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Incentivizing Responsible Cybersecurity in the Private Sector

Computer code on black background

By Joshua McGee, Center for Technology and National Security Policy

“Businesses care more about protecting their public image during an intrusive cyber incident than avoiding the loss of the intellectual property itself.”  This was the comment by a panelist at a July 18th Bipartisan Policy Center event.  His experiences with companies in Silicon Valley was that they seemed more concerned with headline-grabbing cyber incidents by hacktivists than with the discreet loss of intellectual property[1] that is said to cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars every year.[2]

Why might a private company have these priorities?  One would imagine that the loss of intellectual property is something that a company would take seriously, just as seriously as protecting their public image.  Recent publicized cyber intrusions show that many companies have lax security protecting vital intellectual property and consumer data.[3]  It seems as if current free market forces are not directing companies to implement up-to-date cybersecurity strategies.  Instead, these forces may be simply directing companies to create public relations contingency plans to reassure the public and shareholders after-the-fact?  Ultimately, intellectual property is important to national security, and the resiliency of the United State’s high-tech, information and services-based economy.  The following is a thought experiment in order to discuss and explore a few of the conundrums and issues that surround the loss of intellectual property in the private sector via cyber intrusions, the incentives for companies to prevent and react to these cyber intrusions, and how the government may play a role in preventing the loss of vital intellectual information held by the private sector.

For the most part, detected private sector[4] cyber intrusions can be placed in two categories:  cyber intrusions that are publicly known, and those that are not. [5]  In each of these situations, there are different company assets at stake:

  • Publicly Known Breach – Loss of intellectual property (content) and bad PR (thus tarnishing the corporate brand and consumer confidence).
  • Undisclosed Breach – Loss of intellectual property (content)

In both situations, content is being stolen, but the difference is that the corporate brand of the company is severely jeopardized with a “headline-grabbing event.”  Recent studies show that corporate executives are extremely protective of their corporate brands, and that many times, a corporate brand may be more important than the intellectual property that they produce. [6]  For this reason, there is a lot at stake when a company is a victim of a cyber intrusion conducted by groups like Anonymous or LulzSec, who purposely publicize such intrusions.[7]  This fear of a tarnished brand thus could lead companies to prioritize public relations campaigns and not necessarily focus on the cause of these intrusions (both public and undisclosed):  poor security.  It is also difficult for companies to quantify losses associated with the disclosure of intellectual property and consumer data.  This further complicates a company’s cost benefit analysis on whether it should invest in increased security or public damage control.

While a tarnished brand could greatly affect the company’s profits, the stealing of intellectual property and consumer data is not only a concern for the company, but also for national security, particularly when it involves government contractors.  Such loss of intellectual property also affects the overall resiliency of the U.S. economy (which is  largely based on innovation in high-technology, information and services).  As discussed above, it seems as if companies may not be properly incentivized to protect themselves from cyber intrusions, but are more prone to address the public relations fallout that arise from a small number of intrusions that become publically known.

Should the government create the incentives for companies to make it their first priority to secure networks rather than engage in public relations campaigns?  There is much at stake for the (security and economic) well-being of the U.S.  Such legislation may include cybersecurity requirements for industries critical to national security or create a safe space for the private sector and government to collaborate on information sharing and best practices for cybersecurity.  Many companies are also hesitant to fully disclose their cybersecurity intrusions because they are unsure whether or not they will be held legally and financially liable for lost information.  Regardless, it is important to understand this problem as an issue of incentives that current government legislation and the free market provide to private companies.  Through such a lens, stakeholders can better discuss the issues at hand.

[1] Bipartisan Policy Center, “Improving Cybersecurity Information Sharing,” Washington DC, July 18, 2012.

[4] For the purposes of this article, “private sector” excludes owners of critical infrastructure, whose situation is unique compared to other businesses.

[5] Private disclosure to the government is another possibility, but the legal ramifications of a private company admitting to a security breach are unclear, and there are currently no known legal benefits for private companies to voluntarily disclose such information to the government.

