War with Russia and China? Here Are Two New Indicators – Forward Observer Shop

War with Russia and China? Here Are Two New Indicators

In an Executive Intelligence Summary from last month, I pointed out two additional indicators that bolster the case for a potential conflict with China and Russia.  I didn’t see these two stories reported anywhere other than in military channels, and certainly not through the mainstream media.  But they’re significant and I want you to know about them.

The potential for conflict with both Russia and China are scenarios I’m watching closely, because a war with either of these “near peer” competitors would likely involve cyber activity which could absolutely target us here at home.  Although cyber attacks would likely focus on military command and control targets, we can’t rule out the possibility that our internet and other critical infrastructure won’t be targeted in the process.  I’ve explained why and in greater detail in previous EXSUMs.  Now on to the indicators…

The first is that the US Navy will be unveiling a new strategy for surface combat as early as today, which is just two years after their move to what’s called distributed lethality.  That means that Navy ships, instead of operating in one mass formation, will break up into several smaller formations.  This focus on splitting a large formation into small groups and increasing lethality means that adversaries will have more numerous target groups as opposed to one mass formation.  And given electronic warfare and the capability to present decoy targets to adversary targeting systems, the US Navy is betting that they’ll be harder to hit as a result.  The carrier strike groups will remain operational, but will launch aircraft and missiles from the rear of a sea battle, while distributed formations stay closer to the fight.  This is most likely in response to recent Chinese weapons developments, which includes a series of upgrades to anti-ship missiles, and the expectation that a naval conflict is growing more likely.  China’s strategy is to use long-range air-to-air and anti-ship missiles in what’s called an anti-access/area denial strategy.  I’ll be paying close attention this week to see what comes of the Navy’s new strategy in response.

And the second is that the Army announced that Fort Stewart, Georgia’s 3rd Infantry Division will be changing the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, which is light infantry, into an armored brigade combat team equipped with Abrams tanks.  After 15 years of fighting in mostly irregular wars, leaders at the Pentagon and their concept of reality has been quickly hurtling back to earth.  For years, there was a Pentagon battle over force structure and becoming lighter, faster, and more lethal to respond to small, global contingencies, or maintaining the ability to fight large scale conventional wars.  Some leaders didn’t see the need for maintaining conventional readiness because up until about four years ago, few people were ringing alarms about conventional threats.  But now that a conventional war in Europe looks like a growing possibility, the Army is renewing focus on military readiness and increasing conventional warfighting capabilities, while playing catch up to electronic and cyber warfare; both of which will undoubtedly play a role in the next war.  2nd BCT’s sister brigade, the 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, and other units from the 3rd Infantry Division completed several rotations to Europe in 2015 as a part of Operation Atlantic Resolve.  Operation Atlantic Resolve is part of the $3 billion package called the European Reassurance Initiative, which is meant to bolster the defense of Europe against Russian aggression.

Having an additional armored brigade at 3rd ID is directed at one problem: conventional, force-on-force warfare, specifically against Russia.  I expect President-Elect Trump’s defense policy regarding Europe to be wrought with fragmentary changes (FRAGOs for the military folks).  Trump’s desire to pursue better relations with Russia must be weighed against Russia’s regional policy goals concerning eastern Europe.  What NATO wants is bad for Russia, and what Russia wants is bad for NATO.  While Trump is cooling on war rhetoric with Russia, our European allies are engaging in the regional arms race in lock step with Russia in preparation for war.  The US military defense posture in Europe is nearing a war footing as well, and Trump will be forced to make a decision on whether to pursue a high-risk friendship with Russia or continue the strategy of being Europe’s backstop.  On the current trajectory, Trump will have to choose and he’ll likely alter history.

Mike Shelby is a former military intelligence NCO and contract intelligence analyst. He spent three years in Iraq and Afghanistan and is now the intelligence and warfare researcher at Forward Observer.


