Thursday, October 27, 2011

China-Pakistan: China Seeks Army Bases in Lawless Regions in Pakistan

ALEXANDRIA, October 27 - As MIL INT reported back in August after the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) [that is also described as the Turkistani Islamic Party (TIP)] launched terrorist attacks in Kashgar, a city in Xinjiang province (Western China) killing 18, the Chinese have actively engaged Islamabad on options to address the separatist threat.
The explosions provoked senior government officials in Xinjiang to publicly claim for the first time in recent years that the attackers had been trained in explosives in ETIM/TIP camps run by Chinese separatists in the Waziristan tribal regions of Pakistan. The Chinese allegation was described by many in the diplomatic circles of Islamabad as a clear sign of the growing impatience of Beijing with Islamabad's failure to control radical groups operating within its borders.
Pakistani journalist Amir Mir claims in an Asia Times article that "Beijing is ... interested in setting up military bases either in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan or in the Federally Administered Northern Areas (FANA) that border Xinjiang province." Mir does not directly substantiate that claim but provides considerable background to recent rounds of Sino-Pakistani engagement.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Gaddafi's Riches and the Academics Who Adored him

ALEXANDRIA October 23 - As the first evidence of Gaddafi's ransacking of his country and people comes in from the LA Times 
New estimates of the former leader's assets — more than $200 billion — are called 'staggering.' If they prove true, he would rank among the world's most rapacious leaders. 

let's not forget how he was treated by the LSE. This blog explains the background but you can jump right to the video of the LSE 'academic' greeting "Brother Muammar" (just the introduction will suffice). Tony Blair did it too I know... but MIL INT is sickened by this video and they way this monster is treated. As argued in the related blog, it was not like his past activities were not well known. MIL INT wonders whether anyone at the LSE feels any shame about their activities here?

Update: SWJ found this gem - a life imitates art story - a video of a 1980s sitcom that guessed Gaddafi would be killed in 2011

Iran - Leaving Iraq Might Pave Way for Israel to Strike Iran

ALEXANDRIA, October 23 -  “After nearly nine years, America’s war in Iraq will be over,” President Obama said as he declared complete troop withdrawal from Iraq. In one of those ironies that only international relations can deliver, this moment of gratitude to our troops for all they have accomplished under such incredibly difficult circumstances and conditions, could pave the way to a much bigger crisis.

Afg - "We side with Pakistan in war with US" Karzai

Source: Political Carnival
ALEXANDRIA October 23 - The Afghanistan peace envoy to the Taliban is killed by the Taliban [hint?] and "President" Karzai who days ago sat next to Hillary Clinton and accused Pakistan of facilitating attacks on his country today says “Anybody that attacks Pakistan, Afghanistan will stand with Pakistan,” he said. “Afghanistan will never betray its brother.”

Friday, October 21, 2011

Pakistan - Why You Will Soon Miss Washington

The A-Team's In Town
ALEXANDRIA VA, October 21 - The United States has sent the foreign policy A-Team to Islamabad to deliver a stark new message - renounce support of terrorist organizations or else. SECSTATE, DCIA, and CJCS traveled together and presented a united front to the Pakistani government and military.  
“This is a time for clarity,” Mrs. Clinton declared in Kabul, Afghanistan, where she met President Hamid Karzai before leaving for Islamabad, the Pakistani capital. “No one should be in any way mistaken about allowing this to continue without paying a very big price.”

Energy Security - A Rare Thing: New Ideas

The Great Walls [sic] of China
ALEXANDRIA VA, October 21 - In this age of extremes, the only way to make change is to incentivize it. This depressed, zero-sum world, is profoundly skeptical about the idea of a win-win. Critics of anything with even a hint of green scream that jobs will be lost - irrespective of whatever the idea might be.

If you think the idea of going green is for hippies and commies - think again. We are not talking Al Gore here, we are talking Admirals and Generals passionate about the national security consequences of climate change and the relationship between energy and national security. Indeed, the US DoD has been pushing green initiatives for some time now

IED Attacks in 99 countries including the US

Here is an interesting story from Army Times
From January to September, there was an average of 608 attacks per month in 99 countries. During that time, there were 367 homemade bomb attacks in the United States.
“It’s cheap, effective and readily available,” said Army Lt. Gen. Michael Barbero, director of the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization.“If we think it’s going to go away after Iraq and Afghanistan, we’re dreaming,” he said. “It’s going to confront us operationally for decades and domestically. We need to come to grips with that. It’s an enduring threat.”

