December 5, 2006
Outside access to Pentagon email accounts may be shut down
MAJOR CLARIFICATION: It appears that only remote access to email has been suspended. Perhaps the hackers gained access via remote web access, something like Microsoft Webmail. Original post follows:
A tipster notes that Pentagon email has been restricted to sending and receiving to other Pentagon accounts. No messages from other domains may enter the system. This measure has been instituted because a foreign government hacked the Pentagon's computer systems.
I'm not sure if this includes all dot.mil accounts or only certain domains.
Looking for confirmation elsewhere . . .
UPDATE: Looks like the hackers were Chinese. Strategypage reported this several days ago:
December 4, 2006: For the third time in five months, Chinese based hackers attacked a Department of Defense computer network. In mid-November, the U.S. Navy's War College had to shut down it's computer network because, as one instructor explained to his class, Chinese hackers had gotten in, and the Naval War College servers had to be scrutinized to see what was taken, changed or left behind. The is the latest of several attacks on Department of Defense computers, that could be traced back to China.Perhaps the damage is wider than they thought. The information I received was very specific that email accounts in the Pentagon itself will not be receiving messages from outside domains for the time being.
Portions of The Adventures of Chester Open Source Analysis Policy may apply to this post. If you need to contact me, my email address is in the sidebar.
UPDATE: Here's more info on the original attack.
June 29, 2006
The Geneva Convention for a Non-State Entity
Today's Supreme Court ruling seems to me a remarkable point in the development of a kind of quasi-sovereignty for non-state organizations.
Were there to develop an Anti-Qaeda force, a private military to pursue Al Qaeda and win the war on its own terms, then their members would also have the Geneva Conventions apply to them, were they ever to be apprehended or detained by the US, yes? In other words, if the Geneva Convention now applies to a non-state that is a non-signatory in the eyes of the US, does it not then apply to ALL non-states that are non-signatories?
This is quite a large new degree of sovereignty that has been granted to non-state organizations. How will the concept of citizenship evolve with decisions like these?
If protections that normally accrue to states after debate and ratification can now be given over to non-states which have no mechanism for ratification, let alone debate, one can easily imagine a scenario in which non-state organizations form themselves and immediately possess the rights of a state, with no corresponding need to adhere to any laws in their own activities.
If this is the case, then we have the answer to the war: it will be privatized, and its ultimate victories won by uninhibited private military actors, not the hamstrung citizen militaries of nation-states.
Any legal minds out there are welcome to comment.
May 8, 2006
General Hayden, Director, Human Intelligence Agency
Two things can be expected from Bush's nomination of General Hayden to be the Director of National Intelligence:
a) During the confirmation hearings, Hayden's role in the NSA wiretapping will be discussed ad infinitum, with lots of posturing by Democrats. Sadly, this will not work in their favor. In the end, they'll either vote for Hayden, angering their own base, or vote against Hayden, showing the country yet again that, "if Al Qaeda makes a phone call to someone in the US" the Democrats don't want to know what is discussed.
b) All of this activity around the NSA wiretapping story will probably cause the larger issue to fade from the spotlight: the CIA is being retooled into an HIA, or Human Intelligence Agency. This is not yet a fait accompli, but it seems that much of the analytical capability of the agency is being transferred over to the Director of National Intelligence, or at least being reproduced there. Whether this is a good thing or not is hard to determine. But it seems to be happening. Perhaps the Bush Administration has decided that rebuilding analysis capabilities in whole or in part is the best way to circumvent the leak-prone CIA: after all, if the place is turned into solely a resource for human intelligence and covert action, its employees will be firmly ensconced around the world, yes? instead of installed in the Beltway's subculture, with Washington Post reporters on speed dial . . .
March 24, 2006
Why didn't Turkey let us open a northern front in 2003?
That's the question Wretchard poses in Belmont Club today. Here is my response:
As to your question, how this debacle occurred . . . My guess, and that is all it is, is that the issue of staging/basing rights in Turkey for the 4th ID is one of those things that falls in between departmental seams in the makeup of our foreign policy apparatus.
Was it a State function or a Defense function to convice the Turks to let us have our way? If memory serves, both Powell and Wolfowitz made trips to Turkey in the Jan/Feb/Mar timeframe. Who was ultimately responsible? Was everyone on the same page, making the same kinds of overtures to the Turks? or was it a case of an issue -- everyone who's worked in a large organization has observed this phenomenon -- where both were in charge and therefore neither took the initiative, knowing that they had the other to blame if it went south . . .
