NIGHTWATCH Extract: Anti-Piracy Without A Clue…

08 Wild Cards, 10 Transnational Crime

Somalia anti-piracy patrol: Reuters Africa published a report that European Union foreign ministers are expected to extend the bloc’s anti-piracy mission off the coast of Somalia for another year next week.

Rear Admiral Peter Hudson, Commander of the European Union Naval Force Somalia, said he expected a new extension of its mandate which expires in December to be cleared at Monday’s regular meeting of EU ministers. “Over the last two years, there has been real growth in the area the pirates are operating in, as they become more adventurous, more fearless and more determined to strike merchant ships in the Indian Ocean,” he told a news conference.

Since December 2008, the EU’s ‘Operation Atalanta’ has protected ships delivering food aid to Somalia and others passing through the Gulf of Aden and near the Somali coast. The task group normally comprises 13 ships, one submarine and four patrol aircraft from ten countries. It is separate from the US anti-piracy Combined Task Force, as well as ships of Russia, Iran and Asian countries.
Naval forces disrupted 59 pirate groupings in the Somali basin between March and May this year, one of the two main piracy seasons of the year, up sharply from last year. Pirates hold more than 350 sailors and 17 ships.

Seminal Article on Maritime Threat & Response (Declined by the US Naval Institute Proceedings as either controversial or inconsistent with the prevailing flag views on reality)

Phi Beta Iota:  Despite twenty years of robust thinking by a few about asymmetric warfare, those in positions of power are still without a clue.  General Al Gray, USMC (Ret), then Commandant of the Marine Corps, got it right in 1989, as did a number of other Marines including honorary Marines Bill Lind and Col John Boyd, USAF (Ret), Col G.I. Wilson, USMC (Ret), still a top mentor on this topic, and Robert Steele, who has disappeared into Latin America.  Illegal parallel structures will continue to proliferate for two big reasons:

1.  Governments are failing across the board–not just the 175+ “failed states” (up from 25 at the start of the Bush-Cheney regime)–but the states of the Americas, Asia, and Europe that are failing to represent their publics and failing to do holistic strategic analytics.  If you screw enough people all of the time, eventually they do something about it.

2.  That lead’s to the second half of the equation: the impotence of imperial “state on state” forces in the face of asymmetric challengers that combine morality (in their view), ruthlessness, a willingness to die trying, and a plethora of “surprise” techniques not least being the ability to strike anywhere.

Below are just a couple of references long-ignored by anyone with a modicum of power–as was written in 1997, the gap between people with power and people with knowledge has grown catasclysmic–that was in 1997.  Daniel Elsberg had it right when he lectured Heny Kissinger in the 1970’s: given enough power and enough top secret waste products, our political and policy leaders have become like morons, unable to learn from others, however knowledgeable.  Here is the complete quote:

The danger is, you’ll become like a moron. You’ll become incapable of learning from most people in the world, no matter how much experience they have in their particular areas that may be much greater than yours” [because of your blind faith in the value of your narrow and often incorrect secret information].

See Also:

1989 General Al Gray on Global Intelligence Challenges

1990 Expeditionary Environment Analytic Model

1997 USIP Conference on Virtual Diplomacy Virtual Intelligence: Conflict Avoidance and Resolution through Information Peacekeeping

1998 JFQ The Asymmetric Threat: Listening to the Debate

2001 Threats, Strategy, and Force Structure: An Alternative Paradigm for National Security

2008 U.S. Naval Power in the 21st Century

2009 Perhaps We Should Have Shouted: A Twenty-Year Restrospective

Search: 1000 Ship Navy

Search: Strategic Analytic Model

Search: The Future of OSINT [is M4IS2-Multinational]