Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Chinese General: Don't Worry, American, Our Military Doesn't Compare To Yours

From The Blaze:
Via Terry

Message bodyChinese General: Don’t Worry, America, Our Military Doesn’t Compare To Yours

Posted on May 19, 2011 at 8:07am by Jonathon M. Seidl

WASHINGTON (AP) — Seeking to counter U.S. worries about his country’s rapid military growth, a top Chinese general said Wednesday the communist nation’s defense clout lags decades behind the U.S., and that China wants warmer relations.

Gen. Chen Bingde, whose position in Beijing is roughly the equivalent of chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, used a 45-minute speech at the National Defense University to play down fears of Chinese intentions.

“Although China’s defense and military development has come a long way in recent years, a gaping gap between you and us remains,” Chen said through a Chinese interpreter. He added, “China never intends to challenge the U.S.”

Chen made a similar point later at a Pentagon news conference with his American counterpart, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen.

“I can tell you that China does not have the capability to challenge the United States,” he said, adding that China’s wealth and military strength pales in comparison with that of the United States. He said China’s navy is 20 years behind the U.S. Navy.

Chen‘s remarks were in line with China’s strategy of countering U.S. fear of China as a military threat by emphasizing the limited scope of its military reach and advancing efforts to cooperate in areas like counterterrorism and anti-piracy. Chen said he invited Mullen to make his first visit to China as Joint Chiefs chairman.

Chen and Mullen announced several agreements, including a plan for the U.S. and Chinese militaries to jointly conduct a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief exercise in 2012. They also agreed to use a special telephone link to maintain communication between their offices.

The general told reporters that China’s recent boost of investment in military power is “compensatory in nature,” making up for decades during which modernizing the Chinese economy was given the first priority. Washington often complains that China is too secretive about the purpose and exact scale of its military buildup.

To illustrate his point that China is not a threat – even to Taiwan – Chen noted that some Americans have called on China to remove or withdraw ballistic missiles positioned on its southeast coast, across from Taiwan.

“I can tell you here responsibly that we only have garrison deployment across (from) Taiwan, and we do not have operational deployment, much less missiles stationed there,” Chen said.

In his speech at the National Defense University, Chen said he was optimistic about the future of U.S.-China military relations, which have suffered repeated setbacks. Early last year China angrily cut off most military-to-military contacts after the U.S. announced a $6.4 billion arms sale to Taiwan, the self-governing island that China considers a renegade province.

Under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, which partly defines U.S. relations with Taiwan and China, the Pentagon is obliged to provide Taiwan with sufficient defensive arms to ensure its security. In his remarks at the Pentagon, Chen said some U.S. lawmakers, whom he did not cite by name, had told him it is time for the Congress to review that law.

Chen said the U.S. needs to respect China’s “core interests,” which he said include issues of national unity like Taiwan. The Taiwanese, he said, are considered by all Chinese as “our compatriots and blood brothers and sisters.”

The general equated China‘s position on Taiwan to President Abraham Lincoln’s commitment to preserving the Union. Chen quoted Lincoln as saying, “The Union is unbroken.”

Asked about Taiwan’s long-standing request to purchase U.S. F-16 combat aircraft, Chen said such a sale would hurt U.S.-China military relations, but he was not specific. He asked rhetorically why Taiwan would need to buy American weapons if the U.S. sincerely believes its stated policy that Taiwan is part of China.

Chen appeared to question the validity of the U.S. position favoring Taiwan’s eventual peaceful reunification with China. He recounted a conversation earlier Wednesday with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in which she repeated the U.S. position that “there is only one China in the world and Taiwan is part of China.”

He said he told Clinton: “I’ve heard that comment, that statement, since I was a schoolboy, and I‘m hearing the same thing now I’m approaching my retirement age. I wonder when can I really see the reunification of my motherland.”

Chen, chief of the general staff of the People’s Liberation Army, is leading a delegation of eight Chinese generals on a weeklong visit to the United States. Also on the delegation‘s itinerary this week are the Army’s Fort Stewart, Ga., the Navy’s base at Norfolk, Va., and Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Cyber-Security: Foreign-Made Chips Could Be Allowing Hackers Into U.S. Networks

From Homeland Security NewsWire:

Cyber securityForeign made chips could be allowing hackers into U.S. networks

Published 11 July 2011

Foreign-made computer parts could be manufactured with flaws or viruses that make it easier for hackers to later infiltrate U.S. computer networks; last week before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Greg Schaffer, DHS's acting deputy undersecretary national protection and programs director, admitted that some foreign chips are being made with security vulnerabilities

Foreign-made computer parts could be manufactured with flaws or viruses that make it easier for hackers to later infiltrate U.S. computer networks.

Last week before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Greg Schaffer, DHS’s acting deputy undersecretary national protection and programs director, admitted that some foreign chips are being made with security vulnerabilities.

“I am aware of instances where that has happened,” Schaffer said.

Schaffer did not elaborate on which components, countries, or companies were manufacturing these contaminated electronics or whether they had resulted in specific cyberattacks.

His comments confirm the long-running suspicion that other countries or malicious actors have slipped contaminated components into the complex global supply chain that have eventually been used by the U.S. government and the private sector.

A contaminated device can act as a “Trojan horse” for foreign hackers that could jeopardize the entire network. These types of attacks are hard to detect and could allow malicious actors to steal mass quantities of information without being noticed.

Jim Lewis, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, explained that the United States is not the only country at risk from these contaminated components as the global supply chain is vast, complex, and touches countries across the world.

“The threat of a contaminated supply chain is a risk, but it’s a risk that everybody has, because it’s a global supply chain,” Lewis said.

Editorials in Pakistani Dailies Call for Accountability for Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Accusing It of Nurturing Terror Organizations

Editorials in Pakistani Dailies Call for Accountability for Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Accusing It of Nurturing Terror Organizations

US Cancels Millions in Aid to Pakistan Military | Common Dreams

US Cancels Millions in Aid to Pakistan Military Common Dreams

Israeli Pres. Peres Thanks Greece for Thwarting Gaza-Bound Flotilla | Common Dreams

Israeli Pres. Peres Thanks Greece for Thwarting Gaza-Bound Flotilla Common Dreams

Panetta Makes 9/11 Gaffe in Iraq | Common Dreams

Panetta Makes 9/11 Gaffe in Iraq Common Dreams

Britain's Soft Justice For Islamic Terrorists

From Christians Under Attack:

09 July 2011


MOST Islamic terrorists convicted in Britain spend less than three and a half years in prison, a shock report has revealed.

A third go free after no more than 16 months. And Britain is now a “hub for the development of terrorists”, the survey found.

Seven out of 10 Islamic fanatics are “home-grown” British nationals, according to the Henry Jackson Society.

The think-tank analysed 138 Islamic terror convictions from 1999 to 2010.

It found 54 per cent of the terrorists were given sentences of between one and nine years – and that those defendants spent a maximum of three and a half years in jail.

Incredibly, eight of them avoided prison altogether. The report gave examples of soft justice including the case of Mohammed Kabashi who was sentenced to nine years for helping the failed 21/7 London bombers but walked out of jail after just two years and three months.

Hook-handed preacher Abu Hamza was jailed seven years for soliciting murder.

He would have been freed after two years and two months but remains in custody because he is facing other charges in the US.

In a forward to the report Lord Carlile, the Government’s former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, said: “The evidence reveals the UK to be something of a hub for the development of terrorists who export their activities to other countries.”

10:20 Posted in

U.S. [Obama Regime] Wants To Reduce Prison Sentence For Muslim Brotherhood Leader

From The Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report:

U.S. Wants To Reduce Prison Sentence For Muslim Brotherhood Leader

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U.S. media is reporting that federal prosecutors are asking for a judge to reduce the prison term of U.S. Muslim Brotherhood leader Abdurahman Alamoudi who was convicted for his role in a Libyan plot to assassinate King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. According to an AP report:

Federal prosecutors are asking a judge to cut the 23-year prison term being served by an American Muslim activist who admitted participation in a Libyan plot to assassinate King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. Fifty-nine-year-old Abdurahman Alamoudi of Falls Church has been in jail since his arrest in September 2003. He pleaded guilty to illegal business dealings with Libya and admitted receiving more than $500,000 in cash from Libyan officials as part of an assassination plot. According to court records, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi wanted then-Prince Abdullah killed after a 2003 Arab League summit where Gadhafi felt he had been insulted. The documents explaining why prosecutors want to cut Alamoudi’s sentence are under seal, but such reductions are allowed only when a defendant provides substantial assistance to the government.”

Despite the AP characterization of Mr. Alamoudi as a “Muslim activist”, a Hudson insitute report identifies him as a leader of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood and explains how a 1988 U.S. Brotherhood document included him as one of the heads of its committees:

The same spreadsheet identifies a number of committees, focusing on such issues as finance, politics, social issues, curricula, security, and Palestine. Those identified as heads of committees may include individuals mentioned throughout this report: Mohamed Hanooti, Jamal Badawi, Bassam Othman, Abdurahman Alamoudi, and Hammad Zaki.The spreadsheet also identifies several organizations as being part of the U.S. MB. These groups were AMSS, AMSE, IMA, ISNA, MAYA, MSA, MISQ, and NAIT.

The Hudson report goes on to explain how Alamoudi played a role in important U.S. Muslim Brotherhood organizations such as the Muslim Student Association (MAS) and Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) before going on to form the American Muslim Council (AMC) which would play a leading role in U.S. Brotherhood affairs:

ISNA announced in November 1987 that it had formed is own PAC (ISNA-PAC), with Abdurahman Alamoudi as the “leading force” of the ISNA-PAC. Alamoudi had been the ISNA regional representative for the Washington, DC, metropolitan area (and was previously president of MSA and executive assistant to the president of SAAR). He would later go on to form the American Muslim Council (AMC) with Elkadi’s father-in-law Abu-Saud in July 1990. The AMC was designed to encourage Muslims to become involved in politics and other civic activities. Alamoudi immediately began serving as the group’s director.

The AMC largely disappeared after Alamoudi’s conviction.

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GlobalMB @ July 12, 2011

Dry Bones: Ask The Expert

From Dry Bones:

Syria,  Libya, Gaddafi, NATO, Assad, America, : Dry Bones cartoon.

Afghanistan: Jihadists Training Children As Young As Three To Die In Jihad

From Jihad Watch:

Afghanistan: Jihadists training children as young as three to die in jihad

They are not waiting until they are older to use them, either. "War is deceit," Muhammad said, and the use of child soldiers is a sick win-win situation for the jihadists: they have a better chance of landing a successful attack with a less suspicious-looking bomber, and any potential self-defense undertaken by the target can be spun as the infidel enemy deliberately harming children.

So far, this phenomenon has been cause for no particular outrage in Muslim countries, or at least nowhere near on the level of what, for example, a cartoon can elicit."Video shows children of killed Taliban fighters being trained to kill our troops," by Nick Owens for the Sunday Mirror, July 10:

Taking aim with AK-47 machine guns – these are children of Taliban “martyrs” being trained to replace their fathers.

