Tuesday, October 31, 2017

My limited understanding of RIS operations

I have read about these things for a really long time and tried to make sense of its all. This is the best I can come up with.

The RU does not entirely believe in the credibility of its own nuclear deterrent. It is not clear to me if they are really able to keep their physics packages in good working order, and if their guidance systems on ICBMs actually have the desired levels of reliability.

With that backdrop - IMHO - they are predisposed to using illegal agents to interfere with the nuclear command and control chain of the US and other nuclear armed adversaries. This mission is most likely tasked to the "illegals" or S Directorate. It has to be "illegals" because if a declared officer in an embassy or a military unit is used to do this - it could be interpreted as an act of war. The S Directorate unit used to be part of the KGB's First Chief Directorate and now it sits inside the SVR-RF. I use the term "A Team" to refer to this core operation and the extremely high quality agents that service it. I would not be surprised if S Directorate has access to small nuclear weapons with deniable isotope signatures. I would never dream of under-estimating their capabilities in any way.

As the S Directorate agents are extremely expensive, a lower grade of agent is used to keep the illegals and the core mission from harm. This screening force of lower grade agents is what I call this the "B Team".  I suspect that great care is taken to ensure that these screening agents are run via multiple "cut-outs" so as to avoid compromising the "A Team". The "B Team" agents are cheaper, either with little to no backstopping on their legends or with no legends at all and run via relatively simple NOC arrangements.

Given that the number of screening force agents has to be large if it is to isolate but still support the A Team and the massive cost associated with creating extremely well back-stopped legends, it is very very expensive to run this vast cloud of agents and resources scarcity is not entirely unexpected.

From accounts and analyses by more experienced people in the US, it appears the entire election interference in the US was carried out using "B Team" or screening force agents. When I first came across these analyses, my main thought was - How did B Team keep up its original mission while supporting the election of Donald Trump?

The answer to this question led me down many a rabbit hole over the last six months. I can't say have I have all the answers but it seems whatever has happened is very complicated.

As the Saudis dropped the oil price, the RU went into extreme economic distress. Exploitation of the Siberian oil reserves were no longer economically viable. Faced with the imminent destruction of his political patronage system Putin moved to seize the Ukranian oil fields. This fell afoul of the ONG Mafia's "No Grabbing" rule - and Putin was accused of the same crimes that Saddam was ages ago.

As the international sanctions kicked in things started to really hurt inside the Grand Duchy of Moscow. At this point I feel that RIS resources were massively re-tasked to support all operations that led to a resolution of the situation. My guess is that given the resource crunch in the Kremlin, the re-tasked resources were never replaced.

"Operation Assad", "Operation Erdogan" and "Operation Brexit" produced acceptable results, and that in turn fed the notion in the Kremlin that the "Operation to Elect Donald Trump" was the most promising option to resolve RU's difficult economic problem. This operation took up an increasingly massive chunk of RIS resources and the screening force around the "A Team" was thinned even further.

I wonder if things got so bad that the cart began to pull the horse - i.e. if "A Team" resources ended up having to expose themselves and support B Team's ever expanding fiasco - "Operation to Elect Donald Trump".

This is completely speculative, but if something like that happened, the residents of les will face the uncomfortable prospect of losing their ultimate insurance policy. One possible outcome of this is that RU will have to become more dependent on its nuclear weapons for security as it would no longer be able to rely on the S Directorate stopping the US first strike.

If any of this is true, then two things are likely to happen in the foreseeable future.

1) A credible and robust threat of a "Dead Hand" system, that would make for assured retaliation. We have seen some such talk emerge out of Kadryov but it will repeated from far more credible sources.

2) RU would ramp up drills of its nuclear deterrent and attempt to showcase the ability to launch extremely large numbers of nuclear weapons at once. This will demonstrate the RU ability to overwhelm the US missile defense capability.  We saw something resembling this in the week, there may be more to come.

We appear to be cursed to live in interesting times.


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