Archive for the 'NATO' Tag

As days wandered in to weeks, then months, and now quarters – two recent events have given notice that NATO has a very short window to finish what it started in Libya.

As with most conflicts – and especially this one – the reason for engaging in conflict can change as the facts change. The reality is that this conflict was never clearly defined from the get-go. As a result, everyone should be patient as decisive points, goals, objectives, end states fade in and out, appear/disappear, and change with the tides.

Once the decision is made to commit your nation and its allies to war – all that is important is victory. There is no substitute for victory, as anything but victory brings the dangerous attractiveness of weakness, and undesired second and third-order effects that must be avoided.

As this conflict is presently structured today – with non-USA aircraft doing much of the kinetic action – the next 90-days will hopefully be enough for USA to thoroughly consider, under the planning assumption that Gaddafi is not killed, COA-1 (Re-Americanize) and COA-2 (Fade). By the end of SEP, we will reach a decision point.

Why will we reach a decision point?

The first to channel the Elector of Bavaria at Blenheim was Norway;

Norway will scale down its fighter jet contribution in Libya from six to four planes and withdraw completely from the NATO-led operation by Aug. 1, the government said Friday.

Defense Minister Grete Faremo said she expects understanding from NATO allies because Norway has a small air force and cannot “maintain a large fighter jet contribution during a long time.”

Once that momentum starts – others will follow. Two things will drive this; materiel & will.

There are navies that are designed to fight wars, to fight in short bits and/or as part of coalitions, and there are those that are designed to show the flag. The French do not have an issue of national will in this conflict. No, even though their navy is on the strong side of the middle type of navy, they do have a problem – matériel.

… France (is) indicating it will need in the autumn to withdraw the Libyan mission’s only aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle, on virtually continuous operations since last year — with no replacement in the offing.

“The elephant in the room is the imminent departure of the French carrier, given it has been flying 30-40 percent of all NATO strike sorties,” said Tim Ripley, of Jane’s Defense Weekly.

“It’s a looming problem, so sustaining this operation, particularly if it’s going to grind past September or October, is going to be a problem.”

In the absence of other allies coming forward with strike aircraft that could be flown from land bases — which would necessitate a fleet of refueling tankers only the United States could provide…

We’ve reviewed the European CV/CVN challenge before and the inefficiency of land-based air for this operation – the problem is clear. Given President Obama’s statements of late – one should not expect a USN CVN to take its place. Truth in this business can change, and in spite of the President’s position and that of some in Congress today – we need to keep the option open to, as we have had to do in Afghanistan, re-Americanize the Libyan operation. A CVN or two can fix this very fast if the President wants it to.

So, we find ourselves here hoping for a hope that Gadaffi’s luck will run out. No one ever let me put “Luck” in my OPLANs … but perhaps things have changed.

This fall, if the Congress and/or the President won’t allow USA to do more of the kinetics to replace retreating and worn out Europeans as per COA-1, – then COA-2 it will be. COA-2 will lead to nothing but ugly – but we knew this going in. If things didn’t end quickly, the Europeans would get weak in the knees. More and more understood this as the weeks turned in to months. Almost everyone by now must see it. Baring just plain dumb luck or sudden resolve by Europe – COA-2 leads to defeat. Defeat is not an option.

If Gadaffi lives to see the weather turn cooler and NATO continues to limp and stumble as weak horses do, then we should execute COA-1. Support the President and Congress to end this, and end it right. Finish what we started (yes, we – without the USA, Europe could not and would not have started this). Finish it and then hand post-conflict over to the Europeans – all of it as this is in their interest, not ours. They wanted this done – give it to them and then pivot.

When will we know we reach that decision point, and what do we do after that?

Britain’s top naval officer, Adm. Mark Stanhope, warned Monday that his nation — its military hobbled by severe budget cuts and the continuing cost of the Afghan war — would face hard decisions if the Libya mission is not resolved by September.

“If we do it longer than six months, we will have to reprioritize forces,” he said, indicating the current commitments cannot be maintained indefinitely.

Britain’s chief of defense staff, Gen. David Richards, insisted Tuesday that Britain can continue operations in Libya as long as it needs to. But another senior NATO official echoed Stanhope’s comments, saying that if the alliance’s intervention in Libya continues, the issue of resources will become “critical.”

Gen. Stephane Abrial, the senior NATO commander, told reporters at a NATO conference in Serbia that “at this stage, the forces engaged do have the means necessary to conduct the operation.”

But he noted that “if the operation were to last long, of course, the resource issue will become critical.”

“If additional resources are needed, this, of course, will need a political decision,” he said.

That political decision will be in Washington, DC. The worlds largest debtor nation will have all the empty pockets looking at her – and then we should take a deep breath, borrow the money from the Chinese, finish it, and then walk away.

What will follow? Odds are – not Jeffersonian Democracy or even Kemalism. No, review the foreign fighter figures from Iraq. Odds are we won’t like it – but we fathered it and will have to accept it for what it is.

Given all the above, there are many things to learn. Lets talk about what I mean about pivot.

For even the most die-hard Atlanticist, some things are becoming unavoidably clear. George Will sums it up.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, U.S. military spending has more than doubled, but that of NATO’s 27 other members has declined 15 percent. U.S. military spending is three times larger than the combined spending of those other members. Hence Gates warned that “there will be dwindling appetite and patience in” America for expending “increasingly precious funds on behalf of nations that are apparently unwilling to devote the necessary resources or make the necessary changes to be serious and capable partners in their own defense.” Already, U.S. officers in Afghanistan sometimes refer to the NATO command there — officially, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) — as “I Saw Americans Fighting.”

