2008 Rebalancing the Instruments of National Power (Full Text Online for Google Translate)

Articles & Chapters

Rebalancing the Instruments of National Power:

Is a National Security Act of 2009 Necessary?  Or 2008, Now?

By Robert David Steele (Vivas)

Original As Published

Full Text Online to Facilitate Automated Translation

America has hit bottom.  The Comptroller General declared the Nation insolvent in the summer of 2007, and—when Congress ignored him—resigned six months later to go public with his concerns regarding the deficit, the debt, and our future unfunded obligations.  The reality is that our domestic education, energy, health, infrastructure, water policies, among many others, are both foolish and unfunded.  It is in this context that the militarization of foreign policy and the elective engagement in a three-trillion dollar war[1] can be seen to have further bankrupted the Nation of blood, treasure, and spirit, while costing America its once-proud place as the ultimate champion of democracy, liberty, prosperity, stability, and peace.


As this is submitted to Joint Forces Quarterly, in May 2008, open source intelligence reports are being confirmed to the effect that the President and Vice President have told the Israelis privately that they intend to attack Iran before the end of their Administration.  This article reports on a recent and important conference.  It does not seek to review the failure of Congress to live up to Article 1 of the Constitution, nor the unaccountability of the Vice President for refusing Iran’s offer to negotiate across the board, an offer made in 2003 via the Swiss and rejected by the Vice President with what can only be described as nuclear negativity.[2]


However, it is in the above context that our Oaths of Office, which are to uphold the Constitution, not the “chain of command,” acquire the utmost importance.  This article is presented not only as a summary of how best to improve the inter-agency policy process, but as a reminder that America is a Republic and our Cabinet and flag officers have an obligation to refuse illegal orders from the White House [3]


The U.S. Army’s Strategic Studies Institute (SSI) held a conference 8-10 April 2008 on the topic of “Rebalancing the Instruments of National Power.”[4]  The gifted speakers resembled those who spoke in 1998 to the same conference, with the title then of “Challenging the United States Symmetrically and Asymmetrically,” a conference that questioned virtually every aspect of Joint Vision 2010.  The conclusions of the two conferences are virtually identical.  The context is not: from 1988, when the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Al Gray, called for a focus[5] on the Third World zones of instability, on non-traditional sources of instability including gangs of revolutionaries, terrorists, and criminals, and on a draconian increase in attention to open sources of information in 183 languages we do not speak, to as recently as 2006, nobody wanted to listen.


That has changed, and a great deal of credit must be attributed to The Honorable James Locher, Admiral Dennis Blair, USN (Ret), and their network of sponsors, allies, and largely pro bono participants in the working groups that comprise the Project on National Security Reform within the Center for the Study of the Presidency.  With modest funding channeled via the National Defense University, and with the inputs from U.S. Army institutions such as the U.S. Army Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute and the U.S. Army Strategic Studies Institute, as well as many other organizations and individuals, they are ready to repeat the success of the Goldwater-Nichols Act, and help the next President and the next Congress implement “phase two” of national security reform with a mix of Presidential Directives, a National Security Act of 2009, and recommended amendments to Senate and Hill protocols, including a Select Committee for Inter-Agency Operations and Oversight in each Chamber.  Their initiative is severely lacking in intelligence reform and has no multinational information sharing and sense-making initiative, but this deficiency is easily addressed.


The 1990’s


From “The Asymmetric Threat: Listening to the Debate,” Joint Force Quarterly (Autumn/ Winter 1998-1999), a summary and analysis of the US Army’s 1998 strategy conference, a few key points merit repeating here—a full reading of that document and others in the Notes can provide a robust intellectual foundation for appreciating the vital importance of draconian reform in how we govern our great Nation.  Here is what we knew in 1998:


  • Decisionmaking has forgotten to plan, cannot adapt to change, and is unable to stimulate a serious dialogue
  • Mobility is more important than mass
  • Technology without intelligence is blind
  • Weapons’ cost must be appropriate to the target profile and priority
  • Time and space favor the asymmetric non-traditional enemy
  • We spread ourselves too thin, this also favors the asymmetric enemy
  • America is its own worst enemy
  • Vulnerabilities are largely in the civil sector
  • Enemies know how to wage war between the seams of our legal systems
  • Anonymous attacks will become common
  • Existing force structure is acutely vulnerable to asymmetric attack
  • Nation is vulnerable to campaigns that leverage the international and local media
  • Dependency on volunteer contractors in the battle area is a major Achilles’ heel
  • We constantly underestimate willingness of others to do great harm to bystanders
  • Technology will not replace boots on the ground
  • We suffer from fallacy of misplaced concreteness (or more recently, from ideological fantasies unchecked by reality)
  • We don’t do offensive asymmetry
  • Our planning process cannot deal with radical rapid shifts
  • Civil-military relationships are weak
  • States are unlikely to attack us directly
  • Army-Marine Corps competing with Navy-Air Force for budget share
  • Need fourforces after next:
    • Big War (60%)
    • Small War (20%)
    • Peace War (10%)
    • Homeland Defense (10%)
  • Soldiers cannot be policemen
  • Active-reserve mix needs adjustment
  • Private sector role needs examination
  • Intelligence remains an afterthought
  • Issue is one of balance across the instruments of national power


Remember, this was 1998, and like many other similar endeavors in decades past, this sound strategic thinking was simply ignored by political leaders all too eager to claim a peace dividend while also ignoring Peak Oil, water aquifers dropping at alarming rates, food security, the importance of national education and national infrastructure, and so on.  In consequence, America has hit bottom instead of having used the post-Cold War period wisely—and—most perversely—sound strategic thinking is now even more essential if we are to contain an arrogant and reckless White House.[6]


The good news is that America remains the most powerful and wealthiest Nation on the planet, with infinite potential to create new wealth and thus to promote stabilization and reconstruction around the world.  As one individual commented during the April event, you solve illegal immigration by assuring a good life for all, everywhere, not by building walls between the good life here and the pathos that stems from political corruption and criminal looting of commonwealths everywhere else.


