25 June 2018

India’s Indo-Pacific Embrace – Analysis

By Rajeev Ranjan Chaturvedy*

Area covered by the Indo-Pacific biogeographic region. Graphic by Eric Gaba, Wikipedia Commons.  India’s perspective on peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific was outlined by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his recent visits to New Delhi’s maritime neighbours – Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.

India is courting peril by aligning militarily with the United States

by Bharat Karnad

The nixing of the Iran nuclear deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and the Paris Agreement are only some of the many ways that the United States has alienated its closest allies.1 President Donald Trump has already roiled the milieu by demanding that allies do more for themselves and rely less on his country.2 The United States, an inconsistent and unreliable friend even under prior US administrations, has increasingly become a feeble and feckless ally. Increasing military alignment, let alone a strategic partnership, with the United States would be a liability for India.

Who Lost the South China Sea?


The South China Sea is central to the contest for strategic influence in the larger Indo-Pacific region. Unless the US adopts a stronger policy to contain Chinese expansionism there, the widely shared vision of a free, open, and democratic-led Indo-Pacific will give way to an illiberal, repressive regional order. US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has spoken out against China’s strategy of “intimidation and coercion” in the South China Sea, including the deployment of anti-ship missiles, surface-to-air missiles, and electronic jammers, and, more recently, the landing of nuclear-capable bomber aircraft at Woody Island. There are, Mattis warned, “consequences to China ignoring the international community.”

China Industrial Policy Seeks to Steal ‘Crown Jewels’ of U.S. Tech

BY: Bill Gertz

China’s government is using a multi-pronged strategy to systematically steal advanced American technology as part of economic aggression against the United States, according to a White House report. The report, based in part on declassified intelligence from the Pentagon and intelligence agencies, provides some of the first public details on China’s industrial policies that have produced the world’s second largest economy, often at the expense of American companies. “The Chinese state seeks to access the crown jewels of American technology and intellectual property,” says the report, made public Tuesday night.

The Big Winner of the Singapore Summit

By Bonnie S. Glaser and Oriana Skylar Mastro

On June 12, all eyes were on U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jung Un, in the first ever meeting between the heads of states of the two countries. Although pundits debate whether it was North Korea or the United States that benefited the most from the summit, there was a less visible player that came out a clear winner: China. China’s North Korea policy is primarily motivated by the desire to counter U.S. power in the region and increase Chinese influence on the Korean Peninsula. Along those lines, Beijing had two main objectives that came to fruition in Singapore.

The Lessons China Taught Itself: Why the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Matters

By: Abigail Grace

China’s changing political landscape and the recent accession of India to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) marks the beginning of a new chapter for one of China’s first self-founded multilateral groupings. First established in June 2001 by China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s initial activities were primarily focused on security, namely combatting the “three evils”—terrorism, separatism, and extremism (Shanghai Cooperation Organization, June 15 2001). This year’s leader-level summit marks the first instance in which Indian Prime Minister Modi will join the grouping as a full member, introducing a democratic counterweight into an organization historically dominated by China, and to a lesser degree, Russia.

China’s Intensifying Pressure Campaign against Taiwan

By: Russell Hsiao

China has significantly ramped up pressure on Taiwan since Tsai Ing-wen was democratically-elected as the country’s president in January 2016. As Beijing’s external pressure on Taiwan grows, pressure for action is building on the Tsai administration, both from the opposition as well as from within her own party. The confluence of these factors will make it harder for the Tsai administration to sustain her administration’s pragmatic efforts to maintain the “status quo” in cross-Strait relations without greater international support.

The Escalating Conflict with Hezbollah in Syria

Hezbollah and Iran have accumulated a substantial amount of weapons and fighters in Syria that pose a threat to the United States and its allies in the region. In response, Israel has conducted a growing number of strikes against Iranian, Hezbollah and other targets in Syria. An escalating war has the potential to cause significant economic damage, lead to high numbers of civilian casualties and internally displaced persons, and involve more countries in the region than did the 2006 Lebanon War. The stakes are high, making it critical for Washington to help prevent such an escalation. 

