Wednesday, 31 December 2008

War in Gaza

A few quick thoughts on the military campaign (and a bit on the political front)

  1. An air campaign (as currently waged by Israel) will have limited effect on underground Hamas facilities
  2. Israel may have the tools (i.e. bunker busting bombs), but accurate intelligence on key underground facilities (e.g. command & control sites, rocket storage areas) may be hard to come by
  3. The Israeli military is likely to achieve short term military objectives (stop rockets raining down on border towns) but may possibly aggravate long term security (suicide bombers, border post raids)
  4. So, security measures at borders will have to be stepped up, including monitoring of rocket material from other countries
  5. Limited land incursions (see below also) should be armour-centric, to reduce troop casualties, and should be attempted during the night to exploit Israel's technology advantage (specifically night-vision here)
Palestine (or Hamas)
  1. Hamas may have pre-planned procedures in place, designed to automatically kick-in if Israel attacked
  2. Top priority is survival. Go underground and sit tight. Activate emergency food and water resources
  3. Second priority will be to attempt rocket launches, if possible
  4. Paradoxically, this may accelerate the ending of this campaign, as this (the ability to continue launching rockets) will show the ineffectiveness of the military solution
  5. Israel is not likely to attempt another large-scale land invasion (e.g. Lebanon 2006) for fear of heavy casualties
  6. To reinforce this, limited incursions by Israel (very likely already ocurring) must be strongly countered by Hamas
  7. This can be assisted by encouraging local civilians to report sightings of Israeli incursions, as most Hamas forces would most likely be huddled down in underground sites, and not be able to spot the incursions
Political issues
  1. Sadly, the military option currently being pursued will likely not resolve the lasting issue of Israel & Palestine
  2. Both sides have internal issues, i.e. Hamas vs Fatah, Livni vs Olmert
  3. The fact that the Israeli elections are approaching is very likely the reason for the Israeli offensive
  4. The other factor is Obama. The Israelis want to pacify the situation (and hopefully be in a better bargaining position) before President Obama "forces" both sides to sit down and talk

Note: The above points have not been thoroughly thought through (about 30 minutes of brainstorming), and include quite a bit of speculation... opswarfare will be tracking the conflict closely to see if predictions above are valid or not.

Update: 31st December 2008

The ARES blog has just reported on the use of bunker buster bombs by the Israel Air Force.

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Serial No. 3817131

This is a series of powerful photos, showing the life of women in the Israeli military service.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Militants torch Afghan supplies

Another piece of news that highlights the increasing sophistication of the forces that are fighting the US & ISAF forces in Afghanistan. This attack on the logistics chain also shows a desire to fulfil military objectives, and not just to create terror, when attacking targets. It's almost as if the terrorists are countering counter-insurgency efforts by switching to "conventional" warfare...

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Convention on Cluster Munitions Signing Conference

Conference website
Another landmark has been reached on cluster munitions, with the document now open for signing. opswarfare hopes that this convention will be as successful as the Mine Ban Treaty.

Friday, 28 November 2008

Mumbai attacks - The next phase of asymmetric warfare?

After finding out details of the Mumbai attacks via a TV news channel, it gave me a feeling similar to when I saw scenes of the airliner crashing into the World Trade Center.
  • Firearms, not bombs
  • Hotels, not transport facilities
The attacks bear the hallmarks of a shift in tactics. But definitely still asymmetric in nature.

If the authorities make it difficult to make bombs (trace materials, find bomb-makers), use alternatives.

If the police patrol train stations and airports, attack another location, especially one that will take a lot of effort to "clear" (it will be a nightmare to conduct room clearing room by room in a hotel).

I fear that other terrorists will copy this tactic and use it elsewhere...

I suppose this reinforces the argument that one has to address the underlying issues causing the radicalisation of these terrorists, and not just fighting them straight on.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Joint Live Experiment on Network Enabled Capabilities

Sweden & NATO
Good to see a live exercise on network enabled operations, and also to see the civilian element being integrated. This type of capability will definitely be useful for countries hosting major events like the Olympics, UN conferences, visits by dignitaries, etc.

Monday, 22 September 2008

French soldiers unprepared for Taliban ambush: report
The above Canadian paper seems to have obtained a leaked NATO report into the recent Taliban ambush which left 10 French soldiers dead. France 24 is also on to this story.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

The Cold War in Southeast Asia

The History Channel

The Asia Research Institute, History Channel, National Library Board, and National University of Singapore are organising a series of seminars on the history of the Cold War in Southeast Asia.

Southeast Asia was the one of the regions where the Cold War was not cold. The Vietnam war was the clearest example of the clash of the superpowers.

With the recent Georgia-Russia conflict still fresh in our minds, this series may not just be a review of history, but a guide for the present...

Friday, 19 September 2008

MANPADS a force multiplier?

Missile Watch #2: Somalia » FAS Strategic Security Blog
A blog post from the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) detailing the proliferation of Manportable Air Defence Systems (MANPADS).

With the increasing presence of IEDs on ground convoys, commanders would naturally be keen to increase usage of airlift. The introduction of MANPADS would counter that move...

How the Taleban gets its arms

The BBC has conducted what seems to be comprehensive coverage on the arms procurement process of the Taleban. First, a newstory, podcast (mp3), and the Assignment frontpage. More can be found on the Newsnight page.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

After Iraq and Afghanistan - Where Next for Expeditionary Warfare?

Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies (RUSI)
Military planners face the conundrum of using lessons from the last war to prepare for the next war, although the next war may very likely be totally different. A compromise is usually made, and one never really knows if the right choices were made, until perhaps it is sometimes too late.

Click on the above link to listen to a lecture organised by RUSI on these issues.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

2008 Senior Workshop on International Rules Governing Military Operations (SWIRMO)

It is perhaps easy to assume that many armed forces are reluctant to embrace International Humanitarian Law (IHL), not because soldiers are inhumane, but possibly because they suspect that adhering to IHL will affect the effectiveness of their military operations.

After reviewing the Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC) teaching file, opswarfare is assured that military operations would not be hampered by following LOAC. Key to achieving this is the integration of IHL into military doctrine and operations, so that the application of IHL is seamless and user-friendly.

Thus, it is encouraging to see the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) organising a workshop to facilitate this integration process.