Here are the highlights from each segment of the Army conference on “Rebalancing the Instruments of National Power.”


Keynote Address[7]


  • We are not well-organized for new era
  • Challenges and dangers more complex
  • Threats are more dispersed
  • New nations (and 60 failed states)
  • Loose nukes (and bio-chem)
  • Globalization undermines government
  • Super-empowered individuals
  • Local impacts global (e.g. Danish cartoon that infuriated Muslims everywhere)
    • There are three D’s [latter speakers added the fourth and fifth below][8]
    • Diplomacy
    • Defense
    • Development
    • Domestic Capacity (Private Sector)
    • Decision-Support (Intelligence)
      • AfricaCom intended to be an inter-agency command able to orchestrate Operations Other Than War (OOTW)
      • Difficult for an outside state to impose peace—we influence other contributors, while supporting indigenous initiatives
      • Secretary of Defense Robert Gates on record: military alone cannot win the peace
      • Preventive action prior to crisis is necessary
      • Active, Stand-By, and Reserve Forces envisioned for Stabilization & Reconstruction missions—nine months out of the year in the field in non-permissive environments


PANEL I: The Historical Background[9]


  • Must understand the past to affect the future of our inter-agency environment
  • National Security Act of 1947 cannot be understood without looking back to 1930’s
  • Pearl Harbor “never again” was catalyst
  • Military gained place at high table and ultimately displaced Diplomacy as top voice
  • National intelligence got new money
  • Inter-agency coordination understood to be desirable, but never really achieved
  • White House militarized via the National Security Council, lost ability to manage economic or other forms of power
  • Outside the secret intelligence community, there is virtually no understanding of the proven process of decision-support
  • Technical intelligence has come to dominate the budget and the process
  • Need to achieve warning, partner with decision-makers, orchestrate all forms of intelligence, and achieve selective denial
  • US suffers from a strategic deficit.  We need grand strategists and standing plans for long-term inter-agency and multinational endeavors in our national interest
  • We are not exercising U.S. influence in an intelligent cost-effective manner.




  • There are many battlefields out there.  One where we are weakest is that of irregular warfare, including both counter-insurgency and stabilization & reconstruction
  • Five world maps have strong coincidence:
    • Unstable and poorly governed regions
    • Regions suffering from endemic persistent disease, mortality, etcetera
    • Most violent flash-points and hotspots
    • Surging populations in mega-cities
    • Distribution of natural resources
  • Security must be re-defined
    • Shrunken world, problems travel
    • Heightened sensibilities
    • Poor governance compounds ethnic and other schisms and competitions
    • Super-empowered individuals can cause catastrophic (mostly civilian) damage
  • We must intervene decisively but lack the inter-agency culture of collaborative planning and execution to be effective
  • Individuals, organizations in constant churn, very little stability in our  own government
  • Great lesson of life is that no one is in charge—we have to adapt to influencing others in that kind of environment
  • Must do the D’s simultaneously—aid is no longer about helping in permissive environments—complex and dangerous
  • AfricaCom can influence foundations, non-governmental organizations, private sector parties—this is a whole new area for developing concepts and doctrine.
  • Need flexible, sustainable, responsive funding vehicles
  • Need oversight committee for the inter-agency process
  • We are way behind the power curve and not getting it done


PANEL II: Contemporary Strategic Environment[11]


  • Information domain is the key terrain of the 21st Century
  • Our enemy is lies and half-truths, misinformation, disinformation, any threat to operational security and privacy, and our own complacency and ignorance
  • Enemy follows no conventional rules
  • Virtual Caliphate of 6,500 active extremist web sites we are not really understanding
  • Every soldier is a communicator, must all be able to do timely public truth-telling
  • Our biggest battle is for the hearts and minds of our own public and their perception of how and why we do battle
  • We have a huge Cultural Knowledge Gap
  • We have a huge Historical Knowledge Gap
  • Tribes, groups, non-territorial publics are the center of gravity
  • 1942 we knew we needed to understand social dynamics everywhere
  • 1965 we tried to do intensive study of publics [some may recall Project Camelot]
  • DoD Directive 3000.05 mandated inclusion of tribal and other neighborhood-level granularity.  Human terrain program strives to do that within funding constraints [zilch]
  • Military personnel want to know:
  • Who’s who (social structure)
  • What makes them tick (cultural beliefs, values, customs, behavior)
  • What’s with all the tea drinking (cultural forms including myths, narratives, and symbols)
  • Assessments of risk generally high
    • Less than 1% of DoD budget spent on social sciences [this is similar to the secret intelligence world’s refusal to spend more than a fraction of 1% on open sources of information in all languages]
    • New money pays for tools, not data—this is the sucking chest wound in Public Diplomacy and Strategic Communication
    • There is no coordination of research across agencies,  Need a proponent within NSC, e.g. a Cultural Advisor to the President
    • Reach-back capability, 24/7 is valued
    • Official testimonials are saying that the Human Terrain System (HTS) has reduced kinetic operations by 60-70%–better understanding, fewer bullets and dead
    • Having difficulty migrating this understanding to the top of the policy and political chain of command
    • Bureaucratic turf wars continue to set us back—even in the field, inter-agency elements are more about co-location than actual integration into a single team
    • The innovators are too low in the chain
    • Need budget and incentives for rotationals, need flexible responsive contingency funding, and need to manage instability rather than seek to resolve outright


