US Policy Changes Vol.44 (National Security Vol.3 – Terrorism, Budget, Nukes, IS)

Here are articles on terrorism, budget, nukes, IS, et al. Excerpts are on our own.

How to fight terrorism in the Donald Trump era (12/30/2016) | @dbyman @TheNatlInterest @BrookingsInst
… First, job loss in manufacturing derives primarily from technological change, not from trade. Manufacturing’s share of U.S. production is quite stable, but its share of employment has declined at a steady rate because productivity growth in manufacturing is higher than in services. …
Hence, there would be a one-time shift of capital and labor from services to manufacturing. Then, the trend decline of manufacturing employment would continue as long as productivity growth in manufactures is faster than that in services. …
Second, the broadest measure of the trade balance, the current account, is equal to savings minus investment. Countries with a trade deficit, like the U.S., are borrowing from the rest of the world to support investment. …
… The 1970s and 1980s saw far more attacks than there were in the post-9/11 era. Recent years have seen horrendous attacks, like the 2015 shootings and bombings in Paris that killed 130 people—but 1988 saw 440 people die, most of whom perished when Libyan agents bombed Pan Am 103.
… Lebanon suffered a calamitous war in the 1970s and 1980s where Palestinian terrorists and Hezbollah were important players. Jihadists in Algeria fought a vicious civil war against the regime in the 1990s, where over one hundred thousand people died. Afghanistan, Nigeria, Sudan, and other countries in the region have long endured civil wars. … Terrorists have contributed to and exploited civil wars that have killed more than one hundred thousand in Afghanistan, tens of thousands in Pakistan, tens of thousands in Nigeria, thousands in Yemen, thousands in Libya, and hundreds of thousands in Syria.
… The first, of course, is the real risk to American lives and those of U.S. allies. In absolute terms, these are small in the United States and only slightly larger in Europe. The average American is more likely to be shot by an armed toddler than killed by a terrorist.
The next danger is political. … it also means defending American values, including being a home to peaceful people of all religions, and welcoming refugees. In Europe, the politics are even nastier as xenophobic movements gain notable strength. …
The biggest danger, however, is to U.S. interests in Muslim parts of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Stability and governance have collapsed in many countries and are under threat in others. In addition to the human cost, this threatens the stability of U.S. partners…with countries like Saudi Arabia intervening in Yemen and otherwise ratcheting up regional tension in competition with Iran. The danger also allows U.S. allies like Egypt to resist the pressure to democratize…
… In the 1960s and 1970s, the United States faced an array of national-liberation and left-wing movements… In the 1980s, Hezbollah killed hundreds of Americans, but focused its violence on American troops and diplomats overseas—not civilians at home. … Iran recognized that if it crossed too many lines it might lead to a devastating U.S. reaction. …
… European governments did not make direct concessions to left-wing groups, but pro-union policies and political parties that favored social freedoms that impressionable youth embraced often took the wind out of the radical Left’s sails. Spain granted considerable autonomy to the Basque region, and the British government showered development spending on Northern Ireland while drafting a political deal that ensured Catholic rights. In the Middle East, however, the radical constituencies do not want political reform and are likely to exploit any relaxation of police states to expand their operations.
… Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (al-Qaida’s Syrian and most important affiliate, formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra), recently announced it was severing ties with al-Qaida and would not attack the United States in the hopes of working more closely with, and eventually uniting, other Syrian opposition groups.
…al-Qaida and the Islamic State have local allies—what the Islamic State would call “provinces”—throughout the Muslim world. … Al-Qaida’s Yemen affiliate, for example, almost succeeded in downing a U.S. passenger plane in 2009, while the Islamic State’s province in the Sinai downed a Russian plane in 2015, killing 224 people.
…Hezbollah even operates a television station. … Such technology has also enabled the Islamic State to aggressively employ so-called “lone wolves”—individuals not directly under its command, but inspired by its message—to strike at the United States and Europe.
… Hamas controls Gaza, Hezbollah has de facto sovereignty over much of Lebanon, al-Qaida affiliates like al-Shabaab in Somalia rule over parts of their country and, of course, the Islamic State at its peak in 2014 ruled lands roughly the size of Great Britain. …
… Americans are in no mood to accept that small attacks are difficult to prevent, that diplomats should be stationed in dangerous areas, and that low levels of terrorism at home are a sign of success, not failure.
…part of the reason that al-Qaida and now the Islamic State turn to lone wolves is because it has proven difficult to use more organized terrorists to strike the United States.
… Although the United States can and should push technology companies to hinder egregious terrorist recruitment and operations, protecting the right of free speech and the proliferation of communications technologies remains a boon for groups that cannot be avoided. …
… America needs more competent good guys—or at least less-bad guys—to support in the Middle East and other danger zones. …
… Ending civil wars must feature centrally in future counterterrorism policy.
… When the Islamic State took Mosul in June 2014, some thirty thousand well-armed Iraqi forces fled the city in the face of one thousand Islamic State fighters… The Islamic State’s expansion occurred, in part, because Iraqi military forces were primarily Shiite and had little interest in defending local Sunnis… In Sunni areas such as Mosul, residents often regarded the army as a puppet of Iran. The Iraqi officers did not command the respect of their troops and lacked professionalism. …
… Some might be better left to allies: France, for example, could continue to take the lead in parts of North and West Africa. …
The first is institutionalization. …
… One branch of government, perhaps the most important in the long term, has been AWOL under both Democratic and Republican leadership: the U.S. Congress. …
…even small attacks like the Boston Marathon bombings paralyzed a major city.
Finally… In contrast to Europe, the American Muslim community is far better integrated and regularly cooperates with law enforcement.
… Ideally, the new president should press state and local officials to work with Muslim communities, not just to stop radicalism in their ranks but to protect them from right-wing extremists. …
… In spite of failures, inefficiencies and hard lessons, it has accomplished its primary objective for the last fifteen years: averting another 9/11. …

