Tuesday, May 30, 2023

2 NPA tagged in farmer’s death

From the Visayan Daily Star (May 30, 2023): 2 NPA tagged in farmer’s death (By GILBERT P. BAYORAN)

Two New People’s Army rebels have been tagged by the police as suspects in the summary execution of a farmer on May 25 in Sitio Colihao, Brgy. Buenavista, Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental.

The victim, identified by the police as Raul Enmacino, 49, was declared dead on arrival at the Valeriano M. Gatuslao Memorial Hospital in Himamaylan City.

He succumbed to gunshot wounds in the head and upper right portion of his chest, according to the initial investigation of the Himamaylan police.

The victim was working in a rice field near his residence, when he was approached and shot without any provocation by two armed suspects, according to the police.

The wife of the victim also turned over an empty shell of a 5.56mm caliber firearm to the Himamaylan City police.

PLt. Col. Reynante Jomocan, Himamaylan City police chief, told DYHB that the wife of the victim identified the assailants of her husband through photographs presented to her.

Jomocan further said they got information that NPA were staying at the house of the victim prior to the incident.

The victim and his wife also received information that those “traitors” in the NPA, will be killed.

Prior to the liquidation of Enmacino, several armed skirmishes ensued between government troopers and NPA rebels in Sitio Colihao and neighboring sitios in Brgy. Buenavista, Himamylan City, that also claimed the lives of several rebels, over the past several weeks.*


Bill declaring PH maritime zones gets House nod

 Posted to the Mindanao Examiner (May 30, 2023): Bill declaring PH maritime zones gets House nod

THE HOUSE of Representatives on Monday approved on the third and final reading a bill seeking to declare the maritime zones of the Philippines under its jurisdiction to establish legal bases for the conduct of social, economic, commercial and other activities in those areas.

With 284 affirmative votes, the chamber approved House Bill 7819 or the proposed Philippine Maritime Zones Act, which, if enacted into law, will provide flexibility in enacting laws pertinent to the rights and obligations that the Philippines can exercise over its maritime zone.

The measure provides for a general declaration of the maritime zones under the jurisdiction of the Philippines, which include internal waters, archipelagic waters, territorial sea, contiguous zone, exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and continental shelf.

The bill defines the maximum extent of territorial sea (12 nautical miles), contiguous zone (24 nautical miles), EEZ (200 nautical miles) and continental shelf.

HB 7819 also allows the delineation of continental shelves extending beyond 200 nautical miles, in accordance with Article 76 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

It also provides for sovereign rights over these maritime zones, thus establishing the Philippines' exclusive rights to explore and exploit living and nonliving resources found in these zones, in accordance with the UNCLOS and other existing laws and treaties.

The bill also provides for the exercise of jurisdiction over these zones with regard to rights and duties provided for in the UNCLOS.

Where the maritime zones defined in said Act overlap with the maritime zones of a neighboring State, the common boundaries shall be determined by agreement with that State in accordance with the relevant principles of delimitation under international law, including the UNCLOS.

It also states that the rights of the Philippines relative to its maritime zones and entitlements shall be exercised in accordance with the UNCLOS, and the awards rendered by the Arbitral Tribunal in Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) Case 23 No. 2013-19, in the matter of the South China Sea Arbitration between the Republic of the Philippines and the People’s Republic of China, handed down on July 12, 2016, at The Hague. (Jose Cielito Reganit)


Cops, soldiers sent to Lanao del Sur town after Dawlah Islamiya threatens attack

From the Philippine Star (May 30, 2023): Cops, soldiers sent to Lanao del Sur town after Dawlah Islamiya threatens attack (By John Unson)

Officials of the Bangsamoro regional police lead the deployment of more police personnel in Marogong, Lanao del Sur on May 29, 2023.  via The STAR / John Unson

MARAWI CITY, Philippines — The Police Regional Office-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region has deployed personnel to strategic spots in Marogong town in Lanao del Sur, which the outlawed Dawlah Islamiya has threatened to attack.

Lanao del Sur Gov. Mamintal Adiong, Jr. told reporters Tuesday he is thankful to Police Brig. Gen. Allan Nobleza, director of PRO-BAR, for personally supervising Monday's positioning of more police officers in Marogong. Thousands of residents have evacuated to other towns, fearing an attack by members of the DI terrorist group.

In an interview on Radyo Bangsamoro, Marogong disaster risk officer Ronaldin Damiano said at least 3,550 residents have gone to safer areas outside town, with some seeking shelter as far away as Iligan and Cotabato cities. He said classes are suspended and only around half of establishments are open as the town worries about a repeat of the Marawi Siege of 2017.

The outlawed Dawlah Islamiya, in text messages and Facebook posts last week, threatened to enter the town proper of Marogong last week following the the arrest of its members in a series of police operations in Lanao del Sur.

More than 20 Dawlah Islamiya members also fell in anti-narcotics operations in the province in recent months, now detained and are being prosecuted for violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

Nobleza said Tuesday a platoon from the Regional Mobile Force Battalion and personnel of the Lanao del Sur Provincial Mobile Company are now positioned around the town proper of Marogong as part of their preparations for any Dawlah Islamiya incursion.

He said a company-size contingent from the Army’s 32nd Infanty Battalion had also been deployed in different barangays in the municipality.

“Contrary to what these terrorists are spreading around via text messages and social media, the PRO-BAR and counterparts in the Philippine Army and the administration of Gov. Adiong are on top of the situation. We are in full control,” Nobleza said.

“Our Provincial Peace and Order Council, the Lanao del Sur Provincial Police Office, the PRO-BAR and the 103rd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army are cooperating in addressing the Marogong security issue,” Adiong said.

Adiong earlier said his office and local officials in Marogong are together reaching out to hundreds of Maranao families that fled to Lanao del Sur’s Binidayan, Tubaran, Bayang, Masiu, Malabang, Balabagan, Calanogas, Bacolod-Kalawi and Lumbatan towns.

On Radyo Bangsamoro on Tuesday, town police chief Police Maj. Abdulnasser Manan assured residents that the town is well secured. "[Police Brig. Gen. Nobleza] has incerased security omn Marogong and he has increased support to personnel to ensure the security of Marogong, he said in Filipino.