[6] – “The Coca-Cola Brand is far more valuable than the ingredients that go into a can of Coca-Cola” (p. 47)

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Ideology vs Pragmatism: Saddam’s Advice for Cuba

Car in front of sign

By Michael C. Herrera, Research Intern, CRRC

Many Americans view Saddam Hussein as an ideological dictator.  Emerging evidence from captured Iraqi records stored digitally at the Conflict Records Research Center (CRRC), however, confirms the conclusion that Saddam was first and foremost a pragmatist.  Research by notable scholars, like Amatzia Baram, highlights Saddam’s willingness to adapt his behavior and his regime to gain an advantage.  For example, in 1993, when Iraq felt the full effects of the international embargo, Saddam announced the opening of his Faith Campaign, which would transform Iraq’s secular state to a more Islamic state in concert with the growing religiosity among Iraqis.  This ability to adapt in order to preserve power was continually employed by Saddam throughout his 24-year reign as President of Iraq.  One can further observe his pragmatism in a CRRC transcript of a 2001 meeting between Saddam and Ricardo Largone, President of the National Cuban Association, where they discuss Cuba’s recent economic turmoil (CRRC Record Number SH-PDWN-D-000-507).

From the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s until 2001, Cuba’s economy struggled. Tourism remained its primary source of income, while sugar cane production steadily decreased due to a shortage of replacement parts, fertilizers, pesticides, and petroleum, as well as an unmotivated workforce. Largone voiced these concerns during his meeting with Saddam, who urges Cuba to consider adopting a new, more capitalist, approach.

Saddam begins by first identifying the problem with Cuba’s agricultural collective system.  He states that when a farmer owns his own plot of land he has a higher incentive to care for his crop.  The farmer will ensure a good harvest if it feeds his chickens and cows, which, in turn, feed his family.  Consequently, the sense of ownership creates a cooperative amongst his family where everyone, even a child of six years old, will work on the farm.  Saddam continues:

However, with a collective this does not happen, if a family member finds work that gives him a little extra, he takes it, as for the wife, she does not work in the fields because she has no share in the cooperative. And the farmer feeds his cow sugar cane secretly because the cow is his and the sugar cane belongs to a hundred other people, and the property is public, it is all there, but the quantity of sugar cane is not specifically known.”

Saddam attributes the lack of sugar production to the theory that, because workers do not own the land, they are more likely to steal from it and less likely to work hard to increase production. He goes on to describe how, over time, the Cuban population has grown out of their initial acceptance of the socialist command economy:

At the beginning, when the Cuban revolution occurred and succeeded in 1959, the Cuban people were poor, with their dignity and nationalism stepped on. At that time if you told him he had one share out of ten, he accepted it because he had nothing else. So, he worked hard and was buoyed by the spirit of the new revolution so he was careful, enthusiastic and responsible with the country’s wealth as if it were his own, but after his stomach was full, and he was clothed, well, he started to look for a new kind of life… Now, he sees the government employee, busy with  the news of all the other employees, this one stole and this one abuses public funds and this one skipped work for a few hours because he is a party member. And he sees the occupation in movies and how the American family lives, and he sees the cars or hears about them, but he must live in his country. And if imperialism is as bad as he is told, he does not see those negatives… These generations seek a better situation and secretly, within their hearts, compare their condition and the condition of other systems that took a different road.

According to Saddam, the new era of information had led Cubans to seek a better socioeconomic situation. At this point we begin to see Saddam’s pragmatism emerge. After identifying Cuba’s problem, Saddam proposes that Cuba consider adapting to its new situation to increase production. He states, “Therefore, if you lease out the land for a high price, that is appropriate for the income, then you will see that the production will double or more.” He is proposing that Cuba move to a more capitalist system.  Much like China has done over the past few years, Saddam stresses that Cuba should rethink the communist model and slowly make an attempt to move toward owning and farming private property.

It seems as though Cuba has begun to show the same pragmatism that kept Saddam in power. In the past couple of years, Cuba has begun to allow its citizens to own small businesses, it has given farmers new profit-incentives, and even allowed for ownership of private property. Although there are still many restriction imposed by the state, Cuba has begun to take Saddam’s pragmatic approach and learned to adapt to save its ailing economy. Analysts seeking to understand the durability of dictatorial rule in Cuba, Saddam’s Iraq, and elsewhere would do well to pay attention to dictators’ pragmatic behavior, not merely their ideological expressions.

