12 AUG 16 – Executive Intelligence Summary 🔒

EXECUTIVE INTELLIGENCE SUMMARY – 12 August 16

[wcm_nonmember]In this EXSUM…

  • DHS’ new Orwellian program
  • Ukraine puts military forces on combat alert
  • The future of Black Lives Matter after Obama
  • “Emergency” meeting with Trump, GOP
  • The Fed has reached zero hour
  • And more…

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Bottom Line Up Front: The Bottom Line Up Front will be added to each EXSUM as an opportunity for me to share my most pressing thoughts.  This week’s BLUF is that I continue to be concerned about the Trump campaign.  I’m concerned about both candidates, and I think that neither candidate is going to be particularly effective at solving this nation’s problems.  According to some sources, there’s an “emergency meeting” scheduled for today between Trump campaign officials and GOP officials, after a brutal two weeks for Trump as he lags behind in the polls.  This week, investor Doug Kass was on Bloomberg predicting that Trump will drop out of the race because “he doesn’t like to lose.”  Some may balk, but I think it’s a distinct possibility.  Trump complains that he’s not being treated fairly and he won’t get a fair shot at the election, and he leaves.  Or his children, who apparently have the greatest influence on him, urge him to focus on the family business instead and Trump leaves the campaign.  I’m not saying that it will happen, but I don’t think we can exclude it from the list of potential outcomes, either.

 

RCP National Average (Friday AM)

Clinton: 47.5 (+6.3)

Trump: 41.2

 

Priority Intelligence Requirements:

PIR1: What are the current indicators of systems disruption that could lead to a SHTF event?

PIR2: What are the current indicators of an outbreak of global conflict? (Russia, China, Middle East)

PIR3: What are the current indicators of military, government, political, or social-related instability or violence that leads to widespread domestic conflict?

PIR4: What are the current indicators of economic, financial, or monetary instability that leads to civil unrest?


PIR1: What are the current indicators of systems disruption that could lead to a SHTF event?

DHS to develop “quantitative analysis” program

The Department of Homeland Security this week published two grant opportunities open to accredited universities and colleges to work on a “quantitative analysis” program.  As part of the DHS Department of Science and Technology, the $40 million grant will be awarded for leading a project for the Center for Homeland Security Quantitative Analysis.  Grant winners will “conduct research, develop and transition mission-relevant science and technology” and support “real-time decision making to address homeland security-related threats and hazards.”

According to the funding document, “It is DHS’s intent to produce new capabilities and work with partners and stakeholders at all levels to test these capabilities in operational and strategic settings, and then take steps to make these solutions available and useful to agencies at all levels.”  If it sounds Orwellian, it’s because it is Orwellian.  This is a big data approach to problem-solving that requires massive amounts of data (open source information, especially social media),  being fed into databases for storage, retrieval, and analysis.  We’re still sorting out everything that this project could include, and we’d like to produce a report next week.

Pentagon bans Pokemon Go

The Pentagon recently banned the game Pokémon Go inside defense facilities over concern that it could lead to unauthorized access of sensitive areas. Because the game requires players to sign into their Google accounts on their phones, Google would be able to map out in real-time the inside of defense facilities based on users’ traffic patterns.  Because personnel with security clearances are made to leave their phones outside the doors of a Sensitive Compartmentalized Information Facility (SCIF), where classified information is stored, Google — or anyone who could access that information — would be able to tell which users have security clearances based on whether or not their phones sit in a bin outside the SCIF of any period of time.  That information could be used by foreign intelligence services to recruit US personnel.


 

PIR2: What are the current indicators of an outbreak of global conflict? (Russia, China, Middle East)

The prospects of global conflict continue to revolve around the usual players: Russia, China, and the Middle East. The ways in which global conflict could cause or contribute to a SHTF scenario in America are myriad and they largely depend on which conflict is initiated. We’re certainly at risk of cyber attack in the event of conflict in any of the three regions. Systems disruption, like the price and availability of fuel, is also a top concern that could cause a SHTF event.

