Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Why We Latinos Don't Read about Defense and Security

By Jose Miguel Pizarro

We live in a different world. One that’s small, highly digital, multilingual and immersed in a global society that moves at high speed. For instance, a recently graduated South Korean law student can easily find a well-paid job in London, New York city or Sao Paulo. Why is this relevant?

The answer is sad, but simple.

It’s quite normal for tens of thousands of South Koreans or European students to find jobs overseas. In contrast, a microscopic minority of recently graduated Latin American students can hardly find jobs in other countries, let alone handle the daunting task of qualifying for a well-paid bilingual job at an international firm in his own city.

The evident decline in Latin American educational standards and the poor performance of our students — all across Central and South America — it's not the reason for this article. It's our failure at the state level to create national policies to help our children understand how important it is to have a well-educated society a matter that threatens several layers of our national security. That’s the central issue that's jeopardizing the essential foundation of military readiness in Latin America, including each country’s ability to compete in a highly skilled and completely multilingual global marketplace. Ignorant societies are easy to defeat, especially if they are rich in natural resources.

In a global economy, where foreign-language competency is critical, only one out of 99 Latinos speaks English. Educational failure puts Latin America’s future economic prosperity, global position, and physical safety at risk. The Latin American region will not be able to keep pace — much less lead — globally unless it moves to fix the educational problems it has allowed to fester for too long. We must invest in smart, well-designed and aggressive public education programs to not only compete with other developed countries and global peers, but also to be able to properly defend our own homeland.

When we remember that old saying, "The soldiers of an army are nothing more than a perfect reflection of the same society they are sworn to defend," the tune is simply reinforced. Poorly educated citizens don't make smart soldiers. Yet, Latin American soldiers and students remain poorly prepared to compete with global peers.

For instance, there is an evident doctrinal and a practical link between the way successful modern warfare is waged by successful armies and the procedures successful businessmen use to achieve commercial victory. Strong economies are always supported by strong armies. But you can't reach that conclusion unless you read…and you must read a lot.

I believe we live in the most violent century in human history and — as common sense indicates and suggests — we need to prepare our people to face a new era. To accomplish this we must provide Latin American readers with concrete tools for not only understanding the basic principles of war, terrorism and security policy in general, but also explain (in our own terminology) how current military and political events will shape the financial future of the Latino community and what you and I can do to stay ahead and survive the sweeping changes that are about to happen.

We have more than 580 million Latinos in Central and South America. The objective of any responsible government today should be to better prepare them for a century in which warfare and economic disasters will play a central role. Lack of natural gas, crude oil, electricity and other energy resources will lead — within the next 5 to 10 years — to a series of global military confrontations between the west and a wide variety of unexpected foes. This new reality could force, for instance, a large number of Latin American nations (and again, their more than 580 million citizens) to explore the possibility of forming a quite convenient alliance with the European Union or with the United States, raising the status of several countries in the region to a whole new level.

Under that particular scenario (which is, by the way, the most likely) the questions are common sense: What type of work opportunities will this new world provide for South Americans in the United States? Considering the gigantic reserves of oil, natural gas and fresh water contained in the Andes Mountains and the jungles of South America, what kind of new business opportunities will be available for Latin American governments and Hispanic enterprising businessmen? In other words, what's a successful mentality to face these new challenges?

Reading basic history and geopolitical issues will help most of our citizens to learn and focus on what military and security policies South American governments should pursue, why certain governments pursue the policies they do, and what will be the consequences of these policies for Latin America, the U.S. and the world in general. At the military, journalistic and college level, simple courses in contemporary history will provide the government, the media and the people the perspective necessary to introduce simple analytical models currently used by political scientists to describe and explain war, security threats, the strange price of oil, the lack of energy resources, etc. and how these issues will affect key domestic political life and policy areas. But we cannot enter the 21st century with hundreds of millions of Latin American citizens fully connected to the Internet, but with absent knowledge and shamefully clueless of the events shaping the future around them.

