I am returning to a fundamental basic in this article. I find the need to clarify in many cases what it is I have been saying. I find that there are basic elements missing a full explanation. I have done so with Law, Libertarianism and now I do so with justified violence. To further add to this I would also strongly suggest the recent article Scott posted A Left Libertarian Manifesto.
We have addressed the non-aggression axiom both in this podcast and in the article of Libertarianism. It would be helpful to understand The Non Aggression Axiom before reading this. I find that no form of violence or initiation of force is acceptable for a civilized society. The Natural History of the State (read text here) can be seen as the beginning of force or waging aggression on one another to structure society. Humankind has long been plagued with authority of the sword. The sword has evolved to a gun, but little forward progression has occurred. We are still chaining up human beings, brutalizing them, executing them and using aggression claiming it is authority. How does this differ from an abusive relationship where a man would use abuse, aggression and threats to dominate his wife? It does not. The same dynamic of the authoritarian interpersonal relationship exists between the powers that be and those it seeks to control.
Over time men have written laws and religious documents to justify their unethical behavior. This behavior could be theft, rape, murder and much more. Rape has been used by countless regimes to obtain dominance over others. Kings and Feudal Landlords laid claim to the bodies of women. This practice is also seen in warfare today in places such as the Congo. Rape is about power. It is about dominance over another human being. Is it shocking that those who seek to dominate and strive after power would be those inclined to rape?
What about murder? Murder is justified by the dehumanization and placing the blame on the victims. When I reject things like prisons and police I am not stating that every ‘criminal’ is a saint. Many criminals are guilty of the same crimes we use to gain power over others. Those criminals that are rapists,murderers and aggress against others are in the same category as those who commit such actions with paper authorizing them to do such acts if they wear the right uniform. I am not stating there are less violent criminals than we believe but that there are more and we embrace a majority of them because their acts of aggression and dominance has enabled them to claim that their violence brings authority.
The use of violence to create something new or to have a ‘revolution’ would be to further the violence and whatever is born of this would be born of the same violence that currently plagues our society. Our society praises those who use violence like the military or the police and they raise these aggressors up to a status that almost worships the violent acts of Men. The media we watch is saturated with the glorification of the aggression of police and military. The cop shows and films often show the western cool manly aggressive individual who saves everyone with his violence. Every little boy is brought up in a culture that teaches him that he should strut his manly stuff around with his gun and dominate the passive woman. It is insulting and barbaric. It also lends to a culture where we praise such a thing, we strive for it and these aggressive behaviors of dominance are rewarded.
If I were to embrace a form of state I would embrace one that rejects aggression and violence. I would also embrace one that cared for people as opposed to victimized people. I would most likely be involved with a socialist democrat movement. I tend to find friends in these circles, love many of their writings and agree with much of what they condone. I tend to deviate in the area of rule by force. Most will not say outright that they support such a thing, but I fail to see their outright rejection of this. I fail to see any way to create a state without aggression and violence.
If you maintain a state like the many states in the United States, you must maintain a dominance by the state. It does not allow for deviation. If the state dictates you must pay a car insurance company you have few options. Of course you could choose not to pay, for anarchism is natural and the given for all humanity. If you choose to exercise this refusal of payment to a corporation the state begins to step in and inflict it’s retribution. This can start with additional fines and eventually leads to caging of human beings. Look at the individual who is striving to find a place of employment to better their life and does not have the wealth to meet the demands. This individual begins to face further hindrances by the state and is labeled a criminal. In a civil society without force most would just go on and not step into the cages the aggressive force would wish to place them in. But this is a structure backed by force. The police will use deadly force to gain your submission. The ultimate outcome of all authority by force is the gun.
I do not see every intent of every politician as an evil intent. Under a state there are some laws that seem to have wonderful results. Some may have even been just. I would most immediately point to the civil rights movement. The changes that occurred I will stand fully behind. This is not an argument screaming that the imagined ‘welfare queen’ is the oppressor. That is absolutely absurd. The oppressed and the victimized are not the oppressor. This is looking simply at the foundation of all authority and power that composes the state. This authority and power is derived from gangs of armed Men ready to use force against those they are told to, or given liberty to attack.
The justification of the violence is paper. The ethics most hold to be true go out the window if you just write it on paper. Mass murder becomes ‘freedom fighting’, kidnapping becomes ‘detainment’ and extortion is a’ticket or fine’. To have a civil society first we must acknowledge that these actions are unethical and unacceptable for all, not just a select few. We must then look at how we can order society without inflicting violence upon one another. This is not a claim that utopia will occur, but it is one that says we can create order that rejects these actions. If this is not a forced order we then begin to look towards voluntary solutions to issues.
Yes, government is violence. Not every action is violent, but the basic foundation is that ‘Law of the jungle’ the strongest win their wars and set their authority maintained by force. Are you interested in finding solutions outside of the authority of violence? Only when you can acknowledge the truth that this disease of aggression is at the heart of our society can you begin to truly walk away from it and address the issue.
THE NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIVERSITY THE NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIVERSITY HOLDS A PANEL DISCUSSION ON ADAPTING TO GLOBAL CHALLENGES, PART III, AT THE NATIONAL DEFENSE
Washington Transcript Service April 7, 2009
Washington Transcript Service 04-07-2009 THE NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIVERSITY HOLDS A PANEL DISCUSSION ON ADAPTING TO GLOBAL CHALLENGES, PART III, AT THE NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIVERSITY 2009 SYMPOSIUM ON AMERICA’S SECURITY ROLE IN A CHANGING WORLD APRIL 7, 2009 SPEAKERS: UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKERS [*] (SPEAKERS ARE UNATTRIBUTED BECAUSE THEY ARE SPEAKING ON BACKGROUND) UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER: (inaudible) who will lead this panel is one who has mastered technology and policy and a variety of things, and he’s going to master this — this panel of — of folks who will talk about issues that are not at all controversial and none of them, I’ve been told, are strong in their views of the topics that they — they will discuss.
So I will turn it over to (inaudible) and I will not take any more of your time.
UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER: Thank you. And thank you for the opportunity to participate in this discussion. And thanks to all of you for staying around in the Arctic environment for this discussion.
In the interest of time, we’re 15 minutes behind schedule at this point. We’ll dispense with formal introductions of the panelists. You have their bios in front of you. They’re all thoughtful, interesting people with a lot of relevant experience, and they will help us set out some good topics for discussion.
You know the general intellectual construct for the day. We’re working our way through a set of trends in the security environment identified in the strategic assessment. This panel focuses on two of them: trends related to the changing character of war and to the proliferation of WMD.
They’re obviously linked.
In the interest of time, I’m going to not — not add more in the way of introductory remarks, except to say that I think INSS set a very high threshold into trying to set — in trying to characterize these trends, which is to say, in the INSS argument, these add up to a paradigm shift.
Now, a paradigm shift, you know, we — we all like that word, “paradigm,” in Washington, right? But a paradigm shift, if you’ve read the book that coined the phrase, Thomas Kuhn, “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions,” described something relatively precise, which is that, in a paradigm shift, one puzzle is set aside in favor of another puzzle.
The old puzzle may not be entirely finished, all of the pieces not in place, but somebody has had some intuition, somebody has seen some new problems, and a new set of questions begin to come together and a whole new view of a whole new problem.
And we should have in the back of our minds, as we listen to this discussion of trends, whether what we’re hearing is, in fact, a paradigm shift. And I would argue that, on the trend related to the changing character of war, war has had a changing character so long as there has been war, and we seem to have entered a period in which, because of the uncertain security environment in which we live, we have to make some very difficult choices about which character in the changing nature of war we are going to address.
And we’ve seen the secretary of defense this morning or yesterday place a certain bet in his defense budget in which elements of the changing character of war require our utmost attention.
I would make a similar argument on WMD proliferation. I’m not persuaded that we have a new paradigm. I think we have had the WMD problem in front of us in more or less the same way for the last 20 years.
Nuclear terrorism is not a new problem; it just has a new manifestation. Nuclear proliferation is not a new problem; it has a new manifestation. We’re at a tipping point potentially again, but we haven’t actually experienced a great breakdown of nuclear order.
And as much as we focus on terrorism and proliferation, the major power nuclear problem hasn’t really gone away. It’s just changed.
And in this area, too, we have placed a bet over the last 20 years. And the bet has been, no paradigm shift. The bet has been, this isn’t a big deal. We’ve talked an awful lot about WMD, but we haven’t actually done very much. And the indictment of this by the Schlesinger Commission of the Defense Department’s overall nuclear deterrent posture is indicative of how little has been done to adjust to new WMD challenges.
So let me just invite you to think as we go through the — the presentations and into the discussion about this very high threshold. Do we actually have a paradigm shift? Do we actually have fundamentally new problems in front of us? Or are we having to shift our focus on where we prepare or where we simply hedge because we’re not going to prepare in that area?
And with the hope that wasn’t too disjointed and in the hopes of we could save a little time from our program, let me just turn to our — our first speaker.
