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

6 December 2019

The Ties That Bind Ethnicity, Pro-government Militia, and the Dynamics of Violence in Civil War


How do pro-​government militia (PGM) influence the dynamics of violence during civil conflict? In this paper, Luke Abbs, CSS’ Govinda Clayton and Andrew Thomson address this question by looking at ethnic ties between militia and governments. The authors find that the presence of co-​ethnic militia, that is groups composed of the ruling elite’s ethnic kin, are associated with longer and more intense civil conflict. 

Pro-​government militia (PGM) are organized armed groups that support the government but are not part of the “official” state armed forces. Previous research shows that they are likely to emerge in weak states facing acute security threats, including, but not limited to, insurgency and civil war. In addition, several studies have found that the presence of PGMs exacerbate and prolong conflict either because states are unable to control militias or they are unwilling to do so. However, these existing studies overlook how the ethnic ties between PGMs and the government could have an influence on conflict. 

The Effect of Co-​ethnic Militia on Conflict 

Co-​ethnic militias are militia groups that are clearly pro-​government, not part of the regular security forces and specifically recruited along ethnic lines in order to uphold ethnic goals. A new paper in the Journal of Conflict Resolution by Luke Abbs from the University of Essex, Govinda Clayton from the CSS and Andrew Thomson from Queen’s University Belfast shows that the presence of these groups is often associated with more intense and longer civil wars. According to the authors, this is the result of a combination three factors. First, co-​ethnic PGMs are relatively loyal irregular forces that multiply a state’s military capacity to resist insurgent challenges. Second, since they are usually deployed against insurgents from other ethnic communities, co-​ethnic PGMs play a significant role in increasing interethnic polarization and ethnic extremism. Third, these groups themselves have an incentive to undermine any peacemaking attempt that could compromise their ethnic group’s privileged status. 

5 December 2019

Joint Force Quarterly 95


This year has been one of important anniversaries and one of change. Just this past weekend, the world marked the 100th year since the Armistice for World War I, the “war to end all wars,” was placed in effect. On that date, at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the bloodiest war up to that time ended. Or so the world had hoped. Just 25 years later, Allied forces would assault the beaches and skies above Normandy, France, in an unprecedented invasion to roll back the Nazi empire, which, along with Russian victories on the Eastern Front, would ultimately end that violent period in Western Europe. But that effort would eventually turn into the Cold War, a long struggle between U.S.-led Western powers and Soviet bloc countries. 

The 30th anniversary of the end of that conflict was marked this year, as the Berlin Wall ceased to function as a political and physical barrier between the German Democratic Republic (GDR) and West Germany on November 9, 1989, although official destruction of the wall did not begin until June 13, 1990. And the anniversaries where we can honor our fallen and celebrate those who survived continue to reverberate. Lest we forget. But what can we say we have learned from this seemingly endless cycle of struggle that results in war? One answer has been to improve how our troops fight together as part of a joint force. To do so, its leaders need to understand the past, both good and bad, and find ways to make our joint bonds strong enough to meet the challenges ahead, even those that may surprise us. Download Full PDF →


3 December 2019

LOOK TO PAST FOR MODERNIZATION LESSONS

MAJ. NATHAN A. JENNINGS MAJ. ADAM TALIAFERRO

The interwar years between the Great War and World War II were a precarious period when industrialized military powers struggled to innovate with doctrine and tactics even as they incorporated emerging technologies.

Though Britain, France, Italy and the U.S. claimed victory in the most costly confrontation in European history, each power failed to fully leverage the multiplicity of combined arms and joint concepts initiated—yet never fully matured—between 1914 and 1918. The failure to realize this latent potential would exact a heavy price just two decades later when the stagnant democracies once again mobilized for global campaigns of imposing scale and mass against modernizing peer competitors.

Now, almost 75 years later, these institutional setbacks hold cautionary insights for the U.S. as it similarly transitions to great-power competition. The experience of the British Empire, in particular, remains relevant for U.S. forces as they focus on countering rising powers in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and East Asia that seek to limit American access and influence with increasingly sophisticated weaponry.