PANEL III: The Military Instruments[12]


  • Four factors will impact on military future:
  • International environment
  • Economic realities
  • Domestic political pressures
  • Strategic realizations going mainstream
    • DoD is going to have to give up major systems in order to fund peace operations
    • Only other Nation-States can actually threaten USA with destruction, but most conflict will be on the low end
    • We are being destroyed on the Information Operations (IO)[13] end—it is easier to get approval to drop a bomb than to do a press release
    • Need the multinational corps for small wars –we must anticipate need for proxies in areas where US presence will incite anger
    • Air power claims persistence and precision
    • Navy will push back, but for first time, asking public what they want from Navy
    • Win wars
    • Prevent major conflict
    • Contain smaller conflicts
    • Provide sea control when things go bad, maritime security as a constant
    • Sustain and foster relationships with forward presence, humanitarian assistance
      • Need a professional and brutally honest roles and missions debate
      • We must plan for advisor wars, hybrid wars
      • Irregular warfare has many many categories
      • We should plan to help others “do” counterinsurgency not do it ourselves
      • Greatest success is those wars we can prevent from starting at all.  Must do more to intervene in time—great deal of incoherence in this dialogue.
      • Role of Ambassador and country team not well-defined or understood[14]
      • Resident military advisors and short-term training teams are hugely different offerings
      • Need to get back in business of sending out many more advisors, while also attracting many more multinational students to our schools—there is no better investment than to field a future president or military leader who’s been trained in one of our schools
      • Secretary Gates on record regarding unconventional warfare being relegated to the margins
      • Army purged counter-insurgency capabilities after Viet-Nam
      • Army must become highly adaptive and be continuously assessing challenges
      • Stability operations are supposed to receive comparable priority with combat operations
      • Command & Staff College does not offer specialized blocks in counter-insurgency
      • Entire US Army, not just Special Operations Forces, must be able to train foreign armies
      • Need an Advisor Corps with transition teams in permanent being, equivalent to 18th Airborne [Civil Affairs Brigade?][15]
      • Consensus is key to organizational learning and willingness to change—politics and existing cultures are pushing back hard
      • Services must discipline their appetites, move big war stuff into reserve, do wholesale examination of naval aviation




  • Inter-agency integration is not a solution for every challenge, but we have to get it right
  • Democratic process can be messy, not essential to integrate prior planning, but once in the field, inter-agency integration is essential to our success at a reasonable cost [as noted in Panel II, today inter-agency operations are characterized by collocation, not by integration of inputs or outcomes].
  • At the tactical level there is no time for Constitutional, legal, policy, political review
  • Transnational threats require great flexibility as well as inter-agency operations
  • Simplest things are now virtually impossible, such as building a road quickly to help nurture the local economy
  • Cannot have reconstruction without security—need to plan for it
  • Ultimate flexibility is in real money that can be spent locally [ideally not on imported Private Military Contractors (PMC) but rather within the local economy.]
  • Somebody has to be in charge in the field
  • UN is actually a good model with the Secretary General’s Special Representative (SGSR) and the Force Commander
  • Need to seek feedback at all times


PANEL IV: Civilian Agency Capabilities[17]


  • DoD recognizes it cannot do it all, and in 2006 called for revitalization of civilian agencies and of integrated statecraft.
  • Country Reconstruction and Stabilization Group (CRSG) oversees two elements:
  • Integration Planning Cell
  • Advance Civilian Team
    • Key problem is staffing of expertise across all fronts from justice and policing, public administration, business recovery, essential services, diplomacy, diplomatic security
    • Commerce is trying to support this and has added the fourth D, Domestic Capacity—private sector can be influenced into investing in and supporting some situations
    • “Whole of government” means upfront involvement in planning, not just in final stages before implementation
    • Commerce does not want to be a body shop or have a tether back to Washington, but rather to orchestrate technical assistance by others
    • Value-added is reach-back to a broad range of experts across all technical support areas
    • Commerce examples include commercial law development, international trade administration, census operations, early warning networks on disease detection, telecommunications mentoring, patent mentoring
    • In all areas, seek long-term relationships rather than short-term in and out missions
    • Commerce has no funding for inter-agency planning and implementation
    • Same process [and program dollars] used for Continuity of Government (COG) and contingency responses overseas could be used to refine our inter-agency endeavors
    • We could learn a great deal from other countries, every bit of it unclassified
    • Agencies and Departments continue to play games with one another, the President, and Congress:
    • Zero-Sum game fight over resources
    • Mandate game over who’s in charge
    • Positive sum game blocked by lanes in the road and lack of “whole of government” funding and oversight
    • Analysis game can earn respect and collaboration without coercion
    • Future is now game being demanded by over-stressed commanders who need daily help, not just long-term studies
      • Lessons learned by economic advisor at Pacific Command and then Central Command:
      • Win the analysis game
      • Master the informal partnership game
      • Live every day as if the future is now
      • Develop horizontal leadership network
      • Trust is the coin of the realm


