Defense Support of Civil Authorities, Updated

Before the Department of Defense can use an unmanned aerial system within the United States for domestic operations such as search and rescue missions or disaster response, specific authorization from the Secretary of Defense is necessary.

However, if DoD wants to use a UAS to help control domestic civil disturbances (such as a riot or insurrection), then further authorization from the President of the United State is required.

The patchwork of legal authorities and requirements for domestic military missions is presented in a newly updated DoD manual on Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA).

Military support to civil authorities may be prompted by a variety of natural disasters and emergencies, including wildfires, earthquakes, floods, chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear accidents or attacks, and — a new addition — cyber incidents. But such domestic missions have their own peculiar characteristics.

“Operations conducted by the US military in the homeland and US territories are very different from operations conducted overseas,” the DoD manual says, particularly since they are executed “under the authority and within the limitations of federal, state, and local laws.”

In particular, “For fear of military encroachment on civil authority and domestic governance, the PCA [Posse Comitatus Act] and policy limit DOD support to LEA [Law Enforcement Agencies],” the manual says.

More specifically, “DOD directives prohibit interdicting vehicles, searches and seizures, arrest, and similar activities (e.g., apprehension, stop, and frisk). Furthermore, engaging in questioning potential witnesses; using force or threats to do so, except in self-defense or defense of others; collecting evidence; forensic testing; and surveillance or pursuit of individuals or vehicles is prohibited.”

On the other hand, “the Insurrection Act permits the POTUS [President of the United States] to use armed forces under a limited set of specific circumstances and subject to certain limitations.”

(The President has used the authority under the Insurrection Act twice in recent history. In September 1989 the President ordered federal troops to the US Virgin Islands to restore order in the aftermath of Hurricane Hugo. In April 1992 the President ordered federal troops to restore order in Los Angeles during riots following the Rodney King verdict.)

The updated manual includes a new appendix presenting a matrix of domestic military missions along with the relevant approval authority and policy guidance.

For the first time, the manual includes “cyberspace-related incidents” among the circumstances that may trigger military involvement in domestic matters.

“Large-scale cyber incidents may overwhelm government and private-sector resources by disrupting the internet and taxing critical infrastructure information systems. Complications from disruptions of this magnitude may threaten lives, property, the economy, and national security…. State and local networks operating in a disrupted or degraded environment may require DOD assistance.”

See Multi-Service Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA), Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, September 2015.

The authorized use of DoD unmanned aerial systems in domestic operations is described in Guidance for the Domestic Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Policy Memorandum 15-002, February 17, 2015.

Pentagon’s Cyber Mission Force Takes Shape

The Department of Defense plans to complete the establishment of a new Cyber Mission Force made up of 133 teams of more than 6000 “cyber operators” by 2018, and it’s already nearly halfway there.

From FY2014-2018, DoD intends to spend $1.878 billion dollars to pay for the Cyber Missions Force consisting of approximately 6100 individuals in the four military services, DoD said in response to a question for the record that was published in a congressional hearing volume last month.

“This effort began in October 2013 and today we have 3100 personnel assigned to 58 of the 133 teams,” or nearly 50% of the intended capacity, DoD wrote in response to a question from Rep. Rick Larsen (D-WA) of the House Armed Services Committee. The response was included in the published record of a February 26, 2015 Committee hearing (page 67).

The DoD Cyber Mission Force was described in an April 2015 DoD Cyber Strategy and in April 2015 testimony by Assistant Secretary of Defense Eric Rosenbach:

“The Department of Defense has three primary missions in cyberspace: (1) defend DoD information networks to assure DoD missions, (2) defend the United States against cyberattacks of significant consequence, and (3) provide full-spectrum cyber options to support contingency plans and military operations,” Mr. Rosenbach said.