After a recent NATO attack on a tented encampment where Gaddafi has met foreign leaders, the New York Times reported: “The desert strike appeared to show the alliance’s readiness to kill Col. Gaddafi. A NATO statement described the target as a ‘command and control facility.’ But apart from small groups of soldiers lurking under trees nearby with pickups carrying mounted machine guns, reporters taken to the scene saw nothing to suggest that the camp was a conventional military target.”

In March, Obama said that U.S. intervention would be confined to implementing a no-fly zone: “Broadening our military mission to include regime change would be a mistake.” By May, Obama’s Bushian mission was to make Libyans “finally free of 40 years of tyranny.” After more than 10,000 sorties, now including those by attack helicopters, NATO’s increasingly desperate strategy boils down to: Kill Gaddafi.

Then what? More incompetent improvisation, for many more months.

Disgust with this debacle has been darkly described as a recrudescence of “isolationism,” as though people opposing this absurdly disproportionate and patently illegal war are akin to those who, after 1938, opposed resisting Germany and Japan. Such slovenly thinking is a byproduct of shabby behavior.

I think in time, more and more Americans will join supporting Plan Salamander for Europe. I learned it from Eisenhower. Soak it in – and get ready to pivot.

“Because we had had our troops there, the Europeans had not done their share,” President Eisenhower said. “They won’t make the sacrifices to provide the soldiers for their own defense.”

As if on cue;

Iveta Radicova, Slovakia’s prime minister, says bluntly that defence is “not a priority”. She wants to improve her country’s competitiveness and reduce unemployment.

The results? Behold Libya. Behold the caveat laden forces of ISAF and the piracy forces of the Horn of Africa. Do all but two or three in NATO lack the key to anything – will?

SECDEF’s speech in Oslo linked to above needs to be listened to more and more. Then we need to execute some tough love for Europe. Enough Americans have died for Europe – enough American treasure spent to subsidize their sloth. Friends always lean in to protect friends from outside threats – but they cannot protect their friends when their friends won’t even make the effort to defend themselves – or for that matter have no inclination to.

This is not isolationism as some think. No, this is a mature strategic concept for the 21st Century. The Cold War and the Soviet Union are far behind us. Sailors joining the Navy today and the MIDN who will show up at Annapolis this fall were almost all born after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union. As decades of inertia rattle to a halt, let us shake hands with our friends and go home. They are strong enough to stand on their own feet if they want to. If they don’t want to, then let history take its course. If they see a threat and make an effort to defend themselves – then we should train and equip our armed forces to be able to help. USA based with global reach – but only for those who will first help themselves.

We need to pivot from the past in Europe. You can’t force someone to take their own defense seriously – but you can create the conditions for them to reassess their sloth. I think it is time.



Shortly after Secretary of Defense Gates vented some frustration with NATO and some of its members, we will be diving into the NATO world when on Midrats (BlogTalkRadio) on Sunday, June 12, at 5pm we present Episode 75 “From NATO and Russia with questions”:

At a time when already small NATO defense budgets shrink while it is actively engaged in two combat operations decades after the Soviet treat faded into history – what is NATO and where does it stand? Is NATO “transforming” – and if so in to what?

From the ashes of the former Soviet Union – Russia and its near abroad are starting to re-establish their identity – what are the implications?

Join “CDR Salamander” and me with our guest for the full hour, CAPT Thomas Fedyszyn, (Ph.D.), USN (Ret.) – Professor of National Security Affairs at the U.S. Naval War College and Chair of the Europe-Russia Studies Group.

It may get lively.

Join us here or download the show later from BlogTalkRadio or iTunes.



What ‘cha say I step a little out ahead of the President’s speech on Libya tonight? Why not?

Speaking a little over a week ago, President Obama repeated what we have heard over and over concerning the high level of American involvement in the Libyan campaign,

“We will provide the unique capabilities that we can bring to bear to stop the violence against civilians, including enabling our European allies and Arab partners to effectively enforce a no-fly zone,”

What are those “unique capabilities?” Most have focused on the tactical aspects, there is much more than that. Of course, no one has the satellite access, TLAM inventory, Heavy Bombers, or Tanker, or Heavy EW/ES like we do. That is part of our “unique capabilities” – but not the long-pole.

Why are USA capabilities “unique?” That answer is the simple: Western Europe has but a shadow of the military capability it once had. The long slide started with the Suez Crisis, and has culminated with the last gasps of the Western Welfare State’s economic foundations that today have drained defense budgets to absurd levels as a percentage of GDP – our traditional European allies simply cannot initiate and sustain intense expeditionary combat operations without us. Put peace keepers in small, steamy, quasi-failed former colonies in Africa? Sure. Sustained Joint-Combined combat operations without the USA – notsomuch.

Libya isn’t even a large country – though geographically large, its population of 6,419,925 is concentrated along the coastal road. In contrast, the European Union – which BTW has its own military structures – has a population of 501,259,800. Yes, Libya has 1.2% of the population of the European Union – yet the defense of European access to oil and secure maritime borders is being led by a North American (Canadian), and being fought air-to-ground mostly by other North Americans (USA). Yes, the EU is not NATO and NATO is not the EU – but as we know whose interests are primary of concern here; this works for me.

