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Our over-reliance on technology effects our ability to respond
Posted by: McQ on Saturday, August 26, 2006

Among other things, Ralph Peters talks about intelligence expectations and reality in his latest piece. I want to use that to talk about one of the problems we face right now in that and other areas of our national defense.

Peters points out that as a general rule our expectations about the capabilities of the intelligence community are unrealistically high primarily because we continue to believe that technology will provide "all-seeing, all-powerful intelligence agencies" which are able to always connect the dots. Additionally many of us also believe that we've fixed what was broken on 9/11 and that sort of "intelligence failure" will never again underlie such a catastrophe.

Or said another way, in reality we're mostly ignorant of what intelligence really can or can't do and why.
If the events of the past decade (or century) should teach us anything about the relationship between the intelligence community and our national leadership, it is that the more reliant any policy or action is on the comprehensive accuracy of intelligence, the more likely it is to disappoint, if not humiliate, us with its results.

Intelligence can help leaders shape their views, but it is not a substitute for leadership. Senior members in the intelligence world must share the blame for our unrealistic expectations. In order to secure funding for ever-more-expensive technologies, too much was promised in return. While technical assets, from satellites to adept computer programs, bring us great advantages in amassing and processing data, even the best machine cannot predict the behavior of hostile individuals or governments.
The same criticism, the over reliance on technology, also haunts the Pentagon. A large part of that stems from the budget process and the belief that in order to justify the spending levels necessary to sustain themselves, members of the intelligence community and military continue to dwell in a Cold War, conventional conflict mindset while living in a post-Cold War, unconventional world. The focus on the "peer enemy" - the enemy which will rise to challenge us on a nation-state level with similar technology - continues to drive the cognitive dissonance which characterizes both the Pentagon and the intelligence community. They dwell and adapt themselves to an asymmetrical enemy while budgeting, equipping and planning for a conventional enemy.

While satellites, vast computer systems, and the ability to process huge amounts of data are important when working within a bi-polar "us v. them" conventional massed army context, it isn't as useful in an unconventional, asymmetrical small unit context which features transnational terrorists. In both the military and the intelligence spheres such a focus detracts from the real mission. Our premise has been that if we build for the "big one" we can adapt what we have to the smaller ones.

Unfortunately that just hasn't been the case. While we pretend that there may indeed be a "peer enemy" who will rise, matching us in both conventional strength and technology, that just doesn't seem to be the case.

To be clear, this is not a plea to abandon technology or its development in these areas. We need to continue to be on the bleeding edge of all sorts of technology. What we don't need though, is to be over reliant on it as I believe we are now. Additionally we need to enhance our capabilities in other ways than just technology.

In the intelligence community the best example of the problem of the over reliance I'm discussing is the absurd decision a few administrations ago to cut loose our human intelligence assets (HUMINT) in favor of technology. Had we maintained our HUMINT assets, it is at least a plausible argument that we might have gotten some hints, some word, some idea that 9/11 was brewing.

Just as the low-tech infantryman is critical to any battle and is the only "weapon" which can capture ground, the low-tech human intelligence asset remains critical to any intelligence effort. While our high-tech assets can provide the intelligence picture, it is the HUMINT which provides the narrative necessary to connect the dots. HUMINT provides the context in the intelligence field, and help us in both interpretation and analysis - in fact are critical to each.

Peters makes this point very well:
Only human beings can penetrate the minds of other human beings. Understanding our enemies is the most important requirement for our intelligence system. Yet, "understanding" is a word you rarely, if ever, find in our intelligence manuals. We are obsessed with accumulating great volumes of data, measuring success in tonnage rather than results. Instead of panning for gold, we proudly pile up the mud.
You can't say it any more plainly than that. How does one use our high-tech capabilities (absent HUMINT input) to formulate policy which, when all is said and done, must be keyed toward getting the proper response (i.e. the response we want) from the human beings on the other side of things? If we don't understand our enemy, how they think, how they'll react, what external and internal influences are at work on them, etc., how can we really formulate adequate foreign policy to address a problem which involves them?

Gathering data is only one part of intelligence work. The critical part comes in the interpretation and analysis. And that analysis should be driven by the understanding we've built of our enemy if we ever hope to posit a proper response to whatever they've done. If there is an "intelligence failure" built into our system right now, it is the over reliance on technology and the under reliance on down and dirty, spy v. spy, "get someone next to the bad guys", "Cardinal of the Kremlin" HUMINT.

It is there we should be focusing our attention, especially in the war in which we are now engaged and will most likely mostly be engaged for the foreseeable future. We have to move away from the "Big One" mindset of the Cold War in both the military and intelligence communities and focus our abilities and assets, both technical and human, at the level and a mix that best addresses the real threat today. That threat isn't China or Russia. It is the transnational terrorists and their supporters.
Our intelligence system can do more to protect us than it has done, but, even reformed, it will not detect or stop all of our enemies. We need to do better, but we will never perform perfectly. Intelligence is, at last, about people—on both sides. And human beings are imperfect. Yet, amid the tumult confronting us today, the imperfect human offers more hope for intelligence successes than the perfect machine.
Amen. Unfortunately, the mindset that still exists within the military and intelligence communities hasn't yet accepted this truth. Part of that is the competition for budget dollars and the continuing belief that they must fight for their piece of the budget pie. And the only way to ensure budgetary success is to continue to stipulate the high cost "Big One" as the necessary focus of their endeavors while believing they can make do against what they believe to be the transitory and relatively small threat of transnational terrorism. Naturally, the high-cost "Big One" scenario is long on high-tech and very low on HUMINT.

