Archive for the 'Homeland Security' Category
This week in San Diego, USNI/AFCEA West 2012 will be examining the issues and challenges associated with a US Military that has reached a “crossroads”.
As has happened so many times in the last century, the signposts to that crossroads are fiscal and not operational. Even with the drawdown in Iraq, and the war in Afghanistan employing just a small fraction (about 90,000) of the 1.44 million US servicemen and women, the driving forces for the coming cuts are budget shortfalls, and spiraling national debt.
Panel sessions include discussion of the future of the Navy-Marine Corps Team (which doubtless will encompass amphibious capabilities), information and INFOSEC requirements for Naval forces, the balance between the warfighting head and the logistics tail, and the looming question of our new Pacific orientation, China.
Speakers include former CJCS Admiral Mullen, Navy Undersecretary (and former Marine Artilleryman) Robert Work, David Hartman, and Medal of Honor Winner SFC Leroy Petry, USA.
As usual, USNI will have a reinforced fire team of bloggers to tell you about it. The unit symbol is below. We will begin in a wedge formation for all around security and flexibility, and then we will do whatever SWMBO tells us to.
If you are going to ask tough questions, and give tough answers, San Diego in January is a pretty good place to do it. The forecast in Vermont is for snow.
Any pretense of a hopeful outcome from the so-called “Arab Spring” is all but gone. The Guardian reported at the beginning of this month that the Islamists will be the wielders of power in Egypt, and their agenda is precisely what those who warned of their rise feared it would be.
Two once-banned Islamist groups, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Salaf Nour Party, appear to be the big winners of Egypt’s Parliamentary elections. Their plans for Egypt are abundantly clear, expressed in terms that should cause concern in the West, and already do in Israel.
Guided by a Saudi-inspired school of thought, Salafists have long shunned the concept of democracy, saying it allows man’s law to override God’s. But they decided to form parties and enter politics after the exit of Mubarak in February.
Salafi groups speak confidently about their ambition to turn Egypt into a state where personal freedoms, including freedom of speech, women’s dress and art, are constrained by sharia.
“In the land of Islam, I can’t let people decide what is permissible or what is prohibited. It’s God who gives the answers as to what is right and what is wrong,” Hamad said. “If God tells me you can drink whatever you want except for alcohol, you don’t leave the million things permitted and ask about the prohibited.”
While there are ideological differences between the Brotherhood and the Salafists, those differences are far narrower than those that exist between either of those groups and anyone else on Egypt’s political scene. Talk of any major rift that would prevent a coalition is wishful thinking, and similar assertions by leaders of the groups themselves are for public consumption and somewhat less than genuine. Interestingly, the Guardian article describes the Muslim Brotherhood as the more “moderate” of the two Islamist groups. This is the very same Muslim Brotherhood that openly admired Hitler’s Third Reich, and enthusiastically supported the Final Solution. Positions which, tellingly, they have never renounced.
Leader of Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood Hamed Saeed’s words sound an unwelcome thunderclap in the ears of Western diplomats. Saeed declared last January that “unrest in Egypt will spread across the Mideast and Arabs will topple leaders allied with the United States.”
And so it has, and is not finished yet. There was nothing spontaneous about it. Western leaders, including our own, have been thoroughly outmaneuvered, as have any moderates who had hoped in those early days of the “Arab Spring” for a permanence of the new liberties they believed they’d won.
If the scenario rings eerily familiar, it should.
More than two years have passed since the Jihad-inspired cold-blooded murder of 12 US Soldiers and one DoD civilian at Fort Hood. An act committed by a man whose radical Islamist views were well known to his chain of command and his peers. By a man who shouted “Allahu Akbar” over and over again while shooting nearly fifty people, killing 13 and wounding 32. By a man who had exchanged more than a dozen e-mails with a radical Islamist, drawing inspiration for the attack from a man, Anwar al-Awliki, whom the Administration targeted for killing as an enemy of the United States, and who labeled the attacker at Fort Hood a hero and martyr for Islam.
Yet, the Defense Department is calling the incident “workplace violence”.