I think this is an enduring seam in the execution of our policies: the separate chains of command and institutions between the warmakers and the dealmakers quashes the ability to align the execution of policy except at the highest level -- the President. This seam definitely persisted for the entire lifespan of the CPA as well after the fall of Baghdad . . .
I agree, W, that only in retrospect can we say that 4th ID may have made a difference in the Sunni triangle, but I'm not so sure it would have. When we did the big op-pause about 7 days into the invasion, in order to "clean up the Fedayeen in our rear" (as ordered by LtGen McKiernan of CFLCC), the 1st MarDiv's intelligence section's opinion was that such resistance would collapse upon our seizure of Baghdad, and therefore the best way to clean it up was to press on. But somebody higher up wanted to stop, so we did.
This flies in the face of the assertions in Cobra II that Saddam's regime had two centers of gravity: the regime apparatus in Baghdad, AND the spirited insurgency fighters with a spiritual heart in the Sunni triangle (or some such).
I don't think that's an accurate observation. I think it was true that Baghdad was the center of gravity, and therefore the key node of the entire regime's system of power.
I think the real problem was that we dithered too long after Baghdad fell. That dithering was the result of the same seams between diplomats and generals mentioned above wrt to Turkey. Warfare is about creating opportunities and then exploiting them. For the creating part, I give us an A+. For exploitation, a B-.
One wonders if this performance might not be inherent to democracies. We worry so much about whether to go to war, and why, and why shouldn't we, and how else could we, and is there a precedent like this, and what will the French think, and how will people feel, that in the end, this makes the initial action the source of our mental focus, and not the second and third-order effects which is where exploitation -- and victory -- lies.
May 9, 2005
Our Interagency Seams
An interesting exchange took place today on Meet the Press, though it might not have seemed so unique at first. Tim Russert's first guest was Gary Schroen, a career CIA officer, who has just penned the book, "First In" about his participation in clandestine and US military efforts in Afghanistan. The exchange on its face appears to be Russert asking questions of Schroen about bin Laden's escape from Tora Bora:
MR. RUSSERT: In December of 2001, the battle of Tora Bora. This is what you write.While the press, and last fall John Kerry, focused on the number of US forces in Afghanistan, and the idea that their lack contributed to bin Laden's escape, Schroen here opens another possibility, just as plausible: that as a "special operations war," the US had little experience to rely upon for conducting such complex interagency operations. In other words, the "joint" nature of the Afghanistan campaign cannot be overlooked in any estimation of either its failures or its successes. The war that Schroen describes was a very complex one, and the integrated cooperation of a number of US agencies was necessary for every one of its successes: local actors were of dubious credibility and difficult to pin down as to their loyalties -- something for the CIA to decipher; the area of operations spanned over two separate countries, both Pakistan and Afghanistan -- a delicate diplomatic matter for handling by the State Department; local militias had to be funded by US cash dispensed by the CIA, and advised by Green Berets of the DoD. Moreover, as Schroen mentions, when and how to incorporate regular US forces into the mix was not fully figured out on the first go-round, and "It was only late in the campaign that U.S. ground forces came in, and the evolution, I think, simply we didn't take it far enough. If we'd have had one more battle after Tora Bora, we probably would have gotten it right.""In early 2002, in the immediate aftermath of the battle of Tora Bora and the subsequent escape of Osama bin Laden and his chief lieutenant, Ayman al-Zawahari, CIA and specially trained U.S. military Special Operations units began to organize teams in the provincial areas east and south of Kabul, along Afghanistan's border with Pakistan."You have no doubt that bin Laden escaped at Tora Bora?
MR. SCHROEN: No doubt at all. When the first film--videotape that was made--that he made afterwards shows him that he was holding his left side and was probably wounded there in the battle, but every bit of information we had at the time indicated that he had escaped and moved into the Waziristan area which is south of Peshawar.
MR. RUSSERT: How did he get away?
MR. SCHROEN: We had done--followed the same lead we had taken since September of '01 in defeating the Taliban. We were attacking with U.S. military forces against the al-Qaeda and Taliban militants, and we hired local tribal leaders to guard the escape routes into Pakistan. Unfortunately, many of those people proved to be loyal to bin Laden and sympathizers with the Taliban and they allowed the key guys to escape.
