Monday Mash-Up for July 30, 2007

If you want another example of America's failure to understand the importance of building a bigger and badder Internet infrastructure (hell the report I referenced misses the fundamental requirement!), compare the US e-Government initiative and the UK's. It isn't pretty.

"Universal internet access is vital if we are not only to avoid social divisions over the new economy but to create a knowledge economy of the future which is for everyone. Because it's likely that the internet will be as ubiquitous and as normal as electricity is today. For business. Or for individuals." - former Prime Minister Tony Blair in 2000

There are advantages to technology, although this example doesn't include a resolution, in "the F-16 Does What?" segment Noah Schachtman clipped from Michael Yon's post from .

Bourbon and Lawndarts and SWJ (don't skip the comments on SWJ's post) both have good posts on passing up H.R. McMaster, author of the superb Dereliction of Duty and COIN expert, for a promotion.

Foreign Policy cites the latest Pew Global Attitudes Survey showing Muslim support for suicide terrorism is waning. Think the attack on Iraqi soccer fans will be included in a public diplomacy campaign? What about an information operation?

Jason at ArmchairGeneralist also looks at American readiness today, another installment in his ongoing series titled "They're Breaking My Army."

Phil Carter posts on the growing girth of Americans and asks about its impact on recruiting in the future.

Paul Kretkowski at the Beacon posted his comments on the DNI Open Source Conference.

Steve Aftergood of FAS noted the Army has revisited its manual on Civil Affairs.

Lastly, adding to my earlier post IEDs as a Weapons of Strategic Influence, Noah writes on JIEDDO's "strategic flaw" using an insider study (Word doc).

However, what the paper concludes, ultimately, is that the American effort against improvised bombs has been an "unsatisfactory performance [with] an incomplete strategy."  What's more, the JIEDDO-led struggle against the hand-made explosives has a "strategic flaw" that may keep the U.S. from ever gaining the upper hand on the bombers, Adamson notes: The lack of authority to knock bureaucratic heads.  He recommends instead establishing a separate, Executive Branch agency with a "laser-like concentration on the hostile use of IEDs."   

Ideally, every element of the U.S. government would be teaming up to fight IEDs, Adamson writes.  Spies would be uncovering rings of bombers; FBI investigators would be helping examine forensic evidence; diplomats would be applying political pressure to catch bombers; other countries could even be chipping in, offering their own experience with improvised explosives. 

In practice, however, such coordination has been uneven, at best. The  "IA [interagency] process lacks a comprehensive strategy for defeating the global IED threat."  Outside of the military, few agencies have viewed bomb-beating "as essential to their collective or unilateral missions."  So they have given the problem short shrift.  For example, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms decided that, "due to resource constraints, [it] could not support greater involvement with DOD's [the Department of Defense's] IED effort," Adamson notes.  Same goes for the nation's spies.  "Internal reform and mission overload in the IC [intelligence community] cripple[d] its capacity for additional effort."