Friday, 5 September 2008

ORG-SIIA Regional Sustainable Security Consultation (Asia and Australasia)

Singapore Institute of International Affairs
opswarfare just spotted this upcoming forum, with a slightly new phrase - Sustainable Security. opswarfare will be attending the half-day public conference on 12th September 2008.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Is self-determination the key factor for future conflicts?

The recent war in Georgia has generated a lot of interest in military circles, and opswarfare has been keenly following the events. A post is in the works, but in the meantime, a broader question is being asked.

Will future conflicts be heavily influenced by issues of self-determination? opswarfare has started looking into the legal aspects of self-determination, and beyond decolonisation (which is generally accepted), the issue is fraught with virtual minefields.

Something to ponder while Russian troops continue to linger in Georgia after the ceasefire agreement...

Monday, 18 August 2008

Poor training, confusion and friendly fire, the real story behind brave Apache rescue

The Guardian
Friendly fire is the bane of military operations. In the chaos of a battle, errors can occur easily. opswarfare feels that only combat experience (and perhaps proper training) can mitigate the risks. The Board of Inquiry report can be found here. opswarfare will summarise the report's findings and provide a short commentary soon.

Friday, 1 August 2008

Britain's MoD Releases Details of 3 Submarine Accidents

A blog post from ARES, highlighting the difficulties of submarine navigation. opswarfare is searching for the original MOD documents.

UPDATE: original documents found
  1. Board of Inquiry into the grounding of HMS TRIUMPH
  2. Board of Inquiry into the grounding of HMS VICTORIOUS
  3. Board of Inquiry into the Collision of HMS Tireless on 13 May 2003

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

RUSI interview with Chief of the General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces

This is a brief review of the points highlighted by the Chief of the General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces, General Gagor, in an interview with RUSI, which opswarfare highlighted in an earlier post. General Gagor mentioned the following points
  • Interoperability
  • C4ISR
  • Deployability
  • Sustainment
  • Military Police
  • Force protection
  • Night operations
  • Special Operations Forces Command
  • UAV
  • helping the consolidation and privatisation of defence companies
  • offset agreements in procurement
opswarfare would like to elaborate on some of the points raised by General Gagor.

Sustainment is an often neglected portion of operations planning, perhaps because warfare is sometimes assumed to be something that will end quickly. Well, peacekeeping operations are one type of operation where sustainment (specifically, the logistics portion) is key.

Force protection is another area worth a little more attention. It's difficult to separate forces into front-line units and rear echelon units nowadays, and rear echelon units (e.g. medical, transport, workshop, HQ, supply, etc) need to brush up on their basic soldering skills.

Night operations can still be tricky for many modern armies to conduct effectively. This needs to be addressed on the ground, e.g. issuing NVGs to every soldier, regular training missions at night, preferably under less than ideal conditions (e.g. during moonless nights).

Some of the targets that Poland is looking at
  • increase the deployability ratio of land forces from approximately 30% at present to over 50% in 2012.
  • Full professionalisation of armed forces
  • NATO Force Goals
  • Prague Capability Commitments (PCC)
And finally, a quote explaining the reasons why Poland gave up National Service
As a result of the continuous process of modernisation, our forces are equipped with modern weapon systems, including an increasing number of electronic devices, which require a high standard of education and training. This is one of the arguments that persuaded us to give up the nine-month national service. The majority of modern militaries have done the same.

Basics of direction-finding

opswarfare has come across a series of "Physics 101-type" articles on electronic warfare (EW) in the Journal of Electronic Defense (JED). This journal is available by logging in via the NLB eResources website, using the EBSCOhost database. opswarfare has just finished reading Issue 11 of the aptly named EW101 series of articles.

This particular issue, and the next one, look at how direction-finding (DF) works. DF is one of the basic "weapons" of EW, as it enables accurate targeting of enemy command and control assets, e.g. HQ units. Most HQ units use a plethora of radios to communicate, and DF detects these radio waves. The location is calculated using lots of physics and mathematics.

With this information, a commander can call for air-strikes or artillery barrages on the target. Because of that, units often site their radio antennas (which emit the radio waves) away from their actual location, and use cables to physically link the radios to the antennas.

Normally, DF requires 2 or more monitoring stations, like the diagram below.

But as the article rightly points out, DF can also be done by 1 station in certain circumstances, like the example below.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

RUSI interviews Polish military chief

The RDS Military Interview
Normally, interviews with the chief of defence force tend to be boring and dry, with scripted answers and mostly ending up looking like badly drafted press releases. (mind you, examples of good press releases are out there) Well, this interview by RUSI is quite different. While opswarfare is still "digesting" its contents, a quick initial comment is the frankness of the responses given by General Gagor. A short excerpt below.

Transformation of the PAF is a big challenge. The full interoperability of the PAF required fundamental changes within three areas of activity, namely in command, procedures and logistics. The structures of the General Staff and the high-level commands were adjusted to match NATO patterns better. The chain of command was modified to be more flexible, and we are still changing the force structure in order to establish a professional military and to abandon compulsory or conscript service. Unfortunately, the main weakness of the command and control system is the lack of the appropriate communication assets due to the significant costs involved in purchasing new equipment and upgrading old equipment and software.

Farnborough Air Show 2008

Farnborough is back! This is one of (if not) the biggest air show in the world. Lots of new products on show, plus plenty of wheeling and dealing. opswarfare will spot some of them as the event progresses. First highlight is the BAE Mantis UAV, which seems to be conceived as a direct competitor to the hugely successful Predator/Reaper UAV.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Did You Know It's Illegal to Make War with Rain?

Ares Homepage
A quite fascinating snippet of Vietnam war history, and it's link to the ENMOD environment convention.

Amid policy disputes, Qaeda grows in Pakistan

New York Times / International Herald Tribune
opswarfare rarely blogs on terrorism (opswarfare's personal view is that terrorism is possibly a distraction from military operations), but the above news is slightly different in focus. If you don't wish to read the long article, here's a brief clip from the article.
After the Sept. 11 attacks, President George W. Bush committed the nation to a "war on terrorism" and made the destruction of Bin Laden's network the top priority of his presidency. But it is increasingly clear that the Bush administration will leave office with Al Qaeda having successfully relocated its base from Afghanistan to Pakistan's tribal areas, where it has rebuilt much of its ability to attack from the region and broadcast its messages to militants across the world.
Read reader comments (and replies from the reporters) here. Editor selections are here.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Logistics considerations in urban warfare

opswarfare first came across this area (logistics in urban warfare) after finding an article (see blog post here) on the lessons learned by the Russian army during the conflict in Chechnya.