While this may come as a shock to some, the reality is that today there are very few recently retired South American officers, independent defense analysts or Hispanic military experts writing about warfare in Latin America. In contrast with the past, and for a wide variety of reasons, the Latin American press is not a friendly market to the military. As a result, there are limited offerings in military, defense or security literature written by Spanish-speaking experts. With so many military and defense intellectuals forced into obscurity, very little has ever been done on this particular subject. But that doesn’t mean there is not a starving crowd out there ready to "devour" a new controversial book attempting to explain — from a Latino perspective — what’s going on today with our world.

I believe we need books capable of refining and expanding the little knowledge of the Latino community on basic topics like international security, national defense and war fighting and help them to take into account and digest some of the contemporary ways of thinking about the nature, preparation and the conduct of war, the future of terrorism, and the new forms warfare will quickly mutate into.

Finally, it's quite evident to this writer that the current international energy crisis will end with a global military confrontation that will have almost immediate effects on Latin America. I believe it's the duty of all government servants, intellectuals and journalists to help our people not only understand, but also use various analytical models to describe and explain (current and future) policy-making in such areas as national defense, military industry, economic policy, taxation, international trade and immigration, narco-terrorism, populist governments, civil rights, nationalism and strategic alliances. While we will not be able to reach 580 million readers, we will most certainly reach the eyes and ears of anyone interested in the complex dynamics of Latin American national defense strategies, the future of warfare and the public policy-making process in relation to a broad range of contemporary energy issues and security threats. I believe our efforts will not go unnoticed.

Let’s keep on reading.

Mr. Pizarro is a regular contributor to specialized Latin American and European Military magazines such as Tecnologia Militar (MONCH Publishing Group en Español) and a well-known adviser to the U.S. Defense Industry in a variety of military transformation issues. During the 2003 invasion of Iraq, he also worked as a commentator on CNN en Español. Mr. Pizarro is a former Chilean Army artillery officer, a graduate of the Chilean Military Academy, a certified defense analyst of the National Academy for Strategic Studies (Chilean Ministry of Defense) and a former U.S. Marine.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Scandal Threatens to Break Military's Secretive Acquisitions System

Chile's Army finds itself in a tight spot after a former officer and three noncommissioned officers were found to have illegally paid themselves out of defense funds. A congressional commission is investigating the fraud, which has punctured a hole in the armed forces' most precious source of funding, the so-called copper law. For decades, the national copper company, Codelco, has been obligated to pass on 10% of foreign sales to the military, providing Chile with a warchest estimated at more than $17 billion since 1995. The law also makes is possible for the military to make purchases without public disclosure, which may have contributed to the fraud. Now, Secretary of Defense Jose Antonio Gomez is taking advantage of the scandal to bring down the copper law. He plans to submit a proposal in 2016 to replace the law with medium- and long-term funding programs. This is not exactly new. The two previous presidential administrations submitted similar proposals, but neither got far. Gomez acknowledges that some secrecy will still be needed in the procurement process, but he's made it clear that the goal is to increase transparency. While military purchases under the copper law are not revealed to the public, it doesn't mean there's no government oversight. The Ministry of Finance has to sign off on all disbursements. Update: CNN Chile broadcast a special report on the scandal.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Chile's Military Budget Shrinks As Copper Prices Slump

Chile's government set a $2.72 billion budget for its armed forces for 2016, a decrease of 0.6%. There aren't any major shifts in funding programs, according to InfoDefensa.com. The annual budget mainly goes to payroll, maintenance, R&D and day-to-day operations. But the larger picture is the decline in funding from the state's copper giant Codelco. The company is struggling as copper prices sag, which is reducing how much money the military gets for weapons acquisitions. In 2014, Codelco's contribution to the military was $989 million, down from $1.2 billion in 2013, according to the company's annual report. That's directly a result of Codelco's 6% drop in revenue, to $14.15 billion. Higher output helped offset the lower prices. According to the "copper law," Codelco is mandated to pass through 10% of all foreign sales (adjusted for currency exchange rates) to the armed forces, specifically for weapons purchases. That's provided Chile's military with a huge stash of funds that swelled during the boom in copper and other commodities. In 2010, with copper prices still high, the pass-through totaled $1.27 billion. For several years, however, Chile has hardly touched its treasure chest. Weapons acquisitions have been modest, while some key programs (such as helicopters for the Air Force and armor for the Marines) continue to be pushed back. Plans are to replace the copper tax with a legislation-authorized budget, but that effort has been stalled for years.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Keep Calm and Learn About 4th-Generation Warfare. Coming Soon to a City Near You

