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[l] at 10/20/19 10:00pm

Michael Peck

Security, Asia

https://www.dvidshub.net/image/3997785/vigilant-ace-18 Welcome to hell on the Korean Peninsula. 

Key point: Pyongyang would lose, but millions would die.

North Korea’s unpredictable leader Kim Jong-un has many ways of making war upon his neighbors. He can unleash commandos, or cyberweapons, or threaten to utilize weapons of mass destruction unless the world complies with his wishes.

Whether Kim Jong-un will live to see the results is another matter.

He might be assassinated by U.S. and South Korean special forces, or buried in his bunker by a bunker-buster bomb. Other smart bombs might take out his command posts and nuclear facilities. The authoritarian state of North Korea could become a state without authority, its leadership decapitated by precisely targeted strikes.

Or at least that seems to be America’s plan for fighting the next Korean War. And with North Korea conducting a new wave of ballistic missile tests, and U.S and South Korean forces practicing how to destroy North Korean nuclear sites, that plan is becoming more relevant.

Exactly what U.S. Operations Plan 5015 (OPLAN 5015) entails is classified. Fragments have been reported in the Japanese and South Korean press. But what details have emerged indicate that in 2015, a new approach was taken toward the old problem of how to fight a bellicose North Korea and its huge arsenal of conventional and unconventional weapons.

For years, the expectation had been that a second Korean War would resemble with the first, a big-unit conventional war with U.S. and South Korean forces first stopping the enemy and then counterattacking into North Korea. But OPLAN 5015 reportedly takes a more twenty-first century approach of limited war, special forces and precision weapons. Japan’s Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported in 2015 that the plan resembled guerrilla warfare, with special forces assassinations and targeted attacks on key facilities. The goal was to consolidate several older war plans, minimize casualties in a war and even prepare for the possibility that the North Korean regime might collapse.

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[Author: Michael Peck] [Category: Security]

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[l] at 10/20/19 9:00pm

Michael Peck

Security, Europe

https://pictures.reuters.com/archive/WW2-ANNIVERSARY-RUSSIA-PARADE-RC139224B170.html Attacking satellites could cause a nuclear war.

Key point: Satellites are needed to help target nuclear weapons and so attacking them might look like part of a surprise nuclear strike.

Russia says it is developing a new aircraft that can disable the electronics on U.S. satellites.

Could this new development trigger a nuclear war?

The electronic warfare aircraft “will be capable of turning off the electronics installed on military satellites,” according to Russia’s Sputnik News. The conceptual work has been completed and design and development will begin soon.

“The work is currently underway to develop an aircraft equipped with jamming systems that will replace Il-22PP Porubshchik [electronic warfare aircraft], which are currently being delivered to the Russian Aerospace Forces,” an unnamed Russian defense industry source told Sputnik News. “This machine will receive a fundamentally new on-board equipment, which will allow to conduct electronic suppression of any targets—ground, air, sea—and disable enemy satellites that provide navigation and radio communication on the ground.”

Russia currently operates three electronic warfare aircraft based on the Ilyushin Il-22, according to Sputnik News. The Il-22PP versions are variants of the Il-22 (NATO code name Coot B) airborne command post, which is itself derived from the Il-18 airliner, which first flew in the 1950s.

The Il-22PP was first flown publicly in 2016. The aircraft, described as an “escort jammer” to support other aircraft, was intended to disrupt radars, surface-to-air and cruise-missile guidance systems, and tactical data networks such as Link 16.

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[Author: Michael Peck] [Category: Security]

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[l] at 10/20/19 8:00pm

Robert Farley

Security, Africa

Why? 

Key Point: The Republic of South Africa felt safer by disarming.

Why did South Africa decide to build nukes, how did it build them and why did it decide to give them up? The answers are largely idiosyncratic, although they may hold some lessons for the future of nuclear weapons development on the Korean Peninsula and elsewhere.

Origins of Program

South Africa sought nuclear weapons for familiar reasons. Although it enjoyed presumptive conventional dominance over any likely regional opponent, Pretoria worried that the advantage might erode over time. The South African government also appreciated that widespread disdain for its apartheid system might prevent Western countries (including the United States) from coming to its aid in any serious confrontation against the Soviet Union or its allies. Nuclear weapons would provide not only a direct way of confronting a military attack against South Africa, but also a means of leveraging Western diplomatic and military support during a crisis.