The points raised by the paper (and comments by opswarfare) are as follows

"urban warfare consumes more ammunition"
While this is quite obvious, the paper notes the increased use of smoke ammunition, e.g. smoke grenades, smoke artillery rounds, etc. While most military planners might cater for increased small arms ammunition and hand grenades, smoke is a very useful tool in urban warfare, as it helps to conceal troop movement, especially at areas where there is little or no cover. (e.g. open areas between buildings)

"need for armoured supply/ambulance vehicle"
The old M113 Ultra vehicles (which have mostly been replaced by the Bionix IFV) in the SAF inventory can perhaps be used for the above role.

"better way to re-arm & refuel vehicles"
Training exercises should incorporate a "hot" resupply component to familiarise crew with resupply procedures under combat scenarios.

"civilian population issues"
opswarfare considers that the civilian population should be assisted if it does not impede the tempo of combat operations.

"maintenance of vehicles"
Similar to a point made above on resupply, workshop crew should be trained in servicing vehicles in the field.

"medical help to attend to increased numbers of casualties"
Medical personnel should be well-distributed among combat units, i.e. organic medical support. This is already done in the SAF, but perhaps experiments can be conducted where certain battalion-level assets are farmed out to augment existing medics.

More emphasis should be made on incorporating logistics operations into training exercises, especially in ensuring that ops tempo is kept high.

Presence of armed groups threatens southern Lebanon’s stability – UN

3 reports on the release of a UN report on the situation in Lebanon. The above link is a UN News Centre report. Here is a report from Israel ("UN troops in Lebanon forced to delete images of covert cables") and the other one is from Lebanon ("1701 report notes 'unprecedented' Israeli air violations").

Interesting to see different emphasis been made in the 3 reports. The original UN report is here.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

International Workshop on Autonomy and Armed Separatism in South and Southeast Asia

Forgot to highlight this earlier. opswarfare just attended the first day of the above workshop. It has been very informative (discovered new stuff even after a quick google of the topics highlighted). A few quick comments of the proceedings of the first day.
  1. Professor Anthony Reid - was candid, highlighted straight off the bat that autonomy is not as "sexy" as independence to a lot of people, and that there are often connotations that autonomy is top-down driven as compared to grassroots-based independence movements
  2. Professor Kishore Mahbubani - was kind enough to throw a few "controversial" issues into the hat, e.g. that for the amount of effort put into resolving the Palestinian issue, the results have been dismal. He calls for a move away from looking at things from a Western context, and that "there is no monopoly on wisdom"
  3. Dr Michelle Miller - explained how the idea for the workshop came about during the writing of her book on Aceh. Also, with the number of separatist issues in Asia, she wondered if the Aceh model could somehow be used elsewhere.
  4. Panel 1 (on Indonesia) kicked off with Associate Professor Damien Kingsbury presenting on behalf of Associate Professor Bilveer Singh (who had an accident, and could not attend. best wishes to his recovery) on the situation in West Papua. Autonomy has not worked in Papua, as it should have been independent in the first place (the Dutch were going to grant it independence before the US stepped in to pressure a UN solution that ended in Indonesian occupation)
  5. Dr Miller's arc focused on Aceh, and highlighted that "windows of opportunity" could be a key for groups pushing for autonomy, e.g. the 2004 tsunami was the event that helped pushed the autonomy process along
  6. Panel 2 (on Timor Leste) had Adérito de Jesus Soares comparing Timor-Leste with Western Sahara (opswarfare notes that the comparison was not really fleshed out; perhaps he had insufficient time)
  7. Dr Douglas A. Kammen seemed to have spotted a 5-year cycle to events relating to Timor-Leste's independent struggle, which perhaps suggests that groups may want to take note of this type of influence. He also correctly points out that the Timor-Leste story is not autonomy, more of gaining back independence
  8. Panel 3 (on theory and practice) started with Prof. Kingsbury suggesting that most separatist movements stemmed from post-colonial countries and with ethnic issues often the spark point. He also considers that nationalism as a concept doesn't really work now
  9. Dr Davin Bremner introduced his organisation, and highlighted how negotiations can go wrong, and how to address this problems. He also introduced a internet tool on his organisation's website that allow anyone to compare between various separatist situations
  10. Panel 4 (on Burma) had Associate Professor Monique Skidmore highlighting the plight of the Karen people, where autonomy (more like enforced ceasefires) did not improve matters, but perhaps made things worst
  11. Associate Professor Karin Dean concentrated mainly on the Kachin people, and also suggested that new media was bringing the Burma issue to the fore
  12. Mr. David Scott Mathieson expanded on the issue of spaces in the context of rebel military leaders
  13. more to follow, especially on the interesting Q & A
A pity that opswarfare will miss the second day due to another prior appointment.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Eurosatory 2008

Coverage of upcoming weapon systems at Eurosatory 2008.

An example is the Loitering Munition concept, which could be useful for counter-insurgency operations. opswarfare has seen too many videos where Coalition forces go out on patrol, and then get pinned down by an ambush. Then, due to insufficient organic firepower (of the indirect kind), much time is wasted (and the initiative lost) in calling for air-strikes.

A Loitering Munition could be used in this scenario, with a quick call to artillery forces to fire one of these missiles in the general direction of the contact, and while the missile loiters, the enemy position can be confirmed (and properly identified) before guiding the missile towards the target.

Some of the competing products can be found on this Defense-Update page.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

How UK fights remote control war

A few new developments that opswarfare sees in this article
  1. UK Reapers are also controlled from Creech Air Force base in the US
  2. One Reaper has crashed
  3. UK Reapers have fired ordnance in combat
The above points leads to a few questions
  1. Is there some technical issue preventing the control station from being set up in the UK?
  2. What caused the crash?
  3. Was it a high-value target that they tried to hit?
Time to do some searching...

[Update: 15th June 2008]
  1. The MOD also has a short article.
  2. In "sort of" related news, Raytheon has just confirmed that a new missile is being developed for use on the Predator UAV (the Predator is the predecessor of the Reaper), but the customer details are currently unknown

Friday, 23 May 2008

The Soldiers Load
Scroll down the contents, and click on "The Soldiers Load" (PDF). A good write-up on how soldiers are carrying too much weight. opswarfare especially likes the portion where the individual weights are added up. It could come in useful for commanders to do some calculations to help tailor the weight carried to mission requirements. It would be great if the article could look at a section, or platoon, and compare the different weights carried, e.g. between a rifleman, a signaller, a medic, and a 84mm firer, etc.


