News and Commentary by Dave Maxwell. Edited and Published by Riley Murray.

1. For Baltic Defense, Forget the ‘Forest Brothers’

2. Who Is a Domestic Terrorist?

3. Will Commanders Trust Their New AI Weapons and Tools?

4. Turnkey Allies: Israel Backing the Sunni Cause

5.  How Xinjiang’s gulag tears families apart

6. FDD | Time to Act on Human Shields

7. FDD | UN Elects Worst Violators to Human Rights Council

8. FDD | Washington Should Avoid a Self-Inflicted Wound in the Sinai

9.  No, Drones Haven’t Made Tanks Obsolete

10. The United States Isn’t Doomed to Lose the Information Wars

11. With ‘absurd’ timing, FCC announces intention to revisit Section 230

12. Forget Counterterrorism, the United States Needs a Counter-Disinformation Strategy

13. 66 Ways to Beat China in AI: Report

14. Women in combat wear armor designed for men. That’s finally changing in 2020.

15. The Status of US Military Power in 2020

16. How East Asia’s balance of power is shaping its US election stance

17. QAnon conspiracy about SEAL Team Six raid on Osama bin Laden picks up steam

1. For Baltic Defense, Forget the ‘Forest Brothers’

warontherocks.com · by Kevin Blachford · October 16, 2020

I am not a Europe expert (the last time I was there was when I was stationed in Germany in 1983-1985).  However, this essay challenges the Resistance Operating Concept (ROC) by SOCEUR.  I happen to think it is a viable and important concept.  This critique is useful and hopefully will make the concept stronger.  It seems though this critique really boils down to urban versus rural.  And I did not expect the authors to use a Philippines example (Marawi).

I do like this excerpt:  “The lesson to be derived from Marawi for the outgunned and outmanned Baltic militaries is clearly this: It is not the tactics, techniques, and procedures of the Armed Forces of the Philippines that should form the primary focus of study, but rather those employed by the Islamic State in the rubble of Marawi.”

2. Who Is a Domestic Terrorist?

The New Yorker · by David Rohde · October 15, 2020

A necessary discussion.

Conclusion: As O’Connor put it, “In my thirty-five years in law enforcement, I’ve not seen the country as divided as it is today. It’s amazing times. It’s the perfect storm.” This week, a federal law-enforcement official acknowledged the danger and told me that authorities were “looking out for” individuals planning or engaging in violence. “We’ll take appropriate action,” he said. The greatest responsibility, though, lies with the President and other elected leaders. Exhibiting restraint in the weeks ahead will produce more political benefit for themselves, and for the public, than further talk of Armageddon.

3. Will Commanders Trust Their New AI Weapons and Tools?

defenseone.com · by Margarita Konaev

A good question.  Sometimes I worry if a simple email went through because I just do not know for sure and seeing it in the outbox does not give me assurance it made it to the intended recipient.  I imagine I would be very worried about AI -something I cannot see, smell, taste, or touch.  Of course, I am old.  How will the younger generation accept AI is the key question – will our digital natives be more trusting (I am sure they will be more accepting).

4. Turnkey Allies: Israel Backing the Sunni Cause

warroom.armywarcollege.edu · by Andrew Narloch · October 16, 2020

Conclusion: Israel is in an optimal position to aid Sunni states should conflict break out between an Iranian-led alliance and the Sunni Arab world. Iraq could prove a fertile battleground, valuable for both sides, and with substantial Sunni and Shia populations for respective Arab states to support in a conflict. This alignment could easily cascade into a wider conflict, but it is unlikely to escalate to a conventional war given the Shia’s disadvantage in such a fight. While there are no current military cooperation agreements between Israel and any major Sunni state, Tel Aviv could still support its preferred side by bogging down Syrian and Lebanese Hezbollah elements with its air and ground presence. Wisely, the Sunni states and Israel have already developed intelligence and informal diplomatic networks. These networks could likely be improved upon through further liaisons and summits. Strengthening the Sunni states’ economies would be another avenue for Israel to prepare its partners for a wartime footing. Victory over Iran and its allies in any conflict would immediately improve Israel’s security, resulting in a weakened Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah and a Pro-Gulf Iraq. However, the greater triumph for Israel would be the potential for normalized relations with its Sunni neighbors, which would prove invaluable to the Jewish state’s longevity.

5. How Xinjiang’s gulag tears families apart

The Economist – 17 October 2020

Tragic. These are crimes against humanity. The world cannot remain blind to or quiet about this.

6. FDD | Time to Act on Human Shields

fdd.org · by Orde Kittrie · October 15, 2020

My colleague, Orde Kittrie, has been doing a lot of work on the human shields problem. Quote: “It has been nearly two years since the Shields Act became law. Despite considerable prior evidence of human-shields use by terrorist groups, the Trump administration has yet to impose any sanctions under the law. It is time for the U.S. government to use the Shields Act to hold terrorists and their material supporters publicly accountable for the war crime of using human shields.”

