Center for Strategic Communication

Top Billing! Galrahn at USNI blog –Honesty can be Uncomfortable

During the panel discussion on the Chinese Navy last week at the USNI West Conference in San Diego, Captain James Fanell, Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence and Information Operations for US Pacific Fleet had some “bracing” comments about the Chinese Navy. When I quote “bracing” I am actually quoting Sam Roggeveen of the Australian Lowy Institute Interpreter blog.

What makes the comments “bracing” is that they are both blunt and honest in commentary. Sam noted the Captain’s comments like this:

Fanell’s language is, well, bracing. He calls China ‘hegemonic’ and says it displays ‘aggression’; he claims China ‘bullies adversaries’ and that it has become a ‘mistrusted principal threat’. Watch Captain Fanell’s presentation from about 21 minutes into the above video, or read below for some more select quotes:

  • (China’s) expansion into the blue waters are largely about countering the US Pacific fleet.’
  • The PLA Navy is going to sea to learn how to do naval warfare…Make no mistake: the PRC navy is focused on war at sea, and sinking an opposing fleet.’
  • On China Marine Surveillance, which supervises and patrols China’s claimed maritime territory: ‘If you map out their harassments you will see that they form a curved front that has over time expanded out against the coast of China’s neighbours, becoming the infamous nine-dashed line, plus the entire East China Sea…China is negotiating for control of other nations’ resources off their coasts; what’s mine is mine, and we’ll negotiate what’s yours.’
  • China Marine Surveillance cutters have no other mission but to harass other nations into submitting to China’s expansive claims…China Marine Surveillance is a full-time maritime sovereignty harassment organisation’.
  • In my opinion, China is knowingly, operationally and incrementally seizing maritime rights of its neighbours under the rubric of a maritime history that is not only contested in the international community but has largely been fabricated by Chinese government propaganda bureaus in order to “educate” the populous about China’s rich maritime history, clearly as a tool to sustain the Party’s control.’

Sam Roggeveen is right to describe Captain Fanell’s comments as “bracing,” because it has certainly been awhile since we have seen an American in a public forum speak the truth about China in this way. While we will never see an American diplomat speak like this, nor does the opinion of a US Navy Captain carry the weight of, say, a four star Admiral; this is still very powerful commentary when it comes from a man who is responsible for the evaluation of all intelligence gathered by Pacific Command every single day. 

HG’s World – My Own Pivot to the Sea 

….This past week I was privileged to attend the West 2013 Conference in San Diego, where I was able to attend several panel discussions and a very informative luncheon where the guests were the Chief of Naval Operations ADM Jonathan W. Greenert, Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen James F. Amos, and Commandant of the Coast Guard ADM Robert J. Papp Jr. who participated in a round table discussion of the future of the sea services. I have linked the video below, and encourage all to take an hour to listen carefully the their words. 

Another, panel I attended discussed the Chinese Navy and her intentions, be they a challenge or a potential partner in maintaining safe passage for all maritime global commerce. That video is also below. 

Adam Elkus at AFJ – Competition in Cyberspace 

….Network-centric warfare is a paramount example of how cyber-enabled military operations merged with mainstream tenets of American strategic culture. Adm. Arthur K. Cebrowski and his collaborators married technology with an expansive geopolitical vision of American ability to determine “rule sets” in an international system that he judged to be imperiled by information-technology-enabled regional actors. Network-enabled force and flexible logistics would help the United States contain the damage from such actors, spread globalization’s connectivity to disconnected regions and deter new conflicts. These geopolitical ideas, while wrapped in metaphors from systems science and economics, are at their core very much rooted in a traditionally American brand of liberal internationalism. The United States does not trust a balance-of-power system abroad to create national security, and thus has historically sought the military capability to create favorable regional, national-level and substate political outcomes.

American military hegemony, coupled with a penchant for cyber-enabled regional intervention, is what is driving adversaries’ search for countermeasures. A military competition is underway over military cyber power. 

Steven Metz  at WPR –Strategic Horizons: Make North Korea Understand the Cost of Provocation

Dan Trombly – The Sources of Perpetual War  

Thomas P.M. Barnett –Interesting Panel on the Chinese Navy (video) 

Razib KhanJared Diamond and the Anthropologists and Against the Cultural Anthropologists 

Dan Nexon – How Reality-based is the Community?  

SWJ –“In the Service of Humanity and Civilization”? The Austro-Hungarian Occupation of Bosnia and Hercegovina (1878)

Dart Throwing Chimp –Advocascience 

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