2 January SWJ Roundup

Afghanistan

Homeland Security to Increase Activity, Agents in Afghanistan - Washington Post

U.S. Stepping Up Fight on Afghan Smuggling - New York Times

With Air Force's New Drone, 'We Can See Everything' - Washington Post

A New Aerial Surveillance System - Washington Post graphic

NATO Service Member Killed in South Afghanistan - Associated Press

Several Warnings, Then a Soldier's Lonely Death - New York Times

Pakistan

Pakistan Drone Raid Kills at Least 15 in N. Waziristan - BBC News

Iraq

Composition of New Government Setback for Women - McClatchy Newspapers

Iraqi Civilian Deaths Down In 2010 - Reuters

Iraq: December the Least Deadly Month of the Year - Associated Press

Saying Adios in Iraq - Boston Herald editorial

Iran

Top Iran Prosecutor Vows to Charge Opposition Leaders - New York Times

Iran's Education Reform Takes Anti-Western Tack - Washington Post

Iran Stoning Case: Tehran 'Must Free German Reporters' - BBC News

Son of Iran Woman to Be Stoned Wants New Sentence - Associated Press

Iran Hangs 12 Drug Traffickers And Kidnappers - Reuters

Ahmadinejad's Car Gets $1 Million Bid - Associated Press

Korean Peninsula

S. Korean Activists Rally Against N. Korea Near Border - Associated Press

Book Review

Edmund Morris's "Colonel Roosevelt" - Washington Post book review

U.S. Department of Defense

War Hero's Tour: A Humble Soldier Adjusts to Fame - Associated Press

Air Force Brass Sanctions 'Unprecedented' - Air Force Times

Raunchy Videos Starring Enterprise Skipper Come to Light - Virginian-Pilot

Transforming Military Might into 21st-century Weapons - Washington Post opinion

United States

Elected Veterans See Opportunities in New Legislative Session - Stars and Stripes

Vatican

Benedict Announces Meeting of Faiths - New York Times

Pope to Hold Peace Summit With Religious Heads - Reuters

Pope Denounces Abuses of Christians - Associated Press

Africa

Ivory Coast President Has Limited Time to Step Down - Washington Post

U.N. Focuses on Human Rights Abuses in Ivory Coast - Associated Press

U.N. Peacekeepers Focus on Reported Ivory Coast Abuses - Reuters

Ivory Coast: Ouattara Ally Calls for Force - Associated Press

Ivory Coast: Don't Count on Foreign Troops, Gbagbo Tells Rival - Reuters

Prosecutor Confirms Accusation Against Sudan Leader - New York Times

Rights Unclear for Sudanese if Divided by Border - Associated Press

Mali Tackles Al Qaeda and Drug Traffic - New York Times

Nigeria: Questions Surround Latest Bomb Attack - Associated Press

Nigeria's MEND Rebel Group Denies Responsibility for Bomb Blast - Bloomberg

Nigerian Militant Group Says Not Behind Abuja Bomb - Reuters

Visitors Snap Up 100 Trillion Zimbabwe Bank Notes - Associated Press

Americas

Drug Violence in Mexico Hit New Level of Brutality in 2010 - Dallas Morning News

Mexico Border City Has Record Drug Killings in '10 - Associated Press

Ciudad Juarez Residents Flee Mexico's 'Dying City' - Associated Press

Without Ambassadors, U.S.-Venezuela Tensions Grow - Associated Press

Chavez and ClintonSshake Hands Amid Diplomatic Tension - BBC News

Former Marxist Guerrilla Sworn in as President of Brazil - Los Angeles Times

Dilma Rousseff Sworn in as Brazil's New President - BBC News

Rousseff Sworn In as Brazil's New President - Associated Press

Ecuador: Migrants Who Denounce Corruption Can Stay - Associated Press

Cardinal Says Cuba Will Free Prisoners as Promised - Reuters

Haiti's Independence Day Marked by Protests - Associated Press

Asia Pacific

When Innovation, Too, Is Made in China - New York Times

Russia-China Oil Pipeline Opens - BBC News

China's Naval Ambitions - New York Times editorial

Why China's Missiles Should Be Our Focus - Washington Post opinion

Europe

Europe's Young Grow Agitated Over Future Prospects - New York Times

Belarus Ejects European Watchdog Agency - New York Times

Authoritarian Belarus Throws Out Vote Monitors - Washington Post

Middle East

Church Bombing is Latest Assault on Mideast Christians - Los Angeles Times

Fatal Bomb Hits a Church in Egypt - New York Times

Christians Clash with Police in Egypt - Washington Post

Fears of Religious Clashes Grow after Egypt Bombing - Agence France-Presse

Egypt's President Calls for Unity After Church Bombing - BBC News

Worshippers Back in Egyptian Church Hit in Attack - Associated Press

Tear Gas Kills a Palestinian Protester - New York Times

Israeli Troops Kill Palestinian At West Bank Checkpoint - Reuters

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Comments

The David Ignatius piece "Transforming Military Might into 21st-century Weapons" in the Washington Post is interesting, but we shouldn't become too mesmerized by high-tech. I remember during the Kosovo intervention in 1999 when a retired Army field grade officer told me the future of land warfare was in stand-off weapons and that Infantry combat was a thing of the past. That was back when the Army was "Transforming" itself with net-centric communications-electronics systems.