From the Greeley (CO) Gazette:
Witnesses said Hasan passed up several chances to shoot civilians, but instead chose to concentrate exclusively on soldiers in uniform.
Following the attack, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) said the attack had nothing to do with Islam. It was claimed that Hasan’s murderous rampage was the fault of Army officials who ordered him to deploy to Afghanistan.
Hasan’s radical views regarding Islam were well-known. Once, while presenting a medical lecture to other psychiatrists, Hasan talked about Islam, stating that non-believers would go to hell decapitated, set on fire and have burning oil poured down their throats.
Had Major Hasan managed to plant a bomb aboard a bus that killed thirteen and wounded thirty-two, would that still be workplace violence? The motivation, the target, the results, would all be the same. The only difference would be the method.
The political correctness with which this massacre was treated has been a despicable, shameful display of avoiding the truth. This includes General Casey’s disgraceful and stomach-turning lament about the incident harming the Army’s diversity efforts. Secretary Gates’ PC-inspired unwillingness to comment upon the nature of Hasan’s motivations in the Defense report is equally egregious. The comments by Vern Clark and Togo West that the investigation shouldn’t concern itself with “motivation” are pathetic and dangerous pandering to political correctness.
Secretary Panetta has the opportunity to correct this travesty and this deliberate misrepresentation of the terrible truth. Which is that the US Army commissioned, and then promoted, an Islamic Jihadist to the Field Grade ranks. They ignored the myriad warnings of his conduct and his radical viewpoint, or were unwilling to confront Hasan and take appropriate action. And, that when Hasan went on his killing rampage, his actions were in the same spirit and motivation as the 9/11 hijackers, the Little Rock shooters, and the Fort Dix plotters.
What it will take is some courage and character, and a willingness to break out of the stifling repression of political correctness. The Secretary should revise the report to reflect what we all know the Fort Hood tragedy to be. A terrorist act committed by a radical Islamist against US Service members, on American soil. That is the truth.
Calling Fort Hood something other than terrorism is a deliberate lie. A lie perpetuated by the desire for political correctness above all things, including the truth.
Suffolk (MA) University Law School professor Michael Avery tells us:
I think it is shameful that it is perceived as legitimate to solicit in an academic institution for support for men and women who have gone overseas to kill other human beings. I understand that there is a residual sympathy for service members, perhaps engendered by support for troops in World War II, or perhaps from when there was a draft and people with few resources to resist were involuntarily sent to battle. That sympathy is not particularly rational in today’s world, however.
But wait, he has more to say:
Since Sept. 11 we have had perhaps the largest flag in New England hanging in our atrium. This is not a politically neutral act. Excessive patriotic zeal is a hallmark of national security states… Why do we continue to have this oversized flag in our lobby?
That kind of “civil-military divide” cannot be breached. Suffolk University Law School should consider carefully just whom they allow in the front of their classrooms. One has to wonder if Professor Avery could explain his views to a man such as this. I have my doubts.
Amid the elation inside Libya, and much self-congratulations in the United States and NATO, news of the overthrow and execution of Muammar Qaddafi by Libyan rebels has overshadowed events that are far less promising and welcome.
The Telegraph is reporting that, on the heels of Libya’s “liberation” at the death last Thursday of Qaddafi, an event that finished for good his four decades of despotic oppression, the leader of the Transitional Council has announced a much more stringent adherence to Sharia Law. The implications of this are far-reaching, and the move appears to be much more than a symbolic nod to Islam as the country’s dominant religion. It is an indication that the “revolution” in Libya has had heavy Islamist involvement, including Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, and The Muslim Brotherhood, something many have suspected since the beginning of the unrest. It is also an indication that Libya will be marching backward, away from the international community:
Mr Abdul-Jalil went further, specifically lifting immediately, by decree, one law from Col. Gaddafi’s era that he said was in conflict with Sharia – that banning polygamy.
In a blow to those who hoped to see Libya’s economy integrate further into the western world, he announced that in future bank regulations would ban the charging of interest, in line with Sharia. “Interest creates disease and hatred among people,” he said.