More cops, soldiers deployed to secure Lanao del Sur town from terrorist threat

Posted to Business World (May 30, 2023): More cops, soldiers deployed to secure Lanao del Sur town from terrorist threat (By John M. Unson)


THE BANGSAMORO Police Regional Office has deployed combat-ready law enforcers in Marogong, Lanao del Sur after the local terrorist group Dawlah Islamiya threatened to attack the town.

Lanao del Sur Gov. Mamintal Adiong, Jr. Tuesday commended Bangsamoro Police Director Allan C. Nobleza for personally supervising Monday’s positioning of more cops in Marogong, where thousands of residents evacuated to other towns, fearing an attack by members of the extremist group.

The outlawed Dawlah Islamiya sent out text and social media messages last week warning of an attack on the town center following the arrest of its members in a series of police anti-crime operations in Lanao del Sur.

More than 20 Dawlah Islamiya members also fell in anti-narcotics operations in the province in recent months, who area now detained and are being prosecuted for violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

“Our Provincial Peace and Order Council, the Lanao del Sur Provincial Police Office, the PRO-BAR and the 103rd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army are cooperating in addressing the Marogong security issue,” Mr. Adiong told reporters.

He also assured that the provincial and municipal governments are reaching out to the displaced residents to provide assistance.

“Contrary to what these terrorists are spreading around via text messages and social media, the (Bangsamoro police) and counterparts in the Philippine Army and the administration of Gov. Adiong are on top of the situation. We are in full control,” Mr. Nobleza said. 


An Unconventional Warfare Mindset: The Philosophy of Special Forces Must be Sustained

Interesting article/remarks posted to the Small Wars Journal (May 29, 2023): An Unconventional Warfare Mindset: The Philosophy of Special Forces Must be Sustained (By David Maxwell)

(NOTE: The following is an adaptation of remarks presented at the Special Forces Association Convention in Indianapolis on May 24, 2023)

Unconventional Warfare (UW). What is it? For some nuclear weapons are unconventional weapons employed for “unconventional warfare,” because, obviously, it is not conventional warfare., For many others, anything that is not conventional is unconventional: unconventional ideas, doctrine, equipment, tactics, techniques, and procedures, campaigns, policy, and strategy. Or anything executed by indigenous resistance forces is, by definition, unconventional.

The DOD Dictionary of Military Terms defines UW as “activities to enable an insurgency or resistance to coerce, disrupt, or overthrow a nation or occupying power through and with an underground, auxiliary, or a guerrilla force in a denied area.” I can talk in detail about this definition and how it was developed because I was part of the painful working group in 2009 when it was approved by Admiral Olson who was heavily influenced by CSM Tommie Smith, then the USSOCOM SEA.

Again, what is UW? For many others it is a subordinate element of irregular warfare. In fact, irregular warfare has become the new comprehensive term since it was (re-)introduced in 2007. DOD is currently working to revise the definition, but it has traditionally included five missions: Unconventional Warfare, Foreign Internal Defense (FID), Counterinsurgency (COIN), Counterterrorism (CT), and Stability Operations (STABOPS) thus making UW subordinate to IW.

However, I am not going to get into a doctrinal discussion. We can talk ourselves into doctrinal and terminology paralysis. What I want to talk about is our Special Forces (SF) philosophy. By philosophy I mean the “the theoretical basis of a particular branch of knowledge or experience” as in "the philosophy of unconventional warfare and Special Forces." Philosophy is the collective assemblage of wisdom. And there is no greater assembly of Special Forces and unconventional warfare wisdom than the Special Forces Association.

Now there are two schools of anti-UW thought – First, UW is an anachronism and obsolete or will rarely ever be conducted and maybe not ever again. UW also has severe antibodies within DOD, at embassies, and in the national security community. Some believe no government official or political leader wants to approve let alone direct a UW campaign plan. The second idea is UW needs to be replaced with modern concepts such as the new triad of SOF, Cyber, and Space. To the second, I would argue that the UW philosophy can and must have a positive influence.

But in my opinion, it is UW thinking that has been the source of nearly every successful Special Forces operation since 1952 even if the operation was not in accordance with the strictest doctrinal definition of UW, e.g., traditionally the overthrow of a government. However, it is the thinking about and training for such an action that sets SF apart and informs the deep intellectual abilities of every SF operator.

What is UW thinking? It is the essence of UW: UW thinking informs everything SF should do.

UW is fundamentally problem solving; using unique, non-doctrinal and non-conventional methods, techniques, people, equipment to solve (or assist in solving) complex political-military problems.
And it is about creating dilemmas for our adversaries.
UW is essentially about influencing behavior of target audiences (which can include a population, a segment of the population, a political structure, or a military force); therefore, PSYOP and CA are integral to the action arm of SF.

It is the two SF “trinities:”

(1) The Missions of Irregular Warfare, Unconventional Warfare, Support to Political Warfare

(2) The comparative advantage of Special Forces: Influence, Governance, Support to Indigenous Forces and Populations

It is thinking about the human element in the full spectrum of competition and conflict up to and including conventional and even nuclear war. It includes, but is not limited to, all aspects of lawlessness, subversion, insurgency, terrorism, political resistance, non-violent resistance, political violence, urban operations, stability operations, post-conflict operations, cyber operations, and operations in the information environment.

