Thursday, August 30, 2018

The National Interest Panel 8/28/2018

The Center for the National Interest presents today's second North Korean panel.

Monday, August 27, 2018

PANEL: Center for the National Interest

2:45pm – 4:15pm Panel #4 (On the record and will be streamed on The National Interest’s Facebook Page) – What Is the End Game?

No matter what happens in the short-to-medium term on the Korean Peninsula, it seems North Korea will be a shared threat as well as an opportunity for the U.S.-ROK Alliance. What are the chances of North Korea truly giving up all of its nuclear weapons? If not, can the Trump Administration live with—while containing and deterring—a nuclear DPRK? Is there a possibility that the maximum pressure campaign, if increased, could lead to the destabilizing of North Korea? Is unification possible at some point in the future?

Moderator: Harry J. Kazianis, Director of Defense Studies, Center for the National Interest and Executive Editor, The National Interest.

Panelist: Col. Doug MacGregor (USA, Ret.), Author of Margin of Victory.

Panelist: Joe Cirincione, President, Ploughshares Group.

Panelist: Dr. Sue Mi Terry, Senior Fellow and Korea Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies.

We hope that you can join us for this timely discussion on this important national security issue.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Vocal Point – Jerry Newcombe

Posted by Jerry Newcombe on Aug - 20 - 2018

“A nation without border is no nation at all,” says Col. Douglas Macgregor. Dr. Macgregor has written the book, Margin of Victory: 5 Battles That Changed the Face of Modern War. David Gray of Virginia Military Institute notes, “The over-arching themes of Margin of Victory stress military preparedness and adaptability to the changing character of major wars.” A graduate of West Point, Col. Macgregor has spent several years in the military, including on the borders of some nations. He believes that we must secure our nation’s borders for the safety of the nation. Dr. Douglas Macgregor, a frequent guest on various broadcasts, joins Jerry Newcombe to discuss our borders on Vocal Point.

Link to audio interview:

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Pakistan Will Add 60,000 Troops to Patrol Afghan Border

By Faseeh Mangi

August 8, 2018, 7:04 AM EDT
Updated on August 9, 2018, 12:30 AM EDT

  •     Military has fenced about 13 percent of the disputed border
  •     U.S. has accused Pakistan of allowing safe haven for militants
Pakistan will add as many as 60,000 troops to boost its patrols along its disputed border with Afghanistan in an effort to curb the flow of insurgents passing between the two nations, according to military officials familiar with the matter. Forty percent of the troops have already been recruited in the exercise, which is expected to take two years, the officials said, asking not to be identified so they could discuss sensitive troop movements. About 13 percent of a fence planned along the 1,456 mile-long disputed border has also been completed, they said. The armed force’s media department didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The move will consolidate Pakistan’s border operations, which have been beefed-up in recent years after widespread insecurity wracked the country following the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. Domestic terror-related violence is now at its lowest in more than a decade. The army, which has 661,000 regular and paramilitary troops, have previously been more focused on the country’s eastern border with arch-rival neighbor India, with which it’s fought three wars against since British India’s partition in 1947. The two continue to contest the disputed region of Kashmir.

Pakistan has come under increasing pressure to act against the Afghan Taliban and the affiliated Haqqani network since President Donald Trump accused Islamabad of allowing them safe haven. In January, Trump suspended military aid to the nuclear-armed nation and accused Pakistan of giving “lies and deceit” in return for years of U.S. funding.

“I don’t think this will satisfy the U.S.,” said Rashid Ahmed Khan, the head of international relations at University of Central Punjab in Lahore. “It’s one of the most porous borders in the world -- if one side continues to oppose it, then this can’t be that effective,” he said, referring to Afghan objections.

Both Pakistan and Afghanistan have denounced the other for harboring insurgents, prompting relations to drastically sour in the past year. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has said Pakistan is waging an “undeclared war of aggression” against his nation and has threatened armed confrontation over the fence construction across the disputed Durand Line, which divided the largely ethnic Pashtun communities in the region during British colonial rule.

Pakistani officials have said the fence across the mountainous border is needed to stop the flow of militants crossing into both countries. Islamabad has often blamed Afghan nationals and refugees for bombings and attacks in Pakistan. More than 2 million refugees live in Pakistan and the government has said those camps are breeding grounds for insurgency.

The border is porous and has 235 crossing points, some frequently used by militants and drug traffickers, of which 18 can be accessed by vehicles, according to a report by the Afghanistan Analysts Network research group in October.

Lawless Border

“It may not stop every terrorist, but it will deter them,” said Ikram Sehgal, a former military officer and chairman of Pathfinder Group, Pakistan’s largest private security company. “If you are serious about no encroachment, this is necessary.”

However, the AAN report said the Taliban can move with ease between the two countries in the often lawless border lands and are usually waved through by Pakistan security forces. Pakistan’s military has long denied supporting militant groups.