Russia is preparing for war, British military experts warn

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis will turn to his own policy advisers for options that he could present to the president. WASHINGTON — As the initial shock of the president’s order to create a Space Force wears off, the question of “what comes next” looms large for the Pentagon. With the U.S. Air Force poised for a major breakup if and when the Space Force is formed, leaders on Tuesday moved quickly to allay fears and assure airmen that business, for now, will go on as usual. The establishment of a space branch of the military will be a “thorough, deliberate and inclusive process. As such, we should not expect any immediate moves or changes,” Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein and Chief MSgt. Kaleth Wright wrote in a letter sent on Tuesday to the entire force.

Space Force: Pentagon navigates the way ahead and awaits direction from Congress

by Sandra Erwin

WASHINGTON — As the initial shock of the president’s order to create a Space Force wears off, the question of “what comes next” looms large for the Pentagon. With the U.S. Air Force poised for a major breakup if and when the Space Force is formed, leaders on Tuesday moved quickly to allay fears and assure airmen that business, for now, will go on as usual. The establishment of a space branch of the military will be a “thorough, deliberate and inclusive process. As such, we should not expect any immediate moves or changes,” Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein and Chief MSgt. Kaleth Wright wrote in a letter sent on Tuesday to the entire force.

A Trump Foreign Policy

Dimitri K. Simes

AFTER A YEAR and a half in office, Donald Trump’s foreign policy appears poised for success, though some major challenges in approach and execution remain. While still a work in progress, the president’s approach already reflects some commendable and much needed changes, genuinely putting America first and making foes and friends alike take American positions more seriously. America’s international conduct has become noticeably more muscular, relying on a significant increase in the military budget and a demonstrable willingness to use force. This is particularly true in Syria; Trump’s red lines are more credible than Obama’s, and when Trump threatens to use military force, few are ready to gamble that the American president is bluffing.

Russia as It Is A Grand Strategy for Confronting Putin

By Michael McFaul

Relations between Russia and the United States have deteriorated to their most dangerous point in decades. The current situation is not, as many have dubbed it, a new Cold War. But no one should draw much comfort from the ways in which today’s standoff differs from the earlier one. The quantitative nuclear arms race is over, but Russia and the United States have begun a new qualitative arms race in nuclear delivery vehicles, missile defenses, and digital weapons. The two countries are no longer engulfed in proxy wars, but over the last decade, Russia has demonstrated less and less restraint in its use of military power. The worldwide ideological struggle between capitalism and communism is history, but Russian President Vladimir Putin has anointed himself the leader of a renewed nationalist, conservative movement fighting a decadent West. To spread these ideas, the Russian government has made huge investments in television and radio stations, social media networks, and Internet “troll farms,” and it has spent lavishly in support of like-minded politicians abroad. The best description of the current hostilities is not cold war but hot peace.

U.S. withdrawing from U.N. Human Rights Council


The United States will withdraw from the U.N. Human Rights Council, an entity it has long accused of being biased against Israel and giving cover to rights-abusing governments, the Trump administration announced on Tuesday. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, announced the decision, a move that essentially reverts the U.S. to the stance it took during the George W. Bush administration, which declined to join the council. Haley and Pompeo‘s announcement came a day after the U.N.’s human rights chief, in a speech to the council, criticized President Donald Trump’s immigration policy decisions that have led his administration to separate families apprehended after entering the U.S. illegally.

Addressing ‘the global gap’

BY Richard Haass and Aashna Agarwal

The 44th G7 summit, held in Canada in the first week of June, ended on a tense, disunited note—not unlike the premise of Richard Haass’ 2017 book, The World in Disarray: American Foreign Policy and the Crisis of the Old Order. In this interview, the President of the Council on Foreign Relations discusses the role of international institutions, World Order 2.0 and how India can participate in it. Aashna Agarwal (GH): You have written about the global gap and how it can be addressed. What should the next steps for international institutions be in order to seriously address this gap?