As I survey the history, I see the legacy of modern SF built on the OSS foundation and since 1952 the basis of training SF has been for the UW mission. At its core it has been about supporting indigenous forces and populations to achieve their objectives – either to resist oppression and seek self-determination or to defend against internal or external forces who want to impose authoritarian rule. This is what we all trained to do in some form or another and this is what we all executed during our careers. The UW mindset was applied to the Korean partisans, the tribes in Vietnam, the Civilian Irregular Defense Group (CIDG) program, the Phoenix Program, and Military Assistance Command – Studies and Observation Group (MACV-SOG). And during Vietnam era the UW mindset was also applied in Africa and Latin America – surely Che Guevara was killed due to the UW mindset employed by some SF advisors working with the Bolivian military. Following Vietnam, the Army and all the services purged COIN doctrine and all things associated with irregular and unconventional warfare. We wanted to get back to preparing for the big fight against the USSR (and the pendulum has now swung in a similar way to China and Russia). I would argue that those of us who came into SF in the 1980s were mentored by our SF Vietnam vets and they kept the UW flame alive even as we had to fight for relevancy in the Army and DOD. There were flashes of recognition of the importance of SF during the Reagan era when we reactivated 1st and 3d Special Forces Groups (SFG). 7th SFG relied on the UW mindset in El Salvador and demonstrated what relationships and a light footprint could accomplish for the nation. Although frustrated with the SCUD hunting and special reconnaissance missions in Desert Storm, the coalition support teams advising the Syrians, Saudis, Jordanians, and Egyptians were successful because SF soldiers applied a UW mindset to their advisory operations. Certainly 7th SFG showed its UW mindset in Just Cause. And throughout the 1990’s SF showed the UW mindset in the Balkans and Africa and quietly in places such as Colombia to name a few.

During the Cold War we built a number of very diverse organizations based on different conditions and requirements in various theaters around the world. United States SF has long experience establishing permanent detachments uniquely organized and suited for specific missions in specific countries. These include DET-A or the Berlin Detachment, the 46th Company in Thailand, The 8th Special Action Force (SAF) in Panama, the Special Action Force Asia (SAFASIA) in Okinawa, the Special Forces Taiwan Resident Detachment, and Special Forces Detachment Korea (SFD-K now DET 39, which remains operational to this day advising Korean Special Forces Brigades with an SF NCO serving as an advisor to Korean brigadier generals). Each of these unique organizations were tailored for the mission and specific requirements. Some of these detachments were responsible for extensive unilateral operations, others advisory operations, and some of them for supporting the temporary deployment of other SOF to conduct specific missions. Many of you in the Special Forces Association were members of these organizations. Although each one was unique, I think there was one common thread tying them all together: an unconventional warfare mindset. It was the philosophy of SF that influenced leaders to establish these organizations. I would argue that every one of these organizations, and some we have not yet thought of, will have relevance in what we are calling the strategic competition of the gray zone in the 21st century. Future organizations inspired by them are needed to support the full range of special operations up to and including unconventional warfare.

I want to provide one more historical example of why the UW mindset and SF philosophy are so valuable and has led to the continued success of Special Forces.

The nation, the intelligence community, and the military were caught off guard on September 11, 2001. While the government learned much from the 9-11 Commission Report and made many changes, America was flatfooted with no plan on how to respond to the attacks. However, there was one force that was part of the initial response that was trained and ready for just such a response. This was due to one person and his vision in two words: unconventional warfare. The man was the commander of the U.S. Army Special Forces Command, the late Brigadier General Frank Toney.

When General Toney took command, he sought to instill two things within the Special Forces Regiment: a total focus on unconventional warfare (UW) and advanced combat skills training with a heavy emphasis on combat marksmanship. He personally mentored every group and battalion commander (including me) and sought to infuse in them the mindset and philosophy of UW as the core foundational mission of Special Forces.

Despite there being no response plan for the September 11th attacks it was the UW focus and the advanced combat skills training that allowed 5th Special Forces Group (SFG) and its horse soldiers to effectively partner with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and exquisite U.S. air power operating in shared battlespace to conduct a punitive expedition in Afghanistan to oust the Taliban and Al Qaeda. One author says the U.S won the war before losing it.

At the same time, through the early years of the war on terrorism, the other Special Forces Groups were just as effective. 3d SFG operated in Africa and Afghanistan. 7th SFG sustained operations in Colombia and throughout the rest of Latin America and rotated with 3d SFG in Afghanistan. 10th SFG conducted a highly successful UW mission in Northern Iraq with the Kurds as well and a little known mission in the Republic of Georgia. 1st SFG conducted long-duration operations in the Philippines and throughout Asia. All the groups, to include the National Guard 19th and 20th SFGs, rotated Special Forces battalions and companies to Afghanistan and Iraq while continuing their employment in their respective regional theaters.

Although throughout the years the perception developed that special operations forces (SOF) broadly, and Special Forces in particular, emphasized direct action to capture and kill high value targets, the core of the UW mission remained instilled within every Special Forces operator, along with Psychological Operations and Civil Affairs soldiers. This is an innate desire to work “through, with, and by” indigenous forces as retired Colonel Mark Boyatt first described in the 1990’s. This concept greatly influenced BG Toney and the entire Special Forces Regiment and beyond. By 2010 it was adopted as a fundamental operating concept for U.S Forces in Iraq.

The UW mission and General Toney were responsible for the success of Special Forces in the beginning of the war on terrorism. No one was certain what threats would emerge throughout the 21st Century. General Toney understood the best way to prepare for uncertainty was to focus on unconventional warfare.

Some thought leaders are saying that Special Forces must return to its roots (I actually said that in a thesis I wrote in 1995 for my first master’s degree – “a return to the roots for a vision of the future” – I argued that UW must always remain the primary mission of Special Forces and I believe that to this day).

There is a lot of criticism about the two decades of the GWOT and rightly so. Some say that SF became overly focused on direct action. But the criticism of Special Forces is somewhat misplaced. Now there are those who worry that the 18X program is attracting the wrong type of soldier. But I am not sure. I believe that our selection and assessment process is sound. Many join SF with the desire for combat experience and some criticize this. Would we want someone to join SF who does not want combat experience? They want to march to the sound of the guns. They want to live a hard life. They want to work through, with, and by indigenous forces. And yes, as our ballad goes, they want silver wings upon their chest.