And, as I said, I will dispense with the formal presentations, so we’ll begin with — with (inaudible) and then turn to (inaudible) UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER: Well, good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Can I also repeat my thanks for — for bringing me (inaudible) to speak to you all today? It’s a pretty gloomy atmosphere out there.
And if one actually considered at any other time in history all the problems that we’ve got at the moment, if one were a determinist or, indeed, a historian looking, one would be expecting something really big to be next on the horizon. And yet here we are today, talking about a hyperpower’s attempt to bring to order two failed states, perhaps a third.
What I’d like to do is have a look at the broader context, because my business is that of looking at the future. And some of the problems associated with having a discussion like that we’re having one today is that we deal a lot with the present rather than the future.
I think it’s very important when we’re looking at the future to remember that it’s not a single linear issue. There’s a cone of probability that stretches out to the future that we have to get a grip on.
And that goes from the probable — and military people like to express themselves in terms of the most dangerous or the most likely course.
And, in fact, as we heard earlier, life’s a bit more complex than that, and there’s a range of probabilities that go right up to the plausible.
And the risk and opportunities that exist for us exist out on the boundaries.
And I’d like to adopt the Sherlock Holmes principle. And that is, if something’s not impossible, it’s actually possible. So in looking at the future, we have to go along multiple paths and pick our way along it, depending on the evidence we get.
Now, those of you who followed my work will know that the three main drives I consider are going to be climate change, globalization, and global inequality. The third one that everybody tends to forget, global inequality, most people in the world feel they are unequal compared to everybody else.
The real problem is, these three main drivers are going to have an uneven impact around the world, as we heard earlier. Climate change will benefit some; it will disbenefit others. Globalization will energize economies in some areas, but depress others.
But global inequality is something we really need to take a grip of, because, if you look at the other issues, themes that are going at the moment, the one that really sticks out is the gross imbalance between population and resources over the next 30 years. web site national defense university
And while we’re worrying about interagency cooperation in Iraq and Afghanistan, population and resource imbalance is coming at us like an express train. And if we don’t deal with the causes of that — that’s the first thing — we sure as hell won’t get a grip on the symptoms, which are manifesting themselves around the world even today.
If you look at the 20th century, the bloodiest century in history, these are the things that caused crises, including two world wars and a Cold War. Now, do they sound familiar? Because I think we’ve got all of those now, potentially today and probably in the future. And that’s the context within which we have to see the future character of war in the future.
And what it’s about in this modern interconnected world…
(LAUGHTER) … is a connection between violence as a commodity and means of getting your way in the modern world, terrorism, and a vast number of have-nots.
And some of those have-nots are haves who just want more, and that’s the issue for us in this modern disaggregated, but interconnected world.
Just have a read of this quotation. A lot of people have served in Iraq, but this is one I took off the streets, which I think is quite relevant to violence and inequality.
And there you have anarchy as an economic motivator. I can make money at an anarchy (ph). And I would say that part of the reason Iraq is stable today is that the population have realized there’s only so much money you can make out of anarchy before you have to come to terms. And the Arabs are good businessmen.
Now, some opening thoughts. (inaudible) just mentioned, war’s character is always going to change according to context, but its nature never changes. So war is with us. It’s something we do as human beings.
We’ve been more at war in our history than we’ve been at peace.
Now, one of the big lies that I want to put to — to bed today is that the future is like the present, only more so, because most academic debate centers on that premise, that the future will be like the present, but just a little bit more. It ain’t.
And certainly the way the future is accelerating towards this future, we’re going to see that’s not going to be the case. That’s a French army knife, by the way.
(LAUGHTER) The — the — the other lie that I’d like to put to bed is one I’ve heard three times today, is that no one dares to take us on conventionally.
All I would say to you is, watch this space, because as powerful a military as the United States is today, you’ll be taken on in many ways, both conventionally, in the symmetric way, and in an irregular way.
We’ve lost the art of grand strategy. There was hint of that at lunchtime with (inaudible) when she said, why don’t you alter the trade rules to give yourself some security? We have got to connect the instruments of power in all our strategies to make sure we have a grand strategy for the future.
The biggest problem we’ve got is what I call the democratic horizon. All our politicians are looking at the next election. They do not look at strategic lengths, 10, 15 years.
And, again, what (inaudible) said this morning is vitally important. We have to have a national or alliance debate that actually says we are all looking strategically at the future. This is not a partisan issue.
I think for America, it’s going to have to make up its mind in the next few years whether it wants to remain the force of last resort in the world, because if it isn’t, that has implications for your defense and security and those of your allies, as well, because since 1945, you have been the force of last resort. You have also been the arsenal of democracy.
@Now, I will tell you, as a European, an off-shore European, that I’m — that actually I’m not even an Englishman. I’m a Welshman.
(LAUGHTER) And I’m speaking in my second language, by the way, so I’m doing pretty well. OK. If you are going to be the force of last resort and the arsenal of democracy, I’m going to sit back as that off-shore islander and say, “Thank you very much, United States. You get on with it.” So when you tell me to come to Iraq and Afghanistan, I’m going to say, “But you’re happy to be the force of last resort. You’re happy to sort out these problems.” And the whole debate today has been about what the United States is going to do in Pakistan, in various places around the world. The first conversation you should have is, what are we going to do about it?
These are world problems. Every single one of these aid problems is a world problem. Pakistan is a world problem. And if you can get out of the mindset of, “What are we going to do about it?” “What are we and our friends going to do about it?” It might be a better start, end of preaching.
The global commons, I believe, will come under severe threat over the next 20 to 30 years. That’s the sea; that’s space; that’s cyberspace.
Anything we share in commons will be competed for.
And let’s get rid of this business of a symmetry. As a military officer, I want to create a symmetry every time I go into battle. I want to face somebody whose eyes are looking into the sun when I’m walking down the street at high noon. So let’s get rid of a symmetry. It means nothing.
And, also, let’s not categorize everything as an insurgency. To get back to (inaudible) point, call it an insurgency, you’ll treat it like one. It could be a criminal conspiracy.
And, again, war amongst the people, we’re beyond that phase.
Everybody is now proving that we’re at war against the people, everybody from Hamas right through to the Israelis. If you don’t think that the war in Gaza recently was a war against the people, then you haven’t moved on.
And, finally, let’s get real about mandatory and discretionary action. There are some things you have to do; there are some things it’s nice to do. And quite a lot of stuff is discretionary, both for my country and for yours. Let’s get back to basic interests.
Why is that important? Let’s look at the Israeli experience in Lebanon a few years ago. Very good at sorting out Hamas and Hezbollah in counterinsurgency, but when they have to fight an all-arms war against an opponent that was pretty agile, they failed to do it.
And the war in Gaza has been proof that they’ve re-learnt the lesson of how to do major symmetric warfare against an open area.
Now, again, interagency, we’re really going to be good at that.
We’re really going to take up the cudgel on this one. But here are some examples of the interagency approach in action.
As you read through them, with that smug, warm air of satisfaction, I’m going to tell you that the top refers to Hezbollah and Lebanon and the bottom to the Islamic Courts in Somalia. Our opponents are actually doing it better than we are already. And they’re doing it with their co-religionists, as well.
So let’s not kid ourselves that we can impose interagency and good luck and everything from outside. And let’s have a look at the role of strategy in all this.
It’s a combination of ends, ways and means, as we know this morning, but also it’s policy, what the policy should say they want, resources, what we can do, and concept, what we should be doing. And the gap between policy and resources and concepts is the risk you’re taking. There is no real formulated view of what concept should be.
We’re obsessed with dealing with symptoms instead of causes. And if you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
And, again, I get back to my point about insurgency. Let’s call it insurgency, even though it isn’t one. I have real problems with using the word “insurgency.” Why? Because in Northern Ireland, we certainly had an insurgency in the United Kingdom, but we deliberately didn’t call it one, because it gave the people legitimacy.
So every criminal, terrorist, disorderly person said, “I’m not a cat burglar. I’m an insurgent now.” So we’ve got to be very careful in our use of words.
Next bit, doing what you can do rather than you should do. “This is easy. I’ll take this route, as a politician or as a military guy, not what I should.” And let’s be honest: Having had all the fun that we’ve had in Iraq and Afghanistan, possibly Pakistan, do we want to do it again? Are we really going to do state-building under arms when we’re not welcome?
I don’t think so in the future.
And (inaudible) this morning spoke about metrics, metrics of performance. I think that’s wrong. What about metrics of outcome? Performance is actually something that is a means, not an outcome. One of the good things about being a Brit is I have to say that (ph) and not be worried about it.
And, finally, is it value for money? Does America, for all its investment, get bangs for its buck? Yes, it probably does. Does it get political outcomes that it desires? Probably not, for all that money.
So we’ve got to have a better metric for that.
And, finally, all war is world war. Everybody is involved now, either indirectly or directly. It’s not just your fight, as you’ve probably gathered.
And, finally, what’s it doing to your strategic resilience that you’re bleeding away in both blood and treasure in Iraq and Afghanistan and how many other places in future?
And here’s a good tip from somebody who knows about these things.
When you’re thinking about being the force of last resort, the arsenal of democracy for an ungrateful world, that is the bottom line. And, please, read this, because this is quite important, every time an American makes a speech saying, “It’s for the international system. It’s for shared values.”
