25 April 2016

Why Deobandis are militant in Pak, not in India

Apr 23, 2016,
Owen Bennett-Jones
Whereas the Indian state has controlled militancy in Deo­bandi institutions, the Pakistani state has done the opposite.
HERE’S a tale of two madarsas: one Deoband north of Delhi, the other in Akora Khattak, Pakistan. Today in Deoband, at the madarsa where it all began in 1866, the 4,000 students focus on religion. The institution was created to preserve a purist, back-to-basics interpretation of Islam and it has remained true to that purpose. Whenever the Indian government offers the madarsa funds the clerics decline the money: they don’t want changes to the curriculum that would come with government funding. In 2008, some 20,000 Deobandi clerics from around India agreed on a declaration condemning terrorism. And for good measure they threw in a pledge of loyalty to the Indian state. The seminary has even instructed all Muslim households to hoist the Indian flag over their homes each Independence Day. A recent fatwa said that while it would be wrong to worship the Indian motherland, it was permissible to love it. Akora Khattak’s Deobandi Islam is different from the Indian variety. That’s not to say that the Deoband seminary is a moderate institution. The madarsa has specific departments dedicated to the rejection of Christianity, Judaism, even Shia Islam and Barelvism. Not to mention a whole postgraduate course dedicated to loathing Ahmadis. To protect their faith, Deoband’s clerics have retreated into a citadel of literalist and exclusionary doctrine. Some of the students would like a little more mainstream teaching to improve their job prospects. But the institution prefers that its protégés study religion, graduate and then go on to propagate the Deobandi worldview by establishing new madarsas in India and around the world. When students have been tempted to stray into militancy, the Indian state has been quick to lay down the law. For example, when the Kashmir insurgency was at its height, some of Deoband’s Kashmiri students flirted with using violence to advance their cause. The Indian state did not hesitate to give them long prison sentences. By all accounts the justice meted out to them was pretty rough and ready — but it served its purpose: today Kashmiri students in Deoband steer clear of politics. I recently met a Kashmiri student in Deoband and asked him if he wanted Kashmiri independence.

“Yes,” he said. “Would you fight for it?” “No,” he replied. “I will go back to Kashmir only to teach the Quran.” When I suggested that Kashmiri students in Pakistani Deobandi madarsas might be a little more assertive than that, he shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know anything about that,” he said. Such quietist attitudes can also be found amongst some of Pakistan’s Deobandis. But there is also a militant strain of Pakistani Deobandism. Take, as perhaps the prime example, the Darul Uloom Haqqania in Akora Khattak. In 1947, Sami ul Haq’s father, a cleric from Deoband who got stuck in Pakistan during Partition, started out with just eight pupils. Today, there are some 3,000 students. Sami ul Haq recently published a book in which he lays out his views on global affairs. These include the claims that the Afghan Taliban provided good government, that Osama bin Laden was an “ideal man” and that Al-Qaeda never existed. He has said that if his students wish to take a break from their studies to fight alongside the Afghan Taliban, then it is not for him to stand in their way. He awarded Mullah Omar an honorary degree. And let’s not forget that key conspirators in the plot to assassinate Benazir Bhutto met in advance in Akora Khattak. When it comes to militancy, then Sami ul Haq’s Deobandism is very different to the Indian version. The question is why Pakistani Deobandism as represented by Akora Khattak has so quickly diverged from the attitudes prevalent in the mother institution in Deoband itself. The answer lies in the contrasting attitudes and policies of the Indian and Pakistani states. Whereas the Indian state has controlled militancy in Deo­bandi institutions, the Pakistani state has done the opposite. As a senator for many years, Sami ul Haq can even be considered a member of the Pakistani establishment. He has always taken care to work with, rather than against, Pakistan’s deep state. There are some signs that Delhi is becoming increasingly aware that the Pakistani strain of militant Deobandi Islam poses a threat to peace and security in South Asia as a whole. After years of forbidding foreigners to study at Deoband, the Indian authorities recently relaxed the rule and granted visas to some Afghan Deobandi students. Given a choice between having Afghans educated in Pakistan or India, Delhi has decided that the quietist madarsa at Deoband is preferable to letting them be influenced by the politicised and sometimes militant Deobandi madarsas in Pakistan. Deobandi militancy might look like a force that cannot be controlled. But India’s experience suggests that the degree of militancy espoused by some Deobandis is a function of state policy. The writer is a British journalist and author of “Pakistan: Eye of the Storm”. (By arrangement with Dawn.)

Defence ties with US India’s imperative to guard China flank

Apr 23, 2016,
S Nihal Singh
It is simple: New Delhi needs American power to compete with China.INDIA’S agreement with the US to allow access to its defence facilities to American military on a reciprocal basis, in philosophical terms, a great leap but makes sense in today’s geopolitical environment. India has strayed from its proclaimed non-aligned policy in the past in seeking US military assistance during the India-China conflict and in signing an Indo-Soviet pact before the Bangladesh war, but the logistic agreement has a different resonance because much of the rhetoric in the developing world was directed against the US. The Modi government’s decision to go ahead with the agreement against the expected opposition of the Congress and the Left parties flows out of a stark fact. An assertive China is seeking to expand its influence on land and sea in the region and beyond it. In sea power, Beijing’s action in building islands on shoals in the South China Sea and militarising them to claim most of the two seas — the other being East China Sea — against claims by regional powers has led to a new ball game, with the former enemy Vietnam seeking close relations with Washington and the Philippines, which closed American bases in the early 1990s to invite them back in. India is not quite in the league of these smaller South-east Asian nations but has the bigger task of prevailing in the Indian Ocean and needs greater heft to do so in the face of an expanding Chinese naval power. 
In other words, New Delhi needs American power to compete with China. The direction of Indian policy was clear for some time even during the UPA regime as joint exercises with countries such as Japan, Australia and the US grew in size and frequency. The Modi government has now taken this trend to its logical conclusion. Yet the emotional wrenching it causes among old-time liberals and nationalists is understandable. Long after New Delhi discarded the increasingly flexible concept of non-alignment in framing its policies, the emotional pull of the glory days of the movement in the era of Nehru with India being relatively weak in military terms made Indians 10 feet tall. In time, NAM the movement became like the Janata train with everyone clambering into it, whatever their ideological predilections. Today we live in a dangerous and changing world, with the old Soviet Union gone, replaced by a diminished Russian Federation, and China being increasingly treated by the only remaining superpower as nearly its peer. The Middle East continues to be a region of great instability and the European Union is increasingly facing its middle age blues without the will to act purposefully on such issues as the influx of refugees from wars in the Middle East and elsewhere. 