What if a Progressive President Cut U.S. Defense Spending Dramatically?

by Robert Farley 
Source Link

Although foreign policy has generally not taken center-stage in the Democratic Presidential primary thus far, some of the candidates have begun to speak out about the size and extent of the U.S. defense establishment. This discussion has come as “progressive” foreign policy thinking has become more sophisticated and forward-thinking, especially with regards to defense. Although the perspectives of the candidates differ, most seem to believe that the defense budget has become too large and should be constrained in preference for domestic priorities. Some candidates, however, have hinted at a thorough-going rethinking of the size of the Department of Defense that would see a major reduction in funding, necessitating radical reforms in how the United States does national security.

Nations have, of course, conducted radical reductions in their defense profiles in the past. The U.S. budget declined dramatically at the end of World War II, and declined by nearly 50% in the 1970s from the peak of 1968. But even the defense reductions at the end of the Cold War were modest, and were soon forgotten as spending on new programs accelerated. The entire idea of significantly cutting the DoD budget fell by the wayside after 9/11 and the onset of the Wars on Terror. Consequently, there hasn’t been enough sophisticated thinking on what serious cuts to the U.S. defense budget might look like, despite the rise of centers of progressive foreign policy thinking on the left, and the rise of quasi-isolationist thinking on parts of the right.

2 December 2019

U.S. Army Develops a Robot Brain for Controlling Armored Vehicles

By Kyle Mizokami
Source Link

The U.S. Army has developed a standard set of hardware and software that, once installed in a human-vehicle, allows the vehicle to be operated remotely or even in a semi-autonomous fashion. The Army’s goal is unmanned fighting vehicles that can operate along manned fighting vehicles, and convoys of unmanned vehicles that can travel routes autonomously or following the lead of a human driver. The service faces significant challenges, however, as the two-dimensional aspect of unmanned ground is more difficult than unmanned air.

In an exclusive to Breaking Defense, the U.S. Army’s Ground Vehicles Systems Center revealed it has a suite of hardware and software capable of transforming manned vehicles to unmanned ones. The Army has tested it on more than 20 different vehicles, from Humvees to aging M113 armored personnel carriers. It has even installed the kit on German trucks used by the British Army that had the steering wheel, brakes, and other controls on the left hand side.

30 November 2019

The Return of Mercenaries, Non-State Conflict, and More Predictions for the Future of Warfare

Sean McFate

Everywhere around the world, the nature of war is changing, and the West is failing to adapt. Western powers are already losing on the margins to threats like Russia, China, and others that have made the leap forward and grow bolder each year. Eventually someone will test us and win.

The West has forgotten how to win wars because of their own strategic atrophy. Judging by how much money the United States invests in conventional weapons like the F-35, many in our country still believe that future interstate wars will be fought conventionally. But although Russia and China still buy conventional weapons, they use them in unconventional ways. China has armed its fishing fleet in the South China Sea, turning it into a floating militia. Russia gave T-72 tanks, truck-mounted rocket launchers, and howitzers to its mercenaries in Syria. Tellingly, Russia even cut its military budget by a whopping 20 percent in 2017, yet it shows no sign of curbing its global ambitions. Its leaders understand that war has moved beyond lethality.

Conventional war thinking is killing us. From Syria to Acapulco, no one fights that way anymore. The old rules of war are defunct because warfare has changed, and the West has been left behind. War is coming. Conflict’s trip wires are everywhere: black market nukes that can melt cities; Russia taking something it shouldn’t and NATO responding in force; India and Pakistan duking it out over Kashmir; North Korea shelling Seoul; Europe fighting an urban insurgency against Islamic terrorists; the Middle East goes nuclear; or the United States fighting China to prevent it from becoming a rival superpower.

29 November 2019

The Revolution in Military Affairs

By Jacek Bartosiak

The notion of a “revolution in military affairs” has created a sensation in recent years, as it could create a new phase in the way wars are conducted. RMA’s importance is likely to grow over the coming decades of great power competition and proxy wars across Eurasia and its neighbors. It is, therefore, worth spending some time on this concept.

The Dawn of RMA

In 1992, the U.S. Defense Department’s Office of Net Assessment published a report on the coming military-technical revolution – what it called the Revolution in Military Affairs. The concept wasn’t a new one. By the 1970s, Soviet military theoreticians were heralding the arrival of what they described as the 20th century’s third wave of the military-technical revolution. The first wave was the motorization of war – namely, the use of aviation and chemical weapons in World War I. As this phase matured in World War II, it came to incorporate the German concept of “blitzkrieg” (armored warfare operations with an air tactical support component), the British-American concept of strategic bombing, and the concept of replacing battleships with onboard aircraft taking off from aircraft carriers, as envisaged by both Japan and the United States.

