8 December 2019

Should India be bolder with China?

Suyash Desai

India could strengthen its diplomatic leverages against China by issuing statements on Xinjiang, Tibet, the South China Sea and Hong Kong.

In my opinion, India’s response to China’s diplomatic offensive of recent years has been inconsistent and sporadic. Using diplomatic tools in an institutionalised way to highlight China’s vulnerabilities is something India refrains from. This, despite China’s increased diplomatic activism against India. For instance, China raised the dilution of Article 370 in the United Nations Security Council on behalf of Pakistan. It has repeatedly blocked India’s entry into the 48-member Nuclear Supplier Group. It also took over 10 years to sponsor the blacklisting of Masood Azhar as a UN-designated global terrorist.

I believe India should not refrain from developing diplomatic leverages and using them against China, whenever required. It should issue statements on China’s “re-education camps” in Xinjiang, its activities in the South China Sea which impact India, and Hong Kong protests. It could also occasionally use Tibet as an irritant like China uses Kashmir. All of these with the presumption that India has improved its border infrastructure to at least maintain status quo in case of escalation of tensions.

Diplomatic Strategy

Oxford study reveals Pakistan is 3 times more dangerous to humanity than Syria


Report says Pakistan has highest number of terrorist bases
Says Pakistan hosts or aids some of world's most dangerous terrorist groups There are significant number of Afghan terror groups based in Pakistan Astudy published by the Oxford University and the Strategic Foresight Group (SFG) has revealed that the risk posed to humanity by terrorism in Pakistan is three times the risk posed in Syria. The report titled 'Humanity at Risk-Global Terror Threat Indicant (GTTI)', says, "Afghan Taliban and the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) pose the maximum threat to international security and Pakistan is placed on top of the list of countries with the highest number of terrorist bases and safe havens."

It said that if one looks at the most dangerous terrorist groups, based on hard facts and statistics, one finds that "Pakistan hosts or aids majority of them". "Also, there are a significant number of groups based in Afghanistan, which operate with the support of Pakistan."

The report has been prepared to discuss security challenges in the next decade and it presents an analytical framework for policymakers to tackle terrorism.

Hurdles Remain for Renewed Afghan Peace Talks

BY LARA SELIGMAN, ROBBIE GRAMER
Source Link

Welcome to Foreign Policy’s Security Brief. What’s on tap today: Peace talks between Washington and the Taliban could be back on, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi steps down, and Russia begins selling natural gas to China.

If you would like to receive Security Brief in your inbox every Monday, please sign up here.

Taliban Ready to Resume Negotiations

Both the Taliban and the Afghan government appeared caught off guard by U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement during a Thanksgiving Day visit to Afghanistan—his first since taking office—that the Taliban was ready to agree to a cease-fire deal. But the insurgent group responded quickly, with a spokesman saying on Friday that they were “ready to restart the talks.”

Trump abruptly canceled peace talks with the Taliban in September, but the surprise comments and the group’s positive response have raised hopes once more for a long-elusive peace deal to end the 18-year war in Afghanistan. The development comes a week after a prisoner swap between Washington and Kabul suggested the Taliban was still eager for a deal.

China’s Protectionism Online Is Driving Its Own Decoupling With the U.S.

Howard W. French 
Source Link

In 2003, just as I was arriving in China as a correspondent for The New York Times, tectonic changes were coming to the worlds of internet commerce, search and social media. But their rumblings were so deep beneath the surface that few could have predicted their long-term consequences.

That year, Alibaba, a four-year-old web company that had started out of an apartment in Hangzhou, fended off an ambitious push by eBay into China’s e-commerce market by eliminating merchant fees for Taobao, Alibaba’s own e-commerce platform, even as it was losing money. The move helped put Alibaba on the road to becoming the world’s biggest seller of goods online and its founder, Jack Ma, one of the world’s richest men. It was part of a series of measures, both public and private, that were meant to create “national champions” for the internet in China, meaning companies that would compete vigorously for business globally, while getting help from Beijing in keeping foreign companies out of their home market. ...

Opinion: Why China won’t let Hong Kong become another Tiananmen

By JEFFREY WASSERSTROM
Source Link

People from China will often ask me, “Why are Westerners like you so obsessed with what happened in Beijing in 1989?”

I’ve never had a succinct answer to this question — until now. Next time, I’ll say, “I may be obsessed with 1989, but China’s top leaders are even more obsessed with it.” The events of that time still reverberate in Beijing’s response to the protests racking Hong Kong now.