South Africa could mine the requisite uranium on its own territory, and enrich it in domestic facilities. With a modern industrial economy and access to technologically sophisticated institutions of learning and research in the United States and Europe, South Africa could easily develop the technical expertise needed to build a weapon. Already the target of harsh international disdain for its domestic institutions, the South African government did not worry overmuch about how the pursuit of nuclear weapons might make it into an international pariah.

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[Author: Robert Farley] [Category: Security]

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[l] at 10/20/19 7:00pm

Michael Peck

Security, Asia

Fact: China's military isn't just aiming for mere parity or deterrence with the U.S., but rather military victory in a potential Sino-American war

Key point: China knows that it does not yet have military dominance over the United States.

China's military isn't just aiming for mere parity or deterrence with the U.S., but rather military victory in a potential Sino-American war.

"The PLA [People's Liberation Army] is focused not merely on competing with the United States or other nations as a goal in and of itself, but instead on competing as a means to achieving the policy outcomes identified by the CCP [Communist Party of China] -- deterring U.S. intervention and defeating the U.S. military if the United States and China do come into open conflict," writes RAND Corp. researcher Scott Harold in a new study.

The study paints a picture of a nation with a focus on goals and what it needs to achieve them. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union bankrupted itself with an obsessive need to match U.S. capabilities such as ballistic missile defense. China won't make that same mistake. "The PLA appears not to compete in certain areas because it does not need certain capabilities to accomplish its directed mission, or it has other means to address the military problem at hand," Harold writes.

The RAND study focused on the impressive growth in Chinese air and missile power over the last decade, an achievement fueled partly by relentless copying -- or stealing -- foreign technology, whether Russian carrier-based jets or the American F-35. Staggered by the success of U.S. smart weapons in Desert Storm, China has also switched from a Maoist mass army to a high-tech force that much more resembles current Western practice.

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[Author: Michael Peck] [Category: Security]

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[l] at 10/20/19 5:22pm

Emily B. Landau

Security, Middle East

Reuters The Trump administration should remain firm with the pressure campaign, continue trying to get the Europeans on board a harsher response to Iran’s aggressions, carve out a clear negotiations strategy, and be wary of blinking first.

For some time now there have been serious questions about the kind of preparations that are being made in the U.S. administration ahead of a possible negotiation with Iran on the nuclear file. Lately there are growing indications that even if preparations are underway in the White House or State Department, President Donald Trump seems to view himself as capable of solving the problem on his own, even in a single meeting with Iran’s president Hassan Rohani. References by the president to North Korea raise concern that he is viewing both negotiations in a similar fashion, which could have very negative implications for dealing with Iran.

First of all, in contrast to the many analysts that have already pronounced Trump’s maximum pressure campaign a failure, this is not the case. The very fact that there is talk of a possible negotiation is the result of the pressure campaign. If the Trump administration had not changed course on Iran, then the dominant message would be that Iran is upholding the deal and all is well. It is only because of the steps taken by the United States in the past two and a half years that other powers have been forced to admit that there are flaws in the deal that need to be addressed. Lately, the Europeans took a step closer to the U.S. approach: they placed the blame for the mid-September attack on the oil facilities in Saudi Arabia squarely on Iran, and in their statement, they urged Iran to address troubling issues in the nuclear and missile realms and with regard to its regional activities. The UK’s new prime minister, Boris Johnson, went so far as to say the JCPOA is a bad deal, and a new deal must be negotiated. Moreover, as long as the process is ongoing, any determination of failure at this point is clearly premature.

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[Author: Emily B. Landau] [Category: Security]

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[l] at 10/20/19 5:22pm

Aram Bakshian Jr.

History, Americas

In The Boundless Sea: A Human History of the Oceans, Cambridge historian David Abulafia offers a majestic narrative of mankind’s incredible, sea-born drive toward global discovery and interconnection, a voyage beginning in prehistoric times and lasting all the way up to the twenty-first century.

David Abulafia, The Boundless Sea: A Human History of the Oceans (New York: Oxford University Press, 2019), 912 pp., $39.95.

