MORNING RECON: Whe Clausewitz Became a Great Strategic Thinker; Afghanistan: Progress Through Effective Governance; Army’s “Strategic Schizophrenia"

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Morning Recon

Good Wednesday morning and welcome to MORNING RECON.  On this day in 1915, aviation engineers working for Dutch-born Anthony Fokker develop the mechanical interrupter gear, which allows machine gun bullets to be fired through rotating aircraft propeller blades.

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Today’s Top Stories

NATIONAL Trump’s Forceful Syrian Gambit
From Richard A. Epstein, Hoover Institution: “The U.S. will in the future be prepared to use force in other areas, which means that our enemies will now have to think twice about the way they act. Uncertainty on their part should slow them down, given that the costs that they face appear higher than they did only a week or month ago." Trump Mulls Military Options for North Korea. They’re All Grim.
From Nick Wadhams, Bloomberg: “Analysts estimate North Korea may now possess between 10 and 25 nuclear weapons, with launch vehicles, air force jets, troops and artillery scattered across the country, hidden in caves and massed along the border with South Korea. That’s on top of what the U.S. estimates to be one of the world’s largest chemical weapons stockpiles, a biological weapons research program and an active cyberwarfare capability."

Pentagon Wrestles With How to Break up ATL
From Sydney Freedberg, Breaking Defense: “"It’s going to be difficult," Miller said at a National Defense Industrial Association conference here, “but we’ve never had a better opportunity in the two decades, three decades that I’ve been in the business" to reform a sclerotic acquisition system." F-35 Needs More Potent Adversary Services
From Seapower Magazine: “Increased adversary services are needed by the Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps to reduce the fatigue-life toll on use of the services’ own front-line fighters and their limited flight hours in the adversary role." Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group Deployment Extended for Korea Presence Operations
From Sam LaGrone, USNI News: “The deployment of Carl Vinson Carrier Strike Group has been extended by a month so the CSG can conduct presence operations off the coast of Korea, the commander of the strike group said late Tuesday in a message to his crew."

Military Is Ramping up Preparation for Major U.S. Power Grid Hack
From Jennings Brown, Vocativ: “The U.S. Department of Defense is growing increasingly concerned about hackers taking down our power grid and crippling the nation, which is why the Pentagon has created a $77-million security plan that it hopes will be up and running by 2020."

The U.S. Army Wants to Call in Cyber Attacks Like Artillery Fire
From Joseph Trevithick, The War Zone: “During a recent experimental exercise, the U.S. Army put a pair of specially equipped dune buggies through a series of tests. Though the two vehicles’ main job is to find and knock out small drones – an emerging threat to American troops on future battlefields that The War Zone has written about extensively – engineers hope they’ll be able to perform a completely new mission in future, calling in cyber attacks like artillery strikes."

The CIA’s Officer of the Future
From Suzanne Kelly, The Cipher Brief: “Few were paying attention, but the CIA did something groundbreaking in 2015. For the first time since before man walked on the moon, the Agency created a new directorate. The idea was to move officers into the age of cyber, to arm them with the kinds of digital skills they would need to maintain their edge. It’s probably a little Hollywood, but think about adding hacking skills to the adept handling of a Glock or a VP9. Add in a mandate of operating under a different legal authority than anyone else, and you start to get an idea of what the CIA’s Officer of the Future looks like."

Boeing Sees Practical Payoffs From Tech Investments
From Sandra I. Erwin, National Defense Magazine: “Boeing’s early investments in companies, if history is any guide, often result in full-blown acquisitions. Before taking over HorizonX, Nordlund was vice president of strategy for Boeing Defense, Space & Security. Years before that, he was one of the founders of drone manufacturer Insitu Inc., which developed the ScanEagle and Integrator unmanned aerial systems used by the U.S. military. Boeing acquired Insitu in 2008."

