Archive for the ‘U.S. Military’ category

It’s time to deploy US ships off North Korea to knock out missiles when they’re launched

October 14, 2017

It’s time to deploy US ships off North Korea to knock out missiles when they’re launched, Fox News, Michael Fabey, October 14, 2017

(Please see also, N.K. missiles mounted on TEL being transported in 3 to 4 regions

The Ohio-class USS Michigan, an 18,000-metric ton submarine, arrived in the South Korean port of Busan Friday. The USS Ronald Reagan also arrived here in South Korea for a joint drill with South Korean military, which will be held in the East and West sea off South Korea from Oct 16 to 20, to prepare for the North’s naval provocations. As many as 40 navy vessels, including the Aegis destroyer and submarines, combat aircrafts, attack helicopters and JSTARS will be deployed for the joint drill. “The North may carry out a simultaneous launch of ICBM and IRBM within a few days in protest against the U.S.’s show of military might,” another source said.

— DM)

North Korea renewed its threat Friday to fire ballistic missiles in the direction of the American territory of Guam, following ominous earlier threats by the rogue regime to launch missiles topped with hydrogen bombs to wipe out cities on the continental United States.

We need to be prepared to defend against new North Korean missile launches – and there is a way to do this short of full-scale war.

One U.S. military option would be to deploy a special team of two or three guided-missile destroyers – ships especially equipped to target, track and shoot down ballistic missiles – to strategic locations off the North Korean coastline. The ships would be positioned outside the 12-mile internationally recognized maritime territorial limit, or at other locations that intelligence indicates would be effective.

Sources intimately familiar with the operations and deployments of those destroyers – and the vast capabilities of their top-secret ballistic missile defense systems – tell me such a plan could work. They say a similar strategy is one of the military options being considered at the Pentagon and at U.S. Pacific Command headquarters in Hawaii. At the very least, this action would increase the costs to North Korea of continuing its missile program.

Erecting what amounts to a destroyer “fence” to contain North Korean missiles and knock them out of the sky might seem like a farfetched scheme. Can a handful of small warships really perform such a huge task?

America’s ballistic missile defense warships are outfitted with systems and weapons that have been proven in rigorous testing, including SM-3 missile interceptors. Since 2002, the Aegis combat system – a powerful weapons system used by the U.S. Navy that utilizes computer and radar technology to find, track and destroy enemy targets – has recorded 35 successful ballistic-missile intercepts in 42 test attempts. And in the last dozen tests, the SM-3s have only missed once.

While U.S. tests of our missile defense system are admittedly choreographed, the characteristics of a targeted ballistic missile in a test situation closely match those of a missile that has been deployed with bad intentions.

Nearly all of the tests pit a single U.S. missile interceptor against a single ballistic missile. Against an actual launch, the Navy could send up numerous interceptors, dramatically increasing its chances for a hit.

Up to now, North Korea has failed to prove it has the capability to launch and control a sufficiently large salvo of missiles to overwhelm a single Aegis ballistic missile defense ship, let alone two or three. Some experts speculate that North Korea, slowed as it is by international economic sanctions, might not develop that capacity until near the end of the decade or beyond.

The U.S. missile destroyers that could be formed into a team and used to knock down North Korean missiles overhead would be those outfitted with the latest version of the four-decades-old Aegis combat system. The newest series of upgrades was certified in January 2015.

All U. S. Navy destroyers and cruisers possess Aegis combat systems, which were first developed to protect ships – especially aircraft carriers – against air threats such as cruise missiles and aircraft.

However, ballistic missile defense requires different sensor settings, algorithms and missiles. Only 40 percent of the U.S. Navy’s Aegis-equipped destroyers and cruisers are designed for ballistic missile defense.

The ballistic missile defense ships depend on SM-3 missile interceptors to blow apart enemy ballistic missiles relatively soon after they enter what’s called flight midcourse, at their most vulnerable point where the atmosphere ends. This starts about 400 miles above the Earth’s surface and extends out to a few thousand miles.

SM-3s have no explosive warhead. Instead they work through sheer force, colliding with the targeted missile with the power of a 10-ton truck traveling 600 miles per hour. For very short-range missiles, SM-2 interceptors can potentially be used. New interceptors, called SM-6s, are being tested that are designed to hit longer-range ballistic missiles later in flight as they descend and re-enter the atmosphere.

Every ballistic missile defense destroyer has the capacity to launch up to 96 missiles. Each ship would have to retain some Aegis capacity for self-defense and that missile number would depend on the mission.

For argument’s sake, assume a destroyer making up part of the “fence” could aim 80 interceptors at a launched North Korean missile. That would mean two ships could unleash a fusillade of 160 missiles and three ships could fire 240. If North Korea were to triple its single-day launch rate, which with sanctions seems extremely difficult, it could possibly send a dozen missiles aloft. In that case, the odds still favor the Aegis interceptors.

Recently North Korea has focused mainly on short- and medium-range missile tests. The North has yet to prove it can launch an intercontinental ballistic missile armed with a payload that can reach the United States, despite its boasts.