  1. Relax. Take a deep breath. There won’t be any war with Russia who has, since 2012, has adopted Nuclear-Strike-First as their main resource to respond to any war directly against Russia. Putin and Russians have known that any protracted/prolonged conventional war(s) will play havoc to Russia and her economy. They would make stop short any war(s) against Russia with nuclear assault. As we have learnt via Syria war, the Power That Be has not dared to indirectly cross the Russiabicon over Syrian battles. There is no way in hell The Power That Be would dare to cross directly the Russian Bear whose weapons are far more superior to all of current US’s arsenal. Remember the Russia’s shooting down the 2 provoking missiles over Mediterean Sea in Sept. 2013? Remember the USS McDonald Cooked alive twice by SU-24 using Khibiny jamming systems? Remember the implementation of Rusky No-Fly-Zone over Syria?
    There won’t be any winner in any nuclear exchange against Russia. Power That Be won’t dare to risk to lose their stolen zillions over Russia. They could provoke China over South East Asia, but this will incur great damages and costs which the US does not currently have.
    So in nutshells, Drink a Kook-aid and relax. This is all Huff and Puff

    1. Wait until oil prices rise and Russia’s economic future is looking brighter. Russia won’t engage in nuclear conflict over the Baltics, especially when they use another round of hybrid warfare, and the Donald Cook/EW incident was agitprop.

  2. “But now that a conventional war in Europe looks like a growing possibility…”

    Whose fault is that?


      1. That is an evasion.

        Who is deploying on the borders (or border regions) of Russia?


        And how reasonable Russian reactions, “aggression?”


          1. Brief overview…

            S. Ossetia: After the US staged managed “color revolution” in Georgia the people of S. Ossetia (almost all Russians) received Russian passports after requesting to join FS. Russian peacekeepers were deployed to prevent persistent Georgian border incursions. Fast forward to 2008. After several years of US “contractors” training up the Georgian Army it attacked S. Ossetia (spearheaded by Israelis — but that’s another story). The Russians reacted in defense of its citizens, punked the US trained Georgian Army, then withdrew. Unfortunately the Russians did not destroy the US Bio-Chem laboratories in Georgia, nor the CIA run AQ/IS (same thing) training area there.

            E. “Ukraine” (in inverted commas because there never was any such “state,” it is an artificial construct invented out of whole cloth in 1991.): After the US stage managed coup, known as “Maidan,” the people of Donbass — the significant majority of whom are Russians — refused to acknowledge the Coup “government” and declared autonomy. They were declared “terrorists” (whatever that means) by the usurpers and when invaded by the Ukrops they formed “militias” which were quickly aided by volunteers, “tourists” and “vacationers” from Russia. I will stop here because further description of the situation in “Ukraine” leads to charges of “anti-Semitism.”

            Crimea: After “Maidan” (the US commissared “Dignity Revolution”) the people of Crimea (overwhelmingly Russian) held a referendum and over 95% voted to leave “Ukraine” and join the FS. The Crimean Duma heard the people and requested to the Russian Duma federation. Granted. (Can you even imagine a public referendum in the US being acted on by “their” “representatives?”) And now Crimea is Russian. [You will object about the “Polite Green Men.” That is a different subject.]

            So… What we’re dealing with here is the Wilsonian doctrine of “self determination of peoples.” Except when it displeases the US.

            If your OSINT upon which you base your analyses of these things are US military feeds (I subscribe to them also — to my disgust) you are poorly informed.

            If you want to go deeper into this I’ll do it off-line with you. (To spare your blog.)


          2. Hey Steve – I get it. I’m not saying that the US is innocent. And I’m aware of the history of these regions — these are Russian people who, through no fault of their own, were trapped outside of Russia post-Soviet collapse. My main concern in the NATO-Russia conflict is the preservation of Western Civilization. Russia is not Western –not since the (((Bolsheviks))) took over and instituted Communist rule, even if the religious Jews were later removed from power — despite Putin’s insistence that Russia is a European state.

            Let’s say that Russia gets their way in Europe and NATO is dismantled or becomes functionally dead. Putin and his successor continue their campaign of retaking former Soviet satellites to restore the Russian Empire. Is that not the goal of Putin?

          3. Crimea ? Ukraine ?….you sir have drank to MUCH of the koolaid…..these are …OUR….aggressions ……colour revolutions started by dept of state et al

  3. Thanks for the interesting geo-political update. We live in in-
    teresting times. It is way past time Americans educate themselves about civil defense.

    1. Steve Barry, great summary! Until Putin is running provocative military exercises on the US border like we do on Russia’s – I fail to see him as a threat. If anything, he shows great restraint and patience with the current idiot in chief. Putin doesn’t take 50% of my income nor does he attack the bill of rights and constitution. The threat of violence level to the American people is 100X greater from DC than it is from Moscow. Don’t fall for the propaganda. Thanks for a great publication!

      1. Greg, you are talking about Obama right. Because he did more to destroy the constitution and trample the Bill of Rights than any president I served under.

  4. RE “What NATO (country-collection of varying levels of capability & resolve) wants is bad for Russia (a country), and what Russia wants is bad for NATO.”

