National Security

John Campbell to be nom’ed to be Army vice

Panetta on Afghanistan rescue; Why the Corps isn’t dining out; Global Trends report out this AM: what’s a conflict game changer; A Marine lieutenant colonel may need his major insignias back, and more.

John Campbell is expected to be nominated to become the Army's new vice chief of staff, Situation Report is told. Just days after the Pentagon announced that the current vice, Gen. Lloyd Austin, would be nominated to be U.S. Central Command commander, we're told by two individuals close to the process that Gen. John "J.C." Campbell will be nominated to replace Austin as vice. The final decision was made in recent days. Army officials would not confirm the expected confirmation.

The move would put an experienced operator in the Army's No. 2 spot, responsible for most of the Army's day-to-day management. Considered affable and genuine, Campbell is well regarded across both the Army and the military's joint world for his acumen as a war commander steeped in battlefield strategy and operations.

Campbell was a brigade commander in southern Afghanistan in the early days of the war, where we were told he had a reputation for listening to locals with "grace and attentiveness." Later as a one-star, he was the deputy director of regional operations for the Joint Staff's director of operations. Now serving as the Army G-3, Campbell has been focused on the service's new "regionalized brigade" program in which units are given regional expertise to deploy smarter, more culturally aware soldiers.

On Nov. 15, Campbell had been nominated to be promoted to a four-star and take over U.S. Army's Forces Command at Fort Bragg, N.C., but Austin's nomination to lead Central Command forced a change in the Army's plans. Thought to be an "operator's operator," he will confront a learning curve as the vice, which requires deep involvement in resource and budget issues.

Welcome to Monday's edition of Situation Report, where we thank our dear readers for such tremendous support, which is at once humbling and gratifying. Follow me @glubold. Or hit me anytime at And sign up for Situation Report here: or just send me an e-mail and I'll put you on the list. And if you have a report, piece of news, or tidbit you want teased, send it to us early for maximum tease.

When it comes to cutting the military, Jim Amos has certain principles that are inviolate. Marine Commandant Gen. Jim Amos told Situation Report on Friday that the Marine Corps has entered a period of austerity as it attempts to perform its job and pay its bills with reduced funding. It's a question of doing what's "good enough" without sacrificing readiness, manning levels, and capability. But that means fixing old Humvees and buying fewer new vehicles (read: Joint Light Tactical Vehicles) and reducing the number of other nice-to-haves, he said.

"The guidance I gave the Marine Corps: figure out what is good enough. In other words, what will work for us over the next five or six years of austerity," Amos said on his plane on a return trip from Camp Lejeune, N.C. on Friday on which Situation Report and another reporter accompanied him. "The Marine Corps is not eating out."

Earlier this month, a group called the Force Optimization Review Group, which included about 50 "really smart" colonels and lieutenant colonels, gathered at Quantico, Va. to come up with an austerity game plan, Amos told Situation Report. Amos directed them to figure out a way to pay for a force of 182,100 Marines without trimming essentials: high manning rates for units (97 percent for enlisted; 95 percent for officers); a "C-2" readiness rate for deploying units; and maintaining 100 percent of the equipment and training those units need.

On Marine end-strength: "At 182,100, we can do what the nation's strategy expects its Marine Corps to do, just barely," he said. "It's not a fat Marine Corps, it's not an excessive Marine Corps, there's no fat on it."

The Marine Corps has already cut 50 percent of both their conferences and "TAD," or temporary additional duty assignments as part of pre-emptive cost-cutting move, Amos said.

Amos is bullish on Marines and Africa: The Marines now have a Special Purpose Air Ground Task Force sitting off the coast of Sigonella Air Station in Italy for use within the U.S. Africa Command AOR. But in a region in which there is not only a growing extremist threat but also a large demand for relationship-building, the U.S. military is looking at expanding its engagement. Amos said the "marketing" of the U.S. military in Africa in the past could have been better -- some believed the military was turning its back on partners or potential partners there. That has begun to change, with new counter-terrorism initiatives to combat groups in Mali, Nigeria, Libya, and others. But there will also be more training.

The Corps, for example, is in the "concept development phase" of designing a larger force that could be available soon.

Amos: "If this part of the world is going to stay problematic, then how do you address it? Do you have to address it with large, huge forces? I don't think so. But you gotta address it. So what we're going to try to do is build a rapidly employable -- not deployable because they'll already be there -- rapidly employable force that can help the combatant commanders out and we're working on that right now and I think we'll have that in the next 30 days."

