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I invite you to read my other printed work at https://frostknife.github.io
I invite you to read my other printed work at https://frostknife.github.io
The Importance of Ukraine
Russia cannot occupy Ukraine for long, nor would it want to. Occupation takes time, eventual destabilizes itself and is a drain on the economy from both increased attrition and the baseline cost of the occupation effort. Other negative effects from overt occupation are poor optics and a bargaining item for other nations to use should Russia need to ‘go to the table’ for some reason. Explicit occupation in the long term has too many disadvantages.
Occupation by influence through asymmetric methods has more to offer as a control instrument than explicit occupation and employs a self-sustaining model to maintain the influence and control over the long term.
The Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) and the Luhansk People's Republic (LPR) will remain under more positive Russian control because they are pro-Russian areas and will not require explicit occupation to maintain control. They are autonomous, self-sufficient, pro-Russian areas requiring little external support.
The areas outside these autonomous republics will be controlled by denying positive control by Ukraine/NATO through promotion and maintenance of Low Intensity Conflict, of which, part of this will be constant skirmishes between foreign fighters. This is an example of hybrid warfare/greyzone conflict being employed to control an area over outright occupation. In this case, control of this area through asymmetric means denies NATO occupation and provides freedom of maneuver for Russian economic maneuver and access to economic coastal and inter-modal infrastructure for Russia. Since the greyzone is short of conventional war, infrastructure will be on some spectrum of operational, maintaining the area under asymmetric control useful in the future.
From the perspective of the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI), the infrastructures found within the DPR/LPR offer closeness to BRI (Kazakhstan) and those market areas surrounding the Black Sea. This area is an important component to the BRI and one that NATO, the US and EU would like to maintain, hence, a desire to develop a relationship with Ukraine while excluding Russia as a means of isolating them as a chief competitor and also controlling China geopolitical expansion. While the USA is not part of the BRI, influence and control of this area provides USA access to the Initiative, therefore, USA interest in Ukraine. Fingers in pies.
DPR/LPR are vital to Russian strategic interests in that area and abroad since control of these areas affords security of the ports and inter-modal infrastructure around the Black Sea and Sea of Azov. Otherwise, Russia is left with St. Petersburg and Kaliningrad. Kaliningrad is bordered by two NATO countries with a sea area that can rapidly come under NATO control. Russia does not control the inter-modal infrastructure servicing this port. St. Petersburg is Russia’s most important port but also, a single point of vulnerability that can be blockaded by NATO. St. Petersburg is distant to the Black Sea area does not provide infrastructure for the Black Sea economic area. Not every port has necessary capability to move shipping containers.
(Below, Odessa container ship port)
Having only St. Petersburg as a port puts Russia in a sack and denies it influence in the Black Sea. Rostov, another important Russian port, is in the easily controllable Sea of Azov cul-de-sac.
Russian influence in this area would be amplified by successful occupation of Ukraine since now Russia can control/influence the Black Sea markets and provide services to countries historically belligerent to the USA and the West in addition to providing economic infrastructures not controlled by the USA or the west.
The attempts to instigate a coup or revolution in Kazakhstan may be seen though this lens. Kazakhstan plays an integral role in the BRI because of it’s adjacency to both China and Russia as a distribution mid-point and destabilization of this area would harm BRI progress and counter-China’s objectives and contain Russia. Neither China nor Russia benefit from a coup in Kazakhstan. The western democracies do benefit from instability in this area.
The national security implications for the USA are simply that such an initiative would further shape the world into a multi-polar organization, replacing the present USA dominated global organization. The USA would lose influence and control into those countries historically belligerent to the USA: Iran, Syria, etc. Russia would also gain influence to EU countries of eastern Europe, thereby challenging EU. Russia would become a larger player in deliver goods and services to Africa as well. None of this bodes well for the USA.