Russia’s Push for Militarization of the Arctic Continues

By: Sergey Sukhankin
Source Link

In 2015, speaking before the Federation Council (the upper chamber of the Russian parliament), Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin accused the West of “inflaming anti-Russian propaganda” related to Russia’s alleged militarization of the Arctic region (RIA Novosti, November 20, 2015). However, merely two years later, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu affirmed that the Ministry of Defense had, in effect, already completed all planned major facilities (including military ones) in the Arctic. He also declared, “For the entire history of the Arctic region, no single state had managed to develop infrastructure, including energy-related and military facilities, as impressive as what Russia has accomplished” (RIA Novosti, December 25, 2017). Now, the latest news coming from the region points to an even larger push by Russia to pursue comprehensive military build-up in the Arctic, including by bolstering local tank forces, air-defense missile systems, naval forces, strategic aviation and locally based special operations forces.

Next Steps in the Merger of the Eurasian Economic Union and the Belt and Road Initiative

By: Gregory Shtraks
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On June 9th, 2018 the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) held its annual summit at the Chinese seaside city of Qingdao. The past three summits have been preoccupied with the impending membership of India and Pakistan, but now that the two are full members, the focus has shifted. Both pre- and post-summit statements suggest that one of the highlights of the conference was the unveiling of concrete steps towards the merger of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The initial merger of the two organizations was announced in May of 2015, just four months after the EAEU’s launch, but there has thus far been little visible progress of integration. Still, over the last three years the EAEU and BRI have gradually evolved and the announcement of actual projects can be seen as a victory for both China and Russia.

The Eurasian Economic Onion: Many Layers, Few Nutrients

Grand Theft, Mass Murder, & Legalized Lies – Book Review as Epitaph

Robert David Steele

There was a time when I thought James Clapper was one of the top five flag officers among the sixty-five or so that I had worked with over 40 years. I’ve known Clapper since 1994 and it is with distress that I conclude his judgment was diminished in 2007 when he became the first professional Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence (USDI),[1]following Stephen Cambone, a political appointee himself with mixed talents.[2] Between the two of them, they turned defense intelligence into a spending cesspool biased toward technical collection and mass data storage, fully in line with what one author calls “Grand Theft Pentagon.”[3] Clapper’s tenure as Director of National Intelligence (DNI) can be summed up quite simply: one trillion dollars spent, to no good end.

Putin Reentering Korea Conflict in Big Way

By: Paul Goble

Some, especially in the West, have argued that United States President Donald Trump has effectively sidelined Russia from the rapidly evolving Korean situation by his rapprochement with North Korea’s dictator, Kim Jong-un, at the recent summit in Singapore. But such suggestions cloud years of Russian activity. For one thing, they fail to take into consideration past Russian actions, including assistance to Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs over the last decade and help in allowing North Korea to evade international trade sanctions (Newsland.com, December 28, 2017; Ekho Moskvy, December 30, 2017; Kommersant, January 26, 2018; Kasparov.ru, December 30, 2017, January 26, 2018). Moreover, assertions of the Kremlin having been sidelined over Korea miss at least two recent, potentially game-changing moves: the announcement that Moscow plans to build a new natural gas pipeline through North Korea as well as diplomatic preparations for a visit by Kim to Russia and one by Vladimir Putin to Pyongyang later this year.

4 ways AI can let humans down on the battlefield

By: Daniel Cebul  

WASHINGTON ― Artificial Intelligence has made incredible progress over the decade, but the relatively nascent technology still has a long way to go before it can be fully relied upon to think, decide and act in a predictable way, especially on the battlefield. A new primer from the Center for New American Security’s’ technology and national security program highlights some of promises and perils of AI. While the ceiling for the technology is high, AI is still immature, which means systems are learning by failing in some spectacular, hilarious and ominous ways.