Let’s make it even more lopsided. Libya has a GDP of $62.36 billion. The EU has a combined GDP of $15.95 trillion. Let me adjust that for you; $15,950 billion. Yes, Libya has ~.4% of the EU’s GDP … yet the EU needs North American leaders, military forces, and borrowed money to defend its interests.

Ponder that a bit – I’ll come back to it.

Military power isn’t the most important “unique capability” of our nation. No, the most important are leadership and will. No other nation has the institutional ability to plan, organize, or lead a large scale Combined-Joint operation. That is the military side; the political side is that our allies are used to having our leadership and our top-cover when it comes to major military operations. Not only do we have the ability to bring the most to the fight, but regardless what political party is in power, we usually have the political ability to absorb the inevitable complaints, second guessing, gnashing of teeth and rending of clothes by the usual suspects that comes with military operations in the post-Vietnam era. Parliamentary systems such as those of our allies are not as sturdy as our system. These nations also have generations of leaders whose first instinct when it comes to major military actions is to look to Washington. Habits are what they are. They have become dependent – and for a variety of reasons we are happy with that.

I would like to lay down another marker before the President’s speech. As we discussed on Midrats yesterday with U.S. Naval War College Professor of Strategy, Thomas G. Mahnken, Ph.D., the Europeans have some realpolitik reasons for this conflict. The Libyan conflict is not about peace and democracy – though they make good talking points. If they were a concern, NATO jets would be flying over as many nations as their tankers could take them. No, this is about something much simpler. This is about the free flow of oil to Europe at market prices and trying to keep a lid on illegal immigration from Africa.

The fact that NATO is taking this mission is interesting as well. NATO has transformed – perhaps in ways not fully understood by many. In Libya, NATO is not defending the alliance from outside aggression as it was charted to do. It is not helping another alliance nation to prosecute those who attacked it, like ISAF is in AFG. No, NATO has signed up for something very different. Without any of its member nations being threatened, NATO is executing offensive operations beyond its borders supporting one side against another in a civil war. Quite the transformation.

As usual with NATO operations – this would not be possible without American forces and American money. Is it in the American interest?

From Sunday;

MR. GREGORY: Secretary Gates, is Libya in our vital interest as a country?

SEC. GATES: No. I don’t think it’s a vital interest for the United States, but we clearly have interests there, and it’s a part of the region which is a vital interest for the United States.

If anyone read or listened to SECDEF Gates earlier this month, this should not be a surprise. Hopefully tonight, the President will clarify this to the American people.

Even our Canadian friends are trying to figure out their nation’s reasons.

Why is Canada at war in Libya? You won’t get the answer from our elected leaders. They’re too busy fighting an election to explain it to us. You can’t count on the opposition parties to raise awkward questions, either. They have better things to do at a crucial time like this. Besides, it’s just a little war. It will be over soon, unless it isn’t. If all goes well, perhaps Canadians won’t notice that our political class has committed us to an open-ended military action in North Africa without a clue about what the mission is, who’s in charge, or how deep the quagmire might get.

The short answer is that Canada is in Libya because our allies are. But, ideologically, this is very much a made-in-Canada war – rooted in a doctrine that has been tirelessly promoted by foreign policy liberals such as Lloyd Axworthy and Bob Rae, and vigorously endorsed by some of Barack Obama’s closest advisers, especially Samantha Power at the National Security Council.

This doctrine is known as the “responsibility to protect” (R2P for short) and was endorsed by the United Nations in 2005. It mandates that the “international community” is morally obliged to defend people who are in danger of massive human-rights violations. It’s rooted in Western guilt over the failure to prevent genocide in Rwanda. R2P is the moral underpinning of the war in Libya, and it’s the reason why people such as Paul Martin, Roméo Dallaire, Mr. Rae and Mr. Axworthy have been so amazingly eager for us to rush into battle.

So have Ms. Power and her sister warriors Hillary Clinton, the U.S. Secretary of State, and Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the UN. Together, these three convinced Mr. Obama of the urgent moral case for war in Libya. Ms. Power is the author of the enormously influential book A Problem from Hell, about Washington’s failure to prevent genocide in the 20th century. Her counterpart in France is the glamorous philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy, who flew to Benghazi, met the rebels, and persuaded French President Nicolas Sarkozy (who badly needs a boost in the polls) to back them.

R2P – another acronym that helps people avoid defining words, Is it what Mickey Kaus in The Daily Caller calls, “humanitarian imperialism.” Where do you stop? As we are in IRQ, AFG, and now Libya while our military budget starts to shrink and the Western sovereign debt crisis expands; I don’t know about you, but my war-card is about full.

With all the above swirling about as we wait for the President to speak on the subject – as I often try to do when things in the world get fuzzy – I go to the writings of great men. In this case, the Father of our Country; President George Washington.

On a regular basis, people need to read his farewell address in full – but this extended quote is worth pondering in some depth. The points he raise are as relevant today as they were then, perhaps more so.

The Nation, which indulges towards another an habitual hatred, or an habitual fondness, is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest. Antipathy in one nation against another disposes each more readily to offer insult and injury, to lay hold of slight causes of umbrage, and to be haughty and intractable, when accidental or trifling occasions of dispute occur. Hence frequent collisions, obstinate, envenomed, and bloody contests. The Nation, prompted by ill-will and resentment, sometimes impels to war the Government, contrary to the best calculations of policy. The Government sometimes participates in the national propensity, and adopts through passion what reason would reject; at other times, it makes the animosity of the nation subservient to projects of hostility instigated by pride, ambition, and other sinister and pernicious motives. The peace often, sometimes perhaps the liberty, of Nations has been the victim.

