News & commentary by Dave Maxwell. Edited and published by Duncan Moore.

1. It’s time for a woman to run the Defense Department

2. Ravaged by fire, USS Bonhomme Richard bound for scrapyard, Navy says

3. Pentagon shake-up continues as another top official departs

4. The Wuhan files: leaked documents reveal China’s mishandling of the early stages of Covid-19

5. The US Army is adjusting its pre-positioned stock for more than just war

6. The next National Defense Strategy

7. Bitcoin is winning the Covid-19 monetary revolution

8. Biden’s foreign policy should build on Trump’s

9. Asia-Pacific militaries bet on unmanned systems to meet regional challenges

10. Fake Afghan war crimes photo signals China’s shifting ‘wolf-warrior’ diplomacy, experts say

11. American advocates open pharmacy for displaced Syrians deprived of aid by Assad regime

12. Here’s where Biden will face early foreign-policy decisions

13. Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force – Afghanistan Inquiry Report

14. EU pitches new post-Trump alliance with US in face of China challenge

15. Are AI professionals actually unwilling to work for the Pentagon?

16. Mapping China’s sprawling efforts to recruit scientists

17. China’s “wolf warrior” art is getting a boost from its most fiery diplomat

18. Trump expected to name new Indo-Pacific Command head

19. ‘Voice of One America’ is against US law

20. Drones have raised the odds and risks of small wars

21. Chinese sociologist: we’ll soon surpass U.S., ‘U.S. will not survive,’ we’ll ‘drive U.S. to its death’

22. How did China beat the coronavirus? In a word: social distancing

23. The rise of anti-intellectualism

24. 2020 War on the Rocks holiday reading list

 

1. It’s time for a woman to run the Defense Department

New York Times · Rosa Brooks · November 30, 2020

I would think it is time for Ms. Flournoy to run the department, because she is the most qualified of those within the Biden national security team.

As an aside, I wonder if the Biden team is considering successive cabinet appointments. Few cabinet officers serve a full term of four years (and certainly not eight years). Do all these names on the short lists for cabinet positions provide a “bench” for eventual replacements? Does the transition team (and Biden’s inner circle) think two and three steps ahead in terms of personnel management?

 

2. Ravaged by fire, USS Bonhomme Richard bound for scrapyard, Navy says

San Diego Union-Tribune · Andrew Dyer · November 30, 2020

What a loss for our country.

And arson is suspected.

 

3. Pentagon shake-up continues as another top official departs

CNN · Ryan Browne · November 30, 2020

We are going to see a lot of resignations in the coming two months, but every resignation does not confirm a conspiracy theory.

 

4. The Wuhan files: leaked documents reveal China’s mishandling of the early stages of Covid-19

CNN · Nick Paton Walsh · December 1, 2020

 

5. The US Army is adjusting its pre-positioned stock for more than just war

Defense News · Jen Judson · November 30, 2020

Amateurs talk tactics and professionals talk pre-positioning of war stocks.

 

6. The next National Defense Strategy

War On the Rocks · Benjamin Jensen · November 30, 2020

This conclusion confused me. I do not think this is a problem with the NDS, which I think properly recognizes the importance of allies (a robust constellation of alliances). US national security depends on our alliance system and I think the NDS recognizes that. The problem is not with the strategy. The problem is with execution. Of course, the Pentagon will write a new NDS (and the White House an NSS), but I hope the new administration does not toss out many of the very important concepts that are in both strategies. The current NSS and NDS should provide continuity across administration.

 

7. Bitcoin is winning the covid-19 monetary revolution

Bloomberg · Niall Ferguson · November 29, 2020

 

8. Biden’s foreign policy should build on Trump’s

National Review · Jim Talent · November 30, 2020

Yes, there is a lot to build on. And, as I have mentioned, Trump as the great disruptor is actually providing Biden and future presidents some useful foreign policy flexibility.

 

9. Asia-Pacific militaries bet on unmanned systems to meet regional challenges

Defense News · Mike Yeo · November 30, 2020

The technology is enticing.

 

10. Fake Afghan war crimes photo signals China’s shifting ‘wolf-warrior’ diplomacy, experts say

SBS News · Jennifer Scherer · November 30, 2020

CCP’s true colors.

 

11. American advocates open pharmacy for displaced Syrians deprived of aid by Assad regime

FDD · David Adesnik & Patrick McAnally · November 30, 2020

 

12. Here’s where Biden will face early foreign-policy decisions

Wall Street Journal · Gerald F. Seib · November 30, 2020

 

13. Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force – Afghanistan Inquiry Report

Australian Defence Force · November 2020

I imagine there are a lot of lessons that can be learned for special operations forces around the free world.

 

14. EU pitches new post-Trump alliance with US in face of China challenge

Financial Times · Sam Fleming, Jim Brunsden, & Michael Peel · November 29, 2020

17+1

 

15. Are AI professionals actually unwilling to work for the Pentagon?

Defense One · Catherine Aiken & Margarita Konaev · November 30, 2020

 

16. Mapping China’s sprawling efforts to recruit scientists

Defense One · Emily Weinstein · November 30, 2020

We cannot get AI professionals to work with DOD, but China is effectively recruiting scientists.

 

17. China’s “wolf warrior” art is getting a boost from its most fiery diplomat

Quartz · Quartz Staff · November 30, 2020

 

18. Trump expected to name new Indo-Pacific Command head

Wall Street Journal · Gordon Lubold & Nancy A. Youssef · November 30, 2020

Buried lede: a non-Naval officer might again be considered for PACOM (now that Senator McCain is no longer with us to prevent such a nomination) and the name mentioned is General Abrams.

 

19. ‘Voice of One America’ is against US law

Washington Examiner · Ted Lipien · November 30, 2020

Bullshit. VOA is not the VOB.

 

20. Drones have raised the odds and risks of small wars

Bloomberg · Leonid Bershidsky · November 30, 2020

You cannot put the drone genie back in the bottle.

 

21. Chinese Sociologist: We’ll Soon Surpass U.S., ‘U.S. Will Not Survive,’ We’ll ‘Drive U.S. To Its Death’

Daily Wire · Ryan Saavedra · November 30, 2020

COVID is beneficial to China and North Korea?

 

22. How Did China Beat the Coronavirus? In a Word: Social Distancing

National Interest · Elanah Uretsky · November 30, 2020

Or authoritarian practices. But the author does not think that is the case.

 

23. The Rise of Anti-Intellectualism

Shondaland · Abigail Bassett · November 30, 2020

I see this on every social media platform.

This article asks the $64,000 question – how do we fight it?

 

24. 2020 War on the Rocks holiday reading list

War On the Rocks · WOTR Staff · December 1, 2020

 

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”

– Viktor Frankl

 “Failure is nothing more than a chance to revise your strategy.”

– Anonymous

“The heart of our problem, here, lies in our assessment of the relative importance of the various dangers among which we move; and until many of our people can be brought to understand that what we have to do is not to secure a total absence of danger but to balance peril against peril and to find the tolerable degree of each, we shall not wholly emerge from these confusions.”

– George Kennan

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