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We'll be in Central Asia for decades

In "The Pentagon's New Map," I told the story about a speech I gave at an defense industry conference at the Reagan building where I ended up being quoted by the press as saying something to the effect of "we'll be in Central Asia for decades, just like in Europe, and some of our bases there will end being as well known to service personnel as Ramstein, the huge Air Force base in Germany."

Well, that quote, as I relate in the book, got me called onto the carpet by some OSD (Office of the Secretary of Defense) mid-lings who wondered who the hell I was and where did I get off saying stuff like that.  So I gave them the brief and they were cool with the whole thing.

Still, the original press report had Rumsfeld replying that the administration had absolutely no intention of being in Central Asia many years into the future.

Here, I cite a WAPO report of America building a $10m training base for counter-terror ops.

Think it'll still be there, say, 20 years from now?  I would bet on it.

And this is the classic SysAdmin footprint:  not many troops, and those who are there primarily do training of the locals. That's how a networked force operates in an increasingly networked world that features super-empowered individuals. 

More of our "over-reaction" to 9/11?  Not exactly.


A non-ideological assessment of our nation-building success in Iraq

Canadian military slide

David Brooks in the NYT, featuring none of the usual ideological bias on the subject of nation building.

Worth quoting at length:

America has spent $53 billion trying to reconstruct Iraq, the largest development effort since the Marshall Plan.

So how’s it working out?

On the economic front, there are signs of progress. It’s hard to know what role the scattershot American development projects have played, but this year Iraq will have the 12th-fastest-growing economy in the world, and it is expected to grow at a 7 percent annual clip for the next several years.

“Iraq has made substantial progress since 2003,” the International Monetary Fund reports. Inflation is reasonably stable. A budget surplus is expected by 2012. Unemployment, though still 15 percent, is down from stratospheric levels.

Oil production is back around prewar levels, and there are some who say Iraq may be able to rival Saudi production. That’s probably unrealistic, but Iraq will have a healthy oil economy, for better and for worse.

Living standards are also improving. According to the Brookings Institution’s Iraq Index, the authoritative compendium of data on this subject, 833,000 Iraqis had phones before the invasion. Now more than 1.3 million have landlines and some 20 million have cellphones. Before the invasion, 4,500 Iraqis had Internet service. Now, more than 1.7 million do.

In the most recent Gallup poll, 69 percent of Iraqis rated their personal finances positively, up from 36 percent in March 2007. Baghdad residents say the markets are vibrant again, with new electronics, clothing and even liquor stores.

Basic services are better, but still bad. Electricity production is up by 40 percent over pre-invasion levels, but because there are so many more air-conditioners and other appliances, widespread power failures still occur.

In February 2009, 45 percent of Iraqis said they had access to trash removal services, which is woeful, though up from 18 percent the year before. Forty-two percent were served by a fire department, up from 23 percent.

About half the U.S. money has been spent building up Iraqi security forces, and here, too, the trends are positive. Violence is down 90 percent from pre-surge days. There are now more than 400,000 Iraqi police officers and 200,000 Iraqi soldiers, with operational performance improving gradually. According to an ABC News/BBC poll last year, nearly three-quarters of Iraqis had a positive view of the army and the police, including, for the first time, a majority of Sunnis.

Politically, the basic structure is sound, and a series of impressive laws have been passed. But these gains are imperiled by the current stalemate at the top.

Iraq ranks fourth in the Middle East on the Index of Political Freedom from The Economist’s Intelligence Unit — behind Israel, Lebanon and Morocco, but ahead of Jordan, Egypt, Qatar and Tunisia. Nearly two-thirds of Iraqis say they want a democracy, while only 19 percent want an Islamic state.

In short, there has been substantial progress on the things development efforts can touch most directly: economic growth, basic security, and political and legal institutions. After the disaster of the first few years, nation building, much derided, has been a success. 

Brooks goes on to say that social trust and human capital are both way down, but that's pretty normal for a country that's gone through a civil war.

Point is, if Brooks can offer this sort of assessment now, what do you think will be possible, say, in 2020?

Premature judgments abound because so many Americans made up their minds on this war back in 2006, but I have to hand it to Brooks on this one.  Very intelligent piece.


Experts on civilian surge in Afghanistan: dial down the fire hose of money

Christian Science Monitor op-ed via WPR's Media Roundup.  Makes basic argument that we're spending too much too fast in order to show too many results, instead of thinking in terms of sustainability.

You know that USAID isn't given to such splurge spending, so it's the political masters on top who want their election-defining results pronto.

Yet another example of the bureaucratic dangers of assigning a deadline.

Great piece with solid reportage.


Trends in American warfare: more treasure, less blood

NYT chart by way of WPR Media Roundup.

Charts speak for themselves.  Warfare is less burdensome to the US population and economy, even as the per soldier price tag grows, along with overall cost relative to the size of theater (WWII was BIG!).

But that trend is about as surprising as the one concerning higher insurance totals for natural disasters. Simply put, we live more technologized lives and value life more completely now than in the past--and we're willing to pay for those biases.

But I will stick to an old premise of mine:  if we had outsourced the complete rebuild of Iraq to the Chinese, it would have been far cheap and worked far better.

But we don't own that level of realism yet--at least not regarding the postwar.


An insider's account of what Africom is all about

Robert Moeller, who was Africom's original #2 as it was being set up, and oversaw its initial period of operation as its first deputy for operations, writes the "truth about Africom" in Foreign Policy (hat tip to WPR's Media Round-up).  In my mind, Africom is the most SysAdmin commands by far, and its operational philosophy will eventually penetrate the other regional combatant commands.

Of course, the subtitle must exclaim, "we're not trying to take over Africa!" because everybody thinks we can pull it off with 10,000 troops or so, but after that crushing that silly straw man, the piece settles into a no-hype description of the new command, with some dissembling required.

Here are the five main points:

Lesson 1: Africom does not create policy.

Lesson 2: Africom must work hand in hand with the diplomatic corps.

Lesson 3: Keep our footprint in Africa limited.

Lesson 4: Africom is most effective when it listens to the concerns of its African partners.

Lesson 5: Don't expect instant results.

The dissembling part is when Moeller attacks the big footprint argument by stating emphatically that Africom has no plans to create an HQ on the continent--as if that defines the footprint. No mention is made of the Contingency Operating Locations (COLs) or mini-bases that characterize Africom's avatar, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa.