So likewise, a passionate attachment of one Nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite Nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest, in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter, without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite Nation of privileges denied to others, which is apt doubly to injure the Nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained; and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld. And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens, (who devote themselves to the favorite nation,) facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.

The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is, in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connexion as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop.

Europe has a set of primary interests, which to us have none, or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves, by artificial ties, in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.

Our detached and distant situation invites and enables us to pursue a different course. If we remain one people, under an efficient government, the period is not far off, when we may defy material injury from external annoyance; when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality, we may at any time resolve upon, to be scrupulously respected; when belligerent nations, under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon us, will not lightly hazard the giving us provocation; when we may choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, shall counsel.

Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor, or caprice?

It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world; so far, I mean, as we are now at liberty to do it; for let me not be understood as capable of patronizing infidelity to existing engagements. I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs, that honesty is always the best policy. I repeat it, therefore, let those engagements be observed in their genuine sense. But, in my opinion, it is unnecessary and would be unwise to extend them.

Taking care always to keep ourselves, by suitable establishments, on a respectable defensive posture, we may safely trust to temporary alliances for extraordinary emergencies.

What habits have we and the Europeans picked up since WWII and the Cold War? Do they apply in the second decade of the 2st Century? Is it in the American interest to have our children borrow money from the Chinese so we can send our armies though the earth searching for dragons to slay, to do the fighting for others who will not do it for themselves?

Hopefully, President Obama will help us all understand this a little better tonight.

As a side-note; if I can I’m going to liveblog the President’s Libya speech tonight at my homeblog so if you are so inclined; join me.



24th

NATO Takes OOD MCC

March 2011

By

Our co-blogger here at USNIBLog – Admiral Stavridis, USN, SACEUR – sent along this tweet earlier today,

#NATO is now in charge of the Arms Embargo off the coast of #Libya. I designated a top Italian Admiral to run it. http://bit.ly/gXSq7s

Yes, he is on Twitter – and if you don’t follow him on Twitter you are making us both sad.

I am going to put up my next “Big Pixel” Operation ODYSSEY DAWN (OOD) post on Monday – but for now I want to focus on this.

This NATO effort has been named Operation Unified Protector and its mission is to assist the international community in reducing the flow of arms and material prohibited by the arms embargo into and from Libya in order to reduce acts of aggression against the civilian population.

NATO’s response to the situation in Libya is based on three fundamental principles: added value from the Alliance to the existing international efforts; a clear legal mandate and strong regional support.

Operation Unified Protector will assist in reducing the flow of arms, related material and mercenaries to and from the coastal waters off Libya only.

NATO nation ships and aircraft will conduct operations to monitor, report and, if needed,interdict vessels and intercept aircraft where there are reasonable grounds to suspect that they are carrying cargo in violation of the arms embargo or suspected of carrying illegal arms or mercenaries.

Joint Forces Command Naples is designated as the command headquarters with Vice Admiral Rinaldo Veri of the Italian Navy, Commander of Maritime Command Naples, in command of the arms embargo operation who will, in turn, appoint the Task Force Commander at sea.

I’m going to stick with NATO terms here; so work with me and don’t get all nit-picky if you are using a different Operational Planning school – we’re working fundamentals of Operational Planning here and its all close enough. Also, this post will be almost as hard to follow as the C2 structure we have in place – don’t blame me, I’m only as poor of a writer as my subject. Ahem. Let’s dive in to this.

Under the Operational Commander, you have three major Component Commanders; Land Component Commander (LCC), Maritime Component Commander (MCC), and Air Component Commander (ACC). There can be variations on the theme – but these are the big three we’ll talk about.

Here we are, almost a week into OOD and …. well …. we have a hybrid structure that has been American, until now.

To review: COMAFRICOM is the COCOM with C6F CNE, Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III apparently serving as the JTF Operational Commander. I say apparently, as this C2 structure is a dog’s breakfast at this point with unconnected and uncoordinated lines. Who has OPCOM, OPCON, TACOM, TACON of who is so out of joint (pun intended) to everyone that until yesterday Norway grounded its F-16s in Crete simply because it had no idea who was who and why.

Now we have something different. As OOD has American stink on it and everyone seems to want to call this something different, NATO is using Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR (OUP) for the Maritime aspect of this and will have to do. That gives us at this point another custom C2 structure with both USA and NATO – and perhaps – some Coalition of the Willing structure for ACC and a replacement for COMAFRICOM in the future.

Sorry I don’t have a C2 diagram for you, but it would take at least two hours to make and would need at a minimum a 4-foot by 6-foot whiteboard to put it up correctly and it would still be wrong inside half a day.

On the Maritime side though, NATO JFC Naples is an Operational Level Commander who also happens to be the same person with a different hat, USA C6F Admiral Samual J. Locklear, III, USN.

With his NATO hat as JFC Naples, ADM Locklear has a LCC, MCC, and ACC. In Naples is his MCC, Maritime Command Naples who is taking the point in OUP and will appoint someone else to command the Task Force at Sea. Funny, I would think COM MCC Naples Actual would – but perhaps other things are in play that will flesh out later. Not a tidy C2 for now, but what one is in coalition operations?

According to his website, ADM Locklear’s ACC is in Izmir, Turkey – so I don’t think that will be a player. His LCC is in Madrid … and let’s not speak of that.

