Monday, April 21, 2014

Response: The richest man in Asia is selling everything in China

China’s real estate/credit bubble is bursting.  China’s defense outlays will of necessity decline as the PLA’s role in preserving order and stability inside China grows exponentially.  I suspect the grossly exaggerated China threat will also recede into the background at home as it becomes harder and harder to argue the case for a “Rising Chinese Military Threat.”  Doug

The richest man in Asia is selling everything in China


April 16, 2014
Sovereign Valley Farm, Chile

Here’s a guy you want to bet on– Li Ka-Shing.

Li is reportedly the richest person in Asia with a net worth well in excess of $30 billion, much of which he made being a shrewd property investor.

Li Ka-Shing was investing in mainland China back in the early 90s, way back before it became the trendy thing to do. Now, Li wants out of China. All of it.
Since August of last year, he’s dumped billions of dollars worth of his Chinese holdings. The latest is the $928 million sale of the Pacific Place shopping center in Beijing– this deal was inked just days ago.

Once the deal concludes, Li will no longer have any major property investments in mainland China.

This isn’t a person who became wealthy by being flippant and scared. So what does he see that nobody else seems to be paying much attention to?
Simple. China’s credit crunch.

After years of unprecedented monetary expansion that has put the economy in a precarious state, the Chinese government has been desperately trying to reign in credit growth.

The shadow banking system alone is now worth 84% of GDP according to an estimate by JP Morgan. The IMF pegs total private credit at 230% of GDP, jumping by 100% in the last few years.

Historically, growth rates of these proportions have nearly always been followed by severe financial crises. And Chinese leaders are doing their best to engineer a ‘soft landing’.

If they’re successful, the world will only see major drops in global growth, stocks, property, and commodity prices.

If they fail, the spillover could become pandemic.

This isn’t important just for Asian property tycoons like Li Ka-Shing. Even if you don’t know Guangzhou from Hangzhou from Quanzhou, there are implications for the entire world.

Here in Chile is a great example.

Chile is among the top copper producers worldwide, China among its top consumers. With a major slowdown in China, however, copper prices have dropped considerably.

Consequently, the Chilean economy has slowed. The peso is down nearly 10% against the US dollar in recent months, and the central bank is slashing rates trying to prop up growth.

There are similar situations playing out across the globe.

Not to mention, China could put the entire global financial system on its back just by dumping a portion of its Treasuries in order to defend the yuan.

Now, you’d think that a major credit crunch with far-reaching consequences in the world’s second largest economy, its largest manufacturer, and its largest holder of US dollar reserves, would be constant front-page news.

But it’s not.

Most traditional investors are unaware that what’s happening in China will likely have far greater implications to their investment portfolios than the policies of Janet Yellen and Barack Obama combined. At least for now.

And folks who don’t see this coming and keep buying at the all-time high may see their portfolios turned upside down. Quickly.

At the same time, some investors who are conservative and cashed up may realize a real ‘blood in the streets’ moment.

Again, using Chile as an example, I’m starting to see over-leveraged property owners coming to the market in droves ready to make a deal. This is great news because my shareholders and I are able to buy far more property with US dollars than we could even just six months ago.

I expect this trend to hold given that China is just at the beginning of its process.
It’s said that the Chinese word for “crisis” is a combination of “danger” and “opportunity”.

This isn’t entirely accurate. ‘Weiji’ can have several meanings, but is probably best translated as ‘dangerous’ and ‘crucial point’.

We may certainly be at that crucial point, and now might be a good time to take another look at your finances and consider selling before a major crash. The richest man in Asia certainly thinks so.