MUCH AS we like to pat ourselves on the back about human progress, lots—if not most—of it has been the product of chance observation and unintended consequences. Observing a moldy piece of bread triggers a eureka moment in the development of penicillin; a mundane ride on a trolley helps Albert Einstein conceptualize his theory of relativity; the efficacy of Vitamin C in preventing scurvy is stumbled upon by eighteenth-century British naval officers who notice that a regular supply of lime juice avoids outbreaks of the disease on long ocean voyages (earning British sailors their traditional nickname, “Limeys”). The list goes on and on.

Of all the fields of human progress, none owes more to unintended consequences than global exploration. The great American naval historian and Columbus biographer, Samuel Eliot Morison, summed it up admirably when he wrote—half in earnest, half in jest—that:

America was discovered accidentally by a great seaman who was looking for something else; when discovered, it was not wanted; and most of the exploration for the next fifty years was done in the hope of getting through or around it. America was named after a man who discovered no part of the New World. History is like that, very chancy.

In The Boundless Sea: A Human History of the Oceans, Cambridge historian David Abulafia offers a majestic narrative of mankind’s incredible, sea-born drive toward global discovery and interconnection, a voyage beginning in prehistoric times and lasting all the way up to the twenty-first century. From the beginning, the very seas that separate us have also served as a liquid bridge, first between neighboring islands but ultimately between continents and hemispheres, as mankind mastered navigation and gradually discovered the Earth’s true size and shape.

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[Author: Aram Bakshian Jr.] [Category: History]

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[l] at 10/20/19 5:22pm

John B. Judis

Security, Americas

Reuters Frey argues that automation, or what he calls the third industrial revolution, is not only putting jobs at risk, but is the principal source of growing inequality within the American economy.

Carl Benedikt Frey, The Technology Trap: Capital, Labor, and Power in the Age of Automation (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2019), 480 pp., $29.95.

DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL candidate Andrew Yang has declared, “The automation of our jobs is the central challenge facing us today.” Yang’s message, echoed by another candidate, South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg, won’t win him the nomination, but it is backed up by several social scientists including Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee and Oxford researchers Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A. Osborne. In 2013, Frey and Osborne predicted that in “perhaps a decade or two … 47 percent of total U.S. employment” would be at “high risk” of being automated. That could portend what futurist Martin Ford has called a “jobless future” and would call for drastic measures to prevent a social and political cataclysm.

Now Frey has written a long book, The Technology Trap: Capital, Labor, and Power in the Age of Automation, putting his findings in historical context. Frey argues that automation, or what he calls the third industrial revolution, is not only putting jobs at risk, but is the principal source of growing inequality within the American economy. The failure to meet this challenge, Frey warns, is fueling populist and white identity politics, most evident in the 2016 election of Donald Trump.

FREY’S BOOK is about a third longer than it needs to be. He and his publisher were, perhaps, beguiled by the commercial success of Thomas Piketty’s weighty Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Frey’s book is highly repetitious. And before getting to the heart of the argument, which is the difference between the first, second and third industrial revolutions, you have to wade through chapters about Neolithic and preindustrial technology. But the heart of the argument is interesting and worth pondering.

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[Author: John B. Judis] [Category: Security]

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[l] at 10/20/19 5:21pm

James Rosen

Security, Americas

Reuters White House Warriors: How the National Security Council Transformed the American Way of War looks at how the national security council has shaped presidential decisionmaking.

John Gans, White House Warriors: How the National Security Council Transformed the American Way of War (Liveright, 2019), 272 pp., $28.95.

FOR ALL its fascinating anecdotes, deep archival research and the author’s impressive access to the elite ranks of the national security establishment, John Gans’ White House Warriors: How the National Security Council Transformed the American Way of War disappoints. For one thing, its thesis is elusive. There is some discussion, here and there, of the importance of the White House national security advisor being an “honest broker” when interagency disputes roil the Executive Branch; here, as in all related studies, Brent Scowcroft (1975–77, 1989–93) is upheld as the “gold standard” for the job. Yet Gans ultimately scoffs at the idea that National Security Council (NSC) chiefs should reduce themselves to “opinion-less eunuchs” and concedes that “honest brokering … was never as easy in practice as it was in the prose of scholars.”