MR. RUSSERT: In the heat of the presidential campaign in 2004, John Kerry as part of his stump speech in effect would say things like this. Let's watch.(Videotape, October 30, 2004): SEN. JOHN KERRY, (D-MA): As I have said for two years now, when Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda were cornered in the mountains of Tora Bora, it was wrong to outsource the job of capturing them to Afghan warlords who a week earlier were fighting against us.(End videotape)MR. RUSSERT: Should we have had more U.S. troops in Afghanistan circling Tora Bora to prevent his escape?
MR. SCHROEN: In hindsight that would have been ideal. We fought a special operations war. It was CIA and Army Green Berets on the ground directing the bombing campaign. It was only late in the campaign that U.S. ground forces came in, and the evolution, I think, simply we didn't take it far enough. If we'd have had one more battle after Tora Bora, we probably would have gotten it right.
The joint nature of the military realm of the campaign has been lauded: many pundits were full of awe at the Green Beret on horseback, calling in a B-52 strike and this is a joint military task at its most basic essence as it involves Green Berets from the Army and aircraft from the Air Force, and a command and control system manned most likely by members from all services.
The interagency nature of the Afghanistan campaign in its initial phases however has gone largely unremarked. Yet here lies the most fascinating part of the campaign's design and execution: the cooperation between different agencies and bureaucracies necessary for it to be successful. And as Schroen suggests, it is this aspect of the campaign that dictated either its success or failure.
If my interpretation is correct, the battle of Tora Bora reflects another example where the national security of the United States has been at the mercy of interagency relationships and the concept of "jointness." The other recent examples are far more well-known:
-the "wall" that existed between the CIA and FBI, and which the 9/11 Commission has attempted to break down with, among other things, the creation of the Director of National Intelligence position.
-the failure of our domestic security agencies to prevent 9/11 and the subsequent creation of the Department of Homeland Security, which integrated so many different agencies under one office.
-the failure to quickly begin a comprehensive reconstruction of Iraq; this complex task required the expertise of individuals in both the State and Defense departments, and the terrorist insurgency had gained steam by the time Bremer was brought in to re-establish US momentum.
And with the exception of the conventional invasion of Iraq and its success, which was very much a joint operation, though not so much an interagency operation, most of our most prized successes in the war have had fundamental bases in interagency jointness:
-the capture of so many Al Qaeda operatives and commanders: this requires an always-changing mix of FBI, CIA, US military, and host-nation cooperation.
-the development of Joint Terrorism Task Forces in US cities, which require the participation of the FBI and local law enforcement agencies.
-the toppling of the Taliban government in Afghanistan, which used the same mix of forces and agencies as Schroen mentions were present in Tora Bora.
-the creation of the Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa, perhaps the most robust joint organization currently operating.
-the The Proliferation Security Initiative, requiring a complex interaction between intelligence agencies, diplomats, and the military (just look at the pictures on that page).
Our security tasks in the future are likely to look as much like that Schroen describes at Tora Bora as they are the invasion of Iraq in 2003. We would be wise to exert a considerable amount of thought imagining creative ways for the many instruments of our national security symphony to play well together.
February 8, 2005
A Comprehensive Look at Interagency Jointness
Solving the Interagency Puzzle is a new article in Policy Review. The author is "Sunil B. Desai, a major in the United States Marine Corps, . . .currently assigned to U.S. Strategic Command. He wrote this article while serving as an international affairs fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in 2003-04."