Friday, April 18, 2014

In a 15 April OPED published in the Washington Post, former Ambassador and Bush Deputy National Security Advisor, James Jeffrey, now a fellow at the Washington Institute argues for the commitment of American ground forces to “quell the crisis” in Ukraine.  In yet another American triumph of ill-considered military adventurism over statecraft, Ambassador Jeffrey seems to think Mr. Putin will be impressed with the gradual appearance of a few U.S. Army ground units on Russia’s border. Meanwhile, like Secretary Kerry, Ambassador Jeffrey is ignoring the simple truth that Mr. Putin is doing the West a favor by removing the Russians from Ukraine through annexation.
The good news is that Mr. Putin is creating the conditions for the emergence of a free, democratic and smaller, as well as, demographically more homogenous Ukrainian State.  A quick glance at Ukrainian election results over the last several years demonstrates conclusively that the Ukrainians living west of the Dnieper River in overwhelming numbers want to divorce themselves from Russia and live inside Europe.
Instead of threatening Moscow, it is now time for Secretary of State Kerry and his colleagues in the European Union to ask Mr. Ranko Krivokapic, the President of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), to meet with Mr. Putin and propose an OSCE-monitored plebiscite in Ukraine’s Russian speaking areas If the population in Eastern Ukraine wants to join Russia, then, they should be allowed to vote themselves into Russia with a plebiscite. However, at the same time, the Ukrainians in the West should be allowed to join the EU without joining the NATO Alliance, much like Sweden, Austria, or Finland.  This outcome would provide Mr. Putin with what he thinks he wants and Ukraine’s true Ukrainians with what they want: membership in the European Union.  None of these developments or proposals involves a military confrontation between Russia and the West.
Sadly, instead of looking for a solution that people in the region can live with, Ambassador Jeffrey wants to exacerbate the tension by providing the very threat that makes Putin’s public claims about NATO credible when Putin’s assertions clearly are not valid.  The Ambassador’s assertion that a few U.S. Troops will “quell” the crisis is worse than na├»ve.  Jeffrey’s policy recommendation is both dangerous and unnecessary. 
Unless the United States can send 150,000 US combat troops, at least 50,000 in the first 30 days, then, Jeffrey is simply courting disaster.  Without such a core force, the Germans, Poles, Lithuanians, Latvians, Estonians, Slovaks and Hungarians cannot hope to assemble a similar number of forces.  More important, to be credible, the U.S. force must be heavily armored and include substantial quantities of rocket artillery, air and missile defense units, as well as, logistical elements.  Evidently, the Ambassador is unaware that no such U.S. ground force exists.
Thanks to the last 12 years of superb political and military leadership, what forces the United States once had were squandered in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Today’s wheeled Army constabulary forces along with Army and Marine light infantry are incapable of challenging Russian ground forces anywhere in Central or Eastern Europe without risking certain annihilation.  As for alleged American conventional superiority, policing Arabs and Afghans with no armies, no air forces, no air defenses and no missile forces is not much evidence for the kind of military superiority the Russians respect.
If Ambassador Jeffrey’s policy recommendation is the best the State Department can produce, Americans are in lots of trouble. Political and military leaders like Ambassador Jeffrey who turn to military power for answers always hope military will be purposeful and short, but they fail to provide realistic answers to the questions of strategic purpose, method and end-state before and during military operations.  In this case, Ambassador Jeffrey wants to employ American military power when there is no need to do so.  Worse, the Ambassador is unaware that the U.S. Army and Marines lack the warfighting capability the United States would need if Washington acted as the Ambassador suggests.
Good military strategy consists of knowing when to employ military power and when to not to employ military power.  Unfortunately, Ambassador Jeffrey exemplifies the problem that afflicts thinking inside the beltway: U.S. national decision-making is more often shaped by the military capability to act than by the strategic need to do so. 
Col (ret) Douglas Macgregor is a decorated combat veteran, a PhD and the author of five books.  His most recent is Warrior’s Rage: The Great Tank Battle of 73 Easting.
Douglas Macgregor, PhD

Response: NATO to ramp up in response to Russian aggression

If General Breedlove knew more about Eastern Europe than he does he would realize that his comment about the Wehrmacht is a popular Anglo-Saxon, Italian or French interpretation, not necessarily an East European one. 
The Lithuanians, Latvians, Estonians, Finns, Poles, Slovaks, Swedes, Austrians and Hungarians know that today’s Germany is much closer to Bismarck’s Germany than Hitler’s construct.  All of them are watching to see if the Germans will finally wake up and smell the coffee that Putin is brewing. 
At the same time, people in Central and Eastern Europe know that Americans today are in strategic terms quite similar to the British in 1939—too far away and too preoccupied to provide real military assistance.  Whether the British and French like it or not, without a powerful German Army and Air Force in Central Europe the position of the aforementioned peoples including the Western Ukrainians in Eastern Europe is in the long-run, strategically risky, if not untenable. 
Putin who is a great admirer of the Germans is also watching.  Privately, he’s concerned that he may have already reawakened the sleeping, but castrated German giant.  For the moment, most Germans remain sleepy.  However, if Putin directly intervenes with Russian Army forces in Eastern Ukraine Berlin will not sleep through the wakeup call and the game will change.  Cheers, Doug
April 16, 2014
NATO to ramp up in response to Russian aggression
By Andrew Tilghman
Staff writer

U.S. troops in Europe likely will ramp up operations and continue a historic shift eastward after the NATO alliance this week agreed to vastly expand its military readiness in response to Russian aggression.

