Security Watch: Afghanistan, India and the U.S.

Our summary of December's Intelligence Security Diary

The Intelligence Security Diary is a monthly compendium of open-source intelligence on global security matters distributed by Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP. Its findings rely on freely available information gleaned from public, unclassified sources. Each month, summarizes these findings.


Colonel Ian Hope of the U.S. Army War College and a former battalion commander with Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry criticizes the command structure used by international military forces in Afghanistan in a recently-released paper for the Strategic Studies Institute. Hope argues that the unprecedented splitting of “control of the ground fight… between several unified or ‘supreme’ commanders in charge of U.S. Central Comman, the North Atlantic Treat Organization, and U.S. Special Operations Command” has been a mistake. In its place, the U.S. should put a single “supreme commander” in charge of the Operation Enduring Freedom Joint Operations Area, a move which would be consistent with the time-tested principle of “unity of command.”


Bill Lind, one of the pre-eminent theorists behind the concept of Fourth Generation Warfare (4GW), considers the terrorist attacks against Mumbai one of the few instances in which operational goals were successfully met through the application of 4GW. In fact, given their overarching aims, the attacks “border[ed] on brilliant,” Lind concludes. Lind gleans a six-step logical process behind the massive assault: (1) The U.S. has pressured Pakistan to focus on al Qaeda and the Taliban; (2) Pakistan must therefore shift its energies away from India if it is to successfully combat domestic militants; (3) To prevent that shift from happening, al Qaeda and the Taliban need to increase hostilities between India and Pakistan, so that Pakistan is unable to focus on its domestic security situation; (4) An attack against India’s most important city would likely renew those hostilities; (5) Pakistan must be blamed for the attack for it to succeed, a phenomenon which appears to be happening already; and (6) If India pins the blame on Pakistan and ratchets up the tension between the two, the pressure on Pakistan to confront al Qaeda and the Taliban will subside.


According to a report in the Washington Post, the U.S. military is expanding its focus on what the Pentagon terms “irregular warfare”—that is, combat against insurgents and terrorists. A recently-approved policy directive puts it on equal footing with traditional warfare, meaning the Pentagon will need to shift part of its attention to developing tactics for working with foreign militaries and other combat forces, conventional or not, as well as its approach to shoring up unstable governments and battling hostile ones. Among the policy’s goals is shifting the burden of actual combat from the U.S. military to foreign militaries and security forces, though it also aims to make the American military more effective when does have to face militants and extremists on its own.

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