How long has ComNavOps flatly stated that we are at war with
(and losing)? How long has ComNavOps advocated a much more
robust, confrontational response to China , Russia , China , and NKorea (see, "Island Showdown")? How many times has ComNavOps stated that our
policy of appeasement is only encouraging further aggression? Iran
Well, it appears that the military is beginning to come to the same realizations, if far later than they should have. Breaking Defense reports on the conclusions of a high level military meeting that took place in April at
. (1) Quantico
“China and Russia are outmaneuvering the US, using aggressive actions that fall short of war, a group of generals and admirals have concluded. To counter them, the
needs new ways to use its military without shooting, concludes a newly
released report on the Quantico conclave.
The US military will need new legal authorities and new concepts of operation
for all domains — land, sea, air, space, and cyberspace.”
One of the problems is that the
military, and government in
general, do not recognize the kind of actions being undertaken by our enemies
as war. US
“Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Joseph Dunford, has publicly warned that our adversaries don’t abide by our doctrine, with its clear distinction between war and peace and its tidy phases of escalation. The American military operates in phases, with Phase 0 being peace (officially, “shaping” the environment) and so on. Traditionally, actions other than war are just that to the
and do not merit a
military response, let alone a kinetic one.” (1) US
““We’re stuck,” Freier [Nate Freier, a researcher at the
] told me [Freedberg]. “We are
still institutionally and culturally stuck in this five-phase model of
operations. Our adversaries certainly aren’t.” (1) [emphasis added] Army War College
For example, using intimidation, harassment, and just plain ignoring international laws and treaties,
has accomplished a de facto
annexation of the entire South and China , and done so masterfully, while the
East China Seas simply stood by and watched, unable to recognize the
“battle” that was occurring or do anything about it. US
We need to recognize that we ARE at war whether we want to be or not. That we’re at war is no longer even a question. The only remaining question is how to respond.
Freier describes this kind of non-kinetic war as a sine wave of competition.
“As tensions go up and down, you always have two goals in mind. “You’re trying to impose costs on the opponent and, at the same time, offer off-ramps to the opponent for de–escalation.”
Freier makes two good points: first, is that we must constantly be imposing costs on our enemies and, second, that we must offer face saving escape outlets for our enemies so that they don’t feel backed into a corner.
Thus far, our competitive responses have been rigid and limited because we have no official response policy for this type of war. For example, Freedom of Navigation exercises are a laughable joke that has had absolutely no effect on
’s annexation of the East/South
China Seas but we don’t really have any other options or, at least, none that
we’re willing to use. China
We need to apply some creativity and come up with additional, more effective responses. The corollary to this is that the responses must hurt our enemies, in some fashion, and that the responses WILL increase tensions (the rise portion of the competitive sine wave). We need to recognize and accept the increase in tensions – the escalation – and understand that it is not us who are escalating but our enemies whose actions have forced our actions. The policeman who shoots a bank robber with hostages didn’t escalate the situation, the bank robber did when he robbed a bank and took hostages. The
has not yet come to grips with
this. Everything we do is run through
the filter of NOT escalating which is another name for appeasement and
appeasement has a 100% failure record in history. U.S.
Freier offers this further insight,
“Every ship that sails, every advisor that goes abroad to train allies, every unit that participates in exercises, needs to be part of a larger plan to demonstrate US resolve and capability, Freier said.”
He’s absolutely right and this is the Chinese way of war – the entire country and all its activities are focused on national goals. War isn’t just the purview of the military, it’s the responsibility of every aspect of our government, private sector, and culture. War is fought with every tool, not just the military.
“The ultimate goal isn’t just to respond to what the Chinese and Russians are doing in the grey zone, he told me. It’s to force them to respond to what we’re doing in the grey.”
He could not be more right. The
needs to retake the lead in
managing world affairs including managing the war with our enemies that is
currently ongoing. U.S.
has to become less rigid in its view of military operations.” United States
Unfortunately, while Freier sums up the problem quite astutely, he offers no concrete solutions.
The key aspect to this entire discussion is that we must first accept the sine wave of competition and that tensions will escalate. What did you expect? It’s a war, after all.
Once we accept and embrace the escalation and increase in tensions we can begin to formulate effective responses that ALLOW for escalation and heightened tensions. If our enemies aren’t comfortable with increased tensions then they can dial back their actions. The responsibility for increased tensions is not all on us. The responsibility for the increased tensions at the bank is not the police, IT’S THE BANK ROBBER!
We need to make
and Iran pay a price for harassing our
units. When a Russian jet makes a pass
too close to our ship, let’s “accidentally” eject a chaff cloud or decoy in
their flight path. When Russia sends a drone too close to our
carriers let’s just shoot it down and then plead ignorance – that’s the beauty
of UAVs, there’s no one to get hurt and they offer good opportunities to make a
decisive statement. Iran
We need to build our own artificial island base in the
South China Sea.
has set the precedent so let’s
follow it and make them respond to us. China
We need to flood the
with ships and let’s be aggressive with them.
Here’s your presence mission.
This is what has done. Let’s make it physically difficult for them
to build or resupply an island base. A
few dents in the hull are well worth it. China
Let’s start isolating and herding Iranian small boats that harass our ships. Let’s physically cut them off from retreat, surround them, board them, seize everything not welded down, and make it clear that the days of running around like irresponsible children are over. We have high speed riverine patrol boats (you know, the ones that
seized) so let’s start using them
Let’s start using our electronic warfare capabilities to make life difficult for enemy ships, boats, and aircraft. Let’s jam communications, lock on fire control radars, initiate electronic counter measures, etc. It’s not like we’ll be giving away any secrets by using the equipment.
and Russia probably have all our specs,
Let’s make sure that any Russian or Chinese intercepts of our high value aircraft are met with our own fighters and let’s fly aggressively. Let’s also disrupt their version of GPS (GLONASS or whatever they use) and see if their pilots can find their way home. We should be sending Growler EW aircraft along with high value aircraft as escorts and let’s turn them loose to disrupt Russian intercepts. Let’s send the message that there are no free intercepts anymore.
Let’s build a base a mile from the Chinese base in
I can go on with an endless list. The point is that there are a lot of actions we can take short of direct combat if we just develop the will and courage to do so. We also need to pursue all available economic, diplomatic, academic, and other measures to impose costs and pain but those discussions are outside the scope of this blog.
(1)Breaking Defense, “Russia, China Are Outmaneuvering US: Generals Recommend New Authorities, Doctrine”, Sydney J. Freedberg, Jr.,