Here are four potential areas of concern:

1. The machine might cheat

Quantum Computing and the New Space Race

Nayef Al-Rodhan

IN JANUARY 2017, Chinese scientists officially began experiments using the world’s first quantum-enabled satellite, which will carry out a series of tests aimed at investigating space-based quantum communications over the course of the next two years. The satellite is the first of its kind and was officially launched in August 2016 from the Gobi Desert. The satellite—named Micius after the Chinese scientist and philosopher—was developed by Chinese and Austrian scientists within the Quantum Experiments at Space Scale (QUESS) project. The project has drawn attention from experts and media outlets across the globe, as quantum-enabled satellites could provide the infrastructure for future hack-proof communication networks. At a moment when cyberattacks are carried out with increasing ease, improving the security of communications is crucial for guaranteeing the protection of sensitive information for states, private entities and individuals. For states, securing communications also entails strategic geopolitical advantages. What are the possible implications of quantum-enabled satellite technology, in the context of current global security issues and China’s expanding engineering capabilities in space and elsewhere?

What Italy's Foreign Policy Will Look Like Under New Rulers

The new Italian government will push for a rapprochement with Russia, which will make the EU sanctions regime against Moscow increasingly harder to sustain. While Rome has pledged to remain committed to NATO, it could withdraw from some foreign operations and cut defense spending. Italy will push to redesign EU migration rules, even as a comprehensive overhaul of the Dublin system remains elusive. Rome's critical view of free trade agreements could result in Italy vetoing future deals between the European Union and other blocs or countries.

Cut the Red Tape Slowing the Pentagon’s Race to Space


The U.S. Air Force’s space acquisition model—fundamentally risk-adverse, oriented towards big, expensive, complex system—worked when national power was built by launching a single billion-dollar satellite every six months. In a world with cheap satellites and reusable rockets, it is no longer sufficient. If we want to take advantage of new capabilities, we can’t rely on today’s ponderous certification and government overhead processes. Fortunately, the Air Force’s senior leadership clearly recognizes the benefits of more agile, flexible, and rapid procurement. The problem is that this attitude isn’t filtering down to the bureaucracy fast enough. There’s no silver bullet; the answer will be collective reform from multiple angles. Here are a few.

How Google Uses Wi-Fi Networks to Figure Out Your Exact Location


Google is in the process of fixing an unnerving security bug in its Google Home and Chromecast devices—one in which a malicious website could potentially learn your exact location. While the bug itself is cause for concern, it’s worth understanding precisely how Google can triangulate your location via mapped wireless networks, an ability that may surprise some device owners. Security investigator Brian Krebs reported Monday that Craig Young, a researcher with security firm TripWire, discovered a security vulnerability in Google Home and Chromecast products that stems from poor authentication protocols. With a simple script, a website could collect precise location data on Chromecast and Google Home device owners.

On the Theft and Reuse of Advanced Offensive Cyber Weapons


Almost exactly one year ago, the world experienced two destructive cyberattacks in which offensive cyber tools developed by the National Security Agency were stolen and shared with the public. In May 2017, the WannaCry ransomware hit over 300,000 computers in 150 countries. One month later, the NotPetya attack hit the computer systems of companies and governmental entities across the globe causing millions of dollars in damages. These attacks exploited numerous vulnerabilities, and have subsequently exposed the slow response time of targeted countries and the lack of effective information sharing mechanisms between responsible agencies, something which could have mitigated the severe damage caused by the attacks.

Military should be deployed to combat cyber attacks, new head of Army says

Dominic Nicholls 

The military should be deployed to combat cyber attacks, the new head of the army has said. In his first speech since being appointed to the role, General Mark Carleton-Smith described how the modern battlefield had expanded rapidly, and is "no longer bound by the laws of physics.”  Opening the Land Warfare Conference, hosted by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), General Carleton-Smith added that “revolution is the new evolution” and warned “existential threats occur at the speed of the internet". The new Chief of the General Staff used his inaugural speech to warn of the growing evidence that the cyber domain is being used to undermine Western societies and democratic processes. 

