By Loren Thompson, Forbes: “Predicting the defense priorities of a new administration, especially one that hasn’t yet taken office, is a risky business. Although Joe Biden has a long and fairly consistent track record on national security, the fallout from a global pandemic and disrupted economy may drive changes in military plans that few observers are expecting."
The postelection shake-up at the Pentagon has raised alarms in the national security world. In an Atlantic article, Kori Schake theorizes what the administration is doing. The president is either organizing security forces to keep himself in power, planning a preemptive military strike on Iran, or placing factotums who will have authority over documents possibly linking him to Russia’s 2016 election interference, or the president has vengeful intentions. A responsible president would underscore the strength of US defense agencies during the presidential transition. But that’s not the commander in chief we have. Continue here.
There are three important things to consider before a new Congress makes any hasty decisions about national security. In a RealClearDefense op-ed, Elaine McCusker explains that Congress must examine federal spending, consider actual defense costs when examining discretionary spending, and pursue opportunities to capture lost buying power. Inclusive federal spending options that incrementally realign resources from the Department of Defense to those who hold the mission, along with aggressive and creative entitlement reform, would inform and improve choices available to elected officials. Learn more here.
In gray-zone conflicts, police don’t have the skills to bring peace, and full-scale military interventions can escalate. A force that can bring stability is needed. Gendarmerie forces, with their unique blend of policing and military expertise, may be a perfect answer to the troubles facing countries, argues Elisabeth Braw in a Foreign Policy op-ed. While not many other countries want to launch a gendarmerie, all would beneﬁt from mastering the gendarmes’ core skill of keeping order in the gray zone, both at home and in international hot spots. Read here.
By Valerie Insinna, Defense News: “The U.S. Air Force is spending tens of billions of dollars every year to buy new aircraft, including F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, KC-46 tankers, the T-7A trainer jet and more. But none of those platforms makes the list of Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown’s top three modernization priorities."
by Lawrence A. Franklin
By Mark B. Schneider, RealClearDefense: “ Russia sets its highest value on its strategic nuclear forces.”
By Paul Kingsbury, USNI Blog: “It has now been three years since the Comprehensive Review of Surface Force Incidents was conducted to find root causes underlying ship mishaps in the Western Pacific."
The Shield of the Indo-Pacific
By William J. Bowers & Thomas D. Wood, Proceedings: “Investment in Indo-Pacific installations is a strategic imperative."
Teaching Technology, Innovation, and Modern War at Stanford, Part 6:
Cyber and Space
By Steve Blank, Modern War Institute: “The way we are going about creating safety and security online in cybersecurity and defending against cybercrime isn’t quite rational.”
Contrasting Philosophies for the Military, Citizenry, and Community
By Jim Golby, Strategy Bridge: "On Obedience is a triumph. It deserves an enduring spot on the reading lists of senior military leaders and on the syllabi of professional military education institutions around the world."
A Gaping Hole in U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy
By Robert A. Manning, The Hill: “Barely noticed in the U.S., China and 14 Asian nations have just signed the world’s largest trade agreement, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), representing 30 percent of the world's economy."
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) struck Iranian and Syrian targets in Syria early Wednesday morning in response to explosive devices discovered a day earlier on the Israel-Syria border. IDF warplanes attacked military targets belonging to the Iranian Quds Force and Syrian army, according to a statement by the IDF. The attack damaged warehouses, command posts and military complexes and batteries of surface-to-air missiles. The attack was in response to the placement of explosive charges placed next to the border fence between Syrian and Israeli territory. The IDF said the charges were placed by a Syrian squad acting under Iran's instructions. Israel's envoy to the United Nations Gilad Erdan submitted on Tuesday a complaint to the UN Security Council demanding that it take immediate action against Hezbollah's military buildup and continued activity in southern Lebanon.
By Eric Chewning & Frank Coleman III, Defense News: “After years of growth, defense budgets will likely flatten (or decline). In such a financial environment, the U.S. Department of Defense will consider trade-offs between funding modernization, sustaining legacy equipment and preserving force structure."
Lessons on Mission Command From McClellan’s Failures at Antietam
By Ronald Roberts, Modern War Institute: “. . . the reality of what transpired at Antietam would have long-lasting effects on the course of the Civil War and holds lessons on the consequences of failing to implement the tenets of Mission Command on the battlefield."
By Andrew Erickson, 1945: “. . . the following wording in DoD’s 2020 China report leapt out at me: “The PLA has fielded approximately 200 IRBM launchers and more than 200 missiles.”