ASEAN’s Interoperability Challenges

by Paul Pryce. Paul Pryce is a Junior Research Fellow at the Atlantic Council of Canada. With degrees in political science from universities on both sides of the pond, he has previously worked in conflict resolution as a Research Fellow with the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and as an infantryman in the Canadian Forces. His current research interests include African security issues and NATO-Russia relations.

ASEAN member states.

ASEAN member states.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), an intergovernmental organization comprised of 10 member states, has set out to form a so-called Political-Security Community by the end of 2015. There certainly have been some accomplishments made with regarding to security integration since 2009, such as a series of dialogues on how to enhance maritime security cooperation and regional efforts against piracy. But there has been a glaring lack of substantive action to achieve interoperability, a particularly crucial aspect of security integration if ASEAN’s commitment to collective defence is to be anything more than a slogan.

One of the measures NATO has employed to achieve a deep level of interoperability is the adoption of a common standard for small arms ammunition. Regardless of the standard issue assault rifle utilized by a NATO member state’s infantry forces, all generally employ the 5.56x45mm NATO standard round. This allows soldiers of various nationalities to share ammunition when deployed alongside one another. However, in contrast, ASEAN lacks a common standard. The land forces of Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand all employ the 5.56x45mm NATO standard round, while the 7.62x39mm round once used by the Warsaw Pact countries are still the preferred ammunition of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam.

With an even split among the ASEAN member states, it will be difficult to reach consensus on a standard type of small arms ammunition. NATO certainly experienced some challenges with standardization during its period of expansion following the Cold War. New member states like Poland needed to quickly switch to the 5.56x45mm round as well as adopt standard operating procedures that had been honed through decades of joint exercises. But institutions like the NATO Standardization Agency have been able to coordinate the transfer of knowledge and assist in Alliance-level force planning to great success.

The Political-Security Community Blueprint adopted by ASEAN members in 2009 envisions no equivalent body to the NATO Standardization Agency. Article B.1 of the Blueprint proposes a system of regular meetings among defence officials, not just at the ministerial level. But an ad hoc approach to standardization will produce less than impressive results. Formalized institutions will be better able to evaluate the equipment and practices of ASEAN member state militaries, producing common standards and strategies on how to adopt these best practices.

Leaders of ASEAN pose for a group photo during the Welcome Dinner on May 10, 2014. In a joint statement , ASEAN foreign ministers expressed "serious concerns over the on-going developments" in the sea disputes with China.

Leaders of ASEAN pose for a group photo during the Welcome Dinner on May 10, 2014. In a joint statement , ASEAN foreign ministers expressed “serious concerns over the on-going developments” in the sea disputes with China.

The involvement of external actors might help ASEAN achieve greater coherence in this area. Japan has indicated a willingness to enhance ASEAN’s defence capabilities, such as by providing the maritime forces of Vietnam and the Philippines with patrol vessels. Although the standard issue assault rifle of Japan’s land forces – the Howa Type 89 – also employs the 5.56x45mm NATO standard round, a large-scale transfer of these small arms to Vietnam and other ASEAN members is unlikely. The Howa Type 89 has never been exported outside Japan due to the country’s strict anti-hardware export policy, though it must be noted that Shinzō Abe’s administration has been considering potential changes to this ban which could open the Howa Type 89 and other small arms designs to export.

It may fall to South Korea to take leadership in the region. The Daewoo K-2 issued to South Korea’s infantry forces uses the 5.56x45mm NATO standard round and the country has no bans on the export of its small arms and light weapons. Coincidentally, South Korea may also soon find itself with a very large surplus of K-2 assault rifles. The South Korean military is currently developing a next-generation rifle to replace the K-2, which is expected to be combat ready by 2020. As such, the country might soon find itself with more than 500,000 K-2 assault rifles in need of deactivation or destruction. A better option would be to transfer these arms to ASEAN member states interested in adopting the K-2 as their standard issue infantry weapon, enhancing ASEAN’s security capabilities, improving South Korea’s image in the region, and securing a future market for Daewoo Precision Industries’ products. Even if there are problems in the development process of South Korea’s future assault rifle, the country’s land forces are expected to bear the brunt of significant personnel reductions planned for 2020. This alone will leave South Korea with a stockpile worth transferring.

The Daewoo K-2 in action.

The Daewoo K-2 in action.

Regardless of whether South Korean officials recognize this opportunity, ASEAN’s Political-Security Community seems positioned for failure. Member states have proven unwilling to cede any authority to community-wide institutions, as reflected in the lack of an equivalent body to the NATO Standardization Agency. More than a distrust of ASEAN itself, the project suffers from a mutual distrust among member states. When rebels attempted to seize control of Malaysia’s Sabah region in early 2013, the Malaysian and Philippine governments lobbed accusations at each other. First, the Malaysian authorities demanded assurances from their Philippine counterparts that the rebels in Sabah were not receiving government assistance, perhaps as part of an attempt by the Philippines to annex the territory. In response, the Philippines raised questions as to whether Malaysian troops were using excessive force to put down the rebellion and were targeting the Philippine community living in Sabah. This escalated until Malaysia announced it would be boycotting the 2013 Asian Confederation Youth Boxing Championships and other international sporting events hosted by the Philippines that year.

Evidently, if ASEAN is unable to reduce tensions between member states at this stage, talk of a security community within Southeast Asia is overly optimistic. Rather, the region will need to work quickly to develop effective confidence- and security-building measures similar to those found in Europe. Information sharing on defence capabilities and the disposition of forces will be particularly essential in order to avoid the sort of infighting witnessed during the Sabah conflict. There is already some provision for this in the Political-Security Community Blueprint adopted previously, but it would be worthwhile to pursue even greater transparency, modelling the exchange of information on that originally pursued through the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty (CFE Treaty). Of course, such an ASEAN variation on the CFE Treaty should include serious punitive measures for non-compliance with the information exchange so as to avoid the disastrous effects of a unilateral withdrawal, such as that experienced in the wake of the Russian Federation suspending its participation in the CFE Treaty in 2007. Whether ASEAN member states can find the political will and take this step, unfortunately, is unclear. In the meantime, China will continue to advance its territorial claims in the South China Sea and elsewhere, faced only with the opposition of individual ASEAN member states.

More Information
Felix F. Seidler, “PATO statt NATO: Amerikas neue Wunschallianz?” (in German),, 27.03.2013.

Posted in English, International, Paul Pryce, South Korea | Leave a comment

Civilian aviation remains a target

Text by Dr. Andrew Davies. Dr. Andrew Davies is Senior Analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI). He is also the Director of Research, managing ASPI’s publications and research program. This article was published there at first.

9M317 surface-to-air missile on the Buk-M2 quadruple launcher at 2007 MAKS Airshow.

9M317 surface-to-air missile on the Buk-M2 quadruple launcher at 2007 MAKS Airshow.

The downing of MH17 is another reminder of the vulnerability of civilian aircraft to military weapons. When fired upon by a sophisticated missile system, airliners don’t stand much chance. Weather and collision-avoidance radars won’t give much, if any, warning of an incoming missile (and aren’t designed to) and there aren’t any onboard systems that would allow the aircraft to respond in any case. If the aircraft is in the missile’s engagement envelope—the ‘box’ of airspace the missile’s fuel and manoeuvrability allows it to reach—the outcome isn’t likely to be a happy one.

In short, the only way to keep airliners safe from missiles is to keep them away. For larger surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) of the type likely to have been involved in the recent atrocity, that means keeping a wide berth. A Russian SA-11 (likely last week’s culprit) can reach almost 46,000 ft (about 14,000m) , which is well above the cruising height of airliners around 30,000 ft (about 9,000 m).

As the week’s events demonstrated, airliners and tense environments populated by military systems aren’t a good mix. During Cold War tensions, the Soviet air force shot down a Korean airliner in 1983 (and damaged another in 1978) and in 1988 a United States Navy warship shot down an Iranian civilian Airbus on a routine flightpath following a skirmish between surface vessels. If nothing else, the MH17 event might lead to a tightening of the protocols for civilian air traffic over conflict zones — though working against that will be the economics of fuel consumption and ticket prices.

Keeping the aircraft away from the threat by avoiding war zones (or even military exercise areas) is one thing, but a look through the list of historical airliner shoot-down events reveals there’s a risk that the threat comes to the aircraft instead. A number of civilian aircraft have been shot down, and others damaged, by man-portable air defence systems (MANPADS) fired near airfields by irregular groups of militants. Those shoulder-launched missile systems are designed for battlefield use against helicopters and low-flying aircraft and are smaller and more easily concealed than the large SAM systems involved in the incidents described above (cf.: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Australian Strategic Policy Institute, “Man-Portable Air Defence Systems (MANPADS): Countering the Terrorist Threat“, Australian Government, June 2008).