Podcast: Snakebite kills 45,000 Indians every year, but we're still not doing much about it

Podcast: Snakebite kills 45,000 Indians every year, but we're still not doing much about it 
Superstition, ignorance and sheer apathy only make matters worse.
Earlier this year, Chirag Roy, an experienced naturalist and snake rescuer, was bitten by a venomous snake near the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra. 
The region is home to the four most venomous snakes in India. Even so, it lacked the infrastructure and resources to treat Roy. The nearest equipped hospital was two hours away, and Roy didn't survive. 
In India, snakebite kills more than 45,000 people every year. A further 2 lakh lose their limbs after being bitten by snakes while it is estimated that only one in seven cases actually reach a hospital. The most vulnerable are the men and women who plough the fields, making it a “poor man’s problem” that is utterly neglected. 
And then matters are only made worse by superstition, ignorance and sheer apathy. 

In this episode of The Intersection, experts from the field discuss the different types of venom, the aftermath of a cobra bite, the use of horses in the making of anti-venom and raising awareness about this very avoidable cause of death.This is the latest episode of The Intersection, a fortnightly podcast on Audiomatic. For more such podcasts, visit audiomatic.in.

Corridor Calculus China Pakistan Economic Corridor & China's Comprador Investment Model in Pakistan


Soon after the PPP formed the government in 2008, President Asif Zardari put forward a very ambitious proposal costing around $60 billion for around
70 mega projects to Pakistan's Western donors who had formed the Friends 1 of Pakistan group.

- See more at: http://www.vifindia.org/monograph/2016/april/22/corridor-calculus-china-pakistan-economic-corridor-and-china-s-comprador-investment-model-in-pakistan#sthash.aj0qThfq.0IZheIU7.dpuf

Pervez Hoodbhoy Questions Pak F 16 Acqn to Counter Terror

Security Risks Monitor , Apr 22, 2016
Pakistan says it desperately wants Lockheed-Martin Block-V F-16 fighter-bombers at $87 million apiece for fighting terrorists in tribal badlands such as North Waziristan, writes Pervez Hoodbhoy in DAWN on April 16. An order for eight jets has already been placed, he said. The US Senate is sympathetic; a move to ban the sale was massively rejected by majority vote. Lockheed-Martin, which peddles its deadly wares to all who can pay, has already sold 4,500 F-16s to 25 countries. It must be pleased at this small, but tidy, deal of $700m, wrote Hoodbhoy.
The opinion article in DAWN stated that the thoughtful Pakistanis should be worried. Wag­ing an aerial war against your own population is not a good idea. Hoodbhoy says, even if you have to, shouldn’t much cheaper weaponised drones be preferred over advanced fighter aircraft whose real job is to shoot down other planes? Hoodbhoy in his article says a drone, technically known as UAV, is far more precise than any fighter because it can loiter undetected over a target, capture and collect information better, and reduce — though never eliminate — damage to innocents. India is currently negotiating with the US for buying 40 Predator drones.

According to Hoodbhoy, drones merely crawl across the sky and so they won’t stand a chance if the Taliban air force somehow acquires heaven-gifted Mach-3.5 Buraqs armed with advanced JDAMs. Then, at the very least, the fifth generation F-35 Lightning Fighter will be needed. Until that time, a state-of-the art aircraft is a ridiculously expensive choice for fighting wild-eyed local tribesmen and assorted fanatics from Central Asia.
In his article in DAWN Hoodbhoy further stated that , more importantly, F-16s or drones can’t even dent the enemy’s real armour — his ideology. The Taliban are fighting to forcibly transform Pakistan into a state run by Sharia law. In the last two to three decades millions of Pakistanis have come to share enthusiasm for Sharia. Hoodbhoy in his opinion article also stated that even while fighting the Taliban, many of our soldiers have agreed with their goal while disagreeing with their method. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, have died believing they are fighting agents of a foreign hand rather than religiously inspired fellow Muslims.
Military force, though sometimes indispensable, cannot eliminate those who live only to die. Hoobhoy in DAWN wrote that Pakistan has learned insufficiently from mighty America’s multiple failures in Afghanistan. No amount of aerial bombing, precision artillery, or even scorched-earth operations can daunt those who imagine they have been commanded by God to reform society. Faith, if strong enough, trumps fear, said Hoodbhoy.

*** The Contemporary Spectrum of Conflict, Protracted, Gray Zone, Ambiguous, and Hybrid Modes of War

Dr. Frank Hoffman
Hew Strachan, the preeminent military historian at Oxford, stated in a lecture delivered in 2006 that one of our most serious problems today is that we do not know what war is. He put his finger on a critical shortfall in Western thinking about security:
If we are to identify whether war is changing, and—if it is—how those changes affect international relations, we need to know first what war is. One of the central challenges confronting international relations today is that we do not really know what is a war and what is not. The consequences of our confusion would seem absurd, were they not so profoundly dangerous.1
The larger problem is that the U.S. has a strategic culture that does not appreciate history or strategy, nor does it devote sufficient attention to the breadth of adversaries facing it and the many different forms that human conflict can take. Many current critics of U.S. policy or strategy in the Middle East or Asia bemoan the aimless state of strategy and policy. While there are deficiencies in U.S. planning and strategy processes, the larger intellectual challenge is a blinkered conception of conflict that frequently quotes the great Prussian soldier Clausewitz without realizing the true essence of his theory and how it applies to the ever evolving, interactive phenomenon we call “war.” Moreover, the U.S. national security establishment too often fails to understand opponents, their strategic cultures, and their own unique conceptions of victory and war.

Current perceptions about the risks of major war, our presumed preponderance of military power, a flawed understanding of irregular war, and our ingrained reliance on technological panaceas like precision-guided munitions (PGMs) and drone warfare make serious defense planning ever harder. This misunderstanding afflicts the military as much as it does political elites and the general public. At least three consequences can be expected from a flawed grasp of contemporary conflict: 
Unreasonable political and public expectations for quick wins at low cost, 
An overly simplistic grasp of the application of blunt military power and what it will supposedly achieve, and 
Naïve views of both adversaries and the context for conflict. 