Some specific implications are: degrade/deny USA economic control, i.e., sanctions, and the revenue from this undertaking, de-dollarfication and the combined nuclear military capability of Russia and China that provide security to this initiative. This initiative is something USA cannot afford to have happen since it will dislodge USA from it’s current status and the USA has insufficient resources to counter the combined military and economic power of Russia and China. The USA wants a USA-centric mostly unipolar world, not a multipolar world where it has to share.
So, when viewing the ‘news,’ we should be aware there are higher, geopolitical dynamics in operation to effect a large economic infrastructure that will transform the geopolitical organization.
There is an assumption that DDoSecrets is conducting itself illegally, but this is an incorrect assumption based on faulty premises.
When the Right is confronted with an incorrect assumption, it doesn't check it's premises, it double downs on the assumption and supports the assumption with a conspiracy theory—-a substitute for valid premises and conspiracy theories are a substitute for education and good decision making.
It is not illegal to host leaked and hacked data found on the Internet, it's a Constitutionally protected activity, and until a closer relationship can be made between DDoSecrets and the hackers/leakers, then DDoSecrets remain a legal activity.
The Right hates this of course, and they should, DDoSecrets is part of the enemy Order of Battle. But DDoSecrets and others continue to win because they evaluate their environment objectively and form valid hypothesis and premises about the environment from this evaluation. The Left has superior situation awareness in most domains because of this.
This isn't the entire Left, but professional groups like DDoSecrets are certainly there and evidence operational sophistication.
The Right has no idea what I'm writing here. The Right cannot describe it's environment and it's effects let alone use that information to further it's objectives, if it had any objectives at all.
The Right isn't a movement, it has no sense of solidarity. Eric Striker makes an assumption that DDoSecrets is the group that hacks Rightest sites, rather than it's a group that acts in (legal) solidarity with any group that hacks Rightest websites and provides hosting for hacked/leaked data. There is no evidence that DDoSecrets is conducting the hacking, but there is evidence that DDoSecrets hosts hacked data.
Striker posits an idea the U.S. government acts in collusion with the hackers since GiveSendGo was hacked right after the Canadian government prohibited truckers from receiving donations, it does not consider that an hactivist group conducted an operation anonymously and autonomously, in solidarity with other Leftists.
It's like the Right can only see vague Leftist/government conspiracies instead of a well organized network of activists acting in solidarity with one another, sometimes anonymously. The Right can only see these conspiracy theories because “well organized network” is outside of it's perceptual envelope, therefore the Right substitutes fact for conspiracy in an attempt to characterize it's environment.
This is a fatal condition in the long-run. Animals and organizations that cannot correctly evaluate their environment and make correct decisions based on that evaluation will not survive.
Because electoral politics depend on media and communications to develop popular support, the advent of Internet media technologies is an additional factor in the evolution of insurgency as it was, to 4th GW, since now media production and broadcast is distributed, easy to access with a Low COE and high ROI. This eliminated the traditional mainstream media stovepipes available to larger actors like national political parties and other wealthy groups. These stovepipes were a critical control in keeping other political groups contained, either through optics or denial of service.
This may partially explain why previous insurgencies and 4GW differ, Scale and accessible media allows every group develop a popular support base, as evidenced on social media during the Charlottesville and BLM protests.
As a background, Guerilla Warfare (insurgency) has the same needs, dynamics and mechanics that that wars between nations express, but in a “non-state” environment, not simply at a smaller scale. The differences between guerilla warfare and state warfare are differences in resource infrastructure—-from people to physical logistics and organizational resources and mostly, the attitude of the public towards the group, which is legitimacy. The State commands infrastructure beyond what the insurgent has, who has to develop and vertically integrate their own infrastructure to challenge the State.
Insurgency is not a short-cut to political end-states. It’s a mechanism, like the electoral mechanism, where a group may obtain political end-states and or some part of the political apparatus without the electorate pers se.
Insurgency is the low-cost, DIY alternative to electoral politics.