“We will have more planes in the air, more ships on the water, and more readiness on the land,” NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in Brussels on Wednesday.

“For example, air policing aircraft will fly more sorties over the Baltic region. Allied ships will deploy to the Baltic Sea, the eastern Mediterranean and elsewhere, as required. Military staff from allied nations will deploy to enhance our preparedness, training and exercises. Our defense plans will be reviewed and reinforced,” he said.

The announcement came after an urgent review led by the four-star Supreme Allied Commander Europe and chief of the U.S. European Command, Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove. The aim is to reassure NATO’s easternmost allies of full military support in the event of further Russian aggression.

Rasmussen would not divulge “operational details,” making it unclear which U.S. units, or how many U.S. troops, might be deployed to such countries as Poland, Lithuania and Romania. Yet he said the new deployments would begin “within days.”

In an email to Military Times, EUCOM spokesman Navy Capt. Gregory Hicks said “it really is too early to tell what it would mean, given the lack of transparency from Russia on what their intent and purpose is.”

The news signals the return of a Cold War-era mentality for EUCOM and solidifies a jarring change from just a few months ago, when Europe was thought of as permanently at peace and the U.S. troops in EUCOM essentially were becoming a supporting command for operations in the Middle East and Africa.

Questions about the extent of U.S. troops involvement in the expanded NATO operations will be decided in Washington, where debate is heating up about basic national security priorities.

“For Korea, we have a ‘fight tonight’ mentality. We don’t necessary have that same mentality in Europe,” said a House Armed Service Committee staffer in an interview this week. “We need to take a real serious look at the downsizing and streamlining that the [European] command is going through.”

The Pentagon’s so-called “pivot” toward Asia “was very much seen as a loss for Europe and I think [EUCOM] began to see themselves in a supportive role,” the staffer said. “But the events of the last couple of weeks have demonstrated that they are still a warfighting command. The question is: Are the forces there ready to transition to that mentality?”

Expanded NATO operations likely will accelerate the shift eastward for U.S. troops in EUCOM, which began several weeks ago as Germany-based units begun putting boots on the ground in NATO’s newest partner countries.

Ten U.S. Air Force F-15 fighter jets are now running sorties from an old Soviet air base in Lithuania, patrolling the northern skies over the Baltic nations, where the NATO border abuts Russia.

At Powidz Air Base in central Poland, U.S. Army paratroopers from Kaiserslautern, Germany, last week temporarily conducted a training mission, jumping out of U.S. Air Force C-130s alongside Polish troops.

Also from Powidz Air Base, U.S. Air Force KC-135 tankers temporarily are flying daily missions to refuel NATO-owned aircraft that are doing surveillance along Poland and Romania’s eastern borders, tracking Russian military movements.

And nearby in central Poland, at Lask Air Base, several hundred airmen were working on a flight line with 12 F-16 Fighting Falcons that are usually based in Germany.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy destroyer Donald Cook is making a port call in Constanta, Romania, after steaming in the Black Sea on Saturday, when a Russian fighter jet conducted “provocative” close-range, low-altitude passes, a defense official said.

Allan Millett, a military history professor at the University of New Orleans, was skeptical about the Europeans’ ability to mount a credible military threat on their own.

“Who is going to do that? The French aren’t going to do it. And the Germans scare the hell out of everybody still — I don’t think the eastern European countries are going to be eager to welcome the Wehrmacht back.

“Who can legitimize a European military response to Russian expansionism?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Reply: US Should Send Troops to quell Ukraine Crisis in Washington Post

Putin is doing the West a favor by removing the Russians from Ukraine.  Putin is creating the conditions for the emergence of a free, democratic Ukrainian State.  A quick glance at the electoral map demonstrates conclusively that the Ukrainians living West of the Dnieper River want overwhelmingly to divorce themselves from Russia and live inside Europe.