Then there is Gans’ assertion that “the NSC has exerted more influence over presidential decisions than any single institution or individual over the last seventy years.” If physical proximity to the chief executive is synonymous with influence, an article of faith inside the Beltway, then Gans may be right; theoretically, NSC staffers control the flow of ideas and decisionmaking vehicles—policy studies, memoranda, implementation orders—in and out of the Oval Office.

But the purview of NSC is limited, by definition, to national security matters. Surely the presidency encompasses a broader range of decisionmaking than that; it is far from true that every consequential presidential decision relates to national security. Loudly declaring “read my lips: no new taxes” was a decision that George H.W. Bush made, and by many accounts, the one that contributed decisively to his fall from power. 

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[Author: James Rosen] [Category: Security]

[*] [-] [-] [x] [A+] [a-]  
[l] at 10/20/19 5:21pm

Lyle J. Goldstein

Security, Americas

Reuters The Washington foreign-policy establishment’s ill-advised obsession with Russia and Ukraine are propelling an arms race that will cost Americans and the planet dearly.

Now that Americans have spent the last three years discussing Russia and all number of alleged Kremlin plots, it is well past time to move on to alluring Ukraine. As we can expect front page stories for the next year or so detailing every scintillating detail of Kiev’s various and sundry intrigues, one can only hope that each and every American will be granted an honorary graduate degree [почетный диплом] in Slavic Studies.

True, ordinary Americans may prefer to devote their time to pondering such crucial issues as U.S. troops continue to be slain in the endless Afghanistan quagmire or the meltdown of Central America. They could be forgiven for wishing to focus on the trade war with China that is giving American farmers more than a little heartburn and threatens the entire global economy. Climate change, too, must give way before the conferring of advanced degrees in Slavic Studies. American national security is at stake, after all. We practitioners in Slavic Studies ask that you please not get distracted [пожалуйста, не отвлекайся]. By the end of this year, every American should be able to identify the historical significance of the Cossack leader Ivan Mazepa and the geopolitical importance of the battle of Poltava. Certainly, many of us in the field of Slavic Studies have benefited handsomely from all this attention and enjoy going on national TV every evening—sometimes multiple times per day.

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[Author: Lyle J. Goldstein] [Category: Security]

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[l] at 10/20/19 5:00pm

Warfare History Network, Eric Hammel

Security, Middle East

The Suez Crisis quickly got out of control.

Key point: This was one of the few times the United States and Soviet Union had the same foreign policy objective.

Many historians consider the Suez-Sinai campaign in the autumn of 1956 the last hurrah for British and French colonialist efforts in the Middle East. Whether or not that was the case, the campaign was certainly a highly successful dress rehearsal for the Israeli Defense Force (Zahal) and the stunning Six-Day War 11 years later, as well as an authentic military campaign in its own right. It was, in every way, Zahal’s coming-out party.

Nasser Takes the Suez

The seeds of the Suez Crisis were sown on July 23, 1952, when Egyptian Army officers overthrew their nation’s long-ruling monarch, King Farouk. Emerging at length to head the new Egyptian government was the mercurial and charismatic Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser, a veteran of the Egyptian Army’s humiliating defeat by Israel in 1948. Convinced that he was destined to head the great pan-Arab alliance of millennial myth, Nasser launched an unrelenting rhetorical campaign against Israel in particular and the western world in general, which he denounced as an age-old colonizing menace.

Nasser’s campaign against Israel had less to do with defeating the eight-year-old Jewish state than with providing a convenient rallying cry he could use to unite the divergent Arab masses. Nasser’s efforts took the form of state-sponsored terrorism and as a barrage of vicious radio broadcasts aimed at the Arab street. For all his sound and fury, however, Nasser at first was only mildly annoying to the Israelis, and he was not seen as a serious threat until he successfully brokered a massive 1955 arms deal with Soviet-controlled Czechoslovakia, which suddenly placed Egypt in the preeminent military position in the region.

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[Author: Warfare History Network, Eric Hammel] [Category: Security]

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[l] at 10/20/19 4:00pm

Sebastien Roblin

Security, Asia

What does America have to worry about? 

Key point: The PLA has been building and purchasing all of the high-tech weapons a first-class power could want.

On January 12, 2019, the Defense Intelligence Agency released an annual report highlighting the radical reorganization of China’s People’s Liberation Army to become faster-responding, more flexible and more lethal than ever before.