“To carry out these missions, we are building the Cyber Mission Force and equipping it with the appropriate tools and infrastructure to operate in cyberspace. Once fully manned, trained, and equipped in Fiscal Year 2018, these 133 teams will execute USCYBERCOM’s three primary missions with nearly 6,200 military and civilian personnel,” Mr. Rosenbach said at an April 14 hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The new Cyber Mission Force will naturally have both defensive and offensive characteristics.

“Congressman, we are building these cyber teams… in order to, one, protect ourselves from cyber attacks,” said Adm. Cecil D. Haney, commander of U.S. Strategic Command. “We are being probed on a daily basis by a variety of different actors.”

“The protection side is one thing,” said Rep. Larsen at the February hearing of the House Armed Services Committee. “What about the other side?”

“The other aspect of it, we are distributing these forces out to the various combatant commands so that they can be integrated into our overall joint military force capability,” Adm. Haney replied.

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“Worldwide Cyber Threats” was the subject of an open hearing of the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday.

The foreign intrusions suffered by U.S. government and private networks have yielded some useful lessons, said Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper.

“Of late, unauthorized disclosures and foreign defensive improvements have cost us some technical accesses, but we are also deriving valuable new insight from cyber security investigations of incidents caused by foreign actors and new means of aggregating and processing big data. Those avenues will help offset some more traditional collection modes that are obsolescent,” he told the Committee.

Security Assistance & Foreign Internal Defense

Through its international security assistance programs, the United States advances its foreign policy agenda, exercises influence, sometimes wreaks havoc or abets abusive conduct, and now and then does good things.

Security assistance refers to a variety of programs involving arms sales abroad, military training of foreign security services, and other defense-related activities.

A new non-profit website called Security Assistance Monitor presents “all publicly available data on U.S. foreign security assistance programs worldwide from 2000 to the present.”

It is a project of the Center for International Policy, with the Friends Committee on National Legislation, Latin America Working Group Education Fund, Project on Middle East Democracy, and Washington Office of Latin America.

Richly documented and handsomely presented, it is an impressive new resource for journalists and students of international security policy.

Foreign Internal Defense (FID) is a related but distinct concept. Both involve support to foreign governments, but unlike security assistance, FID may include U.S. military operations as well as other forms of non-military aid.

FID “involves application of the instruments of U.S. national power in support of a foreign nation confronted by threats,” according to a new U.S. Army manual that explores the issue in depth. See Foreign Internal Defense, Army Techniques Publication (ATP) 3-05.2, August 19, 2015.

“FID may include financial, intelligence, and law enforcement assistance” as well as military support in some cases. “The fundamental goal is to prevent a downward spiral of instability by forestalling and defeating threats and by working to correct conditions that may prompt violence.”

Regulating US Air Force Contacts with China

The U.S. Air Force last week issued updated guidance both to foster and to limit contacts with Chinese military personnel, based in part on classified Defense Department directives.

“With the rise of PRC influence in the international community and the increasing capabilities of the Chinese military, Air Force military-to-military relationship with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), and the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) is becoming more crucial than before,” the Air Force document stated.

See Conduct of USAF Contacts with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Government of the Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) of the PRC, Air Force Instruction 16-118, August 5, 2015.

The Instruction provides a framework for conducting reciprocal US-PRC visits to each other’s military installations.

“The success of these visits, whether US or PRC-led, directly affects relationships between the US and the PRC, as well as our relationships with our allies and partners, and is thereby important in support of national and regional politico-military objectives.”

But the Instruction also identifies numerous topical areas that are likely to be off-limits for USAF-PRC military contacts.

“[P]rohibited contacts… may involve: force projection operations, nuclear operations, advanced combined-arms and joint combat operations, advanced logistical operations, chemical and biological defense and other capabilities related to weapons of mass destruction, surveillance and reconnaissance operations, joint war-fighting experiments and other activities related to a transformation in warfare, military space operations, other advanced capabilities of the armed forces, arms sales or military-related technology transfers, release of classified or restricted information, and access to a DoD laboratory.”