When I was the USASOC G3 the thing that kept me sane was going out to Camp Mackall to take Robin Sage brief backs. This was 2007 through 2010 so the 18X program was in full swing. I used to tell the students that whether they knew it or not they were selected because the cadre could read their DNA and their DNA revealed that they had a desire to live and work overseas with indigenous personnel. Despite the perceived focus on direct action and capture/kill missions they were selected for SF because they wanted to develop long term relationships with indigenous personnel and advise and assist, using an indirectly approach, to support US strategic objectives. Again, despite the perception of DA, all our SF troops were developing relationships in Afghanistan and Iraq and around the world. Relationships that persist to this day. And there is no better proof of this than how the SF community, along with many others, responded to the tragedy of the Afghanistan withdrawal. I am sure many in this room were involved in trying to evacuate all those who were (and many who still are) at risk of retribution and retaliation by the Taliban. If we were simply a direct action focused force this might not have happened. But because of the philosophy of SF and the UW mindset you did not want to leave behind your indigenous brothers with whom you had fought and bled. This is the power of the UW mindset.

So where does that leave us today? The Army and the DOD are going to reduce the size of USSOCOM and that will likely include not only the Army’s enablers of intelligence, communications, and logistics which will cut away the connective tissue and nerves of the force. We will also be cutting to the bone when SF, Civil Affairs, (CA) and Psychological Operations (PSYOP) operators are reduced as well. In 2006 the ODR directed the growth of the 4th battalions in each active duty group. This was designed to grow the authorization of 270 SFODAs to 360 by 2013. However, we could not recruit and train sufficient SF personnel, so SF had to adjust and that is how the 4th battalion evolved and the Jedburgh teams were developed. Unmanned spaces were turned back to the Army, but USASOC and USSOCOM receive no credit for that. I wonder if we will be able to even man the pre 9-11 authorization of 270 ODAs. We were unable to do so before 9-11.

However, I remain optimistic. USSOCOM is led by a great Command Team. As I read their interviews and the publications coming from USSOCOM I have a sense of where the command is going. A few words from their vision are worth sharing and reflecting upon.

“SOCOM is focused on winning in highly complex and ambiguous environments. For a small investment (2% of the DOD budget) SOCOM solves highly complex, politically sensitive, ambiguous problems – in any environment using highly trained problem solvers.”

Recall my previous words that UW is fundamentally problem solving; using unique, non-doctrinal and non-conventional methods, techniques, people, equipment to solve (or assist in solving) complex political-military problems.

“We live in a volatile, uncertain world with a challenge of keeping peace. SOCOM solves problems that pose significant political, economic and strategic risk when discretion, precision, and speed are essential – and failure is not an option.”

Most importantly is the “SOF way.” If you read between the lines USSOCOM is really saying that the “SOF way” is rooted in the SF philosophy and the UW mindset:

“The ‘SOF Way’ is unconventional, irregular, asymmetric, asynchronous, and done alongside the U.S. Government Interagency Team as well as with allies and partners.”

It does not take a rocket scientist to note the emphasis on UW – unconventional is the first word used in their description because if you recall the history of SF and SOF it goes back to 1952 when 10th SFG was activated. It was born out of the OSS operations in Europe and the Guerrilla Warfare operations in Asia during World War II. Unconventional warfare is the essence of SOF.

So where does that leave us? The UW mission and General Toney were responsible for the success of Special Forces in the beginning of the war on terrorism. No one was certain what threats would emerge in the 21st Century. General Toney understood the best way to prepare for uncertainty was to focus on unconventional warfare. The definitions of UW have evolved over the years and the term itself is controversial, complicated, and often misunderstood. However, rather than focus on the doctrinal definition, UW should be understood as a mindset and philosophy that drives the thinking of Special Forces. At the root of UW, it is about working through, with, and by indigenous forces to solve or contribute to solving complex political-military problems. It is also about working through, with, and by indigenous forces to create dilemmas for the nation’s adversaries through developing resistance capabilities among populations. The training, and more importantly the education, required for the UW mission is what gives Special Forces not only the capability to outfight the enemy but to outthink him as well. This is especially true as the U.S. and its friends, partners, and allies face myriad threats from strategic competition, gray zone, hybrid warfare and violent extremism. As the former USSOCOM Commander General Schoomaker used to say, “train for certainty, educate for uncertainty.” There is no better way to prepare for the uncertain future than through UW.

In strategic competition, the dominant threat or problem the U.S. faces is one of political warfare supported by hybrid military approaches – and these approaches are today described as irregular warfare. Again, the current doctrine states that IW consists of UW, FID, CT, COIN, STABOPS.

The revisionist powers of China and Russia are employing their own forms of political warfare and hybrid approaches through the “Little Green Men” and “Unrestricted Warfare.” The rogue and revolutionary powers of Iran and North Korea conduct their own unique forms of unconventional and political warfare. Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR) and 10th Special Forces Group, along with NATO allies, have supported development of an innovative approach called the Resistance Operating Concept which employs indigenous forces to counter the malign activities of the likes of the Little Green Men and to make sure an adversary knows that the cost of invasion and occupation will be too expensive in blood and treasure.

The Irregular War Annex to the National Defense Strategy in 2020 and the current National Defense Strategy of 2022 provide the guidance for preparing for the wide range of threats as well as the activities necessary to counter them including in the context of strategic competition. The 1st Special Forces Command’s Vision for 2021 and Beyond provides guidance to Special Forces, Psychological Operations, and Civil Affairs units on organizing and preparing for the future, from employing cross functional teams built from across the SOF disciplines to leading with influence and developing, supporting, and when appropriate countering, indigenous resistance. A close reading of the vision reveals that most all concepts are derived from a deep knowledge of the UW mission. BG Toney would find this vision completely in synch with his in 2001.

Although most might not recognize Congress as a place for strategic military thought, in the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act it outlined a sound operational concept for employing forces in IW: “Irregular Warfare is conducted in support of predetermined United States policy and military objectives conducted by, with, and through regular forces, irregular forces, groups, and individuals participating in competition between state and non-state actors short of traditional armed conflict.” (Sec. 1202). This succinct statement provides the basis for planning and conducting IW operations from the strategic to the tactical level.

