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01/23/2021 News & Commentary - National Security

01/23/2021 News & Commentary - National Security

News and Commentary by Dave Maxwell. Edited and Published by Riley Murray.



 



1. Opinion | China threw down the gauntlet to the Biden team on day one



2. “The President Threw Us Under the Bus”: Embedding With Pentagon Leadership in Trump’s Chaotic Last Week



3.  U.S. to resume processing thousands of stalled visas for Afghans who aided Americans



4. White House Orders Assessment on Violent Extremism in U.S.



5. Lloyd Austin, Biden's Pick for Secretary of Defense, Approved by Senate



6. Day One Message to the Force From Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III



7. New Officials Sworn-In at the Department of Defense



8. Want to Stop the Next Crisis? Teaching Cyber Citizenship Must Become a National Priority



9. Pandemic Numbers Are (Finally) Tiptoeing in the Right Direction



10. The True Power of Social Media Restrictions



11. Anger at China’s Covid-19 Response Smolders in Wuhan



12. Military and Police Investigate Members Charged in Capitol Riot



13. The Covid-19 Origin Investigation



14. China is hitting back at criticism of its vaccines with a dangerous disinformation campaign



15. Counter-Terrorism and the Rule of Law



16. Sen. Tom Cotton campaigned on his "experience as an Army Ranger"



17. Order from Chaos: The Architecture of American Renewal Comes from a Mindset of Grey-Zone Superiority — a Great Power monograph



 



 



1. Opinion | China threw down the gauntlet to the Biden team on day one



 – by Josh Rogin - January 21, 2021



Conclusion: China’s opening salvo leaves no room for doubt: Contentious competition will be the focus of the U.S.-China relationship for the next four years. Beijing’s greatest fear is that the Biden team will be better at it than Trump.



 



2. “The President Threw Us Under the Bus”: Embedding With Pentagon Leadership in Trump’s Chaotic Last Week



A long and fascinating story about former Acting SECDEF Chris Miller.  Chris was the "man in the arena."



 · by Adam Ciralsky – 22 January 2021



 



3. U.S. to resume processing thousands of stalled visas for Afghans who aided Americans



 – by Savannah George - January 21, 2021



Excerpts:



“Because this is a multistep process ...  if one step is put on hold, it’s inevitable that a bulge will form at that point in the system,” Alagesan said. She and other refugee advocates believe the backlog created by the 2020 slowdown will be felt for years to come unless the Biden administration makes dramatic changes.



All Special Immigrant Visa applicants already hold some kind of security clearance that allows them to work closely with U.S. military or government personnel but are vetted again by multiple U.S. security and intelligence agencies. Applicants are also required to sit for multiple interviews and a rigorous medical examination. In all, 14 steps are required before an applicant and his or her immediate family is cleared to travel.



As security deteriorates in many parts of Afghanistan, that wait time is putting Afghan applicants at greater risk.



 



4. White House Orders Assessment on Violent Extremism in U.S.



 · January 22, 2021



Necessary but this is also a potential minefield that could contribute to increased recruitment and radicalization if there are significant missteps.  And there needs to be a strong IO plan to accompany this and protect the action.   The majority of this "fight" is going to take place in the information domain and we will need to be able to operate effectively in that domain.



 



5. Lloyd Austin, Biden's Pick for Secretary of Defense, Approved by Senate



 · by Bill Miller · January 21, 2021



A fairly comprehensive story about our new SECDEF.



Of course I would highlight this excerpt:



As the Vietnam War raged, patriotic attitudes prevailed in Thomasville, Austin said.



He recalled his fascination with his father’s World War II experiences, a retired postal worker, who served with the U.S. Army Air Corps in the Philippines. Another influence was an uncle who joined the U.S. Army Special Forces.



“He’d come home wearing a green beret and those airborne wings,” Austin said. “He was just really squared away. He talked to me about what he was doing, the ability to serve your country, and that sort of business. Despite the fact Vietnam was a war raging at the time, it was clear to me that one of the things that I really felt that I needed to do was to find a way to serve in the military.”