But overall, a great piece.  It shows that America's national security establishment is both serious about shrinking the Gap in Africa and capable of doing it far more cheaply than Iraq and Afghanistan suggested.

I interviewed Moeller in the Pentagon for my "The Americans Have Landed" article for Esquire back in 2007.


Wikileaks not so scary, because transparency is--with some restrictions--a good thing for the SysAdmin

WAPO front-page analysis from Greg Jaffe and Peter Finn that does not surprise me:  the Wikileaks trove of raw reports isn’t having any political impact in DC because it’s not having any political impact in the US.  Frankly, it’s another reason why I don’t fear the guerrilla organization:  I don’t believe that more transparency will truly change the public’s perception, so why not play the whole thing on this more transparent plane?

So unprecedented scale and scope, but we haven’t been lied to, and the US military isn’t deluding themselves, and SysAdmin stuff really is nasty and hard—just as much as war in the more traditional forms.  Our adversaries are bastards, and our allies are weak and two-faced . . .

Hey, stop me when I tell you something new.

The only way the Leviathan can live in his world of secrets nowadays is because wars have gotten so fiercely short that they come and go before the transparency can be achieved.  By definition, the SysAdmin’s load is long, horizontal scenario within which pervasive secrecy is impossible, and counterproductive, and . . .


Blast from my past: "Life After DoDth or: How the Evernet Changes Everything" (2000)

[Note:  This is the first published reference to the concepts that became the SysAdmin and Leviathan forces]

Life After DoDth or:

How the Evernet Changes Everything


Thomas P.M. Barnett


COPYRIGHT: The U.S. Naval Institute, 2000 (May issue, pp. 48-53); reprinted with permission


The relevance of DoD has declined steadily since the end of the Cold War.  Coming to grips with its passing won't be easy, but the Navy is working through the five stages of grief and toward a future in cyberspace.


First the unpleasant truth:

the Department of Defense's raison d'être died with the Cold War.  No one likes to talk about it, but that's what happened.  Created in the National Security Act of 1947, the DoD is wholly a creature of what eventually became the United States' hair-trigger during the nuclear standoff with the Soviet Union.  Prior to that, we basically stuck to the Constitution's mandate to "provide and maintain a Navy" on a constant basis and to "raise and support Armies" as the situation demanded.

The Cold War's odd combination of nonwar (we never fought the Soviets) and nonpeace (we constantly mixed it up in proxy conflicts and arms races) forced the merging of our republic's two historically distinct security roles:

  • Maintain and protect our economic networks with the outside world
  • Defend against direct threats to our national territory.

The two functions became one in the Cold War strategy known as containment, when we decided to extend our sense of territorial integrity to the entire Free World, thus subordinating economic rationales to security imperatives.[1]

But that strategy died with the start of the globalization era. Now, security rationales are subordinate to economic imperatives.  So why haven't we seen, as Joseph Nye might say, the "return of history" in the U.S. national security establishment?[2]  Why haven't we repealed the 1947 National Security Act and thrown away this outmoded unification of two defense concepts that constantly compete against one another—to the detriment of both?

I'm not saying jointness is a bad idea.  I'm saying it's the worst possible idea, precisely because it papers over the huge functional cleavages that logically separate the Army and Navy, leaving the Air Force to its own sad form of service schizophrenia.[3]

But I'm getting ahead of myself.  If we are going to come to grips with this death in the family, we will need to go through all the phases Elisabeth Kubler-Ross laid out in her seminal book, On Death and Dying:

  1. Denial and isolation
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance (followed by Hope).[4]

The good news is that we've spent most of the 1990s flailing away at the first three; we're beginning to see symptoms of the fourth (depression, otherwise known as the shipbuilding and conversion account); and acceptance (e.g., the Secretary of the Navy's search for a "transformation strategy") seems just around the corner.  And hope?  That's the Evernet part—a back-to-the-future outcome that represents the Navy's salvation and return to its historical roots.  But before we jump ahead, let's review the purgatory that was the 1990s.


Denial & Isolation

For this part, I'll use Kenneth Waltz's "three images" framework from his influential 1954 study, Man, the State and War, in which he investigated the causes behind interstate war across three distinct levels (see Figure 1):[5] 

  1. Individual
  2. State
  3. International system.[6]

In the Cold War, things were fairly straightforward, as both the international system (through blocs) and individuals (through ideologies) were kept in strict subordination to the state-centered superpower conflict.  So when the Pentagon looked abroad, all it saw was "us" and "them" states, with that pesky nonaligned gang in between.  The focus on states remains to this day.  I call it the "Willie Sutton effect," after the famous bandit who, when asked why he robbed banks, replied, "Because that's where the money is."  Nation-states have long served as the preeminent collection point (i.e., taxes) for collective security efforts (militaries), but that has begun to change.

The United States has not yet adjusted its state-centered defense policy to account for the two biggest security trends of the globalization era:

  • Power and competition have shifted upward, from the state to the system (in the form of the global economy, culture, and communications grid).
  • Violence and defense spending (e.g., small arms races, private security firms) have shifted downward, from the state to the individual.

Worldwide state defense spending and arms transfers are down dramatically from their 1987 Cold War peaks, leaving the DoD in denial about its growing disintermediation from the global security environment—in other words, its almost complete irrelevancy to the rising market of system perturbations (e.g., financial crises) and its perceived impotence in responding to the booming market of civil strife.  Meanwhile, other international and private organizations increasingly step in to provide the same sort of ground-floor chaos containment that was DoD's bread and butter during the Cold War.

Nothing signals DoD's growing isolation more than its continued insistence on focusing so much planning on the so-called rogues, who, when stacked on top of each other, don't amount to a hill of beans in this strategic environment of rapid globalization. And yet, what is the hot security topic as the new millennium dawns?  National missile defense, of course!

So where can a military fit in this new global environment, where almost all the important crises are either too global or too local for most states to tackle with military force?  In a world featuring both integrating globalization and dis-integrating localization, the great challenge facing governments is fostering compromises between the two, otherwise known as glocalization—adapting the local to the global in ways that improve the former's living standards.  Naturally, this can be fairly contentious, with many societies resisting what Thomas Friedman calls "revolution from beyond."[7]

In short, glocalization is the containment of the globalization era—sort of a dot.communism, love it or leave it.  If you have a hard time thinking of how DoD fits into a U.S. foreign policy focused on promoting this nebulous concept, then you're beginning to move into . . .