PANEL V:  Civilian Non-Agency Capabilities[18]


  • Recreating state institutions is not enough—must rebuild locally owned and operated capabilities and create an enabling environment at the local level[19]
  • Working group on working in non-permissive environments is a good news story, US Institute for Peace (USIP) now has a direct liaison to US Army’s Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute
  • We live in a 24/7 media coverage environment.
  •  Attacks on UN and NGO people and buildings have changed their attitudes about collaboration for the better, but within strict rules of engagement
  • After 9/11 all environments are non-permissive—NGOs recognize this, have security officers and security training
  • Our goal is to leverage all actors
  • United Nations (UN) has amazing capabilities that we need to understand and integrate into our plans
  • 38,000 NGOs should be of immediate interest to us; some of them such as Children Care and Mercy Corps have substantial budgets and capabilities.
  • NGOs are very concerned about the militarization of foreign assistance.
  • Check out the Guidelines for Relations between US Armed Forces and Non-Governmental Organizations in Hostile or Potentially Hostile Environments—covers many vital issues from clothing to protocol
  • Contractors are available for hire in logistics as well as security, in virtually any skill area, government needs to evaluate the pros and cons of PMC in hostile environments




  • Excessive dependence on military instrument has negative consequences
  • Must transform entire structure of national security including domestic security
  • Our institutions are out-moded and not capable of supporting modern needs—this must be a “first 100 days” priority for the next President
  • Set-backs from 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, Afghanistan and Iraq are all representative of a systemic failure, not a lack of talent, money, or willpower.
  • The system is dysfunctional in Congress, in our civilian agencies, and in obstacles to integration of capabilities and knowledge
  • We have horizontal challenges and a vertical form of government [in the Collective Intelligence citizen wisdom environment, they speak of the need to end pyramidal organizations that rely on top down command and control, and the need to adopt circle organizations that allow for very rapid adaptation and resilience at all levels]
  • Complexity has sky-rocketed.  Newt Gingrich says we have met the enemy and it is our bureaucracy
  • We can learn a great deal from the business community about just enough, just in time horizontal collaboration and partnerships
  • Project for National Security Reform (PNSR) is doing the homework to support three sets of reform documents for the next President to consider immediately after Election Day:
    • Presidential Directives
    • National Security Act of 2009
    • Amendments to Senate and House rules, with a special focus on need for each to have a Select Committee on Inter-Agency Affairs comprised of chair and ranking minority member from each of the seven major national security committees that will remain in effect
  • Our system is competitive rather than cooperative.  There is no national security mission that can be accomplished by a single department.
  • We see the reforms as needing to begin immediately and be refined and sustained over the next ten years.
  • Over 300 individuals are working on the reforms, across various working groups, almost all of them pro bono
  • Key Cabinet officials, key Senators and Representatives, are supportive
  • Interim report will be published on 1 July 2008, final report on 1 September 2008, the first emphasizing problem definition, the second offering a range of alternative solutions
  • All three Presidential campaigns are following this effort—we are hoping to make this a campaign issue
  • We cannot preserve our national security without having 21st Century capabilities
  • The time for action is now [meaning 2009—with attack orders against Iran now known to be extant, now must mean 2008].



PANEL VI: Rebalancing Strategy & Execution[21]


  • Our national system for planning, programming, budgeting, and allocating simply does not work.  In the absence of a strategy all can understand, stabilization & reconstruction is not going to get the authority, budget, staff, or attention.
  • Most endeavors will not include the military, but those that should be executing civil missions do not have the resources, training, and so on to get to the field
  • We cannot answer the question: what is being spent by each element of the US Government in any given country?
  • It takes too long to obtain budgets and field capabilities—we need to be able to act much more quickly
  • Each country is different—one size team does not suit all countries or conditions
  • Today we are right where the US was on 6 December 1941, the day before Pearl Harbor.  Even with 9/11, which should have been a wake-up call, we’ve hit the snooze button and are waiting for the next big hit
  • We have to understand the linkages between all the sectors.  We have no integrators in government or in the private sector, no one whose job it is to connect the dots, craft a message and a strategy, and implement with a carrot-stick campaign plan
  • Where in the USG do we go for indications and warning?  We have to focus on prevention, we have to achieve a whole of government harmonization, and we have to create equally solid relationships with a vast range of NGOs, private sector elements, even key individuals around the world.

My Own Observations

As a very active reader who focuses almost entirely on non-fiction,[22] I have identified the following emerging themes that will dominate the first half of the 21st Century and determine who wins and who loses at the global, regional, national, state, and local levels.