Revolution in Military Affairs Programme
A regular digest of military/security news and updates by the RMA Programme in RSIS. opswarfare started subscribing to the mailing list a few months ago. You can also click on the link above to view the old issues.

Sunday, 18 May 2008

New coastal submarine concepts get ready to break the surface

Jane's Defence News
Haven't heard anything concrete about the SMX-23 concept since its announcement in 2006, perhaps it is waiting for funding from a potential launch customer. Anyway, a quick Google search reveals a potential competitor in the form of the 210mod by HDW. These 2 concepts sound like they want to be the "Eee PC" of submarines...

Saturday, 17 May 2008

News on the sidelines of the Cluster Munitions conference

In news related to the upcoming Cluster Munitions conference in
Dublin, it seems the British Ministry of Defence is trying to retain
the capability to use some cluster munitions.
Defence officials point out that last year Britain discontinued the use of "dumb" cluster munitions which could not be directly targeted and did not self-destruct. They insist the two remaining cluster weapons in the armoury are designed to minimize harm to civilians.

They include the M85, an Israeli-designed artillery weapon with "bomblets" designed to self-destruct, which British troops used in Basra during the invasion of Iraq. According to the MoD, they made a "direct contribution to saving the lives of UK service personnel".

The other is the M73 rocket, which contains nine submunitions, and is fired from pods from Apache helicopters or Harrier jets. Foreign office officials insist the M73 is non-negotiable but suggest the continued use of the M85, which Israel used in southern Lebanon last year, causing heavy civilian casualties, was a matter for negotiation. The MoD would fight hard against giving it up.
opswarfare recently "attended" an online seminar on cluster munitions, organised by Jane's, where both M85 and M73 sub-munitions were mentioned. The M85 is dispensed from MLRS rockets. The M73 is dispensed from 70mm Hydra unguided rockets.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Lebanon cancels anti-Hezbollah measures

Lebanon should be commended for trying something different, even though in this instance, it's disappointing that it is backing down on its initial actions. Asymmetry begets asymmetry.

Perhaps a little clarification is apt here. Hezbollah is an organisation that fights using asymmetric means. The Lebanese government tried to shut down Hezbollah's communications network and also sacked Beirut airport's security chief, who is close to the group.

The communications network helped Hezbollah retain command and control of its forces during the recent Israeli-Hezbollah conflict in 2006.

The airport security chief could possibly turn a blind eye to "questionable" items sent from Syrian and Iran via Beirut Airport.

So the Lebanese government tried not to fight Hezbollah directly, but "attack" it's (in military parlance) C4I assets and logistics tail.

Army and Navy colleagues in Exercise Joint Warrior

Ministry of Defence | Defence News | Training and Adventure
A humanitarian scenario being thrown at the British troops in this training exercise, good for preparing for real operations. The SAF can learn by conducting more of such exercises...
3 Rifles are conducting exercises based around a NEO (Non-Combatant Evacuation Operation) scenario which sees the safe extraction of a vulnerable population from a potentially dangerous environment.

This is an operation that 3 Rifles are all too familiar with, having conducted one for real whilst they were at high readiness as the Army's 'Spearhead' in 2006, when the British Community in Lebanon were safely evacuated by ship to Cyprus and home to the UK. Coincidentally HMS Bulwark also took part in that operation.

The 'landward' training commenced early on Monday 28 April 2008 with a beach landing and 20 km insertion march along the roads and fields (with the local landowners' permission of course), followed by the NEO operation to evacuate a role-playing civilian population from a mock hostile presence.
By the way, photos of the exercise (including the one above) are available at the Rifles website. A newspaper report, linked via the website, also provides more insight.
Up until January, 3RIFLES (based in Edinburgh), was to conduct a six-week training exercise in Kenya called Exercise GRAND PRIX.

Unfortunately, given the tense political situation in Kenya at the time, the decision was taken to cancel the exercise. So it was back to the drawing board to try to create an equally challenging and interesting exercise a bit closer to home.
[EDIT] 21st May 2008
Good news. Looks like we are now also learning how to support humanitarian operations. Just noticed that Singapore's involvement in Cobra Gold has been stepped up for this year.
For the first time, a 35-man SAF team will also be participating in the field training exercise phase that simulates security operations in support of Humanitarian and Disaster Relief efforts. The SAF's participation in this phase, which previously involved only the US and Thai armed forces, marks a significant milestone in Singapore's involvement in the Exercise Cobra Gold series.
The above text from this MINDEF press release.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

German Deployment During Iraq War Ruled Illegal

Defense News
"Germany's highest court ruled May 7 that the decision to deploy German crews on NATO surveillance flights over Turkey during the Iraq war was illegal."
On one hand, this Court decision show the "checks and balances" at work. On the other hand though, the acknowledgement that
"The decision is unlikely to have any legal consequences for Schroeder or other members of his government..."
doesn't sound encouraging. (Note: photo above obtained via NATO)

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

How Defense Research Is Making Troops More Effective in Wartime
4 tech products featured in this newspaper report. BTW, I was led to this report via Ares. Note: Above photo via Technology Review, features the Tactical Ground Reporting System (TIGR). The accompanying caption reads
Baghdad route planner: A new map-based application allows patrol leaders in Iraq to learn about city landmarks and past events and enter new data. In this mock-up provided by DARPA (the map does not reflect actual events), the purple line shows a possible Baghdad patrol route. Past events in a 300-meter buffer are noted. Hostile actions, such as IED attacks or shootings, appear as various red icons; friendly actions, such as visits to schools, appear as blue icons. Clicking the icons brings up text, photos, even videos.
Courtesy of DARPA

Monday, 12 May 2008

Conference on Cluster Munitions - Oslo Process

Dublin Diplomatic Conference on Cluster Munitions
Similar to the Mine Ban Treaty, the Oslo Process seeks to prohibit the use of cluster munitions. There is an upcoming Jane's free online conference on 12th May (10pm, Singapore Time) on this issue. The link above goes to the website done up by the Irish hosts. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) also has a related webpage on cluster munitions.