The best example of post-Cold War anger comes from the Department of the Navy, which became so mad after its "poor showing" in the Persian Gulf War that it immediately struck out in search of a post-Cold War vision.  With the Soviet blue-water navy speeding toward the dustbin of history, it was Desert Storms for as far as the eye could see.  Right?

Many of us "best and brightest" were thinking exactly that when we assembled in late 1991 for the Naval Force Capabilities Planning Effort, which eventually begat ". . . From the Sea."  Faced with a system-level security environment in which the United States reigned supreme and a subnational one in which it seemed like all hell (i.e., ethnic bloodletting) was breaking loose, most of the assembled officers expressed disgust for the dilemma the Department of the Navy faced—namely, with sea control a given, it was either "influence events ashore" or wait for a peer competitor.

Not surprisingly, we chose the former and quickly replaced the Soviets with the best enemy we could get our hands on at the time—the Air Force.  Given that Washington's way of using the Air Force for crisis response (bomb first, talk later) correlates best to the mini-Hitler type exemplified by Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevic, the bureaucratic stage was set for a decade-long Navy-Air Force face-off on who could deliver the most crushing blow the fastest—or at least a sexy PowerPoint briefing "proving" the same.

The problem with our choice?  Over the course of the 1990s, it became clear that "bolt from the blue" regional crises were hardly the norm.  The large majority of DoD's crisis-response activity involved Somalia, Haiti, and the Balkans (not to mention the Saddam sequels), and not only weren't they bolts from the blue, not a single one involved an enemy of stature.  Our one encounter with a "near peer" (China over Taiwan) was mere shadow boxing—a virtual conflict befitting a virtual age.

So, after redirecting itself to battling serious hegemons, the Navy spent the entire decade doing almost anything but.  Meanwhile, the Marines chased their particular vision of the "three block war," and both Army and Air Force reconfigured to accommodate their increasingly robust military operations other than war (MOOTW) market shares.[8]

In short, the 1990s have left the Navy in a post-DoDth limbo: it buys one navy (high-tech, which drives down numbers) while operating another (global presence force, which needs big numbers).[9]   By trying to cover both bets while competing with the Air Force on rapid response, the Navy has channeled its post-Cold War anger into a negotiating stance on force structure it cannot sustain, which gets us to . . .



The contours of the Navy's bargaining are best captured by Hank Gaffney's notion of the "Three-Way Stretch," which basically states that the U.S. military, and the Navy in particular, is killing itself trying to cover all three slices of DoD's now highly fragmented market.[10]  Unable to move beyond DoD's functional demise, the Navy ends up replicating its death spiral, and to me, that's throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Using Waltz's three levels as touchstones, I paraphrase Gaffney as follows:

  • On the system level, the Navy works hard to maintain its high-tech edge against would-be peer competitors capable of generating global instabilities.  This is the future force of "silver bullets" and networked technologies, featuring deep strike and emphasizing speed.  It is your basic research-and-development Navy, and it's very expensive.
  • On the state level, the Navy struggles to maintain its bread-and-butter warfighting edge against would-be rogues capable of triggering regional instabilities.  This is the surge force full of sealift and blue-green power projection, featuring anti-antiaccess stratagems and emphasizing inevitability.  It's your Navy held to the two-major-theater-war standard, and it takes a lot of care and feeding.
  • On the individual level, the Navy labors mightily to maintain its operational edge against a world of so-called transnational actors capable of instigating all manner of civil strife and nefarious activities.  This is the presence force of many platforms and MOOTW skills, featuring military-to-military ties and emphasizing operations tempo.  It's your see-the-world Navy, and it wears out faster than you think.

If all that sound like too much, it is.  The Navy's stretch not only leaves the institution increasingly exhausted but also drives its never-ending search for a grand unifying theory that will somehow result in a high-tech navy of robust projection capabilities and manned by a smaller, smarter workforce that is easier to retain.  Network-centric warfare is the theory du jour, but it will never go the distance so long as it aspires to be all things to all threats.

Just tracking the title inflation of the Department of Navy's white paper gives you all the macrostrategic data you need to make the case on overreach:

  • First it was just ". . . From the Sea," which seemed simple enough.  We'd be a power-projection navy that influenced events ashore.
  • Then it ballooned into "Forward . . . From the Sea," lest anyone think we weren't still the be-everywhere-all-the-time navy.
  • Now we pump up the volume still more to "Power and Influence . . . From the Sea," just to make it clear that we'll remain hypertech, too.

But as any psychologist will tell you, the Superman Syndrome leads to overload, then to breakdown, and finally to . . .



It is depressing to be a sailor today—and DoD has the polling data to prove it.  Maritime service is simply too draining, too demanding, and not enough fun.  Worst yet, we are not attracting—much less keeping—the best and the brightest needed to bring network-centric warfare to reality.

A key reason it is becoming so hard to attract new talent to the Navy is that young people increasingly perceive it as a career cul-de-sac.  They want to be part of something that's growing toward a brighter future, and they just don't see one in the works for the Navy.  And they're right.

Eventually, the Navy will succumb to the strain of the three-way stretch, and when it does, it will be forced into the same box it climbed into in  ". . . From the Sea"—a state-focused crisis-response strategy.  What's wrong with that?  Plenty.

Harkening back to Waltz's three levels, power and competition migrate upward from the state to the system, and violence and defense spending migrate down to the level of the individual.  This pushes the nation-state more into the role of a relationship and information broker and away from the industrial era's resource and power brokering, signaling the advent of what Richard Rosecrance calls the "virtual state."[11]  Or, as Thomas Friedman says, globalization isn't about bigger or smaller government but about better government.[12]

But no matter how you describe it, future conflicts won't be concentrated at the level of nation states but rather at the supranational and subnational levels, where globalization and localization collide.  Sure, some Lenin-after-next may figure out how to turn all that individual anger at the system into political revolution, and yes, the information age is likely to spawn the Next Ideology, just as the Industrial Age did [13]—but these new political movements won't concentrate their strategies at the nation-state level but rather will aim above (international organizations seeking new rule sets for the global economy) or below (microstate collections of individuals looking to drop out and go it alone).