The chilling video was shot at an Al Qaeda camp where boys as young as THREE are turned into trained killers ready to wage war on ­British soldiers.

It shows how, in the wake of its leader Osama Bin Laden’s death in May, his terror group is brainwashing a new generation of child soldiers. British commanders in Afghanistan say children are increasingly used as suicide bombers and human shields during battles.

In the most ­disturbing sections of the video children appear anxious and unhappy as they are trained with guns. The film also shows a “dentist” pulling a child’s back tooth out with a pair of pliers for an ­initiation ritual.

The ­footage, filmed in North Waziristan near ­Pakistan’s border with ­Afghanistan, was ­obtained by our ­investigators after it was posted on an underground Al Qaeda ­website. It was issued by the ­Islamic Movement of ­Uzbekistan, which acts as a “foreign ­legion” supplying fighters to wage war alongside the Taliban.

Posted by Marisol on July 11, 2011 1:03 AM

Panetta: U.S. Will Do What We Have To Do Unilaterally Against Iranian Arming Of Shiite Militias In Iraq

From Jihad Watch:

Panetta: U.S. will "do what we have to do unilaterally" against Iranian arming of Shi'ite militias in Iraq

When? Panetta added: "In June we lost a hell of a lot of Americans as a result of these attacks. And we cannot just simply stand back and allow this to continue to happen."

An update on on this story. "Panetta stokes tensions with Iran over attacks," by Patrick Cockburn for the Independent, July 11:

The United States could take unilateral military action against Shia militias armed by Iran if they continued to attack US troops, Leon Panetta, the new US Defence Secretary, said on a visit to Iraq yesterday. The threat marks an escalation in the long-running battle for influence in Iraq between Washington and Tehran that has gone on since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

The US has long accused Iran of supplying weapons to Shia militia groups, which it holds responsible for attacks in which some 18 US soldiers have died since the beginning of June. Washington would also like to keep between 8,500 and 10,000 troops in Iraq after the end of the year, despite an agreement for all US soldiers to be out by that date.

"We are very concerned about Iran and the weapons they are providing to extremists here in Iraq," Mr Panetta told US troops in Baghdad. "In June we lost a hell of a lot of Americans as a result of these attacks. And we cannot just simply stand back and allow this to continue to happen." The US officially ended involvement in combat in Iraq last August, but Mr Panetta threatened yesterday "to do what we have to do unilaterally".

The American incentive to retain a military presence in Iraq, contrary to a Status of Forces Agreement signed by President George W Bush in his last weeks in power in 2008, has been increased by the weakening of its ability to confront Iran following the Arab Awakening. A senior Iraqi politician said: "The fall of Mubarak means that the US can no longer rely on Egypt as its main ally against Iran, so it has a greater need to be an important player in Iraq."

The US still has 46,000 troops in Iraq, although they are largely inactive. Iraqi politics are deeply divided between ethnic and sectarian communities, political parties and individuals. "Whatever they may say in public, the Iraqi political class wants some US troops to stay to protect their interests," the Iraqi politician said. Other Iraqis believe there will be limits to Iranian opposition to a US troop presence. Kamran Karadaghi, an Iraqi political commentator, said: "I think they will reach an agreement for some US troops to stay. At the end of the day the Iranians are pragmatic and practical."

The Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, also appears to want the US to remain as a counter-balance to Iran.

Iranian policy has several strands, and a willingness to countenance some US soldiers remaining in Iraq would not preclude it also using Shia militia groups under its control to inflict casualties on the Americans. Three Katyusha rockets were fired into the Green Zone in Baghdad yesterday....

Katyushas have also been a favorite of Iranian-backed Hizballah. It would not be at all surprising if the Islamic Republic of Iran is doling them out elsewhere.

Posted by Marisol on July 12, 2011 12:03 AM

Really? Pakistani Military Spokesman Says Country Doesn't Need U.S. Aid For Counter-Terror Support

From Jihad Watch:

Really? Pakistani military spokesman says country doesn't need U.S. aid for counter-terror support

The urge to downplay the loss or suspension of $800 million in aid is understandable, but Major General Abbas just may have been a little too emphatic there.

"Pakistan: Military spokesman says army doesn't need US aid to fight militants," from AdnKronos International, July 11:

Islamabad, 11 July (AKI) - Pakistan's army on Monday brushed off the United States' suspension of $800 million in military aid saying it doesn't need American help to combat insurgents.

“The army in the past as well as at present has conducted successful military operations using its own resources without any external support whatsoever,” military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas told the AFP news agency.

The US said it would withhold about one-third of the $2.7 billion in annual military aid it provides to Pakistan.

The relationship between Washington and Islamabad has long been mutually suspicious but took a dramatic turn for the worse in early May when US commandos secretly flew into Pakistan from Afghanistan to kill Osama Bin Laden.

Relations were already strained after an American CIA contract worker was released from a Lahore prison, where he was being held after shooting dead two people in an act the assailant described as self defence.

White House chief of Staff William Daley on Sunday speaking on the American Sunday morning political chat show circuit confirmed a New York Times report about the military aid.

The suspended funds includes $300 million to pay back Pakistan for the expense of sending more than 100,000 troops to fight insurgents along the border with Afghanistan.

The move came following Pakistan's demand that the US slash the number of military personnel in Pakistan.

Posted by Marisol on July 12, 2011 12:46 AM

Pakistan Could Pull Troops From Afghan Border If U.S. Cuts Aid

From Reuters:

Pakistan could "pull troops from Afghan border" if U.S. cuts aid

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By Zeeshan Haider

Tue Jul 12, 2011 11:21am EDT

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan could pull back troops fighting Islamist militants near the Afghan border if the United States cuts off aid, the defense minister said on Tuesday in an interview with Pakistani media.

The United States Monday said it would hold back $800 million -- a third of nearly $2 billion in security aid to Pakistan -- in a show of displeasure over Pakistan's removal of U.S. military trainers, limits on visas for U.S. personnel and other bilateral irritants.

"If at all things become difficult, we will just get all our forces back," Defense Minister Ahmed Mukhtar said in an interview with the Express 24/7 television to be aired later on Tuesday.

The television aired excerpts of the interview Tuesday.

"If Americans refuse to give us money, then okay," he said. "I think the next step is that the government or the armed forces will be moving from the border areas. We cannot afford to keep military out in the mountains for such a long period."

In Pakistan, the defense minister is relatively powerless. Real defense and military policy is made by the powerful Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Kayani, and the head of the Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence, Lieutenant-General Ahmed Shuja Pasha.

Monday, the military said it could do without U.S. assistance by depending on its own resources or turning to "all-weather friend" China.

Mukhtar later told Reuters Pakistan wanted the money spent on the maintenance of the army in the tribal areas. "This is what we are demanding," he said. "It is our own money."

The United States provides hundreds of million of dollars a year to reimburse Pakistan for deploying more than 100,000 troops along the Afghan border to combat militant groups.

Other funding covers training and military hardware. The White House announcement puts $300 million in reimbursement and another $500 million in aid in question.

Pakistan is an important ally of the United States but relations between the two uneasy allies have been on the downward spiral since last year when a CIA contractor killed two Pakistanis in January and then U.S. Navy SEALS killed Osama bin Laden in a secret raid in the Pakistani town of Abbottabad in May without informing Islamabad beforehand.

Islamabad sees the May 2 raid as a breach of its sovereignty and has drastically cut back on the numbers of U.S. troops allowed in the country and has set clear limits on intelligence sharing with the United States.

In Washington, Pentagon spokesman Colonel David Lapan on Monday said the $800 million in U.S. aid put on hold could be resumed if Pakistan increased the number of visas for U.S. personnel and reinstated the training missions.

(Editing by Chris Allbritton and Nick Macfie.)

China's Sea Power, Maritime Ambitions and America's Response | The Heritage Foundation

China's Sea Power, Maritime Ambitions and America's Response The Heritage Foundation

Al-Qaeda's Embrace of Encryption Technology: 2007-2011

Al-Qaeda's Embrace of Encryption Technology: 2007-2011

West Bank, Gaza Terrorists Use Google Earth to Select Israeli Civilian Targets for Rocket Attack

West Bank, Gaza Terrorists Use Google Earth to Select Israeli Civilian Targets for Rocket Attack

US-Based Egyptian Scholar Mamoun Fandy Blames US Aid for "the Ruin of Egypt" and Says: The US May Be Handing Egypt Over to the Muslim Brotherhood Just Like It Handed Post-Saddam Iraq over to Iran

US-Based Egyptian Scholar Mamoun Fandy Blames US Aid for "the Ruin of Egypt" and Says: The US May Be Handing Egypt Over to the Muslim Brotherhood Just Like It Handed Post-Saddam Iraq over to Iran

Imran Khan, Head of the Pakistani Tehreek-e-Insaf Party: US Aid Is Destroying Pakistan

Imran Khan, Head of the Pakistani Tehreek-e-Insaf Party: US Aid Is Destroying Pakistan

Ships And Planes Of Fools Pick Wrong Target

From Middle East and Terrorism Blog:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Ships and Planes of Fools Pick Wrong Target

by Alan M. Dershowitz

The recent attempts by anti-Israel extremists to break Israel's naval blockage of Gaza and to flood Israel's airports with troublemakers have failed.

The ships of fools, knaves hypocrites, bigots, and supporters of terrorism that tried to sail from Greece have now apparently been run aground. Most of the hard-left extremists have gone home following a decision by the Greek government to prevent the boats from leaving Greek ports. And those who tried to flood Israel's airports are being deported. The resulting fiasco, which was designed to discredit Israel, has succeeded only in discrediting the Israel bashers on the boats and planes by exposing their true purpose.

The alleged purpose of the ships was to feed the starving Arabs of Gaza. The problem is that the Arabs of Gaza are not starving. Nor are they in need of outside help.

According to reporting by The New York Times, Gaza has been thriving recently. Luxury hotels are being built; stores are stocked with food; beaches are filled with children; and life is far better than in neighboring Al Arish, which is across the border in Egypt.

In fact, according to news reports, the residents of Gaza are far better off than the residents of many Arab areas in the Middle East. Medical care is better, infant mortality is lower, longevity is higher, employment is increasing, cars are plentiful, food is more available and the quality of water and air is higher. The Gross National Product has risen dramatically over the past year.

To be sure, the citizens of Gaza do not have freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, the right to dissent or the ability to join political parties that are out of favor. These limitations are the fault of Hamas, not of Israel.

Indeed, the only Arabs in the region whose lives, in every respect, are better than those who live in Gaza, are the citizens of the West Bank, which is controlled by the Palestinian Authority rather than Hamas.

So if the fools on the ships were really interested in helping Arabs who are truly in need of food, medicine and other provisions, they would set sail for ports in Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and other areas of the Middle East. But these hypocrites have no interest in helping the downtrodden. Their only interest is in delegitimizing the Jewish state of Israel.

Many of those on the ships actually support the most oppressive regimes in the Middle East, such as the Syrian regime, which murders its civilians in cold blood; the Iranian regime, which brutally suppresses dissent; Hezbollah which murders its political opponents; and Hamas which subjugates women and executes gays.