Until that mindset is broken, and we swing away from the belief that great power wars still loom, our focus and success both militarily and in the intelligence community are going to continue to be mismatched and ineffective against the real threat. And that is a real disservice to this country and those communities.
 
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Two important things in relation to that good point:

1) It’s been years since Iran was declared part of the "axis of evil", and yet we still have very, very little good intel on what’s going on inside that country. The recent Congressional scare-port about Iran illustrates that well. A lot of speculation about their intentions, fairly little actual knowledge. What’s taken so long?

2) Applying Cheney’s "1% doctrine" in a paradigm in which we have so little reliable information is a recipe for disaster. It’s Pascale’s Wager as a foreign policy.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
That threat isn’t China or Russia. It is the transnational terrorists and their supporters.
Thinking aloud, here;
Well, at least at the first round, yes.
But I would expect that China or Russia to be somewhat more cagey about things, figuring to simply take the spoils in the form of whatever is left standing after the Islamists get done with us.

The Islamists have shown their hand in all of this, and are therefore somewhat less dangerous than Russia or China, In that, least with them, we have an idea of what kind of attack to expect and defend against.

Also consider the possibility that if Russia and China sea that pattern as well, that they might find themselves motivated to push that process along, a little. The somewhat tenuous connections between the communist China and North Korea, and north Korea to Syria... leave me wondering. All I’m saying there is don’t count them out, yet.

As for our reported lack of information in Iran, if all is taken at face value I tend to agree with your comments here. However recent experience guides is that not all is as it seems where intelligence is concerned... Particularly Middle East intelligence.

Which leads me to wonder; how much of our publicly acknowledged lack of Intel, is rather a lack of publicly acknowledged Intel, instead? I guess what I’m wondering is, with all of the fire and smoke going on over Intel as regards Iraq, have we by some miracle actually managed to keep secretive Intel about Iran secret? as a practical example of what we’d be seeing under those conditions, consider how the congressional report you cite would differ, if that Intel actually was secret.


I’m not saying the situation I described here is exactly what’s going on, by any stretch. But it’s a possibility that logic forces us to consider, I think... and it would explain a lot.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
"Part of that is the competition for budget dollars and the continuing belief that they must fight for their piece of the budget pie."

Market Failure?
 
Written By: Tito
URL: http://
I am 100% for giving native Iranian’s the choice of A)spy for us and make a boat-load of money, and we’ll give you a house in LA, or B)do whatever it is you do now that doesn’t yeild you a boat-load of money and a house in LA. I am for doing that to all of our enemies. Hell, I’d say take all the money we spend on the Agriculutral department, which is almost entirely useless, and spend it on spies in the Middle East. But, ya know, giving people in Iran or any other ME country the option above would be against humanitarian beliefs and those people shouldn’t be allowed to make their own decission based on what they think are the costs and benifits. That humanitarian stuff is part of the argument against HUMINTS. It’s a lofty idea put forth by people who have a very lofty idea of themselves. It is arguably hurting us now, and could do worse damage in the future.
 
Written By: Ike
URL: http://
McQ - While we pretend that there may indeed be a "peer enemy" who will rise, matching us in both conventional strength and technology, that just doesn’t seem to be the case.

Currently China has an 11% annual GNP growth rate, poised to shoot by us around 2025 as the largest economy. They produce 6X the number of scientists and engineers as the US does, though the best go to the US or overseas to get their PhDs. Their military is growing by leaps and bounds, shedding mass Army grunts in favor of modernization and getting the best Soviet, French, and American military technology (via our Special Friend and the huge spy network they run). They have hundreds of billions of eagerly wanted Walmart dollars, etc., per annum they can use in a variety of ways:

1. Investment in taking over the last industries America is still dominant in.

2. Driving the US off strategic oil, mineral deposits. Venezuela, Bolivia, Iran, Indonesia, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Canada. Joining with Russia to give the US the boot out of Central Asia and the Caspian oil deposits.

3. Control of both sides of the Panama Canal, along with 40,000 "technicians" in the Caribbean basin.

4. Even having the balls to want control of CONUS oil deposits for China use through Conoco...much to the approval of Libertarians who say that short of war, "it doesn’t matter who controls things, it’s a global economy".

5. Enough surplus "WalMart" dollars to crush the dollar to pulp if they wish to. Make the reserve currency the Euro, and take the hit to end the US consumer market to achieve geostrategic dominance, and gain it back with dominance elsewhere on the globe.

6. US raw materials corporations report China is identifying all strategic minerals it wishes at minimum secure supplies with 1st dibs on, at best control over - tungsten, beryllium, vanadium, molybednium, niobium, uranium deposits. US firms say China is paying well over market value for in order to have both security and other nations by the nuts.

7. Many libertarians believe in open borders, free trade, and global transnationalism so much in getting material things at lowest consumer cost
that they will tell you it doesn’t matter if the cop on the corner is LAPD or Chinese PLA - sovereignity is irrelevant.
Who can fill their rooms up with the most cheap stuff and trinkets for their kids is all that matters.
 
Written By: C. Ford
URL: http://
Currently China has an 11% annual GNP growth rate, poised to shoot by us around 2025 as the largest economy.
It also has no blue water navy, and no real plans for one. The US Navy has unquestioned control of the seas. Additionally, China doesn’t have an expansionist history. While it may have its eye on Taiwan, that’s about it.

