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Focus on the Pacific: Establishing a Pacific Fusion Centre

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Focus on the Pacific Establishing a Pacific Fusion Centre

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Australia is already establishing a Pacific Fusion Centre. The United States must cooperate and work together rather than establishing our own separate and competing network. We must learn from our successes of the not-too-distant past.

BACKGROUND

On April 4th, 1970, I arrived at my first assignment at Clark Air Base, Philippines. That totally refocused my life which has been intertwined with the Pacific Basin for nearly a half-century now.

While on active duty in the United States Air Force, I was in the Philippines for nearly three years during two tours. I was also on Okinawa before it was reverted back to Japan for nearly a year.

Using my GI Bill benefits, I graduated from college in Southern California in 1978 with the hope of returning to the Philippines as a Christian Missionary. Hoping to study linguistics for Bible translation work, I came to Hawaii that year.

CUSTOMS

After being employed by the State of Hawaii for a year, I was hired by the U.S. Customs Service here in Honolulu. From 1979 until 2006, I served in uniform as a sworn federal officer with the U.S. Customs Service and then U.S. Customs and Border Protection with assignments in Hawaii, Southern California and Washington, DC.

USCS was born in 1789 and died in 2003 when President George W. Bush moved Customs inspections into the new Department of Homeland Security in a merger with immigration inspections under CBP. Intelligence was always a collateral duty during my entire career in uniform. It was then that I realized how I could make the best contribution to border security specifically and to national security overall.

From 2006 through 2014, I worked for the CBP Field Office in San Francisco with physical assignment here in Honolulu as a Field Analysis Specialist. For the last eight years of my federal career, I was able to provide situational awareness along with strategic and tactical targeting of potential smugglers.

Both official and open sources of information are necessary to develop comprehensive approaches to securing our national borders. Research, analysis, synthesis, articulation and dissemination all go into the development of an intelligence assessment tailored to the operational requirements of decision-makers.

FOCUS ON THE PACIFIC

Few there be that truly understand the geopolitics of the Pacific Basin. Of those who do, only a handful are Americans. This is not the exotic South Pacific of movie lore. This is a real world with small specks of land amidst an enormous amount of deep blue water.

I have previously discussed the ethno-linguistic regions of Polynesia, Micronesia and Melanesia along with the multiple island nations and territories that comprise them. For our purposes in this current analysis, those who need to know the distinctions do know the distinctions.

U.S. Customs was an active participant in multinational information-sharing ventures in the Pacific Basin. From about 1989 until the late 1990s, the USA hosted the Project Cook database which tracked small vessels ~ yachts and some fishing vessels ~ throughout the Pacific to identify suspects. For about a decade after that, the Customs Asia-Pacific Enforcement Reporting System [CAPERS] expanded beyond vessel tracking to also provide training and communications access for small islands under the tutelage of America, Australia and New Zealand.

I was a very hands-on element of both programs in my official capacity with U.S. Customs. It’s not my purpose to go into detail about either program at this time. Rather, I am just pointing to the efficacy of how working together behooves my own country and all our neighbors in this part of the world.

ESTABLISHING A PACIFIC FUSION CENTRE

At this moment as you read these words, the Australian government and Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs Marise Payne are overseeing the establishment of a new Pacific Fusion Centre. The current administration of Prime Minister Scott Morrison is more actively engaged with Pacific partnerships than were recent predecessors.

The new Pacific Fusion Centre is already in existence in Canberra with the plan of establishing it permanently in a host country within the Pacific Basin. Two former U.S. Trust Territories of the Pacific Islands have been vying to become that location ~ Palau and Federated States of Micronesia. Both are in proximity to current U.S. territories of Guam and CNMI.

Meanwhile, half a world away inside the DC Beltway, our Senate Armed Services Committee has tasked the United States Indo-Pacific Command based in Hawaii to establish one or more such fusion centers in the Pacific. My contention here is that this would be an unnecessary duplication of effort and counterproductive toward the end goal of information-sharing with our friends in the Pacific.

As I can personally vouch, both Project Cook and CAPERS were tremendous assets to the United States because we worked hand-in-hand with our allies in the Pacific Theater. Both multinational platforms worked because they were based upon shared law enforcement concerns and not primarily military in nature.

Those familiar with Project Cook know when and where it was founded. Those who actually gathered and shared the pertinent information were primarily Customs Officers and some other local law enforcement.

It must be acknowledged that today there is one significant factor that weighs heavily in this United States initiative. Historically, the concerns have been interdiction of drug smuggling, fisheries enforcement and revenue collection. But today, counteracting Chinese hegemony also requires cooperation among our friends here in the Pacific.

In addition to Australia and New Zealand, we must seriously include Japan in this endeavor. As we assist small Islands in their development, we must be careful not to impose our own nationalistic template over their actual needs. All major friendly countries with a vested interest in the Pacific must be consulted and invited to participate.