24 June 2018

Russia and India Had Big Plans to Build a Stealth Fighter. So What Happened?

Zachary Keck

India backed out of a $9 billion agreement to develop a fifth-generation fighter jet with Russia because it didn’t need Moscow’s help, according to a new report. On June 13, India’s Economic Times reported that Delhi pulled out of the agreement at the direction of the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), India’s premier defense technology agency. Citing “sources who were involved in the negotiations and are knowledgeable about the decision,” the Economic Times said the “final nail in the coffin” was DRDO’s insistence that it could develop all the technologies Russia was offering in the the PAK FA project.

The Unconventional Plan for Dealing With China

Hugh Harsono
Source Link

Military-to-military relationships continue to play an important role in foreign policy, though these roles have changed throughout time. Previously, these relationships were as simple as several military forces allying themselves to defeat a common enemy. In the present, the dynamics of soft power and hard power have changed the ways military forces interact, adding additional certain nuances to these relationships. Military relationships between the United States and China are particularly important, specifically because both nations are so closely aligned on economic fronts. However, because of differing and occasionally opposing viewpoints on foreign policy, America and China are simply limited when conducting traditional military-to-military techniques. Therefore, what steps can America—specifically America’s military—take to counter Chinese political and military responses? Also, how can U.S. forces influence cooperation with these Chinese counterparts to ensure lasting positive benefits for all?

China's Use of Coercive Economic Measures

By Peter Harrell, Elizabeth Rosenberg and Edoardo Saravalle

China has been a practitioner of economic statecraft throughout its history, and in recent decades since Deng Xiaoping opened the country in the 1970s. Today, one of President Xi Jinping’s central foreign policy initiatives, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), is a potentially trillion-dollar testament to Beijing’s commitment to using loans, infrastructure projects, and other economic measures as foreign policy tools. In the past decade, China has expanded its set of such economic instruments to include sticks, not just carrots. China has punished countries that undermine its territorial claims and foreign policy goals with measures such as restricting trade, encouraging popular boycotts, and cutting off tourism. These actions have caused significant economic damage to U.S. partners such as Japan and South Korea. The measures may also have long-term effects in deterring and shaping countries’ foreign policy interests that go well beyond the short-term economic costs.

The security strategies of the US, China, Russia and the EU: Living in different worlds

This report analyzes and compares the security strategies of four major international actors: the United States, China, Russia and the European Union. The rules-based liberal international order is increasingly under strain due to tightening geopolitical competition and the decline of the Western hegemony. In this context, the report explores the conceptions of the four major powers with regard to the world order, the self-defined position of each actor in it, and their possible aspirations to change the existing order. Furthermore, the report analyzes how each strategy defines security threats and risks, as well as ways to address these threats. The report highlights the ongoing rapid change of global structures and instruments of power as a challenge addressed in all four strategies. Increased competition is visible not only in the field of military power, but also in economic relations and at the level of values. While the US strategy defines Russia and China as key adversaries whose increasing influence is to be contained, both Russia and China correspondingly aim at building a counterweight to the US power in a multipolar world. Among the four actors, only the EU maintains a strong commitment to the rules-based order and explicitly rejects a worldview centred around zero-sum rivalry between great powers.

China’s Opening-Up Offers Failed To Impress – Analysis

By Michael Lelyveld

China has offered to scrap foreign investment limits on a long list of sectors in hopes of avoiding U.S. tariffs, but the opportunities would have little impact, analysts say. While the outcome of U.S.-China trade frictions is still unresolved, China has put a series of “opening-up” measures on the table as incentives for a deal to end the bilateral disputes. Last week, China continued to dangle new investment breaks following the U.S. decision to proceed with imposing 25-percent tariffs on U.S. $50 billion (320 billion yuan) of Chinese goods. The penalties on Chinese products containing “industrially significant technologies” will be imposed in light of violations of intellectual property rights (IPR) and “other unfair trade practices,” President Donald Trump said in a statement Friday.