Last but not least, it’s Communist government will eventually be overcome by events outside it’s ability to control in the not too distant future, as a result of the economic monster it has unleashed. It will simply happen in China a little differently than it did in Russia because China loosened the economic rules up first while Russia loosened the political rules first.
Control of both sides of the Panama Canal, along with 40,000 "technicians" in the Caribbean basin.
And no way to support it or hold it if it should come down to a war with the US. We don’t need the Panama canal like China would in that sort of conflict since we have ports on both seas.

Nope, China isn’t the threat all the proponents of the "Big One" would love to make of it.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
McQ -
Additionally, China doesn’t have an expansionist history. While it may have its eye on Taiwan, that’s about it.
It is comforting, I suppose, to cling to past history while being petrified that the reality of China expanding throughout SE Asia - investments and troops, locking up natural resources across Central Asia, Africa, Iran, Latin America, Canada — might jeopardize the Libertarian ideals of free trade to Nazis, to Soviet Communists, to Chinese on the Rise, whomever....and even affect Bush’s tax cuts.

McQ -
It also has no blue water navy, and no real plans for one. The US Navy has unquestioned control of the seas.
Free trade, China-Walmart love..Oh, it rings out so clear!!

Apologists keep saying China has no blue water navy ambitions, despite America’s rapidly shrinking fleet, China building or buying 19 new top-line subs compared to the US budget for two to replace 7 retiring ones in the next 4 years. It’s Soveregny missile cruiser purchase program, taking 30 of Russia’s inventory of long-range satellite linked Backfire Naval bombers. and worlds best Sunburn antiship missiles - not the missiles but a whole factory purchase with the Walmart-derived dollars Russia craves so much. In the last 6 years, China has quintupled it’s amphibious capacity. It is now building nuclear Fleet Ballistic Missile Submarines armed with the W-88 Trident warhead it’s spies got rom the USA. 1st one, with the J-4 missile is operational. 3 new keels are being laid.

The US Navy still has unquestioned control of the seas outside the China-Japan-Philippines-Taiwan-Vietnam bounded seas. Where China believes it can kill any US aircraft carrier and be top dog. Australia believes it too. After the Russia-China Shanghai Pact Wargames in late 2005 - Australia said based on what it saw, it’s support of the US-Taiwan in a China invasion was no longer an automatic thing.

Many Libertarians believe in open borders, free trade, and global transnationalism so much in getting material things at lowest consumer cost
that they will tell you it doesn’t matter if the cop on the corner is LAPD or Chinese PLA -
sovereignity is irrelevant. Who can fill their rooms up with the most cheap stuff and trinkets for their kids is all that matters.


 
Written By: C. Ford
URL: http://
Currently China has an 11% annual GNP growth rate, poised to shoot by us around 2025 as the largest economy.
There are a couple important caveats that people usually leave out when discussing China’s current growth:

1) Trend is not destiny. The fact that they currently have yearly GDP growth close to 10% does not mean they’ll continue to have yearly GDP growth close to 10%. They are, after all, starting from a nearly paleolithic baseline. There’s a significant body of economic thought that China is currently reaping the "low hanging fruit" of economic gains, but that fruit will gradually be exhausted, and continued growth will require more market freedom, more imports, better currency valuation, etc.

2) How accurate are those GDP growth numbers? During the 60s and 70s, the Soviet Union also saw tremendous growth, and was projected to surpass the US within a couple decades. A couple decades later, it was revealed that their economic activity was ephemeral. China has less of a command economy than did the USSR, but there is still a significant degree of the command economy, including a bank system that is absolutely engulfed in debt. They can only keep that up so long as they maintain a fairly closed, command economy.

The points about China seeking to dominate peripheral oil interests is valid, I think, but not the worries about China’s eventual, general economic dominance. Not as long as they remain a closed, command economy.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
It is comforting, I suppose, to cling to past history while being petrified that the reality of China expanding throughout SE Asia - investments and troops, locking up natural resources across Central Asia, Africa, Iran, Latin America, Canada — might jeopardize the Libertarian ideals of free trade to Nazis, to Soviet Communists, to Chinese on the Rise, whomever....and even affect Bush’s tax cuts.
Long on polemics, short on facts Mr. Ford. China can lock up whatever it wishes, but if it then wishes to start a war it will have to defend its access to those assets. And frankly, it can’t. So it is unlikely to do that at all.
Apologists keep saying China has no blue water navy ambitions, despite America’s rapidly shrinking fleet, China building or buying 19 new top-line subs compared to the US budget for two to replace 7 retiring ones in the next 4 years.
And people who don’t know what they’re talking about continue to try to make China the enemy of the future.

Again, what it can buy or build doesn’t make it a deep water navy. That comes after years and years of training and experience. It’s navy has none of that. It is a little larger version of our Coast Guard.

Meanwhile, our ASW capabilities are second to none and the carrier battle group still rules the waves.

What China doesn’t have, even with 30 missile cruisers, is the ability to confront the carrier battle groups out there and win, and until they do, they’re still a green water navy. 30 missile cruisers and 19 subs will give them a nice defensive fleet. Other than that, they cannot project enough power to protect the canal, or anything other "asset" in this hemisphere, and that’s just a plain fact. In fact, they’d have difficulty just defending China.

If they can’t project that sort of power (and they know as well as anyone they can’t) then military ambitions outside their region aren’t something they can hope for - not if they want to keep their economic engine going.

My guess is that the economy is what will drive their future, not the communist government, and, being extremely practical and pragmatic people, they’re very unlikely to look for military confrontation where none is needed or wanted.

The assets they’re tying to lock up here are for fueling their economy, not their war machine. They know very well that in a war, their dependency on assets outside their country would spell doom for any military adventure - because they couldn’t protect them or the supply lines necessary for the assets to reach China.