Why Amos was at Camp Lejeune on Friday: To open the Wounded Warrior Hope and Care Center, a comprehensive and state-of-the-art gym, conditioning, rehabilitative and transition center for wounded, ill, and injured Marines and sailors and their families. It's very similar to one that was opened on the West Coast and was the brainchild of two Marine spouses, one of whom's officer husband was critically injured. Amos gave repeated props to the women, Shannon Maxwell and Robin Kelleher, for their vision and drive to get the center opened.

Why it's called the Wounded Warrior Hope and Care Center: Because despite efforts by some Marines to change the name to something edgier, like "Devil Dog Warrior Transition Center," or some such, Amos fought to keep the name the women originally wanted: The Hope and Care Center.

Don't call it "Le-shune" or "La-June." Purists continue their campaign to call the Marine Corps' main operational base on the East Coast, Camp Lejeune, "Camp Le-jhern," in respect to the proper French pronunciation of the name of Gen. John Lejeune, the 13th Commandant of the Marine Corps, of "Marine Corps Birthday Message" fame.

During the opening of the outdoor ribbon-cutting ceremony, Lt. Col. Nick Davis, commander of the Wounded Warrior Battalion East Command, joked about first one helo flying overhead, then another, temporarily interrupting the ceremony. "Leave it to the wing to come. It's what they do to upstage Marine infantrymen," Davis said. "Just like Marine Corps Aviation, it takes two flyovers to find the L-Z."

In the audience: Amos, a fighter pilot. Amos, jokingly, told Davis he might want to find his old major insignia, hinting he might be demoted for the comment. "You'll make a helluva fine major," Amos said.

Meanwhile, Elaine Donnelly is back. The woman who led the charge against repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is back with a new-and-improved Web site, announced this morning, to combat what she says is the Obama administration's hard push "to impose even heavier burdens of social engineering on the men and women of our military." The Center for Military Readiness is "analyzing the current research project that General James Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps, announced in February of this year.  Pentagon feminists and their civilian feminist allies are trying to score major victories before Congress has the chance to provide attentive oversight on serious questions, including assignments in direct ground combat (infantry) battalions that attack the enemy with deliberate offensive action."

Panetta thanked Special Operations for the dramatic rescue of the American doctor from a development organization who was captured by the Taliban Dec. 5. The rescue resulted in the death of one American SEAL. "I was deeply saddened to learn that a U.S. service member was killed in the operation, and I also want to extend my condolences to his family, teammates and friends. The special operators who conducted this raid knew they were putting their lives on the line to free a fellow American from the enemy's grip. They put the safety of another American ahead of their own, as so many of our brave warriors do every day and every night. In this fallen hero, and all of our special operators, Americans see the highest ideals of citizenship, sacrifice and service upheld. The torch of freedom burns brighter because of them." CNN story:

New "megatrends" will change the way the world looks over the next several years, according to the National Intelligence Council's  new "Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds" report, out this morning. Those megatrends include: individual empowerment ("Individual empowerment will accelerate substantially during the next 15-20 years owing to poverty reduction and a huge growth of the global middle class, greater educational attainment, and better health care."); diffusion of power ("The diffusion of power among countries will have a dramatic impact by 2030."); demographic patterns ("We believe that in the world of 2030 -- a world in which a growing global population will have reached somewhere close to 8.3 billion people (up from 7.1 billion in 2012) -- four demographic trends will fundamentally shape, although not necessarily determine, most countries' economic and political conditions and relations among countries." They include aging, a shrinking number of youthful societies, migration, and growing urbanization); growing food, water, and energy nexus ("Demand for food, water and energy will grow by approximately 35, 50 and 50 percent respectively owing to an increase in the global population and the consumption patterns of an expanding middle class.").
But the report also includes a game-changer, "potential for increased conflict," particularly due to intrastate conflicts in countries with mature populations that contain politically dissonant, youthful, ethnic minorities. "Strife involving ethnic Kurds in Turkey, Shia in Lebanon and Pattani Muslims in southern Thailand are examples of such situations," the report's authors wrote. "Looking forward, the potential for conflict to occur in sub-Saharan Africa is likely to remain high even after some of the region's countries graduate into a more intermediate age structure because of the probable large number of ethnic and tribal minorities that will remain more youthful than the overall population." The Global Trends report:

Noting This Morning


National Security

How does the Pentagon stop Syria?