Major Desai gives the entire question of interagency jointness excellent treatment. He defines the problem:
or any nation, coordinating the diverse elements of national power diplomatic, economic, intelligence, military, and law enforcement to name a few is inherently difficult. The stakes of poor coordination among the various agencies that wield the instruments of national power, however, are exceptionally high a reality that struck home for all Americans and most of the world on September 11, 2001. Although the United States governments interagency community including departments, independent agencies, and many other organizations is one in which the power of a unified whole would be greater than the sum of its parts working separately, unifying the whole has been elusive . . . the essence of the problem is that the entire interagency community is dominated by individual agency cultures rather than a common interagency culture.He defines four main factors which impede the evolution of interagency coordination:
First, the interagency community lacks a formal overarching concept of operations or doctrine for coordination for either routine or crisis response situations. Second, the interagency community lacks an independent authority responsible for the development and training of personnel in such a doctrine. Third, individual agencies use different regional structures to organize their policies and operations both abroad and domestically. Fourth, personnel policies within most, if not all, agencies develop personnel who are primarily dedicated to their own agency rather than the interagency community.Major Desai discusses the object of an interagency joint doctrine:
the interagency community lacks a doctrine parallel to the militarys joint doctrine. As a result, the structure and procedures used for interagency coordination have changed with each presidential administration, thereby exacerbating the problem . . . A new president can, as seems fitting, alter grand strategy the national strategic objectives the interagency community strives to achieve. To the greatest extent possible, however, the detailed mechanics used by the interagency community to achieve that grand strategy should not be altered.He critiques the existing guidance and regulations for interagency joint operations:
the pol-mil construct is fundamentally flawed and cannot be part of a viable interagency doctrine. First, although it intends to encompass all elements of national power, the plan format emphasizes diplomatic and military considerations thereby marginaling the other elements of national power, such as economic, intelligence, and law enforcement. Second, it promotes division by implicitly recognizing two distinct communities, military and nonmilitary, rather than one interagency community. Third, it fails to incorporate the importance of vertical coordination (among federal, state, and local governments) as well as the complete breadth of horizontal coordination (among the different entities of government, the private sector, and the international community). Fourth, it perpetuates the dominance of individual agency cultures in the interagency community by building each interagency task force around a lead agency. For example, Joint-Interagency Task Forces, used in multiagency counter-drug operations, report to the regional military commander. Likewise, even though many agencies contribute to them, the fbis Joint Terrorism Task Forces are fbi-centric.He offers an alternative:
Instead of using the pol-mil construct to build interagency task forces, a broader integrated approach would be more conducive to coordination and cooperation. The leader of each major integrated task force would be designated by, represent, and report to the president. Unlike joint doctrine, which allows senior officers from each service to be eligible to lead joint military commands, the increased complexity and sensitivities of the interagency community demand that leaders of interagency task forces not be from a specific agency. Rather, leaders of integrated task forces should be accomplished leaders without strong ties to any agency but with some experience in the dynamics of the interaction among those agencies. Ideally, former elected officials such as governors, congressmen, and mayors would fill these leadership positions.Major Desai then calls for a combined national command authority:
In fact, eventually it may be prudent to consolidate the hsc staff as well as the other interagency councils within the nsc staff structure. Moreover, the potential for two different processes â€” one used by the nsc staff and the other by the hscÂ staff â€” to create more rather than less confusion requires urgent attention.The good Major rightly focuses on the geographic implications of interagency jointness:
Although the geographic regions around which the nsc organizes its regional policy coordination committees are identical to those around which the State Department organizes its regional bureaus, the unity of regional structures used by the interagency community ends there. Most significantly, the geographic regions used by the nsc and the State Department bear little resemblance to those used by the dod or the Central Intelligence Agency (cia). In fact, the nsc-State Department regional structure for the world has six regions, whereas the dod has five and the cia has three. This disparity prevents a regional unity of effort â€” let alone clear lines of responsibility and authority â€” from being achieved and thus impedes efficient and effective planning and conduct of policy and operations.He notes the necessary personnel changes needed for this improved coordination to become a reality:
Interagency personnel assignments also would enhance a common culture within the interagency community. Although some agencies already have interagency exchange assignments, these assignments are mostly at the headquarters level. Assignments among all agencies to regional and local offices (and operational military units), however, are necessary to develop an interagency mindset early in the careers of personnel and to ensure integration at all levels. Many positions at all levels in every agency could be effectively filled by personnel from other agencies. For example, Department of Justice personnel could serve in legal sections, Department of Homeland Security personnel could serve in security and force protection units, and cia personnel could hold billets in intelligence sections. Personnel from the various law enforcement agencies could be assigned to military police units or security sections of other federal agencies, and vice versa.He then notes that striving for interagency coordination cannot just be an extension of the military goal of jointness as it is today:
Simply expanding joint doctrine to include interagency coordination, however, will only preserve its military focus and discourage the full involvement of nonmilitary agencies. Moreover, using joint military terminology and concepts (and watering down their military meaning) for use in the interagency context creates more confusion rather than less. To solve this puzzle the interagency community must have its own overarching doctrine and a single strong interagency culture.Finally, Major Desai states how his changes might come about:
Although new legislation will be necessary to achieve an enduring interagency culture, progress can be made without it. By executive order, the president can establish the basic doctrine, create â€” within his Executive Office â€” an office with the authority to develop it, and direct all executive branch agencies to submit proposals for aligning their regional structures and implementing personnel exchange programs such as those described here.In the end, this article is outstanding. Major Desai very cleanly defines the problem, offers well-reasoned solutions examined from several angles, keeps his eye on the interagency ball at all times, not favoring the military, and offers cogent recommendations.