Most of these "human rights activists" have no history of supporting human rights elsewhere in the world and many have records of supporting the worst abusers of human rights. The list of those on the boats is a dishonor role of human wrongs, blatant hypocrisy, and double standards.

A common virus among many on these ships is a hatred for Jews, the Jewish state, America, and the West. Some are self-haters, because they themselves are Jews, Israelis or Westerners. Others are Arabs who cannot abide the notion of the Jewish state, regardless of its size or borders, anywhere in the Middle East.

I am aware of none who applies a single standard of human rights to all countries in the world and prioritizes his or her activities in order of the seriousness of the human rights violations.

These sea and air efforts to delegitimize Israel by applying a double standard to its actions have failed. There will be others. They will include efforts to incite mobs to cross the border into Israel through Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan. The goal will be to provoke Israel into overreaction. Every government in the world has the right to prevent the law violators from illegally entering their country, but only Israel is condemned for its efforts to do so.

There will also be efforts in September to use the machinery of the United Nations, most particularly of the General Assembly, to delegitimize Israel. These efforts will include a vote to recognize the Palestinian state without requiring the Palestinians to sit down and try to negotiate a real peace with Israel.

It will also include efforts by the notorious Human Rights Council of the United Nations to condemn Israel for virtually everything it's done since it came into existence 63 years ago. None of these will succeed but they will encourage Israel's enemies to become even more intransigent, while at the same time discouraging them from making the kinds of compromises that Israel is willing to make in the interest of peace.

Those who really believe in universal human rights applied equally to all nations throughout the world should condemn these efforts to single out Israel for delegitimizing. They should join with other true supporters of human rights in prioritizing the human wrongs throughout the world and seeking to confront them by demanding the application of a single standard.

When a proper standard is universally applied, Israel's record on human rights shines in comparison with the records of nations and groups supported by the fools and hypocrites on these boats and planes.

Alan M. Dershowitz


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Posted by sally at 2:14 PM

Lebanon Braces

From the Middle East and Terrorism Blog:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Lebanon Braces

by Ryan Mauro

The U.N. Special Tribunal investigating the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri has indicted four members of Hezbollah. In August, a clash along the Israeli-Lebanese border followed news that the indictments were coming. If that is how Hezbollah reacted to the reports of the indictments, then Israel must prepare for an even stronger reaction now that the indictments have actually been issued.

The Special Tribunal seeks the arrest of four members of Hezbollah, including Mustafa Badreddine, the brother-in-law of Imad Mughniyah, the group’s operational commander who was killed in 2008. Additional indictments may follow, including non-Lebanese nationals. It has been reported that the investigators have evidence that Syrian intelligence was involved, as well as the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps acting on orders of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The evidence against Hezbollah is thick. The investigators tied Hezbollah members to 28 phones connected to the assassination. One phone was tied to Abd al-Majid Ghamlush, a Hezbollah member who was trained in Iran and has gone missing. A Hezbollah commander in South Beirut named Hajj Salim is also suspected of playing a role as the overseer of a “Special Operations Unit” also run by Badreddine. One of the key providers of this information, Captain Wissam Eid, was killed in a car bombing similar to that which killed Hariri.

The indictments undermine Hezbollah’s mantra that it is a “resistance force,” and exposes the group as a proxy for foreign governments. The reactions of the terrorist group and its state sponsors show that they are aware of the steep political costs that they face. On August 3, a likely Hezbollah-engineered provocation happened on the Israeli-Lebanese border as it appeared that indictments were near. Israel informed UNIFIL that its soldiers were going to trim trees and bushes along the border, as had been regularly done. Two Israeli soldiers were fired upon by a Lebanese sniper, killing one. The Israelis responded, killing two Lebanese soldiers and one journalist. The journalist belonged to a pro-Hezbollah newspaper. The U.N. confirmed that the Israelis did not cross the border, as the Lebanese claimed.

Hassan Nasrallah held a press conference soon afterwards, where he alleged that the real perpetrators of the assassination were Israeli intelligence agents. He showed footage that he asserted was from Israeli drones recording Hariri’s travel route, and claimed that an arrested Lebanese spy for Israel confessed that the Mossad had conducted surveillance on the murder scene. Hezbollah has since reiterated these accusations.

Iranian President Ahmadinejad visited Lebanon in October to express solidarity with Hezbollah, and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps paid an author $1 million to write a book claiming that Israel killed Hariri using an American missile. Syrian President Assad likewise said he’d stand by Hezbollah, and warned that the indictments could “destroy” Lebanon. The Syrian regime put out arrest warrants for 33 Lebanese officials for supposedly lying to the U.N. Special Tribunal.

In January, Hezbollah and its allies collapsed the Lebanese government to prevent it from cooperating with the U.N. Special Tribunal, replacing Prime Minister Saad Hariri , the son of the slain Rafiq Hariri . Hezbollah toppled him even though he had reached out to the terrorist group and Syrian President Assad. According to one account, Saad Hariri even told Assad that he’d accuse an “external element” of framing Hezbollah if the group was indicted for killing his father. He and his political allies have since staged large protests against Hezbollah.

These actions by Hezbollah and its allies reveal their fear of the affects of the indictments. Nasrallah has vowed to “cut off the hand” of anyone trying to arrest Hezbollah members. This raises the likelihood that Hezbollah will provoke a conflict, as the group and its state sponsors often use tension with Israel to try to rally support, with the Nakba Day incidents being the latest examples. Hezbollah now has over 50,000 rockets at its disposal, and Israel has revealed the existence of a vast network in Lebanon of 550 underground bunkers, 300 monitoring sites, and 100 weapons depots in 270 villages. Many of these weapons stockpiles are located in or near private homes, hospitals and schools. If Hezbollah and its backers decide that a war with Israel will suit their political interests, then more destruction than was seen in 2006 could follow.

If the Lebanese government does not comply with the U.N. Special Tribunal, then it is a state sponsor of terrorism and should be designated as such. The House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair, Ileana Ros-Lehtien, supports ending U.S. aid to Lebanon now that the government is controlled by Hezbollah. The terrorist group and its state sponsors, especially the Syrian regime, are in a vulnerable position and the West must take advantage of it. According to Israeli intelligence, the Iranian regime had to cut its aid to Hezbollah by 40 percent because of its economic decline. The U.N. indictments also threaten Hezbollah’s popular support, as does the terrorist group’s endorsement of Syrian President Assad amidst his bloody attempts to suppress the uprising against his rule.

Like a wounded animal, Hezbollah is likely to violently lash out in the wake of the U.N. indictments. Fighting Israel has always been Hezbollah’s claim to legitimacy. The group’s pattern of instigating conflict to alleviate pressure means that Israel should brace itself.

Ryan Mauro


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Posted by sally at 4:13 PM

The Path To The Next Lebanon War

From the Middle East and Terrorism Blog:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Path to the Next Lebanon War

by Caroline B. Glick

The three lessons of the Second Lebanon War taught us to be wary of appeasers both here and in the US.

This truth is exposed in all its ugliness by the political and military realities five years on. Today, Hezbollah is not simply in charge of Israel’s former security zone in South Lebanon.

Five years ago this week, Iran’s Lebanese proxy opened war with Israel. The war lasted 34 days, during which Hezbollah launched more than 4,000 missiles against Israel. Now five years later, under US President Barack Obama, America is pushing a policy that drastically escalates the chance that a new war between Israel and Iran’s Lebanese army will break out again in the near future.

Back in 2006, Israel’s response to Hezbollah’s aggression was swift but incompetent. While Israel scored some blows against the Iranian proxy force, the war ended with Hezbollah still shooting. Israel failed to defeat the terror army. And because Hezbollah survived, it won the war.

It is in charge of all of Lebanon. The Hezbollah-controlled government controls all aspects of the Lebanese state that it wishes. These include the military, the telecommunications networks, and the international borders, airports and sea ports, among other things.

Today, Hezbollah has not merely refilled its depleted missile arsenals. It has tripled the size of its missile arsenals. In 2006, IAF strikes in the first 24 hours of the war knocked out all of Hezbollah’s long-range missiles. Today, not only have those stocks been replenished, Hezbollah’s arsenal includes missiles with ranges covering all of Israel, with larger payloads and many with guidance systems.

The lessons of the war are easy to see. And the Israeli public, which learned them five years ago, still hasn’t forgotten them.

GENERALLY SPEAKING, the war taught us three lessons. The first lesson is that you can’t convince terrorists to lay down their arms simply by walking away. Israel withdrew from its security zone in southern Lebanon in 2000. The withdrawal was a precursor to its withdrawal from Gaza in 2005. In 2006, Israel was attacked from both territories.

In the lead-up to both withdrawals, Israel’s national leadership told the public that the only reason terrorists from these territories were attacking us was that we were there. If we went away, they would stop hating us and we would be safe. We were the problem, not them, so we could solve the problem by giving them what they wanted.

Although then-prime minister Ehud Olmert and then-foreign minister Tzipi Livni continued to push appeasement through their insistence that Israel surrender Judea and Samaria, the war of 2006 showed the public the folly of their plans. And at first opportunity, the public elected the Likud and other right-wing parties – which oppose appeasement – to form the current government.

The second lesson the public learned is that when a nation goes to war against an enemy that seeks its destruction, it must fight to win. You cannot fight a half-war against an implacable foe. And if you fail to win, you lose.

This is not how Israel fought the war of 2006. Partially due to pressure from then-secretary of state Condoleezza Rice and partially due to his own strategic incomprehension, Olmert believed it was possible to fight to a draw without losing.

In the event, there was only one way for Israel to defeat Hezbollah – by regaining control over southern Lebanon.

Any other conclusion to the war would leave Hezbollah standing. And simply by surviving intact, as Lebanese Druse leader Walid Jumblatt warned at the time, the road would be paved for Hezbollah to take over Lebanon.

But Olmert – and Livni – wouldn’t even consider retaking control of South Lebanon. The option was discarded contemptuously as a delusional recipe for forcing Israel back into the “Lebanese quagmire.” The fact that the “Lebanese quagmire” came to Israel after we left Lebanon, and that it will only end when Israel defeats Hezbollah, was completely ignored.

Olmert’s and Livni’s reason for rejecting the one strategy that would have brought Israel victory is explained by the third lesson of the war. That lesson is that once a leader is ideologically committed to a policy of appeasement, he is unable to allow rational considerations to permeate his thinking.

THE OLMERT government was elected in 2006 on the basis of its plan to repeat the Lebanon and Gaza withdrawals in Judea and Samaria. During the war, Olmert told his supporters that victory in Lebanon would enable him to carry out his planned withdrawal from Judea and Samaria. And this was true. But because of the circular logic of appeasement, there was no way that Olmert could fight to win.

If Israel had retaken control of southern Lebanon, Olmert would have had a chance of convincing the public that unilateral withdrawal was a viable strategy. He would have been able to argue that just as the IDF retook control of southern Lebanon, so it would retake control of Judea and Samaria if the Palestinians used the vacated lands to attack the rest of the country.