Because their size limits their range and altitude to about 5 km and 10,000 ft respectively, MANPADS don’t pose a threat to commercial aircraft at their cruising altitude. But they represent a real threat to aircraft operating at lower levels, especially at take-off or landing and, in principle, pretty much any airport in the world is vulnerable to attack from these systems. The footprint from which one can be fired against an airliner operating into or out of an airport covers about 800 square kilometers — an impossibly large area to secure. While civilian aircraft have survived hits from MANPADS (see video below), a hit on vital systems close to the ground gives the crew little time to respond.

For a terrorist group, those weapons represent an opportunity to prosecute an attack against one of their most preferred targets. The list of attacks shows that they have been used most often by insurgent groups in the Middle East and Africa, and on at least one occasion as part of a coordinated terrorist attack against Israeli civilians in Africa.

The threat to civil aviation from those systems has long been recognised. International efforts to limit their proliferation gained momentum last decade, with the development of the Wassenaar Arrangement for export controls on MANPADS in 2003 and increased regulation and reporting of MANPADS deals. These controls have helped restrict the spread of these weapons, though not before some found their way into the hands of groups such as al-Qaeda (it’s not clear that the weapons in the hands of such groups are functional). The Wassenaar Arrangement was designed to keep the weapons safely in state inventories.

But, as Peter Jennings points out, we’re entering a period of history where some states are breaking down and groups of non-state actors such as militant Islamists in Syria and Iraq are perilously close to getting their hands onto the military and industrial inventories of nation states. With MANPADS being in the armouries of over 100 countries around the world, including many of the shakier ones (such as Libya), the possibility of them getting into the hands of extremist groups suddenly looks much more likely.

It’s entirely understandable that Western countries don’t want to get involved in the recent events in places like Syria and Iraq after the experiences of the past decade. But that mightn’t be the right call—the combination of returning fighters and looser control of weapons technologies with the potential to cause significant harm to Western interests and populations requires much greater vigilance. As far as MANPADS go, Australia has the advantage of having no land borders, which takes away the easiest way of smuggling such weapons, but it’s no time for complacency.

Posted in Andrew Davies, English, Technology, Terrorism | 1 Comment

Iran Finally Delivers Venezuela’s AFRAMAX Tanker

The latest satellite imagery acquired by DigitalGlobe shows an empty dry dock at Iran’s Sadra Island shipyard located in Bushehr.

The latest satellite imagery acquired by DigitalGlobe from May 2014 shows an empty dry dock at Iran’s Sadra Island shipyard located in Bushehr.

In 2006, Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) was in the market to buy 42 tankers to replace its fleet by the end of 2012. PDVSA’s objective was to transport 40% of the company’s production with its own fleet and ultimately reorient its export market to Asia — more specifically, China. Unfortunately, the company has had some difficulty in achieving its goal (cf.: Marianna Parraga, “Despite Launch Parties, Venezuelan Oil Tankers Never Sail“, Reuters, 01.10.2013).

Last September, satellite imagery showed many of Venezuela’s oil tankers ordered from builders around the world still at their respective shipyards. Delivery dates slipped and tankers made by Iran, China, and Argentina never made their way to PDVSA, a development chalked up to financial difficulty. In fact, by October 2013, the company launched a USD 4.5 billion bond sale, its second largest offering to cover additional operating costs with yields at the time around 17%. Of course, with the company in dire straits, the move wasn’t surprising. Venezuela has very little operating space since petroleum represents 96% of all Venezuelan exports and the only source of hard foreign currency. According to state figures, Venezuela produces 2.9 million barrels of oil per day, though only 2.5 million barrels if discounting foreign partners. Even when taken as a whole, over the last decade production has been dropping. To make matters worse, explosions at refineries in 2012 damaged more than 12 storage tanks, forcing it to move vessels around domestic ports to store crude, which affected exports throughout 2013.

However, things may be starting to look better. Historical satellite imagery acquired during February and April 2014 suggests Iran was able to deliver its first Aframax tanker, the Sorocaima, to what we assume was Venezuela. Perhaps as an indicator, Venezuela’s state owned oil company had to issue another USD 5 billion in bonds to state banks in May 2014–though with a much better yield of 6%, according to Bloomberg reports. Unfortunately satellite imagery in May 2014 did not show additional construction activity on the next Aframax which may suggest Venezuela has cancelled the remaining order. Time will tell as the next vessel’s keel was still located next to the dry dock.

The Rio Santiago Shipyard in the city of Ensenada, Argentina.

The Rio Santiago Shipyard in the city of Ensenada, Argentina.

Other shipyards may not be so lucky. Additional imagery from December 2013 shows the Eva Peron, one of Venezuela’s Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) still at Argentina’s Río Santiago shipyard, a location 31 miles southeast of Buenos Aries. Complete with its deck house, the vessel was berthed at the fitting out wharf not far from a second VLCC — probably the Juana Azurduy — being assembled in a nearby end-launch slipway. The Juana Azurduy was also being built for Venezuela and was supposed to launch sometime later this year. While we do not have updated imagery for 2014, it is currently thought that PDVSA has not acquired the Argentine-built ship. As evidence, several online tracking platforms which follow a vessel’s Automatic Identification System (AIS) had no data for the Eva Peron, though they did show that it was registered to Venezuela.

The Bohai shipyard is located at the Huludao Port, in southwestern Liaoning Province, China.

The Bohai shipyard is located at the Huludao Port, in southwestern Liaoning Province, China.

Moving further afield, there’s the Chinese-built Carabobo, a VLCC launched in October 2012 at the Bohai shipyard following the delivery of the Chinese-built Ayacucho. It would appear this vessel was delivered to CV Shipping, Venezuela’s joint venture with PetroChina based out of Singapore, on 10JUN14. The ship’s AIS shows it flies the Singapore flag and that it made a port call at the city state on 26JUN14 shortly before setting off to the Persian Gulf. As of 21JUL14, the vessel was making its way back through the Strait of Hormuz to an as-of-yet unknown destination. While very little else is known at this time, it is thought this vessel may have been handed over earlier than the Argentine-built VLCC due to China and Venezuela’s oil for credit agreements.

Bottom Line
The acquisition of these vessels reinforces Venezuela’s reorientation to Asia as it tries to build up its own fleet. In so doing, it continues to cut oil exports to the United States, despite a lower netback from its strategic partner, China, a trend we should continue to see in the short-to-long term. To further strengthen these ties, by the end of 2013, China extended a USD 5 billion line of credit with the China Development Bank and proposed building a new port for Venezuela’s state petrochemicals company Pequiven.


Posted in Argentina, China, Chris B, Energy Security, English, Intelligence, Security Policy, Venezuela | Leave a comment

Projekt BODLUV 2020

"Kein Plan B": Bundesrat Ueli Maurer.

“Kein Plan B”: Bundesrat Ueli Maurer.

Am 18. Mai 2014 hat die stimmberechtigte Bevölkerung der Schweiz mit 53,4% Nein-Stimmen entschieden, dass es keinen Fonds zur Beschaffung des Gripen E geben wird. Dieses Resultat hätte mit einer geeigneten Kommunikationsstrategie, ohne die etlichen Pannen im Eidgenössisches Departement für Verteidigung, Bevölkerungsschutz und Sport (VBS) und ohne der fehlplatzierten Selbstsicherheit nach der erfolgreich bekämpften Eidgenössische Volksinitiative “Ja zur Aufhebung der Wehrpflicht” verhindert werden könne (siehe auch “Blogtreffen Teil 2: Der sicherheitspolitische Diskurs in der Schweiz“,, 23.04.2014). Es ist insbesondere dem Vorsteher des VBS, Bundesrat Ueli Maurer zu verdanken, dass die Abstimmung über die Finanzierung des Gripen E zur Grundsatzfrage über ein neues Kampfflugzeug wurde (vgl.: “VBS kennt keinen Plan B für Gripen-Beschaffung“,, 06.04.2024). Damit ist die Beschaffung bis zur Ablösung des McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet (um 2025) vom Tisch (der Begriff “Hornet Teilersatz” ist schon mal zu reservieren). Möglicherweise werden nun die Northrop F-5 Tiger, deren Technologie aus den Sechzigerjahren stammt, “erneuert“. In jedem anderen Land hätte eine solch entscheidende Niederlage zu einem Rücktritt des Verteidigungsministers geführt – nicht so in der Schweiz. Ob er danach die Weiterentwicklung der Armee noch glaubwürdig durch das Parlament und eventuell durch eine Volksabstimmung bringen kann, muss sich zeigen.