  • Complex societies are collapsing as top-down chain of command elites prove unable to sense, decide, and adapt to rapid non-sequential changes.  Disasters routinely become catastrophes for lack of planning, rapid response, or localized resilience.  This has spawned 27 secessionist movements in the USA, many others elsewhere, and also given rise to new and more forceful demands for localized “home rule” at the county level all across America and for indigenous groups around the world. Artificial political boundaries and authorities from the Treaty of Westphalia are breaking down.[23]
  • The capitalism of Adam Smith and his “invisible hand” succeeded brilliantly at creating the Industrial Age,” but its flaws are now known:  success came at the cost of the Earth, and information asymmetries have created a permanent schism between a global underclass and a very small elite controlling virtually all of the wealth.  Predatory immoral capitalism has joined virtual colonialism (the US supplanting the UK as the “evil empire” in the eyes of billions) and unilateral militarism.
  • The really important good news is that moral natural capitalism—a capitalism that recognizes the “true costs” of every product and service—a capitalism that is committed to sustainable design and profit, “cradle to cradle”[24] products, and addressing the needs represented by the five billion poor whose total disposable income is four times that of the top billion—all bode well for our socio-economic future.
  • At the same time, the wealth of networks, the ability of smart mobs, an Army of Davids,  wikinomics, open money, all of this offers a prospect for creating infinite revolutionary wealth, for creating a prosperous world at peace.
  • A spiritual awakening is taking place, one that pushes back against the equally destructive fundamentalism of the left (virulent Wahabbism sponsored by Saudi Arabia) and of the right (American fascism and intolerant exclusive quasi-cults).  Faith-based dialog and respect for faith as a basis for inter-communal trust is emergent.  At a secular level, a World Brain is forming, and beginning to operate across boundaries.
  • There is a growing realization within the US population that national morality and national behavior matter[25]—that no amount of Public Diplomacy or Strategic Communication can surmount the reality that the USA is best pals with 42 of the 44 dictators on the planet, and one of the latter two controls enough sugar cane sap to power 35 million cars a year, and enough health care assets to substantially reduce our future Medicare burden.
  • People power, from online deliberation to localized Wisdom Councils to Blessed Unrest is sharply emergent.  This is leading to more frequent demands for “Enough, Already,” along with demands for an end to corruption via transparency, and a restoration of community, family, nation, peace, and the “triple-bottom-line.”[26]
  • IO and Public Intelligence—information and intelligence based on all information in all languages all the time—is creating collective, peace, commercial, gift, cultural, and Earth decision support that is compelling to the public and cannot be ignored by political leaders, precisely because it is not secret.[27]  This becomes very important because changes to the Earth that used to take 10,000 years now take three.  At the same time, our bio-chemical and nuclear industrial practices are so retarded as to threaten multiple Chernobyl’s of our own making.  We must wage total peace in real-time, not as some utopian fairy tale.
  • Information technology has matured to where it can provide reliable modeling of complex social and organic systems, while also enabling an EarthGame™[28] in which every person can play themselves, with full access to both content and budget planning.  By integrating both Real-Time Science and mass social entries keyed to geospatial locations and time, with real budgets at every level from local to global, we are now ready to create what Buckminster Fuller told us was the linch-pin for the future: an Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth.  This is vital because nothing else the US or Europe do will matter—we must show Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Russia, Venezuela, and Wild Cards like the Congo how to achieve infinite wealth without consuming the Earth.
  • Finally, I find on the basis of my broad reading that we are now ready to create a Global Range of Gifts Table at the zip code and single item level such that $2 trillion in aggregate spending can finally be managed as a self-governing, constantly updated “opt in” means of connecting individual donors (80% of the giving) and organizations with specific needs at the “base of the pyramid.”[29]


Well-intentioned individuals have known of the Limits to Growth and Peak Oil as well as Peak Water since at least the 1970’s.  What has changed is that now the public realizes that all of our institutions, all of our checks and balances, are broken;[30] and—on a very positive note—that We the People must get back into the business of self-governance.


In my view, regardless of who is elected President, a National Security Act of 2009 affords our Nation an opportunity to become a “smart nation” and restore both America the Beautiful, and the new America as a sustainable model for Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Russia, and Wild Cards such as the Congo.  It must however, implement a National Information Strategy, and not just move the deck chairs in Congress and the Executive.[31]


In the ideal, this Act can and should be made an issue in 2008, and passed by Congress prior to the planned attacks on Iran in late 2008.


Critical Points for Command & Staff


Here are my take-away points from the Army Strategy Conference of 2008:


  • “Whole of Government” is the new meme
    • Strategic understanding
    • Global to local planning
    • Local to global execution
  •  “Reachback” is the new method
  • Must do all five D’s simultaneously:
    • Diplomacy
    • Defense
    • Development
    • Domestic Capacity
    • Decision-Support
  • Four sucking chest wounds in Intelligence
    • Historical ignorance
    • Cultural ignorance
    • Inability to do neighborhood granularity as well as social network analysis
    • Refusal to acquire, process, and make sense of open sources in 183 languages
  • Must redefine security to encompass all ten high-level threats to Humanity:[32]
    • Poverty
    • Infectious Disease
    • Environmental Degradation
    • Inter-State Conflict
    • Civil War
    • Genocide
    • Other Atrocities
    • Proliferation
    • Terrorism
    • Transnational Crime

My Own Recommendations


First, my summary.  We are still lacking in substantive appreciation, at the policy level and within Congress, for how little we know, how badly we are organized, and how dangerous our circumstances are now and into the future.  When I devised the term “information peacekeeping,” I wrote about the growing gap between policymakers with power and experts with knowledge.  That gap has become so great as to warrant a complete remake of how we decide anything.[33]


I have since 1994 been an advocate of a National Information Strategy, and the creation of a “Smart Nation” that lives by Thomas Jefferson’s own adage, to wit, “A Nation’s best defense is an educated citizenry.”