So what happens to the Navy and its sister services?  You'll see a clear division of labor emerge, with each given its own corner of DoD's highly fragmenting market:

  • The Air Force becomes the future high-tech force that rules air, space, and cyberspace and plays "system administrator" to the global security environment.
  • The Navy and Marine Corps become the classic surge crisis-response force that separates belligerents in state-on-state war and punishes would-be hegemons who break the rules.
  • The Army becomes the boots-on-the-ground, day-to-day, low-tech presence force that works in those offline regions where backward types still fight over little bits of land.

Sound okay?

Not by my way of thinking, for I see the Air Force's market as booming, the one on which the U.S. government focuses a lot of attention trying to keep virtual systemic crises—usually triggered by financial tumults—from blossoming into real conflicts among states.  In comparison, although the Army's market probably won't grow, it is historically stable.  Globally there have been a good three to four dozen conflicts every year since World War II that generate 1,000 or more casualties.[14]  And while these conflicts are real, U.S. interests tend to be virtual, affording us the flexibility to choose the ones we want to deal with (e.g., Bosnia and Kosovo) and to turn a blind eye to those we don't (e.g., Rwanda and the Congo).

Meanwhile, the Navy and Marines' market will slowly dry up.  The early 20th century's high volume of state-on-state warfare will not carry over into the 21st.  Nuclear weapons ended great power-versus-great power warfare back in 1945, and as John Keegan predicts, the future belongs far more to civil strife than traditional war.[15]

But there is hope, especially once you move toward . . .



Security in the future will a lot broader than anything a one-stop DoD can provide.  The signs are all around us:

  • The biggest system instability of the 1990s—the global financial crisis of 1997-98—showed who is really in charge of deterring international chaos:  the Department of the Treasury, the Federal Reserve, and the International Monetary Fund.[16]
  • The Y2K Problem, described as the biggest global management challenge since World War II, saw DoD play a minor supporting role to corporate turnaround specialist John Koskinen's star turn, signaling a new era in government-industry cooperation on computer security.[17]
  • The G-7 expands to G-8 and now to G-20, leaving the United Nations, NATO, and the rest of the politico-military alliance system in its wake while demonstrating the supremacy of economics in creating summit opportunities today (transforming arms control into the "Waldo" of the international scene).

In general, more and more of DoD's assumed "lesser includeds" (terrorism, computer hacking, electronic warfare) are being reclassified by an increasingly net-aware Washington as global law enforcement areas, with the relevant federal agencies aggressively building networks of international cooperation, buttressed by a worldwide explosion in private security firms.  Increasingly, when one scans the international security environment's to-do list, DoD looks like a cyber-age dinosaur.

I see merit in the efforts of the Secretary of the Navy and others to plot out a "transformation strategy," but transform to what?  Too much of what I see coming out of the Pentagon today seems hopelessly focused on future high-tech shootouts among trade-bloc-toting hyperpowers.  I'll hold open the possibility that Globalization II (1946 and counting) could disintegrate in ways similar to Globalization I (1870-1929), but we need a game plan that covers both the mother-of-all-global-financial-meltdowns scenario and the far greater likelihood that it is the international security environment itself that is being revolutionized and not merely DoD's increasingly irrelevant tool kit.

Better yet, we need two separate game plans.  Accept that notion—and with it the functional demise of DoD—and the Department of the Navy finally moves out from the Cold War's shadow and into the light of the globalization era.  We are going to have to make the break sometime, so why not talk about it openly and plan ahead?


The Coming Evernet

The planet is undergoing a broad economic transformation that is loosely described as the rise of the New Economy.[18]  This jarring makeover of virtually every business model we hold dear is exemplified by the astonishingly global spread of the Internet and e-commerce.  But that is just the tip of the iceberg in DoD's path, for whenever economics changes, politics must follow.

The defining achievement of the New Economy in the globalization era will be the Evernet, a downstream expression of today's Internet, which most of us still access almost exclusively through bulky desktop personal computers anywhere from a few minutes to several hours each day.  Over the next ten or so years, this notion of being "online" versus "offline" will completely disappear, because of:

  • The computing industry moving to molecular-based computer circuitry
  • The breaking up of the desktop computer's functions into a myriad of tiny gadgetry that humans will wear or have embedded throughout their living spaces and work environments—and ultimately even their bodies via nanotechnology
  • The maturation of ultra wideband wireless technologies that link all of these sensors, gadgets, satellites, computers, and grids
  • The continued development and extension of the earth-based portion of the Global Information Infrastructure (GII), especially the so-called last mile
  • The coming revolution in near-space (earth-to-moon) information infrastructure—quadrupling of satellites by 2010, then vast waves of nano/picosatellites—that provide real-time wireless coverage across the entire planet
  • The migration of vast portions of human commerce, social, educational, religious and political activity to the Internet and World Wide Web, which come to encompass all current personal and mass communication media.[19]

In other words, we go from today's limited-access Internet to an Evernet with which we will remain in a state of constant connectivity.  We will progress from a day-to-day reality in which we must choose to go online to one in which we must choose to go offline.  This is not some distant fantasy world.  Almost all the technology we need for the Evernet exists today.  It mostly is just a matter of achieving connectivity.

The rise of the Evernet will be humanity's greatest achievement to date and will be universally recognized as our most valued planetary asset or collective good.  Downtime, or loss of connectivity, becomes the standard, time-sensitive definition of a national security crisis, and protection of the Evernet becomes the preeminent security task of governments around the world.  Ruling elites will rise and fall based on their security policies toward, and the political record on, the care and feeding of the Evernet, whose health will be treated by mass media as having the same broad human interest and import as the weather (inevitably eclipsing even that).

Eventually, the Evernet and the Pentagon will collide, with the most likely trigger being some electronic Pearl Harbor, where DoD is unmasked as almost completely irrelevant to the international security environment at hand.[20]

The result?  DoD will be broken into two separate organizations:

  • The Department of Global Deterrence (DGD), to focus on preventing and, if necessary, fighting large-scale conventional and/or weapons-of-mass-destruction-enhanced warfare among nation-states
  • The Department of Network Security (DNS), to focus on maintaining the United States' vast electronic and commercial connectivity with the outside world, including protection and large-scale emergency reconstitution of the Evernet, and to perform all the standard crisis-response activity short of war (with a ballooning portfolio in medical).

In effect, we will split DoD into a warfighting force (DGD) and a global emergency-response force (DNS), with the latter aspiring to as much global collaboration as possible (ultimately disintermediating the United Nations) and the former to virtually none.  To put it another way, DGD is deterrence; DNS is assurance.

Who gets the "kids" in this divorce?

