Taking a Measure of the Asian Defense Challenge: Shaping a Way Ahead

At an Air Force Association breakfast seminar, Ed Timperlake, Rick Fischer and Gordon Chang looked at the Asian defense challenge and ways to deal with it.

What follows is the presentation by Ed Timperlake given at the breakfast seminar held on May 20, 2014 and the full transcript can be found here:

AFA Breakfast Meeting May2014

It is in a conversational style but contains a number of key points relevant to our discussion of the Second Nuclear Age.

Rather than give you the view “as Ed sees it”, I’d like to give you a couple of data points and let you all decide what to do with them.

I became editor of a web site, Sldforum.com after I left government.

And as such, I have a guest editor for this year, Paul Bracken, who is a Yale professor who wrote the book “The Second Nuclear Age,” and I commend that book to all of you, it is a very impressive work.

What Paul did was he took a look at all the various emerging problems coming out of the first Nuclear Age Cold War. I will tell you what he diagnosed for the 2nd Nuclear Age — when I asked him while reviewing his book –Professor you’ve looked at this and you’re a very smart guy, one of the smartest, — what do we do about it?

And he said if I knew what to do about it; ”I would have put it in the last chapter.” We all currently don’t know, and that’s the problem.

We’re facing a Brave New World here.

My dad was a Navy nuke submariner, so I went to the Naval Academy but took a window seat by being a Marine aviator. I grew up immersed in the Navy nuke deterrence world, and it was very impressive, Admirals Rayburn and Rickover were giants.

But I also grew up watching the Air Force movies: James Stewart and bombers. God, I loved those movies. In one Jimmy Stewart begins by flying a B-36, and then he flies a B-47 from CONUS to Asia. The point of that is that the Air Force and Navy team won the Cold War on the nuke deterrence side. America owes then a very long victory lap. They faced our strategic enemies down by pure, in your face,— come at us, we’ll come right back at you.

I was President Reagan’s director of mobilization, planning and requirements. I had all the sites; I also had the continuity of government (COG) plans. I knew the deterrence world very well. As we come into this world, this Second Nuclear age it is all similar but also very different.

One data point, in 1998 I went to Sevastopol and I was a guest of the Ukrainian Navy and their Chief of Naval Operations. I was with the Professional Staff of the House Committee on Rules, with Chairman Solomon. The Chairman was a very smart serious man and had Congressional throw-weight to gain access.

We got on a boat and toured the Sevastopol harbor as guests of Ukraine CNO. He was a big tall man, very impressive, and had been a Soviet submarine commander, who transitioned to become the chief of naval operations of the Ukrainian navy. Our tour guide traveling on the water throughout the harbor pointed out Russian ships and Ukraine ships.

And my read today is the same after my tour of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. The Russian Navy embraced tactical nukes at sea, they really did embrace them with a passion. And my pure guess is since they had them, in ’98, they still had them in the Fleet in that harbor when the recent unpleasantness with Ukraine broke out.

I wrote an article, it didn’t get much traction, but I looked at Putin as a rational actor, and concluded that if he has a threat of Ukrainian forces storming into that harbor and grabbing Russian Navy tactical nukes, that would be a very big problem for him.

So that dynamic could have been a motivation for direct Russian action in Sevastopol. Make of this what you will, but get the Intel community to look at it. When you play with the Russians, you play with tactical nukes and our Navy has taken a step back from that.

In continuing to discuss of Russian deterrence and TacNucs and if necessary warfighting the Russian military equation in the Pacific tends to be more nuke oriented. They can’t handle China conventionally the quantity of PLA conventional weapon throw-weight to the Russian throw-weight is against them, so they feel the need for tac­nukes in the Pacific

Which now takes us to the brave new world of Korea, and this is where I am perhaps getting a little provocative.

I looked at Korea. I’ve been briefed about the Korean military situation. I was briefed by an Army four-star in Korea in 1998. I’ve walked into North Korea. Those of you who have been there, you know you can do that. There’s a building, you walk in that crosses the border, and North Korean military forces comes down and growls at you. The brief before you go in the building is please don’t flip them the bird or give them anything they could use in a photo for propaganda purposes.

You sit there in this building and have a lot of very skinny people in army uniforms snarl at you through a window. They do that, it is most amazing.

But here’s the point, the Dear Leader III or IV, whatever he is in their lineage, has threatened to annihilate everybody. I published an article about the US Army in South Korea. I made a case in which the Army in looking for an enhanced mission after Afghanistan and Iraq created Pacific Pathways, and they added an additional Army Four Star in the Pacific. I argued that they needed to rethink their con-ops.

What they are proposing in Pacific Pathways is taxing Air Force lift to fly them around the Pacific. Specifically AF heavy lift would be moving additional conventional forces around the Pacific.

My argument to the US Army on the Korean Peninsula is wait a minute, since the 1950s you’ve help build a South Korean army to a fighting force of over 500,000 capable troops.

And they are very capable. “ROK Ready” is a term of art that was told to me and means just that.

The Army has 28,500 Army troops in South Korea, so if it is critical to send 800 additional Army Mech troops they have missed the entire point of the new threat.

The reason why is simple you can’t go head-to-head conventionally with a madman with a nuclear weapon with the ability to launch that weapon on a whim. So my argument to the Army command over there, which I haven’t gotten much traction on yet, is that the deterrence warfighting posture on the Korean Peninsula has migrated to an Air Force air command issue.

I will propose this, but I haven’t written the article yet, is that the US commanding general on the Korean Peninsula should shift from the Army to the Air Force, because airpower is the solution to stopping the Dear Leader. You find him and you kill him as fast as you can. You cannot do a clank-clank tank battles or artillery duels not against a madman with a Nuke.

The Dear Leader is going to kill a lot of people, regardless of how many troops or Air Force planes are in the air, because he gets the first shot, with 20,000 artillery tubes and MLRS they can pull a lanyard –in five seconds a lot of people will die. You’ve got to go immediately after the Dear Leader and his senior leaders. It is a regime killing decapitation strategy and that is the Korean issue and airpower can do just that.

In looking at China initially in the nineties I thought, “hmm.,” China has kept their strategic forces minimized.

But later into the 21st Century I noticed China was different, they love missiles,  and their Second Artillery is huge. And they did this for their anti-access, area denial posture. To my friends in the Navy, and I’ve said this and I will write on this many times, I think a lot of it is pure hollow posturing so far.

We who have been in the military, have been in exercises, many of us have fired missiles. We have taken off in airplanes or been afloat or on land and practiced our skills and tested our weapons. We have shown that process to the world we have an open media. And we know our skills good and bad and if we bungle a shot, all know it.

The Chinese have asserted anti-access, area denial.

However, I wait for just one shot they have taken that proves to me they can take a IRBM , do over-the-horizon ground, sea or satellite search, find a maneuvering ship at sea, launch their missile have it go on trajectory, come down find a ship, go into end game maneuvering and sink it.

Prove to me just one test. I’m not minimizing the threat, I never, ever minimize threats, but let’s be a little bit realistic before we row ashore and surrender our swords and say we can’t fight in the Pacific.

Now how can we fight in the Pacific?

Well that’s a different issue.

I think quite frankly, Korea leads the way, with Japan, then Philippines and on into Taiwan and down into Vietnam following. I’ll lay that out very quickly and then I’ll back off.

I really did see a role for “Big Army”. We interviewed for SLDINFO.com — a very impressive Air Defense Artillery (ADA) Army general, my co-author did that interview. He was a Patriot Commander and now also a THAADs commander, and he said , “I’ve been at war for 30 years.”

That caught me by surprise, because on reflection it is very true.