It’s time for Kerry and his colleagues in the EU to ask the OSCE President to meet with Putin and propose a plebiscite in Eastern Ukraine.  If the population wants to joint Russia, then, they should be allowed to do so.  Ukraine can become part of the EU without joining NATO much like Sweden, Austria or Finland.  The point is Putin gets what he thinks he wants and Ukraine’s true Ukrainians become part of Europe, the thing they want.  None of these developments require a military confrontation.

Unfortunately, instead of looking for a solution that people in the region can live with, Jeffrey wants to exacerbate the tension by providing the very threat that makes Putin’s public claims about NATO credible when they are not.  Apparently, he thinks a few troops will “quell” the crisis.  Is he nuts? 

Unless we can send 150,000 US combat troops, at least 50,000 in the first 30 days, then, Jeffrey is simply courting disaster.  To be credible, these forces must be armored and include substantial quantities of rocket artillery, air and missile defense units, as well as, logistical elements.  Perhaps, he’s unaware that no such US force exists.  Thanks to the last 12 years of superb political and military leadership, what we did have was squandered in Iraq and Afghanistan.  As for alleged conventional superiority, policing Arabs and Afghans with no armies, no air forces, no air defenses and no missile forces is not much evidence for superiority.

If this is the best the State Department can produce, we are in lots of trouble.  Putin is obviously far better advised than Obama is. 

Thanks, Doug

The Washington Post
April 15, 2014

James Jeffrey is a distinguished visiting fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. He was U.S. ambassador to Iraq in the Obama administration and deputy chief of mission to Kuwait from 1996 to 1999.

Despite much diplomatic effort, the situation in Ukraine worsens. A coordinated Russian campaign, including an invasion threat, special operations destabilization in eastern Ukraine patterned on the Crimea model, and warnings of gas cutoffs document ever more clearly Vladi­mir Putin’s aim to cripple the Ukrainian government and control much or even all of this strategically vital European country.

The West’s reaction has been weak. The sanctions imposed and contemplated are not dramatic, regardless of immediate Russian losses in volatile stock and currency exchange markets. Europe’s dependence on Russian hydrocarbons, and affinity for Russian investments, were apparent last week when the German foreign minister feted Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov for trade talks, even as NATO photos of Russian military equipment stockpiled near Ukraine emerged. While European foot-dragging is the biggest obstacle to an effective response, some of Washington’s initial comments and actions suggested unwillingness to face the reality of Putin’s actions. The Obama administration also bears the burden of its Middle Eastern policy of avoiding military conflicts. NATO member states in Eastern Europe are asking the same question many in the Middle East have: Can we rely on Washington to make hard military decisions? 

The best way to send Putin a tough message and possibly deflect a Russian campaign against more vulnerable NATO states is to back up our commitment to the sanctity of NATO territory with ground troops, the only military deployment that can make such commitments unequivocal. To its credit, the administration has dispatched fighter aircraft to Poland and the Baltic states to reinforce NATO fighter patrols and exercises. But these deployments, like ships temporarily in the Black Sea, have inherent weaknesses as political signals. They cannot hold terrain — the ultimate arbiter of any military calculus — and can be easily withdrawn if trouble brews. Troops, even limited in number, send a much more powerful message. More difficult to rapidly withdraw once deployed, they can make the point that the United States is serious about defending NATO’s eastern borders. 

While examples of effective ground force “tripwires” date to the U.S. brigade in Berlin during the Cold War, the most relevant recent example is Kuwait after 1993. To deter Saddam Hussein from any new attack, the United States maintained a “heavy brigade package” of armor and other material to equip a force of 5,000 troops to be quickly flown over in an emergency. The United States and Britain also maintained fighter aircraft in Kuwait. All this, however, was not sufficient to fully deter Hussein. U.S. ground forces were deployed in 1994, 1996 and 1997-98. Even with equipment already deployed, it took time to fly the troops in, such decisions were publicly known, and the decisions themselves required precious time for Washington and the Kuwaiti government to deliberate. 

To deal with these issues, the Clinton administration finally stationed a small ground force in Kuwait, rotated from stateside units on six-month deployments. In a crisis, the thinking went, it would buy time for a full brigade to deploy and encourage rapid Kuwaiti deployment, possibly deterring a ground attack. In Operation Desert Fox in December 1998, the United States went with the force on the ground, rapidly reinforced by a Marine expeditionary unit, rather than wait for a brigade to deploy and thus signal its intentions to Hussein.