As our own recent history shows, however, the reality is much more complex. War is seldom so clear-cut, and “victory” is far more elusive in reality. The vast majority of conflicts are seldom as precise or as free of casualties or political frustrations as we tend to remember. We prefer Operation Desert Storm (1991) as a simple and satisfying war. It pitted good against evil, and its conclusion was decisive, albeit not as decisive as World War II. But most conflicts are messy, relatively ill-defined in scope and by objective, with an array of actors, and unsatisfying in outcome.
The conflict spectrum includes a range of activities to which students and practitioners of war refer when attempting to characterize a given conflict by participants, methods, level of effort, types of forces, levels of organization or sophistication, etc. As should be expected in any attempt to define aspects of something as complex as war, there is ample debate over characterizations and definitions, whether one form of war is more or less complex than any other, or whether war can be so neatly categorized as to subdivide it along a spectrum in the first place. Debates over supposedly “new” and generational wars are common today in academic circles, and the prevalence of irregular wars is increasingly recognized.2

Sharif versus Sharif Round Two

Rahul Bhonsle

Apr 22, 2016
Panama Papers Unleashes Political “War.”
Pakistan’s political class which comprises of the two main parties – Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the, “outlier,” Pakistan Army is at, “war,” with the two Sharif’s – PML-N Chief and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief of the Army Staff Raheel Sharif holding centre stage.
The other political groups in the country be it the Pakistan Tehreek Insaaf (PTI) led by former cricketer Imran Khan or the various branches of the Jamaat e Islami are side actors in this drama that is unfolding in the wake of the Panama Papers revelations.
The implication of the Sharif siblings – daughter and sons of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Maryam, Hasan, and Hussain, has given a handle to the Pakistan Army.
The Chief, who represents institutional interest as much as his own, is naturally expected to exploit the situation,

General Sharif’s stock post Operation Zarb E Azb is at an all time high. Some as Aqil Shah, author of, “The Army and Democracy: Military Politics in Pakistan,” claim that this is due to the projection by chief of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General ISPR Asim Bajwa through savvy use of social media and the control over the mainstream by the Inter-Services Intelligence media wing.
Nawaz Sharif, however, is an eternal survivor much like his PPP counterpart co-chair of the Party Asif Ali Zardari, who is presently ensconced in Dubai. Zardari is in a self-imposed exile after he remarked that military leadership comes and goes, but the political masters have longevity. These comments came after the army operation in Karachi targeted many PPP supporters unravelling some of the major corruption cases which irked Zardari. The PPP Co-chair was also unhappy with Nawaz Sharif for not holding his hand given the past concord between the two parties to stand up against the military curiously known as the Charter of Democracy.
Under similar conspiratorial circumstances in 2014, Nawaz Sharif survived the Islamabad sit-in by the PTI of Imran Khan and Tahirul Qadri of the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT). That was Round one in the battle between Sharif and Sharif.

Round Two Commences Nawaz in London
The wealth of the Nawaz Sharif family, as well as the Zardari, is no secret in Pakistan. In the paternal, feudalistic society of the country, accumulation of wealth by industrialists, real estate developers and landlords is seen as a sign of power and no questions are asked as to the source of the income.
Most of the wealth of the first two families and their cronies is now deployed abroad on evidence that has been revealed in the Panama Papers. Asif Ali Zardari being far shrewder than Mr Nawaz Sharif has adopted more devious channels of investment than the Panama Papers, though the name of late Benazir Bhutto crops up along with some of his cronies. Thus despite the hue and cry made by the PTI Chief Imran Khan not much was expected to come out of the Panama Papers revelation with a judicial commission exonerating the Prime Minister of any financial wrong doing. No questions on the morality of a national leaders progeny deploying funds abroad even as the country’s finances are in a dire state were likely to be asked.

These Maps Show How Vast New Infrastructure Is Bringing the World Together


Parag Khanna, Author, “Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization”
SINGAPORE — There’s no better way to score points for gravitas in today’s media than claiming that the world is falling apart. Just say on air that, “This is the most dangerous time since the peak of the Cold War,” and witness your star rise. But such talking heads are responding to yesterday’s news and extrapolating the worst scenarios, whereas the underlying trends seem in fact to point in a very different direction.
If you want to understand the world of tomorrow, why not just look at a good map? For my new book, Connectography, I researched every single significant cross-border infrastructure project linking countries together on every continent. I worked with the world’s leading cartography labs to literally map out what the future actually — physically — will look like. 
It turns out that what most defines the emerging world is not fragmentation of countries but integration within regions. The same world that appears to be falling apart is actually coming together in much more concrete ways than today’s political maps suggest. Major world regions are forging dense infrastructural connectivity and reorienting their relations around supply chains rather than borders. A peaceful world may emerge as a collection of such stable regions and continents.

Follow the lines of connectivity on these maps to see how the Humpty Dumpty world is putting itself back together again — much better than before.

China leads the world not just in domestic but also international infrastructure investment. America sells the tanks; China provides the bulldozers. Nowhere is this more visible than on China’s periphery (China has more neighbors than any other country in the world). Launched in 2015, the Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank is the largest coordinated infrastructure spending program in human history. It is constructing a network of “Iron Silk Roads” stretching from Shanghai to Lisbon.
Despite the territorial tensions between China and Russia, India and other neighbors, all have bought into the AIIB mission (India is the second largest shareholder). World War III is predicted to break out among Asia’s rival great powers, but thanks to these new Silk Roads, Asians are focused more on connective pipelines and railways than divisive borders.

The same process is unfolding to China’s south in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations region. Post-colonial countries have spent generations since World War II engaged in bitter nationalist struggles and hostilities with their neighbors — not to mention suffering Cold War-related interventions such as the Vietnam War. But today, Southeast Asia has become the leading example of a new generation of leaders burying the hatchet and evolving towards a European style regional model. Chinese-financed railways are planned linking Kunming via Laos and Thailand through Malaysia to Singapore, while trade corridors will connect Myanmar to Vietnam.