Gen McChrystal Stalks GEOINT2011

ALEXANDRIA VA, October 21, 2011 - Intelligence integration is a critical challenge for both the National and Military Intelligence Programs. One organization that is know to be at the forefront of this effort is SOCOM and its subordinate commands. Prior to Admiral McRaven, the greatest influence over the integration challenge has been Gen Stan McChrystal, USA Ret. While he was not in attendance at the conference (as far as general attendees could tell) he was everywhere - or at least, his ideas and influence among the combined IC and OPs communities.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

AQ and the US INT Budget

SAN ANTONIO - October 19, 2011 - Speaking of the budget crunch the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Mike Rogers, criticized the peace dividend of the 1990s and the way it was implemented, repeating similar comments he has made before that "we cut too hard in the 1990s based just on money - at the same time that AQ was getting into position and started its program." He noted that the US had to completely rebuild its HUMINT programs that were "all but decimated" by the cuts in the 1990s. He noted that AQ is now on the run and this would be the absolute worst time to "pull back". He could not be more right - it would be like Meade not pursuing Lee after Gettysberg.


SAN ANTONIO - October 19, 2011 - Events like GEOINT are interesting for what officials sometimes say. One of the first things Chairman Rogers said was Russian loose nukes remain a credible threat, something that has largely slipped into the background of the national security debate. MIL INT got the impression from his demeanor when discussing this problem and the prominence he gave the issue in his speech that he has been thinking about this a lot recently. Now combine that datapoint with comments made in an earlier keynote speech by COMSTRATCOM. Gen Robert "Bob" Kehler said the issue he is most concerned about is WMDs falling into the hands of terrorists - he did not say in what context. Post Iraq, it is unusual to hear this scenario being raised again. The most credible way this might happen is if Pakistan falls to islamist radicals - a highly credible scenario.

Russian loose nukes and Pakistan collapse are not interrelated scenarios. The appearance of these two issues from highly placed speakers may be purely coincidental. But it may also suggest that the highest levels of government have a renewed focus on the broad domain of WMD terror due to new signaling being received around the IC. Perhaps there is more to the Libya story than meets the eye?


SAN ANTONIO - October 19, 2011 - The Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee today accused China of widespread illegal cyber activity claiming that "$200b a year [is stolen] in IP and they steal to compete directly with US industry." He continued "I believe you can't steal your way to leadership of the world... we are going to ask you, our IC community, to make sure we are not going to find that out. Now is not the time to back off."

Perhaps he is referring to the recent private sector stats of $2 billion a year mentioned by COMCYBERCOM this week in San Antonio? - A call has been made to the Chairman's office seeking clarification - check back here for updates on this story.

UPDATE October 24, 2011

The House Intelligence Comittee responded to the MIL INT inquiry and provided the following sources in support of Congressman Rogers statistics. This puts COMCYBERCOM's statistical reliance on McAfree in an interesting new light.

House Intelligence Chair Confirms Hard Evidence of Iran Plot

The Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee today confirmed that the Iranian Quds force was involved in the plot to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador to the US. Mike Rogers said "the plot to commit assassination on US soil is real. I can tell you as a former FBI agent, that there is such a thing as intelligence and there is such as thing as evidence, and none of us should have a doubt that there is evidence that the Quds force and senior Iranian leadership gave... approval to commit assassination in the United States of America". Further specifics were not offered.

MIL INT has held back comment on this issue because the story did not add up. As DR has argued, if the story is anywhere near true, then it indicates that Iran's intelligence services have significant trade craft issues. MIL INT will not speculate at this stage as to why the plot was revealed when it was revealed. One thing is for certain, if it was intended to drive a wedge between the US and Saudi Arabia, it had the opposite effect.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

MG Custer GEOINT 2009

MG Custer sporting "relaxed grooming standards"
according to MG (P) Legere USA the next G2
SAN ANTONIO, October 18, 2011

One of the stars of GEOINT2011 is MG John Custer USA Ret. He was the MC of today's plenary and managed it with aplomb. His 2009 speech is worth watching in its entirety. It would be good to see LTG Flynn get an opportunity to speak for a solid hour on all the issues on his mind. Based on today's performance MIL INT is pretty sure it would be one hell of a show.

LTG Michael Flynn IC Reform Challenge

SAN ANTONIO, Oct 18, 2011

Newly promoted LTG Mike Flynn USA, famous for his Fixing Intel paper, continued to provoke the IC today at the GEOINT2011 Conference. Flynn's opening statement was a clear shot across the bow of the techno-centric GEOINT crowd: "the major barriers to INT integration are cultural, not technological" he said. LTG Flynn spoke of the world being in a perpetual war with a related requirement for perpetual high quality intelligence, not just in combat but in anticipation of future crises. He went on to highlight one of the biggest issues facing the IC - how to get useful predictive strategic analysis in Phase 0 - in other words, before getting involved in international disputes in the first place. Notably no one had a response to his challenge. Questions by MIL INT on this issue were not selected for discussion. (See also the Integrating Intel Panel with future G2 MG (P) Legere).

Monday, October 17, 2011

DNI: Double Digit IC Budget Cuts and NSA: We Are Moving to the Cloud

SAN ANTONIO, October 17, 2011
Speaking at the GEOINT 2011 Conference in San Antonio today, Director of National Security James Clapper said that "we will all have to give at the office - cuts in double digit numbers with a B" for billion, will be needed. Spending on the NIP (National Intelligence Program) and MIP (Military Intelligence Program) in 2010 totaled $80 billion.

