03/29/2021 News & Commentary – National Security
News & commentary by Dave Maxwell. Edited and published by Daniel Riggs. 1. AP Exclusive: WHO report says animals likely source of COVID
2. Disinformation vs. Misinformation 3. Assessing the Application of a Cold War Strategic Framework to Establish Norms in the Cyber Threat Environment
4. ‘Be aware’: The Pentagon’s target list for extremist infiltrators — right and left 5. Iran, China sign landmark 25-year cooperation agreement 6. Opinion | The United States has a major hole in its cyberdefense.
Here’s how to fix it. 7. An Alliance of Autocracies? China Wants to Lead a New World Order.
8. Authorities and Legal Considerations for US Cyber and Information Operations in a Contested Environment 9. Biden Team Boosts Effort to Shield U.S. Power Grid From Hackers
10. In the South China Sea, Biden is outdoing Trump in bluff and bluster 11. China’s Belt and Road Effort Demands a Multipart US Response 12. Exclusive: The Secret Global Data Cell Infiltrating Jihadists
13. The puzzle of Joe Biden’s ‘middle class foreign policy’ 14. A Clash of Civilizations with Chinese Characteristics 15. The New American Geostrategic Consensus Over China – Analysis
16. Open letter to the troops: Take the damn vaccine, please 17. US Special Operations Command ‘Not Aware’ of Top Hire’s Anti-Trump Posts 18. CIA Super Spy, or Super Con?
19. Remembering Jerry Sage, the Inspiration for “The Great Escape” 20. Special Operations News Update – Monday, March 29, 2021 | SOF News 21. In Great Power Wars, Americans Could Again Become POWs
22. Did China cross a new red line in cyberspace? 1. AP Exclusive: WHO report says animals likely source of COVID
AP . by Ken Moritsugu and Jamey Keaten . March 29, 2021 Expose Chinese influence on this report. Such exposure should cause Chinese efforts to prevent accountability to backfire
Excerpt: “The report’s release has been repeatedly delayed, raising questions about whether the Chinese side was trying to skew the conclusions to prevent blame for the pandemic falling on China. A World Health Organization official said late last week that he expected it would be ready for release “in the next few days.” The AP received a copy on Monday from a Geneva-based diplomat from a WHO-member country.
It wasn’t clear whether the report might still be changed prior to release, though the diplomat said it was the final version. A second diplomat confirmed getting the report too. Both refused to be identified because they were not authorized to release it ahead of publication.”
2. Disinformation vs. Misinformation
carryingthegun.com . by DG . March 29, 2021 A reminder for those who need reminding.
3. Assessing the Application of a Cold War Strategic Framework to Establish Norms in the Cyber Threat Environment divergentoptions.org . by Divergent Options .
March 29, 2021 Conclusion: “As cyber capabilities have expanded and matured over time, there has been an apparent failure to achieve consensus on what the red lines of cyber confrontation are. Some actors appear to abide by general rules, while others make it a point of exploring new ways to raise or lower the bar on acceptable actions in cyberspace.
Meanwhile, criminals and non-aligned groups are just as aggressive with their operations as many terrorist groups were during the height of the Cold War, and they are similarly frequently used or discarded by nation states depending on the situation and the need. However, nation states on the two sides were useful bulwarks against overzealous actions, as they could exert influence over the actions of groups operating from their territory or abusing their patronage. Espionage in cyberspace will not stop, nor can a framework anticipate every possible scenario that my unfold.
Despite these imperfections, in the future an issue like the SolarWinds breach could lead to a series of escalatory actions a la the Cuban Missile Crisis, or the cyber threat environment could be governed by a Strategic Arms Limitation Talk-like treaty which bans cyber intrusions into global supply chains. Applying aspects of the Cold War strategic framework can begin to bring order to the chaos of the cyber threat environment, while also helping highlight areas where this framework falls short and new ways of thinking are needed.”
4. ‘Be aware’: The Pentagon’s target list for extremist infiltrators — right and left Politico . March 27, 2021
There is no place for extremists of the right or left in our military. But we have to do this right or we risk undermining the trust in our military as well as good order and discipline. Dr.
Kurth Cronin describes the real problem we have and we may be violating one of the most important rules of planning – developing a plan without a thorough understanding of the problem we are trying to solve. And the irony is such an action can (and likely will) play into the narrative of extremists that will contribute to enhancing legitimacy of extremist organizations and aid in recruiting.
Excerpts: “But the Pentagon says one is too many and the true numbers are not known because adherents who have been recruited by extremist groups or encouraged to enlist often organize and communicate in secret. “No one truly knows,” Audrey Kurth Cronin, the director of American University’s Center for Security, Innovation and New Technology, told a House panel this week. “No serious plan can be built without defining the scope of the problem.” The internal training materials focus on extremist behavior and symbolism — of all different stripes — and point out the risk of making false assumptions about people who do not pose any threat.