There are but two points with which to take issue. First, more consideration should be given to discussing the implications of expanded military and civilian interaction. There are fundamental issues of civilian control of the military, and military control of civilians that must be resovled. Would military personnel ever be put under the charge of a civilian leader on the ground from another agency -- specifically at the larger, operational level (of course, no pure FBI agent will ever lead an infantry battalion -- but think of the relationship between General Abizaid and Paul Bremer, and the resulting disconnects between the military side of the house and the civilian side. If command is to be unified, and then decentralized, there will be a point of civilian-military intersection much further down the chain than than is normally the case. He touches on this aspect briefly here:
Exacerbating this disunity is the different degree of authority placed on the regional leaders of the different agencies . . . Moreover, from a basic leadership or management standpoint, it is simply impossible for one person (the president or the secretary of state) to directly lead or even manage some 200 people (all the ambassadors). Thus, serious consideration should be given to appointing regional ambassadors. Such regional ambassadors, of necessity, would be senior to the individual ambassadors to nations in their regions and would provide the appropriate link to the president, the secretary of state, the State Departmentâ€™s regional bureaus, and the regional leaders of all other agencies.At some point, decisions will have to be as to which generals work for which diplomats, and vice versa. Again, this is a whole new realm in civilian-military relations -- Could looking to the British from the 19th century provide one model?
The second difficulty is a question of the conception of "doctrine." As Major Desai defines it, doctrine consists of standardized procedures for coordinating different actions, and can be instated by the President via Executive Order. This definition considers doctrineto be a series of processes which are mandated and are there to smooth out planning cycles and speed up decisionmaking.
Forming integrated headquarters and task forces and conducting integrated operations, however, cannot be done without a doctrine. Properly developed, an integrated doctrine would provide the framework necessary to help ensure that all national policies, plans, and operations are integrated and none is centered on any one agency. Ultimately, such an integrated doctrine would cultivate a strong interagency culture in which individual agency goals would be subordinate to national interagency goals.
But this is only one way of viewing doctrine. The other is to grasp doctrine as a philosophy of war. In other words, to conceive of a fundamental understanding of the basic causes, nature, and theory of warfare, and then to work backward from there toward understanding how to win in its conduct. I say philosophy of war not merely to describe combat, but in the sense that Plato used it, "always existing by nature between every Greek city-state." In other words, a philosophy of foreign affairs, or of foreign policy (though it is less and less foreign, as Major Desai's comments on the Homeland Security Dept show.) This definition of doctrine most definitely cannot be solved by Executive Order, and more than likely cannot be solved by legislative mandate either.
To use the military as an example, the current doctrine, while not explicitly described as thus, is an adoption of maneuver warfare, which seeks to attack weakness and avoid strength, and to attack specific nodes in a network to achieve its collapse rather than to attrit it as a whole (though exceptions are made in many cases). These ideas spring from a philosophy of war that began in the 1980s in the theories of Colonel John Boyd. Boyd's theories were adopted by a sort of underground cult of junior officers, and eventually influenced every service -- albeit over many years of heated debate. It must be noted that Boyd's ideas did not come to be very influential until several years after the Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986, which institutionalized the concepts of jointness. Boyd's ideas answered the philosophical challenge of that integration. (Ultimately, the very worry about interagency jointness is an outgrowth of the concept of combined arms, which seeks to use all elements of firepower in a coordinated method to achieve a tactical or operational result. Interagency jointness seeks to use all elements of national power to achieve victory on a much larger stage.)
To apply the concerns of a philosophy of war to an interagency jointness perspective, the final result of a more joint national security apparatus will be a de facto agreement as to the proper conduct of war in its broadest definition. There will still be arguments and wargaming of particular strategies and policies, but the fundamental questions of defining war -- meaning war in its broadest sense, to include foreign policy as a whole -- will be reached through a long series of internal debates, trial and error, and psychologizing about the motives of other friendly and hostile actors. The debates will shift to that of questioning whether a given policy or strategy is within the overall philosophy, rather than debating the philosophy itself. There is a great gain to be had in the ease of policy execution which will result, and within it a great danger that other, competing philosophies of war will over time find ways to avoid, bypass, or collapse our own.
Update: Col Boyd's first name is "John" not "William." I have corrected the above text. Please forgive me, Boyd apostles.