The new USAF Instruction implements two classified DoD Instructions, which have not been released: Department of Defense Instruction (DoDI) C-2000.23, Conduct of DoD Contacts with the People’s Republic of China (PRC), and DoDI S-2000.24, Conduct of DoD Contacts with the Government of Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) of the PRC.

The Congressional Research Service produced a related report on U.S.-China Military Contacts: Issues for Congress, updated October 27, 2014.

Environmental Considerations in Military Operations

The environmental impacts of military operations are increasingly becoming factors in the planning and execution of military activities.

“The military has a new appreciation for the interdependence between military missions, the global community, and the environment,” according to a newly revised and reissued Army doctrinal manual. See Environmental Considerations, ATP 3-34.5, August 10, 2015.

Of course, military operations by their nature are not environment-friendly. “The primary mission of the military is to fight and win wars. Warfare is destructive to humans and to the natural environment.”

Even so, environmental impacts of military action can be limited and managed up to a point, the Army manual says. “Integrating environmental considerations into the planning process helps to identify, prevent, and mitigate potential threats to the environment (including those that affect historical and cultural resources) and environmental threats to personnel.”

This is not a matter of sentimentality or political correctness, the manual emphasizes, but of military self-interest and tactical necessity. “Integrating environmental considerations into operations will benefit FHP [force health protection, i.e. the health of U.S. and allied soldiers]. Environmental degradation jeopardizes the well-being of the local population and can undermine HN [host nation] support for U.S. policies.”

“Environmental damage created by U.S. forces conducting operations, however unintentional (such as the damage to Babylon), may be used as a weapon in the public information campaign against U.S. operations and can undermine U.S. strategic objectives,” the manual says.

Establishment of a U.S. military base in Iraq’s historic city of Babylon in 2003 caused “major damage” to surviving antiquities at the site, the Washington Post and other news organizations reported.

Air Force Issues Guidance on “Media Operations”

As a rule, U.S. Air Force personnel should not employ physical violence against news reporters who disobey their instructions, newly updated Air Force guidance says.

If reporters are present at the scene of an accident or incident in which Air Force classified information is exposed, Air Force officials should “explain the situation and ask the media to cooperate.”

But “Do not use force if media representatives refuse to cooperate unless declared an NDA [National Defense Area],” the Air Force guidance advises.

“If photographs are taken after a warning is issued, Air Force officials must ask civilian law enforcement authorities to stop further photography of the exposed classified information and to collect all materials with that coverage.”

However, “If no civilian law enforcement authorities are on the scene and media representatives take unauthorized pictures, do not seize the materials or hold the photographer.” Rather, the senior Air Force official at the scene should “immediately contact the managing editor or news director” of the news organization and “request the return of media coverage having suspected classified information.”

That is one of the scenarios envisioned in a newly updated Air Force Instruction 35-104 on “Media Operations,” dated 13 July 2015.

The Instruction generally favors constructive engagement with the news media, both on principle and out of self-interest.

“Releasing official information through the media can help create, strengthen, or preserve conditions favorable for the advancement of national interest and policies, as well as mitigate any adverse effects from unofficial, misinformed, or hostile sources,” the Instruction states.

Of course, Air Force personnel are directed “not [to] release classified information” to members of the news media. Interestingly, however, the new Instruction also says that there are “circumstances when exposure to sensitive or classified information is allowed.”

“The commander may grant access [to sensitive or classified information] if the reporter agrees to a security and policy review of the communication product. Agreement to a security and policy review in exchange for this type of access is strictly voluntary; however, if a reporter does not agree, then access to sensitive information may be denied. If a reporter agrees to a security and policy review, it will be conducted solely to ensure that sensitive or classified information is not included in the product.”

In general, “the primary responsibility for protecting classified information lies with the Air Force, not the reporter, and the reporter can justifiably refuse any requests for prior review,” the Air Force Instruction said.

China’s Science of Military Strategy (2013)

Updated below

In 2013, the Academy of Military Sciences of the People’s Liberation Army of China issued a revised edition of its authoritative, influential publication “The Science of Military Strategy” (SMS) for the first time since 2001.