The Telegraph article concludes:
Mr Abdul-Jalil’s decision – made in advance of the introduction of any democratic process – will please the Islamists who have played a strong role in opposition to Col Gaddafi’s rule and in the uprising but worry the many young liberal Libyans who, while usually observant Muslims, take their political cues from the West.
It isn’t hard to imagine just what the “democratic process” will look like under Islamists’ enforcing Sharia law. The Libyans’ 42-year nightmare may be over. Perhaps only to be replaced by another that may last much longer.
There are myriad lessons to be taken from Libya’s situation and her apparent regressive path.
In the “Libya model”, allying oneself with unknown entities of unknown allegiance against a dictator’s regime, and then fighting by proxy through those entities, even superpowers relinquish control of events. Without significant friendly presence on the ground, the goals and objectives of those unknown entities trump your goals, whether you intended them or not, which can lead to potentially severe unintended consequences that make the cure worse than the disease. There are practical matters as well, the location and possession of some 20,000 SA-24 MANPADS, and stockpiles of HD (sulphur mustard) munitions being among them. Revenge against regime supporters, persecution of religious and ethnic minorities, perpetrated by the people we aided in bringing to power, undoubtedly will be the order of the day.
As events follow their unwelcome course in Libya, and we find ourselves with virtually no means to influence them other than with proclamations, it is time to face the somewhat unwelcome truth that this revolution looks far closer to Teheran in 1979 than we care to admit. And worse, this time we helped drive those events without any means of control. When the final bill comes due for Libya, the cost may astound us.
- Al Qaeda flag flies over courthouse in Libya
Nope, nothing to see here, folks.
Seems events in post-Qaddafi Libya have run quite close to prediction. Violence and revenge in the wake of civil war on the part of the “good guys” against any known or suspected regime members. Or black migrant laborers, rival villages, tribes, militias, property holders, take your pick. This from The Independent:
The winning anti-Gaddafi militia are not proving merciful. Often they have had relatives killed in the fighting or imprisoned by the old regime who they want to avenge. Sometimes they come from tribes and towns traditionally hostile to neighbouring tribes and towns. Gaddafi supporters are being hunted down. According to one person in Gaddafi’s home town of Sirte, they are facing a “continuing reign of terror”.
“There is a deep and spreading frenzy, particularly among some of the youth militia and the Islamists, to hunt down anyone associated with the former regime,” the source said.
And just to show that the violence isn’t all religious or ideological, this:
The purge of Gaddafi supporters is made more dangerous by the infighting between the militias, and between them and the politicians. Association with the old regime can be used to discredit an opponent. There may also be self-interest since death squads are reported to be taking their property.
Not quite what we had in mind when we decided to go to the window to back a horse in this race. Unintended consequences. Predictable, sadly, but unintended.
Fouled Anchor Intro: This post appears at the request of a leader in the Information Dominance Corps (IDC) and its Self-Synchronization Team, known as the IDCSync. While the subject may appear a bit specialized on the surface, the concept should have wide appeal, particularly for other relatively small communities. It should also be of interest to members of other warfare communities, arguably beneficiaries of the IDC’s specialized skills, and the IDC can only benefit from your comments and contributions.
I was compelled to ask before posting it how are the discussions, since many take place on Facebook, are they anonymous. Well, Facebook obviously isn’t, but many of the ideas shared via IDCSync appear in their weekly newsletter. They are submitted anonymously or come from other non-attributed sources. They may originate anywhere, from offline discussions to passing comments or unofficial gripes. It is proving an effective means of converting ideas which may have died in the passageway to discussions with a Flag audience.
There are many outlets for this type of post, but the IDCSync sought publication here, on your USNI Blog, because they understand that this blog has Navy-wide relevance and reach…much like the IDC itself.
In the spirit of taking permission, demonstrating horizontal leadership, and active communication, the below post comes from the “Cloud of Collaboration” that is the Information Dominance Corps Self-Synchronization Team…
“Fostering Collaboration and Conversation Across the IDC”
They have never met in person, individually or as a group, yet they are a team in the strongest sense of the word. They volunteer their time. Their work is strictly unofficial. Their individual anonymity ensures only the group as a whole gains credit for their actions. Their collective efforts enable collaboration and ensure collective situational awareness across a newly-formed community. They are self-starters who believe in “making time” for the collective good of that community. They are the Information Dominance Corps (IDC) Self Synchronization Team.
The Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) ordered the establishment of the IDC on October 6, 2009. As outlined in OPNAV Instruction 5300.12, “the IDC has been created within the U.S. Navy to more effectively and collaboratively lead and manage a cadre of officers, enlisted, and civilian professionals who possess skills in information-intensive fields.” Those personnel include Information Professional (IP) officers and Information Technicians (IT), Information Warfare (IW) officers and Cryptologic Technicians (CT), Naval Intelligence officers and Intelligence Specialists (IS), Oceanography (OCEANO) officers and Aerographer’s Mates (AG), select members of the Space Cadre, and associated civilians. Under the leadership of the newly-established Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information Dominance (OPNAV N2/N6) the IDC encompasses more than 47,000 Navy professionals.
The IDC Self Synchronization effort — IDCsync for short — began shortly after the IDC was established with just one person and an idea: Find a way to bring the members of the IDC together using the latest in collaboration and communication tools.
That individual effort soon grew with the addition of a number of like-minded individuals. Today, the IDCsync Team is as diverse as the IDC itself with team members hailing from the ranks of active and reserve force enlisted and officer ranks, as well as civilian members of the community. Their guiding principle is “making time;” each member makes time to make their environment, their shipmates, and the entire IDC better.
The group’s greatest strength, beyond its members, is its unofficial status. This is a grassroots effort of IDC members working for and with other IDC members to move the community forward. As an independent initiative, the individual efforts of the team members are not constrained by anything more than the group’s collective approval. But as IDC members themselves, the group has a vested interest in forwarding a productive, collaborative dialogue aimed at improving the IDC as a whole.
Tools and Channels
To reach the members of the IDC, the IDCsync Team employs a number of channels drawn from the tools of the trade of the information age (and the IDC) — email (using a newsletter format), the web, and various social media venues.
Most of the effort is concentrated on the IDC Self Synchronization Facebook site, which currently serves over 2,000 members. The page’s stated purpose is “To share unclassified information, enhance our collective situational awareness and facilitate the development of a common Navy IDC culture.”
IDCsync Team members independently post information relevant to the IDC on the Facebook page, coordinating their efforts electronically via a team coordination site and online chat. Information shared runs the gamut of the IDC interest areas — technology, innovation, and leadership issues included. if it’s deemed pertinent to the IDC, it is posted on the site. The ultimate goal is to spark conversation and collaboration between members.
In recognition of its growing audience and increasing reach, the site has been used by members of the IDC Flag Deck to disseminate official correspondence and reach the greater IDC collective. IDCsync’s audience includes everyone from the backbone of the IDC, our enlisted Sailors, to commanding officers, current and former IDC Flag Officers, and civilian Senior Executive Service (SES) staff. Administrators and site members alike can post information, share ideas, and collaborate.
The primary IDC Self Synchronization web site contains pertinent IDC documents and resources with the intent of creating a “one stop” library of information.
The team also sends out a weekly newsletter which encapsulates Facebook posts for the previous week. The same information is also disseminated via Twitter, Google+ (Google’s new social networking site), and eChirp on Intelink-U. Details of all the venues are available on the web page.
With the IDC Self Synchronization team and tools in place, the only missing element is you.
Does the idea of sharing, collaborating, and enhancing the professional knowledge of the community resonate with you? Then now is the time to step out of the audience and join the conversation. Join your community conversation by visiting the IDC Self Synchronization Facebook and web sites today. The forum belongs to you — make it your own!
IDC Self Synchronization Team
Same as the old boss. At least for now.
As London’s Financial Times reports today, Egypt’s Army is clamping down on the embryonic civil liberties which many of those who took to the streets in the “Arab Spring” thought they had won when the Mubarak regime dissolved.