The Chinese threat is the dominant one for the foreseeable future. China seeks to export its authoritarian political system around the world to dominate regions, co-opt or coerce international organizations, create economic conditions favorable to China alone, and displace democratic institutions. It is doing this through its One Belt and One Road (OBOR) initiative which provides the economic and diplomatic capability to coerce and co-opt nations in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. Like Europe against Russia, there are ways to develop resistance and resilience against Chinese hegemony and malign activities that is built on the foundational mission of UW. Special operations forces, the interagency, and U.S. country teams must consider new approaches to address Chinese malign influence and threats. There are forces in Taiwan helping to create the “porcupine defense” to first deter China and if deterrence fails, they will make a significant contribution to the defense of Taiwan by not allowing its population to be pacified by the invasion and occupation by the People’s Liberation Army who are there to liberate no one and only impose the tyranny of communism.

The current National Defense Strategy calls for the US to conduct strategic competition against the revisionist and rogue powers of China, Russia, Iran, and north Korea while deterring war and when deterrence fails to be able to fight and win. This has led the DOD and all the services to refocus on large scale combat operations (LSCO) and rightly so. We need the strongest possible nuclear and conventional forces to deter war. The strategy also requires that the US conducts campaigns in the gray zone that is the space between peace and war. In this space it must conduct integrated deterrence which is a whole of government effort to deter conflict and sustain the rules based international order. In the space between peace and major war it is irregular warfare that is taking place. This leads to two important concluding thoughts.

First is that the DOD lacks an irregular warfare proficient campaign headquarters. To be proficient in irregular warfare you must be grounded in unconventional warfare and the two SOF trinities I have described. A new headquarters is required to meet this challenge and I would argue that it should come from USSOCOM.

Second, is that we need to further describe integrated deterrence. I think it consists of three types of deterrence: nuclear, conventional, and unconventional. It is because of our superior nuclear and conventional deterrence that the revisionist and rogue powers choose to operate in the gray zone so as not to challenge the US directly. Unconventional deterrence is not a doctrinal concept, but it should be. It was coined by an SF brother, retired Colonel Robert Jones now a strategist at USSOCOM. The concept is basically to create a resistance and resilience capability to counter an adversary’s malign activities that seek to undermine a society through subversion. It seeks to demonstrate a resistance capability that if a hostile power considers invading and occupying a nation that that population will resist at such a cost as to deter such a decision. It also postulates support to resistance elements that may be operating in a hostile power’s territory. While this unconventional deterrence failed to deter Putin’s War, the strength of the resistance that continues today may give pause to other powers thereby strengthening the concept of unconventional deterrence. The force most suited to contribute to unconventional deterrence is of course Special Forces employing its UW philosophy.

One last point. The new Army FM 3-0 Operations says that the Army will train for LSCO and accept risk with Irregular warfare because you can prepare for war and conduct irregular warfare, but you cannot prepare for irregular warfare as the main effort and be effective in conventional war. However, it should be understood that LSCO does not take place in irregular warfare, but IW will take place within LSCO as well as on the margins and adjacent to the combat theater and in other theaters around the world. Perhaps that should lead to the conclusion that the responsibility for conducting campaigns in the gray zone of irregular warfare should be those who have a deep grounding in unconventional warfare and possess a UW mindset who can then incorporate conventional forces in the appropriate manner commensurate with their capabilities and the requirements of the campaign. I have often been told in no uncertain terms that the services will not subordinate conventional forces to a SOF headquarters – they never read the concept of the basic counterinsurgency doctrine of 1963 when the Army doctrine said that each Special Action Force (8th SAF in Panama and SAFSIA in Okinawa) should include an assigned infantry battalion, and an engineer, intelligence, medical, and aviation company. Yes, the Army did prevent the assignment of an infantry battalion back then despite its own doctrine.

To be both blunt and bold this is what Special Forces soldiers need to be able to do – e.g., conduct IW that is informed by a UW mindset – against what the DOD now calls the “pacing threat” to the US – China. We are in strategic competition with China because, and I must repeat this because it is so important: China seeks to export its authoritarian political system around the world in order to dominate regions, co-opt or coerce international organizations, create economic conditions favorable to China alone, and displace democratic institutions. Indigenous populations around the world, and especially those under the influence of China’s One Belt and One Road concept, must resist Chinese domination. This is unrestricted warfare but to us it is a UW fight. And I would argue that the SF philosophy and UW mindset can make important contributions to support the approaches to counter Chinese malign influence.

So, in conclusion I offer that UW comes from the past, is here in our present, and will be around in our future. And with no apology to Trotsky for stealing his idea: I say to the critics and naysayers and UW haters: You may not be interested in UW, but you can be damn sure UW is interested in you.

[Dave Maxwell is the Editor-in-Chief of Small Wars Journal. He is the Vice President of the Center for Asia Pacific Strategy (CAPS) and a Senior Fellow at the Global Peace Foundation (where he focuses on a free and unified Korea). He is a 30-year veteran of the US Army, retiring as a Special Forces Colonel. He has worked in Asia for more than over 30 years, primarily in Korea, Japan, and the Philippines. Colonel Maxwell served on the United Nations Command / Combined Forces Command / United States Forces Korea CJ3 staff where he was a planner for UNC/CFC OPLAN 5027-98 and co-author of the original ROK JCS – UNC/CFC CONPLAN 5029-99. He later served as the Director of Plans, Policy, and Strategy and then Chief of Staff for the Special Operations Command Korea. He commanded the Joint Special Operations Task Force Philippines (JSOTF-P), served as the G3 for the United States Army Special Operations Command and culminated his service as a member of the military faculty at the National War College. Following retirement, he served as the Associate Director of the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. Colonel Maxwell is a fellow at the Institute of Corean-American Studies, and on the Board of Directors of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, the International Council of Korean Studies, the Council on Korean-US Security Studies, the Special Operations Research Association, the OSS Society, and the Small Wars Journal. He earned a B.A. in political science from Miami University, and an M.A. in Military Arts and Science from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and from the School of Advanced Military Studies, and an M.S. in National Security Studies from the National War College. Colonel Maxwell teaches Unconventional Warfare and Special Operations for Policy Makers and Strategists.]


Acorda: Paying election fees to NPA is terrorist financing

From Malaya Business Insight (May 30, 2023): Acorda: Paying election fees to NPA is terrorist financing (By Victor Reyes)

PNP chief Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr yesterday warned candidates in the upcoming Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections against falling for the “election racket” of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).

