Please join us for the most timely presentation on….

Viet-Nam From the Trenches

with

Lt. General Martin Brandtner (USMC/Ret)

The Ramada, Wednesday, May 27, 9:00 a.m.

Then Captain Marty Brandtner won two Navy Crosses for his heroism during fierce encounters with North Vietnamese forces in the fall of 1968. While serving as company commander, he was wounded in action several times.  The initial conflict occurred when Brandtner’s lead platoon on a recon mission triggered an ambush by NVA troops, combat so close that it turned into a short-range grenade duel. Captain Brandtner on multiple occasions picked up NVA grenades and hurled them back at the enemy; once he threw two of his men to the ground and placed himself on top of them to protect the Marines from more grenades—in so doing he was wounded multiple times. Brandtner ignored his wounds and led a counter-charge against the NVA forces.

The enemy melted away but just eight days later Brandtner’s company was hit by NVA mortar, machine gun and rocket fire, but the Marine Captain led a fierce counter-attack that drove the enemy from its entrenched positions. The two actions resulted in Brandtner being awarded two Navy Crosses (just below the Medal of Honor—one of only two Marines to win the Navy Cross twice in Viet-Nam)!

Brandtner later served with a Marine Amphibious Force, as an Assistant Division Commander, as CG of the 10th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, and as Special Assistant to Undersecretary of Defense Fred Ikle.  Brandtner last served as the J3 (Director of Operations) of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a position he held during Operation Desert Storm.

Join us for this post-Memorial Day conversation with Lt. General Brandtner, conducted by KNPB’s Brent Boynton. While the focus will be on his Viet-Nam experiences, the discussion will also cover the General’s later assignments, including as the Director of Operations in the JCS during the first invasion of Iraq.

Please join us for what will be a very interesting discussion. A full breakfast will be served ($15 Members, $25 Non-Members, and $10 for students with ID and military personnel in uniform; free for WWII veterans). We recommend that you arrive by 8:30 to enjoy breakfast, coffee and conversation.

You are encouraged to RSVP by clicking HERE. You may also RSVP by e-mailing info@nationalsecurityforum.org. Just a reminder, after the forum, we will be accepting new and renewal membership applications for the July 1, 2014 – June 30, 2015 period. Forms will be available at the forum, though you can also access the application form by clicking HERE. For your convenience, we accept cash, check and credit card payments for both the breakfast and membership

Save the Dates for these upcoming Forums….

Viet-Nam From the Trenches

With

Lt. General Martin Brandtner (USMC/Ret)

The Ramada, Wednesday, May 27, 9:00 a.m.

Then Captain Marty Brandtner won two Navy Crosses for his heroism during fierce encounters with North Vietnamese forces in the fall of 1968. While serving as company commander, he was wounded in action several times.  The initial conflict occurred when Brandtner’s lead platoon on a recon mission triggered an ambush by NVA troops, combat so close that it turned into a short-range grenade duel. Captain Brandtner on multiple occasions picked up NVA grenades and hurled them back at the enemy; once he threw two of his men to the ground and placed himself on top of them to protect the Marines from more grenades—in so doing he was wounded multiple times. Brandtner ignored his wounds and led a counter-charge against the NVA forces.

Martin Brandtner

The enemy melted away but just eight days later Brandtner’s company was hit by NVA mortar, machine gun and rocket fire, but the Marine Captain led a fierce counter-attack that drove the enemy from its entrenched positions. The two actions resulted in Brandtner being awarded two Navy Crosses (just below the Medal of Honor—one of only two Marines to win the Navy Cross twice in Viet-Nam)!

Brandtner later served with a Marine Amphibious Force, as an Assistant Division Commander, as CG of the 10th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, and as Special Assistant to Undersecretary of Defense Fred Ikle. Brandtner last served as the J3 (Director of Operations) of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a position he held during Operation Desert Storm.

Join us for this post-Memorial Day conversation with Lt. General Brandtner, conducted by KNPB’s Brent Boynton. While the focus will be on his Viet-Nam experiences, the discussion will also cover the General’s later assignments, including as the Director of Operations in the JCS during the first invasion of Iraq.

