Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Israeli Victory in Gaza

I have a new piece in the current issue of Strategy & Tactics covering Israel's Operation Cast Lead. For those who may not recall, Cast Lead saw the Israelis bomb and invade Gaza last January in an effort to stop Hamas' daily rocket attacks.

The operation was well planned and executed, with the Israelis killing more than 700 Hamas fighters, destroying dozens of arms cashes, and hundreds of smuggling tunnels. Cast Lead also helped restore the credibility of Israel's deterrent, something which had been lacking since the inconclusive Lebanon War of 2006.
Interestingly, Israeli intelligence made good use of disgruntled Fatah operatives, Hamas main rival, several dozen of whom were killed when Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in a coup in 2007. Fatah sources pointed out the location of smuggling tunnels, terrorist homes, and arms caches.
Israel has also been aiding Fatah in the West Bank, with intelligence sharing and limited cooperation between the Israeli Army and Palestinian Authority security services. The Israelis seem to be adopting the age old counter insurgency tactic of co-opting some of the locals and using them to fight the insurgents. Its an idea that has worked time and again, most notably in Iraq, where Sunni insurgents turned on al Qeada.
Of course this begs the question, is Fatah any better than Hamas? Hamas is a religious organization offering a variety of social services tethered to a political program centered on the destruction ot Israel. Fatah is a more or less secular but corrupt thugocracy, it is at best and worst, like the entrenched government of Egypt's president for life, Hosni Mubarak. Mubarak stay afloat because of a few billion a year in American dollars. Perhaps Fatah can be kept up with a few hundred million Israeli shekels?
For more about Will, visit http://www.gulfwarone.com/. His novel, 'A Line Through the Desert' can be purchased here.

Missile Defense Reviews to Focus on Current, Long-Term Challenges

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

June 16, 2009 - North Korea and Iran pose serious nuclear and missile proliferation concerns for the United States and other nations and will be major considerations in the U.S ballistic missile defense review, Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III told the Senate Armed Services Committee today. "The risks and dangers from missile proliferation are growing problems," Lynn said. "The president has made clear that we will move forward with missile defenses. They're affordable, proven and responsive to the threat."

Lynn joined other defense leaders in describing the ballistic missile threat and reviews of missile defense policy and planning under way to address current as well as long-term security challenges.

The recently initiated Ballistic Missile Defense Review and other related reviews, he said, will focus on challenges posed by violent extremist movements, the spread of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems, rising powers with sophisticated weapons and failed or failing threats, Lynn told the panel.

Marine Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, noted that the global nature of the threats and the rapid pace of technological change imposes big challenges on any deterrent strategy.

"No longer will a monolithic, mutual-assured destruction approach deter our aggressors," Cartwright said. "Our deterrent strategy will need to handle the rapid advances in technologies across a broad range of threats and conditions."

Several broad principles will guide the efforts:

• Defending the United States from rogue states and protecting U.S. forces.

This includes more effective theater missile defenses and more capabilities to warfighters provided through shorter-range and mobile missile defense systems, Lynn explained. The fiscal 2010 budget request includes an additional $900 million to field more systems such as the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense, Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense ships and Standard Missile-3 interceptors to defend deployed forces and allies, he said.

• Preparing for emerging threats.

This effort calls for continued investment in national missile defense systems upgrades
and research and development to pursue new and more effective technologies to confront theater missile threats, Lynn said.

• Ensuring the effectiveness of U.S. missile defenses.

Lynn emphasized the need for robust testing, while terminating the troubled kinetic energy interceptor and multiple kill vehicle programs and returning the airborne laser to a technology demonstration program.

• Using missile defense as the basis for fostering international defense cooperation.

No final decisions have been made regarding missile defense in Europe, Lynn told the panel. However, the U.S. approach to missile defense there will be to seek cooperation with international partners, including Russia, to reduce the threat from Iran.

Lynn called ballistic missile defenses an important part of current and future national strategy that must be integrated into broader deterrence and alliance considerations.

"Missile defenses play a key role in both responding to current threats and hedging against future contingencies," he told the senators. "As we move forward with missile defense plans and programs, the Department of Defense will ensure they are affordable, effective and responsive to the risks and threats that confront the United States, our friends and our allies."

Army Lt. Gen. Patrick J. O'Reilly, director of the Missile Defense Agency, said the $7.8 billion requested for missile defense in the fiscal 2010 budget will support these endeavors.