If Pyongyang does deploy such missiles and they break though the fence created by U.S. ships and head toward America, the U.S. Air Force could meet them with a total of 36 ground-based interceptors launched from Fort Greely in Alaska and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Those interceptors have hit targets in 10 of 18 tests, including the last two in June 2014 and May this year.

To execute such an aggressive plan for an Aegis-ship ballistic missile defense, some parts of which appear to be already in the works, the U.S. would have to place even greater focus on ballistic missile defense missions. American fleet commanders will need to make sure destroyer captains improve their skill in basic seamanship – a proficiency called into question after the Navy recently lost two of its valuable ballistic missile defense destroyers in collisions with commercial ships.

An important step in making the fence operational would be for the U.S. to adopt rules of engagement that allow the Navy destroyers to shoot down North Korean missiles as soon as leave the country’s airspace. Current rules only allow for tracking and monitoring.

If an SM-3 misses, there’s little concern of collateral damage. The interceptor would burn up harmlessly as it reentered the Earth’s atmosphere. Even if an interceptor collided with a nuclear warhead there would likely be no nuclear explosion, experts say.

While North Korea could be counted on to rail at the “recklessness” of an Aegis interceptor taking out one of its missiles, the hornet’s nest would be stirred up far less than in the case of a U.S. invasion of North Korea’s territory or attack on a land target.  In the latter two cases, the North Korean reprisal might be catastrophic, inflicting heavy casualties in South Korea.

If the moment for the destroyer fence to show its capability ever arrives, the U.S. Navy will have to make absolutely certain its missile-killing missiles don’t miss. North Korea would only feel emboldened if its greatest adversary seemed not up to the task of backing up its rhetoric with effective action.

Of course, a destroyer fence is only a short-term fix. North Korea will build more missiles and it’s only a matter of time before more countries acquire such weapons.

In the longer term, the Navy should consider upgrading more ships for ballistic missile defense.  The Navy should also push forward an idea broached by shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls Industries to develop a missile-defense variant of the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship that can be fitted out with a massive strategic antimissile battery of more than 400 interceptors or other missiles.

Similarly, more thought should be given to accelerating testing and deployment of systems that support and enable Aegis. These include the SBX-1 – a huge golf ball-shaped radar dome mounted on an oil platform that can track ballistic missiles – and additional satellites that can be used to track intercontinental ballistic missiles as they travel through space.

With bold use of proven, off-the-shelf missile-defense technology, the U.S. can turn the tables on Pyongyang, neutralizing its strategic missile threat without launching a war. The goal would be to buy enough time for cooler heads to prevail.

N.K. missiles mounted on TEL being transported in 3 to 4 regions

October 14, 2017

N.K. missiles mounted on TEL being transported in 3 to 4 regions, Dong-A-Ilbo, October 14, 2017

South Korean and American intelligence agencies are gearing up for North Korea’s another provocation as the transport and deployment of transporter-erecter-launcher (TEL) has been spotted in three to four regions in North Korea.

According to a government source Friday, a U.S. satellite recently captured images of North Korean ballistic missiles mounted on TEL being transported out of a hangar to somewhere in areas near Pyongyang and North Pyongan Province. Korean and U.S. military officials are keeping an eye on the situation as they view this as a sign of preparation for the launch of a missile comparable to Hwasong-14 inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM) or Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM). Another probability is the North might be preparing for the launch of a new Hwasong-13 ICBM (solid engine) that has a longer maximum range than Hwasong-14.

Initially, it was expected that the North will carry out provocative actions on Tuesday, celebrating the anniversary of its ruling party’s foundation. Sources claim that the North will push ahead with another missile provocation in response to the deployment of U.S. carrier strike group and nuclear-powered submarine to the Korean Peninsula.

The Ohio-class USS Michigan, an 18,000-metric ton submarine, arrived in the South Korean port of Busan Friday. The USS Ronald Reagan also arrived here in South Korea for a joint drill with South Korean military, which will be held in the East and West sea off South Korea from Oct 16 to 20, to prepare for the North’s naval provocations. As many as 40 navy vessels, including the Aegis destroyer and submarines, combat aircrafts, attack helicopters and JSTARS will be deployed for the joint drill. “The North may carry out a simultaneous launch of ICBM and IRBM within a few days in protest against the U.S.’s show of military might,” another source said.

Special Operations Warrior Foundation aids the US forces at the tip of the spear

October 6, 2017

Special Operations Warrior Foundation aids the US forces at the tip of the spear, Jihad Watch

(This video seems appropriate:

— DM)

 

As evidenced by the tragedy Wednesday in Niger, America’s Special Operations Forces remain at the tip of the spear in this long war. Our Special Operators are serving in high-risk areas of hostility such as Libya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Niger and over 70 other countries around the world every day.

It takes a special kind of “quiet professional” to meet the exacting standards of America’s Special Operations Forces. As this trans-generational war continues, Special Operations Forces will be facing new challenges all too frequently. In fact, there has never been a greater need for Special Operations Forces than right now. Special Operations will continue to be the force of choice, time and time again.