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THE OBAMA DOCTRINE:

JUST WHAT DOES THE “LIGHT FOOTPRINT” REALLY MEAN?

with

Dr. Kiron Skinner

The Ramada, Wednesday, June 10, 9 am

The conflicts in the Middle East continue to escalate and critics charge that the Obama administration has neither the passion nor the commitment to counter our adversaries, nor does it seem to have a real strategy for doing so. Dr. Kiron Skinner echoes those criticisms, arguing that “Current US behavior in the Middle East is driven by a desire to end wars, not win wars.” She says that the administration has also failed to forthrightly define the problem, saying that “Until the White House admits that radical Islam is the central terror threat, there can be no grand strategy”

Skinner has been a persistent critic of the Obama Administration’s policies in combating terrorism and the growing threat represented by ISIS and other terrorist groups in the Mid East. She charges that the Administration is facing challenges for which it does not have “the capabilities and capacities” required to engage and defeat our enemies in the region. As she concludes, “War without strategy and resources is fraught with danger”.

Kiron Skinner

Dr. Skinner graduated from Spelman College, and received MA and PhD degrees from Harvard University. She is an Associate Professor at Carnegie Mellon and a Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford. She has served as a foreign policy advisor for both the George Bush and Mitt Romney campaigns. She has written for Foreign Policy, CNN.com, the National Review, and is the co-editor of two books on Ronald Reagan. She is currently drafting a book on U.S. policy in the troublesome Mideast region.

No need to RSVP now—just note these upcoming programs in your calendars!

Summary of NSF Presentation on….

Conducting Nuclear Arms Control Negotiations

Keith Hansen and Frank Partlow provided vignettes from their respective experiences in negotiating nuclear arms control treaties with the Soviets/Russians and others.  In particular, they explained what it was like in the trenches to successfully negotiate the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty which was signed in 1987 between the U.S. and the former Soviet Union.

Their goal was to illuminate the complexities and subtleties of such negotiations in an effort to provide insights into what is actually happening on the ground in current talks with Iran.  Moreover, they wanted the audience to understand that despite the “theater” of such negotiations reported by the media, no agreement is ever consummated absent hard work by the “boots on the ground” negotiators in the trenches.

To begin they explained who was on the US INF delegation and why (see slide #1), how delegation members interacted with their respective agencies in Washington, with each other in Geneva, and with the Soviet delegation.  They emphasized that the US delegation had to have access to direct and rapid communication with Washington.

They also explained that any treaty text must address and include agreement on three components (see slide #2): basic obligations and commitments, effective verification provisions to deter and, if necessary detect cheating, and legal requirements for the treaty to function.

With that as background, their presentation included the following points:

  • For any treaty to succeed it must pass three tests: successful negotiations “with ourselves” in Washington, with the other country or countries, and finally with the Senate which must give its advice and consent. At times the most difficult step was the first one, and the delegation was always “looking over its shoulders” at the Senate.  In the case of INF, US Senators visited Geneva, met with the Soviets, and influenced the outcome of the negotiations for the better.
  • Without firm deadlines, there is a danger that negotiations can go on forever. INF negotiations had been going on for two years without getting close to agreement.  However, during the late summer of 1987, following their Reykjavik Summit meeting in October 1986, President Reagan and General Secretary Gorbachev announced that they wanted to sign an INF treaty in December.  This was a surprise to both delegations in Geneva and led to a flurry of intense activity and fatigue in an effort to work through the details and meet the deadline.  Back-channel exchanges (i.e. capital to capital negotiations between heads of state) often parallel what is going on between delegations.  However, even though the outlines of an agreement had been reached at the higher level, the “devil is always in the details”, and intense hard work was required to resolve the remaining differences.
  • Informal meetings (one-on-one discussions, lunches, etc.) between members of the delegations were where the real negotiations took place. Only by establishing rapport and trust could meaningful dialogue and exchange of opinions occur so that differences could be bridged.  However, such meetings required that everything be discussed through interpreters and with the aid of assistants, and then the results dutifully reported back to the delegation and Washington.  Language and cultural differences had to be sorted out so that the final treaty language was clearly understood and consistent in all languages.
  • The Intelligence Community’s (IC) role was to provide accurate information to US policymakers in Washington and to the negotiators in Geneva regarding the activities and goals of the other side. In the US the IC does not recommend or advocate policy.  Ultimately the IC was required to testify to its ability to monitor the other side’s adherence to the treaty provisions in the Senate ratification process.
  • The ratification process required senior US officials (State, Defense, & IC) to testify before the Senate to the utility for US security, the verifiability, and the military sufficiency of the signed treaty. In the case of INF the administration had to respond in writing to 1,300 congressional questions; all answers had to be cleared by all agencies and the White House.
  • Implementation of the INF Treaty’s on-site verification provisions required allowing Soviet inspectors into US nuclear weapon exclusion areas from which even most US service members, let alone civilians, are barred from entering. This required explaining to those in charge that it was OK.  This was the first treaty in which the US and USSR agreed to allow on-site inspections of their nuclear forces, so those “on the ground” had to be included in treaty implementation.