Harvard Goes To The Himalayas – Monks With ‘Superhuman’ Abilities Show Scientists What We Can All Do

March 1, 2016 by Arjun Walia

It’s fascinating to consider just how many ancient teachings tell us that humans have the capacity to gain extraordinary powers through various techniques. Some of these techniques, known as siddhis in the yoga tradition (from the Sanskrit, meaning “perfection”), include meditation, static dancing, drumming, praying, fasting, psychedelics, and more.
In Buddhism, for example, the existence of advanced powers is readily acknowledged; in fact, Buddha expected his disciples to be able to attain these abilities, but also to not become distracted by them.
A Professor of Buddhist and Tibetan Studies at the University of Michigan, Donald Lopez Jr., describes the many abilities ascribed to Buddha:
With this enlightenment, he was believed to possess all manner of supernormal powers, including full knowledge of each of his own past lives and those of other beings, the ability to know others’ thoughts, the ability to create doubles of himself, the ability to rise into the air and simultaneously shoot fire and water from his body. . . . Although he passed into nirvana at the age of eighty-one, he could have lived “for an aeon or until the end of the aeon” if only he had been asked to do so. (source)
Again, there are numerous historical anecdotes of people with, as the Institute of Noetic Sciences calls them, ‘extended human capacities.” Since this article is focused on Buddhist monks, here is another example from the lore as written by Swami Rama in Living with the Himalayan Masters:


APRIL 20, 2016
LinkedInIn a smartphone world it’s easy to see China rise, but have we forgotten our other senses? This exercise in think tank voyeurism has become a distracting mirage, from CSIS’s aerial photos of the Great Wall of Sand to the Lowy Institute’s Technicolor chart of China’s worldwide diplomatic reach. It’s all as eye-popping as Superman’s red cape:Look! China’s so high! It’s a carrier! It’s a plane! It’s Suuu-per Missile! And then RAND’s watchful eye scoops it all up, with a ringside boxing judge’s “scorecard” for all to view.
But maybe it’s our unblinking, screen-obsessed eyes that deceive us. Instead of focusing on the mano a mano with China, perhaps we should consider another Big Red Rise: Netflix. Because when we do, we’ll find the third offset is more than gadgets, and really about the intersection of our allies and technology, underpinned by deep defense diplomacy. That said, on with the show.

Netflix claims 70 million subscribers in 190 countries, on par with China’s 162 embassies and 87 consulates. The global television network features shows such as Marco Polo, which follows the eponymous Western traveler struggling to understand China. If America’s still keen on rebalancing to the Pacific, maybe there’s something to learn from a company that actuated a successful pivot of its own, from the physical DVD disc to online streaming. We might use one red monolith to understand another in a modified net assessment, which Andrew Marshall defined in 1972 as a “description of the comparative situation of ourselves and our rivals” to highlight our “areas of comparative advantage.” So let’s put on those red-tinted spectacles.
Netflix’s Daredevil is about a blind lawyer, Matt Murdock, who lost his sight at age nine in an accident, but was trained by a similarly sightless sensei named Stick into an expert martial artist. Daredevil sees without sight, having developed his other senses to the degree that they tell him much more about the world than a normally sighted person. When an opponent approaches, Daredevil hears heartbeats, gauges mood, calculates weaknesses, notices “tells” through sweat rates — he’s quick to understand threats with a penetrating, personal sonar. As a daytime lawyer, he possesses a strong analytical mind undistracted by vision and so easily differentiates the merely visible from the clearly important.

Missing wood for trees in China

Thursday, 21 April 2016 | Pravin Sawhney |
Instead of splitting hairs over fine details of the Line of Actual Control or blocked UN sanctions against Pakistan-sponsored terrorists, India, in its discussions with the leadership in Beijing, should focus on understanding the large-scale military reforms underway in China
By raising futile concerns on his maiden visit to China, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has wasted the opportunity of not seeking insights into Chinese military reforms that directly impinge on India’s defence. China, on the other hand, handled the visit well by giving Parrikar a palliative in the form of a military hotline to return home with.
After his meetings with Chinese Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission, General Fan Changlong, and Defence Minister General Chang Wanquan, Parrikar confirmed that he had raised four concerns with the Chinese leadership. These are the need to clarify the Line of Actual Control, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor that passes through disputed Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, China’s blocking of UN sanctions against Masood Azhar, and the need to maintain peace in the Indian Ocean region. While listening to India’s concern, Chinese military leaders did not give a commitment to considering them.

The clarification of the LAC was first sought by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the joint Press conference with Chinese President Xi Jinping during his September 2014 visit to India. The issue was once again raised by Modi while addressing students at the Tsinghua University in Beijing on May 15, 2015. The Chinese leadership had dismissed India’s desire for mutual agreement on the LAC for two reasons. One, after the Chinese announcement of December 2010 that it did not have a border with India in Ladakh (Jammu & Kashmir), the LAC there with India had become meaningless. To ask China to agree to the LAC in Ladakh on what China now considers disputed territory between India and Pakistan is unrealistic.
And two, the LAC, by definition a military line, can be moved by force by either side. This helps Chinese troops do brazen LAC transgressions and intrusions. On the other hand, transgressions on an agreed LAC a de facto border would be an act of aggression tantamount to declaration of war. Why will China lose the advantage of exercising military coercion by sauntering across the LAC at will?

The Inherent Fallacy of Believing We Can Beat the Islamic State Without U.S. Ground Troops

No one — not Obama, Clinton, Trump, or Cruz — will dare to admit the obvious: We’re going to need to put boots on the ground in Iraq and Syria.
By Kori Schake, April 20, 2016
On Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama authorized the deployment of 217 more troops to Iraq, as part of the fight against the Islamic State. As Secretary of Defense Ash Carter explained: “This will put Americans closer to the action.” Washington will also send Apache helicopters to Iraqi forces and pay $415 million in salaries for Kurdish troops and other “military needs” in the runup to retaking Mosul.
If you think this counts as getting tough in the fight against radical jihadis who have unsettled the Middle East and brought violence to the heart of Europe, you’re deluding yourself. Obama’s strategy for fighting the Islamic State is half-measures, at best: contributing U.S. military force at the margins of efforts by those most directly affected with loss of territory. The president prides himself on a minimalist approach, doing just about as much for Iraqi forces or the Syrian rebels as they could do for themselves. It amounts to an argument that he is preventing the moral hazard of other countries relying on the United States for their security. But that approach treats as costless two very important elements in fighting the Islamic State: confidence and time.