The PLA was formed in 1927 as a Communist revolutionary force to oppose the Nationalist Kuomintang government and (later) invading Japanese forces. Unlike Western militaries, the PLA remains loyal to the Chinese Communist Party, not a theoretical independent Chinese state. A cadre of political officers (commissars or zhengwei) still operate at every level of the command structure to ensure loyalty and manage personnel.

Even after securing the mainland in 1949 and sprouting Navy and Air Force branches, the PLA adhered to a defensive “People’s War Strategy” which assumed that technologically superior foreign invaders (the United States or Soviet Union) would need to be lured deep into Chinese territory to be worn down by guerilla warfare and superior numbers.

Serious PLA modernization efforts began in 1991 when the trouncing of Iraq’s huge mechanized army in the Gulf War caused Beijing to realize its dated, World War II-style military was similarly vulnerable. By 2004, a new doctrine focused on proactively defeating enemies beyond China’s borders, including through preemptive strike if necessary, as well as undertaking global governance missions befitting its superpower status.

Between 2000 and 2016, while the Chinese economy averaged official annual growth rates around 7-8 percent, the PLA’s budget grew even faster at 10 percent. Despite that, the PLA’s current roughly $200 billion dollar budget totals less than one-third of U.S. defense spending. However, China pays much lower costs for hardware and personnel because of China’s “latecomer advantage” as the DIA report explains:

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[Author: Sebastien Roblin] [Category: Security]

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[l] at 10/20/19 3:00pm

Warfare History Network

Security, Europe

Depth charges.

Key point: The merging of surface and undersea warfare.

At the beginning of World War I, British naval strategists did not believe German submarines would play a significant role in the Atlantic or North Sea. They believed that the battle for the sea would be fought on the surface by the tangible muscle of the day: dreadnaughts. Submarine technology was seen as ineffective and unreliable, but the Allies would soon pay for their poor initial judgment. Not only would submarines change the way naval planner were forced to think about surface warfare, they also created a panic among Allied commanders regarding anti-submarine tactics. Ultimately, it was the invention of the depth charge by the British Navy that would professionalize anti-submarine warfare and forever change how strategists conceptualized naval combat.

In the first three months of the war, the loss of three British cruisers to German U-boats was a shock. Many British commanders refused to believe that submarines were able to sink the British ships, so out of denial, they chalked up the losses to mines. As the war progressed, U-boats continued to rule the seas unmatched. The realization that Allied navies may have to modify their tactics to combat an undetectable and invisible enemy was too much for some planner to come to grips with at first.

Hammering Periscopes & Weighted Bombs

The British finally did come to terms with the reality of the U-boat threat, but for awhile, their ill-equipped fleet floundered to defend against German submarines. As late as 1915, British vessels were implementing an anti-submarine strategy that called for patrol boats to sail alongside sighted submarine periscopes and attack them with flogging hammers. British sailor even began attempting to attach weighted bombs to the periscopes, which proved as difficult as hitting them with hammers. Up until 1917, the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence advised ship commanders to either turn and run or ram German submarines upon periscope sightings. But these were all reactionary strategies requiring a U-boat to surface, doing little to console an Allied captain’s sense of fear from their inability to defend themselves.

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[Author: Warfare History Network] [Category: Security]

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[l] at 10/20/19 2:00pm

Michael Peck

Security, Asia

But why? 

Key point: Beijing isn't known for being open to mediation during a conflict.

It’s easier to start a war than to end a war, as many a nation has learned to its cost. That’s particularly true with China. In 1937, Japan tried to conquer China: eight years later, when Japan surrendered, it was still trying. By late 1951, the Korean War had degenerated into a stalemate, and still China battled UN troops while the negotiations at Panmunjon dragged on.

So if a U.S.-China war happened today, how would it end? Once China goes to war, it may not be in a hurry for the conflict to end, according to one China expert.

“In general, China’s approach to diplomacy, escalation, and mediation created obstacles to conflict resolution,” writes Oriana Skylar Mastro, a professor of security studies at Georgetown University, in a post on the Lawfare blog.

Mastro argues that wars are more likely to end when three conditions are present: the foes are willing to talk, they are willing to de-escalate the violence to induce negotiations, and are open to third-party mediation.