Brigadier General Frank Partlow was the US Joint Chiefs of Staff representative to the Intermediate Range Nuclear Weapons (INF) talks with the former Soviet Union from 1986 through ratification of the INF Treaty by the US Senate in 1988.  Keith Hansen was the Director of Central Intelligence representative to the INF negotiations from 1985-1987. He also served on US delegations to the SALT II and CTBT negotiations. As such, they were among the “boots on the ground” during these negotiations.

PowerPoint May 13

Colleagues:

We recently posted a commentary from Jack David, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, arguing that it was “Time to Take the Fight to the Islamists”. David argued that simply decrying atrocities committed by ISIS and other groups wasn’t enough—he called for “action to eradicate Islamic terrorism.”

David argues that the Jihadists do not disguise the fact that they are Islamist—in fact, they stress that their religion demands they commit these heinous acts. And David finds the silence of the vast majority of Muslims by not speaking out against the radicals troubling. David advocates that the U.S. not assist any country that supports terrorism, and that would include Saudi Arabia, a major backer of “extremist curricula in schools” around the world.

Most importantly, David demanded that the U.S. abandon its constant reluctance from placing “boots on the ground.” In fact, our policy must be to use all means to hunt down and eliminate terrorists—“whatever the cost”. We are in a war of survival, he concludes!

I have asked “Al Kindi Azad” (a pseudonym), who might be considered part of the “vast majority of Muslims who are not speaking out against radicalism”, for his perspective. As you can see from his response below, Al Kindi has substantial agreement with Jack David.

A MODERATE MUSLIM SPEAKS OUT ON RADICAL ISLAM

As an American, but more importantly as part of the Muslim “silent majority”, I have chosen to speak out, as Mr. David asks. And, perhaps surprisingly, I agree that it is time to “take off the gloves” to defeat radical terrorists and extremists, and their ideology.

The United States has been at war for fourteen years and the problem of extremism has risen, rather than dissipated.  First and foremost, we must have clear objectives and realistic expectations. We need to be realistic–the founder of the democratic and secular Turkish Republic, Kemal Ataturk, will not fall from the sky, and the separation of “mosque and state” will not happen overnight–it will be a gradual progression which will take at least a generation. Second, in a war for “hearts and minds”, the United States must carefully craft our narrative.  Specifically, we cannot condemn, with a broad brush, 1.6 billion Muslims for the fault of expanding extremism that is largely funded with petro dollars of Saudi Wahhabis. The 9-11 Commission stated the current threat that the United States faces, “Islamist terrorism” inspired by “a long tradition of extreme intolerance within one stream of Islam (a minority tradition) from… Ibn Taimiyyah, through the founders of Wahhabism, through the Muslim Brotherhood, to Sayyid Qutb.”

For the United States to see substantial progress in the modernization and development of Muslim societies we must successfully counter the Wahhabi interpretation of Islamic text.  A vast majority of Muslims, especially in the United States and Europe, do not believe in the Islamic doctrinal interpretation of the Wahhabis, ISIS or the Ayatollahs in Iran. However, the reality is, extremist groups have a great deal of wealth and influence with population areas where the literacy rate is low, corruption is high and government services are non-existent. As former CIA Director James Woolsey cleverly and accurately explained:

“If I had to draw an analogy – a rough one, but I think an instructive one – I would say it is as if Ferdinand and Isabella’s Spain, with her confessor Torquemada at the head of the Spanish Inquisition of the late 16th century, were moved up into the early 21st century and then 25 percent of the world’s oil was discovered underneath Spain. Torquemada would be a very busy gentleman indeed establishing inquisitions in lots of parts of Europe and the rest of the world, just as the Wahhabis are very busy establishing their sect’s doctrines as much as possible in the suburbs of France, in Islamist movements in Malaysia, in wherever”.

