JUST OUT! My team @CNA_org just completed a quick-look project – led by Alex Powell – looking at lessons from historical examples of #maritime #sabotage for #StrategicCompetition. I’ll summarize some key findings & implications in this THREAD. 1/n
@CNA_org (You can find the full report on the @CNA_org website here: cna.org/CNA_files/PDF/…) 2/n Image
@CNA_org The impetus for this study was discussions w/various #SOF entities as well as the call for work in this area by the Joint Special Operations University in its 2021 “Special Operations Research Topics” guide: jsou.libguides.com/ld.php?content… 3/n
@CNA_org JSOU called for a study on “strategic sabotage,” but we recognized (a) a number of war college theses have already examined this aspect & (b) those efforts focused on land-based sabotage. So, we focused our study on sabotage in or emanating from the *maritime domain.* 4/n
@CNA_org Of note, #DOD doesn’t currently have a formal definition for “sabotage,” having removed that term from its official dictionary in 2016. So, we created one that we believe captures the salient aspects of a variety of different definitions.
(Cc @ElenaWicker) 5/n Image
@CNA_org @ElenaWicker We identified 21 open source examples of maritime sabotage & coded them according to 25 variables. The latter were chosen for descriptive reasons & to test specific hypotheses that we formulated about sabotage operations. 6/n
@CNA_org @ElenaWicker As this chart shows, about half the examples of #sabotage we found occurred during #WWII, but the other half spanned the decades since then. 7/n Image
@CNA_org @ElenaWicker We found that 18 of the 21 examples occurred in the context of large-scale combat ops, while only 3 occurred in other parts of the range of military operations (ROMO). 8/n Image
@CNA_org @ElenaWicker We also found that 18 of the 21 examples were successful in accomplishing their desired aims. 11 of these were successful #sabotage events; 7 of them were successful sabotage campaigns. 9/n Image
@CNA_org @ElenaWicker In terms of the forces involved, 13 of the 21 examples involved #SOF or SOF-like entities; the other 8 were conducted by conventional forces. 10/n Image
@CNA_org @ElenaWicker We tested a number of specific hypotheses in our study. Of these, interesting results included the idea that #sabotage ops incurring third-party collateral damage tend to result in significant negative political consequences. 11/n
@CNA_org @ElenaWicker We also found that the element of surprise may be less important for successful #sabotage operations than one might assume, & that complex sabotage ops are less likely to succeed than simple ones. 12/n
@CNA_org @ElenaWicker Some implications of this quick-look effort:
- #DOD should re-establish a definition for #sabotage & explore if it warrants a distinct theory or operational concept
- #DOD should examine sabotage from single event & campaign perspectives IOT understand pros/cons of each 13/n
@CNA_org @ElenaWicker - #DOD should think more deeply about #sabotage outside of large-scale combat ops (eg, is it an appropriate tool for competition? If so, under what conditions & w/what risks?)
- #DOD should examine in more depth the idea of multi- & cross-domain sabotage 14/n
@CNA_org @ElenaWicker Conclusion: This wasn’t meant to be a comprehensive study & we offer more Qs than As in it. BUT, to our knowledge it remains the first/only study of maritime #sabotage specifically & so will hopefully serve as a springboard for future work: CALLIN' ALL Y'ALL!

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More from @JJSchroden

14 Oct
HOT OFF THE PRESSES! My team @CNA_org just finished a pair of reports looking at the #psychology of #disinformation. We sought to answer two main Qs: 1) How does disinfo work on your brain? 2) What, if anything, can #DOD do about it? Summary findings in this THREAD. 1/n
@CNA_org The first report answers the first question: How does #disinformation work on your brain?

You can find the full version of the report here: cna.org/CNA_files/PDF/… 2/n Image
@CNA_org We identified four key psychological principles related to the absorption & spread of #disinformation: initial information processing; cognitive dissonance; the influence of groups, beliefs, & novelty; and the role of emotions & arousal. How do these work? 3/n Image
Read 30 tweets
12 Oct
Remarks on #Afghanistan from @PentagonPresSec's #DOD presser today in this THREAD. 1/n defense.gov/News/Transcrip…
QUESTION: On #Afghanistan, is there been a decision yet on providing financial compensation of families of those civilians killed in the August 29th strike?

MR. KIRBY: I don't have an update for you on that today. 2/n
Q: Does the secretary owe Congress an update on over the horizon planning for #Afghanistan?

MR. KIRBY: I think what the secretary made clear in his sessions a week or so ago was that we would certainly communicate with Congress to the degree that they need more information...3/n
Read 13 tweets
1 Sep
Tonight begins my new course @ElliottSchoolGW: “Understanding U.S. Special Operations”

In it, we’ll learn what special ops/#SOF are & how these differ from conventional ops/forces; how US SOF came to be; how they’ve been used over time; & what major issues they face today. 1/n
If you want to follow along at home, I’ll be posting key topics & readings in this THREAD.

Week 1 is course overview & class intros, so while you wait for substance, you can buy our main text (Oppose Any Foe by @MarkMoyar) & watch this cool #SOF vid😎 2/n
Week 2/We baselined knowledge on definitions of #SOF & special ops, core activities of US SOF & @USSOCOM, & the organizational structure of the US SOF enterprise. BL: US SOF are far more than the popular portrayals of them in movies & video games. 3/n
Read 27 tweets
30 Aug
I’ve seen lots of discussion lately about #Taliban-captured weapons in #Afghanistan, much of which is ill-informed. So, I’m going to discuss five myths about this topic in this THREAD. 1/n
(Note: The format for this was inspired by this excellent “five myths about the #Taliban” article by @a_a_jackson that you should also read) 2/n

Myth 1: The #Taliban have captured $88 billion worth of weapons & equipment.

Not true. That number is (according to @SIGARHQ) the sum total of funding appropriated (not all of which was spent) for security reconstruction (mostly, the #ANDSF) since 2002. 3/n
Read 23 tweets
24 Aug
Given recent events in #Afghanistan & my focus on that country since 2008, I’ve been engaging in a lot of professional reflection of late. I'm going to share some results of that in this (long) THREAD. 1/n
To do this, I went back and re-read everything I’ve written publicly on #Afghanistan over the past two years, as well as a few pertinent older pieces. I’ll post links to these articles as I go. 2/n
I’ll start w/this article I wrote in @WarOnTheRocks in 2016. In it, I described how the #Taliban were steadily encroaching on key rural areas of #Afghanistan & how the #ANDSF were struggling to stop them. 3/n
Read 67 tweets
14 Aug
A parable. 1/n
There was a man, who developed a rash on his hand. It wasn’t debilitating, but he desired to be rid of it. So he went to a doctor.

The doctor prescribed a cream & told the man to apply it every day. 2/n
This the man did. The rash receded, but did not disappear. The man kept applying the cream. Some time later, the rash began to expand again. Slowly, but discernibly, it was growing. 3/n
Read 5 tweets

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