Now, whether you’re sincere or not is unimportant, because other people remember this sort of thing. I’ve got no doubt it’s true in your case, by the way. We used to — Benjamin Disraeli was talking about us, by the way, the Brits. It was true.
Now, you’re going to do some work now. Anybody seen the film “Troy”? Show of hands, please. Show you’re awake. Yes (inaudible) any ideas? The horse. OK. No, as the Air Force will tell you, it’s air power.
(LAUGHTER) And for the ladies in the audience, because it’s Brad Pitt, there’s George, as well, for you.
(LAUGHTER) OK, now, let’s have a thing about the sort of world that’s coming up. Now, is that the sort of world that you think is coming, consensual world order, global problems, global solutions, mutually assured disruption, wars against the people, we’ll take out your infrastructure so you won’t take ours, feral space (ph), international institutions, bit of bandit country (ph), and plenty of irregulars who don’t like the system so they’re against it.
That’s one view. Or is it that Darwin was right? With all those features there, weak governance, spheres of influence, combination of hard and soft power, both are possible. Remember, the left and right of arc (ph) of the future, and probably the truth lies somewhere in between.
But certainly, if you extrapolate from the future backwards, rather than the present forwards, you end up with something that suggests what’s below the yellow bit there.
And what does that mean? It means the balance of cooperation and competition. In that case, cooperation and cooperation. Sorry about that.
As a futurist, I’ll tell you that U.S. power will probably persist, but it’s going to be challenged at every level and every point.
We’re going have a variably polar world, not a multipolar world, one where the compass is constantly swinging, depending on what’s being engaged and what issue is at stake.
The international system isn’t going to be universally supported because there will be some states and groups of states that actually will benefit from the international system breaking down. And states are going to be a lot more selfish with regard to opportunity and risk.
Democracy is not going to be the only show in town. This planet cannot be ordered at the moment in a totally democratic way. We’re going to be interdependent but highly competitive, and that means variable state allegiances within alliances, within coalitions, when people want to be, and they’ll be dynamic alliances.
Porous borders, uncertain safeguards, unregulated and feral space (ph), like land and sea, and geopolitics and hard power are going to be back. Things we’ve known about in the past, they’re going to come back.
And we might have territorial aggression again.
Think of the 750 million people that may have to live somewhere else because of climate change and other issues in future. If we’re looking at this with a long view of history, we’d be wondering why there hasn’t been a war up until now.
People are defying nature where they live. If you think around the world today where people are living, on the slopes of Vesuvius, for crying out loud, 1.5 million people, the most active volcano in Europe.
And there’s going to be scrambles. Some of them have already started, four of them. Africa, resources. Polar regions, resources. Access, shipping routes. Space.
One of the things I really worry about is the 85 percent of transactions that go through satellites for your banks to benign environments at the moment. We know that it could not be in future. And the sea, the ultimate global commons, for which people will be competing in terms of resources, access, and all sorts of other things. And that’s the view from Annapolis, I’m afraid.
(LAUGHTER) And what does that — actually, if you have a look — so sorry.
Let me just get this (OFF-MIKE) see the one who’s going to be an admiral down there (OFF-MIKE) eyes wide open (OFF-MIKE) president, by the way.
But I’ll have to be fair to the lat president. It was a good speech, but I think that says more about the battle rhythm (ph) of Annapolis than the speech itself.
OK, use of violence, what does that mean? All these features are suggested by the evidence that we have in today’s world and the technological progress that we’re going forward with.
(OFF-MIKE) cost an enormous amount in future, in terms of putting them into the field. NATO, E.U. are going to retrench. They have to because of the current credit crunch, OK? Interventional crises (ph) will be more difficult. There are other people out there who don’t want us to be in their neighborhoods. They’re going to cost more.
OK, numerous non-state irregular players, private military security companies, proxy violence. Because states won’t want to take on each other in future in this competitive environment, but may be cooperative, they’re going to employ proxies. The big stuff is around (ph).
And let’s get rid of this expression “WMD,” shall we? There’s a tremendous difference between nuclear at one end and chemical, biological and radiological at the other. What’s the difference? Three of them are pretty usable in today’s world; the other one maybe, maybe not.
A lot of this technology and weaponry is diffusing around.
There’s lots of unbanned applications. And this witch’s brew, as we’ve heard about, with problems that we’ve got in the world today suggest in history that we’re going to go to state-on-state, block-on- block again by the end of the next decade, by 2018, 2020.
And as I said, remember the Israeli experience of throwing away the tools they had for fighting an all-arms enemy in an all-arms way, by concentrating too much on Hamas and Hezbollah.
So the six areas I would suggest that we’re going to be facing shortly are these: recurrent systemic breakdown in an interdependent system;
transnational risks as these, terrorism, crime; threats to the international system from states whose interest it is to actually break that system down;
and the other usual suspects, alternative polities, natural disasters, and irregulars and proxies.
And those are the state risks, these people we know about, authoritarian regimes, guided economies — we’re all guided economies now, of course. Gravitational pull of the U.S. and the technological lead at the moment is stopping these people getting out of hand. But with the competition for resources and transnational pressures, you can see where it might lead. And proxy activity, all those groups are likely to be employed by some of the powers in future in order to get their way.
UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER: (OFF-MIKE) UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER: It’s up, is it? I’m sorry. Well, I’m going to flip to the end, though, because I’ve got a few things, but I just want to give you a thing here. Sorry. It was just a selection thing (inaudible) (LAUGHTER) I just want you to see Lord Haldane, what he said in 1907 after the Boer War, which was a counterinsurgency war, basically, in South Africa.
Look at the date, 100 years ago. And he’s proposing a British expeditionary force capable to deploy anywhere in the world to fight this new type of war.
And seven years later — well, seven years later in our case, of course, but nine years later in yours — could it happen again?
And my final point, I would ask people to read Edward Gibbon again, because he had some fine things to say about the decline and fall of various types of regime. Just have a look at that quotation about the fall of Rome.
Always like it when there are Marines in the audience, because when their lips stop moving, you can move the slide on straight.
(LAUGHTER) What do you have to say about politicians in the Roman times (OFF-MIKE) remember what I said about the (OFF-MIKE) peace with vigilance, plenty with industry, and safety with valor.
And my final point is that one. And those of you who are sharp- eyed will know you saw that on the way to lunch.
Thank you very much, indeed.
UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER: Thank you.
We’ll turn to our next presenter (inaudible) UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER: I’m not even going to stand up. I don’t have slides.
I would say the NDU could use a different approach to the room temperature problem. This was a problem that had two solutions. You could raise the temperature of the room, or you could raise the temperature of the participants. So if everybody just got up and run three laps around the room, we’d be partway — it’s a different way to look at the problem.
What I was given to look at today was the changing character of war. And I appreciate that, because it understands that the underlying nature of war does not change and will not change.
Clausewitz’s trinity of violence, chance and reasons, the primary trinity, remains in tact. You may argue about state, people and Army, but, in fact, the primary trinity is in tact. And that means we will always have friction. Despite fantasies about taking the friction out of conflict through more technology, it’s inevitable. Any activity involving movement or people will have friction.
Consider the fact that every morning you probably go out the door about the same time. And I’ll guarantee you, one day a week, that simple process gets screwed up somehow.
Fog, we have this misconception that, if you can see the battlefield, you can understand the battlefield. That’s what we’ve pitched for 15 or 20 years now.
The problem is, I’ve been married for 34 years. I see what happens in my house, but I sure as hell don’t understand what’s going on a lot of times. And it was worse when we had teenagers living there.
Also, understanding is not universal. For instance, you can show exactly the same scene to Rush Limbaugh and Jon Stewart, and I guarantee you, you will get a different call from the two of them. So we’ve got to understand those will change.
But the character of war will change and has been changing since we first started this enterprise. Why? Because war flows from society.
It flows from the economic, political, social, and, least important, technical aspects of the conflict. We as Americans love technology, so we want it to be about the technology, but it’s really not.
If you look at World War II, if you look at the dominant economic, political and social structures in the world, they were ideally suited to fight that kind of a major power conflict.
Since then, we’ve seen insurgencies gain power. But if you see it, it’s not so much because of the increasing power of insurgents, but rather because the economic, political and social underlying structures changes, and therefore that contributed to the power of the insurgents.
So as we look at what’s next in the character of war, we’re going to have to look at changes across society.
Now, one other caution: Because some forms of characters of war change doesn’t mean all war changes or it makes previous forms obsolete.
They will come back to bite you, because the other country or the other entity involved may have a political, social and economic structure only suitable for an earlier form of war.
So what are the likely evolutions? Well, the first evolution — we’ve got to understand that war is a competitive contest between two wills.
So you will try to avoid the power of the other guy. The center of our power right now is in networked conventional forces, so they’ll simply try to avoid them.
Non-states have already shown us how to do this, but we’re going to see non-states, besides the tremendous variety of insurgents we’re currently seeing, we’re going to see the rise of super-empowered individuals.