But because he was committed to appeasement, Olmert could not fight to win in Lebanon. The appeasement agenda is predicated on the disavowal of the notion of military victory and the embrace of the mantra, “There is no military solution.”

If victory is an option, then surrender along the lines that Olmert preached in Judea and Samaria is also an option.

That is, surrender is an option, not an imperative, as he claimed. And if victory is an option, then clearly it has much more to recommend it than defeat.

But with their appeasement agenda reigning supreme – as appeasement agendas always do – instead of fighting to win, Olmert and Livni sued for a cease-fire. That is, they sought a diplomatic solution to a military problem. And since by not losing, Hezbollah won the military contest, it also came out the victor in UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which set the conditions of the cease-fire.

Resolution 1701 was a massive victory for Hezbollah. The resolution placed the international terror group run by Iran on equal footing with Israel, a sovereign state. The security arrangements in the resolution were an invitation for Hezbollah to rearm. It was pure fantasy to believe that the Hezbollah-dominated Lebanese government would block Hezbollah’s rearmament. And it was utter madness to think that European military forces would lift a finger to prevent Hezbollah from reasserting full control over the border with Israel.

But again, if you accept the circular logic of appeasement – that always puts the burden of proof on the non-aggressor – then you will never learn these, or any other lessons. And as a consequence, appeasers will always and forever foment wars in the name of peace.

THE ISRAELI public learned these lessons and elected a government that understands them. Perhaps if the American people had elected Senator John McCain to succeed George W. Bush in 2008, the US government would have learned these lessons as well. And then maybe together the Israeli and the US governments might have set about fixing at least some of the damage the war caused them both.

But in their wisdom, the American people elected Barack Obama to succeed Bush in the White House. And Obama has learned none of the lessons of the last war. Consequently Obama’s current policies are increasing the likelihood of another war between Israel and Iran’s Lebanese proxy in the near future.

Far from recognizing the nature of Hezbollah, the Obama administration has tried to wish away its implacability. Last May, Obama’s counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan spoke of the administration’s plan to cultivate “moderate elements” in the Iranian-run jihadist organization.

The Obama administration’s notion that the US can adopt a nuanced approach to the terror group is put paid by Hezbollah’s takeover of the Lebanese government, its growing capabilities in the Western hemisphere, its continued devotion to the cause of Israel’s destruction, its participation in the killing of Syrian anti-regime protesters, and Iran’s clear control over all aspects of the organization’s operations. And yet, by all accounts, the administration refuses to acknowledge that there can be no nuance toward Hezbollah.

The dangers of Obama’s rejection of these basic truths were exposed this week. Sunday the government approved the demarcation of Israel’s territorial waters along the border with Lebanon. The borders will be submitted to the UN.

Israel’s move was forced on it by the Obama administration.

The dispute over the sea border arose after Israel discovered massive quantities of natural gas in its territorial waters in 2009. Acting on orders from Hezbollah and Iran, the Lebanese government immediately claimed erroneously that the waters belonged to Lebanon. Last August, Lebanon submitted its claim to the UN.

Israel negotiated its maritime borders with Cyprus in 2007. The same year, Cyprus also negotiated its maritime borders with Lebanon. At the time, Lebanon did not claim the areas in which Israel has discovered natural gas deposits or the areas abutting those areas, which are suspected of similarly containing large natural gas deposits. Lebanon’s current claim includes Israel’s territorial waters abutting the gas fields it discovered in 2009.

In staking this false claim, as it did with the Shaba Farms on Mount Dov in the Golan Heights in 2000, Lebanon is setting up a casus belli against Israel.

Under the circumstances, the only rational policy that the US can possibly adopt is to loudly and strenuously back Israel’s claim and reject all Lebanese contentions to the contrary.

Only by completely rejecting Lebanon’s claim can the US deny Hezbollah and Iran the ability to use Israel’s gas finds in its territorial waters as a justification for war.

Rather than do this, guided by its appeasement ideology, the Obama administration has refused to take sides. It urged Israel to submit its counter-claim to the UN – where it can bully Israel into accepting arbitration of the dispute by the inherently anti-Israel UN.

More generally, by refusing to take sides, the US is in fact siding with its enemy Iran and Iran’s proxy Hezbollah against its ally Israel.

According to media reports, the Obama administration claims that by acting in this manner, it is seeking to prevent a flare-up of hostilities. That is, the administration believes that if it shows Hezbollah its good will by treating Israel’s honest claim as equal to Lebanon/Hezbollah/Iran’s false claim, it will appease the latter into not waging a war of aggression against the former.

But again, what the last war taught us is that this sort of behavior is what emboldens aggressors to attack. Obama’s even-handedness in the face of a US enemy’s aggression against a US ally is placing Israel and Lebanon on a straight path to a new war.

Caroline B. Glick


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

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Electronic Warfare Moves To Frontline As U.S. Plans Troop Drawdown

From Reuters and Common

Published on Tuesday, July 12, 2011 by Reuters

Electronic Warfare Moves to Frontline as U.S. Plans Troop Drawdown

by Bijoy Anandoth Koyitty

BANGALORE - As the United States draws down troops in Afghanistan and Iraq and cuts back on defense spending, its reliance on technology will only rise, benefiting a clutch of companies specializing in intelligence gathering, surveillance and reconnaissance.

The U.S. military will need more equipment like infrared sensors, jammers and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) systems to counter threats to its troops, with the Obama administration planning to cut troops in Afghanistan by a third by 2012, and exit from Iraq by the end of this year. As the United States draws down troops in Afghanistan and Iraq and cuts back on defense spending, its reliance on technology will only rise, benefiting a clutch of companies specializing in intelligence gathering, surveillance and reconnaissance. (photo: JimNtexas)

"(The United States) will have to continue to keep an eye on what is occurring in these countries. So, we will invest in intelligence gathering equipment to complement the decrease in actual forces on ground," Lazard Capital Markets analyst Michael Lewis said.

Defense technology companies such as signal intelligence systems maker Mercury Computer Systems , night-vision systems specialist FLIR Systems and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) maker AeroVironment are expected to benefit from this shift in defense spending priorities.

"What you are going to see is the need for more of the advanced or next-generation capabilities that enable force protection, increased situational awareness and survivability capabilities," analyst Michael Ciarmoli of KeyBanc Capital Markets said.

Despite the cuts to U.S. defense spending, Ciarmoli sees a "healthy" expansion of funding, probably in the high single digits, for the high-margin intelligence and surveillance, and defense electronics businesses.

In April, President Barack Obama asked the defense department to come up with $400 billion in spending cuts spread over 12 years. The war in Afghanistan alone costs the United States more than $110 billion a year.

"Certainly, having high troop level presence is very expensive ... So, if you draw down and ultimately have a stand-off technology approach ... you will have a net gain in terms of lower costs," Gleacher & Co analyst Peter Arment said.

Other companies expected to benefit from the shift include Kratos Defense & Security Solutions Inc and Comtech Telecommunications Corp .

The way the United States has fought the war in Libya, with focus on providing technology to allies in the battle field, is also a pointer to the change in the future model for military engagement overseas.

"Assuming it conducts future missions in this fashion, we believe next-generation capabilities will continue to be procured in a rapid manner, which also augurs well for select defense contractors," analyst Ciarmoli said.


One piece of equipment that is expected to see a jump in funding is electronic jammers used to counter the improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that have maimed and killed many troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.

IEDs are difficult to counter with conventional bomb detection systems, and industrial major ITT Corp last August won a $455 million contract to develop the jammers, known as joint counter radio-controlled improvised explosive device electronic warfare (JCREW).

Mercury Computer Systems is a sub-contractor for providing signal processing technology for the latest version of JCREW.

"Key to the signal processing technology in JCREW is to defeat an adversary signal that detonates a bomb ... We have certainly seen improvements in Mercury's business as a result of its positioning in the market," Lazard Capital's Lewis said.

Another red-hot opportunity is onboard signal processing for aircraft, including unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, that the U.S. forces increasingly rely on in conflict zones.

Mercury Computer and a large number of private companies compete with larger rivals like Curtiss Wright Corp in this market.

"Aircraft, manned or unmanned, want to have these systems to take less power, they want it to be lighter. So, companies that can provide this are in good space right now to continue to see contract flowing," Lewis said.

The new opportunities are also expected to sustain the current M&A momentum in the sector.

The last one year saw defense giants like Boeing Co , Safran and Raytheon Co snapping up smaller rivals for their technologies.

FLIR Systems bought ICx Technologies in a $274 million deal last August to expand into the market for sensing technologies. In May, Kratos agreed to buy rival Integral Systems for $225 million to expand in the surveillance and intelligence business.

"Most of the deals by the large defense companies will be billion dollars and under," Gleacher & Company's Arment said.

© 2011 Reuters

Friday, July 1, 2011

U.S. Drone Targets Two Leaders Of Somali Group Allied With Al Queda, Official Says

From The Washington Post and Liberty Pulse:

U.S. drone targets two leaders of Somali group allied with al-Qaeda, official says

By Greg Jaffe and Karen DeYoung, Published: June 29

A U.S. drone aircraft fired on two leaders of a militant Somali organization tied to al-Qaeda, apparently wounding them, a senior U.S. military official familiar with the operation said Wednesday.

The strike last week against senior members of al-Shabab comes amid growing concern within the U.S. government that some leaders of the Islamist group are collaborating more closely with al-Qaeda to strike targets beyond Somalia, the military official said.



Weigh In



Explore the remaining leadership in Al Qaeda and see former leaders that have been killed since Sept. 11, 2001.


 Zawahiri, a surgeon who spend years in underground Islamic groups in Egypt before joining al-Qaeda, had been serving as the militant group’s second-in-command.

More on this Story

Obama counterterrorism strategy unveiled

Obama dismisses congressional criticism of Libya action as ‘politics’

U.S. drones target two leaders of Somali group allied with al-Qaeda

The Hunt

New tactics for a unique search

Read more


The airstrike makes Somalia at least the sixth country where the United States is using drone aircraft to conduct lethal attacks, joining Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Iraq and Yemen. And it comes as the CIA is expected to begin flying armed drones over Yemen in its hunt for al-Qaeda operatives.

Al-Shabab has battled Somalia’s tenuous government for several years. In recent months, U.S. officials have picked up intelligence that senior members of the group have expanded their ambitions beyond attacks in Somalia.

“They have become somewhat emboldened of late, and, as a result, we have become more focused on inhibiting their activities,” the official said.“They were planning operations outside of Somalia.”

Both of the al-Shabab leaders targeted in the attack had “direct ties” to American-born cleric Anwar al-Aulaqi, the military official said. Aulaqi escaped a U.S. drone strike in Yemen in May.

The White House declined Wednesday night to respond to questions about the attack.

But Obama administration officials have made repeated references to al-Shabab in recent weeks, indicating that the group has expanded its aims and its operations. In a speech Wednesday unveiling the administration’s new counterterrorism strategy, senior White House aide John O. Brennan included Somalia among the countries where the administration has placed a new focus on al-Qaeda affiliates.