So be my guest, bang the drum of future conventional war if it makes you feel better, but one thing I’d be willing to put money on - it won’t be with China.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
PS McQ - I saw no signs of Chinese disaffection with the capitalist-Communist model on visits. Just tremendous national pride, rising standards of living, and tremendous sense of power that no one can compete with China in any sphere and no one will ever "humiliate the Han Race again".
it’s Communist government will eventually be overcome by events outside it’s ability to control in the not too distant future, as a result of the economic monster it has unleashed
The sense I got from Chinese there and here was that China got communism right and eliminated it’s Soviet flaws.

Free traders have been saying that China’s 9-11% growth was unsustainable and sure to collapse next year or the year thereafter — for the last 18 years. The same Libertarians that presume American wage-earners are incredibly grateful and loving towards their Owners and bosses - are the same ones saying a waiting line of peasants hoping China will destroy yet another American industry and create more jobs will somehow be resentful of ChiComs as their standard of living goes up 10% a year are angry, resentful, and bound to rise up and cast their Commie owner and boss elites out of power. Or Libertarians claim the "noble, freedom-loving" Han are reticent about the prospects of making Japan or America properly grovel in 15-20 years, and are more inclined to destroy Communist leadership and destroy their economic miracle rather than have Internet porography censored one day more.
John Henke - Trend is not destiny.
The past trend is already destiny. China has transformed faster with a proportionately greater miracle than the Meiji Restoration of Japan. Even if it stops tomorrow, it will be historical..but with 300 million badly underemployed Chinese remaining and ChinaMarts all over America offering mega-credit for mega-stuff...this hypergrowth is projected to continue and both take away more US industries and technologies, and make China the #1 technological and economic superpower by 2025, and the 2nd largest largest creditor nation.
How accurate are those GDP growth numbers?


People keep saying the ChiCom banks cover non-performing assets, that growth in mostly in showcase cities, that China’s wealth is concentrating in the hands of an elite few almost as fast as America’s wealth is - but economists watching the Chinese hinterland, cash positive reserves, and import-export + domestic transaction figures say 11% is close and even underestimated given PPP (purchasing power parity)
John Henke - Not as long as they remain a closed, command economy.
It would be so, John, if the China of today is the model you describe that was true only up to 1980 or so.

China has market forces and plenty of corruption to grease the skids. It is not closed as Walmart dollars go towards payment of Western elites to say they are a free economy deserving of WTO, most-favored nation status. They are an open economy as long as deal-makers site their product production and technology in China - which the Western Ruling elites love because low-cost China production means mass dislocation in America but wads more money for the richest few in America.

China took a leaf from Japan’s MITI and funds the good positive cash flow, competitor industry-destroying endeavors. Where a command economy advantages China, they do it - AK-47s suppress environmentalists, unionists, and lawyers. America thinks they need 9 LNG ports on our East Coast, which may take 15-18 sites and 15-20 years of lawsuit litigation before they settle in 6. China needs 12. It will have 12 in 3 years. Need a new factory site? No problem! Eminent domain, highway hearings? Hah? Factory guaranteed ready to go for former US candy maker, US anything in under two years! Peasants? Oh, they cheered being relocated! Next question??

China’s employee practices follow the Walmart priciple. Any job is good for the soviet (community), the people love it, and anyone that has a job should be so grateful they got it that they have no right...as voluntary workers...to seek to organize. Profits mostly going to the PLA generals and other elites are better than dissipating them on otherwise happy workers.
 
Written By: C. Ford
URL: http://
Last but not least, it’s Communist government will eventually be overcome by events outside it’s ability to control in the not too distant future, as a result of the economic monster it has unleashed.
Doubtless. yet, in a number of ways I am more concerned, not less.

I recall similar predictions as regards the Muslim world...That eventually , they would be overcome by the outside world. The reason for that overcoming, ironically is much the same; Economics.

While the Middle East has Islam to feed its religious fanatics, China still has its communism... and it’s strictest followers have also been compared to religious fanatics.

There are differences, of course.... the economic monster of China relates to its manufacturing capabilities and its source of cheap labor. The economic monster of the Middle East is of course petroleum and the petrodollars that spring from that.
What China doesn’t have, even with 30 missile cruisers, is the ability to confront the carrier battle groups out there and win, and until they do, they’re still a green water navy. 30 missile cruisers and 19 subs will give them a nice defensive fleet. Other than that, they cannot project enough power to protect the canal, or anything other "asset" in this hemisphere, and that’s just a plain fact. In fact, they’d have difficulty just defending China.
At the moment, that’s quite true. But given the manufacturing capacity that they have on hand, manufacturing capacity that we’ve been supplying them...as well as the sophisticated electronics required to maintain a modern navy... I suspect they could build themselves a nice little fleet in a hurry. It’s not likely to be tremendously well trained, but I’m willing to bet they’d be able to be effective on sheer numbers. Plus, they already have nuclear capability.

We’ve already had a healthy helping of how the Middle East has reacted to being overcome by events outside of itself. I’m not sure I want to know of China will react to the same situation . (Shudder)

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
McQ -
And people who don’t know what they’re talking about continue to try to make China the enemy of the future.
All I hear from you is the Free Trade with anyone mantra. Ooommmmm! Ommmmm! Free trade is our friendship-maker! Everyone, place the buck foremost! Even the Nazis. If the Ruling Elites just go for the Big Bucks, global peace will follow! Anyone who considers China, despite announcements by various PLA generals and admirals we are the #1 enemy and nuke-wothy and the Great Humiliator along with the fetid little evil barbarians of Japan - as a foe - doesn’t know what they are talking about! China is our bestest friend!!!!