I was in the White House for Desert Storm. The Patriots were used not only to kill Scuds, but they were also used to send a deterrence signal so that the Israeli air force would not fly.

In the White House during Desert Storm one of our biggest fears was the Israelis especially their Air Force would engage. And I like the Israeli air force, trust me, they could do the job but it might have shattered the Arab nations contribution to our Desert Storm alliance. .

So we used the Patriot as both a killer and a deterrent. Well now we have the next generation. We have the THAADs. General “Hawk” Carlisle, the AF four-star out in the Pacific, is a very visionary commander, came up with two concepts.

He came up with the Rapid Raptor.

What is that?

Well that is the idea where you start teaming a C-17 with and a division or “four ship” of F-22 Raptors. And the Generals vision is “places, not bases.” And all of a sudden you start moving your air forces around the Pacific to various bases so that you’re not a sitting target.

Because one things the Chinese can do, because and they proved hitting a diagram of a carrier in their desert is throw a missile at a fixed point “Boom”, they hit it. Everybody goes, oh my god, they can do that.

Well, Werner von Braun could do that for Germany in WWII. . The great quote about him was, he wrote the book, “I Aim at the Stars.” and as the comedian Mort Sahl said the subtitle should be “but sometimes I hit London.”

So the problem we have is that the Chinese can actually hit stationary targets, and they have the coordinates of all the air bases. As an aside rapid runway repair is essential along with revetments.

But you also have a defense in depth issue here with THAAD.

What does this really mean as a practical matter?

If the Chinese are building their rocket forces, and they are; and the American Army sees the right way to do “Pacific Pathways”, they can flood the zone with ADA– THAADs. And Patriots.

There are 9,000 islands in the Japanese chain, and 7,000 in the Philippines, and also around Korea they have a lot of islands. We can go out and pour concrete and put firing positions all over the place, complicating the targeting problem of Chinese missiles.

Consequently, if you have that, you’re beginning to build a passive deterrence factor that can go active, so it’s not provocative, but can win a war.

The Pacific then becomes a better place for the American forces to maneuver and fight.

I’m a big proponent of Army THAAD and their Pacific Pathways if done smartly, and not more tanks and Mech infantry flooding the Pacific to introduce themselves to various countries is ADA focused it can make a huge difference.

The Marines are doing something slightly different.

They’re putting F-35B out there, afloat, which is going to be a world-changing airplane. People criticize me for   being a big advocate for the F-35. But I do think the F-35 has a deterrence factor at the strategic level, that has yet to be determined.

To tell everybody in the audience here a little bit about it is the F-35 can passively search and sense incoming threats.

An F-35 on a test flight over Pax river Maryland sensed a missile launched 800 miles away at the Cape in Florida. This was just by accident. Flying around in a test plane over Pax River – then boom, see in the cockpit a missile light off from Florida is a game changing technology.

What does that really tell us?

It tells us if you get into a satellite war, we’ve have a second tier of ISR assets embedded in human active decision-making F-35 pilots.

The F-35 fleet will create a honeycombed grid at a tactical flying level that has strategic capabilities and huge implications..

What are those strategic capabilities?

I’ll get to China and end this discussion.

China has done some unique things.

Again, as the director of mobilization my job was both counterforce/countervalue targeting, which is what we did, and also continuity of government (COG). America Continuity of government was a big deal in the first Nuc Age and was critical, and it still is even more so now.

How do you survive so you can fight the war?

It got pretty ugly at the end of the Cold War. Very few people know this but I can talk about it now. In our hardened ground sites, you had about a half hour more of life because the nukes were so accurate they could dig you out but it took several strikes. So we could fight the war as they were coming at you: launch and fight, and launch and fight and then die—but it was successful deterrence.

Well the Chinese have gone underground– and Phil Karber at Georgetown gets full credit for this – the PLA Great Underground Wall. They have gone underground to build many hardened tunnels.

People have estimated many miles of tunnels, I don’t know the real number but I seen 3,000 miles mentioned.

Well what happens then is not only do you have this ability to disguise and hide your strategic deterrence ICBM rocket force, on movable TELs, so you can move them out of a hole, pop it up, and it’s ready to go. You do not know that they’re going to do this until they do it.

And the Underground Great Wall also gives them continuity of government for state survival. So that is of significant concern. They haven’t really announced it much except I’ve seen some videos.

The dilemma of the second nuclear age is some Cold War Deterrence with thinking about changes in deterrence and warfighting because proliferation to other states specifically as mentioned North Korea,

Let’s go to Libya for a second.

Why do this?

Because, Qaddafi was de-nuking. He was an intel source against bad guys yet they decide to kill him. Okay, got it and it was ugly.

But that was also a signal to Iran. If Qaddafi kept his nuke, I don’t think, Odyssey Dawn would have had the trigger pulled I just don’t believe that. So Odyssey Dawn was a terrible signal to Iran in my opinion.

The second one, which just recently happened was Ukraine had a deal to de-nuke, they did just that and Russia picked a fight.

That’s another signal to Iran. “Hey, nukes have value”

So the point being in this the second nuke age is that proliferation that could quickly accelerate. Nations embracing Nuc weapons can cascade? Because if Japan doesn’t think we’re serious they can go nuke almost overnight. They’re that good.

Where the Middle East is concerned, I’m a big advocate of protecting Israel, and a big proponent of the IAF. I know them, and have a few friends in the IAF.

And if Iran comes close to having a bomb, I think Israel will not let that happen,   but somehow Iran announces a bomb. The Saudis can buy a bomb overnight, there is enough money in many Middle East nations to buy nuclear weapons. So the whole thing turns into a Middle East tinderbox.

Where is this going?

I don’t’ know, I just offer these data points to worry about.

Finally the terrorist loose nuke threat has to be discussed.

My number one fear is the Chechens who are very capable, nasty people. If they get their hands on a device stand-by, you don’t know where they’ll put it. So you have all these dilemmas.

Finally have India vs Pakistan.

I asked an AF three star when he visited India about their deterrence equation and was told essentially is we have 1.3 billion people, you want to fight with us, you’re gone., we will survive.

Now that’s a pretty tough deterrence. But, you know, he may have had a point, since they also believe in reincarnation. So the point being is, all these dilemmas are out there.

I yield to your judgment on what to do with them.

The one advocacy position I’ll have, and I am mostly with an Air Force audience so I hope I finally have a friendly crowd, is that if I was in the next administration, I would really look a transitioning our Korea four star Command to the Air Force as opposed to big Army.

The US Army did a great job. They won to date by building effective ground deterrence but now the problem is different. I think, it is time for an Air Force four-star to do the strategic planning to stop the craziness of a Nuclear weapon enabled North Korea.


The US Needs To Withdraw From the INF Treaty: Shaping a Relevant Modernizaton Strategy

The Obama administration has recently – and very belatedly – announced it has found Russia in violation of the INF treaty, which prohibits Moscow and Washington from developing, testing, deploying, or otherwise possessing ground-launched missiles with a range between 500 and 5,500 kilometers.

Russia has been flagrantly violating the treaty since at least 2010.

However, until now, the Obama administration and the pro-arms-control crowd have long been denying this fact – until it became too obvious and too easily provable to deny it.

Specifically, Russia has repeatedly flight-tested a new ground-launched cruise missile of a range prohibited by the treaty (500 to 5,500 kms); has flight-tested and deployed Iskander ballistic missiles also within that range envelope; and has flight-tested the Yars-M ICBM at a range of 2,000 kms – again within the treaty’s envelope.

Even though Russia has effectively made the INF treaty a dead letter and a worthless piece of paper, several arms control supporters  (including the Ploughshares Fund, the Arms Control Association, and other groups) are calling on the US to continue to unilaterally adhere to the treaty and to cut its own arsenal even further – even as Russia continues to build up its own and deploying missiles banned by the INF treaty.