Russia

On Wednesday, Russia’s security service, FSB, announced that it had disrupted a terror attack against Crimean critical infrastructure, allegedly carried out by Ukrainian intelligence.  By early Thursday morning (EST), Ukraine put its military forces along the Crimean and Russian border on combat alert in anticipation of heightening friction.  Later, the Head of the Republic of Crimea accused the US State Department of exporting terrorism.  There are some questions regarding the feasibility of this alleged plot, and Russia certainly could have created a false flag plot to justify further fighting in Ukraine.  As of Friday morning, there’s been no increase in fighting in the region, although Ukrainian officials expect that it could happen at any moment.

After last week’s reports that Russia was reaching out to Baltic nations for defense meetings, it’s apparent that Russia wants to avoid an accidental or untimely escalation.  Putin is playing on his own game clock, continuing planning and force modernization.  The Russian defense ministry suggested that transponders be switched on for combat aircraft flying over the Baltic Sea, which was flatly rejected by Lithuania.  Although NATO members have not yet announced their participation, the Russian defense ministry invited NATO officials to Moscow to reduce tensions.

11-08_eng
Image courtesy of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense

Russia is still on track to outpace NATO’s military buildup in eastern Europe, as Putin looks to exploit additional instability in the EU.  (Remember that the Russian military still has control of Ukraine’s southeastern border to maintain supply lines for its efforts in Donetsk. Image above.)  For Putin, this is a life or death matter for the Russian Federation, as he often points out that the West is enveloping Russia.  For NATO, it’s an uphill battle.  A leaked British report this week claimed that,” “In the unlikely event of a direct confrontation between NATO and [Russia], we must acknowledge that [Russia] currently has a significant capability edge over UK force elements.”  And it’s not just a capability advantage over the UK but, in certain areas, over all NATO members.  Russia’s standoff weapons, like its missile and rocket systems, and not to mention their electronic warfare capabilities, have substantial advantage over the US.

As the US Department of Defense heralded last week that the next generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is ready for combat, Russia announced plans to deploy over-the-horizon radar systems, which are allegedly capable of finding F-35 and F-22 aircraft from up to 300 miles away.  The Russian military also employs infrared sensors that could potentially identify the F-35s heat signature, virtually eliminating its stealth advantages over radar.

And then there are very significant questions about whether or not NATO could win a war against Russia in the Baltics.  In a speech on Tuesday, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller remarked that the Marine Corps is not prepared to face a near-peer adversary like Russia.  “We realize that there are a certain set of capabilities, not just for anti-access area denial, but for any sort of near-peer fight that we have not had to deal with, which is a training thing. And we don’t have the capability, which is an equipping thing,” Gen. Neller said.

In Congressional testimony earlier this year, the heads of all four military branches have already warned that the costs of war against a near-peer adversary like Russia would be high.  The war will almost certainly involve cyber attacks against US assets, which could include US infrastructure.  Systems disruptions will make life more difficult, and diminish the standard of living for most Americans, which would have untold societal and economic consequences.  And third, if NATO invokes Article 5 and the US doesn’t defend eastern Europe, then US influence around the world will wane exponentially as those nations who either by treaty or tradition considered the US an ally, realize that the US is not coming to help.  Once the world sees the cracks in US economic and military hegemony, it seems like the dollar will be fast tracked for replacement as the global reserve currency.

