The Home Game Has Arrived: Lessons from the 10th Asymmetric Threat Symposium

 

Last week I was privileged to attend the 10th Asymmetric Threat Symposium. It’s not the first of these I’ve attended but was clearly the best. Maybe the participants felt less restrained by politics and thus spoke more directly to the issues we truly face. Or maybe the quality of experts is rising. For whatever reason, the event was candid and sobering, even for me. The event was held near our nation’s capitol and was sponsored by CACI International, the Center for Security Policy, and ISW (Institute for the Study of War). The title:  What Does It Take to Protect America? Combatting Global Asymmetric Threats.

While the rules of the event require that comments be shared without attribution, I’m pleased to offer a recap for our readers. You can read the agenda and see information about prior versions at www.asymmetricthreat.netThe speakers and panelists were impressive. In fact, I counted 36 stars on the shoulders (Admirals and Generals) of about a dozen participants, both active and retired, not to mention academic and civilian experts.

There were many important points covered and I’ll recap just a few:

First, the question was asked and answered. Are we already at war? Continue reading

Iran said to have developed Shi’ite proxy force in Iraq for deployment elsewhere

The Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces has some 80,000 fighters. /AFP

 

Iran has in place thousands of loyal Shi’ite militiamen in Iraq that could be used as a permanent force in the region, deploying to hot spots in Syria, Yemen and elsewhere, analysts say.

There are some 80,000 fighters under Iran’s direction in the Hizbullah Brigades, Badr Organization and other groups that fall under the Iraq-approved umbrella group known as the Popular Mobilization Forces. Continue reading

Exclusive: 21 Generals Lead ISIS War the U.S. Denies Fighting

There are only 5,000 U.S. troops in Iraq—about what a colonel usually commands. But for this ISIS war, as many as 21 generals have been deployed. Why?

In the war against the self-proclaimed Islamic State, the U.S. military is notably short on soldiers, but apparently not on generals.

There are at least 12 U.S. generals in Iraq, a stunningly high number for a war that, if you believe the White House talking points, doesn’t involve American troops in combat. And that number is, if anything, a conservative estimate, not taking into account the flag officers running the U.S. air war, the admirals helping wage the war from the sea, or their superiors back at the Pentagon.

Continue reading

U.S. arms showing up in hands of pro-Assad militias

U.S. and Western weapons have been reaching Iranian-backed Shiite militias fighting to keep Bashar Assad’s forces in power in Syria.

Analysts say it’s unclear if the weapons were captured, stolen or bought on the black market in Syria, Turkey, Iraq or Libya. Propaganda photographs from Shiite militias posted on dozens of websites and Facebook pages show the weapons were acquired in new condition, said Phillip Smyth, an analyst for Jihadology.net, a site affiliated with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Continue reading