Acorda said paying fees or giving support to the communists is considered a violation of Republic Act 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 provision under terrorist financing.

“Let me caution candidates who will fall for this election racket of the CPP-NPA that any form of monetary or material support to the CPP-NPA, a terrorist organization, is tantamount to terrorist financing that is punishable under Republic Act No. 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020,” said Acorda.

“And if the donor or giver is an incumbent barangay or SK official, the crime is further aggravated by willful disloyalty to their oath of office,” he added.

The communists are known to collect permit to campaign and permit to win fees from candidates who wish to campaign in NPA-controlled areas during elections. Candidates who refuse to heed the rebel demand are subject to attacks or harassment.

Acorda said its possible that communist rebels will make their presence felt during the elections, especially in areas where they have guerrilla fronts.

“We don’t discount the possibility that they will still try to make their presence felt…. The actions of some remaining active guerilla fronts of the CPP-NPA are closely being monitored for possible conduct of atrocities,” said Acorda.

Acorda said another concern during the elections is “intense political rivalry” among the candidates.

Nevertheless, he said the PNP is not seeing any “serious peace and order concern on a national scale.”

Meanwile, the PNP chief welcomed the proposal of Interior Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr for BSKE candidates to undergo drug test to prove they deserve to be elected.

“Although mandatory drug testing is specifically not among the requirements for the filing of certificate of candidacy, the Philippine National Police welcomes any voluntary benevolent gesture by candidates to present to their constituents a ‘clean bill of health’,” said Acorda.


BRP Andres Bonifacio departs Subic for naval drills in Indonesia

From the Philippine News Agency (May 30, 2023): BRP Andres Bonifacio departs Subic for naval drills in Indonesia (By Priam Nepomuceno)

(Photo courtesy of Philippine Navy)

MANILA – The Philippine Navy (PN) has deployed an offshore patrol vessel BRP Andres Bonifacio (PS-17) to take part in the multilateral naval exercise "Komodo" which will take place in Indonesia.

In a statement Tuesday, the PN said "Komodo" will take place from June 4 to 8 at Makassar, Indonesia.

The ship departed Naval Operating Base Subic on Monday in send-off rites led by Fleet Marine Ready Force (FMRF) commander Brig. Gen. Edwin Amadar.

"The multilateral naval exercise 'Komodo' aims to enhance facilitating multilateral engagement with international partners as well as to bolster relationship and cooperation among participating navies in building a common understanding about humanitarian assistance disaster response operations and will also focus on maritime interdiction operations," FRMF public affairs office chief Lt. Jonathan V. Carretas said.

"Komodo" is a military exercise by the Indonesian Navy and annually held between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. The first iteration of the naval exercise took place in 2014 in Batam.

Also on Monday, the Philippine Army (PA) and the Indonesian Army (Tentara Nasional Indonesia Angkatan Darat) concluded Training Activity Dolphine XV-23 at First Scout Ranger Regiment (FSRR) in Camp Tecson, San Miguel, Bulacan.

Training Activity Dolphine XV-23 is geared at bolstering the tactics, techniques, and procedures as well as sustaining the existing partnership between the two ground forces.

Some 40 participants from the PA's FSRR and Indonesia Army's Komando Cadangan Strategis Angkatan Darat (Kostrad) took part in the exercise that started May 21.

They trained side by side in jungle warfare operations, urban operations and sniping operations during the training activity.

"FSRR commander Brig. Gen. Freddie T Dela Cruz, who served as the closing ceremony’s guest of honor and speaker, highlighted the successful attainment of the training activity’s goals. He also led the presentation of certificates to participants and a token of gratitude to the Indonesian Army delegation," PA spokesperson Col. Xerxes Trinidad said.

It can be recalled that Philippine Army Scout Rangers and their Indonesian counterparts trained side by side in counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations at the Taipur Military Camp, Cilodong and Sangga Buana Training Site, Karawang, West Java, Indonesia in April last year.


NTF-ELCAC: Sanctions await BSKE bets supported by Reds

From the Philippine News Agency (May 30, 2023): NTF-ELCAC: Sanctions await BSKE bets supported by Reds (By Priam Nepomuceno)

MANILA – The National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) announced that legal charges will be meted against candidates running for the October 2023 "Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections" (BSKE) who will be supported by the "communist terrorist group" (CTG) and its front organizations.

Regional Task Force-ELCAC 6 spokesperson Prosecutor Flosemer Gonzales issued this warning during the weekly press conference dubbed “TAGGED Reloaded: Debunking Lies By Telling The Truth” aired on Monday.

National Youth Commission (NYC) chair Undersecretary Ronald Cardema, who was also present in the event, revealed that their regional offices have been coordinating with the Office of Vice President (OVP) and concurrent Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Sara Duterte to closely monitor schools especially those that are vulnerable to recruitment activities by CTG front organizations.

Duterte was earlier designated co-vice chairperson of NTF-ELCAC along with National Security Adviser (NSA) Secretary Eduardo Año.

The NTF-ELCAC is led by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.

Both Gonzales and Cardema were dismayed at what the former called “from books to armalite” brand of recruitment by these groups among students and even from the out-of-school youth (OSY) sector that promotes armed violence and bloody overthrow of the government.

They appealed to school administrators and teachers not to aid recruitment activities by groups like the Anakbayan, the underground Kabataang Makabayan (KM), Gabriela, Anakpawis, among others, as they too are not immune from legal suit.

“To teachers, especially school administrators, who teach our students to bear arms, you are criminally liable. We will do anything to file charges against you,” Gonzales said.

Cardema has supported this even as he underscored the need to prevent the these fronts from conducting recruitment activities among students to support SK candidates that will be bankrolled by the CTGs.

“All areas are being monitored through our regional NYC offices. Even the teachers’ ranks, they should be monitored. Teachers serve as advisers of these students. If we can stop all these recruitment activities, the NPA will die down naturally. Why? Because they can’t recruit senior citizens to become terrorists,” the NYC chair said.

Gonzales said the role of the Vice President is crucial to bar NPA recruitment in schools.