McQ -
Long on polemics, short on facts Mr. Ford. China can lock up whatever it wishes, but if it then wishes to start a war it will have to defend its access to those assets. And frankly, it can’t.
You have the logic reversed. As rightful owner to more and more oil and mineral assets with each passing year and more WalMart dollars to sink into them, China can lock up supply it is legally entitled to as owner from world markets. And not start a war. But put the aggressor onus on the US to start a war if it doesn’t like China’s fair and square "free trade" cornering of resources. China owns it, will own more and more with each year, and has a 1 trillion monetary club over the US - with the ability to destroy it’s currency value. Short of starting a war to usurp China’s property rights, US options dwindle due to China’s dominance.

McQ -
Again, what it can buy or build doesn’t make it a deep water navy. That comes after years and years of training and experience. It’s navy has none of that.
No, TDR, 1930s Japan, Sergei Gorshev of the USSR proved you can build a formidable blue water Navy from nothing in under 10 years. The US in WWII proved you can go from a mediocre small blue water Navy with antiquated tactics to a hyper-Fleet with dominant tactics in 2 1/2 years.

McQ -
It is a little larger version of our Coast Guard.
Anyone looking at the Order of Battle of the Rising China Fleet, other than those wedded to Free Trade regardless of any other factor, then the Coast Guard Order of Battle, would not consider the force capability analogous. It is a lot larger than the Coast Guard, or now the operable Russian Navy - and poised to have more subs and antiship launchers than the US Navy by 2020.

McQ -
but one thing I’d be willing to put money on - it won’t be with China.
Interesting you’d say that when we are putting 220 billion Walmart dollars in China’s pocket every year to buy the best military upgrade ever.

McQ -
and, being extremely practical and pragmatic people, they’re very unlikely to look for military confrontation where none is needed or wanted.
That would be the same practical and pragmatic people that confronted and killed 60 million people in the ChiCom Democide 1948-1971?


 
Written By: C. Ford
URL: http://
All I hear from you is the Free Trade with anyone mantra. Ooommmmm! Ommmmm!
Well then you’re not listening very closely, Mr. Ford. It is China who has chosen that path, not me. And that choice has consequences that those who worship the "big one" can’t seem to get past, even when the facts stare them straight in the face.

The economic path China has chosen will have unintended consequences within that country and sooner rather than later. And they will effect both the legal and political rule sets. What that means, despite your fevered attempts to deny it, is that China becomes less and less likely to wage war on a global level as its economic picture grows brighter and brighter and internal pressure to change mounts. Quite simply it comes down to not being worth it - a fairly simple and straight forward yet profound truth.
As rightful owner to more and more oil and mineral assets with each passing year and more WalMart dollars to sink into them, China can lock up supply it is legally entitled to as owner from world markets. And not start a war.
Then what’s your point? We’re discussing China and war. You’ve just conceded my point. What China is doing is locking up these assets to fuel their economy, not their war machine as you’ve just admitted.
No, TDR, 1930s Japan, Sergei Gorshev of the USSR proved you can build a formidable blue water Navy from nothing in under 10 years.
And we sunk the 30’s Japanese navy with relatively little trouble (even after suffering Pearl Harbor) and essentially isolated Japan within 2 years.

The USSR built the greatest fleet never to fight and, as became obvious near their demise, almost unfit to fight. The fact that they sailed around in blue water doesn’t make them a blue water navy. So talk’s cheap and numbers don’t make a deep water navy. Ours, however, is tried and tested and we know what it can do ... and so do they.
Anyone looking at the Order of Battle of the Rising China Fleet, other than those wedded to Free Trade regardless of any other factor, then the Coast Guard Order of Battle, would not consider the force capability analogous. It is a lot larger than the Coast Guard, or now the operable Russian Navy - and poised to have more subs and antiship launchers than the US Navy by 2020.
The order of battle of the Chinese navy is one of a defensive fleet. Period.

The North Sea Fleet consists of the following:

* Destroyer X 7: Jinan (105), Xi’an (106), Yinchuan (107), Xining (108), Kaifeng (109), Dalian (110), Harbin (112), Qingdao (113)
* Frigates X 7: Changzhi (519), Huangshi (535), Wuhu (536), Zhoushan (537), Dandong (543), Siping (544), Linfen (545)
* Nuclear submarine X 6: 5 Type 091 (Han class) SSN and a Type 092 (Xia class) SSBN
* Conventional submarine X 15

The South Sea Fleet the following:

* Destroyer X 11: Changsha (161), Nanning (162), Nanchang (163), Guilin (164), Zhanjiang (165), Zhuhai (166), Shenzhen (167), Guangzhou (168), Wuhan 169, Lanzhou (170), 171
* Frigates X 17: Changde (509), Maoming (551), Yibin (552), Shaoguan (553), Anshun (554), Zhaotong (555), Jishou (557), Beihai (558), Kangding (559), Dongguan (560), Shantou (561), Jiangmen (562), Foshan (563), Yichang (564), Yulin (565), Yuxi (566), Xiangfan (567)
* Conventional submarines X 6: Type 035 (Ming class)
* Landing ships X 17+: Including 10 Type 072II (Yuting class) LST , 7 Type 072 (Yukan class) LST, 4 Qiongsha class troop transport ships, a hospital ship, and 4 Yudao class LSMs

The East Sea Fleet the following:

