Tuesday, June 29, 2010

US Army War College -- What is the Mission? What are the metrics for success?

Achieving Peace - What are the defined Mission & Metrics for Iraq and Afghanistan?

I asked a couple of questions throughout my week at USAWC.  One question was around the topic of the defined Mission & Metrics of Success.

The basic question I had for the officers I spoke with was framed like this:
"I believe I am not alone in saying that I am not clear on what the defined Mission is for Iraq and Afghanistan.  Conceptually I know that it includes fighting and deterring terrorism but that is too high level.  In addition, since what gets measured gets done, what are the metrics for success in Iraq and Afghanistan?  For example, is a success metric that by mid-2010, that 80% of the protective forces would be Afghani military vs. the U.S. and its Allies?"


Regarding our Missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, I walked away with more questions than answers.
This should concern you.  This is not the fault of the military.  The mission and metrics for success are defined by the civilian leadership.  Who are the civilian leaders?  These are your elected officials (and their political appointees).

The officers were very candid in their responses.  In summary:
1.  The Mission is somewhat defined by proxy in Iraq but  is not clearly defined for Afghanistan
2.  The success metrics change regularly - moving target
3.  The officers see signs that they are making positive and sustainable progress
4.  They are not sure the American public has the patience for the time horizon it will truly take to see "peace" - number of years ranged from 10-50 years depending upon who I talked to

My Key Questions:

1.  Are we Nation Building, Nation Re-Building, Both, or Neither?
2.  What does Constitutional Democracy look like for these countries?
3.  What time horizon of patience is required before we see the emergence of peace?
4.  What are the U.S. and International Allies defined set of metrics that help measure success in both theaters?  What gets measured gets done, what are we measuring?

1.  Many of the officers I met had more than 1 deployment to the Middle East 
a.  tell your elected officials - the U.S. military needs a clearly defined mission and metrics for success 
b.  the U.S. Military is willing to fight for your right to disagree with the war, they ask that you not take it out on the military and instead alert your elected officials

2.  The U.S. Military is facing extreme budget cuts while serving in MULTIPLE theaters
a.  hold elected officials accountable - if they want to cut the budget tell them they can do so ONLY AFTER cutting the mission

3.  The U.S. Military recognizes that the definition of "enemy" and "winning" have changed and they are adjusting accordingly - but has our press/media?  our politicians?  the public?
a.  educate yourself and others on the issues - what does "winning" look like in your opinion?  tell your elected officials how you define "winning"
b.  cyberwarfare - the rules of engagement yet to be defined - how, when, why to deploy; the ethics; how to gain international agreement; understanding ripple effects

5.  The officers I spoke with indicated that one of the most effective tools in the quest for peace is Nation Building - teaching them to farm, building schools, teaching health care techniques, improving literacy

a.   this makes a lot of sense and perhaps this approach requires different training and resources deployed to focus on these issues
b.  Review additional deployment of the U.S. Department of State has a Civilian Response Corps  (see notes below)

Definition of "Peace"

Who defines what a "better peace" is?  Does a country own this?  If you believe that all men are created equal and that our human rights come from God and not from man, what yardstick should be used to define "peace" or "better peace"?  

One of the quotes cited:
"The object in war is to attain a better peace—even if only from your own point of view.  Hence it is essential to conduct war with constant regard to the peace you desire.  This is the truth underlying Clausewitz’s definition of ‘war as a continuation of policy by other means’—the prolongation of that policy through the war into the subsequent peace must always be borne in mind."  
--B.H. Liddell Hart

When you evaluate the current civilian leadership policy towards the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, there are different centering points for the operations.  

As I understood it from the presentations at the US Army War College there are 2 primary centering points to consider:
(1) Enemy-centered operations:  aimed at defeating the enemy, mostly through "kinetic" means.
Tactics deployed:  Counter-terrorism and / or Counter-insurgency
Teams deployed:  U.S. and Multinational Forces; International Organizations; Local Organizations; Potentially Multinational Corporations

(2) Population-centered operations are aimed at assuring, persuading, and influencing indigenous populations through the provision of security, humanitarian assistance (this could be building schools, roads, teaching women how to be mid wives, fighting illiteracy), basic services, infrastructure, institution-building, support for the rule of law, etc.
Key Tactic deployed:  Stability Operations (supported by Dept of Defense's DoDI 3000.05)

Why the Civilian-Military Cooperation is so Important:
Getting to the Goal Line:  Concentrate on common objectives between the U.S. and the locals.  Promote programs that serve the local population and take away power from and frustrate the insurgents.