What scared the government most in 1989 was not students gathering in Tiananmen Square. It was members of many social groups turning out to support those youths as multi-class protests erupted in other cities, too. China’s leaders were equally alarmed by protests that spread across class lines to topple Communist rule in places like East Germany, Czechoslovakia and Romania.

Haunted by those epochal events, China’s top leaders have used quick and brutal methods to crush any new movement that strikes them as having the potential to link up people of varied classes in varied locales. This explains the merciless moves against Falun Gong in 1999.

Can NATO Shift Its Mission from Deterring Russia to Tackling Terrorism?

by Daniel R. DePetris 
Source Link

When asked to cite NATO’s top security priority today, most point to the Russian Bear in the east. This isn’t without precedent; the transatlantic alliance was literally established in 1949 to defend the Euro-Atlantic area from Soviet aggression. 70 years later, NATO’s strategic direction is still very much oriented towards Moscow, which remains a formidable power despite its economic difficulties and frosty diplomatic relations with the West.

French President Emmanuel Macron, however, has a different opinion about how NATO should concentrate its resources and attention. Russia and China are not the enemies of NATO, Macron said days before the French leader flew to London for a one-day meeting of the alliance. “Our common enemy today is terrorism, which has hit each of our countries,” the French leader asserted. After all, Moscow and Beijing are rational actors that can be deterred and reasoned with; terrorist groups are a whole different animal.

Macron wasn’t absolving Russia of responsibility as much as he was trying to shift the conversation. It escapes no one that despite the ritualistic recitations within the halls of NATO about unity, solidarity, and values, member states have conflicting views on what security concern the alliance should be spending most of its time on. Poland and the Baltic States remain terrified of a Russian neighbor that has annexed the Crimean Peninsula, stirred up a rebellion in Eastern Ukraine, invaded Georgia more than a decade ago, and intervened in European politics with ever more refined disinformation operations. To the south, Italy has been pleading for NATO to focus on illegal migration. There are also significant differences within the alliance on whether diplomatic outreach to the Kremlin is appropriate, how strongly NATO should increase its deterrent in the eastern flank, and whether a common position on China should be adopted. 

A World Dividing: The International Implications of the Sino-American Rift

Chas W. Freeman, Jr.

• The U.S.–China trade war is reshaping global politics, creating new patterns of economic integration and alignment.

• Rather than enhancing manufacturing or investment in the United States, the Trump administration’s actions are expanding China’s economic influence and spurring commercial activity in other countries.

• By announcing a new era of “great power competition,” the United States is committing a mistake. It should instead focus on solving planetwide problems like climate change and sustaining economic and technological progress. All such challenges require some measure of cooperation with China.


Davos 1973 to Davos 2020: How the world economy has changed


As planning got underway in 1970 for the inaugural European Management Symposium in Davos, an obscure ski town in the Swiss Alps, the idea that companies should be mindful of far more than the bottom line was still fairly novel. That first version of what would become the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting helped establish the idea that businesses should serve society as a whole, and not just shareholders—a “stakeholder” concept memorialized in 1973’s Davos Manifesto.

Fast forward nearly 50 years, and the mainstreaming of stakeholder capitalism is in full swing. One example: the Business Roundtable, an organization that includes the CEOs of the biggest US companies and once defined a company’s purpose as serving shareholders, recently re-defined that purpose to include a commitment to all stakeholders. Other major shifts to occur in the past five decades include the rising influence of technology firms, the growing prominence of multinationals from the developing world, an expansion of the global talent pool, and a troubling increase in income inequality.

A social bent

Why care about Ukraine and the Budapest Memorandum

Steven Pifer

Since 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine, the United States has provided Ukraine with $3 billion in reform and military assistance and $3 billion in loan guarantees. U.S. troops in western Ukraine train their Ukrainian colleagues. Washington, in concert with the European Union, has taken steps to isolate Moscow politically and imposed a series of economic and visa sanctions on Russia and Russians.

The furor over President Donald Trump’s sordid bid to extort the president of Ukraine into investigating his potential 2020 political opponent raises an obvious question: Why should the United States care so much about Ukraine, a country 5,000 miles away? A big part of the reason is that U.S. officials told the Ukrainians the United States would care when negotiating the Budapest Memorandum on security assurances, signed 25 years ago this week.

A NUCLEAR-ARMED STATE BREAKS UP

In the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, the United States, Russia, and Britain committed “to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine” and “to refrain from the threat or use of force” against the country. Those assurances played a key role in persuading the Ukrainian government in Kyiv to give up what amounted to the world’s third largest nuclear arsenal, consisting of some 1,900 strategic nuclear warheads.