But an alternative course of action is needed — for the US to withdraw from the INF treaty and address the future of its nuclear forces.

Ploughshares President Joe Cirincione and ACA’s Thomas Collina claim the Russian violation is not a grave or immediate threat to American and allied security.

This is dead wrong.

Russia’s INF Treaty violation IS an immediate threat to the US AND its allies.

These intermediate range missiles allow Russia to target its allies in Europe and Asia (and all US bases there) with very accurate missiles carrying very deadly payloads (nuclear and conventional).

With ranges measured in hundreds (Iskander-M/K) and thousands (R-500, Yars-M) of kilometers, these missiles allow Russia to hold all US allies in Europe, and most in Asia, hostage to their nuclear weapons WITHOUT involving Russia’s strategic missile force. T

And the Russians have no intention of adhering to the treaty for it gets in the way of dealing with their Chinese threat.

The advocates of unilateral adhesion to the INF treaty is in the US interest.

A claim is made that the issue can be resolved through “patient diplomacy”, and that enough pressure, combined with confirming Frank Rose as the State Department’s arms control compliance supremo, can force Russia to scrap the forbidden missiles and come into compliance with INF. Says Cirincione:

“Concerns are raised privately in hope of resolving them.

When that fails, they are made public.

When that fails tougher diplomacy is tried. (…)

This violation is more than a technical violation, but since it is not an immediate threat to the U.S. or our allies, there is time to use the established arms control mechanism to pressure Russia to halt the cruise missile program, verifiably dismantle any missiles tested in violation of the limits and agree to abide by the treaty’s terms. (…)

Congress could back the administration’s efforts and add some clout by confirming into office the man in charge of verifying Russian compliance with arms control treaties.

Frank Rose has been patiently waiting more than one year – 384 days – to be confirmed in his post as the assistant secretary of state for verification and compliance. (…)

We have cajoled the Russians back into compliance before and – with the right staff in place and a united approach – we can do it again. In the process, we can prevent the Russians from rebuilding the weapons that Ronald Reagan so painstakingly destroyed.”

Russia will not come into compliance with the INF treaty and dismantle its intermediate range missiles.

Abiding by the INF treaty is decidedly NOT in Russia’s national interest; on the contrary, it is in its security interest to violate the accord.

The reason why is China’s deployment of over 1,200 short-range, and over 120 medium and intermediate range (DF-4, DF-21, DF-25, DF-26C), ballistic missiles, as well as hundreds of intermediate range (DH-10, CJ-10) ground-launched cruise missiles (GLCM).

China has literally hundreds of such weapons, and they can deliver nuclear or conventional warheads to anywhere in Russia – WITHOUT the need to involve China’s intercontinental missiles.

(Source: Department of Defense, Military Power of the People’s Republic of China, Washington DC, 2008.)

So Russia, like the US, is facing a significant threat from China’s ballistic and cruise missiles – and unlike the US, Russia is facing that missile threat right on its doorstep.

Yet, Russia, like the US, is prohibited from fielding any intermediate-range ground-launched missiles to counter China, with which it shares a border and with whom it fought a short border war in 1969.

No wonder, then, that for years Russian leaders have called the treaty unjust and have been grousing about withdrawing from it.

As they have said, the treaty prohibits only Russia and the US – but not China or anyone else – from fielding intermediate-range ground-launched missiles.

It is absolutely NOT in Russia’s NOR in America’s interest to continue to adhere to such an unequal treaty that only binds two countries in the world and no one else, while other nuclear powers continue to deploy intermediate range missiles and China continues to amass a large arsenal of these.

It Is In America’s Interest To Withdraw

Cirincione also claims that:

“Pulling out of a treaty that blocks the Russians from deploying weapons that we don’t have and don’t need would be foolish. (…)

We have nothing to gain from pulling out of the INF treaty. We already have long-range nuclear weapons trained on hundreds of targets in Russia.

We don’t need a few dozen more.”

This is also utterly wrong.

Russia now has more ICBMs, strategic bombers, and nuclear warheads than the US, and plans on adding still more, so the US DOES need to build up its nuclear arsenal – and to get on with it.

Moreover, deploying IRBMs (nuclear- or conventional-armed ones) in Europe and Asia would enable the US to hold at least some Russian and Chinese targets at risk without involving America’s strategic missile or bomber force.

Withdrawal from the INF Treaty would also allow the US to expand its conventional precision strike options against any targets.

Right now, the US relies singularly on conventional-armed, subsonic JASSM-ER and Tomahawk cruise missiles (whose range is just 1,000 and 1,700 kms, respectively) for attacking soft targets and on its small fleet of strategic bombers for attacking more distant and hardened targets.

Contrary to Cirincione’s assertions, America has nothing to gain by remaining a party to the INF treaty, to which only America adheres, thus essentially either disarming itself or not focusing on requisite modernization.

Moreover, the INF treaty is not blocking Russia from doing anything – even though it formally prohibits them to deploy intermediate range missiles.

It’s time to recognize that the INF Treaty is a dead letter.

Zbigniew Mazurak is a private defense analyst and the Defense Correspondent for Conservative Daily News.

He has contributed over 20 articles to the American Thinker, over 190 articles to Conservative Daily News, and numerous articles to other conservative news sites, the vast majority of them dealing with America’s defense issues.

He holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in History and is now working on his Ph.D. in the same field.

Note: The Ukrainian crisis only heightens concern with regard to the future of deterrence and what the Russians would believe to be a credible approach by the United States. 

Withdrawing from INF while focusing on requisite modernization might be a way to enhance deterrence.


Scottish Independence: A Blow Against Western Nuclear Deterrence?

Roughly three weeks from now, the Scottish people will decide for themselves whether they wish to end the 307 year union that has bound them to the United Kingdom.

The Union formed in large part due to economic concerns following a failed excursion in colonialism that left Edinburgh bankrupt, and economic issues similarly dominate the contemporary discussion as the small nation edges closer to referendum. Given the immediately-felt economic effects of an independent Scotland, it is understandable that Scots have delegated so much of their attention to these matters.

However, the implications of Scottish independence on security and defense is a largely overlooked facet to be considered as Scotland’s four million registered voters head to the polls this September.

In particular, Scottish independence raises particular questions regarding the United Kingdom’s Trident nuclear program, NATO, and the capability of Britain to remain the greatest ally of the United States.

According to the Scottish Nationalist Party’s (SNP) white paper on independence — a hefty tome describing the Scottish Government’s vision of an independent Scotland — the small nation would function on the international stage in a similar manner to that of nearby Scandinavian countries.

Roughly three weeks from now, the Scottish people will decide for themselves whether they wish to end the 307 year union that has bound them to the United Kingdom. The vote could have a significant even decisive impact on the UK nuclear deterrent and English defense policy.

Roughly three weeks from now, the Scottish people will decide for themselves whether they wish to end the 307 year union that has bound them to the United Kingdom. The vote could have a significant even decisive impact on the UK nuclear deterrent and English defense policy.

An important aspect of this new philosophy entails a stern policy against nuclear weapons, which Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has deemed as “an affront to basic decency” and unequivocally “inhumane.”

This, unfortunately for Westminster, poses a great challenge to the United Kingdom’s nuclear deterrent, as it is accompanied by the quick and indefinite removal of the United Kingdom’s Nuclear Trident from the Scottish coast.

As it turns out, the core of the United Kingdom’s nuclear force is housed on Scottish shores and in Scottish bases, and the price and time it would take for relocation places a great stress on the U.K. Government.