The problem is that Communist China has not embraced these conditions during its previous conflicts. In terms of wartime diplomacy, “China was willing to open communication channels in the initial stages of conflict only with weaker parties,” Mastro writes. “Otherwise, China cut off communications and delayed talking until it had demonstrated sufficient toughness through fighting.”

China has also preferred to escalate rather than de-escalate in the expectation that “heavy escalation would ensure a short conflict that ended on China’s terms.” As for mediation by third parties, “because China specifically involved them to pressure the adversary on China’s behalf and not to act as genuine mediators, the Chinese internationalization of disputes did not lead to swift resolution.”

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[Author: Michael Peck] [Category: Security]

[*] [-] [-] [x] [A+] [a-]  
[l] at 10/20/19 1:00pm

Michael Peck

Security,

A tantalizing target for U.S. enemies.

Key point: There are a lot of risks to public safety from this plan.

The goal is to provide reliable electrical power to remote forward operating bases and during quick-response humanitarian missions. But the project also raises questions of nuclear security and keeping atomic materials from falling into the wrong hands.

On January 18, the Pentagon published a Request for Information on the feasibility of developing a portable nuclear reactor in support of a program known as “Project Dilithium.” The reactor is in response to a 2016 Defense Science Board report that found that fuel and water accounted for as much as 90 percent of supplies sent to outposts in Iraq and Afghanistan, which in turn exposed U.S. truck convoys to ambush (air-dropped fuel cost as much as $400 per gallon).

With power use only likely to grow with the advent of power-hungry systems such as high-energy lasers to shoot down missiles and drones, the report recommended nuclear power as a solution, with “the need and benefit outweighing the difficulty in achieving nearly limitless energy on the battlefield.”

In its RFI, the Pentagon’s Strategic Capabilities Office extolled the virtues of a mobile reactor for both overseas and domestic use. “Small mobile nuclear reactors can make the DOD’s domestic infrastructure resilient to an electrical grid attack and fundamentally change the logistics of forward operating bases, both by making more energy available and by drastically simplifying the complex fuel logistical lines which currently support existing power generators operating mostly on diesel fuel. Additionally, a small mobile nuclear reactor would enable a more rapid response during Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations. Small mobile nuclear reactors have the potential to be an across-the-board strategic game changer for the DOD by saving lives, saving money, and giving soldiers in the field a prime power source with increased flexibility and functionality.”

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[Author: Michael Peck] [Category: Security]

[*] [-] [-] [x] [A+] [a-]  
[l] at 10/20/19 12:15pm

Lee Edwards

Politics, World

Who would have thought?

Socialists are fond of saying that socialism has never failed because it has never been tried. But in truth, socialism has failed in every country in which it has been tried, from the Soviet Union beginning a century ago to three modern countries that tried but ultimately rejected socialism—Israel, India, and the United Kingdom.

While there were major political differences between the totalitarian rule of the Soviets and the democratic politics of Israel, India, and the U.K., all three of the latter countries adhered to socialist principles, nationalizing their major industries and placing economic decision-making in the hands of the government.

The Soviet failure has been well documented by historians. In 1985, General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev took command of a bankrupt disintegrating empire. After 70 years of Marxism, Soviet farms were unable to feed the people, factories failed to meet their quotas, people lined up for blocks in Moscow and other cities to buy bread and other necessities, and a war in Afghanistan dragged on with no end in sight of the body bags of young Soviet soldiers.

The economies of the Communist nations behind the Iron Curtain were similarly enfeebled because they functioned in large measure as colonies of the Soviet Union.

With no incentives to compete or modernize, the industrial sector of Eastern and Central Europe became a monument to bureaucratic inefficiency and waste, a “museum of the early industrial age.” As The New York Times pointed out at the time, Singapore, an Asian city-state of only 2 million people, exported 20% more machinery to the West in 1987 than all of Eastern Europe.

And yet, socialism still beguiled leading intellectuals and politicians of the West. They could not resist its siren song, of a world without strife because it was a world without private property. They were convinced that a bureaucracy could make more-informed decisions about the welfare of a people than the people themselves could. They believed, with John Maynard Keynes, that “the state is wise and the market is stupid.”

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[Author: Lee Edwards] [Category: Politics]

[*] [-] [-] [x] [A+] [a-]  
[l] at 10/20/19 11:30am

Warfare History Network, Al Hemingway

Security, Asia

All part of a Chinese land grab before peace negotiations.