Britain’s Secret War With Russia

by Tom McTague
Source Link

Tucked away in a drab industrial estate on the outskirts of the Swiss town of Spiez lies a multistory concrete office block flanked by a parking lot and a soccer field. A modest gate with a small plaque is all that greets visitors. A river rolls behind the building, fed from the peaks of the Blüemlisalp massif above. This is the Bernese Oberland, the corner of Switzerland where James Bond met Blofeld in a revolving mountaintop hideaway; where Sherlock Holmes plunged to his death.

The building in question, an outpost of Switzerland’s Federal Office for Civil Protection, might be unassuming—home to just 98 academics, engineers, apprentices, and technicians—yet its occupant, the Spiez Laboratory, is world-renowned. The elite facility focuses on global nuclear, chemical, and biological threats, and is one of a limited number of sites designated by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to conduct research and analysis. Safely under the protective cloak of the country’s diplomatic neutrality, Spiez Laboratory carries out its work with little fanfare or controversy.

Belarus May Be Key to Solving NATO’s Problems with Russia

BY VITALI SHKLIAROV
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Last month, in an interview with the Economist, French President Emmanuel Macron lamented the “brain death of NATO.” His statement went viral. He was not the first Western leader to comment publicly on the North Atlantic alliance’s problems, but his questioning of NATO’s commitment to collective defense—the cornerstone of the organization—indicated serious trouble. Numerous Western officials were quick to repudiate Macron’s words, but the unfolding discussion only emphasized that NATO faces perhaps its most intense challenges since its inception in 1949.

For some observers, NATO’s internal turmoil is a dangerous gift to Russia, a country with which the alliance has had a particularly strained relationship since 2014. No wonder that a spokesman from Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Maria Zakharova, praised Macron’s statement as “golden words.” Yet both Western condemnation of Macron’s remarks and Russia’s happy reaction neglect a possibly more worrisome future.

Over the last few years, Russia and NATO have been caught in something of a security trap, where neither trusts the other’s intentions and thus tries to build up more military power to deter its rival. Although both think of their actions as defensive, their enemy sees pure aggression—and the cycle dangerously repeats.

Don’t Blame Turkey for NATO’s Woes

BY SINAN ULGEN
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As NATO celebrates 70 years of existence at this week’s leaders’ summit in London, the cohesion of the alliance is being tested like never before. In an interview with the Economist a few weeks ago, French President Emmanuel Macron said the alliance was experiencing “brain death.” His argument was that under U.S. President Donald Trump, the United States was no longer interested in the defense of Europe. He also cited Turkey’s cross-border operation into Syria as evidence of the political dysfunction of the alliance.

Last week, Ankara was criticized for blocking a NATO defense plan for the Baltic states and Poland. All of this prompts the question: Has Turkey really become a threat to NATO’s political cohesion?

The answer is not simple. NATO is currently adapting to changes in the global security environment. Despite claims to the contrary, NATO is a dynamic alliance. It has taken stock of the changing landscape since the end of the Cold War and is striving to adapt its doctrine and strategy to new conditions.

Building a Better Data-first Strategy: Lessons from Top Companies


It is hard to imagine a company that does not claim to use data to make better and smarter decisions. It is equally true, though, that many of them make big mistakes, sometimes again and again. How can they improve their ability to build a better data-first strategy and get better at measurement? That is the question that Neil Hoyne answers in this opinion piece, which was originally published by Think with Google. Hoyne is the global head of customer analytics at Google. In addition, he is a senior fellow at Wharton Customer Analytics.

Time and again, I see companies making crushingly common mistakes with data, and refusing to give themselves the room to experiment and to fail.

Data empowers marketers to make better decisions and take smarter risks, but sometimes the best intentions lead to the wrong solutions. Interpreting data isn’t always easy, and I’ve seen marketers come up short by not allowing themselves the space to learn, grow, fail and improve from their collective experiences.

A campaign that falls short of its goal can teach just as much as one that succeeds. And marketers who wish to do the right thing well can learn from how they do the right thing poorly.

London Declaration


Today, we gather in London, NATO’s first home, to celebrate seventy years of the strongest and most successful Alliance in history, and mark the thirtieth anniversary of the fall of the Iron Curtain. NATO guarantees the security of our territory and our one billion citizens, our freedom, and the values we share, including democracy, individual liberty, human rights, and the rule of law. Solidarity, unity, and cohesion are cornerstone principles of our Alliance. As we work together to prevent conflict and preserve peace, NATO remains the foundation for our collective defence and the essential forum for security consultations and decisions among Allies. We reaffirm the enduring transatlantic bond between Europe and North America, our adherence to the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter, and our solemn commitment as enshrined in Article 5 of the Washington Treaty that an attack against one Ally shall be considered an attack against us all.