For the past 37 years the Special Operations Warrior Foundation (SOWF) has been dedicated to honoring the sacrifice of Special Operations Personnel who lose their lives in the line of duty or are severely wounded and hospitalized as a result of wounds sustained in combat. And for the 11th consecutive year, SOWF continues to this while maintaining a 4-Star Charity Navigator rating.

Mission Statement:

The Special Operations Warrior Foundation ensures full financial assistance for a post-secondary degree from an accredited two or four-year college, university, technical, or trade school; and offers family and educational counseling, including in-home tutoring, to the surviving children of Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps special operations personnel who lose their lives in the line of duty.

The Special Operations Warrior Foundation also provides immediate financial assistance to severely wounded and hospitalized special operations personnel.

SOWF ensures full college scholarships to the surviving children of Special Operators who die in the line of duty – to any fully accredited college or university in the nation. Financial assistance includes tuition, room and board, books, fees, computers, transportation and miscellaneous expenses.

Additionally, SOWF provides ongoing support and academic counseling to make sure every student has the opportunity to do well in school. SOWF offers professional tutoring – at no cost – to all students from kindergarten through college graduation.

The Foundation also provides immediate financial assistance to severely wounded Special Operators to allow their families to be with them in the hospital and to offset expenses associated with their injuries. SOWF delivers a $5,000 check to the wounded Special Operator’s bedside immediately following arrival in a U.S. military hospital. We also provide an iPad so that the Special Operator can keep in touch with their comrades and family.

Please consider supporting our Special Operations Forces by donating to this exceptional organization today.

Israeli technology saving American lives and equipment

October 4, 2017

Israeli technology saving American lives and equipment, American ThinkerRuss Vaughn, October 4, 2017

One of the huge problems in fighting asymmetric wars such as America has been doing now for decades is that the advantage a major power has in expensive, sophisticated weaponry can be negated in seconds with an inexpensive, primitive weapon, with the rocket-propelled grenade being the classic example.  RPGs have taken out everything from helicopters to heavy tanks.  Now,  according to Global Security.org, the Army is doing something about it by doing a test refitting its main battle tank, the M1A2 Abrams, with a new advanced Israeli defensive system.

The US military will be installing the Israeli-built Trophy Active Protection System (APS) meant to intercept and destroy incoming missiles or rockets on their M1A2 Abrams tanks. This will make the US military the only other besides the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to use the defensive system.

The Trophy system consists of a quartet of radar antennae and fire-control radars that detects incoming projectiles, such as anti-tank guided missiles and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), and then destroys them with a blast like that from a shotgun.

It is a “hard kill” system, meaning it protects the vehicle by destroying the projectile; this is opposed to a “soft kill” system that interferes with the missile’s guidance and redirects it. Soft kill devices are useless against the simple RPGs popular with militant groups such as Daesh.

Jointly developed by two Israeli-owned state corporations, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd. and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the Trophy is the only combat-proven APS in the world.

The Pentagon made this decision after an “urgent material” request, they said in a press release on Thursday. Each system costs an estimated $350,000, and it will be first deployed to one of the US Army’s 14 Armor Brigade Combat Team’s squadron of 28 M1A2 SEPv2 variants, a nearly $10 million contract. It may then be added to other squadrons later on if it impresses, the Pentagon said.

Anti-materiel weapons such as RPGs have been a perennial thorn in the side of the US military and its allies. A $2,000 RPG launcher firing a $500 grenade can destroy or disable a $9 million Abrams tank. Over the course of 2014, the Iraqi Army lost 100 of the 140 Abrams the Americans had sold them in the fight against Daesh.

That last paragraph explains exactly why this is a good economical move by the Army.  Even a disabled tank can cost millions to retrieve from the battle area and return to a maintenance depot capable of making the necessary repairs, so just a few such “saves” can more than justify the cost of this program.  Other active protection systems, like the Iron Curtain, are being used to protect other military vehicles.  Let us hope more and better protection systems are in the works to protect these vehicles and their crews.

 

Pentagon severs all ties with SPLC, after using group’s training materials on “extremism”

October 3, 2017

Pentagon severs all ties with SPLC, after using group’s training materials on “extremism”, Jihad Watch

This is most welcome and long overdue. The SPLC’s training materials on “extremism” wouldn’t point the Defense Department toward jihad terrorists and Sharia supremacists, but toward foes of jihad terror and others that the SPLC classifies as “extremists” along with the likes of the KKK and neo-Nazis. This hard-Left moneymaking and incitement machine’s latest dossier on “Islamophobes” says: “Before you book a spokesperson from an anti-Muslim extremist group or quote them in a story, research their background — detailed in this in-depth guide to 15 of the most visible anti-Muslim activists — and consider the consequences of giving them a platform.”

The SPLC wishes to silence those who speak honestly about the nature and magnitude of the jihad threat, blaming us for a supposed rise in “Islamophobia.” If they really want to stamp out suspicion of Islam, of course, they will move against not us, but the likes of Omar Mateen, Syed Rizwan Farook, Tashfeen Malik, Nidal Malik Hasan, Mohammed Abdulazeez, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, and the myriad other Muslims who commit violence in the name of Islam and justify it by reference to Islamic teachings.

