Center for Strategic Communication

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. “zen“]

Grand Blog Tarkin – Ender’s Shadow and Offense-Defense Theory 

“Ender’s Shadow” is a 1997 novel by Orson Scott Card, set in the same universe and roughly same time period as his more well-known “Ender’s Game.” “Shadow” centers on a child named Bean, a minor character in “Game,” fleshing out his backstory and trajectory. The setting is a future in which Earth was devastated two centuries prior by an attack from an alien race known as Buggers. Humanity won the war, and then set up an International Fleet to keep peace between states, coordinate future anti-Bugger action, and train the best and brightest children of the world to be military commanders in an off-planet installation known as Battle School, where most of both “Game” and “Shadow” take place.

War on the Rocks – (Frank Hoffman) Tuppence for your COIN Thoughts 

This is not a comfortable book to read for members or friends of the British armed forces.  And it should generate equally discomforting questions for its American readers.  Counterinsurgency in Crisis is a dispassionate and objectively critical evaluation of UK strategic performance in its last two conflicts-Iraq and then Afghanistan.  Both authors have relevant scholarly credentials and prior works on civil conflicts and counterinsurgency.  Ucko (who is a colleague of mine at the National Defense University) and Egnell begin slowly, but end up with an eviscerating indictment of British preparation, strategic direction, and operational practice.  “There is no fig leaf large enough here to cover the deep flaws in the British government’s own approach and conduct in their counterinsurgency campaigns,” they conclude.

Marine Corps Gazette – (Nicholas Joiner) Battle of Belleau Wood 

On the morning of 6 June 1918, in what became the bloodiest day in Marine Corps history, Marines launched an offensive attack against a heavily fortified German position on Hill 142 across an open field to the west of Belleau Wood. Hampered by flat terrain, the Marines advanced with fixed bayonets across open wheat fields swept by German machinegun and artillery fire. Caught in the open, retreating French soldiers advised the Marines to follow suit, where Capt Lloyd Williams was famously quoted as saying, “Retreat? Hell, we just got here!” Despite heavy losses, Hill 142 was taken following bloody hand-to-hand combat.

Selil – Where will the NSA be in 5 to 10 years?


A second effect I see for NSA is splitting off the CyberCom role. There is a lot of internal feuding and “facts” leading to the perception that the new role must be status quo. There is admittedly a lot of cost associated with a split of the two entities. The cost to society and inherent fight that is sure to come is likely even more costly. Arguments that this is new and we must allow it to continue are based on individuals desires to keep the status quo. A lot of people have skin in this game. So, they argue from their personal biases. I admit I’m biased. I want to see NSA and CyberCom succeed. Currently that will not happen if they are linked at the hip. The arguments of keeping them together are specious at best.

I think CyberCom should be severed from the NSA and the 4 star billet with associated staffs sent to at least Texas. Physical distance is needed to separate this war fighting entity from the intelligence entity NSA. The structure of CyberCom should be more like SOCOM. I think that the split will happen. I think the structure as a combatant command will not change

Michael Tanji – Sam and His (not so) Crazy Ramblings 

If intelligence agencies are good at one thing its burying bodies. Is anyone going to find themselves in front of Church Committee 2.0? No. Will the people who were leaning the furthest in the foxhole on efforts that were exposed going to find themselves asked to quietly find their way out the door? Absolutely. This is how it works: the seniors thank and then shepherd those that pushed the envelope to the side, those who take their place know exactly where the line is drawn and stay weeeellll behind it. They communicate that to the generations that are coming up, and that buys us a few decades of sailing on a more even keel…

…until the next catastrophic surprise…

The National Interest – (Michael Vlahos) Why Lists of Greatest Battles Don’t Work 

The first fallacy is our unconscious enshrining of “decisive battle”—not as in, “I won big”—but “I won history and changed the fate of nations, and the course of civilization, to boot”—in one battle. Jim shows us we actually still think this way.

There are actually a very few battles that meet this test: Hülegü’s sack of Baghdad in 1258 comes to mind. But the proliferation of “decisive”—as Jim suggests—may speak more of our bipolar search for, and simultaneous diminution of, ordinary significance in life than it does the role of decisive battles in history.

But such battles are even harder to find at sea.

SWJ  (Prescott) Heeding the Heretics 

Information Dissemination (Galrahn) We Need a Balanced Fleet for Naval Supremacy

Rebane’s Ruminations –Great Divide – ‘America 3.0’  

OPFOR –America 3.0: A Future 

Studies in IntelligenceCounterintelligence in Counterguerrilla Operations :50 Years Since Early Engagement in Southeast Asia

Foreign AffairsGoogle’s Original X-Man 

Forbes49-State Analysis: Obamacare To Increase Individual-Market Premiums By Average Of 41% 

That’s it.