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The Scout n° 48 - May 2022


Image: Mstyslav Chernov, CC BY-SA 4.0

Lessons from The Intelligence Community's Annual Threat Assessment

Emily Harding, Jake Harrington, CSIS.
March 24, 2022.

Once a year, the U.S. intelligence community produces an unclassified assessment of global threats. The main themes that emerged were the anticipation of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the danger posed by China, and finally, the importance of public-private partnerships to counter transnational threats and cybercrime. In addition, CIA Director William Burns' statement that "it' s an information war that Putin is losing" corroborates the creation of the Transnational and Technology Mission Center (T2MC) to counter these hybrid threats.

Credit: Jonathan van SMIT

Image: Mstyslav Chernov, CC BY-SA 4.0

Saint Javelin of Limited Supply

John Schaus, CSIS.
28 March 2022
This article highlights the difficulties of countries supplying arms to Ukraine to produce quickly enough and in the quantities needed. It highlights the inadequacy of Western production facilities for high-intensity conflict. According to the author, the United States and its allies should consider reinvesting in their ammunition production capacity in the event of a major crisis.
Credit: Defense Dept. photo

Image: Mstyslav Chernov, CC BY-SA 4.0

Don't Underestimate the Bear-Russia is One of the World's Most Effective Modern Counterinsurgents

Martijn Kitzen, Marnix Provoost, Modern War Institute
24 March 2022.

According to the authors, Western commentators on the Russian-Ukrainian conflict seem to ignore Russian counterinsurgency successes. In contrast to Westerners who seek to "win hearts and minds," the Russian approach is far more repressive and violent. In fact, according to the author, this authoritarian doctrine has almost always been effective in the long term since 1917. Indiscriminate violence and control of the population, especially through information, are an integral part of this approach.

Credit: U.S. Marine Corps photo by Pfc. Sarah PYSHER

Image: Mstyslav Chernov, CC BY-SA 4.0

Slava Ukraini: Assessing the Ukrainian Will to Fight

Ed Arnold, RUSI.
23 March 2022.
The article deals with the moral forces within the Ukrainian armies. For the author, the quality of leadership is decisive for the soldiers to maintain a strong will to fight. In Ukraine, he points out the failures of the Russian command and the qualities of their opponents in this area. The role of the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenski, notably through social networks, seems to him to be crucial in the conflict. Finally, he underlines the effect that the spirit and success of the Ukrainian resistance has had on both the population and Western governments.

Image: Mstyslav Chernov, CC BY-SA 4.0

Mq-9s Over Sirte: Unmanned Airpower for Urban Combat

21 March 2022.

The author examines the possibility of using large combat drones in urban areas. He uses the example of the use of MQ-9 Reaper drones by the Americans during the recapture of the city of Sirte in Libya by the national authorities. The aircraft's low speed allows it to have an observation capability that enables extremely precise strikes, even in urban combat. All these capabilities allow both to clear the ground for ground forces and to increase their understanding of the battlefield.


Image: Mstyslav Chernov, CC BY-SA 4.0

How the West is starting to win the disinformation war

Captain Tom, Wavell Room.
March 18, 2022.

The author puts forward the idea that the West, in a context of informational war with Russia, has succeeded in countering the narrative carried by Vladimir Putin justifying the invasion of Ukraine. He relies on the publication of classified American and British information before the conflict, aimed at depriving the Russian president of control over the informational field. Based both on this example and on the counter-example of the American withdrawal in Kabul, he advocates a more frequent use of "declassifications" in the framework of the informational struggle.

Credit: Crilly, 2021

Image: Mstyslav Chernov, CC BY-SA 4.0

Countering improvised explosive devices in the Army: a turning point?

Christophe Lafaye, Areion24.
March 15, 2022.

Christophe Lafaye reviews the history of the fight against improvised explosive devices (IEDs), from counter-mining to counter-IEDs. He emphasizes that this fight is not only about intervention on the explosives themselves, but above all about a global action. He puts forward three pillars:attack the networks,defeat the device and preparethe force. He uses the example of Operation Barkhane to illustrate his point. Finally, he warns about the current and future training and qualification problems of specialized deminers and the consequences this could have on tomorrow's high-intensity combat.


Image: Mstyslav Chernov, CC BY-SA 4.0

Multidomain operations concept will become doctrine this summer

Jen Judson, Defense news.
23 March 2022.

For the past five years, theU.S. Army has been developing its multi-domain concept of operations, which will become a formal part of U.S. doctrine in June 2022. This concept implies that the operational environment includes not only air, land and sea, but also space and cyberspace. Thus, theUS Army "operates across the physical dimension, influences across the informational dimension, and wins in the human dimension."


Image: Mstyslav Chernov, CC BY-SA 4.0

Soldier performance study delivering data for future commanders

Todd South, Defense News.
March 31, 2022.

TheU.S. Army is developing a project to provide commanders with a kind of soldier dashboard to measure their performance. MASTR-E, or Measuring and Advancing Soldier Tactical Readiness and Effectiveness, is a program that uses statistical, physical and psychological data to make troops perform better in everything from running to shooting to terrain analysis.