DGD includes:

  • U.S. Army (ground & armored)
  • U.S. Air Force (combat)
  • U.S. Navy (strategic)

DNS includes:

  • U.S. Army (airborne)
  • U.S. Air Force (mobility and space)
  • U.S. Marine Corps
  • U.S. Navy (rest)
  • Air/Army National Guards.[21]
  • DNS also picks up the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Agency for International Development, U.S. Information Agency, U.S. Customs, and a host of other specialized units from other federal agencies (e.g., Justice, Treasury).

DNS will discard the traditional notion of military service separate from civilian life.  For most personnel, it will adopt a consultancy model, whereby the agency rents career time versus buying entire lifetimes (essentially the National Guard model).  DNS's officer corps will remain career managers, but with frequent real-world tours of duty in technology, industrial, and business fields.  This organization will be networked in the extreme, because networks will be what it is all about.  This means no separate legal system and the end to posse comitatus restrictions.


New Rules for a New Navy

This vision of the future probably will strike many as far too revolutionary, and much of what I describe is admittedly beyond the current bureaucratic purview of a Secretary of Defense, Chief of Naval Operations, or Commandant of the Marine Corps.  Nonetheless, there are steps the Department of the Navy can take to position itself for what lies ahead:

  • Focus on conflict paradigms favoring the many and the cheap over the few and the costly.[22]
  • Focus network-centric warfare on crisis prevention and termination, leaving high-end conflict to others.
  • Reach out to and build cooperation with all federal agencies that provide system- and individual-level security services; use military-to-military programs to do the same abroad.
  • Accept that external information-technology networking is more important than internal networking (no LAN is an island).
  • Get involved in global information infrastructure security efforts in every way possible.
  • Get involved in space control in every way possible.
  • Go as lean as possible on sea control, freeing resources for space and cyberspace.
  • Rethink aircraft carriers and attack subs into cyber-age motherships, but everything else is up for grabs.[23]
  • Recast naval information warfare to focus more on generating and reconstituting networks than on taking them down.
  • Don't indulge the naval strategic community, for they must eventually leave the nest.


Hope for the Afterlife

When Encarta first appeared on the scene a few years ago, Encyclopedia Britannica blithely brushed off the notion that this upstart could ever threaten its position as the preeminent marketer of English-language reference compilations.  After all, Encyclopedia Britannica was the industry standard—the best seller of hard-copy reference material marketed directly to households.

At first, Encyclopedia Britannica simply could not imagine being disintermediated from its customer base, because it simply could not reimagine themselves as anything but the seller of hard copies.  Today, Encyclopedia Britannica is on the web, practically giving away the same information for which it previously charged so much.  Apparently, they finally reimagined themselves into some new and different—perhaps just in time.

So ask yourself, Department of the Navy, what is it that you really do?  Are you just ships and sea control?  Can you remember life before DoD?  Can you imagine a sweet hereafter?  And what you would do once you got there?

The Navy's new holy trinity is sea, space, cyberspace.  I suggest we all start worshipping today.

[1]    Extending the nuclear umbrella to both Western Europe and Japan is the best example of our redefinition of territorial integrity. The Marshall Plan, the promotion of a military-industrial complex, and the severe restrictions on trade with the East Bloc are just some of the examples of subordinating economics to security.

[2]    Joseph S. Nye, Jr., "In Europe, The Return of History," The New York Times, 26 November 1989. 

[3]    Examples of USAF schizophrenia are found in its internal debates over manned versus unmanned, air versus space, bombers versus fighters.

[4] Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, Elisabeth, On Death and Dying (reprint, New York: Collier, 1997).

[5]    A version of this slide first appeared in my The U.S. Marine Corps and Non-Lethal Weapons in the 21st Century: Annex B—Briefing Slides, Quick-Response Report 98-10 (Alexandria VA: Center for Naval Analyses, September 1998).

[6]    Kenneth Waltz, Man, the State and War (New York: Columbia University Press, 1954).

[7]    Thomas L. Friedman, The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1999), ch. 8.

[8]    Military operations other than war, which I define broadly as all operations short of war—meaning, if it ain't called a "war," it's a MOOTW.  The Air Force's reconfiguration is seen in its reorganization into air expeditionary forces, and the Army's comes in its moves to go as light and mobile as possible. We can argue whether either service made the moves willingly or under duress, but they clearly are adjusting to changes in their respective "markets."

[9]    For analysis of this notion, see Henry H. Gaffney Jr., Thomas P.M. Barnett, and Micky Tripathi, Three Visions of the Future With Corresponding Naval Force Structures, Annotated Briefing 95-100 (Alexandria VA: Center for Naval Analyses, October 1995).

[10]    H. H. Gaffney, "Alternative Evolutions of U.S. Forces," CNA, 99-1364, Working Paper of December 1999.

[11]    Richard Rosecrance, The Rise of the Virtual State: Wealth and Power in the Coming Century (New York: Basic Books, 1999).

[12]    Friedman, The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization, ch. 7.

[13]    On these speculations, see Graham E. Fuller, "The Next Ideology," Foreign Policy, Spring 1995, pp. 145-58, and Fred C. Ikle, "The Next Lenin: On the Cusp of Truly Revolutionary Warfare," The National Interest, Spring 1997, pp. 9-19.

[14]    Thanks to Art Money, ASD C3I, for this observation.

[15]    See "War Ca Change: The End of Great Power Conflict," Foreign Affairs, May/June 1997, pp. 113-116.

[16]    See Joshua Cooper Ramo, "The Three Marketeers," Time, 15 February 1999, pp. 34-42.

[17]    Look for future international computer security regimes to be even more industry dominated, as network-monitoring services outgrow the military and large corporation markets to encompass e-commerce and the Internet as a whole.  The security model here?  ADT Security Services—the home burglar alarm company.  See John Markoff, "Beyond Computers in Computer Security," The New York Times, 3 April 2000.

[18]    The best description of the New Economy is found in Kevin Kelly's New Rules for the New Economy: 10 Radical Strategies for a Connected World (New York: Viking Penguin, 1998).

[19]    For an excellent and imaginative description of this future reality, see Michael Vlahos, "Entering the Infosphere," Journal of International Affairs, Spring 1998, pp. 497-525.  The proposed merger of AOL with Time Warner is a serious first step in the direction of the Evernet.

[20]    Thanks to Dave Freymann for the idea of the "electronic Pearl Harbor." For the briefest hint at this future, see Thomas L. Friedman, "Boston E-Party" The New York Times, 1 January 2000.