Whether electoral or insurgent mechanisms to acquire political power, both require popular support and that is the function of the groups influence apparatus. In U.S. Army Special Forces, the psychological warfare battalion is that influence resource. The Non-State Group has the Internet and other traditional means. Established groups like Hezbollah have a long-standing dedicated media organization that maintains a popular support base.
It is popular support that is the foundation of Movement, a people going in some political direction to affect social, cultural, etc. changes. The concept here is a mass of people, driven to some broad objective accomplish that objective through pressuring the incumbent government. That pressure must carry a threat of violence otherwise it is impotent.
The View Looking Up (status-quo)
Now, any Non-State Actor now has the capability to influence and organize their respective resistances. Here is the crux of “all politics are now insurgencies.” Where mainstream media historically was able to control and shape the narrative of the Non-State Actor, and would work with the State (and parties) for mutually profitable ends, now, that capability is much diminished and profitable influence is now possible for any group.
Since 4GW describes itself as “crisis of legitimacy,” then we can see that every identity group can become a Non-State Actor since no group is satisfied with an election and they have self-made media to present that dissatisfaction. Legitimacy derives from perception and perception management is the propaganda Center of Gravity.
The ecosystem is the Incumbent Government, Other Groups, Corporations, the Insurgent and the People. Other groups are competitors but hostile groups threaten the Insurgent as a belligerent, non-hostile Groups consume resources, like public perception, that contribute to Insurgent inefficient and greater work for existing resources that could be directed at the Incumbent Government and threat groups. Corporations have taken sides and demonstrated traditional media control by denying far-right groups communications access and that makes them belligerents in Low Intensity Conflict.
It is popular support that accomplishes the goals of the insurgency, violence is only a tool to support the will of the popular support, like military force is only a tool to substantiate diplomacy.
Insurgency or insurgent-like politics has demonstrated effectiveness against the State (the incumbent government) not only in installing a government, but also as a mechanism of social change for groups challenging the elected government at any level of U.S. government. The Civil Rights protests and recent BLM protests are examples.
The Lateral View
Guerilla warfare is the future Course of Action for group competition in the post-modern world. Since groups that view the elected government as illegitimate may share some commonality, the overall worldview and endstates are opposite. Since these groups seek a better world without the other (moral/ethical reasons) and are in competition with each other for the perception and the government resource (technical reasons), then intergroup conflict is expected and observable as in the case between the right-wing groups and Antifa.
Since the State may not have the will or resources to intercede, or be quick enough to deploy police, then each group will develop self-defense functionality. In insurgency, this functionality is applicable as a force behind their politics and also the force needed to survive in intergroup competition.
In light of the Big Tech and Big Finance shutting out various right-wing groups, there are efforts to vertically integrate alternative social media and finance in order to survive. Here are early attempts at infrastructure development—-the vital requirement for autonomous movements and regions, to evolve resources that cannot be denied.
If groups seeking the resources of the State, resources nominally available to an election winner, do not obtain sufficient access to these resources (the entirety of the government as a resource), then they’ll continue to agitate until satisfaction, become dormant or merge with similar groups.
Every identity group is in this sphere now. This essay maintains that any group with a shared identity will employ insurgent methods as the seek political and social goals.
As groups employ insurgency to accomplish political endstates, the State will have to employ counter-insurgency methods beyond policing. This was evidenced in the BLM protests when national guard units were deployed and began various employing influence techniques to non-kinetically resolve the protest, non-kinetic techniques are influence operations, are a vital part of counter-insurgency. This can only amplify as non-state actors continue to scale and agitate.
The future social mean is Low Intensity Conflict as each group competitor seeks satisfaction in their political and social goals while engaging in intergroup competition and other groups seek to maintain their position.
This essay maintains that criminal groups have an interest in keeping their present society functionating “as is,” since it is the source of profit. Insurgent groups seeking to fund their operations through illicit market activities, also seek social change through political action, and would change that paradigm. At a granular level, criminal groups Center of Gravity is profit, an insurgent group is political (social).
