Friday, April 30, 2010
Farideh Farhi argues that failed negotiations between the reformist government and European representatives have contributed to the increasingly strident tone that Iranian negotiators took after 2006. Next, Bahman Baktiari explores how Iran’s leaders use Western opposition to validate their quest for international legitimacy and to generate domestic national unity. And Anoushiravan Ehteshami analyzes the troubled presidential election of June 2009 and concludes that the relationship between state and society and between the forces that make up the Iranian power elite will never again be the same.
Click here to read the case study.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
In a Situation Report on GlobalSecurity.com, Richard B. Andres and Paul McNiel of the National Defense University discuss how the U.S. Government can work to break through the “information curtain.”
Deterring Chinese Cyber Militias with Freedom Militias
Richard B. Andres
On February 2nd, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair made cyber security the first item in his Annual Threat Assessment report to the US Senate. Coming on the heels of Chinese cyber attacks on Google, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's subsequent demarche and the Chinese government's strongly worded response, the report signals a growing frustration over America's inability to deter foreign, and particularly China-based, cyber attacks.
China is able to discount US and allied diplomatic pressure because it can hide behind a screen of semi-autonomous cyber militias. Although not officially condoned by China, these patriotic freelance hacking groups engage in cyber operations in support of national goals and often act with the tacit approval and sometimes active coordination of the state. The existence of these groups makes it difficult to prove that attacks originating from China are authorized by the government and consequently provides the regime with plausible deniability.
While cyber militias are used by a number of countries, China has been particularly enthusiastic about embracing this methodology. In 2003 the People's Liberation Army announced that it had created a militia unit to launch hacker attacks against enemy networks. In addition to this, the PRC reportedly offers bounties to hackers who successfully conduct operations against the United States. Over the last decade attacks emanating from China have escalated considerably.
US defenses are insufficient to stop Chinese cyber attacks. The US-China Economic and Security Review Commission estimates that Chinese cyber attacks cost the US hundreds of billions of dollars annually. By way of comparison, this is substantially more than the entire Chinese military budget.
What is needed is a threat that is both capable of forcing China to take notice and that it will believe the United States would execute. Such a threat exists. While China's regime does not appear willing to be deterred by conventional diplomatic or legal complaints, it has demonstrated considerable concern about threats to its censorship apparatus.
The most effective way to threaten Chinese censorship would be for US and partner nations to develop their own cyber militias. Rather than stealing intellectual property and disabling public institutions, however, Western militias would aim at finding ways to bypass Chinese firewalls to spread internet freedom.
There are a number of ways to set up anti-censorship militias geared toward bypassing firewalls and, equally importantly, protecting Chinese citizens from discovery and retribution for what they read and write online. Groups such as the Tor Anonymity Network and the Global Internet Freedom Consortium that disseminate anonymizing software and set up deflection sites (URLs that allow computers to access banned sites) have made a good start but could do much more with government encouragement and funding. On the government side, the US State Department's outstanding request for proposals for methods to promote the free flow of information through technology is a step in the right direction. Google's recent alliance with the National Security Agency is another model that could be replicated on a much broader scale. The key is to find ways to harness the ingenuity of large groups of internet savvy entrepreneurs to open what Secretary Clinton described as the "information curtain." Making freedom-hacking a patriotic hobby for US computer specialists has the potential to massively undermine Chinese censors.
Unlike most other types of pressure, threats to bypass China's internet censorship are entirely credible. Just as China has taken advantage of Western social conventions that inhibit retaliation against clandestine cyber assaults, attacks on Chinese censorship take advantage of Western conventions that encourage promoting freedom. Moreover, there is precedent for this approach. For more than 60 years Voice of America has overcome legal challenges and jamming to broadcast information into closed countries.
To have deterrent value, the United States must communicate to China that it intends to ramp up support to freedom militias until China relents. Members of Congress are currently calling for tens of millions of dollars to support this type of operation. China must be made to understand that given the magnitude of the costs their hackers are currently inflicting, the United States could afford to spend tens of billions and still come out ahead. Because it is difficult to call back private groups once activated, support should start small and present Chinese leaders with opportunities to concede (preferably without losing face) before escalating to the next level.
There is no guarantee that supporting freedom militias will reduce Chinese cyber aggression, but since the number and severity of Chinese cyber militia attacks are already increasing rapidly, to not act is to guarantee escalation. At the end of the day, even if US support to freedom militias fails to deter cyber attacks it will signal China that there are costs as well as benefits to attacking US targets. That, in itself, might be worth the cost.