We are determined to share the costs and responsibilities of our indivisible security. Through our Defence Investment Pledge, we are increasing our defence investment in line with its 2% and 20% guidelines, investing in new capabilities, and contributing more forces to missions and operations. Non-US defence expenditure has grown for five consecutive years; over 130 billion US dollars more is being invested in defence. In line with our commitment as enshrined in Article 3 of the Washington Treaty, we continue to strengthen our individual and collective capacity to resist all forms of attack. We are making good progress. We must and will do more.

It’s the end of the World Trade Organisation as we know it


“Winter is coming,” warned a Norwegian representative on November 22nd, at a meeting of the World Trade Organisation (wto). The multilateral trading system that the wto has overseen since 1995 is about to freeze up. On December 10th two of the judges on its appellate body, which hears appeals in trade disputes and authorises sanctions against rule-breakers, will retire—and an American block on new appointments means they will not be replaced. With just one judge remaining, it will no longer be able to hear new cases.

The wto underpins 96% of global trade. By one recent estimate, membership of the wto or General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (gatt), its predecessor, has boosted trade among members by 171%. When iPhones move from China to America, or bottles of Scotch whisky from the European Union to India, it is the wto’s rules that keep tariff and non-tariff barriers low and give companies the certainty they need to plan and invest.

The World's Top Remittance Recipients

by Niall McCarthy

According to World Bank data published earlier this year, global remittances totalled $689 billion in 2018, up from $633 billion in 2017. Of that total, $529 billion flowed into low and middle-income countries. The upsurge in remittances was driven by increasing oil prices and stronger economic conditions in the United States and it was particularly evident in South Asia where growth came to 12 percent. India has seen a steady increase in remittances in recent years and they climbed from $62.7 billion in 2016 to $65.3 billion in 2017.

Its huge diaspora helped it maintain its position last year with migrants sending a whopping $79 billion back home to India. The World Bank attributed some of that 14 percent growth to flooding in Kerala which likely prompted migrants to send more financial aid to their families. China also boasts a massive diaspora and it comes second on the list with $67 billion. The top three was rounded off by Mexico with $36 billion.

OPEC gearing up for deeper oil cuts, Russia yet to agree

Bozorgmehr Sharafedin, Alex Lawler, Olesya Astakhova

VIENNA (Reuters) - OPEC is gearing up to deepen oil supply cuts later this week but still needs to strike an agreement with allies such as Russia on details of a deal to support prices and prevent a glut next year.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meets on Thursday in Vienna followed by a meeting with Russia and others, a grouping known as OPEC+, on Friday.

OPEC+ has curbed supply since 2017 to counter booming output from the United States, which has become the world’s biggest producer.

Next year, rising production in other non-OPEC countries such as Brazil and Norway threaten to add to the glut.

OPEC’s actions in the past have angered U.S. President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly demanded OPEC’s de facto leader Saudi Arabia bring oil prices down if it wants Washington’s to provide Riyadh with military support against arch-rival Iran.

In the past few months Trump has said little on OPEC but that might change later in 2020 if oil and gasoline prices rise - a politically sensitive issue in the United States. Trump will seek re-election in November.

Trump Just Ghosted NATO, But Here’s What He Said That Matters

BY KEVIN BARON
Source Link

LONDON — Donald Trump just ghosted NATO. The U.S. president was supposed to emerge from the summit outside London on Wednesday for the customary full-scale final press conference to answer the international media’s burning questions — about France, Turkey, Syria, spending, European unity — but instead, he just…left. 

If ever you needed an example of why America’s leadership role in global security is in question, here you have it. The U.S. commander in chief, in the UK, abdicated a final chance to own this week. And it’s a shame, because he was on a roll. If everyone was talking about French President Emmanuel Macron’s “brain dead” comment to shock NATO’s system before this event, nobody is talking about it after. Trump was the centerpiece of every public moment of this two-day NATO meeting, in bilateral photo ops with Macron, Canada’s Justin Trudeau, Germany’s Angela Merkel, and more. He made Macron look like France was throwing a temper tantrum. At last year’s summit in Brussels, he was the wide-eyed rookie giving everyone heart palpitations for speaking so un-diplomatically about the alliance to allies’ faces. This year, he commanded every moment — that is, until video leaked of Trudeau and others laughing Tuesday evening about (gasp!) why Trump runs late to things. 

Coming off a troubled year

By: Jill Aitoro 
Source Link

So then let us consider 2019. The year was, in many respects, one of messiness. The already tense relationship between Turkey and NATO allies got worse, leading to the decision by the U.S. to kick the country out of the F-35 program. High-profile program struggles plagued some of the largest defense companies in the world. Political turmoil led to leadership shakeups both in the U.S. and across the pond. Instability in the industrial base made advancements in technology by adversaries all the more troubling.