“As the al-Qaeda core has weakened under our unyielding pressure, it has looked increasingly to these other groups and individuals to take up its cause, including its goal of striking the United States,” said Brennan, Obama’s chief counterterrorism adviser. “From the territory it controls in Somalia,” he said, “al-Shabab continues to call for strikes against the United States.”

And earlier this month, in a hearing to confirm him as Obama’s new defense secretary, CIA Director Leon Panetta told senators that the agency had intelligence on al-Shabab “that indicates that they, too, are looking at targets beyond Somalia.” Panetta said al-Qaeda had moved some of its operations to “nodes” in Yemen, Somalia and North Africa. The CIA, he said, was working with the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command in those areas “to try to develop counterterrorism.”

The Special Operations Command carried out last week’s Somalia strike, the military official said, and it has been flying remotely piloted planes over Yemen for much of the past year. It has taken the lead in operations in Yemen, where Aulaqi, a senior figure in al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, is based.

U.S. aircraft and Special Operations commandos have carried out other attacks in Somalia against militants linked to al-Qaeda, but the strike last week appears to have been one of the first U.S. drone attacks in Somalia.

It was not immediately clear what kind of unmanned aircraft was used in the attack or where the drone originated.

The airstrike appears to be one piece of a larger effort to step up offensive action against al-Shabab militants with ties to al-Qaeda in Somalia. Somali media have reported numerous rumors in recent months of U.S. airstrikes on militant camps.


Explore the remaining leadership in Al Qaeda and see former leaders that have been killed since Sept. 11, 2001.


 Zawahiri, a surgeon who spend years in underground Islamic groups in Egypt before joining al-Qaeda, had been serving as the militant group’s second-in-command.

More on this Story

Obama counterterrorism strategy unveiled

Obama dismisses congressional criticism of Libya action as ‘politics’

U.S. drones target two leaders of Somali group allied with al-Qaeda

The Hunt

New tactics for a unique search

Read more


On April 6, an al-Shabab commander was reported to have been killed by an airstrike in Dhobley, a border town in southern Somalia, according to the Web site Long War Journal.

This month, Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, the alleged architect of the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in East Africa, was killed in a shootout in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, Somali officials said. Mohammed was a founder of al-Shabab and was considered the most-wanted man in East Africa.

The United States conducted a DNA analysis to confirm Mohammed’s demise, a U.S. official said. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton described it as “a significant blow to al-Qaeda, its extremist allies and its operations in East Africa.”

In last week’s attack, local officials told the Associated Press that military aircraft struck a convoy carrying the militants as they drove along the coastline of the southern port city of Kismaayo late Thursday. Other local residents told journalists that an air attack had taken place on a militant camp near Kismaayo, an insurgent stronghold. Several residents were quoted as saying that more than one explosion had occurred over a period of several hours and that they thought that at least helicopters had taken part in the attack.

An al-Shabab leader confirmed the airstrike and said two militants were wounded. Abdirashid Mohamed Hidig, Somalia’s deputy defense minister, said the attack was a coordinated operation that killed “many” foreign fighters.

“I have their names, but I don’t want to release them,” he told the AP.

In the early days of the Obama administration, officials became concerned about Somali extremists and debated whether al-Shabab, despite some ties to al-Qaeda,posed a threat to the United States or was primarily focused on Somalia. Some administration and intelligence officials said the group’s objectives remained domestic and argued against any preemptive strike on its camps.

Over the past year, al-Shabab has focused more openly outside Somalia in its statements and targets. In July, the group carried out suicide bombings in Kampala, Uganda, that killed 76 people, including one American. Uganda is one of the countries providing troops to a peacekeeping force that protects the U.S.-backed government in Somalia.

In August, the Justice Department charged 14 people in this country with providing support to al-Shabab. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said that the indictments “shed further light on a deadly pipeline that has routed funding and fighters to al-Shabab from cities across the United States.”

Staff researcher Julie Tate contributed to this report.

Planned Military Recruiting Center Attack: 40th Terror Plot Against The United States Foiled

From The Heritage Foundation:

Planned Military Recruiting Center Attack: 40th Terror Plot Against the United States Foiled

Published on June 28, 2011 by Jena Baker McNeill and Jessica ZuckermanWebMemo #3305

On June 22, the FBI arrested Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif and Walli Mujahidh in a Seattle warehouse, where the two suspects had arranged to purchase weapons from an anonymous informant in contact with the Seattle Police Department. They were looking to purchase automatic machine guns and grenades in preparation for an attack on a military recruiting station in Seattle. Since the arrests have been made, authorities have learned that Abdul-Latif, a Seattle native, had initially planned to attack the Joint Base Lewis-McChord with his friend, Los Angeles resident Mujahidh. The target was later changed to the Seattle Military Entrance Processing Station for undisclosed reasons.

This is the 40th terrorist plot that has been foiled in America since the 9/11 attacks nearly 10 years ago. It is also one of countless examples of the continued need for robust partnerships among federal, state, and local governments on counterterrorism matters. The Seattle Police Department and FBI worked well in coordinating their efforts, which is encouraging. However, the Obama Administration and Congress should still remain committed to real reforms that will break down walls in information sharing and give state and local law enforcement a real role in counterterrorism activities.

Continued Advancement Needed

In the decade since the events of 9/11, the country has thwarted 40 attempted attacks. While on one hand this shows that U.S. counterterrorism and intelligence officials have been successful in executing their job, it also shows that the terrorists who aspire to attack this country are as determined as ever. In order to keep ahead of this continued threat, the U.S. should recognize:

■Need for a vigorous intelligence community. Keeping the PATRIOT Act current is vital to the cause of preventing terrorist threats. Allowing it to expire would be detrimental to the fight against terrorism abroad and within America’s borders. The PATRIOT Act’s provisions modernize intelligence and legal authorities, ensuring that terrorism investigators have the same tools as those available in criminal investigations and enabling them to better focus on protecting against and preventing attacks. With use of the PATRIOT Act’s “roving” surveillance provision, the intelligence community was able to stop a plot to attack the New York subway system in 2009. While Congress recently approved a short-term (one-year) extension of the act, Congress should now look to making the act’s sunset provisions permanent.

■Need for increased information sharing. It is imperative for different groups to share information and intelligence in counterterrorism efforts, whether it is with United States allies abroad or agencies within the government or between the different levels of government. The Joint Terrorism Task Force, for instance, has proven to be a critical tool in counterterrorism. Increased efforts at information sharing will amplify efficiency and timeliness in the counterterrorism field. The Administration needs to recognize the importance of these programs and work to expand them.

■Need for state and local participation. The country has recently seen an increase of threats from one or two people rather than a group. With this changing profile of terrorist threats, adaptive approaches to counterterrorism—including fostering a greater role for state and local governments—are essential. State and local law enforcement officials tend to be more accustomed to their communities and are, therefore, more aware of when something is unusual. For instance, local police were critical in the apprehension of Kevin James, the founder of the radical Islamist group Jam’iyyat Ul-Islam Is-Saheeh, who plotted to attack military recruitment centers in Southern California.

Success Should Not Bring Complacency

The past 10 years have shown that the terrorist threat against the United States will not relent and will only continue to evolve over time. While the thwarting of 40 terrorist attacks since 9/11 shows that U.S. law enforcement and intelligence has been successful, it does not mean that the system is perfect—room for improvement remains. This ultimately means that the Administration should take action to remain one step ahead of those who wish to do harm to the American people.

The best way to maximize efficacy and efficiency is to equip law enforcement and intelligence officials with the tools they need, foster greater information sharing, and ensure the participation of all forms of government. With these improvements and continued vigilance, this nation will be better prepared to avert the next wave of terrorist threats.

Jena Baker McNeill is Senior Policy Analyst and Jessica Zuckerman is a Research Assistant in the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies, a division of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies, at The Heritage Foundation. The authors would like to thank intern Drew Lacey for his assistance.

Pakistan Must Act Against Network That Shielded Bin Laden

From The Heritage Foundation:

Pakistan Must Act Against Network That Shielded bin Laden

Published on June 25, 2011 by Lisa CurtisWebMemo #3301

New information has revealed contacts between members of Pakistani terrorist group Harakat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM) and Osama bin Laden’s courier. These revelations show that Pakistan’s segmented approach to terrorism contributed to bin Laden’s ability to live undetected in a military town deep inside Pakistan.

Pakistan has long sought to distinguish between Kashmir-focused terrorist groups—which it allows to operate freely in Pakistan as a buffer against India—and al-Qaeda. U.S. officials should reject this distinction and make clear that they view any individuals who facilitate al-Qaeda as threats to America. If Pakistan fails to take action against terrorist organizations affiliated with al-Qaeda, Washington should withhold security aid to Islamabad.

Unsurprising Links

The links between HuM terrorists and al-Qaeda are not surprising. When the Clinton Administration bombed al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan in response to the attacks on two U.S. embassies in Africa in August 1998, several of the people killed in those camps were Pakistani HuM members. What is surprising is that Pakistani authorities have allowed HuM leader Fazlur Rehman Khalil to live freely on the outskirts of Islamabad.

It is unknown whether any officials in Pakistan’s intelligence service (known as ISI) knew about HuM’s contact with bin Laden’s courier. Failure on Islamabad’s part to take action against the group and its leader in light of the new revelations, however, would fuel suspicion in the U.S. that Pakistani officials played a role in hiding bin Laden. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Members of Congress on Thursday that a review of intelligence has turned up no information indicating that top Pakistani leaders knew about bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad. Clinton added that it was possible that lower-level Pakistani officials were involved in protecting the international terrorist.

Pakistani military and intelligence officials continue to believe that terrorist groups like the HuM and Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT), which is responsible for the 2008 Mumbai attacks, constitute their most effective assets to counter Indian regional influence and to pressure New Delhi over Kashmir. They have little concern about these groups’ links to international terrorism and the questions these links raise about Pakistan’s overall commitment to fighting terrorism.

Pakistani officials continually cite the loss of Pakistani life at the hands of terrorists as proof of their commitment to fighting terrorism. But in light of the new information, average Pakistanis may begin to question why their military would tolerate groups that facilitate al-Qaeda’s ability to attack Pakistani citizens. U.S. officials understand that Pakistan has fought three wars with India and that Pakistani military leaders find it difficult to look beyond the Indian threat. But Washington can no longer tolerate Pakistani failure to shut down groups that help al-Qaeda and its agenda.

U.S. Should Push Pakistan to Crack Down on Al-Qaeda Affiliates

Given that the U.S. now possesses evidence that Pakistan-based terrorist groups with ISI links helped harbor bin Laden, Washington should get tougher with Islamabad and insist that these groups be shut down. While U.S. officials should not expect the terrorist organizations to dissolve overnight, they should expect Pakistani authorities to take specific actions to break up the groups and punish individuals who were involved in harboring bin Laden. More specifically, the U.S. should:

■Insist that Pakistan detain Khalil. Khalil lives comfortably and openly near Islamabad. The U.S. should insist that Pakistani officials arrest him and any of his colleagues who had contact with al-Qaeda and make them available to the U.S. for questioning.