Richard B. Andres is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS) at National Defense University.
Paul McNiel is a research intern at INSS.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily represent those of National Defense University, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.
Monday, April 19, 2010
Worst in Aid: The Grand Prize
Hillary Clinton recently declared: “We are working to elevate development and integrate it more closely with defense and diplomacy in the field…The three Ds must be mutually reinforcing.”
Clinton says that the 3D approach will elevate development to the level of diplomacy and defense. Unfortunately, it could instead lower development further to an instrument employed to achieve military or political priorities. Clinton foresaw these objections: “There is a concern that integrating development means diluting it or politicizing it – giving up our long-term development goals to achieve short-term objectives.” She said reassuringly, “[t]hat is not what we mean, nor what we will do.”
But it’s too late. Sacrificing long term development aims for short term military and diplomatic objectives is what the US already does, and the 3Ds is making it worse. That’s why the Grand Prize for the Worst in Aid goes to…the 3D approach, nominated by an anonymous reader.
References to the “3D approach,”… have become so pervasive in foreign policy, development, and national security circles that they have taken on the status of self-evident, common wisdom.
- J. Brian Atwood, former USAID administrator, February 2010
The frequent contradiction between defense and development is the most obvious instance of 3D dissonance. A coalition of eight NGOs in Afghanistan lamented that “[d]evelopment projects implemented with military money or through military-dominated structres aim to achieve fast results but are often poorly executed, inappropriate, and do not have sufficient community involvement to make them sustainable.” Nonetheless, increasing amounts of aid get channeled through the military, “while efforts to address the underlying causes of poverty and repair the destruction wrought by three decades of conflict and disorder are being sidelined.”Click here to read more.
Friday, April 16, 2010
9 APR 2010
SUBJECT: Recommendation from PRISM Vol. 1, No. 1, 12/2009
1. First I want to thank you for your contributions to PRISM: Center for Complex Operations. As an active duty officer in the USA it was both encouraging and inspiring to read that there is progress being made on how the US handles the current and future challenges which face our nation. The articles were both informative and insightful.
I humbly offer this recommendation of the topics discussed in the first four articles of Prism which focused on the future of America’s strategy in complex operations. As a former platoon leader on the ground everyday in Iraq I am not attempting to criticize anything in the journal; I simply hope to add to the discussion of how America can take on such challenges as Iraq and Afghanistan in the future.
Thank you again for the time and effort made to enlighten young officers like myself and thank you for your service to our nation.
2. The current shortfalls.
As Dr. Schaubelt points out in his Complex Operations article the greatest shortcoming in America’s handling of complex operations is its Interagency operations, or lack thereof. Currently Battalion level leadership is what has driven progress in Iraq and Afghanistan and will drive progress in every imaginable complex operation. It is the Battalion Commander (Lt. Colonel) and his staff which guide actions on the ground. They execute the day to day operations and thus have the greatest influence over the politics as much as security level of the area. It is because of this that I believe the most efficient way to maximize U.S. involvement in complex operations is to put State Department civilians inside the Battalion and above staff sections and transform the Army National Guard force into a Corp of Engineers.
The structure of the military in the 21st century should no longer be limited to military soldiers and DOD civilians. The “shadow” enemy of the 21st century which was the U.S. and NATO have been facing down since 9/11 has forced the tactical evolution from the Cold War doctrine to a more flexible, divers, and highly integrated military warfare. This transformation has proven successful, but should not stop at its current aims.
The transformation in the U.S. Army from Pure (infantry, armor, artillery) brigade and battalion size elements to the Combined Arms brigade and battalion has proven successful and is a testament to the effectiveness of the military community as a whole as well as the DOTLMP-F over all. However, the transformation and diversification has not gone far enough to be as efficient as possible because it lacks effective civilian political mission analysis at the lowest level and depends too heavily on short term deployable DOD contractors. As Lieutenant General Barno USA (Ret.) reminded readers in his article Military Adaption in Complex Operations, all warfare is an extension of politics and that is the expertise missing on the ground in today’s military.Click here to read more.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
General Conway referred to comments made at the the "Expeditionary Energy Roundtable" at which he was a featured speaker. Here is an excerpt from the INSS Event Report written by Richard B. Andres, PhD, and Gayle Von Eckartsberg.
