Well folks, Shadow Warfare should be going out via Amazon to pre-orders some time this week so hopefully once folks begin reading it, readers can drop me notes and I can get some good topical responses going. As readers of my other books know, I’m always happy to take questions and chat and the best way to reach me is by email at:
I thought I would take this opportunity to bring up some of the military side of Shadow Warfare, something I really haven’t posted on much here. While the book focuses on clandestine action, one of the things that becomes clear in reviewing the history of the subject is that beginning in the late 1960′s, the linkages between covert action and military Special Operations began to evolve dramatically. To some extent that was a result of the engagements in South East Asia, including covert military action in Laos and the integration of the American military into the Phoenix infrastructure warfare program in South Vietnam. Actually it was initally kicked off by JFK’s handing off covert operations in North Vietnam to the military, the CIA’s efforts having been totally ineffective to that point. However, much less obvious and possibly much more important for the long run, would be the use of Special Operations personnel in Latin America, both in conjunction with military assistance counter terrorism programs and later in support of the Reagan administration clandestine warfare in Nicaragua.
Shadow Warfare traces special operations though JFK’s first effort to turn it into tool for localized and limited strategic use (much against all the wishes and inclinations of the Pentagon) to its revival under the Carter Administration and the rebuilding of its capabilities and weapons – which had advanced during Vietnam but which were essentially all thrown away with the return to a Cold War, major force focus in the administrations that immediately followed the end of that conflict. It’s a really fascinating story with the Pentagon virtually tossing away brand new and organizations, personnel and weapons as they returned to their comfort zone of carrier groups, bomber and missile squadrons and tank corps. Later it would all be rebuilt, but once again over Pentagon objection, with Presidents and actually Congress intervening to build an entirely new structure for military special operations.
That structure would just be coming into place as jihad terror was spawned following the expulsion of the Soviets from Afghanistan. Even at that point it was not only being rebuilt but essentially rearmed with a series of weapons which would allow long range operations. During the Clinton Administration, the military were called on twice to conduct operations against bin Laden, in the Sudan and in Afghanistan – on both occasions they had to respond that they lacked the ability to do what Clinton wanted although if he chose, they could conduct full scale military operations (which would have looked a lot like invasions).
Special Operations capabilities only escalated on virtually a logarithmic scale following first the CIA’s covert entry into Afghanistan following 9/11 and later with the creation of the Global anti-terror group Task Forces operating across the western Pacific and Africa. Certainly I had no idea how this had all developed, and actually what current capabilities were until I began research for the book – even though I am admittedly a bit of a military “geek”.
Shadow Warfare does make a serious effort to develop the military side of clandestine action, to the extent of describing what we call “gray warfare”, the true merger of intelligence and tactical military action. Its the sort of integration which would have been impossible before the technology and particularly the communications which came to exist during the decade of the 1990′s. And of course this is still very much a contemporary story, not covered that much by the mainstream media but much more effectively by the military and intelligence reporting being done by some very fine sites on the internet. The following is an example of such reporting:
I’m sure I’ll be referring to a number of such sites in the dialogs about Shadow Warfare – and they are proving extremely valuable in the research that I’ve been doing for my next project…what, you thought I was going to take a break…grin