Before Saudi petrodollars, this narrow interpretation of Islam had little appeal to most Muslims. It was truly marginal. Saudi oil wealth and the quest for pan-Islamic hegemony, however, brought it from the margin to the center. Beginning in the 1970s, Wahhabism spread across the globe thanks to funds, institutions and new media sponsored by Saudi Arabia.

Complicating matters was the existence of not one Wahhabism, but several trends within it, all of them with extreme conservative outlooks, especially in regard to gender issues, other Muslim sects and relations with non-Muslims. 

A microcosm of the Saudi Wahhabi influence is Pakistan. Before the 1970’s Pakistan was a largely stable society with a productive economy and a historically vibrant Sufi Muslim culture—at least until the “Saudization” of Pakistan( I recall a 2012 NPR article titled “Picturing Pakistan’s Past: The Beatles, Booze and Bikinis.”)

Moreover, in terms of GDP, Pakistan’s economy was on par with South Korea until the 1970’s.  However, the Saudis developed a large footprint in Pakistan with a strategy of pre-conditioning economic cooperation with the ability to influence Pakistan’s public education curriculum, promoting Wahhabi madrassas and developing Wahhabi imams within Pakistan. Needless to say Pakistan has suffered from the “Saudization” of the country ever since.

A Call for Muslims to be more proactive in combating terrorism and for Western governments to “take off the gloves”

Edward Murrow once said, “truth is the best propaganda.” As of today both the Saudi Wahhabis and the Iranian Ayatollahs have made claims to both Sunni and Shiite populations that only they have a monopoly on the truth and have the power to interpret Islamic text. Muslims must be proactive in both written and electronic media to counter this narrative and just as importantly denounce extreme literal interpretations that justify violence and the harsh treatment of women and minorities.

However, proclaiming these hideous acts of terrorism as Islamic is a self-defeating tactic that undermines the goals and objectives of the US Government; a more accurate and effective way to define the acts of terrorism is to identify the actors and their supporters as Wahhabi terrorists or the followers of the Iranian Ayatollahs.

Moreover, the United States and Europe must stop allowing foreign educated imams into Western countries and in turn legitimize the same extremists by putting them on mainstream television. For example, Anjam Choudhry, an extremist Imam in the United Kingdom, is a regular guest on American and Western media outlets. Choudhry’s appearances on mainstream television legitimized and credentialed him to millions of viewers and reinforced an odd sense of credibility to his youthful followers. In contrast, we should isolate the extremists and give them no media exposure to spew hate and illogical views.

Second, US Government National Security Policy should be zero tolerance for any country that supports terrorism and/or the treatment of women as second class citizens, this includes Saudi Arabia, the epicenter of this barbaric ideology, anything less is self-defeating for the United State’s end goal of developing modern and secular democratic governments in the Muslim world. For example our military strategy in Iraq relied a great deal on support from anti-democratic countries in the Middle East who have no desire for a secular and democratic Middle East. Relying on these regimes with the opposite goal of secularization and democratization has limited our on the ground human intelligence capability, as was evident during the recent and unfortunate incident regarding US hostage Warren Weinstein in Pakistan. The US Government should dramatically increase our on the ground human intelligence capability. It is absolutely critical to save American lives that we have the ability to gather accurate and timely on the ground intelligence in countries of interest.

Next, “boots on the ground” should be used for training security forces, intelligence gathering and institutional development. As we learned in Afghanistan corruption and terrorism coexist in a mutually reinforcing relationship. As General Stan McChrystal pointed out, “There are no clear lines separating insurgent groups, criminal networks (including narcotics networks) and corrupt [government] officials. Malign actors within the [government] support insurgent groups directly, support criminal groups that are linked to insurgents and support corruption that helps feed the insurgency.”