Such a ground deployment in the current crisis with Russia could change perceptions on all sides. The administration, after consulting with NATO, should inform Moscow that it will station limited forces in Poland, the Baltic states and Romania if Russia continues its aggression against Ukraine and does not withdraw troops. Initial contingents could be as small as companies (150 soldiers) on “training” maneuvers, but equipment for larger forces, and a permanent rotation of troops, could be quickly organized. Although Russian ground forces number an estimated 40,000 or more, such a small-scale U.S. force could rally the affected nations to commit unequivocally their own larger forces and encourage other NATO states to deploy troops. Taken together, that would provide more than a tripwire, generating time for larger reinforcements, and complicating any threat against NATO states or even Crimea-style intervention in Ukraine. 

Would such a deployment be provocative? Only if being serious about deterring Putin is provocative. Would it violate “understandings” with Moscow eschewing such U.S. stationing? Probably, but Putin has already violated a library’s worth of understandings, agreements and treaties pertaining to territorial integrity. His actions undercut the basis for NATO defense thinking since 1991, but no U.S. or European response has delivered the West’s promised “serious consequences” and “different relationship” with Russia. Deploying troops would do so.

We do not need to be apologetic about the risk of even “tripwire” presences. Putin has no illusions about America’s combat-hardened conventional superiority. But by all appearances he has great doubt about America’s will to use force, and that creates a dangerous situation. After seeing American boots on the ground, Hussein decided not to threaten Kuwait anew. But recall that half a world away and six decades ago, the United States took a different approach, withdrawing its forces from South Korea. North Korea and its Russian supporters saw that as a green light to invade, only to learn, three years and millions of casualties later, that the United States was serious about defending a friend. 

link to article

What's The Right Size For The U.S. Army?
April 11, 2014
As the U.S. winds down the Afghan war, the government is eyeing a much reduced military force — to its lowest level since World War II. Here, soldiers from the U.S. Army's 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, salute during the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" during a homecoming ceremony Feb. 27 in Fort Knox, Ky. Luke Sharrett/Getty Images
With the U.S. military out of Iraq and winding down in Afghanistan, the U.S. Army, which peaked with a force of around 570,000 a few years ago, was supposed to drop to around 490,000 troops.

But U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said that's still too big.

"An Army of this size is larger than required to meet the demands of our defense strategy," Hagel told a news conference in February.

U.S. soldiers look for enemy movement during a joint patrol with soldiers from the Afghan National Army on March 1, near Kandahar, Afghanistan. Scott Olson/Getty Images
Translation? Hagel isn't planning to occupy any countries. So he wants to cut the Army to about 450,000.

But that's a number that some generals say places the country at greater risk.

And the Army could shrink even more. Remember the automatic budget cuts known as sequestration? If they go into effect, the Army could drop an additional 30,000 troops.

Rep. Buck McKeon, a California Republican who is chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, seized on the numbers last month when he questioned the Army's top officer, Gen. Ray Odierno.

"If it's a fairly high risk at the 450,000 level, what level of risk do you assume at the 420,000?" McKeon asked.

"I'm very concerned," Odierno responded. "I doubt whether we could even execute one prolonged multiphased operation," which is military speak for something like a war on the Korean peninsula.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel (shown here March 31) wants to cut the Army to about 450,000 troops. At the end of 2012, active duty soldiers numbered 550,763. Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images
Little Support For 'Leaner And Meaner'

Yet some, like Doug Macgregor, a retired Army colonel and combat veteran, argue that an Army at that size would be just fine — maybe even better.

"I could give you an Army at 420,000 that has far more fighting power in it, more deployable capability, than what you have today," he says. "It's a function of how you organize."

Macgregor's plan includes cutting staff and the number of generals, creating highly trained, fast-moving units, shedding Army artillery and using the firepower of the Navy and Air Force instead in the event of war.

"The United States Army remains a 1942 construct that expects lots of warning before it actually slowly organizes and equips to deploy," he says.

Macgregor's plan showed promise in Army war games, he says, but the Army leadership is resistant to making any changes.