This has led to the assumption that, should Scotland become an independent state, the United Kingdom — or rather, what remains of the United Kingdom — would be unable to maintain its nuclear arsenal, subsequently terminating it all together.

Should Westminster relinquish its cherished nuclear status, Western security would endure a peculiar strain. The United States, already skeptical of Great Britain’s capability, might opt for another partner to fill the role as “greatest ally.” Tides are already shifting in this nature, with President Obama unable to choose between Paris and London in naming Washington’s closest overseas associate and former Defense Secretary Robert Gates questioning U.K. military capability.

It is accordingly not out of the realm of possibility that a United Kingdom without 58 Trident II D-5 missiles might fall secondary and bring the United States and France closer militarily.

Uncertainty remains as to how much of a tangible impact this would have on greater international security. Still, the United Kingdom’s reliance on the United States for a credible nuclear deterrent suggests that, outside of geo-strategic benefits that the Scotland-based nuclear weapons provide to the Alliance, business would likely continue as usual.

However, while many have argued that a “Yes” vote in September would lead to an end of the U.K. nuclear deterrence, the United Kingdom is likely more reluctant to scrap the Trident than assumed at first glance. As stated in the Scottish white paper, the United Kingdom seeks to project global power by deploying nuclear weapons. Westminster’s current coalition government is headed by a Conservative Party that — despite rejecting the internationally inflammatory U.S.-comradery of former PM Tony Blair’s Liberal Interventionism — is keenly aware of the importance of its nuclear deterrent to both NATO and its “special relationship” with the United States, a relationship closely connected to the maintenance of the British legacy.

Cameron’s conservatives adhere to the modern-day Tory principle of “euroskepticism”, which views the European Union as potentially restrictive of UK interests and inherently brings an emphasis towards the Atlanticist commitments with Washington and NATO, and thus the nuclear deterrent.

For all the talk of a new Conservative idealism in the United Kingdom, Cameron has so far asserted himself as a bastion of the traditional realism of his conservative ancestors, and is unlikely to allow Scottish independence to end the UK nuclear deterrent. This, of course, might change with the coming elections, though a hypothetical Labour government may well maintain the importance of nuclear weapons held by predecessors Blair and Brown.

In addition, the United States is able to exert more influence on London than it would like to admit.

It is undeniably in the United States’ best interest for the United Kingdom to continue reinforcing U.S. and NATO nuclear force.

If Scottish independence becomes a fact rather than a campaign, and if Westminster is seriously mulling the abandonment of its nuclear deterrent, Washington might impose the same kind of pressure that eventually coaxed the United Kingdom into the EU.

For Scotland’s part, the nation will enter into the Alliance as a non-nuclear member if the Scottish will sways towards independence.

The geographic position of Scotland entitles it to an important role in regional security. Still, given its present existence in NATO as a nation within the United Kingdom, an independent Scotland’s admission into the Alliance would have little effect outside of a continuation of the status quo.

However, the SNP has sworn to increase the Scottish contribution to NATO air force capabilities in the event of a “Yes” vote, as well as the creation of a second naval squadron solely for NATO and other excursions in international waters.

As the Scottish Government and First Minister Alex Salmond have indicated, it is certain that when the Scottish people vote for independence this September, they are also voting for the end of the U.K.’s Trident nuclear program as it currently exists.

But that is not to say that the Trident will cease to exist in its entirety.

Rather, an independent Scotland is likely to be trailed by the Trident’s relocation and possibly re-configuration, a prospect which — though costly — is conducive to the continuation of global stability.




IDC Summit 2014: Middle Eastern Christians Shape a Response

Information War is now being engaged in by US and freedom loving people against ISIS.

We did an interview with Joseph Kassab  and he described to us that  there  are many very decent and well intentioned individuals representing religions that are paying a terrible price by the murderous intent of ISIS.


Mr. Kassab just notified us of this conference, we are bringing it to our readers attention:


And with Secretary Hagel’s warning about ISIS attacking America every US talking head on TV defending Islam as the Religion of Peace or commenting on moral parity between Hamas –Vs  Israel- should first denounce ISIS  before they start any of their talking points.

Denouncing ISIS over and over really will  begin to change the narrative for the good of our safety.

According to the description of the event by the organizers:

The primary purpose of the Summit is to bring all members of the Diaspora together in a newfound sense of unity.

Whether Orthodox or Catholic; Evangelical, Coptic or Maronite; Syriac, Lebanese, Chaldean or Assyrian – all Middle Eastern Christians will be called on to join together in solidarity.

This solidarity will strengthen advocacy efforts with policy makers and elected officials….

Thus united, Middle Eastern Christians will invite all people of good will to join the cause to defend the defenseless, to be a voice for those who are voiceless.

The survival of these historic Christian communities is not merely a moral imperative; it is in the interests of all nations and peoples of the West and the Middle East.

As noted in the May 7, 2014 “Pledge” of religious and human rights leaders, Middle Eastern Christians “have long been an integral part of the social fabric, and have contributed, alongside Muslims, to the construction of the Arab civilization.

They have had an especially formative role in promoting education, literacy, learning and health care,” which serve all people in the region.  

The Making of Haider al-Abadi: The New Prime Minister of Iraq

The appointment of Haider al-Abadi as Iraqi prime minister is the culmination of a decade long political ascent that was unheralded but nonetheless remarkable.

Driven into exile by the murder of his father and two brothers by the Baath party, Abadi spent two decades in England acquiring an advanced degree in electrical engineering and becoming a consulting engineer for building elevators.

At the same time he became an active Dawa party organizer in the expatriate Iraqi community and the protégé of Ibrahim al-Jafari, who became a Dawa leader.

At the fall of Saddam Hussein he returned to Baghdad and was rewarded for his longtime Dawa support by being appointed Minister of Communications.

The legacy of the Coalition Provisional Authority is one of epic unchecked corruption.

Haider al-Abadi was not appointed as Communications Minister because of any telecommunication expertise, but because he would be decisive in assuring Dawa control of the projected cellular phone contracts for Iraq, and more important, the control of the $3 billion to be awarded with the contracts and the significant ongoing cash flow as Iraq built out a cell phone capability.

In the middle of the Iraq telecom lawless “gold rush” was the British based Iraqi exile, the shadowy billionaire Nadmi Auchi.

NBC accurately reported Auchi’s actions in the Coalition Provisional Authority , “NBC News has learned that one man who allegedly did business with Saddam Hussein may benefit from one of the richest new reconstruction contracts.”

Abadi claimed correctly that the decision to award the contracts preceded his appointment as minister, but that was a convenience and courtesy accorded by Jafari, Auchi, and Auchi’s agents in the ministry and the Coalition Provisional Authority to becloud and introduce confusion in the award process.

Auchi had spent well over a decade buying influence in Britain across the political spectrum there and in the United States through a series of administrations, culminating with the Clinton and George W. Bush White Houses .

Auchi bragged that he had been “a visitor to two White Houses:” a combination of charitable and political donations had assured his access, particularly in the Clinton years.

In the Bush years he became the darling of the Pentagon because of his partnership with Ahmed Chalabi, the secular Shia who appeared to straddle the Iraqi political spectrum, and who had been groomed by his supporters in Washington to become the George Washington of Iraq.

By 2006, after only a year and a half in power, Jafari had created so many problems as prime minister that both the US and British governments gave up on him and sent Secretary of State Condelezza Rice and Foreign Minister Jack Straw to Baghdad to try to force him out.

Corruption had continued unabated.

While Abadi had been among Jafray’s most prominent defenders the political sands had shifted in Baghdad. He stepped aside and bided his time.

The Shia power and money train, however, had not stopped.