One of the emptiest canards in warfare is “there is no military solution.” Unless you fight to complete extermination, war always involves convincing your adversary to stop fighting. That is, to cede their political goals rather than continue using military force to attain them. Usually, that requires doing some fighting. Of course, adversaries tend not to give up if they think they’re winning or could win — which is why soldiers like the Powell Doctrine of committing large forces in order to demonstrate your political will to win.
It’s also why Obama’s incremental commitment of small numbers of troops — 300 advisors here, a specialized targeting team there — is so ineffective. It conveys the limits of Washington’s willingness to fight. The Islamic State, Bashar al-Assad, Vladimir Putin, and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei all understand those limits and are acting accordingly. America’s allies get the message now, too, especially after the president wrote off Iraq and fought the war in Afghanistan halfheartedly. They will not step forward and commit the ground troops necessitated by Obama’s approach because they lack the confidence that Washington will see this difficult fight through.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Islamic State

By Marwan Hisham,  April 20, 2016 

I met Abu Samou when he pulled over to the side of the road in his small Foton truck in Al-Bab, a lifeless city with mostly empty streets northeast of Aleppo controlled by the so-called Islamic State. I was heading for the Turkish border with the aim of settling in Turkey, but since the Islamic State bans everyone except traders from leaving its caliphate, I only had two options. I could try walking out of Islamic State territory via smuggling routes that pass through mine fields, or I could try to find a truck driver kind enough to help me. Hitchhiking seemed like the better bet.
I knew hitchhiking would involve crossing the dangerous front line between the “caliphate” and rebel-held territory. What I didn’t realize is that the journey would also include a harrowing, first-hand education in the workings of the contemporary Syrian economy.
I was advised to approach the men who drive oil across northern Syria, in the hope of finding someone who would be OK with my posing as an “assistant” at Islamic State checkpoints. So I set myself up at the Aleppo-bound side of the Hazwan traffic junction on the outskirts of Al-Bab, and after hiding my bag behind a rock, I waited.
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  “I’ll signal 20 trucks before I give up,” I told myself.
Twenty trucks passed by in an hour or so. None stopped for me. But I couldn’t bear the thought of returning home, so I resolved to test my luck a little while longer.
After three hours of waiting helplessly, Abu Samou pulled over. A middle-aged man with a red keffiyeh wrapped around his head and fingers stained with mazut, Abu Samou’s wide, cheerful face made him seem trustworthy and kind. He quickly agreed to take me to his hometown of Marea, a rebel-controlled area that is nonetheless surrounded by the Islamic State on three sides. From there, I could easily reach the border, which is only a short drive away.

After hopping into his truck, I learned Abu Samou is one of hundreds of oil traders who cross the muddy fields that link Islamic State territories to the rebel-held ones. He buys his diesel oil in Al-Bab, the town in the eastern countryside of Aleppo province, and sells it in Marea or Azaz.
Al-Bab is the Islamic State’s gateway to the outside world: Here, oil produced in Islamic State-controlled fields is transported to rebel-held towns, while goods, which come across the Turkish border, travel in the other direction, providing a lifeline for the population residing under the militant group’s rule.
Even while war rages between the many factions struggling for control in Syria, economic life continues between the country’s fractured territories. The Islamic State uses the sale of oil to finance its wars, while for the civilians and anti-Assad armed groups that inhabit the region, buying Islamic State-produced oil is the only way that they can get their hands on enough fuel to make their cities habitable. 

The Online Fight Against ISIS

U.S. sailors assigned to Navy Cyber Defense Operations Command monitor, analyze, detect, and respond to unauthorized cyber activity
Even as the United States and its allies carry out aerial bombardments in Iraq and Syria, their target, the Islamic State (ISIS), may be preparing to retaliate on another front. By taking the battle into cyberspace, ISIS would gain many of the advantages of asymmetric warfare — unless the US organizes itself to counter the group's efforts. 
The entry barriers to cyber warfare are remarkably low, even for non-state actors. Even if ISIS does not currently have the capability to carry out cyber-attacks, it is unlikely to find it difficult to recruit followers with the requisite expertise; in the past, other terrorist and insurgent organizations, including Al Qaeda, have done just that. There are bound to be cyber mercenaries, sympathizers, and freelancers available if the price is right

Experts have cautioned that ISIS could strike unprotected infrastructure or private residences. Hundreds of thousands of industrial and commercial control systems, including the rapidly growing Internet of Things, are leaving ever-wider swaths of everyday life vulnerable to disruption. And far more troubling is the warning by the Nuclear Threat Initiative, a nonprofit devoted to strengthening global security, that many civilian and military nuclear facilities are inadequately protected against cyber-attacks. 
Late last year, computer and network security researchers revealed, to little surprise or fanfare, that ISIS was active on the so-called dark web. These websites, which are invisible to search engines and accessible only through specialized software, are often havens for purveyors of child pornography, drugs, or other illicit products, including hacking services and malicious software. This development was the first sign that ISIS was actively seeking to develop a cyber capability that it could deploy even if it loses its footing on the ground. 
So far, terrorists have lagged behind their criminal counterparts in adopting virtual currencies like the peer-to-peer currency Bitcoin. But this could change if Western countries are successful in countering ISIS's current sources of funding, including oil smuggling and extortion. Indeed, ISIS has allegedly already solicited Bitcoin donations

** A Pivot to Nowhere: The Realities of Russia’s Asia Policy

Two years after the Kremlin’s rift with the West, Moscow’s hopes that a new business relationship with Asia would make up for Russia’s losses have not materialized. President Putin and other members of the elite did not commit themselves strongly to the idea of a “pivot to Asia.” Only certain parts of the private sector have benefited.
“There was a certain level of optimism regarding Chinese companies. It was thought they were coming to the Russian market to spend big money. But the Chinese turned out to be very rational and very good businesspeople, so they wouldn’t give money away for nothing,” declared Victor Vekselberg, one of Russia’s richest and most powerful men, talking in late March at a high-level business conference attended by President Vladimir Putin. 
Vekselberg’s words captured the mood of the Russian elite two years after Russia proudly announced a “pivot to Asia” in the midst of its struggle with the West over Ukraine. 

The phrase “pivot to Asia” became popular among the Russian elite in May 2014, following Putin’s triumphant visit to Shanghai right after the takeover of Crimea and the imposition of the first Western sanctions. Half of Russia’s ministers and many its wealthiest men came home from the trip with memoranda of understanding and friendship—if not actual agreements or contracts. 
The biggest advocate of Sino-Russian friendship was Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller, who brought back a $400 billion contract (oil was worth almost $110 per barrel at the time). By September 2014, Miller was saying at the Sochi investment forum that one can’t apply European standards to doing business in the Asian gas market and that “just in one day, our esteemed Chinese partners did business on the same level as Germany, our major gas consumer.”
The Gazprom chief is known to exaggerate, but his words reflected the general optimism in Moscow. Many were confident that the Chinese would flock to take advantage of Russia’s rift with the West by buying up assets, issuing loans, and sharing technology. There was a scramble to do business with China, or other parts of Asia. 