The SPLC doesn’t do that because its objective is not really to stop “Islamophobia” at all, but to create the illusion of a powerful and moneyed network of “Islamophobes” whom can only be stopped if you write a check to the SPLC. That’s what this is really all about. It’s scandalous that the Pentagon ever took this seriously, and good that it has stopped.

“EXCLUSIVE: DOD Drops SPLC From Extremism Training Materials,” by Jonah Bennett, Daily Caller, October 2, 2017:

The Pentagon has officially severed all ties to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) after previously relying on the group’s training materials on extremism.

Brian J. Field, assistant U.S. attorney from the Civil Division, stated that the Department of Defense (DOD) Office of Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity removed any and all references to the SPLC in training materials used by the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI), in an email obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation from the Department of Justice.

The DEOMI is a DOD school founded to fight segregation and inequality that teaches courses in racial, gender and religious equality, among other subject areas like equal opportunity and pluralism. The courses are available to DOD civilians and service members.

As part of a response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from the Immigration Reform Law Institute, Field wrote in the email sent in late September:

Additionally, the DEOMI office informed me that, based on a previous FOIA request, DEOMI records concerning, regarding, or related to the preparation and presentation of training materials on hate groups or hate crimes were forwarded … That 133-page document did reference the SPLC; however, based upon guidance from the Office of Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity, all references to the SPLC have been removed from any current training.

Interestingly, DEOMI still makes use of materials on “Hate Symbols” from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a group similar to the SPLC. Students at DEOMI use the Hate Symbols reference on the ADL site to “learn more about gang colors or clothing; hate group tattoos and body markings associated with such gangs.”

As a matter of policy, the DOD does not have an official list of hate groups….

In February, The Daily Caller News Foundation published an exclusive piece indicating that the FBI, which formerly used the SPLC as a “hate crimes resource,” has also been distancing itself from the group….

When Marshall Met Pershing

October 3, 2017

When Marshall Met Pershing, War on the RocksOctober 3, 2017

(This is an inspiring story about military leaders who prefer to be told candidly what’s wrong than to be given disingenuous false tales.

I served only in only the Chairborne JAG Corps about half a century ago, but still have fond memories of an 8th Army JAG colonel who advised the 8th Army commander on legal matters. Colonel Friedman had submitted a memo to the CG affirming the consistency of an 8th Army regulation with Army regulations. I, a young captain, wrote and gave Colonel Friedman a memo demonstrating that he had been wrong. He agreed, took it to the 8th Army CG and the regulation was changed as I had indicated it needed to be.– DM)

Golden Gate NRA, Park Archives/U. S. Army Heritage and Education Center

As Bradley would later note of Marshall’s apprenticeship under Pershing: “Few junior officers in the history of the U.S. Army had ever had … so much high-level exposure and responsibility for so long a period. Few gained so much in terms of personal and professional growth.” Marshall’s relationship with Pershing marked him for high command, and Pershing’s loyalty to and support for his former aide would prove critical in the years to come.

This relationship might never have come to fruition if not for Marshall’s moral courage in challenging the intimidating AEF Commander one hundred years ago today. Yet of at least equal importance was Pershing’s ability to appreciate and productively channel dissent. History is replete with military officers who spoke their minds freely but were squelched by intolerant senior officers or an entrenched military bureaucracy uninterested in heterodox or innovative ideas.

****************************

Today marks the 100th anniversary of one of the key moments leading to the Allied victory over the Axis powers in World War II.

Don’t worry, your math is not wrong.

Oct. 3, 1917, is the centennial of General John J. Pershing’s inspection of the 1st Infantry Division at Gondrecourt, France. This obscure event would not only have significant repercussions for the American effort in the next world war, but also offer lessons for leadership development in the U.S. military a century later.

When Pershing assumed command of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF), which was created and deployed to France after the United States entered World War I in April 1917, he essentially had to create and organize an army from scratch. In the spring of 1917 no U.S. divisions existed anywhere but on paper. Moreover, upon arriving in France, Pershing was constantly pressured by British leaders to relinquish his troops and integrate them into the British Army. He needed combat-ready forces to strengthen his hand in this debate and prevent the AEF from being stillborn. With few other units yet to reach France, Pershing took an inordinate interest in the summer and fall of 1917 in the first American unit to arrive, the 1st Division.

As the division conducted training in Lorraine, Pershing frequently visited its headquarters on short notice to check on its progress. A previous review with French President Raymond Poincaré on Sept. 6, 1917, was a disaster, and Pershing took out his frustration on the 1st Division’s commander, Major General William L. Sibert. Pershing inspected the 1st Division again on Oct. 3, this time at Gondrecourt to watch a demonstration of a new method for attacking an entrenched enemy. After the demonstration, Pershing called upon Sibert for a critique. Although Sibert possessed a brilliant record as an engineer, he had little experience with infantry tactics and had only witnessed the demonstration for the first time alongside Pershing. Consequently, his comments were halting and confused.