INTERNATIONAL U.S., RUSSIA: F-22s Intercept Russian Bombers Off Alaska Coast
From Zachary Cohen and Ryan Browne, CNN: “Two Russian TU-95 Bear bombers were intercepted in international airspace off the coast of Alaska by two US F-22 Raptor fighter aircraft on Monday, the Pentagon confirmed to CNN." U.S., JAPAN: Japan: US Marine Corps F-35B Fighter Jets Gearing up for Combat
From Franz-Stefan Gady, The Diplomat: “U.S. Marine Corps Fighter Attack Squadron 121, the service’s first overseas-deployed F-35B squadron, has conducted a hot-reload exercise at an airbase in Iwakuni in Yamaguchi Prefecture on April 6. It was the first time that ordnance was loaded onto a running F-35B, the U.S. Marine Corps variant of the supersonic fifth-generation F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, capable of vertical or short takeoffs and vertical landings without requiring a catapult launcher."

RUSSIA: Russia’s New Arctic Trefoil Military Base
From BBC News: “The Arctic Trefoil permanent base is in Franz Josef Land, a huge ice-covered, desolate archipelago. The Russian military sees the resource-rich Arctic as a key strategic region."

Still Missing a Strategy After 16 Years in Afghanistan
From Daniel DePetris, RealClearDefense: “More than 16 years after the first Special Operations Forces unit stepped onto Afghan soil, does the United States have a strategy in Afghanistan? The Trump administration is still trying to determine the answer to that question, which is why President Trump dispatched National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster to Afghanistan for a full review of Washington’s options."   
Afghanistan: Progress Through Trust and Effective Governance
From Anthony Box, RealClearDefense: “In the United States, everyone knows to call 911 in an emergency. In Afghanistan, the number is in reverse: 119. It is a nascent system for fires, emergencies, and to call for police, but the Afghan Ministry of Interior, which created and publicized the system, in a collaboration that involved international governance experts, hopes it will become more widely used to report corruption and other crimes.  The system recently led to the arrest of three armed thugs with police arriving in less than five minutes. Inciting quite a stir, the success of the 119 system gave a much-needed boost to Afghan governance credibility." 
Undoing Army’s “Strategic Schizophrenia"
From Mackenzie Eaglen, AUSA: “What should the Army spend new money on? It’s been a while since that question’s been asked in the open and taken seriously. While the amount is debatable, defense budgets are set to rise under President Donald Trump. It is therefore worth thinking strategically about how best to balance the exigent needs of the ground forces today with those needs that will suddenly become exigent in 2020 or 2025. As Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis averred in his famous commander’s guidance in 2008, “Operations in the future will require a balance of regular and irregular competencies."" 
North Korea: Talks Will Fail Because We Have Nothing They Want
From Sam Roggeveen, Lowy Institute Interpreter: “Sigmund Freud is supposed to have said that ‘sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar’. Whether he actually said it or not, the argument is sound: we don’t always need to search deep in the subconscious for hidden meanings; sometimes the thing itself is what we should focus on, rather than what it might represent or symbolise." 

North Korea and Mar-a-Lago: Did It Make Any Difference?
From Alan D. Romberg, 38 North: “Whether measured in terms of a week, a day, a few hours or even ten minutes, while the outcome of the Mar-a-Lago summit between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping cannot yet be characterized as a breakthrough, it certainly was not the acrimonious breakdown that many predicted. From where this observer sits, it was, at the very least, a modest success and perhaps more than that." 

Indonesia Stemming the Islamic State Tied in Southeast Asia
From Thomas Joscelyn, FDD’s The Long War Journal: “Counterterrorism officials fear that as the Islamic State continues to lose ground in Iraq and Syria, more foreign fighters will return to their native countries with bad intentions. This is possible, but the group is not close to defeat." 

Sources of Resilience in the Lord’s Resistance Army
From Pamela Faber, CNA: “The LRA has two major sources of resilience: it positions itself within the nexus of four interconnected conflicts in the region, and it adapts its tactics to changes in its capabilities and environment. The resilience of the LRA has implications both for its potential resurgence and for other armed groups who may look to it as a template for survival." 

Five Things That Helped Carl Von Clausewitz Become a Great Strategic Thinker
From Vanya Eftimova Bellinger, Strategy Bridge: “While Carl von Clausewitz is often quoted, in reality his treatise On War is rarely studied in depth. Aside from the book’s unfinished character, the difficulty in translating nineteenth century German into modern English, combined with interpreting complex ideas and placing them into current context, makes it easy to understand why military professionals and the general public quickly abandon reading the book. In times when the U.S. military struggles to find its strategic footing, reading and debating Clausewitz’s complex ideas are needed more now than ever before." 

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