This includes pointing out that religious conservatives are often mistakenly lumped together with white supremacists or other extremists.” 5. Iran, China sign landmark 25-year cooperation agreement
Reuters . by Reuters Staff . March 27, 2021
6. Opinion | The United States has a major hole in its cyberdefense. Here’s how to fix it. The Washington Post . by Robert M.
Gates . March 28, 2021 Excerpt: “For Cyber Command to be able to respond instantly to attacks, the commander also had to be in charge of the National Security Agency, the only U.S. institution with the capability to defend the country against such attacks and retaliate.
Cyberdefense and cyberoffense, I was convinced (and still am), needed to be commanded by one person. The commander of Cyber Command could not be in the position of having to ask for or negotiate NSA support, thus increasing the danger of delays in our response time.”
7. An Alliance of Autocracies? China Wants to Lead a New World Order. The New York Times . by Steven Lee Myers .
March 29, 2021 My personal assessment: China seeks to export its authoritarian political system around the world in order to dominate regions, co-opt or coerce international organizations, create economic conditions favorable to China alone, and displace democratic institutions.
8. Authorities and Legal Considerations for US Cyber and Information Operations in a Contested Environment mwi.usma.edu . by Gary Corn . March 29, 2021
Conclusion: “When in doubt, it is easy to fall back on what you know. But when it comes to the complex challenges of conducting military cyber and information operations in the gray zone of great power competition, easy is generally not the right or even the best answer. With respect to both defend-forward operations and true deterrence, there needs to be a more sophisticated approach to targeting strategies, resisting the tendency to revert to armed-conflict targeting paradigms and instead developing and instantiating targeting procedures better aligned to the unique operational environment and the non-armed conflict legal structures that apply.”
9. Biden Team Boosts Effort to Shield U.S. Power Grid From Hackers
Yahoo . by Jennifer Jacobs, Jennifer A. Dlouhy and Michael Riley Excerpts: “A chief concern is deciding the shape of collective defense and response efforts.
Administration officials at the March 16 meeting made clear they were seeking to enhance coordination, communication, reporting and response between the industry and government. The virtual session was the first broad meeting between top Biden administration officials and executives in the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council, a group designed to further industry-government coordination on protecting the grid. The electric power sector values its close working relationship with partners in government, said Scott Aaronson, vice president for security and preparedness at the Edison Electric Institute that represents investor-owned electric companies.
“We appreciate that this administration already is coordinating with grid operators to protect critical energy infrastructure,” Aaronson said in an emailed statement. “Protecting and defending critical infrastructure is a shared responsibility that requires engagement and expertise from asset owners and government partners.” 10. In the South China Sea, Biden is outdoing Trump in bluff and bluster
SCMP . by Mark J. Valencia . by March 29, 2021 Excerpts: “In 2016, Blinken told the House of Representatives that China “can’t have it both ways”, being a party to UNCLOS but rejecting binding arbitration decisions.
Yet the US is trying to do precisely that – pick and choose which provisions it will abide by, in a treaty it has not even ratified. The Quad and the US claim to want a region “unconstrained by coercion”. Yet coercion is exactly what the US is using to enforce its unilateral interpretation of freedom of navigation.
To regain and retain its moral leadership, the US needs to show that its values and system of government are the best for all, and that it can and will maintain a competitive edge with China economically and technologically – not just militarily. So far, the US seems to be failing in that, and relying instead on bluster, bluff and implied use of force. This is not the hallmark of a great and successful nation. The US should reconsider its militaristic and confrontational approach to China in its near seas.
11. China’s Belt and Road Effort Demands a Multipart US Response defenseone.com . by Jennifer Hullman and David Sacks
Excerpts: “Our independent Task Force report, chaired by Jacob J. Lew and Admiral (retired) Gary Roughead, evaluated the implications of BRI for U.S. interests and put forward a U.S. strategy to respond to it. When Xi introduced BRI in 2013, he believed it could advance an array of Chinese economic, political, and geopolitical interests while filling a vital need in many countries for reliable sources of power and better infrastructure.
In theory, BRI has the potential to be a net positive in multiple respects, helping to close an infrastructure gap in developing countries while also smoothing transportation and logistics paths, and contributing to regional and global economic growth. In practice, however, BRI’s risks outweigh its benefits. BRI undermines global macroeconomic stability by lending funds to unsustainable projects, thereby adding to countries’ debt burdens.