This funding, he said, will focus on three areas of improvement: current protection against theater and rogue nation threats, the United States' hedge against future threats and improving the acquisition of U.S. missile defense capability.

"Missile defense is expensive, but the cost of mission failure can also be very high," O'Reilly said, emphasizing that the system must be both affordable and effective.

"The department is proposing a balanced program to develop, rigorously test and field an integrated [ballistic missile defense system] architecture to counter existing regional threats, maintain our limited [intercontinental ballistic missile] defense, develop new technologies to address future risks and become more operationally and cost-effective as we prepare to protect against the more uncertain threats of the future," he said.

North Korea Must Renounce Nuclear Weapons, Obama, Lee Say

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

June 16, 2009 - Given North Korea's bellicose threats, it is unacceptable for the nation to possess nuclear weapons, President Barack Obama said today at the White House. Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak held a news conference following their meeting to discuss the issue. Obama called North Korea a "profound threat" to stability in Northeast Asia and security around the world.

"We agreed that under no circumstance are we going to allow North Korea to possess nuclear weapons," President Lee said. "We also agreed to robustly implement U.N. Security Council Resolution 1874. Of course, all the parties will faithfully take part in implementing this resolution."

North Korea's record of proliferation makes them incredibly dangerous, Obama said. "They have not shown, in the past, any restraint in terms of exporting weapons to not only state actors but also non-state actors," he said.

North Korea has abandoned commitments and violated international law, Obama said. North Korea leaders have said that all international agreements – including the armistice that ended the Korean War in 1953 – are null and void.

Obama praised South Korea for its steadiness and resolve, and the two leaders reiterated their commitment to the "complete denuclearization" of the Korean Peninsula.

Lee and Obama discussed the way forward with regard to North Korea. The United States, South Korea, Japan, China and Russia are working to make it clear to North Korea "that it will not find security or respect through threats and illegal weapons," Obama said.

North Korea has received near-universal condemnation since conducting a nuclear test in April. The nation also has tested intercontinental and intermediate-range missile technology.

"On Friday, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution that called for strong steps to block North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs," Obama said. "Now we must pursue a sustained and robust effort to implement this resolution together with our international partners."

There is another path for North Korea that could lead to full integration with the community of nations, Obama said. "That destination can only be reached through peaceful negotiations that achieve the full and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."

Pentagon Spokesman Expresses Hope North Korea Won't Test UN Resolution

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

June 16, 2009 - The United States and its international partners have the assets and authorities needed to carry out a UN Security Council resolution aimed at stopping North Korea's proliferation activities, but the Pentagon press secretary expressed hope today North Korea won't put them to the test. "Hopefully it does not become necessary" to enforce provisions of UN Security Council 1874, Geoff Morrell told Pentagon reporters today. "Hopefully the north will be fully compliant with the Security Council resolution that bans their shipment of a number of goods, including arms."

The Security Council passed the resolution unanimously June 12, condemning North Korea's May 25 nuclear test and tightening sanctions aimed at blocking further nuclear, missile and proliferation activities. The resolution widened a ban on North Korea's arms imports and exports and called on the international community to inspect cargo to or from North Korea suspected of violating its provisions.

"So we continue, as we have for some time, to monitor the North Korean shipments," Morrell said today. "Should there be reasonable grounds to believe that one of those ships is carrying banned cargo, we have the authorities under the Security Council resolution to take action."

Such action, should it be warranted, would begin with a request to the North Korean government – not the suspect ship – for a compliant boarding to inspect the ship, he explained. In the event that request is denied, the U.N. Security Council would be informed. The next step would be a request to the North Korean government, asking that it direct the ship into a convenient port to be boarded and inspected.

The resolution, particularly the fact that it passed unanimously, demonstrates the broad international commitment to working together to stop North Korea from proliferating weapons of mass destruction, he said.

"So this is not just about what we can or have been able to do or will be able to do," Morrell said. "This is about a commitment, on the part of all of our allies, to deal with this problem collectively."

By working together to prevent the North Koreans from proliferating weapons of mass destruction and other arms, the international community will eliminate a revenue source that sustains the North Korean regime and its ability to pursue its nuclear and ballistic program.

"This has been a main source of revenue for the North for quite some time, and we want to put a stop to it," Morrell said.

