav to have a consensus PM replace Bhattarai has not worked so far. Bhattarai’s reluctance to quit and the failure of the other parties has punctured his efforts. NC chief Sushil Koirala has been able to secure the UML’s support, but consensus around him is nowhere in sight. Bhattarai continues to challenge Yadav’s actions, and has been taking major decisions on the terms of reference of hydel projects, foreign investment and promotions of security officials, besides loaning private companies huge sums of money from national deposit schemes. Bhattarai feels the absence of a parliament grants him immunity from wider scrutiny and accountability.

National War Memorial: An unrealised dream

Saturday, December 15, 2012 
Overhead view of India Gate

In August this year, the long-delayed national War Memorial for Indian soldiers, first proposed in the 1960s, was cleared by a group of ministers mandated to manage the project. 

The GoM, headed by Defence Miniter AK Antony had agreed to the stand of the armed forces that this memorial must be constructed at India Gate.

On August 17, Defence Minister AK Antony had told reporters: "Most hurdles for the construction of War Memorial has been cleared." 

The proposed layout for the War Memorial 

But now, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dixit has opposed the GoM's recommendation to set up the National War Memorial at the India Gate complex, saying it will affect the ambience of the area and restrict people's movement at the popular hangout zone.

The World’s Most Murderous People

Moisés Naím El País, December 20, 2012

It’s always the same. Somewhere in the United States a heavily armed, mentally disturbed male, kills a group of innocents. Twenty children and seven adults most recently. National grief, commotion and indignation follow, plus furious debate on gun control. Then nothing. Until a similar tragedy happens again and the cycle repeats itself. It looks like this time it will be different and hopefully, some reforms may be adopted.

Senior Associate
International Economics ProgramMore from Naím...

This, however, does not happen in the most murderous region of the world: Latin America. There most people seem resigned to coexisting with murder: too many groups and too many leaders have lost the ability to imagine a reality where homicide is not part of daily life. Some 42 percent of the murders in the world happen in Latin America, though only eight percent of humanity lives there. The homicide rate in the US is five times lower than Latin America’s average.

The war in Afghanistan has claimed a total 3,238 allied lives. This is about the number of murders in Brazil every month. Last month’s conflict between Palestinians and Israelis produced approximately the same number of fatalities as a “hot” weekend in Caracas. The probability of being shot dead as you walk on any street in Baghdad is lower than that of dying on any street in Guatemala. Worldwide, the murder rates have declined slightly, or not risen much. But in Latin America they are soaring. El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras have the highest homicides rates in the world, closely followed by those of other countries in the region. In 2011 in Brazil, 112 people per day were killed; in Mexico, 71 per day.

Will 2013 Mark the Beginning of American Decline?

Dec 24, 2012

“A modest man,” Winston Churchill supposedly quipped about Clement Attlee, his successor as prime minister, “but then he has so much to be modest about.” We should say the same about economists, particularly their ability to forecast anything in a useful and timely manner.

Those predicting an imminent American economic decline have usually been no exception. This time, though, they may be on to something.

Simon Johnson, who served as chief economist at the International Monetary Fund in 2007 and 2008, is a professor ... MORE

Prevailing arguments about when the era of U.S. dominance would end, and which country would supplant it, have been wildly and consistently wrong for half a century. In the 1950s, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev was taken seriously when he told Western ambassadors “We will bury you.” Today, his country no longer exists. In the 1980s, Japan was supposedly going to be No. 1; now the question is whether the precipitous decline in its working-age population will generate a fiscal crisis.

The Germans -- or Europeans more broadly -- were thought to be on the brink of elbowing aside the U.S. several times, including in the run-up to the global financial crisis in 2008, when the euro seemed to threaten the dollar’s role as the pre- eminent reserve currency. Remember when Brazilian model Gisele Bundchen was quoted as saying she preferred to be paid in euros? Now the euro-area economy looks very sick indeed, and Ms. Bundchen is apparently long American icons (she married football player Tom Brady).
Three Questions

Becoming the world’s top economic dog isn’t easy. That’s because any contender -- China or anyone else -- needs to answer three tough questions.