Pershing then called upon two other staff officers whose responses were also unsatisfactory. The general erupted and “just gave everybody hell,” particularly Sibert, whom he dressed down in front of his own officers. The division showed little for the time it had spent in training, Pershing snapped. They had not made good use of the time, and had not followed instructions from AEF headquarters at Chaumont regarding open warfare formations. Pershing excoriated Sibert, questioning his leadership, his attention to details in training, and his acceptance of such poor professionalism.

The 1st Division staff felt a possessive affection for their commander, and as Pershing turned to leave, the tall major who had been serving as acting chief of staff spoke up, angrily protesting Pershing’s unfairness. Pershing was in no mood to listen and began to walk away. Suddenly, he felt the major’s hand grabbing his arm.

“General Pershing,” the major said, “there’s something to be said here and I think I should say it because I’ve been here the longest.”

Pershing turned back and gave the impertinent young officer a cold, appraising glance. “What have you got to say?”

A torrent of facts poured forth: the promised platoon manuals that never arrived and had set back training; the inadequate supplies that left men walking around with gunnysacks on their feet; the inadequate quarters that left troops scattered throughout the countryside, sleeping in barns for a penny a night; the lack of motor transport that forced troops to walk miles to the training grounds. Finally, the deluge subsided.

Pershing looked at the major and calmly said: “You must appreciate the troubles we have.”

The major replied, “Yes, I know you do, General, I know you do. But ours are immediate and every day and have to be solved before night.”

General Pershing eyed the major narrowly and then turned to leave, the 1st Division staff looking nervously at the ground in stunned silence. After a while, Sibert gratefully told Major George C. Marshall that he should not have stuck his neck out on his account, and the rest of the staff predicted that Marshall’s military career was finished. Marshall shrugged off his friends’ condolences, saying: “All I can see is that I may get troop duty instead of staff duty, and certainly that would be a great success.”

Yet no retribution for the incident ever came. Instead, whenever the AEF commander visited 1st Division from Chaumont, he would find a moment to pull Marshall aside to ask how things were really going. Pershing had finally found an officer who would tell him the unvarnished truth rather than gloss over inadequacies. Marshall eventually received orders transferring him to the AEF General Staff to work under Colonel Fox Conner, the head of the AEF’s Operations section. Together, they would form the core of the group that planned the two great U.S. offensives of the war — Saint Mihiel and the Meuse-Argonne. Pershing was impressed, and after the Armistice asked Marshall to become his aide.

After the victory parades and celebrations of 1919 faded, Marshall began an apprenticeship that would not only broaden his horizons, but also indelibly shape the leadership of American forces in World War II. Although military historians still debate how the Allies were able to defeat the Axis powers in World War II, Marshall’s efforts as Chief of Staff beginning in 1939 directly contributed to each plausible theory. More specifically, Marshall’s contributions under each explanation can be traced back to his experiences serving with Pershing during the five-plus years after World War I.

Some historians argue that the Allied victory was primarily due to U.S. commanders who displayed “aggressive and determined leadership.” If so, much of the credit for these commanders’ success belongs to Marshall, who as Chief of Staff selected or approved all army and corps commanders. However, this process began when Pershing became Chief of Staff of the Army in 1921 and Marshall was installed in an office near his chief in the State, War, and Navy Building. As other staff officers who had been with Pershing in France moved on to other assignments, Marshall became increasingly important, and Pershing sent many proposed letters, draft reports, and staff recommendations to him for comment. Reading the flow of paper in and out of the office, Marshall eventually became familiar with the entire army establishment. In the fall of 1921, he served on a board investigating the alleged inequities of the Army’s single-list promotion system. Examining the service records of hundreds of officers gave him detailed background on the careers of many men who would later serve under him.

More importantly, perhaps, Marshall served as a mentor to many of the generals who served under him over the next two decades, including Omar Bradley, Matthew Ridgway, and Joe Collins. Bradley stated that, “No man had a greater influence on me personally or professionally” than Marshall. One hundred and fifty future generals attended the Infantry School at Fort Benning during Marshall’s tenure as assistant commandant, with another 50 serving on the faculty under his direction.

Other historians cite the American infantry’s ability to adapt to the battlefield as the key to victory. Peter Mansoor, for example, argues in The GI Offensive in Europe that the U.S. Army “accomplished its mission in Western Europe because it evolved over time into a more combat-effective force that Germany could sustain on the battlefield.” Again, Marshall deserves a share of the credit under this theory, thanks to his efforts from 1927-1932 to revolutionize the training of company grade officers at the Infantry School. And again, the origins of Marshall’s efforts can be traced back to his years with Pershing.

After World War I, Pershing sought to lay the foundation for fighting a future war by establishing boards to evaluate the lessons offered by the AEF’s experience. Marshall was put to work sifting through the reports of these boards and the records of the AEF. He set down these lessons in the January 1921 issue of the Infantry Journal, warning of the dangers of divided command, of reliance on textbook tactics, and of assuming the next war would be the same tactically as the last one. He also noted that quick thinking and quick action were more important than proper order formats:

Many orders, models in their form, failed to reach the troop in time to affect their actions, and many apparently crude and fragmentary instructions did reach front-line commanders in time to enable the purpose of the higher command to be carried out on the battlefield.