“Each new edition of the SMS is closely scrutinized by China hands in the West for the valuable insights it provides into the evolving thinking of the PLA on a range of strategically important topics,” wrote Joe McReynolds of the Jamestown Institute.

A copy of the 2013 edition of the Science of Military Strategy — in Chinese — was obtained by Secrecy News and is posted on the Federation of American Scientists website (in a very large PDF).

“The availability of this document could be a huge boon for young China analysts who have not yet had the chance to buy their own copy in China or Taiwan,” said one China specialist.

An English translation of the document has not yet become publicly available.

But an overview of its treatment of nuclear weapons policy issues was provided in a recent essay by Michael S. Chase of the Jamestown Institute.

“Compared to the previous edition of SMS, the 2013 edition offers much more extensive and detailed coverage of a number of nuclear policy and strategy-related issues,” Mr. Chase wrote.

In general, SMS 2013 “reaffirms China’s nuclear No First Use policy…. Accordingly, any Chinese use of nuclear weapons in actual combat would be for ‘retaliatory nuclear counterstrikes’.”

With respect to deterrence, SMS 2013 states that “speaking with a unified voice from the highest levels of the government and military to the lowest levels can often enhance deterrence outcomes. But sometimes, when different things are said by different people, deterrence outcomes might be even better.”

SMS 2013 also notably included the first explicit acknowledgement of Chinese “network attack forces” which perform what the U.S. calls “offensive cyber operations.”

In a separate essay on “China’s Evolving Perspectives on Network Warfare: Lessons from the Science of Military Strategy,” Joe McReynolds wrote that the SMS authors “focus heavily on the central role of peacetime ‘network reconnaissance’ — that is, the technical penetration and monitoring of an adversary’s networks — in developing the PLA’s ability to engage in wartime network operations.”

On July 28, the Congressional Research Service updated its report on China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities — Background and Issues for Congress.

Update: The Union of Concerned Scientists has published a detailed review of the 2013 Science of Military Strategy, including translations of some key passages.

Air Force: Cyber Warriors Need Plenty of Rest

New guidance from the U.S. Air Force on the use of cyberspace weapons directs Air Force personnel to get a good night’s sleep prior to performing military cyberspace operations and to refrain from alcohol while on duty.

“Crew rest is compulsory for any crew member prior to performing any crew duty on any cyber weapon system,” the May 5 guidance says. “Each crew member is individually responsible to ensure he or she obtains sufficient rest during crew rest periods.”

Furthermore, “Crew members will not perform cyberspace mission duties within 12 hours of consuming alcohol or other intoxicating substances, or while impaired by its after effects,” the new Air Force guidance stated.

“This instruction prescribes operations procedures for cyberspace weapons systems under most circumstances, but it is not a substitute for sound judgment or common sense,” the Air Force said.

The document discusses the general conduct of Air Force cyber operations, including so-called “Real-Time Operations & Innovation” (RTOI) projects that enable the USAF “to generate tools and tactics in response to critical cyber needs at the fastest possible pace.”

See Cyberspace Operations and Procedures, Air Force Instruction 10-1703, volume 3, 5 May 2015.

With the growing normalization of defensive and (especially) offensive military operations in cyberspace, more and more U.S. military doctrine governing such activity is gradually being published on an unclassified basis. Some of the principal components of this emerging open literature include the following:

Cyberspace Operations, Joint Publication 3-12, 5 February 2013

Cyberspace Operations, Air Force Policy Directive 10-17, 31 July 2012

Command and Control for Cyberspace Operations, Air Force Instruction 10-1701, 5 March 2014

Legal Reviews of Weapons and Cyber Capabilities, Air Force Instruction 51-402, 27 July 2011

Information Assurance (IA) and Support to Computer Network Defense (CND), Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Instruction 6510.01F, 9 February 2011

Department of Defense Strategy for Operating in Cyberspace, July 2011

The Department of Defense Cyber Strategy, April 2015

Army Manual Withdrawn in Plagiarism Flap

Last month, the U.S. Army issued a new doctrinal publication entitled Cultural and Situational Understanding. This month, the publication was officially withdrawn by the Army after numerous instances of plagiarism were identified throughout the document.