Doch nicht nur im Bereich der Kampfflugzeuge ist die Schweizer Luftwaffe am Veralten, sondern auch im Bereich der bodengestützten Luftverteidigung (BODLUV). Sie stützt sich momentan auf drei Systeme ab, welche im Verbund eingesetzt werden:

  • 16 Feuereinheiten Oerlikon 35-mm-Zwillingskanone (GDF-005). Eine Feuereinheit besteht aus einem Feuerleitsystem Skyguard und zwei Zwillingskanone. 1963 von der Schweizer Armee beschafft und 1975, 1995 bzw. 2010 kampfwertgesteigert, wird das System voraussichtlich noch bis 2025 im Dienst stehen. Es ist allwettertauglich und wird primär zur Verteidigung von Einzelobjekten eingesetzt.
  • 40 Feuereinheiten BL 84 “Rapier”. Das britische System wurde in der Sechzigerjahren entwickelt und 1984 von der Schweizer Armee beschafft. Es ist allwettertauglich und die Raketen weitgehend vor elektronischer Störung geschützt. Es wird primär zur Verteidigung von Objektgruppen eingesetzt und wird voraussichtlich noch bis 2020 im Dienst stehen.
  • 96 Feuereinheiten FIM-92 Stinger. Das amerikanische System wurde Ende der Siebziger-, anfangs der Achtzigerjahre entwickelt und 1993 von der Schweizer Armee beschafft. Es ist nur bei Sichtbedingungen einsetzbar. Der Einsatz findet primär zur Verteidigung von Räumen und zur Abnützung des Gegners statt. Momentan ist eine Ausserdienststellung nicht vor 2025 vorgesehen und mit der Beschaffung einer neuen BODLUV könnte das System von der Luftwaffe an das Heer übergeben werden, wo es zum Eigenschutz der Kampftruppen weiterverwendet werden könnte.
Das Fliegerabwehr-Lenkwaffensystem BL 84

Das Fliegerabwehr-Lenkwaffensystem BL 84 “Rapier” mit Mk1 Raketen.

Die Schwächen der momentan eingesetzten drei Systeme sind die geringe Höhe (rund 3’000 m über Boden), die zu geringe Reichweite sowie die Unwirksamkeit gegen Lenkflugkörper und Artilleriegeschosse. Mit der BODLUV 2020 soll allwettertauglich, jegliche Flugobjekt – also auch Drohnen, Lenkflugkörper und Artilleriegeschosse – bis auf eine Höhe von rund 15 km und einer Reichweite von rund 40 km abgeschossen werden können. Ausserdem soll das neue System mobil einsetzbar und nicht bloss transportabel sein. Idealerweise würden diese Anforderungen durch ein einziges System abgedeckt – die Beschaffung von zwei sich ergänzenden Systemen ist jedoch auch möglich. Auf den ersten Blick könnten eine ganze Reihe von Produkten in Frage kommen. Die folgenden Ausführungen beschränken sich deshalb auf die für die Schweiz potentiell interessanten Systemen, welche es in eine erste Auswahlliste schaffen könnten.

Skyshield / Mantis von Rheinmetall Defense

Skyshield / Mantis von Rheinmetall Defense

Skyshield / Mantis von Rheinmetall Defense
Bei Skyshield (GDF-007) handelt es sich um die Weiterentwicklung der Oerlikon 35-mm-Zwillingskanone. Der Einsatz ist deshalb mit dem in der Schweiz bereits eingesetzten System (GDF-005) vergleichbar. Der bedeutendste Unterschied liegt bei der Verwendung von AHEAD-Munition, welche aus 152 Subprojektilen einer Wolframlegierung besteht (je 3,3g pro Projektil). Eine Feuereinheit besteht aus einem Feuerleitgerät und bis zu vier Flugabwehrkanonen. Das System kann gegen tieffliegende Flugzeuge und Hubschrauber sowie gegen ballistische Flugkörper wie Raketen, Artilleriegeschosse und Mörsergranaten eingesetzt werden. Ansonsten kann Skyshield den gesetzten Anforderungen der BODLUV 2020 nicht genügen: das System ist nicht mobil, die maximale Reichweite liegt bei 5 km gegen langsame oder nicht deutlich den Kurs ändernde Luftfahrzeuge sowie bei rund 3 km gegen Artilleriegeschosse. Skyshield bildet die Basis für das Nächstbereichschutzsystem MANTIS (GDF-020), das die Deutsche Bundeswehr zum Schutz von Feldlagern beschafft hat. Bei MANTIS kommen sechs Flugabwehrkanonen zum Einsatz, welche vollautomatisch eine Objektgruppe schützen kann.

Da das in der Schweiz bereits eingesetzten System mit AHEAD-Munition kampfwertgesteigert werden könnte (wie es in Südafrika der Fall ist), scheint eine Beschaffung von Skyshield / Mantis nur wenig sinnvoll.

Thales RAPIDFire

Thales RAPIDFire

RAPIDfire von Thales
Bei RAPIDfire von Thales handelt es sich um eine 40-mm-Flugabwehrkanone von Nexter Systems, welche intelligente Munition (Precision-guided munition) verschiesst. Damit können kleine Ziele bekämpft werden. Eine Feuereinheit besteht aus einem Kommandofahrzeug mit einem Multifunktionsradar und bis zu vier Kanonenfahrzeugen. Alle Komponenten sind mobil und das Kanonenfahrzeug verfügt über eine eigene Feuerleitung, was einen schnellen Standortwechsel ermöglicht. Luftziele können bereits während der Fahrt aufgeklärt werden. Trotzdem kann der erste Schuss erst einige Minuten nach dem Anhalten abgegeben werden.

RAPIDfire eignet sich primär für den Objektschutz, weniger zum Verteidigen von ganzen Räumen. Gemäss IHS Jane’s Land Warfare Platforms seien die britischen und französischen Streitkräfte an diesem System interessiert, welches die Entwicklungsphase noch nicht komplett abgeschlossen hat und voraussichtlich in rund zwei Jahren lieferbar sein wird. Über die Kenndaten ist noch wenig bekannt, doch scheint das System in der Grundausrüstung Kampfflugzeuge auf 30 km, Helikopter auf rund 15 km detektieren zu können. Diese Reichweite kann mit einem mobilen Ground Master Radar von Thales vergrössert werden. Die mögliche Abschusshöhe bzw. Reichweite von 4 km würde jedoch den Anforderungen nicht genügen. Zusätzlich können gepanzerte Bodenziele auf 2,5 km bekämpft werden (vgl.: “RAPIDFire – An Air Defense Application for the Cased Telescoped Cannon“, Defense Update, 11.07.2012).

Iron Dome von Rafael Advanced Defense Systems

Iron Dome von Rafael Advanced Defense Systems

Iron Dome von Rafael Advanced Defense Systems
Iron Dome ist das einzige System, welches sich momentan täglich im Echteinsatz bewähren muss und sich auch schon früher bewährt hat. Während der einwöchigen Operation “Pillar of Defense” im November 2012 fing das System 421 aus dem Gazastreifen abgefeuerte Artillerieraketen verschiedener Typen ab (mit einer angeblichen Erfolgsrate von 84%; Charles Levinson and Adam Entous, “Israel’s Iron Dome Defense Battled to Get Off Ground“, The Wall Street Journal, 26.11.2012). Irob Dome ist primär zur Abwehr von Kurzstrecken- und Artillerieraketen mit einer Reichweite von 5 bis 70 Kilometern konzipiert, kann jedoch auch andere Flugkörper bis zu einer Höhe von 10 km abschiessen. Gegenüber Mittelstreckenraketen (70 bis 250 km) wird “David’s Sling” entwickelt, welches jedoch nicht vor 2015 im Einsatz stehen wird. Zur Bekämpfung von Langstreckenraketen basiert Israel auf dem Arrow-System.