And we will also see that this is not limited to state — to non- states. States will take the same choices to avoid our conventional dominance on networks.
We’ll start with nation-states. They’re going to do two things.
To fight a conventional war against us — and, I agree, there probably will be more conventional wars — they won’t fight to our strengths. They’ll take a look at our form of war and say, “You know what? Theirs is all about seeing and knowing the battlefield and sharing that information, so we’re going to blind them and take away their communication networks.” The Chinese have shown us how with cheap anti-satellite weapons.
They’re also going to do electromagnetic pulse. We now have conventional electromagnetic pulse. I think there’s some guys messing around with taking it down to artillery-level weapons.
Cyber, obviously, we’re seeing happen frequently around the world. We are just getting a tip of that. And, of course, because we’ve bought a lot of stuff from China, we don’t know exactly what resides in our systems.
Anti-access weapons, we’re getting more and more discussion about that. The Chinese are investing heavily in that because they realize the key is, you’ve just got to keep them far enough away and they can’t hurt you. The good news is, as the secretary said, he’s starting to try to force the system to recognize that change in war, so we’ve had the opening volley in what’s going to be a long struggle here in the United States.
And, finally — and (inaudible) will talk more about this — the expansion of nuclear powers. By — by acquiring nuclear weapons, I change the rules of the way we’re going to fight and I take away some of your dominance in that conventional conflict.
They’re also going to use surrogates. We’ve obviously seen Hezbollah. We have seen the Taliban used by Pakistan within Afghanistan over a period of time. We’re going to see surrogate use of criminal organizations, and then we’re going to have unknown attacks.
A state can also use unknown attacks. For instance, I think there’s now consensus that it was Iran that laid the mines in the ’80s in the Persian Gulf, but for a long time we didn’t know, so there was an unknown attack by a state.
There are going to be ambiguous attacks. For instance, for a couple of days, when the two ships hooked the fiber optic cables off Egypt, the question was, was that an intentional attack?
Well, suppose China wants to go after Taiwan and has a whole series of fishing accidents on the fiber optic cables around Taiwan. Is that an act of war or an act of incompetence?
You can also have ambiguity in terms of cyber swarms. We still don’t know whether the recent cyber attacks in Georgia and the earlier ones in Estonia were cyber attacks or they were simple cyber riots. And I don’t know that we’re going to know that.
Non-state actors — non-state actors understand this as a competition between human networks. And it’s driven by narratives. It’s not driven by networks or desire, but by the narratives that are competing on the sides. And this will be done by two major groups, insurgents, insurgent groups, which you’re familiar with, and then these super-empowered individuals, or small groups.
So starting with the insurgents, the non-state insurgents, and how they’ll work, again, conflict flows from the society. So if you look at China and you look at Vietnam, these are Confucian societies, fairly hierarchical, fairly hierarchical insurgencies.
If you look at Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Palestine, these are more tribal societies and therefore are more tribally or network-based insurgencies, and they rely very heavily on the competition of narratives.
A strategic communications campaign, the insurgents no longer see a need for (inaudible) phase three conventional campaign against the outsider, but they do see that, when the outsider is driven away, civil war is almost inevitable, because we never got our moment together before we started fighting the outsider. So we have varying narratives.
One of the things that help flip the Anbar awakening was Al Qaida in Iraq portrayed such a horrible narrative on what they were going to do if they were in charge once they were in charge that our guys could then play off that narrative and say, “Look, we’re better for you than they are. Not only can we protect you against them, but we can also give you help against the Shia.” And so the initial deal was we were going to increase your safety, change the narrative.
These are human networks. They’re coalitions of the angry, and that’s why they’re going to be very difficult to single out and fight.
They’re transnational; that’s pretty obvious.
They’re transdimensional. You can’t look that word up, because I made it up, because it covers what happens. When we drove — when we hit Al Qaida hard in Afghanistan, they initially went to the Web. Before they could establish themselves in Pakistan, they went to the Web, and they became truly transdimensional. They worked in cyber, and they worked in real space, and very easily moved back and forth.
The problem is in the United States, we have people who do cyber, we have people who do HUMINT, we have people who do other forms of INTs, but everybody there is very snug inside his own cylinder of excellence.
You may think the other guy’s in stovepipe. You’re in a cylinder of excellence.
There is no reason to change. And we’re still seeing this daily.
They’re going to be self-supporting. We’re seeing this more and more. We used to be able to go out to the state sponsor, try to cut off outside supplies. But more and more, you’re seeing the ability to raise their own money.
Now, what the next level of threat is — and I think probably the most challenging for us to face — is the super-empowered individual or small group. And this is a group or even an individual that will use the power of knowledge and then off-the-shelf technology, they will be loyal to a cause not a nation, and they will strike for that cause.
And it’s evolving due to the economic, political and social conditions, as well as some technological changes. We don’t have a lot of time to get into those specific ones; I’d be happy to during the discussions.
What are some previous attacks? I think Capitol Hill anthrax attack was an early example of this. This is an example of an individual we think — because he committed suicide before we could find out for sure — for a cause — we don’t know what it was, because he didn’t write it down — but he took on a nation. And that’s — that’s remarkable.
In London and Madrid, we’re seeing a mix between insurgents, terrorists and these super-empowered small groups because particularly the Madrid attack seems to be self-motivated based on the narrative, based on the Al Qaida narrative, and so that — that’s another indicator.
We’re also seeing increasing cause attacks from some rather unusual sources, Earth Liberation Front, Animal Liberation Front. They’re both pledged to nonviolence. They burn down things. They damage vehicles, et cetera. But just like the IRA got a real IRA, we’re beginning to get a real ELF, real ALF, and that is the Sea Shepherds.
The Sea Shepherds are an environmental group who’ve gone violent.
They last year bought a ship, filled the bow with concrete. As a whaler was coming out, they rammed it, knowing full well they could kill people on the whaler, but they knew they would take the whaler out of the game for the season.
These types of super-empowered individuals using off-the-shelf technology with cause attacks are a reason for concern. And the reason is because, with those social, political and economic conditions lining up, they can then make use of the technology.
And the technology that worries me most is synthetic biology.
Dr. Venter (ph), who created — who first sequenced the human genome, then went on to create a phase (ph) from base pairs. And that’s creating life from base pairs in biology.
So if you can create a phase (ph), you can create a virus. The Australians — God knows why we let Australians play with biology, but we did, for some reason — and they…
UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER: We’re better at anatomy, actually.
(LAUGHTER) UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER: You’ve been inbreeding on a small island, so — not as bad as the Welsh, though. So…
(LAUGHTER) UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER: (OFF-MIKE) UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER: So the Australians were messing around with mouse pox. Now, poxes are 30 percent lethal, and every creature has a pox. So they messed with mouse pox and made it 90 percent lethal for the non-immunized population, but, even more concerning, 65 percent to 70 percent lethal to the immunized population. And they were excited, so they posted it on the Internet.
About a year later, a human biologist noticed that small pox has exactly the same gene. And I am hoping no one has yet experimented to find out if they get the same results.
That was fairly safe, because base pairs were very expensive, but Carlson’s curve does for base pairs what Moore’s law does for computing power. It means it’s falling exponentially. Base pairs, I think, have come through $10 a set and are down to about a buck a set on their way to 10 cents a set, soon to a penny a set. You will be able to buy everything you need to create small pox for about $2,000 to $20,000.
And then, of course, the British student — she was actually a Canadian student in Britain — said, look, I’ve got a great idea. She was interning over a summer, and said, “Got a great idea for two agricultural-biological products.” And they said, “OK, but we’re going to keep everything,” and she said, “No, thanks.” She quit. She convinced her dad to spend $8,000 to buy her a lab for the basement. And a year later, she came out of the basement and sold her company for $44 million.
We have bio students in basements all over the world. So these are all potential attacks. And I — I don’t object to weapon of mass destruction.
I do — or attacks of mass destruction. I do if you (inaudible) to a category of weapons rather than an impact.
We’ve had weapons of mass disruption. We saw on Capitol Hill with anthrax and London and Madrid with bombing. Weapons of mass destruction, there’s very practical things you can do either as an insurgent or a small group.
If you study Bhopal, the Bhopal accident, 15,000 dead in one night, 100,000 long-term casualties, not bad for one hit on a — on a chemical plant.
And, of course, this Texas City ship explosion, 3.2 kiloton equivalent device. A fire started on a ship full of ammonium nitrate — not even full, partially full — ammonium nitrate in Texas City. If you Google it, you will see that it looks like Ground Zero at Hiroshima. Of course, today we haul that around in 20,000-ton ships, so that’s a third larger than Hiroshima.
So those are kind of the threats and the direction it goes. You see a bifurcation of nation-states going to high-tech or ambiguity, non-state and super-empowered individuals.
So what are the solutions? Well, the first thing we’ve got to do is drop our network-centric fantasy that we’re going to know all, see all, and understand all. It looks like Secretary Gates may have driven the first stake in that vampire’s heart, but I think it’ll be back.
Balanced forces across the spectrum. From high technology, the most important thing is to understand the changing character of the challenge.
They’re not going to meet us like we’d like to meet them. The Soviet Union is not coming back, and they will not agree to meet us in the Sahara Desert.