[21]    See Thomas P.M. Barnett and Henry H. Gaffney Jr., A Critique of the National Defense Panel Report, Occasional Paper (Alexandria VA: Center for Naval Analyses, April 1998).

[22]    See Thomas P.M. Barnett, "The Seven Deadly Sins of Network-Centric Warfare," U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, January 1999, pp. 45-47.

[23]    I applaud VAdm. Arthur Cebrowski's effort to reimagine surface combatants via the Streetfighter concept.  See VAdm. A.K. Cebrowski, USN, and Capt. Wayne Hughes Jr., USN (Ret.), "Rebalancing the Fleet," U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, November 1999, pp. 31-34.

Dr. Barnett is a senior strategic researcher at the U.S. Naval War College.  Visit him at  He would like to thank John Dickmann, Dave Freymann, Hank Gaffney, Bradd Hayes, Hank Kamradt, Lawrence Modisett, Pat Pentland, and Mitzi Wertheim for their feedback on earlier drafts of this essay.


Hard to do SysAdmin by proxy

WAPO story on AMISOM's difficulties in avoiding civilian casualties in Mogadishu as it fights al Shabaab:

An African Union peacekeeping force, funded by hundreds of millions of dollars from the United States and its allies, has killed, wounded and displaced hundreds of Somali civilians in a stepped-up campaign against Islamist militants, according to medical officials, human rights activists and victims.

Led by Ugandan and Burundian troops, the force has intensified shelling in recent weeks as Somalia's al-Shabab militia, which is linked to al-Qaeda, has pushed closer toward the fragile government's seat of power. The shells are landing in heavily populated areas, in some cases even neighborhoods controlled by the government. Al-Shabab leaders say the peacekeepers and the shelling are the key reasons it bombed two venues in Uganda's capital last Sunday, killing 76 people watching broadcasts of the World Cup final.

More to the point, the ultimate blame, as far as the locals are concerned, still lies with us:

"When one kilogram of mortars are fired by al-Shabab, AMISOM replies with 100 kilograms of artillery," said Abdulqadir Haji, director of a volunteer ambulance service, using the acronym for the African Union force. "It is America and the West who support them. America and the West are the silent killers in Somalia's war."

In the Long War, you may escape the casualties--on your side--by contracting out, but you cannot escape the blame when things go badly.

Bottom line:  the Gap's high demand for SysAdmin services will not be going away any time soon.  The only question is who is actually on the front line and what is the level of their professionalism.


When you want SysAdmin bad, you get it bad

NYT story on shabby construction efforts as we drawdown in Iraq:

After two devastating battles between American forces and Sunni insurgents in 2004, this city needed almost everything — new roads, clean water, electricity, health care.

The American reconstruction authorities decided, however, that the first big rebuilding project to win hearts and minds would be a citywide sewage treatment system.

Now, after more than six years of work, $104 million spent, and without having connected a single house, American reconstruction officials have decided to leave the troubled system only partly finished, infuriating many city residents.

The plant is just one of many projects that the United States has decided to scale back on — or in some cases abandon — as American troops who provide security for reconstruction sites prepare to leave in large numbers.

Even some of the projects that will be completed are being finished with such haste, Iraqi officials say, that engineering standards have deteriorated precipitously, putting workers in danger and leaving some of the work at risk of collapse.

The American officials give many reasons for their decisions to scale back or drop some projects before more troops leave, including that they discovered in some cases that the facilities diverged from Iraq’s most pressing needs, or that the initial work — overseen by American contractors and performed by Iraqi workers — was so flawed that problems would take too long to fix.

Reconstruction officials point out that they have completed the vast majority of the $53 billion in projects they planned throughout Iraq, from bridges to honey-bee farms.

And the officials, along with the United States Embassy in Baghdad, say they are aware of only isolated concerns about the quality of reconstruction work now under way in the country, or about projects being left undone.

“I am not aware of the Iraqis having any sort of hard feelings that we will not finish current projects and award projects we said we would,” Col. Dionysios Anninos, head of the Army Corps of Engineers office in Iraq, wrote in an e-mail message. “We will finish strong!”

But some Iraqis have compared the current hurried reconstruction effort to the haphazard American withdrawal from Vietnam in 1975. In Diyala Province, northeast of Baghdad, Iraqi officials said they found that construction standards had slipped so drastically that they ordered an immediate halt to all American-financed projects, even though American inspectors had deemed the work to be adequate.

The Americans had told local authorities they were speeding up projects because a nearby United States Army base was scheduled to close this summer.

Shaymaa Mohammad Ameen, who works with reconstruction officials as a liaison for the Diyala Provincial Council, said American officials frequently threatened to leave when Iraqis questioned engineering standards and brought up other safety issues.

“They constantly tell us that if we do not approve, they can always move the allocated funds to projects in other provinces,” she said.

In Baghdad and Salahuddin Provinces, local officials say Americans have simply walked away from partly completed police stations, schools, government buildings and water projects during the past several months without explanation.

And in Dhi Qar and Babil Provinces, there are complaints that roads and buildings recently completed by the Americans do not meet basic construction standards.

I've said for years, given our mindset toward exiting, and China's mindset for wanting to own resources in the ground, we would have been much better off subcontracting the entire reconstruction effort to the Chinese.

Hard to see how it wouldn't have cost far less and accomplished far more.

Another point I've made in the brief for close to a decade now:  the SysAdmin is necessarily more rest-of-world than just the United States.  We are not good at everything and shouldn't try to be.


The SysAdmin's workload remains heavy

Christian Science Monitor story by way of WPR's Media Roundup.


It may be only his second day of military training, but Abdullahi Ibrahim Aden is already convinced that he can help bring peace to his war-ravaged nation, Somalia.

Clutching an AK-47 in a field two countries away from his homeland, Aden, a former street kid, refugee, and nurse, is one of the first recruits in an ambitious program run by the European Union (EU) to help train 2,000 soldiers for the fledgling Army of Somalia's fragile Transitional Federal Government, or TFG.

"Somali children, grandfathers, and grandmothers are dying in the streets," says Aden. "That is why I came to be a volunteer, to change what is happening in my country."

Involving 150 instructors from 14 EU countries at a cost of $6 million to European taxpayers, the program is the latest in a series of internationally funded training efforts around East Africa designed to bolster the beleaguered government and nudge Somalia closer to peace after almost two decades of conflict.