U.S. Department of State has a Civilian Response Corps  -- 
A ready-to-deploy team of trained civilians that can help with stabilization and reconstruction programs.  

Summer Intern - Guest Post - Steven Elliott - Cyber Warfare

Topic: Cyber Warfare
Research by:  Steven Elliott
Date: Final Version 6-28-10

TITLE: Cyber Warfare: an Introduction

The art of war has dramatically changed over the last hundred years with the invention of the airplane and the atom bomb.  The next evolution could involve the Internet, computer security experts, and cyber warfare. In a recent ABC interview, CIA Director Leon Panetta declared “we are now in a world in which cyber warfare is very real.  It could threaten our grid system.  It could threaten our financial system…it could paralyze this country, and I think that's an area we have to pay a lot more attention to.” Cyber warfare attacks are becoming increasingly popular and these attacks can and have caused significant damage to both countries and companies by stealing massive amounts of classified data and crippling economies.  This report focuses on what cyber warfare is, how it can affect the wars of tomorrow, and which nations are at the forefront of developing cyber war offensive and defensive strategies.  

·      There is a growing concern over cyber warfare and cyber terrorism.
·      Many countries, such as China, Russia, and the United States, are starting to increase their cyber warfare offensive and defensive capabilities.
·      Cyber attacks are mainly focused on gathering information or causing financial or infrastructural damage.
·      Increase private sector cyber security by using up-to-date antivirus software, firewalls, encryption, strong passwords, and training employees on safe computing practices.
·      Increase research in cyber security, to which the White House has allocated around 350 million dollars for the 2011 fiscal year (NITRD budget).
·      Assess whether or not cyber warfare will help with current conflicts.
Cyber warfare is a relatively new concept that, as of May 2010, is still undefined by the United States Department of Defense (Jackson 2010).  In a broad sense, cyber warfare is a war fought in cyberspace using computers and the Internet.  Cyber war is not limited necessarily just between countries, as Google found out earlier this year (Zetter 2010).  Countries have the ability to attack private companies, which could cause power outages, massive financial theft, or the loss of private information of millions of people.  This very real high tech threat has the potential to become a dangerous and damaging new tool for nations to gain the upper hand in an international conflict.

·      There is a dramatic increase in the number of cyber warfare attacks and attempted attacks.
·      Enemy nations are developing new techniques to break into computers and networks.
·      There will be an increase in cyber defense spending and the development of new national and international laws related to permissible types of cyber warfare.
·      Nations will form cyber warfare divisions creating an increased need for computer security professionals.
·      Private companies will have restrictions on how unprotected their networks are allowed to be and will be forced to increase their cyber security.

Cyber attacks are happening more frequently and the threat from cyber attacks are growing every day. Israel, Estonia, the United States, Brazil, Russia, Georgia, and several other countries have been assaulted in the last three years alone (Eshel 2010, Boyd 2010, Kroft 2009, Danchev 2008). Also, in the last few months, at least 34 companies were attacked by a “highly sophisticated” strike that originated from China (Zetter 2010).  There are also thousands of unreported attacks on banks and companies every year (Kroft 2009).  These attacks are largely underreported or kept quiet because companies are afraid to report their concern since “it might impact their business” said Sean Henry, formerly in charge of FBI’s cyber division (Kroft 2009).  These assaults steal terabytes of classified data, personal information, hundreds of millions of dollars, and plunge cities into darkness (Kroft 2009). 
Depending on the target and the attacker’s motive, the way that attacks can occur, can be vastly different.  Attackers could hack into a network and just sit and watch the network traffic, which would allow the intruder to read documents and capture sensitive information (Kroft 2009). The attacker could shut down a network using a denial of service attack, which could cost a company millions of dollars or shut an entire country down (Boyd 2010).  Electric providers are one of the most vulnerable and most dangerous targets of attacks.  In a demonstration, security experts were able to hack into a power generator and literally made it destroy itself (Kroft 2009). The real world consequences of an actual assault could knock out a power plant for months. The US has started making its own computer chips for nuclear missiles because evidence of embedded applications put in place by foreign intelligence agencies has been found (Kroft 2009).  Ebombs can be used to actually fry computer systems (Knapp, Kenneth J., and William R. Boulton 2006), and according to Senator Carl Levin the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services “cyber weapons are approaching weapons of mass destructions in their effect” (Singel 2010).
To prevent future attacks, many nations are creating cyber defenses to protect their citizens against the threat of cyber warfare.  The main powers in the cyber warfare arena are China, Russia, and the United States, but many other countries are developing their own programs, such as Great Britain, South Korea, France, Israel, Iran, and North Korea (Kroft 2009, Clark 2009, Sung-ki 2009, Eshel 2010, Coleman 2008).  NATO has even started planning for the next generation of warfare by building the Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence built in Estonia, after the cyber attacks on that nation in 2007.  The US Congress has set aside $17 billion for cyber security offensive and defensive initiatives (Kroft 2009).  The amount is a massive increase from even ten years ago, but money alone will not be enough to solve an impending problem from an unknown source.