"The Army doesn't want to shrink," says Gordon Adams, who worked on Pentagon budgets under President Bill Clinton. "The Army doesn't want to lose the segment of the defense budget it's had."

Adams says the Army has often cut back when wars end, including World War II and the Korean War, for example.

"And it made sense — it wasn't a mistake — because the ground force is the thing you can most easily regenerate," he says. "It's really hard to regenerate a pilot."

The Risk Of Too Much Reduction

Adams says Army war planners could make better use of National Guard and Reserve units, which deployed in large numbers to both Iraq and Afghanistan.

"So the Guard and Reserve we have today is a truly ready Guard and Reserve, not a Guard and Reserve that's waiting to be called up and trying to figure out how to find its way to the battle station," he says.

But senior Army leaders say those part-time soldiers can't deploy immediately in a crisis, and it would take months to train them. Adams says Capitol Hill often bows to the wishes of the generals.

"They are not asking the hard questions. They are mostly advocates for a higher budget," he says of Congress. "You're not going to get the analytics out of the Armed Services Committee that you would hope to."

But defense analyst Dan Goure says the analysis has been done — by the Army, the Pentagon and think tanks. He agrees with the generals: An Army that's too small won't be able to fight and win wars, and could embolden foreign leaders. A case in point: Russia's recent takeover of Crimea.

"Other countries, adversaries may be tempted, as we've seen recently, to use their military power to try and seize territory," Goure says.

That's a result of the U.S. — as well as its allies — cutting ground forces.

Goure says the U.S. now has the only large, capable Army in the Western world.

And he thinks the generals are too willing to accept cuts. His optimal number? An Army with 600,000 soldiers.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Armchair General and the Colby Symposium in 2014

By Carlo D'Este

Armchair General will again support the 19th annual William E. Colby Military Writers’ Symposium, to be held at Norwich University, Northfield, Vermont on 9-10 April 2014. As a part of the symposium the eighth annual Armchair General Award will be presented at a dinner at Norwich the evening of 10 April.

Since 2007 Armchair General has been a dedicated supporter of the only program of its kind held at an American university. A more complete description of the Colby Symposium is in the program’s website

The theme for this year is “After the Wars: What have we learned from Iraq and Afghanistan, and what is the future of the United States and our military?”


Douglas Macgregor
Col. Douglas Macgregor, USA (Ret): A decorated combat veteran, businessman and the author of four books, Macgregor’s innovative concepts from his Breaking the Phalanx and Transformation Under Fire have sparked discussion and influenced thinking about transformation inside America’s ground forces. Macgregor was awarded the bronze star with V for Valor for his leadership under fire of combat troops in the 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment during Desert Storm. After Desert Storm, Macgregor commanded the 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry, and later became director of the Joint Operations Center at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), a position from which he supervised the planning and conduct of operations during the Kosovo Air Campaign.

Jack Segal
Jack Segal, Consul General of the U.S. (Ret.): A decorated combat veteran, Mr. Segal served as the principal foreign policy and political advisor to the NATO Joint Force Commander. He has travelled frequently to Afghanistan since 2002, meeting with senior Afghan, ISAF, U.S. and other NATO officials. A Vietnam veteran who was awarded the Bronze Star and Meritorious Service Medal, Mr. Segal resigned his Army commission in 1977 to join the U.S. diplomatic service as a Foreign Service Officer. He served as State Department representative to the U.S. START delegation at Geneva, Chief of Political/Military Affairs in Tel Aviv, established a new United States Consulate General in Yekaterinburg, Russia and was named the first U.S. Consul General to central Russia. He served on the National Security Council at the White House as Director for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia and later Director for Non-Proliferation. He received four Superior Honor Awards and three Meritorious Honor Awards during his State Department career.

John Borling
Maj. Gen. John Borling, USAF (Ret), a fighter pilot in the Vietnam War, spent 6 and a half years as a POW in Hanoi after being shot down. Upon his release, he served as an F-15 Eagle fighter pilot, Air Division commander at Minot AFB, and Head of Operations for Strategic Air Command (SAC) in Omaha. He led the classified think tank CHECKMATE, was director of Air Force Operational Requirements, and later served at NATO’s Supreme Headquarters in Belgium. He was central to the creation of HQ North in Norway, serving as Chief of Staff. Borling has been awarded the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars with V for Valor and two Purple Hearts. Other medals include: Prisoner of War Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross, Legion of Merit, Defense, Superior Service Medal, Air Force Distinguished Service Medal and the Defense Distinguished Service Medal. In 2013, Borling published Taps on the Walls: Poems from the Hanoi Hilton, a collection of poems written during his imprisonment.

