Tag Archives: Security

In Defense of Air/Sea Battle

Jon Lindsay responds to this article: http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/the-operational-art-air-sea-battle-11810

A naval officer in the Pentagon’s Air Sea Battle Office provides some comments and clarification of the concept, the doctrinal counter to A2/AD. It is important to recognize that both of these focus on cross-domain operations, which is not the same as cross-domain deterrence. In fact, being good at the former may not be good for the latter. Most obvious in this article is the insistence that ASB is a limited concept that merely seeks to make room for US forces to perform follow on operations. For the opponent this may be anything but limited, with ASB just the first shot potentially in a wider campaign. From the perspective of a paranoid leadership, that may not stop until regime change. One of our primary tasks is to understand the drivers of CDO and CDD as well as their interaction.

Although the author is at pains to say this isn’t directed at a particular country (which would begin to shade from an operational concept to an operational plan), he does also make favorable comparisons to War Plan Orange from the interwar period. This does sort of narrow down the options to an advanced modernizing Asian naval power. Maybe that’s a good thing, for deterrence. It does perhaps set up an expectation for outcomes following a “digital Pearl Harbor” given that the real Pearl Harbor didn’t work out so well for the aggressor. But who is the aggressor? If that debate exists for WWII, and it does, then the potential for spiral dynamics this time is even greater.

One recurring point in our discussions is that space and cyber are driving the CDD policy discussion. We have already begun to make a distinction between the logic of CDD—which has been around since antiquity—involving the logic combining unlike means to press advantage in political bargaining, and the particularly stark manifestations of this logic with the development of space and cyber capabilities. This is an important distinction for it allows us to see traditional things in new ways and new things in more traditional ways. A theory of CDD must be able to tackle.




Thoughts on LLNL Strategic Latency Report

By Jon Lindsay

This new publication from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s Center for Global Security Research (CSGR) just came to my attention.

The traditional yet complex problem of nuclear latency concerns the logistics and perhaps intention of moving from nuclear power to nuclear weapons (we debated many different definitions of “latency” today at a conference at the Wilson Center–there seem to be almost as many ways to define it as there are of what counts as a “domain”!). LLNL CSGR’s new volume looks at the more general problem of strategic latency, which is the potential to convert cutting edge developments in S&T into potentially game changing military applications. It includes chapters on lasers, 3d printing, and robotics–which provides some useful variation outside of the space and cyber areas we have been investigating in more detail–as well as some national case studies. Many of these developments are interesting in that they are happening outside of state laboratories in the private sector, meaning disruptive innovation is more democratized than ever before (i.e., think Google Labs rather than Manhattan Project). They thus represent the emergence of new capabilities, linkages, and actors, or greater complexity in CDD. Whether this complexity portends more or less stability is one of the foundational questions in our project.