Money for logistical support is coming from the United States, which has reportedly already pumped millions of dollars into similar smaller training programs run by local militaries in Uganda and Djibouti over the past 18 months.

Why so crucial? Lack of local resources.

Like all things SysAdmin, it is a matter of pay-me-now-or-pay-yourself-later.

Of course, my critics have long asserted that my vision is so naive in its assumption that Core countries will be willing to do SysAdmin work.  And yet the efforts continue and grow, and Core militaries progressively shift resources from the Leviathan bin (way too expensive for the EU anyway) and into the SysAdmin portfolio. What is needed, of course, is to steer rising New Core powers in similar directions, instead of encouraging their own fantasies regarding the utility of great-power war.

It was never a question of political will, but rather one of finally recognizing the international security landscape for what it is: an era of intense frontier integration that can either be addressed or put off by the dream of future great-power war.  But the integration will proceed apace whether we engage it or not. Globalization is simply that powerful--the essence of our 5GW victory that few on our side are ready to embrace.

Yes, there is plenty of naivete on this subject, but it rests primarily with those who cling to their romantic notions of past warfare.


The SysAdmin needs loitering capacity, the Leviathan needs pure strike

WPR piece by David Axe.

The seminal opening bit:

The past year has been a pivotal period for one of the world's most important strategic industries. In 2009 and early 2010, the military aerospace industry marked key turning points: For the first time, the U.S. Air Force -- the world's most important aerospace customer -- bought more unmanned aircraft than manned aircraft. In the same time-span, the Air Force refused to extend production of its exclusive, world-beating F-22 fighter beyond the 187 units it has already ordered, instead opting to develop the smaller, potentially cheaper-per-unit and exportable F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. 

No 9/11 and this does not happen--except maybe waaay down the road.  Ditto on the Long War.

When I wrote in Esquire seven years ago that going into Iraq would force the US into assuming serious strategic ownership of that region (and the Gap in a larger sense), I had this kind of change in mind--a massive and irreversible reformatting of the structure of the force and hence how we use it.

Great piece, worth the subscription.


State with its own mini-army? Tell me we don't need a Department of Everything Else!

AP story details how State is now building its own mini-army to guard itself inside Iraq once US troops leave.

The gist:

The State Department is quietly forming a small army to protect diplomatic personnel in Iraq after U.S. military forces leave the country at the end of 2011, taking its firepower with them.

Department officials are asking the Pentagon to provide heavy military gear, including Black Hawk helicopters, and say they also will need substantial support from private contractors.

The shopping list demonstrates the department's reluctance to count onIraq's army and police forces for security, despite the billions of dollars the U.S. invested to equip and train them. And it shows that PresidentObama is having a hard time keeping his pledge to reduce U.S. reliance on contractors, a practice that flourished under the Bush administration.

In an early April request to the PentagonPatrick Kennedy, the State Department's undersecretary for management, is seeking 24 Black Hawks, 50 bomb-resistant vehicles, heavy cargo trucks, fuel trailers, and high-tech surveillance systems. Mr. Kennedy asks that the equipment, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, be transferred at "no cost" from military stocks.

Contractors will be needed to maintain the gear and provide other support to diplomatic staff, according to the State Department, a potential financial boon for companies such as the Houston-based KBR Inc. that still have a sizable presence in Iraq.

"After the departure of U.S. forces, we will continue to have a critical need for logistical and life-support of a magnitude and scale of complexity that is unprecedented in the history of the Department of State," says Mr. Kennedy's April 7 request to Ashton Carter, theDefense Department's undersecretary for acquisition and technology.

Old story:  State is built for the Core--not the Gap.  And when situations get even somewhat dicey inside the Gap, it's basically "show's over" for State--unless it outsources the function.  

We need something built for frontier integration in all its complexity, and it's not quite DoD and it's not quite State but something in between--something for the everything else.

Just wait until these guys kill some locals, because if I'm an insurgent or terrorist, I simply engineer that scenario time and again until I get the disastrous outcome that serves my purposes.


Negotiation 101 for SysAdminers

USA Today story on how Army is teaching negotiation skills to West Point cadets.

H.R. McMaster quoted approvingly.  


Until recently, the Army had put little effort into figuring out what makes a successful negotiation.  West Point began offering course in negotiating as a leadership skill in 2006 and last year started the West Point Negotiating Project to spread the training throughout the Army.

Good stuff.  Hell, I would love to take a course like that myself.

Usual alarming quote from Col Gian Gentile saying we're turning the force into a big bunch of wusses.


Another take on cleaning up Brazil's favelas with better policing

Economist story.

Starts with "City of God" (2002) film reference to Rio's rundown Cidade de Deus housing project, where a gang of drug traffickers kept 60k residents in lives of constant fear.  The film cemented Rio's reputation for lawless favelas (a Brazilian term for tightly-packed slums), as well as its sad decay after the country moved the capital to Brasilia in 1960.

With the Olympics teed up for 2016, Rio now seems to be undergoing a renaissance:

Last year the police tool control of Cidade de Deus--this time for keeps, they say.  A force of 318 officers, backed by 25 patrol cars, is based in a new community-police station in a side street between two fetid, litter-strewn drainage channels.  The result has been dramatic.  IN 2008 there were 29 murders in Cidade de Deus.  So far this year there has been just one . . . Other crime has fallen too.

A key factor:  getting all levels of government to chip in and double the salaries of front-line cops. The focus: to formalize the existing economic activity with legality and infrastructure.

Sounds like your basic COIN, yes?

The external driver:  Rio becomes the hub for off-shore oil development of that huge oil field just found, plus there's those Olympics and all the construction triggered.

Rio has a ways to go, but the trend is positive.


If they're afraid to be seen with you, your COIN effort can only go so far

USA Today front-pager and Banyan column in Economist.

From the first:

Dur Mohammad doesn't walk a straight path to the school where he teaches. He takes a meandering route and then lingers in fields along the way to make it look as if he's a farmer tending his crops.

When U.S. Marines stop by the school, Mohammad begs them to be on their way.

"We cannot stand for a couple of minutes with you," he says. "If someone sees us, we'll be in trouble."

From Banyan:

The problem of knowing what Afghans think is an obstacle more generally. When World Bank workers attempt to take surveys, they have to memorise the questions and answers, since villagers speaking to strange folk with clipboards are at risk from insurgents. 