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Germany’s Military Reform – An American Perspective


By Peter Flory, Distinguished Senior Visiting Fellow
Center for Transatlantic Security Studies (CTSS)

Author’s Note:  This article was written at the request of the editors of INTERNATIONALE POLITIK, who asked for an American perspective for their forum on “Alliance Partners on Bundeswehr Reform”  (“Buendnispartner zur Bundeswehrreform”).  The original appears in INTERNATIONALE POLITIK 6/2011, with additional articles by British, German and French authors.

In the May 2011 German Defense Policy Guidelines (DPG), Germany sets as its goal a force that is capable of “[s]afe guarding national interests, assuming international responsibility, and shaping security together.”  [All quotations in this article are from the 2011 DPG.]  As an American, I would ask no more and no less from our German ally.

More broadly, that means a modern military force, capable of meeting Germany’s responsibilities in the face of ongoing challenges in Afghanistan and the Greater Middle East and complex and evolving threats such as ballistic missile and cyber attack, in the framework of the 2010 NATO Strategic Concept.  To meet these tasks requires a Bundeswehr with certain attributes – not all of them military.

First, Germany needs to field a Bundeswehr that is capable.  In the words of the DPG, that means a military able to “make[] an adequate contribution to safeguarding our security interests in accordance with German’s role and economic power in the international community.”  Practically, that means forces that are adequate in number, well trained for modern missions, well-equipped, deployable, sustainable and interoperable with the forces of Germany’s NATO allies.

In this regard, the steps announced to reshape German armed forces and meet Germany’s stringent budget cutting goals are cause for concern for the U.S. and NATO, especially at a time when other leading European powers are also scaling back their capabilities.  Moving to an all-professional force and increasing deployable forces to 10,000 soldiers are important and welcome steps, politically as well as militarily.  But reducing to a military of 175,000, while cutting equipment and force modernization, risks losing critical mass in important areas, and imperils the DPG goal of a full spectrum force that provides a “reliable and credible” contribution to NATO.  The issue is not simply military – the DPG recognizes the need to ensure that Germany’s contributions suffice to ensure appropriate influence and a German “say in planning and decisions.”  (Another way in which Germany can exercise leadership is through continued robust participation in multinational programs like Alliance Ground Surveillance and new Smart Defense initiatives.)

Underlying capability is the question of defense spending — a sensitive topic, especially when Germany is being asked to sustain a burdensome leadership role within the Euro zone.  But Americans too face tough choices to reduce spending and reboot the American economy, as well as aging populations and other social needs .  As Secretary Gates said, American political leaders and taxpayers may question why they should spend over 5 percent of GDP on defense when other nations spending far less make further cuts in their defense budgets.  So it is critical for Germany to return to more robust levels of defense spending as soon as possible.

If one goal of investment in Germany’s defense forces is to “secure Germany’s capacity to act in the field of foreign policy,” another must be to bolster the capacity to act quickly and responsively.  So flexibility is another critical element of what I would hope to see in the Bundeswehr, in particular, the ability to be deployed quickly and ready to carry out the full range of missions in complex and sometimes ambiguous situations.  Flexibility in this sense is not a question of military deployability.  It is a question of a flexible legal framework, and a responsive political system that can make difficult decisions to join with allies on behalf of common security and shared values.

German policy on out-of-area deployment of armed forces has evolved substantially and positively since the fall of the Berlin Wall and early debates over German engagement in the Balkans.  But as the missed opportunity in Libya shows, Germany still has difficulty with the role of military force in international relations.  Widely-reported caveats on German soldiers in Afghanistan (later reduced) were an important source of political friction and frustration for NATO commanders charged with ensuring a cohesive Allied military effort.  It would be unfortunate if these were remembered longer than Germany’s many sacrifices and contributions in the ISAF mission.  Like other Americans, I admire Germany’s determination not to forget the past, but like other Americans – and I believe, Europeans as well – I see Germany today as a normal country whose past should no longer stand in the way of helping build a more secure future.

Ultimately, the key to a capable and flexible Bundeswehr is continuing evolution in a German political class and society that in many cases remain skeptical of German military ambition, and undervalue the tremendous contribution the German military has made to the country’s security and prosperity, and yes, the peace that Germany and Europe have enjoyed since the terrible first half of the 20th century.

Support for Germany’s men and women in uniform can manifest itself in several ways.  First, public and political support for adequate defense budgets is a critical element in developing and maintaining capable German forces who can contribute to German and international security.