Meanwhile, the resolution will help "prevent that kind of technology from being spread to other countries and other non-state actors where it could pose a threat to us and our allies," he said.


The Air Force is awarding an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract to ITT Corp., Advanced Engineering & Sciences Division, of Herndon, Va., for $49,900,000. This contract action will provide the design, development, integration, and sustainment of new features and capabilities into the Information Support Server Environment Guard software system. It will also include the maintenance of fielded ISSE guard systems and installations of new ISSE guard software version for government agencies. At this time, $439,000 has been obligated. Air Force Research Laboratory, Rome, N.Y., is the contracting activity (FA8750-09-D-0002).

The Air Force is awarding a cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to Concurrent Technologies Corp, of Johnstown, Pa., for $49,000,000. This contract action will provide a research and development program entitled "Environmental and Energy Quality Technologies," and will transition emerging materials, processes and new technologies to reduce and eliminate toxic and hazardous chemicals, materials, and waste streams, while improving energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions for the Air Force. At this time, $5,198,388 has been obligated. Detachment 1, Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8650-09-D-5601).

The Air Force is awarding a cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc., of Herndon, Va., for $17,979,681. This contract is for homeland defense and civil support communications to enhance the Navy's ability to safely and effectively conduct maritime homeland security/defense operations and enhance the survivability of the fleet. At this time, $277,295 has been obligated. 55 CONS, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity (SP0700-03-D-1380, Delivery Order 03067).

The Air Force is awarding a cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc., of Herndon, Va., for $9,659,296. This action will provide homeland defense and civil support communication. At this time $227,600 has been obligated. 55 CONS, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity (SP0700-03-D-1380, Delivery Order 0306).

Force Protection Industries, Inc., Ladson, S.C., is being awarded a $21,440,496 firm-fixed-price delivery order #0012 modification under previously awarded contract (M67854-07-D-5031) for the purchase of field service representative support for the installation of the independent suspension kits on the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) Cougar vehicles. Work will be performed at the MRAP Sustainment Facility in Kuwait. Work is expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2009. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity.

JLG Industries, Inc., McConnellsburg, Pa., is being awarded a maximum $6,536,779 firm fixed-price, sole source contract for diesel engine. Other location of performance is in Pennsylvania. Using service is Army. The original proposal was Web solicited with one response. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is January 18, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency, Warren, (DSCC-ZG) Warren, Mich. (SPRDL1-09-C-0064).

EA Industries, Inc., San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico *, is being awarded a maximum $13,464,383 firm fixed-price, indefinite quantity contract for Marine Corps combat utility uniform. There are no other locations of performance. Using service is Marine Corps. The original proposal was Web solicited with 10 responses. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The date of performance completion is Jun. 16, 2010. The contracting activity is the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa., (SP0100-06-D-0361).

New Public Affairs Chief Sets Out to Transform Communications Processes

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

June 15, 2009 - When Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates tapped Price Floyd to run the Defense Department's public affairs operation, he gave him two basic marching orders: improve the way the department communicates ¬-- especially to young people -- and solicit feedback in the process. So one week into the job as principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for public affairs, Floyd is taking a fresh look at traditional public affairs and strategic communications practices with an eye toward making them more responsive, more relevant, more inclusive and more transparent.

Gone will be the days, he said, when the department released information and conveyed messages hoping they'd reach receptive ears and eyes and convince skeptical audiences at home and abroad. The new goal will be better-targeted communications that reach groups not necessarily linked into traditional media outlets, and mechanisms that not only accept, but also solicit, feedback.

Floyd said it's evident in his discussions with Gates that he's "focused like a laser beam" on communicating better with the department's audiences.

"And he wants to hear feedback," Floyd said. "He wants to know what people think about our policies and initiatives."

Gates has made no secret of his dissatisfaction with the way the U.S. government, including the Defense Department, communicates with its own members, the American public and the world.

"Public relations was invented in the United States, yet we are miserable at communicating to the rest of the world what we are about as a society and a culture, about freedom and democracy, about our policies and our goals," he said during a November 2007 Landon Lecture speech at Kansas State University. "It is just plain embarrassing that al-Qaida is better at communicating its message on the Internet than America."