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, in power during a promised transition to elected rule, said on Sunday night that it was widening emergency legislation to cover a range of “threats to public order” including “attacks on the freedom to work” – code for strikes – and the deliberate dissemination of rumours and false information.“The most dangerous thing is that they have amended the emergency law to cover what they consider crimes committed by journalists,” said Gamal Fahmy, a board member of the journalists union. “The text is vague and can stretch to cover all sorts of criticism of the authorities.”
Putting the lid back on the pot in Egypt will be a task of considerable difficulty, if it can be accomplished at all. The competing interests, most of which are mutually exclusive to the others, are summed up nicely by FT:
Liberal and Islamist groups are clamouring to influence the political arrangements of the transition; young activists have been mobilising rallies to call for radical changes to break with repressive practises of the past; labour strikes have multiplied; and the country is in the grip of a crime wave.
“It is an attempt to regain control of the situation using the same security methods for which President Mubarak was criticised. In my view this reflects a state of confusion.” said Nasser Amin, who heads the Centre for the Independence of the Judiciary, a legal civil society group.
Amin’s assertion that “a state of confusion” exists, is indicative of the power vacuum inside Egypt in the months following Mubarak’s ouster. Nature, and revolution, abhor a vacuum. That power void will be filled by the group most able to impose its will upon the situation and understands how to most quickly and securely seize the levers of power and authority. Not surprisingly, the group in Egypt whose goal has been just that for eight decades, Islamism in the form of the Muslim Brotherhood, is rearing its head once more. They, as former Defense Secretary Rumsfeld recently said, “may be by far the best-organized political organization and the most disciplined, and very likely the most vicious”.
The Muslim Brotherhood has created its own political party, Freedom and Justice, in order to position itself to make inroads into Egypt’s Parliament as well as in the tide of demonstrations in the streets of Egypt’s cities. If they are successful, then the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood will be felt on both sides of the revolutionary barricades.
Hijacking popular sentiment and steering them toward one’s own purposes, the “Popular Front” tactic, is as old as revolution in modern government itself. The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has eyed that strategy for its entire existence. The playing on the fears and prejudices of a long-oppressed people tends to be far more effective than appeals to such fragile and uncertain concepts as personal liberties. The history of the last century has taught us time and again that, in the contest between radicals (left or right) and liberals, the radicals tend to hold the winning hand. When those holding power, in this case the Egyptian Army, see a threat from both parties, their reaction is predictably repression. In this case, “the methods of Mubarak”.
The Army, whom some question is really willing to give up power, finds itself in a lose-lose situation. The storming of the Israeli Embassy last week was an international embarrassment to the Military Council, and a signal that their hold onto power may be tenuous. The reassertion of that hold by means of restriction of civil liberties and repression of liberal and radical alike will also draw the criticism of the international community. MB is likely to use such to erode the perceived legitimacy of the Council (or anything else which replaces it), and look to assume power once that entity is destabilized and overthrown.
Should the Islamists, in the form of the Muslim Brotherhood, succeed in seizing the reins of power in Egypt, legitimacy will be at the very bottom of the list of considerations. Perhaps right below civil liberties. Even if they don’t succeed, it is clear that the bloom is off the rose of the Arab Spring. What is left to be played out is the uglier and less hopeful aspects of popular uprising.
Much like our parents’ generation, whose memories are indelibly stamped with the dates of December 7th, 1941, and November 22nd, 1963, the terrible and tragic events of that beautiful, sunny Tuesday ten years ago have frozen in our recollections just where we were and what we were doing when we first heard and watched the events of September 11th, 2001 unfold.
Mine is otherwise unremarkable, walking onto the editing floor of a now-defunct mapping company, and hearing someone ask for a radio to be turned on, as there had been a plane crash in New York. Just a few minutes later, the newscaster reported that a second plane had struck another building next to the first. Those words were followed by several moments of absolute silence, as all 150+ editors, several supervisors, and other managers, myself included, stood wordlessly comprehending that this was an intentional act, an attack upon the United States.
However, what has stayed with me most, what I have thought about ten thousand times in the intervening ten years, was a very brief but prognostic event that took place a few days before the September 11th attack.