Stronger popular and political support for an active and engaged German security policy is another prerequisite.  The important role of the Bundestag in approving out-of-area operations will remain, as the DPG states, an “indispensable basis of German security policy.”  As a former U.S. Congressional staffer, I understand the importance of public and parliamentary support for security and defense policies.  But in a world of complex and often fast-breaking crises, I also understand the importance of freedom of action for elected leaders seeking to meet Germany’s “international responsibility for peace and freedom.”

Lastly, the DPG recognizes the need for greater appreciation for the unique demands of military service.  Legislation now before the Bundestag to assist wounded veterans and their families is an important step.  But military service involves not only well-understood risks to lives and safety, but also less-appreciated risks, for example the risk, in some operations, of inadvertently causing civilian casualties.  In these cases, solidarity between citizen and soldier requires a review of laws and policies to ensure these provide German soldiers with the legal and moral support they deserve as they carry out their difficult tasks.

Peter Flory is Distinguished Senior Visiting Fellow at the National Defense University’s Center for Transatlantic Security Studies, and a member of the Strategic Advisors Group of the Atlantic Council.  He served as Assistant Secretary General of NATO for Defense Investment from 2007 to 2010, and from 2005 to 2006, was U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy.  This article reflects his personal views.

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NATO’s Emerging Security Challenges Imperative”

Logo for Center of Transatlantic Security Studies

By Stefano Santamato, Center for Transatlantic Security Studies

With NATO leadership focused on the current challenges of Libya, Afghanistan and resource constraints, the agenda for next years’ Chicago Summit (May 20-21, 2012) looks pretty full already. However, today’s burning issues cannot overshadow yesterday’s commitments and tomorrow’s challenges.

At Lisbon, NATO Heads of State and Government adopted the new Strategic Concept setting out NATO’s transformation from Cold War monolith to a flexible, multidimensional crisis management organization. The Strategic Concept vision of a 21st-century NATO matched modern challenges to the need for state-of-the art organization and response capabilities.

To give meaning to this mandate, a brand new Emerging Security Challenges (ESC) Division was created at NATO Headquarters in Brussels. The ESC Division deals with nuclear weapons proliferation, terrorism, cyber threats, energy security, and fundamental environmental problems. Far from implying that these challenges were somehow “new”, the establishment of the ESC Division not only reaffirmed NATO’s love affair with convoluted acronyms but, more substantially, it acknowledged that in a complex world of wicked security problems, no serious or effective security organization – national or international – can be static, un-dynamic, or less than vigilant.

The new ESC Division has achieved a few early successes. In what amounted to a shift in NATO culture, the Strategic Analysis Capability jettisoned the traditional “reactive” approaches for approaches emphasizing crisis assessment and anticipation. In June 2011, a new NATO policy on cyber defense was approved by the defense ministers of the North Atlantic Council. Thanks partly to the leadership of the United States – and to the personal involvement of then Deputy Secretary of Defense, William Lynn – and thanks partly to the diplomatic skills of the newly appointed Assistant Secretary General for ESC, Ambassador Gábor Iklódy, the NATO Allies defined a new NATO role in cyber defense based on coordination, prevention and resilience. (1)

However, all is not well. Kurt Volker – the former U.S. Ambassador to NATO and committed Atlanticist – argued in Foreign Policy (2) how NATO’s operation in Libya exposed four sets of “deep-rooted” challenges for the Alliance: 1) defining the mission; 2) providing leadership; 3) ensuring execution; and 4) maintaining solidarity.

His analysis is both accurate and timely and applies not only to the Libya response but to NATO’s ESC approach as well. Here, I would like to build on Volker’s four categories and advocate for a number of actions NATO should undertake in the arena of Emerging Security Challenges.

Defining the mission. In spite of its promising launch, a coherent vision of NATO’s mission in countering ESC remains unclear. NATO needs to formulate a Mission Statement, one that translates the vision of the new Strategic Concept into an operational mandate that ensures a cohesive approach to ESC based on four principles: anticipation, cooperation, prevention, and resilience.

The ESC’s Mission Statement is the glue that holds together the various strands of NATO’s activities dealing with emerging challenges. It is the blueprint for responding to them and for identifying the “must have” capabilities to counter them. NATO needs one. And in doing so, NATO should identify when and where its role will be as leader, supporting, or simply filling a heavily-specialized capability gap.