After winning last month’s national election, incoming Prime Minister Imran Khan promised to work for peace in Afghanistan and told Ghani in a call after his victory that he would visit Kabul at an unspecified time.

“If there is peace in Afghanistan, there will be peace in Pakistan,” said Khan in a televised victory speech from Islamabad last month.

Military Policy

However, there are questions as to how much influence he will have over foreign policy, which has long been the domain of the military. Pakistan’s generals are accused of supporting the Afghan Taliban to counter its fears of Indian encirclement and influence in Afghanistan.

Pakistan’s forces have directly ruled the nation for almost half of its 71-year history and has defined the nation’s role in world affairs for decades. It continues to assert its authority on the civilian government and the run-up to the election this year was tarred by widespread allegations of military manipulation.

Analysts also see Khan as a pliant prime minister who won’t challenge the army’s hold over foreign and national security policies. Both Khan and the army have denied the allegations.

(Updates with analyst comment in fith paragraph.)

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Sky News Australia: U.S. Working REGIONAL POWERS = Peace

Colonel Macgregor reveals that the REGIONAL POWERS in the Far and Middle East can work-out security problems with American help better than U.S. troops occupying their lands.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

OPINION: Reduce the unneeded 4-star overhead

Special to Stars and Stripes
Published: July 31, 2018

It’s official. The White House approved the appointment of a new four-star general to lead Army Futures Command. This act raises the total number of four-star generals and admirals on active duty in the U.S. military to 35** — an all-time high for an active-duty force of just more than a million soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines.

It was not always so. There was a time when fewer four-stars meant more fighting power.

From March 1942 to April 1945 when Gen. George C. Marshall was responsible for 8.3 million soldiers and airmen serving in nine theaters of war, Marshall managed to do his job with the assistance of only three other four-star generals: Douglas MacArthur, Henry “Hap” Arnold and Dwight Eisenhower. Some readers may wonder how 8.2 million soldiers and airmen could fight and win the largest and most destructive war in human history under the command and control of only four four-star generals.

One reason was Marshall’s grasp of Winston Churchill’s maxim that, “Failure in war is most often the absence of one directing mind and commanding will.” Marshall knew from experience with failed attempts to reform the U.S. Army during the interwar period that more four-stars promised exhausting debates about desperately needed changes in the Army’s organization; the implementation of new warfighting methods and reductions in the Army’s command echelons. For anything to change and change quickly, Marshall had to take control.

When Marshall received the executive order from President Franklin D. Roosevelt in February 1942 authorizing him to reorganize the War Department, Marshall acted swiftly to make the Army staff in the Pentagon more manageable and responsive. Marshall said the staff of 700 officers had become “a huge, bureaucratic, red tape-ridden, operating agency. It slowed down everything.” Marshall removed 600 officers, reducing the staff to 122.

During the war, Marshall demanded selfless service from his generals and penalized those who put their personal ambitions ahead of the nation’s needs. When World War II ended, Marshall promoted younger men and retired older men despite their wartime service and experience.

Marshall always spoke frankly to Roosevelt, who usually deferred to Marshall’s judgment on military matters. Though they did occasionally disagree, very few people knew it.

Things have changed. Since 2001, a host of four-stars supported by enormous staffs of officers and contractors have set the strategic agendas for three presidential administrations. In the end, all of the “celebrity” four-stars in Iraq and Afghanistan argued for the same solution: billions of dollars and more troops. They received both and failed to deliver any strategic benefit to the American people.

The Defense Department needs a new business model. If famed management consultant Peter Drucker were here to counsel the president, he would say, “Too many four-stars means too many meetings, too many competing agendas and too little accountability for a force with too few soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines that can actually fight.” It’s time for President Donald Trump to consider his options, because he really has only three courses of action:

1) Do nothing. Like Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, let the 35 four-stars and the service bureaucracies set the strategic agenda.

2) Convene a commission of the usual “inside the Beltway” suspects — Beltway consultants, Ivy League academics, retired four-stars, ex-senators and former service secretaries — to study the problem and submit a lengthy report in two years.

3) Select a new secretary of defense; a strong, decisive leader, a leader who (like Marshall) will compel unity of effort by reducing the unneeded four-star overhead; a secretary without personal attachment to the services who understands that American forces organized for the past will be defeated in the future.

To be fair, Marshall had some advantages over today’s four-stars. Marshall never pretended to be a “warrior-scholar.” Marshall did not contend with an industry of pseudo experts and pundits from Washington think tanks, eager to write articles for publication on his behalf. His greatest advantage may well have been his ignorance of the science of PowerPoint briefings.

Today, there is no one like Marshall in the senior ranks. As a result, the sooner Trump heeds the advice of Drucker and changes the four-star business model with a new secretary of defense, the sooner he — not the 35 four-stars — will set the strategic agenda.

Douglas Macgregor is a retired U.S. Army colonel, a combat veteran, and the author of five books, including “Margin of Victory.”

**The number of four Stars on active duty is 38