Phi Beta Iota: We’ve known since 9/11 that the asymmetric war is also marked by an asymmetric excellence in public relations, propaganda and perception management–not only do our opponents spend $1 for every $500,000 to $5 million that we spend, but they are better at this than we are. The USA is spending billions (low billions) on Information Operations (IO) and Strategic Communications, and still has no idea how to do it in languages we still do not speak, from a moral base we still do not have in the context of a Grand Strategy that does not exist because we have a secret intelligence world that is incapable of thinking broadly and deeply or giving the President and the Secretary of Defense what they NEED to know rather than what our expensive ignorant technical systems make possible to give. We are SO reminded of Catholic Mandarin Ngo Dinh Diem in Viet-Nam with his murderous sister Madame Nhu (Karzai’s Brother….), only this time you have drugs, religion, and no competent Afghan military we can pretend we are supporting. A reprise of Dereliction of Duty: Johnson, McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam?
Phi Beta Iota: Worth a full read–not only is the Administration presenting a web of lies and half-truths to the public, their “plans” are totally out of harmony with reality. Afghanistan is closer to the end of the Viet-Nam era than most realize, not because the military failed but because both the US Government and the Afghanistan governments both incapable of honest whole of government efforts that leverage all instruments on national power in an honorable manner. The US military has been given mission impossible because the Administration refuses to “hear” reality. We are bogged down on the Asian land mass, bankrupt–really bankrupt financially–and have a whole slew of natural and industrial catastrophes waiting to happen (see The Next Catastrophe–Reducing Our Vulnerabilities to Natural, Industrial, and Terrorist Disasters and also The Collapse of Complex Societies.
Phi Beta Iota: The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) follow-on charter appears to be bogged down, and rightly so, for a number of reasons not least of which is the complete lack of processing power in anyone’s inter-disciplinary planning and programming, and the consequences of that lack of planning: information cannot get to the troops in near-real-time. We continue to have a kludge of systems designed by stove-pipe sweetheart deal contracts, none of which play well with one another. We flagged this when invited to address the National Research Council in 1994 on the Army’s multi-billion dollar program. We still need between 20 and 120 different systems accesses to get to a simple thing like a name check, and even there we have problems because of garbage in (analysts that don’t speak the language of the name and perpetuate or aggravate mis-spellings). The Future Imagery Architecture, like the Future Combat Systems Architecture, is dead and filled with maggots. We are increasingly of the view that DoD needs to lead an inter-agency bottom-up zero-base review of all intelligence requirements in a matrix that is illustrated here. All of our books are relevant to this review. The first one, ON INTELLIGENCE: Spies and Secrecy in an Open World (AFCEA, 2000) summarized it all, and nothing of note has changed. More money does NOT produce better intelligence. Naturally the study should also be informed by adeep understanding of the inter-disciplinary disconnects and possibilities. See also: Graphic: Information Operations (IO) Cube;Graphic: Information Operations (IO) Eras;Graphic: Integrity in All Respects; Graphic: OSINT Multinational Outreach Network; Graphic: OSINT Global Pyramid from OSIS-X to Intelink-X.
Phi Beta Iota: Worth a full read, this is a CIA PR job (or more unkindly, an illegal covert action against the US public) via a mindless sympathizer from the Hoover Institute, delivered in a conference room no less. The “successes” are more often than not from foreign liaison leads or the NSA, and the inept criminal torture by both CIA contractors and military personnel at Guantanamo is a matter of public record. Lies kill. The truth at any cost reduces all other costs. CIA still does not understand this.
NIGHTWATCH Afghanistan: For the record. The Afghan government announced its goals for expanding its security forces in the next three to five years. The plan calls for security force levels to reach 400,000, including 240,000 soldiers and 160,000 national police, the Associated Press reported today.
At present Afghanistan claims to have 94,000 police officers and 97,000 soldiers. A British Colonel who is a member of the planning team for the security forces said that the team would be asked to approve a goal of 134,000 soldiers and 109,000 police by the end of this year. That would increase to 172,000 soldiers and 134,000 police by the end of next year.
The numbers are mainly on paper. The purpose of this entry is to update readers about the official numbers.
The literacy rate and level of familiarity with technology are so low that the goal of adding 40,000 soldiers this year is not credible and can only be a paper drill. In the past 8 years, the annual average increase has been just over 11,700 soldiers and more than half desert. What would make anyone think an increase of 40,000 soldiers, regardless of their lack of capability, was achievable this year? Moreover, while Afghanistan needs more police, it urgently needs paramilitary police.