·      The number of cyber attacks will increase, both on private industry and governments.  According to Symantec, they “identified more than 240 million distinct new malicious programs in 2009, a 100% increase over 2008.” (Symantec annual report)
·      Many nations, including Israel, China, South Korea, and the United States, will further develop cyber armies to combat a new threat.
·      Research funding for computer security will increase.  From the 2008 fiscal year to the 2011 fiscal year, the amount spent on computer security research has increased by 133 million dollars (NITRD budget).
·      There will be a push for countries to educate children in high tech fields.  The United States 2011 fiscal budget has set aside 477.2 million dollars for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programs (US budget 2011).
·      Policies will be implemented to ensure that the US is at the forefront of both the offensive and defensive ends of cyber warfare.
·      International policies will be put in place to limit the damage one nation may do to another.
·      Policies will be implemented to determine what constitutes an act of cyber war.

·      Policies must be put in place to ensure a standard for private companies’ computer and network security.
·      Policies have to be enacted so that the military knows which techniques they are and are not allowed to perform, when engaging in cyber warfare.
·      The US military mindset has to evolve to include high tech well-trained computer security experts in cyber attack and defensive units.
·      Create defensive plans against known attack methods.
·      Increase funding for computer security research.
·      Increase public awareness of the potential threat and give tips for effective computer security practices.

Boyd, Clark. "Cyber-war a Growing Threat Warn Expert." BBC NEWS. 17 June 2010. Web. 24 June 2010. .
Clark, Colin. "StratCom Plows Ahead on Cyber." DoD Buzz | Online Defense and Acquisition Journal. 29 June 2009. Web. 24 June 2010. .
Coleman, Kevin. "Iranian Cyber Warfare Threat Assessment | Defense Tech." Defense Tech. 23 Sept. 2008. Web. 24 June 2010. .
Danchev, Dancho. "Coordinated Russia vs Georgia Cyber Attack in Progress." ZDNet. 11 Aug. 2008. Web. 24 June 2010. .
Eshel, David. "Israel Adds Cyber-Attack to IDF." Military.com. 10 Feb. 2010. Web. 24 June 2010. .
Jackson, William. "DOD Struggles to Define Cyber War -- Government Computer News." Government Computer News. 12 May 2010. Web. 24 June 2010. .
Knapp, Kenneth J., and William R. Boulton. "Cyber-Warfare Threatens Corporations: Expansion Into Commercial Environmentspansion Into Commercial Environments." AllBusiness.com. 1 Apr. 2006. Web. 24 June 2010. .
Kroft, Steve. "Cyber War: Sabotaging the System - 60 Minutes - CBS News." CBS News. 8 Nov. 2009. Web. 24 June 2010. .
Singel, Ryan. "Cyberwar Commander Survives Senate Hearing." Wired News. 15 Apr. 2010. Web. 24 June 2010. .
Sung-ki, Jung. "Cyber Warfare Command to Be Launched in January." The Korea Times. 01 Dec. 2009. Web. 24 June 2010. .
Zetter, Kim. "Google Hack Attack Was Ultra Sophisticated, New Details Show." Wired News. 14 Jan. 2010. Web. 24 June 2010. .
Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence. Tallinn, Estonia. .
"FY 2011 ED Budget Summary: Summary." U.S. Department of Education. Web. 28 June 2010. .
"NITRD Goes Open." National Coordination Office for Networking and Information Technology Research and Development (NCO/NITRD). Web. 28 June 2010. .
"Symantec Report Shows No Slowdown in Cyber Attacks." Symantec - AntiVirus, Anti-Spyware, Endpoint Security, Backup, Storage Solutions. 27 May 2010. Web. 28 June 2010. .Topic: Cyber Warfare