But there were also some signs of progress. Modern warfare capabilities — from hypersonics to artificial intelligence — transitioned from a footnote for only some to the everyday vernacular of most. More experimentation emerged in techniques for system development and acquisition. And around the world, countries from various regions grew more earnest in their desires to expand their influence and investment in global defense.

What can we predict, then, based upon this, for 2020? Global relations will continue to shift, no longer defined by existing alliances but rather by individual behavior and more self-serving demands. Elections stand to turn the current state of political affairs on its ear, whether it be for better or for worse. And competition will grow more fierce, driven by a shrinking industrial base and the fact that defense companies will need to look beyond the U.S. to find the most sought-after programs with the biggest potential payout.

141 Cybersecurity Predictions For 2020

Gil Press
Source Link

Serial cybersecurity entrepreneur Shlomo Kramer said in a 2005 interview that cybersecurity is “a bit like Alice in Wonderland” where you run as fast as you can only to stay in place. In 2020, to paraphrase the second part of the Red Queen’s observation (actually from Through the Looking Glass), if you wish to stay ahead of cyber criminals, you must run twice—or ten times—as fast as that.

The 141 predictions listed here reveal the state-of-mind of key participants in the cybersecurity defense industry and highlight all that’s hot today. The future is murky, but we know for sure that on January 1, 2020, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) will go into effect; that the U.S. presidential election will take place on November 3, 2020; and that on October 1, 2020, if you “wish to fly on commercial aircrafts or access federal facilities” in the U.S., you must have a REAL ID compliant card.

Other than these known events, the crystal balls of the participants in this survey warn us about the impact of emerging technologies such as AI, 5G, and quantum computing and evolving technologies such as the internet of things (IoT), things that move (autonomous vehicles and mobile phones), and the cloud; the role cybersecurity will play in the presidential election; the emerging global cyber war; the increasingly targeted and profitable ransomware attacks; the sorry state of personal data privacy; the significant issue of the best way to deal with identity and authentication; the new targets and types of cyber attacks; how to fix cyber defense; the important role people play in cybersecurity and the what do about the cybersecurity skills shortage; and the good, the bad, and the ugly of the business of cybersecurity.

Who Is Responsible for Biased and Intrusive Algorithms?


Algorithms have become part of our everyday lives. Whether one considers jobs, loans, health care, traffic or news feeds, algorithms make several decisions for us. While they often make our lives more efficient, the same algorithms frequently violate our privacy and are biased and discriminatory.

In their book The Ethical Algorithm: The Science of Socially Aware Algorithm Design, Michael Kearns and Aaron Roth, professors at Penn Engineering, suggest that the solution is to embed precise definitions of fairness, accuracy, transparency, and ethics at the algorithm’s design stage. They say algorithms don’t have a moral character. It is we who need to learn how to specify what we want.

In a conversation with Knowledge@Wharton, Kearns and Roth – who are the founding co-director and a faculty affiliate respectively of the Warren Center for Network and Data Sciences — discuss developments in the field.

An edited transcript of the conversation appears below.

Knowledge@Wharton: What prompted you to write about ethical algorithms? Why is it a critical issue? Can software really have a moral character?

Why Cybersecurity Isn’t Only a Tech Problem


Thomas Parenty and Jack Domet, cofounders of the cybersecurity firm Archefact Group, say that most organizations are approaching cybersecurity all wrong. Whether they’re running small companies or working in multinational corporations, leaders have to think beyond their IT department and technology systems to instead focus on protecting their businesses’ most important assets from attack. They need to work across functions and geographies to identify key risks, imagine potential threats and adversaries, and develop a plan for combating them. Parenty and Domet are the authors of the HBR article “Sizing up your Cyber Risks,” as well as the HBR Press book A Leader’s Guide to Cybersecurity.

From Apple to Marriott to JPMorgan Chase to Marriott and British Airways, some of the most sophisticated companies in the world have fallen victim to cyberattacks in recent years. Business-critical activities have been disrupted, customers data has been compromised, and the threats continue. So, what can organizations do to prevent themselves to becoming the next target?

By now, most accept that they need to invest significant cash and resources into cybersecurity capabilities. But, too often, this important job is left to IT leaders rather than the full C-suite and board.

Today’s guests say that organizations need to take a much different approach – with leaders at the very top thinking about cyber risks as not just a technology issue but a significant business problem to be solved.