7. FDD | UN Elects Worst Violators to Human Rights Council

fdd.org · by Tzvi Kahn · October 15, 2020

We should not allow this to happen.  I really do think that Great Power Competition also includes competition for influence among international organizations.  We should not be ceding this “battlespace” to revisionist and rogue powers.

8. FDD | Washington Should Avoid a Self-Inflicted Wound in the Sinai

fdd.org · by Bradley Bowman and Major Amoreena York· October 15, 2020

9. No, Drones Haven’t Made Tanks Obsolete

Foreign Policy · by Robert Bateman · October 15, 2020

For all my tanker friends, I certainly hope not.

10. The United States Isn’t Doomed to Lose the Information Wars

Foreign Policy · by Doowan Lee · October 16, 2020

An optimistic article from my good friend, Dooowan Lee.  Conclusion: “The COVID-19 pandemic has brought long-overdue attention to the use of disinformation by authoritarian regimes, but naming the problem is not enough. China and Russia have weaponized the information environment for too long, and democratic countries need to find ways to preserve the principles of an open society and organic online discourse. In the face of information warfare, the United States in particular has the dual advantages of technological innovation and an unparalleled national security apparatus. It’s time to use them.”

11. With ‘absurd’ timing, FCC announces intention to revisit Section 230

TechCrunch · by Devin Coldewey

Or at least interesting timing.

Conclusion: “The process will be just as drawn out and public as previous ones, however, which means that a cavalcade of comments may yet again indicate that the FCC ignores public opinion, experts and lawmakers alike in its decision to invent or eliminate its roles as it sees fit. Be ready to share your feedback with the FCC, but no need to fire up the outrage just yet – chances are this rulemaking won’t even exist in draft form until after the election, at which point there may be something of a change in the urgency of this effort to reinterpret the law to the White House’s liking.”

12. Forget Counterterrorism, the United States Needs a Counter-Disinformation Strategy

Foreign Policy · by Brian Raymond · October 15, 2020

Or we need American Way of Political Warfare: https://www.rand.org/pubs/perspectives/PE304.html

Since the Active Measures Working Group was mentioned here is a link to the NDU report on it: https://ndupress.ndu.edu/Publications/Article/717885/deception-disinformation-and-strategic-communications-how-one-interagency-group/

Hopefully we will hear from Matt Armstong who has some strong critical opinions about these issues.

13. 66 Ways to Beat China in AI: Report

defenseone.com · by Mila Jasper

Or 66 ways to leave your lover (I could not resist the Paul Simon reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4xoHjNjxus . Perhaps a few of these rhymes would be useful to negotiators when dealing with the Chinese)

14. Women in combat wear armor designed for men. That’s finally changing in 2020.

USA Today · by Tom Vanden Brook

About time.  You would have thought we would have fixed this long ago.

15. The Status of US Military Power in 2020

dailysignal.com · by Dakota Wood · October 15, 2020

From one of the best military analysts.   The complete assessment is at this link: https://www.heritage.org/military-strength. There are a lot of details to unpack.

16. How East Asia’s balance of power is shaping its US election stance

NewStatesman · by James Chater · October 15, 2020

A very interesting survey of how major East Asian countries assess the election, the issues, and the two candidates.

17. QAnon conspiracy about SEAL Team Six raid on Osama bin Laden picks up steam

militarytimes.com · by Sarah Sicard, J.D. Simkins · October 15, 2020

I guess we just cannot help ourselves.  We love our conspiracy theories.  And I guess the more idiotic the better.

“In foreign policy, a modest acceptance of fate will often lead to discipline rather than indifference. The realization that we cannot always have our way is the basis of a mature outlook that rests on an ancient sensibility, for tragedy is not the triumph of evil over good so much as triumph of one good over another that causes suffering. Awareness of that fact leads to a sturdy morality grounded in fear as well as in hope. The moral benefits of fear bring us to two English philosophers who, like Machiavelli, have for centuries disturbed people of goodwill: Hobbes and Malthus.”

– Robert D. Kaplan, Warrior Politics: Why Leadership Requires a Pagan Ethos

 

“If you concentrate exclusively on victory, while no thought for the after effect, you may be too exhausted to profit by peace, while it is almost certain that the peace will be a bad one, containing the germs of another war.”

– B.H. Liddell-Hart

 

“If in taking a native den one thinks chiefly of the market that he will establish there on the morrow, one does not take it in the ordinary way.” 

– Lyautey:  The Colonial Role of the Army, Revue Des Deux Mondes, 15 February 1900

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10/16/2020 News & Commentary - Korea With artificial intelligence, every soldier is a counter-drone operator