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Deadly Embrace? US-China Relations. Notes from US Army War College


This post is a work in progress and will be updated as I read through additional notes and double check facts presented during lectures and discussions.

The views expressed in this blog posting are a collective summary of many opinions expressed at the US Army War College.  The War College practices non attribution so I will not provide the source of the opinion.  I share the summary of opinions, as well as my own, to open a dialog with others.  I walked into the US Army War College with my set of facts and beliefs, and walked out adding new facts and some adjustments to my beliefs.

China as a Nation is large and vast.  It's Government is very different from our own.  Nation's are made up of people.  Separating the two, Nation's Government & Politics vs. the People, is challenging but important.

In a fairly heated, dynamic exchange of varying opinions during my study group, it was my turn to speak and I used the technology term "Deadly Embrace" to explain my theory.

Classmate Point of View Expressed:  China would never pull the rug out from under us because it would hurt them (I am paraphrasing).

My Perspective:  I politely and respectfully disagree.  In some regards I believe they have and could damage us economically and politically.

Why I say we are in a "deadly embrace" with China - A very simplified, non technical description:  When two separate computers initiate a transaction that needs the same computer resources, they get locked in a deadly embrace.  The only way to get out of the deadly embrace is to power down both computers.  You have to be careful about who powers down first or if both should go at the same time & you have to be careful about who powers back up first.

I believe our situation with China fits this simplified definition of a "deadly embrace".    We owe them money, we buy their goods, they need our services, we would like to see them improve human rights, we have different points of view on ruling a Nation...

The U.S. has many global advantages and resources but we need to be cautious and strategic about how we develop our relationship with China the next 10 years.


Competitive strengths:  (Source:  Business Week November 10, 2009)
 Innovation - We are still a leader in science & technology
 Top in the Globe for Education - We rank among the best institutions of higher learning
 Committed (mostly) to competition and free markets
 Deep & effective (mostly) capital markets
 Resilient & dynamic

Pollution / Climate Change
Military Modernization
Human Rights
U.S. Capitalism is Under Seige by Protectionism & Populism

1.  Quote:  Mike McConnell, Dir of National Intelligence  Oct 30, 2008

“China is posed to have more impact on the world over the next 20 years than any other country.”

2.  POLLUTION:  China predicted to emit more than double the carbon dioxide emissions of the U.S.  Source:  Energy Information Administration


a.  GDP of the Global Economy is changing very quickly.  $ figures are from IMF.

GDP 2009 (millions of USD):
Rank 1:  US 14,256,275 
Rank 3:  China 4,908,982

b.  Strength in Numbers - Population
U.S.  305 Million
China 1.3 Billion

China population is aging.  By 2050, 1/3 of their population will be retirees

China has focused resources on their Army (PLA) without detracting too much from their economy.  Their official budget more than doubled in less than 10 years!  (Approx $27.9B in 2000 to $60.1B in 2008 USD). 

However, the U.S. still spends more than China on its military if you compare the "official" budgets.  We are not sure how much is spent by China off the official books on the military.

The U.S. has a national debt of $13 TRILLION and it is growing every day.  Our National debt is larger than the economies of the UK, Australia and China combined.

23% of our Debt is Foreign Owned.

The Top 3 Countries and Entities Holding Our Debt (Sources:  Treasury Dept and Defeat the Debt):
What does this have to do with Human Rights?  The U.S. owes China money.  When your own house is not in order, it is hard to lecture others on their issues.  

During the course of the week at USAWC, I learned from the military leaders that attended that a systemic & core reason for unrest and lack of peace in many parts of the world can be attributed to poverty, sub par education & lack of human rights protections.  The Chinese government's track record on Human Rights has had its fair share of issues.  How bold can we be asking them to change their approach when they are one of our main lenders?