28 November 2019

Japan Is Modernizing Its Military, but Can It Do More?


Japan is accelerating its military normalization process by building up its offensive capabilities, especially those of its Japanese Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF). As a part of that push, the United States on Oct. 29 granted Japan's request for a major upgrade to its F-15J fighter aircraft. Installing advanced radar and cruise missile capability on 98 JASDF jets will mark a crucial step in Japan's move away from its post-World War II pacifist stance. And while the upgrades will enhance Tokyo's options, maintaining Japanese national defense as the country's aerospace industry declines and the regional threat environment — including an expanding Chinese military — becomes more complex will become increasingly difficult.

From Defense to Offense

Since its founding in 1954, the JASDF has focused on developing potent air defense and anti-ship capabilities. This largely meshed with Japan's postwar self-image as a pacifist country with an air force geared exclusively toward defending the home islands. While the JASDF built a considerable ability to intercept inbound enemy jets and warships, it couldn't mount offensive operations beyond the immediate waters around Japan. Instead, Tokyo relied on its security alliance with the United States to serve as its offensive capability: If need be, the Japanese military could be the shield, and the U.S. military could be the sword.

Warmaking by Remote Control Is a False Choice

by James Holmes
So it seems remote war is easy to wage, hard to win, and carries hidden moral hazards. Beware the allure of the latest gadgetry. It cannot exorcise the ghosts of wars past—or present.

War is a deeply human undertaking. Trying to take human beings out of it is fraught with unintended consequences. I had a similar inkling about the future after Desert Storm, where Swofford and I both deployed. In March 1991, to herald the armistice, a Navy Times headline blared out that the “ghost of Vietnam” had faded in the desert as U.S. expeditionary forces displayed “unrivaled military might.” That was a bold claim. It was also a plaintive way to announce a victory. Why situate a freshly won triumph in the context of a past defeat?

Because military folk still fretted constantly about losing in Southeast Asia. The ghosts of Vietnam, better known as the “Vietnam Syndrome,” had haunted the U.S. armed forces since the downfall and destruction of South Vietnam almost sixteen years before. President Richard Nixon, who presided over the denouement in Indochina, reputedly coined the phrase to describe a malaise afflicting the American armed forces, government, and society.

The Revolution in Military Affairs

By Jacek Bartosiak

The notion of a “revolution in military affairs” has created a sensation in recent years, as it could create a new phase in the way wars are conducted. RMA’s importance is likely to grow over the coming decades of great power competition and proxy wars across Eurasia and its neighbors. It is, therefore, worth spending some time on this concept.

The Dawn of RMA

In 1992, the U.S. Defense Department’s Office of Net Assessment published a report on the coming military-technical revolution – what it called the Revolution in Military Affairs. The concept wasn’t a new one. By the 1970s, Soviet military theoreticians were heralding the arrival of what they described as the 20th century’s third wave of the military-technical revolution. The first wave was the motorization of war – namely, the use of aviation and chemical weapons in World War I. As this phase matured in World War II, it came to incorporate the German concept of “blitzkrieg” (armored warfare operations with an air tactical support component), the British-American concept of strategic bombing, and the concept of replacing battleships with onboard aircraft taking off from aircraft carriers, as envisaged by both Japan and the United States.

For DoD Transformation, a Holistic Approach Is Needed

By George Franz, Scott Bachand

The U.S. Defense Department is at a crossroads Decades of innovation — driven almost entirely by DoD and the Defense Industrial Base — have kept the United States at the forefront of modern military capability. Now, however, it is the commercial sector that is defining the leading edge of technology and innovation. In this information-driven era, the military's conventional models of creating and metabolizing innovation are no longer optimal.

Given the military's need to adopt the fast-paced, innovative, and entrepreneurial practices of the commercial sector to maintain its technological edge, success will depend upon new, more holistic approaches to technology adoption and industry relationships.

New waves of emerging commercial technologies have caused quick advancement within the defense sector. But the effectiveness of these technologies can vary. It is not enough to provide a new capability — the intended end-users must be able to easily leverage that capability, solving the end-users' problems and making their lives easier.