“They (fronts) will not succeed in our schools through the help of the Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte,” he said, adding that “critical thinking” should not be used as an excuse in allowing students to associate with CTG fronts.

In the press conference, the NTF-ELCAC played a video of a 23-year-old Ana, a former psychology student from the University of the Philippines-Cebu (UP-Cebu), who got recruited to the NPA in 2022.

With all the information she provided to her parents and relatives, Ana was rescued by Army operatives in November that same year in Negros Occidental. Had she not joined the NPA, Ana could have been an accomplished degree holder.

“Recruitment is a reality, it’s happening. Ana is a classic case of ‘from books to armalite’. But because of love and care by her parents, our Army soldiers were able to get her back to her family. Now, she was being threatened by the NPA because these terrorists blamed her to their series of defeats from military operations. Love conquers all, indeed. Ana will have a beautiful life outside the CPP-NPA-NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front),” Gonzales said.

“If you are hiding under what you call ‘critical thinking’, please don’t allow our students to be recruited by front organizations of the CPP-NPA-NDF. These people (recruiters) had no respect for human life," he further stressed.

"The life of their recruits, our young students, always end up in tragedy,” Gonzales, whose appeal was directed to the school administrators and teachers, pointed out.

He also cited the demise of eight young recruits who perished from hunger recently somewhere in Northern Luzon.

“These NPA recruits came from Mindanao, they belonged to an indigenous people or IP. The CPP-NPA-NDF even call these young victims martyrs. What a height of hypocrisy!” Gonzales stressed.

For his part, Cardema, who claimed that he was once a KM recruit from UP-Diliman, the CPP-NPA-NDF fronts had exploited the “idealism” of students to recruit them as New People's Army fighters.

“Our focus now is to fight youth recruitment in schools and communities by the NPA. It’s time to prevent this for the sake of nation building,” he said, citing Marcos’ “Youth and National Building Act” he sponsored when he was a lawmaker.

The battle, he added, will also continue in Congress wherein remnants of the Makabayan bloc continue their lies and deceptions.

“Through the NTF-ELCAC, we’re able to reduce their number. Noon ay walo sila hanggang sa naging anim. Ngayon, tatlo na lang sila (They were eight, then they became six. Now, they're down to three),” he said.


44 ex-rebels pledge allegiance to gov't

From the Philippine News Agency (May 30, 2023): 44 ex-rebels pledge allegiance to gov't (By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan)

(PNA photo by Yancy Lim)

MANILA – A total of 44 former communist rebels on Tuesday renounced their support for the Communist Party of the Philippines - New People's Army - National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) and pledged allegiance to the government, the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) has said.

In a ceremony held at the NCRPO Hinirang Multi-Purpose Hall, Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan, Taguig City and led by NCRPO Chief, Maj. Gen. Edgar Alan Okubo, and Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) chairman and San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora, the 27 former members of communist front organizations (CFOs) and 17 active members of communist-linked groups pledged their allegiance to the government.

“As chairman of the Regional Peace and Order Council of the National Capital Region, I congratulate the various government agencies, led by the Philippine National Police, for having successfully converted the allegiance of our fellow Filipinos to the Republic,” Zamora said. “To the returnees, I welcome you back into the fold and assure you that our government will do everything to help you assimilate into a life of peace and prosperity as citizens of the Republic of the Philippines.”

To show their loyalty to the government, the rebel returnees also surrendered 11 firearms to the NCRPO – three improvised home-made shotguns, three .357 caliber revolvers, two M16A1 rifles without attachments, one AK47 rifle, one M14 sniper's rifle, and one M16A1 rifle with an M203 grenade launcher attachment.

Okubo attributed the rebels’ successful return to the continuous collaboration between the police and military forces in various communities in Metro Manila and neighboring regions.

He added that the NCRPO, Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission, Special Action Force, PNP Intelligence Group, and Joint Task Force NCR have worked together as part of the whole-of-nation approach to end insurgency, as mandated by Executive Order 70, which strengthens the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

While under the care of the NCRPO, Okubo said the returnees would undergo a medical evaluation, livelihood training, and other activities to assist them in reintegrating into normal life.

“They will also be guided in preparing the necessary documents to access benefits under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Programs (E-CLIP) and other government programs aimed at providing new opportunities for those who wish to return,” he said.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development will provide them with livelihood assistance.

Okubo said their abandonment of loyalty to the leftist groups and their wholehearted embrace of the true spirit of democracy and unity is a significant step toward a peaceful and prosperous nation for all.

"Our government, under the leadership of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., aims to provide you with long-term livelihood opportunities and a secure and peaceful life. We encourage our fellow citizens who have been misled by wrong ideologies to also return, and rest assured that not only the NCRPO but all branches of government are ready to support you. Together, let us put an end to the evils caused by insurgency and terrorism," he said.


Leader’s arrest, death of 4 fighters big blow to NPA in Region 8

From the Philippine News Agency (May 30, 2023): Leader’s arrest, death of 4 fighters big blow to NPA in Region 8 (By Sarwell Meniano)

BIG BLOW. The arrest of Rosita Solayao Taboy alias Laling, a key leader of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Eastern Visayas, in San Jose Del Monte City, Bulacan on May 26, 2023. The Philippine Army on Tuesday (May 30, 2023) says the NPA in Eastern Visayas has suffered a big blow following the arrest of Taboy and the deaths of four fighters last May 28, 2023. (Photo courtesy of the Philippine National Police)

TACLOBAN CITY – The New People’s Army (NPA) in Eastern Visayas (Region 8) has suffered a big blow with the recent arrest of one of its leaders and the deaths of four fighters, the Philippine Army said on Tuesday.

Major Gen. Camilo Ligayo, commander of the Philippine Army’s 8th Infantry Division, said the arrest of Rosita Solayao Taboy alias Laling, secretary of the NPA Regional Organization Department and member of the rebel’s executive committee in Eastern Visayas, is a victory to the government’s efforts to end the insurgency.

Taboy and her husband, alias Beto, were arrested by police and soldiers in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan last May 26. Beto was a demolition expert of the NPA’s national operations command.