“This is another type of war, new in its intensity, ancient in its origin — war by guerrillas, subversives, insurgents, assassins, war by ambush instead of by combat; by infiltration, instead of aggression, seeking victory by eroding and exhausting the enemy instead of engaging him. . . . It preys on economic unrest and ethnic conflicts. It requires in those situations where we must counter it, and these are the kinds of challenges that will be before us in the next decade if freedom is to be saved, a whole new kind of strategy, a wholly different kind of force, and therefore a new and wholly different kind of military training.”
- President John F. Kennedy addressing the West Point Class of 1962.
Modern warfare today has taken on a new form and grown to new levels. This type of warfare is not new, and few of the tactics are new. Classical examples, such as the slave uprising under Spartacus defeating the Roman army at every battle, predate the modern concept of asymmetric warfare and are examples of this type of conflict. What is new is that — for the very first time —  this type of war has recently reached a global level — and the western armies and its allies have found themselves ill prepared. Many strategists and theorists have attempted to grasp the concept of the war we are facing today, yet none has adequately given it an accurate definition and understanding. Specially no one in Latin America.
This short article surveys some of the history and literature of asymmetric warfare and how it mutates into Fourth Generation Warfare (4GW), citing and critiquing some of the best attempts to define the term. Here we will try to discuss the term, its concepts and its implications, and will attempt to propose our own definition in an effort to resurrect the term before it becomes completely obsolete. History and common sense indicates that in the 21st century — and for a wide variety of reasons —  most of the Latin American armed forces will continue to engage in asymmetric warfare regardless of the type of enemy they engage. Even while they plan and hope in the very near future to execute traditional wars, such conflicts will initially have many asymmetric elements and implications, especially after the traditional war has been won, but then will be a series of events that will quickly transform the battlefield into Fourth Generation brutal warfare.
War is Changing
War always changes. Our enemies learn and adapt, and they adapt very, very quickly. We must do the same or lose. But today, war is changing even faster and on a larger scale than at any time in the last 500 years. We are not only facing rapid change in how war is fought, but we are also facing radical changes in who fights and what they are fighting for. Asymmetric enemies are bound by neither the laws of land warfare nor the Geneva Conventions. They routinely direct violent action against civilians. Especially against women and children. They use tactics of terror and horrific images. Many terrorists and insurgents are also willing to sacrifice their own lives for their cause in a suicide strike. All of these must be weighed when planning to fight an asymmetric enemy. No atrocity is beyond this enemy’s capability.
Just take a look at Paris, London and Madrid. All over the world, governments and nation-state military forces, find themselves fighting non-state opponents. This kind of war, which we call Fourth Generation war, is a very difficult challenge. Almost always, state militaries have vast superiority over their non-state opponents in most of the areas we call "combat power" such as firepower, technology, weapons, techniques, training, etc. Despite these superiorities, more often than not, state militaries end up losing.
The Root of the Problem