First, do they have secure property rights for individuals? Who would trust their rainy-day funds or their most innovative ideas in a country where, when the going gets tough, the state gets your stuff? China has a big current-account surplus and lots of foreign-exchange reserves. They also have a 2,000-year tradition of putting the government before the individual. Think about all the ways this went wrong for the Soviet Union.

Second, is the financial system viable in its current form? Japan had a great economic-transformation story -- and an even greater debt-fueled asset-price bubble when its banks went mad in the mid-1980s. How confident are you that China, Brazil or other emerging markets aren’t headed down the same road?

Can There Be War Without Hate?

Surprisingly humane moments in combat -- and why they matter.

Armed conflict is unquestionably one of mankind's worst innovations; but even the most terrible wars occasionally produce moments of grace. On this night 98 years ago, for example, nearly five months into the cataclysm of World War I, many soldiers on both sides put down their weapons. They serenaded each other with carols, met in no man's land to exchange simple gifts, and then on Christmas Day played soccer together. This amity persisted over the following days and weeks, with a kind of live-and-let-live philosophy emerging from the trenches. It took quite a while for generals on both sides to tamp down such sentiments and get back to the brutal business of mounting costly, fruitless frontal assaults that massacred millions for little or no ground gained.

There were other signs of decency amid the slaughter. It was not at all uncommon for a fighter pilot to invite a vanquished foe -- who survived the crash of his biplane on the victor's side of the lines -- to join him for dinner at his aerodrome. At sea, German surface raider captains generally acted with considerable care for the crews of the vessels they took; and, the sinking of the Lusitania and other dark incidents aside, U-boat skippers often took the risk of surfacing to stop their prey and allow the merchant seamen to get into their lifeboats before sinking their vessels. The Royal Navy took advantage of this by creating "Q-ships," gunboats disguised as tramp steamers -- and lured more than a few subs to their doom.

Pakistan, Afghanistan trying to turn Taliban into political movement

By Michael Georgy
KABUL | Mon Dec 24, 2012

(Reuters) - Pakistan is genuine about backing a nascent Afghan peace process and shares the Kabul government's goal of transforming the Taliban insurgency into a political movement, a senior Afghan government official told Reuters.

Pakistan is seen as critical to U.S. and Afghan efforts to promote peace in Afghanistan, a task that is gaining urgency as NATO troops prepare to withdraw by the end of 2014 and hand over security responsibilities to government forces.

"They have told us that they share the vision contained in our roadmap which is basically to transform the Taliban from a military entity into a political entity to enable them to take part in the Afghan political process and peacefully seek power like any other political entity in Afghanistan," the official said, referring to Pakistan.

"This is the vision that they share."

The official's remarks signaled unprecedented optimism from Afghanistan that Pakistan - long accused of backing Afghan insurgents - was now willing to put its weight behind reconciliation efforts, which are still in early stages and vulnerable to factionalism.

Steep U.S. drawdown in Afghanistan brings substantial risks

By Max Boot, Published: December 24

Max Boot is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and the author of the forthcoming book, “Invisible Armies: An Epic History of Guerrilla Warfare From Ancient Times to the Present.”

The Obama administration appears determined to vacate Afghanistan as fast as possible. If the latest leaks are to be believed, officials are willing to leave as few as 6,000 U.S. troops behind after 2014, concentrated at the Bagram air base and a few other installations around Kabul. The mind boggles at what this would mean in military terms.

Consider one simple fact: Kandahar, the city where the Taliban movement started, is 310 miles southwest of Kabul. Imagine that intelligence analysts have identified a “high-value target” — say, a terrorist facilitator with links to both al-Qaeda and the Taliban — in Kandahar. How would the U.S. military capture or kill him without a secure base in Kandahar?

This scenario is, on some level, fanciful, because the lack of a U.S. presence on the ground around Kandahar would make it very difficult to generate useful intelligence. How would the CIA or the Defense Intelligence Agency run agents or even operate drones? Even assuming that the intelligence could be garnered, it would be exceedingly hard to act on the information.