These anecdotes suggest a trust-building process unlikely to be much consummated by the summer of 2011. Obama will have to make a tough call:  stick with something that's working--but slowly, or cash in the Afghan people.


When you do SysAdmin by proxy in Somalia, you enlist children as warriors

NYT story says child soldiers exist "across the globe," but truth is, they exist only inside my Gap.

When people say it's not our role to do the SysAdmin work in these places, they just need to understand who gets pressed into service when Core great powers don't show up.

Take a good look at the kid's face, because he's working for you.

Feel any holier about our non-interference?


Chivers on what Marja means--so far

NYT piece by the always astute C.J. Chivers.

As NATO and Afghan forces flow into neighboring Kandahar Province, where for the next many months the latest high-profile effort to undo the Taliban’s hold will unroll, the continuing fighting in Marja can be read as a sign of problems in the American-led surge. It can also be read as something less worrisome: a difficult period in a campaign always expected to be hard.

A prevailing assessment among officers on the ground is this: The outcome is too soon to call.

“Right now it’s gray,” said Maj. Lawrence Lohman, the operations officer for Third Battalion, Sixth Marines, which operates outposts in northern Marja.

Those who deem the Marja offensive a disappointment, or even a failure, point to the daily violence and to the signs that Afghans have been leaving the area, at least temporarily, to avoid the fighting. They also point to Taliban intimidation of residents, a still limited government presence, and the continued reliance of Afghan police officers and soldiers on American supervision and logistics. These, they say, are ill-boding signs.

But the signals are contradictory.

Most of Marja’s civilians returned after moving away ahead of the initial assault. Most of them remain. Compounds that were empty in February are inhabited. Roads once quiet are busy. Fields are thick with crops. Shops in some bazaars have reopened. Afghan units participate visibly in dangerous missions.

Lt. Col. Brian Christmas, the battalion’s commander, noted that some of Marja’s residents had begun providing information on the Taliban, including sharing the names and locations of fighters. Many civilians have been seeking aid and a few have sought contracts for small scale development projects, the early steps in engagement.

“I’ve seen good growth and good progress,” the colonel said. He added: “There is still a lot to be done.”

The Marines point to what they clearly hope is a Helmand pattern, apparent in other districts, including Nawa, where the Taliban were strong and fighting was initially intense. The pattern, they said, is this: With time and resources, the insurgents’ position erodes, villages become secure, and engagement and the Afghan government presence expand.

Pursuing this goal, Marine companies have been sending out constant small patrols.

Time and patience and skills, we seem to have a plenty--at least on the military's side.

More and more we hear generals voicing out loud their thought that Afghanistan will take longer--the implied follow-on being ". . . than President Obama wants."

Obama will reach a Bush moment on Afghanistan, and he will either fold or play on.


Don't call it an "offensive"

NYT story that emphasizes the surge in the south is far more civilian than portrayed in the press:

The prospect of a robust military push in Kandahar Province, which had been widely expected to begin this month, has evolved into a strategy that puts civilian reconstruction efforts first and relegates military action to a supportive role.

The strategy, Afghan, American and NATO civilian and military officials said in interviews, was adopted because of opposition to military action from an unsympathetic local population and Afghan officials here and in Kabul.

There are also concerns that a frontal military approach has not worked as well as hoped in a much smaller area in Marja, in neighboring Helmand Province.

The goal that American planners originally outlined — often in briefings in which reporters agreed not to quote officials by name — emphasized the importance of a military offensive devised to bring all of the populous and Taliban-dominated south under effective control by the end of this summer. That would leave another year to consolidate gains before President Obama’s July 2011 deadline to begin withdrawing combat troops.

In fact, there has been little new fighting in Kandahar so far, and the very word “offensive” has been banished.

“We cannot say the term offensive for Kandahar,” said the Afghan National Army officer in charge here, Gen. Sher Mohammad Zazai. “It is actually a partnership operation.”

The commander of NATO forces in southern Afghanistan, Maj. Gen. Nick Carter, insisted that there never was a planned offensive. “The media have chosen to use the term offensive,” he said. Instead, he said, “we have certainly talked about a military uplift, but there has been no military use of the term offensive.”

Whatever it is called, it is not happening this month. Views vary widely as to just when the military part will start. General Zazai says it will begin in July but take a break for Ramadan in mid-August and resume in mid-September. A person close to Tooryalai Wesa, the governor of Kandahar, says it will not commence until winter, or at least not until harvests end in October. He spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the press.

American officials, on the other hand, say it has already begun, not with a bang, but with a steady increase of experts from the United States Embassy and NATO and aid workers — a “civilian surge” — accompanied by a quiet increase in American troops to provide security for them. The Americans strongly deny that they planned an offensive they are now backing away from.

Whereas in Marja the plan was to carry out a military assault to oust the Taliban, followed by rapid delivery of government services, in Kandahar the approach is now the opposite. Civilian aid workers, protected by an increased military force, will try to provide those services first, before any major military action.

“This is not going to be a door-to-door military campaign,” said one American civilian official, who requested anonymity in line with his agency’s policy. “You’ll see more Afghan National Police checkpoints, but it’s not going to be an aggressive military campaign. They’ve looked at it and realized it wouldn’t work.”

That is some serious learning being applied.  Gratifying to see.

With all the reports coming back either glass-half-full or half-empty, it is hard to gain any comprehensive sense of what's possible, but you get the distinct feeling that both sides are pulling out all stops--just on opposite sides of the kinetic/non-kinetic divide (i.e., they kill civilians and we lead with them).


Brief Reminder: A booming export market for the SysAdmin (1970s-1990s)

Old PNM-era slide (and pre-PNM, actually, so used probably 2001-2004) where I showed the rise in combined contingency response days for the four services.  For the 1970s, I exclude the obvious war in Vietnam (mega-contingency, I guess), then show how the rise in the 1980s was Mideast-centric, and then show how Iraq, Yugoslavia, Somalia and Haiti account for all the subsequent elevation in the 1990s.

Naturally, the 2000s then left the chart in terms of overall volume.

Point of the slide: showing the growing global market for SysAdmin-type operations.


Training of Afghan security forces: close but no SIGAR

FT story by way of Our Man in Kabul.

Key findings to be released at the end of June:

To be sure, there's a lot of political pressure applied regarding a hoped-for declaration of progress by July 2011.

As usual, the military's best defense regarding such SysAdmin ops is a strong inspector general.