Eine Iron Dome Batterie umfasst ein EL/M-2084-Multi-Mode-Radar der Israel Aerospace Industries und drei Werfer mit je 20 Tamir-Raketen. Eine Batterie kann einen Umkreis von 7 km Radius (rund 150 km²) gegen Raketenangriffe verteidigen, was verglichen mit den Anforderungen der BODLUV 2020 zu wenig ist. Ein weiterer Nachteil liegt in der fehlenden Mobilität – ähnlich wie bei den derzeit in der Schweiz eingesetzten Systemen ist Iron Dome transportierbar, jedoch nur abgesetzt einsatzfähig. Es handelt sich um ein relativ günstiges System, da sich die Kosten pro Rakete auf rund 50’000 US-Dollar belaufen. Im operativen Einsatz in Israel werden pro Ziel üblicherweise zwei Raketen verschossen (Yaakov Katz, “Iron Dome successful in downing 75% of rockets“, The Jerusalem Post, 30.12.2011). Ausserdem analysiert Iron Dome den Einschlagpunkt einer gegnerischen Rakete und fängt nur diejenigen ab, welche in einen zu schützenden Bereich fallen würde.


Eurosam SAMP/T

Eurosam SAMP/T

SAMP/T von Eurosam
Beim SAMP/T von Eurosam (66% MBDA und 33% Thales) handelt es sich um ein Boden-Luft Abwehrsystem, das theoretisch eine Reichweite von 120 km und eine Abschusshöhe von 20 km vorweisen soll (praxisbezogene Daten gehen jedoch momentan von einer Reichweite von max. 40 km und einer Höhe von max. 14 km aus, was für BODLUV 2020 ausreichend wäre). Eine Batterie besteht aus einem mobilen Multifunktionsradar (ARABEL), einer mobilen Kontrollstation und vier bis sechs Werferfahrzeugen mit je acht startbereiten Aster 30 Lenkflugkörper. Da auf LKWs montiert, ist das System mobil – für den Einsatz müssen die hydraulischen Stabilisatoren jedoch ausgefahren sein. Ausserdem müssen die Werferfahrzeuge sich im Umkreis von 10 km zum Radar befinden. Die Aster-Lenkflugkörper wurden insbesondere auf Schiffen eingesetzt – landbasierende Systeme sind in Frankreich seit dem Oktober 2011, in Italien seit Juni 2012 operationell (Robert Hewson, “SAMP/T Missile Defense Goes Three-For-Three“, Aviation Week, 12.06.2013). Singapoor will mit diesem System seine Improved Hawk missiles ersetzen (“Singapore To Acquire European Surface-to-Air Missile System“, Defense News, 16.09.2013). Gemäss Angaben von Beat Benz, Sales Manager bei Thales Suisse, würde SAMP/T “ein längst überfälliger Ersatz für das im Jahr 1998 ausser Dienst gestellte System BL-64 Bloodhound darstellen” (Beat Benz, “BODLUV 2020 – Ein Blick nach Westen”, ASMZ, Januar/Februar 2014, 35). Auch wenn Kosten-Vergleiche bei Rüstungsbeschaffungen mit äusserster Vorsicht zu betrachten sind, so ist gemäss dem französischen Senat pro Aster 30 – Rakete mit rund 1,4 Millionen Euro Beschaffungskosten zu rechnen.

MIM-104 Patriot von Raytheon

MIM-104 Patriot von Raytheon

MIM-104 Patriot von Raytheon
Das Patriot-System ist ein transportables Mittelstrecken-Flugabwehrraketen-System zur Abwehr von Flugzeugen, Marschflugkörpern und taktischen ballistischen Mittelstreckenraketen. Die Reichweite ist von den eingesetzten Lenkflugkörper abhängig. Mit der PAC-2 (MIM-104C/D/E) lassen sich Ziele bis zu einer Höhe von max. 24 km und einer Reichweite von min. 3 km und max. 160 km, mit der PAC-3 (MIM-104F) bis zu einer Höhe von max. 10–15 km und einer Reichweite von max. 10-45 km bekämpfen (vgl.: “Patriot TMD – Specifications“, Zur Bekämpfung höher entwickelter balistischen Raketen ist der Einsatz der PAC-3 zwingend.

Bei der Deutschen Bundeswehr verfügt eine Staffel über einen Feuerleitstand, eine Stromversorgungsanlage, ein Multifunktionsradar, acht Werfer mit je 4 Lenkflugkörper und einen Richtfunktrupp mit Generatoren und Antennenmastanlage. Ein Startgerät kann maximal 4 PAC-2 (je 900 kg) oder 16 PAC-3 (je 312 kg) Lenkflugkörper aufnehmen. Im Rahmen der Operation “Active Fence” werden deutsche, niederländische und US-amerikanische Patriot-Systeme zum Schutz der Türkei vor syrischen Kampfflugzeugen, Marschflugkörpern und taktischen ballistischen Mittelstreckenraketen eingesetzt. Das Patriot-System gehört zu den weltweit fortschrittlichsten Flugabwehrsystemen der Welt. Der Einsatz ist jedoch aufwendig (eine Batterie kann bis zu 100 Soldaten benötigen) und teuer. Ein PAC-3 Lenkflugkörper kostet die US-Army je nach Bestellmenge zwischen 1,4 Millionen (bei einer Gesamtmenge von beinahe 7’500 Lenkflugkörpern) und 7,1 Millionen US-Dollar (bei einer Bestellmenge von 122 Lenkflugkörpern; Stand: März 2014). Ein PAC-2 Lenkflugkörper wird nicht viel günstiger sein und durchschnittlich um 2 Millionen US-Dollar kosten.

S-350E Vityaz von Almaz-Antey

S-350E Vityaz von Almaz-Antey

S-350E Vityaz von Almaz-Antey
Das russische S-350E Vityaz (50R6) System wird hier nur der vollständigkeitshalber aufgeführt, denn aufgrund des potentiellen Widerstandes des Militärischen Nachrichtendienstes (MND) wird es kaum Chancen haben. Ausserdem wird Russland nicht als zuverlässiger Partner betrachtet, was sich insbesondere bei der schlechten Ersatzteilversorgung und den hohen Instandhaltungskosten bemerkbar macht. Das System ist seit 2007 in der Entwicklung und soll S-300PS Systeme ersetzen. Eine Feuereinheit umfasst ein 50N6A Multifunktionsradar, ein Feuerleitstand, eine Übertragungsstation und drei Werfer mit je zwölf 9M96 Lenkflugkörper (werden auch bei der S-400 eingesetzt). Damit sind Einsatzdistanzen bis 120 km möglich. Ausserdem können auch 9M100 Lenkflugkörper eingesetzt werden, welche für das Abfangen von Zielen auf kurzer Distanz geeignet sind (infrarot, bis 10 km Distanz). Alle Komponenten befinden sich auf Fahrzeuge und sind somit mobil einsetzbar. Die Massenproduktion soll 2015 beginnen und im Verlaufe 2016 an die russische Armee ausgeliefert werden.

Ein neues BODLUV-System muss bei der Schweizer Luftwaffe zwischen 2020 und 2025 eingeführt werden. Dazu muss ein neues System um 2018 auf das Rüstungsprogramm gesetzt werden. Der erste Blick täuscht: die Vielzahl der potentiellen Systeme ist überschaubar – ein universales, kostengünstiges System, welches alle Auflagen der BUDLUV 2020 erfüllt, gibt es nicht. Am ehesten wird SAMP/T diesen Vorgaben gerecht. Theoretisch käme auch die Beschaffung von Patriot-Systemen in Frage, in Realität wird dies an den hohen Kosten scheitern. Eventuell müssten beide Systeme für den Nahbereich zusätzlich mit Flugabwehrkanonen ergänzt werden. Eine Anachaffung von Skyguard macht jedoch wenig Sinn – eher sollten die in der Schweiz bereits bestehenden Systeme mit AHEAD-Munition kampfwertgesteigert werden. Iron Dome überzeugt durch seinen operationellen Einsatz und könnte sich als kostengünstigstes System entpuppen. Um die Auflagen der BODLUV 2020 abzudecken, müsste es jedoch mit dem sich noch in Entwicklung befindenden “David’s Sling” ergänzt werden. Im Vergleich sehen die Leistungsdaten des S-350E Vityaz Systems vielversprechend aus. Mit den beiden unterschiedlichen Lenkkörpern scheint es die Anforderungen der BODLUV 2020 ideal abzudecken. Ob dieses System die Erwartungen auch in der Praxis erfüllen kann, muss sich jedoch noch zeigen. Ausserdem ist die Beschaffung eines russischen Systems aus politischen Gründen und auch aufgrund des fehlenden Vertrauens in die russische Rüstungsindustrie äusserst unwahrscheinlich.

Haben Sie weitere potentielle Systeme als Vorschlag? Benutzen Sie die Kommentarfunktion für ihre persönlichen Ergänzungen.