Gates repeats that mantra regularly, citing the strategic consequences of a public affairs organization he calls too slow and inflexible in light of the realities of the 21st century. That's particularly troublesome, he said, in light of a ruthless and versatile enemy that's proven capable of reaching its own target audiences through a variety of means – both ancient and modern.

"Are we organized properly ... when we're being out-communicated by a guy in a cave?" Gates lamented during a May 2008 address at the American Academy of Diplomacy.

So while Floyd is still navigating his way through the Pentagon, still meeting his staff and has yet to organize the stacks of paperwork already covering his desk, he's wasting no time getting to the task of moving the Defense Department's communications efforts to the fast track.

The goal, he said, is to take advantage of 21st-century technology and approaches and to institutionalize them so they have a lasting impact on how the department conducts public affairs.

After 17 years at the State Department, most recently as director of media affairs, and two years as external relations director for the Center for New American Security, the 44-year-old Floyd has witnessed vast changes in the way information is distributed and shared.

He's watched technology blur the lines between audiences, so a message that goes to one group is likely to reach many other groups. "You have to be aware of, no matter who you are speaking to, all the possible audiences that may hear it and then interpret it in a different way," Floyd said.

Meanwhile, the "social media" -- blogs, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Flickr and Twitter, among them -- have revolutionized information-sharing. These forums have become the information tool of choice among the "millennial generation" -- the 18-to-25-year-olds Gates referred to, many of whom don't read newspapers, tune in to network news or visit official Web sites.

This is a group Gates is particularly interested in reaching, not only in the United States, but also abroad. He emphasized this point in April when asked during a question-and-answer session at the Marine Corps War College in Quantico, Va., what he was looking for in his top public affairs post.

"I want somebody who can tell us how the Department of Defense communicates with our own people, most of whom are 18 to 25 years old," Gates said. "And somebody who can communicate with people that same age around the world, where we've got operations going on."

Floyd understands the importance of this demographic. "They are the future of recruitment, they are our future educators, they are the future people we will need to support our policies," he said. "The bottom line is, they are our future."

Floyd said he plans to expand efforts already under way at the Defense Department to tap into social media outlets to reach audiences not reachable through other, more traditional, means.

"How they communicate, and what they communicate is completely different than what we were doing just a couple of years ago," he said. "It makes no sense for us not to be a part of that. We don't play in that arena to our own detriment."

But a secondary benefit of the social media – one Floyd said he plans to extend to other public affairs endeavors – is that it promotes the kind of discourse Gates wants to develop.

For a long time, the new technologies represented little more than "a better bullhorn" to broadcast the Defense Department's messages to more people, Floyd said. "But now, that's changed," he said. "It's not just better one-way communication; it's better two-way communication. It's not just us reaching people; it is them reaching us, too."

This discussion can have tremendous payoff, he said. It gives people a way to actively participate in policymaking, offering suggestions and constructive viewpoints.

But Floyd said it also makes the important point – subtle as it might appear at face value -- that the Defense Department wants to hear from the public. "What we need to do is make sure our policies are explained and understood by the widest possible audience, and that we allow that audience to respond," he said.

"They are not simply being told that this is the new policy, and they have got to live with it," he said. "Even in cases where they may disagree with the policy, because it was developed with transparency and in a way that allowed their voices to be heard, they have a sense of ownership in it. They know that their views were heard."

This approach does a lot more than simply make people feel good, Floyd said. It promotes a level of understanding that's critical to building support: understanding among the American people, understanding in the world community and understanding among local people where U.S. troops are operating.

That, Floyd said, has a direct impact on the safety of those troops and the effectiveness of their operations.

If the people of Iraq and Afghanistan understand "what we are doing, why we are there, what we are doing to help support their government and therefore, what their government is doing to help them, it makes the job of our troops on the ground a lot easier," he said.

Commanders on the ground realize that this understanding can mean "life or death for their troops," Floyd said.

"So getting it right means saving their own lives, and the lives of the people in the countries where they are operating," he said. "That makes it imperative that we get it right."

Privatization of U.S. Army Lodging to Raise Quality of Life for Soldiers on the Move

The U.S. Army today announced that it will transfer the first 10 installations under the Army's Privatization of Army Lodging (PAL) program on August 15, 2009. The transfer is a reinforcement of the U.S. Army's commitment to improving its transient lodging to enhance the quality of life of soldiers and their families.

Actus Lend Lease will perform the redevelopment of the lodging facilities and lodging operations will be assumed by the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG).

