Monthly Archives: December 2010

A New Year’s #FollowFriday – People You Should be Following on Twitter in 2011

A New Year’s #FollowFriday – People You Should be Following on Twitter in 2011

twitterff A New Years #FollowFriday   People You Should be Following on Twitter in 2011

My year end #FollowFriday is a monster – too big for Twitter in fact. I follow thousands of people (many of them in private lists) and find great new sources daily. Please don’t feel slighted if your name isn’t on this list. There are just too many brilliant people to list in one go. That said, here are a few of the tweeple who informed, educated, and challenged me in 2010:

Allthingsct – Her tweets are protected. Following her clear, insightful, straightforward thoughts on counterterrorism is a privilege.

ArchAngel_6 – Asymmetric warrior, patriot, Renaissance man, and always the tip of the spear… If you’re inside 2500 meters, I suggest you be polite…

Bill_Romanos – Science, technology, space, intelligence, philosophy, writing, book collecting and reading, etc. Attorney.

Caidid – MA in IR. Devourer of foreign policy, security, and Middle East studies. Writer. Volunteer. Artist. Boston sports fan. Yank Arsenal supporter. Grammar nerd.

CarvajalF – PhD in Arab-Islamic Studies Yemen NGO consultant-Yemen.

ChrisAlbon – Ph.D. candidate researching the relationship between armed conflict, public health, and human security. Writes at He’s also the reason #ChrisAlbonDay exists.

Cyberwar_geek – IT professional by accident, geek by nature. Grad Student in IA and military buff/asymmetrical warfare hobbyist. Christ Follower.

Dailyexception – Unashamedly biased center-right commentary from an irreverent New Yorker.

DaveedGR – Director, FDD’s Center for the Study of Terrorist Radicalization. Brilliant guy. Funny too.

EricMartin24 – Senior Editor of The Progressive Realist; Practicing Attorney; I’m into the whole brevity thing.

FrostinaDC – Defense/National Security Analyst, Bleeding Heart Patriot, Human Rights Advocate, Traveler, & SCUBA Diver. Independent, Multifarious & Capricious.

G8tekeeper – Protective Security Practitioner ~ Cultivator of Risk Mitigating Strategies.

Galrahn – Technologist, Entrepreneur, and Government IT Consultant with specialization in large public and private tech project strategy development and implementation. Great insight into Naval affairs.

GhostofSantee – Patriot and maritime warrior, with expertise in asymmetrical conflict, counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism. Tyranny doesn’t stand a chance…

HerbCarmen – Hawkeye/Greyhound pilot. Former Sun King One & CNAS military fellow. USNA’90, Georgetown EMBA student. Grew up in Rock Island, IL.

Intelwire – High-volume terrorism/security feed from J.M. Berger of Click below to pre-order Jihad Joe, my book on U.S. jihadists, coming April 2011.

IRMatthew – Job Seeker, Tweets: Security Issues, Mid East, S. Asia, Intelligence, Terrorism & U.S./Mexican border issues. Interests: Tennis, Texas, History, Hockey, Music!

Itsme_leclerc – from a military family with records from WWI. Trying to contribute to the defense infosphere. French spoken here too.

Jemason07 – This account is for the purpose of following political and foreign affairs issues. This account is also part of my blog:

Joshuafoust – Another protected feed and another sharp analyst. You can read his work at and many other places.

Kursed – Audiophile. Geek. Cinema fanatic. Interests include military technology, counter terrorism/insurgency. Religiously follow regional and local politics.

Meekwire – New York Daily News dude on D.C. terrorism, justice, intel and war beats. Father and Virginian. Re-Tweets aren’t an endorsement.

MelissaTweets – Frazzled mom, alternative health doc, conservative libertarian blogger, columnist, podcaster, radio host, iPhone & Mac lover, fantasy reading geek, #TCOT

PatrioticMuslim – Young political thinker on a respite from the world tweeting about politics, social media, and Islam.

PrimorisEra – Air, Missiles & Space policy, contracts, law, legislation, analysis, theory & news; intelligent, well educated, outspoken, & sarcastic.

Rjacksix – Hacker – in the best sense of the word.

RogueAdventurer – A bit of a mystery but I enjoy his tweets.

Shean702 – Air Force veteran, life long student. Have had the rare opportunity to be at unusual places with unusual people. Foreign Policy/Military Affairs/Technology nerd.

Steven_metz – National security/defense analyst, author of Iraq and the Evolution of American Strategy. Appalachian by character: blunt to a fault.

Surflightroy – iOS, help design applications, resilient networks that enhance intelligence, financial, information instruments to manage threats, changes in any environment.