 



6. Day One Message to the Force From Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III



- Jan. 22, 2021



I am honored to have this chance to serve again and to do so alongside you and your families. My wife, Charlene, and I know all too well the sacrifices you make to keep this country safe. That safety is job one, and I promise to work as hard as you do at it.



The way I see it, my job as Secretary of Defense is to make you more effective at doing yours. That means ensuring you have the tools, technology, weapons, and training to deter and defeat our enemies. It means establishing sound policy and strategy and assigning you clear missions. It means putting a premium on cooperation with our allies and partners. And it means living up to our core values, the same ones our fellow citizens expect of us.



Right now, of course, doing my job also means helping our country get control of the pandemic, which has killed more than 400,000 Americans. You have already come to the aid of our Nation's health care professionals. You can expect that mission to continue. But we must help the Federal Government move further and faster to eradicate the devastating effects of the coronavirus. To that end, we will also do everything we can to vaccinate and care for our workforce and to look for meaningful ways to alleviate the pressure this pandemic has exerted on you and your families.



None of us succeeds at this business alone. Defending the country requires teamwork and cooperation. It requires a certain humility, a willingness to learn, and absolute respect for one another. I know you share my devotion to these qualities.



I am proud to be back on your team.



The Day One Message to the Force memo can be found .



 



7. New Officials Sworn-In at the Department of Defense






For those tracking these officials.



 



8. Want to Stop the Next Crisis? Teaching Cyber Citizenship Must Become a National Priority



 



 · by P.W. Singer and Michael McConnell – 22 January 2021



Excerpts:



How do we better equip the next generation of American citizens, so that they won’t suffer our generations’ fate?



Here is what the research shows. When the  recently gathered 85 proposals made by 51 different organizations exploring what needed to be done to battle against the online forces of mis- and disinformation that contaminate and poison truth, by far the most frequently recommended policy action was to raise the digital literacy of those who consume that information.



Sometime also described as “media literacy” or “cyber citizenship,” digital literacy is about having the skills to succeed in an increasingly digital world. It is not just about being able to find information online (which is all too easy), but also to be able to analyze and evaluate it for everything from its sourcing to whether someone is trying to manipulate you or not. Or, as a RAND Corporation report on the value of such skills as an essential tool to battling misinformation or “truth decay” summed, it is about



And yet, the vast majority of the policy, media, and civil society have focused on remedies that do not involve this priority. Instead, we keep looking for silver bullets through rewriting the legal codes that govern social media or the software code they use to run their networks. Each approach is certainly worthy of attention.



 



9. Pandemic Numbers Are (Finally) Tiptoeing in the Right Direction



 · by The COVID Tracking Project



Do not jinx us. Hopefully this trend will continue.



 



 



10.  The True Power of Social Media Restrictions



 · by Eric Farnsworth · January 22, 2021



A "knotty issue?"  Perhaps that is an understatement.



Finally, there is the knotty issue of which individuals specifically should be prevented from access to social media, and whether such categories won’t expand to include officials from regimes that Washington simply doesn’t like or those who may be promoting policies that may not rise to the level of criminality or crimes against humanity but rather amount to little more than differences on social issues, say, or climate change and the environment, or other areas of disagreement, no matter how intense. There must therefore be strict policies and guidelines that focus on those who are credibly accused of legally-sanctionable behavior. A presidential “finding” or Congressional action may be warranted to define the specific, narrow, and very rare instances when the social media sanction should be applied in furtherance of U.S. foreign policy goals.



The True Power of Social Media Restrictions



The way in which authoritarians use social media is somewhat akin to the manner in which Adolf Hitler used the then-emerging radio technology to appeal to the German people above the heads of the traditional media of the time. Without radio, he still might have become chancellor, but at least it would have been more difficult.