Posted in Armed Forces, Switzerland, Technology | 9 Comments

Sea Control 43 – Rear Admiral Thomas S. Rowden – Sea Control, LCS, and DDG 1000

Once again, Matthew Hipple welcomes a high ranking Naval officer in the show. He talks with Rear Admiral Thomas S. Rowden, director of the Chief of Naval Operations Staff, Surface Warfare Division, about his concepts for Sea Control, the development of Littoral combat ships (LCS), the perspectives on the USS Zumwalt (DDG-1000), and his plans as incoming Commander, Surface Forces.

Rowden advocates an offensive way of sea control. Because of the superiority in the area of power projection, the U.S. Navy was unchallenged for the better part of two decades. Without this challenge, the fundamentals of sea control – searching for and killing submarines, over the horizon engagement of enemy fleets, and long range air and missile defense – diminished, even when the seas in which the U.S. Navy operates were denied. Rowden thinks that the tendency to concentrate on the defensive capabilities of the surface ships reduces the capabilities of power projection. Thus, for the U.S. Navy’s future, it is important to re-focus on “offensive sea control”.

The LCS will have its part in the “offensive sea control”. The outstanding advantage of this system is the modularity. Each mission package includes mission module equipment such as, for example, weapon systems, sensors, etc.. At the moment, there are three mission packages for LCS designed: the mine sweeping and the mine countermeasure package, the surface warfare package and the submarine warfare package.

The DDG-1000, too, will field significant capabilities for the U.S. Navy, which is building three ships of this class. According to Roden, the DDG-1000 will have a significant different technologies on the ship than it was seen before.

More information
Thomas S. Rowden, “Surface Warfare: Taking the offensive“, CIMSEC Next War Blog, 14.06.2014.

Listen to episode #43 immediately

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CIMSECThe Center for International Maritime Security (CIMSEC) is a non-profit, non-partisan think tank. It was formed in 2012 to bring together forward-thinkers from a variety of fields to examine the capabilities, threats, hotspots, and opportunities for security in the maritime domain. Check out the NextWar blog to join the discussion. CIMSEC encourages a diversity of views and is currently accepting membership applications here.

Posted in English, International, Sea Control, Sea Powers | Leave a comment

Why Won’t Putin Just Let Ukraine Go?

Russian president Vladimir Putin addresses a joint session of parliament at the Kremlin in Moscow, March 18, 2014

Russian president Vladimir Putin addresses a joint session of parliament at the Kremlin in Moscow, March 18, 2014 (Presidential Press and Information Office)

Russian president Vladimir Putin stands to gain little from continuing to incite rebellion in Ukraine. But having framed his actions there as coming to the defense of ethnic Russians, it is difficult for him to back down. With Ukraine’s government forces on the offensive in the restive southeast of the country and Russia’s economy expected to hardly expand this year at least partially as a result of Western financial sanctions, it is difficult to see what more the Russian leader can accomplish in supporting the uprising.

If his goal was to dissuade the European Union from entering into an association agreement with Ukraine that will put it on a track to membership, Putin’s strategy failed. His invasion of Ukraine earlier this year, the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula and the cutting off of gas supplies last month only hardened most European leaders in their resolve to draw the country into their orbit.

Putin’s actions also alienated the vast majority of Ukrainians. Whether sympathy they had for their former Soviet master quickly dissipated when it violated Ukrainian sovereignty. Rather than fostering a renewed sense of brotherhood between “Mother” and “Little Russia,” it turned most Ukrainians decidedly away from Putin’s regime and convinced them their future lay in Europe — evidenced by the election of the outspokenly pro-Western Petro Poroshenko as president in May.

A minority of pro-Russian rebels is keeping up the fight in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions but Russia has held off from endorsing their requests for annexation and, despite Ukrainian accusations, does not appear to have lent significant support to them in recent weeks by sending fighters or weapons.

Why isn’t Putin calling it quits?
One reason could be that there is still strong support within Russia for the Ukrainian uprising — thanks, in no small part, to the Kremlin’s unprecedented propaganda effort which has portrayed the separatists as noble resistance fighters, battling a “fascist” regime in Kiev bent on denying ethnic Russians their heritage and language. A poll published last month suggested 40 percent of Russians would support military intervention in Ukraine, up from 31 percent a month earlier.

Lev Gudkov, the director of the Levada Center, which conducted the survey, told Time magazine support came mainly from young and undereducated nationalists on the one hand and seniors nostalgic for the glory of the Soviet Union on the other. Euphoria in both segments of the population pushed Putin’s personal approval ratings toward record highs of over 80 percent earlier this year when Russia annexed the Crimea. “The revival of those strong imperialist feelings, playing on the idea of a fallen nation rising up, all of that ensured the sudden upswing in support for Putin,” he said.

And, unlike Putin, it seems, the nationalists have not given up their ambition of reincorporating the entire southeast of Ukraine — Novorossiya, as they like to call it — into Russia. “We gave them hope,” said Aleksandr Dugin, a prominent ideologue who believes Russia should lead a Eurasian civilization in opposition to the West, of the Ukrainian separatists last week. “When we said we’re a united Russian civilization, this didn’t just come from a few patriotic forces. It came from the president!”

Putin had appeared to warm to the fantasies of the likes of Dugin, espousing what Mark Galeotti, a New York University professor and Wikistrat analyst, described earlier this year as Russian exceptionalism — “a belief that Russian civilization has a distinctive and unique place in the world and must be protected from homogenizing Western influence.” Hence his appeals to Russian patriotism and tradition and an infamous ban on gay “propaganda”.

This nationalist revival seemed designed to shore up Putin’s working class support. Especially urban and middle class Russians, whose economic prospects improved during the last decade in large part because of the liberal economic reforms Putin enacted early in his presidency, are increasingly dissatisfied with corruption and nepotism at the top as well as Putin’s own authoritarian tendencies. Yet their prosperity is often tied in with the crony capitalist regime. Rather it are the elderly, the undereducated and the poor who have seen little economic improvement in recent years and threatened to turn away from Putin, toward communist and nationalist opposition parties — regardless of the extent to which they operate independently of the Kremlin.

Nursultan Nazarbayev, Alexander Lukashenko and Vladimir Putin, the presidents of Kazakhstan, Belarus and Russia, meet in Minsk, October 24, 2013

Nursultan Nazarbayev, Alexander Lukashenko and Vladimir Putin, the presidents of Kazakhstan, Belarus and Russia, meet in Minsk, October 24, 2013 (Presidential Press and Information Office)

The shift became especially apparent early last year after Putin had won a third presidential term and began removing liberals from his inner circle in favor of conservative veterans of the nation’s security and spy services known as the siloviki. Economic reforms stalled, Russia’s dependence on oil and gas exports increased and Putin appeared to have given up hope of improving relations with the European Union and the United States, retreating instead into the former Soviet sphere with his proposal to create an Eurasian Union — one that should have included Ukraine.

For the Eurasian Union to truly compete with Europe’s, it should be a primarily economic project, removing border checks, customs duties and tariffs between the former members of the Soviet Union and enabling a free flow of goods, services and people between them. This had seemed Putin’s design. But the heavy-handed tactics he used to try to coerce Ukraine into joining the same body — blocking Ukrainian exports at the Russian border, raising the price of gas — and the sudden talk of protecting Russian “compatriots” exposed the project for what it really was: an imperialist scheme.

Even Russia’s closest allies, Belarus and Kazakhstan, which nevertheless entered the Eurasian Union in May, are apprehensive. Belarus refused to endorse the Crimean annexation while Kazakhstan wisely abstained from voting on a United Nations resolution that called on countries not to recognize any change in the peninsula’s status. With at least 70 percent of Belarusians speaking Russian and ethnic Russians comprising the majority of the population in the north of Kazakhstan, both naturally fear they might be next.

If non-Russian peoples in the former Soviet sphere didn’t already see Putin’s attempt to draw their countries into an association with Russia as a way to reconstruct the Soviet Union, his justification for invading Ukraine certainly raised their fear that in such a new union, they will be second-class citizens. Most Ukrainians decided they wouldn’t let that happen to them — and they might very well have been only the first to make that choice.

Ironically, it was Putin who saw this coming. He warned two years ago, “If a multiethnic society is infected by nationalism, it loses its strength and durability,” adding, “We need to understand what far-reaching effects can be caused by attempts to inflame national enmity and hatred.” — Indeed.