The announcement of a MCC for OOD/OUP is good news as it means that things are slowly being patched together. We are a little closer to being able to turn it over to a Coalition Command structure as the CINC states he wants to take place – if we can have someone step up to Operation HOT POTATO.

Where to? For now we have the relatively benign MCC job under an Italian Admiral in NATO’s Command Structure – I think the ACC will probably be American but not NATO when all is said and done for both structural, training, and practical reasons that I will outline in a broader context next Monday or Tuesday.

LCC. Well, let’s just hope we don’t need one of those. Ever.

So far, this has a whiff of the Kosovo operation in a way; a patch-up/pick-up operation with little to no preliminary Operational Planning (though there was time for it if there was POL/MIL guidance earlier than the last minute). SACEUR is a tough job on any day – with AFG and now OOD/OUP … it just got more interesting – but without sounding like a smack; we’ve got the right man for the job in place.

UPDATE: Things look like they have settled even more broadly than the above last night. With Turkey deciding to stop opposition – to my pleasant surprise considering what they had been saying over the last couple of weeks – things are looking much “cleaner” and the operations is mostly falling under JFC Naples, ADM Locklear, USN, and his Component Command Structure.

Strategic headquarters of NATO, Supreme Headquarters Allied Power Europe (SHAPE) in Mons, Belgium, would oversee the general operation, the source said on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the negotiations.

The mission of the air would be monitored in Izmir, Turkey, but the daily tactical operations in a series of short Renatico Poggio, the diplomat said. Turkey has blocked a new effort Wednesday night to give NATO a role in the no-fly zone because it requires an end to the bombing campaign led by a coalition led by the United States, Britain and France.

JFC Naples the Operational Level Command, and ACC will be Izmir. Heh, I owe someone a beer.

There looks like we may have some OEF-vs-ISAF like parallel structure with the Libyan operation. If you listen to the end of NATO’s Secretary General’s statement, he mentions continues coordination with “Coalition” forces. Maybe he means something else – but it wold be a shame if we have parallel C2 structures.

I would offer though that in 2011, NATO should really have more details out than this – things may change but that is all we know right now.

UPDATE II: Looks like we have split the Air Component Command in to two parts. One doing air-to-ground, the other the air-to-air. Yes, a parallel command structure within a Component Command. Messy – but isn’t everything political?

As NATO takes over, a Canadian air force general will command most of the Libyan air war but not the nastiest bits – bombing ground targets and attacking Moammar Gadhafi’s tanks – reflecting an ongoing split in the alliance.

Lieutenant-General Charles Bouchard will initially run only the no-fly zone over Libya. An Italian admiral will command the multinational naval blockade offshore. The punishing and controversial bombing runs and air-to-ground strafing will remain under U.S. command until NATO establishes rules of engagement acceptable to reluctant alliance nations such as Germany and Turkey.

U.S., British, Canadian and French warplanes conducting air-to-ground strikes will remain under the command of U.S. Admiral Samuel Locklear. In military jargon he is “double-hatted” – serving as commander of U.S. naval forces in Europe as well as joint task force commander for NATO’s southern command in Naples. Gen. Bouchard serves as his deputy in the latter role, and handing day-to-day running of the war to the Canadian will take Adm. Locklear out of the limelight.

Read it closer, again, on who is doing what. Yep.

As NATO takes over, a Canadian air force general will command most of the Libyan air war but not the nastiest bits – bombing ground targets and attacking Moammar Gadhafi’s tanks – reflecting an ongoing split in the alliance.

Lieutenant-General Charles Bouchard will initially run only the no-fly zone over Libya. An Italian admiral will command the multinational naval blockade offshore. The punishing and controversial bombing runs and air-to-ground strafing will remain under U.S. command until NATO establishes rules of engagement acceptable to reluctant alliance nations such as Germany and Turkey.

The air-to-air portion is 98% over. Nothing more to do. That “combat” will go from USA to NATO with a nice Canadian helo pilot in charge (who BTW is an outstanding General Officer FWIW – good guy to have there).

There is still a fair bit of wet work to be done air-to-ground … so … who is commanding that and doing most of the sorties? Yep, USA. We will need two white boards to diagrams this C2 structure … if you can. Unity of Command? Don’t be silly.



As things have picked up as of late WRT the No-Fly Zone over Libya (NFZ-L) – I think it is time to update the post from 17 days ago.

We have a “go” – in a fashion – for a NFZ-L. CONOPS, COA, ROE, etc; the most important things we really don’t know what we will have. What we do know at the moment is what nations are already throwing their hat in.

CAN: 6 CF-18.
GBR: Unknown number of Tornado and Typhoon fighters. Possible E-3D and tanker support, perhaps others. Frigates HMS CUMBERLAND and HMS WESTMINSTER.
FRA: Bases in southern France & Corsica. CVN FS CHARLES DE GAULLE with 35 aircraft perhaps.
USA: We can bring the the multitude or European based aircraft to bear; if we want to. We have the KEARSARGE ESG in the area. The Big E and her CSG are within reach in a few days; if we want it to. BATAAN ESG will deploy early and can lean in; if we want it to.
ESP: Access to airbases and unspecified aircraft and navy ships.
ITA: Accesses to airbases and support “without reserve” – whatever that means.
BEL: 6 F-16.
QAT: Unspecified support – the only Arab nation so far that I can see coming out post NFZ-L approval.