Russia’s Armed Forces Exploit Robotic Technology to Transform Operational Capability

By: Roger McDermott

The development and procurement of high-technology systems have increasingly proven to be important aspects of Russia’s Armed Forces modernization in recent years (see EDM, May 17, June 13). These have been wide-ranging in scope, benefiting command and control as well as boosting an array of network-enabled assets. Such high-technology systems fit more broadly within efforts to adopt “command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance” (C4ISR) capabilities as critical elements in Russia’s conventional military. Integral components of this complex process include the ongoing modernization of Electronic Warfare (EW) systems, the enhancement of air defense, and networking the battlespace to provide for stand-off strike options or to conduct network-centric operations (see EDM, April 17, May 1).

Kerch Strait Now a Flashpoint for Russian and Ukrainian Forces

By: Paul Goble
Source Link

The next major battle between Russian aggressors and Ukrainian defenders may take place not in Donbas but on the waters of the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait, a development that could prove even more dangerous to regional stability than earlier Russian acts of aggression. The situation has been deteriorating since March 26, when Ukraine seized a Russian ship that had violated its territorial waters and threatened further retaliation on other waterways, (see EDM, April 12, May 1). But over the last few days, conditions there have deteriorated sharply, with each country warning that it will use military force to defend its ships. In such a tense environment, an attack on even a merchant vessel could easily become perceived by the other side as an act of war.

The Rise of Russia's Military

Dave Majumdar
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With relations at the lowest point in decades, the United States and Russia have embarked on what appears to be a new Cold War. But this new confrontation is fundamentally different from the original standoff with the Soviet Union that engulfed the world for the better part of five decades after the end of the Second World War. Unlike during the original Cold War, there is no all-encompassing global ideological struggle between Washington and Moscow to dominate a largely bipolar international system. Outside the realm of nuclear weapons, post-Soviet Russia can hardly be considered a peer to the United States by any measure. Russian weakness relative to the United States and its allies might make this new conflict even more dangerous and unstable compared to the original Cold War.

Trump Administration Warns Friends Against Russia Arms Deals

As some Gulf and Asian allies consider big purchases of Russia arms, the Senate is set to uphold a law signed by Trump that would slap sanctions on them for cozying up with Moscow. A Trump administration nominee fired a shot across the bow of any U.S. ally considering buying Russian military equipment, suggesting that even long-term U.S. arms consumers like Saudi Arabia might feel the sting of economic penalties if they contract with Moscow. “I would tell Saudi Arabia not to do it,” nominee to be assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, David Schenker told Senators at his nomination hearing last week.

What Trump’s Space Force Announcement Means


Donald Trump said Monday that he had directed the Pentagon to establish a Space Force, describing it as a sixth branch of the U.S. military. It would be the first time the Pentagon has stood up a new service since the Air Force received its independence after World War II. Creating a standalone service for space isn’t something the president can do on his own; he needs congressional authorization. But Monday’s announcement (here’s video, via Reuters), which follow broad endorsements of the concept by the Joint Chiefs’ office and various military branches, means that Senate holdouts who were taking their cues from the Air Force are likely to bow out of the fight.

An Internet of Nuclear Things: Emerging Technology and the Future of Supply Chain Security

Wyatt Hoffman and Tristan Volpe

Emerging technologies enabled by digitization—notably additive manufacturing—are alluring for the nuclear industry as it works to lower financial costs and remedy quality-control concerns with aged production lines. While cyberphysical manufacturing technology could increase the efficiency and visibility of supply-chain operations, the steady trend toward digitization and interconnection could result in unacceptable cyber risks, ranging from the loss of sensitive proprietary information to the spread of compromised components throughout nuclear infrastructure.

