Free access to ”‘Getting COIN’ at the Tactical Level in Afghanistan: Reassessing Counter-Insurgency Adaptation in the British Army”

For a limited time only, Routledge have selected Dr. Sergio Catignani’s article, ”‘Getting COIN’ at the Tactical Level in Afghanistan: Reassessing Counter-Insurgency Adaptation in the British Army”, for free access as part of their online journal compendium titled, Afghanistan: An Article Collection. So, if you do not have free access to the Journal of Strategic Studies, now is your chance to read his article at the bargain price of £0.

You can access and download the article by clicking on the image below:

 

 

Why Russia is Invading Ukraine by SSI Honorary Fellow, Professor Julian Lindley-French

Alphen, Netherlands. 3 March.  Article 30 of the May 2009 Russian National Security Strategy states, “Negative influences on the military security of the Russian Federation and its allies are aggravated by the departure from international agreements pertaining to arms limitation and reduction, and likewise by actions intended to disrupt the stability of systems of government and military administration…”  The Russian invasion this past weekend is blatant flouting of international law.  It is also a long-planned intervention that has been sitting in the files of the Russian Defence Ministry since at least 1991.  The grand strategic reason for the intervention is the determination of Moscow to reassert control over what it sees as Russia’s “near abroad” with Ukraine as its lynchpin.  However, there are five additional reasons why Moscow has seized the collapse of the Yanukovich regime as the moment to intervene – history, military strategy, military capability, politics and opportunity.

History:  Ukraine has always had a strong pull on the Russian mind as it is the spiritual home of the Russian Orthodox Church.  In 1954 Ukrainian-born Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev handed ‘control’ of the Crimea to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.  As Ukraine was then firmly under Moscow’s control the transfer mattered little, although it did mean the de facto shift of ethnic Russians and Tartars under the nominal administrative fiat of Kiev.  On Ukraine’s independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 the transfer became a matter of both historical and strategic import to Moscow.  ‘Loss’ of Ukraine to the EU (and eventually NATO) would be the final humiliation to the Kremlin following two decades of perceived retreat since the end of the Cold War in 1989.

Military Strategy:  One of Russia’s long held strategic mantras has been the need to maintain a warm water naval base that could enable Russian influence in the Mediterranean and the Middle East.  Sevastopol has long provided just such a facility for the Black Seas Fleet, which is in fact the Russian Mediterranean Fleet.  The nature of the Russian military operation this weekend and the use of Special Forces to establish a bridgehead at Simferopol and Sevastopol Airports are indicative.  They point to a classic Russian expeditionary operation that creates and exploits local unrest to enable seizure of the seat of government as well as control of land, sea and air space.  The initial aim is to secure the Sevastopol base and its lines of supply and re-supply with Russia.

Military Capability: In 2010 Russia announced it would inject $775 billion into the professionalization and modernization of its armed forces.  This followed the disappointing performance of Russian forces in 2008 during Moscow’s seizure of parts of Georgia. The bulk of those new forces are established in the Central and Western Military Districts which abut the Ukrainian border.  The kit being worn by the deployed force demonstrates a mix of Special Forces (Spetsnaz) and specialised forces and reflects the effort Moscow has made to improve deployability of its elite professional forces.

Ukrainian forces have enjoyed no such modernization.  In any case the upper echelons of the Ukrainian military’s command chain are deeply split, as evinced by the defection this weekend by the Head of the Ukrainian Navy.  Many senior Ukrainian officers owe their appointment to Yanukovich.

Politics:  The Putin regime was established in 2000 and led to the cult of Putinism.  It is a regime that consolidates domestic power by appealing to nostalgic Russian notions of grandeur.  In particular the regime has endeavoured to recreate the sense of a Russia powerful enough to re-capture the influence Moscow enjoyed in the 1950s and 1960s at the height of the Soviet Union’s super-power.  The 2014 Sochi Olympics were very much part of the regime’s image-building.  In 2013 US Secretary of State John Kerry gave equal billing to Russia in the handling of the Syria crisis and enhanced the reputation of the regime at home.

Opportunity:  The Kremlin under Putin is first and foremost a strategic opportunist.  The withdrawal of two US Brigade Combat Teams from Europe may seem small in and of itself.  However, taken together with the ‘pivot’ to Asia and President Obama’s uncertain grip of grand strategy the US is no longer the stabilising force in Europe it once was.  The Kremlin also has contempt for ideas of ‘civil power’ built around Germany and the EU.  Moreover, Russia’s military renaissance has taken place in parallel with the West’s failures in both Afghanistan and Iraq.  The Kremlin is also acutely conscious of Europe’s economic travails and de facto disarmament with total defence spending in Europe down by minus 1.8% per annum since 2001.  Moreover, the refusal of all but two NATO European states to meet their obligation to spend 2% of GDP on defence has also led Moscow to conclude that Europeans lack the will and capability to block Moscow’s regional-strategic ambitions.