* Destroyer X 6: Nanjing (131), Hefei (132), Chongqing (133), Zunyi (134), Hangzhou (136), Fuzhou (137)
* Frigates X 21: Shaoxing (510), Nantong (511), Wuxi (512), Huaiyin (513), Zhenjiang (514), Xiamen (515), Jiujiang (516), Nanping (517), Ji’an (518), Jiangxing (521), Lianyungang (522), Putian (523), Sanming (524), Ma’anshan (525), Wenzhou (526), Ningbo (533), Jinhua (534), Anqing (539), Huainan (540), Huaibei (541), Tongling (542)
* Conventional submarine X 7: Four Kilo class (364, 365, 366, 367) and three Type 039/Song class (320, 321, 322)

In sum the Chinese navy has:

* Destroyer flotilla X 3
* Frigate flotilla X 3
* Nuclear submarine flotilla X 1
* Conventional submarine flotilla X 3
* Fast attack craft flotilla X 3
* Landing ship flotilla X 2
* Logistic support ship flotilla X 3

I can promise you the US Navy is not shaking in its boots.

China’s navy is essentially a destroyer/frigate based navy. In anyone’s book that is a defensive navy oriented on coastal defense (aka a "green water" navy).

23 destroyers, 46 frigates, 5 nuc subs and 28 conventional subs. That’s it. That’s all. And I was being facetious when I mentioned the Coast Guard, but hey, less the subs, the Chinese navy isn’t much more impressive than the CG in terms of firepower. Add those missile crusiers and subs and it still isn’t an impressive navy when you talk about ’blue water’.
Interesting you’d say that when we are putting 220 billion Walmart dollars in China’s pocket every year to buy the best military upgrade ever.
So? Again, why would they do so when they have an economic engine going at full out and they’re enjoying peace and propserity? You still haven’t managed an answer for that.
That would be the same practical and pragmatic people that confronted and killed 60 million people in the ChiCom Democide 1948-1971?
Where was that done, Mr. Ford? In Panama? Venezuela? Thailand? We’re talking about the possibility of war with China and all you can throw out in answer to that is this non sequitur?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
"My guess is that the economy is what will drive their future, not the communist government, and, being extremely practical and pragmatic people, they’re very unlikely to look for military confrontation where none is needed or wanted."

A guess is still a guess. Being practical and pragmatic people, they do what their government tells them to do.
I believe Mr. Ford’s point is that their behavior 1948-1971 does not demonstrate the pragmatism and practicality you ascribe to them. Why is that a non sequitur?

"We don’t need the Panama canal like China would in that sort of conflict since we have ports on both seas"

Yes, and we have ships on both seas. The Panama canal makes it much more convenient to enable ships from one sea to get to the other if and when needed. Time is money, so to speak.

"China becomes less and less likely to wage war on a global level"

Possibly so, but they may still find it in their interest to fight a regional war, and unless we wish to abandon our presence in that region we are going to need a blue water navy with carrier battle groups to stay in the game.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
A guess is still a guess.
Obviously. But then, that’s what this entire discussion is based upon ... both sides guesses. One side says China is looking for war. The other says it doesn’t want a fight and economics is the reason why.

So far, unless I’ve missed something I’d have to say those guessing the latter have the upper hand in the discussion.
Yes, and we have ships on both seas. The Panama canal makes it much more convenient to enable ships from one sea to get to the other if and when needed. Time is money, so to speak.
We’re talking about war, Tim. And my point is the canal is more critical to China in a war than it would be to us. And China has no way to project the power necessary to protect it.

However, if China is aimed at fueling its economy, then control of the canal is convenient but certainly not a threat to us.
Possibly so, but they may still find it in their interest to fight a regional war, and unless we wish to abandon our presence in that region we are going to need a blue water navy with carrier battle groups to stay in the game.
And we have them and they don’t. I’ve not said a word about abandoning Carrier Battle Groups, have I?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
McQ -
One side says China is looking for war. The other says it doesn’t want a fight and economics is the reason why.
No, China is looking for dominance and control of global resources without war.

The Chinese have alsways believed that the best war is the one that you win by other means, and never have to actually fight for.

That McQ thinks that China is looking to grab and own as much of the world’s global resources so it’s economy beats all others and dominates other nations economically and with the clout of a trillion in reserve currency that can destroy rivals financial systems if the ChiComs become vexed - rather than fight a war -

That is precisely China’s strategy.

War or destruction of the dollar would only be necessary if China tresspasses on the Ruling Elite’s ability to make millions transferring US technology and industry to China. Not even their takeover of Taiwan, like to happen after the Beijing Olympics, or the new Asian Co-Prosperty Sphere will take their eyes off the money. It’s like the globalist’s ability so far to keep Open Borders - despite the massive damage, the money is too good for them to permit their minions in DC to stop it.

China expanding into Western Siberia, pushing to buy Alaska, threatening Japan or Australia’s sovereignity might.
 
Written By: C. Ford
URL: http://
No, China is looking for dominance and control of global resources without war.
Well that wasn’t your story earlier with the "Rising China Fleet", 30 missile cruisers and nuclear subs, was it?

And since I was talking about the Pentagon and who it is equiping itself up to fight in the "Big One" (global war), then China looking for dominance and control of global resources without war doesn’t fit that bill, does it?
That McQ thinks that China is looking to grab and own as much of the world’s global resources so it’s economy beats all others and dominates other nations economically and with the clout of a trillion in reserve currency that can destroy rivals financial systems if the ChiComs become vexed - rather than fight a war -
Show me where I said anything like that. It would be nice if you would avoid putting words in my mouth next time.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
It’s been years since Iran was declared part of the "axis of evil", and yet we still have very, very little good intel on what’s going on inside that country.
The intel community structure is very, very complex (as I am coming to realize), very parochial, very much of a "not invented here".