Importantly, they must not only deliver greater security, but they must improve resilience to ensure mission success.

Is the Mighty NATO Alliance Dying? Three Ways It Can Be Saved

by Daniel R. DePetris 
Source Link

Rarely has a single moment of honesty caused such trepidation in the halls of power in Europe.

Sitting down with the Economist on November 7 for an exclusive interview, French President Emmanuel Macron talked about NATO as if it was a zombie slowly and mindlessly walking around without a care in the world, oblivious to its surroundings. 

Macron’s description of the transatlantic alliance as brain dead has ruffled feathers far and wide and caused the foreign policy establishments on both sides of the Atlantic to shiver in fear. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the dean of the European political elite, slapped Macron’s remarks as “inappropriate”—even pulling him aside to dress him down at a dinner to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall. Mateusz Morawiecki, Poland’s prime minister, condemned the Frenchman’s comments as “dangerous” to the alliance: “I think President Macron’s doubts about [Nato’s mutual defence clause] can make other allies wonder if perhaps it is France that has concerns about sticking to it,” Morawiecki told the Financial Times. Back stateside, the International Institute for Strategic Studies’ Kori Schake wrote in the Atlantic that the sentiments expressed by Macron are indicative of a larger trend of Europeans increasingly questioning Washington’s commitment to the sacrosanct Article 5.

How the FCC’s new ban on Huawei benefits the military

By: Andrew Eversden

The Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously Nov. 22 to prohibit its dollars from being spent on equipment or services from Chinese telecommunications companies Huawei and ZTE, a move that will protect U.S. military bases in the rural parts of the country from Chinese espionage as 5G technology appears on the horizon.

The vote banned money from the FCC’s Universal Service Fund, which helps subsidize broadband access in rural areas of the United States, from being spent to obtain, maintain or support Huawei and ZTE products, as well as established a process to add companies to the banned list in the future.

Telecom providers, as well as government agencies, across the United States are preparing for the onset of 5G technology, which will transform communications, but will also introduce greater cybersecurity risks into U.S. networks. Concerns about the cybersecurity of Huawei and ZTE products are widespread across the U.S. government.

27 November 2019

Defense Dialogue Highlights Singapore-India Security Collaboration

By Prashanth Parameswaran

Last week, India and Singapore held this year’s iteration of the defense ministers’ dialogue between the two countries. The dialogue spotlighted some of the ongoing efforts by both countries to make further inroads in their security ties amid wider domestic and regional developments.

The annual Singapore-India Defense Ministers’ Dialogue (DMD) was first held following the signing of the revised Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA) in 2015 as both countries commemorated the 50th anniversary of their defense relationship during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Singapore. This was part of a series of developments that have spotlighted India’s growing effort to deepen security collaboration with key Southeast Asian states under Modi.

Last week, the defense aspect of the relationship was in the headlines again with the holding of the fourth iteration of the DMD. The dialogue was co-chaired by Singapore Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen and visiting Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh in Singapore – the first time that both had done so since Singh had taken over from his predecessor Nirmala Sitharaman earlier this year.

Warmaking by Remote Control Is a False Choice

by James Holmes
Source Link

War is a deeply human undertaking. Trying to take human beings out of it is fraught with unintended consequences. I had a similar inkling about the future after Desert Storm, where Swofford and I both deployed. In March 1991, to herald the armistice, a Navy Times headline blared out that the “ghost of Vietnam” had faded in the desert as U.S. expeditionary forces displayed “unrivaled military might.” That was a bold claim. It was also a plaintive way to announce a victory. Why situate a freshly won triumph in the context of a past defeat?

Because military folk still fretted constantly about losing in Southeast Asia. The ghosts of Vietnam, better known as the “Vietnam Syndrome,” had haunted the U.S. armed forces since the downfall and destruction of South Vietnam almost sixteen years before. President Richard Nixon, who presided over the denouement in Indochina, reputedly coined the phrase to describe a malaise afflicting the American armed forces, government, and society.

Believers in the Vietnam Syndrome regarded it as a cultural impediment to martial success.

The University of Notre Dame is founded.

How 3 Key Allies Will Respond to U.S. Demands on Troop Deployments


Seoul finds itself in a weak position to resist U.S. demands for more money to base troops in South Korea, but the demands will spur its efforts to reduce its dependence on the U.S. military.