Implications for Russia and Ukraine:  The seizure of parts of Ukraine will in the short-term strengthen the grip of Putin over Russia.  However, Russia faces deep demographic and economic challenges which unless addressed will see Russia continue to fade as the West, China and others eclipse Moscow.

The east of Ukraine is very vulnerable.  Moscow has a cynical view of the use of power and will almost certainly use the concerns of ethnic Russians to justify an intervention that would straighten Russia’s strategic borders and thus consolidate the new Russian sphere of influence.

Recommendations: There is no quick fix available to Western policymakers.  However, Western allies must use all the non-military tools at their disposal to force the Kremlin to reconsider the costs versus the benefits of such action.  That will include use of international fora to build a countervailing coalition, possibly with China which dislikes sovereignty grabs.  All economic tools must be applied with sanctions imposed on key officials, with Aeroflot flights to Europe and North America suspended and Gazprom slowly removed from the European market.  The accounts of senior Russians outside of the the country must be frozen.  Finally, the US must re-position forces back in Europe, including the Baltic States and Europeans must commit to the re-building of their armed forces.

Conclusions:  Over the medium-to-long term NATO allies must re-establish credible defence as part of a balanced economic, diplomatic and military influence effort in and around Europe.  Former US President Bill Clinton and former US Ambassador to NATO Nick Burns said yesterday that the enlargement of NATO to former members of the Soviet Bloc guaranteed their security.  This is correct to a point. Without the modernisation of Article 5 collective defence the value of NATO membership will over time erode and if Putin remains in power the Kremlin will exploit such weakness.

Julian Lindley-French

Danny Steed to speak at “Spy Chiefs” conference in Venice

Dr Danny Steed will be presenting a paper at the University of Warwick’s “Spy Chiefs” conference in May 2014, in Warwick’s Venice conference venue. Full details of the conference can be found below:

The Politics and International Studies Department at Warwick is delighted to announce an upcoming conference entitled ‘Spy Chiefs: Intelligence Leaders in History, Culture and International Relations‘.

The conference will be held on May 6th and 7th in Warwick’s Venice-based conference facility, and will feature keynote speeches from Tony Mendez, the CIA agent who the film Argo is based upon, and Professor Christopher Andrew, Intelligence historian at Oxford and former Official historian for MI5.

The papers and panel discussions held within the conference will focus around the following set of issues.

In many countries today spy chiefs are the public face of intelligence. They speak to the media, appear before public inquiries and committees, and even write books. This has not always been the case. In the United Kingdom, for example, heads of agencies were historically appointed in secret, their names and roles not officially disclosed to the public.

This international conference brings together leading academics and practitioners from across the world to broaden and deepen our understanding of what makes an intelligence leader.

Conference website including registration information is here:http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/pais/research/paisseminars/spychiefsconference/

Mstrat student submit evidence to Parliament on Iran

The UK Parliament Commons Select Committee launched on 2 December 2013 its inquiry on “UK Policy Towards Iran”. Falling in line with the focus of one of the Mstrat student inquiry groups as part of the Crisis Watch module, two of our students submitted evidence to this inquiry in January.

The evidence submitted by Mal Craghill and Nicholas Wood can be found at the following url: http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/foreign-affairs-committee/inquiries1/parliament-2010/iran-2014/?type=Written#pnlPublicationFilter

Evidence was also submitted by an Exeter PhD candidate, Morgane Colleau, who is supervised by SSI’s Director of Research, Professor Gareth Stansfield. Her evidence can also be found in the link above.

Andrew Rathmell’s View – Libya: How to build a stateless state?

Two years after the death of Muammar Qaddafi, Libya’s transition is not going well.  The headlines  tell a depressing story: the Prime Minister (briefly) kidnapped by his own security services; daily assassinations, bombings and robberies; militias and secessionists in the east blockading oil facilities; and the General National Congress (parliament) in disarray.  In the coffee shops and dilapidated government offices where the Tripolitanian middle classes and government officials gather, there is talk of stasis and disappointed expectations.

None of these travails are surprising in the context of a bloody transition from a long-entrenched dictatorship.  For a successful transition, Libya needs to work towards an internal political settlement that balances the interests of its different regions, and to build state structures that are able to enforce the rule of law and administer the economy in a way that serves the wider population rather than, as under Qaddafi, selected elites.