In recent years, however, I have seen a convergence of multiple factors that now give me the confidence to state with absolute certainty that we must, as soon as possible, execute the following initiatives with or without legislation:


1.  Convert the National Security Council into a National Policy Council with three deputies:

  • National Security, with assistant deputies for high intensity, low intensity, environmental, and electronic warfare;
  • National Competitiveness, with assistant deputies for education, sustainable growth, natural resources, and infrastructure; and
  • National Treasury, with assistant deputies for entitlements, global assistance, internal revenue, and electronic systems.[34]


2.  Create, as General Tony Zinni, USMC (Ret) has suggested, a National Monitoring and Planning Center (NMPC) as well as a Joint Inter-Agency Coordination Center at each Combatant Command where inter-agency planning and campaign oversight can take place.[35]  I would add to that the need I articulated in 2000, for a Director General for Global Strategy with two deputies: one for devising global strategy and managing leadership retreats, a global reserve, and special projects; and a second for inter-agency response management, managing a response center, outreach to non-state actors, a civilian reserve, and public liaison in all its forms.


3.  Ask Congress to create a Select Joint Committee for National Strategy, to consist of the Chair and Ranking Minority Member of each of the Committees without exception.


4.   Direct the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to reinstitute the management function and be responsible for identifying all trade-offs needed to achieve a balanced budget that eliminates the national debt within four years.  This should be a non-negotiable public demand for anyone seeking re-election in 2012.


5.  Create an Undersecretary of State for Democracy, with two Assistant Secretaries: one for the dictators that accept a golden parachute exit strategy, and one for those that do not.


6.  Create an Undersecretary of Defense for Irregular Warfare, who shall provide non-reimbursable funding for the following:


  • Office of Information Sharing Treaties and Agreements co-located with the US Mission to the United Nations, led by a US Ambassador
  • Assistant Secretary General for Decision Support of the United Nations, with the same US Ambassador as Principal Deputy
  • Multinational Decision Support Center in Tampa, Florida, occupying the new fully-furnished building being vacated by the Coalition Coordination Center, replacing the multinational logisticians with a mix of multinational intelligence analysts and multinational civil affairs specialists who will provide unclassified decision support to all parties carrying out stabilization & reconstruction, humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief operations world-wide
  • Elevation of the US Army Civil Affairs Brigade to a three-star Peace Force in which the US provides the command & staff structure, communications, for regional multinational Peace Divisions, while Africa Command becomes the Peace Command.
  • Creation of a Multinational Foreign Area Officers (FAO) Program centered in Tampa, Florida, open to civil affairs, commercial attaches, diplomats, intelligence managers, and logisticians, such that regional cadres from many nations train together as FAOs.
  • Creation of the Defense Open Source Agency (DOSA) called for by the 9-11 Commission on page 413, but outside the secret world to avoid alienation of the non-secret sources, absorbing the Defense Technical Information Center, and the varied DoD “Centers of Excellence,” so that the US Government, on behalf of the US public, might finally have a means for non-controversial universal access to all information in all languages all the time.[36]  DOSA, in turn, would nurture the following:
    • Defense Strategy & Acquisition Center as the DoD interface to the NMPC,
    • Call centers in Brazil, China, India, and Russia that provide free education “one cell call at a time” while monetizing the transactions and capturing early warning on all matters;
    • Community intelligence centers in each of the 50 states, manned by National Guard analysts with law enforcement commissions as well as clearances
    • 114 and 119 numbers world-wide to capture the 50% of the dots that are bottom-up in nature and need to be locally plotted and globally “seen”
    • Global Virtual Translation Network providing 183 language capability to anyone anywhere.


7.  Introduce and pass the National Security Reform Act of 2008, not 2009.  Time is the one strategic variable that cannot be purchased nor replaced.[37]  As part of that, legislatively-mandate a 450-ship small-boat littoral Navy with a Peace from the Sea fleet, and a two long-haul airlift Air Force, one organic and one on call from Federal Express and the United Parcel Service.  Include the Smart Nation Act within this larger Act.[38]




We can do better.  The common ingredient in rebalancing the instruments of national power is information as an input, a strategic “whole of government” process, and intelligence—public intelligence—multinational public intelligence that can be shared with anyone anywhere—as an output.  It is that simple.   Now let’s do it.

     A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.

                        James Madison

About the Author


The author is CEO of Earth Intelligence Network, a 501c3 Public Charity, and of OSS.Net, Inc., a commercial intelligence company.  He has been a Marine Corps infantry and intelligence officer; a clandestine case officer with three back-to-back tours overseas; a technical intelligence program analyst and a desk officer including responsibility for global offensive counterintelligence against a denied area target; and the senior civilian responsible for standing up the Marine Corps Intelligence Center from 1988-1992.  He is a distinguished graduate of the Naval War College, and holds two graduate degrees, one in public administration and one in international relations.  He is the author, editor, and publisher of books on intelligence, and the #1 Amazon reviewer for non-fiction (#32 over-all)



[1]  Throughout this book references will be made that are actually titles of books.  Rather than create numerous footnotes, the reader is encouraged to visit Amazon and search for books using whatever phrase catches their interest.