On the geopolitical front, NATO may be losing another battle.  This week Turkish President Recep Erdogan met with Russian President Vladimir Putin to defrost historical tensions, as well as ease over the wounds of last year’s downing of a Russian jet near the Turkish border.  Just like the Snowden leaks drove wedges between the US and its allies, so Putin is trying to drive a wedge between Turkey and NATO and the West.  What was once a secular country with a pro-West military, a NATO member since 1952, is no longer the same country.  I remember being in Baghdad in 2008 and hearing references that Erdogan was going to be the next leader of the caliphate.  There’s some truth to that because, like Putin, Erdogan is a nationalist despot who wants to return to the glory of the old days.  Putin wants a rejuvenation of the Soviet Empire; Erdogan wants a return of the Ottoman Empire.  Neither is likely to happen with Western boots so close by, so I think that Erdogan and Putin see in each other natural allies against the West.  (Especially because Erdogan likely believes that the US may have been behind the recent attempted coup.)

Turkey’s exit from NATO would have substantial consequences for the West.  Incirlik Air Base, located just northwest of Syria, is a strategic asset for the US.  Not only does it house US nuclear weapons, but it’s also a transit hub for US Forces heading to and from the Middle East and southwest Asia.  Removing US Forces, although unlikely as of this moment, would be a huge win for Putin’s plan to break apart NATO, but I feel confident that it’s one of Putin’s objectives.  Anywhere Russia can cause doubt or frustration for NATO is worth his time and attention.

 

China

Chinese groups continued cyber attacks on Vietnam this week.  Late last month, Chinese nationalist groups hacked into Vietnamese airports and placed anti-Vietnamese messages on the airport television screens.  Other notable updates are (1) that China announced that it would continue sending military equipment to their bases in the South China Sea, and (2) Japan is forging ahead with plans to place US missile defense systems in their country (explained below).  As mentioned last week, the THAAD’s x-band radar would be able to track aircraft over most, if not all, of China.  Because we’ve seen Chinese nationalist groups mount cyber attacks against adversarial countries (like Vietnam), we shouldn’t rule out the possibility that they target Japan or South Korea specifically over the THAAD deployments.

 

North Korea

Japanese defense officials are “rushing forward” with plans to deploy Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile systems, like the ones being deployed to South Korea, following the launch of North Korean intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM).  A North Korean diplomat recently claimed that North Korea considers the THAAD deployments to South Korea as an ‘act of war”.  Anti-Japanese sentiment is high in North Korea, 71 years after Japanese forces left Korea, following defeat in World War II.  During Japanese occupation of Korea from 1910 to 1945, roughly eighty percent of Koreans changed their surnames to Japanese surnames, at the behest of the Japanese rulers.  This is an historic time for anti-Japanese activities in North Korea, as August 15th marks their liberation and the end of Japanese rule.

 


PIR3: What are the current indicators of military, government, political, or social-related instability or violence that leads to widespread domestic conflict?

Black Lives Matter Roll-Up

In the past week, Black Lives Matter groups held protests in Seattle, St. Louis, Los Angeles, and Sarasota (Fla.). (There may have been others that weren’t as widely reported.)  The group also petitioned to fire the Los Angeles Police chief.  And in addition to the US, the group has also been creating chapters in the UK and France.  This week, Black Lives Matter protestors blocked roads in the London area, including  stopping an ambulance trying to get a patient to the hospital.

Since last week’s announcement of their policy platform, Black Lives Matter now aims to raise $100 million to support that agenda.  And the movement is really ingenious.  Ostensibly, they’re about ending racism and police brutality (and many are duped into thinking that’s the primary goal), but it’s actually a vehicle to recruit minorities into becoming politically active and promoting revolutionary Marxist doctrine.  It uses the social mission to elicit charitable donations to end police brutality, but turns around and uses that money to undermine capitalism and the Republic.  (In the US, police are responsible for just 0.3% of black shootings/murders.)  After reviewing their six point policy (see last week’s EXSUM), there can be no doubt that the movement is fundamentally about Marxist revolution.