Marshall disseminated these lessons as assistant commandant of the Infantry School,  warning students that an officer “must be prepared to take prompt and decisive action in spite of the scarcity or total absence of reliable information. He must learn that in war, the abnormal is normal and that uncertainty is certain.” Indeed, even historian Jorg Muth, who is highly critical of professional military education and leadership development in the interwar Army, concludes: “The only highlight of the U.S. Army’s educational system in the first decades of the twentieth century was the Infantry School and then only when George C. Marshall was the assistant commander.”

Conversely, Martin Van Crevald in Fighting Power argues, “The American officer corps of World War II was less than mediocre.” Although few historians go quite to that extreme in disparaging the U.S. Army’s performance, others such as Russell Weigley argue that America’s materiel preponderance in terms of weapons systems and munitions deliverable to the front lines ultimately mattered more than battlefield effectiveness. Once again, Marshall’s understanding of mobilization and logistical issues can be traced to the early post-war years. In December 1919, Secretary of War Newton Baker sent Pershing — with Marshall and his other staff accompanying him — on a national tour of army camps and war plants to recommend those to be retained in the post-war drawdown. By the end of the inspection tour, Pershing knew more about the Army than anyone else, knowledge that was almost completely shared by Marshall.

Moreover, Marshall’s time in Washington gave him essential experience in dealing with the nation’s civilian leaders. He dealt with congressmen on the two military affairs committees, rubbed shoulders with the secretary of war, and briefed Presidents Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge. Despite his personal aloofness from partisan politics, he came to understand politics and politicians far better than most military men. This skill would prove critical two decades later when President Franklin D. Roosevelt needed a point man to convince a still-isolationist Congress of the urgency of mobilization before Pearl Harbor. Without Marshall’s credibility and skillful lobbying, followed by his herculean efforts to expand, train, and equip the army, transforming it from a constabulary force of 100,000 to an efficient eight million-man force, there would have been no materiel preponderance to fall back on when combat effectiveness fell short. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill would describe Marshall as “the Organizer of Victory,” and President Harry S. Truman would say of Marshall’s role as Army Chief of Staff: “Millions of Americans gave their country outstanding service … George C. Marshall gave it victory.”

This is not to argue that Marshall was solely responsible for the Allied victory or that he was infallible. To be sure, he made a number of errors in judgment: arguing against providing aid to England during the Blitz, promoting Lloyd Fredendall to a corps command (in which position Fredendall would fail badly during the North Africa campaign), and supporting an early invasion of France before U.S. forces could gain badly needed hardening in North Africa and Sicily. These mistakes show Marshall was human. Yet it is far from hagiography to acknowledge his critical role in the Allied war effort, or to recognize that if America owed an incalculable debt to Marshall for his leadership in the next world war, a significant portion of the interest would deservedly go to General John J. Pershing. As Bradley would later note of Marshall’s apprenticeship under Pershing: “Few junior officers in the history of the U.S. Army had ever had … so much high-level exposure and responsibility for so long a period. Few gained so much in terms of personal and professional growth.” Marshall’s relationship with Pershing marked him for high command, and Pershing’s loyalty to and support for his former aide would prove critical in the years to come.

This relationship might never have come to fruition if not for Marshall’s moral courage in challenging the intimidating AEF Commander one hundred years ago today. Yet of at least equal importance was Pershing’s ability to appreciate and productively channel dissent. History is replete with military officers who spoke their minds freely but were squelched by intolerant senior officers or an entrenched military bureaucracy uninterested in heterodox or innovative ideas. George Patton, for example, was repeatedly reprimanded for his outspokenness, and consequently spent the 1930s writing anachronistic treatises on the continuing importance of the horse cavalry in order to save his career. As Stephen P. Rosen notes in Winning the Next Warmilitary innovations are often stillborn without the top cover from a senior officer capable of giving subordinates space in which to flourish. Marshall was fortunate to find such leadership not only in Pershing, but again twenty years later when, as Assistant Chief of Staff of the Army, he dared to openly disagree with FDR’s pronouncements on mobilization in a 1938 Oval Office meeting. FDR, like Pershing before him, saw the value of Marshall’s frankness rather than insubordination.

In the wake of the controversies surrounding the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the quality of American generalship has been called into serious question. In May 2007, Lieutenant Colonel Paul Yingling wrote that the “debacles” in Iraq “are not attributable to individual failures, but rather to a crisis in an entire institution: America’s general officers corps,” who “failed to prepare our armed forces for war.” In 2012, Thomas Ricks argued that, “To a shocking degree, the Army’s leadership ranks have become populated by mediocre officers placed in positions where they are likely to fail. Success goes unrewarded, and everything but the most extreme failure goes unpunished.”

Regardless of the merits of these critiques, the retention and development of junior officers for future strategic leadership is today a hotly debated topic amongst generals, former commanders, and academics — debates that formed the backdrop for the Obama administration’s uncompleted “Force of the Future” initiative. The centennial of the Marshall-Pershing confrontation offers a reminder that a key to developing strong leaders is to foster an environment in which openness and criticism are not only tolerated, but can be channeled to foster innovation.