Saturday, 26 April 2008

Friday, 25 April 2008

New Chinese SSBN Deploys to Hainan Island

FAS Strategic Security Blog
The wonders of satellite photo technology...

Jane's has also reported on this, a quick quote below.
This development so close to the Southeast Asian sea lanes so vital to the economies of Asia can only cause concern far beyond these straits.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Not just another IED attack in Afghanistan

Ares Homepage
Behind the drama of the most recent Dutch casualty, this incident highlights the many dangers facing troops in Afghanistan. A common tactic to reduce the IED threat is to change your route from Point A to Point B, and avoid common roads. But in this case, it was still not sufficient.
"...his son's unit was driving cross-country, staying away from the road on purpose in order to evade IEDs."
It is possible that the deaths were caused by an old landmine.
"...indicated the IED (or mine) may have been there for a long time as there has been no evidence that it was placed recently."
The battle to combat IEDs is one that will need a combination of solutions. RIP to the fallen.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Can I borrow your chimney?

While going through the Defense Technology International (DTI) archives, opswarfare found an example of ingenuity in the article, "Blue Revolution" (nxtbook!). Apparently, a radar and a Forward Looking Infra-Red (FLIR) is mounted on top of "...a 250-meter electric company chimney".

Some of you may be thinking, "What if the chimney is attacked?". Well, the Israelis placed a 2nd system on a mobile platform nearby, for redundancy purposes.

Snippets of Kiowa Warrior missions in Iraq

Michael Yon's vivid depiction of life as a helicopter pilot in Iraq. For some reason, there is no permalink to the entire article. The beginning of the article is reproduced below.
Michael Yon

Mosul, Iraq
10 March 2008

Men crept in darkness to plant a bomb. They moved in an area where last year I was helping to collect fallen American soldiers from the battlefield.

Terrorists. The ones who murder children in front of their parents. The ones who take drugs and rape women and boys. The ones who blow up schools. The ones who have been forcibly evicted from places like Anbar Province, Baghdad and Baqubah by American and Iraqi forces. Terrorists are here now in Mosul. They call themselves al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). AQI cannot win without Baghdad, and cannot survive without Mosul. The Battle for Mosul is evolving into AQI’s last great stand.

And there were the men planting the bomb. It is unknown if the men with the explosives were al Qaeda, but they were planting a bomb and that was enough. Many terrorists murder only for money. Like hit men. They might have nothing against the victim. It’s just business. Although understanding enemy motivations is key to winning a war, out on the battlefield, such considerations can become secondary, as divining the motives of a would-be killer is less important than stopping him.

The bombers were being watched. Invisible to them, prowling far overhead, was a Predator.

The Predator is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) whose eye sees through the darkness. The night sky is the jungle where it hides. The Predator strikes with more suddenness and force than any tiger. I often watch the live feed streaming down into the Tactical Operations Centers (TOC) around Iraq, while crosshairs track the enemy, and the screen lists data such as altitude, azimuth, ground speed, and the precise grid coordinates of the target. The Predator carries a deadly Hellfire missile, but also has other weapons, like the crosshairs on its eye, which links down to soldiers watching the video and data feed. The soldiers have radios to other soldiers with massive arrays of weapons. With that combination, every weapon in the US arsenal can be brought into action. Unarmed spy planes, like the Shadow, often allow enemies to escape—the difference between success and failure is often measured in seconds. The Predator can launch an attack with its Hellfire, but the most devastating attacks are usually the result of closely-coordinated teamwork between soldiers on the ground and in the air, using information provided by the Predator above. Combat at this level is an elegant dance under a burning roof.

Total time from playing Guitar Hero to getting airborne and delivering justice was an astounding twelve minutes. Apparently at least five terrorists were killed, while at least one escaped, though he probably needs new eardrums and might ask for a raise before trying that again.

blog it

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

On-condition maintenance

Maintenance is a big issue, even if most people don't wish to think about it. One easy way to show the importance of maintenance is to link it to availability. Once you discover that, although you have 10 fighter jets, but only 2 can fly, the point is very clearly made.

A major part of the effort to streamline support will be focused on on-condition maintenance. Despite the expenditure of some 1.5 billion euros between 2002 and 2007, the ministry has been unable to reach its operational availability targets, Morin says. Availability for helicopters, for example, has remained struck at around 30 percent. And maintenance structures, such as for ordnance, suffer from a lack of commonality and interchangeability, he says, citing the new Rafale front-line fighter as an example.

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Sunday, 20 April 2008

Is it really an issue of "being taken out of context?"

opswarfare is not really convinced by the response by Popular Mechanics (PM). Let's look at the paragraph in question.
This is how fragile the robotics industry is: Last year, three armed ground bots were deployed to Iraq. But the remote-operated SWORDS units were almost immediately pulled off the battlefield, before firing a single shot at the enemy. Here at the conference, the Army’s Program Executive Officer for Ground Forces, Kevin Fahey, was asked what happened to SWORDS. After all, no specific reason for the 11th-hour withdrawal ever came from the military or its contractors at Foster-Miller. Fahey’s answer was vague, but he confirmed that the robots never opened fire when they weren’t supposed to. His understanding is that “the gun started moving when it was not intended to move.” In other words, the SWORDS swung around in the wrong direction, and the plug got pulled fast. No humans were hurt, but as Fahey pointed out, “once you’ve done something that’s really bad, it can take 10 or 20 years to try it again.”
Read the response below, and see if you agree. opswarfare finds that the original paragraph sounds misleading (in light of the clarifications below).
Fahey’s comments about SWORDS, particularly his quoted statement that “the gun started moving when it was not intended to move” was not pulled from a sit-down interview with Popular Mechanics. PM’s requests for interviews to find out why SWORDS has never fired a shot at a hostile target, despite being in Iraq since last summer, have all been denied by Qinetiq and Foster-Miller. Fahey was answering a question following his keynote presentation at the RoboBusiness Conference, which other members of the press attended. When an audience member asked what happened to SWORDS, Fahey’s response was vague, and there was no indication of a timeline in his comments. So the unintended movement he mentioned could have occurred before or after the robot’s deployment in Iraq. Still, any answer regarding SWORDS is worth noting, which is why we were suddenly glad to be at an otherwise uneventful robotics conference in western Pennsylvania.