■Link Pakistan’s approach to dealing with al-Qaeda affiliate organizations such as HuM and LeT with future security assistance to the country. U.S. security aid to Pakistan is already legally tied to its counterterrorism efforts against al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations. In March, Secretary Clinton certified to Congress under the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009 that Pakistan was, among other things, making progress in “preventing al-Qaeda…from operating in” its territory. The Administration should review that certification in light of the new information about the network that supported bin Laden.

■Reject Pakistani officials’ arguments that they are incapable of taking on these groups. Pakistani officials privately argue to U.S. officials that local terrorist groups such as HuM or LeT are too powerful and pervasive for the military establishment to handle. These arguments are specious and merit testing. Former President Pervez Musharraf repeatedly told U.S. interlocutors that he could “better control” or “keep tabs on” the terrorist groups if his intelligence agencies retained links to them. However, if HuM was in contact with the world’s most wanted terrorist without the Pakistani military’s knowledge, then who is keeping tabs on whom? The U.S. should no longer settle for Pakistani excuses for avoiding a full-throttle approach against these terrorist groups and instead demand that Pakistan be accountable for the activities of all terrorist groups on its soil.

■Avoid allowing India to become part of the equation. The U.S. should be consistent and firm in its expectations that Pakistani authorities act against individuals that were part of bin Laden’s support network. Since some of these individuals are likely also involved in attacks against India, Pakistan may try to equate U.S. demands with a “pro-Indian” agenda. This is a false notion and merely a Pakistani negotiating tactic. Pakistani officials are well aware of the importance that the U.S. attaches to defeating al-Qaeda and its affiliate organizations.

■Continue diplomatic engagement and allow civilian aid to flow. Despite the severe differences between Islamabad and Washington over the terrorism issue, it is in the interest of the U.S. to maintain engagement with Pakistani leaders and demonstrate U.S. interest in the development of a prosperous and moderate Pakistan free of the terrorist scourge. If the U.S. cuts aid to Pakistan altogether or degrades its diplomatic engagement with the country’s leadership, the assistance that Pakistan does provide in fighting terrorism will dry up completely.

A Difficult but Necessary Relationship

The breach over the bin Laden operation has brought to the surface the vast differences between America’s and Pakistan’s fundamental strategic objectives in the region. But it is in neither country’s interest to allow the relationship to implode.

The best course for U.S. officials is to maintain consistent and firm messages with their Pakistani counterparts. Only time will tell whether Pakistani officials chart a course of remaining engaged with Western countries or choose a more risky path of shunning the U.S. and clinging to terrorist proxies that prefer a weak and unstable Pakistan.

Lisa Curtis is Senior Research Fellow for South Asia in the Asian Studies Center at The Heritage Foundation.

Obama Cyber-Securiy Proposal Flawed, But Fixable

From The Heritage Foundation:

Obama Cybersecurity Proposal Flawed, But Fixable

Published on June 27, 2011 by Paul RosenzweigWebMemo #3300

In May, the Administration unveiled a legislative proposal for cybersecurity that is now working its way through Congress. It is one of several major legislative packages offered that seek to enhance the security and resilience of the nation’s cyber infrastructure. Getting the federal government’s role right in cybersecurity is crucial. One of the key principles in addressing any proposed law is that Congress should take its time and get the solution right. What Washington does online should enhance the security, freedom, and prosperity of Americans in equal measure. The Administration’s proposal does not adequately address all these priorities.

Positives in the Proposal

For too long, national companies have been faced with a proliferation of state laws that require service providers to notify their customers whenever they suffer a data breach and the disclosure of personal information. Today, there is a patchwork of laws in 47 of the 50 states, each a little different. In this truly national—indeed, international—market, the Administration is wise to propose a uniform federal standard.

Sometimes private-sector actors voluntarily seek the government’s assistance in dealing with cyber intrusions. However, the law is often unclear as to whether the government (for example, the Department of Homeland Security) has the authority to give the private sector the assistance it wants. That does not make sense, and the Administration proposal wisely clarifies it.

Room for Improvement: Catching Cyber Criminals

The Administration has proposed to increase penalties for computer criminals. In general, those who use the Internet to deliberately target American infrastructure or command and control systems should be punished harshly. But caution is necessary: The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), which penalizes criminal computer conduct, is remarkably broad and ill-defined. Some examples of its use are good examples of what we have previously called the phenomenon of “overcriminalization”—making a crime out of anything. Before Congress enhances the penalties for violating the CFAA, it needs to fix the underlying criminal law so that it applies only to true criminals.

Encourage Information Sharing

Often private-sector actors have information that they want to share with the government about a threat they have discovered. But existing law—principally the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA)—is sometimes said to prevent the private sector from sharing information with the government if that information can identify individuals. That reading of the ECPA is probably wrong, but the ambiguity in the law has made Internet Service Providers cautious. The Administration is wise to move to eliminate that ambiguity.

There is a problem, however, with the proposal: The Administration’s legislation focuses only on private-to-government sharing of information, as if the government were the only solution to cybersecurity. It is not. The private sector can and should self-organize, sharing information among service providers, as a way of enhancing cybersecurity. But the draft proposal is silent on information sharing between private-sector actors. By affirming private-to-government information sharing to protect an information system, the law is likely to be taken as prohibiting or limiting such sharing amongst private-sector actors. If it is read in that way, the draft proposal will have done actual harm. It needs to be modified before it is enacted.

Avoid Unnecessary Bureaucracy

The Administration’s proposal would speed the deployment of intrusion prevention systems that can actually block cyber intrusions and attacks against government computers. The proposal would confirm that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is responsible for overseeing the intrusion prevention systems for all federal executive branch civilian computers. It would also streamline the process by which Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that implement these systems on behalf of DHS are immunized from liability for their assistance to the government.

Where the proposal goes wrong, however, is in the imposition of burdensome congressional reporting, an annual certification requirement, and unnecessary privacy and civil liberties protections. The proposal applies only to intrusion prevention systems that protect government computers, yet it is laden with privacy protections. The Department of Justice concluded rightly that no person sending information to government has an expectation of privacy in his communications—after all, he wanted the government to read the mail he was sending. The additional protections are merely extra bureaucracy that will only slow the development and deployment of effective intrusion detection systems.

Public-Private Cooperation, Not Government Dictates

Under the Administration’s proposal, DHS would take a much stronger regulatory role in managing cybersecurity in the private sector. Working with industry, DHS would identify certain core critical infrastructure operators (presumably things like the electric grid and the financial markets) and then develop a priority list of the most important cyber threats and vulnerabilities for those operators.

Using those priority lists, the infrastructure operators would be required to develop their own plans to address cyber threats and have them assessed by a third-party commercial auditor. Some operators would also be required to report to the Security and Exchange Commission and certify that their plans are sufficient. Third-party auditors would be responsible for assessing service provider compliance. If DHS decides that a security framework adopted by a critical infrastructure sector is not adequate, DHS would be authorized to work with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to mandate a modified framework. Finally, DHS would be authorized to publicly name critical infrastructure providers whose plans it deemed inadequate.

This proposal creates a regulatory maelstrom. It was apparently adopted with little or no private-sector consultation. It would enshrine a structure of prioritization and regulatory development that would, inevitably, be far behind the technological curve. And, in the end, it holds out the specter of a federal government dictating security standards to a private industry that is far more nimble and innovative than the government can ever be.

The security of the private sector can be improved, and private-sector cybersecurity is of vital interest to the federal government. However, cybersecurity cannot come as a dictate from DHS and NIST. It can be provided only through public-private cooperation. This aspect of the Administration’s proposal misses the mark by a wide margin.

Revisions Needed

The Administration’s proposal is a good starting point for discussion. Congress needs to evaluate the proposal on its merits and revise it consistent with sound conservative principles.[1] Congress should:

■Hold detailed hearings on all aspects of the proposal, closely examining, in particular: the criminal provisions, the private-sector information-sharing proposals, and the regulatory proposal for critical infrastructure;

■Insist on modifications to the proposal that enhance capacity for true public-private partnership in the development of cybersecurity without putting private industry in a federal straitjacket; and

■Pass solid cybersecurity legislation only if it enhances America’s defenses without compromising innovation. It would be better to have no legislation at all than to pass harmful legislation that compromises U.S. competitiveness.

Paul Rosenzweig is Visiting Fellow in the Center for Legal & Judicial Studies and the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies, a division of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies, at The Heritage Foundation.

Show references in this report

[1]Paul Rosenzweig, “10 Conservative Principles for Cybersecurity Policy,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 2513, January 31, 2011, at

Nuclear Weapons Modernization Priorities After New START

From The Heritage Foundation:

Nuclear Weapons Modernization Priorities After New START

Published on June 27, 2011 by Baker SpringBackgrounder #2573

Abstract: In a world of multiple nuclear powers, the U.S. government should exchange Cold War–style deterrence for a policy of “protecting and defending” the U.S. and its allies against nuclear attack. Pursuing such a policy will require both maintaining a credible nuclear posture, which is modernized to meet the strategic needs of the 21st century, and expanding and improving U.S. strategic defenses, including missile defenses. Regrettably, the President and Congress have been underfunding both. Two decades of neglect have left the U.S. with a nuclear triad of ICBMs, submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and bombers that are aging and not adapted to meeting the requirements of the “protect and defend strategy.” To maintain a credible deterrent, the U.S. must modernize its nuclear arsenal, which must include developing and testing new nuclear weapons.

Even after the Cold War, when nuclear weapons no longer play the central role that they did in the confrontation between the Soviet Union and the United States, they continue to play an essential role in U.S. national security. The 2009 congressionally mandated Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States (the Schlesinger–Perry Commission) concluded that “as long as other nations have nuclear weapons, the United States must continue to safeguard its security by maintaining an appropriately effective nuclear deterrent force.”[1] Yet the U.S. has been underfunding its nuclear weapons enterprise since the end of the Cold War, and U.S. capability to produce new warheads and delivery systems to meet new security requirements and fulfill new military missions has atrophied.

In April 2010, the Russian Federation and the United States signed the New Strategic Arms Reductions Treaty (New START). To secure U.S. Senate support for the treaty, the Obama Administration pledged to increase funding for the U.S. nuclear weapons enterprise. It is critical that the Obama Administration fulfill its promise to fund the nuclear weapons enterprise to keep the nuclear weapons arsenal safe, secure, and reliable in the future. Equally important, the Administration should lift the restrictions it has imposed on the nuclear weapons enterprise to bar qualitative improvements in the weapons.

Nuclear Weapons: Then and Today

The United States maintains a triad of nuclear weapons: intercontinental-range ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and bombers. During the Cold War, U.S. nuclear forces were designed to deter a Soviet attack by guaranteeing that the U.S. could retaliate by inflicting unacceptable damage on the aggressor. The United States also extended its nuclear umbrella to its allies in Europe and to South Korea and Japan, promising to retaliate if they were attacked. This assured allies regarding the U.S. commitment to their security and provided an effective alternative to developing nuclear weapons or significantly expanding their nuclear arsenals. The U.S. nuclear weapons continue to serve this important nonproliferation role today.