Before you can fight Fourth Generation war successfully, you have to understand it. Because it is something new (at least in our time), no one understands it completely. It is still evolving, which means our understanding must continue to evolve as well. This article lays out our best current understanding of the Fourth Generation of Modern War.
At the heart of this phenomenon, Fourth Generation war is not a military but a political, social and moral revolution: a crisis of legitimacy of the state. All over the world, citizens of states are transferring their primary allegiance away from the state to other things like ethnic groups, religions, terrorist groups, cartel gangs, extreme ideologies and so on. Many people who will no longer fight for their state will fight for their new primary loyalty. In Iraq, the Iraqi state armed forces showed little fighting spirit, but the Iraqi insurgents whose loyalties are to non-state elements are now waging a hard-fought and effective guerrilla war.
The fact that the root of Fourth Generation war is a political, social and moral phenomenon, the decline of the state, means that there can be no purely military solution to Fourth Generation threats. Military force is incapable, by itself, of restoring legitimacy to a corrupt state lead by corrupt politicians. This is especially the case when the military force is foreign; usually, its mere presence will further undermine the legitimacy of the state it is attempting to support. This is not just a problem; it is a dilemma and one of the several challenges professional soldiers will face in the Fourth Generation battlefield.
The First Three Generations of Modern War.
The Chinese military philosopher Sun Tzu said: "He who understands himself and understands his enemy will prevail in one hundred battles." In order to understand both ourselves and our enemies in Fourth Generation conflicts, it is helpful to use the full framework of the Four Generations of modern war.
What are the first three generations?
First Generation warfare
This type of war was fought with line and column tactics or, in other words, in a one-dimensional type of battlefield. It lasted from the Peace of Westphalia until around the time of the American Civil War. Its importance for us today is that the First Generation battlefield was usually a battlefield of order, and the battlefield of order created a culture of order in state militaries. Most of the things that define the difference between "military" and "civilian" such as saluting, uniforms, careful gradations of rank, etc., are products of the First Generation and exist to reinforce a military culture of order.  Just as most state militaries are still designed to fight other state militaries, so they also continue to embody the First Generation culture of order.
The problem is that, starting around the middle of the 19th century, the order of the battlefield began to break down. In the face of mass armies, nationalism that made soldiers want to fight and technological developments such as the rifled musket, the breechloader, barbed wire and machine guns, the old line and column tactics became suicidal. But as the battlefield became more and more disorderly, state militaries remained locked into a culture of order. The military culture that in the First Generation had been consistent with the battlefield became increasingly contradictory to it. That contradiction is one of the reasons state militaries have so much difficulty in Fourth Generation war, where not only is the battlefield disordered, but so is the entire society and the region in which the conflict is taking place.
Second Generation warfare
Second Gen warfare was developed by the French Army during and after World War I. It dealt with the increasing disorder of the battlefield by attempting to impose order on it. Second Generation war, also sometimes called firepower and attrition warfare, relied on centrally controlled indirect artillery fire, carefully synchronized with infantry, cavalry and aviation, to destroy the enemy by killing his soldiers and blowing up his equipment. The French summarized Second Generation war with the phrase: "The artillery conquers, the infantry occupies."
Second Generation war also preserved the military culture of order. Second Generation militaries focused inward on orders, rules, processes and procedures. There is a "school solution" for every problem. Battles are fought methodically, so prescribed methods drive training and education, where the goal is perfection of detail in execution. The Second Generation military culture, like the First, values obedience over smart initiative (initiative is feared because it disrupts synchronization) and relies on imposed discipline.
Third Generation warfare
Third Gen warfare, also called maneuver warfare, was developed by the German Army during World War I. Third Generation war dealt with the disorderly battlefield not by trying to impose order on it but by adapting to disorder and taking advantage of it. Third Generation war relied less on firepower than on speed and tempo. It sought to present the enemy with unexpected and dangerous situations faster than he could cope with them, pulling him apart mentally as well as physically.
The German Army's new Third Generation infantry tactics were the first nonlinear tactics. Instead of trying to hold a line in the defense, the object was to draw the enemy in, then cut him off, putting whole enemy units "in the bag." On the offensive, the German "stormtroop tactics" of 1918 flowed like water around enemy strong points, reaching deep into the enemy's rear area and also rolling his forward units up from the flanks and rear. These World War I infantry tactics, when used by armored and mechanized formations in World War II, became known as Blitzkrieg.
