This issue of Red Diamond opens with an article on illegal mining operations. These activities are not normally associated with having an impact on military operations, but they may present a unique threat condition for both training and real-world operational environments (OEs). US and coalition forces may be deployed in support of peacekeeping or stability operations in areas where they could come into direct conflict with multiple hybrid threat actors operating directly or indirectly in support of illegal mines and smuggling. The illicit operations may also fuel ancillary criminal activities, such as the trafficking of drugs and weapons, money laundering, human trafficking, and increased local governmental corruption.
Open sources consistently highlight the large number of special-purpose forces (SPF) personnel in the Korean People’s Army (KPA) as a major factor for the anticipated high casualties from any war with North Korea. But how "special" is the KPA SPF in actuality? Is it on the same level as the special operations forces in the US armed forces? Or does "specialness" just mean that the SPF is better equipped than other KPA units and better trained than other KPA soldiers? The second article will examine the KPA SPF mission, size, organization, training, and equipment.
Russian military doctrine has long centered on its artillery. As early as the 14th century, the Russians began placing a greater emphasis on larger artillery formations in proportion to their infantry in order to repel Mongol invaders. The second installment of a two-part series shows how Russian air defense and electronic warfare are designed to extend operational reach against its adversaries with superior air power and significant intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities, and discusses recent Russian artillery techniques shifts, modernization, and capability.
In the days leading up to Ramadan, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and selected members of his cabinet traveled to Russia on a diplomatic mission. Only days later, a storm of violence erupted in Marawi City, on President Duterte’s home island of Mindanao. There, on 23 May 2017, elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police raided a safe house to arrest an Islamist extremist and take him into federal custody. The authorities got more than they bargained for: a firefight erupted that ended in a standoff by nightfall, leaving three members of the government security force dead and eleven others wounded. The second article in a two-part series discusses how the dynamics of the Marawi operational environment evolved between 23 May and 23 October 2017, when NSF successfully concluded its campaign to retake the city. It emphasizes the cycle of adaptation and counteradaptation that played out between enemies throughout the duration of the siege, as well as the unique features of warfare in dense urban terrain that allowed the militants to compensate for the inherent disadvantages they faced while fighting a numerically superior, well-equipped, and highly trained Philippine military.