During the Cold War, the United States developed a nuclear enterprise suited for retaliation-based deterrence. Accordingly, the U.S. nuclear forces needed to be able to inflict devastating damage even if the Soviet Union attacked first. An unfortunate byproduct of this policy was an arms race, during which both countries significantly expanded their arsenals. At the end of the Cold War, the Soviets had operationally deployed more than 11,000 strategic and about 20,000 short-range nuclear warheads.[2] The United States had deployed more than 12,000 strategic and about 6,000 short-range weapons.[3]

With nuclear weapons, quality is as important as quantity. During the Cold War, the United States replaced its weapons every 10 to 15 years.[4] The U.S. defense industrial base could meet these requirements relatively quickly. For example, the government could deploy a new B-52 bomber seven years after its request.[5] The program to develop the Minuteman ICBM started in February 1958, and the first Minuteman IA was operationally deployed three years later.[6] The Minuteman III, which is still the backbone of the U.S. ground-based nuclear deterrent, was developed and deployed in about six years.[7] The last Minuteman III was deployed in 1976, more than 30 years ago. In short, the U.S. nuclear weapons infrastructure was quite responsive to developments in the threat.

Similarly, the first Ohio-class submarine, the only active U.S. submarine class armed with SLBMs, was deployed in 1981, about seven years after its development began.[8] The U.S. nuclear scientists found technological solutions to challenges in nuclear warhead design and the construction and maintenance of nuclear weapons. Billions of dollars were devoted to ensuring qualitative U.S. nuclear superiority, and careers in the nuclear weapons industry attracted “the best and the brightest” of the U.S. scientists.

With the end of the Cold War, the recognition of the importance of nuclear weapons to U.S. national security declined as did the funding.[9] The United States produced its last nuclear warhead in 1989.[10] The country has not designed a new bomber, ICBM, or ballistic missile submarine since then. Currently, the average age of these delivery platforms is 41 years for the Minuteman III, 21 years for the Trident II D-5 SLBM, 50 years for the B-52H bomber, 14 years for the B-2 bomber, and 28 years for the Ohio-class submarine. Two decades of neglect have made the U.S. nuclear weapons enterprise less responsive. Reconstituting the U.S. capability to produce nuclear weapons in a way that is responsive to the new requirements for deterrence in the post–Cold War world and the emergence of new capabilities and threats will require a substantial increase in funding.

According to George H. Miller, Director of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, budget constraints have “delayed production schedules; postponed important deliverables in science, technology, and engineering; delayed resolution of identified stockpile issues; and hindered efforts to develop modern and efficient manufacturing processes.”[11] Engineers and scientists working on these issues have retired, and national laboratories have restructured to accommodate the lack of interest in new nuclear weapons designs and technologies.

A series of post–Cold War incidents have underscored the atrophy of the nuclear weapons arsenal and what is now recognized to be insufficient attention within the U.S. Air Force to the requirements for the nuclear mission. In 2009, a B-52 bomber carrying six nuclear-tipped cruise missiles that were not properly accounted for flew over the territory of the United States.[12] So far, the most dangerous incident was presumably the Air Force’s October 2010 loss of communication with a squadron of 50 nuclear-armed Minuteman IIIs, which are one-ninth of the U.S. ground-based nuclear deterrent.[13]

Budget Responsibility for Nuclear Weapons

The Department of Defense (DOD) and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) in the Department of Energy (DOE) share responsibility for maintaining nuclear weapons.[14] The NNSA’s mission is to maintain a nuclear stockpile sufficient to ensure the safety, security, reliability, and military effectiveness of the nuclear arsenal. The NNSA’s budget is a part of the DOE budget. The Defense Department and the military services are responsible for acquiring the delivery vehicles and operating the arsenal. The Navy is responsible for the submarines. The Air Force operates the bombers and ICBMs.

The division of responsibility between the DOD and the DOE complicates the budget process in Congress. For example, some Members of the House of Representatives do not view the NNSA’s accounts as part of the broader national security budget because they are funded through the appropriations bills for energy and water development and related agencies.[15] Funding nuclear modernization projects through this committee is difficult because they compete against local projects, such as improving water quality and building dams essential for boosting local economies.

Nuclear Modernization and the New START Debate

Prior to New START’s entry into force in February 2011, the Obama Administration promised to increase funding for the nuclear weapons enterprise. Under substantial pressure from the U.S. Senate, the Administration made this promise to secure votes for the Senate’s advice and consent to the ratification of the treaty. Because congressional appropriators attempted to condition the $624 million increase in NNSA funding “upon the Senate giving its advice and consent,” it remains to be seen whether Congress will support modernization on its own merits in the long term.[16]

The Administration committed to adding nearly $600 million in funding for NNSA’s weapons activities in the fiscal year (FY) 2012 budget and increasing nuclear weapons modernization funding by $4.1 billion over the next five years above the level outlined by the report mandated by Section 1251 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010. Congress received the report in May 2010 and proposes to spend more than $85 billion for NNSA’s weapons activities over the next decade.[17]

The Problems with President Obama’s Modernization Plan

The Obama Administration’s nuclear modernization plan has substantial problems, especially in the long-term funding for the U.S. nuclear weapons enterprise. It is essential that the United States develop and test new nuclear weapons for the 21st century, rather than rely on systems designed to respond to a massive Soviet nuclear weapons attack.

No Clear Commitment to Nuclear Modernization. Current U.S. policy is just to study options for ensuring the safety, security, and effectiveness of nuclear warheads on a case-by-case basis. The 2010 Nuclear Posture Review clearly states that it favors the Stockpile Management Program for extending the life of U.S. nuclear weapons over the development of new nuclear warheads or further nuclear testing.[18] This appears to be a shift away from the 2008 position of outgoing Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who stated “there is absolutely no way we can maintain a credible deterrent and reduce the number of weapons in our stockpile without either resorting to testing our stockpile or pursuing a modernization program.”[19] The plan to modernize delivery vehicles does not fare much better. Although studies for replacing bombers and ICBMs are underway, it is unclear when the United States will actually begin developing systems, especially in the current fiscal environment.[20]

The Administration Cannot Guarantee Modernization. Furthermore, the Administration does not have the final say on how and at what levels the NNSA’s nuclear weapons program is funded. While the President proposes the budget to Congress, the Senate and House have the final say on appropriations. The President can only sign or veto the spending bill; he does not write it. Additionally, the proposed major increases in the nuclear modernization funding extend well beyond the term of this Administration and even the next Administration’s term.[21] The current President cannot even propose, much less require, that future Congresses fund nuclear weapons modernization once he is out of office.

Defense Budget as a Source for Modernization. The Administration proposes to transfer $4.6 billion through FY 2012 from the DOD budget to the NNSA.[22] The department will also bear the costs of maintaining delivery vehicles; the costs of implementing New START, especially transferring, storing, and dismantling nuclear warheads and delivery vehicles and conducting the inspections required under the treaty; and some of the costs of maintaining nuclear warheads. It is unclear how the department plans to fund the treaty’s implementation and which programs it will scale down to free up the necessary funds.[23] This shift will increase strain on an already overstretched military and comes in addition to the $400 billion in defense cuts proposed by President Obama in April 2011.[24] Apparently, the defense budget is one of the few areas in which the President is willing to reduce spending.

The Changing Strategic Environment

After the Cold War, the threat of a major nuclear confrontation between the two superpowers has largely disappeared. This does not mean that the world has become a safer place—quite to the contrary. Proliferation of ballistic missile and nuclear weapons technologies is the most dangerous feature of today’s strategic environment. In addition, the United States remains largely unprotected against this threat.

Proliferation of Ballistic Missiles. Ballistic missile proliferation has been growing both qualitatively and quantitatively since the end of the Cold War. More than 30 countries in the world have ballistic missile technology.[25] Both U.S. allies and enemies work tirelessly to improve the accuracy, range, and delivery payload of their ballistic missiles.

Iran launched a satellite into orbit in 2009.[26] This is particularly worrying because the same technology used to place a satellite into orbit can essentially deliver a nuclear warhead to the United States, Europe, or anywhere in the world. Iran has been sharing advanced ballistic missile technologies with other rogue states and terrorist organizations, posing a direct threat to Israel, America’s most important ally in the Middle East.[27]

Iran’s ballistic missile program would not have advanced so quickly without the cooperation of North Korea. In January 2011, Secretary of Defense Gates stated that “North Korea is becoming a direct threat to the United States” and that North Korea will develop the capability to target the U.S. territory within the next five years.[28] This further strengthens the case for credible nuclear deterrent forces and ballistic missile defense to protect the United States and its allies if deterrence fails.

Proliferation of Nuclear Technologies. The increasing demand for nuclear power and uranium enrichment technology is also shaping the post–Cold War environment. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) regulates both because the technology to enrich uranium for nuclear reactors can also provide material for nuclear weapons. In the past, India, Pakistan, and North Korea developed their own nuclear weapons under the aegis of civilian nuclear programs.

Iran’s nuclear weapons program is a major worry to the United States and could become an existential threat to U.S. allies and friends in the region. The IAEA is unable to determine whether Iran’s nuclear facilities are for civilian or military purposes. The latest IAEA report concluded that Iran is continuing to enrich uranium and is constructing an additional nuclear reactor.[29] Not even the latest round of U.S. sanctions has persuaded Iran to stop its nuclear program and increase its transparency.[30] In April 2011, the IAEA confirmed the international community’s suspicions by announcing that the Israeli strike in 2007 destroyed a Syrian reactor designed to produce material for nuclear weapons.[31]

These unsettling events have sparked concern around the world. The United States cannot afford to overlook the growing proliferation concerns of U.S. allies and friends because the U.S. has provided direct security guarantees to many of them.

President’s Flawed Approach to National Security. President Obama’s declared policy of nuclear disarmament stipulates that arms control is the holistic solution to nuclear security. In the current proliferated environment, this approach is wrongheaded for many reasons. The President’s commitment to nuclear disarmament does not appear to be based on any particular concept of deterrence. It just assumes that, if the United States reduces its number of nuclear weapons, other countries will follow. However, nothing can be further from reality. Since the Cold War, the United States and Russia have eliminated more than 80 percent of their arsenals of strategic nuclear weapons, but India, Pakistan, and North Korea have tested nuclear weapons. In addition, the smaller the U.S. nuclear arsenal, the more attractive it is to existing and even future nuclear players, especially China, to attempt to achieve nuclear parity with the United States.

U.S. Strategic Posture in the New Environment

In a world of multiple independent nuclear powers, the proper concept of deterrence is for the federal government to seek to protect and defend the United States and its allies.[32] Would-be adversaries must be convinced that any attempted strategic attacks will fail to achieve their political and military purposes. This is essential because the United States cannot depend on the deterrent effect of retaliatory threats against at least some new nuclear-armed states and must account for the greater confusion and complexity stemming from a proliferated setting.