Nouri al-Malaki had become the new focus of Shia and Dawa power, and Abadi quickly adapted his allegiance to accommodate the new Dawa coalition and used that allegiance to rise to become Deputy Speaker of the parliament.

He became a quiet part of the Dawa machine, made accommodations with the subsets of the coalition, and made no waves.

By 2014, after eight years in power, the tides of corruption and dissention rose again to take out Maliki in his turn.

At this stage there appeared to be only two contenders to replace him:

Jafari and Chalabi, the failed candidates of yesteryear, themselves so tarnished that they dissuaded would be kingmakers from returning to them.

What was needed in a new prime minister was sufficient experience to suggest competence, sufficient Dawa credentials to assure core Shia support, and a profile low enough to limit detractors.

His corruption coefficient was sufficiently old that it was forgotten and its magnitude was lost in the shared participation in the telecom billions.

But he was a critical player in one of the biggest rip offs of the entire Iraqi reconstruction debacle, a scam that has been quietly covered up for a decade.

Haider al-Abadi thus became, in Iraqi terms, the new and honest political figure, the new face for the year 2014.

But what we have is only the old wine in a new bottle, the taste has not improved with age.

The French got it right: Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.

Notes on the effort to uncover Iraq corruption by the Honorable John A. “Jack” Shaw.

In a previous Administration Jack Shaw had been an Inspector General at State, and in President George W. Bush’s Administration at DoD was dual hatted at the Pentagon: he was a Deputy Undersecretary tasked with tracking exported US technology and weaponry around the world and simultaneously made the action officer at DoD for problems in Iraq in the transportation and communications areas.

Ed Timperlake’s editorial note: Serving as the Director of Technology Assessment under DUSD Jack Shaw in ITS/OSD, and also traveling to Iraq I experienced firsthand everything Jack is reporting.

He is exactly right about both issues CPA corruption and his total exoneration. In fact I was the co-author with James Adams, founding Chair of National Security Agency’s Technology Advisory Board of the investigation reported out as “Preliminary Findings: Report to the Inspector General into Mobile Telecommunications Licenses in Iraq” May 11, 2004.

It covered the corruption on the process of licensing telecom companies throughout all of Iraq.

Unfortunately as often said the lie goes around the world before the truth gets its shoes on.

It is true Jack was asked to leave DOD because he went public on the Russian effort to ex-filtrate chemical and high explosive munitions out of Iraq just before US invasion.

For whatever reason, the Bush NSC wanted to cover this up and to not deal with it as a public issue.

Jack Shaw was proven correct on this and paid a significant price.

But for the total credibility of his article, the FBI/DOJ investigation found nothing against Shaw and was publicly reported in LAT and his Pentagon exit was a totally separate matter.

I was present and saw it all happen as he accurately reports it

In his own words:

At the same time my office had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the DoD IG’s office giving me the investigatory reach and a badge to deal with these problems. With that I got another title, Director of International Armament and Technology Trade, and the authority dig into problems of Iraqi reconstruction. It was in that pursuit that I encountered Haider al-Abadi, Nadhmi Auchi, and their larcenous band.

Looking into the fixing of the Iraq Telecom contracts we discovered a central US role in the fix: It was orchestrated out of the of the Deputy Secretary’s office at DoD and run by the CIA in the person of Charles Allen, then the agency’s guru for technical assistance. Abadi was the ringmaster of the exercise, with three Brits and two Americans, in on the fix in Baghdad. When it was over, $435 million, half in Iraqi funds and half in appropriated US funds, were missing from the ministry account, in addition to the 3 billion payable in the contract, the three Brits had faded away, but the two Americans actions came in clear focus: One had had quickly gone to work for one of the winning companies, and the other, Dan Sudnick, the Director of Communications for the CPA, was fired when Bearing Point, the US auditors, found no trace of the $435 million nor any records, either paper or electronic. The fix was a brilliant ploy designed to provide “walking around money” for the principal Iraqi political groupings, and succeeded in doing that before my office at DoD surfaced the scam in late 2003. The money, however, has never been found or accounted for.

The intelligence connection and its tie to the immediate Office of the Secretary of Defense, however, created seismic tremors of nuclear level magnitude for my office at DoD. The result was that they tried to move me, then discredit me, and then fire me. To accomplish this they created a smear campaign to create the fiction that I, the whistle blower and former IG, had tried to throw a subsequent telecom contract to a friend in Iraq

An internal investigation ordered by Rumsfeld himself showed that I had pursued my authority in Iraq in an appropriate manner. A DoD press release was issued to that effect.

Rumsfeld subsequently ordered everything concerning the phony allegations to be sent to the FBI. After an FBI full field global investigation was concluded, which spent several hundred thousand dollars on three continents, they reported that I had not only done nothing criminal, I had done nothing wrong. In the PR media attacks after a series of hothouse bogus allegations reported by T Christian Miller in the LA Times the paper after FBI and DOJ finding absolutely no evidence of any personal wrong doing finally had to admit my innocence. But as a final insult they buried the story on my total exoneration.

The phony allegations were a red herring and important only in that it had the effect of diverting all the attention off Abadi, Jafari, and Auchi, allowing them to cash in their gains and move on: Jafray became prime minister, and Abadi became his principal aide, essentially his deputy, and was elected as a member of parliament from Baghdad. Auchi, as is his wont, continued to milk the business prospects in Iraq and the region for millions of dollars and continued to build up his influence and political clout in the United States. The three and a half billion dollar scam was officially swept under the rug by US authorities.

The rest of the Auchi saga continues, this time with President Obama: Auchi continues his influence peddling using the Chicago Way, as reported by Human Events.

For additional stories on Iraq and relevant policy options for the United States, see the following:

Backing the Baghdad Government: A Viable Option?

08/13/2014 – Can the Baghdad government play a serious role in reconciliation or is it simply about maintaining the power of the governing faction?.

Can the new Prime Minister do anything other than continue the legacy of the post-occupation government which has spawned ISIS in the first place?.


Iraq 2014 is Not Iraq 2003: The Allied Dimension

08/13/2014 – There is allied support for the Kurds in their struggle against ISIS.

This provides a significant opportunity for recrafting US Iraq policy, an opportunity which would be thrown away by prematurely funding and arming the Baghdad government. ..


Iraq 2014: Crafting Strategic Maneuver Space

08/12/2014 – Focusing upon what is needed to pulverize military capabilities of ISIS to move rapidly and lethally, can buy some strategic maneuver space for the US and allies to sort out what kind of aid the Kurds might really need to protect their augmented territory within a fragmenting Iraq.


Iraq 2014: Not Repeating COIN

08/10/2014 – Iraq 2014 is not Iraq 2003.

It is not about yet again trying a COIN strategy; it is about shaping one that fits the real situation.



The Osprey and the Flexibility of the ARG-MEU

Recently, a reader raised a number of questions about the approach laid out by me on Second Line of Defense.


His comments can be found here:


Let me deal with each of them as follows:

“I’m amazed at how easily you glaze over the vulnerability of the MV-22 in the insertion/extraction phase of any operations…”

These pilots may certainly disagree:


Intel planning may have been at fault-but the combat survivability of CV-22 was not:

Actual recent combat experience suggests a different answer:


“How you ignore the threat of a helicopter ambush at the LZ:

The MV-22 is not the same con-ops nor flying technology of the failed Army helo Iraq Longbow attack.

“….How you dismiss the threat of manpads/rpgs/anti-air guns etc on these types of operations…”

I have written extensively about manpad threats.

The speed and relatively agility of the Osprey provides a measure of protection which a rotorcraft clearly does not.

But being cognizant of this threat is certainly a crucial part of the ongoing evaluation of the combat situation.

