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Posts Tagged us military
By George Friedman
The U.S. military for years has debated the utility of counterinsurgency operations. Drawing from a sentiment that harkens back to the Vietnam War, many within the military have long opposed counterinsurgency operations. Others see counterinsurgency as the unavoidable future of U.S. warfare. The debate is between those who believe the purpose of a conventional military force is to defeat another conventional military force and those who believe conventional military conflicts increasingly will be replaced by conflicts more akin to recent counterinsurgency operations. In such conflicts, the purpose of a counterinsurgency is to transform an occupied society in order to undermine the insurgents.
Understanding this debate requires the understanding that counterinsurgency is not a type of warfare; it is one strategy by which a disproportionately powerful conventional force approaches asymmetric warfare. As its name implies, it is a response to an insurgency, a type of asymmetric conflict undertaken by small units with close links to the occupied population to defeat a larger conventional force. Insurgents typically are highly motivated — otherwise they collapse easily — and usually possess superior intelligence to a foreign occupational force. Small units operating with superior intelligence are able to evade more powerful conventional forces and can strike such forces at their own discretion. Insurgents are not expected to defeat the occupying force through direct military force. Rather, the assumption is that the occupying force has less interest in the outcome of the war than the insurgents and that over time, the inability to defeat the insurgency will compel the occupying force to withdraw. Read the rest of this entry »
From The Washington Times:
The plan calls for preparing the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps to defeat China’s “anti-access, area denial weapons,” including anti-satellite weapons, cyberweapons, submarines, stealth aircraft and long-range missiles that can hit aircraft carriers at sea.
Never Fight a Land War in Asia is republished with permission of STRATFOR.
By George Friedman
U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, speaking at West Point, said last week that “Any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should have his head examined.” In saying this, Gates was repeating a dictum laid down by Douglas MacArthur after the Korean War, who urged the United States to avoid land wars in Asia. Given that the United States has fought four major land wars in Asia since World War II — Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq — none of which had ideal outcomes, it is useful to ask three questions: First, why is fighting a land war in Asia a bad idea? Second, why does the United States seem compelled to fight these wars? And third, what is the alternative that protects U.S. interests in Asia without large-scale military land wars?
The Hindrances of Overseas Wars
Let’s begin with the first question, the answer to which is rooted in demographics and space. The population of Iraq is currently about 32 million. Afghanistan has a population of less than 30 million. The U.S. military, all told, consists of about 1.5 million active-duty personnel (plus 980,000 in the reserves), of whom more than 550,000 belong to the Army and about 200,000 are part of the Marine Corps. Given this, it is important to note that the United States strains to deploy about 200,000 troops at any one time in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that many of these troops are in support rather than combat roles. The same was true in Vietnam, where the United States was challenged to field a maximum of about 550,000 troops (in a country much more populous than Iraq or Afghanistan) despite conscription and a larger standing army. Indeed, the same problem existed in World War II. Read the rest of this entry »
“Prospective analyses of National Health Interview Survey and National Death Index data found an adjusted risk of suicide among male veterans twice that of nonveteran males. That study also examined data for 11 female veterans and 246 female nonveterans who completed suicide and found that women with past military service were more likely to complete suicide
These findings suggest a hidden epidemic of suicide among younger women with military service. Clinicians should inquire about military service among women and should recognize that suicide prevention practices pertain to female veterans.”
“Since 2006, 20 to 40 percent of the bee colonies in the United States alone have suffered “colony collapse.” Suspected culprits ranged from pesticides to genetically modified food.
Now, a unique partnership — of military scientists and entomologists — appears to have achieved a major breakthrough: identifying a new suspect, or two.
…researchers on both sides say that colony collapse may be the first time that the defense machinery of the post-Sept. 11 Homeland Security Department and academia have teamed up to address a problem that both sides say they might never have solved on their own.
Called IMX-101 (which stands for Insensitive Munitions Explosive) the explosive is one successful result of a four-year Pentagon-funded effort that sought to replace TNT — military munitions’ longtime staple. First to go will be M795 artillery projectiles: 1,200 produced with IMX-101 instead of TNT will be delivered to the Army and Marine Corps by 2011.
As bad as it sounds war always ends up advancing science.
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“Today, Iraq has no functioning government, and violence is on the rise: last month, 535 people were killed, the highest total in two years.
Little wonder, then, that Lieutenant General Babakar Zebari, the head of Iraq’s armed forces, has warned that an American pull-out would be premature, and that his troops will not be in a position to take control of internal security for a decade.”
Ironically, those militant Iraqis who claim to want the US out of Iraq so badly may, by their continued violence, convince the US that we need to stay engaged longer.
“…the United States is on track to end its combat mission in Iraq by the end of this month, transitioning from a military to a civilian-led effort.
Though Iraq is now grappling with political uncertainty five months after a parliamentary election, and with bomb attacks in Baghdad and other cities, the president and others in his administration are highlighting the coming formal end of the U.S. combat mission.
The president said 90,000 troops will have come home from Iraq by the end of August. He noted the United States is in the process of moving millions of pieces of equipment from Iraq, and continues to close or turn over military bases to Iraqi government troops.”
“Darpa would like to cut out all [the] middle men. Instead, the Pentagon’s R&D arm wants to build an air strike network with exactly two nodes: the air controller on the ground, and the robotic, heavily-armed airplane in the sky.
Darpa calls the project Persistent Close Air Support, or PCAS. Think of it as death-from-above — on demand.”