Somebody does know, however I can suppose that much of it is never seen by congress. All sorts of groups have conflicting ideas about what the intel means and have axes to grind.

A quick answer to your question is that the current environment (not the people or technology) is completely disfunctional and has been that way for well over 2 decades. Even, if you replace the administartion with another, it will still be a disaster.
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
"We’re talking about war, Tim."

No sh**?


"And my point is the canal is more critical to China in a war than it would be to us."

Why? We are the ones that may need to move ships from the Atlantic to the Pacific in a timely manner in the case of a war. If the Chinese have even half a brain, they are looking at ways to shut down the canal in case of war.


"And we have them and they don’t. I’ve not said a word about abandoning Carrier Battle Groups, have I?"

." We have to move away from the "Big One" mindset of the Cold War in both the military and intelligence communities and focus our abilities and assets, both technical and human, at the level and a mix that best addresses the real threat today. That threat isn’t China or Russia. It is the transnational terrorists and their supporters."

Perhaps I misunderstood the point of your article. I thought it was that we need to reallocate our limited budgetary and manpower resources away from big ticket, hi-tech items like carriers, attack submarines, and bombers toward assets more suitable for a war on terrorists. I do not see how, given that we are probably not going to increase the definse and intelligence budgets, we can allocate more towards one area without decreasing other areas.


 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Why? We are the ones that may need to move ships from the Atlantic to the Pacific in a timely manner in the case of a war. If the Chinese have even half a brain, they are looking at ways to shut down the canal in case of war.
They’re the one’s developing assets in the Caribbean, Tim, not us. So the canal would be much more critical to their access to these assets than it would us. It would be convenient, certainly, for us to move ships through the canal, but at the point that the canal is shut down by whatever means, the Cape is the single way to move from the Pacific side to the Atlantic side. Any guess as to who would have no trouble whatsoever controlling that area?
Perhaps I misunderstood the point of your article. I thought it was that we need to reallocate our limited budgetary and manpower resources away from big ticket, hi-tech items like carriers, attack submarines, and bombers toward assets more suitable for a war on terrorists. I do not see how, given that we are probably not going to increase the definse and intelligence budgets, we can allocate more towards one area without decreasing other areas.
Perhaps you did:
To be clear, this is not a plea to abandon technology or its development in these areas. We need to continue to be on the bleeding edge of all sorts of technology. What we don’t need though, is to be over reliant on it as I believe we are now. Additionally we need to enhance our capabilities in other ways than just technology.
We still need a portion of our force to be "conventional" and we still need to look at technology (especially in the Navy). We just don’t need to base our entire military posture on the "big one" since there most likely isn’t going to be a "big one" if we keep the proper deterrent posture.

But that doesn’t mean a) we need the amount of units we now have to do so (or their associated cost) or b) we shouldn’t refocus on the actual threat which we’re facing - transnational terrorism - and tailoring the force to meet it instead of trying to adapt the conventional force to do so.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
"They’re the one’s developing assets in the Caribbean, Tim, not us. So the canal would be much more critical to their access to these assets than it would us"

I think the Chinese leadership knows at least as well as you do that they would be unable to support any assets in the Caribbean, and have planned accordingly. Something like the Berlin Brigade in Germany. This would not be the first time that a country had vulnerable and unsupportable overseas assets.

"It would be convenient, certainly, for us to move ships through the canal, but at the point that the canal is shut down by whatever means, the Cape is the single way to move from the Pacific side to the Atlantic side. Any guess as to who would have no trouble whatsoever controlling that area?"

You need to talk to some naval officers. I think they would say the canal is a little more than a convenience. There is a reason the US had a considerable military presence in the canal zone, other than a good location for a jungle school. The canal was built for a reason, and that reason still holds. There is no doubt in my mind that in the event of hostilities, the canal and various west coast ports are targets, just as the canal and ports were potential Soviet targets during the cold war.

"We just don’t need to base our entire military posture on the "big one""

I don’t think that we are. We certainly have a substantial non-conventional capability, certainly more than we did 20 years ago.

"there most likely isn’t going to be a "big one" if we keep the proper deterrent posture"
"But that doesn’t mean a) we need the amount of units we now have to do so (or their associated cost"

I am still confused. It seems to me what you are doing is quibbling over the marginal size of conventional forces vs. unconventional forces. We need more of A so we need to cut back on B without weakening B. Arguing about the proper size of a deterrent force, or any military force, is a pretty pointless, or at least endless argument.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
I think the Chinese leadership knows at least as well as you do that they would be unable to support any assets in the Caribbean, and have planned accordingly.
And what would that be, Tim, given a global war and an economy which would likely crash in the event of one? That and lacking a navy to protect the other supply routes it would have to protect in order to ensure an adequate supply of war materials (primarily energy related), what other plans do you suppose they have in place? Unless it is all overland and immune to strategic bombing, they have a real problem, don’t they?
It seems to me what you are doing is quibbling over the marginal size of conventional forces vs. unconventional forces. We need more of A so we need to cut back on B without weakening B. Arguing about the proper size of a deterrent force, or any military force, is a pretty pointless, or at least endless argument.
It’s not pointless at all unless you buy into the argument that China is the "real" enemy and we ought to focus all our attention on building for that and adapting what we build to face the actual threat of transnational terrorism which we’ve been fighting since the ’90s.

Is that your argument?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Arthur C. Clarke: "Superiority".
 
Written By: Rollory
URL: http://
Back to the original topic:
Intelligence gets confusing when you try to make it something special. It isn’t.

Intelligence is information. Usually, information in another language.