The weekend prior, I had been at the Worcester, MA, Headquarters of 25th Marines, participating in a planning conference for an upcoming Command Post Exercise to be held in late-October at Camp Lejeune NC. I had spent a tour at 25th Marines as the Fire Support Coordinator, and had recently transferred to 3rd Bn 14th Marines out of North Philly, but was attending the conference as 3/14 would be in Direct Support of 25th Marines for the exercise. As fate would have it, the New York-based 2nd Bn, 25th Marines would be major participants in the October event.
That Sunday morning (September 9th, 2001), after attending Father Rocheford’s Mass, I was glancing at the Intel board while we waited for the conference to resume. The page on the top of the clipboard was an image we have all since come to instantly recognize. Across the top of the page were the words “Osama/Usama bin Ladin (sic)”, and a summary of his role as the leader of a little-known group of Muslim terrorists known as Al Qaeda. One of my comrades saw me reading the paper, and looked down at the picture. His comment is forever etched in my mind. “I wonder what HE’s up to,” he said. “That’s one dangerous son of a bitch. It’s only a matter of time until we hear from him again.”
We have a panel discussion about more than the losses of 9-11-01 on Episode 88 “The 911 Decade” by Midrats, Sunday 9-11-11, 5pm-6:30pm (1700 to 1830) (Eastern U.S.):
There are certain points in a nation’s history that define a transition from one era to another. These moments are so clear that you don’t realize it in retrospect – you know it the moment it happens. No one argues the fact that everything has changed; from all sides, everyone sees it. September 11th, 2001 was one of those times.
911 was not just a national moment, but a global moment.
Our military has changed, our national strategy has changed, the way we perceive the tradeoff between liberty and freedom has changed – the international order has changed.
Where was our nation and the world on September 10th 2001, and how did the events the following day bring us to where our nation is a decade later?
This Sunday join co-hosts Sal from “CDR Salamander” and EagleOne from “Eaglespeak” as they lead a panel discussion on the 911 Decade.
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Randall A. Clinton
Panel members will include:
J. Michael Barrett, Partner at Diligent Innovations, Intelligence Officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve, and former Director, Strategy & Resources at the White House Homeland Security Council.
L. Thomas Bortmes, CAPT USN (Ret), research staff member at IDA, and former Executive Director, Office of Intelligence, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland Security.
James S. Robbins, Senior Editorial Writer for Foreign Affairs at the Washington Times, author, and contributing editor for National Review Online.
Claude Berube, LCDR USNR, instructor of Political Science at the United States Naval Academy, Intelligence Officer in the Navy Reserve, author, and former Senate Staff member.
Please join us.
Well, I dunno about fun, but certainly easier to understand than the usual explanation. And it ain’t even in Power Point.
LtCol Dan Ward, USAF, from DAU provides nothing short of a brilliant essay that even an 8-yr old can relate to, in fact, can inspire. Worth every bit of the read, as Galrahn has noted at his place. And though Gal also quotes a passage, I will quote a different one, not the least because it has the word “fleet” in it. What, with this being a Naval blog, and all.
The bottom line: Death Stars are unaffordable. Whether we’re talking about a fictional galaxy far, far away or the all too real conditions here on Planet Earth, a Death Star program will cost more than it is worth. The investment on this scale is unsustainable and is completely lost when a wamp-rat-hunting farmboy takes a lucky shot. When one station represents the entire fleet (or even 5 percent of the fleet), we’ve put too many eggs in that basket and are well on our way to failing someone for the last time.
The above seems to describe myriad projects and concepts now being considered by the United States Navy, from larger and larger amphibious ships whose loss would mean instant mission failure, to potentially small (6 or 7?) numbers of supercarriers plying the oceans as a result of the coming fiscal restraint on DoD budgets.
“A Death Star is an Empire weapon that aims to intimidate opponents into submission.
Droids are Republic technology. They don’t intimidate anyone. Instead, they earn their keep by being useful and practical.”
Which current Navy programs are our “Death Stars”, and which, our R2D2s?