“And finally you ignore the fact that these so called ECO’s are just waiting to be cut off, isolated and destroyed by an enemy with even a small bit of tactical awareness.”

No read all the links being reported at our very junior grade Infantry School after TBS simply proof of concept of distributed C&C.

It is always up to MEU Commander to appropriately size the force.

The focus is upon innovative 2014 thinking with battle tested C&C and horizontal networks.

This concept that you’re pushing is flawed, will push the Marine Corps toward an even more unbalanced position than it currently finds itself and will lead to the loss of many lives.

Unbalanced how? since I am never ever in the business of costing USMC lives I guess we should alert our CMC “Tamer” and all who have gone before to ask for a redo.

But the underlying point is rather straightforward: the Osprey enabled force gives the US options it did not have in 2003. 

This is not as the same as being the only capability which can come off of an ARG-MEU for the great strength of the ARG-MEU is its ability to be tailored to the mission.

But in this case, without the Osprey, the force can not deliver Marines over the entire Iraqi territory at reach and range and to return rapidly to the ships.

This is what is different in 2014, but it is not the only configuration which the ARG-MEU could deliver.

“I also notice that you like to raise the ability of conducting HA/DR missions? Are you kidding me! The dog and pony in the Philippines was disgraceful. We didn’t give the aid needed because the USMC was more interested in testing a concept rather than helping people. We needed bodies on the ground and heavy equipment…the stuff that arrives by amphibious ship and not by MV-22.”

C-17 in support of Operation Damayan.

C-17 in support of Operation Damayan.

Sorry not kidding I think Sniper Brown, CO of George Washington and USAF would profoundly disagree about “dog and pony’” characterization.




The MEU as initially constructed is the most powerful, well balanced, forward deployed force in the world.

That is exactly why I highlighted the 22nd MEU in print:

The 22nd MEU is a battalion sized force of Maries with indigenous air assets the MV-22s, MH-53, MH-60 and AV-8 Harrier.


The push to making the USMC MV-22 centric is madness. We’re the Marine Corps, not the seagoing 101st Airborne.

How did you get that point?

I actually visited 101st in Mosul Iraq (a great combat Division) but I must have failed along the way-so time to be blunt addressing some talking heads posturing on size of force necessary for schwacking ISIS inIraq.”

Big Army (15,000 troops) will size their force for traditional linear Hub/Spoke Base Camp and FOB con-ops-USMC ARG/MEU can go horizontal with constant insertion  and extraction.

Both have Air on station–Big Army will be predictable even with helos-Enemy can react–USMC can be unpredictable thus forcing OUR ops tempo on them and generating more “troops in the open.”

The more ISIS cannot  understand vectors of attack day night the better–then death from above.

I found it amazing that when I was in Iraq –some in Big Army actually thought it was a land locked country.

Thank you for a chance to clarify and a robust debate -S/F Ed





South Korea and the Iron Dome

Ed Timperlake has written earlier along with Richard Weitz about the importance of the Iron Dome.

In the Fall of 2012, Richard Weitz highlighted the growing importance of the Iron Dome in dealing with the threat from Hamas.

Given its high cost and relatively small area of defense, the system is most useful for populations like that in Israel, where the majority of the population is relatively concentrated in small areas.

South Korea has been in talks with Israel as well, pointing out similarities between their border situation with North Korea and Israel’s border situation with Gaza.

Due to its mobility and the concentration of high-value targets on military bases, the system could also be employed for battlefield use.


And earlier this week, Ed Timperlake underscored the battlefield performance for the defense of Israel and its relevance for other allies.

The Iron Dome is currently defending all under its protection and is proven to be very effective in stopping deadly rockets, mortar and artillery shells.

The current combat proof of concept has important consequences for many countries.

Once such a sensor/shooter system is linked to longer range Air Defense Artillery (ADA) kinetic interceptors such as the IDF Arrow 2 and 3 or if America learns how it works. the US Army can network US THAAD/Patriot batteries in our own version.

In addition to today’s lifesaving combat applications Israeli scientists and engineers can take justified pride that through their direct actions they will be responsible for mitigating threats by nasty deadly countries blustering with their rockets.

As the Iron Dome capability proliferates, the world will actually be a safer place because countries thinking of making a conventional missile attack will have a significant warfighting dilemma as the effectiveness of their weapons getting through will be in question.

North Korea especially along the DMZ, Iran against Israel and China against Japan and Taiwan come to mind as real world examples.

The world will owe Israel a debt of gratitude.


Apparently South Korea feels the same way.  We have written more generally about the offensive and defensive enterprise and South Korea is buying the F-35 as part of the evolution in their offensive and defensive capabilities.

Now they are looking carefully at the Iron Dome and its implications for the defense of South Korea.

According to a Reuters story published August 10, 2014:

South Korea is interested in buying the Israeli short-range rocket interceptor Iron Dome, its manufacturer said on Sunday.

Iron Dome, which uses guided missiles to shoot down the Katyusha-style rockets favored by Palestinian and Lebanese guerrillas, has scored around a 90 percent success rate in the month-old Gaza war, Israeli officials and U.S. observers say.

Yedidia Yaari, CEO of Iron Dome’s state-owned manufacturer Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd., said the system’s performance had fueled foreign interest in buying it, including by South Korea, which is in an armed standoff with North Korea.

“It is very worried not only about rockets, but other things as well … You can certainly include them in the club of interested countries,” Yaari told Israel’s Army Radio, saying Rafael representatives had visited Seoul to promote Iron Dome.


2014 is NOT 2003: Fighting an Information War and Leveraging New Combat Capabilities

The Honorable Mike Wynne 21st USAF Secretary expressed what is now known as The Wynne Doctrine: “If you are in a fair fight someone failed in planning.”

Many successful battlefield commanders in history practiced the Wynne Doctrine.

In fact, General Sherman “Uncle Billy” to his soldiers like Secretary Wynne was a West Point educated military genius from the American Civil War who characterized perfectly that Centuries version of the Wynne Doctrine when he warned the South against going to war;

“You are rushing into war with one of the most powerful, ingeniously mechanical, and determined people on Earth — right at your doors. You are bound to fail.”

After much effort and criticism the USMC has successfully pioneered an ingenious Amphibious Ready Group/Marine Expeditionary Unit (ARG/MEU) to engage in Iraq. History has also shown that the 20th Century American way of war is to quest for Air Dominance, with USAF, USN and USMC airpower forces on station. This has been significantly updated with the addition of the tilt-rotor enabled assault force.

In the US WWII , “Crusade in Europe,” General Patton actually got it right with US Army Air Corps anchoring his flank as he raced across Europe. He successfully advanced with an entire Army.

In the Korean War the Marines got it right with the 1st Marine Division advance to the “Frozen Chosen” Reservoir. The Marine advance went cautiously, even though the Army Commander was yelling at them to move faster, but they always secured their flanks and anchored the effort with an air field. Consequently with a significant Intelligence failure the 1st Division found themselves facing the entire PLA 9th Army,

The Marines made their famous retrograde in sub-zero conditions to the Sea: “Retreat,hell! We’re not retreating, we’re just advancing in a different direction.”.1st Marine Division CG, MG O.P Smith. ” The Marines relied on airpower to keep the CHICOMs from massing against their flanks.

Today in the evolving 2014 Battle of Iraq the US has a totally different innovative and unique combat capability the USMC ARG/MEU afloat, an MV-22 tilt-rotor enabled force.

The Navy/Marine team can execute The Wynne Doctrine. Day or night, from the sea to the sea the Marines can reach any part of Iraq with up to a battalion of infantry. Like Patton in WWII and Smith in Korea Air Dominance of USAF/USN/USMC on over watch, launching “death from above,” can decimate ISIS.