The other Fahey comment we quoted—“once you’ve done something that’s really bad, it can take 10 or 20 years to try it again”—appeared to be in the context of why he believes the military has treaded so lightly with armed ground robots. Let’s be clear: Fahey was not stating that a SWORDS unit made a blunder that it will take 10 or 20 years to recover from. If anything, Fahey was trying to express the exact opposite: The goal is to avoid an incident that could set military robotics back a decade or more.

Rather than rehashing the history of the SWORDS program and its apparent difficulties, we treated this story as a minor update to the ongoing saga of armed military ground bots. We said that SWORDS was “yanked,” and that the three robots were “pulled off the battlefield.” Without additional clarification, those sentences were picked up by bloggers looking for a more solid update, and the story took on a mutated life all its own.

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Friday, 18 April 2008

Helicopter sniper

Ever since news broke of a French sniper disabling a vehicle by shooting its engine as part of the Ponant yacht rescue operation, opswarfare has been intrigued by the viability (or lack of) of sniping from helicopters. This RAF story seems to indicate that, not only is it possible, this is being done regularly. Military Photos also has a thread, with great photos of various weapons and mountings used.
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So far the heli-snipers have been deployed to give force protection for Lynx immediate response teams, scrambled to evacuate casualties, fire support for deliberate operations, rapid route clearance for convoys, and to counter the threat from militia preparing crude explosive devices.

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This is a drill...

I wonder how the German vessel simulated "acting in a way that merrited boarding".

The Lebanese patrol boat, the Amchit, recently intercepted a Germany freighter, the Eschwege, off the country’s coast and directed the vessel into the Beirut harbor for closer inspection. There was concern on the part of the Lebanese about how the German vessel was acting, prompting the intercept.

blog post photo
(credit: German navy)

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Bring your own bridge

As an island state, bridging operations are likely to be a key portfolio for combat engineers in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF). The M3 is one of the assets in SAF.
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The M3 can be driven into a river and used as a ferry or, when a number are joined together from bank to bank, as a bridge, capable of taking vehicles as heavy as the Challenger MBT. A 100m river can be crossed in 30 minutes, using 8 rigs.

Conscription woes in Germany

opswarfare wonders if the situation (% of people unfit for NS) in Singapore is any better...
The percentage of those considered unfit and therefore exempt from service has been steadily rising, from eight to 12 percent until 1999 to 16.9 percent in 2002, 32.6 percent in 2004 and 41.9 percent in 2007.
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Saturday, 12 April 2008

Dealing with piracy at sea

(6th April 2008) A luxury yacht from France has been hijacked off the coast of Somalia, a well-known hotspot full of pirates. It is a good opportunity to see how the French military deals with this mini-crisis.

A few quick comments on possible tactics that can be utilised. A "persistent-stare" capability will be very useful in this scenario. This is normally done via the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). The next possible capability desired will be a method to insert a boarding team covertly. Most likely to be done at night, a submersible can deliver boarding teams to overpower the pirates. One issue could be the carrying capacity (or lack of) of the submersible to carry enough troops to outnumber the number of pirates on the yacht.

On the matter of the waters near Somalia being a pirate hotspot, opswarfare recently came across a UN mapping website which incidentally has a detailed map showing how bad the situation is.

The file (PDF) is available on this page.

France has some advantage over other Western countries in dealing with this issue, as it has permanent military assets based in Africa, e.g. troops, aircraft, vehicles etc. This will stand it in good stead in the scenario that they are now facing. In this case, the nearest French presence is in Djibouti, with the 13e demi brigade de légion étrangère (13e DBLE) (13th Half-Brigade) of the French Foreign Legion based there.

UPDATE (11th April 2008): It seems the crew has been released. No further details at the moment.

UPDATE (12th April 2008): The plot thickens. It seems that ransom was paid and the crew were then released. After that, the French forces pursued the pirates ashore. Some of the pirates have been taken into custody. Part of the ransom was also recovered. 2 reports seen so far (Washington Post, Independent).

If the reports are true, then kudos to the French for ensuring the safety of the crew, and also discouraging further attacks with its strong action of apprehending some of the pirates involved.

Friday, 11 April 2008

Faulty army gear may breach human rights, court rules
Possibly another landmark ruling in the UK courts (after yesterday's ruling on the Al Yamamah corruption investigation). opswarfare will revert with more info.

UPDATE: The Guardian article has been updated, with the important summary below
The case followed an inquest into the death in 2003 of Private Jason Smith, a 32-year-old Territorial army soldier sent to Basra, southern Iraq, in June 2003. Two months later, he died from heat stroke in temperatures reaching 60C.

At the inquest in November 2006, Oxfordshire's assistant deputy coroner, Andrew Walker, said Smith died because of "a serious failure to recognise and take appropriate steps to address the difficulty that he had in adjusting to the climate".

However, the coroner refused to consider whether the death breached Smith's rights under article two of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), covering the right to life.

Smith's mother, Catherine, challenged this in the high court, with the MoD listed as an "interested party" after Browne sought legal guidance on whether corners could talk of "serious failures".

While risk was inherent in a soldier's job, the judge ruled today, the MoD had to provide them with proper care.
Another recent case seems to contradict the above judgement. A quick blurb below.
The nine law lords who heard the case - an unusually high number reflecting the importance attached to it - said they sympathised with the families. But they unanimously ruled that the human rights convention did not apply to war.
opswarfare will be looking for more information on this issue.

Friday, 4 April 2008

Lessons for human rights and humanitarian law in the war on terror: comparing Hamdan and the Israeli Targeted Killings case

International Review of the Red Cross No 866, p. 373-393

A sort of counter to the blog post below. This article looks at 2 recent cases involving terrorism and human rights and humanitarian law.

A key portion to note (with relevance to the discussion on targeted killings) is on page 389, where the Israeli Supreme Court lays down conditions for targeted killings
  1. The state must possess well-based, thoroughly verified information regarding the identity and activity of the civilian who is allegedly taking part in the hostilities; the burden of proof on the state is heavy.
  2. A civilian taking a direct part in hostilities cannot be attacked at such time as he is doing so, if a less harmful means can be employed. Thus, if a terrorist taking a direct part in hostilities can be arrested, interrogated, and tried, those are the means which should be employed. In the words of the Court, ‘‘Trial is preferable to use of force. A rule-of-law state employs, to the extent possible, procedures of law and not procedures of force.’’
  3. If a civilian is indeed attacked, a thorough and independent investigation must be conducted regarding the precision of the identification of the target and the circumstances of the attack, and in appropriate cases compensation must be paid for harm done to innocent civilians.
  4. Finally, combatants and terrorists are not to be harmed if the damage expected to be caused to nearby innocent civilians is not proportionate to the military advantage directly anticipated from harming the combatants and terrorists.