All that information is great! But you need people to figure out what is real and what is spoofed (intentionally false). You need people to figure out what is significant and what is unimportant. You need people to translate it into English. You need people to analyze it, and fuse it with other informtion sources to fill in the picture. You need domestic and foreign information specialists to talk to each other so that if one person has the missing piece of the puzzle, it gets to the right person/agency who can put it all together.

That ain’t happening enough.

All the information in the world doesn’t help if you have a "Wall" preventing information sharing in your own govt. All the technology in the world can’t get around a self-imposed "Wall" between the U.S. intelligence services. (Thanks, Jamie Gorelick!!)

It’s a manpower issue all the way around, and not just HUMINT.

By the way, the difference between "information" and "intelligence" is that if the enemy finds out you have their information, they’ll figure out who gave it to you and kill/imprison them. Either way, your information source goes away. Our news media doesn’t allow Republican administrations to protect information, so our intelligence activities will always be hampered by CNN and the New York Times as long as there isn’t a Democrat in the White House.
 
Written By: Nathan
URL: http://brain.mu.nu/
Arthur C. Clarke: "Superiority". Rollory
I keep thinking of that brilliant short story as we shrink our net conventional military forces to pay for Bushs Iraq War,new entitlements, corporate pork, and tax cuts for the wealthy. Less fighter jets, surface ships, subs, bombers, tankers, tanks, Bradleys. We are told that the F-22 is "so superior" to other advanced jets and state of the art "air and surface anti-aircraft weaponry" that numbers are irrelevant. And, the F-22 is now boosted as the "premiere counter-terror platform".

And Rumsfeld says the number of hulls and airframes and Army troops is Not Important...because the ship, jet, or person that replaces 3 in Carter or Reagan’s era is Vastly More Capable.

As our military declines in numbers, Rising China’s grows, modernizes with state-of-the-art technology. Because of China’s growing technological and economic dominance, it can put America in hock to it to fund its spending, continue trying to lock up the world’s natural resources China needs, give all the new stuff it’s People’s Liberation Army can handle, build it’s education and infrastructure system in a globally unprecidented manner, and have enough left over to accumulate hundreds of billions in current account surplus every year put in other places than fueling America’s red ink wastrel ways.

All while the Decider rides his bike muttering "Evildoers! Heh! Got ’em on the run. Smoking ’em out of their caves!" Looking anywhere but to our Borders or China..

"Superiority" wish the Idiot had read that over the old TDR, Churchill crap or the new Sharansky crap.
 
Written By: C. Ford
URL: http://
C.Ford,
Tried to email you but it didn’t work.
From where do you get your knowledge/understanding of China? Not from CNN/BBC, apparently. And your comments about Bush make it clear Fox News isn’t a source, either.
 
Written By: Nathan
URL: http://brain.mu.nu/
PS - McQ - You’re the one saying China locking up and owning strategic assets doesn’t matter because we can take them away with our WWII Meme of aircraft carriers winning the day.

My point was China wishes to win without war. The free trader globalists desire is to hysterically insist that free trade, Open Borders, and Outsourcing make America stronger because consumers "can load up a whole truck of Chinese stuff for a few hundred bucks."

Assume the Sun Tzu logic prevails. China locks up key allies and gets dominance along with partner Russia over energy and mineral natural resources supplies - major port assets at global chokepoints, and dominance over most science and industry.

If I was them, that turns Taiwan, Vietnam, Central Asia, portions of Latin America and the Koreas into Tribute Nation kibble food for them.

The US could sputter and threaten the "surgical precision war" and cutting off China’s oil with our "Super-military".

China then says if the US tries cutting off what it owns or has agreements with honorable nations like KSA, Iran, Australia, and Venezuela with, it will go to the UN and have the US declared outside international law. THEN it will reciprocate if the US doesn’t come to heel like the good dog it is.

Meaning, Chinese go back to riding bicycles and cut back - having known privation before. Then use the threat of their larger sub fleet 70 and growing and 30+ Backfire Naval attack bombers, control of key chokepoints like the Panama Canal, Straights of Malacca -along with their partners (Iran - Straights of Hormuz)) to interdict US-bound shipping if the US blockades their stuff. Oh, and threaten to dump almost a trillion in US currency triggering a panic to turn the dollar into toilet paper in making the Euro the new Reserve currency, threaten the ChinaMart "sovereign consumers" with loss of mountains of stuff AND their savings stupidly kept in dollars, wiped out. THe big key of course will be the Ruling Elite of America realizing that hundreds of billions they have invested in transferring industry, technology, and jobs from America to China could be wiped out, the Ruling Elite losing their shirts.

That will put K-Street, AIPAC, Chamber of Commerce, bought members of Congress into hyperdrive to Kow-Tow to China.

So that is what the Chinese want from your free trader buddies, McQ. To make your supercarriers and other WWII metrics irrelevant, take Taiwan, start a new Asian Co-Prosperity sphere, avenge humiliations, eventually bring Japan in with apologies after the US is humbled by it’s Ruling Elite’s greed.



 
Written By: C. Ford
URL: http://
PS - McQ - You’re the one saying China locking up and owning strategic assets doesn’t matter because we can take them away with our WWII Meme of aircraft carriers winning the day.
Never said anything like that, Mr. Ford.

There you go again.
My point was China wishes to win without war.
Win what?

And btw, the discussion was about war with China and why thinking that was inevitable and something we structure our military to meet was probably a mistake. Again, you seem to agree.
So that is what the Chinese want from your free trader buddies, McQ.
Man, when you build a strawman, you don’t screw around do you?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog

 
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