Defense Issues

Military and general security

Archive for February, 2015

Islamic “Fundamentalism”

Posted by picard578 on February 24, 2015

Slightly East of New

If your conception of ISIS imagines illiterate fanatics making suicidal charges in pickup trucks and are confused about how a glorified motorcycle gang could conquer half of Iraq and Syria, wiping out a $25 BN US investment in the Iraqi army in the process, you might want to learn more about the roots of the movement and how it is trained and led today. Such an understanding may come in handy in the future.

For background, try William R. Polk’s article, Understanding Islamic Fundamentalism, on consortiumnews.com. As he explains:

Some of [Sayyid Qutub’s] writings bear comparison to the Islamic legal classics. As a group, they have attracted a mass readership — believed to be in the tens of millions — throughout the Islamic world and have apparently influenced men as opposed to one another as the leaders of the Taliban, the Saudi Royal Establishment, al-Qaida, the Iranian and Iraqi clerics [Arabic: ulema]…

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Centers of gravity — Do they still matter?

Posted by picard578 on February 24, 2015

Slightly East of New

Decisively defeating al-Qa‘ida will involve neutralizing its CoG, but this will require the use of diplomatic and informational initiatives more than military action.  LTC Antulio J. Echevarria II, USA (ret.)1/

This most perceptive statement, written before our invasion of Iraq, raises the issue of whether the center of gravity concept offers anything for the types of conflicts we find ourselves engaged in today.

At least twice in the last week or so, I’ve seen “centers of gravity” in articles about US defense policy:

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Coherent, Credible, and Wrong

Posted by picard578 on February 24, 2015

Slightly East of New

The best strategist is not the one who knows he must deceive the enemy,
but the one who knows how to do it.

Polish SciFi master Stanislaw Lem (1921 – 2006)

We often think of Soviet doctrine as tanks lined up tread to tread, rolling forward until either they conquer or fall. Mass makes might. While there is a lot of truth to the Soviet, and so presumably Russian, respect for mass, it may surprise you to learn that the Soviets had, and so presumably the Russians have, a well thought-out doctrine of deception called maskirovka. The BBC ran a nice piece on the subject a few days back, “How Russia outfoxes its enemies,” by Lucy Ash.

Boyd had great respect for deception, “an impression of events as they are not,” as he wrote on Patterns chart 115, “Essence of Maneuver Conflict.” A person who is being deceived is not confused. He…

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History Spot: Case Studies in Defence Procurement

Posted by picard578 on February 24, 2015

BeyondDefence

Yes, it’s my avatar for a reason. The De Havilland Mosquito was the most accurate bomber of the first half of World War II, with the lowest ordinance expenditure per target, the lowest loss rate and the highest kill probability. It could race in at treetop level for precision work, or soar above anti-aircraft fire while heavier bombers were slaughtered in droves. When the RAF needed to take out a particular wall of a prison to free French resistance fighters, they used the Mosquito.

But that was not all. The Mosquito, as the fastest aircraft in the world at its introduction, was ideal for conversion as a fighter, night fighter, fighter bomber, U-boat killer and numerous other roles. It combined heavy armament with high speed and needed no escort. The wooden airframe was as strong as contemporary metal airframes, but much lighter, and it avoided drawing on critical war supplies…

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Assessing the SAM threat

Posted by picard578 on February 15, 2015

Introduction

SAMs are the new boogeyman of the USAF, one which they are also using in their political games. They want the F-35 because, they say, legacy aircraft are “unsurvivable”. They want to retire the A-10 and leave ground troops without any support because, they say, it is unsurvivable. But how much truth there is in their assertions?

Historical overview

During the Vietnam war, SAMs saw extensive usage. They were used primarly to defend key targets but were also deployed in the field; many were also mobile (though level of mobility they had does not even begin to compare with modern SAMs, thanks to excessive times necessary to either deploy or pack up). Read the rest of this entry »

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Don’t Feed the Bear: All Putin Needs Is Comfy War

Posted by picard578 on February 13, 2015

Patrice Ayme's Thoughts

YOU WANT PEACE? MAKE WAR COSTLY

The French and German leaders are meeting again with Putin to make him recover reason: it reminds me of Munich, 1938, when the French and British leaders were trying to make Hitler reasonable.

France and Germany together have a slightly larger population than Russia, but three and a half time the GDP. (By the way, what happened to Britain? Well London is full of Russian plutocrats and banking institutions keen to make Assad and Putin possible; hence the British discretion.)

An Ukrainian in the street interviewed by German TV said it was out of the question to give territory to Putin: if one gives him a finger, he will take the entire arm.

Putin Wants "The Big Country" Back, & Its Prospect of Endless War Putin Wants “The Big Country” Back, & Its Prospect of Endless War

In the West, cowardly pacifists say: do not provoke Putin, do as he says, he has nukes and will…

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Fighter aircraft gun comparision

Posted by picard578 on February 1, 2015

Introduction

Despite repeated proclamations about the “end of the dogfight”, gun has always remained an important part of fighter aircraft’s armament. There are several reasons. Having a gun provides a psychological security of having a fallback option if missiles are expended. Gun also has far lower minimum range than even most agile of modern dogfighting missiles (very short ranges reduce missile kill probability even if target is not within missile’s minimum range), and is the most versatile weapon aircraft has – it can be used in dogfight (shooting down aircraft), in air policing (warning shots) and ground attack. While some fighter aircraft sent into Vietnam war didn’t have onboard cannons, low kill probabilities of missiles – especially long-range radar-guided missiles – resulted in guns being reintroduced. Another issue is that, even today, visual identification of target is the only reliable way of identifying it – and many fighter aircraft still do not have imaging IRST or other optical sensor capable of identifying targets at beyond normal identification range of several hundred meters. Read the rest of this entry »

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