We’ve got to get over that and say, “Somebody’s going to fight us differently.”
We’re going to face hybrid wars, which we’ve faced for a long time, very useful construct to understand. You’re going to fight across the spectrum all at the same time.
COIN, you’re going to have to have an interagency response, and we are struggling mightily with that. The problem is, the enemy has moved ahead to a super-empowered individual where the common COIN techniques won’t work. We’re going to need to set up an all-of- government response, which we look for (inaudible) we’re going to need an all-of-society response.
It’s very difficult to do, but we have some models. First, it’s not a DOD lead. And, second, look at some models for all-of-society defense.
First is the Internet.
I know nothing about technology, but I know, if the little red M doesn’t come on when I turn on my machine, I’ve got to punch buttons until the McAfee virus is activated. So I’m defending the Internet. I haven’t got a clue what I’m doing, but I’m part of an all-of-society defense of the Internet, those kind of models.
Public health used to be that way, until we thought we’d concurred epidemics. And in the anti-crime models, those are all ones we should use.
We have to change our education in new sciences. We’ve talked about complexity, talked briefly about network theory. I think (inaudible) absolutely right that social movement theory is going to be much more important and emergence, how intelligent strategies can emerge from simple entities that are not connected. We saw that early on in Iraq. We saw it in Afghanistan.
The Soviets saw it in Afghanistan. We haven’t even begun to understand that.
Probably the biggest thing we have to do is understand the underlying nature of the problem. We have a system that is wonderfully designed to deal with structurally complex problems. Unfortunately, the world is interactively complex. Structurally complex is your car, 10,000 parts, but they’re pretty simple. You press on the gas, you go faster.
You press on the brake, it slows down.
A much more apparently simple problem is a marriage, but you predict what the mood your spouse is going to be in when you get home tonight.
It’s the difference between a structurally complex and interactively.
NATO planning doesn’t do (inaudible) problems. NATO doesn’t do it. We don’t understand it. We’re barely beginning to get it. see here national defense university
That requires an evolving personnel system. Our current system is designed to produce amateurs that are actively hostile to networks.
That’s what top-down-only reporting and very short tours do to you. We’ve got to change that.
And I’ll leave it there, because I think that’s 15 minutes.
UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER: Perfect. Thanks very much. Very interesting. Another — another very interesting presentation.
To stick with the theme of the trend of changing warfare, we’ll turn next to (inaudible) UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER: Thanks. I’m going stand up, even though I don’t have PowerPoint. I hope (inaudible) I’m not quite sure that I understood anything that (inaudible) just said. But the bits that I did understand, I agree with, so I’m not going to go over the same stuff.
What I want to do is, is really ask a couple of questions. You know, is the character of warfare changing? Duh. Yes, it is. If so, how? And then what the implications for that?
I want to go back to the 2006 QDR. I was working on the irregular warfare part of the QDR. And we had a lot of meetings about, what are the implications of irregular warfare for force sizing constructs, for global force posture, for capability and capacity?
And eventually, after dozens of different meetings, it essentially boiled down to the one question: Are the wars that we are currently fighting an aberration or is this the face of future conflict?
And I think that’s the key question: Are the wars we’re dealing with in Afghanistan and Iraq or the terrorism threats we’re dealing with, the other things we’re looking at today, are these the face of future conflict or is this just a temporary aberration?
I’m with (inaudible) in that I don’t think it makes sense to pick one of those options. What you have to do is prioritize one and hedge against the other.
So let me just talk about how you might do that. I started in the Army in 1985, and I had, you know, a number of years in the Cold War environment, where the organizing principle was a global, bilateral competition between two superpowers.
Since the end of the Cold War, we haven’t really recaptured a single organizing principle. And a lot of people have been looking for, what is the organizing principle that replaces that and allows you to figure out how to structure yourself?
I don’t think there is a single organizing principle. What I’m going to do is suggest four ways to think about the environment. I’ll just give you what they are, first of all, and talk about them.
The first one is, you can conceptualize the — the public environment as a backlash against globalization, what you might call wars of globalization. That’s a technological and economic model of the conflict environment.
The second way of thinking about it is you can think about it as a global insurgency, which is a political strategic model of the environment.
The third way that you can think about it — and I refer again specifically to the wars we’re currently fighting — the third way you can think about it is as a civil war within the Islamic world, if you like a geopolitical model.
And then the final one, whether or not we like the term, is you can think about it as an asymmetric warfare model, which is essentially a military technical model of the environment.
So those are four things I’m going to talk about: backlash against globalization; a global insurgency; a civil war in Islam; or a function of our military asymmetry.
The backlash against globalization argument says, you know, if you look back at the wars of the 1950s and the 1960s, even though they all looked different from each other at the time, the organizing principle was the retreat of European empires from their colonies and the struggle for succession that took place in each of those colonies. And that all took place against the background of the superpower competition that we talked about.
And this way of looking at the environment says, we may look back at the wars of the early 21st century and say, “These were wars of globalization,” that a lot of the conflicts that we saw looked different from each other, a lot of them were different from each other, but there was a single major driving factor, which was the rejection of some types of human society, of the extension and the effects of globalization.
And if you define globalization as a process of increasing connectivity enabled by the Internet and other new forms of technology that allows better flow of information, people, finance, resources, and weapons, and ideas across frontiers, then if you look at that process and look at the reaction of human societies to it, there are large parts of the globe that are essentially rejecting what they see as Western-led, United States-dominated effects on their traditional way of life that are fronted (ph) by globalization.
There’s a spectrum of violence here. So in some cases, it’s relatively benign, so you have things such as — in fact, totally benign things like the slow food movement in Europe, which was prompted by the opening of a McDonald’s in Italy in 1996 and led to this whole movement across Europe that essentially rejects globalized fast food in favor of a more sort of culturally authentic way of — way of life.
That’s the benign end, but there’s a much, much more violent end which we see in places like Afghanistan, where whole tribes ally against us just for coming into their valley and push us out, or parts of Africa, where populations that are associated with globalization in the minds of other groups are targeted.
So that’s the first model. You can say a lot of the violence that we’re seeing is driven by globalization and a response to globalization.
The second one is the — the global insurgency model or globalized insurgency model. There’s a lot of political argument about the difference between terrorists and insurgents.
Let me just clarify what I mean by that term. A terrorist organization is an armed non-state actor that draws their main strength from the coherence of their network. An insurgency is an armed non-state actor who draws their main strength from their ability to mobilize a population base.
All insurgencies also include terrorism, but some groups can be called terrorist groups because they don’t draw the majority of their fighting power and their ability to mobilize a population base, but rather from the motivation of people in their network, the tightness of their network, its access to certain forms of technology, and so on.
Al Qaida is an insurgency. It follows the basic four insurgent tactics that all insurgents have — have applied throughout history: protraction, intimidation, provocation, and exhaustion. The standard four tactics, exactly the same tactics that every insurgency has used are being used by Al Qaida, but applied at the global level instead of at the local level.
It also very clearly draws its strength from its ability to mobilize, intimidate, direct, control the behavior of the world’s 1.2 billion Sunni Muslims. Take away its ability to do that, and it loses the vast majority of its power.
So I consider Al Qaida to be an insurgency, but one that has a target that’s global in scope.
It has a military strategy which is fundamentally designed to soak the United States up in a series of unsustainably exhausting overseas interventions.
Osama bin Laden commented in November 2004, A lot of people are asking what our strategy is. I’m here to tell the brothers what the strategy is, and it’s this: All we have to do is send two Mujahideen to the furthest point east with an Al Qaida flag, and the Americans will panic and send an Army there to engage in combat, and they will lose money, lives and political capital. And then once the Americans are tired out in this campaign, we just do it again over here, and we’re just going to keep doing that until they run out of puff (ph), OK?
He outlined this in a statement at the end of November 2004 on Al Jazeera. Now, to a certain extent, that’s ex post facto rationalization of the failure of the Al Qaida plan in 2001. But it does kind of make sense as a strategy. And if your enemy’s strategy is to soak you up in a series of unsustainable interventions, the best way to defeat that strategy is probably not to get involved in a large number of overseas interventions.
That’s the military strategy, but the organizational strategy of Al Qaida is to put itself at the head of a loose coalition of like- minded organizations. Michael Scheuer from the Jamestown institute describes Al Qaida as the inciter-in-chief, rather than the commander- in-chief, not trying to direct and control the activities of its local allies, just trying to mobilize its population base, a la a definition of an insurgency, and point everybody in the same direction, coordinate activity through loose directives only.
We’ve also seen a sharp evolution in Al Qaida terrorism since 2001, which I think is worth noting in this context. You can think about the 9/11 attacks as expeditionary terrorism. Al Qaida formed the team in Country A, trained them in Country B, mounted the logistics out of Country C, and then inserted them clandestinely into the target country to attack the target.
Our response to 9/11 was to make it hard to move from one country to another. We made it difficult to infiltrate from one country to another.
We made it difficult to train in one country and then bring equipment to another and so one.