Key point: The value of this strategic territory was measured in lives lost.

Peering intently through a telescope, General Lemuel C. Shepherd, the commandant of the Marine Corps, scanned the shell-pocked Korean terrain in front of his position. Shepherd had made a special visit to the Korean front lines to obtain a firsthand view of the Main of Line of Resistance (MLR) his Marines were defending. In the early spring of 1952, under orders from the U.S. Eighth Army in Korea, the entire 25,000-man 1st Marine Division had moved from the east-central sector of the country to the western part of I Corps to man positions along the extreme left flank of an area called the Jamestown Line. In early March the Marines, joined by the attached 1st Korean Mari­ne Corps, completed the move. Maj. Gen. John T. Selden, 1st Marine Division commander, now had 32 miles of harsh country to defend.

The Hook

Shepherd, for his part, was concerned about the leathernecks’ difficult assignment. In front of their positions was a small speck of land protruding beyond the MLR like a huge thumb. This seemingly insignificant feature, called the Hook by those who had to defend it, dominated the approach to the vital Samichon Valley. The landscape surrounding the Hook was a defender’s nightmare—steep, rugged hills inundated the countryside. If the Chinese managed to break through the Marines’ lines, they could march unhindered all the way to Seoul, the capital of South Korea. As poor a military position as the Hook was, the Marines had no alternative but to occupy it. In enemy hands, the consequences would be catastrophic. Chinese occupation of the Hook would afford a corridor for the enemy to outflank the right flank and reach the Imjin River. This in turn would not only cut off the Marines from the adjacent 1st Commonwealth Division, but also probably render the entire United Nations position beyond the Imjin untenable.

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[Author: Warfare History Network, Al Hemingway] [Category: Security]

[*] [-] [-] [x] [A+] [a-]  
[l] at 10/20/19 11:15am

Kyle Mizokami

Security,

Read on.

Key point: Words are one thing, but trying them for yourself is another.

(These all appeared separately during the last seven months and is being reposted thanks to reader interest.)  

5 Best Handguns:

The bustling global arms trade has resulted in many excellent handguns in the last hundred years. Some of the best handguns are more than a hundred years old, while others have been in production for less than a decade. All are excellent weapons for defense, and in some cases offense; they are equally at home in a homeowner’s gun safe or carried as an officer’s sidearm. Here are five of the best handguns currently in service worldwide.

The Colt M1911A1

Designed by prolific gun designer John Moses Browning, and first introduced in 1911, the Colt 1911 pistol was meant to replace weaker .38 caliber pistols used by the U.S. Army during the Philippine Insurrection. The 1911 was the U.S. military’s first semiautomatic handgun, marking a permanent turn away from military revolvers.

The original 1911 weighed 2.4 pounds and had a seven-round internal magazine. In 1924, the gun was updated, mostly for ergonomic reasons, to the 1911A1 standard. The 1911A1, while internally complex by modern handgun standards, is still a popular handgun. The end of handgun’s patent, coupled with the weapon’s enduring usefulness resulted in almost every major U.S. gun manufacturer releasing its own version of the handgun. In 2012, the U.S. Marine Corps Marine Special Operations Command adopted the Colt M45A1, an updated version of the 1911A1, as its standard handgun.

The Glock 17

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[Author: Kyle Mizokami] [Category: Security]

[*] [-] [-] [x] [A+] [a-]  
[l] at 10/20/19 11:00am

Sebastien Roblin

Security, Americas

Hype is growing around the F-15X.

Key point: The Air Force must decide whether more cost-efficient, but less-survivable fighters are worth it.

The aviation world is abuzz with rumors that the U.S. Air Force is evaluating the purchase of a brand-new F-15X model of the legendary 45-year-old F-15 Eagle twin-engine fighter. Marcus Weisgerber first reported this possibility for Defense One, then expanded upon in an article by Tyler Rogoway at The Drive.

Were a contract to materialize, the F-15X could become the Air Force’s first new fighter that wasn’t a stealth jet since 2001—paralleling a recent decision by the U.S. Navy to procure Super Hornet jets to serve alongside its F-35C stealth fighters, rather than allowing the F-35 to replace them. But just how significant are the upgrades, and do they justify purchasing more of the Air Force’s oldest active fighter plane?

