Preparing for War in Lithuania (Foreign Affairs)

U.S. Army Spc. Caleb Roberts fires an M9 Beretta pistol during the Mississippi National Guard's Best Warrior Competition at Camp McCain, Miss., Feb. 20, 2013. Roberts, with Detachment 1 of the 3656th Maintenance Company, was named Soldier of the Year.

“Visitors to Lithuania would be forgiven for failing to realize just how seriously its people take Russia. From Klaipeda to Vilnius, ordinary Lithuanians are preparing for the day that Russian President Vladimir Putin turns from Crimea and the civil war in eastern Ukraine toward them or their neighbors in Latvia and Estonia. Their jitters are understandable; every family in the Baltics has direct experience with Russian occupation. Jurgita Ludaviciene, a book editor, told me that when word of the Soviet invasion came in 1944, her grandfather—a reserve officer in the Lithuanian army—had only two hours to decide what to do. Since the Soviets would almost certainly have sent him to the Gulag, he fled west, leaving behind his wife and two daughters. They never saw him again.”

See the full article here. By Gregory Feifer

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“UK defence spending ‘concerns’ US Army chief Raymond Odierno” – BBC

Raymond Odierno

General Odierno told The Daily Telegraph: ‘I would be lying to you if I did not say that I am very concerned about the GDP investment in the UK.'”

Read the full article here.

U.K. Armed Forces

How to contain Russia without a new Cold War (Brookings)

Putin

This great article by Thomas Wright argues the best strategy to counter Russia is: 1. Make Article V Rock Solid 2. Create COCOM (Coordinating Committee) II 3. Change the Focus in Ukraine 4. Counter Russian Influence in the European Union.

Read the full article here.

Preserving Ukraine’s Independence, Resisting Russian Aggression: What the United States and NATO Must Do (Brookings)

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This policy guide advocates:

  • “The White House and Congress should commit serious funds to upgrade Ukraine’s defense capabilities, specifically providing $1 billion in military assistance this year, followed by an additional $1 billion each in the next two fiscal years;
  • The U.S. government should alter its policy and begin providing lethal assistance to Ukraine’s military and;
  • The U.S. government should approach other NATO countries about also providing military assistance to Ukraine.”

Read the full article at: http://www.brookings.edu/research/reports/2015/02/ukraine-independence-russian-aggression?utm_campaign=Brookings+Brief&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=15842643&_hsenc=p2ANqtz–_8Z1inxXyV-johaZFwsbJTUFcCGp5gmek9a3tSuOzZrgYIapXApGY60P9ju2Gy5516bEs55xq4AHR5Px_-w6Qtc2K5g&_hsmi=15842643

Suspected Submarine Activity off the Coast of Sweden

 

Sweden conducted a week long naval surveillance mission for a possible Russian submarine from October 16-25, 2014. Civilians spotted the craft, likely a Russian Piranha or Triton Class, near the Stockholm Archipelago on October 17. Swedish SIGINT intercepted a Russian radio signals from the Stockholm Archipelago to Kaliningrad, the base of operations for Russia’s Baltic Fleet on October 16. Swedish destroyers and corvettes were authorized to use force to compel the submarine to surface on Tuesday, as the military launched its largest mobilization since the Cold War. The search efforts were called off on October 25, 2014.

The response of the Swedish Government and Russian Government fit into the current context of what one could construe as President Vladimir Putin’s ultranationalist-expansionist foreign policy. The Kremlin has denied any association with the incident, and suggested that the submarine might be Dutch in origin. If the submarine was Russian, it would allow Putin to project his power or to stage a provocation with the Swedish military. Previously, he has attempted to violate the Nordic countries’ airspace with brief aerial forays. On the other hand, the Swedish military did not accomplish its objective of finding and fixing the submarine. This failure may lead to outcries for an increased Swedish defense budget, which has decreased from a projected 4.3% to 3.1% increase for FY 2015, especially in the nascent wake of Prime Minister Stefan Lofven’s Green and Social Democrat government. This incident may also allow NATO to foster a closer relationship with Sweden and Finland, who are not members of the defensive alliance but conduct training exercises with the Partnership for Peace Program. Thus, the U.S. IC should watch 1) possible future provocations with Russian military forces, 2) the increase of the Swedish defense budget, and 3) NATO’s amicability with the Nordic countries.

Possible Russian Submarine off the Coast of Sweden, courtesy of BI.

Possible Russian Submarine off the Coast of Sweden, courtesy of BI.

 

BBC. “What was lurking in Sweden’s waters?” October 24, 2014.

BI. “Sweden’s Epic Hunt For A ‘Russian’ Sub Shows Europe Is Terrified Of Putin.” October 24, 2014.

Euronews. Mysterious vessel caught on camera as Sweden hunts for foreign submarine.” October 19, 2014.

FP.Sweden’s Military Calls Sub’s Breach of Waters ‘Fucked Up’.” October 21, 2014.

The Guardian. “Swedish armed forces widen hunt for suspected submarine.” October 20, 2014.

 

Obama’s Lists: A Dubious History of Targeted Killings in Afghanistan (Der Spiegel)

This article details how NATO countries supported the disposition matrix. Interesting points of this article include:

  • ISAF’s targeted list, Joint Prioritized Effects List (JPEL), contained up to 750 individuals at a time between 2009-2011.
  • The fact that mid and low Taliban commanders were on the list, as well as drug traffickers who helped fund the Taliban.

Documents include:

See the full article at:

Der Spiegel. “Obama’s Lists: A Dubious History of Targeted Killings in Afghanistan.” December 28, 2014.

2014 Threat Assessment

 

‘Looking back over my now more than half a century in intelligence, I’ve not experienced a time when
we’ve been beset by more crises and threats around the globe.” – DNI James Clapper

Key points of this report include:

The dangers of the Syrian Civil War and ISIS in the Middle East

The draw down of NATO forces in Afghanistan

The militarization of the cyber sphere

The proliferation of WMDs

The tension over the NSA’s SIGINT programs and the Snowden Affair

Altogether, “I could go on with this litany, but suffice to say, we live in a complex, dangerous world. ”

 

See the full report at:

DNI. “Statement for the Record: Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community.” Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. January 29, 2014.

See Clapper’s remarks to to the Senate Armed Services Committee at:

DNI. “Remarks.” Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. February 11, 2014.