In 2005, I was part of the world’s counterterrorism intelligence community focusing on the Gleneagles summit in the U.K. and focusing on that model of stopping bad guys from getting into the U.K. to attack the summit.
Al Qaida had already changed the model to a guerrilla terrorism model, where instead of inserting the team clandestinely into the target country, they grew the team right next to the target and brought a team leader out openly, on his own passport under his own name, to Pakistan for a briefing and then reinserted him to run the attack. So they’d shifted the model from expeditionary terrorism to guerrilla terrorism.
The global insurgency model suggests a range of responses that you can capture under the rubric of population-centric control operations.
I don’t think that the answer is a global counterinsurgency, because we’re not the world government, OK? And to the extent that we try and act like the world government, we are, A, going to run out of money and, B, run out of friends very quickly. That’s primarily what Al Qaida’s strategy is about trying to provoke us into doing.
So I think that it’s a whole different approach, which I’ll get to in a minute.
The third model for thinking about the environment is there’s a civil war within Islam. And there’s two variants on this. One is to say, look, Al Qaida’s strategy is fundamentally targeting change within the Muslim world. Al Qaida wants to overthrow what it considers to be apostate regimes throughout the Middle East. It wants to change the character of states in the Muslim world so that it ends up controlling the political process in large parts of the Middle East, North Africa, and Southeast Asia.
Therefore, we are not the principal target of Al Qaida activity.
Our response to its attack is an enabler that creates chaos and problems in the Middle East and allows it to gain ascendancy and get closer to its goal of controlling parts of the Muslim world. That’s one variant of the civil war within Islam thesis.
The other one is the Shia revival theory, which says the geopolitical rise of Iran since 1979, been accelerating markedly since we knocked their major regional rival off in 2003, the — the rise of Iran as a state and the rise of Shia theocratic Islam in Shia-majority parts of the world represents a threat to Sunni dominance.
Ninety percent of Muslims are Sunnis. The argument is that this is a changing power balance within the Islamic world and that there’s a fight going on between different components of Islam against each other.
Again, there’s a number of — of sub-theories to this, but I’d just point out that, in the current circumstance, if it is, indeed, true that there’s a civil war going on in Islam, we are probably fighting against all parties in that civil war at the same time, both opposing Iran and fighting Al Qaida, dealing with various states in the region, and supporting groups that are undermining our own fundamental objectives. So that’s a third way of looking at it, as a civil war within Islam.
Then the final way of looking at it is as an asymmetric warfare problem. And there are a number of different dimensions of asymmetry that I want to talk about.
The first one is asymmetry of cost. We’ve already talked about what Al Qaida’s strategy is, to soak us up in a series of overly exhausting interventions, so it’s worth thinking about the money here. It cost Al Qaida $500,000 roughly — about $544,000 — to mount the 9/11 attacks, according to the 9/11 Commission. That makes 9/11 the most expensive terrorist attack in history by a factor of about 10.
But if you look at how much we have spent in response to the attacks on 9/11, it’s around — depending on how you define it — around the $800 billion mark. So our response has been vastly more costly than the cost to mount the attack.
And that’s actually true of any kind of irregular conflict, which I’m going to define in a minute. It’s much cheaper to create disorder than to govern. It’s much cheaper to disrupt than to build. It’s a lot easier and cheaper to bring down a superpower than to maintain the superpower’s position against that opposition. And so asymmetry of costs is the first major dimension of asymmetry.
The second one is the asymmetry between U.S. military and every other military in the world. Depending on how you define the U.S. defense budget, right now U.S. military spending accounts for between 55 percent and 75 percent of total global defense spending.
So even at the lowest end of that spectrum, we spend more on defense than every other country in the world combined. At the higher end of the spectrum, we’re spending dramatically more than everybody else.
That arguably is because of what (inaudible) talked about in terms of acting as the world’s force of last resort or the global policeman or whatever you want to call it, where we are essentially assuming responsibility for the functioning of the world order and, therefore, effectively acting as a world government to a certain extent.
We have to ask ourselves if that’s sustainable economically and also if it’s in the long-term best interests of the United States to continue bailing everybody else out from — from their problems and spending three-quarters of the world’s total defense expenditure.
The third element of asymmetry is U.S. civil versus U.S. military power. We talk about the four elements of national power, you know, diplomatic, informational, military, and economic. If you were to draw those to scale, you’d have a tiny, tiny little D, an almost non- existent I, a massive M that would fill the entire room, and then the economy, probably a crumbling little E.
In term of numbers, U.S. defense budget, roughly $700 billion, U.S. State Department budget — and that’s the largest in the civil structure — about $16 billion, in terms of operating budget. In terms of personnel, 1.68 million people in the U.S. Defense Department in uniform, about 2,500 State Department officers, 8,000 if you count all State Department officers wherever they are.
Typically in the Western world, militaries are about 10 times larger than the diplomatic service of the same country. In the United States, it’s 210 times larger. It’s a big asymmetry.
And then, finally, the asymmetry between conventional military and irregular warfare models and capabilities, 11 carrier battle groups, only about 16,000 special forces that can deploy on unconventional warfare tasks.
Let me cut to the chase in terms of what I think we need to be doing, and then I’ll finish up.
We face what Secretary Gates called complex hybrid warfare yesterday. And I define that as a complex mix of regular and irregular conflict. Regular conflict — conflict is warfare against state actors.
And I would define irregular conflict as any organized violence in which one of the major combatants in a non-state actor. So I don’t want to get into the conflicts, irregular warfare definitions that we have in the Department of Defense, but essentially irregular warfare is warfare against non-state actors.
I think, in those kind of conflicts, there are six major tasks we need to be doing, and these are mission sets around which we need to be organizing capability. The first one is state-on-state warfare. It’s not going to go away. It’s the — it’s the underpinning for our power and all the other elements. And it has to be there as a deterrent and a last resort.
The second one is strategic disruption, the ability to get in and deal with small splinter cells of super-empowered individuals or small terrorist cells without also destroying the societies in which they reside.
Invading countries to deal with small terrorist cells is not the way to go.
But then how do you deal with one individual terrorist on the street of a Western European city if that person is a super-empowered individual?
So there needs to be the capability for strategic disruption.
The third one is counter-sanctuary, not counterterrorism, counter-sanctuary, the ability to close sanctuaries and safe havens, which is a whole-of-government endeavor, largely — a whole-of-society endeavor, in fact, largely non-military.
Nearly done. The fourth one is civil military assistance. We talk about military assistance, which is security force assistance, where the U.S. military goes out and helps the military and police of other countries.
We need to get way beyond that to whole-of- government assistance to foreign governments and whole-of-society assistance to foreign societies.
Last two, strategic information warfare, the ability to actually get in and deal with the enemy’s narrative and to use not only information as a tool, but to use our actions and our expenditure and our posture as an information tool, as the enemy does.
And the final one, somewhat controversial in my old department, clandestine and denied-area diplomacy. A lot of what we achieved in Iraq involved quietly talking to bad guys in the middle of night by diplomats.
And that’s denied-area work. It’s also sometimes clandestine work.
We don’t have currently a capability for that. The closest we have to it is some elements within the CIA and a couple of other agencies around — around the country. We do not have a good capacity for that, and it’s going to be very important going forward.
Final point. I’ve outlined four ways of looking at the — at the environment. None of those, with the exception of asymmetric warfare, none of those is inside our control. And even asymmetric warfare is not inside the executive branch’s control, because the reason we spent so much money on conventional tasks is because of the military industrial complex.
And the very people who control the — the spending also have lots of jobs in their congressional districts tied up in conventional platforms.
So we’re not going to walk away from that any time soon.
And, therefore, my suggestion is that we’re dealing with the faces of future conflict with these types of environments, because the drivers that create the various phenomena that we see in the environment are not going away any time soon.
But as I said right at the start, you don’t pick one over another. You focus on one as your main effort, and you hedge against the other. So I think we should be focusing on the irregular conflict — that is, against non-state actors — and hedging with an underpinning capability for state-on-state conflict.
I’ll stop there (inaudible) UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER: Thank you (inaudible) lastly (inaudible) UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER: I have to be — admit to being a bit uncomfortable in addressing proliferation, and WMD terrorism, and nuclear issues, and deterrence on a — on a panel that is chaired by (inaudible) who’s done some of the finest work on these issues that I know of, but I’m going to do it anyway.
Since you only have the first three chapters of the global strategic assessment volume in your preview edition, I wanted to give you some of the highlights of the chapter on proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
I would, as a footnote, agree with (inaudible) that it’s not the — the WMD term is less than ideal, but since nuclear, biological, chemical, and radiological is quite a mouthful, we’d — we’d never get through with — with my talk if I used that every time I talked about WMD.
The volumes chapter, the full volumes chapter, presents both good news and bad news about — about proliferation. The good news is that our worst fears regarding proliferation and use of WMD have not been realized to date. The bad news is that the — is the — is that the possibility that they will be is probably increasing because of the diffusion of materials, scientific knowledge, technology, industrial capability, bearing on nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons.
(inaudible) has already focused on the biological aspects of this diffusion of — of knowledge and materials. I’m going to focus on nuclear.
