Yesterday we dunked on the Army after a series of ridiculous comments at #AUSA2021 about Army's role in great power (sorry strategic) competition. That was fun, but seriously let's talk about why the Army still matters in a China scenario & why we don't like talking about it🧵
1. We often envisage a fight over Taiwan as a high tech battle of missile volleys, surface/subsurface engagements, anti-satellite launches, long range air to air engagements, and cyber attacks as the US & China struggle to limit escalation to mainland strikes or nuclear attacks.
2. I think this vision of conflict is likely. But its just the beginning. In order for China to assert control over Taiwan it needs to not only beat aircraft, submarines, surface ships, & missiles; it also needs to take & control the island (i.e. boots on the ground).
3. Here's why we (the US) don't like talking about what the Army's likely role in a Taiwan conflict could be. Because the most likely role for the Army is a campaign to re-take Taiwan after China (due to geography and first-mover advantages) wins an initial hightech struggle.
4. Do we have the political will to send the Army into a Chinese-controlled Taiwan? And do we have the right weapons, training, and concepts to win that kind of fight? That should be the debate at #ausa2021--not the Army groping for long range fires.
5. We also NEED to go through the mental exercise of thinking through how the US rallies economic & political support for this kind of extended ground combat, as well as the logistics of supplying a large-scale counter invasion far from US soil.
6. For the last 30 years, the US designed campaigns that optimized speed & overwhelming decisive advantage (@ElenaWicker is this the right jargon?), but these aren't the US' comparative advantage in the Taiwan scenario, leaving the US w/few tools for the 2nd phase of conflict.
7. The Army can make a compelling argument for manning, equipping, and planning for this 2nd phase of conflict but it requires a political reckoning about the extent of the US security relationship w/Taiwan. That's not an Army fight--thats a political discussion.

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More from @JackieGSchneid

16 Jun
Those things are 16 infrastructure sectors, ranging from concert venues to federal buildings to wastewater plants & pipelines (& thousands of other things in between). Fundamentally, I think what we want is for state-sponsored cyber attacks against civilians to be off limits.
But it becomes more complicated when these "civilian" infrastructures are entangled w/military or regime--shared power grids, commercial data services, transportation, finance. This makes norms about state sponsored cyber attacks against civilian tgts difficult to implement.
As it stands, we are both asking too much (restraint against 16 critical infrastructures) and not expecting enough (seriously, do we think its ever ok for a state to launch campaigns targeting civilians for foreign policy objectives?).
Read 5 tweets
14 Dec 20
My first thoughts on the strategic impact of Solar Winds: this is appears to be a large infiltration of networks that contain important information about US government operations. This could be a huge intelligence loss for the US with long term implications for national security
As of yet, no released evidence that hack led to disruptions, deletions, or manipulations of data (still waiting here). Unclear whether this was restraint by (presumable) Russian actors, lack of opportunity, or a combination of both, i.e. intel benefit outweighed attack benefit.
Lessons learned: 1) there is a proliferation of private & public US actors that have the capability and willingness to attribute. Attribution may become less of a political decision as these private attribution actors become more influential & capable.
Read 7 tweets
21 Aug 20
I've been seeing a bunch of "its the end of an era" in response to this article. This is indeed a technical achievement, but its a distraction from where we really need to focus our AI efforts in the DoD (haters stay for the thread).👇…
On the experiment: y'all it was a pilot w/a VR headset & a fake stick. AI beat a human pilot at a video game. It isn't surprising that AI performs well in a simulated environment & that human advantages (the warm fuzzy) are less important.…
The transition from this kind of AI to an unmanned platform with integrated sensors, weapons, & combat controls is expensive & vulnerable to both cyber/EM threats. Check out my work w/@jumacdo on the importance of cost in optimizing unmanned strategies.…
Read 5 tweets
10 Aug 20
I'm about to join a panel on wargaming in 2020 with @becca_wasser @elliebartels. I'm discussing developments on wargaming w/in academia and I've decided to tweet my thoughts for those not attending. Thread below . . .
Why wargaming & academia? Academic wargaming was a large part of early nuclear research. Games led by Bloomfield and Schelling at MIT were fundamental to how we think about modern nuclear strategy. Check out @reidpauly's work in @Journal_IS…
How is wargaming different in academia?
1) No sponsor (Pro: freedom, Con: money)
2) No logistics tail (Pro: less onerous, Con: hard to run games at scale)
3) Different communities (Pro: less guild/more science, Con: Too positivist?)
Read 7 tweets
6 Apr 20
Recent firing of Teddy Roosevelt CO highlighted issues that have been simmering for the Navy/DoD: 1) civ-mil relations in Trump administration, 2) Navy leadership/accountability, & 3) should we sacrifice the health of the fleet for presence missions (FONOPS, etc.)?
1) On civl-mil: Follow @jimgolby @ahfdc @lindsaypcohn and check out their recent piece in @monkeycageblog:…
2) On navy leadership/accountability: Follow @DoyleKHodges and check out his piece today in @WarOnTheRocks…
Read 13 tweets
26 Oct 19
A few thoughts on why the recent award to Microsoft is less surprising than it may seem at first.
1) Culture. Microsoft has been a stalwart DoD partner since the the dawn of the Information Age. Almost every DoD mission runs on Microsoft applications. PowerPoint, excel, and outlook are probably the most prolific tech applications in modern combat.
2). Culture (continued). Because of Microsoft’s long history working w/DoD, it also means less potential of employee protests and more vetted personnel than other companies. That’s huge for insider threats- arguably the greatest threat of a cloud strategy this centralized.
Read 5 tweets

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