Cr says: U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Donald HOLBERT/Released

Image: Mstyslav Chernov, CC BY-SA 4.0

The Ukraine War and the Future of the Arctic

Elizabeth Buchanan, RUSI.
March 18, 2022.

In this article, Elizabeth Buchanan looks at the consequences of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict on the Arctic and its governance. As a state with 50% of the Arctic territory, Russia has a significant weight in the region. It also holds the chairmanship of the Arctic Council, the main Arctic governance body, until May 2023. Thus, if it seems complex to maintain a dialogue with Russia in view of the exactions committed in Ukraine, its exclusion from discussions with its European partners could have important consequences on the governance of the Arctic in the medium and long term.

Credit: DoD photo by Staff Sgt. Steve CUSHMAN, U.S. Marine Corps/Released

Image: Mstyslav Chernov, CC BY-SA 4.0

OSINT in an Age of Disinformation Warfare

Matt Freear, RUSI.
March 14, 2022.
The author develops the value of open source intelligence (OSINT) in light of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. For him, OSINT would even completely replace traditional intelligence approaches in certain contexts. It is fast and accessible, and it is also effective in combating misinformation and dispelling the fog of war. It is thus a tool that is not about to disappear from modern conflicts.
Credit: NATO

Image: Mstyslav Chernov, CC BY-SA 4.0

How The Bundeswehr Should Spend Its Money

Michael Shurkin, War on the Rocks.
March 21, 2022.

With German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announcing in February that German defense spending would increase to 2 percent of GDP, Michael Shurkin considers how the Bundeswehr might spend that money. He argues for the continuation of the "Division 2027" modernization program, rather than overly ambitious targets. For the author, it is also necessary to direct new defense spending towards national and European industries. In his opinion, a stronger German army would significantly improve NATO's defenses and strengthen European strategic autonomy.

Source : European Security & Defence

Image: Mstyslav Chernov, CC BY-SA 4.0

War Won't Be Coming Back To The Balkans

Dimitar Bechev, War on the Rocks.
February 28th 2022.

In this article, the author addresses the issue of a possible extension of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict into the Balkans. For him, if the threat is real, the interest of the region's leaders is to maintain the status quo, to preserve good relations with all international actors. The bellicose narratives conveyed by Russian disinformation and the conflictual past of the Balkans should not be enough to provoke a new war, if the Europeans do not abandon the region.

Source: Modern War Institute

Image: Mstyslav Chernov, CC BY-SA 4.0

Oft Forgotten But Critical Elements Of Ukrainian Resistance

Walter Haynes, War on the Rocks.
March 28, 2022.

As the conflict in Ukraine progresses, the role of civilians becomes more and more important. In this article, the author discusses the primordial role of insurrection and civil resistance, particularly in the case of a prolonged Russian occupation. He also discusses the different methods of operation, clandestine or not, necessary for the establishment of an effective resistance in order to maintain and restore the sovereignty of Ukraine.

Credit: Staff Sgt. Christopher B. DENNIS

Image: Mstyslav Chernov, CC BY-SA 4.0

I Corps looks for efficiency and agility with 'nodal' commands in Indo-Pacific

Alex Wilson, Stars and Stripes.
28 March 2022.
With its " nodal command structure," the U.S. First Corps is testing a new concept of Indo-Pacific warfare. With a smaller, more independent force, the agility and resiliency of the armed forces in a theater should be improved. The concept is based on small, interconnected (through cloud computing), multi-functional teams. This is an alignment with the goals pursued by the recent creation of Marine Littoral Regiments to address the Chinese threat.
Source: Rand Corporation, February 9, 2022

Image: Mstyslav Chernov, CC BY-SA 4.0

The Army is not ready to win without fighting

Christopher Holshek, Modern War Institute.
28 March 2022.

For the author, theUS Army no longer has a decisive advantage in the strategic competition because of its outdated conception of war. Firepower and technological superiority will not win tomorrow's war. The deterrent culture no longer works because our enemies are waging a war disguised as peace with a high level of civil-military integration. The author believes that there is a misunderstanding of the competitive state in which we find ourselves in theUS Army. Information and influence capabilities must therefore be treated with the same resources and requirements as conventional operations and better integrated with them.


Image: Mstyslav Chernov, CC BY-SA 4.0

The Three-Body Problem

The first volume of a trilogy written by Chinese writer Liu Cixin, The Three-Body Problem begins in 1969, during the Cultural Revolution. The Chinese government is building a secret military base called the Red Coast, with the aim of developing a high-caliber weapon. A young astrophysicist undergoing "re-education", Ye Wenjie, joins the research team to develop a remote transmission system directed towards space. During this experimental mission, she manages to send a message containing information about human civilization into space. A few years later, the international scientific community is affected by a mysterious wave of suicides. In addition, the nanotechnology researcher Wang Miao sees his rational man's conscience upset when he witnesses paranormal phenomena: like a frightening countdown, an inexplicable sequence of numbers scrolls on his retina...
The Pathfinder is an open-source newsletter, produced by the editors of the CDEC's Studies and Foresight Unit. Its objective is to support the prospective work on air-land combat, conducted within the framework of the Forum de la pensée mili-terre. The short reports are a synthesis of raw information; it is up to the reader to put them into context.