 



11. Anger at China’s Covid-19 Response Smolders in Wuhan



 · by Trefor Moss



Excerpts:



“The stuff the government says in the media—I don’t believe a word of it,” he said, echoing the protests that greeted Ms. Sun, the vice premier, on her visit last year. “Personally, I think the Covid situation could still be serious.”



Mr. Zhu blames officials for the deaths of his relatives. He said they lied about the epidemic in its first weeks, putting millions of people in danger to safeguard their own careers. He expressed outrage that the government had seemingly learned nothing from the 2003 outbreak of a similar novel coronavirus known as Sars that infected over 8,000 people, mostly in China, amid .



“They still operate in exactly the same way—suppressing, blocking news, covering things up,” he said.



Anger at China’s Covid-19 Response Smolders in Wuhan



 



12. Military and Police Investigate Members Charged in Capitol Riot



 · by Deepa Seetharaman, Zusha Elinson and Ben Kesling



 



13. The Covid-19 Origin Investigation



 · by The Editorial Board



This needs more attention and focus in the news and within the international community and international organizations.



 



14.  China is hitting back at criticism of its vaccines with a dangerous disinformation campaign



 · by James Griffiths



Admit nothing, deny everything, and make counter accusations.



 



15.  Counter-Terrorism and the Rule of Law



 · by Deborah Pearlstein · January 22, 2021



Rule of law must prevail always.



Conclusion: "Where one can find them, such bipartisan expressions of a commitment to shared principles are essential in helping to shore up slipping confidence in governmental institutions. They enable officials to rebuild some muscle memory of what it is like to govern across partisan lines and to reinforce normative beliefs in law’s ability to constrain power. And they offer some cause for hope that when the inevitable next set of rule violations arise, there remains a rule-of-law system still able, over time, to correct itself."



 



16. Sen. Tom Cotton campaigned on his "experience as an Army Ranger"



 · January 23, 2021



Wow. Salon.com takes on the Ranger qualified versus US Army Ranger debate. I would not expect it from this media outlet but I guess it suits their purpose to be able to criticize Senator Cotton.



But the lesson for all of us is: don't exaggerate (and it goes without saying, don't lie) about your military service.



 



17. Order from Chaos: The Architecture of American Renewal Comes from a Mindset of Grey-Zone



- by Molly McKew



Superiority — a Great Power monograph



I missed this when it was originally published.  Now 5 parts have been published and can be accessed at the links below.  The introduction us pasted below.



A lot to parse from this.  So can we gain "grey-zone superiority."



Excerpts:



Currently, we lack the mindset, vision, organization, or mobilization capacity to overcome these deficits — and we have lacked the leadership and political will to reorient in the right direction. We don’t even really assess them apiece — as a common failure in mobilizing our resources toward the correct set of problems. We need a unified approach to enhance resilience at home and abroad — which means we need to compete in, and have operational and intelligence capabilities in, all the grey spaces where our adversaries attack us, collect on us, infiltrate us, or can count on us being absent or flat-footed. 



At home and abroad, we are challenged along the seams — and in these grey spaces, attribution can be murky, authority for action unclear, right-sized capabilities hard to determine. Right now, the way we organize and mobilize diminishes rather than unleashes formal and informal American capabilities that would be sharp in these domains. Transforming our mindset on this entire conception of strength and power is a necessary first step toward creating the resilience that will begin to alter this terrible math where the West is strong — economically, militarily — but seems to be fractious and declining while autocracies that are systemically fragile seem to be cohesive and ascending. 



 



"Insurrection by means of guerrilla bands is the true method of warfare for all nations desirous of emancipating themselves from a foreign yoke. It is invincible, indestructible."



- Giuseppe Mazzini



 



"In such a society as ours the only possible chance for change, for mobility, for political, economic, and moral flow lies in the tactics of guerrilla warfare, in the use of fictions, of language."



- Kathy Acker



 



"Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence - true friendship is a plant of slow growth."



- George Washington



Riley.C.Murray
Sat, 01/23/2021 - 1:14pm
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