The couple was also said to be responsible for numerous atrocities committed in the Eastern Visayas region, including the burning of the Smart Communication tower in Catbalogan City in 2000, the assassination of Cafgu Active Auxillary Danilo Nuguit in 2006, and the ambush of military personnel that resulted in the death of 10 soldiers and a 9-year-old civilian in 2010.

In a statement on Tuesday, Ligayo said the NPA’s downfall is now more evident as its top leaders are either captured, surrendered or killed.

“The arrest of the couple is another victory for the combined efforts of the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines in pursuit of peace and security. This is a great development in attaining justice in honor of the victims of violence perpetrated by the communist terrorist group in Eastern Visayas,” Ligayo said.

Troops seized in their possession one .45-caliber pistol, one .38-caliber pistol, one commercial C4 bomb, blasting caps, assorted mobile phones, laptop, and subversive documents.

Meanwhile, on the deaths of four NPA combatants in a clash in Catarman, Northern Samar last May 28, the Philippine Army also said the incident is a huge setback to the NPA’s plan to reinforce a dismantled guerilla front.

The report said two male and two female combatants died during the 15-minute clash that took place in upland Mabini village in Catarman town.

After the clash, soldiers recovered two M16 rifles, two .45 caliber pistols, magazines, and the rebels’ personal belongings.

Lt. Colonel Manuel Degay, Jr., commander of the Army’s 43rd Infantry Battalion, said in a statement Tuesday that the seven rebels who figured in the clash with government troops was led by Mario Sevillano alias Durok, a notorious rebel leader who perpetrated numerous atrocities in Northern Samar province.

"Furthermore, from the traces of blood observed in the encounter site, and the items left behind, it cannot be denied that there were NPA members who were wounded during the encounter,” Degay said.

The military has been monitoring the movement of two remaining guerilla fronts in Eastern Visayas, all operating in Northern Samar.

They are reportedly hiding in the upland villages of Catubig, Las Navas, Silvino Lobos, Palapag, Mapanas and Gamay towns.

Several upland communities in the province are considered the hotbed of the communist terrorist group due to thick forests and poor road networks.


2 village officials slain in Maguindanao, S. Kudarat

From the Philippine News Agency (May 30, 2023): 2 village officials slain in Maguindanao, S. Kudarat (By Edwin Fernandez)

Google maps of President Quirino, Sultan Kudarat; and Datu Paglat, Maguindanao del Sur.

TACURONG CITY – Two village councilmen were killed in separate gun attacks in Sultan Kudarat and Maguindanao del Sur provinces on Monday, police said Tuesday.

In Sultan Kudarat, gunmen shot dead Mahadi Khalipapa, a council member of Barangay Malingon in President Quirino town.

Maj. Davis Dulawan, the municipal police chief, said Khalipapa was with his wife aboard a motorcycle when tailed and fired upon by gunmen aboard a separate motorbike in Purok 6 of the same village shortly before noon Monday.

The village official was killed on the spot while his wife was injured and has been undergoing medication in an undisclosed hospital.

“We appeal for your help in ensuring President Quirino remain peaceful,” Dulawan said in an interview.

In Paglat town, Maguindanao del Sur, unidentified gunmen also shot dead a former village councilman in Barangay Damalusay on Monday afternoon, according to town police chief Lt. Amer Hussein Disomangcop.

Disomangcop identified the victim as Nasser Mangetog Labay, 54, a resident of Damalusay.

“He was tilling his farm lot and took a short breather when a still unidentified man arrived and shot him without provocation,” he said.

Police could not yet determine the motive of the attacks and whether they are related to the upcoming barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections this year.


New E. Samar road seen to curb insurgency, poverty

From the Philippine News Agency (May 30, 2023): New E. Samar road seen to curb insurgency, poverty (By Roel Amazona and Lizbeth Ann Abella)

POOR ACCESS. A muddy road that forms part of the highway that will link Maslog town to Jipapad town in Eastern Samar. The construction of road costing PHP98.78 million from Maslog town to Jipapad town is expected to bring economic prosperity and the end insurgency in Eastern Samar’s remote communities. (Photo courtesy of Radyo Pilipinas Borongan)

MASLOG, Eastern Samar – The construction of the PHP98.78 million worth of road from Maslog town to Jipapad town is expected to bring economic prosperity and end of the insurgency in Eastern Samar’s remote communities.

Maslog town Mayor Heraclio Santiago said that once the project is completed, it will improve access to more than 2,000 hectares of rice farms in the two towns.

The road will not only help farmers transport their produce, but it will also help end insurgency in far-flung villages of Maslog, Jipapad, and Arteche towns.

“A concreted road means the end of insurgency, bringing peace and prosperity not only to our town, but to also in the entire Eastern Samar province,” Santiago said in his message during the groundbreaking ceremony on Monday.

The project consists of opening and concreting of 1.57 kilometers of road, including drainage, and slope protection.

This is just an initial activity for the construction of the 21-kilometer road from Maslog to Jipapad.

The first phase of the project is eyed for completion within eight months.

Officials of two remote villages of Maslog also expect the same outcome once the road is opened and paved.

Alfredo Nuguit of Tugas village and Federico Bergonio of San Roque village said that their communities used to be infiltrated by the New People’s Army and locals provided food and money to rebels out of fear.

In San Roque, the farthest village of Maslog and located near the boundary of Jipapad town, Bergonio recalled that the last sighting of armed rebels was last year.

“This road will lessen their presence because this will allow better access of military to our village,” Bergonio said.

San Roque village is located about eight kilometers from Maslog town center and can be reached through a three-kilometer hike from Tugas village.

Residents of Tugas village use a single motorcycle and a tractor locally known as “kuliglig” as means of transportation from the village to the town center.

House minority leader and 4Ps Partylist Rep. Marcelino Libanan promised that the ordeal of residents will soon end with this road project.

“I will make sure that this project will be realized because this will help a lot in improving the lives of the people of Eastern Samar,” Libanan added.

He added that once the road is completed and towns of the province is interconnected, this will bring in development, easier delivery of services, improve access to education and communication, improved peace and order situation, and reduce poverty.