The Revival of the Russian Military

Op-Ed April 18, 2016 Foreign Affairs
Beginning in 2008, Putin ushered in military reforms and a massive increase in defense spending to upgrade Russia’s creaky military. Thanks to that project, Russia has recently evinced a newfound willingness to use force to get what it wants.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Russian military rotted away. In one of the most dramatic campaigns of peacetime demilitarization in world history, from 1988 to 1994, Moscow’s armed forces shrank from five million to one million personnel. As the Kremlin’s defense expenditures plunged from around $246 billion in 1988 to $14 billion in 1994, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the government withdrew some 700,000 servicemen from Afghanistan, Germany, Mongolia, and eastern Europe. So much had the prestige of the military profession evaporated during the 1990s that when the nuclear submarine Kursk sank in the Barents Sea in 2000, its captain was earning the equivalent of $200 per month.

From 1991 to 2008, during the presidency of Boris Yeltsin and the first presidential term of Vladimir Putin, Russia used its scaled-down military within the borders of the former Soviet Union, largely to contain, end, or freeze conflicts there. Over the course of the 1990s, Russian units intervened in ethnic conflicts in Georgia and Moldova and in the civil war in Tajikistan—all minor engagements. Even for the operation in Chechnya, where Yeltsin sent the Russian military in 1994 in an attempt to crush a separatist rebellion, the Russian General Staff was able to muster only 65,000 troops out of a force that had, in theory, a million men under arms.
Beyond the borders of the former Soviet Union, Russia acted meekly. It sought a partnership with the United States and at times cooperated with NATO, joining the peacekeeping operation led by that alliance in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1996. To be sure, after realizing in the mid-1990s that NATO membership was off the table, Moscow protested vehemently against the alliance’s eastern expansion, its 1999 bombing campaign in Yugoslavia, and the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, but Russia was too weak to block any of these moves. The Kremlin’s top priority for military development remained its nuclear deterrent, which it considered the ultimate guarantor of Russia’s security and sovereignty.

Reality Check A daily explanation of what matters and what doesn't in the world of geopolitics.

April 20, 2016
By Jacob L. Shapiro
Journey to Europe: The Ongoing Romanian Revolution
The people are still determining the lives they want to lead and the way the government should rule.
George has been to Romania many times before, but this is my first visit to Bucharest. Our first day here was full of meetings, but yesterday George was the kick-off speaker for the third annual Emerging Funding for the Real Economy conference. He spoke about many issues with which our readers are familiar: the instability of the Eastern Hemisphere, the relative security of the Western Hemisphere and the intersecting crises in Europe, the Middle East, Russia and China. But he also applied these issues directly to Romania’s deepest challenge: overcoming its communist past.
The conference was held at the Athénée Palace Hilton. The Athénée Palace is one of those iconic buildings that, because of the various people it has hosted throughout the past century, has become imbued with historical grandeur. The only other hotel I have been to in my life that has provoked the same feeling within me is the Grand Hôtel des Bains in Venice, where the protagonist of Thomas Mann’s famous novella “Death in Venice” slowly unravels. But Mann’s work and the events that made the Hôtel des Bains meaningful for me was fiction. The Athénée, on the other hand, belongs to history.

I cannot write about Romania without thinking of Robert D. Kaplan and his most recent book on Romania, “In Europe’s Shadow,” but more important, his 1993 masterpiece, “Balkan Ghosts.” I was assigned “Balkan Ghosts” in high school and I am fairly certain I was the only one of my classmates who read all of it. That book began my lifelong love affair with history and politics. It wasn’t because I understood “Balkan Ghosts” after reading it. On the contrary – precocious teenager though I was, I could not truly understand the profound suffering that was Nicolae Ceaușescu’s rule, let alone the complexities of the Balkans.
Romania is still feeling the effects of 42 years of communist rule. Even 27 years after Ceaușescu was executed and the state-planned economy was discredited, there is an impulse to look to the government for instruction while simultaneously lambasting the government for its inadequacies. George extended this point by explaining our view of the European Union and how Romania may not want to put all of its eggs in Brussels’ basket – that it’s just looking for another source of approval. George and every other speaker yesterday spoke about how one of the main challenges for the government is to get out of the entrepreneur’s way.

Avoiding the New Cold War With Russia


With two risky flyovers of U.S. military assets in a week, tensions with Moscow are high. We need to tone things down, before flyovers become bombing runs.
By James Stavridis, April 20, 2016
In Ian Fleming’s iconic novel Goldfinger, the villain says about secret agent James Bond’s tendency to turn up and disrupt his plans again and again: “Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it’s enemy action.”
So what are we then to make of the two highly provocative Russian maneuvers that occurred over the past week, directed against a U.S. warship on the Baltic high seas and a U.S. aircraft in international airspace nearby?
Vladimir Putin is playing with fire in this kind of hyper-aggressive maneuvering, and there can be little doubt the direction is coming from him, personally, given the way Russia is run today and the high-stakes nature of flying attack profiles against U.S. military assets.

In the first incident, on April 12, a Russian Su-24 jet flew within just 50 feet of the USS Donald Cook at high speed after approaching at an extremely low altitude. The U.S. ship, an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, held fire but would have been clearly within the rules of engagement to use defensive weapons on the Russian aircraft. Having commanded a similar ship some years ago, I can attest to the level of restraint shown by the captain; he was presented with possible hostile intent and must have at least considered shooting down the jet. The situation was mitigated by the lack of a visible weapon on the Su-24 and the absence of Russian fire control radar being actively used to “lock up” the U.S. warship.
The second incident occurred on April 17, involving a U.S. Boeing RC-135 operating in international airspace. In this instance, a Russian Su-27 did a barrel roll over the top of the slower and less maneuverable U.S. plane, at about 50 feet away. This is very dangerous (two of my carrier strike group’s F-14s managed to collide while doing this in 2004) and was more reminiscent of the kind of aerial buffoonery made famous by the film Top Gun. That kind of flying was stupid in 1986 (when we were doing it, as well as the Russians), and it is stupid now.