Expeditionary Energy Roundtable with USMC Commandant General Conway
The Marines are focused on energy not because they want to, but because they have to.
-USMC Commandant General James Conway
December 9, 2009 By Richard B. Andres and Gayle Von Eckartsberg
On December 9, 2009, National Defense University’s Institute for National Strategic Studies hosted a workshop on Marine Corps expeditionary energy on behalf of Commandant of the Marine Corps General James Conway. The purpose of the event was to lay out the Commandant’s strategic vision for Marine Corps expeditionary energy and to begin to connect the Corps with leading energy experts in academe and industry.
General Conway opened the meeting by stating his intent for the Marine Corps to become the nation’s leader in expeditionary energy. He emphasized that the Marine Corps must “create an organic capability that allows you to go anywhere, do what you have to do in ungoverned spaces” and do so “without the expectation of a one-to-one Marine-to-contractor support structure…without supply lines vulnerable to disruption.” The goal is an expeditionary energy paradigm that is “lighter, more efficient, less costly, better for the environment, and can also save lives.”
The NDU workshop was the third event in a rapid-fire series of Marine Corps activities designed to jumpstart a conversation with industry and to connect the newly formed Marine Corps Energy Office with key energy thinkers. Throughout the half-day session, the Commandant and his energy leaders urged the experts to think through the Marine Corps’ challenge. To set the stage, Colonel T.C. Moore briefed the key findings of the Afghanistan assessment team which looked at the expeditionary needs of forward operating bases and main operating bases in August 2009. The team found that electricity generation at the main operating bases is inefficient, lacking incentives to reduce demand and the infrastructure to optimize performance of generator systems. Forward bases have a different challenge: demand for water is approximately seven times greater than for fuel. Bottled water is carried forward by Marine truck convoys, putting 200 vehicles and crews at risk of IED attack each month. Seventy percent of the Corps’ logistics burden is fuel and water. This energy tail is a major vulnerability and a constraint on expeditionary missions.
Click here to read more.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Monday, April 12, 2010
The Loss of a Great Friend
I’m flying over the deep blue of the southern Pacific Ocean — enroute to New Zealand and Australia for security discussions about Afghanistan — and I’ve just learned of the death of Polish General and Chief of Defense Franciszek Gagor, along with the President of Poland and much of the senior leadership.
As I look down over the white caps of the sea, I think of my friend and the sudden nature of his death in a plane crash enroute to a memorial gathering near Smolensk, Russia in remembrance of 70th anniversary of the Katyn Massacre. What a tragic loss for his family, for Poland, and for the cause of security in the world.
Franciszek lived a full and meaningful life, and all of us at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe mourn his loss. He was not only a leader in his nation’s military, but also a strong and highly respected voice in the councils of NATO. He spoke fluent and idiomatic English, along with French and Russian and his native Polish of course. General Gagor was a powerful thinker, a diplomatic statesman, and a superb military leader. He had attended the National Defense University in the U.S. and we often spoke of the vital importance of education for our senior officers. He published many thoughtful articles and a well regarded book on peacekeeping operations, in which he was widely respected as an expert.
Franciszek led much of the preparations for Poland’s entry into NATO, and had served as a General officer since being promoted to Brigadier back in 1997. He was among the senior Chief’s of Defense in the Alliance, and when he spoke in council, everyone listened closely.
Laura and I had a lovely visit with him and his wife Lucy just a few months ago in Warsaw, a week or so before Christmas. We walked the streets of the restored city, and his sense of history and the irony of it all was clear and deep. I’ll always remember a light snow falling and thinking how lucky I was to know him — a man of conviction, intelligence, and blessed with a fine sense of humor. The next day, we drank Bison vodka and sat in front of a fireplace after a formal dinner and he reflected on the passages of his life and career, from the post-war history of his beloved Poland to the Warsaw Pact and on to his role today as a leader in NATO. Personally, I deeply valued his advice on topics ranging from Afghanistan to the Balkans to NATO reform and the emerging strategic concept.
Franciszek Gagor represented the best of our senior military, and above my fireplace at home is the Polish cavalry sabre he gave me during our visit. I’ll treasure it, as I do the memories of this great friend.
Admiral James Stavridis
Commander, U.S. European Command and
Supreme Allied Commander Europe