Tacticalblur – CEO Advanced Protection Services, LLC. Specializing in Armed Protection Officers, Husband, Father, Brother, Friend, Sheepdog, Patriot, Cigar Smoker.

Th3j35t3r – Hacktivist for good. Obstructing the lines of communication for terrorists, sympathizers, fixers, facilitators, oppressive regimes and other general bad guys.

Themba – Technology, Education, Social Media, Yale, Linguistics, Data, Visualization, Library/IT, TabletPCs, Macs, Music, DJ.

ThinkStrat – Thinking Strategically hopes to place contemporary foreign policy issues in a wider strategic context, as well as explore strategy in theory and in practice historically.

TweetsintheME – Learning and writing about the Middle East, North Africa, France, and all sorts of other things.

UnlikelySaint – Patriot, asymmetric-warrior, Constitutionalist, scholar, capitalist, athlete, and tireless defender the free world… Sigillum Militum Xpisti!

W7VOA – Voice of America (VOA) Bureau Chief/Correspondent mainly covering NE Asia (Korean peninsula & Japan).

Zachprague – Comms for RFE/RL…part-timer with Current Intelligence.

And last, but not least, lets remember one who is no longer with us (with his original account anyway) – @petulantsage – aka Alf.

Need to Know: 2010-12-31

The J-20 Black Eagle – China’s 5th Generation Stealth Fighter

j20blackeagle| The J 20 Black Eagle   Chinas 5th Generation Stealth Fighter

Forums, Twitter, and blogs are have been buzzing over this “new” Chinese jet for days. The quality of the jet is uncertain but props to the Chinese for excellent execution of a stealth marketing campaign – complete with the sort of grainy spy shots usually reserved for car launches.

I’ve rounded up some resources for those of you who want to keep tabs on this but first a couple of questions:

Raymond Pritchett believes that this news raises interesting (but likely to go unanswered) questions about our understanding of Chinese military development:

In less than one week we have:

1. Confirmation new PLAN aircraft carrier is under construction
2. PACOM confirming DF-21D is now at IOC.
3. 4/5 Generation Stealth technology demonstrators on the runway

All of which is either well ahead of projected schedules or was never before thought to exist, at least publicly? Perhaps it is time the Secretary of Defense answers a few tough questions, like why the DoD appears to be caught with their pants around their ankles when it comes to major PLA developments.

There’s plenty of OSINT on the J-20. It has been the subject of speculation on forums and blogs for years so it’s unlikely that anyone was caught off-guard by this one. Well, let’s hope not anyway. What do we know beyond OSINT? I’d like to know but that’s the unanswerable question. Still, the concern is valid and shared by many.

More important, perhaps, is the question of Chinese espionage. Debate over whether penetration of U.S. Defense contractors assisted China with the development of the J-20 seem almost unnecessary. Chinese determination, Russian engineering assistance and lazy American security practices are a pretty potent combination. China will continue to close gaps and will do so with increasing efficiency as long as this dynamic exists.

What about the military significance of this jet? As a near term military threat to the United States it doesn’t mean much. Deploying these as a viable platform on a large scale just isn’t in the cards and won’t be for quite some time. Building the airframe, even a fairly complex one, is only the first and easiest step. Additional hardware capabilities have to be developed, systems integration is highly complex, massive logistical issues have to be sorted out for production to occur on a large scale, and then there’s actual deployment. Let’s not forget that you need highly skilled personnel to support and man these things in battle.

There is no doubt that China is capable of closing the gap, even innovating, but by the time they get these issues sorted out (another 20-30 years or so at best) I expect the game will have changed considerably. That sort of dominance probably isn’t even the primary motivation at the moment as RIA Novosti military commentator Ilya Kramnik points out:

Given its traditional policy of aircraft manufacturing, China will most likely create a functional analogue of foreign-made 5G planes that will cost 50% to 80% less than Russian and U.S. models. China will most likely sell the plane in Central Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and Southeast Asia, as well as to the richest African countries.

The export models of the J-20 and the planes of that series made for the Chinese Air Force will have foreign, including Russian, equipment and weapons. Moreover, in the next 20 to 30 years China will have to continue to import modern aircraft technology. Despite the strides made by China’s aircraft designers in the last 20 years, China has only slightly narrowed the technological gap dividing it from the global leaders.

So the J-20 has nice lines, will integrate a lot of outdated hardware, and will be obtainable by any petty dictator with a few extra dollars in the bank. It’s looking more like a Volkswagen Jetta than a game changer.

As promised, here are a few resources:

Forum Threads:
Defense Forum of India
The Aviation Forum

Top81 – Chinese Military Aviation (Scroll to the bottom for tech specs)
China Defense (possible cockpit mockup)
Information Dissemination
War is Boring
The DEW Line

The #J20 Hashtag
and of course BlogsofWar