"We have been luxuriously funded over the last ten years under supplemental funding. We used contractors to rapidly expand the workforce. We were not as disciplined as we might have been and now we have to be. If contractors failed to come to work tomorrow intelligence would stop. I hate to say it to this group, but we are going to have to reduce our contractor profile."

GEOINT 2011 Day 1


SAN ANTONIO, October 17, 2011

Update: Watch the speeches here on GEOINT TV

One of the smartest generals I know, LtGen Paul Van Riper USMC Ret, once told me that the best way to do intelligence was to present the commander with a story. A picture to represent the story would be that much more useful again, he told me. By way of example, Gen Van Riper uses the metaphor of the morning weather report. In the military and aviation communities you can get a data report of pages of numbers to tell you exactly what is happening around you. In the civilian world you get a pretty girl in front of a moving map and depending on which station you watch she may or may not dance as she tells her story about the days weather.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

SECSTATE Clinton Answers MIL INT's Alert on Asia


Back in September MIL INT issued a wake up call to the US national security establishment to refocus on the 4.2 billion people of Asia in comparison to the 432 million of the MESA region that has so dominated Washington's attention over the past decade. "Wake Up DC the Asian Century is Here" has been answered by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the November issue of FP. Secretary Clinton responds by outlining her vision for "America's Pacific Century".

[Ed: Madam Secretary, you are always welcome as a guest author on MIL INT :)]

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

MIL INT to ATTEND GEOINT 2011, Oct 16-20

MIL INT wants to meet you!
MIL INT is pleased to announce that the organizers of GEOINT 2011 in association with the USMC is sponsoring MIL INT to attend "the preeminent event of the year for the defense, intelligence and homeland security communities". Check out the agenda here.

MIL INT looks forward to meeting readers and learning about how your community is enhancing intelligence integration - the subject of the conference and a book length report MIL INT is currently working on for the Intelligence Dept of HQMC. 


Monday, October 10, 2011

Rethinking Defense

In a recent article in the Atlantic John Arquilla; Andrew Bacevich; James Fallows; and Gary Hart urged POTUS to commission an "independent, nonpartisan investigatory commission to evaluate the military experience of the past decade".  
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has, unfortunately, already indicated that he prefers to protect existing programs rather than to entertain unorthodox ideas.  Congressional leaders, regardless of party, share this disposition. Too much money can be as destructive as too little; big budgets can inhibit rather than encourage introspection and original thought. Therefore, useful answers to the question "how's it going" will have to come from the outside.
MIL INT supports this recommendation particularly as the proposed lines of operation include investigating:

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Red Team - Not Popular in 2001

The idea of Red Teaming in military and intelligence planning teams gained popularity in the wake of perceived intelligence failures over the past decade. In essence red teaming is about challenging in-house conventional wisdom on the one hand, and getting strategic planners to thinking like (and thus anticipate) an adversary on the other. Readers might ask - "don't military planners already do that?"

Afg - 10 Years On

With all the recent anniversaries MIL INT was thinking it might be useful to go back to the pre-invasion OpEds that warned Afg would be hard - the same OpEds that got scoffed at when Mazar-e-Sharif fell and AQ and the Talibs disappeared into the countryside and over the boarder into Pakistan.  

Checkpoint Washington had the same idea and ran this early story. Then  MIL INT remembered somewhere in the deep archive he might have had an OpEd that appeared odd to people at the time. Sure enough, this October 9, 2001 Afghanistan Combat Assessment was lurking in the file. As with anything an Australian defense analyst might produce, its quite parochial, but there are some salient points "this will be a long, complex and costly war fought on many fronts at home and abroad", the importance of homeland security, a comment on impact of ethnic divisions, and the use of SOF. The assessment that the US would not blindly lash out was right in the case of Afg. However it was wrong in general. In fairness, it was unimaginable to MIL INT at the time that Iraq might be rolled into the 911 narrative given the fact that Saddam had spent his life killing radical Islamists (albeit Shia abroad as opposed to Sunni at home). Funny how things turn out.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

General Hayden Joins Romney Team

MIL INT wonders how this might play out with the black helicopter crowd? Story here.

China - "The time to use force has arrived in the South China Sea"

On October 3, UPI reported that China's Global Times newspaper had this story:

"The time to use force has arrived in the South China Sea; Let's wage wars on the Philippines and Vietnam to prevent more wars. The South China Sea is the best place for China to wage wars," the article said. "Of the more than 1,000 oil rigs there, none belongs to China; of the four airfields in the Spratly Islands, none belongs to China; once a war is declared, the South China Sea will be a sea of fire [with burning oil rigs]. Who will suffer the most from a war? Once a war starts there, the Western oil companies will flee the area, who will suffer the most?" The article also argued that the United States wouldn't intervene, too preoccupied with its war on terror, its quagmire in Afghanistan and its own economic problems.