DEU, I guess, decided they had enough of the Libyan desert a few decades ago – and our other allies I presume were out of OPTAR or some other excuse. As for the rest of NATO – well, this sounds about par.

Before Friday’s meeting, NATO allies were still divided on whether to impose a no-fly zone. While the United States, Britain and France strongly backed the idea, Germany remained cautious and Turkey expressed opposition.

A diplomat said that NATO nations reached consensus on Friday on the imposition of a no-fly zone over Libya, but failed to fix details about how partners will take part in.

NATO ambassadors are expected to meet over the weekend, the diplomat added.

Meanwhile, some NATO nations have expressed their willingness to participate in the deployment of a no-fly zone over Libya.

We shouldn’t expect more from them. Those who could, have. The rest will take a couple of months to figure out how they can do enough to get their flag outside the headquarters – but not enough to take any blame if things should go wrong.

We also know that there is hard math at work here. Physics and engineering cannot be successfully fudged for long. Almost all the viable non-USN particiapation is shore based. Distance is not your friend, especially with the short legs of many of the fighters being offered. Tanker support will be a huge requirement in money and material if you want a serious NFZ-L – as will heavy AEW. If you want, as some have mentioned, a “No-Drive Zone Libya” (NDZ-L), then you are asking for dramatic increase in the Combined Joint Statement of Requirements (CJSOR) – and will need boots on the ground to do it right.

The role and participation by the USA is still behind closed doors, but unless something unusual happens, we know how this will happen in broad terms;

Michael O’Hanlon, a defense expert at the Brookings Institution, said the United States “frankly might wind up playing the biggest role” because Britain and France may be unable to get sufficient aircraft to Libya quickly enough.

“A key part of the role the U.S. is going to play here is going to be like one of President Obama’s previous jobs: community organizer,” said Brian Katulis, a Middle East expert at the Center for American Progress.

Frank knows time-distance it seems; Brian is a cheeky monkey.

With the atrophied military capability and shaky will of the European nations – not to mention their budget “issues” – any type of significant military action in the Maghreb will require the USA to do the heavy lifting. We are the indispensable nation – and when it comes to any sustained action from the sea, the USN is the indispensable Navy.

If you have to project any type of power ashore with ranges such as here (see post from 01MAR) – the CVN is the indispensable ship. As we have waited to the 11th hour to do anything, I still stand by my statements from 17 days ago; without more than 1 CVN you will not have an effective NFZ-L. We don’t have that yet, and may never.

So, if that is where we stand; are we just relying on hope and best case scenarios? Is the NFZ-L just for show and a half-hearted effort? Are we ready for the time and effort for a sustained NFZ-L? Are our allies? Are we going to just let the Europeans fail as they did in AFG from ’06-’08 and then try to fix it later?

Finally there is this questions that many seem to want to avoid. We set up a NFZ-L and Gadaffi still wins in the face of it; what is our Branch Plan, or Sequel? What are the second and third order effects of an ineffective NFZ-L that results in a Gadaffi win?

Well – hopefully we won’t have to figure that out. Smart professionals are working that – but before everyone starts moving their little-bits around the map – listen to SECDEF Gates one more time.

Another dark room – let’s all step in together.

UPDATE: NOR and DNK are in … as tanks start to enter Benghazi. Tic, toc; tic, toc.

UPDATE II: Pictures are important and tell the story of the costs of delay. A couple of weeks ago, Gadaffi only had the area around Tripoli and a scattered town or two. The facts on the ground have changes significantly. Quite the challenge (click for larger).



In support of Chris’s post, let’s dig at this a bit more.

Via FT; once again, when our prostrate, financially starved, and materially deficient allies say this,

“We must not tolerate this regime using military force against its own people,” David Cameron, UK prime minister, said. “In that context I have asked the Ministry of Defence and the Chief of the Defence Staff to work with our allies on plans for a military no-fly zone.”

What they really mean is, “America, will you please do the heavy lifting? We will try to help with what little we have, but be a good sport.”

Want to make this an international effort? I won’t even start to discuss the UN route – as to get to that point is just too difficult and like Darfur, by the time someone can craft a deal, there will be no one to save. Anyway, really?

You can also think NATO, but I think that is off the table already.

… Recep Tayyip Erdogan, prime minister of Turkey, which has the second largest standing army in Nato, on Tuesday rejected intervention by the western alliance in Libya as “unthinkable”.

“Can you even consider such an absurdity?” Mr Erdogan said at a conference in Germany when asked about calls for Nato to intervene in Libya. “As Turkey, we’re against this, this can’t even be talked about, it’s unthinkable.”

Russia and France also opposed military action, with Paris saying humanitarian aid and cutting off Col Gaddafi’s funding sources should be the priorities.

Once again – NATO devolves to the lowest common denominator, even in their own back yard.

Coalition of the willing it is.

No serious person is talking about putting boots on the ground to engage in ground combat the Libyan rebel forces are more than willing to do – I think the most aggressive thing inside the “possible” bubble is a no-fly zone in Libya (NFZ-L) so Gaddafi’s air force cannot do their will on civilians and rebel forces.

Senators John McCain and Joseph Lieberman called last week for NATO countries to impose a no-fly zone over Libya to prevent air attacks by Mr Gaddafi on opponents who have wrested control of large parts of the country from him.

According to Colonel David Lapan, a Pentagon spokesman, US military planners are working on “various contingency plans … [and] repositioning forces to be able to provide for that flexibility once decisions are made”.