"PAL brings world class lodging practices and private sector investment to support Quality of Life requirements of our Soldiers, Families and civilians as they serve," said Lt. Gen. Robert Wilson, assistant chief of staff for installation management.

Most of the Army Lodging employees affected by the transfer will receive offers of employment from IHG. Retained employees will have their Army Lodging employment honored as IHG service time. Seven of the ten affected Army lodging general managers have accepted IHG positions.

The 10 Group A installations are: Fort Rucker, Ala.; Fort Leavenworth, Kan.; Fort Riley, Kan.; Fort Polk, La.; Fort Sill, Okla.; Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Sam Houston, Texas; Yuma Proving Ground, Ariz.; Fort Myer, Va.; Fort Shafter / Tripler Army Medical Center, Hawaii.

Upon transfer of the lodging rooms, the project will begin correcting commercial code noncompliance issues and overhauling the mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems of the existing inventory. These renovations and the conversion of five hotels to Holiday Inn Express hotels will be complete within the first two years.

The end-state portfolio of hotels will be a mix of well recognized and well respected IHG brands such as: Candlewood Suites, Staybridge Suites, and Holiday Inn Express, and renovated historic facilities. Enhanced guest services including complimentary breakfasts, pet-friendly rooms, and the IHG Priority Club frequent-stay program will start upon transfer.

Through the PAL program, the Army has engaged the private sector to manage, build, renovate, maintain and operate transient lodging on Army installations. The program is modeled after the Army's successful privatized family housing program, the Residential Communities Initiative (RCI).

For more information please contact Dave Foster, 703-697-5344; dave.foster1@us.army.mil.

Cybersecurity Poses 'Unprecedented Challenge' to National Security, Lynn Says

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

June 15, 2009 - Threats to U.S.-based computer networks -- posed by the intelligence branches of foreign countries and teenage hackers alike -- represent an unprecedented national security challenge, the Pentagon's No. 2 official said today. Making cyber warfare unique is the breadth of potential sources, plus the speed and scope of such attacks, Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III said.

"Once the province of nations, the ability to destroy via cyber means now also rests in the hands of small groups and individuals: from terrorist groups to organized crime, hackers to industrial spies to foreign intelligence services," he told the Center for Strategic and International Studies here.

Lynn said the common thread among three marquee reviews of U.S. cybersecurity is the need for greater public awareness of both the threat to the country and how it's prepared to defend against digital attacks. He cautioned that cyber warfare is not an emerging or distant risk.

"This is not some future threat. The cyber threat is here today; it is here now," said Lynn, whose remarks today come several weeks after President Barack Obama announced plans to appoint a cyber security coordinator to oversee the government's effort.

The 21st century U.S. military, like American society at large, is dependent on modern technology that is subject to vulnerabilities, Lynn said.

"Just like our national dependence, there is simply no exaggerating our military dependence on our information networks: the command and control of our forces, the intelligence and logistics on which they depend, the weapons technologies we develop and field – they all depend on our computer systems and networks," he said. "Indeed, our 21st century military simply cannot function without them."

Lynn said the government's roughly 15,000 networks – connecting 7 million computers, information technology devices and servers – all make for tempting targets.

Underscoring the clear and present danger cyberwarfare engenders, Lynn said there's evidence that more than 100 foreign intelligence organizations are trying to hack into U.S. networks. Lynn also cited a top intelligence official who said both Russia and China are capable of using electronic means to disrupt elements of the nation's infrastructure.

Speaking about the scope and speed of cyber warfare, Lynn pointed to the example of Estonia, which was victimized by an attack allegedly carried out by Russian operatives. A series of data-flooding attacks lasting about three weeks in early 2007 brought down the Web sites of several daily newspapers and forced Estonia's largest bank to shut down its online banking network.

Some cyber tactics can be carried out in less than one second, which increases the need for government preparedness.

"If attacked in milliseconds, we can't take days to organize and coordinate our defenses," he said. "If our networks were to be disrupted or damaged, we'd need to respond rapidly at network speed before the networks could become compromised and ongoing operations and the lives of our military are threatened.

"In short," he continued, "we have to be just as fast, if not faster, than those who would do us harm."

The Defense Department is considering a sub-unified command for cyberspace, Lynn said, though a decision hasn't yet been reached on what shape the command might take.