Just as Third Generation war broke with linear tactics, it also broke with the First and Second Generation culture of order. Third Generation militaries focus outward on the situation, the enemy, and the result the situation requires. Leaders at every level are expected to get that result, regardless of orders. Military education is designed to develop military judgment, not teach processes or methods, and most training is force-on-force free play because only free play approximates the disorder of combat. Third Generation military culture also values initiative over obedience, tolerating mistakes so long as they do not result from timidity, and it relies on self-discipline rather than imposed discipline, because only self-discipline is compatible with initiative. When Second and Third Generation war met in combat in the German campaign against France in 1940, the Second Generation French Army was defeated completely and quickly; the campaign was over in six weeks. Both armies had similar technology, and the French actually had more (and better) tanks, weapons and aircraft. Ideas, tactics and superior intellect, not weapons, dictated the outcome.
Despite the fact that Third Generation war proved its decisive superiority more than 60 years ago, most of the world's state armed forces remain Second Generation. The reason is cultural; they cannot make the break with the culture of order that the Third Generation requires. This is another reason why, around the world, state armed forces are not doing well against non-state enemies. Second Generation militaries fight by putting firepower on targets, and Fourth Generation fighters are very good at making themselves "not available" for aerial bombing. Virtually all Fourth Generation forces are free of the First Generation culture of order; they focus outward, they prize initiative and, because they are highly decentralized, they rely on self-discipline. Second Generation state armed forces are largely helpless against them.
Fourth-generation warfare (4GW) is conflict characterized by a blurring of the lines between war and politics, combatants and civilians. The simplest definition includes any war in which one of the major participants is not a state but rather a violent non-state actor.
Fourth-generation warfare has often involved an insurgent group or other violent non-state actor trying to implement their own government or re-establish an old religious government over the current ruling power. However, a non-state entity tends to be more successful when it does not attempt, at least in the short term, to impose its own rule, but tries simply to disorganize and delegitimize the state in which the warfare takes place. The aim is to force the state adversary to expend manpower and money in an attempt to establish order, ideally in such a highhanded way that it merely increases disorder, until the state surrenders or withdraws.
Fourth-generation warfare is often seen in conflicts involving failed states and civil wars, particularly in conflicts involving non-state actors, intractable ethnic or religious issues, or gross conventional military disparities. Many of these conflicts are heavily active right now in the Middle East and are now rapidly moving into Europe and in Latin America.
Fourth-generation warfare (4GW) has much in common with traditional low-intensity conflict in its classical forms of insurgency and guerrilla war. As in those small wars, the conflict is initiated by the "weaker" party through actions which can be termed "offensive". The difference lies in the manner in which 4GW opponents adapt those traditional concepts to present day conditions. These conditions are shaped by technology, globalization, religious fundamentalism, and a shift in moral and ethical norms which brings legitimacy to certain issues previously considered restrictions on the conduct of war. This amalgamation and metamorphosis produces novel ways of war for both the entity on the offensive and that on the defensive.
Make no mistake, Fourth-generation guerrilla fighters can be defeated by the State if the political decision is made — with a legally executed document — containing the purpose and determination to allow the military forces the freedom of action to act decisively against a doctrine of pure evil and darkness. But you can’t defeat them by following their rules.
Mr. Pizarro, 47, is a former U.S. Marine with an extensive operational background in both the Latin American region and with the U.S. armed forces. He also served in the Chilean Army as an artillery officer and later as a senior security advisor/contractor for four years in the Middle East. Mr. Pizarro also worked for CNN en Español as a military analyst. He lives in Washington, DC, with his family. E-mail: jm.pizarro@chilecompany.com

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Peru Rattles its Sabre At Chile's Border

Just as Chile's armed forces are starting a major military exercise, fissures with Peru are opening up again. The government in Lima has created a new district in a disputed piece of territory, triggering an angry response from La Moneda. Up to now, Chile and Peru had resolved border disputes amicably, so the new territorial claim is a significant shift in policy. It's hard to decipher Lima's intentions. Perhaps Peru senses weakness by Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, whose popularity has plunged as she presses on with a number of reforms. Chile also has complained about Peruvian military personnel that have been spotted at the border with Chile. The diplomatic spat serves as the backdrop for Huracan (Hurricane), an annual wargame in the north of Chile that combines Army, Navy and Air Force units. Huracan is one of the principal training exercises for Chile's military, and it does send a reminder to neighboring countries that Chile's borders are well-defended. The combined-arms exercise starts Sunday, Nov. 8 and lasts a week. Update: Some 5,500 troops are taking part in Huracan, which includes front-line units from all armed services.