Both converge because both seek profit, the black market landscape is specific for illegal goods and that is a narrower market landscape than the licit market. This market terrain is why criminal and insurgent groups converge. Both criminal groups and insurgent groups must use methodologies to maintain the security of their respective enterprises. The actuation of these methodologies by criminal and insurgent groups is why there is similarity in behavior. Hence, similarities between criminal groups and insurgent groups are found at these convergences of behavior, both dictated by the terrain.
Groups may engage in illegal market activities for some combination of the following reasons, but may have sufficient operational perspective that illicit market activities not only provides a source of revenue, but produces non-kinetic military effects in a target economy, making the process of illicit finance not only profitable in revenue generation, but also as weapon. This serves to induce a positive feedback loop for the group: it produces military effects and makes a profit to fund further effects.
Reasons Certain Groups Employ Illicit Market Activities
-They are a proscribed group and cannot make use of the economic infrastructure.
-They cannot make use of the economic infrastructure for OPSEC reasons, i.e., Internet surveillance, financial reporting, accounting forensics. This is an application of signature reduction to reduce visibility of the group in Information Systems and to prevent the development of evidence, such as selectors that could be employed in investigative network mapping and simply to prevent the group from being discovered.
-The commission of illicit market activities may produce military effects on the population, degrade the economy of the constituted government, as in the case of counterfeit goods. Just as overt market activities can be “done for the greater good” and be profitable, illicit market activities can be planned to influence the population “for the greater good of the insurgent” and still be profitable.
The recent Opioid Crisis in Appalachia is an example, where degradation of economic, social and cultural centers where amplified by the illicit sale of opioids through ad-hoc and minimally effective clandestine groups.
Since insurgent groups are small and under-resourced, then maximization of existing resources becomes paramount. Maximization requires environmental and market intelligence, planning. Center of Gravity analysis and the Military Decision Making Process (MDMP) becomes an essential tools. Illicit market activities employ the full spectrum of military planning since it is a paramilitary activity. Effective clandestine networks for any purpose must be engineered to fit the environment.
In illicit market activities, that maximization can only occur under security provided by secure communications and tradecraft. All things have to be present. With secured operation, then small group efficiencies are produced by preventing un-needed investigative scrutiny and disruption by other groups and the state security services. More, since the State is large and commands considerable investigative resources, operations security, and tradecraft become essential.
The insurgent use of illicit market activities follows insurgent provision of security first, before market actuation (sales, transport, etc.). Typically, illicit markets, such as drugs, are ad-hoc affairs with the results being porosity and unwanted attention—-all contributing to enterprise inefficiencies. When additional inefficiencies are included: the behaviors of the customers, then a much larger inefficiency is realized. While customer inefficiencies cannot be controlled for, the group can control for inefficiencies up to the interface between the group and customer—-security to the edge.
Broadly, the environmental in this enterprise are human (the group, customer, competitor groups and the state security services). State surveillance resources are so vast, granular and automatic that they are the key environmental that drives security practices. Cryptocurrencies are attractive for purchases not because they are trendy, but because the counter state surveillance.
Security practices for the State matter will be effective for the competitor and customer groups, since this involves mostly signature reduction. Competitor groups may also supply the illicit product for sale by the Group, so, signature reduction acts as a means to prevent this relationship from being known and exploited, say, by higher costs for product or outright warfare as in the case of the Mexican cartels.
Competitor groups include organizations and persons that seek to penetrate a group for some purpose, like journalists. They compete for positive social recognition that the insurgent group maintains—-legitimacy. As seen in media, journalists have infiltrated groups (because of non-existent security) and their exposes damaged the Groups public perception. Again, security, particularly signature reduction, minimizes and controls the observable surface of the insurgent group. The “fact of” a journalist contacting a member for a discussion is an indicator of poor security. Since the State security services have better surveillance, what then does this journalist penetration tell of the Groups overall security?