Benjamin Runkle is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and has served as in the Defense Department, as a Director on the National Security Council, and as a Professional Staff Member on the House Armed Services Committee. He is current a Senior Policy Fellow with Artis International.

China’s Secret Military Plan: Invade Taiwan by 2020

October 3, 2017

China’s Secret Military Plan: Invade Taiwan by 2020, Washington Free Beacon, October 3, 2017

Chinese President Xi Jinping / Getty Images

Democratic-ruled Taiwan poses an existential threat to China’s communist leaders because the island, located some 90 miles off the southeast coast “serves as a beacon of freedom for ethnically Chinese people everywhere,” the book states.

“Consequently, the PLA considers the invasion of Taiwan to be its most critical mission, and it is this envisioned future war that drives China’s military buildup.”

For the Pentagon, China’s plan to seize Taiwan has worried those in the Air Force who expect Chinese missile and other attacks on nearby U.S. bases, notably Japan’s Kadena air base, a central U.S. military hub in the Pacific.

American Navy officials fear Chinese submarines will sink U.S. aircraft carriers or the USS Blue Ridge, the region’s only command ship.

“No one seemed clear on exactly what might happen, but all were sure a future Chinese surprise attack would be worse than Pearl Harbor and 9/11 combined,” the book says.

Others note that a Taiwan conflict could rapidly escalate to a U.S.-China nuclear war.

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China has drawn up secret military plans to take over the island of Taiwan by 2020, an action that would likely lead to a larger U.S.-China conventional or nuclear war, according to newly-disclosed internal Chinese military documents.

The secret war plan drawn up by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), the Chinese Communist Party’s armed forces, calls for massive missile attacks on the island, along with a naval and air blockade that is followed by amphibious beach landing assaults using up to 400,000 troops.

The plans and operations are outlined in a new book published this week, The Chinese Invasion Threat by Ian Easton, a China affairs analyst with the Project 2049 Institute, a think tank.

The danger of a Taiwan conflict has grown in recent years even as current tensions between Washington and Beijing are mainly the result of U.S. opposition to Chinese militarization in the South China Sea and China’s covert support of North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.

“Of all the powder kegs out there, the potential for a war over Taiwan is by far the largest and most explosive,” the 290-page book states, adding that the growing likelihood of a war over Taiwan will dominate worries within the Pentagon for years to come.

“China has made clear that its primary external objective is attaining the ability to apply overwhelming force against Taiwan during a conflict, and if necessary destroy American-led coalition forces,” the books says.

Democratic-ruled Taiwan poses an existential threat to China’s communist leaders because the island, located some 90 miles off the southeast coast “serves as a beacon of freedom for ethnically Chinese people everywhere,” the book states.

“Consequently, the PLA considers the invasion of Taiwan to be its most critical mission, and it is this envisioned future war that drives China’s military buildup.”

Parts of the PLA invasion scheme were first revealed publicly by the Taiwan Defense Ministry in late 2013. The plan calls for military operations against the island to be carried out by 2020.

The invasion program was confirmed by Chinese leader Xi Jinping during the major Communist Party meeting five years ago when Xi committed to “continue the 2020 Plan, whereby we build and deploy a complete operational capability to use force against Taiwan by that year.”

Other internal PLA writings that surfaced recently indicate China is ready to use force when it believes non-military means are not successful in forcing the capitulation to Beijing’s demands, and if the United States can be kept out of the battle.

Current U.S. law under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act requires the United States to provide defensive weaponry to Taiwan to prevent the use of force against the island.

China currently is using non-lethal means—psychological, diplomatic, propaganda, and informational warfare—against Taiwan. Once these are exhausted, the plan for large-scale amphibious assault will be carried out.

Any attempt by the Chinese military to take the island will be difficult and costly, the book says. The island has rough, mountainous terrain that has created a wind tunnel effect in the strait that produces very difficult weather for carrying troop and weapons transports, both air and sea.

Taiwan is around 230 miles long and 90 miles wide. Taiwanese military forces have been preparing for an invasion since Chinese nationalist forces first took refuge on the island at the end of the civil war with the communists in 1949.

However, since the 1980s, China has been rapidly building up its military capabilities for a battle to forcibly unify the island with the mainland. Over 1,000 ballistic and cruise missiles currently are stationed within range of the Taiwan.

According to the book, China’s invasion plan is known as the Joint Island Attack Campaign.

“Only by militarily occupying The Island can we fundamentally conquer the ‘separatist’ force’s natural living space, and totally end the long military standoff across the Strait,” one PLA field manual states.

The war plan calls for rapidly capturing the capital Taipei and destroying the government; seizing other major cities and clearing out surviving defenders; and occupying the entire country.

Military operations will emphasize speed and surprise to overwhelm coastal defenses and create so much destruction in the early phase that Taiwan would surrender before the U.S. military can deploy forces to the area.

“The conceptual plan, which is referred to in internal PLA writings as the Joint Island Attack Campaign, appears to be highly centralized and updated regularly based on the latest intelligence, weapons production, and lessons learned from exercises and training,” the book says.