Let’s make some initial draft Planning Assumptions (PA) assuming that the CINC directs the establishment of a NFZ-L, here’s my first three:
– PA-1: The ENTERPRISE CSG and KEARSARGE ESG now in the Red Sea successfully transit Suez.
– PA-2: Tanker, AEW, and EW/ES aircraft have full basing rights in Sigonella, Souda Bay, at British bases in Cyprus.
– PA-3: ITA, ESP, and GBR are willing to contribute Navy and Air forces.

Let’s go to the chart, shall we? You can click it for a larger version.

Of those allies with the most pressing concern in the Mediterranean, we already know TUR, and FRA are non-players. GRC? Child please. There goes your most of your Med nations. Who else can help that isn’t already on holiday? GBR, ITA, ESP, with perhaps a dog or cat from other NATO air forces up north may help, but they have very limited reach and a very shallow bench. Even with the USAF, you cannot effect a sustained NFZ-L using ground based aircraft – even if you limited it to the Tripoli and Benghazi. Especially when you can bet a paycheck that ROE will require visual ID and sustained observation of suspect activity; no. Add to that the requirement for CSAR, and no again.

There is only one way to do this: Carrier Aviation. American Carrier Aviation.

One carrier cannot do this alone unless you have very low ambition and expect very little in the way of tasking. You should have one station to the east, one to the west. If you are talking big deck CVN – you really need two to keep one station for any length of time. To keep two stations, four – but if you can get some limited land-based air support for some cycles – maybe get by with three?

Let’s be realistic. We are not going to get four CVN or even three. Two then? I vote no. We’re tapped out.

If you had plenty of support and just a few AAW CAPs up – we could get by with just one … if for only a short time. Hope? Feh, not a plan – so be modest in your ambition.

OK, let’s go to NFZ-L with the Global Maritime Partnership we have, not that we wish we had.

Would we give a station to our allies? Of the remaining folks, GBR, ESP, & ITA have CVS, right? Well, the Brits don’t do CVS counter-air anymore – and the Italians and Spanish carriers? How many sorties can they do? How about if they had a lot of land based fighter support? How many fighter aircraft need to be stationed at Sigonella supported by how many tankers to cover Tripoli? Same question about Souda Bay and Benghazi. The British bases on Cyprus?

UK officials said they could use of a British military air base in Akrotiri, Cyprus to enforce a no-fly mission. “Akrotiri would be very useful if we wanted to deploy,” said an official. “That would seem most logical.”Although fixed-wing aircraft appear to be depleted, British officials said the main concern was that Col Gaddafi could use helicopters to mount bombing raids on opponents.

Thanks, but … look at that transit – tanker and AEW/ES only. That is about the same distance as from Masirah, Oman to Southern Afghanistan.

There is the problem – but we have a solution, the one a lot of smart people are going to try to make work. We will have do a limited NFZ-L with Big E and the KEARSARGE ESG. Not the way it should be done, but good enough for show.

On alert, using limited CAPs and relying on ready aircraft. Our allies may be here and there and will be able to help on the margins – but they have neither the ability or political will to do much more. They have proven over and over that they are less concerned about their backyard than we are – either that are they are just too used to us solving their big problems – and if we don’t – they will just hope for the best.

My guestimates on the back of a notepad are very rough – but probably within a standard deviation. Do them yourself. The tyranny of distance and allied defense budgets are beyond our control but are critical planning factors you cannot get around.

Once you ponder that some, remind yourself and others the importance of a CVN – and use this other little tool in discussions of the utility of CVN. Off Libya soon may be the USS ENTERPRISE (CVN-65), commissioned on 25 NOV 61 – almost 50 years ago. On the western side of Libya is the former Wheelus Air Force Base. How is that base working out for us?

Quadaffi

UPDATE: SECDEF Gates throws some cold water on Prime Minister Cameron, and seems a bit off key with SECSTATE Clinton.

The U.S. and allies have discussed the prospect of imposing a no-fly zone over the North African country to prevent Col. Gadhafi from using air forces to strike at protesters. But Mr. Gates on Wednesday made clear the U.S. military would have to launch pre-emptive strikes to destroy Libya’s air defenses if President Barack Obama ordered the imposition of a no-fly zone,

“Let’s just call a spade a spade,” Mr. Gates said. “A no-fly zone begins with an attack on Libya.”

Mr. Gates’s words were the strongest public indication of skepticism within the administration about establishing a no-fly zone, especially without broad international support.

In recent days, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has spoken supportively of a no-fly zone. Asked about the apparent contradiction between Mr. Gates’s comments and Mrs. Clinton’s remarks, Jay Carney, the White House spokesman, said Wednesday that the no-fly zone is being “actively considered.”

I think SECDEF Gates has reviewed COA-1, COA-2, & COA-3 and realized the risk-reward is just not where it should be. Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should do something. Right call.

To paraphrase the Great Bismark; Libya is not worth the bones of a single Pomeranian grenadier.



Gen. Craddock continues to provide a great service to the larger national security community by providing little glimpses into the challenges SACEUR has in training and herding the NATO cats in Mons and Brussels.

Most of you have already seen Chapter 1; Chapter 2 is a nice little “Top 10” list, with #5 and #3 getting the most interest from me.