Panetta bids Johnson adieu; Austin to Central Command; The Pakistanis and the fertilizer problem; Those crazies at the Naval Academy, and more.

How will the Pentagon stop chemical weapons in Syria? The short answer is there are no good answers. Amid mixed reports that Damascus was or maybe was not poised to fall to the opposition, U.S. reports indicate the Syrian military is loading precursor chemicals for the nerve gas sarin into bombs -- inching closer to red lines that President Barack Obama has said would change his "calculus" on intervention there. The E-Ring's Kevin Baron spoke with Leonard Spector of the Monterey Institute for International Studies, who believes that the fact that chemical weapons have "pariah status" across the international community could make military intervention more palatable.

Spector: "These weapons are so outlawed, they're so disfavored, they're so abhorred by the international community that they resonate in a different way than explosives."

Meanwhile, the United Nations special envoy on Syria is advocating a diplomatic resolution that would push President Bashar al-Assad aside and pave the way for a transitional government. Lakhdar Brahimi met last night in Dublin with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

There's still a good chance Assad will not use his chemical weapons. But that's not actually the real threat. Writing on FP, Charles Blair: "The greater threat remains terrorist acquisition of chemical weapons if the military loses control over relevant sites and facilities. The Pentagon estimated earlier this year that it would take more than 75,000 troops to secure Syria's chemical weapons against theft -- and that assumes that U.S. intelligence knows precisely where they all are. After the fall of Baghdad, looters gained access to Iraq's Al-Qaqaa military installation, and close to 200 tons of military grade explosives vanished, even though there were 200,000 coalition forces available and the International Atomic Energy Agency had specifically warned of the explosives' vulnerability."

USIP's Paul Hughes to Situation Report on military options to counter Syria's chemical weapons: "In a nutshell, there aren't any good options; those that exist vary from worse to terrible. If we could control the weather, things might be better."

Welcome to Friday's Army-Navy edition of Situation Report, where picking sides does us no favors. Follow me @glubold. Or hit me anytime at , And sign up for Situation Report here: or just send me an e-mail and I'll put you on the list. And if you have a report, piece of news or tidbit you want teased, send it to us early for maximum tease.

In the run-up to the big game tomorrow, it's getting a little crazy at the Naval Academy. Here's what a bunch of people read from Vice Adm. Mike Miller, USNA's superintendent: "Greetings, In preparation for the humiliating defeat Army will be dealing to us in the near future, I have some guidance to pass down. First: when we stage for march-on, we need to clean up our act. The Internet has us pegged as dirty slobs (see: -- this year, we need to bring trash bags and clean up after ourselves. From what I understand, Army is embarrassed to even be associated with us. Second: clean up the actual march-on (see: Please at least pretend to be in the military. Dress right dress, don't talk at attention, etc. Seriously, this one is too easy. Third: we need to have better accountability of our goats (see:, This is also very embarrassing. Fourth: when Army sings second, we will be respectful and professional. Fifth: we need to be better at cyber. [Italics mine.] Finally, I award you all with PMI [sleep-ins] until Christmas. Maybe even a little longer, depending on how morale is going after Army defeats us on Saturday. Cheers. Go Army, Sink Navy!"
USNA public affairs: "Vice Adm. Miller's email was not hacked and there was no damage to USNA systems. A spoofed email was sent which appeared to be from Vice Adm. Miller.... There was no need to correct the record as the email was recognized by all as an Army-Navy Spirit Week prank. Go Navy! Judy Campbell."

Surprise, surprise: Lloyd Austin is going to Central Command. Today, the Pentagon announced that Austin would in fact be nominated to go to U.S. Central Command, as long thought, to succeed Gen. Jim Mattis, who is expected to retire to Walla Walla, as he's joked for years. There were different names suggested for Central Command, but Austin's was considered the most likely. Kevin Baron: "The Pentagon will rely on Austin's thinking far beyond Afghanistan as the military becomes increasingly entangled with local militaries and security forces across the Middle East and North Africa, chasing the spread of al Qaeda and other extremists groups."

Panetta bids adieu to Jeh Johnson. The Pentagon's lawyer, Jeh Johnson, announced he was leaving the post at the end of the month. Panetta: "Jeh is one of our nation's most respected legal minds, and he's taken on a number of important public service responsibilities throughout his career, including as a federal prosecutor and as General Counsel of the U.S. Air Force."