The MV-22 force will also limit threats from IEDs which marching infantry can face on the roads of Iraq.

Insertion of an offshore MEU to defend a village or evacuate threatened allies to safe havens is a lasting debt to those who have worked with us in trying to shape a more secure Iraq.

And this obligation becomes part of our staying power in a region, which will remain central to the U.S. even after significant removal of ground forces.  The MEU allows us to have available a combat blocking force on the ground as an enemy begins to mass and concentrate forces and have a lift as necessary to relocate them to safe havens.

The USMC with their unique hybrid air ground combat team can come and go as they need using airpower assets to engage.

There are no lingering boots staying on the ground. USMC MV-22 combat forces can flank any fixed position of ISIS or isolate one of their base camps or logistical stockpile, the Marines can take any high ground, or seize open terrain hoping to set up  “set piece” battles against ISIS.

Whatever the Marines do ISIS will either have to engage or runaway if so they will have to mass to attack and then die in large numbers.

Major Cuomo, commanding the USMC Infantry course at Quantico explained all this a few weeks ago, especially his combat guidance to his 388 Marine infantry unit in Helmand Province Afghanistan when he was a Captain. He told his command move to engage and get in a fight every day.

He described how as a USMC Company Commander he was given responsibility for 388 personnel, who were responsible for securing an initially very volatile, 25km by 15km area, in Helmand Province. After multiple clearing operations, he ultimately organized his unit into 12 operating areas, with young officers and NCOs in charge of each of the positions; for the last 3 months of the deployment, an extremely capable lance corporal was the senior Marine at one of the positions.

He clearly wanted to keep the forces cross-informed as well as to provide the kind of command guidance useful for a large dynamic combat area.  To that point, such interaction was being done largely by radio.

But the Major, then a Captain, was able to leverage a new technology to come up with a much more effective way to operate, namely to use what was called an ECO or Enhanced Company Operations package.

According to the ECO website:

Enhanced Company Operations (ECO) is a United States Marine Corps (USMC) effort to enhance the infantry company, platoon and squad’s Command and Control (C2) and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) capability in order to conduct various missions in disparate locations.

ECO integrates organic tactical radios, ruggedized computers, cameras and data controllers into a rapidly deployable, man packable system for use by infantry Marines. 

On relief missions Marines can establish lines of ground communication and logistics for humanitarian relief and/or evacuation. They just have to secure a road junction and then move innocents from there to a sanctuary area. Such a demonstrated 2014 capability will allow actual calibration of two critical factors, ISIS military capability along with the Iraq Army.

The good news is that if ISIS masses anywhere near USMC infantry they will be pulverized. But an important caveat, no COIN, Big Army solutions or city fights.

In 2014 the US with battle tipping mobility can kill ISIS on our terms and set the combat tempo. Local Iraq units can then pick them off, but if the Iraq Army cannot effectively engage then there should never be another argument for nation building or any type of COIN in this century.

RPAs or UAVs are also an important addition to managing the effort in the Iraq engagement, but really as a complement or supplement to a USMC insertion force.  UAVs can provide enduring ISR oversight to support the security of the USMC forces and to assist in broader identification of threats and targets to be dealt with either by ground or air combat forces.

In addition, an Information war component against ISIS is crucial as well.

Too often cyber tactical maneuvers become equated with information war; they are not. It is crucial to counter, and to shape the information terrain of a 21st century battlespace. Information war (IW) means just that present who the enemy is, what they are capable of doing and what the consequences of inaction means to all Americans.

Russia and China have clients, the US has Allies which help tremendously in both combat and IW. “Find- Fix - Finish” is usually a term used more often in the context of counterterrorism but even though ISIS is also parading conventional weapons in Iraq and declaring they are the army of a state or Caliphate, they are also vicious terrorists.


ISIS flags representing the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or if one prefers ISIL, Islamic State of Iraq and Levant, are beginning to be seen in Gaza, Europe, and now in front of White House. The threat is so great that the Dutch have brilliantly acted in IW to quickly outlaw the ISIS flag.


Europe, US and Israel have to be very worried about the world-wide terrorism capability of ISIS especially if they get a nuke. The world cannot let Iran develop a working nuclear bomb because even with a very low probability of ISIS getting one from Iran the horror is beyond comprehension.

Israeli actions against Hamas are part of the overall conflict. Military Israel, in addition to developing the Iron Dome ultimately for proliferation to the free world, the IDF will be also be attacking ISIL in Gaza and that is a very good thing. ISIS partnering with Hamas will change the entire narrative. This is doubly true as the US military begins to attack ISIS in Iraq.

Free democratic countries willing to fight and engage in direct combat to help stop demonstrated pure evil should be honored not condemned. Eventually in these dark days the US Presidential action against ISIS in Iraq, late as it is, along with Israel taking a stand in Gaza will be seen and applauded by future historians.

US has had a late start but it is now time to put a stop to ISIS by the President using our 2014 technology and resulting combat capabilities.

It is also way past time for US to engage in IW to help Israel by throwing a significant public “penalty flag” against condemnations of Israel with no consideration for the context, and the use of Gaza citizens by Hamas terrorists as combat fodder.


The View from the 7th USAF of Dealing with the Korean Challenge

About a year ago, Second Line of Defense spoke with Lt. General Jouas, the 7th USAF Commander, about the challenge of dealing with North Korea.

Lt. Gen. Jan-Marc Jouas is the Deputy Commander, United Nations Command Korea; Deputy Commander, U.S. Forces Korea; Commander, Air Component Command, Republic of Korea/U.S. Combined Forces Command; and Commander, 7th Air Force, Pacific Air Forces, Osan Air Base, South Korea. He is also the U.S. representative to the joint committee for the Status of Forces agreement between the two countries.

In that interview, Lt. General Jouas highlighted the central role of airpower in dealing with the evolving threat from the North.

Air power, not unlike in 1950, will initially stem the flow of aggression against the ROK. Historically, the reason we were able to establish a defensive perimeter in 1950 was because air power was able to slow the advance of the North Korean Army as it moved south.

Air power is always able to attack in depth; we’re able to operate at the strategic level, the operational level, and the tactical level.  An air campaign on the Korean peninsula would follow that blueprint, establishing air superiority and creating effects across the spectrum of a joint battle space. In doing so we would provide ground and naval forces the freedom to maneuver and engage, so that we jointly defeat the adversary.

We picked up from the earlier discussion to get an update on developments.

Question: Since we last spoke, the South Koreans have decided to buy the F-35 which means that the 7th USAF will be flying with the South Korean Air Force with a core force of F-35s a decade out? How will that affect your approach as a 7th USAF commander?

Lt. General Jouas: One of the failures to understand the impact of the F-35 is the propensity to focus on its dogfighting capability or stealth. What is missed is the impact of the fused combat systems and what a fleet of interconnected F-35s will be able to do within the battlespace.

The F-35 is not simply a replacement aircraft. We are looking to fulfill one of the promises of network-centric warfare, namely flattening the chain of command and control and connecting warfighters within the battlespace.

This is not an evolution, but a whole new way for warfighting. And we will have to train to be able to take full advantage of an F-35 fleet. We are going to have to adapt our way of warfighting to the emergence of these new capabilities.

Question. Lt General (Retired) Deptula and Colonel (Retired) Rob Evans, both of whom you have worked with in the past have focused on the significant changes in C2 correlated with the coming of the F-35 fleet. From your perspective in managing one of the most crucial air components in the USAF, in a theater facing an unsteady nuclear power, how do you view this transition?

