Abu Muqawama

  • July 15, 2013
  • Dev

An Indian Summer of SOF

Thanks to Mark Safranski, I read Indian LTG Prakosh Katosh's essay "Optimizing the Potential of Special Forces." It is, Mark implies, a tour-de-horizon of a defense policy that has failed to protect the Indian state. He paints a dire picture of Pakistani Interservices Intelligence (ISI) operatives wreaking havoc on India's homefront through Maoist proxies and heaps scorn on India for relying on...

Read More
  • June 30, 2013
  • Dev

If Skills Sold: Failed States Edition

A new Guardian op-ed declares that failed states are a "myth" that was "invented" in order to support Western interventions in the global South. While it is plausible that some within the NGO community are invested in the concept of failed states and some in the national security and foreign policy community do need the concept to rationalize certain forms of intervention1, the op-ed fails down...

Read More
  • June 17, 2013
  • Dev

Some thoughts on blowback

In the aftermath of two men brutally slaughtering Lee Rigby in Woolwih, Jonathan Freedland wrote this column on responding to the motives of murderers: ... It seems we're ready to listen when we have some sneaking sympathy, not for the act itself, but for the cause it seeks to highlight... But if it's wrong for the right to seek vindication in acts of brutal violence, then it's surely wrong for...

Read More
  • June 12, 2013
  • Dev

Through a Murky PRISM

Edward Snowden is one of history's great actors. But not in the way his admirers (and some detractors) believe, as will be made clear at the end of this post. An earlier draft of this entry looked at the leak, but not much useful things can really be written at this stage of what looks to be a fairly complicated game (see the "Leaks, Politics, and Power" entry for the general leak cycle and its...

Read More
  • June 6, 2013
  • Dev

Cook It Down

I am staying away from Twitter and most social media today, which has become mostly dysfunctional over the NSA stories. As with any other complicated topic dealing with national security, the vast majority of immediate output is garbage. However, perennial source of inspiration Jay Ulfelder has thankfully produced something interesting and worthwhile from--of all things--a Michael Pollan book.1...

Read More
  • June 4, 2013
  • Dev

How NOT To Argue About Women in Combat

My views on women in close combat once hewed pretty close to those of our great Blogfather Exum. However, after reading Azar Gat's War in Human Civilization (as well as his other corpus) and hearing some convincing (and pessimistic) arguments from friends with extensive and varied downrange experience I've gone back to being merely agnostic. I'm just a civilian that types out screeds on strategy...

Read More
  • May 30, 2013
  • Dev

Local Partners, War, and TANSTAAFL

Earlier this year, the Colombian military whacked "32 high-value narco-terrorists" with the help of US Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconaissance (ISR) platforms. Today, we now know that they are all Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) members from FARC, ELN, and Peru's Shining Path. Of course, this is hardly anything new. In some ways, outsourcing the means of coercion to trusted foreign...

Read More
  • May 30, 2013
  • Dev

Local Partners, War, and TANSTAAFL

<p>Earlier this year, the Colombian military whacked "32 high-value narco-terrorists" with the help of US Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconaissance (ISR) platforms. <a href="/%3Ca%20href%3D"http://www.defensenews.com/article/20130530/C4ISR01/305300009/Update-SOUTHCOM-ISR-Helped-Kill-32-Narco-Terrorists-">http://www.defensenews.com/article/20130530/C4ISR01/305300009/Update-SOU..."...

Read More
  • May 29, 2013
  • Dev

I Might Need You To Kill: Signatures, Patterns, and Alternatives

From what we know from seemingly deliberate leaks on the eve of Obama’s major counterterrorism speech at the National Defense University last week, the most widely criticized ongoing aspect of America’s counterterrorism program, the “signature strikes,” against those engaging in suspected militant activity without confirmation of their identities, are set to decline - though they will...

Read More
  • May 26, 2013
  • Dev

Nature's Not In It: A Special In Memoriam

Running through much common misunderstanding of drones, autonomous weapons ,and modern warfare is a romantic fetish of the "natural" and a demonization of the machine and those who use it. Dan Trombly and I have talked about it from the perspective of drones, cyberwarfare, and other technological subjects. But for Memorial Day weekend I won't just touch on how such romantic ideology distorts...

Read More

Pages