Providing leadership. To ensure mission success, NATO must provide two kinds of leadership: internal and external.

Within NATO, the ESC Division should lead on all aspects of policy and implementation. While this may appear obvious, it is of particular importance given that there is no common threat perception among NATO Allies as to the nature, importance, and immediacy of individual emerging challenges.

Externally, NATO should encourage national ESC “champions,” e.g., Poland on energy security; Norway on climate change. Where the United States has led in the development of the NATO cyber-defense policy, other NATO countries should play a similar lead role for NATO’s counter-terrorism, environmental security, and non-proliferation policies.

Internal leadership and national ownership are not contradicting concepts. They ensure policy coherence and national “buy into” NATO’s role in countering emerging challenges.

Ensuring execution. Ultimately, the success of NATO in dealing with ESC resides in its ability to contribute to successful Alliance responses. In this respect, the new ESC Division should focus on partner outreach and operational capabilities.

Concerning outreach, the ESC Division is the point of contact – the primary area of engagement and cooperation – with NATO’s partners and with other international organizations, first and foremost the European Union. NATO may not lead in all cases, however, and should adapt accordingly.

Given the non-military nature of many of the emerging challenges, NATO’s ESC Division is also well suited to serve as the operational interface between the Alliance members and their individual national and international partners, e.g., the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, law enforcement agencies, and private industry.

As a multi-agency interface, NATO is increasingly perceived, and appreciated, as an enabler of Alliance operations. The ability of the ESC Division, in particular, to access to capabilities of 28 nations – be that information and expertise, command and control, or hardware – is invaluable and success here will be a litmus test of NATO’s enduring contribution to the Alliance response to emerging challenges.

Concerning capabilities, the ESC Division should take full advantage of the opportunities and structures of NATO’s only non-military discipline, Civil Emergency Planning (CEP). Through CEP structures, ESC can reach out to multiple civil disciplines and specialties, such as transports, telecommunications or emergency management and first responders. By integrating NATO’s CEP with ESC, NATO could have a potent and wide-ranging set of capabilities.

In addition, working closely with NATO’s Allied Command Transformation (Norfolk, VA), the ESC Division can, I believe, effectively integrate policy into NATO’s Defense Planning Process and translate policy into capability requirements for ESC.

Maintaining solidarity. The final – and possibly most difficult challenge – for the new ESC Division is to preserve Alliance solidarity. There is no easy or straight forward solution to this problem.

Very early in the debate on NATO’s new Strategic Concept, Ally positions differed – in some cases dramatically – on what emerging threat or challenge would constitute “Article 5 material.” (3)  Some advocated unconditional Alliance solidarity, while others cautioned against engaging even in “consultations” under NATO’s Article 4. (4)  This is not to imply, however, that these divergences represent a lack of Alliance cohesion. Rather they denote – and reemphasize – the self-evident and undeniable difficulty NATO Allies have in defining the nature, impact and traceability of emerging challenges.

Once again, NATO’s approach to cyber defense is illustrative. It provides a useful model of de facto adoption of a “flexible response” approach, one that is not overly burdened by specific thresholds or threat lists. Alliance solidarity is a qualitative concept, not a quantitative one. NATO knows – as do its adversaries – when and how NATO will respond to threats and attacks and that it will respond at flexible, adaptable, and appropriate levels.

While individual Allies perceive challenges differently – and appreciate this diversity – they recognize that they – and the emerging challenges they face – are interrelated. Each Ally, therefore, is compelled to support – politically and operationally – NATO’s “visible assurance” in this area of emerging challenges as a contribution to its own and to collective security.

Conclusion. Given the nature of uncertainty, the ever emerging, ever changing, international security challenges can never accurately be foreseen or predicted. To passively submit, however, to this dynamic – to rely solely on ad-hoc contingencies if and as needed – is sheer folly.

The true measure of NATO’s success is its tested framework and adaptability – as represented by the ESC Division – to respond to the new and multiple ESCs. Most of these ESCs are either non-military and/or national in nature. NATO, however, recognizes that, given its experience, capabilities and constituency, it has a role to play in addressing them. The question is what role? We have the form, we need the substance. Vision, action and leadership are required and discussion of these critical elements should be, at minimum, on the informal Chicago agenda.