US takes Iran ties forward. Europe elated, Russia worried

The decision by the US Department of Energy to buy a strategic substance from Iran that America itself cannot produce makes a big geopolitical statement.
An Interior view of Arak heavy water production facility in Central Iran
The deal may be worth only $8.6 million but it involves the purchase of 32 tons of heavy water from the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran.
At present, Canada and India meet most of global demands of heavy water for non-nuclear use (estimated to be around 100 tons, US accounting for three fourths of it). The fact that US is choosing the newest kid on the block as its main supplier can only mean that it intentionally put on display a landmark decision that the world community will duly take note.
The Savannah River National Laboratory in Georgia, which used to produce heavy water until 1981 when the US shuttered down its production capacity, has tested the Iranian heavy water and found it is top-shelf. Hundreds of research teams in the US will be the beneficiaries of Iranian supplies, once the shipment arrives in the coming weeks.

Conceivably, US could be tiptoeing toward deeper collaboration with Iran’s Arak heavy water plant, which, under the nuclear agreement of last July, is being converted into an international science and technology center. The US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz has urged his department “to begin thinking about other areas of collaboration”. Iran is now working with the United States and China to reconfigure the Arak reactor to largely eliminate plutonium production.
Interestingly, on a parallel track on Friday, US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart Foreign Minister Mohammed Zarif also worked out an amicable method to prod foreign business deals with non-sanctioned Iranian firms, whereby Washington would approve the new rules under which Iran will be able to get the full benefit of the nuclear deal, including access to the frozen funds held by foreign banks.
Kerry said in New York at a joint media interaction with Zarif:
We (US) have no objection and we do not stand in the way of foreign banks engaging with Iranian banks and companies… State and the Treasury Department have been actively engaged with partner governments and the private sector in order to clarify those sanctions that have been lifted. And if banks or any company has any question about this, we’re happy to answer those questions. They shouldn’t just assume that activities that were not permitted before… are not permitted at this point in time. And so they shouldn’t also assume that activities still prohibited by the primary (US) embargo are also prohibited for foreign actors… So when in doubt – my message: when in doubt, ask.
United States is committed to doing our part as we believe it is in our interest to ensure that… the nuclear agreement… is in fact working for all participants… It is mutuality that was created in this, and it’s important that we make sure there is mutuality in its implementation.

VCJCS Mulls Newest Domain: Electromagnetic Spectrum

By SYDNEY J. FREEDBERG JR.on April 22, 2016 
WASHINGTON: The Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is taking a “very serious” look at to making the electromagnetic spectrum a formal “domain” of military operations, a top aide to the Pentagon’s chief information officer told me this morning. The move would elevate the ethereal realm of radio waves and radar to the same level of importance as land, sea, air, space, and cyberspace, with ramifications rippling across the military’s budget, training, and organization.
We’ve written for years about the military’s anxiety that it has “lost the electromagnetic spectrum” to increasingly sophisticated adversaries like Russia and China, who can jam or spoof the networks and sensors on which US operations depend. We’ve also written about the effort to elevate the spectrum to a domain to ensure it gets top-level attention and resources, an effort in which the Pentagon CIO plays a leading role. Now it looks like that effort is gathering major momentum.
“Spectrum operations are so important that we ought to look at declaring the electromagnetic spectrum a domain,” said Maj. Gen. Sandra Finan, deputy CIO for C4 and information infrastructure, told an AFCEA conference this morning. “We are going to be operating offensively and defensively across that domain,” she continued. “So I think that’s one of the most important things that we can see in the future.”

Such a blunt endorsement of the domain idea stands in stark contrast to CIO Terry Halvorsen’s cautious statement on the subject five months ago. So I approached Maj. Gen. Finan after her public remarks to ask her how the effort has progressed.
“At the Vice-Chairman level, there is discussion on electromagnetic spectrum as a domain,” Finan told me. She confirmed that meant Gen. Paul Selva, Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, who — among many other roles — co-chairs a high-level Electronic Warfare Executive Committee (EW EXCOM) chartered by Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work.
“It is very heartily being debated right now. [It] is very serious,” Finan said. “It is being talked about. There are papers being written. So it’s not just a theory in somebody’s head, it is actually being debated, and I think we’re seeing some fairly positive movement on [making the spectrum] a domain.”
“The question will be how do we do it,” the general caveated. “There’s lots of complications.” The recognition of cyberspace as a domain is the big precedent, she said — and cyberspace overlaps with the electromagnetic spectrum in the form of wireless networks, she noted.

Rather Than Fearing 'Cyber 9/11,' Prepare for 'Cyber Katrina'

by Andrew Lauland
While the nation's attention is rightly focused on the threat of international terrorism and the horror that can be unleashed with conventional weapons, other less conventional but potentially devastating threats still loom.
One such threat is the risk of a cyber-based attack. There is almost universal agreement on the growing risk of a large-scale cyber attack on entities within the continental United States — including critical infrastructure operators, financial institutions and government itself — which could lead to significant economic and social disruption, including the loss of life.
However, rather than fearing a still-undefined “cyber 9/11,” the response to another tragic event in America's history may hold equally important lessons — and solutions — for confronting the cyber threat. 

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck the city of New Orleans and the greater Gulf Coast with devastating effect. However, neither the threat of a storm of Katrina's magnitude nor the systems and processes for responding to it were new. Katrina represented a major test of the nation's post-9/11 systems for a synchronized, effective, whole-of-nation response to a large-scale emergency, which rapidly overcame the ability of the impacted state and local governments to respond to it. 
Most New Orleanians would tell you that the nation failed this test. The Federal Emergency Management Agency was widely criticized and launched major reforms to ensure that a similar circumstance — in which resources were delayed and disorganized, lines of authority were tangled and unclear and impromptu, often self-deployed resources were the order of the day rather than a unified response — could never happen again. 
As a result, the United States today has an improving and well-tested system for providing mutual aid across state lines, across different levels of government and between the public and private sectors for such large-scale emergencies. 
Unfortunately, the boundaries of this system essentially end at cyberspace. In the event of a true, large-scale cyber event in the United States, although the nation would be required to do many of the same functions required by a response to an emergency in the physical world, there is a high likelihood the response would be at best “a pickup game,” and at worst, chaotic. 