Posted in English, Nick Ottens, Russia, Ukraine | 2 Comments

Tested @ RIMPAC 2014 (part 1)

RIMPAC 2014 is taking place between June 26 and August 01, 2014. The different exercises provide a good opportunity to test military equipment, which is still under development. For example Boston Dynamics Legged Squad Support System (LS3), also known as “BigDog“. Marines with the India company of the 3rd Battalion 3rd Marines tested the system from July 10 to 12 in the Kahuku Training Area. One LS3 unit is able to carry slightly above 180 kg (400 lbs) and has enough fuel for a 30 km (20 mile) mission lasting 24 hours.

In my opinion, the LS3 is too noisy and the dependency on fuel is a considerable disadvantage. Even if the use of real mules is technologically unspectacular, their use may be favourably. After all, the US Marines used real mules in Afghanistan (Quelle: Gordon Lubold, “Fighting a high-tech war with a low-tech mule“, The Christian Science Monitor, 03.05.2009).

Posted in English, International, Technology | Leave a comment

The EU-Russia Energy Dialogue – or the problem of imposing sanctions

by Patrick Truffer. Patrick Truffer graduated from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Affairs and completes a Master of Arts program in International Relations at the Freien Universität Berlin.

Institutionalism – a further development of liberalism – assumes that universal norms and international institutions can overcome the anarchy in the international system of nation-states. Universal norms and international institutions integrate states, increase their mutual interdependence, and thus help to prevent war. This interdependence in turn leads to a relative devaluation of military power due to concern over relative losses in the event of an armed conflict (cf.: Seka Smith, “Teil 5: Zum Ewigen Frieden: Die Triade des demokratischen Friedens“,, 29.03.2013). Furthermore, this interdependence complicates the imposing of sanctions.

EU-Energy-Import-2011In the field of energy supply, such interdependence exists between the EU and Russia. The EU depends on Russian fossil fuel exports due to the high demand for energy in the EU, Russia’s significant energy reserves and Russia’s geographical proximity. With a share of 35%, Russia is by far the EU’s largest supplier of crude oil and is also a key supplier of natural gas (30%) and solid fuel (26%) imports in the EU (European Commission, “EU Energy in Figures, Statistical Pocketbook,” 2013, 24). In return, the EU is by far Russia’s largest trading partner. Both the EU and Russia have an interest in a secure flow of energy. The EU-Russia energy dialogue initiated in 2000 is based on this common interest and is aimed at establishing a close partnership in investment, infrastructure, trade, and energy efficiency. This partnership is also intended to have a positive effect on other issues as well (European Commission, “Communication from President Prodi, Vice President de Palacio and Commissioner Patten to the Commission – The EU-Russia Energy Dialogue,” 2001).

Russia’s role during the Crimean crisis and the unrest in eastern Ukraine, along with the EU’s response, pose a severe test for the EU-Russia energy dialogue. As a result, the current status of the EU-Russia energy dialogue must be questioned and as well as defining any role it could play in improving mutual understanding and accommodation in general. In this essay, the current status of the EU-Russia energy dialogue and its most important achievements will be discussed in the first chapter, while the second chapter will address the main points of contention. The conclusion will show today’s role of the EU-Russia Energy Dialogue.

EU-Russia Energy Dialogue main achievements
With the EU-Russia Energy Dialogue, the EU hoped to establish a close partnership with Russia in the energy sector. The dialogue was meant to serve as a model for cooperation in other areas. By contrast, Russia saw it primarily as a means for safeguarding economic interests. It is not surprising that, to date, the EU and Russia have not gone beyond a supplier-consumer relationship in the energy sector. The dialogue mainly focuses on technical areas (Lars-Christian U. Talseth, “The EU-Russia Energy Dialogue – Travelling without Moving,” SWP Working Paper FG 5, 01.04.2012, 3f). The most outstanding achievement was the establishment of an early warning mechanism in response to supply disruptions during the gas disputes between Russia and Ukraine. This is to ensure an early exchange of information between the EU and Russia in case of imminent delivery interruptions. The related memorandum was renewed in 2011, and within the framework of the EU-Russia Energy Dialogue’s measures for prevention, enables the bridging and mitigation of consequences (Günther Oettinger and Sergei Shmatko, “Memorandum on a mechanism for preventing and overcoming emergency situations in the energy sector within the framework of the EU-Russia Energy Dialogue (Early Warning Mechanism),” EU-Russia Energy Dialogue, 24 Feb 2011, section 11).

This is not the first time such an initiative has been launched. Indeed, the interlocutors of the Energy Dialogue have been very successful at coming up with new ways of discussing old grievances, hence the proliferation of such “roadmaps”, “common spaces” and “partnerships”. But according to Russian officials I have spoken to, the new energy roadmap has been met with little enthusiasm on the Russian side, and a corresponding indifference within the EU. The Russians claim that their input has been mostly ignored by the EU Commission, which has also launched its own 2050 energy roadmap, and is thus more interested in going it alone. — Lars-Christian U. Talseth, “The EU-Russia Energy Dialogue – Travelling without Moving,” SWP Working Paper FG 5, 01.04.2012, 5.

The adoption of a common “Roadmap on EU-Russia Energy Cooperation until 2050” in March 2013 could take common relations in the energy sector to a new level, provided that the recommendations it contains are implemented seriously. However, there has been little progress in the last ten years with regard to the priorities listed therein, which are almost identical to those in the establishment of the EU-Russia Energy Dialogue. There is still uncertainty as to what extent Russian interests were considered in this roadmap and as to how realistic its implementation is. In particular, the current tensions due to Russia’s role during the Crimean crisis, the unrest in eastern Ukraine and the sanctions adopted by the EU, represent crucial hurdles. After overcoming them, a long-term rebuilding of mutual trust will be necessary.

Main points of contention
With regard to the liberalization of the energy market, there were already disagreements between the EU and Russia before the EU-Russia Energy Dialogue. Not without bias is the EU’s interest in a deregulated energy market, whereby, for example, third-party companies would have access to pipelines. This is the aim of the Energy Charter Treaty propagated by the EU and valid for all EU Member States. For reasons having to do with power politics, Russia is not interested in the liberalization of its energy market, nor in unfettered access to state-controlled and monopolized pipelines. The Energy Charter Treaty was signed by Russia in 1994 but has not been ratified. With the third energy package, which calls for a separation of production, transport and distribution of all energy companies operating in the EU, the EU is placing Russia under increasing pressure via the conclusion of contracts. Specifically, the EU is calling for the sale of the distribution networks or their subordination to an independent operator (on the Russian side also called the “anti-Gazprom clause”; Lisa Pick, “EU-Russia energy relations: a critical analysis,” The POLIS Journal 7, Summer 2012, 330f). With respect to the early bilateral agreements concluded between the EU countries neighbouring the South Stream project and Russia, the European Commission called for the renegotiation of contracts at the end of 2013. And finally, under the sanctions in mid-March 2014, the EU has suspended their participation in the South Stream project.

putin_saintbEven otherwise, the various pipeline projects have given rise to disputes. For example, the Nord Stream project between Gazprom, German, Dutch and French companies does not take into account the energy market liberalization targeted by the EU. Gazprom’s majority share (51%), and the takeover of large parts of the German natural gas infrastructure (including strategic gas storage), establish additional dependencies on Russia. In addition, the Nord Stream pipeline circumvents the Eastern European countries, which has also led to controversy within the EU (Andrew E. Kramer, “Russia Gas Pipeline Heightens East Europe’s Fears“, The New York Times, 12.10.2009).

The relations between the EU and Russia in the energy sector are characterized less by achievements and disputes, than by strong interdependence. In the medium to long term, the EU is dependent upon Russian energy supplies, and in turn Russia is dependent on the European energy market and its revenues. The EU-Russia Energy Dialogue plays an important role as a diplomatic platform in this regard, even if its original goals – a close partnership and serving as a model for other policy areas – could not be reached. To date, the EU-Russia Energy Dialogue has been unable to sustainably influence mutual understanding and accommodation in the energy sector – as before, the EU and Russia are maintaining a supplier-consumer relationship. Despite areas of common interest, e.g. with respect to securing the energy flow, the points of contention are too prominent, particularly the issue of market liberalization.

Serious implementation of the common roadmap could bring the EU’s relations with Russia in the energy sector to a new level in the long term. In particular, a great potential for cooperation exists in the areas of energy efficiency and renewable energy (cf.: Caroline Kuzemko, “Ideas, power and change: explaining EU-Russia energy relations“, Journal of European Public Policy 21, no. 1, 2014, 69). This is seriously complicated by Russia’s role during the Crimean crisis and the unrest in eastern Ukraine, along with the EU’s response to the situation. The associated tensions must be overcome as quickly as possible and the lost trust rebuilt. The imposition of economic sanctions by the EU could stymie the EU-Russia Energy Dialogue for years – with negative consequences for both sides.

