Tuesday, August 13, 2019

3 COAs; Blue Most Likely; Blue Most Dangerous; Blue Most Unpossible

I don't know the politics of Maj. George Fust, USA, the author of an article over at RCD, but this just makes my head hurt.
Imagine a situation whereby the President accuses a U.S.-based news organization of being part of an adversaries' information operation. In accordance with MDO doctrine, the military can and should be leveraged to counter this threat. The Army's operating concept suggests "rapid and continuous integration of capabilities in all domains…to overmatch the enemy." Information operations include "social media, false narratives, [and] cyber attacks." Thus, the commander-in-chief can leverage his military to "defeat" the news organization or at least run counter information messaging. This is problematic. What prevents the President from abusing this control and offensive capability for his own political gain? The President could become a tyrant without a free press to serve as watchdog. The citizenry would subsequently view the military as a political arm to the administration. More than that, they may be viewed as a threat to liberty itself.

This is no random dude.
MAJ George Fust is a Military Intelligence Officer who currently teaches American Politics and Civil-Military Relations in the Department of Social Sciences at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He holds a master's degree in Political Science from Duke University.
This whole idea runs contrary not just to USA tradition and law - but to the nature of the US military as a whole.

I'm sorry - but maybe this is an Army thing - but I've worked closely with US Army types and no way they would wholesale be involved with this domestic activity.

I have less experience with the USAF, but the USN and USMC ... oh, hell no sister. We would not play. We would slow roll. We would launch every ready-JAG on alert ... just no. Our reservists in Congress would get read in ... no.

To really see this as a possibility, I would offer that George doesn't seem know his military well outside his bubble - I don't think he is all that well traveled in the nation he serves.

I'm not saying that George suffers from TDS ... but - dude. Maybe dry out from politics for awhile. 

Let's not personalize this too much - well meaning people are allowed to be highly wrong; even your humble blogger has on occasion - but instead let's focus on some professional shortfalls.

It seems the good Major lacks a good understanding of the lines between INFO OPS, PSYOPS, and Public Affairs - and how they are executed domestically vs. outside our borders. To get another view of this delicate area, I think he should do an exchange-semester with an institution I had the pleasure of giving a lecture to a decade ago; F├╝hrungsakademie der Bundeswehr in Hamburg.

Of the many great things I gained from my years with NATO was serving with Germans. As anyone with some time on staff with German Army officers will tell you, they will not put up with sloppy doctrinal understanding or conflating one concept with another. They not only had a good and well understood doctrine, they were fairly good at practical application (national caveats always held the Germans back in the field. Shame.).

I served with one German Army major who wore the lemon-yellow Signal Corp Waffenfarbe, and this was his speciality. You could see his eyes light up when someone - usually an American - got his INFO OPS, PSYOPS, and PA confused. I don't know if all their Signals guys were the experts on INFO OPS, PSYOPS and PA - but he was.

He would have made a mess of George's overwrought article. German law is a bit different than USA law, but the differences are manageable. 

I don't know if George is up for a NATO tour or the above exchange tour, but in the interim - in addition to understanding his own military's self-regulated firewalls against domestic use as he describes - he should take some time studying some NATO verbiage on the topic.

Trust me - this is mostly written by Germans. It's good.

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