A SEAL or Delta Force team typically reaches its target by helicopter. But Kandahar is a two-hour helicopter flight from Kabul and a fully loaded Blackhawk would need to refuel to make the round trip. Assuming there is no U.S. base in Kandahar, this would require aerial refueling, which is difficult and costly and would not necessarily be available 24-7. Given the long flight time, there is a good chance that by the time the commandos arrived, the target would have moved on.

It is doubtful that such a force would be dispatched in the first place, however, because commanders would be reluctant to send special operators into high-risk situations without having quick-reaction forces standing by to rescue them in the event of trouble. U.S. generals would not feel comfortable entrusting the lives of these elite operators to local Afghan army forces, especially in light of the well-advertised problem of Taliban infiltrators, so they would probably not order the mission in the first place.

That would leave only one way to attack a terrorist kingpin in Kandahar: from the air, with either an armed Predator or a manned aircraft such as an F-16. Yet the ability to keep either kind of aerial platform over Kandahar would be severely limited by the need to fly 600 miles round-trip from Bagram simply to arrive on station. So there would probably be a considerable time lag simply to drop a bomb, which again raises the risk of missing the target.

Avoiding Catastrophic Failure in Afghanistan

November 29, 2012

The U.S.-led mission in Afghanistan seems to be driving the country toward disintegration. Without substantive changes in the U.S. approach, Afghan government institutions are unlikely to survive the withdrawal of international forces. Preventing an implosion and attendant regional chaos requires expanding stalled reconciliation talks to include a broader range of stakeholders, helping the Pakistani leadership espouse formal channels for addressing its regional interests rather than violent proxies, and cooperating with Central Asian actors.

Senior Associate 
South Asia ProgramMore from Chayes...

It has been called the “signature attack” of the Afghanistan conflict. Shootings by Afghan soldiers and police officers of their International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mentors, which were sharply up in 2012, bear disturbing witness to the fault lines in U.S. policy toward Afghanistan. For many in America and other troop-contributing nations, they served as a symbolic last straw, justifying calls for accelerated withdrawal. These attacks have corroded the principal pillar of U.S. policy: development of the security forces. They highlight the error of emphasizing this one institution to the detriment of a wider political approach. And they reveal an ongoing American misunderstanding of the environment, both inside Afghanistan and in its immediate neighborhood.

These misunderstandings and miscalculations have resulted in a policy that may actually be driving Afghanistan toward the very civil conflict the U.S. government wishes to avert as it reduces its presence in the country in 2014.

Understanding the Environment

Director and Senior Associate
South Asia Program

When the bitter losses caused by insider attacks first gained attention, the reaction was shocked incomprehension. How could a soft-spoken “tea boy,” barely an adolescent, pick up an unsecured Kalashnikov, walk to the makeshift gym used by U.S. Marines on a base in Helmand Province, and in a deafening spray of bullets blow three of them away? How could members of a local self-defense force, supported by uniquely skilled special operators to protect their own villages, ambush their mentors at a rural checkpoint? The irony of these tragedies of a waning war is searing. As one grief-stricken father lamented to a reporter, “My son trained somebody to murder him.”

These attacks illuminate much that has gone wrong with U.S. Afghanistan policy—to begin with, the faulty analysis on which it is based.

Initial explanations beggared belief. According to the first statements, 10 percent of the attacks were due to insurgent infiltration, the rest were personal disputes gone wrong. “It’s a gun culture out there,” Lieutenant General James Terry, operational commander of the international force, told reporters in September. “A lot of grievances and dispute resolutions are done, frankly, at the barrel of a gun.”

The bare notion that it was possible to explain the phenomenon by means of a numerical fraction indicates the depth of U.S. misunderstanding.

A recalibrated approach must achieve a minimal political accommodation among Afghanistan’s diverse constituencies—not just the Taliban.