Posted in Basics, English, Patrick Truffer | 1 Comment

Spionageskandal: Get real and start spying!

Von Danny Chahbouni. Danny studiert Geschichte und Politikwissenschaft an der Philipps-Universität Marburg.

Einfahrt des BND in Pullach. Die CIA führte anscheinend eine Quelle im deutschen Auslandsnachrichtendienst.

Einfahrt des BND in Pullach. Die CIA führte anscheinend eine Quelle im deutschen Auslandsnachrichtendienst.

Die amerikanischen Spionagefälle im Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) und im Verteidigungsministerium (BMVg) markieren für Politik und Medien einen neuen Tiefpunkt im deutsch-amerikanischen Verhältnis. Seit dem Beginn der NSA-Affäre im letzten Jahr dominiert in der deutschen Öffentlichkeit das Gefühl durch die USA betrogen worden zu sein. “Ausspähen unter Freunden, das geht gar nicht”, ist dabei das von der Kanzlerin persönlich geprägte Leitmotiv für die Empörungswelle. Die Entwicklungen der letzten Tage zeigen eindrucksvoll, dass das Verständnis eines “No-Spy-Ethos” eine deutsche Wunschvorstellung ist.

Geheimdienst? Warum das denn?
Die Perser entsandten Kundschafter als “Augen der Könige”, Alexander der Große tat es ebenso wie Iulius Caesar, der uns die Aufklärungsergebnisse gleichzeitig in Form seines Werkes “De bello gallico” überliefert hat. Die Entstehung der Diplomatie verlagerte das zweitälteste Gewerbe der Welt an die Höfe und führte zur dauerhaften Etablierung der Institutionen, die wir heute als Geheimdienste bezeichnen. Das einzige, was sich im Verlauf der Jahrtausende dabei geändert hat, sind die technischen Möglichkeiten der Nachrichtenbeschaffung. Den Grund für Spionage hat der antike Autor Thukydides bereits vor über 2000 Jahren vortrefflich dargestellt. Im fünften Buch seines Werkes über den Peloponnesischen Krieg erklären die Athener den Bewohnern von Melos, warum sie gerade ihre Insel besetzt haben.

(2) Wir glauben nämlich, dass der Gott wahrscheinlich, der Mensch ganz sicher allezeit nach dem Zwang der Natur überall dort, wo er Macht hat, herrscht. […] Wir befolgen dieses Gesetz in dem Bewusstsein, dass auch ihr oder andere, die dieselbe Macht wie wir errungen haben, nach demselben Grundsatz verfahren würden. (Thuk, V, 105, 2).

Wie so oft geht es um Macht und Herrschaft: Um zu herrschen und Macht auszuüben, werden Information über mögliche Antagonisten, die sich als innere oder äußere Bedrohung für die eigene Position erweisen könnten, benötigt. Besitzt man das nötige Wissen über Gegenspieler, können anhand der Informationen politische Entscheidungen getätigt werden, im Fachjargon werden solche Informationen, aufgrund derer direkte Entschlüsse gefällt werden können, als “actionable intelligence” bzeichnet. Hier zeigen sich nebenher bereits zwei Stationen des Intelligence Cycle, nämlich Zielfeststellung und politische Entscheidungfindung anhand des fertigen Produkts. Für die eigentliche Arbeit, also die Sammlung, Auswertung und Analyse von Informationen, unterhält nahezu jeder Staat einen Geheimdienst. In Deutschland sind es drei Dienste auf Bundesebene, was winzig anmutet im Vergleich zur riesigen US-Intelligence Community.

Warum die Amerikaner so viel mehr investieren in ihre Dienste, wird deutlich, wenn man Geheimdienste nicht als “Inbegriff des Bösen” und “unfähige Schlapphüte” betrachtet – wie in Deutschland gerne getan – sondern ganz pragmatisch als Service-Einrichtung der Regierung. Die erbrachte Dienstleistung ist dabei von elementarster Bedeutung, sie dient schließlich, um nochmal auf das oben genannte Zitat zurückzukommen, der Ausübung von Herrschaft, und stellt damit eine Quelle, aus welcher der “Leviathan” seine Macht gewinnt.

Geheimdienste sind so betrachtet äußerst realistische Instrumente des Staates, da ihr Auftrag darauf abzielt, dem eigenen Auftraggeber einen Vorteil zu verschaffen, in einem System, das grundsätzlich anarchisch strukturiert ist und in dem die Staaten in Konkurrenz miteinander stehen. Spionage an sich ist überdies nicht völkerrechtswidrig, wird aber von allen Staaten strafrechtlich geahndet. Das ist einmal mehr ein sehr realistischer Gedanke, denn es impliziert den großen Wettstreit aller gegen alle. Alle Staaten nutzen Spionage als außenpolitisches Mittel, um sich einen Informationsvorsprung zu verschaffen, gleichzeitig wird Agententätigkeit, die den eigenen Interessen entgegenläuft, jedoch verfolgt.

Information about the enemy
Mit dem nüchtern realistischen Blick auf die Ereignisse der letzten Tage, haben die USA einfach kein Interesse daran, ihre Position als Supermacht aufzugeben, sondern werden im Gegenteil alles daran setzen, um ihre Machtposition zu festigen und weiter auszubauen. Die amerikanische Definition für den Begriff “Intelligence” lautet “information about the enemy”. Die Bundesrepublik Deutschland ist in diesem Sinne kein militärischer Feind, sondern ein Machtkontrahent, vor allem in ökonomischen Belangen. Darüber hinaus sollte auch bedacht werden, dass der “11. September” zum Teil in Hamburg geplant wurde. Die deutschen Beziehungen zu Russland, die sich durchaus auch als Belastung für die NATO auswirken, tun ihr übriges dazu, um Deutschland für die amerikanischen Dienste interessant zu machen. Das vor kurzem ausgerechnet der Koordinator für die transatlantischen Beziehungen seinen Fokus “nach Osten verlagert hat”, dürfte das Vertrauen in die Deutschen ebenfalls nicht unbedingt verbessert haben. Auch wenn die USA unter der Obama-Administration ihren Schwerpunkt in den pazifischen Raum verlagern wollten, hat wohl niemand ernsthaft geglaubt, dass die Amerikaner das Interesse an Europa gänzlich aufgeben würden.

Wenn die Kanzlerin in diesem Kontext davon spricht, dass Freunde sich nicht bespitzeln und die Affäre den Blutdruck von Wolfgang Schäuble höher steigen lässt als alle Euro-Krisen in der Vergangenheit zusammen, dann zeigt das vor allem, dass die politische Prägung in Deutschland nach wie vor gänzlich anders ist, als die der Amerikaner. Für die Amerikaner hat die nationale Sicherheit – nicht erst sei dem “11. September” – Vorrang. Ökonomische und ideologische Erwägungen treten in den Hintergrund. Das ist eine sehr realistische Denkweise und folglich hat man keine Probleme damit, seine Geheimdienste so einzusetzen, wie es den eigenen Interessen dienlich ist. Dass das in Deutschland, wo die realistische Denkschule vor allem in der Politik so gut wie gar nicht vertreten ist, auf Unverständnis stoßen könnte, wurde entweder falsch eingeschätzt, oder als einfach egal angesehen, weil sehr wohl bekannt ist, dass die Deutschen in sicherheitspolitischen Belangen – so oder so – auf die Amerikaner angewiesen sind.

Amerikanisch-deutsche Verständnisschwierigkeiten. Bundeskanzlerin Merkel und US-Präsident Obama.

Amerikanisch-deutsche Verständnisschwierigkeiten. Bundeskanzlerin Merkel und US-Präsident Obama.

Neue deutsche Aufmüpfigkeit?
Ist die Ausweisung des amerikanischen Legalresidenten der Beginn einer Emanzipationsbewegung, weg von den USA? Wohl kaum, zumindest wäre das grob fahrlässig. Der Rauswurf des “Chief of Station” kann getrost als Beruhigungspille für die Bevölkerung gesehen werden und ist darüber hinaus ein geschickter Schachzug der deutschen Bundesregierung, um sich nicht den Vorwurf gefallen lassen zu müssen, das nichts gegen die US-Spionage getan würde. Die stärksten Verbündeten zu verprellen, während Russland, China und andere Staaten massiv in Deutschland Spionage betreiben, zeugt allerdings davon, dass in Deutschland die regeln der Machtpolitik nicht gelernt wurden. Mit den USA verbindet Deutschland eine Partnerschaft, die durch eine große Interessenschnittmenge im Bereich, der Sicherheitspolitik, der Wirtschaft und nicht zuletzt der ideellen Werte gekennzeichnet ist. Im Falle Russlands und Konsorten schrumpft diese Schnittmenge schnell zusammen auf wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit.