Japan will try to bargain Washington's asking price down, but its significant wealth and need for close alignment with the United States mean it will reach a deal. 

Germany's relatively secure, by contrast, and the fact that U.S. troops would likely depart for neighboring Poland, and still shield Germany from Russia, means a complete drawdown of U.S. forces is more likely there.

U.S. demands for huge payment increases from three of its major allies, South Korea, Japan and Germany, for basing military forces on their territory could cause significant shifts in the global U.S. military footprint. The centrality of the United States and its military to South Korea's and Japan's security strategies means Washington is in a strong position to extract more money. But the effort could push Germany further away from the United States.

26 November 2019

The Army’s network modernization plan is aggressive. But is it feasible?

By: Mark Pomerleau 

The Army is still preparing to field the first units with equipment associated with its new network design in 2021, but that hasn’t stopped it from setting its sights on the next build, slated for 2023. At issue is the compressed timeline it’s seeking to meet since it wants to provide iterative upgrades.

The Army’s incremental “capability set” build, a plan to add capabilities to the network every two years beginning in 2021, will require quick turnarounds to prototype, contract for and experiment with capabilities for units.

Col. Garth Winterle, project manager for tactical radios within Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications-Tactical, told reporters Nov. 21 via teleconference from Austin that, given this cycle, they didn’t have a feeder year where they could shape what they’d be asking for as part of capability set ’23.

As a result, the Army will be asking industry for white papers in December with the intention of inviting companies with promising or exciting technologies back in February for a shark tank-like panel to prioritize technologies and down select. The white paper awards will occur at the end of January, marking what officials again described as an accelerated timeline.

In America's Next Serious War, It's Aircraft Carriers Won't Go Unscathed

by Robert Farley

The United States has decided to spend many billions of dollars on the CVN-78 (“Ford”) class of aircraft carriers to replace the venerable Nimitz class. The latter has served the U.S. Navy since 1975, with the last ship (USS George H. W. Bush) entering service in 2009. The Fords could be in service, in one configuration or another, until the end of the 21st century.

Just as the U.S. government has determined to make this investment, numerous analysts have argued that the increasing lethality of anti-access/area denial systems (especially China’s, but also Russia and Iran) has made the aircraft carrier obsolete. If so, investing in a class of ships intended to serve for 90 years might look like a colossal waste of money.

As with any difficult debate, we should take time to define our terms, and clarify the stakes. The anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) systems around the world may indeed curb the effectiveness of the Ford class, but the U.S. will still find uses for this ships.

25 November 2019

Moscow Showcases Breakthrough in Automated Command and Control

By Roger McDermott

Russia’s defense ministry has announced a breakthrough in its ongoing efforts to introduce advanced automated command and control (C2) within its Armed Forces. The importance of this development cannot be underestimated, as it places the Russian military decision-making process and automated C2 beyond the existing capabilities of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) militaries (see EDM, June 11). Of course, the system being introduced extends far beyond C2, to include the wider integration of C4ISR (command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) capability. NATO militaries and planning staffs must now adjust to a new reality, that Moscow has developed the capability to plan and develop its military decision-making process to a stage well beyond the existing standards and capacities of Alliance standards; meaning that Russian military C2 is faster than that of its potential adversary. The breakthrough relates to uniting artificial intelligence and Big Data technologies to analyze the battlefield situation and through the automated system to rapidly provide commanders in the field with several possible solutions (Izvestia, November 13).

24 November 2019

Former army general warns of ‘military accident’ as US-China relations deteriorate


As relations between the U.S. and China continue to deteriorate, one immediate risk is a “military accident or operational miscalculation” between the armed forces of both countries, said former U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry.

There have been several near military confrontations between the two nations, Eikenberry told CNBC’s Sri Jegarajah at the Morgan Stanley Asia Pacific Summit.

“Those were very serious diplomatic incidents. But now — with the deterioration between the sides — should we have an incident like that today, I think the consequences will be much greater,” said Eikeinberry.

As relations between the U.S. and China continue to deteriorate, one immediate risk is a “military accident or operational miscalculation” between the armed forces of both countries, said former U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry.

“Do I worry about the risks that we have with the increasing geopolitical competition with China? ... the answer is very much yes,” Eikenberry, also a former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, said Thursday.