    Agreed there is much to watch; Trump may be able to influence private-sector companies but he’s not yet CinC, influencing the 2 military approaches mentioned. Perhaps the discussion should be less limited and extend to “what if what NATO wants is bad for the US?”

  5. “My main concern in the NATO-Russia conflict is the preservation of Western Civilization.” HAHAHAHA, oh Lord I laughed until it hurt at that comment. The “European State” is now Middle Eastern. These countries have chosen their path which is to turn their backs on Caucasian Christians and embrace another culture and religion. Russia may be the only hope our former allies have of surviving into the next generation.

    1. Mainly their elitist leaders. Laugh all you want but when you catch your breath, look at nations like Hungary and the Czech Republic who have closed their borders to the invasion of refugees. There are pro-Christian nationalists still in Europe. English Defence League, Pegida, UKIP, National Front, AfD, and some of them are in power or close to it. They’re out there, and the worse it gets, the more pro-West Europeans are getting on board. Only simpletons believe that the fight is over.

  6. War with Russia and others is coming but it probably won’t be reported like WWII where the news media gives a blow by blow report of how each theatre is going. Wars in the future are covert and they are fought more by civilian defense contractors and ex military soldiers of fortune than by the four branches for plausible deniability and avoidance of treaties and conventions.

  7. Thanks SFC Barry.

    “Putin and his successor continue their campaign of retaking former Soviet satellites to restore the Russian Empire. Is that not the goal of Putin?”

    How long ago was it that USNATO proclaimed that Russia was going to tank roll through Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, to Poland?

    So, the Russian strategy was to let their tanks idle on the Estonian border while USNATO built up a counter force, and massively preposition heavy and light armor, air/land/sea missile, artillery, new air fields, and etc. Wait! There were no tanks on the Estonian border ready inevitable tank roll.

    I’ll just speak of Ukraine and Crimea. As SFC Barry said, the coup in Ukraine was our coup… CRIMEA was the PRIZE. Why? Sevastopol and Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. Did anyone REALLY believe that Russia was just going to walk away from it’s Black Sea Fleet base, and let USNATO walk in, and turn the Black Sea into a USNATO military playground?

    I’m still laughing at those “Little Green Men”. There has ALWAYS been little green men in Crimea, before the USA, was the USA.

    Thinking caps on people. And don’t box your thinking in with USNATO clap-trap. Separate the chaff, from the wheat.

    What’s next? Russia has done absolutely nothing to defeat ISIS (Daesh) in Syria, as per our honorable SecDef Ash Carter? Seriously, it is embarrassing to watch my own government flap the lips of lies constantly.

    Well, the good thing is, USNATO plans for 172 massive live-fire exercises this 2017 on or near Russia’s border… because… Russian aggression. Whatever that is. But let us all rush into neo-con conclusions.

    1. If I understand this correctly, you and Steve take exception because I said “Russian aggression”.

      Is my reporting factual? Yes. These are two solid indicators in a long line of indicators with many more almost certainly to follow. If we can agree on that, then what’s left is only a matter of opinion. If the only thing with which you take exception is two words out of 720, then we can narrow this discussion down to who’s right and who’s wrong. If you haven’t read my previous EXSUMs, then you lack a frame of reference on my take and I’ve defended Russia in several of them. But Russia is not an innocent victim.

      1. Why don’t we just call it what it really is? Russia is a threat to Western “dumbocracy” which is just code for “globalism”.

        Everything your government does, it does to complete the globalist agenda. That is the default mode that your government operates on.

        And of course Russia is ramping up for war. They’d be stupid not to, considering they are moving their country closer and closer to NATO.

        Christ! I still remember when Western dumbocracy (that’s globalism) was having a hussy-fit because Putin wouldn’t allow Pussy Riot to squat and shit all over Russia’s Orthodox Churches.

        This is nothing more than “Nationalism” versus “Globalism” and all the dirty filthy crap it propagates… because, ya know… freedumb.

        I don’t think Putin is a “Saint”. But if you want to get down to the nitty-gritty, when looking at the “dumbocracy” proponents, it is more of a spiritual warfare, that will end up in a physical global war. Because Western style globalism must prevail.

  8. How does war with Russia or China happen? Most likely the US has to to Russia or China. In Asia, a bunch of questionable Chinese could wreak havok on the US carrier groups. Launch 100 to sink 1 carrier. Once a carrier goes down the US moral is messed up. Russia in Europe. The tanks would get killed due to the home field advantage. The only way the US has a chance is on in a 3rd country and Russia and China will not directly engage.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Name *