Stephen Pomeroy
colby-award-sp-06Stephen Pomeroy is currently serving as the Associate Director and Lecturer, School of Business & Management at Norwich University, where he teaches three undergraduate courses: “Introduction to Business,” “Organizational Behavior,” and “Organizational Leadership.” While on active duty, Pomeroy served as the Dean of the School of National Services and the Professor of Naval Science at Norwich University. As a Marine Corps leader, he served as Commanding Officer of a carrier-based F/A-18 Fighter Squadron from 1997-1999, and Commanding Officer of a Marine Aircraft Group from 2002 to 2004. Pomeroy participated in exercises and combat operations across the globe and has extensive operational and combat experience. Pomeroy will moderate the 2014 panel discussion.

Established in 1999, the Colby Award recognizes a first work of fiction or nonfiction that has made a major contribution to the under-standing of intelligence operations, military history, or international affairs. Through the generous support of Col. J. N. Pritzker (Illinois National Guard, Ret.) and the Tawani Foundation in Chicago, the winner of the Colby Award receives a $5,000 honorarium.

The 2014 Colby Award winner
The winner of the 2014 Colby Award is historian Logan Beirne, for his book Blood of Tyrants: George Washington & the Forging of the Presidency.


2013 Kontum: The Battle to Save South Vietnam– Tom McKenna
2012 A Nightmare’s Prayer– Michael Franzak
2011 Matterhorn– Karl Marlantes
2010 If Not Now, When? – Jack Jacobs
2009 Lone Survivor – Luttrell
2009 The Forever War – Dexter Filkins
2008 Twice Armed: An American Soldier’s Battle for the Hearts and Minds in Iraq – R. Alan King
2007 Six Frigates: The Epic history of the Founding of the American Navy – Ian W. Toll
2007 Conduct Under Fire: Four American Doctors: Their Fight for Life as Prisoners of the Japanese, 1941-1945 – John A. Glusman
2006 One Bullet Away – Nathaniel Fick
2006 Lincoln’s Tragic Admiral – Kevin J. Weddle
2005 Hope and Honor – MG Sid Shachnow USA (Ret.) & Jann Robbins
2005 Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship – Jon Meacham
2004 The March Up: Taking Baghdad with the 1st Marine Division – Bing West & MG Ray L. Smith, USMC (Ret.)
2004 No Gun Ri: A Military History of the Korean War Incident – Robert L. Bateman
2003 Hitler’s Jewish Soldiers – Bryan Mark Rigg
2002 The Last Battle – Ralph Wetterhahn
2002 Beyond Valor – Patrick K. O’Donnell
2001 Flags of our Fathers – James Bradley with Ron Powers
2000 Stolen Valor – B.G. Burkett & Glenna Whitley
1999 A Road We Do Not Know: A Novel of Custer at the Little Big Horn – Fred Chiaventone
1999 Circle William – Bill Harlow

Armchair General Award
In 2007, Armchair General founder and publisher, Eric Weider, and Editor-in-Chief, Jerry D. Morelock, began an association with the Colby and Norwich University. Armchair General donates $500 annually (a figure matched by Norwich) to an outstanding student in military history who enrolls in the Norwich Master of Arts in Military History online graduate program. The award will be presented at the Colby Symposium on April 10. In addition, Armchair General is also donating 100 free copies of the magazine for interested Norwich faculty, students and conference attendees. Our sincere thanks to both Eric and Jerry for their generous support. It is yet another example of ACG’s growing contributions to the field of military history.


The Colby Symposium is also open to the public and anyone interested in attending is cordially invited to do so. Further information can be found at the Colby website:
Or contact Lindsay Cahill Lord,158 Harmon Drive, Northfield VT 05663
; or by Phone – Office: 802-485-2811; 
Fax: 802-485-2802; or by e-mail:
After the event, a limited number of autographed 2014 full color Colby posters will be available for sale, each signed by the authors attending this year’s event. Posters from previous years are also available at a nominal fee. Contact is Lindsay Cahill Lord.