Sunday, 23 March 2008

RUSI-DEM SubTech 08 Underwater Warfare Conference

Underwater warfare remains a key area for countries to stretch their muscles, especially given the strategic and tactical importance of maintaining superiority in this arena. The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) held a conference in January 2008, and the link above contains presentations from the event. A short blurb of the event below
The RUSI-DEM Submarine Technology – or SUBTECH – event, which took place in January 2008, served as an important forum for the international submarine community to come together to discuss issues ranging from why you need submarines, to what you want to do with them, to what capability you want them to have, to how you deliver that capability on time and on budget.
The list of presentations made are below.
  1. Rear Admiral Andrew Matthews CB DGSM – ‘Showing the US the way?’ (click here for speaking notes)
  2. Captain Dickie Baum RN – ‘The Importance of the Underwater Environment’ (click here for video)
  3. Rear Admiral Mark W. Kenny USN – ‘Defeating Counter-Terrorism Threats Ashore, from Under the Sea’
  4. Captain Rick Nicklas USN – ‘US Submarine Acquisition: Enabling Effect in the Underwater Battlespace’
  5. Captain Andre de Wet South African Navy
  6. Commander Delorme FN
  7. Andrew Davies, ASPI – ‘Keeping up with the Neighbours: Submarine Fleets in the Asia-Pacific and Australia’s Response’
  8. Commander Jonas Haggren Royal Swedish Navy
  9. Captain Siegfried Schneider German Navy
  10. Commodore John Gower OBE MNI RN – No Powerpoint Presentation.
  11. Philip Cooper, QinetiQ – ‘Achieving Value in the Underwater Research Investment’
  12. Chris Trout, BMT – ‘SMEs – the Engine of Innovation’
  13. Dr Norman Friedman – ‘From Lone Wolves to the Centre of the Net: Transforming the Role of Submarines in the Underwater Battlespace’ – No Powerpoint Presentation.
  14. Rear Admiral John B. Padgett III USN (Ret’d) – ‘Using Submarine Attributes, Current and Future, to Enable Future Payloads’
  15. Dr Paul Gosling, Thales Naval UK – ‘Industrial Capabilities and COTS Opportunities in Mine Counter Measures, Underwater Unmanned Vehicles and Open System Architectures’
  16. Mr E. Grant Corcoran, Lockheed Martin – ‘Cost Effective Provision of Capability through COTS/OA’
  17. Dr Dennis Gilbert, Babcock Marine
  18. Murray Easton CBE, BAE Systems
  19. Steve Ludlam, Rolls-Royce
  20. Dr. Lee Willett - Submarines in British Defence Policy: Making the Case?

Radio interference in Iraq hampers US UAV operations


A story that highlights a common problem; issues that occur in the field that were not anticipated during the conception stage. In any case, this type of radio interference issue will very likely become more and more common as radios are being filtered down right to the individual soldier.

Friday, 14 March 2008

Tanks support Infantry in attack training

Army - News

A news story on a combined arms live-fire exercise. Good to see live-fire being used, especially the artillery barrages. Soldiers often have too few chances for such training exercises.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

US Mid-East commander steps down

BBC NEWS | Middle East |
One word.


This story resonates with opswarfare, which recently quit his job. Also, it highlights the issues with trying to change the system while being in it.

It is very brave for a soldier to say no to war.

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

EU vehicle strays into Sudan, force member missing

The EUFOR peace-keeping mission has begun on a bad note. opswarfare was monitoring the mission with interest, due to the closeness of the mission to neighbouring Sudan, specifically the region of Darfur. It was also potentially a confusing operation, with French troops serving under the mission and also on their own.

And now, one soldier from EUFOR is missing after straying into Sudan. Beyond the obvious issue of ensuring the safety of that soldier, the political fallout could be significant.

Postscript (8th March 2008)
The missing soldier has been found dead, and is a member of the French special forces. RIP.

Monday, 25 February 2008

Looking beyong Iraq and Afghanistan

Its really easy to sink into a situation where military thought concentrates on current operations and how to tackle them.

opswarfare has previously expressed a desire to concentrate less on what the US armed forces are doing, and it has succeeded to a certain extent, covering operations by non-US troops, e.g. UK and Canadian forces.

The next logical step is to look at things closer to home, and make this site more relevant to Singapore.

For a start, opswarfare will look for open source material on the various armed forces of ASEAN, to understand our neighbours better.

First up, Brunei.

The Ministry of Defence website contains some White Papers [2007 edition (PDF)] which should be useful to provide an insight into the defence posture of Brunei.

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Ideas To Improve Training For Military Operations In Urban Terrain (MOUT)

Another one of those "lessons learned" articles that opswarfare loves. This time, its from the Canadian Army Journal.

For opswarfare, perhaps the next project is to consider drafting a training manual, from section level upwards, for urban operations, starting from defensive ops.

Internet Archive

Often, internet links become dead over time. opswarfare is always fighting to update the links referred to in its posts, especially the old ones. In some circumstances, opswarfare has resorted to reproducing the text in the post, to ensure that important info is kept for posterity.

Another method to try is the Internet Archive. To try it out, opswarfare used the most obvious example, at least in military circles recently. eDefense was a great resource (as is Ares is now) for military technology and also analysis of combat operations.

Although the speed is a bit slow, the archive is quite well-kept. opswarfare envisages that another few months will be "wasted" in going through the archives. cool.

p.s. eDefense's tagline is quite cool.

Detect. Decide. Shoot. Survive.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Dutch Military Union Calls For More Funding, Training

Ares Homepage
It's always sad to hear of friendly fire incidents. What's comforting to hear is that technology is not bandied as the only solution. Because it is not. Proper tactics, techniques, and procedures are still the key to fratricide prevention.