Thomas Parenty and Jack Domet are cofounders of the cybersecurity firm Archefact Group and coauthors of the HBR article “Sizing up your Cyber Risks,” as well as the HBR Press book A Leader’s Guide to Cybersecurity.

Security At A Crossroads: The Road Ahead For IT Security

Tony Bradley

Before the Cyber Monday, and Small Business Saturday, and Black Friday sales; before the Thanksgiving feast and the awkward tension of discussing the impeachment hearings with mildly inebriated family and friends and having to explain that Alex Jones is not a credible source of information; before yet another embarrassing exhibition by the Detroit Lions, hundreds of IT and cybersecurity professionals got together at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas for the 2019 Qualys Security Conference

The main event featured two days of keynotes, presentations, and breakout sessions. The opening keynote was presented by a man I admire and respect. Richard Clarke, national security and cyber risk expert and author of The Fifth Domain, kicked things off with an insightful look at the increasing role of nation states in cyber attacks, and a call to action for steps to be taken to establish some ground rules for cyber war—a sort of Geneva Convention of cyberspace.
Security at a Crossroads

141 Cybersecurity Predictions For 2020

Gil Press

Serial cybersecurity entrepreneur Shlomo Kramer said in a 2005 interview that cybersecurity is “a bit like Alice in Wonderland” where you run as fast as you can only to stay in place. In 2020, to paraphrase the second part of the Red Queen’s observation (actually from Through the Looking Glass), if you wish to stay ahead of cyber criminals, you must run twice—or ten times—as fast as that.

The 141 predictions listed here reveal the state-of-mind of key participants in the cybersecurity defense industry and highlight all that’s hot today. The future is murky, but we know for sure that on January 1, 2020, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) will go into effect; that the U.S. presidential election will take place on November 3, 2020; and that on October 1, 2020, if you “wish to fly on commercial aircrafts or access federal facilities” in the U.S., you must have a REAL ID compliant card.

Other than these known events, the crystal balls of the participants in this survey warn us about the impact of emerging technologies such as AI, 5G, and quantum computing and evolving technologies such as the internet of things (IoT), things that move (autonomous vehicles and mobile phones), and the cloud; the role cybersecurity will play in the presidential election; the emerging global cyber war; the increasingly targeted and profitable ransomware attacks; the sorry state of personal data privacy; the significant issue of the best way to deal with identity and authentication; the new targets and types of cyber attacks; how to fix cyber defense; the important role people play in cybersecurity and the what do about the cybersecurity skills shortage; and the good, the bad, and the ugly of the business of cybersecurity.

Griffin: DoD Can’t Rely on Commercial Satellite Communications

By THERESA HITCHENS

WASHINGTON: Communications satellite constellations such as those being launched by SpaceX, OneWeb, Telesat and Amazon, haven’t proven they can make money so the Pentagon needs to build its own Low Earth Orbit (LEO) network, says DoD Research & Engineering czar Mike Griffin.

This puts Griffin somewhat at odds with the Air Force and Army, who are going full steam ahead to try to leverage the new LEO satcom systems. But Griffin told an audience at the Chamber of Commerce’s launch seminar today that, in his assessment, the business case for commercial broadband and Internet mega-constellations in LEO “is a tough one to close. I won’t say that it is permanently un-closable … but it is a tough business case.”

This means, he said, that there is a need for “a national security communications substructure to any future architecture that we might either buy ourselves or rent from other people. …The national security community has an absolute need for guaranteed communications. It has to be guaranteed in wartime. …It has to be guaranteed in a harsh environment, manmade and natural. It has to be, to the extent we can do so, secure.”

NATO Should Count Spending on Secure 5G Towards Its 2% Goals

BY LINDSAY GORMAN

The agenda at NATO’s London summit reportedly includes talk about the future of internet security — that is, establishing rules and roles for next-generation 5G gear. This is both a vital issue and a bellwether. If done right, moving to secure 5G systems can rejuvenate the alliance around its central mission: protecting democratic states from authoritarian incursion. Botch it, and the rift will only increase.

Whether NATO comes together or falls apart over 5G presents an initial test of how it will handle China’s rise. For Beijing, leapfrogging Western telecommunications firms is part and parcel of a vision to spread norms of authoritarian internet governance, promote surveillance technologies, build global dependencies, and undermine the liberal democratic order NATO anchors. U.S. officials can take several steps to help move the debate from admonition to action.

First, NATO should allow members to count a portion of outlays on secure 5G systems towards national 2-percent defense spending goals. There are a number of ways 5G-inclusive targets could be defined, including one-time commitments or line-item funds, but if investing in technology built by trustworthy vendors is a priority for the United States—and it should be—the alliance’s cost-sharing structure should reflect it. 