1.  NATO and Cyber Defense – NATO Website – 

2. Kurt Volker: “Don’t Call It a Comeback – Four reasons why Libya doesn’t equal success for NATO” – in Foreign Policy – August 23, 2011.

3.  Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty states: “The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defense recognized by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area”- Source NATO Official texts –

4. Article 4 of the North Atlantic Treaty states: “The Parties will consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the Parties is threatened – Ibid.

Stefano Santamato is a Senior Visiting Research Fellow for the Center for Transatlantic Security Studies (CTSS) at National Defense University’s Institute for National Strategic Studies (NDU-INSS). Mr. Santamato may be contacted at

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone.

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Train Like a Fighter Pilot

By Darren Ruch, 1st Lt. MA ANG, USAF
Dr. Douglas Orton, Editor

The deficit reduction deal signed by President Obama on August 2, 2011, calls for a quantum leap forward in the effectiveness, efficiency, and reliability of the U.S. National Security System – by November 2011.  In the same way that the Hart-Rudman Report was sitting on a shelf in the Eisenhower Building ready for rapid deployment after September 11, 2001, the Project on National Security Reform’s 2008 Report “Forging a New Shield” is now sitting on a shelf in the Eisenhower Building ready for rapid deployment in the next three months.  Fortunately – as Darren Ruch’s essay below demonstrates – the main message of the report has moved into the intellectual capillaries of the U.S. National Security System in the last three years:  our expensive, outdated bureaucratic stovepipes should be replaced with less expensive, more agile interagency national security teams.  Ruch explains the need to shift away from a 20th Century “national defense” mindset dominated by a “joint” Department of Defense stovepipe toward a 21st Century “national security” mindset facilitated by much less expensive national security interagency teams.  Ruch is especially convincing about the need for interagency training to help create these interagency teams.  (Dr. J. Douglas Orton, Adjunct Research Fellow, Center for Strategic Research.)   

Thousands of pages of lessons learned about successful methods of interagency collaboration are available in reports by the various US Government departments, academic and research institutions (such as the National Defense University and the US Institute of Peace), non-governmental organizations (such as Doctors without Borders and Human Rights Watch), and other agencies – compiled from years of experience in Iraq and Afghanistan.  But US agencies in Afghanistan today are not taking advantage of this knowledge.  Instead, our military officers and civil servants are spending their first months in the field learning lessons that were already documented and available to them.  Prior to leaving for Afghanistan, US agencies should include these lessons learned about unity of effort in joint training settings.

Over the last week of July 2011, up to 95 US Air Force combat flights flew daily in support of Coalition troops in Afghanistan.  These sorties were only successful because of cooperation between the Air Force and other military branches before the fighter squadrons deployed to Afghanistan.  This unity of effort can only exist when multiple branches participate in joint training.  Pilots invest countless hours of joint training in the US with their Army counterparts to ensure safe and successful integration of air and ground tactics.  Training in the US before arriving in Afghanistan allows these Airmen and Soldiers to prepare for unexpected scenarios, seamlessly adapt their plans at a moment’s notice, and therefore successfully achieve their goal.

Given that the US military has demonstrated over the past 30 years that the effectiveness of unity of effort is proportional to the quality of joint training, the Obama Administration should heed this lesson.  There must be an increase in joint training operations across government agencies before they send teams to Afghanistan.

Counterinsurgency experts continue to advocate an increase in unity of effort in Afghanistan.  The first of many recommendations in the 2009 US White Paper Policy towards Afghanistan is “executing and resourcing an integrated civilian military counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan” (emphasis added).  Integrating civilian and military counterinsurgency efforts is necessary because success is only achieved through a multidimensional strategy.

Fighting an insurgency is accomplished by completing three principal concepts: clear, hold, build.  General Petraeus, Commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, outlines these principles in his 2006 counterinsurgency field manual: “create a secure physical and psychological environment; establish firm government control of the populace and area; gain the populace’s support.”  The military is not manned or trained to complete all three alone.