In previous EXSUMs, I’ve laid out my concern about what the Black Lives Matter movement does in response to the presidential election.  Marxists are likely to set their sights on fomenting violence and unrest should Trump be elected.  We’ve already seen those indicators among individual protestors.  I think the real goal of the Marxists will be to pressure political action so Trump steps down or, no doubt if they were able, forcibly remove Trump from office.  Mass protests are likely, and they won’t be limited to just the streets.  I think we’re likely to see walk outs or sit-ins in Congress, in state legislatures, and other political offices; in other words, large disruptions that cause Americans to question the legitimacy of a Trump presidency.  It may end up resembling the unrest seen during Occupy Wall Street, since that was the Marxists’ most recent attempt at fomenting their desired outcome through a People’s Revolution.

And Black Lives Matter has also had tensions with the Clinton campaign.  Unless Clinton accedes to their demands, she may face similar consequences of a Trump presidency.  So what we’re left with are the three prerequisites of at least one insurgency:

  1. Shared ethnic, religious, cultural, or ideological persecution (real or perceived)
  2. Popular support for the  cause
  3. Perceived or actual poor governance (i.e., inability to solve problems)

That’s not to say that that the Black Lives Matter movement will devolve into an armed insurgency; just that it has the makings.  And consider that if Obama doesn’t complete his Marxist vision in the next three months, then he’ll almost certainly persevere outside the executive office, without the constraints that the office holds.

In an interview earlier this month, one of the founders of the Black Lives Matter movement said that this was a continuation of a movement hundreds of years in the making, and that this is the tipping point.  It’s yet another reason why we should expect increased unrest in America.

 

Friday’s “Emergency” meeting between Trump, GOP

Trump campaign and GOP officials are scheduled to have what one source called an “emergency meeting” today.  Sources close to the GOP claim that the meeting is to plot a turnaround for the Trump campaign after slipping heavily in the polls this week to Clinton.  Clinton currently leads Trump in Ohio by 2.6 points, up from 0.8 last week.  A Republican has never won the presidency without carrying Ohio.

Clinton also leads by 5 points in Florida, where the Trump campaign is getting a slow start.  Trump currently has only one field office in Florida, which will be a difficult state to win.  Unless something drastic happens to turn around the campaign, I think Trump is headed for a loss in November.


PIR4: What are the current indicators of economic, financial, or monetary instability that leads to civil unrest?

Greenspan on economic conditions

This week, former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan, who presided over the first round of quantitative easing from 1987 to 2000, has been critical of the program, which pumps cash into the economy to stimulate economic growth, at the cost of inflation.  Greenspan recently said that entitlement spending is “rising at a rapid rate” and  is “crowding out domestic investments,” which are an indicator of productivity.  Thus, if domestic investment if falling, so is productivity.  Greenspan’s primary economic concern continues to be stagflation, with stagnating economic growth and high inflation.  I think this is the most realistic economic scenario going forward.

 


Appendix:

EXSUM: Executive Intelligence Summary

NATO: North Atlantic Treaty Organization

SCIF: Sensitive Compartmentalized Information Facility

THAAD: Terminal High Altitude Area Defense

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Samuel Culper is a former military intelligence NCO and contract Intelligence analyst. He spent three years in Iraq and Afghanistan and is now the intelligence and warfare researcher at Forward Observer.

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2 Comments

  1. Any president that is “particularly effective at solving this nation’s problems” is a king/tyrant/despot. A good president of a Republic is politically a eunuch.

    About Trump stepping down. Good point. An article titled ‘Pence for President’ by Peter FitzSimons states just that and upsells Mike Pence as a pragmatist.

    And a lack of Pokemon activity in areas within the Pentagon would also identify the sensitive areas. I guess some Intel guy figured out that Pokemon could be a threat. Who would have thunk it?

    Cool Ukraine map, I must say. Intel education is at least teaching me an increased appreciation of (good) maps. What’s that about a picture painting a thousand words?

    It’s the unforseen/unforseeable spark that will set World War III ablaze, I’m sad to say.

    1. Good points, all, Norman. Predicting the cause of WWIII is easy. Predicting the spark, as you say, is nearly impossible. But we can at least track the sentiment and gauge the potential kick off each week, as I try to do. Thank you for the support.

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