Prof. Roberto J. Gonzalez authored a blistering critique of the publication (The US Army’s Serial Plagiarists, Counterpunch, May 1), providing one example after another of pilfered text that had been incorporated without acknowledgment or attribution to the source.

“As I began reading, I found the sections to be oddly disjointed; grammatical structures varied wildly. Perhaps my teaching experience made me suspicious,” wrote Prof. Gonzalez, who teaches at San Jose State University. “I decided to investigate.”

“Within half an hour I discovered four plagiarized passages. Soon after, I found ten more instances in which sentences or entire paragraphs were snatched from books, articles, or online sources without quotation marks or citations.”

Upon inspection of the document, it is not hard to confirm and extend Gonzalez’s analysis by doing an online search for some of the distinctive phrases or formulations that appear in the text.

So, for example, paragraph 1-57 of Cultural and Situational Understanding begins: “When cultures evolve into civilizations, one of the systems of social organization that typically develops and grows in complexity is government.”

A search for this sentence yields a nearly identical source in an online publication from 1997 called “What is Culture?”: “As cultures evolve into civilizations, one of the systems of social organization that typically develops and grows in complexity is government.”

It might be argued that an Army manual is not an academic publication, and that it is exempt from the canons of scholarly ethics, such as acknowledgment of sources. But probably not even the manual’s authors believe that. By taking the trouble to make insignificant word changes in many of the plagiarized passages (such as replacing “when” with “as” in the sentence cited above), they indicate an awareness of what they are doing, and perhaps also a bad conscience about having done it.

The Army document “disrespects the scholars whose work it has expropriated,” wrote Prof. Gonzalez. “It disrespects those peoples and cultures that appear as little more than means to the military’s ends. It disrespects American taxpayers who unwittingly finance such work. And it disrespects countless soldiers who rely upon its ‘expert’ knowledge.”

To its credit, however, the Army has now recognized the problem and it has acted on that recognition.

Last week, Gonzalez noted that Cultural and Situational Understanding — designated as report number ATP 3-24.3, and formerly posted here — had been taken offline.

This week, an Army spokesman confirmed that it had been formally withdrawn.

“After taking a closer look at the content in ATP 3-24.3, we have pulled the ATP from circulation and it is no longer an approved doctrine publication,” said Bill Ackerly, a public affairs officer for the US Army Combined Arms Center.

“The ATP will not be re-released until the content issue has been resolved,” he said via email yesterday.

An archived copy of the original, now-disavowed text of Cultural and Situational Understanding, ATP 3-24.3, remains available on the Federation of American Scientists website.

Update: See also U.S. Army Withdraws Flawed And Plagiarized Manual About “Cultural Understanding” by Dan Vergano, Buzzfeed, May 12.

Cultural Understanding in U.S. Army Doctrine

“Understanding culture is essential in conducting irregular warfare.”

That is the opening sentence in the introduction to a new U.S. Army publication on Cultural and Situational Understanding.

“Irregular warfare requires a deliberate application of an understanding of culture due to the need to understand a populated operational environment, what specifically is causing instability, the nature of the threat, and the ability to work with host-nation governments and security forces.”

The new Army doctrine on cultural understanding emerges from and builds upon existing Army counterinsurgency doctrine. It is “outward looking” and does not pause to contemplate the cultural foundations of the Army itself. See Cultural and Situational Understanding, Army Techniques Publication (ATP) 3-24.3, April 2015.

Update: For a critical perspective on this document, see The US Army’s Serial Plagiarists by Roberto Gonzalez, Counterpunch, May 1, 2015, and The Quiet Death of ATP 3-24.3 (A Plagiarism Postmortem), May 7, 2015.