Creating a stable Afghanistan requires not only providing security, but also building effective local government and developing the economy.  The central mission of the Department of Defense is providing and maintaining security.  Other agencies, such as the Departments of State and Commerce, focus on building Afghanistan’s governmental institutions and developing the economic infrastructure.  Leaders at all levels from these US government agencies need to work together in the US to increase their communication and situational awareness before continuing operations and programs in Afghanistan.  By improving their common operational picture at home, agencies will understand idiosyncratic terminology; prevent a duplication of effort; establish communication channels to better share information on changing environments; reduce unwanted interference; and benefit from other agencies’ comparative advantages.

General Petraeus is one leader who understands this requirement for interagency dialogue. While serving as Multi-National Forces Commander in Iraq, he developed a close working relationship with Ambassador Crocker, US Ambassador to Iraq.  Common communication between top military and Department of State leaders in this way is unusual.  General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker worked together almost as a unified command, complementing each other’s efforts.  Ultimately, this turned the tide from a failing attempt in Iraq to allow a drawdown of US troops.

For a vastly different and more complicated theater of operations in Afghanistan, much more interagency dialogue needs to occur at home.  This dialogue must start in an interagency training environment in the US.  Although interagency training exists, it is not a priority.  As one Foreign Service Officer explained, although he was assigned to attend a week of interagency training before leaving for a one-year post in Iraq, his leadership viewed other tasks as a more valuable use of his time; he only attended for three days.  Training should be a much higher priority for these interagency teams.  Requiring soldiers and civil servants to get up to speed about other agencies in Afghanistan during the first few months after arriving, instead of providing interagency training in the US before they leave, does not set them up for success from day one.  Without this training, these actors arrive in Afghanistan without a common operational picture.

The Department of Defense should take the countless best practices from military joint operations and apply them to interagency efforts in Afghanistan.  Military commanders of all ranks should work with their civilian counterparts to establish a stable and transparent government, strong economy, and secure environment in Afghanistan.  Successful interagency collaboration begins with joint training in the US.  We are approaching the tenth anniversary of Coalition engagement in Afghanistan.  Reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan will continue well into the next decade regardless of the caliber of predeployment training; however, with the current US and Coalition military campaign, the quality of joint preparedness today could have an even greater impact on the reconstruction effort after the inevitable draw-down of combat forces.

Darren Ruch works at the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO) and is a reservist in the US Air Force.  As a homemade explosive specialist at JIEDDO, he primarily assists military units deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.  As a traditional reservist in the Massachusetts Air National Guard, Ruch is two-tour veteran and currently serves as a Lieutenant in their Air Operations Group.

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The India-Pakistan Security Dilemma: Major Issues and Charting A Viable Role for the United States

By Dr. Thomas F. Lynch III

Executive Summary: On July 26, 2011 the Center for Strategic Research, part of National Defense University’s Institute for National Strategic Studies, partnered with the South Asia Center at the Atlantic Council to host a panel discussion entitled, “The India-Pakistan Security Dilemma: Major Issues and Charting a Viable Role for the United States.”  The event took place from 10:00-11:30 a.m. at the Atlantic Council in Washington, D.C.  Moderated by INSS Distinguished Research Fellow, Dr. Thomas Lynch, the panel featured presentations by four young scholars of – and practitioners in –security matters affecting South Asia: Mr. Dhruva Jaishankar of the German Marshall Fund (GMF), Dr. Aparna Pande of the Hudson Institute, Mr. Moeed Yusuf from the U.S. Institute of Peace (USiP) and Dr. S. Amer Latif from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

Each panelist made a short formal presentation diagnosing the major issues underpinning the decades-long Indo-Pakistan security dilemma. Panelists then offered recommendations on a viable policy role for U.S. in context of their identified issues.  Steered by the moderator, the four panelists exchanged views on several presentation elements.  The discussion concluded with seven questions from an audience of over 100 attendees.  A transcript of the entire event is available now at the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center web site:  It will be available on a future date – yet to be determined – at the NDU-INSS site:

The panel discussion generated three major insights:


  • India-Pakistan Security Dilemma Roots Run Deep, defying Near-Term Policy ‘fixes.’  The bitter legacy of ethno-religious mistrust and bloodshed between Indians and Pakistanis remains dominant – a fact often under-appreciated by outsiders. India’s approach toward South Asian security over the past 20 years may be trending toward restraint and moderation, but this is not the view in Islamabad.  Pakistan’s history with anti-Hindu militants and nuclear weapons still arrests New Delhi’s will to contemplate short-term security concessions much less acts of strategic altruism.
  • U.S. Policy Options – especially in the Near-Term – are Limited by America’s Regional Reputation, Divergent Indian and Pakistani Expectations, and Constrained Leverage.  Many Indians mistrust the basic thrust of U.S. interaction with Islamabad and Rawalpindi, believing that it co-facilitates hostile Pakistani narratives and actions against India.  A majority of Pakistanis loathe American lecturing and ultimatums, convinced these arise – at least in part – from a decade-long tilt of American policy toward preference for India.  American aid to Pakistan generates useful bilateral dialogue and some policy concessions, but produces insufficient leverage to induce any near-term adjustment of Islamabad’s security paradigm or dominant anti-Indian narrative.  Growing American economic interaction with New Delhi has merit on its own terms, but does not produce sufficient leverage for Washington to push for India’s alteration of its firm and longstanding security approach toward Pakistan in critical areas like the Kashmir dispute, Islamic militants and nuclear weapons.
  • Viable U.S. Policy Options Appear Limited to Mid-to-Long Term Efforts that Underwrite Greater Bilateral Dialogue and Compromise on Non-Core Security Issues. A viable American policy approach will be crafted once Washington accepts that its main options are those with mid-to-long run time horizons and largely limited to activities that build habits of cooperation between New Delhi and Islamabad in non-core security issues. A U.S.-brokered dialogue between Pakistan and India about what each desires as an end-state in Afghanistan and where accommodation between them might be reached in the areas of military-to-military and economic ‘rules of the road’ for a post-2014 Afghanistan stands-out as one of the more viable areas for U.S. policy attention. To be successful, such an effort will take time and serious diplomatic focus.  The United States also might quietly encourage sustained interaction and tangible progress in confidence-building activities – especially those in the trade and military dimensions – from the recently resumed India-Pakistan Composite Dialogue. Finally, Washington might push for three-way participation in simple military-to-military maritime and humanitarian exercises. In turn, this initiative should encourage a U.S. review of its presently fragmented bureaucratic arrangements for policy-making in South Asia. These must be rationalized before Washington can develop a coherent and effective long-term U.S. policy approach towards Pakistan and India.


Dr. Thomas F. Lynch III is the Distinguished Research Fellow for South Asia and the Near East at the Center for Strategic Research (CSR) at National Defense University’s Institute for National Strategic Studies (NDU-INSS). Dr. Lynch wishes to thank Shuja Nawaz, Shikha Bhatnagar and the staff of the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center for co-sponsoring this panel discussion. The views expressed are his alone and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Atlantic Council, National Defense University, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. government.  Dr. Lynch may be contacted at (202) 685-2231 or



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Military Transparency in China? One Step Forward, One Step Back….

“Chinese Military Transparency: Evaluating the 2010 Defense White Paper.”
Strategic Perspectives #5
By Phillip C. Saunders, PhD and Ross Rustici, MA


The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, was recently in China and toured a number of Chinese military facilities.  During his July 10-14 trip, he visited the Second Artillery Corps headquarters, and an air force base in Shandong, where he sat in a  Su-27 Fighter.

Chairman Mullen in the cockpit of a Chinese Fighter Jet

Admiral Mullen in the cockpit of a PLA Air Force SU-27 fighter jet.

As part of his tour, Mullen also visited a submarine base where he inspected a Yuan class diesel submarine.

Admiral Mullen on a PLA Navy Yuan class diesel submarine.

Admiral Mullen inspects a PLA Navy Yuan class diesel submarine.

Chinese officials, academics, and commentators have cited the People’s Liberation Army’s willingness to show off these bases and weapons systems as an example of China’s move towards greater transparency about its military capabilities and modernization efforts.  ( and )

However, a new INSS Strategic Forum “Chinese Military Transparency: Evaluating the 2010 Defense White Paper” by Phillip Saunders and Ross Rustici evaluates China’s 2010 defense white paper and finds it a step backward in transparency compared to previous editions.  China’s 2010 white paper receives lower transparency ratings than the 2008 paper and provides less information than defense white papers of other major Asia-Pacific powers.

For the original INSS publication explaining the transparency methodology, click here.

For updated charts that compare China’s 2010 white paper to other Asia-Pacific white papers, click here.

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