It locks some countries into carbon-intensive futures by promoting coal-fired power plants, tilts the playing field in major markets toward Chinese companies, promotes exclusive reliance on Chinese technology, and draws countries into tighter economic and political relationships with Beijing. 12. Exclusive: The Secret Global Data Cell Infiltrating Jihadists
worldcrunch.com . by Rozena Crossman . March 28, 2021 Who leaks this stuff?
Or do we want it leaked? Does it serve a purpose to leak it? 13. The puzzle of Joe Biden’s ‘middle class foreign policy’
Financial Times . by Edward Luce . March 28, 2021 Excerpts: “Biden faces two problems in showcasing his diplomacy to Main Street.
First, the US’s allies are craving more economic engagement. That means trade and investment deals. Biden could differentiate from past ones by focusing on 21st-century issues such as 5G and green technology, as opposed to Trump’s mania for soyabeans and steel.
But unless the US is ready to deal with its Asian and European partners, China will continue to eat into US market share. That would damage both the American middle class and US global standing. Most of America’s Asian partners do much more trade with China than with the US.
Second, any kind of trade talks are now treated as toxic in US politics, in part because many Americans blame globalisation for squeezed incomes. Jake Sullivan, Biden’s strategic-minded national security adviser — and one of the architects of his middle class foreign policy — has argued that the US has allowed the likes of Goldman Sachs and Big Pharma to dictate the terms of past trade deals. This is indisputable.
Business lobby groups have always had far greater clout in Washington than trade unions, environmental groups and other stakeholders. “ 14. A Clash of Civilizations with Chinese Characteristics
The National Interest . by Wesley Jefferies . March 28, 2021 Conclusion: “These measures should be considered complementary, rather than alternatives, to existing proposals for naval deterrence in the Indo-Pacific.
The geopolitical implications for Western civilization from Chinese hegemony over Eurasia should also be accounted for in any U.S. strategy. Any policy that cannot go beyond simply “pivoting” or “decoupling” fails to capture the full threat being posed not just to the United States but to the very future of the West. A world in which the “rest” is pitted against the West, where the United States faces a consolidating Eurasian continent across either shore, and the geopolitical axis of the world shifts to a totalitarian party in Beijing will not be a world where the United States will remain secure or sovereign for long.”
15. The New American Geostrategic Consensus Over China – Analysis eurasiareview.com . by John Hulsman .
March 28, 2021 Conclusion: “And, indeed, 20th-century history is littered with the graves of authoritarian regimes who underestimated America: The Kaiser’s Germany, Tojo’s Japan, Hitler’s Reich, and Stalin’s Russia. In each case, America was thought weak, decadent, in decline, and incapable of staying the course.
In each case, the authoritarian edifice crumbled before America’s surprisingly enduring domestic and geostrategic consensus. This is now happening again. As was true for Truman and Eisenhower, once again two US presidents (Donald Trump and Joe Biden) who heartily disapprove of one another are paradoxically forging the domestic political basis to a geopolitical agreement over how to deal with America’s primary superpower rival that seems bound to stand the test of time.”
16. Open letter to the troops: Take the damn vaccine, please taskandpurpose.com . by Jeff Schogol .
March 28, 2021 17. US Special Operations Command ‘Not Aware’ of Top Hire’s Anti-Trump Posts
theepochtimes.com . by Zachary Stieber . March 27, 2021 Well this appears to be backfiring if this report (note from the Epoch Times) is accurate.
18. CIA Super Spy, or Super Con? spytalk.co . by Jeff Stein
Truth stranger than fiction. 19. Remembering Jerry Sage, the Inspiration for “The Great Escape”
sofrep.com . March 27, 2021
20. Special Operations News Update – Monday, March 29, 2021 | SOF News sof.news . by SOF News . March 29, 2021
21. In Great Power Wars, Americans Could Again Become POWs defenseone.com . by Jan Kallberg and Todd Arnold
SERE at Fort Bragg was the best school I ever attended in my 30 years in the Army. 22. Did China cross a new red line in cyberspace?
sundayguardianlive.com . by Mark Montgomery and Trevor Logan. March 27, 2021
————- “He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that.”
– John Stuart Mill “Since Mao’s demise, the Party has refreshed its Leninist roots, gingerly built up the legal system and set about co-opting wealthier more educated members of society. In the same way that some western political parties like to style themselves as big tents, the Party now markets itself as an inclusive organization with uniquely Chinese roots. China can, in theory have it all – democracy, a functioning legal system, a vibrant civil society, disputatious think-tanks, innovative universities and a blossoming private sector – as long as they develop within the boundaries the Party lays down for them.”
-Richard McGregor, The Party “The core political values of our free society are so deeply embedded in our collective consciousness that only a few malcontents, lunatics generally, ever dare to threaten them.”
– John McCain