Occasionally journalists find a gem, buried in the Potomac muck. They’re hard to find and often even harder to convince they should be seen by the public. Harald Malmgren spends most of his time buried deep in the darkest muck of Washington — that almost impenetrable stuff surrounding economics. But he sometimes rises forth and… Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: As terrorist groups increasingly work with drug gangs and other international criminals, they pose new threats to the United States – but they also create new vulnerabilities that savvy Americans can use to attack them, said the Pentagon’s top drug war expert, William Wechsler.
The US needs to go beyond thinking of terrorist groups purely as terrorists and attack them “as business enterprises and criminal enterprises,” said Wechsler, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Counternarcotics and Global Threats, addressing a small audience at the annual irregular warfare conference hosted by the Institute for Defense and Government Advancement, IDGA. Tactically, Wechsler said, that approach offers new ways to target terrorist finances and logistics. Strategically, it opens the possibility of a moral judo in which the terrorists discredit themselves. When the US exposes terrorists’ ties to crime, said Wechsler, “it undermines their support within their own populations because most people in the world don’t like this kind of activity. There aren’t a lot of people in the world who love drug trafficking and think it would be great if their son or daughter was hooked on drugs.” Keep reading →
On one side, Army leaders talk of hybrid threats, whose blend of guerrilla tactics and high-tech weapons pose the greatest plausible threat on land, now that Soviet-style tank armies are extinct and the nation has largely sworn off large-scale counterinsurgency. On the other, Air Force and Navy leaders speak of AirSea Battle as a way to coordinate their expensive hardware in a high-tech war with regional powers like China or Iran. Keep reading →
What the hell is hybrid warfare, anyway? While the other services increasingly fixate on China, “hybrid” is becoming the buzzword du jour in the U.S. Army, invoked even in Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno‘s official “marching orders” to the service. But like “counterinsurgency” before it – and like “transformation” before that – the term is increasingly used and abused in bureaucratic and budget battles with little regard for what it might actually mean. Keep reading →