The murder of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three Americans in his security detail during an attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012 has created a new normal for the Marine Corps and new means to operate in the Middle East and Africa, the senior Marine at Central Command said on Wednesday. Read More
Libyan naval forces fired warning shots toward a Maltese flagged tanker attempting to dock near the Es Sider terminal on Monday, according to several press reports. Read More
The eastern Mediterranean, off the Syrian coast, presently is saturated with U.S. and Russian warships. The United States has deployed the destroyers USS Stout, Mahan, Ramage, Barry and Gravely, each armed with large numbers of Tomahawk land-attack missiles. The Russian navy announced that it has seven warships in the eastern Mediterranean and that it is sending three more warships—the cruiser Moskva, the destroyer Smetlivy, and the assault ship Nikolai Filchenkov. All of those warships are sailing relatively close to the Syrian civil war’s combat zone. Read More
When looking for insights and answers to the complex problem the United States confronts in Syria, there is no shortage of examples of punitive military operations against bad actors from which to draw lessons. In the past 30 years the United States and its allies have launched punitive airstrikes against, to name a few: Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Bosnia, Kosovo, Sudan and Afghanistan. Clearly the “measured military response” is a favored approach for American leaders when dealing with rogue actors. What is interesting this time around is the unprecedented public debate about whether or not such tactical measures actually work. Read More
Libyan naval and coast guard forces have begun patrolling three eastern oil terminals to prevent illegal sales of Libyan oil the, country’s Ministry of Defense announced this week.
The move comes amidst an ongoing labor dispute with striking oil workers and government allegations that gangs of armed security guards are attempting to sell oil illegally, according to several press reports. Read More
As the United States begins providing arms to Syrian rebels , it enters an increasingly complex arena of arms-trafficking and proxy warfare. The highly factionalized Syrian rebellion and the combined third-party actors supporting it—often with competing aims—mean U.S. attempts to shape the Syrian conflict through military support will depend not simply on American resources and intentions, but the dynamics of the civil war and the network of actors that facilitates its logistics. With the U.S. role in Syrian arms-trafficking shifting from one of restraint to one of support, the difficulties encountered in producing viable political outcomes in Syria are likely to persist. Read More
Marines are building on decades of experience in fielding responsive Marine Expeditionary Units (MEUs)—embarked on board Navy Amphibious Ready Groups, (ARGs)—to deliver an even faster first punch.
The new Marine Air Ground Task Force-Crisis Response (MAGTF-CR), will operate in the Mediterranean to give the United States quicker response times to trouble in Africa and the Middle East. Instead of a ship-deployed force, the unit will be based around a company of infantry Marines, six MV-22 Ospreys, and two KC-130J Hercules fixed-wing aircraft. This is a surprising move for a Marine Corps that wants to return to amphibious roots. Read More
The following is a paper from the NATO Defense College Rome, published in March, 2013.
From the report:
In case you did not know, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has an Alliance Maritime Strategy (AMS). The document, approved on 05 January 2011, was the first of its kind in over a quarter of a century. In spite of this post-Cold War milestone, however, the strategy was endor- sed by the member states with little fanfare. Since its declassification in March of the same year, it has been quietly buried in the NATO official website, largely out of sight from the popular media and (by extension) from the European and North American populace whose security and prosperity it is ostensibly designed to safeguard.2 The average person on the street (or, perhaps more aptly expressed in this context, on the sea- front) should therefore be forgiven if he or she has never heard of, let alone read, a dedicated maritime strategy for the Atlantic Alliance in the 21st century. But exist it does. Read More
Proceedings, September 2012
Savvy adversaries are more capable than ever of using high-tech gadgets and social media against the United States.
From Tunisia to Cairo, Sanaa, Bahrain, Benghazi, Damascus, London, Wall Street, Berkeley, and the University of California, Davis, 2011 was the year of the social-media revolution. Smartphones and social media have enabled groups of like-minded individuals to share information, spread their messages, and upend traditional relationships between the public and authorities. These developments are part of a continuing trend in the democratization of information: the empowerment of groups and individuals by information technology. Combined with the democratization of destruction, or the expansion of access to destructive technology and tactics, small groups and individuals will have greater ability to counter traditional security forces in hybrid and irregular conflicts, where force-on-force military engagements may be blended with other operations aimed at influencing key populations.1
The future operating environment will be one of contested domains—air, land, sea, space, cyber, the electromagnetic spectrum, and increasingly, the influence domain, where individuals and groups compete to spread their messages. U.S. military forces must be prepared for future challenges within these domains from nation-states as well as non-state groups or individuals. While the Department of Defense (DOD) is generally good at estimating and preparing for challenges from organized military forces, threats from non-state groups tend to be more diffuse and decentralized, more organic, and less predictable in nature.2 The continued diffusion of power to non-state groups will increase the challenges associated with irregular and hybrid warfare, with significant implications for U.S. forces.3
The Democratization of Information
The widespread availability of social media and Internet-capable smartphones has transformed relationships between the public and traditional authority. In the past few years, these technologies have helped non-state groups record and broadcast abuses of power, organize to form ad hoc collectives, and counter messages from authorities. In many cases, authorities have been slow to realize the implications of these changes. Even U.S. domestic agencies have repeatedly been embarrassed by incidents in which officials have been recorded using heavy-handed tactics. Images and video of peaceful protesters being pepper-sprayed, abused, or intimidated by law-enforcement officials in New York, Berkeley, UC Davis, the University of Maryland, and Washington, D.C., have led to outrage, suspension of offending officials, and in at least one case felony criminal charges.4