A brief history of U.S. encryption policy


The FBI’s recent attempt to force Apple to unlock the iPhone of Syed Farook brought the battle over encryption directly to the pockets of many Americans. For perhaps the first time, encryption was a topic for dinner table discussion. Though widely believed to be a new battle, a brief survey of the history of encryption regulation shows that law enforcement, intelligence agencies, and technologists have been struggling over encryption backdoors since the early 1990s. 
Exporting encryption and the Clipper chip
The encryption battles of the early 1990s focused primarily on two issues: restrictions on the export of encryption technologies and the National Security Agency’s (NSA) attempts to introduce a chipset called the Clipper chip to network technology. The first was the result of Cold War era laws designed to control the diffusion of sensitive technologies, including encryption software. This became an issue in the early 1990s when encryption software became commonplace in web browsers. In 1996, President Clinton signed an executive order that loosened restrictions after technology companies claimed that the export controls on encrypted products hurt their sales.

The National Security Agency (NSA) announced the Clipper chip in 1993. The chip was a piece of hardware designed for phones which would provide encryption on communications while also producing an encryption key and making it available to the NSA. After backlash from civil liberty groups, findings of technical vulnerabilities in the chip, and low adoption rates despite incentives, the program ended in 1996.
Snowden and Bullrun
Between the failure of the Clipper chip and Congress’s decision to not address Internet encryption in the Digital Telephony Act, the status of encryption in the U.S. seemed settled. At the same time, encryption had become more widespread, and the NSA feared they would lose the ability to access those communications. As a result, the agency began a secret program called Bullrun to crack encryption standards.

The New York Times published an article in September 2013 based on documents received from Edward Snowden revealing details of this program. The NSA’s methods include the creation of backdoors by compromising the software used to generate the random numbers used in encryption algorithms and gaining access to encrypted communications through hacking. The New York Times article claims that by 2006, the NSA had gained access to the communications of “three foreign airlines, one travel reservation system, one foreign government’s nuclear department and another’s Internet service by cracking the virtual private networks that protected them.”
Going Dark and Apple v. FBI
In the wake of the Snowden revelations, Apple and Google announced strengthened encryption in their products. In response, FBI director James Comey and other law enforcement officials publicly criticized the technology giants. Comey also spoke at Brookings in October 2014 on the “going dark” issue. He told the Senate Judiciary Committee in July 2015 that end-to-end encryption prevents law enforcement from collecting electronic evidence required to keep America safe. Comey’s request for government access to encrypted communication echoed other government officials who began to call for mandated encryption backdoors for the government. Unlike in the Clipper chip debate, the “going dark” debate has emphasized the threat of terrorism. Fueling this new narrative is a greater sense of the need for a backdoor after recent terrorist attacks in Paris, San Bernardino, and Brussels. 

How US Special Forces Collect Intel to Target Terrorists

April 17, 2016
Outside the wire: How U.S. Special Operations troops secretly help foreign forces target terrorists
Souad Mekhennet and Missy Ryan
Washington Post,April 17, 2016
TUNIS — The armed men drove right into the nighttime ambush. The militants, led by a veteran jihadist blamed for a bloody attack on Westerners just 10 days earlier, were winding their way along a narrow desert road in central Tunisia.
When the elite Tunisian forces hidden in the surrounding hills opened fire, their tracers lit up the night sky, and some of the militants tried to flee. All nine suspects, including the senior militant, Khaled Chaib, were killed. An informant in the truck at the time of the ambush was wounded in the shoulder.
The March 2015 operation was a badly needed victory for Tunisia’s fragile democracy, whose leaders were struggling to deliver on the promise of the 2011 revolution. Prime Minister Habib Essid called the ambush by Tunisian National Guard forces the crowning success of a growing counterterrorism capability. One newspaper headline proclaimed: “The country has been saved from catastrophe.”
But what Tunisian leaders did not reveal was the pivotal role that U.S. Special Operations forces had taken in helping to design and stage the operation.
According to Tunisian and U.S. officials, American communications intercepts tracked down Chaib, an Algerian also known as Loqman Abu Sakhr, allowing the local troops to position themselves in the desert. An American team, made up of Special Operations commandos assisted by CIA personnel, helped the Tunisian forces craft and rehearse the ambush. And while the raid unfolded, an American surveillance aircraft circled overhead and a small team of U.S. advisers stood watch from a forward location. Speaking by telephone, Gen. David M. Rodriguez, the head of U.S. Africa Command, praised the counterterrorism efforts of Tunisian forces but declined to comment on the operation in Tunisia’s Gafsa region. The CIA also declined to comment.
The operation illustrates the central but little-known role that U.S. Special Operations troops can play in helping foreign forces plan and execute deadly missions against militant targets.
In recent years, U.S. forces have provided this kind of close operational support — a range of activities including what’s known in military parlance as “combat advising” or “accompany” and “enabling” assistance — in a growing list of countries beyond the active battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan, including Uganda, Mauritania, Kenya, Colombia, the Philippines and Tunisia.
Those activities have taken on greater importance as the Obama administration has scaled back the direct combat role of U.S. troops overseas and instead sought to empower local forces to manage extremist threats.

If We Fight Joint, Shouldn't Our History Reflect That?

By David F. Winkler | Joint Force Quarterly 81 | March 29, 2016 
American forces are fighting joint as never before in conjunction with the armed forces of allied nations. Joint and combined operations in Afghanistan and Iraq and current operations over Iraq and Syria have demonstrated conclusively that the Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986 came at the right time and has subsequently produced impressive results.
Yet because its historical assets remain in a pre-1986 Service-centric paradigm, the Department of Defense (DOD) has denied itself valuable historical analyses of the many joint and combined operations that have occurred since the landmark legislation. We are failing to effectively “collect, chronicle, and connect.” These three words, once used by now-retired Admiral Edmund P. Giambastiani, Jr., to describe what the Navy expects from its history, could be extended to the joint and combined level.1
DOD faces tremendous challenges in the collection realm, given the increasing sophistication of digital command and control systems and data storage. While this article touches on that, it focuses its argument on the idea that realignment is needed to correct a void in its historical chronicling and connecting process.

To illustrate the problem, there are no unclassified DOD-produced historical monographs from the first Gulf War that cover the big picture. Instead, each Service published works documenting the missions and accomplishments of the forces they provided. The U.S. Army Center of Military History publications include The Whirlwind War: The United States Army and Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm and Jayhawk! The VII Corps in the Persian Gulf War.2 The Air Force History Support Office publications include On Target: Organizing and Executing the Strategic Air Campaign Against Iraq.3 Representing the Naval Historical Center’s contribution to this genre is Shield and Sword: The United States Navy and the Persian Gulf War. The Marine Corps History Division has several monographs in print.4