As Secretary of State Clinton said last month, the most serious threat facing humanity is the potential — is a potential nuclear weapon in the hands of an irresponsible actor. So I’m going to focus on nuclear proliferation as it concerns both terrorist and regional states.
I’ll start with the latter. At the end of the Cold War, we’ve seen several new nuclear states emerge to include North Korea, if their own admissions, as well as intelligence estimates, are to be believed.
Iran is on the way to acquiring the capability to produce nuclear weapons.
And Syria may have taken steps down that road, as well.
To elaborate briefly, in April 2003, North Korea became the first state to withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. They tested a nuclear device in October of 2006. And, of course, just this past weekend, they defied the world by launching a missile or maybe it was a satellite launch, though it seems that only Kim Jong-il believes that they actually put a satellite into orbit.
But in any event, it was a launch with a flight path over Japan.
And I’m afraid that the — the on-again, off-again nature of the six- party talks indicates that the path ahead for North Korea, Korean denuclearization remains a long path and — and the outcome is highly uncertain.
I think we’re all familiar with — with the Iran case, Iran’s covert development of uranium — uranium enrichment and other nuclear weapons-relevant capabilities.
Although there was a November 2007 U.S. National Intelligence Estimate that assessed that Iran had in 2003 suspended — carefully worded — those aspects of its nuclear program directly related to weaponization, I think the U.S. and major U.S. — major European allies, as well as the IAEA, still has concerns about the continuing expansion of — of Iran’s enrichment capability and that it’s moving them — it’s moving them closer to the ability to develop nuclear weapons.
Syria is the most recent to appear on the nuclear stage. In September 2007, Israel bombed a site in Syria that U.S. government officials contend — and a lot of outside analysts contend — was a nuclear reactor nearing completion, built covertly and with North Korean assistance.
Syria denies the nuclear nature of the site, but it moved quickly after the — the Israeli bombing to eliminate traces of the bombed structure.
So North Korea — North Korea’s and Iran’s and perhaps also Syria’s demonstrated or suspected pursuit of nuclear weapons could set the stage for another round of nuclear proliferation. This is not inevitable, but it’s certainly possible.
Following North Korea’s 2006 nuclear test, there were some prominent individuals in both Japan and South Korea who called for their nations to reconsider their — their non-nuclear weapons status, although I want to point out that both nations’ governments reaffirmed their longstanding policy of not pursuing such weapons, and the U.S. reiterated its extended nuclear deterrence commitment to those allies.
And I also want to emphasize that we should care about their views not only because of concern that Japan or South Korea might reconsider their nuclear options, but also because they’re allies and we care about their security.
In the case of Iran, their — their apparent pursuit of — of a nuclear weapons capability is likely a significant factor in the recent expansion in the number of nations in that region interested in establishing civilian nuclear programs. Of the 30 nations currently interested in joining the 30 nations that already operate nuclear reactors, 14 of those 30 are Arab nations or they border Iran.
Some of those 14 nations perceive Iran as a security threat, exacerbated by its nuclear program. Others may feel less directly threatened by Iran, but — but feel that their security may be jeopardized or their regional leadership positions may be challenged if other states acquire nuclear weapons in response to Iran’s nuclear program. So there is this concern about a cascade of proliferation in the Middle East.
Obviously, they could acquire nuclear energy without — without the infrastructure to — to develop nuclear weapons capability, as well, but they could also go the other route of enrichment or reprocessing.
Other than fueling potentially a proliferation cascade, why — why worry about these regional states with nuclear weapons? There are a number of different analysts who have different answers. Some worry that such states may employ nuclear weapons, either — either early or as a last-ditch effort to — to have self-preservation if a regime looks like it’s going down.
But besides actual employment — that is, detonation in anger — there are other uses that states may make of nuclear weapons that are concerning.
Some argue that the mere possession may embolden regional states like North Korea and Iran to take aggressive actions and that there’s less confidence in the ability to reliably deter these regional states under the conditions where they have nuclear weapons.
There’s — there’s also a concern about the potential for mischief that is provoking crises, intimidating neighbors, supporting terrorism, interrupting traffic in the gulf, under the cover of their nuclear capability.
Some analysts fear that these problem states may even give nuclear capabilities to terrorists or use terrorists as surrogate delivery systems. There’s debate about that. Others doubt that states would knowingly share nuclear weapons for terrorists for a number of reasons out of — out of fear that the weapons would be traced back to the states, because of the unpredictability and unreliability of terrorist networks, or out of the desire to maintain control over a very small arsenal.
But even those analysts who doubt that regional states would willingly share the capability with terrorists worry that the capability could fall into terrorist hands through either insiders sympathetic to their cause, insiders motivated by profit, or due to lack of adequate security and controls.
So turning to the terrorist pursuit and acquisition of nuclear and radiological weapons, it’s — I think it’s hard to overestimate the impact of September 11, 2001, on U.S. thinking about this issue. The potential for an even worse occurrence, a nuclear 9/11, if you will, strongly influences the way I think Americans view nuclear issues, especially terrorist pursuit of nuclear and radiological weapons.
It does appear that terrorists want to acquire nuclear capability. Some examples, Osama bin Laden has said in interviews that acquiring nuclear and other WMD weapons is a religious duty. The Al Qaida strategist Abu Musab al-Suri (ph) praised the September 11th hijackings, but — but said that it would have been a better plan to loan the hijacked airplanes with weapons of mass destruction. As he wrote, “Let the American people be contaminated with radiation.” There has been, as I think some have alluded to, some debate among Muslim leaders about whether nuclear weapons use would be consistent with Islam, but it appears that Al Qaida and its affiliates are still interested in WMD and nuclear and radiological weapons specifically.
Fortunately, there is far less information to suggest they currently possess those capabilities. And I have to say, it’s not clear whether we’ve been effective or just lucky.
In the interest of time, I’m going to just skip over a lot, but move on to quickly looking at deterrence. Because given these concerns about a wider array of worrisome actors and actions, I think we need to reassess how deterrence would operate for current and future threats in a proliferating world.
Deterrence is not just about nuclear weapons. It’s — it’s really an enduring concept that aims to prevent hostile action — it could be aggression; it could be WMD use — by ensuring that, in the mind of — of a potential adversary, the risk of taking that action outweigh the benefits, while they take into account the — the consequences of inaction, of not taking that action.
In the — in the full volume (inaudible) has written a section on deterrence and that assessments that suggest that we need to put a lot more attention and work on — on deterrence.
There really are three aspects to adapting deterrence to — to this — this changed world, post-Cold War. One is adapting to specific actors and specific situations that — and that means that improving the odds of — of successful deterrence requires understanding potential adversaries, how they tick, who makes decisions, how they think, what they care about, how they’re influenced, how they weigh risk and gains, how they view the deterrer, the people who are trying to deter them.
All those things require expertise on the — the region, the country, the group, the leader in question. And that expertise, as other panelists in earlier panels have said, does not always reside just in governments, but also in think-tanks, academia, outside — outside of government.
There’s also the need to think about how you adapt the mix of capabilities needed for deterrence. There’s obviously militaries, the way we usually think about the capabilities for deterrence, whether that’s strike, conventional, nuclear, cyber, whether it’s defenses of all kinds, passive, active defenses, but also there are non-military means that you can think about using to increase risk or decrease benefits, whether those are diplomatic, economic or legal.
And that — that, again, gets back to (inaudible) focus on whole- of-government. A number of people have focused on this earlier. It’s true, as well, on the deterrence arena.
There’s also the issue of how to plan for collective deterrence when it’s not just one state trying to deter an actor, but a coalition or an alliance or — or even international organizations.
I also — while deterrence is not just about nuclear weapons, there are a number of — of nuclear issues that I want to touch on briefly that will need to be addressed by the U.S. government in its upcoming review of its nuclear posture.
Quickly, some of those are: relationship between the U.S.
nuclear posture and proliferation, positive, negative, some of each; the infrastructure of the U.S. nuclear weapons complex and maintaining weapons, as well as personnel competence; the assurance of allies, extended nuclear deterrence, as well as extended deterrence more broadly; arms control, President Obama and Secretary Clinton have both signaled their determination to reach an agreement with Russia on a follow-on to the START treaty that expires in December, as well as to further reductions; the whole issue of the goal of zero that Perry, Nunn, Shultz, and — and Kissinger have — have been putting forward.
I think a key question that this next U.S. nuclear posture review must address is how the Obama administration will implement what some have called the president’s twin commitments to reduce nuclear weapons and take steps toward the long-term goal of eventual elimination, while in the meantime maintaining a safe, secure, reliable nuclear deterrent both for the U.S.
and for its allies, as long as others — others in the world have nuclear weapons.
That’s going to be a real balancing act. In that regard, I’d like to quote Sir Michael Quinlan, the former — former British permanent undersecretary who died in late February. Sir Michael was a mentor and a role model to me and I think a number of other people in the room.