[2]   A complete listing of online information and analysis on this can be found by searching for [Iran Cheney 2003 Swiss]; current information on plans to attack Iran can be found by searching for [Iran Cheney attack 2008].

[3]  A Republic is distinguished from a democracy in its placement of the Constitution and the body politic that includes all citizens regardless of social standing, above the branches of government.  The right to bear arms is a manifestation of citizen standing.

[4]  The conference web page, offering complete biographies and copies of presentations, is easily found with <US Army Strategy Conference 2008>.  The event was organized by Professor Robert (Robin) Dorff, Research Professor.  The author’s 29 pages of notes and an author’s draft of this article can be easily viewed at www.oss.net/Peace.

[5] General Al Gray, USMC, Commandant of the Marine Corps, “Intelligence Challenges in the 1990’s,” American Intelligence Journal (Winter 1988-1989) easily found online.

[6]  I take no pleasure in emphasizing the naked amorality of the Vice President and the well-intentioned but utterly ignorant disposition of the President.  The non-fiction literature documents 25 impeachable offenses by the former, and 935 unique lies by the Administration’s senior officials, with respect to the need to attack Iraq.  Similar lies are now in the making with respect to attacking Iran.

[7] “Present at the Re-Creation: New Tools for a New Era,” by Ambassador John Herbst, Coordinator for the Office of Reconstruction and Stabilization, U.S. Department of State.

[8] Brackets [  ] denote author’s insertion.

[9] Chair:  Dr. Conrad Crane.  Panelists: Dr. Douglas Stuart, Dr. Jennifer Sims, LTC Nathan Fryer.

[10] Dr. John Hillen, President, Global Strategies Group (USA), former Assistant Secretary of State for Political Military Affairs, U.S. Department of State and also former U.S. Army officer.

[11] Chair: Professor John Troxell.  Panel: MG Anthony Cucolo, Dr. Montgomery McFate, Dr. Nora Bensahel.

[12] Chair: Dr. Alan Stolberg.  Panel: Dr. Joseph Collins, Maj Gen Charles Dunlap Jr. USAF, Capt Thomas Culora, Col Robert Killebrew, LTC John Nagl.

[13]  Secret intelligence is 10% of all-source intelligence, and intelligence is 10% of all information operations.  As taught to the author by colleagues who created “the pit” at the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM).  General Zinni is on record as stating that only 4% of his Command knowledge game from secret sources and methods—everything else was from open sources.  The question needs to be asked, in the context of this article: why are we spending $60 billion a year on the 4% we can steal, and next to nothing on the 96% that is legally and ethically available in 183 languages we do not speak?  For the Zinni quote, see “Open Source Intelligence,” Chapter 6 in Strategic Intelligence Volume 2: The Intelligence Cycle (Praeger, 2007), pp.95-122.  Online at www.oss.net/OSINT-S.

[14] The author’s second graduate thesis, on strategic and tactical information management for national security (1987) found the following characteristic of the three Embassies where he served:

n  Ambassador a messenger not a thinker

n Diplomats in the minority within their own Embassy, with a chaotic multiplicity of agencies in place but not integrated

n Only the spies had money with which to buy information, but they required the source to commit treason before listening/paying

n 80% of the information that is collected goes back in hard-copy to a single point where it is lost forever to  anyone else in USG

n USG is making decisions on 2% of the relevant information available from all sources

[15] It is my personal view that the US Army should close down PSYOP and convert all billets, facilities, dollars, and capabilities to Civil Affairs.  It is also my view that the Strategic Command should organized to command and staff Big War, and give up the business of IO, at which it is totally incompetent.

[16]  Admiral Dennis Blair, USN (Ret.)

[17]  Chair: Professor Frank Jones.  Panel: Mr. John Winant, Ms. Merriam Mashatt, Ms. Donna Hopkins, Dr. Leif Rosenberger.

[18] Chair: Ambassador Cynthia Grissom Efird.  Panel: Mr. Richard McCall, Ms. Beth Cole, Mr. Doug Brooks.

[19]  Bottom-up neighborhood level clean water, power, medical, and civil order is right smack where the new Multinational Peace Army, cadred by the new US Army Civil Affairs Brigade, can begin its development of new concepts and doctrine for what General Al Gray called “peaceful preventive measures” in his seminal “Intelligence Challenges in the 1990’s,” supra note 5..

[20] Honorable James R. Locher III, Executive Director, Project on National Security Reform, former Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict.

[21] Chair: COL John Agoglia.  Panel: Mr. James “Spike” Stephenson, Ms. Kathleen Hicks, Ms. Michelle S. Parker.

[22] The author is the #1 Amazon reviewer for non-fiction, and—unusually as reviewers of fiction usually dominate the top 200 spots, also #32 over-all, as America turns to non-fiction for answers.  Over 1200 reviews and over 70 lists relevant to this article’s topic can be found at the author’s profile on Amazon.

[23]  I have reviewed many books along these lines, but one stands out as so original and insightful in nature that I must mention it here: Philip Allott, The Health of Nations: Society and Law beyond the State (Cambridge, 2002).  His basic premise is that the artificial political boundaries imposed by force of arms overcame centuries of cultural boundaries and conventions that now return to call into question all that we have “achieved” in global domination.  See also two other books: Derek Leebaert, The Fifty-Year Wound: How America's Cold War Victory Has Shaped Our World (Back Bay, 2003), and Jonathan Schell, The Unconquerable World: Power, Nonviolence, and the Will of the People (Holt, 2004).  My reviews at Amazon succinctly summarize each book.