Lt. General Jouas: We’ve always talked about decentralized execution in the Air Force. This plane will play a forcing function role with regard to C2. We are going to reshape how we do centralized control and decentralized execution with the situational awareness, interconnectivity, and capabilities that this particular airplane will bring to us, and to our allies and partners.

Notably with regard to functions like electronic attack, in the past we have flown specialized assets to achieve those effects. These were mission-defined aircraft and operations. With the F-35 fleet we will have at our disposal an aircraft with both kinetic and non-kinetic options at our disposal to attack the enemy.

We are clearly just on the edge of understanding what such capabilities can deliver and over time our concepts of operations will clearly evolve.

Question: You are sitting in a theater which is characterized by what Paul Bracken has referred to as a second nuclear age power facing you directly. This is not 1954, and one cannot assume that if conflict unfolds that the “Dear Leader” will follow a ladder of escalation approach. How does this affect your thinking about and approach to the theater?

Lt. General Jouas: We have a tough problem with North Korea, obviously. You have to understand that this is a different type of adversary with capabilities that concern us, and we need the best tools possible in order to contend with it.

We should not mirror image when we consider the North Korean nuclear strategy.

North Korea has seen what happened in Libya, and with Kaddafi, and that’s reinforced their strategy.

And while this may be a North Korean problem right now, there’s a strong possibility it won’t remain so. And that creates real danger to our allies and our homeland. We have to think about a world in which we have more than one North Korea, in which those capabilities are held by other nations whose interests and strategy are very different from ours.

Question: Our allies in the Pacific are adding capabilities and working towards a more effective Pacific defense approach. How does that affect the US position in the region?

Lt. General Jouas: The upgrading of capabilities throughout the Pacific contributes to our overall coalition capabilities. The addition of airlift, aerial refueling, command and control and other combat capabilities among core partners will enhance our position and our overall capabilities, whether it is for dealing with a humanitarian or crisis situation. I welcome these improvements in the region.

Question: The South Koreans are buying the F-35. How does that affect the future position of the 7th USAF?

Lt. General Jouas: It provides a significant boost in capability. When we look at the threats posed by North Korea, a US and South Korean F-35 fleet is a crucial asymmetric advantage. The decision to buy the F-35 was certainly forward-looking because this is the airplane for the future. And not just because it’s going to be interoperable with our forces, but with those of our allies as well in enhancing the kill chain to deal with the North Korean threat.

Learning to shape coalition interoperability with the F-35 and share situational awareness across the force will be a major improvement in the period ahead.

As South Korea modernizes its air arm, the ability to defend itself and contribute to defense in the region will go up. For example, like Australia, South Korea has bought an airborne command and control platform, the E-737 Peace Eye. They now have operational experience with a flying C2 platform, and are starting to learn more and more about exploiting its capabilities. As the F-35 comes onboard, that’ll be a great marriage between that platform and the F-35.

Question: Some may still look at South Korea and its defense through the optic of 1954. But the acquisition of nuclear weapons and strike missiles has really altered the challenge faced by allied forces in preparing to execute a South Korean defense. How do you look at the change?

Lt. General Jouas: We anticipate minimal warning before the start of any conflict, and so it really is a “come as you are” theater of operations. The need for modern interconnected fifth generation aircraft that are able to rapidly respond to any crisis on the peninsula is vital to us. So whether they’re Marine assets, or Navy assets, or Air Force assets, I can assure you that as the air component commander, I’ve got them in my plan, and we will integrate and make the best use of them.

The Role of the Iron Dome: Thinking Through the Impact of Defense

The Honorable Mike Wynne 21st USAF Secretary expressed what is now known as The Wynne Doctrine—“If you are in a fair fight someone failed in planning.”

Many successful battlefield commanders in history practiced the Wynne Doctrine.

Israel certainly needs too because they can never afford to lose and knows it cold.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) must be vigilant and prepared at all times. In doing so the IDF has invented and perfected one of the most powerful deterrence and warfighting capabilities on the 21st Century battlefield, their Iron Dome.

The Iron Dome is currently defending all under its protection and is proven to be very effective in stopping deadly rockets, mortar and artillery shells.

The current combat proof of concept has important consequences for many countries.

Once such a sensor/shooter system is linked to longer range Air Defense Artillery (ADA) kinetic interceptors such as the IDF Arrow 2 and 3 or if America learns how it works. the US Army can network US THAAD/Patriot batteries in our own version.

In addition to today’s lifesaving combat applications Israeli scientists and engineers can take justified pride that through their direct actions they will be responsible for mitigating threats by nasty deadly countries blustering with their rockets.

As the Iron Dome capability proliferates, the world will actually be a safer place because countries thinking of making a conventional missile attack will have a significant warfighting dilemma as the effectiveness of their weapons getting through will be in question.

North Korea especially along the DMZ, Iran against Israel and China against Japan and Taiwan come to mind as real world examples.

The world will owe Israel a debt of gratitude.

Currently in today’s combat, the Iron Dome is setting a new world standard in defending all non-combatants.

The political and information war considerations of the Iron Dome’s success is yet to be recognized and fully expressed.

The citizens of Gaza are threatened by the actions of Hamas. By using the lives of Gaza citizens as a launch point whereby Hamas fires rockets to draw IDF direct fire, part of the Israel response is to use defensive weapons to deal with the threat.

The Iron Dome is effective in saving ALL lives, not just those in Israel, and provides an opportunity for Gaza citizens to think twice about the goals and intentions of their leaders.

It will dawn on all in Gaza that Hamas is trying intentionally to get them killed.

It is past time for the innocents in Gaza to blame Hamas in public and demand they stop. It is not a war in the conventional sense regardless of the statements that Hamas will resume fighting.

What they are really saying is we know we are ineffective but we will martyr our people regardless because we are winning an information war. 

The Iron Dome is a generation and quantum leap ahead in defending against incoming rockets.

With the proven capability of the Iron Dome along with the IAF and ground troops uncovering deadly tunnels, Israel is inventing a new chapter in modern war.

In essence, the Israelis are shaping a way ahead in defensive offensive air ground warfighting capability.


But to be fully effective, the information war aspects need to be addressed as well.

De facto, Hamas by attacking Israel wishes to trigger a massive response and to see more Gaza citizens killed.

With the Iron Dome, Israel can respond effectively, lower the causalities on both sides, and deflect the Hamas goal of seeing more Gaza citizens killed as pawns in their information war.

When discussing innovative technology and warfighting one must also look at the combat rules of engagement (ROE) that stress minimization of harm to innocents.

Linking both technology and ROE is a critical component of 21st Century “Information War;” Israel is doing just that that but not getting appropriate credit.

Just like fighter pilots do not wake up calculating how many innocents can they kill, families in Gaza do not wake up to be sacrificed as information pawns in a calculated ploy by their leaders who now are intentionally trying to get them killed.

The now known success of Iron Dome makes that point.

Tragically unless something changes the piece below is a precursor to what Israel now faces, both in the US but more so in Europe, where her critics will howl for months to come


But that does not have to be the case.

It is past time that the innocent families in Gaza recognize that they are being cynically used and they will say enough and finally blame Hamas.

All who are being put in harm’s way by their leaders recognize that instead of blaming Israel should put the blame where it belongs: on Hamas as using them as pawns in a global information war.

Pundits in US and even the Israeli leadership pointing out the truth of the situation is important in Information War but a message finally coming from those in Gaza putting blame on Hamas is the most powerful voice of all.

It is not too late to find and listen to some brave souls in the Gaza “street” telling Hamas to stop launching rockets, stand down and just go away.

It is a hard issue to find anyone with the courage to speak out but honest insights from Gaza citizens, not blaming Israel, would be a powerful insight and save many lives.