The campaign is one of China’s most closely held secrets but has been discussed in internal military manuals and technical writings that recently leaked from within the PLA.

“These provide an extraordinarily detailed look into Chinese thinking on this campaign,” the book says.

The step-by-step invasion process will involve three phases: blockade and bombing, amphibious landing, and combat operations on the island.

Several layers of a naval and air blockade and massive missile strikes on 1,000 targets will be used in the first phase. China then plans to launch sea-borne assaults with an armada of warships against 14 possible beach sites.

“Before the invaders began landing along Taiwan’s coast, the PLA would launch wave after wave of missiles, rockets, bombs, and artillery shells, pounding shoreline defenses, while electronic jammers scrambled communications,” the book says.

The PLA believes a future invasion of Taiwan is inevitable, although the exact time is uncertain.

China regards Taiwan as a “renegade province” and considers reuniting the island with the mainland part of larger Chinese strategic goals of achieving global dominance.

“In the end, only by directly conquering and controlling the island can we realize national unification … otherwise ‘separatist’ forces, even if they momentarily compromise under pressure, can reignite like dormant ashes under the right conditions,” one PLA document states.

A PLA field manual warns that Taiwan’s geography and defenses will require massive and masterful military campaigns that will be extremely challenging, requiring great sacrifices.

A restricted PLA manual, “Course Book on the Taiwan Strait’s Military Geography” warned military officers that external militaries could use Taiwan to cut off China’s trade lines and for use as a U.S. military base to blockade China.

Also, many of China’s seaborne oil imports, pass through the Taiwan Strait and are highly vulnerable to military interdiction. “So protecting the security of this strategic maritime passageway is not just a military activity alone, but rather an act of national strategy,” the manual says.

China also regards Taiwan as a critical chokepoint for Japan and could be used by China to choke its rival.

On the information warfare front, China plans to use the internet and other media outlets to wage psychological warfare aimed at weakening Taiwan’s resistance prior to a main attack.

Psychological warfare actions will be combined with legal and media warfare and other political warfare tools.

An internal Chinese military report outlines the use of information operations:

Utilize legal warfare and public opinion warfare together with psychological warfare to divide and erode the island’s solid willpower and lower the island’s combat strength. Of these, utilize legal warfare against the enemy’s political groups and their so-called ‘allies’ as a form of psychological attack. Clearly make the case that a joint attack campaign against the main island is legally justifiable and based on a continued, and internal, war of liberation…utilize public opinion warfare against the enemy’s military groups as a form of psychological attack. Point out the benefits of giving up their support for ‘independence’ with effective messaging themes…Use the Internet media heavily against non-governmental groups on the island and the masses as a form of psychological attack. Proactively spread propaganda regarding the benefits of unification for the nation and the people, and erode the social foundation of the ‘separatist’ forces on the island.

Taiwan’s leaders also will be targeted in bombing strikes, including the presidential office in Taipei and other government leadership headquarters.

A PLA document tells military leaders to find leadership organizations and their defenses.

“Then you should use high tech weapons that have a strong capability to penetrate their airspace with precision and destructiveness to execute fierce strikes against their head person(s),” the document says. “Assure they are successfully knocked out with one punch.

Chinese commandos also will be used to abduct or kill Taiwan’s key political and military leaders, weapons experts, and scientists using clandestine means and direct attacks.

China, according to the book, would “almost certainly” fail in its full-scale invasion of Taiwan but its military appears driven to prepare and carry out such an attack.

“China’s leaders recognize the roadblocks in their path and will continue to invest heavily in strategic deception, intelligence collection, psychological warfare, joint training, and advanced weapons,” the book says.

“Barring countervailing efforts, their investments could result in a world-shaking conflict and an immense human tragedy.”

For the Pentagon, China’s plan to seize Taiwan has worried those in the Air Force who expect Chinese missile and other attacks on nearby U.S. bases, notably Japan’s Kadena air base, a central U.S. military hub in the Pacific.

American Navy officials fear Chinese submarines will sink U.S. aircraft carriers or the USS Blue Ridge, the region’s only command ship.

“No one seemed clear on exactly what might happen, but all were sure a future Chinese surprise attack would be worse than Pearl Harbor and 9/11 combined,” the book says.

Others note that a Taiwan conflict could rapidly escalate to a U.S.-China nuclear war.

“The trigger could very well be an accident or innocent act, something calculated as benign but perceived as hostile,” the book says. “It may go down in history as an infamous event, or it may not be understood what exactly happened. Like the case of World War I, the true cause may be debated for a century and still undecided.”

Rick Fisher, a senior fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center, said the book presents important policy prescriptions for deterring war. The use of restricted Chinese military writings also provides new clues to Chinese intentions, plans and its ambitions to conquer Taiwan.

“What Easton has done is provide a vital warning to America and its allies, China could try to invade Taiwan as early as the first half of the next decade,” Fisher said. “That means we are right now in a Taiwan Straits crisis and we need to react like we are in a crisis or we risk falling into a war we have successfully avoided since 1950.”