Pete,

Understand your point that the "Revolution of Military Affairs" and FCS went way too far. Nevertheless, I still see the Army trying to field I-Phone-like devices to Soldiers and develop applicable apps. More information can be forwarded to tactical Soldiers at the point of the spear than at any time in history.

As Mr. Ignatius points out, whether all in the U.S. military embrace future weapons is irrelevant because China and others will so the DoD must. What becomes a problem is when the ground component rejects advances and claims the fog of war cannot be partially overcome. That just means other air and sea components get all the modernization and ground component naysayers lose opportunities and continue to bear the brunt of casualties.

Given the failed Airborne Chemical Laser Weapon in October mentioned in his Op-Ed, it's unclear how China would dominate us using lasers farther out in space. We recently saw NASA launching an unmanned spacecraft that one can imagine is as capable as anything China might produce.

Similarly, the potential for F-22 and F-35 to employ EW appears equally up to anything China might produce and export. And the more complex systems become, the less likely rogue nations can afford large numbers of them. Meanwhile the DoD likely will field 2000+ F-35s.

The ability of carriers to launch both F-35s and UCAVs is another example of evolving current technology to match future threats. There are certainly challenges in ballistic missile defense using missiles launched from ships but doubt they match that of laser and microwave weapons.

China might consider attempting to solve their smog, transportation, desertification, and aging population problems before they seek war with the U.S. that would only hurt the both of us.

During my year as a participant on the Small Wars Council forum the one topic that seems to dominate most of our discussions is Infantry small-unit tactics and techniques. During the wars of the past decade the U.S. has enjoyed uncontested air and naval superiority, yet we still have trouble defeating enemies armed with AK-47s and RPGs. We keep returning to that age-old question when units become pinned down by fire --"What do we do now?" I don't think the answers are to be found in high-tech.

Pete said: "the one topic that seems to dominate most of our discussions is Infantry small-unit tactics and techniques

True to some extent. But you also frequently see discussions discounting the value of COIN and implying the Army should save itself for major combat operations that are unlikely to occur and are even harder to get to with HBCTs literally on slow boats to China.

If you reject Army capabilities to perform full spectrum ops to include stability ops (that civilians can't do without security contractors), and MCO is highly unlikely, there is little reason to retain a large Army.

I've also noted that the Marines seem to have no problem embracing infantry-support technology between the MV-22, F-35B, and EFV. So why is the Army diffferent?

I would submit it comes down to the philosophy that every Marine is an infantryman. In the Army, every Soldier is whatever branch he happens to be in. In the Marines, they even have an aviator commandant because he knows who he supports. The Army probably would never allow that and while the Marines are spending hefty budget sums on MV-22 and F-35B, the Army cannot seem to get funding for a new OH-58D replacement despite the superb work it has performed in Iraq and Afghanistan...to include for Marines.

Special Operations Forces also seem to have no heartburn about cost and capabilities of MH-60/MH-47/AH/MH-6 aircraft.

In addition, the Early Infantry BCT (E-IBCT) Modernization equipment that could have excelled at "Self-Rescue" at Wanat and Keating may get eliminated as well. OP Topside may never have been endangered had it possessed the small unmanned ground vehicle and/or unattended ground sensors placed in the dead space 10 meters to its north and west and farther up the ridge.

The Class I UAS quite likely could have found or deterred the same insurgents attempting to sneak up in dead space and surrounding slopes. NLOS-LS, had it not been terminated quite possibly prematurely, easily could have supported both Afghanistan COPs with precision-fires in close proximity to friendlies and provided support from littoral combat ships.

Only the XM-25 and larger UAS seem to be surviving budget cuts and naysaying. True E-IBCT have had past problems. There has been plenty more to naysay about on the MV-22 and EFV, yet those concepts are sound to a certain number of systems so there was value in pursuing the concept. The same applies with regards to E-IBCT gear, armed aerial scout, and Army UAS. All these systems would support full spectrum operations.

All it takes is an open mind to move forward instead of exclusively living in the past.

I would in turn respectfully submit that there are some very basic issues involving Infanty warfare in the raw that have yet to be fully worked out. The good news is that the solutions would not cost a lot of money because they mainly involve changes in personnel selection, leadership and training; the bad news is that there are no easy answers for what to do when a machine gun has you pinned down.

This is one of those timeless kind of questions that goes way way back, technology notwithstanding. Some things never change; as they say, "Pick Up Your Weapon and Follow Me."

There are only two parts in the Army -- the Infantry and those who support the Infantry. If we can't get the fire and maneuver thing right than everything else the institution does is a big waste of money.

Considering the low casualty rates relative to Vietnam, they must be doing something right with body armor, M-ATV etc. But it just seems wrong to me that the branch with the most casualties and repeated months of deployment is the Army...and yet other branches get all the asymmetric advantages.

Guess part of the idea might be to avoid being in a situation like Wanat where you are immediately pinned down by machine gun and RPG fire. BTW, apologize for the wrong dead space...it was on the north and east, not west. Putting your vehicles behind HESCO and avoiding wooden buildings in your COP probably would not hurt either.

Defense is part of full spectrum ops after all.