Center for Strategic Communication

Top Billing! Information Dissemination (Chris Rawley) –Putting Major Naval Powers at Risk with Irregular Warfare 

Like the opening moves on a hundred million square kilometer chess board, great and smaller naval powers have once again begun to maneuver for Indian Ocean and Western Pacific naval infrastructure. The Southeast Asian underdogs in this match are outgunned and outspent so creativity is the order of the day. As various nations modernize and build up combat forces in the Pacific, it is worthwhile to examine alternatives to conventional naval power which could be used to thwart any real or perceived PRC threat. For an illustration of this creativity using irregular warfare, see this article penned by NWC Professor James R. Holmes analyzing an idea to establish a Vietnamese naval militia in order to defend the Paracels. Here, J. Noel Williams suggests another alternative to a new bilateral naval arms race. ….

Abu Muqawama (Dan Trombly) –Twilight of the Carriers?


…. Simply looking at carriers ability to dispense aerial firepower, however, is insufficient to understanding their value. Carriers project power, not just firepower. Bombers can support troops in contact in Afghanistan, sure, but Afghanistan isn’t exactly the height of the A2/AD challenge (and you can see plenty of F/A-18s providing airstrikes there too). Indeed, with the exception of landlocked countries, anywhere that the U.S. is providing close air support to American troops in contact, it will likely have a naval presence nearby. Indeed, if access to theater basing for tactical aircraft is diminishing, than projecting a ground presence into an area is more, not less, likely to necessitate a carrier. Carrier Battle Groups will likely need to integrate their operations more with strategic bombers and tactical aircraft, to confront A2/AD challenges, but for some kinds of crisis response, strategic bombers likely won’t cut it.

HNN (Daniel Lord Smail) –History Meets Neuroscience 

A neurohistory is a new kind of history, operating somewhere near the intersection of environmental history and global history. There are probably as many definitions of it as there are practitioners, but one important branch of the field centers on the form, distribution, and density of mood-altering mechanisms in historical societies. These can be foods and drugs like chocolate, peyote, alcohol, opium, and cocaine. But the list of mechanisms also includes things we do or endure: ritual, dance, reading, gossip, sport, and, in a more negative way, poverty and abuse. Every human society, past and present, arguably has its own unique complex of mood-altering mechanisms, in the same way that each society has distinctive family structures, religious forms, and other cultural attributes. Neurohistory is designed to explore those mechanisms and explain how and why they change over time. 

Seydlitz89 –My Conclusions on “Defining Literacy” 

My last post has been up for a while and I was very pleased with the comments that came from it. I’ve had a bit of time to consider the various points made so here are my conclusions:First, there seems to be a good bit of disagreement as to what “literacy” actually means. Is it being able to read labels on medicine bottles, or read and understand books, or is not reading/text required at all? From a Western perspective, I think we link literacy with reading/text/the written word. Other cultures may combine literacy with orality, but Western cultures do not, that is there is a distinction. To this I would add that this form of Western literacy was a requirement for much of our history since the invention of the printing press. Without this form of literacy, science and rational capitalism (as opposed to traditional capitalism) would never have changed the world the way they have. Without this literacy it would have been impossible for the modern world to exist as we know it.

Second, there seems to be a strong link between literacy, as in the ability to read and understand complex texts and the possibility of mass democracy. As I.F. Stone writes in his book, The Trial of Socrates….

Grand Blog Tarkin – The Tarkin Doctrine and the Sith Way of War 

You find someone in your organization with vision and strategic acumen. In Palpatine’s case, that person is Moff Milhuff Tarkin. Tarkin’s a man with a plan. He thinks that Palpatine should rule through fear of force rather than force itself. Tarkin understands deterrence. This is a man that recognizes that the Empire cannot kill its way to victory, but it can intimidate. This is counterinsurgency and stability through deterrence, based on a credible, overwhelming threat. That credible, overwhelming threat is the Death Star. Palpatine’s promotion of Moff Tarkin to Grand Moff, an entirely new rank, is evidence that 1) Palpatine recognized that Tarkin had a strategic vision and 2) the Empire heretofore lacked a military strategic vision. Palpatine rose to power through Machievellian politics and deception rather than military force. He didn’t defeat the Jedi clone army, he co-opted it. He defeated the Jedi through betrayal and deception, a skill set that may not work in the face of a galaxy-wide insurgency.

Palpatine, at some level, must recognize this as Tarkin, during the events of A New Hope, is the Stonewall Jackson to Papatine’s Robert E. Lee. Yes, Vader is present on the Death Star but he’s not in charge. Tarkin gives the order to destroy Alderaan after all. All Vader does is torture a prisoner and then reacts to the rebel assault by joining the fight himself. Both tactical level actions. ….  ( Hat tip Westphalian Post

Lexington Green –Creators Day 

Thomas PM Barnett –The irony: as America executes “strategic pivot” to contain Chinese military, the US economy continues to open up to Chinese FDI 

HG’s World –Let’s always speak softly people, and carry a “Big Stick.” 

Wikistrat Blog –Ask A Senior Analyst – Mr. Andrew Small

Paul Pillar-The Counterinsurgency Laboratory in Colombia 

Dave Schuler –Foundational Myths 

OTB (James Joyner)-John Nagl Next Haverford Headmaster 

WPR –With Market Forces Flowing, Mexico’s Cartels Consolidate 

Gene Expression-The cheating of the chosen and The waning of the nuclear family 

Ribbonfarm –The Varieties of Scientific Experience 

David Armano –Social Business for Complex Organizations


John Cleese (yes, of Monty Python) on Creativity