For years, frustration has been rising in the Afghan population at a government that makes a mockery of law and accountability, shaking down citizens, imprisoning people for ransom, trafficking drugs and natural resources, and monopolizing development contracts and reselling them to cronies, until the work done at the end of the line is shoddy and dangerous—all in unbridled pursuit of personal gain. What affords these corrupt officials their impunity, in the eyes of most Afghans, is the protective presence of international troops. Worse, to serve this abusive government, ISAF troops themselves harm Afghan civilians. They cut roads through lovingly tended vineyards, blow up agricultural buildings, block irrigation channels, and sometimes kill people’s neighbors or desecrate sacred symbols.

Does China Belong in the WTO?

December 21, 2012

In December 2001, China officially became the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) 143rd member. This was a hard-won victory for the country after fifteen years of agonizing and grueling negotiations that “turned black hair white,” as Zhu Rongji, China’s former prime minister, famously stated. Since its WTO debut, China has made tremendous strides on the world stage that have benefited both the Chinese people and numerous trading partners. Yet over a decade later, many remain critical of China’s unwillingness to play by all of the rules set up by the other leaders of the international economy.

The successes of WTO accession are easy to tabulate. For example, when China entered the WTO, its economy accounted for less than 4 percent of global trade. Today, the country is the world’s largest exporter, accounting for just over 10 percent of international commerce. During the tenth anniversary of China’s WTO entry last year, President Hu Jintao called it a milestone in the reform and opening up process begun by Deng Xiaoping back in the 1970s. Hu was correct. China agreed to lower its tariffs to levels below many other developing countries, opening itself up to the world and allowing it to become the world’s second-largest economy.

At the same time, the number of critics of China’s trade practices has continued to increase with each successive year. Part of this is because China’s tariff levels, though lower than many developing countries, are considerably higher than most industrialized ones. And while China continues to see itself as a developing country (and depending on what metrics one uses, it technically still is), it is becoming more difficult to rationalize how an economy its size, which may soon surpass the United States, is still “just developing.”

The Return of Toxic Nationalism

The spread of universal values is being rolled back on many fronts, from Russia to the Middle East.

Western elites believe that universal values are trumping the forces of reaction. They wax eloquent about the triumph of human rights, women's liberation, social media, financial markets, international and regional organizations and all the other forces that are breaking down boundaries separating humanity.

Tragically, they are really observing a self-referential world of global cosmopolitans like themselves. In country after country, the Westerners identify like-minded, educated elites and mistake them for the population at large. They prefer not to see the regressive and exclusivist forces—such as nationalism and sectarianism—that are mightily reshaping the future.

Take Cairo's Tahrir Square in early 2011. Western journalists celebrated the gathering of relatively upper-income Arab liberals with whom they felt much in common, only to see these activists quickly retreat as post-autocratic Egypt became for many months a struggle among the military, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamist Salafists—with the Coptic Christians fearing for their communal survival.

Ryan Inzana

Though secular liberals have resurfaced to challenge Egypt's Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi, do not be deceived. The military and the Muslim Brotherhood both have organized infrastructures. The liberals have only spontaneous emotion and ad hoc organizations. An Islamist-Nasserite regime-of-sorts is likely to emerge, as the military uses the current vulnerability of the Muslim Brotherhood to drive a harder bargain.

Egypt and the Middle East now offer a panorama of sectarianism and religious and ethnic divides. Freedom, at least in its initial stages, unleashes not only individual identity but, more crucially, the freedom to identify with a blood-based solidarity group. Beyond that group, feelings of love and humanity do not apply. That is a signal lesson of the Arab Spring.

An analogous process is at work in Asia. Nationalism there is young and vibrant—as it was in the West in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Asia is in the midst of a feverish arms race, featuring advanced diesel-electric submarines, the latest fighter jets and ballistic missiles. China, having consolidated its land borders following nearly two centuries of disorder, is projecting air and sea power into what it regards as the blue national soil of the South China and East China seas.

An action plan for US policy in the Americas

Roger F. Noriega, José R. Cárdenas | American Enterprise Institute
December 05, 2012

Article Highlights
Brazil and Mexico's economies continue to modernize, making them global players.