Sunday, 17 February 2008

High-Tech Weapons Are Standard Issue for Insurgents

Aviation Week
Quite a few new revelations regarding the capability of Hezbollah and Iran. The paragragh below is especially insightful.
Like most modern militaries, Israeli forces use "frequency-hopping" -- rapidly switching among dozens of frequencies per second -- to prevent radio messages from being jammed or intercepted. They also use encryption devices to make it difficult for the enemy to decipher transmissions even if they are intercepted. Hezbollah had sophisticated devices that intercepted radio signals even while they were frequency-hopping. "We were able to monitor Israeli communications and we used this information to adjust our planning," says a Hezbollah commander involved in the battles, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Most modern armies rely on frequency-hopping radios to communicate, with the understanding that they provide some level of protection from the enemy. If the above is true, then the practice of proper voice-procedure (i.e. speaking using codewords) is even more important than ever.

Saturday, 16 February 2008

Harris Radio on UAV Provides Aerial Comms Relay to U.S. Army

Ares Homepage
Using UAVs to relay radio communications. That's a simple and great idea, as the communications range for VHF radio are easily reduced in situations such as urban areas, or mountainous regions.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Master of Arts (War in the Modern World)

King's College London
A master's degree in an area that opswarfare loves, and available online. What a match, but the course fees are £14,400. Time to start saving money.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Stryker MGS: Problems in the Field

Defense Industry Daily
The above link is a good example of how to blog about a blog post, and expand the discussion.

As for the topic itself, one quick input from opswarfare is that the MGS can be used as a "show of force" asset, to dissuade the enemy from attacking.

Saturday, 9 February 2008

Embedded with IDF

Great insight into a typical IDF operation. This video (part 1 of 3) shows the 931 Regiment of the Nachal Division infiltrating into Lebanon.

Friday, 8 February 2008

9M123 missile on a BMP-3 platform

A new Russian anti-tank missile, with dual mode (radar or laser) and supersonic speed. It's also slated for the proposed Mi-28M attack helicopter.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Winograd: Final ground op 'did not achieve military goals', but approving it was essential step

Haaretz - Israel News
The full Winograd report has been released. A summary in English in the link.

By Haaretz Service and Reuters

The Winograd Committee released its final report on the Second Lebanon War on Wednesday, saying the decision in principle to launch a major ground offensive in the waning hours of the 2006 war was essential, despite the fact that the offensive failed to achieve any military objectives.

The committee called the war, which Israel launched against Hezbollah on July 12, 2006 after the militant group abducted two Israel Defense Forces soldiers and killed three others, a "major missed opportunity."

"Israel embarked on a prolonged war that it initiated, which ended without a clear Israeli victory from a military standpoint," Justice (ret.) Eliyahu Winograd told a press conference in Jerusalem.

"A paramilitary organization withstood the strongest army in the Middle East for weeks," he said.

"Hezbollah rocket fire on the Israeli home front continued throughout the war, and the IDF failed to provide an effective response," he continued. "Daily life was disrupted, residents left their homes and entered bomb shelters."

"These results have far-reaching consequences for us and our enemies," he continued.

Winograd assailed the final, large-scale ground operation launched in the final 60 hours of the war in which dozens of IDF soldiers were killed, saying it "did not achieve any military objectives nor did it fulfill its potential."

"The ground operation did not reduce the Katyusha fire nor did it achieve significant accomplishments, and its role in accelerating or improving the political settlement is unclear," said Winograd. "Also unclear is how it affected the Lebanese government and Hezbollah regarding the cease-fire."

"The manner in which the ground operation was conducted raises the most difficult of questions," he continued.

However, the panel found that the decisions that motivated the political echelons to approve the offensive were acceptable.

"The decision in principle of the security cabinet on August 9to approve the IDF's recommendation for a ground offensive, subject to the diplomatic time-table, was a practically essential decision," said Winograd. "It provided Israel with necessary diplomatic flexibility."

"The decision to actually launch the ground operation was within the framework of decision-makers' political and professional judgment based on the information they had available," the retired justice continued. "The objectives of the military push were legitimate and were not confined solely to accelerating or improving a political settlement."

"There was no failure in the decision itself, despite the limited accomplishments and painful price," he said, referring to the 33 IDF soldiers killed in the offensive.

"We are persuaded that both the prime minister and the defense minister operated out of a strong and honest assessment and understanding of what, to them, was seen as necessary for Israel's interests," he continued.

'Grave faults' in decision-making process

The panel nonetheless "found grave faults and failings in the decision-making process and the preparatory work both in the political and military levels and the interaction between them," Winograd said.

"We found grave faults and failings in the senior military command echelon, particularly in the ground forces, the quality of preparedness and readiness of the forces, and of the execution of orders," he said.

"We found grave faults and failings both in the political and military echelons in the lack of thinking and strategic planning," he continued. "And we found grave faults and failings in everything concerning the defense of the civilian population and the challenges presented by the blows it suffered."

"Though it was a war of our own initiative and waged in a defined territory, Israel did not use its military power wisely or effectively," he said.

'Israel went to war without discussing alternatives, objectives'

"The failures began long before the Second Lebanon War," said Winograd. "Ambitious goals were chosen for the war, after which Israel was left with only two main alternatives - the first was a short, severe strike [on Hezbollah], the second was to fundamentally alter the reality in southern Lebanon through a wide-scale ground operation."

"The manner in which the original decision to go to war was made, without discussing the alternatives, and the manner in which Israel embarked on the war prior to determining which of the alternatives it had chosen, or an exit strategy - these were severe failures that impacted the entire war, which were contributed to by both the political and the military echelon," said Winograd.

"The indecisiveness continued into the war itself," the retired justice continued. "There was no proper discussion or decision on the war's objectives for several weeks."

"There was also a serious delay in preparing for a wide-scale ground operation, reducing Israel's options," he said.

"The result was that Israel did not make do with maximizing immediate military achievements, but rather was dragged into a ground offensive only after a cease-fire [decision] made it impossible to effectively fulfill its potential. Both top military and political leaders are responsible for this."

The committee handed Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, and the IDF copies of the 500-page report, shortly before the press conference in which the panel presented the report's primary conclusions.

The first, partial Winograd report was released in April 2007 and focused on the opening days of the war. The report found that Olmert and the government had displayed poor decision-making skills and lack of judgment.

It said that, "The decision to respond [to the cross-border attack] with an immediate, intensive military strike was not based on a detailed, comprehensive and authorized military plan..." and that "The primary responsibility for these serious failings rests with the Prime Minister, the [then] minister of defense [Amir Peretz] and the (outgoing) Chief of Staff."