Global Peace Index 2018

This twelfth edition of the Global Peace Index ranks the peacefulness of 163 nations according to 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators. In addition to providing the index’s findings and an overall trend analysis, the report also includes an updated assessment of the economic impact of violence as well as trends in Positive Peace: the attitudes, institutions and structures that create and sustain peaceful societies.


Japan’s Remilitarization: Implications For Regional Security – Analysis

By Iqra Mobeen Akram*

This research paper is divided into five main parts. The first part concerns with defining the variables and problematises the term of ‘remilitarization’ to understand the changes in the security policy of Japan. The second part explains the main assumptions of the theoretical framework employed to answer the main research problem. The third part explains the dynamic of the change in Japan’s policy by underlining the main historical precursors. The fourth part provides the answer to the research question on the causes of the shift from the ‘self-defence to the proactive defence’ policy of Japan. The fifth part elaborates the implication of the Japanese changing defence policy for the regional politics followed by the conclusion.

How The NSA Can Use Blockchain To "Connect The Dots" Securely—With Smart Contracts

Salvatore Babones
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When National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden walked off with 1.5 million classified documents in May 2013, he exposed the weakness of the U.S. government's jerry-rigged security systems. Instead of iron-clad double-key encryption, the NSA relied on home remedies like regular password changes and the prohibition of thumb drives. When your home network has better security than the NSA, something has to change. That change may come from an unlikely source: Bitcoin. No, the NSA is not likely to start making its analysts mine Bitcoins to pay for data access. But the NSA could adopt Bitcoin's underlying database architecture, the encrypted blockchain database management system.

Experts fear the growing threat of connected devices

By: Justin Lynch
Source Link

Manufactures of smart devices need to strengthen their security, a panel of experts said Monday, challenging creators of the growing “internet of things” industry to impose minimum standards on their products. A group of leaders from government and industry, speaking at a June 18 event held in the Woodrow Wilson Center, said that recent cyberattacks have revealed that connected products present a stark security risk. The suggestion of a political solution was laughed at.



Researchers behind a study in mice believe consuming small amounts of alcohol could protect the heart because it activates an enzyme which puts the organ under a healthy level of stress and makes it stronger. According to the team at the Biomedical Science Institute of the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Stanford University in the U.S., an enzyme called aldehyde dehydrogenase-2 (ALDH2) appears to both help process the toxic byproducts of alcohol digestion, and get rid of a molecule our heart cells create when they undergo major damage such as a heart attack. When heart cells face stress, they create a large amount of a type of compound called an aldehyde which is toxic in excess and can torpedo the structure of cells. ALDH2 clears the aldehydes from the heart, including the form of the compound created by the liver after we drink.

You’ve been breached: Eight steps to take within the next 48 hours (free PDF)

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A slow or mishandled response to a data breach can make a bad situation even worse. As soon as you discover you’ve been hacked, take these steps to help contain the damage. 

From the ebook: 

“A data breach itself is the second worst possible event that can occur in an organization; the mismanagement of the communication about the response is the worst.” This observation comes from Exabeam chief security strategist Steve Moore, who has tracked criminal and nation-state adversaries and led the largest healthcare breach response in history. Moore added that the time spent on a breach, including audit, regulatory, and litigation support, can last not months but years. 

The all-day UAVs that soak up sun and intel

By: Maddy Longwell  
Researchers at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory are exploring technology that allows unmanned aerial vehicles to fly for more than 12 hours using thermal and solar energy. Solar-soaring technology uses both thermal energy in the atmosphere and solar energy to power UAVs. Dan Edwards, senior aerospace engineer in NRL’s Tactical Electronic Warfare Division, described in a press release how UAVs can use sensing and guidance algorithms to detect a thermal updraft, when air close to the Earth is warmed by the sun and starts to rise, to soar. Solar-soaring technology also uses solar energy to power solar cells that convert light to electricity. New solar cell technologies are now small enough to justify the weight they add to UAVs.