Johnson, who had been rumored to be a candidate for attorney general, has "guided me and the Department through some tense, real-world developments," according to Panetta's statement. Johnson helped develop policy on the use of force, detention, prosecution, and cyber-security; and his "persuasive analysis" also played a big role in the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," which has "allowed gay and lesbian service members to serve with integrity and honor."

Rosa Brooks writes on FP: "Confessions of a strategic communicator" after the Pentagon's decision to axe "strategic communications," at least as a term. "This latest memo is just another shot fired in the ongoing skirmish between those who believe that strategic communication is merely an unnecessary euphemism for "communications" -- meaning, basically, press statements and talking points -- and thus should be controlled by public affairs offices, and those who believe strategic communication is a confusing term, but one that has nonetheless come to stand for something complex and important, something that has more to do with "strategy" than with "communications." I'm in the latter camp."

The frustrating fight against the Pakistanis and their bags of fertilizer. The Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization is pointing to a record numbers of IED "events" in Afghanistan last year, but also the declining number of IEDs that are effective against troops - the number of those attacks has dropped 62 percent over last year and has steadily decreased for 15 straight months. And, the percentage of those killed in action from IEDs has dropped from 55 percent last year to 46 this year; the lowest in four years, JIEDDO says. It's evidence JIEDDO points to that it is itself effective against what remains the number one killer of troops in the war zone, thanks to a surge of equipment for troops, better training and other factors.
But Lt. Gen. Mike Barbero, the head of JIEDDO, tells Situation Report he struggles with one thing that is much harder to control: stopping the flow of ammonium nitrate, used to make the overwhelming majority of the homemade explosives used against troops in Afghanistan, from entering the country from Pakistan.

Homemade explosives account for 83 percent of IED "events," defined as found, cleared or detonated, and of that, 72 percent is made with ammonium nitrate. One bag of it can produce seven or eight IEDs, he said. "It's a supply issue," Barbero said.
The problem is not new. But there is increasing frustration among American officials that the Pakistanis seem unwilling to help do anything about the problem. "They can and need to do more," Barbero said. "The bottom line is, I know they could do more, it is an area so open for cooperation."
Among other efforts to slow the flow of the ammonium nitrate, Barbero has asked Pakistani fertilizer supplier FATIMA to add dye to their product, a relatively low-cost additive that will help border guards between Afghanistan and Pakistan identify the bags as bomb-making material. Even with an extremely porous border, that could make it harder for insurgents to transport the material, Barbero says. But efforts to get the Pakistani government to push the firm into adding the dye have not been successful, Barbero says.
"On the network and IED cooperation point there has been a lot of talk about cooperation with us, but there hasn't been any real cooperation," Barbero said of the Pakistanis.

A model for the future? Meanwhile, Barbero co-chairs an interagency group called the Homemade Explosive Task Force, which Barbero says should inform the way U.S. governmental agencies tackle other problems - in concert. The task force cuts across a number of agencies, from Treasury to Homeland Security to Justice and Commerce, and meets every six weeks or so to get after what Barbero calls the lifeblood of bomb makers: money.  The group employs a number of "non-kinetic actions" from defense trade controls to designating bomb making facilitators -- the banks or businesses that help them -- and attempts to better understand the financial networks that keep bomb makers in business. Barbero pointed to the arrest of an Afghan currency dealer recently who was accused by the U.S. Treasury Department of using his chain of money transfer shops to funnel "significant funds for the Taliban commander leading operations in the province," according to a story in The Telegraph Nov. 30.
"In looking at this, I think we need to develop what I call financial intelligence," Barbero says. "My take is in the U.S. government, everybody does a little financial intelligence, nobody does enough. What we need is a holistic approach to these networks," he said.

JIEDDO's future remains in doubt, however. The organization, begun in 2006, has been funded to the tune of more than $18 billion. Some believe that as the war in Afghanistan winds down, so should the funding of JIEDDO, if not the organization itself. And as Pentagon budgeters look at places to cut, JIEDDO is an obvious target. Funded entirely by the supplemental war accounts, Pentagon leaders are considering if the organization should be folded into a permanent structure -- perhaps under Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, or maybe make the Army executive agent of the organization, thus giving it a permanent bureaucratic home. JIEDDO, which has asked for funding of $1.9 billion and has made cuts to its underperforming programs and will reduce its staff by 25 percent, believes it must stay intact to counter the IED threat around the world, not just Afghanistan. And for his part, Barbero says he is not trying to preserve the organization, just the capabilities it provides.