This video was posted in relation to a recent discussion of the Su-57 fighter jet and its capabilities in another thread. Given the quality of the material presented and the information it did (and did not) contain, I felt it would be helpful to make a separate thread to discuss the presentation, with context, and a detailed look at some of the things Dr. Karber only covers briefly. First and foremost, this is a presentation given at West Point presumably to a class of future US Army officers. From this we can immediately understand what the purpose here is: to educate future US commanders about the threats they may face in future wars, and the lessons they can take away from the current conflict in Ukraine. Inherently this video is not a direct comparison of Russian and US military capabilities or doctrine, nor is it an attempt to predict an outcome of a conflict between the US and Russia in Ukraine or elsewhere. The purpose is to educate and prepare US military officers for what they will likely have to face in the event of a war against an opponent like Russia. It's also important to note the point of view he speaks from, mainly from the Ukrainian side, as an outside observer. He has a good understanding of realities on the ground, but remember the state of the Ukrainian armed forces and the US armed forces is very different. Dr. Karber provides a decent but very brief overview of the Russian military in general. However he skips around a lot, from the Second Chechen War reforms, to Serdyukov overhaul. He does correctly identify the Russian practice of pulling composite battalion tactical groups from various brigades, and deploying them in pieces. Next he talks about Russian hybrid warfare, and about Crimea. He describes it as an "air-assault operation". In my opinion this is a highly contentions claim at best. Russia already had a large force in Crimea, and brought in additional forces not by capturing airfields from an opponent and landing troops, or my parachuting or helo-landing troops behind the enemy, but instead by flying them in unopposed and landing them at preexisting and well established bases. He also mentions that this was done "almost without firing a shot". This is true but this highlights the issue, this wasn't an air assault operation at all, it was something else entirely. There are incidents from Crimea where it turned out that Russian units blockading Ukrainian bases were at the same time being housed and fed at the same base they were blockading. There are multiple instances of interactions between Ukrainian and Russian military personnel that come across as administrative squabbles rather then hostile action. To be clear, his summary is not entirely wrong, but definitely skewed to the Ukrainian narrative. There is much ado made in Ukrainian press and among Ukrainian politicians regarding the "what ifs" of Crimea, and he seems to at least partly be influenced by that. He then discusses Russian use of nuclear deterrence and the threat of nuclear weapons in international diplomacy. I think that he equates statements from Russian politicians regarding the existence of nuclear weapons and their clear intent to serve as a deterrent to NATO at every turn, and translating that into a threat. This is not entirely wrong but misses a bit of nuance. He also talks about nuclear patrols, I'm not sure about this. I was not aware of patrols with live nuclear warheads but I may be behind the times. (13:20) He then circles back to Crimea, and I am drawn to his map with arrows of Russian troop movements, that make it look like a well executed offensive. The reality was different. Units were running around back and forth around the peninsula to and from various Russian bases, and there was even a case of a Russian light armor column returning to base because they were drawing the wrong kind of attention from locals and law enforcement (the column contained BTR-80 APCs and Russia refrained from using armored vehicles as much as possible, except for the Tigr armored car). The initial checkpoints at the northern entrance to Crimea weren't even manned by Russian troops, they were manned by local Ukrainian Ministry of Interior forces, many of them the same people that participated in suppressing the Euromaidan. (13:52) He talks about the "agent in charge". This is insightful and in my opinion accurately portrays Russian operations in many places (including Ukraine). (15:15) He starts talking about civil unrest in the Donbass, but he ignores the context, how they were a response to the takeover in Kiev, and how Yanukovich was from the Donbass and the strong ties he had there. It's not clear at least to me why he sees a principal distinction between the Euromaidan and the anti-Maidan. (16:38) He accurately portrays the poor state of the Ukrainian armed forces in terms of manpower and equipment, but fails to note the poor quality of their training, especially officers and NCO. He also talks about intercepted Russian comms guiding the decision not to commit Russian troops to the Donbass. I'm not sure if this is true. More importantly there were multiple points in the spring of 2014 when it looked like Russian troops were ready to go, and then stood down, and then were ready to move in again, and then stood down. It's possible that they wanted to avoid a full on war, and the ability of Ukrainian forces to move played a key factor. (18:45) He shows a chart of firefights, and I don't doubt it's accuracy within the specified parameters. However it creates a misleading picture of the war as something that goes on at a high level for a long time. Realistically after the winter offensive, fighting settled into a positional war of artillery exchange, sniper warfare, and small skirmishes. There might be many firefights but the overall intensity is very low, and little ground changes hands. (20:56) He is not wrong about Yanukovich. But I think he misses the support that Yanukovich had in the Donbass. Not support for him as him, but support for him against other political figures. He briefly recounts the Euromaidan and the sniper situation and then rapidly glosses over the ending, ignoring the February accords, and the assault on the government quarter by armed radicals that caused Yanukovich to flee. He also mentions that the Euromaidan swelled to "half a million". I'm not aware of any reliable figures that high, or anywhere near that high. To the best of my knowledge it remained in the tens of thousands though perhaps I'm missing something. (22:22) He accurately explains how many former Ukrainian security forces ended up with the rebels, and this reveals the roots of the war as a civil conflict, though with heavy Russian involvement. (24:00) He links the lulls in the fighting to Russian diplomatic efforts. I've seen similar claims but in the reverse claiming that spikes in the fighting coincide with Ukraine's diplomatic efforts to remind the west in general and the EU in particular that they are still fighting a war. He accurately explains the permeation of the rebel forces upper echelons by Russian officers. He doesn't explain that this wasn't always the case but rather came about gradually during late 2014 and early 2015, and involved even Russian private military or special forces taking out several rebel leaders (arrest and in some cases alleged execution) that wouldn't play ball. (25:40) He talks about the new Russian formations on the strategic and operational-strategic level appearing directly across from Ukraine, and these are direct responses to the ongoing deterioration in relations with the west as well as the continued conflict in Ukraine. I'm stopping at (26:30) because I'm out of time for today. I will continue with the video tomorrow and likely into Saturday to discuss the conversation around air defense, EW, and other areas. I'm aware that this is a highly contentions subject, as such please be aware of our forum rules, and be mindful of keeping the discussion on defense and geo-strategic topics. Politics may only be discussed in as much as they directly pertain to the military and defense scenarios we are discussing.