He always wrote about nuclear issues with eloquence and clear- eyed vision. In what is likely one of his last writings, a short piece on preventing nuclear proliferation, which we commissioned for the global strategic assessment volume, Sir Michael wrote, “There remains the idea of eventually abolishing all nuclear armories. That goal was agreed at the 2000 NPT review conference. And though at the 2005 conference, the United States and France declined to reaffirm it, the aspiration has attracted growing attention in the past few years.” “However skeptical the nuclear weapon states’ governments may be, there is a good case that they should be prepared to engage, as the United Kingdom has already proposed, in serious exploration of the concept, if only to ensure that its formidable difficulties and potential drawbacks, both political and technical, are adequately understood and exposed.” There may be further discussion of this in the Q&A session. I would welcome it.
In the interest of time, I will not address the last section of — of this chapter in the volume, which is on the militarization of space.
It’s really a square hole in the round — a square peg in the round hole of a chapter on WMD proliferation in any event, but I will just use the opportunity to — to highlight an upcoming volume that we have on space power. It’ll be coming out next — next month.
The report is the result of several years of work. (inaudible) was the primary author of that. We’ll also have a 30-chapter edited volume on space power that’s coming out in the summer.
And these are not just looking at the military and security aspects of space, but also the — the economic, social and scientific aspects of space power.
UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER: Thanks (inaudible) thank you for four very excellent and interesting presentations.
We have just a few minutes for some questions from — from the group. Please stand and — all the way on the back row there — identify yourself, please, by name and institutional affiliation. And please keep your questions brief.
QUESTION: (inaudible) this is mostly for (inaudible) considering, I guess, the consensus on everyone on the panel and — and most of the foreign policy establishment that it’s a bad idea to get involved in large-scale counterinsurgencies or — or military interventions in general, and also considering the example you’ve given of southern Thailand as a place where counterinsurgency is more effective without outside intervention, how do we reconcile that with the fact that often our partners’ states, in which we’re trying to build capacity, don’t define their interests in the same way we do?
For example, with ungoverned spaces in northwestern Pakistan that were allowed to exist for ages and ages, didn’t become a problem for Pakistan until they became a problem for the United States, how do we — we reconcile those competing priorities?
UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER: Who would like to take a stab at that?
UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER: He aimed it at (inaudible) UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER: He did.
UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER: Thanks (inaudible) I think we actually need to move beyond the entire idea of — of intervention at all to more of a continuous engagement model where we don’t have sort of a transactional relationship with the people whose countries we’re intervening in, but we have a long-term relational approach.
This is something that’s very familiar to people in — in diplomacy and foreign policy world, but it’s not very well-suited to the military planning approach, which focuses on end states. You know, what’s the end state for the U.S.-Iraq relationship? There’s no end state, you know? What’s the end state for conflict prevention tasks? You know, at what date did you successfully prevent a conflict?
Instead, you look at the relationship and look at sort of a broader sort of spherical, rather than linear approach to — to what you’re doing. That’s a very generic answer.
But the other thing I’d say is, there are limits to what you’re going to achieve by an engagement approach. There are limits to, you know, just working with partners and — and helping (inaudible) and hoping that they’re going to fix problems.
I get that. And I think that there’s nothing necessarily wrong with that, you know? Just taking an engagement approach and just working with partners in a local area doesn’t always work, but when it doesn’t work, you still have the military as a backup.
Getting involved into a unilateral process of intervention in somebody else’s country also often doesn’t work. And you’ve played your card, and you don’t have anywhere to go from there, but to stay and protect and — and be part of a process of nation-building, which is exactly the point of why these things were a bad idea in the first place.
UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER: Other questions or comments?
Down here in the third — fourth row?
UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER: Hi (inaudible) so we’ve heard a lot of talk from the panel about how to deal with surprise, right, and dealing with particular classes of surprise, whether it’s whether or not a state develops weapons of mass destruction, whether or not a terrorist group engaged in sociology innovation, whether or not there’s technological innovation that we’re unprepared for, those are all specific answers to specific classes of surprise.
How in general do we revamp our planning processes to be more aware that we’re entering an era in which all of those different classes are more prone to surprise than they were in prior — prior eras of technological, social, organizational development?
UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER: (OFF-MIKE) UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER: Yes, thanks very much. The bad news is, we’re going to be surprised.
(LAUGHTER) And one thing you’ve got to expect in the future is the unexpected. If a mushroom cloud tomorrow destroys a European capital or a state capital in the United States, is life going to end? It’s not.
I’m afraid mankind will shrug its shoulders and move on.
We don’t want it to happen, but when 280,000 people were killed in a tsunami, that ramped up the casualty rate to a level which none of us can really conceived, 280,000 people went in the tsunami a few years ago. We’ve lost more before.
But the fact of life is, it’s only in the last 100 years that we’ve had predictability in our lives. I’ve just done some social research where people used to lose over 50 percent of their children before the age of 5. We haven’t — had that sort of insecurity in the past.
I would suggest to you that we’re going to have an age of insecurity coming up with our children and grandchildren. And we’re going to have to mitigate some of these things, and we’re going to have to do the best we can to actually try and anticipate them, but we’re not going to catch everything.
I think you’ve seen from the — the scale and scope of the threats that we’ve got coming up from the super-empowered individuals, right up to state-based threats, that we’re into an era where violence will be used. Sometimes it’ll be logical; sometimes it won’t seem logical to us. And we’re going to have to take the hit.
The important thing is that we identify the things that are going to hit us hard and put us down and be enabled to be able to either deter or coerce people that have the capacity to do that.
My big worry, as I think I hinted in my presentation, is, in concentrating on the things we can deal with, we’re not concentrating on what we should deal with. The worst thing that can happen to the United States, it loses its — and (inaudible) hinted at this — you lose your capacity for high-end action, because that deters at a lower level, as well.
One reason that I could go through Africa in the 1970s was because the people who did want to do me harm worried about things coming after me that the queen owned. I know that, because people told me that.
It’s what — it’s the force you can withhold that actually deters. It’s not the force you use.
UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER: (inaudible) do you want to comment?
UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER: Yes, I think, while deterrence is part of it, part of it is resilience and recovery. We have to accept we’re going to get hit, and it’s going to be ugly. And we need to think about the process as we think through that.
One of the biggest problems we have is rate of change is increasing. Have you read Kurzweil’s book? It’s a big, fat book. It’s bad for Marines, because it’s really a thick book. The good news is, most of the information…
(CROSSTALK) UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER: (OFF-MIKE) UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER: First 100 pages have the good information.
It says all change is exponential. He makes a pretty convincing argument.
Therefore, exponential change means, in the next 100 years, we won’t deal with a normal 100 years of change, but, according to his estimation, 20,000. Now, let’s say he’s a complete, stark-raving idiot, and he’s really, really wrong, maybe 90 percent wrong, so you only got to deal with 2,000 years of change.
That’s the fundamental problem. It’s an education process and an organization process that deals in continuity when what we’re really facing is disruptive change.
UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER: Time for one last question. Right behind you.
QUESTION: (inaudible) my question (inaudible) UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER: Could you pull the mike away just a little bit, please? You’re echoing.
QUESTION: Sorry. My question is (inaudible) in regard to building a domestic intelligence service during a period of counterinsurgency, from your perspective, what are the key issues that are needed in terms of staffing, training, and then, when this is set up, an operational and analytical capability to assist allied forces in their counterinsurgency efforts?
UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER: It’s an essay question (inaudible) UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER: I’m sorry?
UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER: It’s an essay question.
UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER: Yes. Well, how long have you got?
Let me just say, I think we — we spend a lot of time focusing on operational capability rather than institutional capacity. A lot of it was sent to build intelligence services in Afghanistan and Iraq, went over to train intelligence officers. That’s very important.
But the Mukhabarat actually also has to be able to run its books, pay its people, that kind of stuff, which is some of the weaknesses that we have.
The other two things I would say is we tend to forget police intelligence, and police intelligence is very, very important, and it must be integrated with the military intelligence and with the national intelligence structure in order to function properly.
And then the final point is, just as building domestic militaries into counterinsurgency exposes you to the risk of a coup, building a domestic intelligence service in a counterinsurgency environment exposes you to the risk of death squad activity, and however you define it.
And so rule of law, ethics training, and the ability to selectively and surgically remove some people if they start doing the wrong thing is a key part of that capacity-building activity. But it’s probably a conversation to have over a beer in a skiff at some point.
UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER: They let you take beer into your skiffs?
UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER: That’s what they’re for.
UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER: They don’t let us do that here.
(LAUGHTER) Well, the witching hour is upon us. It’s 5:30.
UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER: Speaking of beer.
UNATTRIBUTED SPEAKER: We didn’t have enough time for a very meaty agenda on this last panel, but I want to invite you to join me in thanking the four panelists for excellent presentations.
(APPLAUSE) Thank you, all. Tomorrow morning, we start at 8:30, same place.
The — we’ll continue on with this saga.
I would ask that you remember that this is all not for attribution, unless the speaker had said something otherwise, as a preface to their remarks. I would ask you to take all of the containers out that you brought on, though you weren’t supposed to bring any in. And we’ll go on from there.
We have a van that will take people up to the Waterfront Metro if you desire to go that way. Thank you.
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