The success of locally developed submersible and semi-submersible watercraft represents an important technology advancement in the strategic clandestine logistics required for guerilla campaigns. These watercraft, developed originally for narcotics transportation by South American organizations, has produced a technology application beyond narcotics trafficking.
Accomplishing political endstates, sometimes by military means, is the purpose of an insurgent group and successful interdiction of matériel is part of the counter-insurgency strategy in order to deny the insurgent group it’s political victories. So, successful interdiction goes far beyond the jingoistic “keeping our streets safe” trope and goes more to denying dissident groups the political terrain that is possible only through armed resistance. The capability to establish and maintain supply chains by covert watercraft will continue to be an important part of insurgency and through this, will continue innovation. Since non-detection defeats the security regime, development will trend in this direction, and possibly to other counter-measures.
In 1987, the French authorities captured a boat at Brest, France destined for Ireland and carrying 150 tons of munitions for the IRA. Such an interdiction represents not only the loss of money but also the loss of logistics needed to IRA effectuate their political end-states. An operations planner would say this is an High Value Target —– matériel the enemy needs to accomplish a Course of Action. High Value Targets receive priority attention.
Today, a surface boat would not be the first choice for costly and high value cargos. Today, the low-observable, semi-submersible boat or submarine is the vehicle of choice for sensitive, expensive and critical materiel needed for an insurgency. Why risk the investment, and the logistics, when for twice the amount, a suitable covert vessel might be constructed to better ensure delivery of the goods?
Twice the amount sounds inefficient and expensive, but the organization could reuse this craft several times before destruction or interdiction made it unavailable. Depending on group relationships and business savvy, the semi-submersible would be spun-off into a profitable side venture where it would generate revenue for the organization while paying for itself, vertical integration and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), but also be available to the parent organization when needed. Or, sold, or sunk after some short useful life since berthing presents a larger detection surface.
Logistics operations are a type of special operation: operations requiring small groups of highly trained personnel engaging in high-risk, high-payoff activities against a sophisticated adversary. But crewing a such a Low Observable Vessel is a risky proposition. If captured, then these crew could provide valuable intelligence regarding the organization. Since countries like the United's States have legislation criminalizing crewing such vessels with federal prison terms of up to 20 years, with the purpose making recruitment of specialist boat crews difficult, then technological solutions are readily apparent.
The way forward in clandestine logistics is autonomous operation—–“dronifying” the vessel. Here, the need for a crew is eliminated and replaced with technology. A variety of commercial technologies and open source technologies are available and modifiable for this application. Drone systems lend themselves to experimentation and local development more so than vessel fabrication itself and drone systems have a large foundation in both experimenter and components.
The drone operation could be autonomous, remote controlled or partially autonomous. In this, a long-distance sea route is under autonomous control, then, the “last mile” connection is under remote control, or manned operation, for this shortest segment of the route.
Since now the attack surface has been minimized to criminal and intelligence investigations, a question may remain what to do with that now unused crew space? Here are some likely avenues of development —– the space is used for additional cargo or additional fuel.
From a security perspective, additional fuel is the COA, since now the craft might use this additional “at-sea” capability to navigate routes formerly restricted by human crew requirements, taking the vessel outside of normal patrol areas and therefore reducing surveillance attack surface. Additionally fuel allows counter-surveillance segments to be built in the route that mask the start and endpoints.
Additional fuel opens up opportunities for security. Comparatively, the additional cargo space is not as profitable as the successful delivery of that materiel required for group operational success, which is its purpose and thus, critical for survival.
The development of autonomous operation, as it eliminates the need for crew rotation, provides the capability to scale covert boat logistics, and once scaled, other opportunities, like decoy boats as counter-measures, becomes profitable in the risk management sense of the word.
H.I. Sutton, Covert Shores.