Die deutsche Außenpolitik ist in den letzten Jahren häufig und zu Recht als “Politik des erhobenen Zeigefingers” kritisiert worden und dieser falsche Idealismus zeigt sich auch in der politischen Reaktion auf die gegenwärtigen Spionagefälle. Anstatt mit dem erhobenen Zeigefinger die Amerikaner über Freundschaft zu belehren und andauernd die rote Karte für die Gegenspieler zu fordern, sollte man die Regeln des “Great Game’s” lernen. Get real and start spying.

Posted in Danny Chahbouni, Intelligence | Leave a comment

Personal Theories of Power: The Cognitive Domain

by Lt Col Dave “Sugar” Lyle, USAF. This article is part of the Personal Theories of Power series, a joint Bridge-CIMSEC project which asked a group of national security professionals to provide their theory of power and its application. We hope this launches a long and insightful debate that may one day shape policy.

1-5Lx7e8KcK1M-1WYf_pMBzQComplementary mental models hold the social world together. It’s not the lines painted on the road that keep us from careening into each other on the highway, as we sadly find out too often. Paper money has no intrinsic value on its own, unless you like the pictures and holograms, are trying to start a fire, need a bookmark, or have just run out of toilet paper. Online credit purchases do not even require the plastic card anymore, and only work because we collectively believe that strings of ones and zeros — stored electronically in computers that we’ll never see — equal our right to receive services and things from other people, and keep them. In all of these cases, it’s not about the symbolic artifact. Our agreements about what those artifacts represent, and our willingness to act on those beliefs, are what keep the wheels of society turning.

Our brains are hard wired to socialize; to find personal meaning in the groups we belong to and the groups we interact with. If there’s a group, we instinctively figure out if we belong to it and what our place is in the pecking order. We usually try to maintain or improve our position in the hierarchy, even if it’s only within a subgroup we identify with. And to do so, we simultaneously cooperate and compete with others, usually both at the same time.

If it’s true that the plot of every story in the world can be reduced to trying to answer the question “Who am I?”, then it speaks volumes about the importance of identity to human beings. In fact, our brains process things that we associate with our own identity in different ways than we process things that we see as being “other”. We have a very hard time rationally questioning anything that becomes part of who or what we imagine ourselves to be. But how do we know what is “us”, and who or what is “other”?

We make up stories to set the boundaries. We love stories, and literally can’t live socially without them. The basis of our shared mental models, we encode our stories in metaphors, in ceremonial rituals, in songs, in books and films, and in various physical artifacts that help us to remember and communicate both the stories and their meaning. We use the stories as guides for social interaction, and we rewrite them over time to incorporate new experiences. Stories help us understand where we’ve been, and set the direction for collective effort in the future. They are our guideposts for understanding and negotiating ever changing social landscapes, and for accepting our roles within them. Because we have stories, we have identity, we learn to specialize, and we learn to work together for mutual benefit, creating far better lives together than we could ever possibly experience separately.

And here’s the real kicker. We only think we’re in charge of what we believe, and that we deliberately control our own decisions through conscious, rational thought. What really happens is that a multitude of mental submodels — most of which we’re not even aware of — compete for control of our conscious attention, and the domination of our decisions. The idea of unconscious thought influencing the conscious is nothing new — the Greeks were talking about it thousands of years ago. But what is new, as we learn more about the neurobiological foundations of our cognitive processes, is how little control we actually have over our own thoughts most of the time. “Gut feel” intuition usually trumps the pure, unbiased processes of reason that we like to credit ourselves for, but seldom employ in practice — but that’s not always a bad thing. So how does this work inside the mind itself?

Deep Thought

Heuristics — the “rules of thumb” built in our brains through combinations of conscious and unconscious encoding — are really combinations of associated and connected mental submodels that are called up in specific contexts. Formed from the bottom up over time, ideas and memory literally emerge from countless physical structures in our brain building and interacting through electrochemical processes. With billions of neurons in our brains, the combinatory possibilities of brain processes are even greater than the known numbers of stars in the universe. To add to the complexity, nature and nurture combine as co-creative forces, ensuring that no two brains are ever alike, even if the basic structures are similar. The true “Great Unknown” can be found in the space between our ears.

But the human mind isn’t completely unknowable either. As Joseph Campbell observed, the same myths are constantly reinvented over the millennia because basic human nature — and the basic cognitive heuristics that form it — is universal across ages and cultures. An intuitive understanding of this has been the key to success for generations of generals, politicians, illusionists, and con artists, giving them the power to predict and shape human behavior. But now, through neuroscience and neurobiology, we’re finally starting to better understand the underlying biochemical processes that were at work the whole time.

Imagine all of those competing mental submodels as if they were Lotto balls, tumbling around in the hopper of our brains, competing to be selected as the winning ball at the top of conscious attention. Now imagine that all of those balls are connected to the other balls in various ways by small, invisible strings, with different degrees of connection and strength. If you could grab specific balls and strings, in specific sequences, you’d have a better chance of influencing which balls make it to the top of the hopper to be selected. You may not know exactly which one will be the winner, but your odds of predicting it are much better if you know something about how those balls are connected together, and how they interact. It works the same way with interconnected memories, ideas, and feelings: “cognitive priming” activates specific mental heuristics at specific times, for better or for worse. The knowledge of identity stories — and the history of how they came to be — is crucial to building your own mental model of other people’s mental models. It’s this “Theory of Mind” we use every day to negotiate and modify the heuristic driven social landscape, as we seek to shape it in ways that favor us.

Except it’s not always that easy. Sometimes the stories don’t match up. Sometimes we disagree about who is in our group, who gets to have what, who gets to tell others what to do, and what should happen if we disagree on these things. We try to define the boundaries with artifacts that evoke the stories. We write laws and codes. We wear uniforms, and issue IDs and badges. We buy power ties, $50,000 wristwatches, and $500,000 cars to cement our place in the social strata. Then we use these stories and artifacts to reinforce our place and our “rights” within the social system. We plead. We cajole. We flatter. We threaten. And finally, we fight.

We fight when our primitive brain senses that something is threatening our physical survival. We fight when something threatens our identity or place in the pecking order, and occasionally we fight over things peripheral to survival and identity that do not threaten the first two. We fight over fear, honor, and interest, as Thucydides observed, and we usually do it in that order. And when we fight, we often equate the ability to maim and kill as having power.

But killing really isn’t the point when it comes to power. While it’s true that killing someone else is a way to exercise power, and a way to prevent someone else from exerting power over you, power is much more about influencing their mental models of the people who you don’t kill, in order to drive the continuing social interaction in directions that you favor. As Thomas Schelling once said, it’s usually much more useful to have the ability to kill someone than it is to actually do it. And as he also said, it’s the loser who determines when the fighting stops, not the winner.

So how does the loser accept the new reality? They rewrite their story in ways that rescue their personal and social identity. A temporary stability can be maintained under the threat of future sanction and violence, but when peace follows war, it happens because the stories of the victor and vanquished have become complementary enough that the loser can not only answer the “What am I?” question with honor, but perhaps more importantly, “What can I become?” favorably under the new status quo.

Using knowledge of the basic human cognitive processes, and the stories that define people’s identity — to take actions that convince others to change their stories, identities, and actions in ways that accommodate yours, accepting your story as their own in the ultimate exercise — is called POWER.

• • •

CIMSECThe Center for International Maritime Security (CIMSEC) is a non-profit, non-partisan think tank. It was formed in 2012 to bring together forward-thinkers from a variety of fields to examine the capabilities, threats, hotspots, and opportunities for security in the maritime domain. Check out the NextWar blog to join the discussion. CIMSEC encourages a diversity of views and is currently accepting membership applications here.

The Bridge is a blog dedicated to strategy and military affairs. It was formed in 2013 to bring together forward-thinking junior to mid-grade officers and practitioners from a variety of fields to analyze and write about current and future national security challenges.


Posted in Basics, Dave Lyle, English, General Knowledge, Security Policy | 1 Comment