As always, I am open to all comments, questions, and suggestions.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

US Army War College - Foreign Observations About Our Country

At the War College, there are several officers that attend from allied countries.  They bring a richness to the discussion that you might not otherwise experience.

The War College asks all participants to follow the non attribution policy so I will not note the name nor the country that the soldier belonged to.

I have been exposed to perspectives that have enriched my perspectives.

I'll start with 5 questions:
1.  The major differences between your country & the U.S.
2.  Your country's view of the U.S.
3.  The time horizon for establishing Middle East peace.
4.  Foreign aid ( a question that was posed to me ).
5.  Allies - measuring the "fair share" of the peacekeeping burden ( a question that was posed to me ).

Here are some notes from my interactions with Foreign Officers:

1.  When asked the differences between their country and ours, one soldier replied:
a.  Your country focuses on protecting the rights of the individual as part of your country.  Our country focuses on our country's rights which an individual belongs to.
b.  Your military organizations and members tend to be more religious than ours.
c.   Our borders are closed.  We are very limited and particular about who is allowed to become a citizen of our country.

2.  When asked to explain their country's view of the United States, one soldier replied:
You (the U.S.) are a friend to Israel.  You (the U.S.) are perceived as an enemy to Islam.

3.  When asked what the commitment needs to be to establish peace in the Middle East that is sustainable, answers from various soldiers ranged from 50-100 years.

4.  When the foreign officers asked me my knowledge of the amount of foreign aid we send overseas, I did not have a full command of the facts.  As a taxpayer, I felt pretty silly not knowing the extent of our dollars going abroad.

Maybe some of you are shaking your heads that I was so out of touch with the $.  That is okay.  But, for those of you that did not know the extent of our generousity, here are a few numbers that I jotted down:

a.  Israel is often in the top 1-3 largest recipients (if you count all programs) of assistance since WWII.  We are expected to increase our military assistance to Israel to about $3B in Fiscal year 2012.

b.  Since the end of WWII, the US has loaned and given $1 Trillion+ to roughly 150 countries.

c.  Roughly $550 Million has been set aside to support the Merida Initiative (this initiative is focused on stopping/preventing the escalation of terrorism, drug trafficking, and other crimes in Mexico and Central

d.  Roughly $1.3 Billion+ goes to Egypt

e.  Approximately $2.1 Billion was allocated for the State Dept and USAID programs in Africa (Sudan, Liberia, Zimbabwe & Somalia) to address NON HIV/Aids health, economic growth, and political issues.

For better and more thorough statistics and amounts, I would refer you to the www.USAID.gov site.

5.  When the foreign soldiers asked for MY perspective on whether or not the rest of the world was pulling their weight and doing their fair share in the Middle East, they shared the following facts:

a.  Per capita, the highest number of soldier deaths?  The hardest hit was the UK.  The United States has lost more soldiers but the UK took the heavier hit per capita.

b.  Norway has dedicated 25% of their total military to the Middle East efforts.

c.  The price of peace - The U.S. plus NATO, Japan, S. Korea and Australia spend over $1 Trillion if you tally up spending on the military.  The U.S. is roughly $700 Billion of that spending.  I found various sources where the $ are near this range.  One source you may find of interest is:

These are just a few of the notes from my conversations.  As always, I am very interested to hear from you. Would love your comments and questions.

Were any of these comments or notes surprising to you?  Do you agree / disagree?

US Army War College

I will be posting notes about my experience at the US Army
War College.

I will do so in sections.  The experience was so rich and deep, I want to commit to do a post per subject area.

The Commandant asked us to share our experience but we are to do so in a non-attributional manner.  Therefore, I will refrain from attributing comments or quotes to the specific speakers, teachers, soldiers, and civilians that I will write about.

It was an honor and a true blessing to be able to attend the US Army War College.

Please send me your comments and ask questions about what I blog about.

The experience deeply impacted me and I will do the best I can to share my experience.

Congratulations to all the graduates of the US Army War College - especially my new friends from Seminar Group 10.  You are all in my thoughts and prayers as you scatter across the globe in your service to our country.

Joy, Peace & Go With God,