How the Army is girding for electronic warfare

By Lauren C. Williams
Source Link

There’s no doubt that electronic warfare will become increasingly commonplace. That’s why the Army is vigorously testing its flying platforms, such as the Apache helicopter, to ensure they can withstand both current and evolving threats.

FCW talked with Ralph Troisio, the division chief for Electronic Warfare, Air, and Ground Survivability at Army’s C5ISR Center in Aberdeen, Md., to better understand how the Army is testing these capabilities before an aircraft takes flight.

Before the interview, FCW toured the C5ISR laboratory to see how the experiments are carried out. No photography was allowed, but the experience felt much like being thrust in the middle of a sci-fi adventure: a story-high metal contraption of undulating beams and spinning barbs that gave off vibrations that reverberated through the body -- all of which together help to simulate electronic warfare effects with aircraft. 

NATO: The World's Most Powerful Military Alliance or Obsolete?

by Jeff Inglis
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As the NATO summit begins in London on Dec. 3, it brings together leaders of the world’s most powerful military alliance, with 29 members on three continents. Celebrating its 70th anniversary in 2019, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization remains a key contributor to European peace and a strong counterbalance to Russian influence around the globe.

Several scholars around the U.S. have looked at aspects of the role of NATO in a changing world.

1. NATO’s origins

In the wake of World War II, in an effort to achieve a lasting world peace – and to resist Soviet influence – the U.S. and many European nations joined forces, write NATO historians Garret Martin and Balazs Martonffy from the American University School of International Service. The group “collectively provides military security for all its members, from the United States and Canada in the West to the Baltic states in the East.”

France’s armed forces minister: How AI figures into operational superiority

By: Florence Parly 

Robot vs. human: This is the new battle in vogue. Ask Col. Gene Lee, a former fighter pilot and U.S. Air Force pilot trainer, defeated in 2016 by artificial intelligence in an air combat simulation. This specific AI program, even deprived of certain controls, is able to react 250 times faster than a human being. It is one story among many others of how AI technologies play and will play a leading role in operational superiority over the next decades.

I personally choose not to oppose the human to the robot. There is no discussion of replacing human intelligence by artificial intelligence, but it will be essential in increasing our capabilities manyfold. AI is not a goal, per se; it must contribute to better-informed and faster decision-making for the benefit of our soldiers.

AI means unprecedented intelligence capabilities. Crossing thousands of satellite images with data provided by the dark web in order to extract interesting links: This is what big-data analysis will make possible. AI also means better protection for our troops. To evacuate wounded personnel from the battlefield, to clear an itinerary or a mined terrain — as many perilous tasks that we will soon be able to delegate to robots. Lastly, AI means a stronger cyber defense. Cyber soldiers will be capable of countering at very high speed the increasingly stealthy, numerous and automated attacks that are threatening our systems and our economies.

We have everything to win in embracing the opportunities offered by artificial intelligence. This is why the French Ministry of Armed Forces has decided to invest massively in this area. However, we are not naïve, and we do not ignore the risks associated with the development of emerging technologies such as AI.

Hence, we chose to develop defense artificial intelligence according to three major principles: abiding by international law, maintaining sufficient human control and ensuring the permanent responsibility of the chain of command.

To ensure daily compliance with these principles over the long term and to feed our ethical thought, as new uses of AI appear every day, I decided to create a ministerial ethics committee focused on defense issues. This committee will take office at the very end of this year and will come as an aid to decision-making and anticipation. Its main role will be to address questions raised by emerging technologies and their potential use in the defense field.

At the heart of these questions stands an issue that is of interest but also of concern, both within the AI community and within civil society. It comes down to the lethal autonomous weapon systems that some call “killer robots” — weapon systems that would be able to operate without any form of human supervision, that would be able to alter the framework of the mission they are allocated or even assign new missions to themselves.

It is important to know that such systems do not exist yet in today’s theaters of operation. However, debating about them is legitimate. In fact, France did introduce this issue in 2013 to the United Nations in the framework of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. We do wish these discussions to continue in this multilateral framework, the only one that can eventually bring about a regulation of military autonomous systems, as it is the only one that is altogether universal, credible and efficient. We cannot rule out the risk of such weapons being developed one day by irresponsible states, or falling into the hands of nonstate actors. The need to federate with all other nations in the world is even more imperative.

France defends its values, respects its international commitments and remains faithful to them. Our position is unambiguous and has been expressed in the clearest terms by President Emmanuel Macron: France refuses to entrust the decision of life or death to a machine that would act fully autonomously and escape any form of human control.