RECOMMENDATIONS

We must not compete to see who can be first to establish this new Pacific Fusion Centre. I highly recommend that the United States at the very highest diplomatic levels talk to Australia and to Japan sooner rather than later about working together cooperatively in one Pacific Fusion Centre which we can all support.

It needs to be staffed with expert analysts from both large nations and small islands. We need the expertise and the resources of both to ensure success.

I also strongly stress that the United States military is not a perfect fit for this urgent information and intelligence sharing outpost far from our own shores. Rather, this should be a responsibility of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Despite my own personal background in Customs, recognizing that resources and priorities have changed in the nearly five years since I retired, I would look toward the U.S. Coast Guard as our forward-facing agency.

Just as USCG is being called upon to fulfill its dual role in augmenting the U.S. Navy in the South China Sea, not falling directly under the Department of Defense would be an asset in our participation in the new Pacific Fusion Centre. The involvement of the Joint Inter-Agency Task Force West based in Hawaii should be considered.

We do not necessarily need or want either U.S. military members or civilian federal employees as the analysts at this new Pacific Fusion Centre. Oversight by DHS of America’s interests with the involvement of USCG and JIATF-W is appropriate.

But analysts should be recruited from the United States as well as other participating nations with a management structure at the new Pacific Fusion Centre. We are not there to dominate, but rather to participate.

Whether it is President Trump and Prime Minister Morrison, or Secretary of State Pompeo and Minister of Foreign Affairs Payne, the new Pacific Fusion Centre must be prioritized at the highest levels of government. But it has to go beyond heads of state and career diplomats.

LET’S GET THIS RIGHT

Having communicated with counterparts throughout the Pacific Basin and beyond on a daily basis for many years has instilled a frame of reference and a respect that can be achieved neither academically nor strictly by virtue of one’s official title. It requires a person whose life and whose heart are intertwined with this very special and precious environment.

You need to consider the views of analysts who have been there and done that. We might be able to give you a few pointers about what works and what doesn’t. The Pacific Basin is very unique. We need to re-engage, but we must do it practically rather than politically.

We would even advise you to let them spell it “Centre” and not insist upon the American spelling. That should be intuitive.

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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Culture and Religion

Should Church be the mission field?

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Should Church be the mission field

There is a growing prevalence of churches that want to draw people in to present the gospel. These churches, commonly referred to as “seeker friendly” churches have been one of the biggest trends in Christianity in the postmodern world. A comparison would be the analytics of Major League Baseball. Some people champion it; others loath it. For these seeker friendly churches are engaged in the advance usage of analytics and marketing. In the effort of not being dismissive in a traditionalist “get off my lawn” way, I want to examine, giving a fair shake, this prevalent trend in Christianity.

In the early church, it was inconceivable that churches would attract large audiences to present the gospel. During the time of persecution, Christians building coliseums for worship would have been lit as candles to light those coliseums while lions were fed to their brethren in an evening pagan spectacle. During the reign of the Papacy, this second phase of Christian history built cathedrals, however these architectural feats were never intended to be mission fields, rather home bases. The post-reformation segment of Christendom saw large gatherings and generational revivals but a large church does not equal a “seeker friendly” church. In American history, we have seen some readily obvious cycles of rebellion and repentance with the Great Awakenings. We aren’t in one of those periods of repentance as a society; we need to be, but I digress. If you build it and they will come is an entirely new phenomenon for physical churches.

I am unsure whether this phenomenon of seeker friendly is the result of the rebellion in our societies or a response to. However, many prominent proponents of seeker friendly churches have questionable theology such as Andy Stanley. Andy Stanley’s Deep and Wide is the bible for seeker friendly churches. There’s obvious problems with the seeker friendly church model that stem from belief systems that counter scripture, the Popularity Gospel as I have coined it.

But the original question was not contemplating the theological legitimacy of seeker friendly churches. Rather we are examining the use of church as the mission field which these famous megachurches’ methods have permeated into many bible believing churches. The origin comes from theologically void sources, however legitimate churches use much of these methods to increase the audience of the church, but I am wondering how these methods can increase the size of the church.

1Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, 2by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.

3For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
1 Corinthians 15:1-4 NASB

So if the church is to be the mission field why then is the church not interested in preaching the gospel every Sunday? Sermons on money don’t save. Sermons on not being “judgmental” don’t save. Not even sermons on loving your neighbor save. 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 concisely articulates a saving message that Paul seems to have preached regularly during his time in Corinth.

