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NightWatch 20150305

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For the night of 5 March 2015

Japan: Prime Minister Abe's government is changing the higher command and control structure for Japanese forces. Under the new structure, the Minister of Defense will have a Chief of Staff of the Joint Staff. The Chief will control three organizations: the self-defense fleet, a ground defense command and an air defense command. The maritime, ground and air self-defense force staffs are merged into the new structures.

Ministry officials presented a proposal on 4 March to the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's National Defense Policy Division that would establish the ground defense command by fiscal 2017.

Comment: Japanese press noted that the maritime and air self-defense commands already are unified in that assets can deploy nationwide. Under the system for the ground self-defense forces, Japan's five armies are not deployable quickly outside their assigned areas.

The ground forces lagged the technical services in establishing a modern command structure. The larger context of the latest restructuring is that Japan is transitioning to a real warfighting command and control structure.

North Korea: On 5 March, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) published an unsigned commentary that described the attack on the US Ambassador to South Korea as a just punishment. The commentary said that the assailant "dealt a just baptism by knife" to the US Ambassador.

Comment: The North's commentary included details about past protest incidents involving the assailant, who is a well-known anti-US and a pro-reunification activist. No evidence indicates North Korean was connected to the attack. Nevertheless, the North wasted no time in praising it.

Nigeria: On 3 March, Boko Haram militants killed at least 64 people in a village in Borno state. The gunmen attacked the village of Njaba, where they murdered men and boys before setting the village on fire. The raid happened early on Tuesday, but was not reported immediately because of the remoteness of the area.

Comment: Boko Haram has resorted to acts of terror to try to regain some momentum. The attacks are increasingly pointless, in that they advance no religious or apparent tribal cause. That is a sign that the combined governments' forces are forcing Boko Haram to devolve into an organized crime or local tribal problem.

Special Administrative Announcement

A NightWatch Special Administrative Announcement last June informed Readers that changes were on the horizon for NightWatch. To better serve you, we conducted a survey of Readers' preferences. We received an overwhelming and positive response. Long-time Readers will note that NightWatch has incorporated the preferences and changes Readers said they wanted most. Included in these changes is the conversion of NightWatch to a paid subscription, which will begin 16 March 2015.

To our valued Readers, we are extending the enrollment date for current subscribers to 31 March 2015 during which time you will continue to receive NightWatch free of charge. In addition to a complimentary two week sign-up period, you will also receive a 40% discount on the introductory monthly cost of $3.49 (plus applicable tax) if you sign up for an introductory subscription at a cost of $24.99 (plus applicable tax).

As the period for subscription nears, we shall publish directions about how to sign up and make payment, starting 16 March. NightWatch has been a free service for eight years. We hope through subscriptions we can continue to provide this service for years to come.

End of NightWatch for 5 March.

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