Effective targeted sanctions with modernized export regulations for new technologies and prosecuting corporate corruption of foreign governments needs to continue to be a top priority of the Justice Department. However, it is paramount our allies in Europe follow our leadership regarding this critical issue. As former Attorney General John Ashcroft explained, after 9/11 U.S. authorities learned that the financing of terrorism was often linked to, and even facilitated by, the corruption of foreign officials. Anti-Corruption efforts should expand to include tax treaties with Muslim countries to clamp down on offshore accounts and rampant tax evasion which deprive ordinary citizens of basic government services, such as education and leave populations exposed to extremist Wahhabi indoctrination. Prosecutions of corporations who bribe government officials in Muslim countries should be highly publicized in foreign media and should be used as a pro US Government propaganda tool.  For example, in Pakistan, the US Government prosecuted Smith and Weston for bribing the Pakistani Police to buy Smith and Weston guns and equipment. Publicizing this specific event in Pakistani media would have caused high praise for the US Government and help engender trust with the general population. There is no doubt that in an all-encompassing anti-terrorism policy, limiting corruption, money laundering and predatory governance is critical.

Just as the end goal of a modern, democratic and secular Muslim world will not happen overnight, a sophisticated all-encompassing policy needs to be well thought out. Desperate, knee jerk proposals of arming groups (who have not been properly vetted) who ally with extremist partners should never be implemented or be given serious consideration. This generational war will be won with ideas, building trust with locals, human intelligence and understanding as the 9/11 commission did, that this war is against the Wahhabi-Salafist Terrorists.

One of our greatest Presidents General Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, “This world of ours… must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.”

To accomplish this goal, we must truly “take off the gloves” and once and for all eliminate Wahhabi-Salafist terrorism and its barbaric ideology of violating the basic human rights of individuals around the world.

  • “Al Kindl Azad” was born in the United States of Muslim heritage. He enlisted and served in the U.S. Army after 9-11 and subsequently obtained both an undergraduate and law degrees. He is currently employed by an international corporation and is a participant in our National Security Forum.

 This is the Final Announcement for the Presentation on….

CONDUCTING INTERNATIONAL ARMS CONTROL NEGOTIATIONS

with

KEITH HANSEN and FRANK PARTLOW

The Ramada, Wednesday, May 13, 9:00 am

The United States and six other nations have signed a framework agreement with Iran designed to insure any nuclear weapons capability Tehran has been pursuing is delayed or terminated.  In return, the US and other allied nations would agree to reduce or terminate the various sanctions that have been imposed on Iran.

Between now and July, when a final agreement is supposed to be signed, the US will be negotiating intensely, not only with Iran, but within its own government!  “Negotiating with ourselves” is a lament that many students of previous US nuclear arms control agreements have made over the years. Intense, often acrimonious, debates take place among US national security organizations in Washington during the process of establishing US negotiating policy and eventually guidance to the delegations.

Actual negotiations, however, are done by the boots on the ground, in the trenches, by the foot soldiers of arms control.  Since they must reflect all the disparate interests of their respective government bureaucracies and political leaders, reaching any agreement is problematic and challenging. Moreover, negotiators must keep in mind that whatever agreement they achieve must be defended in the Senate.

Our presenters will explain the various roles played by the members of the US delegations, the key features of nuclear arms control agreements that must be worked out, and address the practical dynamics of promoting US policy directives in such negotiations. Despite the general framework agreements negoatiated by senior officials, the devil is always in the details. Consequently, the delegation “foot soldiers” must flesh out the specifics to make any agreement acceptable and workable.

Our two speakers each have extensive experience with negotiating arms control agreements.  Brigadier General Frank Partlow was the US Joint Chiefs of Staff representative to the Intermediate Range Nuclear Weapons (INF) talks with the former Soviet Union from 1986 through ratification of the INF Treaty by the US Senate in 1988.  Keith Hansen was the Director of Central Intelligence representative to the INF negotiations from 1985-1987. He also served on US delegations to the SALT II and CTBT negotiations. As such, they were among the “boots on the ground” during these negotiations.

Please join us for what will be a very interesting discussion. A full breakfast will be served ($15 Members, $25 Non-Members, and $10 for students with ID and military personnel in uniform; free for WWII veterans). We recommend that you arrive by 8:30 to enjoy breakfast, coffee and conversation.

You are encouraged to RSVP by clicking HERE. You may also RSVP by e-mailing info@nationalsecurityforum.org. Just a reminder, after the forum, we will be accepting new and renewal membership applications for the July 1, 2014 – June 30, 2015 period. Forms will be available at the forum, though you can also access the application form by clicking HERE. For your convenience, we accept cash, check and credit card payments for both the breakfast and membership