Sunday, March 11, 2018

On March 1st, Putin Announced The Total Categorical Failure Of The U.S. Intelligence Community

strategic-culture |  But the real game changer is the Russian ability to negate America’s ability to project power through its navy. The already deployed air-launched Kinzhal anti-ship missile has a range of 2000 kilometers and a hyper-sonic speed that makes it nearly impossible to intercept. The development has made America’s thirteen aircraft carrier groups obsolete. President Putin made clear that Russia now has an overwhelming military advantage in cruise and ballistic missiles that are capable of penetrating U.S. defenses.

The new reality may or may not impel policymakers in Washington to approach Moscow and seek a new round of negotiations for arms control, but the real shock deriving from the Putin announcement is the failure of the intelligence community to anticipate the developments and advise their significance. Some of the new systems were hardly secret, with development of the Sarmat, for example, known to western governments for a number of years.

There will no doubt be a blame game in Washington over the inability to learn of Russia’s arms programs, but the questions that probably will not be asked relates to the intelligence agencies themselves and their capabilities, or lack thereof. It is no secret that organizations like the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) have seen their basic missions change since 2001. An organization that used to pride itself on its ability to conduct classic espionage operations involving recruiting and running spies suddenly heard from policymakers that those skills were no longer in demand. Many officers who were made redundant or forced to retire were precisely those individuals who had cut their teeth on running operations directed against the old Soviet Union. They had the language and cultural skills necessary to collect information on Russia. With their departure, those capabilities also largely vanished.