Israeli Ex-Spy Chief Names Main Target in Possible Cyber War With Iran - Reports

During his appearance at a major cyber conference, a former top Israeli intelligence official claimed that the energy sector will witness “the next 9/11 in cyber” if a conflict between Tel Aviv and Tehran breaks out. Ehud Schnerosen, former head of an Israeli signal intelligence corps known as Unit 8200, has announced that in the event of any future conflict between Israel and Iran, cyber-attacks should be aimed at the enemy energy sector, which he described as "a major pillar of the economy, the state's cardio-vascular system," according to The Jerusalem Post. "We should not attack water, food, or healthcare on ethical grounds, and should not attack banks because of the potential butterfly effect," Schnerosen said, adding that "the next 9/11 in cyber will be in the energy sector."

Trump’s Space Force Faces Hurdles in the Pentagon and Congress

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President Donald Trump’s surprise announcement yesterday that he wants to establish a separate “Space Force” as a sixth branch of the U.S. armed forces may pit him against top military leaders and lawmakers. During a Monday meeting of the National Space Council, Trump declared that he is directing the Department of Defense to immediately begin the process of creating a space force that is “separate but equal” to the Air Force, the service currently responsible for most of the U.S. military assets and operations in space. The president’s directive to create a separate entity dedicated to military space operations appeared to take the Pentagon by surprise, after senior leaders spent the last year quashing a congressional proposal to do just that.

Artificial Intelligence and International Affairs: Disruption Anticipated

This report examines some of the challenges for policymakers that may arise from the advancement and increasing application of AI. It draws together strands of thinking about the impact that AI may have on selected areas of international affairs – from military, human security and economic perspectives – over the next 10–15 years. The report sets out a broad framework to define and distinguish between the types of roles that artificial intelligence might play in policymaking and international affairs: these roles are identified as analytical, predictive and operational.

WP315 | Is Use of Cyber-Based Technology in Humanitarian Operations Leading to the Reduction of Humanitarian Independence?

Martin Searle

Technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) are being tested and adopted at a significant rate in humanitarian emergency response. However, the crossing of physical, biological, and cyber domains that characterises these technologies threatens the independence of humanitarian organisations. This is occurring in an environment in which the value and purpose of independence is already seriously questioned, both in practice, and in principle. This paper argues that the loss of independence stems from two related trends. First, several 4IR technologies are improving the capacity of humanitarian organisations to gather, synthesise, and analyse data, resulting in the production of information of increasingly strategic, political or military value. Second, the cyber component of these technologies simultaneously renders that information more vulnerable to unauthorised access by third parties with relevant political, military or economic agendas. This parallels the “capability/ vulnerability paradox” identified in literature discussing cybersecurity in relation to the military or so-called “smart cities”. In conflict and disaster settings, this paradox increases the likelihood of humanitarian actors functioning as appendages of other organisations. This loss of independence potentially has operational implications relating to access, and material impact on the ongoing debate around the importance of independence in humanitarian work.

Bending the Internet: Iran Brings the National Information Network Online

Wary of the internet's power as a tool for political dissent and even revolution, Iran's conservatives have pushed for more stringent oversight online. Part of the strategy involves banning foreign apps and services, such as Telegram, and offering users closely monitored domestic alternatives. Iran's intranet, the National Information Network, will help authorities in this endeavor by giving them greater control over internet users, internet service providers and online content.

Bending the Internet: How Governments Control the Flow of Information Online

As the internet matures, states will continue to refine their techniques for managing the flow of online information to their citizens. Nearly every national government exerts some level of control over domestic internet use, but the extent of the manipulation, and the tactics used to achieve it, varies widely from state to state. Four countries — Iran, China, Turkey and Russia — merit special attention for their efforts to break Western hegemony on the internet and, by extension, to challenge the free internet model.


By the middle of the 21st century, ground forces will employ tens of thousands of robots, and the decisions of human commanders will be shaped by artificial intelligence; trends in technology and warfare make this a near certainty. The military organizations of the United States and its allies and partners must plan now for this new era of warfare.