Right-sizing the Trump defense buildup (12/28/2016) | @MichaelEOHanlon @USAToday @BrookingsFP
… Yet in framing defense choices, it is important to understand our starting point. The U.S. armed forces are not a disgrace, and their readiness is not in shambles. With the annual federal deficit already on track to top $1 trillion again next decade, even without counting any Trumpian plans for big defense buildups, infrastructure initiatives, or tax cuts, we need a measured defense buildup, not a massive one. Unit by unit, today’s armed forces are strong; the main problem is that they are just somewhat too few in number. …
Consider a few basic facts:…
… For example, instead of adding 70,000 soldiers to the active-duty Army, Trump could add 20,000 to 30,000. That would be enough to shore up new deployments that NATO is beginning in the Baltic states, among other needs. It would restore the Army to its size from the late Bill Clinton/early George W. Bush years. Rather than grow the Navy to 350 ships, Trump could aim for a fleet in the low 300s—10 percent larger than it was several years ago, and still enough to sustain a 2-to-1 advantage over China in fleet tonnage (as well as a big advantage in most types of technology). …

The Donald and nukes, again (12/22/2016) | @steven_pifer @BrookingsInst
U.S. STRATEGIC FORCES
… According to the latest data exchange mandated by the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), as of September 1 the United States had 1,367 deployed strategic nuclear warheads on 681 deployed submarine-launched ballistic missiles, intercontinental ballistic missiles, and heavy bombers. The vast bulk of these are warheads on ballistic missiles, which can be launched in a matter of minutes. The warheads have yields ranging from 100 to 455 kilotons (the bomb that devastated Hiroshima had a yield of just 14 kilotons).
In addition, the U.S. military has several thousand other nuclear warheads, making up a total stockpile of about 4,500. And that does not count another 2,000 to 2,500 weapons that have been retired and are in the dismantlement queue. …
THE RISK OF EXPANSION
… As of February 2018, the United States and Russia will each be limited by New START to no more than 1,550 deployed strategic warheads on no more than 700 deployed strategic missiles and bombers. Current Pentagon plans call for U.S. strategic forces at precisely those levels.
Expanding U.S. nuclear capabilities thus could mean busting out of New START. …
A SMARTER APPROACH
…to maintain New START and seek to do a deal on further nuclear arms cuts with Mr. Putin. …

The limits of air strikes when fighting the Islamic State (12/6/2016) | @dbyman @lawfareblog @BrookingsFP
… After years of surviving largely underground, in 2014 it took over vast swaths of Iraq and Syria, and it has established so-called “provinces” in Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya, and other countries.
… A poll taken in August showed that only 42 percent of Americans favored deploying a significant number of ground troops to Syria to fight the Islamic State, though a slight majority is comfortable with limited numbers of special operations forces.
… Yet air power, if not used carefully, runs all the risks of a one-night stand: it can create false expectations, drag America into unwanted relationships with flawed partners, and winds up meaning little in the long-term.
… Perhaps most important, adaptation in response to air strikes renders terrorists less effective. A tip sheet found among jihadists in Mali advised militants they could avoid drones by maintaining “complete silence of all wireless contacts,” “[avoiding] gathering in open areas,”… The indirect effects also matter. Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been laying low since U.S. military operations began, diminishing his charismatic presence from Islamic State propaganda and, presumably, disheartening his beleaguered troops. Abu Mohammad al-Adnani, the spokesman who headed the group’s external operations, was also charismatic…
Air power is particularly valuable when it can be yoked with local allied fighters on the ground. In Afghanistan after 9/11, the rag-tag Northern Alliance quickly turned the tables on the Taliban after the U.S. Air Force entered the fray. NATO airpower stopped Gadhafi’s forces at the gates of Benghazi and then helped the Libyan opposition…
Yet air power has real limits.
… Bombers need bases near the conflict zone and access to the battlefield. … But to maintain a sustained battlefield presence, aircraft must be able to get to and from the conflict zone quickly and easily. Allies, of course, don’t provide access to their bases for free: they expect favors in return. …
Nor does air power address the biggest long-term challenges in fighting the Islamic State: governance. …
The trouble is that local allies are often themselves flawed instruments…

Saudi Arabia and terrorism today (9/29/2016) | @dbyman @BrookingsFP

What’s beyond the defeat of ISIS? (9/27/2016) | @dbyman @lawfareblog @BrookingsFP