Download PDF >As US policymakers struggle to overcome sluggish economic growth while confronting abiding security threats, there is a stronger argument than ever for fortifying US partnerships with countries in the Americas whose economies and security are intertwined with America’s own economy and security. While the United States has been preoccupied with other regions, most Latin American nations have continued to modernize their market economies; two nations in particular—Brazil and Mexico—are emerging as global players. Therefore, the time is right to restore a strong bipartisan consensus in the United States that promotes a constructive, free-market growth agenda in the Americas. Practical initiatives—not rhetoric—will encourage America and its neighbors to find common ground for their collective benefit.

Key points in this Outlook:
  • America’s economic crisis and threats to US security have undermined its traditional global-leadership role and weakened its connections to Latin American nations that continue to modernize their economies.
  • The United States must recover its regional credibility by taking bold initiatives to restore its fiscal solvency, while aggressively promoting trade, energy interdependence, technology transfer, and economic growth. 
  • The United States must then retool its strategy for its partners in the Americas by working with them to combat threats such as cross-border criminality and radical populism, encouraging dialogue with regional leaders, and ensuring law enforcement cooperation to develop a mutually beneficial relationship. 
A stable and prosperous Americas is indispensable to US economic success and security. The region is home to three of the top four foreign sources of energy to the United States, as well as the fastest-growing destinations for US exports and investment. Clearly, geography and shared values predetermine a united destiny for the United States and its neighbors in the Americas. How positive and fruitful that destiny will be depends on whether US policymakers, private businesses, and civil society move with a greater sense of purpose toward seizing promising opportunities and meeting critical challenges.

Times have changed. The US fiscal crisis and preoccupation with two distant wars have distracted policymakers in Washington and undermined US leadership in the Americas. Although access to the US market, investment, technology, and other economic benefits are highly valued by most countries in the Western Hemisphere, today, the United States is no longer the only major partner to choose from. Asia (principally China) and Europe are making important inroads. So, as US policymakers retool their strategy for the Americas, they must shelve the paternalism of the past and be much more energetic in forming meaningful partnerships with willing neighbors.

Disputes in the South China Sea

Issue Vol. 27.4 Oct-Dec 2012 | Date : 25 Dec , 2012

China's Nine Dash Line

Prior to analysing the dispute it is important to understand the UN Law of the Sea. The 1982 Convention on the Law of Seas has numerous guidelines pertaining to islands, the continental shelf, enclosed seas and territorial limits. Pertinent articles as applicable to this dispute are Articles 3, 55-75, 76 and 121. Article 3 establishes that every state has the right to establish the breadth of its territorial sea up to a limit not exceeding 12 nautical miles. Articles 55-75 explain the concept of Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which is an area up to 200 nautical miles beyond and adjacent to the territorial sea. The EEZ gives coastal states sovereign rights for the purpose of exploring, exploiting, conserving and managing the natural resources.

The South China Sea is bounded by China in the North, the Philippines in the East, Vietnam in the West, Malaysia as also Brunei in the South East and Indonesia in the South West. The area bounded by the Sea is approximately three and a half square kilometres and forms a part of the Pacific Ocean. The area includes more than 200 small islands, rocks and reefs with many of them located in the Paracel and Spratly Islands.

Venezuela as an Exporter of 4th Generation Warfare Instability

Authored by Dr. Max G. Manwaring.