Replacing the F-15C/D:

The F-15X is specifically intended to replace a fleet of 235 F-15C and two-seat F-15D fighters deployed for air defense of the coastal United States, Japan and England. These air-superiority fighters are fast (Mach 2.5), maneuverable and boast long-range APG-63(V)3 radars. However, the F-15C/Ds date back to the mid-1980s and are quite likely to be retired early, as they would otherwise require expensive upgrades to remain airworthy.

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[Author: Sebastien Roblin] [Category: Security]

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[l] at 10/20/19 10:30am

Kyle Mizokami

Technology,

We offer some options.

Key point: These handguns top the charts.

The bustling global arms trade has resulted in many excellent handguns in the last hundred years. Some of the best handguns are more than a hundred years old, while others have been in production for less than a decade. All are excellent weapons for defense, and in some cases offense; they are equally at home in a homeowner’s gun safe or carried as an officer’s sidearm. Here are five of the best handguns currently in service worldwide. 

The Colt M1911A1

Designed by prolific gun designer John Moses Browning, and first introduced in 1911, the Colt 1911 pistol was meant to replace weaker .38 caliber pistols used by the U.S. Army during the Philippine Insurrection. The 1911 was the U.S. military’s first semiautomatic handgun, marking a permanent turn away from military revolvers.

The original 1911 weighed 2.4 pounds and had a seven-round internal magazine. In 1924, the gun was updated, mostly for ergonomic reasons, to the 1911A1 standard. The 1911A1, while internally complex by modern handgun standards, is still a popular handgun. The end of handgun’s patent, coupled with the weapon’s enduring usefulness resulted in almost every major U.S. gun manufacturer releasing its own version of the handgun. In 2012, the U.S. Marine Corps Marine Special Operations Command adopted the Colt M45A1, an updated version of the 1911A1, as its standard handgun.

The Glock 17

The Glock 17 was built around three key ideas: simplicity, reliability and ease of use. The handgun is easy to take apart, with a single press of the button removing the slide for cleaning and access to the barrel. The Glock passed the Austrian Army’s reliability test with flying colors, jamming only once in ten thousand firings. And the weapon was expressly designed with an eye on “pointability”—the pistol’s natural ability to act as an extension of the shooter’s hand-and-eye coordination.

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[Author: Kyle Mizokami] [Category: Technology]

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[l] at 10/20/19 10:00am

Sebastien Roblin

Security, Asia

And failed. 

Key point: Tokyo's mini-subs often didn't work as well as planned.

Australia was situated considerably closer to the action in the Pacific than the United States during World War II. Japanese aircraft bombed the northern city of Darwin, while ground forces advanced dangerously close in New Guinea. However, the Imperial Japanese Navy’s plans to capture nearby Port Moresby were frustrated at the Battle of the Coral Sea.

The Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN)’s next strike would target the U. S. naval base at Midway Island in June 1942. However, 8th Submarine Squadron was tapped to launch two diversionary raids using Type A Ko-hyoteki midget submarines to infiltrate harbor defenses.

Japan’s devastating Pearl Harbor attack included five Ko-Hyoteki—but not one of them succeeded in its mission. Carried atop large cruiser-submarine motherships, the two-person minisubs measured twenty-four meters long and carried two 17”-diameter torpedoes. Their lead-acid batteries afforded them only twelve hours of propulsion at slow speed. Though not intended to be suicide weapons, the Ko-hyoteki crew’s odds of escape and recovery remained extremely low.

Two cruiser-submarines sallied to ambush British ships besieging French-held Madagascar. Meanwhile, submarines I-22, I-24, I-27, and I-28 transited to Truk to load Ko-hyoteki for a southern raid, embarking a revised model with wider hulls, improved gyro-compasses, bow-mounted net-cutters on to slice through harbor nets, and accessways to allow manning while submerged.

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[Author: Sebastien Roblin] [Category: Security]

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[l] at 10/20/19 9:45am

Warfare History Network, Michael D. Hull

Security, Europe

Winston Churchill called Marshall the "organizer of victory."

Key point: Winston Churchill called Marshall the "organizer of victory."

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[Author: Warfare History Network, Michael D. Hull] [Category: Security]

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