Such systems are fundamentally contrary to all our principles. They have no operational interest for a state whose armed forces abide by international law, and we will not deploy any. Terminator will never march down the Champs-Elysées on Bastille Day.

Florence Parly is the armed forces minister in France.

Donald Trump falls out with the military establishment he once wooed


The 45th president began his term by packing his administration with military officers. Since then he has broken with the men he once called “my generals”. On November 15th Donald Trump pardoned two soldiers accused of war crimes and reversed the demotion of Eddie Gallagher, a Navy seal convicted in a military court of posing with a dead captive. When the navy sought to remove Mr Gallagher’s Trident pin, which marks out seals, Mr Trump ordered that he be allowed to keep it. Richard Spencer, the secretary of the navy, balked at this micromanagement of military justice and was soon fired (he was also accused of trying to cut a deal with the White House behind the back of his boss, Mark Esper). All this adds to the cocktail of civil-military dysfunction that has swirled since Mr Trump took office.

Mr Trump’s initial reliance on retired and serving officers to fill senior posts reflected a paucity of qualified civilians willing to serve him. But it was also an effort to cast a coveted military halo over his political agenda. Since Lyndon Johnson every administration has had at least one active or retired flag-rank officer (ie, a general or admiral) at cabinet or senior level, says Peter White of Auburn University. At his martial peak, Mr Trump had three—no more than Barack Obama. But that does not tell the whole story, says Mr White, because Mr Trump’s officers took roles almost always held by civilians.

7 December 2019

Ten steps to $5 trillion: Lesson from RCEP fiasco is that India must execute bold reforms to become competitive

Gurcharan Das 

November 4, 2019 was a sad day. Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided to walk out of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations at the eleventh-hour, admitting that India couldn’t compete with Asia, especially China. It was a big and painful decision as this is no ordinary trade agreement. Had India joined, RCEP would have become the world’s largest free trade area comprising 16 countries, half the world’s population, 40% of global trade and 35% of world’s wealth in the fastest growing area of the world.

India should have joined RCEP. The deal on offer was a reasonably good one and many of our fears had been allayed. Our farmers had been given protection from imports of agricultural products and milk (say from New Zealand). A quarter of Chinese products had been excluded, and for the rest a long period of tariffs was allowed from 5 to 25 years. The deal offered a unique safeguard from a sudden surge of imports from China to India for 60 of the most sensitive products.

If much smaller countries in Asia – Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Laos, Myanmar – can compete and have joined RCEP, why can’t India? Why does it need tariff protection, normally meant for infant industries? Why are India’s companies still infants after 72 years of Independence? No nation has become prosperous without exports; open economies have consistently outperformed closed ones. The $5 trillion target cannot be achieved without exports. The lesson from this fiasco is that India must act single-mindedly and execute bold reforms to become competitive. We can still join RCEP by March 2020. Consider this period a pause to get our house in order. It’s never too late to do the right thing. Here are ten ways to make the nation competitive.

The US H-1B Visa: A Boon for High-Skilled Immigrants from India

Jacob Funk Kirkegaard 

The Trump administration’s preference for a “merit-based” immigration system over one that welcomes migrants fleeing poverty and persecution became clear in May 2019. It was then that the administration unveiled an immigration reform proposal favoring English-speaking professionals with skills to fill jobs in such fields as medicine and computer programming.

An outcry erupted after these preferences were disclosed, many critics citing the famous poem at the base of the Statue of Liberty declaring: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free.” But the most recent US data available suggest that the policy has already been implemented for H-1B visas, a category that allows US employers to hire foreign nationals in certain job categories when it can be demonstrated that their skills cannot be found among US citizens. In an even more striking trend, the dominance of this important visa category by nationals from India has become pronounced.

Tracking this trend is complicated by an administration cutback in the available data. The annual Characteristics of H-1B Specialty Occupation Workers, which is prepared by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of the US Department of Homeland Security, has not been published for the fiscal year of 2018. Instead a much less detailed USCIS Statistical Annual Report was published in early 2019, which indicates that the number of H-1B petitions processed in FY2018 fell by 2 percent from FY2017. Data on H-1B visa issuance from the US State Department support the trend. The USCIS data suggest a tightening of H-1B administrative processing procedures by the Trump administration, as the rejection rate of H-1B petitions rose to 15 percent in FY2018 from around 6 percent in 2014–17. Due to this tightening, the total number of H-1B petitions approved in FY2018 declined to 335,000, which is roughly 10 percent lower than the number of H-1B petitions approved in 2016–17 but more than the number approved in 2014–15.[1] So even if sustained, this higher level of H-1B rejections would imply only a relatively limited tightening of H-1B administrative processing procedures during the Trump administration in FY2018.