Added December 19, 2012
Type: Monograph
62 Pages
Download Format: PDF
Cost: Free

Brief Synopsis

Almost no one seems to understand the Marxist-Leninist foundations of Hugo Chavez’s political thought. It becomes evident, however, in the general vision of his “Bolivarian Revolution.” The abbreviated concept is to destroy the old foreign-dominated (U.S. dominated) political and economic systems in the Americas, to take power, and to create a socialist, nationalistic, and “popular” (direct) democracy in Venezuela that would sooner or later extend throughout the Western Hemisphere. Despite the fact that the notion of the use of force (compulsion) is never completely separated from the Leninist concept of destroying any bourgeois opposition, Chavez’s revolutionary vision will not be achieved through a conventional military war of maneuver and attrition, or a traditional insurgency. According to Lenin and Chavez, a “new society” will only be created by a gradual, systematic, compulsory application of agitation and propaganda (i.e., agit-prop). That long-term effort is aimed at exporting instability and generating public opinion in favor of a “revolution” and against the bourgeois system. Thus, the contemporary asymmetric revolutionary warfare challenge is rooted in the concept that the North American (U.S.) “Empire” and its bourgeois political friends in Latin America are not doing what is right for the people, and that the socialist Bolivarian philosophy and leadership will. This may not be a traditional national security problem for the United States and other targeted countries, and it may not be perceived to be as lethal as conventional conflict, but that does not diminish the cruel reality of compulsion.

A National Security Staff for the 21st Century

Authored by Dr. Jack A. LeCuyer.

Added December 13, 2012
Type: Monograph
163 Pages
Download Format: PDF
Cost: Free

Brief Synopsis

Our legacy 1947/1989 national security system is unsuited for the dynamic and complex global security environment that has developed since the end of the Cold War. Over time, the National Security Council has evolved from the very limited advisory group initially imagined by President Truman to that of a vast network of interagency groups that were developed since 1989. These interagency groups view themselves as deeply involved in integrating policy development, crisis management, and staffing for the President. However, the National Security Staff (NSS) and the national security system are relics of the industrial age—vertical stovepipes—in an age that demands that the management of the national security system be conducted at the strategic level. What is required is a true national security strategy based on ends, ways, and means; the alignment of resources with integrated national security missions; and the assessment and accountability of management functions that should be performed by a properly resourced NSS unburdened from the urgency of the 24/7 news cycle. The President’s National Security Strategy of May 2010 calls for reform in many of these areas. Section 1072 of the 2012 Defense Authorization Act calls upon the President to outline the changes and resources that are needed in both the executive branch and in Congress to implement his national security strategy. The President’s response to this legislative mandate can and should be the first step in a strategic partnership for transforming our national security system, in both the executive branch and the Congress, to that of a system that can meet and anticipate the challenges and opportunities for ensuring our security and well-being.

The Energy and Security Nexus: A Strategic Dilemma

Added November 23, 2012
Type: Book
319 Pages
Download Format: PDF
Cost: Free

Brief Synopsis

The relationship between energy and security has been receiving increasing attention over the last few years. Energy literally drives the global economy. Societies rely on it for everything from advanced medical equipment to heating, cooling, and irrigation. Whether it derives from advanced nuclear reactors in developed nations or simple woodstoves in the developing world, energy is recognized as vital to human welfare. It influences our economic, political, and social policies. Possessing or not possessing sufficient energy determines a state’s political and economic power. Competition for energy has been, is, and will be a source of conflict. The choices nation-states make when it comes to energy will have a profound bearing on a wide range of security concerns, from nuclear proliferation to climate change.

Gen. Trainor, you need to listen harder to what that departing lieutenant is saying

Posted By Thomas E. Ricks 
December 24, 2012

By Lt. Cdr. Victor Glover, USN 
Best Defense office of JO retention

This is a great debate of great importance. The topic of leadership writ large and the risk management strategies of our leadership culture are national security issues that don't receive much media attention until tragedy befalls us. Instead we ought to be searching for root causes and details whenever we can. The letter from the Anonymous Lieutenant who is resigning his commission and the responses to it, specifically the retired Marine General's, highlight the very disparity that the young officer elucidated (very eloquently I might add). 

The responses to this young warrior have been one-sided in attempts to paint a picture that, although precise in argument, is offset from the actual target. I agree that there is a way to criticize the military enterprise as Captain Brett Friedman points out and that, as Capt. Doug Pelletier states, "junior leaders need to be actively involved in the debate about the future of our organizations." This articulate LT is doing just that and meeting standard intuitional (and dated) responses. Unfortunately the responses have overlooked a trend of risk aversion that is affecting our leadership department-wide.