[24] “Cradle to Cradle” is the business term of art for what the Boy Scouts call “zero footprint” and the ecologists mean when they ask that everything be fully bio-degradable with no permanent waste.

[25] This point is emphasized by Will and Ariel Durant in their Lessons of History (Simon & Schuster, 1968), itself a capstone synthesis of their Story of Civilization (Simon & Schuster, 1968), the latter in ten hard-copy volumes.  Morality has a strategic value of incalculable and irreplaceable value.

[26] I hesitate to begin naming books by title, there are so many that could be included, but here two merit mention: Jonathan Schell’s   The Unconquerable World: Power, Nonviolence, and the Will of the People (Holt, 2004)  and Howard Zinn’s A Power Governments Cannot Suppress (City Lights, 2006).  In combination with the Chinese ability to bring down Dick Cheney’s aircraft over Singapore, and being able to pop a submarine up behind a carrier without being detected by an entire carrier battle group, we must recognize that the era of waging war for the sake of peace is over, and we must now begin waging peace as the only means of avoiding war. My memorandum on this matter is easily found by seeking <Chinese Irregular Warfare oss.net>.

[27] The three seminal works in this area are THE NEW CRAFT OF INTELLIGENCE: Personal, Public, & Political; INFORMATION OPERATIONS: All Information, All Languages, All the Time; and COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace.  All are available free online at www.oss.net, and also offered in hard-copy at Amazon.

[28] Medard Gabel, who assisted Buckminster Fuller in the creation of the analog World Game, is now ready to create the EarthGame™, trademarked in his name.  Visit him at www.BigPictureSmallWorld.com.

[29] Medard Gabel, E. O. Wilson, and Lester Brown have all established that the cost of saving the Earth and eradicating the ten high-level threats to humanity is no more than $250 billion a year.  The charitable foundations of all nations spend at least $500 billion a year, and varied governments, corporations, and international organizations spend a like amount.  What has been missing—which the US Army and the varied “white hat” elements of the Department of Defense can provide—is a Multinational Decision Support Center (MDSC) replacing the Coalition Coordination Center  (CCC) in Tampa, Florida, so as to both provide unclassified decision support to all parties engaged in stabilization and reconstruction, humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief operations; and serve as the creator and maintainer—with Civil Affairs proponency—of a Global Range of Gifts Table that can be validated by the United Nations and presented to all charitable foundations and interested parties for voluntary participation.

[30]   Not meaning to pick a fight, the literature is indisputable on this point with respect to political parties, Congress, the federal government, the media, and other purportedly social safety nets.

[31] I first articulated the need for a National Information Strategy in my article, “Creating a Smart Nation,” Government Information Quarterly Volume 13, Number 2, pp 151-173 (Summer 1996). It also appears in The Smart Nation Act: Public Intelligence in the Public Interest (OSS, 2006).  Such a strategy must provide for Connectivity, Content, Coordination, and C4 Security.

[32]  The release of the report of the High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges, and Change,  A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility (United Nations, 2004) was a major strategic intellectual event.  The ten priorities threats, none but one conventional in nature, provide the necessary first step in completely redefining national security.  LtGen Dr. Brent Scowcroft, USAF (Ret.) was the US member of the United Nations panel.  The report, and the detailed list of threats, were not mentioned during the conference but references were made to the need to address non-military threats, not just military threats.

[33]Cf. VIRTUAL INTELLIGENCE: Conflict Avoidance and Resolution Through Information Peacekeeping (US Institute of Peace, 1997) and” INFORMATION PEACKEEPING: The Purest Form of War,” in Doug Dearth and Al Campen, CYBERWAR 2.0: Myths, Mysteries, and Realities (AFCEA International Press, 1998).  Both are easily found online.

[34] This and my second suggestion were articulated in Chapter 13, “Presidential Leadership,” of INTELLIGENCE: Spies and Secrecy in an Open World (AFCEA, 2000), and in more focused form in Chapter 12, “Presidential Leadership and National Security Policymaking,” in Douglas T. Stuart, Organizing for National Security Making (Strategic Studies Institute, 2000), pp. 245-282.

[35] General Tony Zinni, USMC (Ret.), The Battle for Peace: A Frontline Vision of America's Power and Purpose (Palgrave McMillan, 2007).

[36] As promised to the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) in my one-page memorandum of 22 July 2007, all such information would be immediately ported to the “high side” via electronic loading docks pioneered by the U.S. Special Operations Command J-2 Dissemination Branch.  The key is that by giving the spies a copy, we keep the original under diplomatic auspices (and within DoD, under Civil Affairs proponency) so that the MDSC can make sense of the information, and both the raw information and the sense-making can be shared with any organization or any individual anywhere.

[37] This is the most important point in Colin Gray’s MODERN STRATEGY (Oxford, 1999)

[38] The 450-ship Navy can be found in “Muddy Waters, Rusting Buckets, a Skeptical Assessment of U.S. Naval Effectiveness in the 21st Century,” easily found online.

Financial Liberty at Risk-728x90