Comfort

The Good News of Jesus Christ is a call to a painful death to self, daily. No work-around backdoor preaching in a way non-believers can agree with is a sufficient substitute. Using the physical building and programs as a mission field is an unprecedented means modern Christianity finds itself in. By no means, should we turn down innovative ways to baptize believers and make disciples. However, these means must do exactly that. If the church is to draw non-Christians, specifically church adverse people, in with music, atmosphere, and accommodations then the duty of the Church to Christ is to present the gospel daily.

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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Democrats

Stench of impeachment must stick to Democrats in 2020

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Stench of impeachment must stick to Democrats in 2020

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has one goal. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not impeachment of the President. She’s supporting it now because she has to for various reasons ranging from a revolting left within her own caucus to acting as a smokescreen to protect Joe Biden and other Democrats (possibly including herself) who have engaged with the previous corrupt government of Ukraine. But it’s not what she wants because she knows it will fail in the end.

Her actual goal is to clear the stink of impeachment off the Democrats before the 2020 election. Yes, it’s going to stink. Thanks to the antics of Adam Schiff and others, it’s already stinking pretty badly and it hasn’t even had very much time to rot in front of American voters. She wants to get in, check off the impeachment box on her list of “accomplishments” as Speaker, and move onto the next component of obstruction that she’ll hope to ride into the 2020 election.

We cannot allow that to happen. This stink must remain firmly attached to the Democrats who support impeachment all the way through to election day next year. They need to wear impeachment like an albatross of shame around the necks, and they must not be allowed to shed it until they’re ousted from office.

This is important. The press is going to help them “move on” after it’s done. But conservatives must keep pressing it. We cannot allow it to fall off the radar as we’ve done so many times in recent elections. Benghazi should have sunk President Obama, but he was let off the hook. The Brett Kavanaugh confirmation debacle should have helped Republicans expand their control of the Senate, but it was old news a month after his confirmation just in time for the 2018 midterm elections. Time and time again, Democrats hand Republicans something that stinks, and Republicans fail to capitalize on it during elections.

If former FBI Director James Comey had let Hillary Clinton off the hook for her email scandal a month earlier than he did, she might have won the 2016 election. That’s how bad Republicans are at capitalizing on Democratic mistakes. Impeachment is such a mistake, a huge one. And if Republicans don’t handle it right, they’ll let it slip into the history books instead of letting it carry them to big gains in the House and Senate.

President Trump will be fine. He’ll capitalize on it without even trying and will use it to win his reelection. Down-ballot races must do the same. Any Republican running against a Democrat who supports impeachment should use that as the anchor that sinks the incumbent into a dark electoral pit. They should hammer this debacle until their opponents’ names are synonymous with “impeachment” among their constituents.

We must help them.

If your representative supports impeachment, make certain everyone you influence knows just how bad that really is. Today, it is allegedly popular with many. But it’s going to end up stinking very badly, and that odor must stick to Democrats like glue.

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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Conservatism

What President Trump hasn’t done

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What President Trump hasnt done

An op-ed I posted a few hours ago has drawn more people to reach out to me to see if I’m turning against President Trump, yet. One particularly well known “Never Trumper” direct messaged me on Twitter to congratulate me for seeing through the President’s lies. He was shocked to find out my call for the President to sanction Turkey didn’t mean I was turning against him. I still intend to support the President’s reelection efforts and will be voting for him in 2020.

There’s a big difference between criticism and opposition. In today’s ultra-tribal political atmosphere, too many people deal with absolutes. If they oppose a candidate or a party on a single issue, they suddenly oppose that candidate or party on all issues. It’s rather strange seeing former “conservatives” who are now embracing Joe Biden or Elizabeth Warren while still pretending to be pro-life, defenders of capitalism, protectors of religious freedoms, 2nd Amendment proponents, and believers in limited government.

But it’s not just the “Never Trumpers” who are the problem. Some of the President’s most devoted fans have willfully molded their conservative worldviews around his. They’re latching onto his “bring the troops home” mantra regarding Syria, though the troops aren’t actually coming home. They’re preparing to be “common sense gun control” advocates in case the President signs universal background checks or red flag incentives into law. They do these things without considering if President Obama did either of these things, they’d be all over Twitter calling him treacherous and anti-freedom.

My perspectives on President Trump are simple and honest. When he does well, I praise him. When he does poorly, I criticize him. My praise has greatly outweighed my criticisms, but invariably any time I criticize his actions I’m attacked by overzealous members of his base and approached by “Never Trumpers” looking to add me to their ranks.

Friday evening, I posted a thread that demonstrates why I won’t be a “Never Trumper” any time soon. It’s worth reading to understand why I can criticize the President while knowing I generally support him and approve of most of his policies.

I can call for President Trump to sanction Turkey and still be fully supportive of his presidency and reelection efforts. Criticism on one issue is not opposition as a whole… at least it shouldn’t be. Patriotism must be driven by honest assertion of our beliefs.

We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.

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