The International Community is responding to this challenge creditably, with the UN, World Bank, EU, US and numerous individual countries rushing to offer assistance.  Keen to see a stable Libya emerge which can get oil production back on track, control its porous borders and crack down on homegrown jihadists, they are providing a range of technical assistance to the Libyan security sector and civil service.  By building up these government institutions in the context of a constitutional process, goes the logic, a duly elected Libyan government will be able to get a grip on the country.  It seems “obvious” that, in a country with a small population, abundant oil wealth, and a lack of deep sectarian or ethnic divisions, this standard statebuilding formula should work.

However, there is a contradiction at the heart of the Libyan state-building project.  Unlike many of its neighbours, modern Libya has deliberately tried not to build a state.  While Libya appears to have the trappings of modern statehood (ministries, flags, airlines, security forces), at the deeper conceptual level, the country has eschewed real state-building.  This was most explicit during Qaddafi’s rule when he put in place a system of “permanent revolution” and deliberately undermined state institutions. But even under the monarchy, the regime only constructed the façade of statehood.  The central administrative and coercive institutions were built purely to protect a narrow elite rather than to support a wider programme of state-building.

Historians have argued that this aversion to statebuilding derives in part from Libya’s disastrous experience with modern statehood under the brutal Italian occupation and in part from the relatively recent and rapid process of urbanisation.  Whatever the cause, the Libyan predeliction for “stateless statebuilding” means that an overly simplistic approach of transferring international skills, equipment and organisational structures is unlikely to succeed.

Libya’s international allies will need to avoid the all too common tendency to import templates from other jurisdictions and Libya’s leaders will need to recognise that they cannot “buy” a modern state overnight.  They will need to focus as much effort on the essentially political tasks of linking state structures to the population as on the technical tasks of bolstering government institutions.  It will be a fascinating, if fraught, journey.

For a recent update, see David Hammond’s blog at: http://9bri.com/human-rights-in-libya-interview-and-comment-on-the-deaths-in-tripoli-from-the-national-council-for-civil-liberties-and-human-rights/

 

Paul Newton contributes to new book, ‘British Generals in Blair’s Wars’

Paul Newton, Director of SSI, has contributed a chapter to a new book, ‘British Generals in Blair’s Wars’ edited by Jonathan Bailey, Richard Iron and Professor Sir Hew Strachan, to be published by Ashgate in August.

Paul draws on his personal experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq for the chapter. The book presents a new account of the roles played by the senior military commanders who planned and led military operations in a period of rapid change against a background of intense political controversy.

Details of the book can be found on the publishers website.

Marc Waring writes for the RUSI Journal on the Domestic Deployment of the British Army

Capt Marc Waring, a former Defence Fellow at SSI, has just written an article on “The Domestic Deployment of the British Army –  the Case for a Third Force” which has been published in the RUSI Journal.

Military Aid to the Civil Power has been employed sparingly, with the exception of Northern Ireland and some niche commitments, for much of the last decade, yet the requirement for it remains. Western democracies such as the UK maintain the ability to deploy their troops on home soil as a last resort, when civilian authorities are overwhelmed or exhausted. The riots of August 2011, for example, prompted calls for the deployment of the army. Marc Waring examines whether the army is still the most appropriate force to assist the police in extremis public-order situations or whether it is time to establish a ‘third force’, sitting between the police and the army.

If you are a RUSI Journal subscriber you can read Marc Waring’s full article here: http://www.rusi.org/publications/journal/

Gareth Stansfield’s co-authors Chatham House Paper

Chatham House, the home of the Royal  Institute of International Affairs has just published a paper co-authored by SSI’s Director of Research – Gareth Stansfield.  The paper considers how Iraqi foreign policy is being shaped by key people, processes and history as the country tries to reposition itself globally while dealing with a legacy of international sanctions and internal divisions over its position in an increasingly polarised Middle East region.   The authors have conducted a first-hand interviews in Iraq as well as workshops and interviews in London and Washington with a broad spectrum of diplomats, politicians, analysts and historians and civil society voices.

The paper is online at Chatham House here http://www.chathamhouse.org/publications/papers/view/192895 )

Participating in Grand Challenges: A Student’s Perspective, by Ryan Hopkins

Encouraging a student out of bed for a 9am start, the week after exams have finished and for one of those dreaded “extra-curricular” activities, is by no means an easy task. Yet when the morning of June 3rd arrived, and the University of Exeter’s Grand Challenges (GC) programme kicked off, there I was, (mostly) bright-eyed and eager to go.

