Center for Strategic Communication

Top Billing! WSJ Captain Lindsay Rodman, USMC – The Pentagon’s Bad Math on Sexual Assault 

….It is disheartening to me, as a female officer in the Marine Corps and a judge advocate devoted to the professional practice of law in the military, to see Defense Department leaders and members of Congress deal with this emotionally charged issue without the benefit of solid, verifiable data. The 26,000 estimate is based on the 2012 Workplace and Gender Relations Survey of Active Duty Military. The WGRA survey was fielded throughout all branches of the military in September and November 2012. As the report indicates, “Completed surveys were received from 22,792 eligible respondents,” while “the total sample consisted of 108,478 individuals.” In other words, one in five of the active-duty military personnel to whom the survey was sent responded.

I am one of those who responded to the survey after receiving an email with an online link. None of the males in my office received the email, though nearly every other female did. We have no way of knowing the exact number of male or female respondents to the 2012 WGRA survey because that information wasn’t released.

The term “sexual assault” was not used in the WGRA survey. Instead, the survey refers to “unwanted sexual contact,” which includes touching the buttocks and attempted touching. All of that behavior is wrongful, but it doesn’t comport with the conventional definition of sexual assault or with the legal definition of sexual assault in the Uniform Code of Military Justice, as enacted by Congress.

SWJ (Dave Maxwell) –Is the War on Terrorism Over? Long Live Unconventional Warfare 

….Even the most cursory analysis reveals that Al Qaeda has all the hallmarks of an organization conducting unconventional warfare through enabling various resistance organizations (such as Al Qaeda affiliates but also “lone wolf” operatives) to at least coerce and disrupt the US and in some cases by clearly trying to overthrow friends, partners, and allies of the US.  Most importantly it is conducting a concerted campaign that includes subversion to achieve each of the strategic objectives outlined above. It of course executes this campaign through an underground that is the traditional subversive arm of any resistance organization. An underground is nothing more than a network that has been popularized in today’s counterterrorism terminology with such phrases as it “takes a network to defeat a network.” In actuality it takes a deep understanding of unconventional warfare by intelligence agencies, law enforcement and specific elements of the military to defeat an underground conducting subversion against the United States or its allies.

One of the most important aspects of unconventional warfare is that by nature it is both political and psychological. It can be summarized this way: “The intent of UW operations is to exploit a hostile power’s political, military, economic, and psychological vulnerabilities by advising, assisting, and sustaining resistance forces.” It is designed to achieve political effects and one of the ways it does so is through extensive psychological warfare efforts. One of the most concrete examples of this is Al Qaeda’s focus on radicalization throughout its target areas on virtually every continent of the world to include North America. In the case of the perpetrators of the Boston Marathon bombing whether they were indirectly self radicalized and acted on their own or were radicalized directly through contact with Al Qaeda or affiliates matters little because either situation shows the effects of Al Qaeda’s psychological warfare campaign.

Abu Muqawama (Adam Elkus) – I Got 200 Million Problems, But Multicollinearity Ain’t One 

When even David Brooks, Herodotus of the Bobos, is waxing lyrical about data and empiricism you know that data science has become mainstream. Drew Conway is right that the phrase is rather clumsy, but so are many other things in social science. If the mad awesome/state of the art work Conway does is the data equivalent of the mouth-watering Chinese restaurants I go to during my summer jaunts back to LA, the now de rigueur pretty-looking bloggy data visualization is the bland but dependable PF Chang’s. Both are great, but only King Hua is going to get you that great dim sum. 1

Look past my questionable Chinese food analogy and the nature of the problem becomes apparent. Pretty pictures that answer big questions are becoming hotter than Hairless Cats That Look Like Putin. In some ways, this is a good thing. It means less listicles/GIFs, less argument by analogy, and more evidence. And we certainly need more of that. I’ve spent the last week trying and failing to write a follow-up post to my Benghazi piece here from last December due to the sheer amount of derp on that subject, to say nothing of “Syria is Vietnam/Rwanda/Iraq/Sudatenland” analogy Mad-Libs

Ah, “Herodotus of the Bobos“….I wish I had written that one. Bravo, Elkus!

Grand Blog Tarkin (Matt Ford) –Paradise Regained…..Star Trek Into Darkness

Roddenberry’s dream lives on.

This might come as a surprise to many; it certainly came as a surprise to me. I wrote in my first post on BlogTarkin some months ago that Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, with its grim but brilliant take on Roddenberry’s utopia, nevertheless eroded the Federation’s moral edifice with “the slow poison of necessity.” J.J. Abrams’ first foray into the franchise in 2009, with only an oblique reference to Starfleet as a “humanitarian and peacekeeping armada,” seemingly abandoned Star Trek’s vaunted position as the moral high ground of popular science fiction.

Did Star Trek Into Darkness bring the franchise back to its roots? It depends on what those roots are. Much of Star Trek’s enduring popularity comes from the chemistry between its diverse crew. Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, and their shipmates met even the wildest expectations in building this camaraderie. At the same time, Star Trek has always represented a moral and social paradigm to which we could aspire. That utopian vision, however, is often presented fully-formed to the audience without any perspective on the work that went into building it. Into Darkness tackles this weakness.

Campaign Reboot –Ongoing oligarchy and Reading at a professional level 

Not the Singularity (Steve Hynd) – Does the US Really Want To Pick A Side In A Sunni/Shia War?

Kings of War – Dirty wars, knives and hands  

Gene Expression – Why race as a biological construct matters and The Kings of Minos were not Pharoahs

AeonThe Neanderthal Mind and There is No Alternative

The GuardianDaniel Dennett’s seven tools for thinking 

The Weekly StandardThomas Perez Makes a Deal 

That’s it.