In the current strategic environment, the U.S. posture should be based on the protect and defend approach. This includes deploying a robust ballistic missile defense capability to protect the U.S. homeland and its allies against ballistic missiles. In addition, the Administration needs to take steps to ensure that the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal is safe, secure, reliable, and, most particularly, militarily effective in holding at risk the means of strategic attack on the U.S. and its allies. Specifically, the U.S. should:

■Move away from retaliation-based deterrence. It is essential for the United States to move away from the Cold War retaliation-based deterrence in which the threat of a devastating nuclear counterattack was the basis for preventing nuclear war. Just like during the Cold War, there is always a possibility that deterrence will fail. If this happens, the United States needs to be prepared to defend itself and its allies because consequences of a successful attack would be disastrous. Ballistic missile defense deployments are particularly attractive because they provide the President with an alternative to using nuclear weapons in the crisis.

■Preserve the nuclear triad. The U.S. Congress needs to focus on preserving the strategic triad which has been essential to U.S. deterrence for decades.[33] This is unlikely to change. U.S. ICBMs increase an adversary’s risks of launching a nuclear attack against the United States.[34] SLBMs are the most difficult to track and the most survivable leg of the triad.[35] Apart from their capability to carry out a vast array of conventional missions, U.S. strategic bombers are valued for their survivability and the ability to be recalled.[36] Only a thoroughly modernized combination of nuclear warheads and delivery systems will ensure a reliable nuclear capability. The targeting requirements under the changing strategic environment should hold at risk all the means of nuclear attack of potential U.S. adversaries. This is a departure from the Cold War approach to deterrence where the main population centers and economic infrastructure were key targets. This change is necessary because the United States faces more uncertainty on the identities of its possible future adversaries.

■Recognize that other countries are not timid. Of all the nuclear powers, only the United States is not modernizing its arsenal or developing new weapons. The Russian Federation is capable of adding two strategic bombers to its arsenal every three years.[37] Yet the United States unreasonably restrains its nuclear modernization programs. Current U.S. policy is to not conduct nuclear weapons testing, develop new nuclear warheads, support new military missions, or provide for new military capabilities.[38] The Administration needs to take steps to develop new delivery systems and nuclear warheads to replace old, expensive, and high-yield nuclear weapons based on Cold War targeting requirements.

■Expand the U.S. missile defenses. The most effective way to counter the ballistic missile threat is to increase funding for the research, development, and deployment of the ballistic missile defense system. While President Obama’s FY 2012 missile defense budget request is $800 million higher than the FY 2011 budget, it is still not sufficient to keep pace with the growing threat and to offset cuts that President Obama made in his first year in office.[39] The Administration should rapidly move to develop and deploy space-based interceptors, which are the most cost-efficient and cost-effective way to protect the U.S. homeland and its allies against ballistic missiles of all ranges.[40] In addition, the United States should deploy Aegis sea-based missile defenses and their land-based counterpart (Aegis Ashore) to counter strategic missiles well before the current target date of 2020.[41]

■Resume testing nuclear weapons as necessary. It is essential that the United States test its nuclear weapons to meet new military requirements. The reliability of the U.S. nuclear weapons directly depends on the U.S. retaining the option to conduct explosive tests of its weapons.[42] It would be unwise for the United States to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), which would ban nuclear weapons testing under present and projected circumstances. Substantial reductions of the U.S. and the Soviet/Russian nuclear weapons since the end of the Cold War were not enough to persuade leaders of other countries to give up their nuclear ambitions. The expectation that U.S. ratification of the CTBT will convince them otherwise is simply unrealistic.


History shows that miscalculation has led to more wars than any other reason. For this reason, the United States needs to preserve the credibility of its nuclear deterrence. However, deterrence cannot be separated from plausible military plans and missions for nuclear weapons. The United States needs to be prepared if deterrence fails. As The Heritage Foundation’s nuclear gaming exercise shows, ballistic missile defenses create conditions under which arms control and nonproliferation policy remain compatible.[43] Pursuing arms control without defending the United States and its allies creates instability and increases the chances of conflict. The Administration and Congress need to cooperate to provide for the U.S. nuclear weapons enterprise and to build new weapon systems to address the growing spectrum of threats in the current strategic environment.

The New START Implementation Act (H.R. 1750), introduced by Representative Michael Turner (R–OH), provisions of which have been incorporated into the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (H.R. 1540), proposes an approach for sustaining funding for the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal. The legislation would establish an operational link between modernization of the U.S. strategic arsenal and New START implementation so that the reduction in the numbers of U.S. strategic nuclear weapons under New START may proceed only in tandem with modernization.

It is essential for Congress to affirm its commitment to the U.S. nuclear weapons enterprise and protection of the U.S., its allies, and its forward-deployed troops.

—Baker Spring is F. M. Kirby Research Fellow in National Security Policy in the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies, a division of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies, at The Heritage Foundation. Michaela Bendikova, a Research Assistant in the Davis Institute, assisted in researching and writing this paper.

Show references in this report

[1]Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States, America’s Strategic Posture: The Final Report of the Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States, United States Institute of Peace Press, May 6, 2009.

[2]Natural Resources Defense Council, “Table of USSR/Russian Nuclear Warheads,” November 25, 2002, at (May 5, 2011), and Amy F. Woolf, “Nonstrategic Nuclear Weapons,” Congressional Research Service Report for Congress, February 2, 2001, p. 11, at (June 15, 2011).

[3]Amy F. Woolf, “U.S. Strategic Nuclear Forces: Background, Developments, and Issues,” Congressional Research Service Report for Congress, p. 3, March 10, 2011, at (June 15, 2011), and Woolf, “Nonstrategic Nuclear Weapons,” p. 8.

[4]Thomas Scheber, “Reliable Replacement Warheads: Perspectives and Issues,” United States Nuclear Strategy Forum, August 2007, p. 5, at (April 18, 2011).

[5]Kennedy Hickman, “Cold War: B-52 Stratofortress,”, at (April 26, 2011).

[6]Andreas Parsch, “Boeing SM-80/LGM-30 Minuteman,” Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles, at (April 26, 2011).

[7]U.S. Air Force, “‘Minuteman III’ ICBM,” at (June 22, 2011).

[8]Federation of American Scientists, “SSBN-726 Ohio-Class FBM Submarines,” 2010, at (April 26, 2011). (April 26, 2011).

[9]International Security Advisory Board, “Report on Discouraging a Cascade of Nuclear Weapons States,” October 17, 2007, p. 2, at (November 22, 2010).

[10]Bradley A. Thayer and Thomas M. Skypek, “The Perilous Future of U.S. Strategic Forces,” The Journal of International Security Affairs, No. 16 (Spring 2009), at (April 26, 2011).

[11]George H. Miller, testimony before the Committee on Armed Services, U.S. Senate, July 15, 2010, p. 2, at (June 21, 2011).

[12]Josh White, “In Error, B-52 Flew over U.S. with Nuclear-Armed Missiles,” The Washington Post, September 6, 2007, at (April 25, 2011).

[13]Matthew Foulger, “New START, Nuclear Modernization, and Command and Control,” The Foundry, November 18, 2010, at (April 25, 2011).

[14]Office of the Deputy Assistant to the Secretary of Defense, Nuclear Matters: A Practical Guide, 2008, pp. 5.2, at (April 26, 2011).

[15]Baker Spring, “The FY 2012 Defense Budget Proposal: Looking for Cuts in All the Wrong Places,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 2541, April 5, 2011, at

[16]Baker Spring, “The Illusory Linkage Between Nuclear Modernization and New START,” The Foundry, December 21, 2010, at (April 25, 2011).

[17]The White House, “An Enduring Commitment to the U.S. Nuclear Deterrent,” November 17, 2010, at (April 25, 2011).

[18]U.S. Department of Defense, “Nuclear Posture Review Report,” April 2010, at (April 25, 2011).


[19]Robert Gates, “Nuclear Weapons and Deterrence in the 21st Century,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, October 28, 2008, at (April 25, 2011).

[20]Stew Magnuson, “U.S. Studying Options for New Generation of ICBMs,” National Defense, April 13, 2011, at (April 28, 2011).

[21]The White House, “An Enduring Commitment to the U.S. Nuclear Deterrent.”

[22]Robert M. Gates, statement before the Committee on Armed Services, U.S. Senate, June 17, 2010, at (April 25, 2011).

[23]Baker Spring and Michaela Bendikova, “Congress Must Demand Details of New START Implementation,” Heritage Foundation WebMemo No. 3230, April 18, 2011, at

[24]Baker Spring, “President Obama’s Disconnect on the Defense Budget,” Heritage Foundation WebMemo No. 3226, April 15, 2011, at

[25]Anders Fogh Rasmussen, speech at the 11th Herzliya Conference, Herzliya, Israel, February 9, 2011, at (April 27, 2011).

[26]Lewis Page, “Iranian Rocket Puts Satellite into Orbit,” The Register (London), February 3, 2009, at (April 27, 2011).

[27]Yossi Melman and Hagar Mizrahi, “Iran Providing Hamas with Smuggle-Ready Rockets, Says IDF,” Haaretz, April 15, 2011, at (April 27, 2011).

[28]Phil Stewart, “U.S. Sees North Korea Becoming Direct Threat, Eyes ICBMs,” Reuters, January 11, 2011, at (April 27, 2011).

[29]Richard Weitz, “Getting Ever Closer: Iran’s Nuclear Program Keeps on Coming,” Second Line of Defense, March 10, 2011, at (April 28, 2011).

[30]“Iran’s Nuclear Program,” The New York Times, January 18, 2011, at (April 28, 2011).

[31]Associated Press, “Syria Secretly Tried to Build Nuclear Reactor, UN Watchdog Says,” Haaretz, April 28, 2011, at (April 28, 2011).

[32]Baker Spring, “An Alternative to New START,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 5471, September 21, 2010, at

[33]Baker Spring, “Rocket Modernization Roadmap Needed Before New START Vote,” The Foundry, December 16, 2010, at

[34]Adam B. Lowther, “Should the United States Maintain the Nuclear Triad?” Air and Space Power Journal, Summer 2010, at (April 29, 2011).

[35]Lieutenant Colonel William D. Siuru, Jr., “SLBM—The Navy’s Contribution to Triad,” 2008, at (April 29, 2011).

[36]Amy F. Woolf, “Strategic Nuclear Forces: Background, Developments, and Issues,” Congressional Research Service Report for Congress, May 4, 2011, p. 6, at (April 29, 2011).

[37]Thayer and Skypek: “The Perilous Future of U.S. Strategic Forces.”

[38]U.S. Department of Defense, “Nuclear Posture Review Report,” pp. xiv.

[39]Spring, “The FY 2012 Defense Budget Proposal.”

[40]Independent Working Group, “Missile Defense, the Space Relationship, & the Twenty-First Century,” Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, 2009, at (April 29, 2011).

[41]Baker Spring, “Sea-Based Missile Defense Test Success a Major Step Forward,” The Foundry, April 15, 2011, at (April 28, 2011).

[42]C. Paul Robinson, testimony before the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, Committee on Armed Services, U.S. House of Representatives, June 17, 2008 at (April 29, 2011).

[43]Nuclear Stability Working Group, “Nuclear Games II: An Exercise in Examining the Dynamic of Missile Defenses and Arms Control in a Proliferated World,” Heritage Foundation Special Report No. 83, at