 

Some months earlier I had decided the join the GC inquiry group run by the University’s new Strategy and Security Institute, entitled “Re-setting the UK National Security Agenda”. SSI had grabbed our attention early – inviting us all to attend a lecture by the former Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS/MI6), Sir John Scarlett. This was quickly followed by an intimate, closed seminar with the current head of the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), Mr. Jon Day. The SSI had thrown two huge actors in the world of strategy and security at us, and promised more of the same to come during the GC programme. This, I deemed, was worth getting out of bed for on June 3rd.

 

At the core of our inquiry group was an investigation into a document imaginatively entitled the UK National Security Strategy (NSS). This, as one can probably guess, set out the main national security threats faced by the UK, and the Coalition Government’s proposed responses to them. It was to be the purpose of our group – under the guidance of SSI’s Director, Sir Paul Newton, and Lecturer of Strategy and Defence, Dr Danny Steed – to examine this document, in order to assess whether or not we deemed the threats presented in it to be realistic dangers to the UK, to examine the Government’s understanding of these threats, and to judge whether or not the proposed responses and classifications were fit for purpose. Essentially, we were tasked with the question, “Is the NSS up to scratch, or does it need to be re-set?” By the end of the programme, we were expected to have written an open letter to the Prime Minister, recorded podcasts, and have presented to our peers participating in other GC groups, with our findings and recommendations for the next NSS – due to be published in 2015.

 

In order to allow us to do this, the SSI facilitated a huge range of external speakers – all more than living up to the exceptionally high standard that had been set previously by Sir John Scarlett and Jon Day. The idea was to expose us students to a broad selection of experts in the field of strategy and security policy, in order to allow us to see how strategy was applied in the real-world, away from academic debate and examination, which, in turn, would aid us in our quest to assess the utility of the NSS. I must confess, however, that in some sessions I simply forgot the purpose of the inquiry group, as I became caught up by some fascinating talks. Each of the “real people” (always a novelty, within a university) presented to us held captivating jobs and could speak of incredible experiences, all of which they were willing to share with a small inquiry group of around 15 people.

 

A particular highlight for me from the GC speaker set was a visit by the former Director of the National Security Secretariat at the Cabinet Office, Mr. William Nye. Mr. Nye also currently holds the position of Principle Private Secretary to HRH The Prince of Wales, so commands much respect. This session in particular stands out for me, because after giving a short talk on the NSS (which he was responsible for commissioning), Mr. Nye sat down in amongst the students, and took questions. Somewhat controversially, given his position as a lifelong expert in the field of UK National Security, I found myself disagreeing with some of what Mr. Nye had said. In most academic circumstances, disagreeing with the expert doesn’t really get you very far – it’s often a case of fair enough if you disagree, but please be quiet and just get on with it. Not so on this occasion. Mr. Nye gave me the chance to thrash out my own argument – contrary to his. He responded and asked for my opinion in return, he corrected me when some of my points were incorrect, and he gave me the chance to debate back.  Deliberating real UK National Security Policy, with a real National Security expert, gave me an insight that no lecture or conventional seminar could ever have provided. By placing students into small, closed sessions with practitioners who were willing to engage in debate and discussion, the SSI and GC programme went beyond the realms of traditional university learning, and in turn, allowed us to hone and perfect our own views and arguments.

 

And it is this aspect, fundamentally, that gave the inaugural Grand Challenges that added extra; that engaged students, that kept us coming back day after day for the two week programme, and which, if continued, will allow GC to grow and expand in future years. The Strategy and Security Institute realized and embraced this, and went above and beyond in providing activities and speakers far-removed from traditional academia. I have focused primarily on the range of speakers that were hosted, but of course, the SSI’s inquiry group went beyond that, and pushed the boundaries of teaching methods by engaging us in activities that were far-removed from the humdrum of the average lecture theatre. It was this combination of expertise, stimulating debate, and engaging activity that gave the SSI the edge in facilitating this programme. And from a student’s point of view, well, it was worth getting out of bed for.

 

On behalf of all of the students who took part in the “Re-setting the UK National Security Agenda” inquiry group, may I extend the warmest thanks and congratulations to Sir Paul, Danny, Ryan, and Atienza, for hosting a truly engaging, innovative, and successful programme.

 

Paul Cornish – New Publication on Strategic Cultures in Europe

Professor Paul Cornish has contributed a chapter covering the United Kingdom to a newly published, systematic analysis of the strategic culture of all EU member states and Turkey:

Strategic Cultures in Europe – Security and Defence Policies Across the Continent

By Heiko Biehl, Bastian Giegerich & Alexandra Jonas (eds.)

The book is available as an e-book or in paperback:

http://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-658-01168-0/page/1