“(10) NATO Council elders refer to an era that included the threat of widespread, world-ending, nuclear exchange as ‘the good old days.’ The Cold War — for NATO those were simple times, exceedingly dangerous but simple. We trained, we exercised, we planned — but we didn’t deploy anywhere, and we did not resource or conduct operations. We did not live in a time when information was literally at the fingertips of citizens around the globe. We didn’t have to convince our populaces of the merit of our action. National survival hung in the balance.

“[Today] with almost 74,000 from 44 countries deployed in six operations within and beyond the Euro-Atlantic area … [we lack] political will, commitment in resources … and commitment to communicate the need … to our citizens. Defense spending is on the decline [while] security demands are on the rise.

“(9) You need to reach consensus on whether to serve red sauce or white sauce on the pasta. Consensus in garnering international support and legitimacy (is one thing). But for routine alliance business? Easier said than done. NATO would need to reach consensus on a decision to no longer need to reach consensus. Time to change the MO. But let’s always remember Churchill — ‘the only thing worse than fighting a war with allies is fighting a war without them.’

“(8) You’re part of an organization that’s been a pillar of strength and provider of peace and security for member and partner nations for more than 60 years … fostered the reunification of Germany — and through enlargement extended democratic values throughout Warsaw Pact countries … resolved conflict in the Balkans [and] its reintegration into the whole of Europe. And today, NATO reaches around the globe to collectively confront 21st century challenges … but we’re still lacking modern crisis management capabilities to respond to challenges in an unpredictable world.

“(7) Your relationship with 27 European Union nations, 21 of whom are also members of NATO, is, at best, cordial. (gobbledygook for sleight-of-hand). A tight working relationship between EU and NATO is the overdue prerequisite for solutions to 21st century challenges. Signed agreements guarantee EU access to NATO assets and capabilities for EU-led missions. … Time to work together by playing to strengths of both to address current/future crises.

“(6) When you tell a 20-something you work for NATO, he says, ‘Isn’t that the dog in the Wizard of Oz?’ No, Billy, it’s not. It’s the most successful security alliance in world history, [to which we owe] freedom, peace, prosperity and our way of life. (Up to us to make sure younger and future generations) understand NATO’s essential role … in the civilized world.

“(5) A ‘teeth sucking’ sound that follows any request to commit resources resonates in the hallways of Brussels. The crux of NATO’s operational problems is that its ambition outstrips its political will to resource that ambition. Afghanistan is the textbook illustration … since mission inception, NATO nations have never completely filled the agreed requirements for forces needed in Afghanistan.

“(4) NATO enlargement, alongside EU’s, is responsible for the advance of democracy across the European Continent in the aftermath of the Cold War. Increase in security for NATO’s members is not a decrease in security for any other. However, candidate nations must be contributors to security, not consumers of it.

“(3) Words like urgent, rapid and swift better describe the demeanor and movement of a Galapagos tortoise than action in NATO. Consensus stands in the way of agile decision-making. It currently takes NATO 62 weeks to process a submitted urgent operational requirement, down from 80 weeks. Next goal 35 weeks. That means operational commanders still wait almost nine months for what they deem an urgent requirement. In our current security requirement, these delays are simply untenable. NATO is not postured for the realities of today’s world.

“(2) NATO is a great forum for strategic debate among allies, but fear of open disagreement inhibits debate. We engage in less now than 15 years ago. Debate is not a way into problems — but a way out, onto a road of consensus and action. Yet we face multiple new and emerging threats — transnational terrorism, the proliferation of WMD [weapons of mass destruction], piracy, climate change, energy security, mass migrations, cyber attacks, to name a few. The spectrum of potential conflict is wide. NATO must be agile and capable.

“(1) If you got this far, you work in NATO … part of an organization “whose future is as bright as its history is impressive.”

Crossposted at CDRSalamander.



Now this is the Cliff’s Notes version of a turnover as Commander Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe.

Outgoing COM SHAPE, General Craddock – take it away!

A top NATO leader says the alliance’s politicians are effectively absent without leave in the battle against Afghan insurgents.

General John Craddock, the outgoing Supreme Allied Commander, was referring to the fact that countries such as Canada, the United States, Britain, and the Netherlands are doing most of the fighting in Afghanistan’s most dangerous regions.

“I’m probably being harsh here, but I also believe that much of this is due to the fact that political leadership in NATO is AWOL,” the U. S. Army general told the Atlantic Council of the United States.

Yes, I can hear you, yes Great Caesar – give us more!

More fundamentally, the Alliance has not kept its promises. It has not come close to funding the objectives it set for itself in 2006, upon taking control of the mission, and it is clear that the domestic political interests of NATO member states have been paramount over Alliance goals — even though said goals were achieved through painstaking consensus building. Craddock understands that political leaders in democracies have to consider public opinion. At the same time, however, he said “It’s the job of leaders to persuade the citizenry” on important foreign policy goals and that “often, this has not been the case.”

Sigh – truth always comes too late. Part of that truth is many nations in the Alliance only contribute enough to get their flag on a pole outside HQ ISAF in Kabul so they can claim to be part of it.

Many don’t, in numbers or through caveats, do enough to really contribute so, in the case it fails, they can simple blame the USA. All the benefits of being in a coalition – with none of the responsibility.

Go grab a fresh cup of coffee and watch the below. This is a great primer.

Watch Video:

Next Monday I’ll post some of my personal thoughts on my home blog what I see as changing in Afghanistan WRT the Alliance’s relationship to the USA. Things are changing – and I don’t think anyone with an Atlantist bent to their ideas will like it. The political of you will enjoy the Schadenfreude nature of it.

Crossposted.



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